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FE Archive Volume 18, Number 2

Volume 18, Number 2 - 1/31/15 Twitter  Facebook  JLP Blog  

FUTURE FACTS - FROM THINK LINKS

DID YOU KNOW THAT--
  • In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, about 300 researchers in a global consortium identified eight common genetic mutations that appear to age the brain an average of three years.

  • Coats that turn into sleeping bags and can be rolled up and turned into a shoulder bag for the warmer months are not only ordered by nonprofit organizations for free distribution to the homeless, but are also used by the Red Cross for disaster relief.

  • The 2.5-mile-wide comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, was releasing the equivalent of 40 ounces of water into space every second at the end of August 2014.

  • A 16-year-old sneaker-loving entrepreneur has opened a successful NY pawnshop that uses high-end athletic shoes as collateral.


PUNCTUATIONS
by John L. Petersen

Cure Your Disease With Food

Think about this: if you have a deadly disease – like cancer – and your doctor has given you only weeks to live . . . you could change your diet and become cancer free in a handful of weeks.

Before you suggest that I’m crazy, let me tell you this: at the Hippocrates Institute in Florida, thousands of people in that kind of situation have done just that. It’s as though your immune system is equal to any potential threat . . . if you only feed your body such that it can operate at top efficiency.

The speaker at our next Berkeley Springs Transition Talk on the 21st of February, Dr. Brian Clement, is the co-director of the Hippocrates Institute and will tell us all about it and how you can begin to integrate this new kind of cuisine into your own diet.

This is pretty unconventional stuff, but there is no doubt that it works. You should come and hear Brian describe how you can dramatically change your health – even if you’re in pretty good shape already.

He’ll be speaking from 1-6PM on Saturday the 21st of February at the high school auditorium in Berkeley Springs. You can find complete information at www.TransitionTalks.org. Come join us.

And you should know that Rosemary Ellen Guiley will be back with on the 4th of April us to talk about how you can understand what your dreams say about life, work, love, the afterlife and more. Now that should be quite interesting!

Gregg Braden returns and Dr. Joe Dispenza will be with us for the first time for Friday night and all day Saturday, the 8th and 9th of May for a major, world-class event. Save the date. We’ll send you more on this soon.

Global Wealth Inequality - What you never knew you never knew

Let me mention here a couple of powerful pieces on the economic disparity that is growing around us ... and has the potential to become the underpinning of major social change.

First, watch this YouTube video that graphically illustrates the present situation. You almost certainly haven’t seen this before.

Now, watch this TED talk by one of the 1%. Banned by the TED Talk leadership from their website because it was too politically inflammatory (after they had featured it at TED), Nick Hanauer makes a very interesting argument that "Rich people don't create jobs".

Do me a favor please, listen carefully to what he says – it’s rather profound: jobs exist only to support markets. If there is no market for the goods or services that are produced by the job, it evaporates. Therefore, the most significant contributor of jobs is the middle class that has the resources to make a market that supports the jobs. Build the middle class – not the wealthy – and the jobs will grow at the same time. It’s very much like the Henry Ford notion that if he paid his workers adequately, they would have the money to buy the automobiles that they helped produce.

This is a big idea relative to thinking about how we rebalance the present global economic situation.

Updated List of ADMITTED False Flag Attacks
Posted on February 1, 2015 by WashingtonsBlog

A couple of weeks ago in this space I talked about false flag events, where governments instigate terrorist-like events against their own citizens and then blame them on someone else – usually as a pretense for starting a war. It’s not often that it happens, but I got hate mail from readers calling me not very nice names for suggesting that those kinds of things could be happening in this contemporary setting, and (I presume) that our government might be behind some of what was going on here.

Then, in the wake of this nasty response, comes this: a list of admitted false flag attacks.

Preface: While there are many documented false flag attacks, we’re focused on finding cases which are admitted to by someone in the government who carried out the attack.

Governments from around the world admit they’ve used the bully’s trick … attack first, and then blame the victim:
  • Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the ‘Incident’ was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….” And see this
  • A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson
  • Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the “Winter War” against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War.
  • Israel admits that an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this)
  • The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister
  • The Turkish Prime Minister admitted that the Turkish government carried out the 1955 bombing on a Turkish consulate in Greece – also damaging the nearby birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – and blamed it on Greece, for the purpose of inciting and justifying anti-Greek violence
  • The British Prime Minister admitted to his defense secretary that he and American president Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan in 1957 to carry out attacks in Syria and blame it on the Syrian government as a way to effect regime change
  • The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism. As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: “You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security” (and see this) (Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special. They also allegedly carried out terror attacks in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, and other countries.
  • In 1960, American Senator George Smathers suggested that the U.S. launch “a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]“.
  • Official State Department documents show that, in 1961, the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals
  • As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in 1962, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
  • In 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense wrote a paper promoting attacks on nations within the Organization of American States – such as Trinidad-Tobago or Jamaica – and then falsely blaming them on Cuba
  • The U.S. Department of Defense even suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States: “The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro’s subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on Guantanamo.”
  • The NSA admits that it lied about what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 … manipulating data to make it look like North Vietnamese boats fired on a U.S. ship so as to create a false justification for the Vietnam war
  • A U.S. Congressional committee admitted that – as part of its “Cointelpro” campaign – the FBI had used many provocateurs in the 1950s through 1970s to carry out violent acts and falsely blame them on political activists

Not Much Real Terrorism These Days

Now, you might ask, why do governments need to do this these days? Isn’t there enough terrorism going on to keep everyone fully engaged about the issue?

Well, it turns out not. As this article clearly shows, the number of terrorist attacks in the US has dropped precipitously in the last 45 years. It could therefore be, because there are so few real terrorist attacks

that the government needs to manufacture additional ones just to keep people afraid.






THINK LINKS



INSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

Back-up Brains: The Era of Digital Immortality – (BBC News – January 23, 2015)
If you could save your mind like a computer’s hard drive, would you? It’s a question some hope to pose to us soon. They are the engineers working on the technology that will be able create wholesale copies of our minds and memories that live on after we are burned or buried. If they succeed, it promises to have profound, and perhaps unsettling, consequences for the way we live, who we love and how we die. Eterni.me is a web service that seeks to ensure that a person’s memories are preserved after their death online. It works like this: while you’re alive you grant the service access to your Facebook, Twitter and email accounts, upload photos, geo-location history and even Google Glass recordings of things that you have seen. The data is collected, filtered and analyzed before it’s transferred to an AI avatar that tries to emulate your looks and personality. The avatar learns more about you as you interact with it while you’re alive, with the aim of more closely reflecting you as time progresses. “It’s about creating an interactive legacy, a way to avoid being totally forgotten in the future,” says Marius Ursache, one of Eterni.me’s co-creators. “ But what if, rather than simply picking and choosing what we want to capture in digital form, it was possible to record the contents of a mind in their entirety? This work is neither science fiction nor the niche pursuit of unreasonably ambitious scientists. Theoretically, the process would require three key breakthroughs. Scientists must first discover how to preserve, non-destructively, someone's brain upon their death. Then the content of the preserved brain must be analyzed and captured. Finally, that capture of the person’s mind must be recreated on a simulated human brain. This article looks at a little bit of the current research on these three fronts and begins to ask some of the questions such a capability would raise. For example, What legal rights would the digital reproduction of a deceased person’s mind have? And, could it be subpoenaed?



NEW REALITIES

The Universe is a 'Complexity Machine' – Intelligent Life and Technology May be Common in the Cosmos – (Daily Galaxy – January 23, 2015)
Recent developments in science are beginning to suggest that the universe naturally produces complexity. The emergence of life in general and perhaps even rational life, with its associated technological culture, may be extremely common, argues Clemson researcher Kelly Smith in a recently published paper in the journal Space Policy. What's more, he suggests, this universal tendency has distinctly religious overtones and may even establish a truly universal basis for morality. Smith, a philosopher and evolutionary biologist, applies recent theoretical developments in biology and complex systems theory to attempt new answers to the kind of enduring questions about human purpose and obligation that have long been considered the sole province of the humanities. He points out that scientists are increasingly beginning to discuss how the basic structure of the universe seems to favor the creation of complexity. The large scale history of the universe strongly suggests a trend of increasing complexity: disordered energy states produce atoms and molecules, which combine to form suns and associated planets, on which life evolves. Life then seems to exhibit its own pattern of increasing complexity, with simple organisms getting more complex over evolutionary time until they eventually develop rationality and complex culture. And recent theoretical developments in Biology and complex systems theory suggest this trend may be real, arising from the basic structure of the universe in a predictable fashion. "If this is right," says Smith, "you can look at the universe as a kind of 'complexity machine', which raises all sorts of questions about what this means in a broader sense. For example, does believing the universe is structured to produce complexity in general, and rational creatures in particular, constitute a religious belief? It need not imply that the universe was created by a God, but on the other hand, it does suggest that the kind of rationality we hold dear is not an accident."



GENETICS/HEALTH TECHNOLOGY/BIOTECHNOLOGY

Scientists Find That Exposure to Nanoparticles Could Impact Cardiovascular Health – (GizMag – January 11, 2015)
Due to its huge potential in applications ranging from cheaper vaccinations to energy-storing car panels, there's plenty of excitement surrounding the emergence of nanotechnology. But a team of scientists are urging caution, with a study conducted at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology suggesting that exposure to silicon-based nanoparticles may play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease. The scientists worked with cultured laboratory mouse cells that resemble the cells of arterial walls, exposing them to nanoparticles made from silicon dioxide. The team was seeking to explore the effects that the nanoparticles have on the development of atherosclerosis, a condition that leads to the hardening of the arteries and cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. What the researchers found was a negative relationship between the silicon-based nanoparticles and macrophages, a type of white blood cell that destroys damaged or dead cells. The toxicity of the nanoparticles causes the macrophages to transform into foam cells or lipids, leading to the development of lesions and hastening the onset of atherosclerosis. This study isn't the first time concerns have been raised about the dangers of nanotechnology. Operating at a scale of 1-100 nanometers (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter), the chemical reactions when dealing with nanotechnology can be somewhat unpredictable. Previous research has turned up some unsettling results, including that silver nanoparticles can materially alter a person's immunity, and that titanium dioxide nanoparticles cause systemic genetic damage in mice.

New Nicotine Vaccine May Succeed at Treating Smoking Addiction, Where Others Have Failed – (GizMag – January 22, 2015)
You may recall hearing about vaccines designed to cause the body's immune system to treat nicotine like a foreign invader, producing antibodies that trap and remove it before it's able to reach receptors in the brain. It's a fascinating idea, but according to scientists at California's Scripps Research Institute, a recent high-profile attempt had a major flaw. They claim to have overcome that problem, and are now developing a vaccine of their own that they believe should be more effective. There are actually two forms of nicotine, and they're like molecular mirror images of one another. These are known as the left-handed and right-handed versions. Although about 99% of the nicotine found in tobacco is the left-handed version, a previous vaccine created by a biopharmaceutical company caused the body to create antibodies against both types. According to lead scientist Prof. Kim Janda, this was a partial waste of the immune response, causing the vaccine to be less effective than it could have been. As a result, it only worked on only 30% of test subjects in clinical trials. Instead, his team has created a vaccine which causes the body to only produce antibodies that target left-handed nicotine molecules – none of the immune response goes towards making antibodies that won't be needed.

Global ENIGMA Consortium Cracks Brain’s Genetic Codes for Aging – (Kurzweil AI – January 23, 2015)
In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, about 300 researchers in a global consortium of 190 institutions identified eight common genetic mutations that appear to age the brain an average of three years. The discovery could lead to targeted therapies and interventions for Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression, and other neurological conditions. Led by the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC), an international team known as the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis (ENIGMA) Network, pooled brain scans and genetic data worldwide to pinpoint genes that enhance or break down key brain regions in people from 33 countries. “Our global team discovered eight genes that may erode or boost brain tissue in people worldwide,” said Paul Thompson, Ph.D., Keck School of Medicine of USC professor and principal investigator of ENIGMA. ” Any change in those genes appears to alter your mental bank account or brain reserve by 2 or 3%.” The MRI analysis focused on genetic data from seven regions of the brain that coordinate movement, learning, memory and motivation. The group identified eight genetic variants associated with decreased brain volume, several found in over one-fifth of the world’s population. People who carry one of those eight mutations had, on average, smaller brain regions than those who had brains without a mutation but of comparable age; some of the genes are implicated in cancer and mental illness.




ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES/CLIMATE

Oops – NASA Said 2014 Was the Warmest Year on Record – Now They’re Only 38% Sure – (IceAgeNow – January 13, 2015)
In a press release, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) claimed its analysis of world temperatures showed ‘2014 was the warmest year on record’. What NASA’s press release failed to mention is that their analysis is subject to “a margin of error” far greater than their supposed record-breaking number. This leaves it far from certain that 2014 set a record at all. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C, which is five times – 5 times! – as much as the accuracy that they claim. As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt now admits that the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38%. The NASA analysis is based on readings from only 3,000 measuring stations worldwide. A different analysis, from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, drawn from ten times as many measuring stations as GISS, concluded that if - if – 2014 was a record year, it was by an even tinier amount than NASA would have us believe. The BEST report continued, ‘Therefore it is impossible to conclude from our analysis which of 2014, 2010, or 2005 was actually the warmest year…. the Earth’s average temperature for the past decade has changed very little.’

Another ‘Little Ice Age’ Is on the Way, Says Space Scientist – (IceAgeNow – January 21, 2015)
Space scientist Shrinivas Aundhkar, director of India’s Mahatma Gandhi Mission at the Centre for Astronomy and Space Technology, says declining sunspot numbers in the last two solar cycles could mean a “mini ice age-like situation” is around the corner, says this article in the Times of India. “The sunspots that can be seen on the sun have comparatively less temperature compared to other surfaces on it,” Aundhkar announced at a lecture entitled “Get Ready for Little Ice Age.” The recently concluded solar cycle “was the longest and quietest minimum phase in the past 100 years.” For years now, more and more scientists have been warning that fewer observed sunspots could mean the Earth is heading for a cooling period. At the end of 2013, for example, German scientists predicted a century of global cooling based on declining solar activity and ocean oscillation cycles. Earlier that year, Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading University told BBC News that declining solar activity has set the stage for global cooling. “By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, Lockwood has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years,” the BBC reported. “Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.” If you are interested in just how dramatic the drop in sunspot activity has been, see this graph from NASA.



COMMUNICATIONS/COMPUTING

Google Takes Next Step Towards Project Ara Modular Phone Launch – (Dezeen – January 15, 2015)
"Conceptually it's the first time a major electronic object, your phone, will not only be designed but also manufactured, if you wish, by the end user." Google has unveiled a new prototype of its modular smartphone with swappable components, which the project's design head Gadi Amit says will allow users to "be the designer of their own phone". Unlike a traditional smartphone that has all of its functions hidden inside, this device comprises a collection of components in various sizes that slip onto a shell. Held in place with magnets, these blocks can be interchanged or replaced if broken to make the phone last longer. Imagine a small, hand-held electronic device (phone+) that has high quality versions of features you want and doesn’t waste space on features you don’t care about. The latest version of the customizable phone concept, named Spiral 2, currently has no release date set.

Cicret Wristband Turns Your Arm into a Touch Screen – (GizMag – December 8, 2014)
The Cicret Bracelet is a small wristband that comprises a pico projector and a row of eight proximity sensors that point towards the user's forearm. It operates as a standalone device and, when activated with a twist of the wrist, projects an Android interface onto the users arm. The proximity sensors detect where the user's finger or fingers are and allow them to interact with the interface as they would any other Android device. The Cicret Bracelet features an accelerometer and a vibration module, along with an LED for notifications. Connectivity is provided by way of WiFi, Bluetooth and a Micro USB port. It is expected to be made available in 16 GB and 32 GB models. The device will allow users to send and receive emails, browse the web and play games. It will also be possible for users to pair it with an existing smartphone, answer incoming phone calls and activate the speakerphone functionality on the their smartphone. Article includes video clip of the Bracelet in use. There are potential advantages to turning ordinary objects (or, in this case, limbs) into mobile devices, but projected touch screens typically lack the responsiveness and visual clarity of the glass screens we're used to. This projected keyboard, for example, delivered a poor typing experience. It should be interesting to see if the Cicret Bracelet can improve on the technology. Cicret is in the process of raising funds for the further development and production of the Bracelet, and the device is expected to reach the mass market within a year and a half.

How the Camera Doomed Google Glass – (Atlantic – January 15, 2015)
Since its debut in 2012, Google Glass always faced a strong headwind. Even on celebrities it looked, well, dorky. The device itself, once released in the wild, was seen as half-baked, and developers lost interest. The press, already leery, was quick to dog pile, especially when Glass's users quickly became Glass's own worst enemy. Google is now re-organizing its Glass team and shutting down its Google Explorers program brings Glass's troubled debut to a merciful end. But the core idea behind Glass, a hands-free way to look at a screen, could have been appealing, even if wearing it out and about was always going to be initially off-putting. People will put up with a certain amount of social shame for convenience (witness the rise of Bluetooth headsets in the mid-'00s). But Google Glass wasn't just a way to keep a screen in front of your face all the time; it was also a way to record everything going in front of you. Without a camera, Google Glass could have been used the same way we use sunglasses—usually taken off when we're with people, on when needed. But armed with a camera, Google Glass was quickly banned in restaurants, bars, and even from Google's own shareholder meetings. The Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project called it "one of the most privacy invasive devices ever." Google's very public failure (and other hardware companies' seeming disinterest in following their folly) probably means that smart glasses are a non-starter in the near term. When Google or its competitors return to the idea, they would be well served to leave the camera at home.

World's Largest Satellite Constellation to Provide Global Internet Access – (GizMag – January 16, 2015)
Over half of the world's population has no access to the internet. A new plan, however, could provide access to billions of those people. OneWeb says it will launch a network of satellites that will provide global high-speed internet access. A number of other projects that are aiming to help deliver global internet access have previously been announced. Google's Project Loon aims to float internet-connected balloons over remote areas, whilst a Facebook and internet.org collaboration and Quarkson plan to do so using drones. OneWeb's approach differs to all of these ideas. The firm has received investment from Virgin and Qualcomm to launch 648 micro-satellites into orbit. The satellites will provide low-latency, high-speed internet access and, according to Virgin, will comprise the world’s largest-ever satellite network. In order to deliver internet access, the satellites will connect to terminals that will be deployed on the ground where required. OneWeb says the terminals will be self-installable and will provide connectivity to their surrounding areas via Wi-Fi, LTE, 3G or 2G licensed to a mobile operator, or just Wi-Fi or LTE on the unlicensed spectrum. The network will also apparently be able to provide emergency and first responder access in disaster situations, refugee camps and other areas of need.



SHELTER/ARCHITECTURE

Heijmans Proposes Pop-up Homes to Solve the Problem of High Rents – (Dezeen – January 23, 2015)
Dutch construction company Heijmans has developed a prefabricated starter home for young professionals that can be installed on vacant city-center sites in under 24 hours. "The market for young renters is difficult," explains developer Anneke Timmerman-Dalhuisen in video clip (embedded in the article) about the project. "If you want to rent in Amsterdam you usually end up in a 16-square-metre attic room at 700 euros a month, having to fight off 88 other hopefuls." The proposed solution is a series of prefabricated wooden homes that can easily be moved from place to place to create homes on empty plots. If a site needs to be cleared for construction at short notice, the house can simply be trucked to a new location. Each two-story building features a generous living room, a kitchen, a separate bedroom and a bathroom, as well as an outdoor terrace. (Editor’s note: The article contains no explanation of how these houses tap into the public utilities. But the concept of good quality, non-permanent housing that can be set up on what is otherwise urban/industrial “wasteland” and moved as needed is worth examining.)



ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS

S. Africa Awards Solar Thermal Power Project to Consortium – (Solar Daily – January 11, 2015)
The South Africa Department of Energy (DOE) awarded preferred bidder status for a 100 megawatt Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) project to a consortium led by SolarReserve and International Company for Water and Power Projects, the Saudi water and power developer. The first of its kind in Africa, the Redstone Solar Thermal Power Project features SolarReserve's world leading molten salt energy storage technology in a tower configuration with the capability to support South Africa's demand for energy when it's needed most - day and night. Fueled completely by the sun, with no back up fuel required, the project also features dry cooling of the power generation cycle as an important element to minimize water use.


TRANSPORTATION

Wind-powered Freighters – (Fraunhofer – January 5, 2015)
International shipping is transporting 90% of all goods on earth. Running on heavy fuel oil, freighters contribute to pollution. A new way of reducing fuel consumption, emissions and bunker expenses is being pursued by the Norwegian engineer Terje Lade, managing director of the company Lade AS: With VindskipTM he has designed a type of ship that does not use heavy fuel oil but utilizes wind for propulsion. The highlight: The hull of the freighter serves as a wing sail. On the high seas, VindskipTM will benefit from free-blowing wind making it very energy efficient. For low-wind passages, in order to maneuver the ship on the open sea while also maintaining a constant speed, it is equipped with an environmentally friendly and cost-effective propulsion machinery running on liquefied natural gas (LNG). With the combination of wind and liquefied natural gas as an alternative fuel to heavy fuel oil, the fuel consumption is estimated to be only 60% of a reference ship on average. Carbone dioxide emissions are reduced by 80%, according to calculations by the Norwegian company. For efficient operation, it is critical that the available wind energy is used in the best possible way. In order to calculate the optimal sailing route, researchers have developed a customized weather routing module for VindskipTM. Considering meteorological data, the software for the new ship type uses a navigation algorithm to calculate a route with the optimum angle to the wind for maximum effect of the design.

Ridersmate Calls for Help If You Wipe Out in the Wilderness – (GizMag – January 23, 2015)
If you regularly take off into the hinterlands on a motorbike, mountain bike, snowmobile, or horse, there are no doubt times when you wonder, "What happens if I crash and hurt myself, and no one knows where I am?". You might be able to phone for help, although that wouldn't be the case if you were knocked unconscious. That's why British telecommunications engineer David Coleman developed the Ridersmate. If you fall off your bike/horse, (your “ride”), it automatically sends a text message to let other people know that something's amiss. Here's how the system works: The Ridersmate unit is clipped onto yourself using an included carabiner, while a curly cord attached to the other end of the device is clipped onto your bike/horse. Should you suddenly part company with that ride, the cord will pull loose from its plug in the Ridersmate, activating it to send a text message via GPRS (general packet radio service).

It Should Not Be Illegal to Hack Your Own Car’s Computer – (Wired – January 23, 2015)
Modern cars house incredibly complex, high-functioning computers: a labyrinthine network of sensors and wires and software that are constantly measuring, communicating, and making adjustments to the engine, drivetrain, and suspension. A single car contains as many as 50 different ECUs—computer units that govern functions like acceleration and braking. You can buy a car, but you don’t own the software in its computers. That’s proprietary; it’s copyrighted; and it belongs to its manufacturers. But if you’re tech-savvy and code-literate, it’s possible to crawl into that ECU and take control of it. To twist the programming into new shapes and make the engine perform to a set of parameters not authorized by the manufacturer. To make the car faster. Or more fuel efficient. Or more powerful. Welcome to the new age of digital tinkering, where you can “hack” your car better. “The automotive industry has churned out some amazing vehicles, but has released little information on what makes them work,” writes Craig Smith, a security researcher at Theia Labs and a proponent of hacking your own car. Craig’s literally written the book on DIY car hacking. “As vehicles have evolved, they have become less mechanical and more electronic,” Craig explains in the Car Hacker’s Handbook.



SECURITY AND THE FUTURE OF WARFARE

Privacy is Dead, Davos Hears – (Space Daily – January 22, 2015)
Imagine a world where mosquito-sized robots fly around stealing samples of your DNA. Or where a department store knows from your buying habits that you're pregnant even before your family does. That is the terrifying dystopian world portrayed by a group of Harvard professors at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where the assembled elite heard that the notion of individual privacy is effectively dead. Margo Seltzer, a professor in computer science at Harvard University, said, "Privacy as we knew it in the past is no longer feasible... How we conventionally think of privacy is dead," she added. Another Harvard researcher into genetics said it was "inevitable" that one's personal genetic information would enter more and more into the public sphere.Sophia Roosth said intelligence agents were already asked to collect genetic information on foreign leaders to determine things like susceptibility to disease and life expectancy. And at a separate session on artificial intelligence, panelists appeared to accept the limit on privacy as part of modern life. Rodney Brooks, chairman of Rethink Robotics, an American tech firm, took the example of Google Maps guessing -- usually correctly -- where you want to go. "At first, I found that spooky and kind of scary. Then I realized, actually, it's kind of useful," he told the forum. Anthony Goldbloom, a young tech entrepreneur, told the same panel that what he termed the "Google generation" placed far less weight on their privacy than previous generations. "I trade my privacy for the convenience. Privacy is not something that worries me," he said.

The Navy’s New Robot Looks and Swims Just Like a Shark – (Wired – December 16, 2014)
The American military does a lot of work in the field of biomimicry, stealing designs from nature for use in new technology. After all, if you’re going to design a robot, where better to draw inspiration than from billions of years of evolution? The latest result of these efforts is the GhostSwimmer: The Navy’s underwater drone designed to look and swim like a real fish, and a liability to spook the bejeezus out of any beach goer who’s familiar with Jaws. The new gizmo, at five feet long and nearly 100 pounds, is about the size of an albacore tuna but looks more like a shark, at least from a distance. It’s part of an experiment to explore the possibilities of using biomimetic, unmanned, underwater vehicles, and the Navy has announced it recently wrapped up testing of the design. The robot uses its tail for propulsion and control, like a real fish. It can operate in water as shallow as 10 inches or dive down to 300 feet. It can be controlled remotely via a 500-foot tether, or swim independently, periodically returning to the surface to communicate. Complete with dorsal and pectoral fins, the robofish is stealthy too: It looks like a fish and moves like a fish, and, like other underwater vehicles, is difficult to spot even if you know to look for it.



TRENDS OF GOVERNANCE

The Military Industrial Complex’s New Iraq Hustle – (Salon – January 19, 2015)
The current American war in Iraq is a struggle in search of a goal. It began in August as a humanitarian intervention, morphed into a campaign to protect Americans in-country, became a plan to defend the Kurds, followed by a full-on crusade to defeat the new Islamic State (IS, aka ISIS, aka ISIL), and then… well, something in Syria to be determined at a later date. At the moment, Iraq War 3.0 simply drones on, part bombing campaign, part mission to train the collapsed army the U.S. military created for Iraq War 2.0, all amid a miasma of incoherent mainstream media coverage. American troops are tiptoeing closer to combat (assuming you don’t count defensive operations, getting mortared, and flying ground attack helicopters as “combat”). In December, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) quietly notified Congress of several pending arms deals for Iraq. DSCA is the Pentagon office responsible for coordinating arms agreements between American defense contractors and foreign buyers. Sales of weaponry and other kinds of war equipment are big business for a range of American companies, and the U.S. government is more than happy to assist. In fact, there is even a handbook to guide foreign governments through the buying process. The DSCA operates under a mission statement which says the “U.S. may sell defense articles and services to foreign countries and international organizations when the President formally finds that to do so will strengthen the security of the U.S. and promote world peace.” While the Pentagon carries out the heavy lifting, actual recommendations on which countries can buy U.S. gear are made by the secretary of state, and then rubber-stamped by Congress. (Editor’s note: We highly recommend this article for its detailed reporting, particularly if you were not even aware that the DSCA exists.)

The Greatest Trick Obama Ever Pulled Was Convincing the World America Isn't Still at War - (Guardian – January 6, 2015)
The holiday headlines blared without a hint of distrust: “End of War” and “Mission Ends” and “U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan”, as the US government and NATO celebrated the alleged end of the longest war in American history. Except: “the fighting is as intense as it has ever been since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001,” according to the Wall Street Journal. And about 10,000 troops will remain there for the foreseeable future. They’ll continue to engage in combat regularly. This is the new reality of war: As long as the White House doesn’t admit the United States is at war, we’re all supposed to pretend as if that’s true. This ruse is not just the work of the President. Members of Congress are also letting the public think we’re Definitely Not at War. Another place the United States is Definitely Not at War? Pakistan, where, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US conducted multiple drone strikes between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, killing at least nine people. Meanwhile, the Defense Department quietly announced that, later this month, another 1,300 troops will deploy to Iraq in its ever-expanding undeclared war on Isis. The US continues to launch airstrikes against Isis and various other groups in Syria as well. Legal experts across the political spectrum believe that Obama’s Breathtaking Expansion of a President’s Power To Make War is without precedent.

U.S. Moves to Block Graphic Photos of Detainee Abuse, Again – (Newsweek – December 22, 2014)
“There was never going to be a perfect time to release this report,” President Barack Obama said earlier this month after the Senate Intelligence Committee unleashed its long-awaited “torture report.” But in the wake of this rare moment of transparency, the administration took the next step in keeping additional evidence of prisoner abuse concealed. The government is withholding nearly 2,100 images that show the military’s brutal treatment of detainees at various prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the previously disclosed pictures from Abu Ghraib are the stuff of nightmares – piles of naked bodies, detainees being led on leashes and U.S. soldiers giving a thumbs-up as it all happens – these photographs are said to be even more disturbing. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) originally sued for the images’ release in 2004. Obama ... blocked the release, [and now] contends that the photographs could further encourage attacks against the U.S. personnel still in Afghanistan and Iraq and could be used by the recently galvanized Islamic State—the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS. Alex Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney working on the case since 2005, said ... that the government is essentially arguing that [the images must remain] secret because they powerfully document abuse. “If there’s anything the debate over torture is missing, it’s the sort of evidence that photographs give you—irrefutable evidence of the brutality of the mistreatment,” Abdo said.



GLOBAL RELATIONS

Twisting the Iran-Nuke Intelligence – (Consortium News – January 11, 2015)
For more than three decades, the United States and its European allies have committed one fundamental error after another in the process of creating a commonly held narrative that Iran was secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The story of how suspicions of the Iranian program hardened into convictions is a cautionary tale of political and institutional interests systematically distorting the judgments of both policymakers and intelligence analysts. Too many of these basic errors have been committed along the way to cover them all in a single article. But four major failures of policymaking and intelligence represent the broad outlines of this systematic problem. The first failure, which set in train all the others, involved the U.S. trying to strangle the nuclear program of the Islamic Republic in its cradle and then blithely acting as though it bore no responsibility for the resulting shift in Iranian nuclear policy. It all started with a decision by the Reagan administration early in the Iran-Iraq war in 1983 to put diplomatic pressure on its allies to stop all nuclear cooperation with Iran. France was pressed to forbid a French-based multilateral consortium from providing the nuclear fuel that Iran had counted on for its lone nuclear reactor at Bushehr. The U.S. State Department acknowledged at the time that it had no evidence that Iran was working on or even wanted nuclear weapons. Not surprisingly Iran responded to that U.S. denial of its nuclear rights by defying U.S. wishes and acquiring the technology to enrich uranium for nuclear fuel itself on the black market and later through negotiations with China and Russia. U.S. aggressiveness toward Iran’s nuclear program had backfired. The remainder of the article covers the other three main points and is well worth the read. (Editor’s note: When we wonder: How did the U.S. wind up in the generally untenable position in which it now finds itself, this article offers a case study that is a useful microcosm of the larger situation.)



LIFE STYLE/SOCIAL TRENDS AND VALUES

The Overprotected Kid – (Atlantic – April, 2014)
It’s hard to absorb how much childhood norms have shifted in just one generation. Actions that would have been considered paranoid in the ’70s—walking third-graders to school, forbidding your kid to play ball in the street, going down the slide with your child in your lap—are now routine. In fact, they are the markers of good, responsible parenting. One very thorough study of “children’s independent mobility,” conducted in urban, suburban, and rural neighborhoods in the U.K., shows that in 1971, 80% of third-graders walked to school alone. By 1990, that measure had dropped to 9%, and now it’s even lower. When you ask parents why they are more protective than their parents were, they might answer that the world is more dangerous than it was when they were growing up. But this isn’t true, or at least not in the way that we think. For example, parents now routinely tell their children never to talk to strangers, even though all available evidence suggests that children have about the same (very slim) chance of being abducted by a stranger as they did a generation ago. Maybe the real question is, how did these fears come to have such a hold over us? And what have our children lost—and gained—as we’ve succumbed to them? (Editor’s note: we highly recommend this article and the embedded trailer for a documentary of a very special playground called “The Land” located in Wales.)

Sleeping-Bag Coats Warm, Employ Detroit Homeless – (ABC News – January 19, 2015)
The Empowerment Plan began in 2010 as an idea to fulfill Veronika Scott’s assignment for her product-design class at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. “We had to design something that could actually happen,” Scott, 22, of Detroit said. Scott’s product was a coat that transformed into a sleeping bag for the homeless population of Detroit. The latest design can be rolled up and turned into a shoulder bag for the warmer months. After her class ended, Scott continued to work with the homeless at the shelter Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit to develop the first prototype. Scott said the coat was initially meant to offer comfort and pride for the homeless, but one homeless woman’s words changed that. “She said, ‘Your coats don’t matter, jobs matter. We need jobs, not coats,’” Scott said. “It was then about who I could employ.” The Empowerment Plan now employs 13 former and current homeless people to manufacture its coats, and only hires homeless single parents without a violent crime record. Employees are paid well above the minimum wage in Michigan and are given microloans. The coats are not only ordered by nonprofit organizations for free distribution to the homeless, but are also used by the Red Cross for disaster relief. With the help of donations, the Empowerment Plan plans to create 4,000 coats this year. Scott said that she wants the Empowerment Plan to be a model for U.S. humane manufacturing.

Having a Hard Time Being a Human? This App Manages Friendships for You – (Wired – January 26, 2015)
If this is the age of the quantified self, tomorrow very well could be the age of the quantified other. Why stop at evaluating yourself when you could measure, chart and optimize your relationships with the people around you, too? The thought is a little unnerving, but it’s not unrealistic. The new app pplkpr offers a provocative glimpse of what this future might look like: It helps optimize your social life, automatically sending messages and using data to determine who’s worth spending time with. Developed by artists Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald, pplkpr lets you quantify the value of your relationships based on a few data streams. A heart rate wrist band measures the subtle changes in your heart rate, alerting you to spikes in stress or excitement. This biometric data is correlated with information you manually input about the people you’re hanging out with. Based on patterns, algorithms will determine whether you should be spending more time with a certain person or if you should cut him out altogether. Turning over our emotional decision-making to a computer is something that many of us have already accepted to an extent. Dating sites, for example, use algorithms to discern who we might be attracted to. We, of course, have the final say in deciding who we choose to spend time with, but an app like pplkpr takes the algorithm’s role a step further. (Editor’s note: There is a twist in this article; the fact that this app was built by artists is a clue,)



CONTACT AND THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE

Rosetta Comet 'Pouring' More Water into Space – (Science Daily – January 22, 2015)
There has been a significant increase in the amount of water "pouring" out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet on which the Rosetta mission's Philae lander touched down in November 2014. The 2.5-mile-wide comet was releasing the equivalent of 40 ounces of water (as steam) into space every second at the end of August 2014. The observations were made by NASA's Microwave Instrument for Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO), aboard the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft. Science results from the MIRO team were released as part of a special Rosetta-related issue of the journal Science. "In observations over a period of three months [June through August, 2014], the amount of water in vapor form that the comet was dumping into space grew about tenfold," said Sam Gulkis, principal investigator of the MIRO instrument at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and lead author of a paper appearing in the special issue. "To be up close and personal with a comet for an extended period of time has provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to see how comets transform from cold, icy bodies to active objects spewing out gas and dust as they get closer to the sun."

Project Blue Book Archive – (Project Blue Book Archive website – no date)
Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) conducted by the United States Air Force. It started in 1952, and it was the third study of its kind (the first two were projects Sign (1947) and Grudge (1949)). A termination order was given for the study in December 1969, and all activity under its auspices ceased in January 1970. Project Blue Book had two goals: to determine if UFOs were a threat to national security, and to scientifically analyze UFO-related data. When Project Blue Book was closed down in January 1970, the original files were transferred to Maxwell AFB where they were made available on request for public viewing until 1975. In 1975 these documents were microfilmed by the Air Force for internal use and then transferred to the National Archives for public release. Before microfilming these documents for public release, however, the Air Force blacked out witness names and other personal information in accord with its policy of protecting the privacy of witnesses despite the fact that the files had been available for copying and inspection for years without these deletions. In 1998 a set of the original unredacted Air Force microfilm was discovered at the National Archives. In addition to witness names and information, it has been confirmed that these rolls contain some pages that are not on the NARA rolls. For those interested in serious UFO research, this website appears to contain a rich mine of documents, scans of the original microfilm, although not as easy to search as one might hope.


NEW TOOLS/NEW PROCESSES

The 9 Best Ideas from CES 2015 – (Fast Company – January 9, 2015)
The Consumer Electronics Show brings tens of thousands of new products to our shelves. Here are nine artifacts, seemingly sent back from the future to show us what’s coming next. For example, Makerbot has introduced new filaments that, while still plastic at heart, contain tiny particles of wood, stone, or metal, resulting in products that can mimic the finish of limestone or bronze. You won’t be able to print your next set of steel cookware on a Makerbot, but for crafts and jewelry, it’s an exciting development in domestic 3-D printing. Another big limitation in 3-D printing is that, if you want to create an electronic device of any sort, you usually have to print the body in pieces, which will jigsaw together and sandwich themselves around the functional components. But a printer called Voxel8 can print the plastic body and metal circuitry of a drone, all at once, with the wires actually printed inside the plastic. Voxel8 teases a near future in which they can print custom hearing aids to order. They also teamed with Autodesk to create an accessible looking modeling program called Project Wire for designers who’d like to try their own hand at printing electronics.

A Better ‘Siri’ – (Kurzweil AI – January 20, 2015)
MIT computer scientists have developed smart algorithms that function as “a better Siri,” optimizing planning for lower risk, such as scheduling flights or bus routes. They offer this example: Imagine that you could tell your phone that you want to drive from your house in Boston to a hotel in upstate New York, that you want to stop for lunch at an Applebee’s at about 12:30, and that you don’t want the trip to take more than four hours. Then imagine that your phone tells you that you have only a 66% chance of meeting those criteria — but that if you can wait until 1:00 for lunch, or if you’re willing to eat at TGI Friday’s instead, it can get that probability up to 99%. The new software allows a planner to specify constraints — say, buses along a certain route should reach their destination at 10-minute intervals — and reliability thresholds, such as that the buses should be on time at least 90% of the time. Then, on the basis of probabilistic models that reveal data such as that travel time along this mile of road fluctuates between two and 10 minutes, the system determines whether a solution exists: For example, perhaps the buses’ departures should be staggered by six minutes at some times of day, 12 minutes at others. If, however, a solution doesn’t exist, the software doesn’t give up. Instead, it suggests ways in which the planner might relax the problem constraints.

GraphExeter Defies the Achilles Heel of 'Wonder Material' Graphene – (Solar Daily – January 13, 2015)
Researchers from the University of Exeter have discovered that GraphExeter - a material adapted from the 'wonder material' graphene - can withstand prolonged exposure to both high temperature and humidity. The research showed that the material could withstand relative humidity of up to 100% at room temperature for 25 days, as well as temperatures of up to 150C - or as high as 620C in vacuum. The previously unknown durability to extreme conditions position GraphExeter as a viable and attractive replacement to indium tin oxide (ITO), the main conductive material currently used in electronics, such as 'smart' mirrors or windows, or even solar panels. The research also suggests that GraphExeter could extend the lifetime of displays such as TV screens located in highly humid environments, including kitchens. Lead researcher, University of Exeter engineer Dr Monica Craciun said: "By demonstrating its stability to being exposed to both high temperatures and humidity, we have shown that it is a practical and realistic alternative to ITO. This is particularly exciting for the solar panel industry, where the ability to withstand all weathers is crucial." Dr Saverio Russo, also from the University of Exeter, added: "The superior stability of GraphExeter as compared to graphene was unexpected since the molecules used to make GraphExeter (that is FeCl3) simply melt in air at room temperature.”



ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

16-year-old New Yorker Runs Sneaker Pawnshop – (CNY Central – January 15, 2015)
A 16-year-old sneaker-loving teen is using the footwear to get a different kind of kick — he's opened a pawnshop that uses high-end athletic shoes as collateral. Chase Reed and his father, Troy Reed, opened Sneaker Pawn on Lenox Avenue in Harlem looking to capitalize on America's multibillion-dollar athletic footwear market and the high prices sneakers can get being re-sold. The duo decided to renovate the space in Harlem, where they had been living before moving elsewhere, into a retail location. And to pay for it all, Chase sold his own collection, bringing in about $30,000. "My father told me, certain things you have to sacrifice," Chase said. Basketball sneakers can sell and re-sell for hundreds of dollars, depending on the shoe model, how limited the production run was, and how easy it is to find a pair in good condition. Sneaker Pawn carries shoes with price tags of more than $1,000. The shop, which opened about six months ago, offers different options. People looking to just unload their sneakers — specifically basketball shoes — can offer them to the Reeds to be bought outright, or on a consignment agreement which nets the Reeds 20 percent of the final sale price. Those looking to pawn their sneakers have two months to redeem them for the amount of money the Reeds forwarded them plus a storage fee. Shoes that are being pawned are held in storage and not displayed, until the owner either gets them back or gives them up. It's been a learning experience for Chase, who's had to put aside the rebuilding of his own collection. "Sadly there are a lot of size 14s that come through the store," he said. "The nicest sneakers on Earth that come through the store and the first thing I do is sell them." He's philosophical about it. I "can't let my sneaker high get in the way of me making money, me being a businessman," he said.

16 Things – (Andreessen – January 22, 2015)
Andreessen Horowitz is a $4 billion venture capital firm, founded in 2009, and headquartered in Menlo Park, California. Their overarching note is “software is eating the world”. Here are 16 tech trends that they’ve spotted in topic areas such as virtual reality, sensorification of the enterprise, machine learning and big data, and security. Check out these and the other 12. And if those pique your interest, they also offer their conclusions in their series on “mobile eating the world”, “you bet your SaaS”, and “government x tech” (links embedded in the primary article).

Technology Repaints the Payment Landscape – (Technology Review – January 26, 2015)
In developed economies, money has been digitizing for decades. Few Westerners touch a paycheck anymore. Yet it remains a cash-based world, with 85% of consumer transactions worldwide done with bills and coins. While some countries, like Singapore and the Netherlands, now use cash in a minority of payments, consumers in such diverse economies as India, Mexico, Italy, and Taiwan still execute more than 90% of transactions with cash. Even in the United States, cash accounts for 55% of payments. New technologies, including digital wallets, cryptocurrencies, and mobile peer-to-peer payments, aim to tip that balance. They’re accelerating the move away from cash in countries where alternatives to banks and credit cards are well established, and they’re doing the same in developing economies. Which technologies and companies are likely to lead this transformation is the question examined by this article.



PROVOCATIVE IDEAS

Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science – (Explore - September–October, 2014)
From its inception, science has continually evolved because of a fundamental reason: the accumulation of empirical evidence that could not be accommodated by entrenched views. The resulting changes have often been minor, but sometimes they have been titanic, as in the quantum-relativistic revolution of the early decades of the 20th century. Many scientists believe a similar transition is currently required, because the materialistic focus that has dominated science in the modern era cannot account for an ever-increasing body of empirical findings in the domain of consciousness and spirituality. The following Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science by a group of contemporary scholars and researchers attempts to visualize what an emerging scientific view may look like. - Larry Dossey, MD, Executive Editor (Editor’s note: We highly recommend this article for its thoughtful conclusions on the impact of the materialist ideology on science and the emergence of a post-materialist paradigm for science, spirituality, and society.)



FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH - articles off the beaten track which may - or may not - have predictive value.

Woman Pays $164K Per Year to Live on Luxury Cruise Ship – (app.conm – January 19, 2015)
Lee Wachtstetter, an 86-year-old Florida widow, took her daughter's advice. She sold her five-bedroom Fort Lauderdale-area home on 10 acres and became a permanent luxury cruise ship resident after her husband died. Mama Lee, as she's known aboard the 11-year-old Crystal Serenity, has been living on the 1,070-passenger vessel longer than most of its 655 crewmembers — nearly seven years. "My husband introduced me to cruising," she recalled. "Mason was a banker and real estate appraiser and taught me to love cruising. During our 50-year marriage we did 89 cruises. I've done nearly a hundred more and 15 world cruises." She rarely bothers going ashore nowadays because she's most likely already been there several times. "And when most everybody goes ashore it's so quiet, and I have almost the whole ship for myself." What she misses most is her family, but manages to keep in touch with her three sons and seven grandchildren with her laptop computer. "I hear from one of them every day, and visit with them whenever we dock in Miami. Last year we docked in Miami five times." Her daughter has since passed away, and so have all her close friends in the Fort Lauderdale area, she said. "The day before my husband died of cancer in 1997, he told me, 'Don't stop cruising.' So here I am today living a stress-free, fairy-tale life." Crystal Cruise Line's reputation and its availability of dance hosts for passengers traveling alone are what sold her on the Crystal Serenity. "I dance every night for a couple hours after dinner, have been doing it for years."



JUST FOR FUN

How Urbane: Dog Rides Seattle Bus to Get to the Park – (NPR – January 13, 2015)
"Did that just happen?" That's the reaction one bus rider had in Seattle, after realizing a dog had just joined him for a ride through the city, traveling several stops to her destination: a dog park. It all started when Eclipse, a black Labrador retriever, refused to wait for her person to finish a cigarette before getting on the bus that takes them to a dog park they regularly visit. Then she took the bus by herself again. In the past few weeks, the two-year-old dog has been noticed by many commuters, including radio host Miles Montgomery of station KISW. "She was most concerned about seeing out the window, and I couldn't figure out what that was," Montgomery said. "It was really just about seeing where her stop was." Commenting on the well-mannered Eclipse, commuter Tiona Rainwater, said, "All the bus drivers know her. She sits here just like a person does. " If you’d like to see for yourself, here’s a videoclip.



A FINAL QUOTE--

Politicians use research findings the same way a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not for illumination. – Jared Bernstein, former economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden



A special thanks to: Kenton Anderson, Bernard Calil, Chas Freeman, Ursula Freer, Diane Petersen, Gary Sycalik, 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.
johnp@arlingtoninstitute.org




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Edited by John L. Petersen
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Publication Date:
01/31/2015