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Volume 26, Number 9 – 5/1/2023

Volume 26, Number 9 – 05/01/2023


  • A Nobel Prize winner has predicted that in the next twenty to forty years sex will no longer be the method by which most people in developed countries make babies.
  • 1540 experts agree there is no climate emergency.
  • ChatGPT and similar large language programs are already on the edge of becoming obsolete.
  • The Moon is edging away from the Earth at a rate of 1.5 inches every year.
Click Here for Tickets and More Info

Whether you are a resident of earth or some other race of beings across the cosmos the evolutionary staircase is the same.  The law that governs each step on that staircase is also the same for all races.  And that law is adapt or die
The human energy system is composed of an uncountable number of frequencies that at a certain threshold of energy throughput will spontaneously reorganize, leaving the human with new capacities and revealing hidden potentials.  Those capacities invite us to use our perception and our consciousness in new ways.  And when we do that it results in a number of possibilities that range from:

  • a shift of the timeline and the development of a new world,
  • entry into a different reality zone,
  • the move to a fourth or a fifth dimensional system,
  • excellent physical health and the slow down of the aging, (and the slowing down of aging,)
  • access to new forms of energy,
  • and invitations to meet and work with the people from other star systems across the galaxy and even across the cosmos.

Join us for deep conversation on the hidden potentials of the human, the nature of reality, and other races of beings.  Because they all point to the fact that we are being pushed to develop a new earth. 

What are we using that consciousness for?  To develop a new earth!  How do you do that?  Penny will explain how when you join us on May 13th.

Dr. Penny Kelly is an author, teacher, speaker, publisher, personal and spiritual consultant, and Naturopathic physician. She travels, lectures, and teaches a variety of classes and workshops, and maintains a large consulting practice. She has been involved in scientific research and investigations into consciousness at Pinelandia Laboratory near Ann Arbor, MI.

Video: Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize Winning Inventor of PCR “Test”. Died in August 2019 – (Global Research – April 24, 2023)

A brilliant scientist and inventor, Kary Mullis, died just before the outbreak of the Covid-19 HOAX. His PCR duplication / amplification process (intended as a research tool only), earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. PCR was again recently misused to wrongly diagnose Covid and boost the fear. Mullis warned us about this misuse of his PCR, and about Anthony Fauci while he was alive.

Young Chefs Are Dying Suddenly and Unexpectedly. 28 Sudden Deaths, COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates? – (Global Research – April 20, 2023)

This article showcases 28 (plus one, post publication) international chefs who have died suddenly – most at an unusually young age. No any explanation has been advanced as to why so many chefs have been dying suddenly or unexpectedly in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Women and men. Consequence of COVID-19 vaccine mandates? Something else? “The working age population of United States has been poisoned” – Edward Dowd, former BlackRock Hedge fund Manager, after examining US Insurance data from 2020 to 2022 and seeing skyrocketing disabilities and deaths in the working age population that accepted COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

45 Times as Many Deaths After COVID Shots in Just 2 Years Compared With All Flu Vaccine-Related Deaths Since 1990, Data Show – (Childrens’ Health Defense – April 14, 2023)

The cost of injecting healthy people, “especially children,” with a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine “outweighs any claimed though unvalidated benefits,” according to researchers who analyzed adverse events data from more than 10 regulatory surveillance and self-reporting systems during the first two years of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. “Our meta-analysis of both national and international vaccine adverse events emphasizes the importance of re-evaluating public health policies that promote universal mass injection and multiple boosters for all demographic groups,” said the authors of a peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice, and Research.
Eliana Romero, Ph.D., director of clinical research at the Neurodiversity Foundation, Shawn Fry, founder and chief science officer of the Neurodiversity Foundation and Brian Hooker, Ph.D., P.E., chief scientific officer of Children’s Health Defense and associate professor of biology at Simpson University in Redding, California, authored the paper. The researchers looked at adverse events specifically related to cardiovascular and fertility health — such as myocarditis and menstrual abnormalities — that went overlooked during the “expedited safety analyses” that took place in the “accelerated approval process that allowed the manufacturers to fast-track their products,” they said.

Their Voices Are Their Livelihood. Now AI Could Take It Away. – (Washington Post – April 24, 2023)

For a modest monthly fee, Revoicer customers can access hundreds of different voices and, through an artificial intelligence-backed tool, morph them to say anything — to voice commercials, recite corporate trainings or narrate books. Advances in generative artificial intelligence, technology that forms texts, images or sounds based on data it is fed, has allowed software to recreate people’s voices with eerie precision. The technology burst into the public eye this month, when a music producer claimed to use AI versions of Drake and the Weeknd’s voices to build a new track, “Heart on My Sleeve,” which spread rapidly on TikTok. A number of celebrities have experienced these verbal deepfakes, including President Biden who was artificially made to say he preferred low quality marijuana.
But the technology puts voice actors, the often-nameless professionals who narrate audiobooks, video games and commercials, in a particularly precarious position. While their voices are often known, they rarely command the star power necessary to wield control of their voice. The law offers little refuge, since copyright provisions haven’t grappled with artificial intelligence’s ability to recreate humanlike speech, text and photos. And experts say contracts more frequently contain fine-print provisions allowing a company to use an actor’s voice in endless permutations, even selling it to other parties. This AI advancement in speech cloning has been a boon to some: People with degenerative illnesses, like ALS, can bank their voices using artificial intelligence (see article below in this issue of FE). But it’s also given rise to predatory industries. People have reported the voice of their loved ones being recreated to perpetuate scams. Start-ups have emerged that scrape the internet for high-quality speech samples and bundle hundreds of voices into libraries, and sell them to companies for their commercials, in-house trainings, video game demos and audiobooks, charging less than $150 per month. (Editor’s note: What has become obvious is that we need “property” laws that protect one’s physical image and voice – that those are “property” just as much as patents and real estate. But is it already too late for that? As the fashion industry has learned, it’s practically impossible to suppress the production and sale of “knock offs”.)

Bizarre, Never-before-seen Viruses Discovered Thriving Throughout the World’s Oceans – (Live Science – April 19, 2023)

Scientists have discovered never-before-seen viruses that thrive in sunlit oceans from pole to pole and infect plankton. They dubbed the newfound microbes “mirusviruses” — “mirus” meaning “strange” in Latin. The researchers concluded that mirusviruses belong to a large group of viruses called Duplodnaviria, which includes the herpesviruses that infect animals and humans, based on shared genes that encode the shell, or “particle” enclosing their DNA. But the strange, newfound viruses also share a staggering number of genes with a group of giant viruses, called Varidnaviria. This suggests that mirusviruses are a bizarre hybrid between two distantly related viral lineages, the scientists concluded.
To find the viruses, the team pored over data from the Tara Ocean expedition (opens in new tab), which collected nearly 35,000 ocean water samples containing viruses, algae and plankton between 2009 and 2013. The researchers then searched for evolutionary clues in millions of microbes’ genes. In combing through this data trove, the scientists detected a previously undescribed lineage of double-stranded DNA viruses, the mirusviruses, that can be found in the sunlit surface waters of polar, temperate and tropical oceans. These abundant viruses infect plankton, which are tiny organisms that drift on ocean currents and can produce spectacular blooms visible from space. Mirusviruses may be the key to resolving the enigmatic origin of herpes viruses, Delmont said. The genes encoding the protective shell around viral DNA are strikingly similar in both groups, suggesting that they are related. “This means that there is a shared evolutionary history between herpes, that infect only animals, and the mirusviruses that are everywhere in the ocean, where they infect unicellular organisms,” Delmont said. “All of this is pointing to a planktonic origin for herpes.”

More Than 19,000 Undersea Volcanoes Discovered – (Science – April 19, 2023)

In 2005, the nuclear-powered USS San Francisco collided with an underwater volcano, or seamount, at top speed, killing a crew member and injuring most aboard. It happened again in 2021 when the USS Connecticut struck a seamount in the South China Sea, damaging its sonar array. With only one-quarter of the sea floor mapped with sonar, it is impossible to know how many seamounts exist. But radar satellites that measure ocean height can also find them, by looking for subtle signs of seawater mounding above a hidden seamount, tugged by its gravity. A 2011 census using the method found more than 24,000. High-resolution radar data have now added more than 19,000 new ones. The vast majority—more than 27,000—remain uncharted by sonar. “It’s just mind boggling,” says David Sandwell, a marine geophysicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who helped lead the work. Published this month in Earth and Space Science, the new seamount catalog is “a great step forward,” says Larry Mayer, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. Besides posing navigational hazards, the mountains harbor rare-earth minerals that make them commercial targets for deep-sea miners. Their size and distribution hold clues to plate tectonics and magmatism. They are crucial oases for marine life.
Seamounts often occur in chains formed as tectonic plates ride over stationary plumes of hot rock rising from the mantle. As a result, the catalog will pay immediate dividends for studies of Earth’s interior, says Carmen Gaina, a geophysicist at the Queensland University of Technology. It has already identified new seamounts in the northeast Atlantic Ocean that could help track the evolution of the mantle plume that feeds Iceland’s volcanoes. The survey also spotted seamounts near a ridge in the Indian Ocean where fresh crust is made as tectonic plates spread apart. They suggest a surprising amount of volcanism in a region once thought to be magma starved, Gaina says. After the USS San Francisco accident, Sandwell and his colleagues secured funding from the Navy and NGA to hunt for seamounts with satellites. They identified thousands, including 700 particularly shallow ones that posed hazards to submarines. But the team knew its first catalog was far from complete. Now, armed with data from high-resolution radar satellites, including the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 and SARAL from the Indian and French space agencies, the team can detect seamounts just 1100 meters tall—close to the lower limit of what defines a seamount, Sandwell says.

The Future of Fertility – (New Yorker – April 17, 2023)

A new crop of biotech startups want to revolutionize human reproduction. In 2016, two Japanese reproductive biologists, Katsuhiko Hayashi and Mitinori Saitou, took skin cells from the tip of a mouse’s tail, reprogrammed them into stem cells, and then turned those stem cells into egg cells. The eggs, once fertilized, were transferred to the uteruses of female mice, who gave birth to ten pups; some of the pups went on to have babies of their own. Gametes are the cells, such as eggs and sperm, that are essential for sexual reproduction. With their experiment, Hayashi and Saitou provided the first proof that what’s known as in-vitro gametogenesis, or I.V.G.—the production of gametes outside the body, beginning with nonreproductive cells—was possible in mammals. The mice that had descended from the lab-made egg cells were described as “grossly normal.”
Currently, approximately 2% of all babies in the United States are conceived in a lab, through I.V.F.—last year, analysts valued the global I.V.F. market at more than twenty-three billion dollars. Egg cells have become commodities that are harvested, bought, donated, and preserved. But egg cells, some of the most complex cells in the body, and large enough to be visible to the naked eye, are difficult to obtain; as a woman ages, their number and quality decline. “If ripe human eggs could be derived from a person’s skin cells, it would avoid most of the cost, almost all of the discomfort, and all of the risk of IVF,” the Stanford bioethicist Henry Greely wrote in his 2016 book, The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction, addressing new techniques to make stem cells which won the Nobel Prize in 2012. He predicted that in the next twenty to forty years sex will no longer be the method by which most people make babies, “among humans with good health coverage,” he qualified.  (Editor’s note: We recommend this article.)

America’s First IVF Baby Is Pitching a Way to Pick the DNA of Your Kids – (Technology Review – April 26, 2023)

Elizabeth Carr is head of commercial development at Genomic Prediction, a New Jersey genetic testing startup that says it will assess embryos created in IVF clinics for their future chance of common diseases and then rank them, so parents can pick the one with the best future. It’s a controversial area that has some critics anguishing over the prospect of consumer eugenics. The American College of Medical Genetics said in March that the tests are “not yet appropriate” for use in medicine, calling them unproven. Still, word of the company’s “health scores” for embryos is spreading via media reports and as the company starts to promote the tests to IVF clinics and at meetings. And Carr, who is in charge of sales and marketing, may just be the perfect spokesperson. That is because she is “America’s first test-tube baby,” as the headlines shouted in 1981, when she became the first person born through in vitro fertilization in the US.
IVF procedures typically generate several embryos in a lab. The company says its genetic tests can help parents pick which has the lowest chance of a dozen common diseases and try to use that one to get pregnant. The tests work by measuring thousands of individual genetic differences, resulting in what’s known as a polygenic score. Testing an embryo costs about $1,000. What makes them think the test works: The company generated prediction scores scores for a large number of real-life siblings. Then they checked to see if the gene statistics helped explain actual differences in their health. “The results lined up,” says Carr. “That is how we validated it.” The same types of scores that could handicap someone’s likelihood of developing schizophrenia can also put odds on how tall people will grow up to be, or even how far they will go in school. And it’s picking children’s intelligence that’s the real societal lightning rod. Genomic Prediction doesn’t currently offer an intelligence score. “Theoretically speaking, it’s probably possible,” says Carr. “I just don’t see that happening anytime soon. Maybe eventually, but as far as I know, we have no plans of adding that.”

Study Links ‘Stuck’ Stem Cells to Hair Turning Gray – (NYU Langone, April 19, 2023)

Certain stem cells have a unique ability to move between growth compartments in hair follicles, but get stuck as people age and so lose their ability to mature and maintain hair color, a new study shows. Led by researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the new work focused on cells in the skin of mice and also found in humans called melanocyte stem cells, or McSCs. Hair color is controlled by whether nonfunctional but continually multiplying pools of McSCs within hair follicles get the signal to become mature cells that make the protein pigments responsible for color. The researchers found that as hair ages, sheds, and then repeatedly grows back, increasing numbers of McSCs get stuck in the stem cell compartment called the hair follicle bulge. There, they remain, do not mature into the transit-amplifying state, and do not travel back to their original location in the germ compartment, where WNT proteins would have prodded them to regenerate into pigment cells.
“Our study adds to our basic understanding of how melanocyte stem cells work to color hair,” said study lead investigator Qi Sun, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at NYU Langone Health. “The newfound mechanisms raise the possibility that the same fixed positioning of melanocyte stem cells may exist in humans. If so, it presents a potential pathway for reversing or preventing the graying of human hair by helping jammed cells to move again between developing hair follicle compartments.” Study senior investigator Mayumi Ito, PhD says the team has plans to investigate means of restoring motility of McSCs or of physically moving them back to their germ compartment, where they can produce pigment. For the study, researchers used recent 3D-intravital-imaging and scRNA-seq techniques to track cells in almost real time as they aged and moved within each hair follicle.

1540 Experts Agree There Is No Climate Emergency – (Armstrong Economics – April 27, 2023)

As I, (Martin Armstrong, author of this article) have been saying for years, the climate change agenda to end fossil fuels is merely a fraudulent cause intended to gain power. The Global Climate Intelligence Group (CLINTEL) is an independent foundation founded in 2019 by emeritus professor of geophysics Guus Berkhout and science journalist Marcel Crok. “The climate view of CLINTEL can be easily summarized as: There is no climate emergency.” Over 1540 experts respected in their independent fields have joined CLINTEL to spread the message that there is no scientific data to indicate that climate change is political propaganda.
Climate science currently starts with a preconceived notion that leads to biased, untrustworthy studies, which are often funded by those with special interests. Climate experts have convinced the world that CO2 is a pollutant when it is essential to all life. They have also lied to us and claimed that natural disasters are somehow created by man when there is zero supporting evidence. Climate has varied on a cyclical basis, with the most recent Little Ice Age ending in 1850. We are experiencing nature’s cyclical pattern of warming and there is no case for alarm.

Water Cuts Could Save the Colorado River. Farmers Are in the Crosshairs. – (Washington Post – April 16, 2023)

The Imperial Valley — a wedge of desert farmland in Southern California on the Mexican border — uses more of the Colorado River than the states of Utah, Wyoming, Nevada and New Mexico combined. To its critics outside California, it is a logical place to cut: The roughly 400 farms served by the Imperial Irrigation District consume the single largest share of a river that is needed by 40 million people. Some of their major crops, such as alfalfa, require lavish amounts of water and are sold for animal feed, including outside the United States.
And yet, these farmers also have some of the oldest legal rights to that water, dating back more than a century to a time before the creation of the Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that now oversees how the river is divvied up. And their fields drive a $4 billion industry that employs tens of thousands of people and puts vegetables in supermarkets across the country during the winter. That dynamic has put farmers in a powerful, yet precarious, position. There is an ongoing dispute between California and other states of the Colorado River basin about who must bear the brunt of any future reductions. The Interior Department proposed three options for cuts this week, including one that strictly follows water rights, giving priority to the Imperial Valley’s farmers — and potentially letting the portion of the river that goes to Los Angeles and Phoenix draw down to virtually nothing. (Editor’s note: We recommend this article for the ways in which it explains why there are no good solutions and certainly no easy ones – and why, on a long term basis, there aren’t any viable solutions for all the people who depend on the Colorado River water.)

New Tech Could One Day Scrub ‘Forever Chemicals’ from Your Tap Water – (Washington Post – April 16, 2023)

Canadian researchers said they have developed a method to filter toxic “forever chemicals” from water and potentially destroy the long-lasting compounds permanently. Known as “forever chemicals”, they can persist in the environment for years. Their harmful effects on human health are well documented, but their ubiquitous use and the challenges in breaking them down have complicated efforts to eliminate them. The highly durable chemicals have been used for decades to make nonstick cookware, moisture-repellent fabrics and flame-retardant equipment, and they are found in other commonly used consumer goods such as cosmetics and food packaging. The new technology, described by one of its developers as a “Brita filter, but a thousand times better,” could help address the problem, experts say. “The potential impact will be huge,” said Madjid Mohseni, a professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of British Columbia who led the research. “We are hoping to be able to take this to be part of the collective toolbox that we have for addressing PFAS contamination of our water supplies.” Technologies already exist to remove PFAS from water, but Mohseni and other experts say these approaches have limitations.
Mohseni said the material his team developed — which looks like tiny porous plastic beads — can remove long- and short-chain chemicals at rates that match or exceed industry standards. The PFAS it captures could be stripped away, also making the beads potentially reusable or recyclable, he said. Additionally, Mohseni said, the team engineered techniques designed to break the leftover PFAS down into harmless compounds. The beads eventually could be used in products to filter water in homes, industrial sites and at municipal levels, he added. However, for in-home applications, users would have to send the used filters to centralized locations for regeneration or recycling, and for the PFAS to be broken down fully — somewhat like how some used coffee pods are sent back to manufacturers for recycling, Mohseni said. Although the technology is promising, experts not involved in the research say it has yet to be proved in real-world settings at scale. The UBC research team has launched pilot trials in British Columbia, but none of the sites are yet sources of drinking water. “We’re a ways off from really having a clear solution,” said Erik Olson, a senior strategic director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Our biggest worry still is that we don’t exactly know how to totally destroy PFAS effectively at a commercial scale.”

This New Technology Could Blow Away GPT-4 and Everything Like It – (ZDNet – April 20, 2023)

For all the fervor over the chatbot AI program known as ChatGPT, from OpenAI, and its successor technology, GPT-4, the programs are, at the end of the day, just software applications. And like all applications, they have technical limitations that can make their performance sub-optimal. In a paper published in March, artificial intelligence (AI) scientists at Stanford University and Canada’s MILA institute for AI proposed a technology that could be far more efficient than GPT-4 — or anything like it — at gobbling vast amounts of data and transforming it into an answer. Known as Hyena, the technology is able to achieve equivalent accuracy on benchmark tests, such as question answering, while using a fraction of the computing power. In some instances, the Hyena code is able to handle amounts of text that make GPT-style technology simply run out of memory and fail.
“Our promising results at the sub-billion parameter scale suggest that attention may not be all we need,” write the authors. That remark refers to the title of a landmark AI report of 2017, ‘Attention is all you need’. In that paper, Google scientist Ashish Vaswani and colleagues introduced the world to Google’s Transformer AI program. The Transformer became the basis for every one of the recent large language models. (Editor’s note: This is a highly technical article, but the gist of it is simple: the current generation of large language programs are already on the cusp of being obsolete.)

Computer Scientists Designing the Future Can’t Agree on What Privacy Means – (Technology Review – April 3, 2023)

When computer science students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute for Software Research returned to campus in the summer of 2020, the department was also moving into a brand-new building: the 90,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Tata Consultancy Services Hall (the name of the building). The building’s futuristic features included carbon dioxide sensors that automatically pipe in fresh air, a rain garden, a yard for robots and drones, and experimental super-sensing devices called Mites. Mounted in more than 300 locations throughout the building, these light-switch-size devices can measure 12 types of data—including motion and sound. Mites were embedded on the walls and ceilings of hallways, in conference rooms, and in private offices, all as part of a research project on smart buildings led by CMU professor Yuvraj Agarwal and PhD student Sudershan Boovaraghavan and including another professor, Chris Harrison. “The overall goal of this project,” Agarwal explained at an April 2021 town hall meeting, is to “build a safe, secure, and easy-to-use IoT [Internet of Things] infrastructure.”  
Not everyone was pleased to find the building full of Mites. Some in the department felt that the project violated their privacy rather than protected it. In particular, students and faculty whose research focused more on the social impacts of technology felt that the device’s microphone, infrared sensor, thermometer, and six other sensors, which together could at least sense when a space was occupied, would subject them to experimental surveillance without their consent. Against a backdrop of skyrocketing workplace surveillance, prolific data collection, increasing cybersecurity risks, rising concerns about privacy and smart technologies, and fraught power dynamics around free speech in academic institutions, Mites became a lightning rod within the Institute for Software Research. Voices on both sides of the issue were aware that the Mites project could have an impact far beyond TCS Hall. the crucial question is what happens if—or when—the super-sensors graduate from Carnegie Mellon, are commercialized, and make their way into smart buildings the world over. The conflict is, in essence, an attempt by one of the world’s top computer science departments to navigate through thorny questions around privacy, anonymity, and consent.

The $25,000 Electric Vehicle Is Coming, with Big Implications for the Auto Market and Car Buyers – (CNBC – April 16, 2023)

Advanced EV technology — and, crucially, new manufacturing processes — are resulting in a series of newly-announced and coming-soon models that will make EVs much cheaper, and more mainstream. For example, Tesla’s next-generation car due next year is expected to start between $25,000 and $30,000. Hitting price points well below the $48,763 U.S. average new-vehicle price, which Kelley Blue Book says has risen 30% in the last three years, will make obsolete the notion that EVs are just for rich people. If the new models catch on, they will cement electric transportation as a mainstream consumer good, while also making Tesla, a refocused Ford, General Motors, and a still-to-be-winnowed out collection of EV startups fully mainstream carmakers. Lower-priced EVs are among a flood of new electric models that have begun to hit the market, with more than 60 new EVs expected in the next few years. Volkswagen has announced the sub-25,000 euro ID.2 model for the European market. Startup Fisker plans to launch the $29,900 PEAR crossover next year in the U.S., and GM is set to ship a sub-$30,000 Chevrolet Equinox electric sport-utility vehicle by fall. And all of these prices are before the tax breaks extended in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.
The rise of the budget EV raises a host of questions for car makers, including where they achieve the near-term cost savings needed from production lines, how fast they need to move to gain an edge over rivals entering the low end of the market, and whether the cost-saving techniques that EV-only companies Tesla and Fisker are claiming spread to more expensive vehicles, ultimately either lowering or containing their prices to consumers. But the biggest question of all right now: what kinds of EV will consumers be likely to find at these prices, and will they buy them? The lowest-cost EVs may have as little as 250 miles of range between charges, similar to the existing $28,000 Nissan Leaf and cars like Hyundai’s Kona that sell in the mid-$30,000-range now, letting consumers save by going for a smaller, cheaper battery. The consensus is that consumers are unlikely to accept less than that, and will likely insist that even less-pricey EVs keep popular safety features like lane-departure warnings. Consumers may accept a shorter range in exchange for lower cost because they use the EV as a second car or use it in cities, where short trips with time to recharge in between are common.

Why Plunging Tax Receipts Are Raising Fears About the Debt Ceiling – (The Hill – April 25, 2023)

Before tax figures started rolling in after last week’s filing deadline, Congress appeared to have until sometime in late July or August to pass legislation to raise or suspend the debt limit. But some experts have warned that a major shortfall in tax revenue means the U.S. government could run out of cash as early as June. The U.S. government has collected 35 percent less in tax revenue this year than at the same time in 2022, according to a recent analysis released by Moody’s Analytics economists Mark Zandi and Bernard Yaros. 
Experts have named a list of factors contributing to the April performance. Garrett Watson, a senior policy analyst and modeling manager at the Tax Foundation, pointed to a decline in capital gains realizations — profits made from financial investments — which are taxed by the federal government. Watson said the nation saw “unusual strength” in investment profits as markets boomed back from the onset of COVID-19 and the aftereffects of inflation. That surge of tax revenue has reversed as markets have weakened. Watson also pointed to a decline in corporate tax receipts, which is still only about 10% of overall tax revenue collection.

The Fish Rots from the Head — Why the CIA is Dysfunctional – (Son of the New American Revolution – April 24, 2023)

A photo array (in the article) shows the pictures or titles of the 51 CIA former officials who signed the letter in October 2020 declaring that the Hunter Biden laptop showed all the signs of a Russian disinformation op. Forty seven of the photos show the real people. Four photos, which display a female with a black band across the eyes, do not show the actual person. There also were 9 other CIA officers, still on the job, that endorsed the letter but their names were left off because they were current CIA employees at the time the letter was written. The good folks at XRVISION assembled this montage. All of these individuals now face potential legal liability for participating in a Biden campaign scheme to raise doubts about the legitimacy of the Hunter Biden laptop. We also know that they are liars and that each one, by affixing their name to this bogus letter, directly interfered in the 2020 Presidential election.
Although the statement’s signatories have an unquestioned right to free speech and free association—which we do not dispute—their reference to their national security credentials lent weight to the story and suggested access to specialized information unavailable to other Americans. This concerted effort to minimize and suppress public dissemination of the serious allegations about the Biden family was a grave disservice to all American citizens’ informed participation in our democracy. The majority of these men and women, according to research by XRVISION, are Republicans and apparently believed that sabotaging Donald Trump was worth telling a lie. These are not uneducated people with no accomplishments in life. These are people who served in senior CIA positions. But they have revealed themselves to be nothing more than craven, corrupt bureaucrats with no sense of honor or integrity.

Calls to Move Away from the U.S. Dollar Are Growing – (CNBC – April 24, 2023)

More and more countries — from Brazil to Southeast Asian nations — are calling for trade to be carried out in other currencies besides the U.S. dollar. In part because the U.S. dollar is the major currency used in international trade, the U.S. dollar remains dominant in global forex reserves even though its share in central banks’ foreign exchange reserves has dropped from more than 70% in 1999, IMF data shows. The U.S. dollar accounted for 58.36% of global foreign exchange reserves in the fourth quarter last year, according to data from the IMF’s Currency Composition of Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER). Comparatively, the euro is a distant second, accounting for about 20.5% of global forex reserves while the Chinese yuan accounted for just 2.7% in the same period. China is one of the most active players in this push given its dominant position in global trade right now, and as the world’s second largest economy. Based on CNBC’s calculation of IMF’s data on 2022 direction of trade, mainland China was the largest trading partner to 61 countries when combining both imports and exports. In comparison, the U.S. was the largest trading partner to 30 countries.
China — long among the top 2 foreign holders of U.S. Treasurys — has been steadily reducing its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities. Mainland China held nearly $849 billion of U.S. Treasurys as of February this year, the latest data from the U.S. Treasury department showed. That’s at a 12-year low, according to historic data. At the ASEAN, finance ministers and central banks meeting in Indonesia in March, policymakers also discussed the idea of cutting their reliance on the U.S. dollar, the Japanese yen and the euro and “move to settlements in local currencies” instead. In early April, Indian media widely reported that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had announced that India and Malaysia were starting to settle their trade in the Indian rupee. The growth of non-U.S. economic blocs also encourage these economies to push for wider use of their currencies. The IMF estimates that Asia could contribute more than 70% to global growth this year. “U.S. growth might slow, but U.S. growth isn’t what it’s all about anymore. There is a whole non-U.S. block that’s growing,” said Mark Tinker from ToscaFund Hong Kong. “I think there is going to be a re-internationalization of flows.” (Editor’s note: A so-called “basket of currencies” that functions as an international exchange “benchmark”, like the U.S. dollar does now is practically an inevitability because it will be so useful. From there to an “international currency” is no stretch at all. It won’t be imposed; it will be gladly adopted by so many international trading partners that it becomes the norm. It’s how the rest of the world is going to escape the US dollar.)

How Tiny, Cheap Smart Speakers Unlocked the Rise of Digital Payments in India – (Rest of World – April 4, 2023)

The sound box device — first introduced by India’s largest fintech company, Paytm, in 2019 — has been a runaway hit among small Indian businesses. Neighborhood mom-and-pop stores (kiranas) and street vendors, who had traditionally shied away from paying for tech services, have warmed up to the sound box. The smart device — essentially a speaker bearing the logo of the fintech company facilitating the transactions — comes with a built-in SIM card. Most sound boxes can read out almost instant payment confirmation messages for the benefit of both seller and buyer in English and multiple Indian languages, such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, and Punjabi. In Indian cities and towns, sound boxes can now be seen across diverse businesses — from kiranas and clothing stores to produce carts and shops selling smoking products. 
Sound boxes have become a lucrative proposition for Indian fintech companies. Digital payments have taken off in a big way in India in recent years due to the government’s unified payments interface (UPI) that allows users to make instant bank transfers with mobile phones. The volume of UPI transactions in the country grew from 20 million in the 2017 financial year to 60 billion by the third quarter of the 2023 financial year, according to data from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which runs UPI. The value of UPI transactions made in the same period skyrocketed from over $121 million to over $1.2 trillion. But this boom hasn’t helped fintech companies in India as they do not make money from facilitating UPI transactions. Sound box subscriptions have therefore become a lucrative revenue stream. A Paytm spokesperson noted that in the third quarter of the 2023 financial year, the company’s gross revenue from Paytm Soundbox subscriptions touched $150 million. The company has 6.8 million devices deployed across the country. The spokesperson said Paytm has tied up with a domestic manufacturer to produce both the hardware and software for its sound box. Paytm now has multiple competitors, including GooglePay and several Indian banks.

Why Scientists Are Making Fake Moon Dust – (BBC News – April 24, 2023

With humanity looking to set foot on the Moon again for the first time in 50 years, space agencies around the world need lunar soil – lots of it. Biologists, botanists and other research teams working on projects related to the Moon need something to test their equipment and experiments on. They require substances that replicate the physical, chemical and mineral properties of the lunar regolith, not only to see how hardware such as spacecraft and spacesuits might cope with the Moon’s environment, but to test whether it might be possible to eventually grow food in the lunar soil, or use it to make building materials for constructing future lunar bases. Lunar soil has a significant glass component because of the large number of high-energy meteorite impacts on its surface. The heat generated from these impacts produces glass in the lunar soil. On Earth, the main places where the soil naturally contains glass is near volcanoes.

A team of Spanish scientists have recently found that the basalt at a quarry near the town of Tao located near the Tamia volcanic crater in the Canary Islands bears a striking similarity to the samples of lunar regolith – the blanket of dusty and rocky debris covering the Moon’s surface – brought back to Earth by the crew of Apollo 14 in 1971. They have used it to create a sample of lunar regolith simulant that can be used to test hardware and experiments before they are sent to the Moon. The soil sample, called LZS-1, is the latest in a list of lunar regolith simulants of varying quality that have been developed to help NASA and other space agencies around the world prepare for missions to the Moon.

Seismic Waves Crossing Mars’ Core Reveal Details of the Red Planet’s Heart – (Science News – April 24, 2023)

Mars’ heart is about the size of our moon, and almost twice as dense. Or so suggest the first observed rumblings from a Marsquake and meteorite impact to cross the Red Planet’s heart, researchers reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The penetrative reverberations allowed researchers to refine estimates of the core’s size, density and composition. “Nobody’s ever seen before a seismic wave going through [Mars’] core,” says seismologist Jessica Irving from the University of Bristol in England. “We waited for more than 900 days for one quake on the farside,” she says. Then “24 days later, there was … a meteorite impact.” Analyzing the core-crossing seismicity from the two events, Irving and her colleagues found that Mars’ heart has a radius of 1,780 to 1,810 kilometers with a density of about 6,200 kilograms per cubic meter. That radius is slightly smaller than previously estimated, and about half that of the combined layers of Earth’s heart. The cores of both planets comprise about half of their total thickness. The researchers inferred that Mars’ core is mostly made of a liquid iron alloy, with sulfur making up about 15% of its mass. A smattering of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon together comprise about 5%. The findings roughly align with some previous analyses of Martian meteorite compositions.

India’s Population Overtakes China’s, But Numbers Mask a Bigger Story – (Washington Post – April 14, 2023)

While India’s overall population is no longer skyrocketing, and in fact it’s quickly flattening, U.N. experts have projected that sometime in April it will finally exceed China’s gradually shrinking population.  This demographic milestone, however, masks dramatically divergent trajectories inside India, with fertility rates varying sharply from state to state. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, dotted with factories making cars and iPhones, the average woman will have 1.8 children in her lifetime — the same rate as the United States and Sweden. But in Bihar, a fertile agricultural expanse bisected by the Ganges River, the average woman will have three, according to India’s most recent National Family Health Survey, which was conducted between 2019 and 2021. These statistics illustrate the uneven transformation of India’s north and south, a gap that has widened since the 1980s and continues to vex Indian leaders and policymakers. Not only are southern states providing women better access to contraceptives and family planning services, experts say, but they’re also affording women better educations, more jobs and higher relative social status — crucial, intangible factors that have led to smaller family sizes and greater prosperity.
“Demographically, we have two Indias,” said Arvind Subramanian, the Indian government’s chief economic adviser between 2014 and 2018. India, as a whole, dipped below the replacement rate in 2021, and its population is expected to peak around 2060.“The India of the south already resembles East Asia. It’s actually in the early stages of aging. But the Hindi heartland is still very much booming.” The north-south gap in birthrates and overall development is stirring frequent debates about how to apportion federal spending and how to allocate seats in Parliament. It’s also sparked efforts by government leaders and development experts to provide enough jobs to the poor, northern states — and lift up women there who are left behind even as India’s surging economy looks destined to overtake Germany’s later this decade.

Patients Were Told Their Voices Could Disappear. They Turned to AI to Save Them. – (Washington Post – April 20, 2023)

The use of artificial intelligence has driven a surge in voice banking, particularly among ALS patients. In 2017, Team Gleason Foundation, a nonprofit that funds voice banking for people with ALS, got 172 requests for the service. In 2022, it received more than 1,200 requests. In the United States, an average of 5,000 people are diagnosed with ALS each year. For example, Voice Keeper is one of several companies using artificial intelligence to “bank” people’s voices while they are still able to speak and re-creates those voices for text-to-speech software.
Capturing human speech is incredibly complex. Previously, a person might have to record 1,000 to 6,000 sentences to capture every possible sound in a language. The process typically took eight to 30 hours. Those recorded sounds then went into a database, and the software would rearrange the sounds to form words and phrases. The method is known as unit selection, and the results were “choppy,” said Tim Bunnell, director of the Nemours Center for Pediatric Auditory and Speech Sciences. “It’s intelligible, but it’s very jarring,” Bunnell said. “Our unit selection voices don’t sound as good as a human voice.” His research laboratory has transitioned from older methods of speech synthesis to newer methods, such as those using artificial intelligence. To create a digital voice, AI software analyzes a person’s speech sample and then quickly scours a large database to find people speaking in similar ways. It finds patterns in how voices sound and creates a digital voice to match an individual speaker. Most companies now only need a few hundred sentences to get enough data. But some, like Acapela Group, which partners with Team Gleason Foundation, have algorithms that can build a voice from just 50 sentences. Patients say having a computer-generated voice that sounds like their real voice has given them a greater sense of confidence and connection to the world around them.

How Electricity Can Heal Wounds Three Times Faster – (MedicalXpress – April 18, 2023)

Chronic wounds are a major health problem for diabetic patients and the elderly—in extreme cases they can even lead to amputation. Now a group of researchers at Chalmers and the University of Freiburg have developed a method using electric stimulation to speed up the healing process. The study, “Bioelectronic microfluidic wound healing: a platform for investigating direct current stimulation of injured cell collectives,” was published in the journal Lab on a Chip. The researchers worked from an old hypothesis that electric stimulation of damaged skin can be used to heal wounds. The idea is that skin cells are electrotactic, which means that they directionally “migrate” in electric fields. This means that if an electric field is placed in a petri dish with skin cells, the cells stop moving randomly and start moving in the same direction. The researchers investigated how this principle can be used to electrically guide the cells in order to make wounds heal faster. Using a tiny engineered chip, the researchers were able to compare wound healing in artificial skin, stimulating one wound with electricity and letting one heal without electricity. The differences were striking.
“We are now looking at how different skin cells interact during stimulation, to take a step closer to a realistic wound. We want to develop a concept to be able to ‘scan’ wounds and adapt the stimulation based on the individual wound. We are convinced that this is the key to effectively helping individuals with slow-healing wounds in the future,” said Maria Asplund, Associate Professor of Bioelectronics at Chalmers University of Technology and head of research on the project.

Natural Treatment Could Make You Almost Invisible to Mosquito Bites – (New Atlas – April 13, 2023)

Mosquitoes are responsible for around 350 million human illnesses every year. The widespread Ae. Aegypti and Ae. Albopictus species are vectors for more than 22 serious arboviruses, including dengue, chikungunya, Zika, Japanese encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, yellow fever and West Nile viruses. A recent study showed how another human impact, light pollution, may be responsible for extending the mosquito blood-drawing season. New research into bite-protection has taken a readily available natural molecule, cellulose, and manipulated it to produce a product that saw an 80% reduction in mosquito feeds on human skin.
Cellulose, which is cheaply and abundantly sourced from the likes of wood industry waste, plus local food and paper waste, assembles into nanocrystals when treated with sulfuric acid. These cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) assemble as a strong but transparent barrier film. Scientists found that when mixed with water and a small amount of glycerol, these CNCs could be applied to the skin in a spray or gel and block the mosquito’s ability to bite through it to draw blood. In trials with live Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, lead researcher Daniel Voignac from The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and colleagues tested CNC-treated and non-treated hands, exposing skin for 10 minutes inside an enclosed cage of mosquitoes that contained an average of 15 females. The result was the thin film of CNC gel acting like a chemical camouflage, with a drop of 80% in bites compared to a hand exposed to the insects without the biomaterial barrier. While in a preliminary stage, the research shows promise for the development of cheap, transparent natural compounds that could block the emission of the skin’s chemicals that alert female mosquitoes to a blood feast. Green, inexpensive and scalable, it has the potential to push back against the worldwide problem of mosquito-borne illness.

4 Countries That Are Embracing—or Experimenting With—the 4-day Workweek – (CNBC – April 14, 2023)

Dozens of countries including Ireland, Spain and the UK have tested a 4-day workweek, with overwhelmingly positive results: Businesses that participated in a six-month trial in the UK, which ended in December 2022, said switching to a 4-day workweek improved productivity, morale and team culture. Here are four countries where the 4-day workweek has been widely adopted, or is being tested. For example: Belgium. In early 2022, the Belgian government announced a reform package that gives workers the right to work four days instead of five without losing their salary. The law officially went into effect in November 2022. Under this scheme, workers are still expected to maintain the same amount of hours over four (longer) days instead of five and would have an extra day off to compensate. Employers, however, still have the right to turn down an employee’s request for a shortened workweek, on condition that they submit their refusal in writing and give solid reasons for their decision.

AI Is Already Taking Video Game Illustrators’ Jobs in China – (Rest of World – April 11, 2023)

Recent breakthroughs in AI image generation, with the release of programs such as DALL-E 2, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion in 2022, have enabled users to produce impeccable drawings from text prompts. In the past few months, Chinese video game companies, from tech giants like Tencent to indie game developers, have begun using these programs to design and create video game characters, backdrops, and promotional materials. The rise of AI art has created widespread anxiety in China’s video game art industry. Artists are crucial to game production, be it for conceptualizing characters or drawing background elements like cityscapes or signs. Given the high quality of AI-produced artwork, many in the industry are wondering how long they will be able to keep their jobs, according to seven game illustrators. Artists joke that they should switch careers to peddling rice noodles on the street instead, several of the illustrators said.
“AI is developing at a speed way beyond our imagination,” said Xu Yingying, illustrator at an independent game art studio in Chongqing. Xu’s studio produces designs for major game developers in China. Five of the studio’s 15 illustrators who specialize in character design were laid off this year, and Xu believes the adoption of AI image generators was partly to blame. “Two people could potentially do the work that used to be done by 10,” she said.  “Our way of making a living is suddenly destroyed,” said a game artist in Guangdong, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of being identified by her employer. Yu, the freelance illustrator, said it was “despicable” that algorithms — trained on vast datasets that took humans decades to produce — were on the verge of replacing the artists themselves. Still, Yu plans to train AI programs with her own drawings to improve her productivity. “If I’m a top-notch artist, I might be able to boycott [them]. But I have to eat.” The Guangdong-based game artist, who works at a leading gaming company, said fear of impending layoffs had made her colleagues more competitive; many stayed at work late, working longer hours to try to produce more. “[AI] made us more productive but also more exhausted,” she said.

Wall Street Says 50,000 Retail Stores Will Close in 5 Years – (CNBC – April 13, 2023)

The past year has seen 2,000 retail store closures, with the likes of Bed Bath & Beyond, Foot Locker and Walmart shuttering locations as they look to save money. But that trickle is set to turn into a flood in the next five years, according to one Wall Street analysis that predicts 50,000 stores will close. If the economy falls into a prolonged recession, closures could reach 90,000, said analysts at UBS. Smaller operations that employ 500 or fewer people are most likely to close, they wrote. The U.S. currently has roughly 940,000 stores and the UBS prediction “simply implies that there will be 5% fewer stores by the end of 2027,” analysts said.
The forecast is particularly troubling because, according to the National Retail Federation, about 70% of retail sales still come from brick-and-mortar stores, meaning retailers could suffer greater losses once they close off the places where customers physically stroll and shop. Clothing, electronics and home furnishing stores will likely bear the brunt of closings in the coming years because more of their shoppers will opt to purchase those items online, UBS said. They project closures of 13,840 clothing stores, 9,190 electronics locations and 4,090 furniture stores. By comparison, UBS expects home improvement stores to lose only 210 locations and auto parts stores to stay steady.

Employee Surveillance Is on the Rise — and That Could Backfire on Employers – (CNBC – April 24, 2023)

Micromanagers have long existed in workplaces. But the normalization of working from home and hybrid arrangements since the pandemic has fueled what Microsoft calls “productivity paranoia.”  In fact, with the shift to hybrid work, 85% of leaders have trouble believing their workers are being productive – causing the demand for employee monitoring software to skyrocket since the pandemic. According to one report, searches for employee monitoring software rose by 75% in March 2020 compared with the 2019 monthly average, and demand remained strong in 2021 and 2022. [Employee surveillance] “has increased excessively over the last few years … largely under the guise of ensuring workplace safety and confidentiality and protecting the business,” said Kathryn Weaver, a partner at law firm Seyfarth. A report from ExpressVPN found that close to 80% of employers use monitoring software to track employee performance and online activity. Some managers (73%) have taken it even further — storing recordings of staff calls, emails or messages to evaluate their employees’ performance. Employee monitoring tools aren’t just for monitoring employees — they can also increase a company’s online security and reduce the risk of data breaches. 
A 2021 study showed that employee monitoring has a lot of potential to backfire — monitored employees were substantially more likely to take unapproved breaks and purposely work at a slow pace. And there are ways to beat employers at their own game. For example, a software called Lazy Work, which claims it mimics human activity online, is currently being offered as a subscription for $6 a month. “It takes control of your keyboard and your mouse. And it seems like a real human is interacting with the computer, but nothing is really being done,” said developer Arjun Sharma. But he noted, “At the end of the day, if you don’t do the work, the work isn’t completed. This is just to give you that buffer time [if you] want to take a break or if you feel like you’ve done enough for today.”

How the Moon Is Making Days Longer on Earth – (BBC News – March 3, 2023)

Throughout human history the Moon has been an inextricable, ghostly presence above the Earth. Its gentle gravitational tug sets the rhythm of the tides, while its pale light illuminates the nocturnal nuptials of many species. Entire civilisations have set their calendars by it as it has waxed and waned, and some animals – such as dung beetles – use sunlight reflecting off the Moon’s surface to help them navigate. More crucially, the Moon may have helped to create the conditions that make life on our planet possible, according to some theories, and may even have helped to kickstart life on Earth in the first place. Its eccentric orbit around our planet is thought to also play a role in some of the important weather systems that dominate our lives today.
But the Moon is also gradually drifting away from our planet in a process known as “lunar recession”. Billions of years ago the average Earth day lasted less than 13 hours and it is continuing to lengthen. The reason lies in the relationship between the Moon and our oceans. By firing lasers off reflectors placed on the lunar surface by the astronauts of the Apollo missions, scientists have recently been able to measure with pin-point accuracy just how fast the Moon is retreating. They have confirmed that the Moon is edging away at a rate of 1.5 inches every year. And as it does so, our days are getting ever so slightly longer.

Take a Peek Inside the Candy Wrapper Museum – (Smithsonian – April 10, 2023)

In 2002, Darlene Lacey opened what has to be the world’s least pretentious museum—the Candy Wrapper Museum—to share her collection (virtually) with the world. In this article, she writes about how she got started—candy is cheap and cheerful—and the impact such an everyday object has on people. Even, or especially, decades later. Building the online museum was a massive six-month, one-person project. First, I (Lacey) curated roughly 650 of my favorite wrappers into themes such as: Celebrities, Classics, Holidays, Big Eats, No Fun and Vices. I scanned everything that was flat, photographed the rest (shot on film), scanned the prints, cleaned all the now-digital images, then wrote lighthearted commentary to provide each visitor with my personal tour. Then, I bought a book on how to write HTML and built the site myself.

When it launched, I had no expectations. To my surprise, without any promotion, the site went viral, even getting selected as Yahoo’s “Funny Site of the Week.” The sudden burst of popularity inspired bemused comments, like, “A candy wrapper museum? Now we’ve heard everything.” But mostly people wrote in to thank me, sharing how the sight of a long-gone favorite candy bar proved to their friends that they weren’t delusional. One person asked if I had a wrapper from the 1930s that his 90-year-old mother fondly remembered enjoying as a child. He later told me that the images I sent flooded her with emotion, rekindling the feelings of being a little girl again. This is when I knew I was doing something important. We think of collections as “things,” but we also collect special moments that may not stay front of mind, but never fade from our hearts.
The future is fluid. Each act, each decision, and each development creates new possibilities and eliminates others. The future is ours to direct.  – Jacque Fresco, industrial designer, social engineer, and futurist
A special thanks to: Chas Freeman, Jo Jackson, Abby Porter, Bobbie Rohn, Paul Stonehill, 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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