1127: Netherlindian

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 46m
April 7th, 2019
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Executive Producers: Baron Sir Anonymous of the ADF-C, Darren ONeill

Associate Executive Producers: Baronet Sir Kevin Strange, Sir Patrick Comer, Victor Bosquez, Sir Nick of The SouthSide, Baron of the DMV

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat


Start of Show
Heavy Rain in Austin
GPS Rollover
Trump Visits US-Mexico Border
Sources Reveal Ecuador Might Remove Julian Assange From London Embassy
Amal Clooney Appointed as Britain's Special Envoy on Media Freedom
US Revokes Visa of Chief Prosecutor of International Court
Nationwide Protests to Release The Mueller Report
Kamala Harris' Hair
Chelsea Handler Appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher
Climate Change Fearmongering Supercut
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Uses Black Accent
Boeing 737 Max 8
Steve Bannon Describes China's Globalism Plan
Act 21 of the Yellow Vests Protests
Detroit Auto Show Attendees Exposed to Rubella Disease
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Blames Increase in Depression and Suicide on the HPV Vaccine
Birthdays & Title Changes
Vaping Rehab
University of Kentucky Agreed to Create Basic-Needs Center on Campus After Hunger Strike
Tucker Carlson Tonight: What If Trump Doesn't Want To Be Re-Elected?
9/11 Thermo Nuclear Demolition
University of Kansas Offers New Course for Angry White Male Studies
End of Show
Suggest a new chapter
GPS A-Geddon
GPS Timestamp Rollover
Thu, 04 Apr 2019 22:36
Global Positioning System (GPS) rollover.On April 6, the timestamp used by GPS satellites will roll over and reset to zero. This rollover happens every 19-20 years and will be the second time this has happened since GPS was invented. Some older devices may lose GPS functionality after the rollover.
This is a worldwide issue that affects certain older devices across wireless carriers and equipment manufacturers, as well as other industries that use GPS products and services.
The GPS rollover will not impact your ability to make a 9-1-1 call on your mobile phone and a 9-1-1 caller's location information will still be relayed to a 9-1-1 call center, but the location information may not be as precise as a device with GPS functionality.
T-Mobile® and Metro® by T-Mobile have contacted customers who have devices that may be affected by this rollover. If you have an impacted device and don't intend to use GPS services or functionality, your device will continue to work as it does today and you are free to keep your current device and rate plan. If you received an SMS alert related to this issue and want to ensure you have a GPS compatible device, you can visit your nearest T-Mobile or Metro by T-Mobile store to speak with one of our experts.
Alternatively, you can call 611 from your device and we can help answer your questions.
When Putin's around, GPS goes haywire, study finds - CBS News
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 14:51
Putin warns against U.S. missiles in Europe
As Russian President Vladimir Putin and a convoy of construction vehicles rolled across one of the most controversial new bridges in the world on May 15, 2018, something funky began happening on ships anchored nearby in the Kerch Strait.
The ships' GPS systems suddenly began to indicate they were actually 65 kilometers away, on land, in the middle of an airport.
The incident is one of many highlighted in a new report that found the Kremlin "spoofed" global positioning systems, or GPS, to effectively place a bubble around Putin or properties associated with him. The researchers, with a nonprofit called C4ADS and the University of Texas at Austin, used public marine GPS databases, as well as a GPS monitoring device on the International Space Station to track similar instances.
The yearlong study identified a pattern in which GPS devices near Putin and his entourage suddenly gave incorrect readings. The researchers also identified five buildings associated with the Kremlin that appeared to employ the technique on a rolling basis.
The researchers theorize that one reason "spoofing" is deployed is to protect Putin and other Russian officials from attacks or surveillance by drones that rely on GPS.
"The purpose of this spoofing activity was likely to prevent unauthorized civilian drone activity as a VIP protection measure," they wrote in the study.
However, there's a drawback to creating a GPS bubble around a world leader, said Todd Humphreys, an engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, who was involved with the study. It also makes it easier to keep track of Putin.
"What's ironic is if you look at these patterns, and if you coordinate it with the movements of the leader of Russia, it appears you have a Putin detector," Humphreys said. In other words, if you detect spoofing, there's a good chance Putin may be nearby.
The technique could also prove dangerous. The 24 maritime vessels that reported the Kerch bridge incident were otherwise unaffected. But Humphreys said a similar tactic in Syria could affect airplanes, which require functioning GPS to stay out of harm's way.
The researchers identified Russian equipment in Syria emitting what Humphreys described as "a whole different signal, one that was much much stronger, but not spoofing." The signal appeared to be jamming airplane GPS units, effectively rendering their navigation systems inoperable.
When the same tactic was apparently deployed during large-scale Russian military exercises in eastern Europe, civilians saw the effects, according to the report.
"Norway and Finland reported severe GPS outages affecting commercial airliners and cell phone networks for several days," according to the report.
Humphreys said the U.S. government has similar capabilities, but when deploying or testing spoofing or jamming equipment, it typically notifies mariners and airmen.
Any Collusion?
Ecuador twists embarrassing INA Papers into pretext to oust Assange - Defend WikiLeaks Defend WikiLeaks
Thu, 04 Apr 2019 22:16
(en Espa±ol)
On 26 March, WikiLeaks' Twitter account announced that President Moreno is being investigated by Ecuador's Congress for corruption, sparked by the INA Papers leak. The same tweet referenced President Moreno's attempt to surrender Assange in exchange for US debt relief, a fact that had been reported by The New York Times.
Corruption investigation opened against Ecuador's president Moreno, after purported leaked contents of his iPhone (Whatsapp, Telegram) & Gmail were published. New York Times reported that Moreno tried to sell Assange to US for debt relief. https://t.co/0KFcBrnUfr
'-- WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 25, 2019
The following day, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said that the WikiLeaks tweet was ''an absurd lie to harm the dignity of our country'... we will not tolerate'... inventions and insults'... I cannot anticipate when and when we will take action in relation to this, but we will take action for certain.''
On 28 March, Communications Minister Andr(C)s Michelena told CNN Espa±ol that the INApapers were part of a plot of Julian Assange, Venezuelan President Maduro and former Ecuadorian President Correa to bring down Moreno's government. He added, ''You have to understand how these people are connected, Mr. Assange is the Troll Center, the hacker for former President Correa, [Assange] handles the technological and social media side.''
That same day, the national assembly, in which Moreno's party and other right parties command a majority, passed a resolution inviting the Foreign Ministry to take action against Assange's asylum on the basis of the INApapers leak ''in the national interest'' if it considers it pertinent to do so.
In March 2019, Moreno's approval ratings dropped to 17%. Statements by the government of Ecuador deliberately implicate WikiLeaks in the INApapers leak. For example, Ecuador's Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner said in a local radio interview, ''What Wikileaks and other political actors have done, to publish private photos of the President of the Republic, of his family, is a despicable, repugnant, and odious act.''
The Foreign Minister said in a radio interview: ''It is absolutely outrageous, reproachable, it shows Assange for what he is'... of course we will act. We will not allow his website to interfere in the private channels of communication of the Ecuadorian head of state'.... he is biting the hand that feeds him.''
Foreign Minister Jos(C) Valencia has stated: ''we are going to analyze whether Mr. Julian Assange's aggressive publications against the Ecuadorian state merits a legal action by the Ecuadorian state.''
On 1 April, Ecuador submitted a request to the United Nations Rapporteur on Privacy to take urgent measures in response to the INApapers publication, listing WikiLeaks as the responsible party.
President Moreno, desperate to divert public attention away from the scandal, is using the claims as a pretext to oust Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. On 2 April, the President stated that Assange has ''violated the 'conditions' of his asylum'' and that he will ''take a decision'' ''in the short term.'' He said, ''In WikiLeaks there is proof of espionage, of hacking, of the fact that phones have been intercepted and private conversations, there are even pictures of my bedroom.''
Assange's lawyer in Ecuador, Carlos Poveda, explained that Assange had nothing to do with the publication: ''Remember that WikiLeaks has an internal organization and Mr. Assange is no longer in the editor. We will now resort to other types of situations, especially the Inter-American Commission''. (Listen to audio here.)
Nevertheless, Ecuador's Vice President, Otto Sonnenholzner, has suggested that Assange would be prosecuted over what he described as a WikiLeaks ''hack,'' alluding to the rigid protocol that Ecuador has imposed on Assange to maintain a constant threat of expulsion.
The INA Papers are a set of documents published in February 2019, allegedly uncovering the operations of INA Investment Corp, an offshore tax haven created by the brother of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno. The trove of emails, phone communications and expense receipts are said to link the president and his family to a series of corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts. The leak has sparked a congressional investigation into President Moreno for corruption. Moreno can't be summoned for a criminal probe while he remains president. He is currently being investigated and risks impeachment.
Former Consul of Ecuador Fidel Navarez denounces the ''resolution based on a lie'' that blames Assange for the INA Papers:
The recent reaction of the Ecuadorian government to the INAPAPERS scandal could not be worse. Instead of clarifying and making the issue transparent, the government spokesmen, to divert attention from the still timorous official investigations, position a monumental lie, accusing WikiLeaks of having leaked communications and images of President Moreno's family circle.
Not a single document referring to INAPAPERS, or the president's family, has ever been leaked or published by WikiLeaks, let alone by Julian Assange, who for more than half a year has not been its editor and who has been isolated for one year under a regime quasi-prison by the government of Ecuador.
Despite being an outrageous accusation, the farce has reached the point that the Ecuadorian National Assembly has issued a resolution to investigate Julin and encourages the government to take measures to ''safeguard national interests.'' In short, the government seeks a false pretext to end the asylum and protection of Julian Assange.
Republican Senator John Kennedy Suggests Someone Could Be 'Killed' if Unredacted Mueller Report Is Released
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 10:47
Republican Senator John Kennedy suggested that someone could be ''killed'' if the unredacted version of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation is released to the public.
''I don't want to get anybody killed by violating national security concerns,'' Kennedy, of Louisiana, told CNN's Manu Raju Friday morning. The senator said he believes Attorney General William Barr will release as much of the report as he can while keeping in mind issues of national security.
''Having said all of that, I think Bill Barr is a straight shooter and, even if you don't agree with that assessment, he's certainly not a moron,'' Kennedy said. ''I mean, he is going to release as much of the report as he possibly can.''
Barr has been under heavy scrutiny since the March 24 release of his four-page summary of Mueller's final report on the nearly two-year probe into Russian election interference and possible obstruction of justice by the Trump White House.
The attorney general laid out some of the key findings of the special counsel's investigation, including the fact that Mueller did not find sufficient evidence that Trump or members of his campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.
Barr also noted that Mueller's team made no conclusions about whether Trump had illegally obstructed justice throughout the investigation, but he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein subsequently determined there was insufficient evidence to prove the president committed a criminal offense.
Trump and his supporters immediately took a victory lap after Barr provided his summary to Congress, claiming that the report was a complete and ''total exoneration'' of the president and his campaign.
Senator John Kennedy (right) is surrounded by reporters asking questions regarding the Trump-Putin meeting, on Capitol Hill, on July 17, 2018. Kennedy told CNN that someone could be ''killed'' if the unredacted Mueller report is released. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
Now, Democratic lawmakers are fighting for the full Mueller report to be released. Earlier this week, the House Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena for the entire report just in case Barr does not make the entire document available.
''Show us the Mueller report, show us the tax returns, and we are not walking away just because you say no the first time around,'' House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned the president on Thursday.
Barr has said he intends to release the report at the end of the month, though significant portions of classified information will need to be redacted. On Thursday, the Justice Department defended its initial summary of the Mueller probe. A spokeswoman for the department said "every page" of Mueller's nearly 400-page report provided to Barr was flagged as potentially containing sensitive information.
Senator Kennedy accused his Democratic colleagues of ''doing everything they can to create a controversy'' over the report.
Capital One Says 'NO' to Democrats on Trump Financial Records
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 11:25
Follow Matt on TwitterThe top Democrat Committee leaders requested President Trump's financial records in the past week, and they've now heard a response from Capital One financial.
As reported by SaraACarter.com, last month three top House of Representatives democrats, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) requested documentation from Capital One Bank related to the President's business holdings.
Capital One responded that they are preserving the records but ''given the confidentiality obligations we have as a financial institution, including under state and federal law we respectfully request that any production of materials be made pursuant to a subpoena rather than an informal request.''
House Oversight Committee Member Rep. Harley Rouda (D-CA) reacted on the Capital One response saying that it was a reasonable response from that company and that this is now part of an ongoing investigation. ''We need to use subpoena power if those are the records that we [Democrats] want to bring in into investigation,'' said Rep. Rouda.
The democrats of course are on a fishing expedition. You cannot go looking for a crime, you have to have evidence of a crime, and then put a case together. They are literally bypassing due process altogether.
Google disbands artificial intelligence ethics board
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 03:10
Google confirmed it has disbanded its artificial intelligence ethics panel (AFP Photo/Lionel BONAVENTURE)
San Francisco (AFP) - Google on Thursday confirmed that it has disbanded a recently assembled artificial intelligence ethics advisory panel in the face of controversy over its membership.
The end of the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) came just days after a group of Google employees launched a public campaign against having the president of conservative think-tank Heritage Foundation among its members.
Another member of the board had already resigned, and the inclusion of a drone company executive had rekindled concerns about potential military uses of artificial intelligence, according to Vox news website, which first reported on the council being disbanded.
"It's become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can't function as we wanted," Google told AFP.
"So we're ending the council and going back to the drawing board."
Google added that it would seek alternative ways to gather outside input regarding responsible use of artificial intelligence.
- Keeping AI unbiased -
A petition published online called on Google to cull the Heritage Foundation's Kay Coles James from the council formed a week ago, due to her history of being "vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant."
"In selecting James, Google is making clear that its version of 'ethics' values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ people and immigrants," read a statement posted on Medium by a group identifying itself as Googlers Against Transphobia.
Positions expressed by James contradict Google's stated values and, if infused into artificial intelligence, could build discrimination into super-smart machines, according to the post.
The group said that reasoning for James being added to the panel has been given as an effort to have a diversity of thought.
As of late Thursday, the online petition showed more than 2,300 signatures from academics, Google employees and others, including technology industry peers.
The controversy comes as the world grapples with balancing potential benefits of artificial intelligence with risks it could be used against people or even, if given a mind of its own, turn on its creators.
Google chief Sundar Pichai said in an interview published late last year that tech companies building AI should factor in ethics early in the process to make certain artificial intelligence with "agency of its own" doesn't hurt people.
The California-based internet giant is a leader in the development of AI, competing in the smart software race with firms such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft.
Last year, Google published a set of internal AI principles, the first being that AI should be socially beneficial.
Google vowed not to design or deploy AI for use in weapons, surveillance outside of international norms or in technology aimed at violating human rights.
The company noted that it would continue to work with the military or governments in areas such as cybersecurity, training, recruitment, health care and search-and-rescue.
AI is already used to recognize people in photos, filter unwanted content from online platforms and enable cars to drive themselves.
The "Equality Act" Racing Through Congress Is Really A Loophole For Pedophiles To Game The System 'ܠ Activist Mommy
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 11:03
Advertisement When the Supreme Court destroyed the institution of marriage in one fell swoop with the Obergefell V. Hodges ruling, liberals, and LGBT advocates mocked us for predicting the slippery slope we now find ourselves on.
Our children are growing up in a world where gender is supposedly fluid (unless we're using it to get what we want) and love is whatever we want it to be. It was only a matter of time before the insanity of the culture would set the stage for pedophilia follow on the coattails of homosexuality and become a normalized sexual orientation.
Under the so-called ''Equality Act'' currently racing its way through Congress, our ''love is love'' culture may soon fully accept pedophilia, or at least be powerless to punish it, thanks to a loophole that would do away with the age of consent.
HR 5, the '' Equality Act '', intends to offer protection under federal law by declaring homosexuality and gender confusion to be demographics on the basis of which one cannot be discriminated, like race, religion, national origin, biological sex, and so on. The side effects of the bill, however, are much more insidious.
For one, HR 5 lacks any protection for religious liberty, but a few spineless Republicans and misinformed Christian groups already support a toothless exemption that will undoubtedly be bowled over by the LGBT mob anyway.
While the extreme likelihood of the law being used to further restrict religious liberty can't be understated, that's not the biggest problem with the Equality Act.
According to Mission America , the bill, coupled with our current cultural insanity, will leave a wide-open loophole for pedophiles:
How? This horrific result won't come through a new definition of ''sexual orientation.'' The bill now defines sexual orientation as ''homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality.'' An atrocious revision that includes alleged ''born-that-way'' pedophilia is probably coming, but not in this bill, and not right away.
No, the way this could happen pretty quickly is through the sexual civil rights accorded to children, and all the many new ways adults will find to ''support'' them'--what saner heads would call ''grooming.'' All that has to happen for pedophiles to gain access is for minors to acquire newly-minted sexual identity ''protections'' and then their carefully-manipulated ''choices'' will pave the way.
It's already a reality for a child of any age to determine their own gender, demand the full support of their parents and the community, and sue the face off of anyone who dissents.
If a child can consent to this, who's to say they can't simply declare their affection for anyone they please, including an adult? Just as we've watched pro-LGBT lawyers and judges mow down anyone who threatens these children's rights to self-identify, you can bet HR 5 will encourage those same judges to defend their ''right'' to choose who they ''love''.
Now, in an otherwise sane and decent society, we could expect the existing laws that forbid pederasty to be upheld and our children to be defended. Not in 2019's America, though, where children can identify as ''drag kids,'' dance on stage in gay nightclubs, and be blatantly groomed by perverts.
Mission America continues:
But don't you know that under HR 5, boys who are 11 will have the ''right'' to say, ''I can interact with adults however I want because I identify as a female performer.'' All it will take to morph this into a ''right'' for a minor child to have sex with an adult is a carefully-chosen court case, and a challenge to age of consent will be launched.
'...And several key components might be that no assault is involved, no pregnancy is possible and sodomy is no longer illegal, so how can it be corrupting? Obscenity laws are so weakly applied in many states that these won't aid in a defense. Many academics now write papers insisting adult -child sex does no harm to children when they give ''consent.''
But what about laws dictating the age of consent? They're being rapidly eroded at the state level by #MeToo era laws mandating ''consent'' lessons. These comprehensive sexuality education classes teach kids that they have the right to say ''no'' to any unwanted advances. The unintended consequence, however, is that they also learn that they have a right to say ''yes,'' too.
These may not be hard-and-fast laws, but the LGBT mafia doesn't work that way. If the assault on our values and the protection of our children was chess game, The Equality Act is just their next big move.
If you appreciate the work we are doing to fight the leftist assault on our values, please consider a small donation to help us continue. Thank you so much!
Hollywood Star Admits Trump's Election Made Her 'Unhinged' & Drove Her To Seek Therpy '' NewsThisSecond
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 11:34
Comedian Chelsea Handler said Friday that she began seeing a therapist after President Trump's 2016 election win, and said she turned to marijuana to deal with the shock.
Handler appeared on Friday's episode of ''Real Time with Bill Maher,'' where she told Maher that Trump's election victory made her feel ''unhinged'' and violently angry.
''I had to pay a psychiatrist to listen to me b**tch about Donald Trump for about the first three weeks,'' Handler said. ''And then once when we got past that and got to the real stuff, I realized the parallel there was my world becoming unhinged when I was a little girl, my brother died when I was nine years old.''
''I had never related the two, but for me, as I can imagine it must have been for so many people, it was an emotional trigger of everything being destabilized,'' she added. ''I realized how spoiled and privileged I had been all my life and realize to be this upset and this on-a-ten every day and the outrage and the anger, I just wanted to f'--ing fight people, you know? And I was like, 'I have to go see a psychiatrist.'''
Handler added in the interview that medicinal marijuana and meditation helped her deal with the emotional effects of the shock she felt after Trump's victory.
''I pivoted, I pivoted towards weed and cannabis. And for me, who's kind of a very active and high-strung person, I needed'...the cannabis was a gateway drug to meditation,'' she said.
''With cannabis, I said, 'yeah, I could maybe meditate now.' And then, I had my awakening, and I was like 'wait, f''k Trump. We have so many other beautiful things going on,'' Handler continued.
(The Hill)
Boeing vs Airbus
I Hate Being Right in [Market-Ticker]
Thu, 04 Apr 2019 21:35
Recognizing a problem with the automatic trim, the pilots followed emergency procedures and turned off the system. Instead, the pilots tried to use the backup manual trim wheel to adjust the trim, but the airplane was traveling too fast and the manual trim wheel would have been physically impossible to operate.
Less than two minutes later, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed, killing 157 passengers and flight crews.
The only available emergency procedure requires turning off the electrical trim motors which means you have just the manual crank wheels on the pedestal left. But, what is being reported here is that aerodynamic loads can make those wheels impossible to turn and it's also physically impossible to pull the yoke back with the trim jammed against you.
There is no software fix that resolves this. A runaway can happen for multiple reasons and there has to be a way for that event to be recoverable even if the trim is driven all the way to the stop before you realize it and yank the power or if it happens everyone on board dies .
Commercial aircraft are not allowed to have non-redundant critical fault paths such as this where the only available procedure in the event of a malfunction leaves you unable to control the airplane. Such an aircraft is not supposed to be able to be certified for commercial transport.
It took years of proof of reliability through hundreds of thousands of flight hours for manufacturers to get certification for two-engine, extended over-the-ocean flights, known as "ETOPS", which some people (myself included) have called only somewhat in jest "Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim." Critical flight control systems are supposed to be present in triplicate so that even if you lose (for example) both generators (one in each engine) you have one more "thing" available to you, either a RAT (ram-air turbine) or APU you can use to generate power.
The DC-10 that crashed in Sioux City had three hydraulic systems to provide primary flight control authority; the third engine in the tail suffered an uncontained failure (it "exploded") and the resulting pieces punctured lines that were part of all three hydraulic systems. It was the combination of two extremely unlikely events (the uncontained engine failure and then that all three hydraulic systems would be severed) that led to the incident. The pilots on board were unbelievably skilled and more than a little lucky in that they were able to somewhat control the crash-landing that followed and as a result there were plenty of survivors. Nonetheless that exposed the fact that it was possible for a triple hydraulic rupture to occur and the retrofit that came from that incident was the installation of "hydraulic fuses" that would prevent the loss of hydraulic pressure in all three systems even if lines on all three were severed in the same immediate vicinity.
Fixing the software does not resolve the base issue and thus, ultimately, the cause of both crashes. Irrespective of why if you are forced to shut off the electric trim motors there has to be a means available to regain both trim and primary flight control authority or everyone on board is dead .
There are two trim motor switches (presumably two separate motors and thus two electrical circuits) but if both are commanded to do the same wrong thing then you only have one system, not two. The requirement for triplicate control authority was never met by this design and in fact there were never even two independent systems because the mechanical backup is non-functional under some flight conditions!
No software mitigation can address this; the lack of a functional backup under some parts of the flight envelope and current trim position is a physical design issue and the lack of two completely independent electrical trim systems is a further design ****-up that should have never been able to be certified in the first place.
The provision of a manual (physical) backup is sufficient provided (1) there really are two completely independent electrical systems and (2) the manual backup is usable and capable of restoring control authority under any set of flight conditions and aircraft configuration -- but in this sort of failure situation it is not usable due to the aerodynamic loads on the stabilizer. Therefore in the situation where the trim has been driven outside of the normal range by a malfunction you can't shut off the system's capability to screw you further by yanking the power to the trim motors because if you do there's no way to restore control authority. You also can't yank power to only one motor because the computer provides drive signals to both !
Effectively, what this story asserts, is that there is no backup system available in the event of a runaway trim drive signal irrespective of the cause and that is the root issue. The crew followed the published procedures for a runaway trim, correctly diagnosing what was going on (although not why; in that situation the "why" doesn't matter.)
That didn't matter because the so-called backup was inoperative as it wasn't physically possible to manually crank the trim back and as a result everyone on board died anyway.
Update: Here's the report -- it backs up the above, and CNN's reporting.
Boeing defends 'fundamental safety' of 737 MAX after crash report
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 03:17
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Investigators say the crew of the crashed Ethiopian Airlines plane repeatedly followed procedures recommended by Boeing, but were unable to regain control of the jet (AFP Photo/Michael TEWELDE)
Washington (AFP) - Embattled US aviation giant Boeing on Thursday insisted on the "fundamental safety" of its 737 MAX aircraft but pledged to take all necessary steps to ensure the jets' airworthiness.
The statements came hours after Ethiopian officials said pilots of a doomed plane had crashed last month after following the company's recommendations, leaving 157 people dead.
The preliminary findings released Thursday by transportation authorities in Addis Ababa put the American aircraft giant under even greater pressure to restore public trust, with nearly 350 people dead in crashes involving its formerly top-selling 737 MAX aircraft in less than five months amid mounting signs the company's onboard anti-stall systems were fault.
"We remain confident in the fundamental safety of the 737 MAX," CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement, adding that impending software fixes would make the aircraft "among the safest airplanes ever to fly."
Muilenburg also acknowledged, however, that an "erroneous activation" of Boeing's so-called Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System had occurred. The system is designed to prevent stalls but may have forced the Ethiopian and Indonesian jets into the ground.
In an earlier statement, the head of the company's commercial aircraft division had said Boeing was ready to perform "any and all additional steps" to enhance the safety of the 737 MAX.
A report by Ethiopian investigators on Thursday said the crew of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed last month, killing 157 people, repeatedly followed procedures recommended by Boeing, but were unable to regain control of the jet.
The initial probe appears to confirm concerns about MCAS, with data echoing that from the crash of the Indonesian Lion Air 737 MAX 8 flight in October last year which killed 189 people.
Ethiopian authorities' full report has not been publicly released, but according to a draft copy seen by AFP, shortly after take-off a sensor recording the level of the plane began transmitting faulty data, prompting the autopilot system to point the nose downwards.
"The crew performed all the procedures repeatedly provided by the manufacturer, but was not able to control the aircraft," said Ethiopian Transport Minister Dagmawit Moges, unveiling results of the preliminary probe into the crash.
- 'Not survivable' -
The report recommends "the aircraft flight control system shall be reviewed by the manufacturer," Dagmawit said.
"Aviation authorities shall verify that the review of the aircraft flight control system has been adequately addressed by the manufacturer before the release of the aircraft for operations," she added.
Boeing now says it plans to release a software fix to the anti-stall system used aboard the 737 MAX aircraft in the coming weeks.
US regulators this week demanded further improvements to a proposed fix before it could be submitted for review and announced a review of the certification of the automated flight control system on the 737 MAX.
The Ethiopian Airlines flight was headed to Nairobi on a clear morning on March 10 when so-called Angle of Attack sensors on either side of the nose of the plane began sending conflicting information to the auto pilot system shortly after take-off.
According to report AFP saw, the nose of the plane pointed down four times without pilot input.
The autopilot was switched off at some point and the captain called out "pull up" three times to his first officer as the pair battled to gain control.
Three minutes after takeoff and three minutes before the crash, the captain asked the first officer to try the manual trim system, which changes the level of the plane. He replied that it was not working.
They asked to turn back, but it was too late. The plane pitched down at a 40-degree angle, smashing into a field outside Addis Ababa at about 500 knots (920 kilometers/575 miles per hour).
Both engines were buried at a depth of 10 meters (32 feet), in a crater 28 meters wide and 40 meters long, with fragments of debris found within a radius of about 300 meters.
"This accident was not survivable," said the report.
Citizens from over 30 countries were on board.
Shortly after the Lion Air crash last year, Boeing issued a bulletin reminding operators of emergency guidelines to override the anti-stall system, amid indications it had received erroneous information from Angle of Attack sensors during that disaster.
Why Boeing's emergency directions may have failed to save 737 MAX | The Seattle Times
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 12:44
The pilots of the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX that crashed last month appear to have followed the emergency procedure laid out by both Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration '-- cutting off the suspect flight-control system '-- but could not regain control and avert the plunge that killed all 157 on board.
Press reports citing people briefed on the crash investigation's preliminary findings said the pilots hit the system-cutoff switches as Boeing had instructed after October's Lion Air MAX crash, but couldn't get the plane's nose back up. They then turned the system back on before the plane nose-dived into the ground.
While the new software fix Boeing has proposed will likely prevent this situation recurring, if the preliminary investigation confirms that the Ethiopian pilots did cut off the automatic flight-control system, this is still a nightmarish outcome for Boeing and the FAA.
It would suggest the emergency procedure laid out by Boeing and passed along by the FAA after the Lion Air crash is wholly inadequate and failed the Ethiopian flight crew.
A local expert, former Boeing flight-control engineer Peter Lemme, recently explained how the emergency procedure could fail disastrously. His scenario is backed up by extracts from a 1982 Boeing 737-200 Pilot Training Manual posted to an online pilot forum a month ago by an Australian pilot.
That old 737 pilot manual lays out a scenario where a much more elaborate pilot response is required than the one that Boeing outlined in November and has reiterated ever since. The explanation in that manual from nearly 40 years ago is no longer detailed in the current flight manual.
Just a week after the Oct. 29 Lion Air crash, Boeing sent out an urgent bulletin to all 737 MAX operators across the world, cautioning them that a sensor failure could cause a new MAX flight-control system to automatically swivel upward the horizontal tail '-- also called the stabilizer '-- and push the jet's nose down.
Boeing's bulletin laid out a seemingly simple response: Hit a pair of cutoff switches to turn off the electrical motor that moves the stabilizer, disabling the automatic system '-- known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. Then swivel the tail down manually by turning a large stabilizer trim wheel, next to the pilot's seat, that connects mechanically to the tail via cables.
Boeing has publicly contended for five months that this simple procedure was all that was needed to save the airplane if MCAS was inadvertently activated.
In a November television interview on the Fox Business Network, Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg, when asked if information had been withheld from pilots, cited this procedure as ''part of the training manual'' and said Boeing's bulletin to airlines ''pointed to that existing flight procedure.''
Vice president Mike Sinnett repeatedly described the procedure as a ''memory item,'' meaning a routine that pilots may need to do quickly without consulting a manual and so must commit to memory.
But Lemme said the Ethiopian pilots most likely were unable to carry out that last instruction in the Boeing emergency procedure '-- because they simply couldn't physically move that wheel against the heavy forces acting on the tail.
''The forces on the tail could have been too great,'' Lemme said. ''They couldn't turn the manual trim wheel.''
The stabilizer in the Ethiopian jet could have been in an extreme position with two separate forces acting on it:
MCAS had swiveled the stabilizer upward by turning a large mechanical screw inside the tail called the jackscrew. This is pushing the jet's nose down.But the pilot had pulled his control column far back in an attempt to counter, which would flip up a separate movable surface called the elevator on the trailing edge of the tail.The elevator and stabilizer normally work together to minimize the loads on the jackscrew. But in certain conditions, the elevator and stabilizer loads combine to present high forces on the jackscrew and make it very difficult to turn manually.
As the jet's airspeed increases '-- and with nose down it will accelerate '-- these forces grow even stronger.
In this scenario, the air flow pushing downward against the elevator would have created an equal and opposite load on the jackscrew, a force tending to hold the stabilizer in its upward displacement. This heavy force would resist the pilot's manual effort to swivel the stabilizer back down.
This analysis suggests the stabilizer trim wheel at the Ethiopian captain's right hand could have been difficult to budge. As a result, the pilots would have struggled to get the nose up and the plane to climb.
If after much physical exertion failed, the pilots gave up their manual strategy and switched the electric trim system back on '-- as indicated in the preliminary reports on the Ethiopian flight '-- MCAS would have begun pushing the nose down again.
Boeing on Wednesday issued a statement following the first account, published Tuesday night by The Wall Street Journal, that the Ethiopian pilots had followed the recommended procedures.
''We urge caution against speculating and drawing conclusions on the findings prior to the release of the flight data and the preliminary report,'' Boeing said.
However, a separate analysis done by Bjorn Fehrm, a former jet-fighter pilot and an aeronautical engineer who is now an analyst with Leeham.net, replicates Lemme's conclusion that excessive forces on the stabilizer trim wheel led the pilots to lose control.
Fehrm collaborated with a Swedish pilot for a major European airline to do a simulator test that recreated the possible conditions in the Ethiopian cockpit.
A chilling video of how that simulator test played out was posted to YouTube and showed exactly the scenario envisaged in the analysis, elevating it from plausible theory to demonstrated possibility.
The Swedish pilot is a 737 flight instructor and training captain who hosts a popular YouTube channel called Mentour Pilot, where he communicates the intricate details of flying an airliner. To protect his employment, his name and the name of his airline are not revealed, but he is very clearly an expert 737 pilot.
In the test, the two European pilots in the 737 simulator set up a situation reflecting what happens when the pre-software fix MCAS is activated: They moved the stabilizer to push the nose down. They set the indicators to show disagreement over the air speed and followed normal procedures to address that, which increases airspeed.
They then followed the instructions Boeing recommended and, as airspeed increases, the forces on the control column and on the stabilizer wheel become increasingly strong.
After just a few minutes, with the plane still nose down, the Swedish 737 training pilot is exerting all his might to hold the control column, locking his upper arms around it. Meanwhile, on his right, the first officer tries vainly to turn the stabilizer wheel, barely able to budge it by the end.
If this had been a real flight, these two very competent 737 pilots would have been all but lost.
The Swedish pilot says at the start of the video that he's posting it both as a cautionary safety alert but also to undercut the narrative among some pilots, especially Americans, that the Indonesian and Ethiopian flight crews must have been incompetent and couldn't ''just fly the airplane.''
Early Wednesday, the Swedish pilot removed the video after a colleague advised that he do so, given that all the facts are not yet in from the ongoing investigation of the crash of Flight 302.
More detailed instructions that conceivably could have saved the Ethiopian plane are provided in the 1982 pilot manual for the old 737. As described in the extract posted by the Australian pilot, they require the pilot to do something counterintuitive: to let go of the control column for a brief moment.
As Lemme explains, this ''will make the nose drop a bit,'' but it will relax the force on the elevator and on the jackscrew, allowing the pilot to crank the stabilizer trim wheel. The instructions in the old manual say that the pilot should repeatedly do this: Release the control column and crank the stabilizer wheel, release and crank, release and crank, until the stabilizer is swiveled back to where it should be.
The 1982 manual refers to this as ''the 'roller coaster' technique'' to trim the airplane, which means to get it back on the required flight path with no force pushing it away from that path.
''If nose-up trim is required, raise the nose well above the horizon with elevator control. Then slowly relax the control column pressure and manually trim nose-up. Allow the nose to drop below the horizon while trimming (manually). Repeat this sequence until the airplane is trim,'' the manual states.
The Australian pilot also posted an extract from Boeing's ''Airliner'' magazine published in May 1961, describing a similar technique as applied to Boeing's first jet, the 707.
Clearly this unusual circumstance of having to move the stabilizer manually while maintaining a high stick force on the control column demands significant piloting skill.
''We learned all about these maneuvers in the 1950-60s,'' the pilot wrote on the online forum. ''Yet, for some inexplicable reason, Boeing manuals have since deleted what was then '-- and still is '-- vital handling information for flight crews.''
Aviation safety consultant John Cox, chief executive of Safety Operating Systems and formerly the top safety official for the Air Line Pilots Association, said that's because in the later 737 models that followed the -200, what was called a ''runaway stabilizer'' ceased to be a problem.
Cox said he was trained on the ''roller coaster' technique'' back in the 1980s to deal with that possibility, but that ''since the 737-300, the product got so reliable you didn't have that failure,'' said Cox.
However, he added, the introduction of MCAS in the 737 MAX creates a condition similar to a runaway stabilizer, so the potential for the manual stabilizer wheel to seize up at high airspeed has returned.
Cox said the failure of both Boeing and the FAA to warn pilots of this possibility will be ''a big issue'' as the Ethiopian crash is evaluated.
''I don't think Boeing realized the complexity of the failure,'' he said.
The procedure Boeing recommended to airlines after the Lion Air crash, which was repeated in an airworthiness directive issued by the FAA, includes a line near the bottom that ''higher control forces may be needed to overcome any stabilizer nose-down'' position. The instructions add that the pilots can use the electric system to neutralize the forces on the control column before hitting the cut-out switches.
But there's no indication whatever in the wording that this is essential, and that heavy forces could render the manual stabilizer wheel almost immovable if the control column is not relaxed.
It's possible the Ethiopian pilots, hyper alert after the Lion Air accident to the possibility that MCAS had activated, jumped straight to the end of the procedure checklist and hit the cut-off switches before attempting even to counter the nose-down movement with the thumb switches on the control column.
That would have subjected them almost immediately to the high tail forces that could have made recovery impossible.
The good news for Boeing is that the proposed software fix announced for MCAS should prevent the failure that led to this scenario in the cockpit.
''I think the MAX will be safe with the improved MCAS,'' said Fehrm of Leeham.net.
On Wednesday, CEO Muilenburg joined Boeing test pilots aboard a 737 MAX 7 flight out of Boeing Field for a demonstration of the MCAS software fix and a test of various failure conditions. ''The software update worked as designed,'' Boeing said.
The bad news for Boeing is twofold, according to Fehrm. First, the original MCAS design was badly flawed and appears to be the principal cause of the Lion Air crash. Second, the procedure Boeing offered after that accident to keep planes safe now appears to have been woefully inadequate and may have doomed the Ethiopian Airlines jet.
On Wednesday the FAA , facing worldwide skepticism of its oversight, announced that it is establishing a team including foreign regulators to conduct a ''comprehensive review of the certification of the automated flight control system on the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.''
The Joint Authorities Technical Review, chaired by former NTSB Chairman Chris Hart and including experts from the FAA, NASA, and international aviation authorities, will evaluate all aspects of MCAS, including its design and pilots' interaction with the system.
The preliminary investigation report into the Ethiopian crash is expected early Thursday and should offer definitive detail on what happened in the cockpit.
Correction: An earlier version of the this story reported incorrectly that the Swedish pilot removed his video from YouTube at the insistence of his airline. This information was provided by Leeham.net, which collaborated with the pilot on the video. The following day Leeham.net corrected that: It was a colleague who advised the pilot to do so until more facts about the crash are made public.
UPS partnering with drug giants to inject you with vaccines in your own home'... pilot project a blueprint for nationwide vaccine mandates at gunpoint '' DC Clothesline
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 10:41

(Natural News) Just when you thought corporate America couldn't get more insane when it comes to medical tyranny, UPS has announced a pilot project to deliver vaccines to your home, then have you injected by ''health care professionals'' without you ever having to leave your living room. Merck, makers of the risky vaccine Gardasil, is reportedly partnering with UPS to carry out this door-to-door vaccine initiative.
''The world's largest package delivery firm is preparing to test a U.S. service that dispatches nurses to vaccinate adults in their homes,'' Reuters is now reporting. Reuters explains how the project will work:
Workers in UPS' 1.7 million-square-foot healthcare complex at Worldport will package and ship the vaccine to one of the more 4,700 franchised U.S. UPS stores. A home health nurse contracted by UPS' clinical trial logistics unit known as Marken will collect the insulated package, transport it the ''last mile'' to the patient's home and administer the vaccine, which will target a viral illness in adults.
Note that they don't dare ship the vaccine directly to your home, because they don't want individuals having access to vaccine vials without a ''home health nurse'' present to inject you with it. Vaccine vials might be dangerous, the thinking goes. They're only ''safe'' after they're injected into your body, at which point all health risks magically vanish.
The partner for this, Merck, has a long history of engaging in nefarious behavior, including bribing doctors, price fixing its drugs and pressuring state and federal lawmakers to enshrine its unethical profit model into law. Reuters explains why Merck is the perfect partner for UPS, since they both only care about money:
Merck, a major UPS healthcare customer, has a portfolio of vaccines for viral illnesses ranging from shingles and hepatitis B to the flu. Spokeswoman Pamela Eisele said the company is considering the project as it looks for new ways to increase access to its medicines and vaccines and boost adult vaccine rates.
UPS logistics company uses human guinea pigs to test ''experimental drugs''The logistics company behind all this is called ''Marken.'' And as Reuters reports, Marken is already involved in medical experiments on human subjects. ''Pharmaceutical companies already pay Marken to give vaccines to patients testing their experimental drugs,'' reports Reuters:
Cathy Morrow Roberson, who founded consulting firm Logistics Trends & Insights after working for more than a decade as an analyst at Atlanta-based UPS, said the vaccine project taps the assets and expertise the company has acquired since getting into healthcare in the early 2000s. ''They're reaping the benefits of all the acquisitions and investments they've made,'' she said.
And there you have it: It's all about the profits. If vaccines and pharmaceuticals are where the money's at, UPS is going to follow the money, throwing corporate ethics aside. If this trend continues, it won't be long before UPS trucks offer ''mobile chemotherapy services'' to inject everybody with what will surely be called ''preventive chemotherapy,'' even if you don't have cancer.
There's big money in vaccine mandates, since you'd be forcing everybody to buy a product essentially at gunpoint. ''[T]he average cost of a shingles shot was $208.72 at a doctor's office and $168.50 at a pharmacy,'' reports Reuters. Now, if they could only mandate all these vaccines by declaring medical martial law all across the country, the pharmaceutical giants would have guaranteed trillions in revenues every year (and UPS could take a piece of that pie by profiting from the logistics of delivering and injecting all the toxic vaccines that people don't need). (Read MedicalExtremism.com for more reporting on extreme, radical medicine administered at gunpoint.)
UPS to enter the business of medical violence against children and seniors'... anything to boost corporate profitsVaccines, of course, harm and kill children every year across the United States and around the world. This irrefutable fact is openly admitted by the federal government itself, which publishes quarterly vaccine injury and death statistics via Health and Human Services: VAERS.HHS.gov. (You can download the Excel spreadsheet there and see some of the numbers for yourself.)
The entire corporate-controlled media, of course, pretends that vaccines never harm anyone. They don't report a single case of vaccine injury, and they work to systematically ban all vaccine awareness information across social media, search engines, news media and even entertainment programming. As we have previously reported, the CDC actually has a propaganda fund that it uses to pay screenwriters to embed pro-vaccine messages into Netflix programs, sitcoms, standup comedian routines and Hollywood movies.
With this move to deliver and inject vaccines in the homes of its customers, UPS is declaring that grabbing a piece of the ''home health services'' market is more important than operating with ethics. The idea of UPS wanting to inject everyone with vaccines to make an extra buck will not only frighten many customers; it will motivate them to avoid having anything shipped to their homes via UPS.
UPS drivers, who are now seen as relatively friendly, helpful professionals, will soon be viewed as vaccine predators as the company pushes them to start interfacing with home residents by asking questions such as, ''Have you had your flu shot yet?''
UPS will become part of the nationwide medical police state, complete with ride-along ''vaccine enforcers''In the bigger picture view, by rolling out this pilot program, UPS is actually building a vaccine mandate medical police state infrastructure where UPS drivers will act as medical fascist spies, reporting to Merck (and the CDC, of course) on customers who refuse vaccine shots. UPS drivers will be the snitches for the medical police state, and as more states follow the horrifying example of California pushing vaccine mandates (SB 277) to deny children the right to public education unless they are injected with every toxic substance mandated by the state, UPS will quickly morph into the delivery-and-injection enforcement arm of the medical police state.
No doubt this will eventually result in ride-along ''vaccine enforcers'' (i.e. medical police) who spy on UPS deliver customers and demand, ''Show me your vaccine papers!'' or face imminent arrest. Recently in Chandler, Arizona, a SWAT team staged an armed assault on a family to medically kidnap children who were unvaccinated and had a mild fever. This is what the medical police state looks like, and this is exactly what UPS is signing up for.
Here's what the vaccine police / SWAT team in Chandler looked like as they kicked in the front door and kidnapped children while terrorizing a mother at gunpoint:
Medical martial law / vaccine police state declared in Rockland County, New YorkIf you doubt that this is happening, you're wildly uninformed. Rockland County, New York has already announced medical martial law and threatening six months in prison for any person under the age of 18 who steps foot on a public sidewalk, attends a public school, enters a church or a mall without first being vaccinated, even if they have already acquired strong natural immunity by overcoming the measles without a vaccine.
The Rockland County medical martial law rollout was a test scenario to see if the public would accept a ''show me your vaccine papers'' medical police state without protesting. Because the sheeple went right along with it, the program will shortly be expanded to more counties and states.
UPS will be right there, ready to surveil its own customers, ready to inject them with vaccines and happily raking in profits from the pharmaceutical industry. This makes UPS the front-lines militant wing of Big Pharma, and it puts UPS drivers in the position of pushing toxic substances that even the U.S. government openly admits maim and kill children and adults every year in the United States.
Is this really the business UPS wants to be in? The business of maiming and killing people for profit? Delivering psychiatric drugs to children? Pushing chemotherapy (chemical weapons) in living rooms? Dishing out statin drugs, diabetes drugs and blood pressure drugs that kill 100,000 Americans a year?
Make no mistake: If UPS pursues this line of business, Natural News and the entire independent media will call for a nationwide boycott of UPS, and our tens of millions of readers will demand all shipments be delivered via Fedex or USPS rather than invite a vaccine snitch UPS driver onto their front porch.
Partnering with Big Pharma is partnering with the ''death business.'' If that's how UPS wants to make money in the future, it will find itself having no future at all. People want UPS to deliver packages and that's it. They don't want UPS pushing vaccines, medication, chemotherapy and whatever else they'll come up with next.
Learn more at Vaccines.news
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Sat, 06 Apr 2019 10:49

Data & Statistics The United States has the safest, most effective vaccine supply in history. In the majority of cases, vaccines cause no side effects, however they can occur, as with any medication '--but most are mild. Very rarely, people experience more serious side effects, like allergic reactions. In those instances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) allows individuals to file a petition for compensation. What does it mean to be awarded compensation? Being awarded compensation for a petition does not necessarily mean that the vaccine caused the alleged injury. In fact: ' Approximately 70 percent of all compensation awarded by the VICP comes as result of a negotiated settlement between the parties in which HHS has not concluded, based upon review of t he evidence, that the alleged vaccine(s) caused the alleged injury. ' Attorneys are eligible for reasonable attorneys' fees, whether or not the petitioner is awarded compensation by the Court, if certain minimal requirements are met. In those circumstances, attorneys are paid by the VICP directly. By statute, attorneys may not charge any other fee, including a contingency fee, for his or her services in representing a petitioner in the VICP. What reasons might a petition result in a negotiated settlement? ' Consideration of prior U.S. Court of Federal Claims decisions, both parties decide to minimize risk of loss through settlement ' A desire to minimize the time and expense of litigating a case ' The desire to resolve a petition quickly How many petition s have been awarded compensation? According to the CDC, from 2006 to 201 7 over 3.4 billion doses of covered vaccines were distributed in the U.S. For petitions filed in this time period , 6, 253 petition s were adjudicated by the Court , and of those 4,291 were compensated. This means for every 1 million doses of vaccine that were distributed, 1 individual was compensated. Since 1988, over 20, 522 petition s have been filed with the VICP. Over that 30-year time period, 1 7,772 petition s have been adjudicated, with 6, 465 of th ose determined to be compensable, while 11,307 were dismissed. Total compensation paid over the life of the program is approximately $ 4.1 billion. This information reflects the current thinking of the United States Department of Health and Human Services on the topics addressed. This information is not legal advice and does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind the Department or the public. The ultimate decision about the scope of the statutes authorizing the VICP is within the authority of the United States Court of Federal Claims , which is responsible for resolving petitions for compensation under the VICP.
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Monthly Statistics Report Updated 4/01/2019 Page 2 VICP Adjudication Categories , by Alleged Vaccine For Petition s Filed Since the Inclusion of Influenza as an Eligible Vaccine for Filings 01/0 1/2006 through 12/31/2017 Name of Vaccine Listed First in a Petition (other vaccines may be alleged or basis for compensation) Number of Doses Distributed in the U.S., 01/01/2006 through 12/31/2017 (Source: CDC) Compensable Concession Compensable Court Decision Compensable Settlement Compensable Total Dismissed/Non -Compensable Total Grand Total DT 794,777 1 0 5 6 4 10 DTaP 101,073,594 19 22 104 145 116 261 DTaP-Hep B-IPV 68,764,777 5 7 28 40 53 93 DTaP-HIB 1,135,474 0 1 2 3 2 5 DTaP-IPV 24,237,580 0 0 3 3 3 6 DTap-IPV-HIB 62,397,611 3 4 9 16 29 45 DTP 0 1 1 3 5 2 7 DTP-HIB 0 1 0 2 3 1 4 Hep A-Hep B 15,826,685 2 0 15 17 4 21 Hep B-HIB 4,787,457 1 1 2 4 1 5 Hepatitis A (Hep A) 176,194,118 8 7 42 57 32 89 Hepatitis B (Hep B) 185,428,393 9 11 64 84 76 160 HIB 119,947,400 3 1 8 12 10 22 HPV 111,677,552 14 14 106 134 175 309 Influenza 1,518,400,000 627 147 2,155 2,929 491 3,420 IPV 72,962,512 0 0 4 4 3 7 Measles 135,660 0 0 1 1 0 1 Meningococcal 94,113,218 1 5 39 45 10 55
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Monthly Statistics Report Updated 4/01/2019 Page 3 Name of Vaccine Listed First in a Petition (other vaccines may be alleged or basis for compensation) Number of Doses Distributed in the U.S., 01/01/2006 through 12/31/2017 (Source: CDC) Compensable Concession Compensable Court Decision Compensable Settlement Compensable Total Dismissed/Non -Compensable Total Grand Total MMR 101,501,714 23 14 83 120 124 244 MMR-Varicella 24,798,297 9 0 13 22 15 37 Mumps 110,749 0 0 0 0 0 0 Nonqualified 0 0 0 3 3 36 39 OPV 0 1 0 0 1 5 6 Pneumococcal Conjugate 228,588,846 19 3 29 51 33 84 Rotavirus 107,678,219 17 4 20 41 13 54 Rubella 422,548 0 1 1 2 0 2 Td 65,170,306 10 7 61 78 25 103 Tdap 248,258,803 88 17 257 362 72 434 Tetanus 3,836,052 10 1 41 52 20 72 Unspecified 0 1 1 4 6 589 595 Varicella 116,063,014 8 7 30 45 18 63 Grand Total 3,454,269,356 881 276 3,134 4,291 1,962 6,253 Notes on the Adjudication Categories Table The date range of 01/01/2006 through 12/31/2017 was selected to reflect petitions filed since the inclusion of influenza vaccine in July 2005. Influenza vaccine now is named in the majority of all VICP petitions. In addition to the first vaccine alleged by a petitioner, which is the vaccine listed in this table, a VICP petition may allege other vaccines, which may form the basis of compensation. Vaccine doses are self -reported distribution data provided by US -licensed vaccine manufacturers. The data provide an estimate of the annual national distribution and do not represent vaccine administration. In order to maintain confidentiality of an indiv idual manufacturer or brand, the data are presented in an aggregate format by vaccine type. Flu doses are derived from CDC's FluFinder tracking system, which includes data provided to CDC by US -licensed influenza vaccine manufacturers as well as their firs t line distributors. ''Unspecified'' means insufficient information was submitted to make an initial determination. The conceded ''unspecified'' petition was for multiple unidentified vaccines that caused abscess formation at the vaccination site(s), and the '' unspecified'' settlements were for multiple vaccines later identified in the Special Masters' decisions
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Monthly Statistics Report Updated 4/01/2019 Page 4 Definitions Compensable '' The injured person who filed a petition was paid money by the VICP. Compensation can be achieved through a concession by the U .S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a decision on the merits of the petition by a special master or a judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Court), or a settlement between the parties. ' Concession : HHS concludes that a petition should be compensated based on a thorough review and analysis of the evidence, including medical records and the scientific and medical literature. The HHS review concludes that the petitioner is entitled to compensation, including a determination either that it is more likely than not that the vaccine caused the injury or the evidence supports fulfillment of the criteria of the Vaccine Injury Table. The Court also determines that the petition should be compensated. ' Court Decision : A special master or the court, within the United States Court of Federal Claims , issues a legal decision after weighing the evidence presented by both sides. HHS abides by the ultimate Court decision even if it maintains its position that the petitioner was not entitled to compensation (e.g., that the injury was not caused by the vaccine). For injury petitions, compensable court decisions are based in part on one of the following determinations by the court: 1. The evidence is legally sufficient to show that the vaccine more likely than not caused (or significantly aggravated) the injury; or 2. The injury is listed on, and meets all of the requirements of, the Vaccine Injury Table, and HHS has not proven that a factor unrelated to the vaccine more likely than not caused or significantly aggravated the injury. An injury listed on the Table and meeting all Table requirements is given the legal presumption of causation. It should be noted that conditions are placed on the Table for both scientific and policy reasons . ' Settlement: The petition is resolved via a negotiated settlement between the parties. This settlement is not an admission by the United States or the Secretary of Health and Human Services that the vaccine caused the petitioner's alleged injuries, and, in settled cases, the Court does not determine that the vaccine caused the injury. A settlement therefore cannot be characterized as a decision by HHS or by the Court that the vaccine caused an injury. Petition s may be resolved by settlement for many reasons, including consideration of prior court decisions; a recognition by both parties that there is a risk of loss in proceeding to a decision by the Court making the certainty of settlement more desirable; a desire by both par ties to minimize the time and ex pense associated with litigating a case to conclusion; and a desire by both parties to resolve a case quickly and efficiently . ' Non -compensable/Dismissed : The injured person who filed a petition was ultimately not paid money. Non-compensable Court decisions include the following: 1. The Court determines that the person who filed the petition did not demonstrate that the injury was caused (or significantly aggravated) by a covered vaccine or meet the requirements of the Table (for injuries listed on the Table). 2. The petition was dismissed for not meeting other statutory requirements (such as not meeting the filing deadline, not receiving a covered vaccine, and not meeting the statute's severity requirement). 3. The injured person voluntarily withdrew his or her petit ion.
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Monthly Statistics Report Updated 4/01/2019 Page 5 Petitions Filed, Compensated and Dismissed, by Alleged Vaccine , Since the Beginning of VICP, 10/01/1988 through 4/01/ 2019 1 Nonqualified petitions are those filed for vaccines not covered under the VICP. 2 Unspecified petitions are those submitted with insufficient information to make a determination. Vaccines Filed Injury Filed Death Filed Grand Total Compensated Dismissed DTaP-IPV 11 0 11 3 3 DT 69 9 78 26 52 DTP 3,286 696 3,982 1,273 2,709 DTP-HIB 20 8 28 7 21 DTaP 454 82 536 225 252 DTaP-Hep B-IPV 85 37 122 41 52 DTaP-HIB 11 1 12 7 4 DTaP-IPV-HIB 43 21 64 14 29 Td 206 3 209 123 75 Tdap 690 6 696 352 72 Tetanus 137 2 139 75 47 Hepatitis A (Hep A) 104 7 111 55 31 Hepatitis B (Hep B) 694 60 754 274 419 Hep A-Hep B 32 0 32 16 5 Hep B-HIB 8 0 8 5 3 HIB 44 3 47 17 20 HPV 388 15 403 130 165 Influenza 5,023 167 5,190 2,869 466 IPV 268 14 282 8 269 OPV 282 28 310 158 152 Measles 143 19 162 55 107 Meningococcal 73 2 75 43 8 MMR 974 61 1,035 402 584 MMR-Varicella 50 2 52 20 13 MR 15 0 15 6 9 Mumps 10 0 10 1 9 Pertussis 4 3 7 2 5 Pneumococcal Conjugate 187 15 202 53 50 Rotavirus 94 5 99 59 23 Rubella 190 4 194 71 123 Varicella 103 9 112 63 30 Nonqualified1 101 9 110 3 101 Unspecified2 5,426 9 5,435 9 5,399 Grand Total 19,225 1,297 20,522 6,465 11,307
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Monthly Statistics Report Updated 4/01/2019 Page 6 Petitions Filed Fiscal Year Total FY 1988 24 FY 1989 148 FY 1990 1,492 FY 1991 2,718 FY 1992 189 FY 1993 140 FY 1994 107 FY 1995 180 FY 1996 84 FY 1997 104 FY 1998 120 FY 1999 411 FY 2000 164 FY 2001 215 FY 2002 958 FY 2003 2,592 FY 2004 1,214 FY 2005 735 FY 2006 325 FY 2007 410 FY 2008 417 FY 2009 397 FY 2010 448 FY 2011 386 FY 2012 401 FY 2013 504 FY 2014 633 FY 2015 803 FY 2016 1,120 FY 2017 1,243 FY 2018 1,238 FY 2019 602 Total 20,522
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Monthly Statistics Report Updated 4/01/2019 Page 7 Adjudications Generally, petitions are not adjudicated in the same fiscal year as filed. On average, it takes 2 to 3 years to adjudicate a petition after it is fil ed.Fiscal Year Compensable Dismissed Total FY 1989 9 12 21 FY 1990 100 33 133 FY 1991 141 447 588 FY 1992 166 487 653 FY 1993 125 588 713 FY 1994 162 446 608 FY 1995 160 575 735 FY 1996 162 408 570 FY 1997 189 198 387 FY 1998 144 181 325 FY 1999 98 139 237 FY 2000 125 104 229 FY 2001 86 88 174 FY 2002 104 104 208 FY 2003 56 100 156 FY 2004 62 247 309 FY 2005 60 229 289 FY 2006 69 193 262 FY 2007 82 136 218 FY 2008 147 151 298 FY 2009 134 257 391 FY 2010 180 329 509 FY 2011 266 1,740 2,006 FY 2012 265 2,533 2,798 FY 2013 369 649 1,018 FY 2014 371 192 563 FY 2015 517 137 654 FY 2016 697 179 876 FY 2017 696 185 881 FY 2018 538 189 727 FY 2019 185 51 236 Total 6,465 11,307 17,772
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Monthly Statistics Report Updated 4/01/2019 Page 8 Awards Paid Fiscal Year Number of Compensated Awards Petitioners' Award Amount Attorneys' Fees/Costs Payments Number of Payments to Attorneys (Dismissed Cases) Attorneys' Fees/Costs Payments (Dismissed Cases) Number of Payments to Interim Attorneys' Interim Attorneys' Fees/Costs Payments Total Outlays FY 1989 6 $1,317,654.78 $54,107.14 0 $0.00 0 $0.00 $1,371,761.92 FY 1990 88 $53,252,510.46 $1,379,005.79 4 $57,699.48 0 $0.00 $54,689,215.73 FY 1991 114 $95,980,493.16 $2,364,758.91 30 $496,809.21 0 $0.00 $98,842,061.28 FY 1992 130 $94,538,071.30 $3,001,927.97 118 $1,212,677.14 0 $0.00 $98,752,676.41 FY 1993 162 $119,693,267.87 $3,262,453.06 272 $2,447,273.05 0 $0.00 $125,402,993.98 FY 1994 158 $98,151,900.08 $3,571,179.67 335 $3,166,527.38 0 $0.00 $104,889,607.13 FY 1995 169 $104,085,265.72 $3,652,770.57 221 $2,276,136.32 0 $0.00 $110,014,172.61 FY 1996 163 $100,425,325.22 $3,096,231.96 216 $2,364,122.71 0 $0.00 $105,885,679.89 FY 1997 179 $113,620,171.68 $3,898,284.77 142 $1,879,418.14 0 $0.00 $119,397,874.59 FY 1998 165 $127,546,009.19 $4,002,278.55 121 $1,936,065.50 0 $0.00 $133,484,353.24 FY 1999 96 $95,917,680.51 $2,799,910.85 117 $2,306,957.40 0 $0.00 $101,024,548.76 FY 2000 136 $125,945,195.64 $4,112,369.02 80 $1,724,451.08 0 $0.00 $131,782,015.74 FY 2001 97 $105,878,632.57 $3,373,865.88 57 $2,066,224.67 0 $0.00 $111,318,723.12 FY 2002 80 $59,799,604.39 $2,653,598.89 50 $656,244.79 0 $0.00 $63,109,448.07 FY 2003 65 $82,816,240.07 $3,147,755.12 69 $1,545,654.87 0 $0.00 $87,509,650.06 FY 2004 57 $61,933,764.20 $3,079,328.55 69 $1,198,615.96 0 $0.00 $66,211,708.71 FY 2005 64 $55,065,797.01 $2,694,664.03 71 $1,790,587.29 0 $0.00 $59,551,048.33 FY 2006 68 $48,746,162.74 $2,441,199.02 54 $1,353,632.61 0 $0.00 $52,540,994.37 FY 2007 82 $91,449,433.89 $4,034,154.37 61 $1,692,020.25 0 $0.00 $97,175,608.51 FY 2008 141 $75,716,552.06 $5,191,770.83 74 $2,531,394.20 2 $117,265.31 $83,556,982.40 FY 2009 131 $74,142,490.58 $5,404,711.98 36 $1,557,139.53 28 $4,241,362.55 $85,345,704.64 FY 2010 173 $179,387,341.30 $5,961,744.40 59 $1,933,550.09 22 $1,978,803.88 $189,261,439.67 FY 2011 251 $216,319,428.47 $9,572,042.87 403 $5,589,417.19 28 $2,001,770.91 $233,482,659.44 FY 2012 249 $163,491,998.82 $9,241,427.33 1,020 $8,649,676.56 37 $5,420,257.99 $186,803,360.70 FY 2013 375 $254,666,326.70 $13,543,099.70 704 $7,012,615.42 50 $1,454,851.74 $276,676,893.56 FY 2014 365 $202,084,196.12 $12,161,422.64 508 $6,824,566.68 38 $2,493,460.73 $223,563,646.17 FY 2015 508 $204,137,880.22 $14,445,776.29 118 $3,546,785.14 50 $3,089,497.68 $225,219,939.33 FY 2016 689 $230,140,251.20 $16,225,881.12 99 $2,741,830.10 59 $3,502,709.91 $252,610,672.33
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Monthly Statistics Report Updated 4/01/2019 Page 9 Fiscal Year Number of Compensated Awards Petitioners' Award Amount Attorneys' Fees/Costs Payments Number of Payments to Attorneys (Dismissed Cases) Attorneys' Fees/Costs Payments (Dismissed Cases) Number of Payments to Interim Attorneys' Interim Attorneys' Fees/Costs Payments Total Outlays FY 2017 706 $252,245,932.78 $22,045,785.00 131 $4,441,724.32 52 $3,363,464.24 $282,096,906.34 FY 2018 522 $199,658,492.49 $16,658,440.14 111 $5,091,269.45 58 $5,220,096.78 $226,628,298.86 FY 2019 276 $119,344,851.56 $8,091,796.70 41 $1,985,117.67 30 $2,064,009.07 $131,485,775.00 Total 6,465 $3,807,498,922.78 $195,163,743.12 5,391 $82,076,204.20 454 $34,947,550.79 $4,119,686,42.89 NOTE: Some previous fiscal year data has been updated as a result of the receipt and entry of data from documents issued by the Court and system updates which included petitioners' costs reimbursements in outlay totals, "Compensated" are petitions that have been paid as a result of a settlement between parties or a decision made by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Court). The # of awards is the number of petitioner awards paid, including the attorneys' fees/costs payments, if made during a fiscal year. However, petitioners' awards and attorneys' fees/costs are not necessarily paid in the same fiscal year as when the petitions/ petitions are determined compensable. "Dismissed" includes the # of payments to attorneys and the total amount of payments for attorneys' fees/costs per fiscal year. The VICP will pay attorneys' fees/costs related to the petition , whether or not the petition/ petition is awarded compensation by the Court, if certain minimal requirements are met. "Total Outlays" are the total amount of funds expended for compensation and attorneys' fees/costs from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Trust Fund by fiscal year. Since influenza vaccines (vaccines administered to large numbers of adults each year) were added to the VICP in 2005, many ad ult petition s related to that vaccine have been filed, thus changing the proportion of children to adults receiving compensation.
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program | Official web site of the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 10:48
Vaccines save lives by preventing disease.
Most people who get vaccines have no serious problems. Vaccines, like any medicines, can cause side effects, but most are very rare and very mild. Some health problems that follow vaccinations are not caused by vaccines.
In very rare cases, a vaccine can cause a serious problem, such as a severe allergic reaction. In these instances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) may provide financial compensation to individuals who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine. Even in cases in which such a finding is not made, petitioners may receive compensation through a settlement.
How does the VICP work?The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions.
It was created in the 1980s, after lawsuits against vaccine companies and health care providers threatened to cause vaccine shortages and reduce U.S. vaccination rates, which could have caused a resurgence of vaccine preventable diseases.
Any individual, of any age, who received a covered vaccine and believes he or she was injured as a result, can file a petition. Parents, legal guardians and legal representatives can file on behalf of children, disabled adults, and individuals who are deceased.
What is the process?An individual files a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services medical staff reviews the petition, determines if it meets the medical criteria for compensation and makes a preliminary recommendation.The U.S. Department of Justice develops a report that includes the medical recommendation and legal analysis and submits it to the Court.The report is presented to a court-appointed special master, who decides whether the petitioner should be compensated, often after holding a hearing in which both parties can present evidence. If compensation is awarded, the special master determines the amount and type of compensation.The Court orders the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to award compensation. Even if the petition is dismissed, if certain requirements are met, the Court may order the Department to pay attorneys' fees and costs. The special master's decision may be appealed and petitioners who reject the decision of the court (or withdraw their petitions within certain timelines) may file a claim in civil court against the vaccine company and/or the health care provider who administered the vaccine.
DisclaimerThe content of this website reflects the current thinking of the United States Department of Health and Human Services on the topics addressed and does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind the Department or the public. The ultimate decision about the scope of the statutes authorizing the VICP is within the authority of the United States Court of Federal Claims, which is responsible for resolving petitions for compensation under the VICP.
If you have additional questions, call: 1-800-338-2382.
VAERS - Download Data File
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 10:46
Please note that VAERS staff follow-up on all serious and other selected adverse event reports to obtain additional medical, laboratory, and/or autopsy records to help understand the concern raised. However, in general coding terms in VAERS do not change based on the information received during the follow-up process. VAERS data should be used with caution as numbers and conditions do not reflect data collected during follow-up. Note that the inclusion of events in VAERS data does not imply causality.
For more information, please call the VAERS Information Line toll-free at (800) 822-7967 or e-mail to info@vaers.org.
A Vaccine for Depression? - Nautilus - Pocket
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 12:50

Ketamine's remarkable effect bolsters a new theory of mental illness.
O ne sunny day this fall, I caught a glimpse of the new psychiatry. At a mental hospital near Yale University, a depressed patient was being injected with ketamine. For 40 minutes, the drug flowed into her arm, bound for cells in her brain. If it acts as expected, ketamine will become the first drug to quickly stop suicidal drive, with the potential to save many lives. Other studies of ketamine are evaluating its effect as a vaccination against depression and post-traumatic stress. Between them, the goal is nothing less than to redefine our understanding of mental illness itself.
Depression is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 30 percent of Americans at some point in their lives. But despite half a century of research, ubiquitous advertising, and blockbuster sales, antidepressant drugs just don't work very well. They treat depression as if it were caused by a chemical imbalance: Pump in more of one key ingredient, or sop up another, and you will have fixed the problem.
But the correspondence between these chemicals (like serotonin) and depression is relatively weak. An emerging competitive theory, inspired in part by ketamine's effectiveness, has it that psychiatric disease is less about chemical imbalance than structural changes in the brain'--and that a main cause of these changes is psychological stress. ''I really do think stress is to mental illness as cigarettes are to heart disease,'' says Gerard Sanacora, the psychiatry professor running the ketamine trial at Yale.
The theory describes stress grinding down individual neurons gradually, as storms do roof shingles. This, in turn, changes the nature of their connections to one another and the structure of the brain. Ketamine, along with some similar molecules, acts to strengthen the neuron against that damage, affecting not just the chemistry of the brain but also its structure.
Mental hospitals don't usually see patients until they break: a brain shaped by vulnerable genes, wrecked by the stress of loss or trauma. This isn't how it works with other sicknesses: heart disease, cancer, AIDS. Detected early, these conditions can often be managed. Crises averted.
If Sanacora and like-minded researchers are right, we may be on the cusp of a sea change that allows for a similar approach to mental health. The new approaches may prevent mental illness before it hits, by delivering a vaccination for the mind.
T he need for progress could hardly be more urgent: Of all illnesses, neuropsychiatric diseases are estimated to put the heaviest burden on society. Nearly half of Americans are affected by some sort of mental disorder at some point in life. Suicides, 90 percent of them among the mentally ill, take 40,000 Americans every year'--more than murder or car crashes. Since 2005, the suicide rate among U.S. war veterans has nearly doubled; in the first half of 2012, more service members died by suicide than in combat. Few medical failures are more flagrant than psychiatry's impotence to save these people.
At the same time, treatment can be woefully ineffective. Less than a third of depression patients respond to a drug within 14 weeks, according to the 2006 STAR*D trial, the largest clinical test of antidepressants. After six months and multiple drugs, only half of patients recovered. Thirty-three percent don't respond to any drug at all. When the pills do work, they are slow'--a deadly risk, given that people with mood disorders kill themselves more often than anyone else.
Our treatments work so poorly in part because we don't really understand what they do. Serotonin, the most common target for current antidepressants, is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that carries messages in the brain. But it was first found, in 1935, in the gut. Serotonin's name comes from blood serum, where Cleveland Clinic scientists discovered it in 1948, noting that the chemical helps with clotting.
When Betty Twarog, a 25-year-old Ph.D. student at Harvard, later found serotonin in neurons, she wasn't taken seriously. At that time, brain signals were thought to be purely electrical impulses that leapt between cells. Twarog called this old idea ''sheer intellectual idiocy,'' as Gary Greenberg reports in his book Manufacturing Depression . Working at the Cleveland Clinic in 1953, she found serotonin in the brains of rats, dogs, and monkeys.
K: One obstacle to the therapeutic use of ketamine is its reputation as a recreational drug. Photo by: Wikipedia
Twarog didn't know yet what serotonin was doing there, but a clue came soon from D.W. Woolley, a biochemist at Rockefeller University, in New York. In 1954 Woolley pointed out in a paper that lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, is chemically similar to serotonin and is processed similarly in the brain. Since LSD ''calls forth in man mental disturbances resembling those of schizophrenia,'' he wrote, another drug affecting serotonin might be used to treat schizophrenia. Twarog's original paper would take years to percolate through the male-dominated field, but her work and Woolley's would become accepted as evidence of how important chemicals like serotonin could be to brain signaling. The discovery was a breakthrough for neuroscience'--but it also birthed a misleading, long-lived belief about mental illness. ''The thesis of this paper,'' Woolley wrote, ''is that ... serotonin has an important role to play in mental processes and that the suppression of its action results in a mental disorder. In other words, it is the lack of serotonin which is the cause of the disorder.''
Around the same time, other researchers stumbled on the first antidepressants, iproniazid and imipramine. Intended to treat tuberculosis and schizophrenia, respectively, these drugs also happened to make some patients ''inappropriately happy.'' Researchers found that the drugs elevated levels of serotonin, along with related neurotransmitters.1 This began a huge search to find chemically similar drugs that worked better as antidepressants.
Drug companies often say mood disorder is caused by a ''chemical imbalance.'' But the evidence for this story is slim.
Iproniazid was the first of a class of medicines that block an enzyme from breaking down serotonin, as well as dopamine and norepinephrine, two other neurotransmitters. The chief downside of these drugs, called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), is that they require a strict diet: no aged cheeses, wine, beer, or cured meats. Combined with these foods, the drugs can cause deadly spikes in blood pressure, a hassle that often inclines patients to ditch them. (The novelist David Foster Wallace took an MAOI for decades; in part to escape the food restrictions, he got off the drug months before his suicide.) On the other hand, tricyclic antidepressants, like imipramine, work by blocking the re-absorption of serotonin and norepinephrine. The cost is a host of side effects, from dry mouth to weight gain to erectile dysfunction and loss of libido.
The next generation of drugs focused on fine-tuning the same mechanisms, and had somewhat improved side effects. A new class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, arrived in the '80s, bringing huge commercial successes like Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. Since SSRIs are more specifically focused on serotonin, they were heralded as cleaner options; but they are not much more effective at lifting mood than the older drugs. We often take for granted the diabetes analogy for depression: If you are depressed, it is because you need serotonin, just as a diabetic person needs insulin. Drug companies often say that mood disorder is caused by a ''chemical imbalance'' in serotonin or a signal like it. One ad for Zoloft, the blockbuster antidepressant, featured a sad white circle crawling cutely beneath a gray cloud; the voice-over boasted that depression may be ''related to an imbalance of natural chemicals in the brain. Zoloft works to correct this imbalance.''
But the evidence for this story is slim. Prozac raises serotonin levels within hours yet doesn't change mood for weeks. When scientists deplete serotonin in healthy people, it does not make them sad. And when doctors measure serotonin levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of depressed people, they do not find a consistent deficiency; one 2008 study even found increased levels of serotonin in depressed people's brains. The drug tianeptine, discovered in the late '80s, decreases serotonin levels yet relieves depression. And studies have shown that people falling in love show lower, not higher, levels of serotonin.
Serotonin is clearly not just a feel-good chemical. If a serotonin-based drug like Zoloft makes you happier, it works in some other, indirect way. As psychiatrist Ronald Pies, editor of Psychiatric Times, put it in 2011, ''The 'chemical imbalance' notion was always a kind of urban legend'--never a theory seriously propounded by well-informed psychiatrists.''
Meanwhile, as serotonin falls far short of explaining depression, a more likely candidate is emerging.
S tress in moderation is not harmful, but motivating. Cortisol, a stress hormone, cycles daily; synchronizing with sunlight, it helps arouse us for the day. In health, the hormone spikes when we need to pay attention: a test, a job interview, a date. Studies on rodents and humans confirm that brief, mild increases in stress are good for the brain, particularly for memory. During these spikes, neurons are born and expand in the hippocampus, the seahorse-shaped finger of tissue responsible for forming new memories and understanding three-dimensional space, and rodents learn better. The student who gets stressed while studying is more alert and remembers more than the one who feels no urgency'--up to a point. The problem comes when stress is either too intense at one moment, as in a rape or violent attack, or too sustained, as in long-term poverty, neglect, or abuse.
ACCENTUATING THE NEGATIVE '...: Under prolonged stress, neurons in the amygdala, the brain's fear center, expand like overgrown shrubbery and become hyperactive. Photo by: Image from ''Nature Reviews Neuroscience''*
Stress changes brain architecture differently, depending on how long it lasts. After chronic stress, like childhood trauma, the effect of hormones on brain cells inverts: Neurons in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for mood and impulse control, start to shrink, while those in the amygdala, the almond-shaped seat of fear and anxiety, expand like overgrown shrubbery. But people are differently vulnerable, depending on genes and on prior life experience. ''If you take two people and subject them to the same stressful event, for one of them it will be harmful and for the other, no,'' says Maurizio Popoli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Milan. ''It is because they perceive the stress differently.''
'... AND ELIMINATING THE POSITIVE: In the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, regions responsible for memory, attention, and self-control, chronic stress shrinks the branches of neurons. Photo by: Image from ''Nature Reviews Neuroscience''*
Stress hormones' most important effect is to flood parts of the brain with glutamate, the brain's ''go'' signal. Used by 80 percent of neurons in the cortex, this key neurotransmitter drives mental processes from memory to mood. Glutamate triggers neurons to generate sudden bursts of electricity that release more glutamate, which can in turn trigger electrical bursts in nearby neurons.
This cellular signaling is called excitation and is fundamental to how information is processed in the brain. Like sexual excitability, it ebbs and flows; a ''refractory period'' follows each neural firing, or spike, during which the neuron cannot be excited. Other neurotransmitters, like serotonin, are called ''modulatory,'' because they change the sensitivity of neurons that secrete glutamate (among others). Less than 1 percent of neurons in the cortex signal with these modulators. As Popoli puts it, these modulators are ''very important for fine-tuning the machine. But the machine itself is an excitatory machine,'' driven by glutamate.
Glutamate moves like a ship between neurons. The sea it sails is called the synapse, the shore it departs from is the presynaptic neuron, and the destination, on the synapse's far side, is the postsynaptic neuron. Another component, called a glial cell, works to remove glutamate ships from the synapse and recycle them. The glutamate system is affected at each of these points by stress hormones: They push the first neuron to send more ships, interfere with the glial cell's recycling, and block the docks on the distant shore. All of these changes increase the number of glutamate ships left in the synapse, flooding the cell with aberrant signals. Indeed, depressed people's brains, or at least animal models of depression, show all three of these problems, leading to long-lasting excesses of glutamate in key portions of the brain.
This superabundance of glutamate makes a neuron fire sooner than it should and triggers a cascade of signals inside the cell, damaging its structure. Glutamate binds to the neuron and allows in a flood of positively charged particles, including calcium, which are vital to making a neuron fire. But in excess, calcium activates enzymes that break down the neuron. Each neuron has tree-like branches, called dendrites, which are used to communicate with other neurons. When overdosed in glutamate, this canopy of branches shrinks, like a plant doused with herbicide. First the ''twigs,'' called spines, disappear. After prolonged stress, whole branches recede.
This harmful process, called excitotoxicity, is thought to be involved in bipolar disorder, depression, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's. In depressed brains, many areas are shrunken and underactive, including part of the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. The brain changes that cause mood disorders, Sanacora and his colleagues believe, come in part from chronic stress overexciting neurons with glutamate.
Ketamine works faster than any other drug, and for up to 65 percent of patients who don't respond to existing treatments.
We usually think of our brains' adaptability as a good thing. Just as neurons grow during development, the wiring in the adult brain can change. After strokes or other brain injuries, neural signals re-route themselves around damage, allowing even very old people to re-learn lost skills. Psychotherapy and meditation can change patterns of brain activity in ways that persist after treatment. 2
But the neuroplasticity hypothesis of mental disorder highlights the drawback of such neural liberalism: The human brain's flexibility allows regeneration, but also renders it vulnerable to being altered by stress. Subjected to the trauma of war, a bad breakup, or a bout of homelessness, a person with a genetic predisposition may find his mind stuck in a loop of chronic fear or depression.
The mood drugs in wide use now focus on modulatory neurotransmitters like serotonin. Ketamine, however, works directly on glutamate signaling. If ketamine is tapping into the root of the problem, this might explain why it works faster, better, and more often than more popular antidepressants.
Not everybody accepts the idea that glutamate and stress are central to depression. Some experts see the effects of stress as downstream effects, not the root cause of mood disorder. ''The mechanism of action of a good treatment does not have to be the inverse of a disease mechanism,'' says Eric Nestler, an expert on addiction and depression at Mt. Sinai Hospital. Serotonin drugs and ketamine may affect depression indirectly, without a serotonin or glutamate abnormality at the root of depression. Nestler also points out that depression probably includes a diversity of subtypes, without any single cause. He treats depression not as a unified disease, but a constellation of symptoms, each with discrete neural roots.
Even so, we do know that ketamine works faster than any other drug, and for up to 65 percent of patients who don't respond to existing treatments.
I f ketamine turns out to be a psychiatric savior, it will be one with a surprising history. Since 1962 it has been a go-to anesthetic for children in emergency rooms, because it kills pain, muffles consciousness, and rarely causes breathing or heart problems. Children given ketamine enter ''a trance like state of sensory isolation'' free of pain, memory, and awareness, as one review put it. Emergency room doctors rely on ketamine to make sure kids have no awareness or memory of, say, the trauma of having a shattered arm set back into place.
On the other hand, ketamine is a well-known recreational drug with potential for abuse. The dissociative trip caused by a moderate dose of ketamine has made it popular in clubs and raves since the 1970s, especially in Asian cities like Hong Kong. Its sedative effect made ''special K'' a date-rape drug. Doctors, patients, and the government agencies that fund research are often suspicious of a drug known to cause hallucinations, as they have been of psychedelics like psilocybin and ecstasy, despite their potential for treating depression or anxiety. Each tends to show fast results after a single dose, like ketamine.
In 1999, the same year ketamine was declared a controlled substance in the United States, Yale researchers happened upon its antidepressant power. A team co-led by Dennis Charney, now dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, in Manhattan, and John Krystal, now chair of the department of psychiatry at Yale, used ketamine to study glutamate: Since ketamine was known to block glutamate receptors, it might show what role the excitatory neurotransmitter plays in the depressed brain. To their surprise, they found that the drug made patients feel better, often within hours. A single dose, much smaller than what's used for anesthesia, tended to last for weeks.
Since 1999, a dozen studies have replicated the results, often on patients who failed to respond to other drugs. Ketamine also works for bipolar people in depressive phases, without triggering mania, as classic antidepressants sometimes do. The majority of depressed people studied have responded to ketamine. For patients who are often suicidal, this fast response can be lifesaving. Some 50 doctors in the U.S. now offer ketamine infusions for depression.
The first evidence in humans that ketamine might work to prevent mood disorder came from the battlefield.
Many leaders in the field see the emergence of ketamine, and future fast antidepressants based on glutamate, as a great leap forward for the field. ''In my mind,'' Sanacora told NPR recently, ''it is the most exciting development in mood-disorder treatment in the last 50 years.''
Ketamine and the old antidepressants both result in fuller neural ''trees,'' but by different routes, at different speeds. Prozac and other serotonin-based drugs take four to six weeks to kick in. A landmark 2003 Science study by Columbia University's Ren(C) Hen and Ronald Duman, now at Yale, found that serotonin-based antidepressants only work if they spur birth of new neurons in the hippocampus.3 These new neurons take four to six weeks to mature, roughly the same amount of time that conventional antidepressants take to lift a depressed person's spirits. A 2010 paper argued that SSRIs like Prozac may work by dampening glutamate release in response to stress. So even old-school antidepressants, when they work, may act on the glutamate system.
Ketamine, on the other hand, seems to act directly on mature neurons, fertilizing them to grow branches more robustly, or protecting them against damage. Ketamine's key effect is to block glutamate receptors of one type. This causes less calcium to flow into the neuron, reducing the risk of the neuron shrinking or self-destructing.
Today ketamine is offered by psychiatrists and anesthesiologists, at prices ranging from $300 to $1,000 per dose, for people who are morbidly depressed or have chronic pain. Insurance doesn't usually cover the cost of an infusion, because even though it is FDA approved as an anesthetic, it has not been approved as an antidepressant. Each new use of a drug requires multiphase clinical trials for FDA approval, usually funded by pharmaceutical companies, which have little incentive to invest in a drug they can't monetize. Ketamine got its original patent in 1966, and that expired long ago. So even if drug companies steered ketamine through the expensive approval process as an antidepressant, doctors could still prescribe the cheap, generic versions already available for anesthesia instead of pricier, patented versions intended for depression. This is an old story. Lithium carbonate, which also acts on glutamate receptors, is still one of the most reliable drugs for treating bipolar disorder. But lithium, which is an element, can't be patented. So, despite their effectiveness, these generic pills do not attract many corporate dollars.
O ne tough truth about mood disorder is that not all forms may ever be curable. Brain-imaging studies have shown structural differences between the white matter in healthy versus bipolar brains. Differences in personality and sleep patterns also persist in bipolar people, even between manic or depressed episodes. The structural changes likely have genetic roots, and once they arise, are difficult or impossible to reverse.
Nevertheless, if a drug prevents a mood disorder from manifesting, it might prevent harmful anatomical changes from ever taking place. Just as a vaccine triggers the body to arm itself against a particular virus, a drug like ketamine, given before the crisis that triggers a breakdown, might protect the brain against the effects of stress. Like a vaccine, the drug might only need to be given once for lasting resilience.
The first evidence in humans that ketamine might work to prevent mood disorder, not just treat it, came from the battlefield. U.S. soldiers injured in Iraq were treated with various anesthetics, including ketamine. Since ketamine can cause hallucinations, surgeons worried that it might make trauma worse: Scary combat-related hallucinations could put soldiers at higher risk of mental illness.
But they found the opposite. Out of 25,000 service members wounded in Iraq between 2002 and 2007, the data showed, veterans treated with ketamine for burns had lower rates of post-traumatic stress disorder. Among civilians and soldiers hospitalized for burns, as many as 45 percent end up with PTSD. But soldiers treated with ketamine on the battlefield got PTSD about half as often'--even though they had more severe burns requiring more surgeries and longer hospital stays.
Mental hospitals don't usually see patients until they break: This isn't how it works with other sicknesses.
Rebecca Brachman, a neuroscientist and recent doctoral graduate from Columbia University, and her supervisor, Christine Denny, tried giving ketamine to mice and then exposing them to stressors.4 The researchers tested several types of stress, including one in which subject mice are ''bullied'' by more aggressive mice for two weeks. After this daily hazing, mice ordinarily develop the rodent equivalent of PTSD and depression: freezing in a new space, refusing to interact with other mice, and not moving in a forced swim test. But the mice ''vaccinated'' before the bullying fared far better: They didn't act depressed afterward. Brachman and Denny found that the protection from a single dose lasted for weeks, even though ketamine only stays in the body for a few hours. Though they haven't tested it yet, it is possible that, like a vaccine, this protection could last for much longer. Their rodent research suggests ketamine may work even better as a prophylactic than as an antidepressant.
Denny says that we may eventually routinely use ketamine to prevent PTSD in combat veterans, rape victims, or survivors of car crashes or mass shootings. Ketamine seems to be most strongly protective in mice when given before stressful events, Brachman says. Since we can't predict most traumatic life events, this would limit the drug's utility. But if injected after a trauma yet before the psychological damage sets in'--as with the burned soldiers'--ketamine may still be protective. Denny is investigating this possibility now.
And in some situations, violent shock is predictable. ''You don't know when an earthquake will happen,'' Brachman says, ''but we do know when we're about to send U.N. workers into an area devastated by a disaster.'' When people know they are going into an acutely traumatic situation, she imagines, a preventive drug given ahead of time might protect their brains from the long-lasting effects of stress. Think of earthquake aid workers, fire fighters, or rescue workers in Syria, dragging mangled people from rubble.
The idea that a single injection could prevent mood disorders is a radical departure from current psychiatric thinking. But there are some precedents: Talk therapy and mindfulness meditation have long focused on building resilience to stress. Bipolar patients take ''neuroprotective'' drugs like lithium not to treat current symptoms, but as a protection against future breakdowns, for instance.
Not everyone is confident that ketamine is a safe bet, to be sure. Ketamine's long-term safety is not known, says Nestler. No lasting ill effects are seen in anesthesia patients, who take much larger doses, but they haven't received routine treatments, the way it is administered as an antidepressant.
Plus, ketamine's reputation as a street drug is tough to shake. Many doctors consider the hallucinogenic an unacceptable risk for patients, who they fear may develop a taste for the high. Yale's Sanacora points out that patients in his trial, who are screened for drug or alcohol abuse, often find the trip feeling unpleasant or disturbing. The psychedelic experience is surreal, he points out, not the mellowing pleasure of a drug like alcohol, Xanax, or heroin. Extreme ketamine trips, referred to as falling in a ''K-hole,'' are often compared to near-death or unsettling out-of-body experiences; they hardly sound like fun to most people.
But since the antidepressant dose is far lower than the one taken to get high, many patients don't even notice. Drug companies are also competing to develop a less trippy alternative. Johnson & Johnson is testing a nasal spray form of esketamine, a version of ketamine with less psychoactive impact. A company called Naurex has finished phase II trials of Rapastinel, an injected drug that partially blocks the same glutamate receptors as ketamine, but is not psychedelic.
The ketamine pioneers emphasize that their prevention research is the beginning of a new road, raising hopes, rather than offering an immediate cure. Brachman and Denny stress that ketamine may not be the drug that ultimately makes it into widespread use; like the anti-tubercular drugs in the 1950s that spawned the antidepressant era, it is the first to trail-blaze this new class of psychiatric prophylactics. ''What this work shows us is that we can intervene beforehand and create some sort of self-reinforcing stress resilience,'' Brachman says. ''We didn't know that before; that's what's important. Everything else'--should we use it, how should we use it'--that all comes later.''
Taylor Beck is a journalist based in Brooklyn. Before writing, he worked in brain imaging labs studying memory, aging, and dreams.
1. Maxwell, R.A. & Eckhardt, S.B. Drug Discovery Humana Press, New York, NY (1990).
2. Kennedy, S.H., et al. Differences in brain glucose metabolism between responders to CBT and venlafaxine in a 16-week randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Psychiatry 164, 778-788 (2007).
3. Vogel, G. Depression drugs' powers may rest on new neurons. Science 301, 757 (2003).
4. Brachman, R.A., et al. Ketamine as a prophylactic against stress-induced depressive-like behavior. Biological Psychiatry (2015). Retrieved from DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.04.022
*Images reprinted from Popoli, M., Yan, Z., McEwen, B., & Sanacora, G. The stressed synapse: the impact of stress and glucocorticoids on glutamate transmission. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 13, 22-37 (2011).
Mysterious Drug-Resistant Germ Deemed An "Urgent Threat" Is Quietly Sweeping The Globe | Zero Hedge
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 14:10
Thanks to the overprescription of antimicrobial drugs and use of antifungicides in crop production, a relatively new germ that preys on people with weakened immune systems is rapidly spreading across the globe, according to the New York Times.
A projection of the C. auris fungus on a microscope slide.CreditMelissa Golden for The New York TimesThe infection - a fungus known as Candida auris, kills almost half of all patients who contract it within 90 days, according to the CDC - as it's impervious to most major antifungal medications. First described in 2009 after a 70-year-old Japanese woman showed up at a Tokyo hospital with C. auris in her ear canal, the aggressive yeast infection has spread across Asia and Europe - arriving in the US by 2016.
The earliest known case in the United States involved a woman who arrived at a New York hospital on May 6, 2013, seeking care for respiratory failure. She was 61 and from the United Arab Emirates, and she died a week later, after testing positive for the fungus. At the time, the hospital hadn't thought much of it, but three years later, it sent the case to the C.D.C. after reading the agency's June 2016 advisory. -NYT
"It is a creature from the black lagoon," said the CDC's Dr. Tom Chiller, who heads the fungal branch. "It bubbled up and now it is everywhere."
In the last five years alone, it it has swept through a hospital in Spain, hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, spread throughout India, Pakistan and South Africa, and forced a prestigious British medical center to close its ICU for nearly two weeks.
By the end of June 2016, a scientific paper reported ''an ongoing outbreak of 50 C. auris cases'' at Royal Brompton, and the hospital took an extraordinary step: It shut down its I.C.U. for 11 days, moving intensive care patients to another floor, again with no announcement.
Days later the hospital finally acknowledged to a newspaper that it had a problem. A headline in The Daily Telegraph warned, ''Intensive Care Unit Closed After Deadly New Superbug Emerges in the U.K.'' (Later research said there were eventually 72 total cases, though some patients were only carriers and were not infected by the fungus.) -NYT
After C. auris reached New York, New Jersey and Illinois, the CDC added it to a list of germs deemed "urgent threats."
Last May, an elderly man who was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery was found to be infected with the drug-resistant candida. He died after 90 days in the hospital, however C. auris did not according to the Times. According to tests, the germ was everywhere in his room - to such a degree that the hospital required special cleaning equipment and had to rip out ceiling and floor tiles to get rid of it.
"Everything was positive '-- the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump," said Hospital president Dr. Scott Lorin. "The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive."
Dr. Shawn Lockhart, a fungal disease expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, holding a microscope slide with inactive Candida auris collected from an American patient.Why is this happening?
Simply put, fungi are evolving defenses to resist and survive modern medications. "It's an enormous problem," said Imperial College of London fungal epidemiology professor Matthew Fisher, who co-authored a recent scientific review on the rise of resistant fungi. "We depend on being able to treat those patients with antifungals."
The C.D.C. investigators theorized that C. auris started in Asia and spread across the globe. But when the agency compared the entire genome of auris samples from India and Pakistan, Venezuela, South Africa and Japan, it found that its origin was not a single place, and there was not a single auris strain.
The genome sequencing showed that there were four distinctive versions of the fungus, with differences so profound that they suggested that these strains had diverged thousands of years ago and emerged as resistant pathogens from harmless environmental strains in four different places at the same time. -NYT
"Somehow, it made a jump almost seemingly simultaneously, and seemed to spread and it is drug resistant, which is really mind-boggling," said CDC fungal expert Dr. Snigdha Vallabhaneni.
While various theories exist as to why C. auris has made a grand entrance, Dutch microbiologist Jacques Meis believes the drug-resistant fungi are developing thanks to the heavy use of fungicides on crops.
Dr. Meis visited the C.D.C. last summer to share research and theorize that the same thing is happening with C. auris, which is also found in the soil: Azoles have created an environment so hostile that the fungi are evolving, with resistant strains surviving.
This is similar to concerns that resistant bacteria are growing because of excessive use of antibiotics in livestock for health and growth promotion. As with antibiotics in farm animals, azoles are used widely on crops. -NYT
"On everything '-- potatoes, beans, wheat, anything you can think of, tomatoes, onions," said Dr. Johanna Rodes, an infectious disease expert at Imperial College London. "We are driving this with the use of antifungicides on crops."
Keeping it quiet
In 2015, Dr. Rhodes received a panicked call from the Royal Brompton Hospital medical research center outside of London, where C. auris had taken root months earlier. The hospital had no idea how to get rid of it.
Dr. Johanna Rhodes, an infectious disease expert at Imperial College London. "We are driving this with the use of antifungicides on crops," she said of drug-resistant germs.CreditTom Jamieson for The New York Times"We have no idea where it's coming from. We've never heard of it. It's just spread like wildfire," Rhodes was told, before she helped them clean it up. Under her direction, hospital workers used a special aerosol devices to spray hydrogen peroxide around a room which housed a patient with the germ - with the theory being that the vapor would permeate the entire room.
After one week of saturating the room, they put a "settle plate" in the middle of it with a gel at the bottom that would allow any remaining microbes to grow.
Only one grew back; C. auris. And officials were scrambling to keep a lid on it.
It was spreading, but word of it was not. The hospital, a specialty lung and heart center that draws wealthy patients from the Middle East and around Europe, alerted the British government and told infected patients, but made no public announcement.
''There was no need to put out a news release during the outbreak,'' said Oliver Wilkinson, a spokesman for the hospital.
This hushed panic is playing out in hospitals around the world. Individual institutions and national, state and local governments have been reluctant to publicize outbreaks of resistant infections, arguing there is no point in scaring patients '-- or prospective ones. -NYT
And while the Brompton Hospital case did make headlines, the issue remaied largely out of the spotlight internationally - despite an even larger outbreak in Valencia, Spain occurring at virtually the same time at the 992-bed Hospital Universitari i Polit¨cnic La Fe. Unknown to the public or unaffected patients, 372 people had become "colonized" with the germ - meaning it was on their bodies but they had not yet contracted it. Of those, 85 patients developed bloodstream infections, and 41% of those died within 30 days.
And while other prominent strains of Candida have not developed significant resistance to drugs, over 90% of C. auris infections are resistant to at least one drug, while 30% are resistant to two or more drugs.
According to Connecticut's deputy state epidemiologist Dr. Lynn Sosa, C. auris is now "the top" threat among resident infections.
"It's pretty much unbeatable and difficult to identity."
The Purge
Aussie Senate Rushes Thru Bill That Would Fine Social Media Companies For Not Taking Down 'Abhorrent' Content Fast Enough
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 14:20

upload filter by wattblicker on Pixabay
Following the Christchurch mosque shooting, the New Zealand government swiftly declared footage and photos of the shooting illegal and started rounding up citizens who violated the censorship body's new declaration. The government of its closest neighbor has responded to the tragedy in a similar fashion, outlawing the sharing of "abhorrent violent material."
Tragedies make for bad laws. And Australia -- while relatively short on tragedy -- has been crafting some supremely bad laws lately. The national security flag was waved around a bit to justify encryption-breaking mandates. Now, the government has rushed through a bill targeting content like the Christchurch shooter's livestream of his violent act.
The Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Bill 2019 has been loosely characterised as a crackdown on social media companies to prevent a recurrence of what transpired during the Christchurch massacre, where live video was streamed by the perpetrator and then shared by users.
But the text of the amendment [pdf] shows it takes a far wider brush than just to social media companies, instead hitting a wider range of online content storage and carriage service providers, with very few exceptions.
Abhorrent material is defined as relating to terrorism, murder, attempted murder, torture, rape or kidnapping.
This bill [PDF] was rushed through a Senate session with 18 other bills -- all of this accomplished in under 45 minutes. Such was the sense of urgency that Senate members voted sight unseen. Only one Senator even bothered asking for the text of the bill being voted on. It didn't matter. There was no text to be had at the time of the vote.
The bill demands the removal of "objectionable" content within a "reasonable amount of time." "Reasonable" isn't defined. The bill simply demands "expeditious removal" after notification and an initial fine of $168,000 for not being expeditious enough.
There's no legal definition of "expeditious" to rely on, so social media providers will apparently have to make do with the Attorney General's feelings.
[A]ttorney-General Christian Porter gave some indication during a televised briefing of how quickly individuals and companies might have to act.
''Using the Christchurch [massacre] example, I can't precisely say what would have been the point of time at which it would have been reasonable for [Facebook] to understand that this was live streaming on their site or playable on their site, and they should have removed it,'' Porter said.
''But what I can say - and I think every Australian would agree - [is] it was totally unreasonable that it should exist on this site for well over an hour without them taking any action whatsoever.
So, tech companies have an hour to remove anything the Australian government claims is abhorrent, whether or not the content was uploaded by an Australian. If this vague deadline isn't met, the fines begin escalating. $168,000 is merely the starting point.
Individuals can be hit with a three-year jail term, up to $2.1 million in fines, or both. Companies meanwhile can face fines up to $10.5 million or 10 percent of their annual turnover.
The Attorney General is inordinately proud of his plan to fine and lock up tech company execs because of content their users posted. He calls it a "world first" and says it's supported by a "near unanimous view amongst Australians." This does not mean Australians were consulted while the bill was being drafted. There was also no input from tech companies which will have to respond "expeditiously" to a vague, overbroad directive.
The AG stands united with a bunch of people he didn't speak to while talking up a bill no Senators read before passing. What could possibly go wrong?
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Screen time -- even before bed -- has little impact on teen well-being -- ScienceDaily
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 11:17
Data from more than 17,000 teenagers show little evidence of a relationship between screen time and well-being in adolescents. The study, published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, casts doubt on the widely accepted notion that spending time online, gaming, or watching TV, especially before bedtime, can damage young people's mental health.
"Implementing best practice statistical and methodological techniques we found little evidence for substantial negative associations between digital-screen engagement and adolescent well-being," said Amy Orben, a Researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and College Lecturer at the Queen's College, University of Oxford.
"While psychological science can be a powerful tool for understanding the link between screen use and adolescent well-being, it still routinely fails to supply stakeholders and the public with high-quality, transparent, and objective investigations into growing concerns about digital technologies. Analyzing three different datasets, which include improved measurements of screen time, we found little clear-cut evidence that screen time decreases adolescent well-being, even if the use of digital technology occurs directly before bedtime," said Professor Andrew Przybylski, Director of Research at the OII and coauthor on the study.
The research found that adolescents' total screen time per day had little impact on their mental health, both on weekends and weekdays. It also found that the use of digital screens 2 hours, 1 hour, or 30 minutes before bedtime didn't have clear associations with decreases in adolescent well-being, even though this is often taken as a fact by media reports and public debates.
Unlike other studies, the Oxford research analyzed data from Ireland, the US, and the UK to support its conclusions. The researchers used a rigorous methodology to gather how much time an adolescent spends on screens per day, including both self-reported measures and time-use diaries. This is important as many studies are based solely on self-reported digital technology use, even though recent work found only one third of participants give accurate accounts of how much time they spend online when asked after the fact.
The researchers were also able to create a comprehensive picture of teens' well-being, examining measures of psychosocial functioning, depression symptoms, self-esteem, and mood, with data provided by both young people and their caregivers.
Additionally, the final of the three studies conducted was preregistered, meaning that the researchers publicly documented the analyses they would run before they analyzed the data. This prevents hypothesizing after the results are known, a challenge for controversial research topics.
"Because technologies are embedded in our social and professional lives, research concerning digital-screen use and its effects on adolescent well-being is under increasing scrutiny," said Orben. "To retain influence and trust, robust and transparent research practices will need to become the norm -- not the exception. We hope our approach will set a new baseline for new research on the psychological study of technology," added Przybylski.
The insights come days ahead of the anticipated release of the UK government's new White Paper on Online Harms, which is expected to set out plans for legislation governing social media companies. This new study builds on previous work by Orben and Przybylski that used novel and transparent statistical approaches to show that technology use has a minuscule influence on adolescent well-being.
The study used data from Ireland, the US, and the UK. In Ireland, it covered 5,363 young people tracked under the Growing Up in Ireland project. In the US, the data covered 709 subjects of a variety of ages compiled by the United States Panel Study of Income Dynamics. And in the UK, the dataset included responses from 11,884 adolescents and their caregivers surveyed as part of the Millennium Cohort Study.
The Secret Trust Scores Companies Use to Judge Us All - WSJ
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 15:06

When you're logging in to a Starbucks account, booking an Airbnb or making a reservation on OpenTable, loads of information about you is crunched instantly into a single score, then evaluated along with other personal data to determine if you're a malicious bot or potentially risky human.
Often, that's done by a service called Sift, which is used by startups and established companies alike, including Instacart and LinkedIn, to help guard against credit-card and other forms of fraud. More than 16,000 signals inform the ''Sift score,'' a rating of 1 to 100, used to flag devices, credit cards and accounts owned by any entities'--human or otherwise'--that a company might want to block. This score is like a credit score, but for overall trustworthiness, says a company spokeswoman.
One key difference: There's no way to find out your Sift score.
Companies that use services like this often mention it in their privacy policies'--see Airbnb's here'--but how many of us realize our account behaviors are being shared with companies we've never heard of, in the name of security? How much of the information one company shares with these fraud-detection services is used by other clients of that service? And why can't we access any of this data ourselves, to update, correct or delete it?
According to Sift and competitors such as SecureAuth, which has a similar scoring system, this practice complies with regulations such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, which mandates that companies don't store data that can be used to identify real human beings unless they give permission.
Unfortunately GDPR, which went into effect a year ago, has rules that are often vaguely worded, says Lisa Hawke, vice president of security and compliance at the legal tech startup Everlaw. All of this will have to get sorted out in court, she adds.
Another concern for companies using fraud-detection software is just how stringent to be about flagging suspicious behavior. When the algorithms are not zealous enough, they let fraudsters through. And if they're overzealous, they lock out legitimate customers. Sift and its competitors market themselves as being better and smarter discriminators between ''good'' and ''bad'' customers.
Algorithms always have biases, and companies are often unaware of what those might be unless they've conducted an audit, something that's not yet standard practice.
''Sift regularly evaluates the performance of our models and tries to minimize bias and variance in order to maximize accuracy,'' says a Sift spokeswoman.
''While we don't perform audits of our customers' systems for bias, we enable the organizations that use our platform to have as much visibility as possible into the decision trees, models or data that were used to reach a decision,'' says Stephen Cox, vice president and chief security architect at SecureAuth. ''In some cases, we may not be fully aware of the means by which our services and products are being used within a customer's environment,'' he adds.
Digital BouncersCompanies use these scores to figure out who'--people or potential bots'--to subject to additional screening, such as a request to upload a form of ID.
Someone on a travel service buying tickets for other people might be a scammer, for instance. Or they might be a wealthy frequent flyer.
''Sometimes your best customers and your worst customers look the same,'' says Jacqueline Hart, head of trust and safety at Patreon, a service for supporting artists and creators, which uses Sift to screen transactions on its site. ''You can have someone come in and say I want to pledge $10,000 and they're either a fraudster or an amazing patron of the arts,'' she adds.
When an account is rejected on the grounds of its Sift score, Patreon sends an automated email directing the applicant to the company's trust and safety team. ''It's an important way for us to find out if there are any false positives from the Sift score and reinstate the account if it shouldn't have been flagged as high risk,'' says Ms. Hart.
There are many potential tells that a transaction is fishy. ''The amazing thing to me is when someone fails to log in effectively, you know it's a real person,'' says Ms. Hart. The bots log in perfectly every time. Email addresses with a lot of numbers at the end and brand new accounts are also more likely to be fraudulent, as are logins coming from anonymity networks such as Tor.
These services also learn from every transaction across their entire system, and compare data from multiple clients. For instance, if an account or mobile device has been associated with fraud at, say, Instacart, that could mark it as risky for another company, say Wayfair'--even if the credit card being used seems legitimate, says a Sift spokeswoman.
The risk score for any given customer, bot or hacker is constantly changing based on that user's behavior, going up and down depending on their actions and any new information Sift gathers about them, she adds.
For Our Protection?These trustworthiness scores make us unwitting parties to the central tension between privacy and security at the heart of Big Tech.
Sift judges whether or not you can be trusted, yet there's no file with your name that it can produce upon request. That's because it doesn't need your name to analyze your behavior.
''Our customers will send us events like 'account created,' 'profile photo uploaded,' 'someone sent a message,' 'review written,' 'an item was added to shopping cart,''' says Sift chief executive Jason Tan.
It's technically possible to make user data difficult or impossible to link to a real person. Apple and others say they take steps to prevent such ''de-anonymizing.'' Sift doesn't use those techniques. And an individual's name can be among the characteristics its customers share with it in order to determine the riskiness of a transaction.
In the gap between who is taking responsibility for user data'--Sift or its clients'--there appears to be ample room for the kind of slip-ups that could run afoul of privacy laws. Without an audit of such a system it's impossible to know. Companies live under increasing threat of prosecution, but as just-released research on biases in Facebook 's advertising algorithm suggest, even the most sophisticated operators don't seem to be fully aware of how their systems are behaving.
That said, sharing data about potential bad actors is essential to many security systems. ''I would argue that in our desire to protect privacy, we have to be careful, because are we going to make it impossible for the good guys to perform the necessary function of security?'' says Anshu Sharma, co-founder of Clearedin, a startup that helps companies combat email phishing attacks.
The solution, he says, should be transparency. When a company rejects us as potential customers, it should explain why, even if it pulls back the curtain a little on how its security systems identified us as risky in the first place.
Mr. Cox says it's up to SecureAuth's clients, which include Starbucks and Xerox, to decide how to notify people who were flagged, and a spokeswoman said the same is true for Sift.
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Phone Zombies
No call, no text, no update behind the wheel: NTSB calls for nationwide ban on PEDs while driving
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 09:43
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Following today's Board meeting on the 2010 multi-vehicle highway accident in Gray Summit, Missouri, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called for the first-ever nationwide ban on driver use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) while operating a motor vehicle.
The safety recommendation specifically calls for the 50 states and the District of Columbia to ban the nonemergency use of portable electronic devices (other than those designed to support the driving task) for all drivers. The safety recommendation also urges use of the NHTSA model of high-visibility enforcement to support these bans and implementation of targeted communication campaigns to inform motorists of the new law and heightened enforcement.
"According to NHTSA, more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents", said Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "It is time for all of us to stand up for safety by turning off electronic devices when driving."
"No call, no text, no update, is worth a human life."
On August 5, 2010, on a section of Interstate 44 in Gray Summit, Missouri, a pickup truck ran into the back of a truck-tractor that had slowed due to an active construction zone. The pickup truck, in turn, was struck from behind by a school bus. That school bus was then hit by a second school bus that had been following. As a result, two people died and 38 others were injured.
The NTSB's investigation revealed that the pickup driver sent and received 11 text messages in the 11 minutes preceding the accident. The last text was received moments before the pickup struck the truck-tractor.
The Missouri accident is the most recent distraction accident the NTSB has investigated. However, the first investigation involving distraction from a wireless electronic device occurred in 2002, when a novice driver, distracted by a conversation on her cell phone, veered off the roadway in Largo, Maryland, crossed the median, flipped the car over, and killed five people.
Since then, the NTSB has seen the deadliness of distraction across all modes of transportation.
In 2004, an experienced motorcoach driver, distracted on his hands-free cell phone, failed to move to the center lane and struck the underside of an arched stone bridge on the George Washington Parkway in Alexandria, Virginia. Eleven of the 27 high school students were injured;In the 2008 collision of a commuter train with a freight train in Chatsworth, California, the commuter train engineer, who had a history of using his cell phone for personal communications while on duty, ran a red signal while texting. That train collided head on with a freight train - killing 25 and injuring dozens; In 2009, two airline pilots were out of radio communication with air traffic control for more than an hour because they were distracted by their personal laptops. They overflew their destination by more than 100 miles, only realizing their error when a flight attendant inquired about preparing for arrival.In Philadelphia in 2010, a barge being towed by a tugboat ran over an amphibious "duck" boat in the Delaware River, killing two Hungarian tourists. The tugboat mate failed to maintain a proper lookout due to repeated use of a cell-phone and laptop computer;In 2010, near Munfordville, Kentucky, a truck-tractor in combination with a 53-foot-long trailer, left its lane, crossed the median and collided with a 15-passenger van. The truck driver failed to maintain control of his vehicle because he was distracted by use of his cell-phone. The accident resulted in 11 fatalitiesIn the last two decades, there has been exponential growth in the use of cell-phone and portable electronic devices. Globally, there are 5.3 billion mobile phone subscribers or 77 percent of the world population. In the United States, that percentage is even higher - it exceeds 100 percent.
Further, a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of commercial drivers found that a safety-critical event is 163 times more likely if a driver is texting, e-mailing, or accessing the Internet.
"The data is clear; the time to act is now. How many more lives will be lost before we, as a society, change our attitudes about the deadliness of distractions?" Hersman said.
A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings, and a complete list of the safety recommendations, will be available online after the meeting.
The NTSB's full report will be available on the website in several weeks.
7 ways rich millennials are redefining what luxury looks like - Business Insider
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 17:47
Rich millennials are redefining luxury. Scott Dudelson/Getty Images Rich millennials are giving the luxury world a facelift. Like other millennials, they spend on experiences'-- but they're opting to pay for VIP treatments and customization. In luxury fashion, rich millennials are reinventing the meaning of expensive sneakers and streetwear. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Rich millennials' spending habits are turning the luxury sector on its head.
Like the rest of their generation, rich millennials prefer to spend on experiences '-- but unlike the rest of their generation, they pay extra to heighten these experiences with VIP treatments and customization.
Rich millennials are also creating new trends and status symbols, namely expensive sneakers and streetwear, the latter of which has become entwined with luxury fashion. This is largely due to the role of social media '-- as more millennials take to Instagram, brands and fashion magazines are losing some of their clout to influencers.
That's not to mention millennials' preference for the share economy, which has trickled into the luxury world. Rental services like Rent the Runway have made luxury goods more accessible to others.
Here are seven ways rich millennials are redefining luxury.
They seek exclusivity and customization in their experiences. AP/Chris Pizzello/Invision Affluent millennials also prefer to customize their experiences '-- an added bonus they're willing to spend extra money on. As the elite shift their focus away from goods, "they want personalized experiences that are either inherently unique or specifically tailored to them," Business Insider's Lina Batarags wrote.
This is especially true for the affluent millennial traveler, who seeks luxury hotels that offer personalized amenities and attention like cocktail butlers mixing drinks in your room or drink trolleys in the hallways, Batarags reported.
According to Deanna Ting of Skift, luxury hoteliers are using customization to win them over.
"Personalization is what they want," Jenni Benzaquen, vice president of luxury brands in Europe for Marriott International, told Ting. "Luxury used to be one thing to one person but it's no longer about white gloves and white tablecloths. There's no more formality in luxury and hotels need to understand our guests. They want what's unforgettable and unique, and they have a thirst for the unknown and they are going to markets where their friends haven't been before."
They choose brands based on their mission and values. PeopleImages/Getty Images But heightened experiences aren't the end all, be all. Instead of replacing the role of brands in wealthy people's lives outright, experiences are augmenting the significance of and consideration that goes into buying a particular brand, Batarags reported.
"Younger generations are less likely to be staunch loyalists to a single brand when compared to their parents and grandparents," Mike Phillips, Wealth-X's vice president of marketing and communications, told Batarags. "They're more likely to try something new if it speaks to their personal values and passions."
He continued: "More and more, the wealthy are evaluating a brand in terms of: What mission does this brand represent? How does it contribute to the greater good ... If I choose to purchase this product, what does that say about me and my values?"
That kind of awareness extends beyond just products, too.
Entire industries are developing or adjusting services to cater to this customer interest, Batarags wrote. Consider wellness, which is increasingly regarded as a modern embodiment of luxury. Accordingly, an array of spas and studios offering treatments like cryofacials, weeklong retreats, and vitamin IV drips are delivering those experiences.
They invest in a new kind of status symbol: the luxury sneaker. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images But that doesn't mean rich millennials shy away from shopping '-- they're more likely to invest in a pair of luxury sneakers as a status symbol.
Footwear is the most powerful category in the online luxury market, according to a recent report by The NPD Group'-- and at the forefront is the sneaker.
Thanks to their desire for comfort and athleisure, millennials are largely behind this trend, Beth Goldstein, fashion and accessories analyst at The NPD Group previously told Business Insider. Celebrities and fashion editors are dropping $900 on Balenciaga's Triple S sneakers and Silicon Valley tech CEOs are spending $495 on Lanvin low-tops.
As a result, affluent millennials have helped drive up the price of the sneaker and have given it a foothold in the tech industry and fashion world.
They're bringing streetwear to the luxury market. Edward Berthelot/Getty Images Their appetite for athleisure has led millennials to bring streetwear out from the underground. Many luxury brands have been partnering with streetwear brands to cater to millennials, Business Insider previously reported.
While the subculture of streetwear has been around for decades, it's seen a spike in popularity because of Instagram, Jessica Sulima of Adweek reported.
"Streetwear's loud aesthetic allows the trend to make noise on social media," Sulima wrote. "And as younger shoppers are beginning to favor uniqueness over craftsmanship, out goes the desire for traditional luxury."
She added: "As high fashion houses tap more and more into this growing social media trend, streetwear is occupying a larger space within the upper echelons of style."
It's making Gucci cool again'-- in 2015, the brand brought on Alessandro Michele as creative director, who helped Gucci embrace streetwear and the influence of popular culture.
More: Features Millennial trends Millennials Rich millennials Popular Here's a list of everyone who is boycotting or cutting ties with Brunei after it introduced new laws to punish homosexuality with death by stoning Popular How a $4 million lawsuit created 'Shazam!' and 'Captain Marvel' as we know them today Popular Whole Foods shoppers blast Amazon's Prime member discounts as the company announces it's slashing prices Popular I've been hiring people for 10 years, and I still swear by a simple rule: If someone doesn't send a thank-you email, don't hire them. Popular A wave of Islamic countries started to stand up to China over its persecution of its Muslim minority. But then they all got spooked.
Opinion | The Electoral College Was Not a Pro-Slavery Ploy - The New York Times
Thu, 04 Apr 2019 20:02
There is a lot wrong with how we choose the president. But the framers did not put it into the Constitution to protect the South.
By Sean Wilentz
Mr. Wilentz is the author, most recently, of ''No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation's Founding.''
April 4, 2019 Image By the time the delegates at the Federal Convention in 1787 got around to debating how the president ought to be chosen, they had already approved the three-fifths clause, that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person. Credit Credit Howard Chandler Christy, via GraphicaArtis/Getty Images I used to favor amending the Electoral College, in part because I believed the framers put it into the Constitution to protect slavery. I said as much in a book I published in September. But I've decided I was wrong. That's why a merciful God invented second editions.
Like many historians, I thought the evidence clearly showed the Electoral College arose from a calculated power play by the slaveholders. By the time the delegates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 debated how the president ought to be chosen, they had already approved the three-fifths clause '-- the notorious provision that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person to inflate the slave states' apportionment in the new House of Representatives.
The Electoral College, as approved by the convention in its final form, in effect enshrined the three-fifths clause in the selection of the president. Instead of election by direct popular vote, each state would name electors (chosen however each state legislature approved), who would actually do the electing. The number of each state's electoral votes would be the same as its combined representation in the House and the Senate.
By including the number of senators, two from each state, the formula leaned to making the apportionment fairer to the smaller states. Including the number of House members leaned in favor of the larger states. But the framers gave the slaveholding states the greatest reward: The more slaves they owned, the more representatives they got, and the more votes each would enjoy in choosing the president.
The framers' own damning words seem to cinch the case that the Electoral College was a pro-slavery ploy. Above all, the Virginia slaveholder James Madison '-- the most influential delegate at the convention '-- insisted that while direct popular election of the president was the ''fittest'' system, it would hurt the South, whose population included nonvoting slaves. The slaveholding states, he said, ''could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes.'' Instead, the framers, led by Madison, concocted the Electoral College to give extra power to the slaveholders.
If you stop at this point in the record, as I once did, there would be no two ways about it. On further and closer inspection, however, the case against the framers begins to unravel. First, the slaveholders did not need to invent the Electoral College to fend off direct popular election of the president. Direct election did have some influential supporters, including Gouverneur Morris of New York, author of the Constitution's preamble. But the convention, deeply suspicious of what one Virginian in another context called ''the fury of democracy,'' crushed the proposal on two separate occasions.
How, then, would the president be elected, if not directly by the people at large? Some delegates had proposed that Congress have the privilege, a serious proposal that died out of concern the executive branch would be too subservient to the legislative. Other delegates floated making the state governors the electors. Still others favored the state legislatures.
The alternative, and winning, plan, which became known as the Electoral College only some years later, certainly gave the slaveholding states the advantage of the three-fifths clause. But the connection was incidental, and no more of an advantage than if Congress had been named the electors.
Most important, once the possibility of direct popular election of the president was defeated, how much did the slaveholding states rush to support the concept of presidential electors? Not at all. In the initial vote over having electors select the president, the only states voting ''nay'' were North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia '-- the three most ardently proslavery states in the convention.
Slaveholders didn't embrace the idea of electors because it might enlarge slavery's power; they feared it because of the danger, as the North Carolina slaveholder Hugh Williamson remarked, that the men chosen as electors would be corruptible ''persons not occupied in the high offices of government.'' Pro-elite concerns, not proslavery ones, were on their minds '-- just as, ironically, elite supporters of the Electoral College hoped the body would insulate presidential politics from popular passions.
When it first took shape at the convention, the Electoral College would not have significantly helped the slaveowning states. Under the initial apportionment of the House approved by the framers, the slaveholding states would have held 39 out of 92 electoral votes, or about 42 percent. Based on the 1790 census, about 41 percent of the nation's total white population lived in those same states, a minuscule difference. Moreover, the convention did not arrive at the formula of combining each state's House and Senate numbers until very late in its proceedings, and there is no evidence to suggest that slavery had anything to do with it.
Read more
Opinion articles about the Electoral College.
But didn't the college, whatever the framers' intentions, eventually become a bulwark for what Northerners would later call the illegitimate slave power? Not really. Some historians have revived an old partisan canard that the slaveholding states' extra electoral votes unfairly handed Thomas Jefferson the presidency in 1800-01. They ignore anti-Jefferson manipulation of the electoral vote in heavily pro-Jefferson Pennsylvania that offset the Southerners' electoral advantage. Take away that manipulation, and Jefferson would have won with or without the extra Southern votes.
The early president most helped by the Constitution's rejection of direct popular election was John Quincy Adams, later an antislavery hero, who won the White House in 1824-25 despite losing both the popular and electoral votes to Andrew Jackson. (The House decided that election.) As president, the slaveholder Jackson became one of American history's most prominent critics of the Electoral College, which he blasted for disallowing the people ''to express their own will.'' The Electoral College system made no difference in deciding the presidency during the 36 years before the Civil War.
There are ample grounds for criticizing the Constitution's provisions for electing the president. That the system enabled the election in 2016 of precisely the kind of demagogic figure the framers designed the system to block suggests the framework may need serious repair. But the myth that the Electoral College began as a slaveholders' instrument needs debunking '-- which I hope to help with in my book's revised paperback.
Sean Wilentz is a professor of history at Princeton and the author, most recently, of ''No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery at the Nation's Founding.''
The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We'd like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here's our email: letters@nytimes.com.
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Four Question for Those Who Oppose the Electoral College
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 10:25
If you support the direct democracy of a popular vote system, do you also reject republicanism as our form of government? Opponents of the electoral college premise their argument on the claim that the system is undemocratic. This is largely true. In Federalist 10, James Madison wrote of the destructive power of factions, what Tocqueville later called "the tyranny of the majority." For this reason, the Founding Fathers created a republican form of government rather than a direct democracy in order to mitigate the passions and imperfections of the people. Elected representatives would, it was reasoned, take a measured, deliberative approach to governance. A popular vote system, on the other hand, is an instrument of direct democracy and a rejection of republicanism.
If, as Madison argued, factions pose such a danger to our republic, and if our Founding Fathers were so leery of direct democracy, what has changed?
Ironically, there is no better example of a faction than the states participating in the NPVIC. Madison defined the term as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." Is there any doubt that NPVIC members are motivated in part by a sense of injustice following the elections of 2000 and 2016? Further, given that the NPVIC scheme may award a state's electoral votes to a candidate (the national popular vote winner) who did not carry that state, is there any doubt this scheme operates in a manner adverse to citizens' rights?
If you reject the notion of disproportional representation, do you reject the institution of the U.S. Senate? Certain opponents of the electoral college accept the notion of our republican system but take umbrage at the disproportionate representation that contributes to the way in which states' electoral votes are determined. The electoral college allots votes based on the number of a state's federal legislative representatives, meaning the disproportionate representation of the Senate creates a system where certain voters have relatively less or more power than others.
Those who oppose the electoral college must therefore also oppose the representative scheme of the Senate and would look to rework or eliminate this institution. It won't do, as some have claimed, to suggest that altering the Senate would be too cumbersome or radical. The design of the electoral college, like that of the Senate, is written into the Constitution; altering either would require a new amendment, or perhaps convening a constitutional convention. If you oppose disproportional representation, it is only logical to oppose it everywhere.
Parity between the states was key to ratification. Does parity not matter anymore? Disproportionate representation was part of the Great Compromise of 1787, which established a bicameral legislature to ensure some degree of parity between the states. The House of Representatives, with its proportional representation, was meant to address the people's business, while the Senate's disproportionate representation would ensure states could engage on a level playing field on issues that mattered most to them.
The fear that larger states like Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts would overwhelm the smaller states was palpable. Context here is important. The Articles of Confederation created a weak central government and granted each state a single vote on matters that came before it. Amending the Articles required unanimous consent among the states. When the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia to address these shortcomings, smaller states were loath to sign on to an agreement that limited their power against that which might be wielded by larger states. Without the Great Compromise, ratification would never have happened.
The issue of parity remains. In the early days of our republic, state population differences were a fraction of what we see today. In a direct democracy system, California, with its nearly 40 million residents, would have more voting power than the 20 least populous states combined.
Parity is, by design, key to our federal system. Article 5 of the Constitution notes that "no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of this equal suffrage in the Senate." Without the disproportionate representation of the Senate and the electoral college, states like Vermont and Rhode Island would not have viewed the Constitution as a path toward a more perfect union.
Is a popular vote system a cure for the disease? Some of the reasons given for the electoral college have been proven wrong. In Federalist 68, Hamilton envisioned a system that would yield leaders "pre-eminent for ability and virtue." Of course, today's mass media make this a very heavy lift regardless of the system employed.
Still, we are the beneficiaries of several of the electoral system's unforeseen advantages. For example, the electoral college system confers legitimacy. Under it there is little chance third- party candidates will succeed, and so the number of contenders for the presidency is limited. By contrast, a popular vote system is likely to attract more candidates, with the winner receiving a mere plurality of votes. In parliamentary systems, it's not uncommon for the winning party to garner a 25% share; such instances are followed by dicey periods of coalition building, where the winning party attempts to cobble together a governing majority '... and a patina of legitimacy. Israel's current government is a coalition of five parties that hold 61 of the Knesset's 120 seats. The Likud party, winners of the 2015 legislative election, earned just 23.4% of the vote. Switzerland's coalition government has four parties, Germany's three.
The electoral system offers other advantages, such as limiting the incentive for and impact of voter fraud, and encouraging broader campaigns. Despite its shortcomings, the current system has proven effective in surprising ways, and any replacement must at least meet this bar. It's not clear a popular vote system can do so and, indeed, won't be fraught with unforeseen liabilities. At the very least, sober analysis should attempt to ferret these liabilities out.
To be sure, states have the power to determine how their electoral votes are apportioned. But the NPVIC goes further. It promotes combination among the states, creating a de facto popular election system that is blatantly anti-constitutional and almost certainly unconstitutional.
Image credit: Croppped from Pixabay
R. E. Bowse teaches in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Have you heard? The Electoral College is bad. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and others support its abolition. On March 28, Delaware became the thirteenth state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) in which members agree to award their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. The compact goes into effect only when the combined number of electoral votes of member states reaches 270, assuring their candidate victory. Legislation affixing New Mexico to the NPVIC sits on the desk of Governor Michelle Grisham (D). She's expected to sign it, giving the coalition 189 votes.
The debate surrounding this issue is another example of proponents avoiding the salient points. I pose the following four questions to those would undo the electoral college system, with the goal of promoting clarity and focusing on the nub of the matter.
If you support the direct democracy of a popular vote system, do you also reject republicanism as our form of government? Opponents of the electoral college premise their argument on the claim that the system is undemocratic. This is largely true. In Federalist 10, James Madison wrote of the destructive power of factions, what Tocqueville later called "the tyranny of the majority." For this reason, the Founding Fathers created a republican form of government rather than a direct democracy in order to mitigate the passions and imperfections of the people. Elected representatives would, it was reasoned, take a measured, deliberative approach to governance. A popular vote system, on the other hand, is an instrument of direct democracy and a rejection of republicanism.
If, as Madison argued, factions pose such a danger to our republic, and if our Founding Fathers were so leery of direct democracy, what has changed?
Ironically, there is no better example of a faction than the states participating in the NPVIC. Madison defined the term as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." Is there any doubt that NPVIC members are motivated in part by a sense of injustice following the elections of 2000 and 2016? Further, given that the NPVIC scheme may award a state's electoral votes to a candidate (the national popular vote winner) who did not carry that state, is there any doubt this scheme operates in a manner adverse to citizens' rights?
If you reject the notion of disproportional representation, do you reject the institution of the U.S. Senate? Certain opponents of the electoral college accept the notion of our republican system but take umbrage at the disproportionate representation that contributes to the way in which states' electoral votes are determined. The electoral college allots votes based on the number of a state's federal legislative representatives, meaning the disproportionate representation of the Senate creates a system where certain voters have relatively less or more power than others.
Those who oppose the electoral college must therefore also oppose the representative scheme of the Senate and would look to rework or eliminate this institution. It won't do, as some have claimed, to suggest that altering the Senate would be too cumbersome or radical. The design of the electoral college, like that of the Senate, is written into the Constitution; altering either would require a new amendment, or perhaps convening a constitutional convention. If you oppose disproportional representation, it is only logical to oppose it everywhere.
Parity between the states was key to ratification. Does parity not matter anymore? Disproportionate representation was part of the Great Compromise of 1787, which established a bicameral legislature to ensure some degree of parity between the states. The House of Representatives, with its proportional representation, was meant to address the people's business, while the Senate's disproportionate representation would ensure states could engage on a level playing field on issues that mattered most to them.
The fear that larger states like Pennsylvania, Virginia and Massachusetts would overwhelm the smaller states was palpable. Context here is important. The Articles of Confederation created a weak central government and granted each state a single vote on matters that came before it. Amending the Articles required unanimous consent among the states. When the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia to address these shortcomings, smaller states were loath to sign on to an agreement that limited their power against that which might be wielded by larger states. Without the Great Compromise, ratification would never have happened.
The issue of parity remains. In the early days of our republic, state population differences were a fraction of what we see today. In a direct democracy system, California, with its nearly 40 million residents, would have more voting power than the 20 least populous states combined.
Parity is, by design, key to our federal system. Article 5 of the Constitution notes that "no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of this equal suffrage in the Senate." Without the disproportionate representation of the Senate and the electoral college, states like Vermont and Rhode Island would not have viewed the Constitution as a path toward a more perfect union.
Is a popular vote system a cure for the disease? Some of the reasons given for the electoral college have been proven wrong. In Federalist 68, Hamilton envisioned a system that would yield leaders "pre-eminent for ability and virtue." Of course, today's mass media make this a very heavy lift regardless of the system employed.
Still, we are the beneficiaries of several of the electoral system's unforeseen advantages. For example, the electoral college system confers legitimacy. Under it there is little chance third- party candidates will succeed, and so the number of contenders for the presidency is limited. By contrast, a popular vote system is likely to attract more candidates, with the winner receiving a mere plurality of votes. In parliamentary systems, it's not uncommon for the winning party to garner a 25% share; such instances are followed by dicey periods of coalition building, where the winning party attempts to cobble together a governing majority '... and a patina of legitimacy. Israel's current government is a coalition of five parties that hold 61 of the Knesset's 120 seats. The Likud party, winners of the 2015 legislative election, earned just 23.4% of the vote. Switzerland's coalition government has four parties, Germany's three.
The electoral system offers other advantages, such as limiting the incentive for and impact of voter fraud, and encouraging broader campaigns. Despite its shortcomings, the current system has proven effective in surprising ways, and any replacement must at least meet this bar. It's not clear a popular vote system can do so and, indeed, won't be fraught with unforeseen liabilities. At the very least, sober analysis should attempt to ferret these liabilities out.
To be sure, states have the power to determine how their electoral votes are apportioned. But the NPVIC goes further. It promotes combination among the states, creating a de facto popular election system that is blatantly anti-constitutional and almost certainly unconstitutional.
Image credit: Croppped from Pixabay
R. E. Bowse teaches in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Bernie Sanders calls Trump a racist before Apollo event '' Summerland Review
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 11:26
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a trip to the Apollo Theater in Harlem to pay tribute to Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett and the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., but along the way slammed President Donald Trump as a racist.
The Democratic presidential contender was at the Jazz Foundation's ''A Great Night in Harlem'' annual gala where Belafonte and Bennett were honoured on Thursday night. Both worked with King, and the evening marked the 51st anniversary of King's slaying in Memphis, Tennessee, during a visit to rally sanitation works on strike.
''This is also a night that we remember the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and one of the great leaders in American history who died, as we'll never forget helping sanitation workers get some dignity in their lives,'' Sanders told The Associated Press in an interview before the event.
Sanders recounted the great strides King made toward racial harmony, but said that tolerance has lost step over the past couple of years, and put the blame at the feet of President Donald Trump.
''We have a president, and I say this without any joy in my heart, who is a racist. It's hard to believe that we have a president of the United States who is, in fact, a racist,'' Sanders said.
A request for comment from the White House was not immediately returned.
READ MORE: Sen. Bernie Sanders says he's running for president in 2020
Sanders says eradicating racism is a high priority if he were to be elected president.
''As president of the United States, what I would be doing is bringing our people together to create a nation that works for all of us, and not just the 1%. To deal with the racism and the disparities that exists, not only between the rich and the poor, but between whites and blacks,'' Sanders said
Sanders was a contender in the 2016 race, where he lost the bid for the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton. But 2020 already shows a crowded field that includes Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Sen. Corey Booker, Sen. Kamila Harris, and at least a dozen more.
Sanders calls them, ''some really good people,'' and said. ''You're not going to hear me disparaging some of my Democratic opponents. They're friends of mine and they're good people. ''
Before going inside, the 77-year old Sanders joked about maintaining his stamina for an election.
''Well when you have 28 years of age, you know, it ain't hard,'' Sanders said.
John Carucci, The Associated Press
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Obama: Democrats are having a 'firing squad' over 'purity'
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 10:45
April 6, 2019 | 11:38am | Updated April 6, 2019 | 1:38pm
Former President Barack Obama on Saturday chided fellow Democrats for creating a ''circular firing squad'' that targets party members who don't support far-left views.
''The way we structure democracy requires you to take into account people who don't agree with you,'' he said at an Obama Foundation town hall event in Berlin, Germany. ''And that by definition means you're not going to get 100 percent of what you want.
''One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives,'' he continued, ''we start sometimes creating what's called a 'circular firing squad' where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues.''
Seventeen Democrats have announced they are running for the party's presidential nomination in 2020, and more are expected to enter the race. Legislative proposals from the pack include free college tuition, government-run health care and reparations for slavery and segregation.
Obama also warned the town hall audience of 300 against nationalism and the ''bloodshed'' that can follow.
''Nationalism, particularly from the far right, has re-emerged,'' he said. ''And we know where that leads. Europe knows better than anyone where that leads.''
Obama met privately with Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday, in what her office called a routine get-together of former international colleagues.
Obama 5000 euro in cologne
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 12:35
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Green New Deal
Colorado ski resorts smash March records for snowfall -- Earth Changes -- Sott.net
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 10:26
(C) Andy Cross, The Denver Post A skier skis just below the Pallavicini Cornice at the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area March 19.
This past March will go down in the record books for Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Copper Mountain Resort and Keystone Resort, which all received more March snowfall than ever before.
At Breckenridge, spokeswoman Sara Lococo said March's 111 total inches surpassed the previous high of 98 inches that Breckenridge received in March 2001. That's 13.3 percent more snow than March 2001. The 111 inches also makes March 2019 the third snowiest month on record at Breckenridge and the snowiest month outside of a pair of Januarys. The highest monthly snowfall total on record for the resort was 120 inches in January 2014, followed by 112 inches in January 1996.
At Copper Mountain, spokeswoman Taylor Prather said March 2019's 98 inches of snow was just about 14 percent more snowfall than Copper's previous March high, the 86 inches the resort received in March 2001. This past month also ranks as the fourth snowiest month on record since the resort opened in 1972. It's also the second snowiest month of this past decade.
At Keystone, March's 94 inches of snow was just under 19 percent more snow than the previous record March: March 2011's 79 inches of snow. March 2019 comes in as the third snowiest month on record at Keystone, only behind the 128 inches received in December 1983 and the 127 inches that fell in January 1996.
(Meanwhile, March was the second snowiest on record for Aspen, according to The Aspen Times.)
Read more about snowfall at Colorado ski resorts on Summit Daily.
Comment: Incredible snow amounts have also been recorded across the
Sierra Nevada this year. Some ski resorts have received 550 to 600+ inches (14 to 15 m) of snow so far.
The Sierra Nevada snowpack is well above normal, at 162 percent of average. Chris Orrock, with the California Department of Water Resources, explained that the amount of snowpack this year is significant.
"If all the snow in the field we are standing in right now melted right now," he said, "we would be standing in 51 inches of water." He says this is the fourth largest amount of snow in recorded history.
Forensic show explores whether nuclear site killed actor Michael Landon | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 15:05
Did Little House on the Prairie star Michael Landon get his fatal cancer from filming close to a 'contaminated' nuclear research site that suffered a partial meltdown more than a decade before the show began?New episode of Autopsy: The Last Hours Of'... will examine Michael LandonLandon died in 1991 just 12 weeks after diagnosis with pancreatic cancersExperts are considering possible radiation exposure from Simi Valley labLittle House On The Prairie filmed 15 miles from Santa Susana Field LaboratoryThere was a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor at the lab in 1959But experts say Landon's heavy drinking was likely his main cancer risk By Keith Griffith For Dailymail.com
Published: 21:19 EDT, 5 April 2019 | Updated: 00:01 EDT, 6 April 2019
A new TV show will examine the 1991 cancer death of actor Michael Landon
A forensic television series will explore whether the pancreatic cancer that killed actor Michael Landon was caused by a nuclear site near the filming location for Little House On The Prairie.
In the new episode of Autopsy: The Last Hours Of'... set to air on Sunday will review Landon's 1991 death of pancreatic cancer at age 54, just 12 weeks after he was diagnosed.
Little House was filmed from 1974 to 1983 on a Simi Valley ranch just 15 miles away from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, where in 1959 there was a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor.
A later study said that the meltdown could have released more radioactive material than the better-known 1979 incident at Three Mile Island - though experts are skeptical whether Landon's cancer can be linked to Santa Susana.
Landon is seen in 1974 on the Little House On The Prairie set, a Simi Valley ranch just 15 miles away from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, where a partial nuclear meltdown occurred
Warning signs are seen on the fence of building 22, Radioactive Material Handling Facility, at Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Ventura County, above Simi Valley. The building is used to store hazardous waste to be sent to landfills licensed to receive radioactive debris
A map shows the locations of the Big Sky Ranch, where the outdoor scene in fictional Walnut Grove were filmed for Little House on the Prairie, and the Santa Susana Laboratory
The partial meltdown of the lab's experimental sodium reactor was the first ever core meltdown of a commercial nuclear reactor, and the incident was covered up for decades by the Department of Energy.
There was a cancer cluster associated with the Santa Susana incident, an expert said in an advance clip of the new episode obtained by People.
'Studies have concluded that this was responsible for up to 2,000-cancer-related deaths and lead to a 60 percent increase in cancers such as lung, bladder, kidney, liver, blood, lymph node, upper digestive track and thyroid cancers,' said forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter.
However, Hunter expressed skepticism that radiation from Santa Susana caused Landon's cancer.
'Despite the scientific studies linking proximity to the site with elevated cancer rates, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that Michael's pancreatic cancer was caused by him working so close to the contaminated area,' said Hunter.
The cast of the television series 'Little House on the Prairie' on the set of the show, mid 1970s. Clockwise from left: Actors Melissa Gilbert, Michael Landon (1936 - 1991), Karen Grassle, who holds an unidentified baby, Melissa Sue Anderson, and Lindsay or Sidney Greenbush
Aerial view of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in the Simi Hills, with the San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Mountains beyond to the east. The lab was the site of the first commercial nuclear reactor meltdown in the world, which was covered up for decades
He added: 'Although I can't rule it out entirely, I have found another, much more compelling and direct cause of his cancer.'
Although the advance clip does not reveal Hunter's suspicions, Landon was a self-admitted heavy drinker and smoker, both of which are known risk factors for pancreatic cancer.
In another advance clip, Landon's costar Karen Grassle, who played Caroline Ingalls, revealed that crew members on the show always knew when to bring Landon a 'snort' of hard liquor, something that she says occurred morning, noon and night.
Landon was a fitness buff, however, and was utterly shocked when he received the cancer diagnosis on April 5, 1991.
Not believing the doctor, he dropped to the floor and began doing push-ups to prove that he couldn't be sick, a family member said.
The aggressive and deadly cancer had already metastasized to his liver and lymph nodes, though, and was inoperable and terminal.
After granting several interviews to reveal his diagnosis, he retreated from public life to spend his final weeks on his 10-acre ranch in Malibu with wife Cindy and their two young children.
Landon died on July 1, 1991, less than three months after his initial diagnosis.
The full episode of Autopsy: The Last Hours Of'... will air on Sunday at 8pm ET on Reelz.
Big Oil
Saudi Arabia ready to ditch petrodollar as 'nuclear option' to stop NOPEC bill '' reports '-- RT Business News
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 14:02
Saudi Arabia is reportedly threatening to sell its oil in other currencies if the US passes a bill permitting antitrust lawsuits to be filed against OPEC members in US courts, a move which would decimate the tottering petrodollar.
If the US infringes on OPEC states' sovereign immunity and greenlights lawsuits for antitrust violations, energy officials in Riyadh are prepared to sell their oil in other currencies, according to multiple sources familiar with Saudi energy policy, one of whom told Reuters the threat has already been communicated to high-ranking US energy officials.
''The Saudis know they have the dollar as the nuclear option,'' one of the sources reportedly said, while another cited Saudis as saying ''let the Americans pass NOPEC and it would be the US economy that would fall apart.''
Such a move has the potential to topple the US dollar's status as the world's reserve currency, particularly since other OPEC members ''namely Iran and Venezuela'' have their own reasons to ditch the petrodollar, under US sanctions as they are, and non-OPEC oil producers like Russia also mulling such a measure.
The bill in question, called the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act (NOPEC), was first introduced in 2000, and would potentially give Washington ability to control global oil output and prices through threats of lawsuits against OPEC members.
Also on rt.com 'Severe unintended consequences': OPEC threatens to kill US shale However, it never gained significant traction until the current administration took over. Trump himself has not come out in favor of the bill, preferring to back Saudi Arabia's political objectives in return for good behavior in the oil market, though he did speak out in favor of NOPEC in a 2011 book. Qatar, a former member of OPEC, felt threatened enough by the distant possibility of the bill's passage to leave the oil cartel in December, however.
Also on rt.com Last nail in petrodollar coffin? Gazprom could help Russia shift away from greenback The Saudi riyal is pegged to the dollar, and the kingdom has nearly $1 trillion invested in the US, investments it has also mulled liquidating should NOPEC pass, according to the Saudi sources cited by Reuters. Saudi Aramco is the world's largest oil exporter, with sales of $356 billion in 2018, and trading in oil derivatives is also largely dollar-denominated, with trade volume reaching $5 trillion on the top two global energy exchanges last year.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
Build the Wall
George Soros, Mastercard to partner to aid migrants, refugees - Reuters
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 14:44
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire investor George Soros will partner with Mastercard Inc on a venture they said could help migrants, refugees and others struggling within their communities worldwide to improve their economic and social status.
FILE PHOTO -- Business magnate George Soros arrives to speak at the Open Russia Club in London, Britain June 20, 2016. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/File Photo
The partnership, Humanity Ventures, stems from a pledge Soros made in September to earmark up to $500 million for investments to address challenges facing migrants and refugees.
In a joint statement on Thursday, Mastercard and Soros said that despite billions of dollars of humanitarian and development assistance, millions of people remain marginalized, a situation the private sector can help rectify.
''Migrants are often forced into lives of despair in their host communities because they cannot gain access to financial, healthcare and government services,'' Soros said.
''Our potential investment in this social enterprise, coupled with Mastercard's ability to create products that serve vulnerable communities, can show how private capital can play a constructive role in solving social problems,'' he added.
Humanity Ventures intends to focus initially on healthcare and education, with a goal of fostering local economic development and entrepreneurship.
With the creation of Humanity Ventures, Soros could invest up to $50 million to make these solutions more scalable and sustainable, and perhaps encourage smaller projects committed to mitigating the migration crisis.
''Humanity Ventures is intended to be profitable so as to stimulate involvement from other businesspeople,'' Soros said. ''We also hope to establish standards of practice to ensure that investments are not exploitative of the vulnerable communities we intend to serve.''
Soros opened his first foundation, the Open Society Foundations, in 1979 when his hedge fund had reached about $100 million and his personal wealth had climbed to about $25 million.
The Open Society Foundations began Soros's philanthropic activity when he gave scholarships to black South Africans under apartheid. In the 1980s, Soros and his foundations ultimately contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe.
Just last week, Soros' Open Society Foundations said it will keep working with and financing organizations in Hungary despite the government saying that any civil society group should be ''swept out.''
Reporting by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
Trump's ''animals'' remark and the ensuing controversy, explained - Vox
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 15:34
President Trump called some people ''animals'' during an immigration roundtable with California sheriffs on May 16.
Who you believe he was referring to probably depends on how you feel about President Trump.
Trump and the White House claim it's clear as day: Trump was obviously referring to MS-13 gang members who commit heinous crimes. Trump's called MS-13 ''animals'' before, but after this controversy the White House has embraced the term: a Monday press release was titled ''What You Need To Know About The Animals Of MS-13.''
MS-13 ''animals'' has gone from a presidential utterance to White House doctrine. This WH press release on ''what you need to know about the violent animals of MS-13'' calls them animals 8 times. pic.twitter.com/ZAfOlYjaDB
'-- Todd Zwillich (@toddzwillich) May 21, 2018But in the eyes of Trump's critics, the justification for ''animals'' wasn't obvious at all. Some believe that the president simply had an obligation to be more careful with his words, while others point to a long history of using a few criminals to smear entire groups of people '-- or simply claim that it's inhumane to refer to any human being as an animal.
At this point, both sides think they've won. Trump and the White House are messaging the idea that MS-13 is a bunch of animals in the aggressive manner they use when they think they've found a winning culture-war argument (see also: ''Merry Christmas''). Meanwhile, Democrats and advocates appear to believe that they have another remark on their hands that will pay political dividends by revealing the president's true animosity toward people of color (see also: ''shithole countries'').
Both sides believe that the other is missing, or deliberately blocking out, the context of Trump's remark. It's an intractable disagreement not because the immediate context is unknowable '-- the whole event was broadcast live '-- but because Donald Trump has spent his entire three years in national politics saying things that sound racist to a lot of people, and America has spent three years arguing about whether that's the fault of the person speaking those words or the people hearing them.
The context of Trump's ''animals'' comment: a statement that isn't as clear as most people thinkThe original wave of progressive outrage over Trump's comments, on Wednesday, was spurred by tweets like this one, which quoted Trump's ''animals'' comment but not the comment from the sheriff that preceded it:
Trump: "We're taking people out of the country '-- you wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals."He says the U.S. has "the dumbest laws on immigration in the world."
'-- Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 16, 2018That outrage spurred characterization of Trump's comments as being about all deportees or even about all unauthorized immigrants.
Trump's defenders immediately claimed the media was getting the story wrong '-- that Trump had been answering a question about MS-13, so he clearly meant only that violent MS-13 gang members were ''criminals.''
Both of those characterizations were wrong.
This is a pasted selection from the transcript sent out by the White House Press Office after the roundtable Wednesday:
SHERIFF (Margaret) MIMS (Fresno County, CA): Now ICE is the only law enforcement agency that cannot use our databases to find the bad guys. They cannot come in and talk to people in our jail, unless they reach a certain threshold. They can't do all kinds of things that other law enforcement agencies can do. And it's really put us in a very bad position.
THE PRESIDENT: It's a disgrace. Okay? It's a disgrace.
SHERIFF MIMS: It's a disgrace.
THE PRESIDENT: And we're suing on that, and we're working hard, and I think it will all come together, because people want it to come together. It's so ridiculous. The concept that we're even talking about is ridiculous. We'll take care of it, Margaret. We'll win.
SHERIFF MIMS: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about '-- if they don't reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it.
THE PRESIDENT: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in '-- and we're stopping a lot of them '-- but we're taking people out of the country. You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals. And we're taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that's never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It's crazy.
This context makes a few things clear.
First of all, Trump was not asked a question about MS-13. He was not asked a question at all. He was commiserating with Sheriff Mims about the restrictions that the California ''sanctuary'' law puts on the ability of local law enforcement officers to make decisions about when someone should be flagged to ICE.
Second of all, the context in which MS-13 was mentioned was itself very specific: someone identified by the sheriff's department as a ''known'' gang member but who doesn't meet the ''threshold'' of being charged with or convicted of a serious crime.
Third, Trump's response to Mims's comment wasn't actually a response to the point she was making. It wasn't about people in local jails in the US. He first referred to people ''trying to come in'' to the country and then to people who are being ''taken out of the country.'' He then launched into a complaint about bad US laws that allow people to reenter the country repeatedly '-- something that also has nothing to do with the complaint Mims was making.
In context, Trump's ''animals'' comment was simply part of a riff; something at best tangentially related to the conversation that he and Mims had been having up to that point.
That riff may well have been inspired by Mims's reference to MS-13 in her previous remark. At the same time, though, Trump manifestly wasn't talking about the same people Mims was talking about: MS-13 members in American jails without serious criminal records.
The president often does this. His comments in unscripted settings often fail to follow any obvious train of thought; he often goes off on tangents and rehashes old riffs; he often fails to demonstrate an understanding of the actual policies being discussed. This is why ''what did he mean'' is so often an open question. But because he's the president of the United States, ambiguous statements can't be left ambiguous '-- they're going to acquire whatever meaning people can make from them, based on their existing understanding of what kind of person the president is.
The context of Trump's ''animals'' comment: a three-year political career of talking about immigrant criminals To people who are more skeptical of the ''mainstream media'' than they are of the president, the coverage of the president's remarks seemed like a clear-cut case of ''fake news'' '-- reporters taking Trump's words out of context to make him sound like a racist when he was in fact talking about violent criminals. ''I don't think the term the president used was strong enough,'' press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. ''It took an animal to stab a man 100 times and decapitate him and cut his heart out.'' And it inspired a wave of fact-checking and finger-wagging from media reporters themselves.
The Trump critics who were initially outraged about Trump's ''animals'' comment, however, see this entire conversation about the context of Wednesday's exchange as more or less missing the point.
They believe that Trump has shown a willingness to use racist language in the past and has demonstrated that he believes some people of color aren't really human. Those facts, they believe, are more relevant context than what Sheriff Mims said at the roundtable. And they believe that in that context, it is foolish or even dangerous to present the ''animals'' remark as if there's any ambiguity.
This is the debate that has defined Donald Trump's political career. His very first speech as a presidential candidate made a riffing reference to rapists and murderers crossing into the US, spurring outrage from immigrants and progressives that the president had called Mexicans and immigrants ''criminals.'' Trump gleefully exploited the outrage and parlayed it into a surge in the primary polls.
Ever since, his most frequent and enthusiastic rhetorical theme has been that Americans are in danger from criminals coming into the US, and that his particular immigration agenda is the best way to stop them. This is why he keeps talking about MS-13; this is why he keeps dwelling on a few particularly gory crimes and calling the gang ''animals.''
Trump critics accuse him of labeling all immigrants (or all Latinos) criminals; his critics' critics counter that he isn't explicitly talking about all immigrants or all Latinos and that it's liberals who think nonracial comments are about race.
Every iteration of this fight encourages both sides' viewpoints. It encourages Trump's defenders '-- and those who are anti-anti-Trump '-- to believe that Trump's words are being taken out of context to suit a preexisting narrative. It encourages Trump's critics to believe that the president is deliberately engaging in dog-whistle politics because he knows exactly where the line is and how to tiptoe over it without admitting to doing so.
The context of Trump's ''animals'' comments: all people are people '-- but ''violent gang members are people too'' may not be a winning political messageThe Trump administration won the public argument about whether Trump was, at least ostensibly, referring to MS-13 members. But that doesn't resolve the argument over whether it was morally okay for him to do that.
Indeed, to those who believe the most important point is that no one should ever be described as subhuman, attempts to explain the context of Trump's remarks were seen as attempts to justify the dehumanization of some people as long as they're accused of being in a gang.
It feels pretty weird watching folks on this website debate who should and shouldn't be described as less than human by the president.
'-- Matt Ford (@fordm) May 17, 2018On one level, this is a sheer argument of deontological ethics: All people are possessed of innate human dignity, and no act they commit can strip that of them or justify other people acting toward them as if they do not possess it. Most codes of ethics don't allow people to treat others badly just because they have done bad things. Christianity makes a virtue of mercy and has its messiah tell a mob they are morally unfit to stone an adulteress (a violator of one of the Ten Commandments!) unless they are wholly without sin.
On another level, though, this is an instrumental argument that dehumanizing anyone leads to bad outcomes. An entire academic literature is dedicated to the pernicious effects of dehumanizing language; an oversimplified version of that literature, often expressed during the ''animals'' debate, is that dehumanization of a particular scapegoat group is a necessary component of totalitarian rhetoric. (The implication was often that comments like Trump's are always a precursor to genocidal violence, which doesn't hold logically.) More specifically, as criminologist John Pfaff pointed out, a willingness to accept criminals as subhuman encourages law enforcement officers to treat them accordingly, with often horrific results.
The people making this argument weren't primarily Democratic politicians. But after a day or so of the animals debate, Republicans had shifted to the idea that they had jiujitsued liberals into defending MS-13, and that that would help them in November. This, too, is a fixture of dialogue in the age of Trump: even people who wouldn't defend his statements on the merits believe that they create an advantageous political situation for his party by inspiring the other side to do something politically counterproductive.
It seems logical that MS-13 is inherently a winning issue for Trump and a losing one for Democrats (though it's worth noting that in the one post-Trump race where the tie between immigration and crime was central to the campaign, the Virginia gubernatorial election, the Democrat won).
But it's another example of people talking past each other. No one is saying that it is politically useful to adopt the message of ''Trump was just talking about violent MS-13 criminals, but they are people too.'' Trump's critics are either emphasizing that it is true that MS-13 members are also human beings or making the argument that Trump doesn't really just mean MS-13 members when he says ''animals.''
The context: an immigration and criminal justice system that does not actually focus on the ''worst of the worst''The problem with fighting about whom Trump meant when he said what he said is that, on a policy level, what he said does not actually matter.
His administration is not focusing on deporting people who have committed particularly heinous crimes, gang members, or people with criminal records. From Trump's inauguration to the end of 2017, ICE arrested 45,436 immigrants without criminal records.
On Thursday, in the midst of the furor over the ''animals'' comments, ICE released new data for the first three months of 2018 '-- showing that an additional 13,300 immigrants without criminal records were arrested from January to March.
To be sure, ICE arrests of immigrants with criminal records ticked up slightly from the last year of the Obama administration (in which immigration enforcement was subdued compared to previous years) to the Trump administration. But arrests of immigrants without criminal records have also spiked. During President Obama's last year, about 16 percent of ICE arrests were of noncriminal immigrants; each month since July 2017, between 32 and 40 percent of arrestees have been noncriminals.
The Trump administration is still deporting fewer noncriminal immigrants than the Obama administration did circa 2011, and the proportion of deportees who are noncriminals is usually smaller than the proportion of arrestees who are. But the Trump administration is aiming to not just ramp back up to the deportation peak of Obama's first term but surpass it, and that's going to require arresting and deporting a lot of immigrants without criminal records.
If Trump understands his own administration's policy, he's never acknowledged it in public. He sticks to the same rhetorical move every time: refer to some specific criminals, call them horrible people and animals, say that their evil justifies his immigration policy, and allow the conflation of all immigrants and all Latinos with criminals and animals to remain subtext.
This isn't unique to Trump. An entire era of American criminal justice policy was defined by this rhetorical move: Politicians attacked each other over horrific cases of leniency gone wrong, or with the threat of child ''superpredators'' roaming the streets, and the fear of those ''worst of the worst'' criminals led to policies that swept millions of people into the criminal justice system.
As Trump has amped up his rhetoric about MS-13, local and federal law enforcement officials have started rounding up immigrant teens on the basis of suspected gang membership '-- no matter how dubious those claims are.
In a 2017 feature about MS-13 and Long Island's immigrant community, Jonathan Blitzer of the New Yorker says that one Long Island teen was arrested in a gang sweep for having a Salvadoran flag as his profile picture (whose dominant color, bright blue, is also used by MS-13). One ex-girlfriend of a gang member told Blitzer that when they needed to lie low, ''Carlos and his friends from MS-13 would change their style of dress'' '-- like swapping out their shoes '-- and then ''mocked the police for being slow to catch on'' to the fact that they weren't wearing their ''characteristic'' gang attire. ''Immigrant teens without ties to the gang,'' meanwhile, were at risk: They ''didn't necessarily know which clothes were off limits.''
In one high-profile case from 2017, ICE agents made several attempts to strip protections from an immigrant covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by claiming he was a gang member; the immigrant, however, claims that the ICE agents falsified a document to make it look like he admitted to being in a gang (and federal judges have believed him).
These things don't just happen because Donald Trump uses the word ''animals.'' But they don't get the attention that Trump's words do. And while plenty of people are willing to defend calling gang members ''animals,'' few are interested in looking at whether the immigration enforcement system as it exists draws the clear distinction they claim to have heard from Trump.
Pro-EU messages emblazoned across England's Europe-facing cliffs - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 13:40
Big Tech
Amazon moving worldwide operations from Seattle to Bellevue by 2023 | king5.com
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 12:16
TECH Amazon's worldwide operations team, which is based in Seattle, will move to Bellevue by 2023. In a statement, the tech giant praised the Eastside city for its "business-friendly environment."
SEATTLE '-- Amazon's footprint is expanding outside of Seattle.
The tech giant plans to move its Seattle-based worldwide operations team across to Bellevue by 2023, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
''We opened our first office building in Bellevue in 2017,'' the spokesperson wrote in an email. ''It's a city with great amenities, a high-quality of life for our employees, and fantastic talent '' and it's recognized for its business-friendly environment. We look forward to continue growing our presence in Bellevue and bring more jobs to the city.''
Several thousand employees will be involved in the move, according to GeekWire, who first reported the news.
Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak welcomed Amazon to the city on Wednesday, saying he's looking forward to working with the company as it transitions workers to the Eastside.
"As a community we've worked hard to anticipate this type of positive growth downtown, and Amazon is a natural fit," Chelminiak said. "It's also critical that these types of jobs stay in the region."
RELATED: Bellevue real estate could soon feel the 'Amazon effect'
Elaina Herber is the owner of Ascend Hospitality Group in Bellevue. She has 600 employees and 16 restaurants, including Lincoln South Food Hall and Ascend Prime Steak and Sushi in downtown Bellevue. She sees the announcement as a boost for the business community.
"I do believe that if you are a server, particularly in our restaurant, you are going to make more money. People are buying more. There is more spending power,'' said Herber. "Sure, there are going to be challenges, right? We are going to have more traffic. There's going to be less homes to buy. There is all kinds of challenges, but challenge equals opportunity."
The move is the latest hint that Amazon could be cooling on Seattle.
And it comes just months after the online retailer announced it had selected Northern Virginia and Long Island City, New York as the locations for its second headquarters and home base for 50,000 new Amazon workers. Although Amazon bowed out of the deal with New York in February after receiving push-back from local leaders, most of those 25,000 new jobs won't be coming back to Seattle, according to a report from The Seattle Times.
Monica Nickelsburg, GeekWire's Civic Editor, first reported the company's plans to expand in Bellevue.
"There is a lot of speculation that Bellevue is the real HQ2, and I think that there is certainly evidence to suggest that, especially this news [Wednesday]. But it is also important to remember that the 25,000 jobs Amazon was going to put in New York before pulling out of that project are not going to move to Bellevue,'' Nickelsburg said.
Amazon will also bring 5,000 jobs to Nashville at a new operations site.
Seattle's reputation for being unfriendly to business was sealed last year when the city council attempted to impose a $275-per-employee head tax on big business in the city. Amazon was one of the companies who put pressure on the city to rescind the tax, and the council reversed course weeks after passing the measure.
Minute History: Amazon
Brussels Halts 5G Pilot Over Radiation Concerns As Verizon Clicks Heels Over US Rollout
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 13:38
A pilot project to provide 5G wireless internet in Brussels, Belgium has been halted by officials over health concerns for its citizens, according to the Brussels Times.
Brussels Environment minister C(C)line FremaultIn July, the government concluded an agreement with three telecom operators to relax the strict radiation standards in Brussels. But according to the Region, it is now impossible to estimate the radiation from the antennas required for the service. "I cannot welcome such technology if the radiation standards, which must protect the citizen, are not respected, 5G or not," Environment minister C(C)line Fremault (CDH) told Bruzz. "The people of Brussels are not guinea pigs whose health I can sell at a profit. We cannot leave anything to doubt," she added.
A pilot project is not feasible with the current radiation standards, and Fremault told Bruzz that she does not intend to make an exception. -Brussels Times
Belgian officials found themselves at an impasse last week over an agreement on the auctioning of 5G licenses.
As Michael Snyder noted last month, 5G may be incredibly dangerous - as it's "ultra high frequency and ultra high intensity":
5G cell towers are more dangerous than other cell towers for two main reasons. First, compared to earlier versions, 5G is ultra high frequency and ultra high intensity. 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G use between 1 to 5 gigahertz frequency. 5G uses between 24 to 90 gigahertz frequency. Within the RF Radiation portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the higher the frequency the more dangerous it is to living organisms.
"So basically the radiation that we will constantly be absorbing will be much, much, much more powerful than before, and the sources emitting the radiation will be much closer to us," writes Snyder.
And as Mac Slavo of SHTFplan.com notes, author and activist Arthur Robert Firstenberg recently launched an online petition calling for various world organizations, such as the such as the United Nations, World Health Organisation (WHO), and European Union to "urgently halt the development of 5G," as they are "harmful for humans."
Speaking with The Daily Star Online, Firstenberg said this 5G rollout is deadly.
''There is about to be as many as 20,000 satellites in the atmosphere. The FCC approved Elon Musk's project for 12,000 satellites on November 15th and he's going to launch his in mid-2019. I'm getting reports from various parts of the world that 5G antennas are being erected all over and people are already getting sick from what's there now and the insect population is getting affected,'' Firstenberg stated.
Meanwhile, as Brussels pulls back on 5G technology, Verizon on Wednesday announced that it has turned on its 5G wireless network in two markets; Chicago and Minneapolis - which will be compatible with the next generation of 5G-capable devices, according to CNBC.
Verizon said the wireless network will give customers access to peak speeds up to 1Gbps. That's about 10 times faster than you might traditionally find on the LTE connection you have now. Put plainly: You'll be able to download movies in seconds instead of minutes.
Only a select number of phones will support the network at first. Samsung will launch a Galaxy S10 5G model later this quarter that will be exclusive to Verizon to start. AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint begin to sell it during the end of the second half of the year. That leaves the Motorola Z3 as the only phone that supports Verizon's new 5G network right now, and it requires a separate accessory to work on it.
The Motorola Z3 costs $240 and requires a $200 "moto mod" to work on the network. -CNBC
Sprint and T-Mobile are planning 5G rollouts later this year, however neither company has activated networks yet. AT&T, meanwhile, is providing their "5G+" network in 12 markets - and has been marketing its new network by switching on an indicator for capable phones which reads "5GE" despite the devices still operating at 4G speeds.
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Verizon flips the switch on its 5G network in Chicago and Minneapolis
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 15:06
Tyler Lee Apr 5th, 2019 5G will become the next standard in mobile connectivity and with it being capable of achieving much faster internet speeds than LTE, it's safe to say that many are looking forward to checking it out. The good news is that Verizon has already gotten the ball rolling over in Chicago and Minneapolis.
The carrier has announced that they have flipped the switch on their 5G network in both cities, meaning that in theory, if you own a 5G compatible device and live in either of the two cities, you should be able to take advantage of it. According to Verizon's CEO Hans Vestberg:
''Verizon customers will be the first in the world to have the power of 5G in their hands. This is the latest in our string of 5G firsts. Verizon launched the first commercial broadband 5G service last October, Verizon 5G Home, and now we're lighting up our 5G Ultra Wideband network in Chicago and Minneapolis, providing the world's first commercial 5G mobile service with a 5G-enabled smartphone.''
The carrier had previously confirmed that their 5G network would be going live in April. They had also announced new 5G plans which will, unfortunately, be a bit more expensive than their LTE plans.
The timing of the launch of their 5G network is pretty perfect as it has been rumored that the 5G variant of the Samsung Galaxy S10 could be launching on the network next month. In addition to announcing that their 5G network is now live, the carrier has also announced the availability of the 5G Moto Mod that will introduce 5G capabilities to existing (and compatible) Motorola smartphones.
Source: Verizon
Auto-load comments: Off On
How Google Is Cramming More Data Into Its New Atlantic Cable | WIRED
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 15:02
Fiber optic cable being loaded onto a ship owned by SubCom, which is working with Google to build what's expected to be the world's fastest undersea data connection.
Bill Gallery/SubCom
Google says the fiber optic cable it's building across the Atlantic Ocean will be the fastest of its kind. When the cable goes live next year, the company estimates it will transmit around 250 terabits per second, fast enough to zap all the contents of the Library of Congress from Virginia to France three times every second. That's about 56 percent faster than Facebook and Microsoft's Marea cable, which can transmit about 160 terabits per second between Virginia and Spain.
Fiber-optic networks work by sending light over thin strands of glass. Fiber-optic cables, which are about the diameter of a garden hose, enclose multiple pairs of these fibers. Google's new cable is so fast because it carries more fiber pairs. Today, most long-distance undersea cables contain six or eight fiber-optic pairs. Google said Friday that its new cable, dubbed Dunant, is expected to be the first to include 12 pairs, thanks to new technology developed by Google and SubCom, which designs, manufactures, and deploys undersea cables.
Dunant might not be the fastest for long: Japanese tech giant NEC says it has technology that will enable long-distance undersea cables with 16 fiber-optic pairs. And Vijay Vusirikala, head of network architecture and optical engineering at Google, says the company is already contemplating 24-pair cables.
The surge in intercontinental cables, and their increasing capacity, reflect continual growth in internet traffic. They enable activists to livestream protests to distant countries, help companies buy and sell products around the world, and facilitate international romances. "Many people still believe international telecommunications are conducted by satellite," says NEC executive Atsushi Kuwahara. "That was true in 1980, but nowadays, 99 percent of international telecommunications is submarine."
So much capacity is being added that, for the moment, it is outstripping demand. Animations featured in a recent New York Times article illustrated the exploding number of undersea cables since 1989. That growth is continuing. Alan Mauldin of the research firm Telegeography says only about 30 percent of the potential capacity of major undersea cable routes is currently in use'--and more than 60 new cables are planned to enter service by 2021. That summons memories of the 1990s Dotcom Bubble, when telecoms buried far more fiber in both the ground and the ocean than they would need for years to come.
A selection of fiber optic cable products made by SubCom.
Brian Smith/SubCom
But the current growth in new cables is driven less by telcos, and more by companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft that crave ever more bandwidth for the streaming video, photos, and other data scuttling between their global data centers. And experts say that as undersea cable technologies improve, it's not crazy for companies to build newer, faster routes between continents, even with so much fiber already laying idle in the ocean.
Controlling Their Own DestinyMauldin says that although there's still lots of capacity available, companies like Google and Facebook prefer to have dedicated capacity for their own use. That's part of why big tech companies have either invested in new cables through consortia, or in some cases, built their own cables.
"When we do our network planning it's important to know if we'll have the capacity in the network," says Google's Vusirikala. "One way to know is by controlling our own destiny by building our own cables."
Another factor is diversification. Having more cables means there are alternate routes for data if a cable breaks or malfunctions. At the same time, more people outside Europe and North America are tapping the internet, often through smartphones. That's prompted companies to think about new routes, like between North and South America, or between Europe and Africa, says Mike Hollands, an executive at European data center company Interxion. The Marea cable ticks both of those boxes, enabling Facebook and Microsoft faster routes to North Africa and the Middle East, while also creating an alternate path to Europe in case one or more of the traditional routes were disrupted by something like an earthquake.
Cost Per BitThere are financial incentives for the tech companies as well. By owning the cables instead of leasing them from telcos, Google and other tech giants can potentially save money in the long term, Mauldin says.
The cost to build and deploy a new undersea cable isn't dropping. But as companies find ways to pump more data through these cables more quickly, their value increases.
There are a few ways to increase the performance of a fiber-optic communications system. One is to increase the energy used to push the data from one end to another. The catch is that to keep the data signal from degrading, undersea cables need repeaters roughly every 100 kilometers, Vusirikala explains. Those repeaters amplify not just the signal, but any noise introduced along the way, diminishing the value of boosting the energy.
A rendering of one of SubCom's ''Reliance Class'' cable ships.
You can also increase the amount of data that each fiber pair within a fiber-optic cable can carry. A technique called "dense wavelength division multiplexing" now enables more than 100 wavelengths to be sent along a single fiber pair.
Or you can pack more fiber pairs into a cable. Traditionally each pair in a fiber-optic cable required its own repeater; those repeaters take up space inside the cable, so Kuwahara says adding more repeaters would require changes to the way cables are built, deployed, and maintained.
To get around that problem, Google and SubCom are using a technique called space-division multiplexing (SDM) to use only eight repeaters with 12 fiber pairs. That will reduce the capacity of each pair, but the additional pairs will more than make up for it, says SubCom CTO Georg Mohs.
"This had been in our toolkit before," Mohs says, but like other companies, SubCom has been more focused on adding more wavelengths per fiber pair.
NEC is taking a different route from Google and SubCom. Kuwahara says NEC is packing more fiber optic pairs into its cables by essentially shrinking its repeaters so that they fit into existing equipment designs.
Regardless of how companies like SubCom and NEC add more pairs, the result is the same: cables that can move more data than ever before. That means the total cost per bit of data sent across the cable is lower.
More Great WIRED StoriesHow AI and data-crunching can reduce preterm birthsDJs of the future don't spin records'--they write codeIndia goes electric with battery-swapping rickshawsThe beautiful benefits of contemplating doomHTTPS isn't always as secure as it seems👠Looking for the latest gadgets? Check out our latest buying guides and best deals all year roundðŸ'(C) Hungry for even more deep dives on your next favorite topic? Sign up for the Backchannel newsletter
911 Redux
The Nuclear Demolition of the WTC
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 18:17
Strontium, Barium, Thorium, Cerium, Lanthanum, Yttrium and other elements discovered in the dust are characteristic fission products of Uranium. Even some Uranium was present in significant amounts. The presence of all of these elements together in mathematically related quantities can only be explained by Nuclear Fission.The evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible that the Twin Towers were subjected
to far more than just a conventional Controlled Demolition. They were each pulverised to dust by a Nuclear Explosion.But even more than that, the
vast quantity of fallout produced and other factors show that the explosions were not produced by ordinary atomic bombs.The explosions were produced by a clandestine
Nuclear Reactor under each tower undergoing a "power excursion" and then a core meltdown.It is not believable that this could have occurred by accident. The reactors would have
been located well below the 27 metre deep B6 basement level that was officially the bottom of the WTC construction. The reactor cores were probably 80 metres below ground. The aircraft impacted the towers high above, more than 300 metres above ground level. It is inconceivable that the aircraft crashes could have affected the reactors buried deep beneath the ground.Who built these clandestine reactors? For what purpose? Who co-ordinated their
deliberate core meltdown with the aircraft crashes? Ground Zero: The Nuclear Demolition of the WTC This 166 page report with 66 figures, graphs and photographs presents the detailed evidence for the Nuclear Demolition of the World Trade Centre. It is written in as non-technical a way as possible for a wide audience, including explaining the chemistry of nuclear fission.While many people have shown that the towers were subjected to a controlled demolition,
this is the first public document to present the evidence and proof that they were in fact subjected to a Nuclear Controlled Demolition. No data on the fallout from a nuclear explosion has ever been available to the public before. This document presents the USGS data along with comprehensive analysis.While others have suspected that the towers may have been subjected to nuclear
explosions - because of the seismographic data, the hot spots and the vast amount of energy expended in the explosions, the incontrovertible proof comes from the USGS data.Radioactive Fallout. Nuclear Fission Products. The evidence from the USGS data makes the
case. Far Beyond Reasonable Doubt.This report will be of service to the 911 Research Community, the Public, the People of New
York and those who are working to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.To those who believe that this information should not be made widely known - I say that
this information must no longer be swept under the carpet. The data is in the Public Domain. Its implications must be brought to wider attention, so that it can be further investigated and appropriate measures taken to ensure the health and safety of New York.In 1986, the US Congressional Sub Committee on Energy Conservation and Power released
a report: "American Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Three Decades of Radiation Experiments on US Citizens". Surreptitious administration of radioactive substances to New York prison inmates was still going on in 1994.The Sierra Club have described in their report "Pollution and Deception at Ground Zero"
how people were told to clean up the dust themselves. No special precautions were necessary, the EPA continuously assured them. Specialist cleanup contractors were rarely used. Thousands of people have been needlessly and callously exposed .In an interview with MSNBC, Marianne Harinko, Acting EPA Administrator at the time said
before she resigned:"I pray to God that in the event of another terrorist attack, God Forbid, we as an agency
would be equipped to get the data analysed and posted to the public. God forbid there is a dirty bomb".You can now
Download the Full Report Free of Charge by clicking on the button below.
Facts not Fairies: 911 WTC nuclear demolition
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 18:13
Greek police clash with migrants after 'fake news' border movement - BBC News
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 15:42
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Police pushed back migrants at the Diavata site on Friday Greek police have scuffled with hundreds of migrants who gathered near the northern city of Thessaloniki hoping to enter North Macedonia.
The trouble erupted at Diavata, a migrant camp, after a rumour spread on social media suggesting that a border crossing would be opened for migrants.
The Greek newspaper Kathimerini says dozens of migrants are protesting on the tracks at Athens's Larissa station, forcing a suspension of rail services.
Many are refugees from the Middle East.
Reports say some migrants outside the official Diavata camp hurled sticks and stones at police, who responded with tear gas.
Greek media describe as "fake news" the Facebook story about plans for an organised crossing of the North Macedonia border.
About 600 spent the night camping in a field outside the Diavata camp, and there were more clashes in the morning as police blocked the route to the north.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption This makeshift camp arose rapidly on Thursday at Diavata, near Thessaloniki Read more on related topics:Speaking to the BBC by phone, a Kurdish migrant from Iraq, 25-year-old Bilal Jaf, said "the situation is tense in Diavata camp now - we're afraid that the police will try to evacuate our makeshift camp.
"I live in Greece for 11 months, waiting my asylum request to be examined and I don't know for how long should I wait for that."
Karzan Abdullah, 24, also an Iraqi Kurd, said: "I live in Greece for 12 months - I have to go on in Europe, because there is no life here anymore.
"We are informed that the Greek-North Macedonian border will open today for us. My friends who also want to join the caravan are blocked by the police in Athens railway station."
Legacy of 2015 crisisTens of thousands of migrants remain in overcrowded camps in Greece, having arrived there in huge numbers in 2015-2016. They include many Afghans, Syrians and Iraqis.
In that crisis Germany took in more than 800,000 asylum seekers - an issue that remains very controversial. International law grants a right of asylum for refugees fleeing war or persecution.
The influx declined rapidly after Turkey reached a deal with the EU to intercept migrant boats and Balkan countries imposed tight border restrictions.
In 2016, a sprawling tent city formed at Idomeni, on the Greece-North Macedonia border. It was later cleared by Greek police and the migrants were redistributed to various official camps.
German headmaster suggested Christian girl wear a hijab to stop bullies - Voice of Europe
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 11:20
A school in Frankfurt has come under fire after its headmaster told a young girl she should wear a hijab if she doesn't want to get bullied.
The student's mother told the
Bild newspaper that her daughter was ''beaten and verbally attacked on the way to school'' by a group of Muslim girls.
She explained that her daughter was targeted because ''she has blond hair, no headscarf, has a German-Hebrew name '' and we are Christians''.
The bullying was so bad it left the fifth grader with a ''massive fear of going to school''.
When she took her concerns to the schools headmaster, she was told her daughter should 'cover up' if she doesn't want to get bullied.
''Your daughter does not have to say that she is German'', the headmaster reportedly told her. ''Besides, you can give her a headscarf.''
The school in question didn't respond to Bild's request for comment, however, the mother confirmed that their situation is a lot better now she has removed her daughter from the school.
There have been other recent cases of religious bullying in other schools across Germany.
The Bild also cited one in Bavaria in which a father said his son and daughter came home one day panicked because another child had told them he would cut off their heads because they are Christians.
In Bonn, another mother said her daughter had shared a similar experience saying, ''Our daughter and several classmates of the third grade were put under pressure by a classmate. They were threatened with the words, 'Your parents will burn in hell if they do not believe in Allah'.''
Religious bullying has been especially prevalent in Berlin where many schools have high populations of migrant-background students.
In 2018, a group of Berlin teachers spoke out about religious bullying saying that German students could be bullied for as little as bringing a ham sandwich for their lunch because pork is forbidden in Islam.
The group advocated the Pro Berlin Neutrality Act which backs up existing legislation to ban religious symbols, such as the headscarf, from classrooms to combat religious bullying.
Austria, meanwhile, has implemented a headscarf ban in kindergartens and has been considering similar bans in elementary schools as well.
Gig Economy
Lyft threatens litigation against Morgan Stanley over short-selling
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 10:48
Mike Blake | Reuters
Lyft President John Zimmer (R) and CEO Logan Green speak as Lyft lists on the Nasdaq at an IPO event in Los Angeles March 29, 2019.
Lyft has threatened litigation against Morgan Stanley, accusing the firm of supporting short-selling for investors who are subject to lock-up agreements.
In a letter sent to Morgan Stanley on April 2, Lyft questioned the firm about its alleged role in helping market certain products that would help pre-IPO investors bet against the stock.CNBC reviewed a copy of this letter, which was signed by Lyft's counsel Peter Stris of the law firm Stris & Maher. Lyft declined to comment.
The letter was prompted by reporting in the New York Post, which said Morgan Stanley had been selling a short product to pre-IPO investors and cited three sources close to the situation.
Lyft asked Morgan Stanley to go on record saying that they did not create such a product, and that they had engaged in the proper due diligence in marketing such a product.The letter, which copied Lyft's lead underwriters JP Morgan and Credit Suisse, also asks that if Morgan Stanley did engage in such activity that they stop immediately and turn over a list of shareholders who participated.
While the letter requested that Morgan Stanley respond by the end of the day on April 2, two source close to the matter said that as of late Friday, the firm had yet to do so formally. Both people asked for anonymity discussing private details involving the dispute.
However, a Morgan Stanley spokesperson provided a statement to CNBC, saying that the firm "did not market or execute, directly or indirectly, a sale, short sale, hedge, swap or transfer of risk or value associated with Lyft stock for any Lyft shareholder identified by the company or otherwise known to us to be the subject of a Lyft lock-up agreement."
The Information first reported that Lyft and its IPO syndicate had sent a letter to Morgan Stanley over its purported role in creating special instruments for pre-IPO investors to short.
In the letter, Lyft said that it has the ability to take legal action against Morgan Stanley and asked that the firm turn over relevant documents in advance of potential litigation.Lyft's counsel believes that Morgan Stanley could be found to have engaged in tortious interference with the lock-up agreements if it were true that the firm actively sought to circumvent them.
Lyft's shares plummeted as much as 12% on their second day of trading, following their IPO debut on March 29. Some traders in the market speculated that the drop was partly due to early demand for short selling the shares. The stock rebounded over the course of the week.
"Our firm's activity has been in the normal course of market-making, and any suggestion that Morgan Stanley has engaged in an effort to apply 'short pressure' to Lyft is false," the spokesperson for Morgan Stanley said.
Morgan Stanley's short sales were less than 1.3% of the total volume of Lyft, according to a person familiar with Morgan Stanley's operations.The single largest short-trade executed on behalf of a client was 425,000 shares, said the person, who asked not to be named discussing private details about the firm's trading activity.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which is the self-regulatory organization that patrols the banking industry, has already gotten engaged on the matter, one person with knowledge of the matter said.This may also fall under the domain of the Securities and Exchange Commission, although CNBC was unable to learn whether the SEC has started any discussions at this time.
The Information reported earlier that Finra has gotten involved in the matter.
The dispute also comes as a long pipeline of tech companies are waiting to make their own debuts this year. Lyft's rival Uber is set to go public in the coming months.
Morgan Stanley had won the coveted role of underwriting Uber's IPO. The bankers who are managing that deal were also copied in on the letter, which is notable because the creation of financial products for short selling would be typically done in another division at the firm '-- not within investment banking.
Marco Rubio: Arrest of Juan Guaido Would Amount to Coup D'etat
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 10:09
By Paul Dobson
Venezuela's National Constituent Assembly (ANC) has lifted the parliamentary immunity of the self-declared ''Interim President'' Juan Guaido, opening the door for criminal charges to be brought against him.
Tuesday's unanimous decision came following a request from the Supreme Court, and included the ''authorisation'' of the continuation of investigations into the also deputy and president of the National Assembly.
''The investigation [against Guaido] is formally authorised to continue in accordance with our Constitution and laws'' said ANC President Diosdado Cabello during the session. Cabello added that justice was ''necessary'' and what would safeguard peace in Venezuela.
The ANC based their move on article 200 of Venezuela's constitution which gives the Supreme Court the unique power to rule over parlamentarians' immunity from prosecution.
Guaido, who was chosen as National Assembly president in January 2019, violated a court-ordered travel ban on February 22 when he crossed into Colombia to lead efforts to force humanitarian ''aid'' across the border. He later attended a Lima Group meeting in Bogota and travelled to Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Argentina before returning to Venezuela March 4.
The travel ban against Guaido, as well as an asset freeze, were also reinforced by the ANC Tuesday, both extended ''until the investigation [against him] is over.''
Two criminal investigations being led by the Attorney General's office are currently open, one relating to his unconstitutional behaviour as a public official, and the other regarding his alleged role in what the Venezuelan government describes as sabotage against the electric grid which has led to rolling blackouts across Venezuela in recent weeks.
The opposition leader has also been barred from holding public office for 15 years by Venezuela's Ombudsman Elvis Amoroso last month. Amoroso pointed towards alleged spending irregularities during Guaido's time as a deputy.
Following the announcement, Guaido told his followers that the measure was ''very serious'' and asked them to show their strength ''on the streets.''
''When I started this struggle in the student movement I didn't have parliamentary immunity and we confronted the dictatorship on a daily basis,'' he told reporters.
''This is simply the political response from some cowards who cannot even give an effective response to problems of water supply around the Presidential Palace,'' Guaido claimed, promising to continue his struggle ''come what may.''
Guaido has called his followers to carry out a ''dry run'' of what he has named ''Operation Freedom'' on Saturday, April 6. While further details are unknown, opposition leaders have claimed that it will bring an end to ''the usurpation.''
Foreign governments which have recognised Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate president also reacted to the lifting of his parliamentary immunity, with Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell demanding that ''[Guaido's] freedom and physical integrity be respected.''
US officials also weighed in, with Florida Senator Rick Scott ''warning'' Maduro that the US ''will not stand by'' if something happens to Guaido. Fellow Florida Senator Marco Rubio claimed that any attempt to arrest the opposition leader would amount to a ''coup d'etat'' which would face ''consequences.''
The recent statements echo previous warnings from US officials against any attempts by Venezuelan authorities to arrest or bring charges against Guaido.
Any effort to abduct @jguaido should be considered a coup d' etat by every nation that has recognized him as the legitimate Interim President of #Venezuela. And anyone who cooperates with this should be treated as as a coup plotter & dealt with accordingly.
'-- Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) April 2, 20192019-2025 Homeland Plan approvedTuesday's ANC session also saw the approval of the 2019-2025 Homeland Plan (''Plan de la Patria''), setting forward a number of policies and goals to be achieved during President Maduro's second term. The targets include reaching 5 million homes built by the Housing Mission, having 8,000 communes set up and extending the pension system to the entirety of the elder population.
The session also came on the heels of a minor cabinet shuffle on Monday. Maduro announced that he was activating a Ministry for Science and Technology, separating it from the Higher Education Ministry and nominating Freddy Britto Maestre as the new minister. But the most significant change was the replacement of Electricity Minister Luis Motta Dominguez with Igor Gavidia. Gavidia is touted as someone with extensive knowledge and experience in Venezuela's electricity sector having risen through the ranks of the state-run electrical corporation, CORPOELEC.
Venezuela has suffered from a number of major power outages in March, affecting most of the territory, following what authorities have denounced as repeated cyber, physical and electromagnetic attacks against the electric grid and the country's main electricity generator, the Guri Dam in the eastern Bolivar State.
The latest blackouts occurred on Friday and Saturday, with electricity being gradually restored throughout the country. Services such as water pumping and the subway and suburban trains in Caracas, which represent a large demand on the grid, have also been partially restored as of Wednesday.
Venezuela's electric grid has been plagued by under-investment, lack of maintenance and emigration of qualified personnel, while previous and recent US sanctions have also compounded issues. Sanctions have stopped Caracas from getting spare parts and servicing equipment, shut down access to credit lines, and caused shortages of fuel needed to activate backup thermoelectric plants.
Top Photo | Juan Guaido, left, President of National Assembly and self-proclaimed interim president speaks with lawmaker Carlos Paparoni during a session of the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, April 2, 2019. Fernando Llano | AP
Source | Venezuelanalysis.com
Stories published in our Daily Digests section are chosen based on the interest of our readers. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News. The views expressed in these articles are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.
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US 'seriously considering' military option in Venezuela as Rubio seeks to declare Maduro 'terrorist' '-- RT World News
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 11:02
As the White House is 'seriously' considering a military intervention in Venezuela, top regime-change advocate Sen. Marco Rubio wants to officially designate the Maduro government and citizen militias as 'terrorist organizations.'
''It is time for the Executive Branch to take important and necessary steps to further isolate Maduro and make clear to the world his regime's illegality, criminality, and depravity,'' Rubio urged, in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
To increase pressure on Venezuela, Rubio, who has long been one of the most outspoken advocates of regime change in Caracas, proposed designating as a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) and a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) both the Maduro government and millions of members of the country's pro-government citizen militias, known as 'Colectivos.'
Also on rt.com 'The militia is all of us': Who are Venezuela's pro-Maduro 'colectivos,' so demonized by the West? Despite the best efforts by the US and its allies to subjugate Venezuela, the army remains loyal to the Maduro government. The resolve of many Venezuelan citizens to support their elected leader, with arms if needed, also prevents the US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido from easily taking power, Rubio believes.
Also on rt.com Events in Venezuela are similar to what happened in Syria '' Assad tells visiting FM On Friday, the US once again tightened the noose around Venezuelan oil exports, sanctioning around three dozen tankers and two companies which the Treasury says are involved in transporting oil from Caracas to Cuba. At the same time, Washington has acknowledged that its diplomatic and economic pressure options are running dry.
''There is also a military option, which President Trump has said is on the table and remains on the table,'' a senior administration official told reporters on Friday, adding that such a ''very serious option...is seriously considered as events continue to unfold.''
Also on rt.com US may declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a 'terrorist organization' just ahead of Israeli elections Like this story? Share it with a friend!
US to Declare Iran's Revolutionary Guards as Terrorist Group
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 10:36
(MEE) '-- The United States will designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation, an unprecedented move that will ramp up pressure on the elite force, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
The newspaper, citing unidentified officials, said President Donald Trump's administration will announce the decision as soon as Monday and that concerned defence officials were bracing for the impact.
The officials told the WSJ that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, who have repeatedly railed against Iran, are strong proponents of the designation.
Still, senior military officials, including Marine General Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have expressed reservations about it on the grounds that it would have little impact on Iran's economy while increasing security risks for US troops abroad, the sources said.
A former State Department official cautioned against the move.
''The designation of IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization is precedent setting. Never before has the FTO sanctions tool been directed at a state-body. The future ramifications of this decision will be profound,'' Jason Blazakis, the former Counterterrorism Finance and Designations Office director, told the WSJ.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was formed after Iran's 1979 revolution with a mission to defend the government, in contrast to more traditional military units that protect borders.
The Revolutionary Guards have amassed power within Iran, including holding significant economic interests.
The Guards' prized unit is the Quds Force, named for the Arabic word for Jerusalem, which supports forces allied with Iran around the region, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Lebanon's Hezbollah.
The Trump administration has already imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran after withdrawing last year from an international agreement under which Tehran drastically scaled back its nuclear programme.
A foreign terrorist designation would make activities of the group more toxic in the view of the United States, with any transactions involving US institutions or individuals subject to restrictions and punishment.
By MEE staff / Republished with permission / Middle East Eye / Report a typo
This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.
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Out There
Israeli lunar lander slips into orbit around the moon - CBS News
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 09:35
A small Israeli spacecraft executed a critical rocket firing Thursday, easing out of a highly elliptical Earth orbit and into one around the moon. It sets the stage for an automated landing attempt April 11.
The spacecraft is the first privately funded, non-superpower lunar lander.
"The lunar capture is an historic event in and of itself, but it also joins Israel in a seven-nation club that has entered the moon's orbit," said Morris Kahn, chairman of SpaceIL, the non-profit that brought the Beresheet moon landing mission to fruition. "A week from today we'll make more history by landing on the moon, joining three super powers who have done so. Today I am proud to be an Israeli."
Launched February 21 as a secondary payload aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, the robotic Beresheet's main engine fired seven times over the past few weeks to raise the high point of its orbit to an altitude just past the moon's orbit 240,000 miles away.
The Beresheet lunar lander captured this stunning view of Earth on its way to the moon. The small Israeli spacecraft will attempt a landing on the moon April 11. SpaceIL For Thursday's maneuver, a six-minute burn began at 10:18 a.m. ET, reducing Beresheet's velocity relative to the moon by about 620 miles per hour, just enough to allow lunar gravity to capture the spacecraft. The burn was designed to put the craft into an orbit with a low point of about 310 miles and a high point around 6,213 miles.
The firing was critical because without it, Beresheet would have sailed past the moon into a useless orbit around the sun, bringing the mission to a disappointing end.
But the rocket firing went smoothly, setting the stage for landing on a broad plain known as Mare Serenitatis on April 11. If successful, Israel will join the United States, Russia and China as only the fourth nation to land an operational spacecraft on the moon.
"After six weeks in space, we have succeeded in overcoming another critical stage by entering the moon's gravity," Ido Anteby, SpaceIL CEO, said in a statement. "We still have a long way until the lunar landing, but I'm convinced our team will ... land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, making us all proud."
Designed by SpaceIL and built by Israel Aerospace Industries for the since-cancelled Google Lunar X-prize competition, Beresheet is intended to spur interest in STEM careers among students across Israel and around the world. Funded largely by private donations, the spacecraft and launch costs totaled about $100 million, a bargain compared to past interplanetary missions.
But that relatively low cost came with added risk. The spacecraft has few redundant systems and its ability to recover from component failures or malfunctions is limited. Flight controllers already have had to work around problems with unexpected computer restarts and one of the spacecraft's star trackers.
Now that it's safely in orbit around the moon, however, the team's sights are set on landing. Over the next week, several maneuvers are planned to put Beresheet into a circular orbit at an altitude of about 124 miles. From there, the spacecraft will begin its descent.
To reach the moon, the Beresheet lander hitched a ride on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as a secondary payload. SpaceIL "The spacecraft will land autonomously," Anteby said earlier this week. "Actually, we'll send a command to land, and it will land by itself. We have never tested it, so we are not sure how it will work. We have done a lot of experiments and a lot of tests in the lab using a simulator, but we have never tested the spacecraft to land on the moon."
He said the moon landing could be thwarted by a single sensor failure.
"In order to begin the landing procedure, we need to give the spacecraft the exact location of where it is," he said. "This accurate positioning is very risky. We also have a special sensor, a laser sensor. This is the first time that this sensor will be on the moon, so it is very risky, too."
During the final descent, a magnetometer will measure the local magnetic field before the main engine shuts down at an altitude of about 16 feet. From there, the spacecraft will free fall to the surface.
Beresheet is equipped with a high-resolution camera to capture panoramic views of the landing site to help scientists better understand the area. The spacecraft also carries a small "time capsule" loaded with photos and cultural artifacts, including a copy of the Bible engraved on a coin-size disk.
"Until today, three superpowers have soft landed on the moon," said Yonatan Winetraub, co-founder of SpaceIL. "We thought it's about time for a change. We want to get little Israel all the way to the moon. This is the purpose of SpaceIL."
Beresheet's first pictures of the Moon | Behind The Black
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 15:52
Beresheet's first pictures of the MoonPlease consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
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The new colonial movement: The privately built Israeli planetary probe Beresheet, now in lunar orbit, has released its first pictures of the Moon.
The image on the right is one of those images, cropped to post here, and was taken from about 300 miles altitude. The link has a second image showing the Moon with the Earth in the distance. The resolution of both images is quite impressive.
The landing is scheduled for April 11. Stay tuned!
VIDEO - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 14:56
VIDEO - Brexit: UK prime minister says there is still a chance of a compromise deal - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 14:40
VIDEO - Tulsi Gabbard "Right Now U.S. Continues To Support Genocidal War In Yemen! IT MUST STOP NOW!" - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 14:07
VIDEO - President Trump "We Can't Take You Anymore! Our Country Is FULL! Turn Around And Go Home!" - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 14:06
VIDEO - Chelsea Handler: Life Will Be the Death of Me | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO) - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 13:46
VIDEO - Trump says "our country is full" during border visit - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 13:37
VIDEO - Trump to asylum seekers: 'Our country is full ... so turn around' - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 13:34
VIDEO - French 'Gilets Jaunes' march for the 21st consecutive week as Macron wraps up nationwide debate - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 13:25
VIDEO - (1) REGRET on Twitter: ""Do not let your little girl ever take this vaccine. No matter what happens, don´t let her take this vaccine". This was @RobertKennedyJr´s message to Irish parents on @gemmaod1´s show tonight. He is representing an injur
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 11:31
Log in Sign up REGRET @ REGRET_ie "Do not let your little girl ever take this vaccine. No matter what happens, don´t let her take this vaccine".This was
@RobertKennedyJr´s message to Irish parents on
@gemmaod1´s show tonight. He is representing an injured girl in litigation against the makers of the
pic.twitter.com/oukiuLPESA 2:31 PM - 5 Apr 2019 Twitter by: REGRET @REGRET_ie F­rinne (Truth) @ firinneireland
Apr 5 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @RobertKennedyJr and
3 others It was an interesting interview and great that the book
@eileeniorio is associated with was mentioned. As you are all aware you are facing a battle from the
@hse View conversation · Eileen Iorio @ eileeniorio
Apr 5 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @RobertKennedyJr and
2 others Thank you! It was amazing Bobby spoke directly to the Irish people. We are most grateful.
@RobertKennedyJr #HPVvaccineOnTrial#RobiVMerck@Merck View conversation · Alice Summer @ kuriousmind93
Apr 5 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @RobertKennedyJr @gemmaod1 pic.twitter.com/1XQSoVm7uG View conversation · MyassesDragon @ MyassesDragon
Apr 5 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @BeckyJohnson222 and
2 others You're wrong.
View conversation · Becky Johnson @ BeckyJohnson222
Apr 5 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @RobertKennedyJr @gemmaod1 Looks like
#Merck is now forced to sue RFK Jr. If they don't sue, it's admitting that he's correct.
#Gardasil #HPVvaccine View conversation · Becky Johnson @ BeckyJohnson222
Apr 5 Replying to
@MyassesDragon @REGRET_ie and
2 others About what? That
#Gardasil View conversation · MyassesDragon @ MyassesDragon
Apr 5 Replying to
@BeckyJohnson222 @REGRET_ie and
2 others Here you go:
cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/'... View conversation · Becky Johnson @ BeckyJohnson222
Apr 5 Replying to
@MyassesDragon @REGRET_ie and
2 others Here you go.
pic.twitter.com/zXddyjJ9kh View conversation · MyassesDragon @ MyassesDragon
Apr 5 Replying to
@BeckyJohnson222 @REGRET_ie and
2 others More wronger.They are spreading anti-science lies.
snopes.com/fact-check/on-'... View conversation · Charisse Burchett @ Charbrevolution
Apr 5 Replying to
@MyassesDragon @BeckyJohnson222 and
3 others ooh a government link 🧐 let's ignore all the dead and injured and believe this then
View conversation · berni galway @ bernibuzgmail
Apr 6 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @RobertKennedyJr @gemmaod1 Dont trust so called health authorities with your health, they are ruining lives in so many ways not just vaccines, these pharma companies have been caught lying and killing thousands of ppl over and over again. They make billions and get fined a small % of their profit each time
View conversation · Keego @ nkeegan
Apr 6 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @gemmaod1 @RobertKennedyJr Maybe take medical advice from a doctor . Not an author or someone on Twitter!
View conversation · ElaineFitz @ EHFitz_
Apr 6 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @gemmaod1 Two things never to take from a Kennedy 1) advise on appropriate health care or 2) a lift home past a lake'...'....
View conversation · Public Bank Alliance @ publicbankinga
Apr 6 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @RobertKennedyJr @gemmaod1 Your 8-year-old will know to 🏃''¸ðŸƒ''‚¸ðŸƒ''¸ðŸƒ''‚¸after reading the Manufacturers Information.
pic.twitter.com/J3GMYjKqL9 View conversation · Donald @ Donald46503798
Apr 6 Replying to
@nkeegan @REGRET_ie and
2 others Who is the purveyor of medical knowledge to the the doctors?
View conversation · REGRET @ REGRET_ie
Apr 6 Replying to
@SimonHarrisTD However
@SimonHarrisTD is young enough to be around in 40 years when the "Gardasil Generation" start getting cervical cancer. But not to worry, he can simply dust off his talking points on 2018
#CervicalCancerScandal and recycle!
twitter.com/ken_smollen/st'... View conversation · Aine @ amobeirne
Apr 6 Replying to
@REGRET_ie @RobertKennedyJr Younger than 58. Where is other half of data ? They are saying its a big success in Scotland. Started 2008. So those women are in early 20s. Too early to be claiming success. Plus they changed screening age from 20 to 25 in 2016 in ðŸ´ó §ó ó "ó £ó ´ó  That's convenient! 🇮🇪 piechart slide
pic.twitter.com/MyzvjvHvCU View conversation · Maurice Brennan @ mossbrennan
24h Replying to
@kuriousmind93 @REGRET_ie and
2 others How unhinged can you get? This man needs to be mentally checked immediately. A disgrace of a human being.
View conversation · Alice Summer @ kuriousmind93
23h Replying to
@mossbrennan @REGRET_ie and
2 others The best way to figure out is to take
@RobertKennedyJr to a court.
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VIDEO - Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy explains why mastectomies for healthy teen girls is no big deal - YouTube
Sun, 07 Apr 2019 11:07
VIDEO - Rubella: Why Its Appearance At A Detroit Auto Show Is A Problem
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 14:51
Someone infected with the rubella virus attended the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
GettyThe U.S. has well over 99 problems but rubella shouldn't be one of them. The rubella vaccination program, started in 1969, had helped eliminate rubella from the U.S. as of 2004. But these days, in 2019, with the anti-vaccination movement, things have changed.
Case in point. Rubella recently made an appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. No, rubella is not a new car line. Naming an automobile "rubella" would be a bit like naming your motorbike "herpes." Rather, rubella is a very contagious virus that can be readily spread by coughing or sneezing. If the virus is smeared on a surface (such as a steering wheel, for example), it could survive an average of 21+ hours outside of a human body, although half of the viruses tend to perish within an hour, according to the Canadian government web site.
The rubella virus can cause a disease called rubella (hence the name), also known as the German measles. The name German measles is a bit misleading because it has nothing to do with the measles virus, doesn't make you speak German, and is possible to get outside Germany.
On February 1, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that someone infected with the rubella virus had attended the auto show between January 13 and 15. According a news report from WNDU 16, this person was not a Michigan resident and was visiting from another state. Here is a WXYZ-TV Detroit Channel 7 news segment on the auto show exposure:
As a result, the MDHHS warned that "individuals who may have been exposed and are unsure of their vaccination status should contact their healthcare provider with any questions."
"Unsure of their vaccination status" is a polite way of saying "did you somehow not get the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which everyone should be getting as part of the routine series of childhood vaccinations?" Or "did you not do what billions of people around the world have done over the past several decades?" Or "do you actually believe that there is a viable alternative to vaccination to prevent rubella?"
Or maybe for some reason you think that rubella is no big deal, that it will just give you a temporary rash? Well, that type of thinking would be very rash.
Sure, most people infected will have no or relatively mild symptoms. The hallmark symptom is a rash that first appears on your face (usually 2-3 weeks after you get infected by the virus) and subsequently spreads to the rest of your body, typically lasting for 3 days or so. You may have other symptoms such as a low-grade fever, headache, sore throat, cough, runny nose, pink eye, swollen lymph nodes, and general discomfort, that could begin 1 to 5 days before the rash appears, as described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Note that you tend to be contagious from 7 days before the rash appeared to 5-7 days after the rash first appeared.
Rubella infection can lead to miscarriages, stillbirths, and a range of birth defects. (Photo: Getty Images)
GettyThe big deal, though, is what the rubella virus can do to your baby if you are pregnant. As the CDC describes, the last major rubella epidemic in the United States took place from 1964 to 1965, five years before the rubella vaccination program began. During this epidemic, "an estimated 12.5 million people got rubella, 11,000 pregnant women lost their babies, 2,100 newborns died, and 20,000 babies were born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS)." Still think rubella is no big deal?
Yes, rubella infection, especially during the first trimester of your pregnancy, can really play havoc with you and your baby, resulting in miscarriages, still births, and a variety of birth defects that could affect nearly every part of your baby's body. The term CRS encompasses this range of possibilities that includes deafness, cataracts, brain damage, intellectual disabilities, heart defects, and liver and spleen damage.
Fortunately, CRS is much less of a concern these days, thanks to the MMR vaccine. The rubella vaccination program helped take a contagious virus from being common and widespread to being extremely rare and virtually non-existent in the U.S.
However, things could change very quickly, thanks to the anti-vaccination movement. The rubella virus is still spreading in certain parts of the world that, surprise, surprise, don't routinely give children the rubella vaccine. A single person infected with the rubella virus can then on average infect anywhere between 3 and 12 people who are not protected against the rubella virus, in other words, not vaccinated. You can see how rubella outbreaks could occur in places where people are not getting the MMR vaccine, just like the measles outbreak that is continuing in the state of Washington.
The only way to prevent such outbreaks is to make sure that as many people as possible are vaccinated against rubella. Getting the vaccine yourself will help protect you (and your baby) but no vaccine is 100% effective. A single dose of MMR vaccine can be 97% effective at protecting you from getting rubella, which is pretty darn good but not perfect. Therefore, it will also be important to prevent the rubella virus from circulating by making sure that everyone else is vaccinated. Not just you. Not just your BFFs. But everyone around you to keep the rubella virus from silently spreading.
Oh, and if someone tries to sell you an alternative to the rubella vaccine, you might as well use your money as toilet paper. No homeopathic regimen, no supplement, no potion, no special diet, no chiropractic manipulation is going to do what the vaccine can do.
Could rubella reappear in the same way measles has in the U.S., simply because people aren't getting the MMR vaccine? That is a distinct possibility. Since 25% to 50% of those infected with the rubella virus don't even show any symptoms, the virus could spread even more insidiously throughout the population. The threat of the rubella virus is yet another reason why the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed "vaccine hesitancy" as one of the top 10 global health threats of 2019. That's what happens when the anti-vaccination movement threatens to put in reverse some of public health's greatest successes.
Back in 2004, the belief was that the rubella virus had gone the way of the Ford Edsel. But if MMR vaccination coverage continues to drop, the anti-vaccination movement could be driving a big comeback for the virus.
VIDEO - Robert F. Kennedy Jr Explains the Dangers of the HPV - LewRockwell
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 11:15
Is the HPV vaccine safe? In an age where legislators are pushing for mandatory vaccinations, the push to take away the freedom of choice has more people looking at information that the mainstream continues to ignore. The truth is, vaccines are not as safe and effective as they're marketed to be. This is evident by the fact that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury act as now paid approximately $4 billion dollars to vaccine injured children, and that only accounts for 1 percent of vaccine injured children as the majority of injuries go completely unreported.
A great example to use would be the MMR vaccine. On its own, it has caused approximately 100,000 adverse events, 2000 disabilities, 7000 hospitalizations and 500 deaths. (source) And again, according to VAERS, only 1 percent of injuries are accounted for. Meanwhile, measles does not kill. The chances of dying of measles are akin to getting hit by lighting, the odds of dying from measles are 0.01 percent! (source) And those who contract measles receive natural immunity that lasts a lifetime, unlike the vaccine-induced immunity that wanes over time.
Note: Listen to our latest podcast deconstructing the vaccine subject in detail here.
Looking Into The Human Papillomavirus Vaccine
Dissolving Illusions: ... Suzanne Humphries MD, ... Best Price: $30.93 Buy New $22.80 (as of 10:55 EDT - Details ) When it comes to the HPV vaccine, it seems to get worse. There are a multiple of problems with the HPV vaccine, and one of them is that it's loaded with aluminum. Why is this a problem that needs to be addressed? Well, because aluminum, among several other vaccine ingredients, have simply been used in vaccines as presumed to be safe without any actual safety testing. Studies that have examined aluminum raise great cause for concern. One from 2015 points out:
Evidence that aluminum-coated particles phagocytozed in the injected muscle and its draining lymph notes can disseminate within phagocytes throughout the body and slowly accumulate in the brain further suggests that alum safety should be evaluated in the long term. (source)
Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin and the most commonly used vaccine adjuvant. Here's a great clip of doctor Christopher Shaw from the University of British Columbia explaining how injected aluminum does not exit the body. He, alongside Sneha K.S. Sheth andYongling Li, published a study in 2017 looking at animal models. They found that almost ''100 percent of the intramuscularly injected aluminum (as in vaccine adjuvants) is absorbed into the systemic circulation and travels to different sites in the body such as the brain, joints and spleen where it accumulates and is retained for years post-vaccination.'' (source)
Gardasil Victims
When it comes to the HPV vaccine, countless numbers of girls, and boys, have had severe adverse reactions which have resulted in disability and/or death. The latest example to make noise regarding HPV vaccine injury is Jennifer Robi, a 24-year-old former athlete and scholar who has been confined to a wheelchair since receiving her third Gardasil vaccine at age sixteen. She suffers continual uncontrolled neuro/muscular contractions (jerking) and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and many other symptoms of systemic autoimmune dysregulation. You can read more about that story here.
Another one we've written about is Colton Barrett, who took his own life after being unable to cope with his Gardasil vaccine injuries. You can read more about that and watch an interview with him here. Christopher Bunch is also another teenager who recently died as a result of the HPV vaccine, you can read more about that here.
The list of deaths and injuries as a result of the Gardasil Vaccine is a long one. In America, the chances of dying from cervical cancer is 2.3 out of 100,000. The chances of getting an autoimmune disease from this vaccine are 2.3 out of 100. That means that your chances of getting an autoimmune disease from this vaccine are 1000 time greater than getting cervical cancer, as Kennedy points out in his lecture below.
Reports to the World Health Organization's global adverse drug reactions database'--conservatively estimated to represent 10% of actual reactions'--show over 305,000 adverse reactions where the HPV vaccine ''is believed to have been the cause,'' including 445 deaths (23 of which were sudden) and over 1,000 cancerous tumors (including 168 cervical cancers), among other serious reactions (BMJ letter, December 2017).
''A healthy 16-year-old is at zero immediate risk of dying from cervical cancer but is faced with a small but real risk of death or serious disability from a vaccine that has yet to prevent a single case of cervical cancer.''
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Gaining Credibility
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently made an appearance in Hartford, Connecticut at the ''Science of Vaccines forum'' in response to proposed mandatory vaccination initiatives in the state. He had a previously planned vaccination discussion with three Yale doctors cancelled on him, and the doctors have since refused to return emails asking for statements as to why they didn't attend.
He made some bold statements, and he used evidence and science to back them up. After using Merck's own HPV pre-licensure safety study documents showing the manipulation of data to hide increases in severe adverse vaccine reactions, he stated:
I'm saying this not on belief but because it's true. And I'm saying it that way so that Merck will sue me if I'm saying something wrong, and they won't.''
In the talk, he goes on to state that if the truth was known, ''nobody in the world would ever, who has any concern for a little girl, would ever give them this vaccine.''
After showing a slide of evidence illustrating how people who have already been exposed to HPV and receive the vaccine have a much higher percentage of actually getting cancer, which is a fact, the vaccine is much less effective to people who have already been exposed to HPV (many of whom are exposed in the birth canal). He states, ''this vaccine gives you cancer, if you've already been exposed.''
You can view the full lecture below where some of the above quotes come from. Another set of quotes come from the same conference, but is not filmed below. You can view that part of the lecture in this video posted to Kennedy's Children's Health Defence Facebook Page.
Pap Smears VS Vaccines
Kennedy provides legitimate sources in his lecture, and there are many others to back up his claims that this vaccine could actually be contributing to cervical cancer.
As a result of the introduction of pap smear tests, the percentage of incidences of invasive cancer of the cervix decreased from 13.5 to 9.4 in Great Britain, 13.5 to 7 in Australia, 11.6 to 10.2 in Sweden, 15.1 to 11 in Norway, 10.7 to 6.67 in the USA, and 11 to 7.1 in France, in less than 20 years. Out of all countries across the globe that used smear screening, the average annual rate of decline was 2.5% between 1989 and 2000 and 1% between 2000 and 2007, resulting in a total decrease of nearly 30% across 1989-2007. (1,2,3,4,5)
The HPV Vaccine has reversed this trend.
In 2017, Sweden's Center for Cervical Cancer prevention reported that incidences of invasive cervical cancer are climbing in nearly all countries. Over the two-year period from 2013 to 2015, for example, there was a steep 20 percent increase. (source) Note that in Sweden, the Gardasil vaccination program was rolled out in 2010, with vaccination coverage of 12-year-old girls approaching 80%. In 2012-2013, thanks to a catch-up program, almost all girls aged 13 to 18 were vaccinated. (source)
In France, incidences of cervical cancer have increased steadily since vaccinations started, from 9.6 per 100000 in 2006 to 9.7 in 2009, 10.3 in 2012, and 11.49 in 2015. (source)
On April 30th of 2018, a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics suggested that the HPV vaccine may actually be causing cervical cancer in some women rather than preventing it. According to the editors of the journal, ''the issues raised by it [the study] are important and discussion on it is in the public interest.''
That last point there is so important: ''discussion on it is in the public interest.'' Any type of discussion regarding heavily marketed medication is extremely important, and it's highly concerning when there is a large attempt to ridicule or prevent such a discussion from taking place.
The study was retracted, but remains accessible on the journal's site.
As editors, we are wary of the extreme ideological divide that views discussions on vaccines as either ''pro'' or ''anti''. In low and middle-income countries like India, where early HPV infection and incidence of carcinoma cervix are relatively high, scientific discussion and resolution of issues concerning the HPV vaccine is critical, for women receiving it, and for policy making on its introduction in the universal immunisation programme. We hope that the hypothesis of possible harm of vaccinating women previously exposed to HPV is carefully explored in future studies. (source)
Gardasil Failure Likened To The Titanic
Here's another great quote from Dr. Nicole Delepine, a surgeon and Oncologist from France.
It takes a long time to affirm that a preventive action really protects. But the failure of this supposed protection can sometimes be very quickly obvious. To prove that the Titanic was truly unsinkable would have required decades of navigation on the most dangerous seas of the world. Demonstrating that it wasn't, took only a few hours '... This Titanic demonstration is unfortunately reproduced by the Gardasil vaccination.
Evidence that vaccination increases the risk of invasive cancer can be rapid, if the vaccine changes the natural history of cancer by accelerating it. The analysis of trends in the incidence of invasive cervical cancer published in official statistics (registers) was studied in the first and most fully vaccinated countries (Australia, Great Britain, Sweden and Norway). Unfortunately, it's the case for HPV vaccines. (source)
Gardasil's prevention failure has essentially erased the perceived benefits of the Pap smear, which is accelerating the onset of cervical cancer, according to Delepine. She points out how, in all of the countries who have implemented large HPV vaccination programs, there's been a significant increase in the frequency of invasive cancers within the most vaccinated populations. She makes an important points and emphasize how non-vaccinated women continue to benefit from screening with a Pap smear:
During the same period, older women (and therefore unvaccinated) saw their cancer risk decrease significantly: less 17% for women aged 55 to 59 (from 9.7 to 8.1), less 13% for women aged 60 to 64 ( from 10.3 to 8.9), less 23% for those aged 75 to 79 (from 11.5 to 8.8) and even less 31% for those aged 80 to 84 (from 14.5 to 10).
Jabbed: How the Vaccin... Brett Wilcox Check Amazon for Pricing. From their inception, the two HPV vaccines (Merck's Gardasil and, outside the U.S., GlaxoSmithKline's Cervarix) have been aggressively marketed, with their potential benefits oversold and their many risks disguised, particularly through the use of inappropriate placebos. It has been left to independent researchers to critique the regulatory apparatus' fraudulent evidence. Recent letters published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) have brought forward some stark numbers that illustrate the vaccine's appalling record: A seriously adverse event rate of 1 in 15 (7%) and a death rate among the vaccinated (14 per 10,000) that far exceeds the risk of dying from cervical cancer which is 0.23 per 10,000 (BMJ letter, May 2018).
This quote from RFK Jr. sums it all up:
When it comes to the HPV vaccine, is it really necessary? There is a very small percentage of women who will contract an HPV infection throughout their lifetime, and 95 percent of these women who do get an HPV infection will clear it by themselves within a couple of years, you don't even have to detect it. Of the remaining 5 percent, approximately half of those women will develop pre-cancerous lesions, which could then take decades to develop into cancerous lesions. Furthermore, the HPV vaccine only provides 5-10 years of immunity, and girls (and boys) are injected with it at approximately 12 years old. How likely is it that a child will develop an HPV infection between the ages of 12 and 17?
Sources Used Not Highlighted Within the Article:
1] Cancer Research UK, Cervical Cancer (C53): 1993-2015, European Age-Standardized Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, Females, UK Accessed 08 [ 2018 ].
[2] AIHW [2]. 13. AIHW 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no. 101. Cat. No. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.
[3] NORDCAN, Association of the Nordic Cancer Registries 3.1.2018
[4] Bo T Hansen, Suzanne Campbell, Mari Nyg¥rd Long-term incidence of HPVrelated cancers, and cases preventableby HPV vaccination: a registry-based study in Norway BMJ Open 2018; 8: e019005
Reprinted with permission from Collective Evolution.
VIDEO - Dem Pramila Jayapal: Government MUST regulate behavior of ALL Americans to protect transgender freedom '' DC Clothesline
Sat, 06 Apr 2019 10:35
If Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., has her way, the federal government would regulate the behavior of every single American. Her ''reason?'' to protect the freedom of transgender people, Breitbart.com reported Wednesday.
''My beautiful, now 22-year-old child told me last year that they were gender nonconforming,'' she said Tuesday, referring to her son as ''they'' instead of ''he.'' According to Jayapal, her son claims to be neither male nor female.
''I came to understand what their newfound freedom '• it is the only way I can describe what has happened to my beautiful child, what their newfound freedom to wear a dress, to rid themselves of some conformist stereotype of what they are, to be able to express who they are at their real core '... My child is free to be who they are,'' she said.
''And in that freedom comes a responsibility for us as legislators to protect their freedom to be who they are and to legislate, as Dr. Wiley so beautifully said, to legislate our behavior towards all people in our society,'' she added.
Here's video the Washington Democrat posted to Twitter:
During @HouseJudiciary today, I shared why the #EqualityAct is so personal to me and my family. My child is finally free to be who they are. With that freedom comes a responsibility, for us as legislators, to legislate with love and not fear. pic.twitter.com/VfpiD9aDyY
'-- Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) April 2, 2019
Neil Munro noted:
Jayapal's demand and her tearful celebration for her adult son's ''freedom'' came during a hearing about H.R. 5, the Democrat-drafted bill that would require federal agencies to pressure Americans into agreeing that men and women can change their sex by declaring an opposite-sex ''gender identity.''
This bill is not a stretch for Indian-born Jayapal, because she is a progressive who favors top-down direction of Americans' economy, civic life, culture, and population. For example, she justifies this demand for government authority over sexual identity with a claim that progressives can maximize people's freedom by imposing intensive regulation on thoughts and words.
As Faye Higbee explained earlier Friday, HR 5, the so-called ''Equality Act,'' would '''...institute protections against anyone who might slip up and call a man a man instead of a woman based solely on their 'gender identity.'''
The measure is sponsored by 240 representatives, most of whom are Democrats. Higbee also notes the measure ''uses grand sounding words that hide the agenda to destroy anything that runs counter to the LGBTQ viewpoint.''
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., slammed the bill as one that ''silences calls for fairness, flouts science and has no compassion for the women and children it marginalizes.''
He also noted:
The biological differences between the sexes remain scientific and certain '... H.R. 5 nullifies ''women and girls as a coherent legal category worthy of civil rights protection.'' The bill privileges the rights of men who identify as women over biological women and girls '... Allowing men to compete against women in women's sports isn't demoralizing because female athletes '... aren't talented; it's demoralizing because it makes their talent irrelevant. Martina Navratilova explained the threat H.R. 5 poses to women's sports: ''Unless you want to completely remake what Women's Sports means, there can be no blanket inclusion rule. There is nothing stereotypical about this '' it's about fairness and it's about science.''
In fact, H.R. 5 ignores fairness and denies science in order to codify [gender] stereotypes and sexism. If a man who adopts mannerisms associated with women can receive every federal protection afforded to women, we've reduced womanhood to a set of stereotypes '-- the same stereotypes some men have chronically exploited for social, professional and political advantage. H.R. 5 plays into tropes that hurt women and girls across every dimension of society, and it would give those stereotypes the trump card whenever tension arises between the rights of a transgender person and the rights of a biological woman.
Under this bill, adolescents who can't decide what major to pursue in college would be empowered to force doctors '-- bound by anti-discrimination laws '-- to administer hormones that could render these children sterile and conduct irreversible surgeries. Mothers and fathers who have watched their children deteriorate physically and emotionally as they transition away from their biological sex are begging Congress to listen before we leap.
Though women and children have historically been uniquely vulnerable, Democrats are condemning people who advocate for their rights and against H.R. 5 as bigoted. The ideology driving H.R. 5 is content to see women, lesbians and families become the collateral damage of identity politics that has no basis in science.
.@RepDougCollins: I ask my friends across the aisle not to peddle the notion that, under #HR5, everybody wins. There will be many losers because #HR5 bows to political expedience that hurts women and children. pic.twitter.com/ORIfPvLGZM
'-- House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) April 2, 2019
But we now know, thanks to Jayapal, that this measure has nothing to do with ''fairness.'' It has everything to do with controlling and legislating the behavior of every single American and destroying the very fabric of the Republic.
Courtesy of Conservative Firing Line
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VIDEO - Rob Dew on Twitter: "Bizarre: Democrats Announce The Date The World Will End January 21st 2030 AOC made the announcement on 1-21-19 and 97% of Climate Scientists concur that the world will indeed end on January 21st 2030. Please send your contribu
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 23:12
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VIDEO - Benny on Twitter: "Who has the worst, pandering fake Southern accent? 1. AOC 2. Hillary Clinton (I've made a little video for you to be the judge)'... https://t.co/yO8Vm3h862"
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 23:09
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VIDEO - Ryan Saavedra on Twitter: "Ocasio-Cortez speaks in an accent that she never uses while telling a room of predominately black people that there is nothing wrong with them folding clothes, cooking, and driving other people around on a bus for a livi
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 23:08
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VIDEO - Democrats Tell Protesters Full Mueller Report Will Reveal if Trump Has 'Abused His Office'
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 15:48
''All across the country America is rising up,'' Blumenthal said, adding that Barr's summary ''doesn't exonerate the president.''Two virulent anti-Trump lawmakers headlined a rally outside of the White House on Thursday to demand that the Department of Justice release the Mueller report in its entirety, claiming that it will reveal whether President Donald Trump has ''abused his office.''
The protest, staged by leftist groups like moveon.org, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, the Women's March, and the Center for American Progress, drew a couple of hundred people carrying anti-Trump and ''release the report'' signs.
And despite newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr's report to Congress that Mueller and his team over two years found no evidence that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign nor evidence of obstruction of justice, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who is on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the crowd that the president may well be found guilty of those charges and others.
Alex Jones breaks down how the globalists are attempting to collapse civilization within the next six months by intensifying their migrant fueled destabilization of the west alongside the chemical castration of the population by targeting food, water, and air with toxic pollutants worldwide. Their goal is to cull the population down to an easily manipulated / controlled few under their technocracy. Lawyer Robert Barnes joins Alex Jones live in studio to discuss the latest in the Sandy Hook show trials, and Ali Alexander hosts the final hour.
''All across the country America is rising up,'' Blumenthal said, adding that Barr's summary ''doesn't exonerate the president.''
''There is evidence of obstruction,'' Blumenthal said. ''That there may well be evidence of collusion with Russia,even if it isn't beyond a reasonable doubt.''
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VIDEO - Kamala Harris Consoles Seth Meyers Over Mueller Report: 'We Are Not Crazy'
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 15:14
Senator Kamala Harris appeared on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Thursday night and she was greeted with all the adoration you would expect from a liberal fanboy like Meyers.
Meyers opened up with a softball question, asking about her colleagues in the Senate who are also running for president, ''Is it awkward when you see each other?''
After complimenting Harris that she's ''very good at asking questions,'' Meyers got right to what every liberal is dying to talk about: the Mueller report.
''I think everyone is smart enough to know how could he possibly have summarized two years worth of around the clock investigations in two days into just four pages,'' Harris said, echoing liberal conspiracy theories that Attorney General Bill Barr is hiding the truth of what the Mueller report revealed.
Holding on to the Trump derangement, Harris reassured him, ''We all have to remember that we are not crazy.''
Seth: Does it square, what the four-page letter Barr put out with what you know?
Kamala: Well, put aside what I know. I think what the American public knows is that Bob Mueller was engaged with an incredible team for two years in an investigation. And the attorney general produced a four-page document in two days. And so, I think everyone is smart enough to know how could he possibly have summarized two years worth of around the clock investigations in two days into just four pages. For that reason I think we all know we need to have full transparency. The American public deserves to see and know what that investigation involves. [ Cheers and applause ]
Seth: I will say -- this is a nonpartisan observation. Nothing happens quickly in D.C. The fact it was two days later, he's like, good news, we got your answer, it's nothing, was very surprising to me. But I also want to ask, are you surprised, disappointed, that Mueller did have these two years and it seems as though, you know, some people have used the expression that he punted on the decision whether or not there was enough evidence for obstruction. Do you feel as though an investigator who had that much time and that much freedom should have come to a more concrete answer on that question?
Kamala: Well, but we don't know what Mueller said because we've not seen the report. That's part of the issue. The American public and certainly the United States Congress should have the ability to judge for itself what the evidence was, what was the underlying evidence that supported the report, and there should be no hesitancy by this administration, certainly this attorney general in giving it to us. It is a matter of serious concern. [ Applause ] And then we'll see. You know, I think that there's every reason to believe based on his entire career that Bob Mueller was thorough. That he went where the evidence took him. But we need to see it. Because the other thing I know as a prosecutor is that there is a difference between knowing what happened and being able to prove what happened. It doesn't mean there's no evidence, but it probably means that there was not sufficient evidence to maybe bring certain charges. But let's not also forget, there have been 33 indictments. Let's not forget that there is a whole lot of evidence of crimes that have happened. And people are taking a toothbrush to the courtroom these days because of it.
Seth: Are you shocked as a prosecutor how quickly it does seem like you have to remind people how many people who were close to or worked explicitly for the Trump administration are either in prison or have been arrested?
Kamala: I mean, I think that it is --
Seth: If I had asked you this question four years ago, and said, there will be somebody in office and they'll have this many people connected to them in jail.
Kamala: It is quite unbelievable.
Seth: Yeah, right. Okay, good.
Kamala: You're right. [ Laughter ]
Seth: Okay, good. ´Cause I thought I was crazy. [ Laughter and applause ]
Kamala: No, no. Actually, that's the thing. We all have to remember that we are not crazy.
Seth: Yeah.
Kamala: And that these are serious, serious matters.
The pair also talked about Harris' initiative to increase teacher pay, or as Meyers put it, ''Let's not put more money in schools, let's put more money in teacher's pockets.''
Harris claimed, ''Teachers are paid 10 percent or more less than similarly educated college graduates,'' but something tells me they're not factoring in how teachers work 10 percent or more less than similarly educated college graduates with all the time off they get over the summer and other breaks.
She said the ''teacher pay gap'' is about $13,500 a year, and wants to increase teachers' salaries by that much. The average public school teacher made $58,950 in 2017, so an additional $13,500 represents a 23 percent raise. It is estimated that her plan will cost $315 billion.
Ironically, in support of her education idea, the pro-abortion politician said, ''I think you can judge a society based on the way it treats its children.''
They talked about her reaction to Trump's election in 2016 '' ''Utter shock and dismay.'' Harris said it was "extremely bittersweet" to win her Senate seat on the same day, while Meyers joked, "Was it like being someone on the Titanic going, 'I've got a boat. I've got a life raft.'"
Yeah, you guys keep telling yourselves you're not crazy...
VIDEO - U.S. Revokes Visa Of War Crimes Prosecutor For The International Criminal Court! - YouTube
Fri, 05 Apr 2019 13:47
VIDEO - Maxine Waters reignites calls to impeach President Trump, accuses him of 'conspiring with the Kremlin and oligarchs of Russia' | Fox News
Thu, 04 Apr 2019 21:53
Maxine Waters has ramped up her President Trump impeachment talks once again.
The California Democrat seemed to be moving on from pushing impeachment when she admitted it was ''never discussed'' as a realistic strategy among Democrats. But the congresswoman took a very different tone when speaking to supporters this week.
''Some people say, 'How dare her (sic) come out and say, 'Impeach him? She doesn't know enough about him to talk about impeaching him.' But now the American people, whether they say it or not, they know that this man is dangerous,'' Waters told the Woman's National Democratic Club dinner on Tuesday.
''That certainly, he conspired with the Kremlin and with the oligarchs of Russia.''
Waters, who has frequently attacked President Trump since he took office, went on to question Attorney General William Barr.
''I know that you are all worried about the special counsel and the fact that we have a report that has been described to us in a letter by the attorney general. We don't know what's in the report yet, and we're going to demand it,'' she said, according to the Washington Examiner.
She then wrapped up the speech with a message to her supporters: ''Let me leave you with this: Despite the fact that we haven't gotten the report yet, and we're going after it, and it may be subpoenaed, that it is being worked on. I'm still saying impeach 45.''
The fiery promise was in stark contrast to her words from just one week ago.
''I think we do nothing now but concentrate on getting the information, getting that report,'' Waters said, in reference to the report by Mueller, the conclusions of which were provided by Barr.
''[Impeachment has] never been discussed as a strategy for this caucus. It's only a few of us,'' she added, according to Politico.
Many Democrats have expressed reservations about going down the impeachment route, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warning that the process just isn't worth pursuing.
''I'm not for impeachment,'' Pelosi told the Washington Post Magazine. ''Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.''
She added: ''And he's just not worth it.''
Yet some Democrats, most notably U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., are already working behind the scenes to begin hearings and investigations that would pave way for the impeachment.


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