Mind the Gap: The Violence Of Pandemic Dashboards '' Wrench in the Gears
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 15:36
It is vitally important that people of the world recognize how public health policy in many nations has been harnessed to global markets. Instead of serving those at risk of sickness and death, these policies of financialization are constructed to benefit social impact investors. Transnational global capital demands the creation of new investment products to circulate the holdings of billionaires and further concentrate their wealth. This program continues to advance even as poverty rates skyrocket under conditions of economic lockdown. Social impact finance is the centerpiece of this new era of ''stakeholder capitalism,'' which was launched with great fanfare in Davos this January.
Data-driven ''pay for success'' deals are structured around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). ''Health'' is goal number three. The World Bank has played a role in creating new investment products aligned to the UN SDGs. You can read more about the UN SDG financial apparatus here.
''Pay for success'' finance is a performance-based contracting system that has been applied to a wide range of social issues ranging from pre-k, mental health and elder-care services to workforce training and supportive housing. It is clear to me that ''pandemic preparedness'' is being fitted out for pay for success profit-taking, too.
The ''pay for success'' finance model works as follows:
1. Identify a social problem. In this case the possibility of a pandemic.
2. Get an academic institution or think tank to cost out the problem as a negative externality. Remember, the more expensive the problem, the bigger the potential profit from preemptively ''fixing'' it.
3. Establish an equation that fixes a rate of return for ''evidence-based'' ''solutions.''
4. Select the type of data, the parameters, that determine ''success'' for the deal.
5. Set up infrastructure to track the data and provide ''evidence'' of success.
6. Identify partners '' service provider, investors, and project oversight.
7. Deliver the services and collect the data.
8. After a third party determines if success metrics were met, performance payments are issued to investors (or not).
If you want a more extensive overview, see this post.
In 2018, the World Bank and the World Health Organization partnered on an initiative called the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board. Its task is to oversee member nations and identify pandemic preparedness ''gaps.'' Gaps is a red flag for technocracy. Once a social problem is turned into data, it can be put onto a dashboard and twisted to serve the needs of global markets. The ''gap'' between the data as it currently is and that which is desirable allows public services and resources to be placed under the control of systems engineers, technocrats. The following excerpt is taken from a paper prepared by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in 2019. It speaks to the desire for data to ''motivate'' and ''measure.''
Source: Preparedness for a High-Impact Respiratory Pathogen Pademic, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, September 2019
Narrowing the ''gap'' justifies private profit taking. Dashboard managers are incentivized to modulate the ''gaps, but never close them. The pay for success model is based on tightening gaps, but just a little.
Problems that have wide gaps and can be tightened up pretty easily are more attractive investments than intractable problems where the gap is narrow. In the case of pay for success, the worse the problem, the better your chances are to show ''improvement.'' Start from a terrible baseline and demonstrating growth is easier.
The terrible reality of this market is that it is built and sustained on misery. Thus, if profit is made, more misery is needed in order to grow returns. There is no profit for investors in addressing the structural nature of social problems. Plus, real solutions can't be shoe-horned onto a dashboard anyway. Those in power set up the deals, and the deals are structured to favor those in power. Imagine that.
Interactive model of map above can be accessed here.
In 2017, through the Pandemic Emergency Financing Committee, the World Bank issued the first pandemic bonds in response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic. While at first glance that may seem like a humane gesture, the truth is that the bonds were structured in such a way that it is almost impossible to trigger the payouts public health systems need to respond to disease outbreaks.
Neither the Ebola nor the Covid-19 pandemic bonds have disbursed ANY proceeds to governments; meanwhile, these instruments of ''innovative finance'' have generated $100+ million in returns for private investors.
If you want to take a deeper dive, I recommend Susan Erikson's paper, ''Faking Global Health'' published last June in Critical Public Health Journal. Her exploration of how ''health innovation'' and ''health finance'' advance superficial techno-solutions that generate profit for some but never structurally address public health problems matches up perfectly with my own experience regarding the privatization of public education.
Erikson speaks directly to the ways in which data can be manipulated to preference certain outcomes and how harmful consequences can arise when ''success'' becomes tied to narrow impact metrics.
What are the consequences of large sums of money riding on death statistics?
What happens when in order to access healthcare funds, governments must allow a certain ''death rate'' to be attained?
HUGE ethical concerns have arisen in the three years since these bonds were issued. It appears with the entrance of Covid-19, the World Bank expects the market for these bonds to grow.
Source: Faking Global Health, Susan Erikson, Critical Public Health Journal, June 2019
In September 2019, a month before Event 201, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board published a compilation of white papers titled A World At Risk. That document lays out numerous ''progress indicators'' of the type that could be used to set up scoring rubrics tied to pay-for-performance contracting.
In the screenshot below you see how the World Bank is setting up this program noting a potential 10 to 1 return on investment and the high costs of not taking action. The next image shows economic impacts of the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak.
Source: World At Risk, 2019 Annual Report, Global Preparedness Monitoring Board
The numbers in World At Risk build off a 2012 study, People, Pathogens and Our Planet Volume 2: The Economics of One Health. That document actually posits a 44 to 71 percent annual rate of return, which is totally unbelievable. The One Health approach, which I think we will be hearing more about in the coming years, addresses vulnerabilities around zoonotic disease, situations where pathogens jump from animals to humans. This type of transmission is increasingly linked to human encroachment into wilderness areas for the purposes of resource extraction and development.
During this pandemic, we have seen a growing media push around One Health '' the idea that the world is a better place without humans getting in the way; that Earth is healing itself in our absence. This easily-consumed, ''feel-good'' content could become very dangerous if deployed with eco-fascist intent to remove people who are indigenous to their lands from them for the sake of ''conservation.''
The other point I want to raise is regarding how One Health will play in the finance realm. Pay for success deals are built on established cost-offsets that can be layered. The most attractive investments are those where one solution ''fixes'' multiple problems, because that allows investors to take profit across multiple channels.
So think about One Health. If you have an intervention that creates a documented impact on both human health and animal populations, you're going to increase your rate of return. In that way pandemic bonds may end up coming out ahead of vaccine bonds in terms of investor interest. The ROI for human impact is not likely going equal the ROI for a double-dipped One Health ''solution.''
Source: Investing In One Health, World Bank Policy Brief, January 2018.
The excerpt below is from a paper that lays out global investment strategies around emerging diseases. It was prepared for the World Health Organization in the fall of 2017 by researchers affiliated with the Duke Center for Global Health, the United States Agency for International Development, and the EcoHealth Alliance.
Source: A Framework For Stimulating Economic Investments To Prevent Emerging Diseases, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2018.
Take note of two important things: 1) public health has been placed under the jurisdiction of custodians who expect to get an ''attractive return on investment'' and 2) there is an expectation that the cost of inaction around disease mitigation will be quantified. Those costs include: reduced trade, financial market losses, food insecurity, impacts to agriculture, premature mortality, lost wages, and social order disruption.
So what are we to make of all this in light of what is happening around Covid-19?
Well, it is clear those in positions of power are prepping us for a future punctuated by repeated viral outbreaks.
Our national response has been horrible due to a combination of austerity, poor leadership, free market healthcare, and a shredded social safety net.
Health data is being weaponized and politicized.
The government continues to advance the financial interests of the elite over the masses.
There will be profound, almost incalculable, economic fall out from the lockdown.
As tragic as this is, it actually makes sense within the context of global markets. Pandemic finance is meant to be a growth sector, and market logic dictates a terrible first time out of the gate will guarantee ''improvement'' on future dashboard metrics.
Kind of like we were very ill-prepared this time, but next time around we promise to do somewhat better, so our investors get their payout; and remember the payouts are based on the negative externalities, and in this case go big or go home. By tanking the global economy, which was planned to jumpstart the Fourth Industrial Revolution and human capital investment markets anyway, those with an eye on pandemic markets maximized potential future profit.
For them it was a win-win. Impoverish millions so they will be forced to become social impact data commodities and set up a really robust futures market in pandemic preparedness with a side of biometric surveillance. I'm sure the fin-tech oligarchs are beside themselves right now.
So, I guess we will see where this all goes. The impact investors definitely have their eye on growing vaccination and pandemic investments, and are looking to structure them as social impact bonds and development impact bonds. See the screenshot below regarding the relationship of the International Finance Facility for Immunisation to GAVI, the Gates Foundation-funded vaccination program.
To scale them while collecting all the data required to disburse proceeds to investors, I expect they'll want to set up some sort of digital identity system. The World Bank has its own platform serving its Human Capital Project called ID4D.
I'll close with a map I made of vaccine finance. Though these are uncharted waters for us regular folks, the stakeholder capitalists know where they want us to go.
Interactive version of map above here.
Global public health has become a plaything of financiers. Though if you read Daniel Immerwahr's insightful book ''How to Hide an Empire,'' on the Rockefeller Foundation, Cornelius Rhoads and the horror he wrought in Puerto Rico, perhaps it always has been.
Can we wrest the right for a healthy life for all people away from global markets?
Will we allow our humanity to be commodified into vaccine bond portfolios?
As portfolio assets of stakeholder capitalists are we subject to digital tracking forever?
In the name of disease surveillance?
What does resistance to this agenda look like?
I welcome your ideas. Drop a line in the comments.
Young Athletes Are Becoming Corpses at an Alarming Rate | Gates of Vienna
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 15:24
The incidence of sudden collapse and death among young athletes, especially males, on the playing field has become high enough to be noticeable '-- except that the major media are by and large resolutely not noticing the trend. Although there is no proof that COVID ''vaccinations'' are causing these adverse events, it is true that most athletes have had the vax, often because they were required to by team owners if they wanted to take the field.
Data from Europe on such incidents seem to be more widely available than in the USA. The following report was published in Austria.
Psychiatrist Dr. Bonelli: Media Deny Connection With Vaccination
Youngest only 12: At least 69 athletes collapsed in one month, many dead
The reports of athletes who suddenly collapse have been increasing noticeable recently. Wochenblick has already reported about such incidents here, here and here, and also those among non-athletes, which unfortunately sometimes also end fatally. Heart problems such as heart inflammation are often the cause '-- one of the known life-threatening side effects of gene therapy injections, which even the manufacturers themselves warn against. Maybe Bavarian player Joshua Kimmich doesn't want to be vaccinated because of that? Maybe he doesn't feel like collapsing on the field? Perhaps, as the Viennese psychiatrist Dr. Raphael Bonelli noticed this cluster of cases. Dr. Bonelli explains how it might be that no connection is made to experimental genetic engineering injections in the mainstream: He attests to repression and denial!
The psychiatrist Dr. Bonelli noticed. He sees repression on the part of media producers.Does Kimmich want to avoid the side effects of the vaccination, and is that why he does not want to be vaccinated?69 cases of collapsed athletes; Many of them are dead, the youngest was only 12 years old.The current phenomenon is also evident if you simply look at the list of footballers in Wikipedia who have collapsed and died. The year 2021 stands out clearly with 13 entries so far. In no other year mentioned have more footballers died during a game. And this list goes back to the year 1889. So it is actually an historical event.
Psychiatrist Dr. Bonelli: The media suppress and deny
The Viennese psychotherapist Dr. Raphael Bonelli also noticed the many reports . In his video, which he only has uploaded to Telegram due to the YouTube censorship, he states that the mainstream media do not make the obvious connection with the Corona injections. For him, as a psychiatrist, it is clear that the media producers are suppressing and denying the information.
Is Kimmich afraid of life-threatening side effects?
The current discussion about the unvaccinated FC Bayern player, Joshua Kimmich, could possibly have to do with the many cases of collapsing footballers and other athletes. Perhaps Kimmich has also got wind of these incidents, and just wants to spare himself that?
69 cases of athletes suddenly collapsing '-- many dead
Below is a shockingly long list of athletes who have recently collapsed from heart problems or circulatory disorders such as strokes. Unfortunately, some of these incidents were fatal for the often very young athletes. The ominous accumulation makes this suspicious. Vaccination status is not known for all of them, but a connection is quite conceivable for many of them.
1. At the encounter between PGS E Bosico and Romeo Menti (Allerona Scalo) in Umbria, Italy on October 2, 2021, a ''young player'' from the visiting team collapses without any external influence and is transported to the hospital.2. Martin Lef¨vre (16) from FC Agneaux collapses without any previous illnesses due to a stroke during the match against FC Saint-L´ Manche on October 2, 2021. He is paralyzed on one side and has no ability to speak.3. Niels de Wolf, 27, from the Belgian football club White Star Sombeke, suffers cardiac arrest immediately after the game on October 3, 2021 against Verrebroek, is resuscitated with a defibrillator, but dies in hospital on October 6, 2021.4. Arcisate, Province of Varese, Italy: The amateur match between Valceresio and Tradate (Prima Categoria, Girone A) is canceled after 20 minutes after the referee suffers a medical emergency. Message from October 3, 2021.5. Timucin Sen from Germania Grokrotzenburg substituted on October 3, 2021 in the game against Spvgg. Oberrad, collapses after ten minutes and is taken to a clinic in Gelnhausen.6. On October 3, 2021, the referee ner Calik, in his mid-30s, breaks off the game between VfB Waltrop II and Vinnum II due to his own health problems and is taken to the hospital by the emergency doctor.7. On October 4, 2021, a person in charge of SV SW Fr¶mern collapses on the field before the game against Kamener SC.8. Cleveland, Ohio, USA: Elias Abou Nassif (44) suffers cardiac arrest in the gym and can be saved by using a defibrillator. Message from October 5, 2021.9. Lecco (Italy), October 7, 2021: 17-year-old athlete from Colverde collapses during training with cardiac arrest. Defibrillator insert. He is now fighting for his life in the intensive care unit at Lecco Hospital.10. AH player (49) from SC Massay in France suffers a fatal heart attack during a game on October 8, 2021.11. The golf caddy Alberto Olgun from Mexico collapses and dies on the ninth hole of the tournament in Nuevo Vallarta (Mexico). Message from October 9, 2021.12. England: In the League One game between Ipswich Town and Shrewsbury on October 9, 2021, Shrewsbury professional striker Ryan Bowman (29) has to be taken off the field after a good half hour of play with extreme cardiac arrhythmias and a pulse of 250, and is treated with a defibrillator.13. Pompeo Tretola, an 18-year-old soccer player from FC Matese, collapses during the game against Vastese Calcio on 10/10/2021 without any opposing influence. He is later transported to the hospital.14. Normandy, France: After warming up before the match between Saint-James and Avranches on 10 October 2021, a player from Saint-James, about 40 years old, suffers a heart attack and is saved by a fire-medic on the team Avranches.15. 59-year-old long-distance runner from Biella dies of heart failure in a race in northern Italy. Message from 10/10/2021.16. In the game between Wacker Mecklenbeck and Fortuna Freudenberg in the Women's Westphalia League on October 10, 2021, a player collapses without any opposing influence and is transported to the M¼nster University Hospital.17. Argentina: Mayor Guillermo Mercado (50) dies of cardiac arrest after participating in the long-distance run ''Aventura de Cerezal''. Message from 10/11/2021.18. At the Boston Marathon on October 11, 2021, marathon star Megan Roth collapses after eight miles of running with cardiac arrest. She is able to be saved and is waiting for a defibrillator to be implanted.19. NBA player Brandon Godwin of the Atlanta Hawks explains that the Covid vaccination caused severe side effects for him, which means that he may have to end not only the season but possibly his entire career. Message from October 12, 2021.20. Le Havre, France: A 27-year-old policeman suffers a fatal heart attack while jogging. News from October 12, 2021.21. Ferran Duran, player from the 4th Catalan League (27), suffers cardiac arrest five times during a game on October 12, 2021 and miraculously survives.22. France: The player Christophe Da Silva of Saint Av(C) collapses with cardiac arrest in the AH Cup match between the Locqueltas footballers and Saint Av(C). Message from October 13, 202123. Ensenada, Mexico: The 16-year-old student H(C)ctor Manuel Mendoza dies of a ''fulminant heart attack'' while training in a sports club. Message from October 13, 2021.24. Brazil: Atletico Goianiense's youth footballer Fellipe de Jesus Moreira suffers a heart attack in the training center and later another heart attack in the emergency room. Now he is fighting for his life in the intensive care unit. News from October 14, 2021.25. The next referee who breaks down and dies during a game: it happens at the Kreisliga B game between SC Daisbach and FSV Taunusstein in Aarbergen on the evening of October 14, 2021.26. The professional cyclist and multiple Italian time trial champion Gianni Moscon (27) is about to have a catheter ablation due to cardiac arrhythmias. News from October 14, 2021.27. Joe Plant from Whitby (Yorkshire, England) in the autumn of 2021 at a walking competition race of the British Heart Foundation suffers a cardiac arrest, at 14:10, which he self-reports.28. Lars Schneider, coach of TV Braach, retires due to lack of strength after he collapses with cardiac arrhythmias during the match of the district league A Hersfeld / Rotenburg against SG Nentershausen-Weienhasel-Solz in Solz and has to be transported to the clinic. Message from 10/14/2021.29. Treviso, Italy: 53-year-old AH player suffers a heart attack while training on October 14, 2021. Fellow players manage to keep him alive.30. Australia: 14-year-old student Ava Azzopardi suffers cardiac arrest during the game between Runaway Bay and Magic United at Surfers Paradise Apollo Soccer Club. She is resuscitated by nine rescue workers, put into an artificial coma and is now fighting for her life in the hospital. News from October 15, 2021.31. At the 3G Bundesliga handball game in Wuppertal between Bergisches HC and HSG Wetzlar on October 16, 2021, a spectator with cardiac arrest collapses not only during the game (this leads to the game being abandoned); after the game, a second spectator also suffers a cardiac arrest.32. A 16-year-old boy from Idaho collapses from cardiac arrest when lifting weights. He wakes up after two days in a coma but is ''extremely confused'' and has no short-term memory. News from October 16, 2021.33. Camposampiero, Province of Padua, Italy: The 37-year-old doctor Filippo Morando collapses and dies while jogging. The ambulance flown in by helicopter is unable to do anything. Message from 10/17/2021.34. The Premier League game between Newcastle United and Tottenham FC on October 17, 2021 is suspended due to a medical emergency in the stands.35. Haitem Jabeur Fathallah (32), a basketball player from Fortitudo Messina, suffers cardiac arrest during the game and dies in hospital. Message from 10/17/2021.36. Blumenau, Brazil: Former FC Brusque football player from the second Brazilian league, Adans Joao Santos Alencar (38) suffers a fatal cardiac arrest in a football tournament. Message from 10/17/2021.37. Lombardy, Italy: A 40-year-old cyclist stops because of a ''medical emergency'', falls to the ground, is transported to the hospital by rescue helicopter Rho. Message from 10/17/2021.38. Waseem Aslam of Bradford (England) interrupts playing football with cardiac arrest. He is able to be saved by friends. Message from October 18, 2021.39. 26-year-old runner collapses from cardiac arrest in the Detroit Free Press Marathon. Two police officers rescue him with chest compressions. Then he is treated in the hospital. Message from October 19, 2021.40. Cardiac arrhythmias force soccer star Sabrina Soravilla to end her career on October 19, 2021 after 68 international matches for Uruguay.41. Antonio L"pez Real Murcia ends his career at age 32 because of a heart muscle inflammation. Message from October 19, 2021.42. A 41-year-old amateur soccer player in Brazil dies of cardiac arrest during a match. Occurs on October 19, 2021 in Nao-me-toque (Rio Grande do Sul).43. Henry, a teenager from Halifax, England, is honored for saving the life of his 56-year-old father after a cardiac arrest while jogging in March. Message from October 20, 2021.44. At the first division match between Osasuna and Granada in Pamplona on October 22. In 2021, a home team fan suffers cardiac arrest and dies in hospital.45. Dieppe, France: A jogger breaks down with cardiac arrest. He is rescued by two police officers on patrol. Message from 10/22/2021.46. Acerra (Italy): Remigio Gova, A basketball referee and nurse, in Italy inevitably ''vaccinated'' against Covid, ''dies in his sleep'' when he is only 30 years old. Message from October 23, 2021.47. A double medical emergency at an English stadium on 10/23/2021 during the Championship League game between West Brom and Bristol City. Defibrillator use; the game has to be postponed twice.48. Belgian soccer player (37) suffers cardiac arrest in the locker room after his club's match on October 24, 2021, is resuscitated and dies in hospital.49. France: 43-year-old US Montgascon goalkeeper dies of cardiac arrest at half-time. Occurs on October 24, 2021 at the La Btie-Montgascon stadium.50. 53-year-old suffers triple cardiac arrest in the Bilbao half-marathon '-- dead. Message from October 24, 2021.51. Tevita Brice, 28, of Montclair Rugby Football Club, USA, collapses on the pitch with a heart attack. In critical condition. Message from 10/25/2021.52. Fatal cardiac arrest at a mountain running event in the Italian Alps on October 24, 2021. The victim is Bruno Taffarel (56) from Cordenons.53. Players of the SG Gahmen suffers from cardiac arrest just before the game of the team from the Kreisliga A2 Dortmund to Eving Selimiye Spor on 10/24/2021 and must be hospitalized.54. Nocera Umbra, Italy: Sports teacher and football coach Mario Mingarelli suffers fatal cardiac arrest during his team's game on October 24, 2021 at the age of 69.55. The amateur match between Frugesport (Ravenna) and Vaccolino (Prima Categoria, Girone F) is canceled after 32 minutes because the ''young'' referee suffers a medical emergency. Message from 10/26/2021.56. 17-year-old Elly B¶ttcher from Rostocker FC collapses unconscious during the away game in Hohen Neuendorf of the Women's Regionalliga Nordost on October 24, 2021 without any interference and is transported to the hospital. The game is aborted.57. A 20-year-old Italian suffers from cardiac arrest when skateboarding without any external interference and now is now fighting for life in the hospital in Verona, where he was transported by helicopter. News from October 25, 2021.58. On October 27, 2021 a fan of the Belgian second division team from Lier collapses in the stadium with heart problems and dies in hospital.59. On the same day (10.27.2021) also in Belgium, the cup match against Dender of Eupen: A fan collapses with cardiac arrest and has to be revived.60. Sassuolo, Italy: A 53-year-old mountain biker suffers fatal cardiac arrest on an off-road tour. Message from 10/27/2021.61. England: A fan collapses and dies from cardiac arrest in front of the stadium after the Cup match Stoke City against Brentford on October 27, 2021.62. A player from Blau-Wei Linz from Ghana (26) collapses during his club's home game against Hartberg and is transported to the hospital. Occurs on October 27, 2021 at the round of 16 for the FB-Pokal. He has a congenital heart rhythm disorder and plays with a defibrillator.63. Pakistan: The 30-year-old player Muhammad Islam from FC Raziq Chaman suffers a heart attack in the middle of the game against Millat Club and dies. Message from October 28, 2021.64. The Swedish-Iraqi player Aimar Sher from the Italian first division club Spezia Calcio collapses during training and is transported to the hospital. Message from October 28, 2021.65. Pennsylvania, USA: A 12-year-old student at Chartiers Valley Middle School collapses while playing basketball in physical education class without interference and dies. Message from October 28, 2021.66. Barcelona star Sergio Aguero (33) suddenly becomes breathless during the league game against Deportivo Alaves, grabs his chest and collapses. The Argentine national team player must now take a break of at least three months. A few months ago he suffered from a severe Corona infection. Notification from 10/30/2021.67. During the ICE ice hockey league game, Boris Sadecky (24) from the Bratislava Capitals collapses on the ice without any outside interference. He dies five days later. It later emerges that he suffered from ''mild myocarditis'' on match day. Message from 10/30/2021.68. The student and soccer coach for the La Salle High School team in Pennsylvania, USA, Blake Barklage dies after a heart attack over the weekend. Announcement from November 1, 2021.69. Argentina: The soccer player Ronald Biglione dies after the second vaccination due to thrombosis '-- a well-known side effect of the vaccinations against which the manufacturers themselves warn in their ''Rote-Hand-Letters''. He was treated in Cordoba hospital for two weeks. Message from November 5, 2021.
As Ds and Fs soar, schools ditch inequitable grade systems - Los Angeles Times
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 15:21
A few years ago, high school teacher Joshua Moreno got fed up with his grading system, which had become a points game.
Some students accumulated so many points early on that by the end of the term they knew they didn't need to do more work and could still get an A. Others '-- often those who had to work or care for family members after school '-- would fail to turn in their homework and fall so far behind that they would just stop trying.
''It was literally inequitable,'' he said. ''As a teacher you get frustrated because what you signed up for was for students to learn. And it just ended up being a conversation about points all the time.''
These days, the Alhambra High School English teacher has done away with points entirely. He no longer gives students homework and gives them multiple opportunities to improve essays and classwork. The goal is to base grades on what students are learning, and remove behavior, deadlines and how much work they do from the equation.
The changes Moreno embraced are part of a growing trend in which educators are moving away from traditional point-driven grading systems, aiming to close large academic gaps among racial, ethnic and economic groups. The trend was accelerated by the pandemic and school closures that caused troubling increases in Ds and Fs across the country and by calls to examine the role of institutionalized racism in schools in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer.
Los Angeles and San Diego Unified '-- the state's two largest school districts, with some 660,000 students combined '-- have recently directed teachers to base academic grades on whether students have learned what was expected of them during a course '-- and not penalize them for behavior, work habits and missed deadlines. The policies encourage teachers to give students opportunities to revise essays or retake tests to show that they have met learning goals, rather than enforcing hard deadlines.
''It's teaching students that failure is a part of learning. We fall. We get back up. We learn from the feedback that we get,'' said Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, L.A. Unified's chief academic officer.
Traditional grading has often been used to ''justify and to provide unequal educational opportunities based on a student's race or class,'' said a letter sent by Yoshimoto-Towery and Pedro A. Garcia, senior executive director of the division of instruction, to principals last month.
''By continuing to use century-old grading practices, we inadvertently perpetuate achievement and opportunity gaps, rewarding our most privileged students and punishing those who are not,'' their letter said, quoting educational grading consultant Joe Feldman.
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The urgent need for change became painfully apparent during pandemic-forced school closures as educators grappled with how to fairly grade students living through an unprecedented disruption to their education. Some of the challenges that students faced were unique to the pandemic. Others had long been present and were more visible.
Suddenly, teachers had an inside view of the crowded home conditions of some low-income students. They saw how some teenagers were caring for younger siblings while trying to do their own work and witnessed the impact of the digital divide as students with spotty internet access struggled to log on to class.
''The COVID pandemic just highlighted across the nation a trend of looking at the inequities in learning circumstances for students,'' said Carol Alexander, director of A-G intervention and support for L.A. Unified. ''But those different circumstances of learning have always been present.''
Feldman, a former teacher and administrator who wrote the book ''Grading for Equity,'' had been working for several years with school districts across the country as they reconsidered grading policies. In October and November of the 2020-21 academic school year, he suddenly found himself fielding a ''tidal wave'' of calls from districts, as teachers issued progress reports and realized that Ds and Fs were skyrocketing.
''Our traditional grading practices have always harmed our traditionally underserved students,'' Feldman said. ''But now because the number of students being harmed was so much greater, it got people more aware of it and ready to tackle this issue.''
Several school districts across California, reflecting a diversity of demographics, are taking steps toward revising grading with an eye toward equity. Some have formally adopted new policies while others are offering training and support for teachers who want to grade differently.
Last year, West Contra Costa Unified, which is majority Latino, issued a memo encouraging secondary teachers to give students a five-day grace period to turn in work and eliminate zeroes in grade books.
Placer Union High School District, where a majority of students are white, has directed teachers to base grades on ''valid evidence of a student's content knowledge and not...on evidence that is likely to be influenced by a teacher's implicit bias nor reflect a student's circumstances.''
In Los Angeles, the district had begun to train teachers on practices including basing grades on whether students are meeting academic standards. But when faced with a flood of Ds and Fs during school closures, officials quickly moved to change policy , giving students additional time to make up work.
A recent L.A. Times analysis of L.A. Unified's assessment and grade data showed how grades fell significantly during school closures for students in Los Angeles. The gap in grades that existed before the pandemic between Black and Latino students and white and Asian counterparts widened to as much as 21 percentage points.
There were also significant gaps in the rate of students meeting University of California and California State University admissions requirements, which say students must complete certain courses with a C or better. During the 2018-19 school year, about 59% of students met the requirements. For the class of 2022, about 46% of students are on track to meet the requirements '-- with a gap of 17 percentage points or more between Black and Latino students and white and Asian students. Officials have said they expect more seniors will meet the requirements before the end of the school year.
Despite the broad decline in grades, educators said the pandemic also showed how giving students extra opportunities led many to improve their marks. In the fall of the 2020-21 school year, after the district directed teachers to give students several extra weeks to make up their work, almost 15,000 grades were improved.
In the recent guidance, teachers were directed to base final academic grades on the ''level of learning demonstrated in the quality of work, not the quantity of work completed'' and mastery of standards.
''Just because I did not answer a test question correctly today doesn't mean I don't have the capacity to learn it tomorrow and retake a test,'' Yoshimoto-Towery said. ''Equitable grading practices align with the understanding that as people we learn at different rates and in different ways and we need multiple opportunities to do so.''
The district's guidance says academic grades should not be based on attendance, including unexcused absences, late work, engagement or behavior, which can be reflected in separate ''citizenship'' or ''work habits'' marks that do not count toward a student's GPA.
Students earning Ds and Fs should also have the opportunity to take an incomplete grade in order to have extra time to improve their grade or retake the course for a better grade or credit recovery.
Gary Garcia, principal at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz, said many teachers have been moving toward more equitable grading practices for years. But shifting away from traditional grading to basing grades on whether students have mastered standards is not easy.
''It is a heavy lift, which is difficult in this pandemic time with the challenges teachers face,'' Garcia said. ''But, I think over time, over the next few years, we'll see more and more schools adopting mastery grading and learning.''
Gavin Tierney, an assistant professor in the Department of Secondary Education at Cal State Fullerton, who teaches aspiring educators on equitably assessing students, agreed that asking teachers to fundamentally change their approach to grading '-- which often replicates what they experienced in school '-- requires more training and support.
''It's hard work to rethink how we are assessing and grading on a deep level,'' Tierney said. ''We can't just say to teachers, 'do this work.' Because they're trying to just figure out how to get through a lesson a lot of times.''
In San Diego, district officials said they were compelled to make changes following calls for social justice in the aftermath of Floyd's death and the pandemic's exposure of long-existing racial inequities.
''Our goal should not simply be to re-create the system in place before March 13, 2020. Rather, we should seek to reopen as a better system, one focused on rooting out systemic racism in our society,'' the board declared last summer.
Similar to Los Angeles, the San Diego changes include giving students opportunities to revise work and re-do tests. Teachers are to remove factors such as behavior, punctuality, effort and work habits from academic grades and shift them to a student's ''citizenship'' grade, which is often factored into sports and extra-curricular eligibility, said Nicole DeWitt, executive director in the district's office of leadership and learning.
Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said he thinks some of the changes seem sensible '-- like giving students a chance to retake tests. But he's skeptical of others, including removing deadlines and behavior from academic grades.
''The questions that are getting asked here are certainly worth asking,'' Hess said. ''My concern is that by calling certain practices equitable and suggesting they are the right ones, what we risk doing is creating systems in which we tell kids it's OK to turn in your work late. That deadlines don't matter... And I don't think this sets kids up for successful careers or citizenship.''
Thomas Guskey, author of ''On Your Mark: Challenging the Conventions of Grading and Reporting,'' said the United States lags behind other countries in modernizing grading.
In Canada, for example, it's common for students to receive separate grades for academic achievement, participation, punctuality and effort. That makes each mark more meaningful than a grade that is a hodgepodge of factors that can vary from teacher to teacher.
''We in the United States are more bound by tradition in grading than any other developed nation in the world,'' Guskey said. Grading reform is not about watering down expectations; it's about ensuring that grades are meaningful and fair, he said.
''I want us to honor excellence,'' Guskey said. ''I just want it done in ways that are defensible and not really pitting one kid against the other.''
Vaccinated people make up 75% of recent COVID-19 cases in Singapore, but few fall ill | Reuters
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 14:05
A medical worker prepares a syringe at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination center in Singapore, March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
SINGAPORE, July 23 (Reuters) - Vaccinated individuals accounted for three-quarters of Singapore's COVID-19 infections in the last four weeks, but they were not falling seriously ill, government data showed, as a rapid ramp-up in inoculations leaves fewer people unvaccinated.
While the data shows that vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases, it also underscores the risk that even those inoculated could be contagious, so that inoculation alone may not suffice to halt transmission.
Of Singapore's 1,096 locally transmitted infections in the last 28 days, 484, or about 44%, were in fully vaccinated people, while 30% were partially vaccinated and just over 25% were unvaccinated, Thursday's data showed.
While seven cases of serious illness required oxygen, and another was in critical condition in intensive care, none of the eight had been fully vaccinated, the health ministry said.
"There is continuing evidence that vaccination helps to prevent serious disease when one gets infected," the ministry said, adding that all the fully vaccinated and infected people had shown no symptoms, or only mild ones.
Infections in vaccinated people do not mean vaccines are ineffective, experts said.
"As more and more people are vaccinated in Singapore, we will see more infections happening among vaccinated people," Teo Yik Ying, dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
"It is important to always compare it against the proportion of people who remain unvaccinated...Suppose Singapore achieves a rate of 100% fully vaccinated...then all infections will stem from the vaccinated people and none from the unvaccinated."
Singapore has already inoculated nearly 75% of its 5.7 million people, the world's second highest after the United Arab Emirates, a Reuters tracker shows, and half its population is fully vaccinated.
As countries with advanced vaccination campaigns prepare to live with COVID-19 as an endemic disease, their focus is turning to preventing death and serious diseases through vaccination.
But they are grappling with how to differentiate public health policies, such as mask wearing, between the vaccinated and those who are not.
Both Singapore and Israel, for example, reinstated some curbs recently to battle a surge in infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, while England lifted almost all restrictions this week, despite high caseloads.
"We've got to accept that all of us will have to have some restrictions, vaccinated or not vaccinated," said Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital in the Australian capital.
"It's just the restrictions are likely to be higher for those unvaccinated than vaccinated people, but that may still mean they have mask mandates indoors, for instance."
The Singapore data also showed that infections in the last 14 days among vaccinated people older than 61 stood at about 88%, higher than the figure of just over 70% for the younger group.
Linfa Wang, a professor at Duke-NUS Medical School, said elderly people had been shown to have weaker immune responses upon vaccination.
In Israel, which also has a high vaccination rate, about half of the 46 patients hospitalised in severe condition by early July had been vaccinated, and the majority were from risk groups, authorities said. read more
It was not immediately clear if the Singapore data reflected reduced protection offered by vaccines against the Delta variant, the most common form in the wealthy city state in recent months.
Two doses of vaccine from Pfizer (PFE.N)-BioNTech (22UAy.DE) or AstraZeneca (AZN.L) are nearly as effective against Delta as against the previously dominant Alpha variant, according to a study published this week. read more
Singapore uses the Pfizer and Moderna (MRNA.O) vaccines in its national vaccination programme.
Friday's 130 new locally-transmitted infections were off this week's 11-month high. The recent rise in cases prompted authorities to tighten curbs on social gatherings in the push to boost vaccinations, particularly among the elderly. read more
Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Chen Lin in Singapore; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Clarence Fernandez
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Lab Grown Meat To Hit U.S. in 2022, Backed By FDA & USDA, Along with "Smarter Food Safety Blueprint" and Traceability All Underway - coreysdigs.com
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 13:37
Corey's Digs first reported on cultured lab grown meat back in 2018, alerting people that this would soon become a reality, as the globalists chip away at our food security. Now, Future Meat Technologies, a company out of Israel is nearly set to begin shipping its lab grown meat to the U.S. in 2022. This was a blip in the news, missing everyone's radar, and yet their connections and the potential repercussions of this is alarming. But they are not the only company involved with this, and the industry is rapidly gaining traction while the FDA and USDA are getting everything lined up, along with their ''Smarter Food Safety Blueprint'' with food traceability technology. This is their strategy to control the food industry and everyone's food security, going far beyond the meat industry. Who is backing all of this, what's really in this ''meat,'' and how will this impact farmers and ranchers?
In June 2021, it was announced that Future Meat Technologies was in the approval process with regulatory agencies of its production facility in multiple territories and plans to launch its products in the U.S. in 2022, as the ''World's first industrial cultured meat facility,'' but their are several others. It is an Israeli start-up founded by Rom Kshuk and Chief Scientific Officer Yaakov Nahmias, with the ability to produce 1100 lbs of meat a day initially, and is currently seeking out locations in the U.S. to expand its facilities. They produce ''cultured'' chicken, pork, and lamb, with beef coming just around the corner.
Many organizations, agencies, and NGOs that are pushing the 2030 agenda have long been backing this agenda under the guise of climate change and sustainability. The World Economic Forum has informed everyone that ''You'll eat much less meat. An occasional treat, not a staple.'' Future Meat Technologies claims that its process will generate 80% less greenhouse emissions, use 99% less land, and 96% less freshwater than traditional meat production. Nahmias has patents pending in the US, China, and Europe for growing cells in vitro.
This isn't a one-off start-up company, this is a full scale agenda to remove the meat industry entirely. In fact, Bill Gates wants ''all rich countries to move to 100% synthetic meat,'' and he's backing nearly all of the companies involved in this industry. The number of companies involved, money being thrown at this, and agencies quick to approve it, is quite staggering.
Timeline of Relevant Events and Key Players2001: NASA scientists and Dutch universities began developing the technology for lab-grown meat.
2005: The University of Maryland announced working on growing meat in incubators by utilizing stem cells from a biopsy of a live animal.
2009: Beyond Meat was founded by Ethan Brown, and is headquartered in El Segundo, CA. They develop plant-based substitutes for meat, which created quite a trend, to welcome the future of lab grown meat. It takes time to seeds minds. It takes far less time to get the seed money. Beyond Meat is funded by Tyson Foods, Bill Gates, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, GreatPoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Biz Stone, Obvious Corporation, and others.
2011: Impossible Foods was founded by Patrick O. Brown, and is headquartered in Redwood City, CA. They also develop plant-based meat products, and have also received funding from Bill Gates, as well as the Open Philanthropy Project, Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Viking Global Investors, UBS, Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Horizon Ventures, Temasek, and others. In 2020, Burger King rolled out the first ''Impossible Croissan'wich'' in all of their 7,500 locations, followed by Starbucks ''Impossible Breakfast Sandwich in all 15,000 locations.
2011: Eat Just, Inc. (formerly Hampton Creek Foods), which often goes by ''JUST,'' was founded by Josh Tetrick and Josh Balk, and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA. They produce plant-based alternatives to conventionally-produced egg products. The initial seed funding came from Khosla Ventures, owned by Vinod Khosla, one of the co-founders of Sun-Microsystems, who also invested in Impossible Foods, and is a member of Bill Gates' Giving Pledge. Sales Force CEO Marc Benioff, Facebook co-founded Eduardo Saverin, Hong Kong billionaire Lin Ka-shing, Founders Fund, Yahoo founder Jerry Yang, and Ali Partovi all invested as well. Eat Just's subsidiary, GOOD Meat, produces lab grown meat.
2013: Bill Gates and Peter Thiel invested in Eat Just Inc.
2015: Memphis Meats (now known as Upside Foods), a Berkeley, CA based food technology company focussed on growing cultured meat, was founded by Uma Valeti, Nicholas Genovese, and Will Clem.
August 2017: Five days before the signing of Whole Foods over to Amazon, Bill Gates and Richard Branson invested in Memphis Meats. Gates, Branson, Elon Musk's brother Kimbal Musk, and Cruise co-founder Kyle Vogt have funded $17 million to Memphis Meats as of 2017. Tyson Foods and Cargill also have a stake in it. By 2020, they had $161 million in investments for its production facility.
August 2017: Amazon acquired Whole Foods.
2018: Future Meats Technologies, located in Rehovot, Israel, was founded by Yaakov Nahmias.
May 2018: Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, invested $2.2 million seed money into Future Meat Technologies. The Neto Group (Israel), S2G Ventures (Chicago), Bits x Bites (China), Agrinnovation (Israel), and HB Ventures (New York) also funded Future Meat Technologies in that round.
January 2019: The World Economic Forum published their ''Improving Traceability in Food Value Chains Through Technology Innovations'' as part of their ''Great Reset,'' in collaboration with McKinsey & Company.
January 2020: (more than likely, much earlier than that) Covid hit the U.S., meat plants closed, and millions of dollars began steaming in to the lab grown meat industry.
April 2020: Tyson Foods announced closures of their food processing plants and stated that ''the food supply chain is breaking.'' They warned that ''millions of pounds of meat'' will disappear from the supply chain due to the so-called pandemic causing food processing plants to close. John Tyson also stated that U.S. farmers don't have anywhere to sell their livestock. It is alleged that their Waterloo, Iowa plant had 182 cases of Covid in their employees. In addition to Tyson Foods, they also shut down Smithfield Foods in SD (China-owned company who Corey's Digs has reported on), and JBS pork processing in MN.
October 2020: The FDA published 'Food Made with Cultured Animal Cells,' stating that this emerging area of food science ''is expected to be ready for market in the not too distant future.'' In 2019, the FDA and USDA established a formal agreement on how they would roll out regulations and proper labeling to develop a framework for this industry. They break down their separate regulating responsibilities here, from tissue collection, cell lines and banks, selection, growth, harvest, processing, labeling, and importing this lab grown meat.
2020: The USDA awarded contracts to provide 8 million RFID tags to cattle and bison producers, for free of course. They want them tracked and traced. A battle ensued, and in March 2021, the USDA announced its intent to pursue rule-making on RFID use in animal disease traceability by 2023. There is a hidden mandate that requires cattlemen to register their premises and obtain premise ID numbers, whereas current regulations do not require a producer to register his or her premises as a prerequisite to shipping cattle interstate. R-CALF and NCLA are fighting this in a federal court in Wyoming.
February 2021: Future Meat Technologies raised another $26.7 million in funding from Tyson Foods, ADM, Muller Group and Rich's Products Corporation, S2G Ventures, and Emerald Technology Ventures.
April 2021: Singapore became the first country to offer lab-grown meat through their home delivery platform Foodpanda. Eat Just, Inc. partnered with them through their subsidiary 'GOOD Meat,' and Google even provides a cardboard headset that plays a film about preserving the planet, that comes with each order. They intend on taking this model global where Delivery Hero brands operate which is currently in over 50 countries. Eat Just, Inc. is also an investor of Delivery Hero.
July 2021: The FDA released their ''New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint.''
August 3, 2021: Tyson Foods announced they are requiring its entire 120,000 U.S. workforce to get the Covid-19 jab, including more than 2,500 truck drivers.
August 2021: Memphis Meats (Upside Foods) has partnered with a San Francisco restaurant to offer their lab grown chicken, once it passes a regulatory review from the FDA and USDA, which should be a slam dunk.
September 13, 2021: The FDA announced the winners of their ''Food Traceability Challenge.''
Beginning to see the picture? The SAME companies and individuals that are involved with the 2030 agenda ''Great Reset,'' that are rolling out the digital identities to get everyone onto the blockchain in order to control humanity, are also invested in the lab grown meat industry. Why? Because in order to control the masses, you have to also control the food, and meat is a good place to start. If anyone believes this is about climate change or sustainability, they've lost site of reality. Many of these same people are also involved with the Covid jabs and profiting from this virus.
In addition to Tyson Foods, notice that Bill Gates is once again invested in nearly all of the companies mentioned above. In his recent book on ''How To Avoid A Climate Disaster,'' Gates called for governments to quintuple their annual investments in clean tech, set clean electricity and fuel standards, and high carbon prices. Just this year, in an interview with Technology Review, Gates was asked ''Do you think plant-based and lab-grown meats could be the full solution to the protein problem globally, even in poor nations? Or do you think it's going to be some fraction because of the things you're talking about, the cultural love of a hamburger and the way livestock is so central to economies around the world?'' To summarize, Gates' response was:
''For Africa and other poor countries, we'll have to use animal genetics to dramatically raise the amount of beef per emissions for them. Weirdly, the US livestock, because they're so productive, the emissions per pound of beef are dramatically less than emissions per pound in Africa. So no, I don't think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat. I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the behavior of people or use regulation to totally shift the demand.''
Just How Big is This Industry?''Raising meat takes a great deal of land and water and has a substantial environmental impact. Put simply, there's no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people.'' '' Bill Gates quoted in a 2013 NPR article, who the Gates Foundation funds
According to the Good Food Institute, in 2020 alone, over $365 million was raised by cultivated meat companies, while plant-based and fermentation continued to climb dramatically, rounding out the year with $3.1 billion invested in this industry. There are over 70 companies working on developing cultivated meat inputs, products, and services. The meats they are focused on are; beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, duck, white fish, mouse, salmon, tuna, foie gras, fish maw, lamb, kangaroo, horse, and sturgeon.
Singapore became the first national regulator to approve the sale of lab grown meat. Israel, the U.S. and the E.U. are all in the process, and not far behind.
The Good Food Institute is an international nonprofit ''reimagining meat production,'' with a goal of ''building a world where alternative proteins are the default choice.''
To put this in perspective, over the course of nearly 10 years, $5.9 billion was invested in the fake meat industry, and in 2020 alone, $3.1 billion was invested. That is an incredible increase '' one that took a global virus to disrupt the meat industry in order to kickstart their agenda into full gear. It's amazing how many fulfilled agendas this virus has served up on a silver platter for them, isn't it?
Notice Impossible Foods and Memphis Meats were two big players in 2020. That said, there are a lot of players in this industry. Here is an extensive list of companies.
FDA's New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint for The FutureIn October 2020, the FDA published 'Food Made with Cultured Animal Cells,' stating that this emerging area of food science ''is expected to be ready for market in the not too distant future.'' In 2019, the FDA and USDA established a formal agreement on how they would roll out regulations and proper labeling to develop a framework for this industry. They break down their separate regulating responsibilities here, from tissue collection, cell lines and banks, selection, growth, harvest, processing, labeling, and importing this lab grown meat.
Make no mistake, the FDA's blueprint for ''Smarter Food Safety,'' which will utilize food traceability technology, is part of the coordinated attack on everyone's food security, and directly ties into their goal to convert the meat industry into a 100% synthetic. On September 13, 2021 they announced the winners of their ''Food Traceability Challenge.''
They contend this is all about ''consumer safety'' and protection from ''foodborne diseases,'' because they have everyone in a panic over Covid, and alleged future ''animal diseases,'' but the reality is that only 3,000 people die annually from foodborne diseases in the U.S, according to the CDC. They are manufacturing an entire industry of food traceability under the guise of ''safety'' when more than twice that number have already died after receiving the Covid-19 jab, and continue to purport it as ''safe and effective.'' Reconcile that.
What's worse, is that they don't hide their intentions of how they intend to achieve this '' to ''influence and change human behavior.''
This blueprint is broken down into 4 categories which they intend to roll out over the next decade to ''usher in the new era of food safety'':1) Tech-Enabled Traceability2) Smarter Tools and Approaches for Prevention and Outbreak Response3) New Business Models and Retail Modernization4) Food Safety Culture (on farms, in food facilities, and in homes)
On page 7 of the FDA's blueprint, they state that they want firms to ''voluntarily adopt tracing technologies,'' yet in just a few sentences further down, they state ''Strive to enable industry compliance with FDA's traceability regulation using existing consensus standards, where possible.'' So is it ''voluntary'' or is it ''regulated''? According to pages 13 and 14, under their retail food and safety approaches, they intend to encourage the development and use of commercial ''smart kitchen equipment'' that is capable of automatically monitoring time and temperature processes, as well as other engineering controls for facilities and equipment.
They show that there has been an increase of up to 31% of people purchasing groceries online due to Covid, suggesting that grocery stores and retail are moving their businesses online, while they work on regulations that could put these companies at risk of going out of business. According to data from Yelp, as of August 31, 2020, 60% of businesses had closed their doors permanently due to the irrational lockdown mandates. The FDA plans to partner with food delivery companies to educate them on proper food handling, including USPS, UPS, FedEx, Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash.
They spell it all out on page 16 with their plans to launch a consumer education campaign that will help consumers access and understand new technologies, while facilitating their adoption of these new tools and apps, engage partners in a coalition made up of industry groups, tech companies, government partners, and media groups to promote this new ''food safety culture,'' utilize new tech such as Smart Home devices, smartphones, and digital platforms to reach consumers with their messaging.
How is This Meat Being Cultured and Can We Trust That It's ''Animal'' Meat?Let's face it, when you have a bunch of eugenicists, depopulation artists, scientists who freely lie to fulfill agendas, abortionists who use fetal tissue in their vaccines, and globalists trying to bring us to our knees, who all want full control of humanity, it's hard not to question where these stem cells are really coming from. When one considers that the FDA and the USDA will be regulating and overseeing this, it it doesn't bring on a pause, but rather a hard stop. The USDA has made their agenda known with RFID tags for cattle and other farm animals, while becoming the control mechanism for the level 4 biolab going into the heart of the meat belt in Kansas, among other longtime nefarious actions. The FDA has lost all respect by suppressing legitimate treatments for Covid while appeasing the globalists and big pharma, and pulling a bait-and-switch with the so-called approval of Pfizer's Covid jab.
According to the FDA, this is how the science of making foods with cultured animal cells is done:Step 1: They extract cells from a tissue sample of an animal. They select some of the cells, screen them, and grow them to make a ''bank'' of cells to store for later use.
Step 2: A small number of cells are taken from the cell bank and placed in a large sealed vessel that supports growth and cellular multiplication, by supplying appropriate nutrients and other factors.
Step 3: Once the cells have multiplied into billions or trillions of cells, additional factors such as protein growth factors, new surfaces for cell attachment, and additional nutrients are added to the controlled environment to enable the cells to differentiate into various cell types and assume characteristics of muscle, fat, or connective tissue. Yum, sounds delicious! What's in those ''additional nutrients'' or will that be proprietary information?
Step 4: Once the cells have differentiated into the desired type, the cellular material can be harvested from the controlled environment and prepared using conventional food processing and packaging methods.
Oddly, this doesn't sound so different from what molecular engineer, chemist, and geneticist George Church has been doing for quite some time. He's been inserting wooly mammoth DNA into elephant skin cells which can then be turned into stem cells and used to produce embryos, which they can grow in incubators. In fact, Church says we could bring back Neanderthals, who he believes are likely to be more intelligent than us, since they have the 30,000 year-old DNA. He also owns multiple DNA collecting companies to run genomic sequences on people so they can learn about their heritage, and gives them the ability to sell it to other scientists on the blockchain. Other companies are doing this as well. Church's company Nebula says that genomic big data is projected to outgrow video and text data within the next few years. It's like a field of dreams for all of the eugenicists looking to create the next Frankenstein.
Keeping in mind that this lab grown meat isn't going to be packed and sold as chicken legs with actual bones, but rather in patty or ground formations, who's to say what the heck kind of ''meat'' is really being grown? Anything could be added into this so-called ''meat.'' It could even be human meat. Sound crazy? They have already grown 7 human organs using similar methods. They can grow eye cups, hearts, skin, bones, muscles, liver, and even brains, plus ''organoids'' such as fallopian tubes, minibrain, miniheart, minilung, minikidney, ministomach, esophagus, ear, vagina, and penis. The Japanese are working on growing human eyeballs. EpiBone is the world's first company to grow living human bones for skeletal reconstruction and talked about how to grow a human arm in a lab during the Smithsonian magazine's 2015 Future Is Here Festival.
What would human meat look like or taste like? Would a person be able to differentiate? Disturbing questions indeed, yet there are some cultures who eat humans til this day. According to a 2014 Smithsonian magazine article, human flesh looks most like beef and falls in the red meat camp, but the taste is more elusive. They went on to explain that both serial killers and Polynesian cannibals have described human meat as tasting most closely to pork. However, William Seabrook, an author and journalist, described it very differently in his book 'Jungle Ways' after allegedly sampling it in West Africa. He described human flesh as tasting like ''good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef.'' He said it didn't taste gamey at all but was slightly tougher than prime veal, a little stringy, but not too tough. A ''tradition'' of human cannibalism still takes place today in areas of India, Indonesian New Guinea, and Fiji.
In addition to lab grown meats and organs, they are also developing 3D printed meats and organs. Being as they have already begun their infrastructure to create a social score and climate scoring system, one can only imagine how that will impact farmers and ranchers, as yet another ploy to reduce their ability to produce. Once they have enough facilities in place to distribute their lab grown meat at Bill Gates' requested 100%, while making billions off this new industry, it is likely the USDA will chime in with new regulations that further limit farmers and ranchers. How far out we are before that day arrives is hard to say, but people need to get loud with the FDA and USDA, as well as legislatures on protecting our farmers and ranchers and demanding that we do not want any part of ingesting an unknown cultured meat that arrives in some ground up disguised fashion. It's a bit reminiscent of the Covid jabs, where the ingredients remain vague and elusive, yet the outcome has been detrimental to people's health, with deaths exceeding nearly 7,000 as the CDC continues to manipulate the numbers to downplay it.
Some people may think that letting the meat industry go and converting to a vegetarian is something they can accept or may even want to do, but that's just the beginning for this agenda. They intend to have the entire food industry on the blockchain as well, and be able to control what you are allowed to purchase and eat via your bank account and digital ID. If we don't put a hard stop to the ripple effect this will have, they will eventually control our food security in its entirety. Much like how the mask was used as the instrument to get everyone to submit to all future actions and corral them straight into a digital identity, they are forging ahead with the meat industry in the same manner. We have to have our farmers backs and they have to have our backs. Work with them, build up the community co-ops, get loud with the FDA and USDA, and call on your legislatures to get involved.
Their goal is to have 100% synthetic meat as quickly as they can roll it out. We need to stop this now before that first ''label'' gets slapped on a product and it's too late to roll it back.
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How criminals have taken over the world's 'health' industry |
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 12:22
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental activist and attorney turned ultimate freedom fighter, discusses his latest book, ''The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health,'' which is a must-read if you want to know more about the behind-the-scenes of this giant fraud. We could talk for hours and not cover but a fraction of what's in this book, which Kennedy calls a ''devastating indictment of Tony Fauci.''
In a nutshell, Kennedy describes how Fauci turned the National Institutes of Health into an incubator for pharmaceutical products, and essentially sold the entire country to the drug industry. The book is an incredibly well-referenced record of his history of decimating human health, and exposes him as a self-serving charlatan.
Tony Fauci basically created this template that he then used over the next 45 years, to develop toxic drug after toxic drug. He killed early treatment, and killed any protocol that competed with his pharmaceutical enterprise. A lot of people have died [as a result]. ~ Robert F. Kennedy Jr.I particularly enjoyed how Kennedy placed Fauci in the context of Rockefeller's legacy with respect to Bill Gates, who developed an alliance with Fauci over 20 years ago. Rockefeller set us on a course of toxic, profit-driven medicines synthesized from the byproducts of the oil refinery process a century ago, and Gates picked up where he left off and then collaborated heavily with Fauci.
The Decade of VaccinesFauci, in turn, has had a hand in creating the vaccine gold rush. In 2000, he met with Bill Gates, who asked to partner with the NIH in an agreement to vaccinate the entire population of the world with a battery of new vaccines. In 2009, this agreement was rebranded as ''The Decade of Vaccines,'' the objective of which was to implement mandatory vaccinations for every adult and child on the planet by the year 2020.
''I show how they use the pandemic simulations, working very closely with the intelligence agencies, with the big media companies and the major pharmaceutical companies to make that happen,'' Kennedy says.
''Gates calls what he does philanthropy capitalism, [the idea that] you can use philanthropy to make money. He had a foundation where he has sheltered $50 billion in tax-free money. And, he continues to have absolute control over it. He uses that money to gain control of public health agencies in our country and the World Health Organization.
He's created a lot of his own [organizations] with Dr. Fauci and a lot of these quasi-governmental agencies that people think are governmental. They're actually front groups of the pharmaceutical industry like GAVI and SEPI '...
He uses this battery and this control of the WHO to set pharmaceutical or medical policy, public health policy around the globe, in a way that maximizes the profits from his stakeholding in these big pharmaceutical companies.
I also show he's simultaneously doing the same thing to control the global food supply '... [He's] really trying to change both public health and food policies in ways that benefit corporations that he's invested in and that he's partnered with.''
Fauci's Lethal Handling of the AIDS EpidemicGates didn't lure Fauci to the dark side, however. Fauci had already spent decades playing with people's lives and sacrificing public health for profit. One of the darkest stains on Fauci's career, aside from his role in the COVID pandemic, was his handling of the HIV epidemic.
The first cases of AIDS surfaced in 1981. Initially, the AIDS program was run by the National Cancer Institute, a separate institute inside the Health and Human Services Department (HHS). The general belief was that AIDS had a chemical etiology caused by drug use. This all changed when the HIV virus was discovered.
Fauci started working for the NIH in 1968 as a clinical associate in the Laboratory of Clinical Investigation at National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). He became director of the NIAID in 1984, the year after the discovery of the HIV virus, and was appointed director of the Office of AIDS Research in 1988, when that office was established. As explained by Kennedy, Fauci essentially built the NIAID around an AIDS drug called AZT.
''AZT was a chemotherapy formulation that was so toxic it killed all the rats when they gave it to them. The inventor of AZT felt that it was unsafe for any human use, so he didn't even patent it,'' Kennedy says.
''Very early on, the National Cancer Institute had found that when you put AZT in a culture of HIV, that killed the HIV, not surprisingly. It killed anything it touched. And so, Fauci partnered with the manufacturer of AZT '... He guided that formulation through the regulatory process and tried to fast track it. He cheated terribly on the clinical trials.
In the clinical trials, it was killing everybody. It literally kills everybody who takes it. But he was able to keep the people in the treatment group alive by giving them huge numbers of blood transfusions. It does keep them alive for the eight weeks, and based upon that eight-week trial, he got approval for AZT. It was unprecedented.
As Kary Mullis, who won the Nobel Prize for discovering the polymerase chain-reaction (PCR) technique, said, with any chemotherapy drug, you're supposed to give it to somebody for two weeks. Chemotherapy is designed to kill every cell in the body, but hopefully it kills tumor cells first, and you can take the person off it. The tumor dies, if you time it right, and the person doesn't die.
If you put somebody on that for life, like Tony Fauci was doing, every one of them is going to die. And that's what happened. Meanwhile, there were a lot of drugs at that time that were being repurposed. Local, community-based doctors in San Francisco and New York who were treating the AIDS community were finding that these drugs treated the symptoms of AIDS, and they stopped people from dying.
Fauci made a deliberate crusade to sabotage those, to make sure they were not available to sick people, in order to make sure that AZT would be the only solution. And AZT was the most expensive drug in history. It was $10,000 for a one-year supply [while costing just $5 per dose to manufacture, plus U.S. taxpayers paid for all of the research and development of the drug] '...
Tony Fauci basically created this template that he then used over the next 45 years, to develop toxic drug after toxic drug. He killed early treatment, and killed any protocol that competed with his pharmaceutical enterprise. A lot of people have died [as a result].''
Although a bonanza of money was made with AZT, it pales in comparison to Pfizer making out like a bandit with its COVID shot. The U.S. taxpayers paid $20 billion to fund the research, and another $10 billion to market the COVID jab. Pfizer created the best-selling drug in the world and will make $35 billion from it this year.1 Even better, unlike AZT, this is absolutely risk-free and they can never be sued for injuries.
Everything in Fauci's Career Is Groundhog DayAn estimated 330,000 people have died from AZT alone. Overall, the similarities between the AZT scandal and what's happening today with the COVID jab and remdesivir are striking. Again, Fauci has discouraged the use of any prevention for COVID-19, and any treatment using inexpensive and relatively nontoxic drugs such as hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin.
U.S. taxpayers funded the research while drug companies have made an estimated $100 billion in profits from the shots in a single year, all while having zero liability for injuries and deaths even as people are being coerced into taking them.
''Everything in Tony Fauci's career is Groundhog Day,'' Kennedy says. ''Again, and again, and again, he is repeating the same behavior and it is paying off. And he has this way of talking where he never really says anything. And this habit of just lying, and lying, and lying '...
I knew a lot about what happened during the HIV crisis because my uncle, Ted Kennedy, was chair of a health committee at that time. Teddy was the first presidential candidate to court the gay vote, and I was running his campaign at that time '...
In the health committee, his primary concern for most of the time was AIDS. I talk about this in my book.
Finally, Fauci was called in front of Congress, and was just fileted. Henry Waxman and all of these well-known Democratic congressmen were saying, 'What the hell are you doing? You've produced nothing. You're totally incompetent.' After that, his career was over, and he decided at that point, 'OK, I'm going to work on getting these repurposed drugs on the market.'
He did that for a couple of years, and he had a project, which was a dual track project where they could, without going through the clinical trials and FDA randomized, placebo controlled trials, they could get approval for these drugs, so that people could get insurance for them and pay for them. So, I was deeply involved in this for many, many years, and I've known Tony Fauci for a long time.
I have insights on who he really is, that most liberal Democrats are utterly ignorant of. He is the opposite of everything they believe. He is the architect who turned our public health system over to the pharmaceutical industry. He does not do public health. And there is no metric at NIH, where they look and say, 'We are improving public health.'
The only metric they have is, 'How many vaccines have we given? How many pharmaceutical drugs have we sold? How much kickback money are we getting into the agency?' As I explain in the book, this agency has become an incubator for the pharmaceutical industry.''
Gain-of-Function Research Under Fauci's WatchFauci is responsible for an annual budget of about $6.1 billion. He gets another $1.6 billion from the military to do bioweapons research, which is where 68% of his $437,000 a year salary comes from. (Fauci is the highest-paid federal employee in the U.S. Second-highest is the president, at $400,000 a year.)
''That's why he had to do that gain-of-function shenanigans in Wuhan,'' Kennedy says. ''He had to do it, because he had to hold on to his salary. And most of his salary comes from bioweapons research '...
Gain-of-function research has never provided a single scientific or medical development that has assisted us in responding to pandemics. Not one. But Fauci continues to do it, because it is critical to his salary. And it's critical to that funding stream.''
Now, the bulk of the NIAID's funding was intended to be used to study American health and to improve it; to eliminate infectious allergic diseases and autoimmune diseases. Instead, under Fauci's watch, the chronic disease epidemic has exploded.
This, despite the fact that between Fauci, Gates and the U.K. Wellcome Trust, they control 63% of the biomedical research on earth through their funding. Over his career, Fauci alone has distributed more than $930 billion in research grants through the NIAID. You could say they control all of it, really, because they also have the capacity to dry up funding to projects they don't want done.
Ruthless FauciCase in point: Something happened in 1989, triggering a series of epidemics '-- autism, food allergies, Tourette's Syndrome, narcolepsy, ADD/ADHD, speech delay, language delay, rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases like juvenile diabetes. All of them sprang up right around 1989. Why? What's causing them? It's Fauci's job to find out, but he refuses to, and he blocks anyone else from digging too deep.
''Tony Fauci's job is to say, why did that happen? It has to be an environmental toxin. Genes don't cause epidemics. They provide the vulnerability, but they cannot cause an epidemic. You need an environmental toxin. All we have to do is figure out which one started in '89, and became ubiquitous the same year. But if anybody tries to do that study, Fauci will ruin their career.''
Top suspects include vaccines, which dramatically increased in '89, and virtually all of the chronic diseases that have skyrocketed are listed as potential side effects on the manufacturers' inserts. The herbicide glyphosate also became ubiquitous around that time, and really exploded in 1993 when RoundUp Ready corn was invented. GMOs, other pesticides, ultrasound and PFOAs are other potential culprits.
''Our kids are swimming around in a toxic soup. And it could be all of those things, or it could be one or another, but it's easy to find out. You just do the science. And that science is easy to do, but it will never be done as long as Tony Fauci's in office, because he doesn't want us to know '-- because those are the industries he has survived by protecting,'' Kennedy says.
Fauci Works on Behalf of Big PharmaKennedy goes on to explain how Fauci works on behalf of Big Pharma, and why he's become so important for the drug industry.
''Between 2009 and 2016, about 230 drugs were approved by the FDA, all of which came out of his shop. So, he is an incubator for Pharma.
And here's what he does: At his lab, he has petri dishes filled with every virus [imaginable], and he has scientists that are messing around with different molecules and different poisons, and they'll drop those poisons into a petri dish and see if it kills the culture. If it kills the culture, then he has a potential antiviral drug.
The next step is, they give it to rats, and see if it kills the rats. If most of the rats survive, now you have a potential antiviral that may work in humans. Then, he farms it out to a big university. Now the person it goes to at the university is usually a very powerful person. It's the dean of the medical school, or the chair of one of the departments, and they run the clinical trials, which is extremely lucrative.
So, they will do the Phase 1 trial, and they'll recruit maybe 100 people for the trial. Fauci gives that principal investigator maybe $20,000 per recruit. The university skims off 50% to 75% of that. So, now, that university is hooked into the system.
Then, if the drug works in Phase 1 and Phase 2, then they have to bring in big groups of people '-- 10,000 people '-- and you're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. And they have to bring in a pharmaceutical company that now takes control of about half the patent.
Tony Fauci's agency keeps a share of the patent. For example, they now collect royalties on the Moderna [COVID] vaccine. [The NIAID] gets half the royalties, billions of dollars. The university researcher keeps some of the patent, so he is now permanently attached to Tony Fauci and will do anything he says, and the university itself is getting some of that patent.
So, it's hundreds of millions of dollars that are going to these universities every year, in addition to the grants that he's giving, and he can cut all that off if somebody at the university does the wrong study.
Once the drug goes through Phase 3, it goes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Fauci says, 'Well those are independent scientists at FDA.' The panel is called VRBPAC [Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee], and they're NOT people who work for the FDA. They're outside persons who are brought in.
Well, where are they brought in from? They're Tony Fauci's principal investigators from all the universities, who are working on his other projects, and they're brought in to rubber stamp the drug '...
They OK it and give it a license, because they know that, next year, their drug is going to be in front of that committee, and they are going to want the committee to rubber stamp them. So, that committee never says no. It always green lights everything, and it's completely controlled by Fauci. He controls the whole process '...
Every expert you see on CNN is on Tony Fauci's payroll, and CNN will never tell you that. It will say, 'This is an independent virologist, he's an immunologist at Baylor University, or Stanford, or Harvard.' They're not telling you where that guy's bread is being buttered, and that the person who's buttering it is Tony Fauci, with your taxpayer dollars. The whole system is just fixed.''
Fauci's Past and Rotten Character Are Catching Up on HimAs more and more of Fauci's lies and his funding of sadistic experiments on animals and aborted fetuses are coming to light, Kenney predicts Fauci will be forced to resign, especially as the book comes out and people really start to understand what he's been up to all these years.
''Nobody who was not a sadist in his soul would allow [the beagles being eaten by sandflies] experiment to happen,'' Kennedy says. ''Yet, Tony Fauci deemed that the best use for $450,000 of U.S. taxpayer money, with all of the screaming needs in public health.
But it's not just $450,000. Millions and millions [of dollars] he has put into these sadistic experiments where they're torturing animals to death. Like you'd see in a schoolyard with little boys, who don't know any better and need to be told, 'You don't do that to another creature.' Fauci doesn't have that instinct, it's lacking.
It explains what he has done during COVID '-- denying early treatment to millions of Americans and forcing them to suffer and die in their homes, or on ventilators and remdesevir, which is a deadly toxic drug, rather than get treated and be healthy.
And punishing, silencing, censoring, delicensing, discrediting any doctor who tries to say, 'Wait a minute, I've been treating patients, and my patients aren't dying, because I'm using hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin' and an entire battery of repurposed drugs that we now know treat virtually all COVID cases.
Seventy to 90% of COVID deaths and hospitalizations could have been prevented, and there are hundreds of studies that support that. Yet, he forbids people from doing it. That is a sociopath '...
And shutting down a million businesses, is that really going to save lives? There's no study that indicated it would '... We have 4.2% of the global population, and we had 14.5% of the deaths. Why is anybody listening to this guy? There's no Health Minister in the world who has a worse track record than Tony Fauci.
There are many countries that had 1/100th of our death rate per million in population. And guess what? Those are mainly the African and Asian countries, that as a matter of course are giving ivermectin for river blindness and hydroxychloroquine for malaria control.''
In support of Kennedy's assertion that Fauci will be forced to resign, you can view his recent grilling November 4, 2021, by Sen. Rand Paul in front of Congress. What is most impressive are the comments, which are virtually unanimously disparaging Fauci.
Fauci's Lethal, Illegal Experiments on ChildrenIn his book, Kennedy includes a chapter on some of the animal trials Fauci funded. He also tells a far grimmer story, where the guinea pigs were Black and Hispanic children. At least 85 of these children died, but the number could be as high as 1,000 or so. Fauci got these children by arranging for foster care programs in New York and six other states to assign children who had lost their parents to AIDS to participate in drug studies.
These children had no guardian, so they were illegal studies. To do a clinical trial on children, you need to have a guardian appointed who puts their interests first, ahead of the drug companies. Fauci didn't want that, so he allowed these studies to go forward without a legal guardian for any of these kids. No one was watching out for them. The trials weren't even done by licensed medical professionals.
''They were mainly Dominican immigrants, who were deeply compassionate, who discovered in the middle that they were actually being hired to treat these children as guinea pigs, and they were killing huge numbers of them. Many of the kids didn't even have HIV, so they had no possible benefit from the drug, which is illegal.
Yet Fauci got away with all of it. I believe there was a Congressional investigation for a brief time, but like everything that gets near him, it kind of peters out. The BBC did a documentary on these kids back in 2004 called 'Guinea Pig Kids.'
They interviewed these children, [one] who said, 'I took the drugs. They made me feel sick. I was vomiting, I couldn't eat, I was tired all the time, it was painful, and I refused to take it.'
And when they refused, they were sent to another of Tony Fauci's principal investigators at Columbia Presbyterian who installed a feeding tube to force feed these children these toxic chemotherapy drugs that they refused to take '... As bad as Beagle gate is, what he did to these Black and Hispanic children is even worse.''
COVID-19 '-- The Culmination of Fauci's Criminal EnterpriseAs for the COVID-19 pandemic, Kennedy equates it to the culmination of Fauci's career. In the book, he recounts how Fauci has been a key figure in pandemic planning '-- not necessarily how to prevent one, but how to create it, as infectious disease mortality had dropped so dramatically that infectious diseases were becoming an increasingly low priority.
So far, every single pandemic that has been dramatized has turned out to be a complete fraud, and the same can be said for COVID. All the while, billions of dollars were spent on vaccines.
''They've taken all of these lessons they learned from all the other fake pandemics and rolled it into coronavirus,'' Kennedy says. ''Now, I want to make clear, I'm not saying that coronavirus is not a pandemic, or that it doesn't kill a lot of people. It does. But we've all been manipulated by an exaggeration of cases, the exaggeration of deaths, the obscuring of data, all of the manipulations that they've done to us.
[In the book] I have a picture that somebody got from a Freedom of Information Act request. It's a March Madness graph of all of the different pandemics '-- fake pandemics '-- [Fauci] has tried during his career, all converging with the grand winner being coronavirus. And [Fauci] signed it, somebody on his staff made it.
But it was Tony Fauci's triumph, winning March Madness. It's basically a picture of his career. Him trying every three or four years a new fake pandemic, and finally hitting on all eight cylinders with coronavirus. It's like it's a joke, and we are the punchline '...
Here's what I would say to people. We have to stop this. This is the hill that we all have to die on. If you are a parent, and you let them give this [COVID shot] to your child, you are not doing your job as a parent. If you are a doctor, you are committing malpractice to give this to a child. We all need to resist.
I would say that every American who sees what's happening has to start engaging in civil disobedience every day. And that may mean going to a store and telling them, if they demand a vaccine passport, that you are not going to patronize that store anymore. It may mean resisting on the job. Do not quit! Make them fire you. Because then you have a lawsuit.
Right now, the best thing is to make them fire you for not taking an emergency use authorization vaccine, because there are no approved vaccines in this country available to any American. It was a myth, it was a hoax, it was a chicanery for them to say, 'We approved this Comirnaty vaccine.' If you go on Pfizer's website, it will tell you, 'We do not make Comirnaty available in the United States.'
Why are they trying to go after our kids? Here's why. The vaccines can only get liability protection once they are approved. The only way they get liability protection is if they're on the child's vaccination schedule. And then, once the CDC votes them onto the child vaccination schedule, then they get liability protection, even for adults.
One lawsuit can bankrupt the company if they didn't have liability protection. So that's why they're going after our kids. They need it to get that liability protection. And we need to stop them from the collateral damage they're going to cause to an entire generation of children; 26 million children will get a vaccine that's been tested on 1,300 kids, with catastrophic results.''
To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of ''The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health.'' You don't want to miss this fascinating and carefully researched book.
Hoax Email Blast Abused Poor Coding in FBI Website '' Krebs on Security
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 12:17
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed today that its fbi.gov domain name and Internet address were used to blast out thousands of fake emails about a cybercrime investigation. According to an interview with the person who claimed responsibility for the hoax, the spam messages were sent by abusing insecure code in an FBI online portal designed to share information with state and local law enforcement authorities.
The phony message sent late Thursday evening via the FBI's email system. Image: Spamhaus.org
Late in the evening on Nov. 12 ET, tens of thousands of emails began flooding out from the FBI address firstname.lastname@example.org, warning about fake cyberattacks. Around that time, KrebsOnSecurity received a message from the same email address.
''Hi its pompompurin,'' read the missive. ''Check headers of this email it's actually coming from FBI server. I am contacting you today because we located a botnet being hosted on your forehead, please take immediate action thanks.''
A review of the email's message headers indicated it had indeed been sent by the FBI, and from the agency's own Internet address. The domain in the ''from:'' portion of the email I received '-- email@example.com '-- corresponds to the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services division (CJIS).
According to the Department of Justice, ''CJIS manages and operates several national crime information systems used by the public safety community for both criminal and civil purposes. CJIS systems are available to the criminal justice community, including law enforcement, jails, prosecutors, courts, as well as probation and pretrial services.''
In response to a request for comment, the FBI confirmed the unauthorized messages, but declined to offer further information.
''The FBI and CISA [the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] are aware of the incident this morning involving fake emails from an @ic.fbi.gov email account,'' reads the FBI statement. ''This is an ongoing situation and we are not able to provide any additional information at this time. The impacted hardware was taken offline quickly upon discovery of the issue. We continue to encourage the public to be cautious of unknown senders and urge you to report suspicious activity to www.ic3.gov or www.cisa.gov.''
In an interview with KrebsOnSecurity, Pompompurin said the hack was done to point out a glaring vulnerability in the FBI's system.
''I could've 1000% used this to send more legit looking emails, trick companies into handing over data etc.,'' Pompompurin said. ''And this would've never been found by anyone who would responsibly disclose, due to the notice the feds have on their website.''
Pompompurin says the illicit access to the FBI's email system began with an exploration of its Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP), which the bureau describes as ''a gateway providing law enforcement agencies, intelligence groups, and criminal justice entities access to beneficial resources.''
The FBI's Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP).
''These resources will strengthen case development for investigators, enhance information sharing between agencies, and be accessible in one centralized location!,'' the FBI's site enthuses.
Until sometime this morning, the LEEP portal allowed anyone to apply for an account. Helpfully, step-by-step instructions for registering a new account on the LEEP portal also are available from the DOJ's website. [It should be noted that ''Step 1'' in those instructions is to visit the site in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, an outdated web browser that even Microsoft no longer encourages people to use for security reasons.]
Much of that process involves filling out forms with the applicant's personal and contact information, and that of their organization. A critical step in that process says applicants will receive an email confirmation from firstname.lastname@example.org with a one-time passcode '-- ostensibly to validate that the applicant can receive email at the domain in question.
But according to Pompompurin, the FBI's own website leaked that one-time passcode in the HTML code of the web page.
A screenshot shared by Pompompurin. Image: KrebOnSecurity.com
Pompompurin said they were able to send themselves an email from email@example.com by editing the request sent to their browser and changing the text in the message's ''Subject'' field and ''Text Content'' fields.
A test email using the FBI's communications system that Pompompurin said they sent to a disposable address.
''Basically, when you requested the confirmation code [it] was generated client-side, then sent to you via a POST Request,'' Pompompurin said. ''This post request includes the parameters for the email subject and body content.''
Pompompurin said a simple script replaced those parameters with his own message subject and body, and automated the sending of the hoax message to thousands of email addresses.
A screenshot shared by Pompompurin, who says it shows how he was able to abuse the FBI's email system to send a hoax message.
''Needless to say, this is a horrible thing to be seeing on any website,'' Pompompurin said. ''I've seen it a few times before, but never on a government website, let alone one managed by the FBI.''
As we can see from the first screenshot at the top of this story, Pompompurin's hoax message is an attempt to smear the name of Vinny Troia, the founder of the dark web intelligence companies NightLion and Shadowbyte.
''Members of the RaidForums hacking community have a long standing feud with Troia, and commonly deface websites and perform minor hacks where they blame it on the security researcher,'' Ionut Illascu wrote for BleepingComputer. ''Tweeting about this spam campaign, Vinny Troia hinted at someone known as 'pompompurin,' as the likely author of the attack. Troia says the individual has been associated in the past with incidents aimed at damaging the security researcher's reputation.''
Troia's work as a security researcher was the subject of a 2018 article here titled, ''When Security Researchers Pose as Cybercrooks, Who Can Tell the Difference?'' No doubt this hoax was another effort at blurring that distinction.
Hundreds in Austria Protest Government's Plan to Impose Lockdown for Unvaccinated - Videos - 14.11.2021, Sputnik International
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 12:08
Hundreds in Austria Protest Government's Plan to Impose Lockdown for Unvaccinated - Videos
Hundreds in Austria Protest Government's Plan to Impose Lockdown for Unvaccinated - Videos
On Sunday, the Austrian government will decide if it will lockdown unvaccinated citizens will as part of measures to ease the pressure on hospitals. 14.11.2021, Sputnik International
Around 1000 demonstrators took to the streets of Salzburg, Austria on Saturday to protest the government's plan to introduce a lockdown for people who have not been vaccinated against COVID. The protesters marched to the regional office of the national broadcaster ORF '' they blasted the ''lying media'' and the government's plan to make vaccination compulsory. Videos of the protest have been shared online. Earlier this week, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen warned that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases was on the rise and that urgent measures needed to be taken to improve the situation. Upper Austria and Salzburg are among the regions that have been hit hardest by the pandemic '' local authorities said they will ban unvaccinated people from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons starting from 15 November.
A scandalous cheek of civil liberties. I assume you can go to work, (on public transport and mixing at work) shopping etc and during those times, of course you'll need to wear a red hat'.....he he !!
MIA 'Rosiya Segodnya''
MIA 'Rosiya Segodnya''
MIA 'Rosiya Segodnya''
austria, news, protest, vaccine, lockdown
10:34 GMT 14.11.2021 (Updated: 12:03 GMT 14.11.2021 )On Sunday, the Austrian government will decide if it will lockdown unvaccinated citizens will as part of measures to ease the pressure on hospitals.
Around 1000 demonstrators took to the streets of Salzburg, Austria on Saturday to protest the government's plan to introduce a lockdown for people who have not been vaccinated against COVID.
The protesters marched to the regional office of the national broadcaster ORF '' they blasted the ''lying media'' and the government's plan to make vaccination compulsory.
Videos of the protest have been shared online.
Earlier this week, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen warned that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases was on the rise and that urgent measures needed to be taken to improve the situation. Upper Austria and Salzburg are among the regions that have been hit hardest by the pandemic '' local authorities said they will ban unvaccinated people from leaving their homes for non-essential reasons starting from 15 November.
Queen misses Remembrance Sunday service after back sprain - BBC News
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 11:54
By Becky MortonBBC News
The Queen is no longer attending the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in London as she has sprained her back.
Buckingham Palace said the monarch, 95, was "disappointed" to miss the event.
The palace previously said it was the Queen's "firm intention" to attend the service, after taking time away from her duties for health reasons.
She made the decision to miss the event "with great regret" this morning, a statement said.
As in previous years, a wreath was laid on her behalf by the Prince of Wales.
The Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and The Princess Royal also still attended as planned.
This is a blow. A blow to those gathered here on Whitehall on a grey November morning, a blow to the many who had hoped to see the Queen after a fortnight of rest, and without doubt a blow to the Queen herself - Remembrance Sunday is when she, who has devoted her life to service, pays her tribute to those who served.
It is, as one palace official puts it, "incredibly unfortunate timing". When the palace announced that the Queen would cancel her official engagements for two weeks it went out of its way to say that it was her "firm intention" to attend the National Service of Remembrance.
It's understood that the Queen will not need hospital treatment. It looks as if a car ride from Windsor and a period of standing in the cold watching the ceremony were just impossible given her back sprain.
In previous years she may have weathered the pain. But there is no getting round the fact that she is 95 years old. For a period, at least, quieter times beckon.
The Queen's back sprain is unrelated to her doctor's recent advice to rest, news agency PA Media reported.
Doctors had advised the monarch to rest until mid-November after she spent a night in hospital on 20 October for checks - her first overnight hospital stay in eight years.
However, she did undertake some light duties during that time, including meeting ambassadors via video link from Windsor Castle.
And she missed the Festival of Remembrance at London's Royal Albert Hall on Saturday, which was attended by Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Catherine.
The Remembrance Sunday service would have been her first duty in public after her hospital stay last month.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "The Queen, having sprained her back, has decided this morning with great regret that she will not be able to attend today's Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph.
"Her Majesty is disappointed that she will miss the service."
Image source, AFP/Getty
Image caption, The Queen was seen using a walking stick at a Westminster Abbey service recently
The monarch, who lived through World War Two as a teenager, is head of the armed forces.
She has only missed six other Cenotaph ceremonies during her reign - on four occasions when she was on overseas visits and in 1959 and 1963, when she was pregnant with her two youngest children.
The Queen had maintained a typically busy schedule in October before being admitted to hospital, but was recently seen using a walking stick at a Westminster Abbey service, the first time she has done so at a major event.
On Tuesday, she returned to Windsor Castle following a long-planned weekend away at her Sandringham home in Norfolk.
Last week, she was spotted driving her car near Windsor Castle, in an area where she is known to take her Corgi dogs out for walks.
More on this story
Covid-19 Misinformation Goes Unchecked on Radio and Podcasts - The New York Times
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 11:17
False statements about vaccines have spread on the ''Wild West'' of media, even as some hosts die of virus complications.
Marc Bernier, a radio host who accused the U.S. government of ''acting like Nazis'' in its promotion of Covid-19 vaccines, died of complications related to the virus in August. Credit... Mandel Ngan/Getty Images Nov. 12, 2021
On a recent episode of his podcast, Rick Wiles, a pastor and self-described ''citizen reporter,'' endorsed a conspiracy theory: that Covid-19 vaccines were the product of a ''global coup d'(C)tat by the most evil cabal of people in the history of mankind.''
''It's an egg that hatches into a synthetic parasite and grows inside your body,'' Mr. Wiles said on his Oct. 13 episode. ''This is like a sci-fi nightmare, and it's happening in front of us.''
Mr. Wiles belongs to a group of hosts who have made false or misleading statements about Covid-19 and effective treatments for it. Like many of them, he has access to much of his listening audience because his show appears on a platform provided by a large media corporation.
Mr. Wiles's podcast is available through iHeart Media, an audio company based in San Antonio that says it reaches nine out of 10 Americans each month. Spotify and Apple are other major companies that provide significant audio platforms for hosts who have shared similar views with their listeners about Covid-19 and vaccination efforts, or have had guests on their shows who promoted such notions.
Scientific studies have shown that vaccines will protect people against the coronavirus for long periods and have significantly reduced the spread of Covid-19. As the global death toll related to Covid-19 exceeds five million '-- and at a time when more than 40 percent of Americans are not fully vaccinated '-- iHeart, Spotify, Apple and many smaller audio companies have done little to rein in what radio hosts and podcasters say about the virus and vaccination efforts.
''There's really no curb on it,'' said Jason Loviglio, an associate professor of media and communication studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. ''There's no real mechanism to push back, other than advertisers boycotting and corporate executives saying we need a culture change.''
Audio industry executives appear less likely than their counterparts in social media to try to check dangerous speech. TruNews, a conservative Christian media outlet founded by Mr. Wiles, who used the phrase ''Jew coup'' to describe efforts to impeach former President Donald J. Trump, has been banned by YouTube. His podcast remains available on iHeart.
Asked about his false statements concerning Covid-19 vaccines, Mr. Wiles described pandemic mitigation efforts as ''global communism.'' ''If the Needle Nazis win, freedom is over for generations, maybe forever,'' he said in an email.
The reach of radio shows and podcasts is great, especially among young people: A recent survey from the National Research Group, a consulting firm, found that 60 percent of listeners under 40 get their news primarily through audio, a type of media they say they trust more than print or video.
''People develop really close relationships with podcasts,'' said Evelyn Douek, a senior research fellow at Columbia University's Knight First Amendment Institute. ''It's a parasocial medium. There's something about voice that humans really relate to.''
Marc Bernier, a talk radio host in Daytona Beach, Fla., whose show is available for download or streaming on iHeart's and Apple's digital platforms, was among the talk radio hosts who died of Covid-19 complications after expressing anti-vaccination views on their programs. The deaths made national news and set off a cascade of commentary on social media. What drew less attention was the industry that helped give them an audience.
On a June episode, Mr. Bernier said, after referring to unvaccinated people: ''I'm one of them. Judge me if you want.'' The next month, he cited an unfounded claim that ''45,000 people have died from taking the vaccine.'' In his final Twitter post, on July 30, Mr. Bernier accused the government of ''acting like Nazis'' for encouraging Covid-19 vaccines.
Jimmy DeYoung Sr., whose program was available on iHeart, Apple and Spotify, died of Covid-19 complications after making his show a venue for false or misleading statements about vaccines. One of his frequent guests was Sam Rohrer, a former Pennsylvania state representative who likened the promotion of Covid-19 vaccines to Nazi tactics and made a sweeping false statement. ''This is not a vaccine, by definition,'' Mr. Rohrer said on an April episode. ''It is a permanent altering of my immune system, which God created to handle the kinds of things that are coming that way.'' Mr. DeYoung thanked his guest for his ''insight.'' Mr. DeYoung died four months later.
Image Buck Sexton, a talk radio host whose show is syndicated by Premiere Networks, an iHeart Media subsidiary. Credit... Jason Kempin/Getty Images Buck Sexton, the host of a program syndicated by Premiere Networks, an iHeart subsidiary, recently floated the theory that mass Covid-19 vaccinations could speed the virus's mutation into more dangerous strains. He made this suggestion while appearing on another Premiere Networks program, ''The Jesse Kelly Show.''
The theory appears to have its roots in a 2015 paper about vaccines for a chicken ailment called Marek's disease. Its author, Andrew Read, a professor of biology and entomology at Penn State University, has said his research has been ''misinterpreted'' by anti-vaccine activists. He added that Covid-19 vaccines have been found to reduce transmissions substantially, whereas chickens inoculated with the Marek's disease vaccine were still able to transmit the disease. Mr. Sexton did not reply to a request for comment.
''We're seeing lots of public radio stations doing amazing local work to spread good health information,'' Mr. Loviglio, the media professor, said. ''On the other side, you're seeing mostly the AM radio dial and their podcast counterparts being the Wild West of the airwaves.''
iHeart '-- which owns more than 860 radio stations, publishes more than 600 podcasts and operates a vast online archive of audio programs '-- has rules for the podcasters on its platform prohibiting them from making statements that incite hate, promote Nazi propaganda or are defamatory. It would not say whether it has a policy concerning false statements on Covid-19 or vaccination efforts.
Apple's content guidelines for podcasts prohibit ''content that may lead to harmful or dangerous outcomes, or content that is obscene or gratuitous.'' Apple did not reply to requests for comment for this article.
Spotify, which says its podcast platform has 299 million monthly listeners, prohibits hate speech in its guidelines. In a response to inquiries, the company said in a written statement that it also prohibits content ''that promotes dangerous false or dangerous deceptive content about Covid-19, which may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health.'' The company added that it had removed content that violated its policies. But the episode with Mr. DeYoung's conversation with Mr. Rohrer was still available via Spotify.
Dawn Ostroff, Spotify's content and advertising business officer, said at a conference last month that the company was making ''very aggressive moves'' to invest more in content moderation. ''There's a difference between the content that we make and the content that we license and the content that's on the platform,'' she said, ''but our policies are the same no matter what type of content is on our platform. We will not allow any content that infringes or that in any way is inaccurate.''
The audio industry has not drawn the same scrutiny as large social media companies, whose executives have been questioned in congressional hearings about the platforms' role in spreading false or misleading information.
The social media giants have made efforts over the last year to stop the flow of false reports related to the pandemic. In September, YouTube said it was banning the accounts of several prominent anti-vaccine activists. It also removes or de-emphasizes content it deems to be misinformation or close to it. Late last year, Twitter announced that it would remove posts and ads with false claims about coronavirus vaccines. Facebook followed suit in February, saying it would remove false claims about vaccines generally.
Sylvia Chan-Olmsted, a media professor at the University of Florida, said that podcasts may be more effective in spreading false information than social media. ''People who go to podcasts have much more active engagement,'' she said. ''It's not like, 'Oh, I went on Facebook and I scrolled through and saw this misinformation.' It's more likely that you're engaged, you're interested in this host, you actively seek this person out and listen to what he or she has to say.''
Image Robert Pittman, the chief executive of iHeart Media, has said that podcasting and radio have been ''like a companion'' to listeners during the pandemic. Credit... Karsten Moran for The New York Times Audio media has grown more popular during the pandemic, according to the iHeart chief executive Robert W. Pittman, a former head of MTV and AOL. At a recent media industry conference, he noted a change in listening habits over the last 20 months: ''The consumer before the pandemic, because of social and a lot of other things, was feeling disconnected, and they value media that feels like a companion. There are two of those: radio, and now there's podcasting.''
The Federal Communications Commission, which grants licenses to companies using the public airwaves, has oversight over radio operators, but not podcasts or online audio, which do not make use of the public airwaves.
The F.C.C. is barred from violating American citizens' right to free speech. When it takes action against a media company over programming, it is typically in response to complaints about content considered obscene or indecent, as when it fined a Virginia television station in 2015 for a newscast that included a segment on a pornographic film star.
In a statement, an F.C.C. spokesman said the agency ''reviews all complaints and determines what is actionable under the Constitution and the law.'' It added that the main responsibility for what goes on the air lies with radio station owners, saying that ''broadcast licensees have a duty to act in the public interest.''
The world of talk radio and podcasting is huge, and anti-vaccine sentiment is a small part of it. iHeart offers an educational podcast series about Covid-19 vaccines, and Spotify created a hub for podcasts about Covid-19 from news outlets including ABC and Bloomberg.
There has been at least one turnaround among hosts once skeptical of the pandemic and efforts to counter it. Bill Cunningham, who has a radio show in Cincinnati that is syndicated by iHeart's Premiere Networks and available on Apple, spent the early part of the pandemic claiming that Covid-19 was overhyped. He revised his view on the air this year, describing his decision to get vaccinated and encouraging his listeners to do the same.
Recently, he expressed his eagerness to get a booster shot and mentioned that he had picked up a new nickname: ''The Vaxxinator.''
Holiday hell: 3 in 5 Americans BANNING unvaccinated relatives from family gatherings! - Study Finds
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 10:55
NEW YORK '-- The holidays are about to get heated '-- and politics aren't even the main issue this time. Nearly two-thirds of vaccinated Americans are banning unvaccinated family members from their holiday gatherings this year.
A survey of 2,000 U.S. residents '' conducted by OnePoll on Nov. 2 '' examined how the COVID-19 vaccine has impacted people's relationships with their loved ones ahead of the holidays this year.
According to the results, two in three respondents feel they cannot go home for the holidays without getting vaccinated first. Of the 65 percent who are fully vaccinated, nearly six in 10 (58%) have reportedly cut off family members who refuse to get the vaccine. Meanwhile, 63 percent don't feel comfortable inviting unvaccinated relatives to their parties.
COVID vaccine controversySeventy-two percent of vaccinated respondents don't think they could ever get some of their family members to understand the importance of the vaccine. On the other hand, 14 percent of survey respondents don't plan to ever get the shot themselves.
When asked about their decision, one respondent admits that they ''don't trust the vaccine is safe,'' while another says they are ''concerned about side effects.'' One even believes the vaccine ''was rushed and people who are getting vaccinated are still getting sick.''
Half of the unvaccinated respondents (49%) have stopped communicating with family members who don't understand why they refuse the shot. These strained family dynamics may explain why 22 percent of unvaccinated respondents have so far been excluded from all family gatherings, including the holidays.
Family matters, even during disputesHowever, 38 percent of unvaccinated people say they remain in contact with their vaccinated loved ones, and 58 percent of the same group add that they're still welcome at family get-togethers. The study also suggests that the vaccine has played a role in the workforce the way it has in family relationships.
Forty-three percent of unvaccinated respondents confess they're ''worried'' about potentially losing their jobs and benefits, or paying higher health insurance premiums because they're not vaccinated.
Their concerns come on the heels of a new federal mandate, announced on Nov. 4, which will require Americans working at companies with 100 or more employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine by Jan. 4 or go for COVID testing every week.
Regardless of their vaccination status, half the poll (53%) agree that the politicization of the vaccine has completely divided their families. Four in five (79%) believe politics should not play a role in science or medicine.
That topic may be up for discussion at the dinner table this holiday season, since over half (56%) anticipate having arguments with their families about the vaccine.
NuScale SMR planned for Romania : New Nuclear - World Nuclear News
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 10:48
03 November 2021
NuScale Power of the USA and Romanian national nuclear company Nuclearelectrica plan to construct a NuScale small modular reactor (SMR) plant in Romania by 2028. The announcement came during a meeting yesterday between US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on the sidelines of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.
Klaus Iohannis and John Kerry meeting on the sidelines of COP26 (Image: presidency.ro)In a joint statement, NuScale and Nuclearelectrica said they will sign a teaming agreement to "advance clean nuclear technology in Romania. Following the partnership, Romania has the potential to accommodate the first deployment of SMRs in Europe."
In March 2019, NuScale and Nuclearelectrica signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering the exchange of business and technical information on NuScale's nuclear technology, with the goal of evaluating the development, licensing and construction of a NuScale SMR in Romania.
According to a White House statement yesterday, the commercial agreement between NuScale and Nuclearelectrica will include the construction of a six-module NuScale plant. This, it said, will initially create "over 3700 US and Romanian jobs, with the potential to create 30,000 US and Romanian jobs as the project grows."
"Romania will include small modular reactors in the national energy production system by 2028, which will strengthen the partnership with the USA in the civil nuclear field," a statement from the Romanian presidential office said. "Given the advantages generated by the value chains that will be created around this technology, Romania wants to participate in the advanced production of SMRs in the region, as well as in the preparation of human resources and support the operation of this new technology in other countries."
"This multi-billion-dollar effort showcases US ingenuity, creates thousands of jobs in both countries, strengthens European energy security, supports the highest standards for nuclear safety, security, and non-proliferation, and, importantly, addresses the climate crisis with clean power," the US Department of State said. "This pioneering initial step by Romania will build significant momentum for reducing emissions across Europe. With 30 coal power plants in the region, including seven in Romania, SMRs are ideally suited to replace this baseload power and employ many of the same workforce. We are excited about this partnership with Romania in advancing emerging clean technologies."
This latest cooperation builds upon a draft intergovernmental agreement on cooperation to expand and modernise Romania's nuclear power programme signed in October 2020 by the US Department of Energy and the Romanian Ministry of Energy. Areas for cooperation included the possible completion of units 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant and the refurbishment of unit 1 at the plant.
Cernavoda is the only nuclear power plant in Romania and consists of two 650 MWe pressurised heavy water reactors. Unit 1 went into commercial operation in 1996 and unit 2 in 2007. Nuclearelectrica plans to extend the operating life of unit 1 to 60 years. Most of the work on units 3 and 4 - like units 1 and 2, Candu-6 reactors - was done in the 1980s prior to the fall of the government of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989. In July 2020, Romania launched a tender for a new feasibility study to complete units 3 and 4.
In January this year, Nuclearelectrica was awarded a non-refundable grant of USD1.28 million by the US Trade and Development Agency for use in the identification of potential sites in Romania to host SMRs. Nuclearelectrica said the grant would be used to fund the cost of services required in connection with the delivery of technical assistance for a preliminary assessment of new potential SMR-compatible nuclear sites in Romania, excluding the existing Cernavoda site. The funds, it said, would also be used in the development of a licensing roadmap for SMRs.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News
FBI probes cyber-attack emails sent from internal server - BBC News
Sun, 14 Nov 2021 09:18
7 hours ago
Image source, Getty Images
The FBI has launched an investigation after thousands of fake email messages were sent from one of its servers warning of a possible cyber-attack.
The government agency said the incident on Saturday morning was part of an "ongoing situation", but provided no further details.
The messages purported to be from the US Department of Homeland Security.
They claimed to be a warning about a supposed threat and were titled: "Urgent: Threat actor in systems."
The emails told recipients that they were the target of a "sophisticated chain attack" from an extortion group known as the Dark Overlord, according to the non-profit anti-spam watchdog Spamhaus.
"They are causing a lot of disruption because the headers are real, they really are coming from FBI infrastructure," Spamhaus tweeted, adding that they did not include names or contact information from the sender.
According to US media reports, more than 100,000 emails were sent out.
In a statement on Saturday, the FBI said it was "aware of the incident this morning involving fake emails from an @ic.fbi.gov email account".
The agency said the affected hardware was quickly taken offline after the issue was detected and warned the public to be "cautious of unknown senders" and to report suspicious activity to the government.
It is not yet clear whether the emails were sent by an individual with cleared access to the FBI servers or if hackers were involved.
Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Unmasked at Florida Trial - WSJ
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 22:42
Lawsuit over a $64 billion cache looks beyond the pseudonym to solve the mystery of who created the cryptocurrency
A seemingly run-of-the-mill trial is playing out in Florida: The family of a deceased man is suing his former business partner over control of their partnership's assets.
In this case, the assets in question are a cache of about one million bitcoins, equivalent to around $64 billion today, belonging to bitcoin's creator, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. The family of the dead man says he and his business partner together were Nakamoto, and thus the family is entitled to half of the fortune.
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A seemingly run-of-the-mill trial is playing out in Florida: The family of a deceased man is suing his former business partner over control of their partnership's assets.
In this case, the assets in question are a cache of about one million bitcoins, equivalent to around $64 billion today, belonging to bitcoin's creator, the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. The family of the dead man says he and his business partner together were Nakamoto, and thus the family is entitled to half of the fortune.
Who Satoshi Nakamoto is has been one of the financial world's enduring mysteries. Does the name refer to one person? Or several? And why has he or she or they not touched a penny of that fortune?
The answers to those questions are at the center of the Florida dispute and of bitcoin itself. Bitcoin has become a trillion-dollar market, with tens of millions of investors. It has challenged governments trying to regulate it and has been endorsed by some. The technology behind it is seen by some as a way to rewire the global financial system. Yet, who created it and why has remained a mystery.
And that is all before you get to who controls one of the largest private fortunes in the world.
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That is what a Florida jury will try to tackle. The family of David Kleiman is suing his former business partner, a 51-year-old Australian programmer living in London named Craig Wright. Mr. Wright has been arguing since 2016 that he created bitcoin, a claim dismissed by most in the bitcoin community. Mr. Kleiman's family argues that the two worked on and mined bitcoin together, entitling Mr. Kleiman's family to half a million bitcoins.
The plaintiffs plan to produce evidence showing that the two were involved in bitcoin since its inception and worked together.
''It is about two friends who had a partnership, and about how one of them tried to take everything for himself after the other died,'' said Tibor Nagy, a lawyer who has been observing the trial.
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The defense said it has evidence that will show Mr. Wright is the creator of bitcoin and never included Mr. Kleiman. ''We believe the court will find there's nothing to indicate or record that they were in a partnership,'' said Andr(C)s Rivero, a lawyer for Mr. Wright.
For bitcoiners, there is only one piece of evidence that could conclusively prove the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto: the private key that controls the account where Nakamoto stored the one million bitcoins. Anyone claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto could show that he or she has them by moving even a fraction of a coin out of it.
The mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto is one of the curiosities of bitcoin. On Oct. 31, 2008, somebody using that name sent a nine-page paper to a group of cryptographers explaining a system of ''electronic cash'' that allowed people to exchange value without the need for a bank or other party. A few months later, the bitcoin network went live, and Nakamoto collected one million bitcoins in its first year.
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It was earlier in 2008 that the family of Mr. Kleiman claims his business partner Mr. Wright asked for Mr. Kleiman's help in what would become that nine-page paper. They collaborated on the white paper and launched bitcoin together, the suit alleges.
Bitcoin combined encryption, cryptography, distributed computing and game theory. With bitcoin, two people, anywhere in the world with an internet connection, could transact without a middleman in minutes.
For every single one of the more than 650 million bitcoin transactions, all publicly visible on a ledger called the ''blockchain,'' there are two strings of numbers that control how the digital currency is moved: a public key and a private key. Anybody can send bitcoin to the public key, or the destination address, which is similar to a bank account. Only the person who controls the account will have the private key and essentially own the bitcoin.
In bitcoin's early days, nobody cared much about Nakamoto's identity. Bitcoin had no tangible value and only a small group of backers. Nakamoto was active in its development for about two years, writing on message boards and emailing with developers. In December 2010, Nakamoto, who was known to use two email addresses and have one registered website, stopped posting publicly; essentially, Nakamoto disappeared.
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The universe of people with the technical knowledge to create bitcoin is limited. Most of the prominent names in cryptography have been tagged as Nakamoto. All have denied it, and no evidence has ever linked anyone conclusively to bitcoin's creation.
Meanwhile, in 2011, Mr. Kleiman incorporated a company in Florida called W&K Info Defense Research. His family alleges that it was a partnership and that Mr. Wright later tried to claim outright ownership. The defense says there was in fact no partnership.
Mr. Kleiman died on April 26, 2013.
The next year, Newsweek reported that a man with the same last name as Satoshi'--Dorian Nakamoto'--was bitcoin's creator. He denied the claim, and on a message board, a one-sentence post from an account known to have been used by the real Nakamoto agreed: ''I am not Dorian Nakamoto.'' If that was a genuine message from bitcoin's creator, it is the last public correspondence from Nakamoto.
In May 2016, Mr. Wright claimed that he was bitcoin's founder. He met with several early bitcoin pioneers, gave exclusive interviews to three media outlets and filled a website with papers he had written about cryptography and bitcoin.
Three days later, facing withering criticism, he dropped the claim. He pulled everything off the website and replaced it with a four-paragraph apology. ''I broke,'' he wrote. ''I do not have the courage. I cannot.'' He has since renewed his insistence that he created bitcoin.
Whether Mr. Wright or Mr. Kleiman possesses or possessed the knowledge to have created the cryptocurrency is contested.
Mr. Wright ''has been hacking, bamboozling and fooling people, playing the confidence game,'' said Arthur van Pelt, a bitcoin investor who has emerged as one of Mr. Wright's most vocal critics. ''There is no genuine, independent, credible proof whatsoever.''
Mr. Kleiman's computing expertise was known to be extensive. It is possible that Mr. Kleiman created bitcoin, Emin Gun Sirer, founder of Ava Labs, said, but there isn't enough information to be sure. ''It's an open question,'' he said.
Write to Paul Vigna at firstname.lastname@example.org
Corrections & Amplifications Tibor Nagy is a lawyer observing the trial. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said he represented the Kleiman family. (Corrected on Nov. 13.)
Money Stuff: You Can Securitize People Now - Bloomberg
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 22:31
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21,000% Price Increase on Unvaccinated Sperm '-- The Sodom Sun
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 22:19
''It's the new white gold. Forget about BitCoin; the real money is in unvaccinated sperm,'' shared Sam Yankwell of a local sperm bank, GoodSeed 4U.
''Nobody's interested in post-jab material; all they care about is pre-Covid and certified unvaccinated samples. Our phones are ringing off the hook!''
Are these customers educated on the science?''Our customers are from the highest educated demographic. In fact, our first customers were the very scientists and manufacturers paid to formulate the Covid jabs. They understand the human tests were skipped before rushing to market the various concoctions referred to as ''vaccines.''
Is there anything else contributing to increased demand?''Post-2020 unvaccinated donors have the added benefits of screening for higher IQs, logical thinking skills, and independent thought. After all, why opt to inject oneself with untested material when doing nothing at all entails practically no risk? Add to that the likely attainment of life-long immunity for most of the population, and you can see why our more logically thinking donors have come to this conclusion.''
''We're planning to offer unvaccinated donors an incentive to come in regularly. Then, of course, we'll have to compete with UBI, unemployment, and free state handouts, but we're determined to come up with a plan to foster the next generation with GoodSeed.''
Cargill: The Worst Company in the World
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 20:17
Cargill:The Worst Company In the World
Foreword: Congressman Henry A. Waxman Cargill is the United States' largest privately held company, bigger even than the notorious Koch Industries. Its footprint extends around the world. But The Worst Company in the World? We recognize this is an audacious claim. There are, alas, many companies that could vie for this dubious honor. But this report provides extensive and compelling evidence to back it up.
The people who have been sickened or died from eating contaminated Cargill meat, the child laborers who grow the cocoa Cargill sells for the world's chocolate, the Midwesterners who drink water polluted by Cargill, the Indigenous People displaced by vast deforestation to make way for Cargill's animal feed, and the ordinary consumers who've paid more to put food on the dinner table because of Cargill's financial malfeasance '-- all have felt the impact of this agribusiness giant. Their lives are worse for having come into contact with Cargill.
In my 40-year long career in Congress, I took on a range of companies that engaged in abusive practices. I have seen firsthand the harmful impact of businesses that do not bring their ethics with them to work. But Cargill stands out.
In contrast to the oil and tobacco industries, for instance, the bad practices documented here are not inherent to the products Cargill sells, and are, in fact, entirely avoidable. For example, perhaps Cargill's largest negative impact on the natural world is its role in driving the destruction of the world's last remaining intact forests and prairies. There are more than one billion acres of previously degraded land where crops can be grown without further imperiling native ecosystems, at no additional cost. Similarly, other companies grow animal feed at large scale without the same levels of water or climate pollution.
From palm oil in Southeast Asia to agriculture here in the United States, Cargill has sat out industry efforts to improve. To address these gaps, over the last five years, the Mighty Earth team has engaged in extensive, high-level discussions with Cargill. Our team praised the company in 2014 when CEO David MacLennan committed to end deforestation throughout the company by 2020, and later when it committed to stop sourcing cocoa from inside national parks.
In January, we shared a draft of this report with Cargill. Days before its scheduled release, Mr. MacLennan called us to request a few weeks to consider our findings and, more importantly, our recommendations for change. We agreed to give Cargill the chance. Two weeks later, he committed that Cargill would adopt policies to prevent the destruction of native habitat, and that he would personally lobby other CEOs in the industry to do the same.
Unfortunately, these last months have only confirmed the company's inability to respond effectively, and Mr. MacLennan's inability to deliver real change.
Within days of his commitment, Mr. MacLennan's second-in-command publicly questioned the value of strict policies to protect native habitat. It took Cargill months to hold meaningful discussions with other companies that had already adopted strong sustainability policies, or to address relatively simple issues in their palm oil supply chain that other companies had dealt with long ago. Meanwhile, we kept receiving data, outlined in this report, of Cargill's serious ongoing problems with deforestation and child labor.
Despite the challenges, we held off on the campaign for five months in hopes that discussions would give Cargill a chance to change. Unfortunately, David MacLennan's commitments didn't seem to translate into meaningful action by others in the company. We were particularly disappointed when Cargill released a ''Soy Action Plan'' that permits suppliers to continue deforestation, and more recently when it issued a letter to its suppliers opposing the spread of forest conservation policies to the Brazilian Cerrado. These actions were a direct refutation of Mr. MacLennan's commitments. We've successfully worked to improve the environmental and human rights practices of dozens of companies, but have never encountered a company that has such difficulty translating high-level commitments into action.
While Mr. MacLennan seems to want to do the right thing, he appears unable to decide between those who believe Cargill can do better and those who want to keep the bulldozers running. Unfortunately, because the status quo is deforestation, child labor, and pollution, Cargill's dithering results in a continuing environmental and human rights disaster. And because Cargill's reach is so broad, they drag other companies into aiding and abetting their environmental destruction and human rights abuses too.
Supermarket giant Ahold Delhaize (owner of Giant, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Food Lion, and other brands) may say it wants to provide responsible meat, but it cannot do so as long as it is in a joint venture with Cargill to supply their store branded meats. The ''Science Based Climate Target'' trumpeted by McDonald's lacks meaning as long as Cargill, the manufacturer of their Chicken Nuggets and Big Macs, drives climate pollution on a massive scale.
These companies '-- and more than a hundred others '-- have repeatedly called on Cargill to change. But Cargill has just as repeatedly defied these calls. If these businesses want to fulfill their environmental and human rights policies, they must go beyond polite encouragement to shifting their purchases to more responsible companies.
Only by holding Cargill and its customers publicly accountable can we force them to change. Concerted action by citizens and consumer companies has driven enormous progress in many parts of the food and agriculture industry. Now it is time for the company that purports to be a leader in that industry to finally act like it.
Henry Waxman Former Member of Congress; Chairman, Mighty Earth The worst company in the world. We recognize that this is an audacious claim. But when it comes to addressing the most important problems facing our world, including the destruction of the natural environment, the pollution of our air and water, the warming of the globe, the displacement of Indigenous peoples, child labor, and global poverty, Cargill is not only consistently in last place, but is driving these problems at a scale that dwarfs their closest competitors. That Cargill would make a grand commitment and then ignore it shouldn't be a big surprise.
From having their membership in the Chicago Board of Trade suspended shortly after incorporating for trying to corner the market on corn and artificially drive up its price, to being responsible for the distribution of more than 150,000 pounds of contaminated beef to supermarkets just last year '-- Cargill has a long and sordid history of duplicity, deception and destruction. Just the past two decades provide dozens of examples.
See PDF here.
A Timeline of Cargill's Impact:Use the left and right arrows to explore two decades of Cargill's destructive past. See citations here.
A Pattern of Deception and Destruction Today, one privately-held company just may have more power to single-handedly destroy or protect the world's climate, water, food security, public health, and human rights than any single company in history. And it's not an oil company or a coal company, or any of the usual suspects. It's the Minnesota-based agribusiness giant Cargill.
Cargill is America's largest privately-owned company, surpassing the second place Koch Brothers by billions of dollars in annual revenues. Cargill is the corporate behemoth at the nexus of the global industrial agriculture system, a system that it has designed to convert large swaths of the planet into chemically dependent industrial scale monocultures to produce cheap meat, palm oil, and chocolate.
The political constraints that might have once limited its power have essentially disappeared, thanks to the rise of extremist anti-environment Presidents in both Brazil and the United States. In other parts of the world, like Indonesia and West Africa, Cargill continues to take advantage of fragile or corrupt governments to acquire vast quantities of palm oil, cocoa, and other raw materials without much regard to the manner in which it was produced.
Cargill has demonstrated the ability to do both good and ill on a grand scale. But the environmental protections and climate leadership from governments that may have once held the company's worst instincts in check are now in retreat.
Throughout its history, Cargill has exhibited a disturbing and repetitive pattern of deception and destruction. As this report details, its practices have ranged from violating trade embargoes and price fixing, to ignoring health codes and creating markets for goods produced with child and forced labor. Under pressure, Cargill has reformed its practices in many areas '-- which shows that it can change when it wants to. But contrary to its view of itself as a leader, it usually comes in dead last. It has remained a laggard across multiple industries, trailing peers like Louis Dreyfus and Wilmar.
Shortly after incorporating under its present name 80 years ago, Cargill was thrown out of the nation's largest futures and options exchange for trying to corner the market on corn. Decades later, in 2017, Cargill was fined $10 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for years of deliberately misreporting its trade values '-- by up to 90% '-- in order to defraud both the government and its trading partners.1 As this report was going to press, David Dines, the executive who created and oversaw the department responsible for these violations at Cargill, was promoted to the position of Chief Financial Officer.2 In 2018, Cargill was responsible for the distribution of more than 70 tons of contaminated beef to supermarkets.3 In between, the company has plundered the planet and shortchanged its workers and farmers, all while generating enough wealth to create more billionaires than in any other family in the world.4
Cargill today has greater influence than even many governments over the fate of our world. Companies like Cargill '-- and business partners and customers like Ahold Delhaize (Stop & Shop, Giant, Food Lion, and Hannafords), McDonald's, and Sysco that sell their products to consumers '-- bear significant responsibility for the planet's severe environmental crisis.
A Clear and Present Danger Nowhere is Cargill's pattern of deception and destruction more apparent than in its participation in the destruction of the ''the lungs of the planet,'' the world's forests. Despite repeated and highly publicized promises to the contrary, Cargill has continued to bulldoze ancient ecosystems as it can within the bounds of the law '-- and, too often, outside of those bounds as well.
With the election of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro '-- who has promised to open Indigenous lands and other protected areas to unrestricted exploitation '-- Cargill presents a clear and present danger to some of the most vital ecosystems on Earth. Like any other nation, Brazil has the right to the leaders it chooses. But, so too do the customers of Cargill have a right to insist on corporate policies that protect the environment and human rights. Those customers must act decisively and quickly.
If Cargill's top customers '-- including Ahold Delhaize, McDonalds, WalMart, Sysco and others '-- are serious about their commitments to sustainability and human rights, they will cut their ties with Cargill, or risk being complicit in one of the greatest environmental and human rights crime sprees in history.
It's a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn't as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated their Indians,"8 Cargill silo in Bolivia. Cargill drives global problems at a scale that dwarfs their closest competitors. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm
Cargill silo in Bolivia. Cargill drives global problems at a scale that dwarfs their closest competitors. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm
Cargill silo in Bolivia. Cargill drives global problems at a scale that dwarfs their closest competitors. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm
Cargill silo in Bolivia. Cargill drives global problems at a scale that dwarfs their closest competitors. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm
Aerial photo that shows the boundary between intact forests with already cleared for palm oil in Papua. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm
Aerial photo that shows the boundary between intact forests with already cleared for palm oil in Papua. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm
The flow of soy through the meat supply chain. Soy originates from farms in Latin America and ends up in the fast food consumed around the world.
The flow of soy through the meat supply chain. Soy originates from farms in Latin America and ends up in the fast food consumed around the world.
The flow of soy through the meat supply chain. Soy originates from farms in Latin America and ends up in the fast food consumed around the world.
The flow of soy through the meat supply chain. Soy originates from farms in Latin America and ends up in the fast food consumed around the world.
Brazil: A Proud Legacy at Risk Until now, Brazil has been a leader in the battle against climate change. Since the mid-2000s, the nation has been committed to ambitious programs to curb deforestation in the Amazon. Brazil impressively cut deforestation by two-thirds from its peak, all while doubling its agricultural production by focusing expansion on degraded lands.
But the election of Jair Bolsonaro as President in 2018 could end that worthy legacy. Bolsonaro has called for violence against Brazil's gay and lesbian community, and jailing or banishing all political critics. He has praised the military dictatorship that preceded Brazil's current democracy. And, part and parcel of his extreme agenda, he has promised to promote logging, agriculture, and mining throughout Brazil's rainforests, savannahs, and Indigenous lands.
According to Brazilian researcher Paulo Artaxo, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ''We may face an unprecedented environmental disaster in the next four years.''10
Our understanding and our belief is that the government of Brazil shares our commitment to balancing that protection of forests with economic development.9 Bolsonaro has said that Brazil has ''too many protected areas'' that ''stand in the way of development,'' and that policing of deforestation has gone too far. He has told agribusiness companies that he will roll back existing laws and give industry free rein.11 He has pledged to eviscerate Brazil's environment agency, Ibama, to remove restrictions on the industrialized clearing of the Amazon, and to pave a highway through the rainforest.12 He has long supported opening up protected Indigenous areas to agricultural and commercial use,13 and has promised that as president he would not ''give an inch to the Indigenous reservations.''14
Since taking office, Bolsonaro has abolished Brazil's Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, slashed the budget of IBAMA Brazil's environmental protection agency. Not only has the government signaled its intentions to stop enforcing existing environmental laws, it has even created a new agency to review and forgive previous violations. Unsurprisingly, deforestation of the Amazon has risen to its highest level in a decade.
According to the country's previous environment minister, Edson Duarte, ''The increase of deforestation will be immediate. I am afraid of a gold rush to see who arrives first. They will know that, if they occupy illegally, the authorities will be complacent and will grant concordance. They will be certain that nobody will bother them.''16
Many Brazilians do not support this part of Bolsonaro's agenda. A coalition of more than 180 businesses and civil society organizations called Coaliz£o Brasil Clima, Florestas e Agricultura has courageously '-- and successfully '-- called on the new administration not to leave the Paris Agreement or destroy the Ministry of Environment.
Cargill has stated its support for this coalition.17 Cargill's customers must ensure that this is not just another one of Cargill's numerous empty promises.
I think we are headed for a very dark period in the history of Brazil. There is no point sugarcoating it. Bolsonaro is the worst thing that could happen for the environment. 18 LAST PLACE DAVE Cargill CEO David MacLennan has positioned himself as a thought leader on sustainability. But he and Cargill are consistently the last to adopt and implement policies to protect workers and the environment.
The Business of Destroying the Environment In 2014 at the United Nations Climate Summit, Cargill CEO David MacLennan stood beside UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to pledge action on climate change by eliminating deforestation from its supply chain.
''I am proud to announce today that Cargill will take practical measures to protect forests across our agricultural supply chains around the world,'' said MacLennan, as he joined 150 countries, businesses, and civil society organizations to announce their support for the New York Declaration that sets a goal of dramatically reducing global deforestation.20
Because of Cargill's size and impact, its signing the pledge was hailed as having the potential to dramatically decrease deforestation, curb climate change, and protect communities around the world.
But after the summit ended and applause died down, Cargill dropped the ball. And then they stomped on it.
Since the signing of the Declaration, Cargill has continued to drive the destruction of pristine landscapes, remaining one of the worst actors on the world stage, and one of the greatest threats to native ecosystems across the globe.
For years, Mighty Earth, other conservation organizations, and Cargill's largest customers have tried to hold Cargill accountable for delivering on its promises to reform to no avail. Now, five years after Cargill's pledge, and less than one year left in the timeline to end deforestation in its supply chain, comes the dawning of a potential anti-environment free for-all in Brazil. It is time for those customers to stop aiding and abetting Cargill by buying and selling their products.
In signing The New York Declaration on Forests MacLennan and Cargill committed to ''eliminating deforestation from the production of agricultural commodities such as palm oil, soy, paper and beef products by no later than 2020.''19 The New York Declaration on Forests''Forests are essential to our future. More than 1.6 billion people depend on them for food, water, fuel, medicines, traditional cultures and livelihoods. Forests also support up to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity and play a vital role in safeguarding the climate by naturally sequestering carbon. Yet, each year an average of 13 million hectares of forest disappear, often with devastating impacts on communities and Indigenous Peoples. The conversion of forests for the production of commodities '-- such as soy, palm oil, beef, and paper '-- accounts for roughly half of global deforestation'...
Forests represent one of the largest, most cost-effective climate solutions available today. Action to conserve, sustainably manage and restore forests can contribute to economic growth, poverty alleviation, rule of law, food security, climate resilience and biodiversity conservation.''
More than one million square kilometers of the planet have been cleared of their natural vegetation to grow soy, one of the primary ingredients of animal feed used to raise meat. More than three quarters of the world's soy is used to feed livestock.21
Deforestation for soy production accelerates climate change through the release of carbon, destroys wildlife habitat, and disrupts hydrological cycles, limiting the availability of water.
Across the South American frontier, Mighty Earth has tracked Cargill's footprint. Our 2017 report ''The Ultimate Mystery Meat'' investigated 28 different locations across 3,000 km producing soy in Brazil and Bolivia. It showed that Cargill was one of the two largest customers of industrial scale deforestation.
In addition to their role in creating a market for deforestation-based soy, we found that Cargill finances land-clearing operations deep in virgin forest, building silos and roads, then buying and shipping grain to the US, China, and Europe to feed chickens, pigs, and cows.
After our report was covered in publications around the world, including The New York Times, The Guardian, CTV, Le Monde and others, major consumer companies, investors, and governments urged Cargill to uphold its commitments to end deforestation in Latin America.
Months later, we conducted satellite monitoring of the sites we had originally visited. Given the scrutiny to which Cargill had been exposed, and their commitments to their customers, we assumed that they would launch intensive efforts to stop deforestation at least in these locations.
In contrast, we found that Cargill was still driving deforestation at some of the same sites we had first visited, despite the scrutiny. Between Cargill and their doppelganger Bunge, they had cleared the equivalent of 10,000 foortball fields for soy.
Indigenous Peoples who depend on forests have been forced off of their traditional lands, had their land encroached upon by soy plantations, have experienced sharp increases in cancer, birth defects, miscarriages, and other illnesses linked to pesticides and herbicides used to grow soy.
''The level of destruction was astounding. We documented bulldozers in action clearing large areas of intact forests and grasslands, as well as huge fires billowing smoke into the air.'' Cargill's own history with soy shows that deforestation is neither necessary nor inevitable. In the one place where Cargill was forced to change, the company managed to both protect ecosystems and grow its businesses.
In 2006, following a major campaign by Greenpeace and others, Cargill and its customer McDonald's agreed to a moratorium on clearing the Brazilian Amazon for soy. In the two years before the agreement, nearly a third of the new soy plantations in the Brazilian Amazon came from forest destruction. After the agreement, that number dropped to around one percent.
Meanwhile, the soy industry still managed to grow at a tremendous pace. Even as deforestation plummeted, the area planted with soy in the Brazilian Amazon more than tripled.
Expansion without deforestation is possible. When forced to, Cargill and others shifted their focus onto previously deforested lands, and more efficient agricultural practices.
If only a small portion of South America's previously deforested land were developed for agriculture, it would provide ample space to achieve both agricultural expansion and ecological restoration.22
Many of Cargill's customers, including Unilever, Tesco, McDonald's, Carrefour, Kellogg's, Sainsbury's, Mars, Petcare, Ahold Delhaize, Dunkin' Brands, and Nestle have called for extending this success from the Brazilian Amazon to other ecosystems.23 Cargill competitors Louis Drefyus, COFCO, and Wilmar have also advocated for this expansion. But Cargill has refused, and instead used its influence with trade associations to block its more responsible competitors from expanding these protections.
There are more than one billion acres of already cleared forest and grasslands - an area equal to half the continental United States - where soy production can be expanded without threatening native ecosystems. Spotlight on the Cerrado Cargill's successful Moratorium on Deforestation for Soy unfortunately applies only to the portions of the Amazon within Brazil. Outside of the Amazon, Cargill does not protect any rainforest in the eight other Amazonian countries. Nor does it protect other forests and prairies outside Brazil like the Gran Chaco of Argentina, and Paraguay. And finally, it does not protect critical ecological areas within Brazil but outside the Amazon, like the magnificent Brazilian Cerrado.
Brazil's Cerrado is the most biologically rich savanna in the world. Roughly the size of England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain combined, it is home to one out of every twenty species on Earth, including the giant anteater, giant armadillo, jaguar, maned wolf, and hundreds of bird species '-- as well as more than 10,000 species of plants, nearly half of which are found nowhere else on Earth.
Known as an ''upside-down forest'' for its small trees with deep roots, the Cerrado is the source of half of Brazil's water and has enormous carbon storage capacity.
But over the past decade, more than 4,000 square miles per year have been converted to plantations '-- twice the rate seen in the 1990s.23 Now, less than half of the Cerrado remains intact, and only 3% is permanently protected.
When tropical forests are cut down and burned, their stored carbon is immediately released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, generating one-tenth of all global warming emissions.24
There are more than a billion acres of already-degraded land in Latin America that could be used to expand agriculture, and there is no reason other than corporate inertia to continue to destroy these priceless landscapes.25
Cargill's largest customers as well as government officials and civil society have asked them and other soy traders to expand the moratorium, protect these critical areas, and focus expansion onto already degraded lands.26 Cargill refuses.
The Destruction of the Gran Chaco The Gran Chaco is a 110 million hectare ecosystem spanning Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It is one of the largest remaining continuous tracts of native vegetation in South America, second in size only to the Amazon rainforest.
These forests are home to vibrant communities of Indigenous Peoples, including the Ayoreo, Chamacoco, Enxet, Guarayo, Maka'a, Manjuy, Mocov, Nandeva, Nivakle, Toba Qom, and Wichi, who have depended on and coexisted with the Chaco forest for millennia.
Once the impenetrable stronghold of creatures like the screaming hairy armadillo, the jaguar, and the giant anteater, Cargill has infiltrated these frontiers, bulldozing and burning to make way for vast fields of genetically modified soy.
In 2018, a Mighty Earth field team visited soy plantations across the Gran Chaco ecosystem and documented extensive destruction of natural ecosystems, some of it illegal and some under the guise of legality. We tracked the soy from recently cleared forests to the ports where Cargill ships it around the world.
The tragedy of the destruction we documented is that it is entirely avoidable. While meat is inherently resource-intensive to produce, it does not require the destruction of native ecosystems. Latin America contains an area of previously degraded land larger than half the continental United States where soy and cattle can be raised without threatening native ecosystems. Technical experts who successfully designed the system that virtually eliminated deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon estimate that extending forest monitoring to other soy-growing regions in Latin America would cost less than a million dollars a year, a tiny fraction of Cargill's annual profits.
More than three quarters of the world's soy is used to feed livestock.
More than three quarters of the world's soy is used to feed livestock.
The Amazon, which acts as an essential carbon sink for the world in order to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere covers nearly 60 percent of Brazil. It has shrunk by 20 percent since 1970.
The Amazon, which acts as an essential carbon sink for the world in order to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere covers nearly 60 percent of Brazil. It has shrunk by 20 percent since 1970.
An average of 3.6 million hectares of South American forests were destroyed each year between 2005''2010, mostly for soy production and cattle grazing.
An average of 3.6 million hectares of South American forests were destroyed each year between 2005''2010, mostly for soy production and cattle grazing.
Soy companies like Cargill have infiltrated frontiers, bulldozing and burning these habitats to make way for vast fields of genetically modified soy. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm
Soy companies like Cargill have infiltrated frontiers, bulldozing and burning these habitats to make way for vast fields of genetically modified soy. Photo: Jim Wickens, Ecostorm
Human Rights Violations and Violence Against Indigenous Communities Many indigenous communities live in forests and rely on them for food, water, shelter, and their cultural survival. Soy producers, ranchers, and illegal logging interests have often used violence to displace Indigenous People from their ancestral land.
Mighty Earth's investigative teams have visited Indigenous communities whose traditional territories have been cut down and transformed into soy fields whose crops are exported overseas. Workers on these lands say they sell to Cargill. Cargill denies the allegations.
A village leader described to our team the fear his community experiences when planes fly overhead and spray pesticides for soy just a few hundred meters from the village, and of several children dying from drinking water from a discarded pesticide container brought back from a nearby soy field.
Another Indigenous community was invaded in 2014 by 50 armed security guards from a neighboring plantation intended to force them to leave the area. According to newspapers in accounts corroborated by community testimony, the armed security guards smashed down doors and invaded houses, assaulted the adults and children, and kicked pregnant women '-- some of whom lost their babies. Thirty-two members of the community were hurt. Three guards and seven Indigenous People were hit by gunshots. One guard was killed.
A community's leader told us that the plantation keeps accusing them of trespassing on their own traditional lands, and that his people live in constant fear that the private security officers will come back. He said their rivers are so polluted by pesticides that the fish they depend upon are dying off, and that opportunities for traditional hunting have nearly disappeared.
Cargill is one of just three companies '-- along with Olam and Barry Callebaut '-- that controls more than half of the global trade in cocoa, the raw material for chocolate.28
In 2017, Mighty Earth investigations traced cocoa from illegal operations in national parks, through middlemen, to these traders, who then sold it onto Europe and the United States where the world's confectionary companies made it into chocolate.
Ghana and C´te d'Ivoire are the world's two largest cocoa-producing countries, and in both, the market for cocoa has been the primary driver of forest destruction. Chimpanzees and other wildlife populations have been devastated by the conversion of forests to cocoa farms. In C´te d'Ivoire, as few as 400 elephants remain from an original population in the tens of thousands.
Our investigation found that, for years, Cargill helped to drive the destruction of these countries' forests to grow cheap cocoa '-- buying cocoa grown through the illegal clearing of protected forests and national parks as a standard practice. In C´te d'Ivoire, an estimated 30% of the cocoa came from inside national parks and other protected areas.
In more than twenty of these national parks and protected areas, 90% or more of the land mass has already been converted to cocoa. Between 2001 and 2014, Ghana lost 7,000 square kilometers of forest, or about 10 percent of its entire tree cover, including a quarter of a million acres of protected areas. Approximately one quarter of that deforestation was connected to the chocolate industry.29
Cargill chose to buy its cocoa without scrutiny of its origins. They then sold that cocoa to the world's leading chocolate companies, making millions of consumers unknowingly complicit in the destruction of West Africa's parks, forests, elephants, and chimpanzees.
In 2017, Cargill joined other chocolate and cocoa companies and the governments of C´te d'Ivoire and Ghana in the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, committing themselves to immediately end sourcing from national parks and protected areas, to restore forests, and to shift to more responsible practices. Mighty Earth hailed the announcement as a positive step that finally provided some hope for the battered wildlife populations of West Africa, and a more sustainable future for the impoverished cocoa farmers who supply Cargill.
But a year later, we went back to investigate, and found that in many places, deforestation had actually increased since Cargill announced its commitment '-- casting into doubt whether Cargill's pledge was anything more than the latest in a long line of commitments that it makes to great fanfare and then immediately ignores.
Cargill's Open-Air Sweatshops As of 2015, an estimated 2.12 million West African children were still engaged in harvesting.30 Almost 96% of these child laborers in both Ghana and C´te d'Ivoire were involved in hazardous work. Cargill has kicked the can down the road for two decades. Its current low-ambition pledge is to reduce '-- not eradicate '-- the ''worst forms'' of child labor in cocoa by 70% by 2020.31
In July 2005, the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) filed suit against Cargill on behalf of Malian children who were trafficked from Mali into C´te d'Ivoire and forced to work twelve to fourteen hours a day with no pay, little food and sleep, and frequent beatings.
According to the ILRF, Cargill ''ignored repeated and well-documented warnings over the past several years that the farms they were using to grow cocoa employed child slave laborers.''
The lawsuit charges that, for years, Cargill knowingly purchased cocoa harvested by child slaves and provided funds, supplies, training and other assistance to the plantations in C´te d'Ivoire that they knew were using child slaves.
In October 2018, a three-judge panel rejected Cargill and co-defendant Nestl(C)'s claims that they could not be charged for the enslaving of children outside of the country. The Court ruled that the case can proceed, as the giant corporations are charged to have aided, abetted, and profited from child slavery from their corporate offices in the United States.
The ILRF legal team will soon be filing additional charges against Cargill and others for knowingly benefitting from the trafficking of children into slavery to harvest cocoa.32
As one of the world's largest importers and exporters of palm oil, Cargill is one of the companies that has helped drive the alarming destruction of tropical rainforest and carbon-rich peatlands, contributing significantly to climate change, the deaths of more than 100,000 orangutans, the loss of Indigenous community lands and livelihoods, and the mistreatment of workers.
Cargill consistently describes itself as a ''leader'' in the sector '-- but time and again, all over the world, Cargill keeps coming in last place. It's hard not to see a pattern.
The company has devastated the traditional territories of Indigenous communities33 and purchased palm oil from rainforest destroyers who illegally burned rainforests and trafficked in slaves and child labor.34 Executives from one of its suppliers were fined and jailed for causing forest fires35 '-- contributing to a toxic haze from fires lit by palm oil and timber companies that have cut short the lives of more than 100,000 people across Southeast Asia.36
In 2016, the massive, Malaysian-based palm oil conglomerate IOI was caught illegally laying waste to protected tropical rainforests, draining and digging up carbon-rich peatlands, and exploiting local communities and workers.37 And they have encroached on Indigenous Sarawak for nearly a decade without consent.38 As a result, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) suspended IOI's sustainability certification and 26 companies canceled their contracts with IOI, including Unilever, Kellogg Company, Mars, Hershey's, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Yum! Brands, and Nestl(C).39 Only months later, after repeated and growing continued public pressure, did Cargill join the rest of the business community in severing its ties. Cargill has since resumed sourcing from IOI.40
Similarly, in 2015, the Guatemalan palm oil company Reforestadora de Palmas del Pet(C)n, S.A (REPSA) was identified as likely responsible for massive contamination of one of Guatemala's largest rivers, resulting in a massive fish kill of more than one hundred and fifty tons of fish, devastating over a hundred communities that depend on the river. Following a lawsuit brought by a local community group, a Guatemalan court found REPSA guilty of ''ecocide'' and ordered them to suspend operations.
After the ruling, Commission spokesperson and Indigenous professor Rigoberto Lima Choc was murdered, three other members of the group were kidnapped, and REPSA forced the ruling to be overturned. Not until after years of pressure by organizations in the US and Latin America environmental and human rights organizations, and the arrests for bribery and tax fraud of three of REPSA's top executives did Cargill finally suspended their contract.41
Cargill still does not have a comprehensive approach to prevent and address the growing intimidation and violence of human rights defenders that is widely prevalent in its supply chains for palm and other commodities.42
In southeast Asia trees are systematically burned to make way for a massive palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used by consumers in Europe, North America, China, and India.
In southeast Asia trees are systematically burned to make way for a massive palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used by consumers in Europe, North America, China, and India.
In southeast Asia trees are systematically burned to make way for a massive palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used by consumers in Europe, North America, China, and India.
In southeast Asia trees are systematically burned to make way for a massive palm oil plantations. Palm oil is used by consumers in Europe, North America, China, and India.
Orphaned orangutans whose mother was killed when agribusinesses invaded their natural habitat destroying forest to create palm oil plantations.
Orphaned orangutans whose mother was killed when agribusinesses invaded their natural habitat destroying forest to create palm oil plantations.
Orphaned orangutans whose mother was killed when agribusinesses invaded their natural habitat destroying forest to create palm oil plantations.
Orphaned orangutans whose mother was killed when agribusinesses invaded their natural habitat destroying forest to create palm oil plantations.
Fouling America's Air and Water
Producing meat has a larger environmental impact than almost any other human activity.
Cargill is the second-largest feed beef processor in North America and the largest supplier of ground beef in the world.44
Feeding and raising meat consumes more land and freshwater than any other industry, and the industry's waste byproducts rank among the top sources of pollution around the world. Many of these impacts are concentrated in the United States, where factory farming has its stronghold, but are spreading rapidly to other parts of the world. The meat industry can dramatically reduce many of these impacts through better farming practices for sourcing feed and raising livestock, such as cover cropping, using rotationally raised small grains in feed, fertilizer management, conservation of native vegetation, feed improvements, and centralized manure processing. Major meat producers like Cargill that have consolidated control over the market have the leverage to dramatically improve their environmental impact. Yet to date they have done little '-- ignoring public concerns and allowing the environmentally damaging practices for feeding and raising meat to expand largely unchecked.
And for the past three years, ten of Cargill's facilities have been out of compliance with EPA emissions regulations every single quarter.45 Just as it is trying to take advantage of political rollbacks to environmental enforcement in Brazil, Cargill seems to be trying to take advantage of the Trump administration's efforts to scale back environmental enforcement in the United States.
Runoff pollution from corn and soybeans, of which Cargill is one of the nation's top processors, is responsible for more than half of the nitrogen and a quarter of the phosphorus that finds its way into the Gulf Mexico, causing an annual dead zone from algal blooms which in 2017 grew to the size of New Jersey. While Cargill has adopted policies for reducing the environmental impacts of its commodity crops abroad, it has adopted none for those supply chains in the U.S.
Cargill is one of the top ten food industry polluters in the U.S. in the food industry, for the following toxic chemicals: Cargill is one of the top ten food industry polluters in the U.S. of all companies for the following toxic chemicals:*Known carcinogens
Negligent, Not Inevitable In a 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation,46 The New YorkTimes found a pattern of negligence and recalcitrance on the part of Cargill that led to a disastrous outbreak of E. coli O157:H7, a particularly virulent strain of bacteria found in animal feces.
Investigators for the Times found that Cargill hamburger patties tainted with E. coli had been sold at Sam's Club labeled ''American Chef 's Selection Angus Beef Patties.''
According to the Times, the hamburgers, whose ingredients were listed solely as ''beef,'' ''were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.''47
Using a combination of sources rather than whole cuts of meat saves Cargill about 25 percent in costs, but the lowgrade ingredients are cut from areas of the cow that are more likely to have had contact with feces, which carries E. coli.
The Times discovered that in the weeks leading up to the 2007 outbreak, federal inspectors had repeatedly found Cargill violating its own safety procedures in handling ground beef.48
Cargill's Partners in CrimeThe Dutch company Ahold Delhaize operates 6,500 stores under 21 local brands in 11 countries. Construction is set to begin on a 200,000 square- foot facility Cargill run facility in North Kingstown, R.I., to provide Ahold Delhaize-owned stores with beef, ground pork and prepared meats.51
Groundbreaking of 200,000 s/f Infinity Meat Solutions facility - North Kingstown, RI Photo: Retail Business Services LLC
Groundbreaking of 200,000 s/f Infinity Meat Solutions facility - North Kingstown, RI Photo: Retail Business Services LLC
Ahold is very active in calling for responsible food policies. They joined other companies as signatories of The New York Declaration on Forests calling for all companies to end deforestation in their supply chains by 2020. They are a part of ''Protein Challenge 2040,'' a coalition of international retailers, food manufacturers and non-governmental organizations with the stated goal of working toward the sustainable production and consumption of protein.53 They were one of the original signatories to the 2018 Statement of Support for the Cerrado Manifesto, a document that calls on Cargill and other companies to cease the destruction of this biodiversity hotspot. And they have a target in place for 2020 that requires the certification of all of the South American soy in the supply chain of its store-branded meat products. In addition, they have called for standards on human rights consistent with the UN Global Compact, and support the Consumer Good's Forum's resolution opposing forced labor.54
In meetings and conversations with Mighty Earth going back years, Ahold Delhaize staff have acknowledged the issues with Cargill meat and animal feed, and repeatedly pledged to act. But despite all this rhetoric, and their deep knowledge of Cargill's environmental and social offences, Ahold Delhaize announced in May of 2018 that rather than moving away from Cargill, they were going to draw even closer.
They launched a major joint venture with Cargill for a new 200,000-square-foot ''Infinity Meat Solutions'' packaging plant to provide Ahold Delhaize's US stores with beef, ground beef, pork and ''creative prepared meats for meal solutions''.55 In clear contrast with its words, Ahold Delhaize is rewarding Cargill with a massive market, making Giant, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, and Food Lion's customers unknowingly and unnecessarily complicit in Cargill's misdeeds.
Cargill's Enablers McDonald's is probably Cargill's largest and most important customer. McDonald's restaurants are essentially storefronts for Cargill. Cargill not only provides chicken and beef to McDonald's, they prepare and freeze the burgers and McNuggets, which McDonald's simply reheats and serves.49
Burger King's practice of selling meat linked to Cargill and other forest destroyers has earned the fast food giant a 'zero' on the Union of Concerned Scientists deforestation scorecard.Burger King has asked Cargill to stop destroying forests in their supply chain'...by 2030.50
With 55 billion dollars in annual revenue, Sysco Inc. is the world's largest distributor of food products to restaurants, healthcare facilities, universities, hotels and inns. Despite claiming that they will, ''protect the planet by advancing sustain- able agriculture practices, reducing our carbon footprint and diverting waste from landfill, in order to protect and preserve the environment for future generations,'' they have honored Cargill as their most valued supplier of pork and beef.52
Cargill's competitors have shown the world that a different path is possible. The Louis Dreyfus Company, one of the four largest traders in soy from Latin America, has recognized the urgent need to protect native ecosystems and communities. In a new policy, the company announced that it would no longer buy soy from producers who destroyed native ecosystems or grabbed land from Indigenous communities. Given the widespread availability of already degraded lands, Louis Dreyfus recognized that it could continue to grow without destruction.56 Wilmar International, Asia's leading agribusiness and one of the world's leading soy buyers has supported similar change, and in January 2019, COFCO, the largest food processor, market- er and trader in China, said it was an ''ethical imperative'' to immediately move soy production off of intact forests.57 Meanwhile, Cargill has kept the bulldozers running. Louis Dreyfus' policy gives companies like Ahold Delhaize and other Cargill enablers an alternative for their soy purchases.
Conclusion 2018 brought a drumbeat of troubling news, with the United Nations and the US Government reporting foreboding warnings for the earth's climate and its inhabitants.
First, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that we need ''rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems'' to avoid catastrophic impacts from global warming. A few weeks later, the U.S. government's Fourth National Climate Assessment in November of 2018 said that, ''without substantial and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.''
We still have a choice about the future we want, but we may be the last generation that does. A better world is possible, but only with immediate and substantive action.
While both the reports and the media focus primarily on the role of government, for the most part it is not governments that do the polluting or deforesting '-- it is large industrial and multinational companies like Cargill.
Whether or not governments do their job doesn't mean the job can't be done. Some of the world's greatest environmental successes have been achieved by companies, acting either from their own sense of responsibility, or spurred by customers, investors, and society more broadly. Cargill itself and other soy traders have demonstrated this by protecting part of the Amazon because their customers demanded that they to do so.
But Cargill refuses to expand these protections to other landscapes, even going as far as to publicly announce its opposition to a moratorium on the destruction of Brazil's priceless and threatened Cerrado, supported by more than seventy consumer goods companies. This is a slap in the face to Ahold Delhaize, McDonald's, and others that have repeatedly called on Cargill to build on the extraordinary success of the Amazon Soy Moratorium. If these companies are serious about their own sustainability commitments, they've got to go beyond polite calls and shift their purchases to more responsible suppliers.
Mighty Earth is a global campaign organization that works to protect lands, oceans, and the climate. We aspire to be the most effective environmental organization in the world. Mighty Earth is a fiscally sponsored project of the Center for International Policy, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Virginia pharmacy incorrectly administers Covid vaccine to 112 kids, officials pull remaining doses
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 19:49
A vial of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is seen at a pop up vaccine clinic in the Arleta neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, August 23, 2021.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images
A pharmacy in Virginia incorrectly administered Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 shots to 112 children last week, according to the state Department of Health.
"The pharmacy attempted to provide a proper dose," Loudoun County Health Department director Dr. David Goodfriend told CNBC on Thursday. He said it appears the pharmacy did administer about a third of the adult dose, which should be the correct amount. However, "a lower dose is possible if not all of the 0.1 ml was administered into muscle," he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cleared Pfizer's shots for kids ages 5 to 11 last week at a third of the dosage for older age groups. Although Pfizer makes special color-coded vials for younger children to ensure they get the right dosage, employees at a pharmacy in Aldie, Virginia '-- about 36 miles outside of Washington, D.C. '-- pulled the doses from the vials intended for anyone 12 and older.
Goodfriend alerted parents in a letter sent out Wednesday that Ted Pharmacy may have administered a lower dose than recommended. State and federal officials told the pharmacy to stop distributing shots altogether on Friday before seizing all of its Covid doses, a Virginia health department spokesperson said in a statement.
Goodfriend added that his department was not aware of any children receiving too much vaccine. Virginia's Department of Health said Ted Pharmacy administered the improper vaccine doses from Nov. 3 to 4, within two days of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approving Pfizer's Covid shots for children 5 to 11.
Kids in that age group receive a two-dose, 10 microgram Covid vaccine regimen, compared to the 30 microgram shots for those 12 and older.
Goodfriend told parents in the letter to avoid giving their children a higher dose meant for older age groups for their second shot, saying they should contact their pediatricians "to determine the best course of action for each patient."
The letter gave parents two options for completing their children's Covid vaccine series: they can either restart the vaccination process at least 21 days after the incorrect dose was administered or complete the second shot with the proper 10 microgram dosage as scheduled.
"VDH is also working to contact parents and ensure they understand the guidance on next steps," the department's statement said. "VDH has not received any other reports of pharmacies or providers administering COVID-19 vaccines formulated for 12 years and older to children 5-11 years old."
Pfizer's ships its vaccines for 5 to 11-year-olds with orange caps, labels and boxes to distinguish them from the purple packaging on shots for those 12 and older. The shots also contain new instructions and dilution warnings to help prevent medical providers from confusing the two shots, Pfizer representatives told the Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee on Oct. 26.
Scottsdale Unified Assures Parents Of Privacy In Aftermath Of Secret Dossier Discovery, Parents Call For Greenburg Resignation - AZ FREE NEWS
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 19:47
By Terri Jo Neff |
The Scottsdale Unified School District's administration is scrambling to do damage control after a group of mothers discovered Governing Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg had access to a Google Drive full of personal information, documents, and photos of about 47 people, including children.
An email sent out Wednesday evening by the SUSD's Communications Office sought to assure families that their personal and educational data is safe. However, the district also solely blamed the discovered digital dossier* site on Mark Greenburg, the father of Jann-Michael Greenburg.
The damage control appears to be too little too late for many parents in the Scottsdale Unified School District, including Amy Carney, a mother of six, who is among those calling for Greenburg to step down.
''I am calling for the immediate resignation of our board president Jann-Michael Greenburg. We cannot allow anyone in a leadership position to secretly compile personal documents and information on moms and dads who have dared speak out publicly or on social media about their grievances with the district,' said Carney, who is running for a seat on the Scottsdale Governing Board in November 2022.
Even though Mark Greenburg is listed as the Google Drive owner, records from an Aug. 17 special SUSD board meeting show Jann-Michael admitted sharing a computer with Mark. With Mark and Jann-Michael sharing a computer and a home, there is no way to know which of them has been uploading files (now known as the ''G Files'') to the drive, according to concerned parents.
In addition, some parents say that despite Jann-Michael's denial of involvement with the dossier, they believe there appears to be evidence that Jann-Michael has complete knowledge of the Google Drive files and had shared some of its contents in an effort to intimidate SUSD parents. Parents are calling that an ''unacceptable abuse of power.''
The Google Drive files also included information on parents from neighboring school districts, as well as popular conservative radio show host, James T. Harris.
''We request President Greenburg's resignation from the Governing Board effective immediately for this and other recent embarrassments to our district,'' Carney said.
Attorney Alexander Kolodin of the Davillier Law Group expressed his concerns about the situation with the Scottsdale Unified School District.
''These allegations are deeply troubling, especially as concerns the photography of a minor child without parental consent and the taking down of license plate numbers of parents who Mr. Greenberg supposedly perceived as political opponents,'' Kolodin said. ''Mr. Greenberg is an elected member of the school board. If such a photograph was taken with his express or tacit consent, he would potentially be liable for violations of Arizona's Parents' Bill of Rights, which recognizes a parent's 'fundamental' right to consent before the government makes a video or voice recording of the minor child.''
But Kolodin says there are more concerns beyond the mere existence of the Google Drive file, including reports that Jann-Michael Greenberg's father engaged in some acts while keeping his face hidden under a helmet and while wearing motorcycle gear.
''Both Arizona and the federal government have laws prohibiting both intimidation generally and voter intimidation in particular such as ARS Titles 13 and 16, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,'' Kolodin said. ''If these allegations are true, Mr. Greenberg and his father might be liable for violating one or more of these laws '' though it is difficult to say from the limited facts that have been reported and they must, of course, be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.''
*Because of the personal and sensitive information it contains, AZ Free News is not posting the dossier at this time.
How SARS-CoV-2 in white-tailed deer could alter the course of the pandemic : Goats and Soda : NPR
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 19:45
A new study suggests that white-tailed deer, like the one here, could carry the virus SARS-CoV-2 indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically. Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images A new study suggests that white-tailed deer, like the one here, could carry the virus SARS-CoV-2 indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically.
Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images Scientists have evidence that SARS-CoV-2 spreads explosively in white-tailed deer and that the virus is widespread in this deer population across the United States.
Researchers say the findings are quite concerning and could have vast implications for the long-term course of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, first emerged, there have been several signs that white-tailed deer would be highly susceptible to the virus '-- and that many of these animals were catching it across the country.
In September of last year, computer models suggested SARS-CoV-2 could easily bind to and enter the deer's cells. A recent survey of white-tailed deer in the Northeast and Midwest found that 40% of them had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
Now veterinarians at Pennsylvania State University have found active SARS-CoV-2 infections in at least 30% of deer tested across Iowa during 2020. Their study, published online last week, suggests that white-tailed deer could become what's known as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2. That is, the animals could carry the virus indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically.
If that's the case, it would essentially dash any hopes of eliminating or eradicating the virus in the U.S. '-- and therefore from the world '-- says veterinary virologist Suresh Kuchipudi at Penn State, who co-led the study.
"If the virus has opportunities to find an alternate host besides humans, which we would call a reservoir, that will create a safe haven where the virus can continue to circulate even if the entire human population becomes immune," he says. "And so it becomes more and more complicated to manage or even eradicate the virus."
In the study, Kuchipudi and his colleagues looked for the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the lymph nodes of nearly 300 white-tailed deer, including more than 100 wild deer. "So these deer were either roadkill or free-living deer that hunters had killed [to eat]," says veterinary microbiologist Vivek Kapur at Penn State, who also co-led the study.
What they found left Kapur and Kuchipudi dumbfounded. "It was actually quite stunning to us," Kapur says. "We were very surprised to see such a high number of positive samples."
From April to December of last year, about 30% of the deer that they tested were positive for SARS-CoV-2 by a PCR test. And then during the winter surge in Iowa, from Nov. 23, 2020, to Jan. 10 of this year, about 80% of the deer that they tested were infected. At the peak of the surge, Kapur says, the prevalence of the virus in deer was effectively about 50 to 100 times the prevalence in Iowa residents at the time.
During this time frame, the team also sequenced the genes of nearly 100 samples of the virus. They found the variants circulating in the deer matched the variants circulating in people.
Those genomic sequences suggest that during the pandemic, deer have caught the virus from people multiple times in Iowa alone, Kapur says. "The data are very consistent again with frequent spillover events from humans into deer and then transmission among the animals."
Virologist Linda Saif at Ohio State University's College of Veterinary Medicine says humans are likely infecting white-tailed deer across the country. The white-tailed deer is native to North America, Central America and the northern edge of South America. In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 30 million animals.
"We also have detected the virus in deer in Ohio," she says. "And there are antibody studies that suggest the prevalence of COVID infections among deer are pretty high in the Midwest and East."
Although the virus doesn't seem to make the animals sick, Saif says, the new data from Iowa are "very concerning."
"Now the question is: Can the virus spill back from deer to humans? Or can deer transmit the virus effectively to grazing livestock? We don't know the answers to those questions yet, but if they are true, they're obviously concerning," she says.
Another concern, Saif says, is that SARS-CoV-2 could evolve inside the deer and create new strains of the virus. Researchers have already documented such a scenario with minks on farms in the Netherlands and Poland, she points out.
In those studies, farmworkers passed the virus on to captive animals. As the virus spread through the minks, it mutated and created new variants. These new versions of the virus then spilled back to the humans, the researchers reported.
At the end of day, tracking the emergence of new variants may become much more complicated, says Kuchipudi.
"If we want to continue to be proactive about emerging variants '-- and not be surprised by one that suddenly pops up '-- there's an urgent need to continue to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife," he says, "especially in animals that could serve as a reservoir, like the deer."
Researchers map the impact of human sewage on coastlines around the world - ABC News
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 19:42
Researchers have mapped the discharge of global wastewater '-- treated, septic, and raw sewage '-- into coastal ecosystems in what they say is the finest detail yet.
And the numbers are intimidating.
Key points: Researchers found just 25 watersheds contribute half of the total wastewater nitrogen to the world's oceans Meat-heavy diets are a significant factor in nitrogen levels High nitrogen levels can lead to algal bloomsScientists from the University of California and Columbia University calculated the volume of nitrogen and faecal indicator organisms entering the ocean from about 135,000 watersheds around the world.
A watershed is an area of land, often bounded by hills or mountains, that drains all the water from that land to a common outlet such as a river.
They found that just 25 watersheds contribute nearly half of all wastewater nitrogen, with the Yangtze River in China contributing 11 per cent of the world's total.
The researchers calculated that, in 2015, around 6.2 million tonnes of nitrogen entered coastal waters from human wastewater.
China's Yangtze River contains 11 per cent of the world's total wastewater nitrogen.( Getty Images: China Photos )This was about 40 per cent of the nitrogen that agricultural runoff would normally feed into coastal waters.
The watersheds that released the most nitrogen from wastewater were located in Korea, India and China.
However, in terms of the overall contribution of nitrogen to coastal ecosystems, the United States was responsible for the third-highest level behind China and India.
Just under a third of the wastewater-generated nitrogen reaching our oceans globally was from untreated sewage, with treated and septic making up the rest.
While treating sewage removes solid and some organic matter, nitrogen is still present in treated wastewater.
The research is published today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
High meat diets equal high nitrogen Excessive nitrogen from fertiliser, but also from wastewater, can cause algal blooms.( Getty Images: Li Ziheng/Xinhua ) Cutting meat and dairy would have a bigger carbon impact than going organic Organic crops and organically-reared livestock typically produce lower greenhouse gas emissions than non-organic. But lower yields mean more land must be farmed, resulting in higher emissions overall.
To get these figures, the researchers combined data on population density, wastewater treatment, and diet, down to a resolution of 1-square-kilometre grids, for watersheds worldwide.
The most surprising variable that changed the volume of nitrogen discharge was the amount of meat in local diets, lead author and postdoctoral researcher Cascade Tuholske from Columbia University said.
"As someone who studies food systems, the most surprising result to me was the contrast between the Yangtze [China] and Brahmaputra River [Tibet, India, Bangladesh] in terms of nitrogen inputs," Dr Tuholske said.
"The Yangtze added far more nitrogen to coastal waters than what would be expected."
One possible solution to reduce nitrogen loads in wastewater would be to cut down on our meat consumption, he said.
"The more burgers we eat, the more nitrogen we poop, the worse outcomes for coastal habitats.
"This suggests to me that diets in China have shifted far faster to animal-based protein than diets in India."
Why ocean nitrogen levels matterElevated nitrogen levels can lead to algal blooms, which can in turn deplete oxygen levels in water as that algae decomposes, according to Megan Huggett, a marine and coastal ecosystem ecologist from the University of Newcastle.
"It can lead to decomposition of algal cells, which can deplete oxygen and lead to fish kills," said Dr Huggett, who wasn't involved in the study.
"[Wastewater] also brings in things like herbicides and pesticides into the system, and plastics of course."
Algal blooms from excess nitrogen can choke coral reefs.( Reuters: Cindy Fernandez )The researchers also estimated the potential exposure of coral reefs and seagrass beds to elevated nitrogen due to wastewater.
They found that more than half of the world's coral reefs and nearly 90 per cent of seagrass beds experience some elevated nitrogen from human sources.
According to Dr Huggett, some research has actually shown that seagrass beds can help mitigate the impacts of sewage and pathogen loads on nearby reefs.
That's an example of an ecosystem service, and makes a case for why these ecosystems should be conserved, she said.
ABC Science on YouTubeWant more science '-- plus health, environment, tech and more? Subscribe to our channel.
The Oceania region, which includes Australia, Papua New Guinea and our Pacific neighbours, had the lowest overall nitrogen inputs to coastal ecosystems, according to the research.
That's partly to do with lower population densities, but Dr Huggett says Australia has quite good wastewater treatment.
"I think Australia does a pretty good job," she said.
"A new State of the Environment report [which includes wastewater data] will be released later this year or early next year, so that'll be one to watch."
Today's research found that around half of all watersheds globally had no human wastewater incursion.
The researchers hope their findings can help inform conservation measures, but Dr Tuholske says there's one thing everyone can do to help the problem.
"A shift to plant-based diets can lead to healthier reefs and seagrasses, not just by reducing fertiliser and runoff from feedlots, but also from our own excrement."
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Posted 10 Nov 202110 Nov 2021Wed 10 Nov 2021 at 7:00pm, updated 11 Nov 202111 Nov 2021Thu 11 Nov 2021 at 2:41am
Thread by @forrestmaready: "1. The polio story as you learned it is wrong. It's one of the most often misunderstood sequence of events in the last two hundred years. I ['...]"
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 19:33
1. The polio story as you learned it is wrong. It's one of the most often misunderstood sequence of events in the last two hundred years. I wanted to explain a few things about the disease to help people understand what actually happened.
2. The first modern account of something resembling polio was in 1789. A physician named Michael Underwood described an illness in children he called ''Debility of the Lower Extremities.'' He attributed it to teething and foul bowels.
archive.org/details/b28771'... 3. One of the next mentions was from Louisiana in 1841. A few children came down with paralysis. The supposed cause: teething. Why would teething be associated with paralysis?
tinyurl.com/yc2k7vay 4. Various stories appeared throughout the 1800s of children coming down with paralysis, almost always in their legs. Many people called it ''teething paralysis,'' but others settled on ''infantile paralysis.''
5. This was a new phenomenon: Doctors had never seen it before and didn't know why it was happening. Research began to reveal that the cause of paralysis were lesions on the grey part of the spinal cord.
6. If you developed a lesion on your spinal cord, they called this a ''poliomyelitis.'' Polio = grey. Myelitis = inflammation of the spinal cord.
7. A poliomyelitis was a lesion on your spinal cord. You could have more than one of them. But they didn't know why children had begun developing them, seemingly out of nowhere.
8. Scientists conducted research on animals by purposefully poisoning them with arsenic, an ingredient of popular medical remedies of the time. The result? Paralysis in their hind legs.
collections.nlm.nih.gov/ext/dw/1015021'... 9. When they did autopsies of the animals, they discovered lesions in their spinal cord. The animals had what they called ''poliomyelitis.''
10. During the 1800s, the most common medical treatments for any sickness contained mercury'--in order to clear the bowels. Infants received mercury-containing teething powder.
11. This wasn't a fringe treatment, but something as common as Tylenol might be considered today. If the metal arsenic was known to cause poliomyelitis, then perhaps, so could mercury.
12. Throughout the 1800s, there were a few cases of infantile paralysis that would pop up here and there. Not really any epidemics. In the 1890s, something changed.
13. A new pesticide was invented in 1892 called lead arsenate near Boston, Mass to combat the spread of a foreign invader'--the gypsy moth. It combined lead and arsenic together because it couldn't be easily washed off.
deq.state.va.us/Portals/0/DEQ/'... 14. If you're interested, I talk about this whole story in my book, ''The Moth in the Iron Lung.'' You can get it here:
amazon.com/Moth-Iron-Lung'... 15. The pesticide began being sprayed aggressively and within two years, the first real epidemics of poliomyelitis (infantile paralysis) began to appear in the northeastern U.S. Rather than a few children coming down with something, it started getting into the hundreds.
17. I say strange because the poliovirus doesn't affect animals (besides Old World Monkeys). These early outbreaks are referred to as the first polio outbreaks in the U.S., but we know it couldn't have been due to the poliovirus if animals were being struck.
18. Another event would confuse scientists of the day'--an effect which is the main reason people get the polio story so wrong even today: Koch's Postulates.
medicinenet.com/script/main/ar'... 19. Koch's Postulates were some research guidelines that basically stipulated there was a single causative microbe for every disease. It WAS true for all of the other diseases: cholera, typhoid fever, diphtheria.
20. Over the next few years, scientists discovered that many things could cause a poliomyelitis'--it wasn't just arsenic. There were several other viruses and bacteria that if injected directly into the nervous system could cause lesions that would trigger paralysis.
21. But the cloud of Koch's Postulates hung over their research, and many scientists felt that'--like all the other diseases'--poliomyelitis HAD to be due to ONE thing: a bacteria or a virus. They just had to find it.
22. You can see the shift in their thinking around this time. They start referring to the disease as a proper noun: Poliomyelitis, rather than using it as a symptom: The patient has a poliomyelitis.
23. At this time, viruses were still very difficult to work with. They couldn't see them, only deduce their presence by the symptoms they might cause. In 1908, a virus was found to be able to cause paralysis in monkeys.
historyofvaccines.org/content/poliov'... 24. They named it ''poliovirus,'' because it could cause poliomyelitis in the monkeys. Other viruses and bacteria could cause the same thing: coxsackievirus, echovirus, D68, etc.
25. With Koch's Postulates guiding their search, they began to focus on this one virus as THE cause of poliomyelitis, despite knowing there were many other causes. This mistake would create suffering for millions of people over the next few decades.
26. The question is if viruses and bacteria COULD cause poliomyelitis, why then, and not before? Why did epidemics of polio suddenly appear in the 1900s when they did not exist before?
27. Some have suggested improvements in sanitation as the cause. They suggest that better sanitation prevented people from picking up the infections as children, when they were protected by their mother's breastmilk antibodies.
28. This hypothesis is weak. The disease was called infantile paralysis by many even in the 1940s because it seemed to always strike infants. If better sanitation was the cause, teens or adults should have been the ones with problems.
29. Also, the early outbreaks were always in rural areas, where there was little change in sanitation practices. Not coincidentally, these rural areas were subjected to heavy pesticide spraying.
30. The real question is if the spinal cord was well-protected from these paralytic infections, why did it suddenly seem to become vulnerable starting around this time.
31. I believe ingested pesticides, known to cause cellular membrane dysfunction, created a path directly from the intestines to the bottom of the spinal cord, located directly behind, for the viruses and bacteria to take hold.
32. This is why multiple viruses (poliovirus, coxsackievirus, echovirus, etc.) all began paralyzing children around this time. It wasn't a genetic mutation. It wasn't sanitation improvements. It was a physical alteration of the gut integrity by pesticides.
33. Modern scientists will say the virus gets in the blood and reaches the spinal cord that way. But why did the infection nearly always affect the bottom of the spinal cord, when the blood supply reaches the entire cord evenly?
34. 35. As you grow, the spinal cord does not grow as much as the vertebrae and in adults, the bottom of the spinal cord ends up being much higher in relation to the intestines'--well out of reach for most toxic or microbial assaults.
36. This is why the injected Salk polio vaccine worked so poorly. It created antibodies for only one of many viruses that could paralyze, and it created antibodies in the blood'--a useless defense against an intestinal infection.
37. As lead arsenate fell out of favor because of its toxicity, a new set of synthetic pesticides came into play and made this problem much worse.
39. By 1952, it was clear many of the insects were becoming DDT-resistant, and its toxicity began to concern people. They began to use safer pesticides and, with lead arsenate also fading out of the picture, infantile paralysis began to disappear.
40. Even Steedman's Teething Powder, the mercury containing product administered to teething infants for so long, changed its formula.
trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/arti'... 42. They were also concerned about study in Detroit where they had taken stool samples of nearly 1,000 people diagnosed with polio. Just one third of those people tested actually had polio. Everyone else had been stricken with some other paralyzing virus.
jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/'... 43. This presents a problem because many people were told they had ''polio'' when they were affected as children. The reality is'--doctors could not have known what caused the paralysis. It could have been one of many different viruses, pesticides, or even bacteria.
44. The Sabin oral polio vaccine soon came into use & it could actually control the poliovirus infection within the gut'--where it actually made a difference. But it didn't matter. It only affected the poliovirus'--none of the other paralyzing microbes.
45. By this time (1963), poliomyelitis (aka ''polio'') had all but disappeared. As it turns out, neither of the vaccines were actually necessary. The Salk vaccine was horrible at actually preventing paralysis, and the Sabin vaccine came too late to make a difference.
46. Today, countries that use toxic pesticides still struggle with infantile paralysis, aka polio. Extremely aggressive oral polio vaccine use may help control poliovirus infections...
pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/135/Su'... 47. ...but with several other paralyzing viruses in existence, it is not the panacea people believe it to be. To complicate matters, the oral poliovirus vaccine itself occasionally creates paralysis.
npr.org/sections/goats'... 48. So what is one to takeaway from all of this? ''Polio'' is a man-made problem. The paralysis caused from direct pesticide exposure OR from viruses being allowed into the spinal cord can be directly attributed to a man-made cause.
49. It appeared in epidemic form in the 1890s from the introduction of lead arsenate and disappeared in the 1950s when DDT usage fell. Because we know it was caused by many different things, the effect of a single-virus vaccine on its decline is minimal.
50. As I mentioned earlier, I have a book that covers this entire story in detail and mentions many things I've skipped. It's called ''The Moth in the Iron Lung.'' I hope you're able to read it.
amazon.com/Moth-Iron-Lung'... 51. If we can get the polio story correct in our heads, many other problems can be solved. The infantile paralysis that still takes place in many developing countries will not be solved from the polio vaccine! Cleaning up their environment is absolutely necessary.
52. Many thanks for reading, and I'm happy to try and answer any of your questions.
53. One more thing, this picture is what everyone thinks of when they think of polio. This was a publicity stunt arranged for Life Magazine. Most of these iron lungs were brand new and were headed around the country to other hospitals.
54. It was taken in the auditorium of Ranchos Los Amigos Hospital in Los Angeles, which had been emptied of its rows of seating to make this picture. It was designed to show worried parents that the U.S. was ready for battle.
55. Although the hospital had the largest polio ward in the country, at its peak it would have never had this many iron lungs in operation. Most hospitals in big cities had a couple of iron lungs.
56. There were around 1,1000 in the whole country at their peak. Nothing like this picture would indicate.
57. The next time you look at this photo, you should be struck at the destructive power of man and his inventions. The poliovirus, like all the other paralytic causes of that era, were incapable of harming us without some of our help.
Tweet #56 should have read 1,100 iron lungs, not 11,000. Ranchos Los Amigos, in Los Angeles, the largest polio ward in the country, is thought to have normally kept 10 or 11 iron lungs on hand. Boston had around 8.
If you haven't seen it already, I did a 6-part video series on the true story of polio that explains some of this. You can find it on YouTube.Polio is a man-made disease''Part 1:
The Climate Crisis Is Forcing Women and Girls to Sell Their Bodies
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 17:59
Tipping Point covers environmental justice stories about and, where possible, written by people in the communities experiencing the stark reality of our changing planet.
In May 2020, when the catastrophic Cyclone Amphan tore through her village in West Bengal, a state in eastern India, Seema took cover in a local shelter while the storm destroyed her home, everything in it, the land she and her family farmed to make a living, even her ID. She watched as her neighbours lost everything too.
One family fell on such hard times that when a man showed up and offered to give their 17-year-old daughter a job in the city, they agreed.
''He offered them money and said, 'You're really poor. Let me get her employed and make her life better,''' Seema told VICE World News through an interpreter.
The man didn't tell the family he was taking the girl to a city like Mumbai or Pune, where she'd be forced to work in the sex trade. The girl, whom Seema knew personally, is likely still being trafficked today, she said.
A woman and her eroded shelter home near Meghna river in Bangladesh on September 12, 2019. (zakir hossain chowdhury / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Seema, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, sees firsthand how natural disasters are putting women at risk, through her work with Banhanmukti, a survivor collective affiliated with other Indian organizations that support trafficking victims. She said the 17-year-old girl is one of many who are increasingly vulnerable to trafficking because the climate crisis is getting worse, especially in high-risk regions like West Bengal.
''If the little bit of land they have is taken away by the sea, then what are they left with?''
Seema said traffickers are ''very well clued in'' to crises, so they often swoop in and exploit those affected when natural disasters strike.
Around the world, more than 55 million people have already been forced to move from their home communities because of extreme weather, and the climate crisis is expected to displace as many as 1 billion people by 2050. Today, environmental events displace more people than violence and conflict. Women and girls especially bear the brunt of the climate crisis: VICE World News previously reported how chores have become deadlier for women in natural disaster''prone areas, and those fleeing from their homes are struggling to access contraception. Many will likely be forced to sell their bodies as they and their families struggle with extreme weather events that leave them with little more than the clothes on their back.
It's an already-documented pattern: After Cyclone Aila hit India in May 2009, the number of migrant sex workers in Kolkata's Red Light District increased by 20-25 percent, and many of them referred to themselves as ''flooded people.'' According to reports, the district grows by up to 700 people every year. Sex work also increased as a ''survival mechanism'' in Myanmar after Cyclone Nargis hit in 2008, a Women Deliver report from this year found.
According to a UN report from 2014, some displaced families faced such economic hardships following floods in Fiji that many had their children earn money through sex work at night.
A Reuters report found that one teenager, whose family migrated to the city after their home was washed away by floods, joined the sex industry and became the main provider for her family, earning up to $240 a month.
''I was around 14 years old when I joined the sex industry,'' she said. ''I did it only for the money. I had to buy food. I had to survive.''
West Bengal, specifically the Sundarbans'--an area where three rivers meet in the Bay of Bengal'--is one of the most natural disaster''prone areas in the world. Severe storms and floods hit almost every year, and at least seven months of the year are marked with extreme heat. It's also a region where many people's livelihoods rely on agriculture, an industry that suffers whenever floods submerge farmland in salt water and compromise soil quality. Approximately 4.5 million people live in the Indian Sundarbans.
Some women fleeing from natural disasters have chosen to do sex work as a means to make ends meet. But whether sex work can actually be consensual when people have no other options is up for debate. One formerly trafficked woman living in India, who also works with Bandhanmukti, said, ''Given the dire financial straits, we're at a moment when women aren't really going into sex work willingly.''
Kaushik Gupta is a lawyer with Calcutta High Court, also in West Bengal. He said he's encountered many women and girls who've entered the sex trade, either through exploitation or consensually, because of the climate crisis.
''Environmental issues are adding to the poverty of the already downtrodden... For a person who is a daily cultivator or labourer, if the little bit of land they have is taken away by the sea, then what are they left with?'' Gupta said.
Gupta said two policies are needed: safe migration and legalized, destigmatized sex work policies'--without fear of police crackdown.
According to Gupta, a lot of rescue efforts, at times led by Western NGOs, are further isolating already-exploited women. Too often they take formerly trafficked women and place them in local shelters, where they stay for up to three years'--without being able to leave'--learning marketable skills, such as tailoring or makeup artistry. But too few efforts go toward ensuring the women can return home safely, Gupta said.
''There is a huge social stigma around sex itself,'' Gupta said. The result is that women who escape sex trafficking struggle to reintegrate back home because their families and neighbours view them as ''fallen women.'' The most effective campaigns work with families so they can learn that sexual exploitation isn't a woman's fault.
''So-called First World countries are completely oblivious to these realities,'' he said.
Fatima migrated from Bangladesh to work as a maid in Saudi Arabia after she lost her house in 2007 to Cyclone Sidr, a Category 5 cyclone that killed thousands. While she wasn't sexually trafficked, she was routinely abused by her employers'--groped and hit. She said she knows women who've ended up in the sex trade following Cylcone Sidr, or similar crises, often lured by ''middlemen'' promising them work as beauticians. They were sent to cities in South Asian countries, including India, Thailand, and Nepal, Fatima said.
''We need to raise awareness because most of the time the families don't know what human and sex trafficking are and how they should protect themselves or their children,'' said Fatima, who has seen these problems play out in her own community. She added that shame around sex has made it difficult for survivors who've returned home to reintegrate.
One way governments can help is by equipping women and girls with skills that they can use to earn a living, Fatima said.
A recent International Institute for Environment and Development report found that the climate crisis is exacerbating modern slavery, which sometimes includes forced sexual exploitation. Women, children, and the poorest people are the most at risk.
''Natural disasters are the main reasons for all of my disasters in life.''
''Climate and development policymakers and planners urgently need to recognize that millions of people displaced by climate change are being, and will be, exposed to slavery in the coming decades,'' the report says.
The survivors who spoke with VICE World News all said they're worried sex trafficking will increase with disasters. They said they want adequate government support so that they can keep living in their home communities without fear of exploitation.
For Seema, staying in her West Bengal village means she can stay connected to her social circle. Moving elsewhere also seems financially unfeasible, she said.
''I have no money to buy land or construct my own house elsewhere,'' Seema said.
The world is only just starting to figure out how to support climate refugees. Even the richest countries are ill-equipped to deal with their own internal migrants, displaced by wildfires and floods. But there's hope: In a global first earlier this year, a man who was forced out of Bangladesh because of poor environmental conditions that affect his health won the right to settle in France'--with the French court acknowledging that pollution played a major role in its decision. The decision could set a precedent as more people are forced out of their homes because of the climate crisis.
Fatima, now back with her family in Bangladesh after her husband took another loan to bring her home, said she never wants to permanently migrate from her village.
''It's very hard, very hard,'' Fatima said. ''Natural disasters are the main reasons for all of my disasters in life. If I had another option in my area, I would never plan to go out or migrate.''
Follow Anya Zoledziowski on Twitter.
This story is part of a Covering Climate Now reporting series on climate migration called ''Flight for Their Lives.'' CCNow is a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.
ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.
Robert Califf - Wikipedia
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 17:41
Robert Califf (born 1951) is an American cardiologist who served as the 22nd commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. He was nominated to be commissioner in September 2015 by President Barack Obama and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in February 2016, serving until January 20, 2017.
President Joe Biden renominated Califf to head the Food and Drug Administration on November 12, 2021.
Prior to becoming commissioner he had served as the Deputy Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration's Office of Medical Products and Tobacco since January 2015. In 2019, he became head of medical strategy at Google parent company Alphabet Inc.
Early life and education [ edit ] Califf was born in Anderson, South Carolina. He attended high school in Columbia, South Carolina where he was a member of the 1969 AAAA South Carolina Championship basketball team.[unreliable source? ] He attended Duke University, graduating in 1973 summa cum laude and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
In 1978, he graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, and was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. He left North Carolina only for an internal medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco and returned in 1980 to Duke to complete a fellowship in cardiology. He is board-certified in internal medicine (1984) and cardiology (1986), and a Master of the American College of Cardiology (2006).
Career [ edit ] Duke University [ edit ] Califf was granted tenure as professor of cardiology at Duke University School of Medicine. He was the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, which is considered "the world's largest academic research organization" with 1000 employees and an annual budget of $320 million, 50-60% of which is funded from industry.
Califf has led many clinical cardiology research studies, health outcomes research, health care quality, and translational research, which seeks to ensure that advances in science translate into medical care. He was a lead investigator in clinical trials testing the efficacy of the cholesterol-lowering drug combination ezetimibe/simvastatin.
As of 2015 he was vice chancellor of clinical and translational research and the director of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute (DTMI). Califf is recognized by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the top 10 most cited medical authors, with more than 1,200 peer-reviewed publications.
Relationships with the pharmaceutical industry [ edit ] Califf worked very closely with pharmaceutical companies at the Duke clinical trials center "convincing them to do large, expensive, and, for Duke, profitable clinical trials." He was a paid consultant for Merck Sharp & Dohme, Johnson & Johnson, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, and Eli Lilly per ProPublica from 2009 to 2013. The largest consulting payment was $87,500 by Johnson & Johnson in 2012, and "most of funds for travel or consulting under $5,000", which has been called "minimal for a physician of his stature".From 2013-2014 he was paid a total of $52,796, the highest amount was $6,450 from Merck Sharp & Dohme, followed by Amgen, F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Daiichi Sankyo, Sanofi-Aventis, Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.He was the Director of Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc. from July 2012 to January 26, 2015, An advisor of Proventys, Inc., Chairman of the medical advisory board of Regado Biosciences, Inc. and has been a member of the medical advisory board since June 2, 2009, and a member of the clinical advisory board of Corgentech Inc.Forbes wrote that his close ties to the drug industry were the reason for him not being nominated for the FDA Commissioner position in 2009.
Food and Drug Administration [ edit ] In January 2015, Califf was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration's Office of Medical Products and Tobacco, "second in scope only to being commissioner". In February 2015, Califf was cited as a possible successor to Margaret Hamburg, the outgoing Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. and in September 2015, President Barack Obama nominated him to be the next FDA commissioner. In February 2016, the US Senate confirmed Califf as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration by a vote of 89-4. Dr. Califf stepped down from the post of FDA commissioner on January 20, 2017.
Memberships [ edit ] He is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He was on the committees that recommended for example, Medicare coverage of clinical trials and to remove ephedra from the market, and the committee on identifying and preventing medication errors. As of 2015, he is member of the IOM Policy Committee and liaison to the Forum in Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation.
He served on the FDA Cardiorenal Advisory Panel and FDA Science Board's Subcommittee on Science and Technology.
References [ edit ] ^ a b Tavernise, Sabrina (19 September 2015). "F.D.A. Nominee Califf's Ties to Drug Makers Worry Some". New York Times . Retrieved 19 September 2015 . ^ a b "Califf Wins Senate Confirmation Vote on FDA Top Spot". Medscape. February 24, 2016 . Retrieved 2016-02-24 . ^ "Biden nominates Robert Califf as FDA commissioner". NBC News . Retrieved 2021-11-12 . ^ a b c d e f Kroll, David (26 January 2015). "Duke's Rob Califf Named FDA Deputy Commissioner". Forbes . Retrieved 5 Feb 2015 . ^ a b c "Dr. Robert Califf named FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco" (Press release). Food and Drug Administration. 26 January 2015 . Retrieved 5 Feb 2015 . ^ a b Husten, Larry (26 January 2015). "Califf To Leave Duke To Become FDA Deputy Commissioner". Forbes . Retrieved 5 Feb 2015 . ^ "Ex-FDA chief Robert Califf to help lead health policy at Google, Verily full-time". FierceBiotech . Retrieved 2021-10-15 . ^ Califf, Robert (24 February 2009). "Robert Califf, M.D., Consultant for the ABC News OnCall+ Heart Disease Center". ABC News . Retrieved 5 February 2015 . ^ a b c d Duke Faculty Webpage ^ Massimo Calabresi (19 February 2015). "Candidate to Lead FDA Has Close Ties to Big Pharma". Time Magazine . Retrieved 30 October 2015 . ^ Kolata, Gina (17 November 2014). "Study Finds Alternative to Anti-Cholesterol Drug". New York Times . Retrieved 11 February 2015 . ^ a b Matthew Herper (16 September 2015). "Robert Califf Could Transform The FDA -- The Right Way". Forbes . Retrieved 30 October 2015 . Califf was widely seen as too linked to industry. ^ a b Matthew Herper (26 January 2015). "Yes I do think this means Robert Califf will be the next FDA Commissioner" (blog) . Forbes Pharma/Healthcare . Retrieved 29 October 2015 . ^ "Robert Califf, from Aug. 2013 to Dec. 2014". Dollars for Docs. ProPublica. n.d . Retrieved 29 October 2015 . Payments: At a Glance 42 payments $52,796 payment total, Rank: 23 out of 564 doctors in this specialty and state 10 companies paid this doctor. ^ "Executive Profile Robert M. Califf M.D". Bloomberg news. n.d . Retrieved 30 October 2015 . ^ Burton, Thomas (5 February 2015). "FDA Commissioner to Resign". Wall Street Journal . Retrieved 5 February 2015 . Appearances on C-SPAN
UPDATED: It's Califf: Biden picks the former FDA commish to head back to the helm '' Endpoints News
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 17:40
Robert Califf (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP Images, File)
November 12, 2021 10:06 AM EST Updated 9 hours ago
UPDATED: It's Califf: Biden picks the former FDA commish to head back to the helmConfirming one of the worst kept secrets in Washington, Robert Califf has been nominated on Friday to lead the FDA for a second time.
It's an announcement biopharma has anxiously been waiting for, although not a surprising one. After vetting multiple names churned out by the rumor mills, President Joe Biden's final choice is one both the industry and agency insiders have hailed as the perfect one.
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November 8, 2021 06:00 AM EST
Starting Strong with Assured Supply of Quality Materials for Immune Cell Therapies Sartorius Advanced Therapies
This blog post is the second in a series about accelerating the development and manufacturing of cell-based cancer therapies. In the last post, we outlined the promise and potential of immune cell therapies to treat cancer along with an overview of the central challenges that impede their broad accessibility. In this article, we take a closer look at key considerations for establishing a reliable supply chain of quality materials to ensure a robust and reproducible workflow.
Alex Gorsky, J&J CEO (Andrew Harnik/AP Images)
November 12, 2021 06:41 AM EST Updated 10:10 AM
UPDATED: J&J sets out to split the world's largest healthcare conglomerate, hiving off the consumer division John Carroll Editor & Founder
J&J is joining the movement in pharma to double down on risky but high-growth drugs and devices while hiving off huge consumer divisions. CEO Alex Gorsky says that sometime in the next 18 to 24 months they'll be splitting the company into 2 different operations, dividing the largest conglomerate in healthcare.
Just as Merck and Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline before, which followed similar strategies, the move will put a beacon on the R&D side of the business, where new drug development '-- and the high margins they can deliver '-- will be critical to the new company's success.
November 13, 2021 06:00 AM EST
J&J's impending split; And the next FDA commish is...; Aduhelm back in spotlight; #AHA21; and moreWelcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week's top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.
As we mark the 40th edition of this Saturday recap, I'd like to spend a moment marveling at just how much Endpoints News has grown in the past year. We used to just have two daily reports. But we now send out weekly email newsletters dedicated to pharma marketing (Endpoints MarketingRx), regulatory news (Endpoints FDA+) and manufacturing (Endpoints Manufacturing). Want to get them in your inbox? You can customize your list of subscriptions in the reader profile.
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Lew Cantley (Cornell)
November 11, 2021 10:07 AM EST Updated 11:00 AM
Scoop: Famed cancer researcher '-- and biotech founder '-- Lew Cantley is headed to Dana-Farber John Carroll Editor & Founder
Lew Cantley, the famed cancer researcher best known for his discovery of the PI3K pathway and his groundbreaking work on cancer metabolism, is headed to Dana-Farber.
We got tipped off by someone at the institute that Cantley will make his move from Weill Cornell Medicine next February after Dana-Farber chief Laurie Glimcher sent out a note heralding his impending arrival as a faculty member in the Department of Cancer Biology. That puts the ex-Harvard professor right back in the center of things during an unprecedented biotech boom that has put Cambridge/Boston right at the epicenter of drug R&D.
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Kevin Ali, Organon CEO
November 11, 2021 07:23 AM EST Updated 08:38 AM
Months after a Merck spinout, Organon continues its string of deals with a $954M buyout package John Carroll Editor & Founder
Five months after ejecting out of the mother ship at Merck, the women's health experts at Organon have racked up another deal, this time buying up a small biotech advancing an experimental therapy for endometriosis.
Organon put out word Thursday morning that it bagged Forendo Pharma out of Finland to beef up the pipeline. They're paying $75 million upfront and shouldering $9 million in debt to land the asset with a hefty $870 million in milestone money on the table. Altogether the M&A package weighs in at close to a billion dollars '-- provided the drug is successful.
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November 9, 2021 02:08 PM EST
The very slow roll of Biogen's Aduhelm: Neurologists weigh in on patients, practices and payments amid ongoing media storm Beth Snyder Bulik Senior Editor
Five months after the approval of Biogen's Aduhelm, the bad news just keeps piling up for the Alzheimer's drug. The confirmation yesterday of a Biogen investigation into the death of trial participant is the latest setback, but it adds to a laundry list of ongoing woes including insurance reimbursement uncertainty, dismal initial sales, a label flipflop, FDA advisory committee members resigning and outspoken researchers and public officials who continue to question the drug's approval.
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Cabenuva Ad (ViiV Healthcare)
November 12, 2021 12:39 PM EST
GlaxoSmithKline's ViiV Healthcare aims to shift HIV daily pill thinking in first DTC ads Beth Snyder Bulik Senior Editor
For as long as there have been HIV medicines, the only options for patients have been daily pills '-- until this year that is. GlaxoSmithKline's ViiV Healthcare approval for long-acting injectable Cabenuva in January marked a sudden change.
Instead of people with HIV taking daily pills '-- a habit even reinforced in pop culture in film and other fictional depictions '-- there's now a once-a-month injection option.
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Mene Pangalos (AstraZeneca via YouTube)
November 12, 2021 10:17 AM EST
AstraZeneca expects 'modest profitability' for next round of Covid-19 vaccine supply deals '-- and prunes pipeline in Q3 updateHaving sent 1.5 billion Covid-19 vaccines around the world on a not-for-profit basis, AstraZeneca says it's time to move into ''modest profitability.''
While the priority is to deliver all the ''pandemic doses'' '-- a total of 3 billion are set to be delivered by the end of the year '-- AstraZeneca expects to be taking new orders in Q4, leading to a blend in sales.
''Don't expect massive profitability, which is sometimes the case for other vaccine makers,'' Ruud Dobber, head of the biopharmaceuticals business unit, told Endpoints News.
November 12, 2021 07:00 AM EST
Cortexyme lowers dose amid safety concerns, raising questions about future of offbeat Alzheimer's approachLate last month, Cortexyme announced a subset of patients saw their cognitive decline slow while taking the high dose of the company's experimental Alzheimer's drug, offering some support for an outside-the-box approach to treating the disease.
But on Thursday the biotech revealed it would push forward with a lower dose of the molecule because of liver toxicity concerns in the recent trial. Although the reduced quantity '-- 40 mg as opposed to 80 mg '-- appeared safer, it also appeared less effective, potentially setting up a rocky path toward any possible approval.
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OCC nominee to testify amid uncertainty about chances in Senate | American Banker
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 17:22
WASHINGTON '-- The Biden administration's controversial nominee to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency will testify next week before the Senate Banking Committee.
Saule Omarova, a law professor at Cornell University and former Treasury Department official, was named by the White House in September as its pick to lead the national bank regulator. But even though her nomination has been cheered by progressives, Omarova has been a target of criticism from Republican lawmakers, some Democrats and the banking industry over views that they describe as worrisome.
The Senate Banking Committee, led by Chair Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, will convene at 9:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Nov. 18, to hear Omarova testify.
Brown has been a powerful supporter of Omarova's candidacy to lead the OCC. But analysts see an extremely narrow road for her confirmation in a 50-50 Senate, just one Democratic dissent will be enough to sink her chances.
Omarova, a former Davis Polk attorney who served in the George W. Bush Treasury Department before becoming an academic, has expressed some skepticism about nonbank fintech firms, cryptocurrency and of large-bank mergers.
Saule Omarova, a former Davis Polk attorney who served in the George W. Bush Treasury Department before becoming an academic, has expressed some skepticism about nonbank fintech firms, cryptocurrency and of large-bank mergers.Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
She's well known among academics for her financial scholarship, including a history of how the OCC gradually allowed banks to engage in derivatives trading.
Progressives say Omarova would be an appropriate choice to lead the OCC, an agency that the political left has accused for years of being too deferential to the sector it regulates.
By the same token, Omarova's nomination has generated significant backlash among Republicans and bank advocates, who have pointed to some of her writings as evidence of radicalism and even prejudice against the financial services sector.
As an academic, Omarova has argued for a substantial restructuring of the financial system, including moving customer deposits en masse to the Federal Reserve's balance sheet. (Omarova would not be able to pursue such reforms as a Senate-confirmed comptroller.)
Thursday's Senate hearing could be contentious. Republicans have accused Omarova's ideas of flirting with communism and have gone so far as to demand college economic papers she wrote as a student at Moscow State University in the late 1980s. Brown has derided the attacks as ''red scare McCarthyism."
United Kingdom: National Security and Investment Act to enter into full force on 4 January 2022 - Global Compliance News
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 17:08
In briefOn 20 July 2021, the UK Government announced that the National Security and Investment Act will enter into full force on 4 January 2022. To help businesses prepare for commencement of the regime, the Government also published alongside this announcement a series of further guidance notes and materials.
The NSI Act creates a new, self-standing UK investment screening regime on national security grounds, comparable to CFIUS in the US. The Act is extremely broad in its scope and powers '' companies and investors, even those with limited links to the UK, should ensure that they are familiar with the new rules now, particularly since the regime applies retrospectively to deals taking place currently.
Contents1. Key takeaways
2. In depth
A. What is the NSI Act?
a. Key features of the regime:
B. What has changed?
a. Draft notifiable acquisition statutory instrument
b. Statement on the use of the call-in power
c. General guidance regarding the new regime
d. Guidance on how the NSI Act could affect people or acquisitions outside the UK
e. Guidance on the NSI Act alongside other regulatory requirements
f. Guidance for the higher education and research-intensive sectors
3. Practical insights and experience
4. How we can help
The UK's new investment review regime under the National Security and Investment Act will enter into full force on 4 January 2022. The regime significantly expands the UK Government's existing powers to screen investments on national security grounds.From 4 January 2022, a mandatory notification regime under the Act will be in force for acquisitions in 17 key sectors, while it will also be possible to submit voluntary notifications outside these sectors. Notifications will be submitted to the Government's Investment Security Unit via a new online portal.From this date, the Government will also be able to ''call in'' transactions for in-depth review where it reasonably suspects they give rise to a risk to national security, including in respect of transactions that have closed since 12 November 2020. At the end of an assessment period, the Government will either clear, impose conditions on, or unwind or block an acquisition.The jurisdictional criteria in the Act are extremely broad, and the Act catches the acquisition of intangible assets such as IP, certain non-UK transactions and even internal corporate reorganizations.Non-compliance with the mandatory regime risks significant criminal and civil sanctions, while mandatorily notifiable investments that complete without being cleared under the Act will be void.Further guidance is expected ahead of commencement of the regime, including in relation to the 17 mandatory notification sectors. Other aspects of the new system, such as the content of the notification form, also need to be finalized before the regime goes ''live''.Companies and investors should ensure that they are familiar with the new rules now, given the broad scope of the mandatory notification system and risk of retrospective call-in under the Act.What is the NSI Act?The long-anticipated National Security and Investment Act 2021 (''NSI Act'' or ''Act'') was introduced by the UK Government before Parliament in Bill form on 11 November 2020. The Act creates a new, self-standing UK investment review regime, comparable to CFIUS in the US, enabling national security screenings of acquisitions of control over qualifying entities or assets. This is a significant expansion of the UK Government's existing national security review powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 (''Enterprise Act''), which are closely related to the UK merger control rules and will be repealed upon commencement of the NSI Act regime.
Key features of the regime:The NSI Act regime applies to acquisitions of control over qualifying entities (covering a range of legal structures, including companies, limited liability partnerships and trusts) and qualifying assets (covering both tangible assets such as land or moveable property, and intangible assets such as IP).The regime has a very broad UK nexus test. Non-UK based target entities can be caught where they (a) carry on activities in the UK or (b) supply goods or services to persons in the UK. Assets outside the UK are covered if they are used in connection with the carrying on of activities in the UK or the supply of goods or services to persons in the UK.Unlike the Enterprise Act regime, the NSI Act does not have any turnover or share of supply jurisdictional thresholds below which a transaction cannot be challenged. Instead, the following ''trigger events'' will be deemed to give rise to an acquisition of control capable of being reviewed under the regime:acquisitions of shares or voting rights (a) from 25% or less to more than 25%, (b) from 50% or less to more than 50%, or (c) from less than 75% to 75% or more;acquisitions of voting rights that enable the acquirer to secure or prevent the passage of any class of resolution governing the affairs of the target;acquisitions enabling the acquirer materially to influence the policy of the target; oracquisitions of a right or interest in, or in relation to, a qualifying asset enabling the acquirer (a) to use the asset, or use it to a greater extent than prior to the acquisition, or (b) to direct or control how the asset is used, or direct or control how it is used to a greater extent than prior to the acquisition.The Act establishes a mandatory notification regime for qualifying entity transactions in 17 sensitive sectors of the economy (see Box), which will be void if not cleared prior to closing. Voluntary notification of transactions will also be possible outside these sectors, although such transactions will only be prohibited from closing pending review if this is stipulated by an interim order from the Government.Notifications will be submitted via a new online portal to the Investment Security Unit (ISU), the UK Government body responsible for conducting screenings and administering the NSI Act regime. Final decisions will rest with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The Government will have the power formally to ''call in'' qualifying transactions that it reasonably suspects may give rise to a risk to national security for in-depth review. It will be able to do so both in relation to notifications made to it and proactively, regarding transactions in the wider economy. Asset acquisitions will not be mandatorily notifiable, but can still be called in if they could give risk to a national security risk.Broadly, the Government will have 5 years to call in transactions, reduced to 6 months where the Government is aware of a transaction. Subject to these time periods, tThe Government will also be able to retrospectively to call in transactions that have closed between 12 November 2020 and commencement of the regime on 4 January 2022, subject to these time periods which will run from commencement. Proactive disclosure of sensitive transactions which have closed or will close during this period should be considered as this will reduced the call-in limitation period to 6 months rather than 5 years from 4 January 2022. The initial screening period following mandatory notification will be 30 working days from the point the ISU accepts a notification (the Government expects to clear a majority of notified investments within this period). Where a transaction outside the mandatory notification sectors or following the initial screening period after mandatory notification is called in, the national security assessment period will also be 30 working days, with the possibility of an additional 45 working days (and further extensions beyond this subject to agreement with the acquirer).Following its assessment, when clearing a transaction, the Government can impose conditions that it reasonably considers are necessary and proportionate to prevent, remedy or mitigate any identified national security risk. Such conditions may include, for example, restricting permitted share ownership levels or controlling access to commercial information or sensitive sites. As a last resort, the Government may also prohibit or unwind transactions.Non-compliance with the regime risks significant criminal and civil sanctions. Acquirers who fail to submit a mandatory notification can face financial penalties (up to 5% of total worldwide turnover or £10 million, whichever is higher) and criminal liability for directors.What has changed?Minimal changes were made to the Bill during the UK Parliamentary process. The Bill enjoyed broad cross-party support. The only significant amendment in this process was the removal of a separate 15% notifiable event threshold from the Act's jurisdictional provisions. Reporting requirements around the regime were also strengthened, with parliamentarians successfully pushing the Government to submit annual reports with details of how the new regime in operating in practice, for example, setting out the average number of working days from notification to a decision to accept or reject a notification.
The UK Government has also consulted both formally and informally on various aspects of the regime. In particular, the definitions of the 17 mandatory notification sectors, and the content of the notification form, have been subject to an intense consultation process.
On 20 July 2021, the UK Government announced that the NSI Act will enter into force on 4 January 2022. To help businesses and investors prepare for commencement of the regime, the Government published alongside this announcement a series of further guidance notes and materials, as follows:
Draft notifiable acquisition statutory instrumentRefines further the 17 sectors of the economy in which qualifying investments will be subject to mandatory notification requirements.These regulations were published formally on 7 September 2021 in the form of the National Security and Investment Act 2021 (Notifiable Acquisition) (Specification of Qualifying Entities) Regulations 2021, ahead of their commencement alongside the rest of the NSI Act regime on 4 January 2022. We also understand that the Government is intending to issue further guidance regarding the mandatory sectors.Statement on the use of the call-in powerThis is the draft version of the formal statement, pursuant to Section 3 of the NSI Act, setting out how the UK Government expects to exercise its call-in power.The Government sought views on the draft content of this statement in a further consultation process. General guidance regarding the new regimeSets out how parties should prepare for commencement of the NSI Act regime, covering (i) what types of acquisitions are covered by the new rules, (ii) in what circumstances parties will need to inform the Government about an acquisition, and (iii) how the Government will scrutinise acquisitions.Guidance on how the NSI Act could affect people or acquisitions outside the UKSets out (i) what types of acquirers and acquisitions outside the UK are covered by the NSI Act, (ii) common circumstances that would put an acquisition in scope of the NSI Act, and (iii) examples of how the rules may affect parties based outside the UK.Guidance on the NSI Act alongside other regulatory requirementsProvides further information regarding how the NSI Act will interact with the following regulators and codes: (i) Enterprise Act, (ii) Competition and Markets Authority, (iii) Export Control Joint Unit, (iv) Takeover Code, (v) Financial Conduct Authority and (vi) Prudential Regulation Authority.Guidance for the higher education and research-intensive sectorsProvides guidance for higher education institutions, other research organisations and investors in this area to understand the scope of the NSI Act and how to prepare for the new rules.CommentWhile these materials and guidance notes do not introduce significant new points (as expected, given that the Act was enacted in April), they nonetheless include some useful comments, while in many respects also underlining further the considerable breadth of the NSI Act regime.The guidance confirms the flexibility of the Act's jurisdictional criteria '' for example, indicates that a non-UK based entity can be caught as a qualifying entity under the regime where it merely supplies goods that pass through the UK while traveling to other destinations. The guidance also expressly confirms that internal reorganisations are within the scope of the Act.The same three factors determining call-in risk '' target risk, acquirer risk and control (previously trigger event) risk '' continue to be referred to in the updated guidance, which also clarifies that an acquisition may be called in if any one of these factors raises the possibility of a risk to national security. The Government expects to call in asset acquisitions ''rarely and significantly less frequently than acquisitions of entities''. However, there will be a greater risk regarding assets in the 17 sensitive sectors. There are also indications that the Government is more likely to be concerned about and call in transactions ''closely linked'' to the 17 sensitive sectors.Acquisitions of qualifying entities and assets that are outside the UK are also deemed to be generally less likely to give rise to national security risks than those located within the UK. Interestingly, the guidance refers to threats to the UK's ''reputation or economic prosperity'' in the context of assessing the acquirer risk posed by an investment. Despite UK Government statements to the contrary, this appears to conflate industrial policy concerns with national security assessments under the NSI Act.The Government has indicated that it will publish further guidance ahead of commencement of the regime, including in relation to the trigger event thresholds under the NS&I Act for notifiable acquisitions. The Government has been keen to stress throughout the passage of the NSI Act that the UK remains open for foreign investment. However, the risk remains of national security issues being conflated with industry policy factors in assessments carried out under the Act.While its intervention and assessment practice under the regime remains to be seen, it is to be hoped that the Government will call in for review only a very small proportion of deals genuinely harmful to national security, speedily clearing all other notified investments. Prior to commencement of the regime, it has been possible for businesses and their advisers to engage informally with the UK Government regarding whether specific transactions are likely to cause national security concerns under the Act.Our experience to date of dealing with the ISU '' whether clarifying elements of the regime or obtaining informal views on specific transactions '' has been largely positive. We have found the ISU to be generally responsive, receptive to considered points made to it and committed to helping investors and companies adjust to the new regime. While we await the reality of the regime in practice following its commencement, this bodes (cautiously) well for formal interactions with the ISU after 4 January 2022.To date there has been a generally cautious approach taken by parties and advisers around the need to notify the ISU about transactions, given the Act's very broad jurisdictional criteria and draconian penalties and consequences of non-compliance. We expect this approach to continue after 4 January 2022 leading to a material volume of voluntary notifications being submitted as well as a conservative approach being taken to what is included in the mandatory notification sectors, particularly in the early stages of the regime.We have also seen approaches develop around NSI Act risk mitigation and conditions precedent in transaction documentation, even before commencement of the regime, given the potential retrospective application of the call-in power. This will continue, particularly once the regime has entered into full force, and we see NSI Act risk becoming a key negotiation point in affected transactions in the same way that merger control has been for decades.Moving forwards, it will be important for the UK Government to provide as much further clarity as possible to companies and investors ahead of commencement of the regime. For cross-border transactions involving multiple filings, it will also be crucial for parties and their advisers to coordinate NSI Act processes with other foreign investment approval procedures globally so that substance is consistent and timetables are synced.Baker McKenzie's Foreign Investment Review team has substantial expertise in liaising with UK Government stakeholders and advising a range of clients on all aspects of the NSI Act. Stay tuned to our Foreign Investment and National Security Blog for the latest updates and developments, and please do contact a member of our team directly if you have any questions regarding the implications of the NSI Act for your current and future transactions.
2G of 3G, hoe zit dat nou precies? | NOS
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 16:54
"Een onvermijdelijke keuze" noemde demissionair minister De Jonge van Volksgezondheid gisteren op de persconferentie de beoogde 2G-aanpak. In het kort betekent het dat ongevaccineerde Nederlanders geen QR-code meer kunnen krijgen na een negatieve coronatest. En dus op minder plekken naar binnen kunnen. Want 2G betekent: je bent gevaccineerd of van corona genezen. Die nieuwe aanpak roept tal van vragen op.
Waar wordt het 2G-toegangsbewijs ingevoerd? Ook op het werk?Het kabinet wil ongevaccineerden alleen uitsluiten van locaties "waar de risico's op besmetting het allergrootst zijn", zegt het kabinet. Dat zijn vooral volle kroegen (de 'natte horeca'), festivals en evenementen - de plekken waar mensen dicht bij elkaar staan.
Op het werk wordt het niet ingevoerd, en ook niet in andere 'essentile sectoren'. Dat zou "niet fair en niet redelijk" zijn, zegt minister De Jonge. Het is niet duidelijk wat er precies wordt verstaan onder essentile sectoren.
Kijk hier wat precies het verschil is tussen de 2G- en 3G-toegangsbewijzen:
NOS Waarom wil het kabinet dit nu toch? Het was toch omstreden?Het kabinet erkent dat het een ingrijpende maatregel is. Er komt tenslotte een groter verschil tussen de bewegingsvrijheid van gevaccineerde en ongevaccineerde burgers. Maar het aantal coronabesmettingen stijgt met de winter voor de deur z" hard, benadrukt het kabinet, dat voorkomen moet worden dat de zorg overloopt. Dan zou er geen plek meer zijn in ziekenhuizen, en moeten operaties worden afgebeld. "Dat vind ik veel ingrijpender dan tegen ongevaccineerde mensen zeggen dat ze op een aantal risicovolle plaatsen even niet meer kunnen zijn", aldus De Jonge.
Het kabinet vindt het eerlijker ongevaccineerden de toegang te weigeren tot caf(C)s en nachthoreca dan alles te sluiten voor iedereen die wel een prik heeft gehaald.
Een meerderheid van de Tweede Kamer eiste in maart van het kabinet dat een toegangspas niet wordt gebruikt om ongevaccineerden de toegang te weigeren tot voorzieningen of locaties. Maar wat vindt de Kamer nu? Dinsdag wordt over de maatregelen gedebatteerd, de meeste coalitiepartijen en de PvdA laten aan de NOS weten dat ze hun definitieve standpunt nog niet bepaald hebben.
Worden alle caf(C)-eigenaren verplicht tot een 2G-toegangsbewijs? Nee, ondernemers krijgen zelf de keuze of ze met zo'n 2G-toegangspas gaan werken. Als een eigenaar een groot caf(C) heeft waarin iedereen op een stoel kan zitten, mogen ook ongevaccineerden met een negatieve coronatest naar binnen (3G). De Jonge: "Stel, een restaurant zegt: ik kan eigenlijk best mijn tent exploiteren als iedereen gewoon op zijn kont blijft zitten. Nou prima, doe het."
De app die nu gebruikt wordt om bij de ingang de QR-codes van bezoekers te checken wordt aangepast, waarbij met een schuifje een 3G-variant of een 2G-variant kan worden ingesteld door de ondernemer.
De burgemeesters zijn hier overigens helemaal niet blij mee, en vinden dat het kabinet een keuze moet maken tussen de twee systemen, omdat er te veel principile en praktische bezwaren aan kleven. "Als overheid moet je daar de leiding in nemen", zei burgemeester Bruls van het Veiligsberaad vrijdagavond.
Wanneer wordt het ingevoerd, en voor hoe lang?De voorbereiding van het wetsvoorstel duurt ongeveer drie weken, denkt De Jonge. En dan moeten de Eerste en Tweede Kamer er nog mee instemmen. Dus zeker niet voor begin december.
Of er genoeg steun in het parlement is op dit moment nog niet te zeggen. Partijen als de ChristenUnie en de PvdA hadden tot nu toe bezwaren tegen het uitsluiten van ongevaccineerden, maar beginnen ook steeds meer te beseffen dat het sluiten van de horeca voor alle gevaccineerden ook een ingrijpende maatregel is.
Minister De Jonge schat in dat de 2G-toegangspas de hele winter nodig zal zijn, dus de periode dat mensen vooral binnen zijn.
2G: gaat een strengere coronapas wel helpen? - NRC
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 16:50
De horeca vanaf 20.00 uur dicht, maximaal vier personen thuis welkom en verplicht anderhalve meter afstand '' zulke maatregelen waren toch niet meer nodig? Het kabinet en het OMT hoopten in september het coronavirus in de hand te kunnen houden met een hoge vaccinatiegraad en coronatoegangsbewijzen, die de kans op besmettingen moesten verkleinen. Maar dat blijkt niet genoeg te zijn.
Van de coronapas wordt evenwel geen afscheid genomen. Na het maatregelenpakket dat vrijdagavond werd aangekondigd en vooralsnog drie weken moet gaan duren, moet het zelfs een van de belangrijkste maatregelen worden om, zo zei demissionair premier Mark Rutte (VVD) vrijdagavond, het virus 'te vertragen''.
Het kabinet wil het coronatoegangsbewijs in de meeste detailhandel '' essentile winkels zijn uitgezonderd '' en pretparken en dierentuinen verplichten. Daarnaast moeten ondernemers kunnen kiezen om een 2G-beleid in te voeren. Een negatief testbewijs is dan niet langer een geldig toegangsbewijs. Daarvoor is een wetswijziging nodig. Het is de vraag is of de Tweede Kamer daarmee zal instemmen.
'Ongekende hoogten''De besmettingen lopen heel snel en heel erg hoog op de laatste weken'', zegt epidemioloog Carl Moons van het UMC Utrecht. 'Zelfs tot ongekende hoogten, ondanks de inzet van het coronatoegangsbewijssysteem.'' Of dat aan de coronapas lag, de handhaving of de gevolgen van de versoepelingen is niet zomaar te zeggen. 'We hebben te maken met een snel verspreidend virus, niet iedereen is gevaccineerd en het coronapassysteem is niet waterdicht. Heel veel dingen mochten gewoon weer zonder mondkapjes en zonder anderhalve meter. Op plaatsen waar wel een coronatoegangsbewijs verplicht is, kunnen gevaccineerden helaas ook nog steeds het virus onbewust doorgeven. Het enige is dat zij er niet zo snel meer heel ziek van worden. Maar ze kunnen zeker nog besmet worden en andere besmetten.''
Lees ook: Mondmaskers helpen. Het type doet er niet veel toe Met het huidige aantal infecties '' donderdag en vrijdag werden ruim 16.000 positieve tests gemeld bij het RIVM, niet eerder waren het er zoveel '' is er ook met de coronapas geen houden aan. Die maatregel remt het aantal besmettingen wel, maar voorkomt niet alle infecties. En als het aantal besmettelijke mensen zo hoog is, wordt ook de kans op besmettingen op een locatie met een coronapas aanzienlijk.
Twee kantenHet mes van een 2G-beleid snijdt aan twee kanten: een negatief testresultaat is volgens Moons 'een heel tijdelijk effect'', want de uitslag is afhankelijk van wanneer iemand zich laat testen. Iemand die negatief test kan 'een dag later net zo goed positief testen''. Tegelijkertijd loopt een persoon die negatief testte en verder dus geen bescherming tegen het virus heeft, veel meer kans om het coronavirus op te lopen.
Om de strengere versie van het toegangsbewijs een kans te geven, moet het aantal besmettingen naar beneden. Door de komende drie weken een streep te zetten door sportwedstrijden en evenementen waar veel mensen samenkomen, worden besmettingen '' bij zowel gevaccineerden als ongevaccineerden '' voorkomen. Als het aantal besmettingen lager is, heeft de strengere coronapas een betere kans.
De vraag is of het aantal infecties in drie weken tijd ver genoeg kan worden teruggebracht. De coronapas kon de huidige golf ook niet voorkomen, terwijl de cijfers toen veel lager waren. Er werden begin september bijvoorbeeld elke dag zo'n 35 Covid-patinten op de verpleegafdeling van het ziekenhuis opgenomen. Dat zijn er inmiddels zo'n 185.
ReproductiegetalDat aantal loopt de komende weken waarschijnlijk nog verder op, omdat maatregelen pas na ongeveer twee weken effect hebben op het aantal ziekenhuisopnames. Met het groeitempo van de afgelopen week komen we op ruim 250 ziekenhuisopnames per dag op het hoogtepunt van deze golf. Moons: 'Tot en met in ieder geval vrijdag vindt die verspreiding nog plaats zoals die de afgelopen weken heeft plaatsgevonden. Die moeten nog allemaal ziek worden '' als ze ziek worden, tenminste. Je zal na twee weken wel een effect zien, maar eerder een trend dan al een echte daling.''
Het gaat waarschijnlijk langer duren voordat het aantal opnames weer op het niveau ligt van september, toen de coronapas in de horeca werd ingezet. Daarin speelt het reproductiegetal R een belangrijke rol '' het aantal mensen dat (C)(C)n besmet persoon aansteekt. Boven de 1 groeit de epidemie, daaronder neemt die af. Vorige winter lukte het met strenge maatregelen nauwelijks om de R rond de 0,8 te krijgen. Stel dat dat wel lukt met deze maatregelen, dan halveert het aantal besmettingen, en in theorie daarmee het aantal ziekenhuispatinten, elke twee weken. Na zes weken, drie halveringen later, zou het aantal nieuwe opnames op zo'n dertig per dag liggen.
Blijft het deze keer wel bij strenge maatregelen voor een relatief korte periode? Het zou niet de eerste keer zijn dat een maatregelenpakket langer duurt dan vooraf aangekondigd. De avondklok die begin dit jaar gold, zou voor twee weken gelden. Uiteindelijk was die er drie maanden.
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Saule Omarova - Wikipedia
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 15:50
Kazakh-American attorney and academic
Saule Omarova (Kazakh: ÐÓÑÐ>>Ðµ ÐÐ°ÑÐ¸Ñ
ÒÑÐ·Ñ ÐÐ¼Ð°ÑÐ¾Ð²Ð° ; born 1966) is a Kazakh-American attorney, academic, and public policy advisor who was nominated to serve as comptroller of the currency by President Joe Biden.
Omarova is currently the Beth and Marc Goldberg Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, where her work focuses on financial regulation and corporate governance. Omarova previously served as an advisor within the Department of the Treasury. She is a Senior Berggruen Fellow at the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles.
Early life and education [ edit ] Omarova was born in West Kazakhstan Region of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, stating in a 2020 interview with Chris Hayes that "I went to high school in a small, tiny Kazakh provincial town on the outskirts of the Soviet Empire." Omarova graduated from Moscow State University in 1989 on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Her thesis from MSU is titled Karl Marx's Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital. Omarova moved to the United States in 1991, where she received a Ph.D in political science from the University of Wisconsin''Madison (UW), and a Juris Doctor from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law. At UW, Omarova defended her thesis, The Political Economy of Oil in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan.
Career [ edit ] Omarova practiced law in the Financial Institutions Group of New York-based law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell for six years. During the George W. Bush Administration, Omarova served in the Department of the Treasury as a special advisor on regulatory policy to the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance. During her time as an associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Omarova was a witness at a U.S. Senate hearing on bank ownership of energy facilities and warehouses.
In August 2021, Omarova's name was floated as a potential contender to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) under President Joe Biden. She was chosen to serve as comptroller of the currency in September 2021, pending Senate confirmation.
Policy positions [ edit ] National Investment Authority [ edit ] Omarova is noted for her support for a "National Investment Authority" (NIA), a proposal she has likened to New Deal-era programs. The proposal was first developed in 2015 in conjunction with Robert C. Hockett, a fellow Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. Omarova has stated that an NIA would be responsible for "devising, financing, and executing a long-term national strategy of economic development and reconstruction."
In a recent paper "The People's Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy," she has proposed an "overtly radical reform" plan for the Federal Reserve to "effectively end banking as we know it", to offer consumer bank accounts and become "the ultimate public platform for generating, modulating, and allocating financial resources in a modern economy, calling this plan "ultimately a more pragmatic and sensible response to the challenge of democratizing finance." She has advocated expanding the Federal Reserve's mandate to include the price levels of "systemically important financial assets" as well as worker wages. 
The proposed NIA would be made up of two components: a "National Infrastructure Bank (NIB), as well as and a National Management Corporation (which she nicknames "Nicki Mac"), which would serve to invest in green technologies. A 2020 article published in The New York Times reported that the proposed NIA would function in a manner similar to the Federal Reserve, and compared the NIA framework to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation created in 1932.
Financial regulation [ edit ] According to a report by The New York Times, Omarova favors stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies and financial technology (fintech) companies. In response to reports that Facebook may launch its own cryptocurrency, Omarova argued it was an example of "Big Tech companies [resorting] to ever more creative ways to expand a monopolistic and extractive business model under the guise of corporate activism." In a paper by Omarova published in the Yale Journal on Regulation, "New Tech v. New Deal: Fintech as a Systemic Phenomenon" (2019), she argues that some financial technology applications have served as "destabilizing mechanisms".
References [ edit ] ^ a b Reuters (2021-09-23). "Biden to tap big-bank critic Omarova to head OCC - Bloomberg News". Reuters . Retrieved 2021-09-24 . ^ a b "Saule Omarova". Cornell Law School . Retrieved 2021-09-04 . ^ a b "Written Testimony of Saule T. Omarova Before the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs "Fintech: Examining Digitization, Data, and Technology " " (PDF) . United States Senate. ^ Yablon, Alex (2021-07-16). "Opinion | Could Banking Magic Save Cities From Climate Disaster?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-10-20 . ^ "Berggruen Institute Announces 2021-2022 Class of Fellows, Imagining New Possibilities for the Post-Covid World - News". Berggruen Institute . Retrieved 2021-10-20 . ^ "ÐÐ°Ð¹Ð´ÐµÐ½ ÐÓÑÐ>>Ðµ ÐÐ¼Ð°ÑÐ¾Ð²Ð°Ð½Ñ ÒÐ°ÑÐ¶Ñ Ð¼Ð¸Ð½Ð¸ÑÑÑÐ>>ÑÐ"ÑÐ½Ð´ÐµÐ"Ñ Ð¶Ð¾Ò'Ð°ÑÑ Ð>>Ð°ÑÐ°Ð·ÑÐ¼Ò'Ð° ÑÐ°Ò'Ð°Ð¹ÑÐ½Ð´Ð°Ð¼Ð°Ò". inbusiness.kz (in Kazakh). 2021-09-23 . Retrieved 2021-10-07 . ^ a b "Why Is This Happening? Saving the economy with Saule Omarova". NBC News . Retrieved 2021-09-06 . ^ "Biden's Controversial Soviet-Born Pick For A Top U.S. Financial Post". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty . Retrieved 2021-10-24 . ^ a b "Comptroller of the Economy". WSJ. 2021-09-30. ^ "Calls on Omarova to Turn Over Her Moscow State Thesis on Marxism". Senate.gov. 2021-10-06. ^ Omarova, Saule (1999). The Political Economy of Oil in Post-Soviet Kazakhstan (PhD). University of Wisconsin-Madison. ^ "Written Testimony of Saule T. Omarova, Associate Professor of Law, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection (July 23, 2013)" (PDF) . United States Senate . Retrieved September 2, 2021 . ^ "Examining Financial Holding Companies: Should Banks Control Power Plants, Warehouses, and Oil Refineries?". United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs . Retrieved 2021-09-04 . ^ a b Flitter, Emily (2021-08-05). "New Candidate for Top Bank Regulator Sees Risks in Crypto and Fintechs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-09-04 . ^ "The idea for a National Investment Authority, explained (with Saule Omarova)". Pitchfork Economics . Retrieved 2021-09-04 . ^ "Saule Omarova on Emergency Fiscal Facilities and the Missing Architecture of Government Finance". Mercatus Center. 2021-03-07 . Retrieved 2021-09-04 . ^ Omarova, Saule (2020-12-01). "Public Investment Reimagined: A National Investment Authority". The American Prospect . Retrieved 2021-09-04 . ^ Omarova, Saule (25 Feb 2021). "The People's Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy" . Retrieved 2021-10-04 . ^ "Biden taps Wall Street critic Saule Omarova for key banking regulation post". Washington Post. 2021-09-30 . Retrieved 2021-10-04 . ^ Aronoff, Kate (2020-08-14). "A Novel Way to Fund a Green Economy". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583 . Retrieved 2021-09-04 . ^ Yablon, Alex (2021-07-16). "Opinion | Could Banking Magic Save Cities From Climate Disaster?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-09-06 . ^ "Millions of Low-Income People Are Locked Out of The Financial System. More Big Tech Monopoly Power Is Not The Answer". The Lab by the Appeal . Retrieved 2021-09-05 . ^ Omarova, Saule T. (2019-01-01). "New Tech v. New Deal: Fintech as a Systemic Phenomenon". Yale Journal on Regulation. 36 (2). ISSN 0741-9457.
A National Investment Authority: Financing America's Future - The Appeal
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 15:46
Executive SummaryThe coronavirus pandemic has exposed deep structural flaws in the design and operation of the U.S. economic and political systems. At the same time, it presents a rare opportunity for innovative rethinking and remaking of both our private markets and our public institutions, so that they better serve the needs of the American people.
A National Investment Authority (NIA) could be the institutional platform for pursuing this goal. The NIA would mobilize private capital to rebuild America's obsolete public infrastructure. It would do this by acting directly inside financial markets'--through a lending subsidiary and a separate venture capital arm. The NIA would identify infrastructure projects important to the country's long-term stability and growth, and create mechanisms to align the individual incentives of private investors with the social imperatives of inclusive and sustainable long-term development.
The NIA proposal draws on the long-standing American tradition of hybrid public-private finance. It is the 21st-century update of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), created by Herbert Hoover and later successfully used by Franklin Roosevelt to finance the nation's epic recovery from the Great Depression.
A National Investment Authority: Financing America's Future
A National Investment Authority: Financing America's Future
Stephen K. Bannon Indicted for Contempt of Congress | OPA | Department of Justice
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 15:06
Stephen K. Bannon was indicted today by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress stemming from his failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Bannon, 67, is charged with one contempt count involving his refusal to appear for a deposition and another involving his refusal to produce documents, despite a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol. An arraignment date has not yet been set in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
''Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law,'' said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. ''Today's charges reflect the department's steadfast commitment to these principles.''
''As detailed in the indictment, on Sept. 23, 2021, the Select Committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Bannon,'' said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. ''The subpoena required him to appear and produce documents to the Select Committee, and to appear for a deposition before the Select Committee. According to the indictment, Mr. Bannon refused to appear to give testimony as required by subpoena and refused to produce documents in compliance with a subpoena.''
In its subpoena, the Select Committee said it had reason to believe that Bannon had information relevant to understanding events related to Jan. 6. Bannon, formerly a Chief Strategist and Counselor to the President, has been a private citizen since departing the White House in 2017.
Each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI's Washington Field Office. The case is being prosecuted by the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia.
How Big Oil and Big Tobacco get respected scientists to lie for them - Vox
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 14:51
By the 1950s, Big Tobacco knew smoking caused cancer. By the 1960s, the companies knew nicotine was addictive and that smoking could lead to heart disease. But three decades later, tobacco executives stood up before Congress and, under oath, denied the facts.The same story has played out with other major scientific issues of our time, from climate change to the health harms of various chemicals. As scientists build consensus, industry tries to obscure their findings outside the ivory tower, turning non-debates into ginned-up controversies.
A new documentary, Merchants of Doubt, shows exactly how for-profit players covertly shape popular thinking about the biggest science questions of the day. The movie helps explain that the fight about climate change '-- and smoking, and environmental chemicals '-- is actually about political ideology and questions of how people should live and govern themselves.
Naomi Oreskes, a historian at Harvard. (Barry Berona/ Sony Pictures Classics)
The documentary was inspired by the research of Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science at Harvard University. She coauthored the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt after stumbling on an amazing discovery: in all the journal articles on global climate change published between 1992 and 2002, there was complete consensus among researchers that the warming of the planet was caused by man. Yet somehow this monolithic agreement wasn't making it out of the annals of research. Oreskes wanted to figure out why.
I spoke to her about how the hidden lessons in her research can be applied to current debates in science, what the public, scientists, and journalists can learn from her work on Big Tobacco and Big Oil, and how we can avoid repeating history.
Julia Belluz: In your research, you've looked at how scientists come to consensus. This is really interesting in the context of debates about climate change or the effects of tobacco because many of the people who tried to communicate the consensus to the public early on were derided and attacked, and treated like fringe lunatics amid disinformation campaigns being organized covertly by industry. What's the lesson here?
Naomi Oreskes: If someone casts doubt on science, there are two questions we should ask. Number one: Who are they? Do they have a vested interest in challenging the scientific knowledge for some reason that has nothing to do with science?
instead of talking about HOW the sea level is rising, we can fight about the politics
The second question is: how well has the scientific community been studying this? In lots of cases, scientists do change their minds, especially in the early stages of investigation. So it's important for us to look at the process by which scientists come to their conclusions and whether, after studying for some period of time, they have come to some kind of general agreement. And if someone is challenging that consensus, we have to be questioning who this person is and what is their interest.
JB: We in the media are encouraged to find the new and counterintuitive study, the miracle pill or procedure. But often times, these one-off findings don't in any way reflect what's known in research. What have you learned about the disconnect between what science says and how it's depicted by media?
NO: There's a big, big, difference between how the media think about news and how scientists think about news. For you, what makes it news is that it's new '-- and that creates a bias in the media to look for brand new results. My view would be that brand new results would be the most likely to be wrong. People are doing all kinds of interesting work '-- resolving certain elements of the climate issue, for example '-- but none of it is new. So you guys don't report it because it's not new. No wonder the public gets confused.
Still from the movie Merchants of Doubt. (Sony Pictures Classics)
JB: Is that a lack of appreciation on the side of the public about how science works?
NO: In modern science, there's a myth that scientific knowledge is based on an individual genius who has a eureka moment, and that's when new knowledge is created. Most science doesn't come from a eureka moment; it comes from hard work. When an individual has a eureka moment, it's just an idea, but then it has to be processed.That process is all the different scientists who vet claims, the scientists who go to meetings, ask questions, and submit their work to peer review; and once the research is published, people read the paper and do follow-ups. This is a long process that goes on. It doesn't happen overnight. In my own work, I have seen typically important scientific claims take decades to be sorted out.
JB: In your book Merchants of Doubt, you show that many of the people who attacked the science of smoking also attacked climate change. What was motivating them?
NO: Normal scientists don't move to totally different, unrelated issues. You have one area of expertise. No one could be an oncologist and a climate scientist at same time. So that was the key that this wasn't a scientific debate.
Fred Singer, a scientist who worked for both Big Oil and Big Tobacco. (Barry Berona/ Sony Pictures Classics)
Most people assume this is just a story about people being corrupted by industry shills. The book [Merchants of Doubt] is the origin story, about where this all came from in the first place. We wanted to know why someone like [prize-winning scientists] Frederick Seitz would risk his scientific reputation to [work for both the tobacco and energy industries and distort science]. That's where the ideological piece came in. We started reading their letters, what they had written. We found this free-market ideology, this idea that any government intervention is a slippery slope down to socialism. It came down to Cold War work, Cold War beliefs, that the Soviet Union is an evil empire and therefore people have to be vigilant and on guard.
JB: Politically, what do tobacco and climate change have in common that would motivate these esteemed researchers to mess with the science?
NO: They are both places where you have a problem created by a product, and that product is legal. It's not illegal to sell or use the product, yet we've discovered it has created this gigantic problem. It's market failure: the market created a problem it then has not remedied. This is a legitimate place for government intervention '-- carbon tax, emissions trading systems, various options one can draw on '-- but all require the government to do something. In the US, even though the Cold War is over, these guys tap into this anti-government strand in American culture and politics: the government that governs best governs least. The reason this gained so much traction in the 1980s is because [President Ronald] Reagan had come to power on this platform.
JB: You found out that shifting attention from the science to the politics is exactly what the tobacco and energy industries wanted.
NO: It's perfect for industry: instead of talking about the fact that tobacco kills a million people every year, or that sea level is rising because of climate change, we can fight about the politics. Whether we want to have big government takes attention away from the problem.
JB: How much of this is a failure of the research community to fight back, to use some of the techniques of persuasion Big Tobacco used?
is the scientific community partly to blame? It's a legitimate question.
NO: I would never want to say scientists should adopt tactics of Big Tobacco. They've been prosecuted for conspiracy to deceive the American people. But is the scientific community partly to blame? It's a legitimate question. I do think there are things the scientific community could do differently. Until pretty recently, scientists didn't think it was their job to communicate. They thought it was journalists' job to explain science to people. It has taken a long time for the scientific community to figure out that's not true, and even if it were, it's just not happening. Journalists just don't do that work. The scientific community was uneducated and naive about what we are up against. I think we're now more clued in and making much more of an effort.
JB: Watching the film, I couldn't help but think of e-cigarettes today: Every time we run an even semi-critical piece at Vox, we are inundated by aggressive emails and tweets. Are there areas you're looking at now where science is being distorted once again?
NO: E-cigarettes are breaking my heart. It's tragic to see what's going on, how history is repeated, the d(C)j vu. When you start seeing these disinformation campaigns everywhere, it's sort of depressing, and it can make you feel paranoid and delusional.
What You Need to Know about Impact Investing | The GIIN
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 14:45
Investors around the world are making impact investments to unleash the power of capital for good. Continue reading to learn about the core characteristics of impact investing, who is making impact investments, the results these investments can achieve, and more. A version of this primer, answering many of the most frequently asked questions about impact investing, is available for download as well. Share it with a friend or on social media.
What is impact investing?impact investmentsim·pact in·vest·ments NOUN: Impact investments are investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return.Impact investments are investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments can be made in both emerging and developed markets, and target a range of returns from below market to market rate, depending on investors' strategic goals.
The growing impact investment market provides capital to address the world's most pressing challenges in sectors such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, conservation, microfinance, and affordable and accessible basic services including housing, healthcare, and education.
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Elements of impact investingThe practice of impact investing is further defined by the following elements.
Note: On April 3, 2019, the GIIN published the Core Characteristics of Impact Investing, which complement this definition and aim to provide even further clarity about how to approach impact investing. View these four tenets that establish baseline expectations for impact investing, here >
INTENTIONALITY An investor's intention to have a positive social or environmental impact through investments is essential to impact investing.
INVESTMENT WITH RETURN EXPECTATIONS Impact investments are expected to generate a financial return on capital or, at minimum, a return of capital.
RANGE OF RETURN EXPECTATIONS AND ASSET CLASSES Impact investments target financial returns that range from below market (sometimes called concessionary) to risk-adjusted market rate, and can be made across asset classes, including but not limited to cash equivalents, fixed income, venture capital, and private equity.
IMPACT MEASUREMENT A hallmark of impact investing is the commitment of the investor to measure and report the social and environmental performance and progress of underlying investments, ensuring transparency and accountability while informing the practice of impact investing and building the field.
Investors' approaches to impact measurement will vary based on their objectives and capacities, and the choice of what to measure usually reflects investor goals and, consequently, investor intention. In general, components of impact measurement best practices for impact investing include:
- Establishing and stating social and environmental objectives to relevant stakeholders- Setting performance metrics/targets related to these objectives using standardized metrics wherever possible- Monitoring and managing the performance of investees against these targets- Reporting on social and environmental performance to relevant stakeholders
Learn more about the Core Characteristics of Impact Investing launched on April 3, the four tenets that establish baseline expectations for impact investing, here >
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Why impact investing?Impact investing challenges the long-held views that social and environmental issues should be addressed only by philanthropic donations, and that market investments should focus exclusively on achieving financial returns.
The impact investing market offers diverse and viable opportunities for investors to advance social and environmental solutions through investments that also produce financial returns.
Many types of investors are entering the growing impact investing market. Here are a few common investor motivations:
Banks, pension funds, financial advisors, and wealth managers can PROVIDE CLIENT INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES to both individuals and institutions with an interest in general or specific social and/or environmental causes.Institutional and family foundations can LEVERAGE SIGNIFICANTLY GREATER ASSETS to advance their core social and/or environmental goals, while maintaining or growing their overall endowment.Government investors and development finance institutions can PROVIDE PROOF OF FINANCIAL VIABILITY for private-sector investors while targeting specific social and environmental goals. Scroll back to the top for more information about impact investing
Who is making impact investments?Impact investment has attracted a wide variety of investors, both individual and institutional.
Fund ManagersDevelopment finance institutionsDiversified financial institutions/banksPrivate foundationsPension funds and insurance companiesFamily OfficesIndividual investorsNGOsReligious institutionsScroll back to the top for more information about impact investing
How do impact investments perform financially?Impact investors have diverse financial return expectations. Some intentionally invest for below-market-rate returns, in line with their strategic objectives. Others pursue market-competitive and market-beating returns, sometimes required by fiduciary responsibility. Most investors surveyed in the GIIN's 2020 Annual Impact Investor Survey pursue competitive, market-rate returns.
Respondents also report that portfolio performance overwhelmingly meets or exceeds investor expectations for both social and environmental impact and financial return, in investments spanning emerging markets, developed markets, and the market as a whole.
Although very few investors report significant risk events in their impact investing portfolios, business model execution and management is by far the most often cited contributor to risk.
A comprehensive review of available research to date on the financial returns of impact investments are available in the GIIN's report, GIIN Perspectives: Evidence on the Financial Performance of Impact Investments. The report evaluates over a dozen studies'--produced by a wide range of organizations'--on the financial performance of investments in three common asset classes in impact investing: private equity, private debt, and real assets, as well as individual investor portfolios allocated across asset classes.
More data on financial returns of impact investments are available in the 2015 Introducing the Impact Investing Benchmark study, which looks at financial performance of private equity and venture capital impact investments, as well as the second report in the financial performance series, published in May 2017, The Financial Performance of Real Assets Impact Investments. Both of the reports were produced in partnership with the global investment advisory firm Cambridge Associates.
Click here for more information from GIIN Perspectives: Evidence on the Financial Performance of Impact Investments >
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Global examples of impact investingThe impact investing industry is full of success stories: stories about impact investors thinking differently about the power of their capital, stories about entrepreneurs with exciting new ideas, and stories about the end consumers who benefit from fresh solutions. All three of these perspectives are woven together in these impact investing success stories:
Acumen and Everytable: Bringing Good Health into Reach >LeapFrog and Bima: Reaching the Unreachable >Patamar Capital and Kinara Capital: Transforming Lives, Livelihoods, and Local Economies >Plus, read these stories to explore how impact investing is improving the lives of women in Bolivia, the people and environment of Mongolia, and bilingual communities the United States. Click through the investment profiles below to view impact investing examples from the investor perspective as well.
Ecotrust Forests I LLC (EF-I)Investee
Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund View more Profiles
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How big is the impact investing market?Impact investing is a relatively new term, used to describe investments made across many asset classes, sectors, and regions. In 2019 for the first time, the GIIN developed a rigorous methodology to estimate the total size of the market. Since this inaugural market sizing effort, the GIIN has strengthened its database and methodology to continually improve its approach and on June 11, 2020, t he GIIN published the 2020 Annual Impact Investor Survey, which includes an updated market sizing analysis, which estimates the current market size at USD 715 billion .
This analysis examines the supply of capital allocated to impact investing as of the end of 2019, using impact investing AUM as the indicator of market size. The GIIN estimates that over 1,720 organizations manage USD 715 billion in impact investing AUM as of the end of 2019. The market comprises a range of investor types, in terms of characteristics like organization type, headquarters location, and investor size. Learn more about this pivotal market research here: 2020 Annual Impact Investor Survey.
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What is the current state of the impact investing market?While some investors have been making impact investments for decades, recently there has emerged a new collaborative international effort to accelerate the development of a high- functioning market that supports impact investing. While this market is still relatively new, investors are optimistic overall about its development and expect increased scale and efficiency in the future.
Impact investors generally recognize broad progress across key indicators of market growth...
... but also acknowledge that some challenges remain.
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Where can I go for more information?The GIIN builds critical market infrastructure and supports activities, education, and research that help accelerate the development of the impact investing field. Be sure to check out the following resources:
If your organization is interested in deepening its engagement with the impact investing market by joining a global community of like-minded peers, please consider GIIN membership. Click here to learn more about membership.
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Now The Organized Takedown of Global Fertilizer Supply? | New Eastern Outlook
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 14:26
The global energy shortages which have driven prices for coal, oil and natural gas to explosive highs in the last months are a predictable consequence of the mad pursuit of ''Zero Carbon'' economic policies that have seen foolish governments subsidize a growing share of electricity from unreliable solar and wind generation. One consequence has been a five-fold rise in the price of natural gas or methane across the globe. That extends from China to the EU, USA and beyond. A follow-on consequence of that natural gas shortage and price explosion is a growing crisis in world agriculture fertilizer production. This may all be no accident. It fits the WEF Great Reset Agenda of UN 2030 .
Ammonia-based fertilizers made from nitrogen (most of our air, so never in shortage) and natural gas or methane (CH4) make up almost 70% of all fertilizers used to support major agriculture crops such as wheat, corn, rice and even coffee. As natural gas prices have soared by anywhere from 300% to 500% over the past months, this has had a devastating impact on world fertilizer production where some 80% of the cost of making ammonia fertilizers is due to natural gas.
When Hurricane Ida stormed across Louisiana on August 25, the largest ammonia factory complex in the world, owned by CF Industries, was closed for safety reasons and only reopened ten days later. Curiously at that point two more factories from the same CF Industries, those in the UK, announced they would close two more fertilizer plants on September 22, claiming high natural gas prices as the cause, despite the fact their Louisiana plant had just been out for ten days. The two plants supply some two-thirds of UK domestic fertilizer demand. The Government was forced to agree emergency subsidies to CF Industries to reopen one of the two plants temporarily to ease the pressures. The combined effect of the three major closures by the same group added to the crisis in world fertilizer supply. It may be just coincidence that the two largest stock owners of CF Industries are Vanguard and BlackRock.
This crisis is snowballing. As of early October reported closures of ammonia fertilizer production had been announced by the giant German chemicals company, BASF, in Belgium and Germany, indefinitely. It also affects production of ammonia-based diesel fuel additive, AdBlue.
Further closings are ongoing in Achema in Lithuania, OCI in Netherlands. Yara International is reducing 40% of its EU ammonia fertilizer production. Fertiberia in Spain is closing a plant along with OPZ in Ukraine, a major fertilizer producer. In Austria Borealis AG has closed production and Germany's largest ammonia producer, SKW Piesteritz, has cut production by 20%.
Worsening the overall global fertilizer crisis, the Biden Administration in August slapped sanctions on the Belarus government, explicitly naming Belaruskali OAO, the world's fourth largest fertilizer producer, for ''sustaining the Belarusian regime at the expense of the Belarusian people.'' Belaruskali controls about one-fifth of the world potash-based fertilizer market.
Heart of global food security
Nitrogen-based fertilizers are far the most widely used in global farming, about three-fourths of all commercial fertilizers. Since the development of the Haber-Bosch process in Germany just before the First World War, artificial production of nitrogen fertilizers has supported the enormous expansion in agriculture productivity. Nitrogen fertilizers are made from ammonia (NH3) produced by the Haber-Bosch process. It is energy-intensive using natural gas (CH4) which is methane, to supply hydrogen. This NH3 or ammonia is used as a feedstock for other nitrogen fertilizers, such as anhydrous ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) and urea (CO(NH2)2). Crop yields since World War Two have become strongly dependent on nitrogen-based fertilizers. It is estimated for the US that average corn yields would decline by 40 percent without nitrogen fertilizer.
Today estimates are that perhaps half the global population is dependent on nitrogen fertilizers. According to studies published in the scientific journal, Nature, 48 percent of the world population in 2008 was dependent on nitrogen fertilizers for their daily access to food. ''This means that nitrogen fertilizers in 2015 provided food security for 3,5 billion people who would otherwise have starved to death.''
Adding a huge shock to the growing global fertilizer shortage is the decision by Beijing in recent weeks to severely cut or freeze fertilizer exports for a variety of reasons including shortages of coal and natural gas for electric power and a panicked try to control domestic inflation. Record summer floods in Henan Province hit the heart of the China grain region, and the government has started a campaign to have citizens undergo a ''Clean Plate Campaign 2.0'" to stop food waste, which some believe is a way to disguise the serious harvest failures.
China, India and USA are far and away the world's largest users of nitrogen fertilizers in tons per acre. China is also one of the largest fertilizer exporters and there the government in September announced a ban on nitrogen and phosphate fertilizer export until June 2022. With soaring global natural gas prices, as well as coal which China imports, the country has seen significant electric power blackouts owing to electric companies closing rather than sell power at a loss. One consequence of the complex crisis is the fertilizer export ban. China is the largest exporter of urea nitrogen fertilizer, accounting for nearly a third of the global supply, and is also a major manufacturer of phosphate.
In Bavaria in southern Germany, farmers are reportedly unable to buy fertilizer until at least next summer. The spreading global fertilizer crisis will mean sharp reductions in feed corn, wheat, rice, coffee and other crops in 2022. This hits amid the steepest food price inflation in decades, further aggravated by covid measures and disruptions in global shipping trade.
COP26 Methane Attack
Behind the growing global fertilizer shortage crisis is the five-fold explosion in the price of methane or natural gas as it is usually called. This has its origins in deliberate ''anti-carbon'' green policies of the Biden Administration and of the European Union with its ''Fit for 55'' program to cut CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030, including methane or natural gas. The Biden administration has forced disinvestment in USA shale gas, and the forced expansion of highly-subsidized Green Energy such as wind and solar have created an unreliable electric grid. When the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine alternative electric power is missing. Storage is a huge problem. That was not so critical when solar or wind made up a tiny percent of the grid. But today in countries such as energy-dependent Germany, alternatives can make up 42% of gross electric consumption. As nuclear and coal plants are taxed into extinction for the Zero Carbon madness, prices for oil and natural gas are exploding. New investment in hydrocarbon exploitation is collapsing as a result, and supplies limited just when everyone needs it.
The growing crisis in world fertilizer production fits well into the UN Agenda 2030 for ''sustainable'' (sic) agriculture by which the globalists such as World Economic Forum of Klaus Schwab and BlackRock of Wall Street, the world's largest private investment fund with a reported $9 trillion in assets it manages, mean dramatic reduction in meat production, replacing it with fake lab-grown meats or even insects as a protein source.
There is a growing demonization of agriculture and especially meat production, claiming it is a major source of global warming. Methane is now a major target of the Green Agenda from the USA and EU. Notably, at the recent UN COP 26 global warming gathering, some 100 nations signed on to a joint EU-US proposal to cut methane gas emissions by 30% by 2030. We can expect to see growing government and NGO attacks on our food system using soaring fertilizer prices, campaigns against meat and demands for ''sustainable'' agriculture to further raise our now-soaring cost of food. Key to this attack is the Green New Deal war on oil, gas and coal, the low-cost energy system that has been the heart of today's global economy and escape from poverty since World War II.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook''.
RAF jets intercept Russian nuclear bombers over North Sea | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 14:24
This is the heart-stopping moment RAF Typhoon jets intercepted Russian nuclear bombers over the north sea.
British troops were deployed at the Polish border amid a Kremlin-backed migrant crisis as the Typhoons were scrambled from Lossiemouth, Scotland, and Coningsby, Lincolnshire, along with a refuelling jet from Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, on Friday.
The two Russian Tu-160 'White Swan' bombers entered 'the UK area of interest,' the MoD confirmed, without giving further details. Photographs show the RAF jets escorting the bombers.
The Kremlin warplanes approached Dutch airspace before being intercepted by the RAF and were seen heading north into international airspace over the North Sea at around 12.45pm, according to Mil Radar.
The incursion comes with Europe at battle stations: Vladimir Putin is backing a 'hybrid war' using migrants to sow chaos at Poland's border while sending tens of thousands of troops to the frontier with Ukraine for a possible invasion.
British troops were deployed at the Polish border amid a Kremlin-backed migrant crisis as the Typhoons were scrambled (pictured) from Lossiemouth, Scotland, and Coningsby, Lincolnshire, along with a refuelling jet from Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, on Friday
An RAF fighter jet intercepting a Russian military aircraft approaching a UK area of interest
The Kremlin warplanes approached Dutch airspace before being intercepted by the RAF and were seen heading north into international airspace over the North Sea at around 12.45pm, according to Mil Radar
British Royal Engineers were today deployed along the Polish frontier with Belarus to carry out 'reconnaissance' with their NATO allies.
That move came just hours after Russian soldiers parachuted from the sky in snap drills, just 30 miles from the migrant encampment.
Poland's defence minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, said: '[Polish and British] soldiers will co-operate in strengthening the fence of the Polish-Belarusian border.'
The MoD added: 'A small team of UK Armed Forces personnel have deployed following an agreement with the Polish Government to explore how we can provide engineering support to address the ongoing situation at the Belarus border.'
Russian nuclear bombers were also flying over Belarus for a third day running as Putin remained firmly behind Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko who is accused of 'weponising migrants' by the West.
Thousands of desperate refugees from the Middle East and North Africa have been ferried to the Belarus-Poland border this week by Lukashenko's security forces, prompting Poland to deploy 15,000 troops along the line.
Separately, Washington warned its European allies that Putin could be preparing for an invasion of Ukraine's eastern borders - hundreds of miles from where the migrant crisis is playing out - after satellites spotted troops, tanks and artillery pieces massing there.
Flight tracking data was available for the RAF Tanker Voyager which left Brize Norton to support the Typhoons. A NATO jet also left Cologne to circle around Norway. The two Russian Tu-160 bombers flew over the North Sea before heading back north into international airspace
A Typhoon fighter jet over RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire (file photo)
A Russian Tu-160 (the closer jet) over Belarusian airspace today
Fears are growing of an imminent conflict in eastern Europe as Russia and Belarus carry out snap military drills close to where a migrant crisis is playing out on Poland's border, while Washington warns Putin is preparing to invade eastern Ukraine
Tupolev Tu-160 'White Swan' heavy bomber Crew: 4
Length: 177 ft
Wingspan: 183 ft
Empty weight: 242,508 lb
Gross weight: 589,957 lb
Max takeoff weight: 606,271 lb
Powerplant: 4 x Samara NK-321 afterburning turbofan engines
Max speed: 1,380 mph
Range: 7,600 miles
Combat range: 1,200 miles
Service ceiling: 52,000 ft
Armaments: Two internal weapon bays for 99,208 lb of ordnance.
Two internal rotary launchers each holding 6 x Raduga Kh-55SM/101/102/555 cruise missiles (primary armament) or 12 AS-16 Kickback short-range nuclear missiles
RAF Eurofighter Typhoon Crew: 1/2
Length: 52 ft
Wingspan: 35 ft
Empty weight: 24,251 lb
Gross weight: 35,274 lb
Max takeoff weight: 51,809 lb
Powerplant: 2 x Eurojet EJ200 afterburning turbofan engines
Maxi speed: 1,320 mph
Range: 1,800 miles
Combat range: 863 miles
Service ceiling: 65,000 ft
Guns: 1 x 27 mm Mauser BK-27 revolver cannon with 150 rounds
Hardpoints: Total of 13, 8 x under-wing; and 5 x under-fuselage pylon stations; holding in excess of 19,800 lb of payload.
Ukraine - which has been fighting a proxy-war against Russian-backed separatists in its eastern regions for years - has moved 8,500 more troops to the region in response.
Addressing the crisis today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced what he called 'increased provocations' against Russia, saying his country 'can't stay indifferent to that; we must be on our guard.'
'We take measures to ensure our security when opponents take defiant action near our borders,' Peskov added.
Meanwhile Sergei Shoigu, Russia's defence minister, warned his French counterparts that the military situation in Europe 'continues to deteriorate' while slamming NATO for 'building up its military presence' near Russia's border.
Speaking after a meeting with French officials in Paris, Shoigu insisted that Russia is working to 'increase predictability and reduce the risk of incidents' in the border region.
Former British defence minister Tobias Elwood, who now chairs the Commons Defence Committee, said: 'Russia and Belarus's aggression in Eastern Europe is not mutually exclusive and should deeply concern the West.
'It's a test of our collective resolve. If we are not resolute in our support for Poland and Ukraine then authoritarianism wins and we invite further destabilising adventurism.'
NATO said on Friday it is looking out for any escalation in the situation on its members' borders with Belarus, after Belarusian and Russian paratroopers staged joint drills near the Polish and Lithuanian borders.
'We will remain vigilant against the risk of further escalation and provocation by Belarus at its borders with Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, and will continue to monitor the implications for the security of the alliance,' the North Atlantic Council, representing the alliance's member states, said in a statement.
'NATO allies call on Belarus to cease these actions, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to abide by international law.'
American intelligence sources briefed their European counterparts of a possible Kremlin military operation in Ukraine's east to annex territory similar to the 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula, Bloomberg reported.
Russia and Belarus said paratroopers from both countries had been involved in joint drills in Gozhsky today, located just 20 miles from the Polish border where migrants are trying to cross
The Belarusian defence ministry said the troops practiced capturing bridges, hunting down and destroying targets, and defeating enemy patrols during the drill to 'test combat readiness'
The surprise training mission came as it was revealed British military engineers are now at the border to strengthen the defences, amid warnings from all sides that the situation risks spilling over into armed conflict
Poland has deployed some 15,000 troops to its eastern border where they have spent much of this week trying to hold back thousands of migrants that Lukashenko's regime is accused of forcing into the region
Poland, along with the leaders of nearby Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, has been warning that the crisis has the potential to spill over into a full-blown conflict
The military drills are taking place just 20 miles from the Kuznica border crossing with Poland, where thousands of migrants are currently gathered trying to cross over
Poland has reported dozens of attempts to cross the border today, including a group of migrants who broke through the Belarusian side of the crossing and began trying to cross the Polish side of the fence
The US has refused to share exactly what intel it has of an imminent attack, but the warning comes after satellite images revealed a build-up of tens of thousands of Russian troops, tanks and artillery pieces close to the border.
The EU accuses Lukashenko of forcing migrants to make illegal crossings into Poland in a cynical attempt to destabilise the bloc using vulnerable people as his weapon.
On Thursday, Lukashenko himself warned of the risk of a conflict and accused armed groups in the Donbas region of Ukraine of trying to ship weapons to the migrants on the Polish border in order to spark fighting.
'They are Kurds, and the Kurds are militant,' he said according to Polish newspaper Wyborcza. 'When Poles beat them, cut them, torment them, etc., they become desperate. One rifle, one gun, and armed conflict is ready.'
Lukashenko has also threatened to cut off natural gas supplies running from Russia and through his country into Europe - though that threat was angrily slapped down by Moscow today.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said Lukashenko had not coordinated with Moscow before making the remark and added that Russian pledged to fulfil gas contracts are 'beyond doubt'.
It came after Lukashenko spoke out at a meeting of government officials on Thursday, musing: 'We are heating Europe and they are threatening us... What if we cut off their natural gas?
'I would recommend the Polish and Lithuanian authorities to think before they speak up.'
Russia's Yamal-Europe pipeline runs through Belarus and into Poland, representing about 20 per cent of the country's total gas-carrying capacity into Europe.
The continent relies on natural gas for around a quarter of its energy needs, more than half of which is piped in from Russia - which sits on top of the world's largest gas reserves.
Just weeks ago, European leaders were trying to negotiate with Russia to increase supplies as stockpiles of gas ran low due to surging demand as economies reopen post-Covid.
The EU accused Putin of throttling the flow of gas as a political bargaining tool to try and get a new gas pipeline - the multi-billion dollar Nord Stream 2 - opened. He denied the allegations.
Concerns about Russian troops on Ukraine's border have been ongoing since at least April this year, when Putin moved around 100,000 soldiers, tanks and artillery pieces to the region without warning.
He later said the exercise was to test 'military readiness' and pulled some of the units back, but NATO warned that many of them had remained at the front even after the 'exercise' was over.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force on Friday said that it had also scrambled fighters, two F-16s, to the North Sea after spotting the Russian bombers. The air force said it handed over to allies from the RAF.
Flight tracking data showed a NATO warplane was dispatched from Cologne and circled around the Norwegian coast before heading back to Germany.
An RAF spokesman said: 'Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon fighters from RAF Lossiemouth & Coningsby, supported by a Voyager Tanker from RAF Brize Norton, have been launched against an unidentified aircraft approaching the UK area of interest.
'We will not be offering any additional detail on this ongoing operation until complete.'
Exposed: Klaus Schwab's School For Covid Dictators, Plan for 'Great Reset' (Videos) - RAIR
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 14:21
Economist Ernst Wolff believes that a hidden alliance of political and corporate leaders is exploiting the pandemic with the aim of crashing national economies and introducing a global digital currency.
How is it that more than 190 governments from all over the world ended up dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in almost exactly the same manner, with lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccination cards now being commonplace everywhere? The answer may lie in the Young Global Leaders school, which was established and managed by Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, and that many of today's prominent political and business leaders passed through on their way to the top.
The German economist, journalist, and author Ernst Wolff has revealed some facts about Schwab's ''Young Global Leaders'' school that are relevant for understanding world events during the pandemic in a video from the German Corona Committee podcast. While Wolff is mainly known as a critic of the globalist financial system, recently he has focused on bringing to light what he sees as the hidden agenda behind the anti-Covid measures being enacted around the world.
Mysterious BeginningsThe story begins with the World Economic Forum (WEF), which is an NGO founded by Klaus Schwab, a German economist and mechanical engineer, in Switzerland in 1971, when he was only 32. The WEF is best-known to the public for the annual conferences it holds in Davos, Switzerland each January that aim to bring together political and business leaders from around the world to discuss the problems of the day. Today, it is one of the most important networks in the world for the globalist power elite, being funded by approximately a thousand multinational corporations.
The WEF, which was originally called the European Management Forum until 1987, succeeded in bringing together 440 executives from 31 nations already at its very first meeting in February 1971, which as Wolff points out was an unexpected achievement for someone like Schwab, who had very little international or professional experience prior to this. Wolff believes the reason may be due to the contacts Schwab made during his university education, including studying with no less a person than former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Wolff also points out that while Schwab was there, the Harvard Business School had been in the process of planning a management forum of their own, and it is possible that Harvard ended up delegating the task of organizing it to him.
The Forum initially only brought together people from the economic field, but before long, it began attracting politicians, prominent figures from the media (including from the BBC and CNN), and even celebrities.
Schwab's Young Global Leaders: Incubator of the Great Reset?In 1992 Schwab established a parallel institution, the Global Leaders for Tomorrow school, which was re-established as Young Global Leaders in 2004. Attendees at the school must apply for admission and are then subjected to a rigorous selection process. Members of the school's very first class in 1992 already included many who went on to become important liberal political figures, such as Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Tony Blair. There are currently about 1,300 graduates of this school, and the list of alumni includes several names of those who went on to become leaders of the health institutions of their respective nations. Four of them are former and current health ministers for Germany, including Jens Spahn, who has been Federal Minister of Health since 2018. Philipp R¶sler, who was Minister of Health from 2009 until 2011, was appointed the WEF's Managing Director by Schwab in 2014.
Other notable names on the school's roster are Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand whose stringent lockdown measures have been praised by global health authorities; Emmanuel Macron, the President of France; Sebastian Kurz, who was until recently the Chancellor of Austria; Viktor Orbn, Prime Minister of Hungary; Jean-Claude Juncker, former Prime Minister of Luxembourg and President of the European Commission; and Annalena Baerbock, the leader of the German Greens who was the party's first candidate for Chancellor in this year's federal election, and who is still in the running to be Merkel's successor. We also find California Governor Gavin Newsom on the list, who was selected for the class of 2005, as well as former presidential candidate and current US Secretary of Transportation Peter Buttigieg, who is a very recent alumnus, having been selected for the class of 2019. All of these politicians who were in office during the past two years have favored harsh responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and which also happened to considerably increase their respective governments' power.
Gavin Newsom, Young Global Leaders Class of 2005. Angela Merkel, Global Leaders for Tomorrow Class of 1992. Peter Buttigieg, Young Global Leaders Class of 2019. Emmanuel Macron, Young Global Leaders Class of 2017.But the school's list of alumni is not limited to political leaders. We also find many of the captains of private industry there, including Microsoft's Bill Gates, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Virgin's Richard Branson, and the Clinton Foundation's Chelsea Clinton. Again, all of them expressed support for the global response to the pandemic, and many reaped considerable profits as a result of the measures.
Jeff Bezos, Global Leaders for Tomorrow Class of 1998. Bill Gates, Global Leaders for Tomorrow Class of 1993. Wolff believes that the people behind the WEF and the Global Leaders school are the ones who really determine who will become political leaders, although he stresses that he doesn't believe that Schwab himself is the one making these decisions but is merely a facilitator. He further points out that the school's alumni include not only Americans and Europeans, but also people from Asia, Africa, and South America, indicating that its reach is truly worldwide.
In 2012, Schwab and the WEF founded yet another institution, the ''Global Shapers Community,'' which brings together those identified by them as having leadership potential from around the world who are under 30. Approximately 10,000 participants have passed through this program to date, and they regularly hold meetings in 400 cities. Wolff believes that it is yet another proving ground where future political leaders are being selected, vetted, and groomed before being positioned in the world's political apparatus.
Ernst WolffWolff points out that very few graduates of the Global Leaders school list it on their CVs. He says that he has only seen it listed on one: namely, that of the German economist Richard Werner, who is a known critic of the establishment. Wolff suggests that the school seems to like to include even critics of the system among its ranks, as another name among its graduates is Gregor Hackmack, the German chief of Change.org, who was in its 2010 class. Wolff believes this is because the organization wants to present itself as being fair and balanced, although it also wants to ensure that its critics are controlled opposition.
Another thing that the Global Leaders graduates have in common is that most of them have very sparse CVs apart from their participation in the program prior to being elevated to positions of power, which may indicate that it is their connection to Schwab's institutions that is the decisive factor in launching their careers. This is most evident when the school's alumni are publicly questioned about issues that they have not been instructed to talk about in advance, and their struggles to come up with answers are often quite evident. Wolff contends that their roles are only to act as mouthpieces for the talking points that those in the shadows behind them want discussed in public debate.
Schwab's Yes Men in ActionGiven the growing discontent with the anti-Covid measures put into practice by the school's graduates who are now national leaders, Wolff believes it is possible that these people were selected due to their willingness to do whatever they are told, and that they are being set up to fail so that the subsequent backlash can be exploited to justify the creation of a new global form of government. Indeed, Wolff notes that politicians with unique personalities and strong, original views have become rare, and that the distinguishing character of the national leaders of the past 30 years has been their meekness and adherence to a strict globalist line dictated from above. This has been especially evident in most countries' response to the pandemic, where politicians who knew nothing about viruses two years ago suddenly proclaimed that Covid was a severe health crisis that justified locking people up in their homes, shutting down their businesses, and wrecking entire economies.
Determining exactly how the school operates is difficult, but Wolff has managed to learn something about it. In the school's early years, it involved the members of each class meeting several times over the course of a year, including a ten-day ''executive training'' session at the Harvard Business School. Wolff believes that, through meeting their classmates and becoming part of a wider network, the graduates then establish contacts who they rely on in their later careers. Today, the school's program includes courses offered over the course of five years at irregular intervals, which in some cases may overlap with the beginnings of some of its participants' political or professional careers '' meaning they will be making regular visits to Davos. Emmanuel Macron and Peter Buttigieg, for example, were selected for the school less than five years ago, which means it is possible they have been regularly attending Young Global Leaders-related programs while in political office and may in fact still be attending them today.
A Worldwide Network of Wealth & InfluenceGraduates from the Young Global Leaders school, and Global Leaders for Tomorrow before them, find themselves very well-situated given that they then have access to the WEF's network of contacts. The WEF's current Board of Trustees includes such luminaries as Christine Lagarde, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and current President of the European Central Bank; Queen Rania of Jordan, who has been ranked by Forbes as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world; and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, the largest investment management corporation internationally and which handles approximately $9 trillion annually. By tracing the connections between the school's graduates, Wolff claims that you can see that they continue to rely on each other for support for their initiatives long after they participated in the Global Leaders programs.
Wolff believes that many elite universities play a role in the process determined by the WEF, and that they should no longer be seen as operating outside of the fields of politics and economics. He cites the example of the Harvard Business School, which receives millions of dollars from donors each year, as well as the Harvard School of Public Health, which was renamed the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health after it received $350 million from the Hong Kong-born billionaire Gerald Chan. The same is true of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, which became the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health after media mogul Michael Bloomberg donated $1.8 billion to the school in 2018.
Wolff states that the WEF's influence goes far beyond those who have passed through the Global Leaders and Global Shapers programs, however, as the number of people who participate in the annual Davos conferences is much larger than many suspect; he mentions being informed that approximately 1,500 private jets bring attendees to the event each year, overloading Switzerland's airports.
The Alliance of Big Business & GovernmentThe main goal of the WEF's activities, Wolff believes, is to facilitate and further high-level cooperation between big business and national governments, something which we are already seeing take place. Viviane Fischer, another participant in the Corona Committee podcast, points out that the British-based company Serco processes migrants for the British government and also manages prisons around the world, among its many other activities. The pharmaceutical industry's international reach is also considerable: Wolff mentions that Global Leaders alumnus Bill Gates, for example, had long been doing business with Pfizer, one of the main producers of the controversial mRNA anti-Covid vaccines, through his Foundation's public health initiatives in Africa since long before the pandemic began. Perhaps not coincidentally, Gates has become one of the foremost champions of lockdowns and the Covid vaccines since they became available, and The Wall Street Journal has reported that his Foundation had made approximately $200 billion in ''social benefits'' from distributing vaccines before the pandemic had even begun. One can only imagine what its vaccine profits are today.
Digital technology, which is now all-pervasive, is also playing a prominent role in the elite's global designs. Wolff highlights that BlackRock, run by Global Leaders alumnus Larry Fink, is presently the largest advisor to the world's central banks and has been collecting data on the world financial system for more than 30 years now, and undoubtedly has a greater understanding of how the system works than the central banks themselves.
One of the goals of the current policies being pursued by many governments, Wolff believes, is to destroy the businesses of small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs so that multinational corporations based in the United States and China can monopolize business everywhere. Amazon, which was led until recently by Global Leaders alumnus Jeff Bezos, in particular has made enormous profits as a result of the lockdown measures that have devastated the middle class.
Wolff contends that the ultimate goal of this domination by large platforms is to see the introduction of digital bank currency. Just in the past few months, China's International Finance Forum, which is similar to the WEF, proposed the introduction of the digital yuan, which could in turn be internationalized by the Diem blockchain-based currency network. Interestingly, Diem is the successor to Libra, a cryptocurrency that was first announced by Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook, indicating that a global currency that will transcend the power of either the dollar or the yuan, and managed through the cooperation of Chinese, European, and American business networks, is currently being discussed. The International Finance Forum's supervisory board includes such names as the WEF's Christine Lagarde; Jean-Claude Trichet, the former President of the European Central Bank; and Horst K¶hler, the former Head of the International Monetary Fund.
Wolff further explains that the lockdowns and subsequent bailouts that were seen around the world over the past two years left many nations on the verge of bankruptcy. In order to avoid an economic catastrophe, the governments of the world resorted to drawing on 650 billion special drawing rights, or SDRs, which are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets managed by the International Monetary Fund. When these eventually come due, it will leave these same governments in dire straits, which is why it may be that the introduction of digital currency has become a sudden priority '' and this may have been the hidden purpose of the lockdowns all along.
Wolff says that two European countries are already prepared to begin using digital currency: Sweden and Switzerland. Perhaps not coincidentally, Sweden has had virtually no lockdown restrictions due to the pandemic, and Switzerland has taken only very light measures. Wolff believes that the reason for this may be that the two countries did not need to crash their economies through lockdown measures because they were already prepared to begin using digital currency before the pandemic began. He contends that a new round of lockdowns may be being prepared that will finish off the world's economies for good, leading to massive unemployment and in turn the introduction of Universal Basic Income and the use of a digital currency managed by a central bank. This currency might be restricted, both in terms of what individuals can spend it on as well as in the time frame that one has to spend it in.
Further, Wolff indicates that the inflation currently being seen around the world is an inevitable consequence of the fact that national governments, after taking loans from the central banks, have introduced approximately $20 trillion into the global economy in less than two years. Whereas previous bailouts were directed into the markets, this latest round has gone to ordinary people, and as a result, this is driving up the prices of products that ordinary people spend their money on, such as food.
Democracy Has Been CancelledThe ultimate conclusion one must draw from all of this, according to Wolff, is that democracy as we knew it has been silently cancelled, and that although the appearance of democratic processes is being maintained in our countries, the fact is that an examination of how governance around the world works today shows that an elite of super-wealthy and powerful individuals effectively control everything that goes on in politics, as has been especially evident in relation to the pandemic response.
The best way to combat their designs, Wolff says, is simply to educate people about what is happening, and for them to realize that the narrative of the ''super-dangerous virus'' is a lie that has been designed to manipulate them into accepting things that run contrary to their own interests. If even 10% of ordinary citizens become aware of this and decide to take action, it could thwart the elite's plans and perhaps open a window for ordinary citizens to take back control over their own destinies.
Video InterviewErnst Wolff is interviewed in this series of videos by Dr. Reiner Fuellmich, a German lawyer and politician who hosts a podcast called Corona Ausschuss (Corona Committee), which critically examines the German government's response to the pandemic. These videos are taken from one of their podcasts. Also on the group chat are Viviane Fischer, a business attorney and economist based in Berlin who is a regular participant on the Corona Committee; and Wolfgang Wodarg, a former German Member of Parliament for the Social Democratic Party who has been vocal in opposing the German government's lockdown and vaccination measures.
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NASA says it can't put the first person of color on the moon until at least 2025 : NPR
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 13:58
NASA's ambitions for putting astronauts on the moon have been delayed. Here, newly minted astronauts from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency are seen last year. They're the first candidates to graduate under the Artemis program, and could be eligible for assignments including the Artemis missions to the Moon, International Space Station, and missions to Mars. Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images NASA's ambitions for putting astronauts on the moon have been delayed. Here, newly minted astronauts from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency are seen last year. They're the first candidates to graduate under the Artemis program, and could be eligible for assignments including the Artemis missions to the Moon, International Space Station, and missions to Mars.
Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images NASA's first human mission to the moon in more than 50 years, which could include putting the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface, won't happen until at least 2025, the agency said Tuesday.
It's planning at least 10 Moon landings in the future '-- but NASA's leaders said Tuesday that an overly aggressive timeline from the Trump administration and a prolonged legal fight over a key contract are two reasons why it had to alter plans for its Artemis missions.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said other issues were also in play, including the difficulty of creating a new human landing system during a global pandemic and a lack of sufficient funding.
"Returning to the Moon as quickly and safely as possible is an agency priority," Nelson said in a NASA press release. "However, with the recent lawsuit and other factors, the first human landing under Artemis is likely no earlier than 2025."
Nelson said the lunar program was held up by nearly seven months because of Blue Origin's lawsuit over NASA awarding the lucrative human lander system contract to SpaceX. Blue Origin has said the procurement process was flawed '-- but the Government Accountability Office has rejected its protests, and last week, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims dismissed Blue Origin's lawsuit.
As he announced the slower timeline, Nelson emphasized the project's main goals: to put U.S. astronauts back on the moon.
"The human landing system is a crucial part of our work to get the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface, and we are getting geared up to go," he said.
Previously noted snags also include the difficulty of designing and producing new spacesuits. In August, NASA's inspector general announced that because of several factors, the updated spacesuits wouldn't be ready until April of 2025.
Nelson added that NASA wants to put the U.S. back at the forefront of space activity, noting the need to stay ahead of China's space program that has notched several milestones in recent years '-- including putting three crew members in its own permanent space station.
He also characterized the Trump administration's goal of landing people on the moon by 2024 as "not being technically feasible," according to NASA.
Despite the slowdown, NASA leaders said they are still committed to another historic mission, to send astronauts to Mars.
The first launch in the Artemis lunar program will take place in 2022, when NASA will use its new Orion capsule and launch system in an uncrewed flight test. The second mission would come in 2024, when a crew will loop around the moon. The next step will be Artemis-III, a crewed lunar landing mission.
Robert Moses - Wikipedia
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 13:52
American urban planner and public official
Robert Moses (December 18, 1888 '' July 29, 1981) was an American public official who worked mainly in the New York metropolitan area. Known as the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, and Rockland and Westchester counties, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, and was one of the most polarizing figures in the history of United States urban development. His decisions favoring highways over public transit helped create the modern suburbs of Long Island. Although he was not a trained civil engineer,[a] Moses's programs and designs influenced a generation of engineers, architects, and urban planners nationwide.
Moses held up to 12 official titles simultaneously, including New York City Parks Commissioner and Chairman of the Long Island State Park Commission, but was never elected to any public office. He ran only once, as the Republican nominee for Governor of New York in 1934, and lost in a landslide. Nevertheless, he created and led numerous semi-autonomous public authorities, through which he controlled millions of dollars in revenue and directly issued bonds to fund new ventures with little or no input or oversight from outside sources. As a result of Moses's work, New York has the United States' greatest proportion of public benefit corporations, which remain the primary driver of infrastructure building and maintenance and account for much of the state's debt vehicles that maintain its sustainability.
Moses's projects were considered economically necessary by many contemporaries after the Great Depression. Moses led the construction of New York campuses for the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs and helped persuade the United Nations to locate its headquarters in Manhattan instead of Philadelphia. Moses's reputation for efficiency and nonpartisan leadership was damaged by Robert Caro's Pulitzer-winning biography The Power Broker (1974), which accused Moses of a lust for power, questionable ethics, vindictiveness, and racism. In Moses's urban planning of New York, he bulldozed primarily Black and Latino homes to make way for parks, chose the middle of minority neighborhoods as the location for highways, and deliberately designed bridges on the parkways connecting New York City to beaches in Long Island to be too low for buses from the inner city to access the beaches. More recent reviews of Moses' career are critical of characterizing Moses as a racist and opponent of mass transportation, noting a more complex situation with respect to bridge height and positive contributions Moses made to minority communities.
Early life and rise to power [ edit ] Moses was born in New Haven, Connecticut, to German Jewish parents, Bella (Silverman) and Emanuel Moses. He spent the first nine years of his life living at 83 Dwight Street in New Haven, two blocks from Yale University. In 1897, the Moses family moved to New York City, where they lived on East 46th Street off Fifth Avenue. Moses's father was a successful department store owner and real estate speculator in New Haven. In order for the family to move to New York City, he sold his real estate holdings and store, then retired. Moses's mother was active in the settlement movement, with her own love of building. Robert Moses and his brother Paul attended several schools for their elementary and secondary education, including the Dwight School and the Mohegan Lake School, a military academy near Peekskill.
After graduating from Yale College (B.A., 1909) and Wadham College, Oxford (B.A., Jurisprudence, 1911; M.A., 1913), and earning a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University in 1914, Moses became attracted to New York City reform politics. A committed idealist, he developed several plans to rid New York of patronage hiring practices, including being the lead author of a 1919 proposal to reorganize the New York state government. None went very far, but Moses, due to his intelligence, caught the notice of Belle Moskowitz, a friend and trusted advisor to Governor Al Smith. When the state Secretary of State's position became appointive rather than elective, Smith named Moses; Moses served from 1927 to 1929.
Moses rose to power with Smith, who was elected as governor in 1922, and set in motion a sweeping consolidation of the New York State government. During that period Moses began his first foray into large scale public work initiatives, while drawing on Smith's political power to enact legislation. This helped create the new Long Island State Park Commission and the State Council of Parks. In 1924, Governor Smith appointed Moses chairman of the State Council of Parks and president of the Long Island State Park Commission. This centralization allowed Smith to run a government later used as a model for Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal federal government. Moses also received numerous commissions that he carried out efficiently, such as the development of Jones Beach State Park. Displaying a strong command of law as well as matters of engineering, Moses became known for his skill in drafting legislation, and was called "the best bill drafter in Albany". At a time when the public was accustomed to Tammany Hall corruption and incompetence, Moses was seen as a savior of government.
Shortly after President Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration in 1933, the federal government found itself with millions of New Deal dollars to spend, yet states and cities had few projects ready. Moses was one of the few local officials who had projects shovel ready. For that reason, New York City was able to obtain significant Works Progress Administration (WPA), Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and other Depression-era funding. Moses was a great political talent who demonstrated great skill when constructing his roads, bridges, playgrounds, parks, and housing projects. One of his most influential and longest-lasting positions was that of Parks Commissioner of New York City, a role he served from January 18, 1934, to May 23, 1960.
Offices held [ edit ] The many offices and professional titles that Moses held gave him unusually broad power to shape urban development in the New York metropolitan region. These include, according to the New York Preservation Archive Project:
Long Island State Park Commission (President, 1924''1963)New York State Council of Parks (Chairman, 1924''1963)New York Secretary of State (1927''1928)Bethpage State Park Authority (President, 1933''1963)Emergency Public Works Commission (Chairman, 1933''1934)Jones Beach Parkway Authority (President, 1933''1963)New York City Department of Parks (Commissioner, 1934''1960)Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (Chairman, 1934''1981)New York City Planning Commission (Commissioner, 1942''1960)New York State Power Authority (Chairman, 1954''1962)New York's World Fair (President, 1960''1966)Office of the Governor of New York (Special Advisor on Housing, 1974''1975)Influence [ edit ] During the 1920s, Moses sparred with Franklin D. Roosevelt, then head of the Taconic State Park Commission, who favored the prompt construction of a parkway through the Hudson Valley. Moses succeeded in diverting funds to his Long Island parkway projects (the Northern State Parkway, the Southern State Parkway and the Wantagh State Parkway), although the Taconic State Parkway was later completed as well. Moses helped build Long Island's Meadowbrook State Parkway. It was the first fully divided limited access highway in the world.
Moses was a highly influential figure in the initiation of many of the reforms that restructured New York state's government during the 1920s. A 'Reconstruction Commission' headed by Moses produced a highly influential report that provided recommendations that would largely be adopted, including the consolidation of 187 existing agencies under eighteen departments, a new executive budget system, and the four-year term limit for the governorship.
WPA swimming pools [ edit ] During the Depression, Moses, along with Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, was especially interested in creating new pools and other bathing facilities, such as those in Jacob Riis Park, Jones Beach, and Orchard Beach. He devised a list of 23 pools around the city. The pools would be built using funds from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a federal agency created as part of the New Deal to combat the Depression's negative effects.
Eleven of these pools were to be designed concurrently and open in 1936. These comprised ten pools at Astoria Park, Betsy Head Park, Crotona Park, Hamilton Fish Park, Highbridge Park, Thomas Jefferson Park, McCarren Park, Red Hook Park, Jackie Robinson Park, and Sunset Park, as well as a standalone facility at Tompkinsville Pool. Moses, along with architects Aymar Embury II and Gilmore David Clarke, created a common design for these proposed aquatic centers. Each location was to have distinct pools for diving, swimming, and wading; bleachers and viewing areas; and bathhouses with locker rooms that could be used as gymnasiums. The pools were to have several common features, such as a minimum 55-yard (50 m) length, underwater lighting, heating, filtration, and low-cost construction materials. To fit the requirement for cheap materials, each building would be built using elements of the Streamline Moderne and Classical architectural styles. The buildings would also be near "comfort stations", additional playgrounds, and spruced-up landscapes.
Construction for some of the 11 pools began in October 1934. By mid-1936, ten of the eleven WPA-funded pools were completed and were being opened at a rate of one per week. Combined, the facilities could accommodate 66,000 swimmers. The eleven WPA pools were considered for New York City landmark status in 1990. Ten of the pools were designated as New York City landmarks in 2007 and 2008.
Moses allegedly fought to keep African American swimmers out of his pools and beaches. One subordinate remembers Moses saying the pools should be kept a few degrees colder, allegedly because Moses believed African Americans did not like cold water.
Water crossings [ edit ] Triborough Bridge [ edit ] Part of the Triborough Bridge (left) with
Astoria Park and its pool in the center
Although Moses had power over the construction of all New York City Housing Authority public housing projects and headed many other entities, it was his chairmanship of the Triborough Bridge Authority that gave him the most power.
The Triborough Bridge (later officially renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge) opened in 1936, connecting the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens via three separate spans. Language in its Authority's bond contracts and multi-year Commissioner appointments made it largely impervious to pressure from mayors and governors. While New York City and New York State were perpetually strapped for money, the bridge's toll revenues amounted to tens of millions of dollars a year. The Authority was thus able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars by selling bonds, a method also used by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to fund large public construction projects. Toll revenues rose quickly as traffic on the bridges exceeded all projections. Rather than pay off the bonds, Moses used the revenue to build other toll projects, a cycle that would feed on itself.
Brooklyn''Battery link [ edit ] In the late 1930s a municipal controversy raged over whether an additional vehicular link between Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan should be built as a bridge or a tunnel. Bridges can be wider and cheaper to build, but taller and longer bridges use more ramp space at landfall than tunnels do. A "Brooklyn Battery Bridge" would have decimated Battery Park and physically encroached on the financial district, and for this reason, the bridge was opposed by the Regional Plan Association, historical preservationists, Wall Street financial interests, property owners, various high society people, construction unions, the Manhattan borough president, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and governor Herbert H. Lehman. Despite this, Moses favored a bridge, which could both carry more automobile traffic and serve as a higher visibility monument than a tunnel. LaGuardia and Lehman as usual had little money to spend, in part due to the Great Depression, while the federal government was running low on funds after recently spending $105 million ($1.8 billion in 2016) on the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and other City projects and refused to provide any additional funds to New York. Awash in funds from Triborough Bridge tolls, Moses deemed that money could only be spent on a bridge. He also clashed with the chief engineer of the project, Ole Singstad, who preferred a tunnel instead of a bridge.
Only a lack of a key federal approval thwarted the bridge project. President Roosevelt ordered the War Department to assert that bombing a bridge in that location would block East River access to the Brooklyn Navy Yard upstream. Thwarted, Moses dismantled the New York Aquarium on Castle Clinton and moved it to Coney Island in Brooklyn, where it grew much bigger. This was in apparent retaliation, based on specious claims that the proposed tunnel would undermine Castle Clinton's foundation. He also attempted to raze Castle Clinton itself, the historic fort surviving only after being transferred to the federal government. Moses now had no other option for a trans-river crossing than to build a tunnel. He commissioned the Brooklyn''Battery Tunnel (now officially the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel), a tunnel connecting Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan. A 1941 publication from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority claimed that the government had forced them to build a tunnel at "twice the cost, twice the operating fees, twice the difficulty to engineer, and half the traffic," although engineering studies did not support these conclusions, and a tunnel may have held many of the advantages Moses publicly tried to attach to the bridge option.
This had not been the first time Moses pressed for a bridge over a tunnel. He had tried to upstage the Tunnel Authority when the Queens-Midtown Tunnel was being planned. He had raised the same arguments, which failed due to their lack of political support.
Post-war influence of urban development and projects [ edit ] Moses's power increased after World War II after Mayor LaGuardia retired and a series of successors consented to almost all of his proposals. Named city "construction coordinator" in 1946 by Mayor William O'Dwyer, Moses became New York City's de facto representative in Washington. Moses was also given powers over public housing that had eluded him under LaGuardia. When O'Dwyer was forced to resign in disgrace and was succeeded by Vincent R. Impellitteri, Moses was able to assume even greater behind-the-scenes control over infrastructure projects. One of Moses's first steps after Impellitteri took office was halting the creation of a citywide Comprehensive Zoning Plan underway since 1938 that would have curtailed his nearly unlimited power to build within the city and removed the Zoning Commissioner from power in the process. Moses was also empowered as the sole authority to negotiate in Washington for New York City projects. By 1959, he had overseen construction of 28,000 apartment units on hundreds of acres of land. In clearing the land for high-rises in accordance with the towers in the park concept, which at that time was seen as innovative and beneficial by leaving more grassy areas between high-rises, Moses sometimes destroyed almost as many housing units as he built.
From the 1930s to the 1960s, Robert Moses was responsible for the construction of the Triborough, Marine Parkway, Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, Henry Hudson, and Verrazzano-Narrows Bridges. His other projects included the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Staten Island Expressway, which together constituted most of Interstate 278; the Cross-Bronx Expressway; many New York State parkways; and other highways. Federal interest had shifted from parkway to freeway systems, and the new roads mostly conformed to the new vision, lacking the landscaping or the commercial traffic restrictions of the pre-war highways. He was the mover behind Shea Stadium and Lincoln Center, and contributed to the United Nations headquarters.
Moses had influence outside the New York area as well. Public officials in many smaller American cities hired him to design freeway networks in the 1940s and early 1950s. For example, Portland, Oregon hired Moses in 1943; his plan included a loop around the city center, with spurs running through neighborhoods. Of this plan, only I-405, its links with I-5, and the Fremont Bridge were built.
Moses knew how to drive an automobile, but he did not have a valid driver's license. Moses's highways in the first half of the 20th century were parkways'--curving, landscaped "ribbon parks" that were intended to be pleasures to travel as well as "lungs for the city"'--though the Post''World War II economic expansion and notion of the automotive city brought freeways, most notably in the form of the vast, federally funded Interstate Highway System network.
Brooklyn Dodgers [ edit ] When Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley sought to replace the outdated and dilapidated Ebbets Field, he proposed building a new stadium near the Long Island Rail Road on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Flatbush Avenue (next to the present-day Barclays Center, home of the NBA Brooklyn Nets). O'Malley urged Moses to help him secure the property through eminent domain, but he refused, having already decided to build a parking garage on the site. Moreover, O'Malley's proposal '-- to have the city acquire the property for several times as much as he had originally said he was willing to pay '-- was rejected by both pro- and anti-Moses officials, newspapers, and the public as an unacceptable government subsidy of a private business enterprise.
Moses envisioned New York's newest stadium being built in Queens' Flushing Meadows on the former (and as it turned out, future) site of the World's Fair, where it would eventually host all three of the city's major league teams of the day. O'Malley vehemently opposed this plan, citing the team's Brooklyn identity. Moses refused to budge, and after the 1957 season the Dodgers left for Los Angeles and the New York Giants left for San Francisco. Moses was later able to build the 55,000-seat multi-purpose Shea Stadium on the site; construction ran from October 1961 to its delayed completion in April 1964. The stadium attracted an expansion franchise: the New York Mets, who played at Shea until 2008, when the stadium was demolished and replaced with Citi Field. The New York Jets football team also played its home games at Shea from 1964 until 1983, after which the team moved its home games to the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey.
End of the Moses era [ edit ] View of the 1964''1965 New York World's Fair as seen from the observation towers of the New York State pavilion. The Fair's symbol, the
Unisphere, is the central image.
Moses's reputation began to fade during the 1960s. Around this time, Moses's political acumen began to fail him, as he unwisely picked several controversial political battles he could not possibly win. For example, his campaign against the free Shakespeare in the Park program received much negative publicity, and his effort to destroy a shaded playground in Central Park to make way for a parking lot for the expensive Tavern-on-the-Green restaurant earned him many enemies among the middle-class voters of the Upper West Side.
The opposition reached a climax over the demolition of Pennsylvania Station, which many attributed to the "development scheme" mentality cultivated by Moses even though it was the impoverished Pennsylvania Railroad that was actually responsible for the demolition. This casual destruction of one of New York's greatest architectural landmarks helped prompt many city residents to turn against Moses's plans to build a Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have gone through Greenwich Village and what is now SoHo. This plan and the Mid-Manhattan Expressway both failed politically. One of his most vocal critics during this time was the urban activist Jane Jacobs, whose book The Death and Life of Great American Cities was instrumental in turning opinion against Moses's plans; the city government rejected the expressway in 1964.
A 1964 Parks Department map showing numerous Robert Moses projects, including several highways that went unbuilt or were only partially completed.
Moses's power was further eroded by his association with the 1964 New York World's Fair. His projections for attendance of 70 million people for this event proved wildly optimistic, and generous contracts for fair executives and contractors made matters worse economically. Moses's repeated and forceful public denials of the fair's considerable financial difficulties in the face of evidence to the contrary eventually provoked press and governmental investigations, which found accounting irregularities. In his organization of the fair, Moses's reputation was now undermined by the same personal character traits that had worked in his favor in the past: disdain for the opinions of others and high-handed attempts to get his way in moments of conflict by turning to the press. The fact that the fair was not sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), the worldwide body supervising such events, would be devastating to the success of the event. Moses refused to accept BIE requirements, including a restriction against charging ground rents to exhibitors, and the BIE in turn instructed its member nations not to participate. The United States had already staged the sanctioned Century 21 Exposition in Seattle in 1962. According to the rules of the organization, no one nation could host more than one fair in a decade. The major European democracies, as well as Canada, Australia, and the Soviet Union, were all BIE members and they declined to participate, instead reserving their efforts for Expo 67 in Montreal.
After the World's Fair debacle, New York City mayor John Lindsay, along with Governor Nelson Rockefeller, sought to direct toll revenues from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority's (TBTA) bridges and tunnels to cover deficits in the city's then financially ailing agencies, including the subway system. Moses opposed this idea and fought to prevent it. Lindsay then removed Moses from his post as the city's chief advocate for federal highway money in Washington.
The legislature's vote to fold the TBTA into the newly created Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) could have led to a lawsuit by the TBTA bondholders. Since the bond contracts were written into state law, it was unconstitutional to impair existing contractual obligations, as the bondholders had the right of approval over such actions. However, the largest holder of TBTA bonds, and thus agent for all the others, was the Chase Manhattan Bank, headed then by David Rockefeller, the governor's brother. No suit was filed. Moses could have directed TBTA to go to court against the action, but having been promised a role in the merged authority, Moses declined to challenge the merger. On March 1, 1968, the TBTA was folded into the MTA and Moses gave up his post as chairman of the TBTA. He eventually became a consultant to the MTA, but its new chairman and the governor froze him out'--the promised role did not materialize, and for all practical purposes Moses was out of power.
Moses had thought he had convinced Nelson Rockefeller of the need for one last great bridge project, a span crossing Long Island Sound from Rye to Oyster Bay. Rockefeller did not press for the project in the late 1960s through 1970, fearing public backlash among suburban Republicans would hinder his re-election prospects. A 1972 study found the bridge was fiscally prudent and could be environmentally manageable (according to the comparatively low environmental impact parameters of that period), but the anti-development sentiment was now insurmountable and in 1973 Rockefeller canceled plans for the bridge.
The Power Broker [ edit ] Moses's image suffered a further blow in 1974 with the publication of The Power Broker, a Pulitzer Prize''winning biography by Robert A. Caro. Caro's 1,200-page opus (edited down from 2,000 or so pages) showed Moses generally in a negative light; essayist Phillip Lopate writes that "Moses's satanic reputation with the public can be traced, in the main, to ... Caro's magnificent biography". For example, Caro describes Moses's lack of sensitivity in the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway, and how he disfavored public transit. Much of Moses's reputation is attributable to Caro, whose book won both the Pulitzer Prize in Biography in 1975 and the Francis Parkman Prize (which is awarded by the Society of American Historians), and was named one of the 100 greatest non-fiction books of the twentieth century by the Modern Library. Upon its publication, Moses denounced the biography in a 23-page statement, to which Caro replied to defend his work's integrity.
Caro's depiction of Moses's life gives him full credit for his early achievements, showing, for example, how he conceived and created Jones Beach and the New York State Park system, but also shows how Moses's desire for power came to be more important to him than his earlier dreams. Moses is blamed for having destroyed more than a score of neighborhoods by building 13 expressways across New York City and by building large urban renewal projects with little regard for the urban fabric or for human scale. Yet the author is more neutral in his central premise: the city would have developed much differently without Moses. Other U.S. cities were doing the same thing as New York in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s; Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle, for instance, each built highways straight through their downtown areas. The New York City architectural intelligentsia of the 1940s and 1950s, who largely believed in such proponents of the automobile as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, had supported Moses. Many other cities, like Newark, Chicago, and St. Louis, also built massive, unattractive public housing projects. However, Caro also points out that Moses demonstrated racist tendencies. These allegedly included opposing black World War II veterans to move into a residential complex specifically designed for these veterans,[failed verification ] and purportedly trying to make swimming pool water cold in order to drive away potential African American residents in white neighborhoods.
People had come to see Moses as a bully who disregarded public input, but until the publication of Caro's book, they had not known many details of his private life'--for instance, that his brother Paul had spent much of his life in poverty. Paul, whom Caro interviewed shortly before the former's death, claimed Robert had exerted undue influence on their mother to change her will in Robert's favor shortly before her death. Caro notes that Paul was on bad terms with their mother over a long period and she may have changed the will of her own accord, and implies that Robert's subsequent treatment of Paul may have been legally justifiable but was morally questionable.
Death [ edit ] The crypt of Robert Moses
During the last years of his life, Moses concentrated on his lifelong love of swimming and was an active member of the Colonie Hill Health Club.
Moses died of heart disease on July 29, 1981, at the age of 92 at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York.
Moses was of Jewish origin and raised in a secularist manner inspired by the Ethical Culture movement of the late 19th century. He was a convert to Christianity and was interred in a crypt in an outdoor community mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York City following services at St. Peter's by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Bay Shore, New York.
Legacy [ edit ] Various locations and roadways in New York State bear Moses's name. These include two state parks, Robert Moses State Park '' Thousand Islands in Massena, New York and Robert Moses State Park '' Long Island, the Robert Moses Causeway on Long Island, and the Robert Moses Hydro-Electric Dam in Lewiston, New York. The Niagara Scenic Parkway in Niagara Falls, New York was originally named the Robert Moses State Parkway in his honor; its name was changed in 2016. A hydro-electric power dam in Massena, New York also bears Moses's name. Moses also has a school named after him in North Babylon, New York on Long Island; there is also a Robert Moses Playground in New York City. There are other signs of the surviving appreciation held for him by some circles of the public. A statue of Moses was erected next to the Village Hall in his long-time hometown, Babylon Village, New York, in 2003, as well as a bust on the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham University, although it has since been removed from display and is currently in storage.
During his tenure as chief of the state park system, the state's inventory of parks grew to nearly 2,600,000 acres (1,100,000 ha). By the time he left office, he had built 658 playgrounds in New York City alone, plus 416 miles (669 km) of parkways and 13 bridges. However, the proportion of public benefit corporations is greater in New York than in any other U.S. state, making them the prime mode of infrastructure building and maintenance in New York and accounting for 90% of the state's debt.
Appraisal [ edit ] Criticism and The Power Broker [ edit ] Moses was heavily criticized in Robert Caro's 1974 award-winning biography, The Power Broker. The book highlighted his practice of starting large projects well beyond funding approved by the New York State legislature, with the knowledge they would eventually have to pay for the rest to avoid looking like they had failed to review the project properly (a tactic known as fait accompli ). He was also characterized as using his political power to benefit cronies, including a case where he secretly shifted the planned route of the Northern State Parkway large distances to avoid impinging on the estates of the rich, while telling owners of the family farms who lost land and sometimes their livelihood, that it was based on "engineering considerations". The book charged that Moses libeled other officials who opposed him, to have them removed from office, calling some of them communists during the Red Scare. The biography further notes that Moses fought against schools and other public needs in favor of his preference for parks.
Moses's critics charge that he preferred automobiles over people. They point out that he displaced hundreds of thousands of residents in New York City, destroying traditional neighborhoods by building multiple expressways through them. These projects contributed to the ruin of the South Bronx and the amusement parks of Coney Island, caused the departure of the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants Major League baseball teams, and precipitated the decline of public transport due to disinvestment and neglect. His building of expressways hindered the proposed expansion of the New York City Subway from the 1930s well into the 1960s, because the parkways and expressways that were built replaced, at least to some extent, the planned subway lines; the 1968 Program for Action, which was never completed, was hoped to counter this. Other critics charge that he precluded the use of public transit, which would have allowed non-car-owners to enjoy the elaborate recreation facilities he built.
Racism [ edit ] Caro's The Power Broker accused Moses of building the bridges across his parkways low in order to "restrict the use of state parks by poor and lower-middle-class families," who did not own cars and would arrive by bus, and of discouraging blacks, in particular, from visiting Jones Beach, the centerpiece of the Long Island state park system, by such measures as making it difficult for black groups to get permits to park buses even if they came anyway (by other roads); assigning black lifeguards to "distant, less developed beaches" instead; and keeping the water temperature in the pool low, in the belief that black people were less tolerant of cold water. While the exclusion of commercial vehicles, and the use of low bridges where appropriate, were standard on earlier parkways, where they had been instituted for aesthetic reasons, Moses appears to have made greater use of low bridges, which his aide Sidney Shapiro said was done in order to make it more difficult for future legislators to allow commercial vehicles.
Moses vocally opposed allowing black war veterans to move into Stuyvesant Town, a Manhattan residential development complex created to house World War II veterans. In response to the biography, Moses defended his forced displacement of poor and minority communities as an inevitable part of urban revitalization, stating "I raise my stein to the builder who can remove ghettos without moving people as I hail the chef who can make omelets without breaking eggs."
Additionally, there were allegations that Moses selectively chose locations for recreational facilities based on the racial compositions of neighborhood, such as when he selected sites for eleven pools that opened in 1936. According to one author, Moses purposely placed some pools in neighborhoods with mainly white populations to deter African Americans from using them, while other pools intended for African Americans, such as the one in Colonial Park, now Jackie Robinson Park, were placed in inconvenient locations. Another author wrote that of 255 playgrounds built in the 1930s under Moses's tenure, two were in largely Black neighborhoods. Caro wrote that close associates of Moses had claimed they could keep African Americans from using the Thomas Jefferson Pool, in the then-predominantly white East Harlem, by making the water too cold. However, no other source has corroborated the claim that heaters in any particular pool were deactivated or not included in the pool's design.
Reappraisal [ edit ] Some scholars have attempted to rehabilitate Moses's reputation, contrasting the scale of works with the high cost and slow speed of public works in the decades following his era. The peak of Moses's construction occurred during the economic duress of the Great Depression, and despite that era's woes, Moses's projects were completed in a timely fashion, and have been reliable public works since'--which compares favorably to the contemporary delays New York City officials have had redeveloping the Ground Zero site of the former World Trade Center, or the delays and technical problems surrounding the Second Avenue Subway or Boston's Big Dig project.
Three major exhibits in 2007 prompted a reconsideration of his image among some intellectuals, as they acknowledged the magnitude of his achievements. According to Columbia University architectural historian Hilary Ballon and assorted colleagues, Moses deserves better than his reputation as a destroyer. They argue that his legacy is more relevant than ever and that people take the parks, playgrounds and housing Moses built, now generally binding forces in those areas, for granted even if the old-style New York neighborhood was of no interest to Moses himself; moreover, were it not for Moses's public infrastructure and his resolve to carve out more space, New York might not have been able to recover from the blight and flight of the 1970s and '80s and become the economic magnet it is today.
"Every generation writes its own history," said Kenneth T. Jackson, a historian of New York City. "It could be that The Power Broker was a reflection of its time: New York was in trouble and had been in decline for 15 years. Now, for a whole host of reasons, New York is entering a new time, a time of optimism, growth and revival that hasn't been seen in half a century. And that causes us to look at our infrastructure," said Jackson. "A lot of big projects are on the table again, and it kind of suggests a Moses era without Moses," he added. Politicians are also reconsidering the Moses legacy; in a 2006 speech to the Regional Plan Association on downstate transportation needs, New York governor-elect Eliot Spitzer stated a biography of Moses written today might be called At Least He Got It Built: "That's what we need today. A real commitment to get things done."
In popular culture [ edit ] Moses is the subject of a satirical song by John Forster entitled "The Ballad of Robert Moses", included on his 1997 album Helium.Bulldozer: The Ballad of Robert Moses (2017) is a rock musical, with book, music and lyrics by songwriter and composer Peter Galperin that dramatizes Moses's evolution from a visionary idealist to a destroyer harming New York City.An undead version of Robert Moses is the main antagonist of the first season of CollegeHumor's Dimension 20: The Unsleeping City.In season 3, episode 2 of the television series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, "Kimmy's Roommate Lemonades", Kimmy is shown considering attendance at several New York City colleges with comedic names based on the city's culture and history. One was originally called "Robert Moses College for Whites", and its sign has been altered by crossing out "Whites" and replacing it with the word "Everyone".Moses is the subject of a critical song by NYHC band Sick of It All entitled "Robert Moses was a racist", included on their 2018 album Wake the sleeping dragon!.The band Bob Moses is named in honor of Robert Moses.A character named Moses Randolph and inspired by Robert Moses is portrayed by Alec Baldwin in the 2019 film Motherless Brooklyn.A play based on Moses' life will open at the Bridge Theatre, London in 2022, written by David Hare and starring Ralph Fiennes as Moses.See also [ edit ] Car cultureFederal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian NationModernist architectureTransportation in New York CityUrban sprawlM. Justin HermanEdward J. LogueEdmund Bacon (architect)Austin Tobin '' Port Authority Executive DirectorNotes [ edit ] ^ Moses would call himself a "coordinator" and was referred to in the media as a "master builder". References [ edit ] ^ Robert Caro, The Power Broker, 1975. ^ Goldberger, Paul (July 30, 1981). "Robert Moses, Master Builder, is Dead at 92". The New York Times . Retrieved November 11, 2009 . ^ "Mary Grady Moses, 77". The New York Times. September 4, 1993 . Retrieved November 11, 2009 . ^ a b Caro, Robert A. (July 22, 1974). "Annals of Power". The New Yorker . Retrieved September 1, 2011 . ^ Sarachan, Sydney (January 17, 2013). "The legacy of Robert Moses". Need to Know | PBS . Retrieved December 3, 2019 . ^ Burkeman, Oliver (October 23, 2015). "The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro review '' a landmark study". The Guardian. London, UK. ^ " ' The Wrong Complexion For Protection.' How Race Shaped America's Roadways And Cities". NPR . Retrieved April 11, 2021 . ^ Campanella, Thomas J. (July 9, 2017). "Robert Moses and His Racist Parkway, Explained". Bloomberg City Lab. New York, NY: Bloomberg News. ^ "Robert Moses, Master Builder, is Dead at 92". ^ DeWan, George (2007). "The Master Builder". Long Island History. Newsday. Archived from the original on December 11, 2006 . Retrieved April 4, 2007 . ^ http://c250.columbia.edu/c250_celebrates/remarkable_columbians/robert_moses.html ^ "Moses Resigns State Position". Cornell Daily Sun. Ithaca, NY. December 19, 1928. p. 8. ^ Gutfreund, Owen. "Moses, Robert". Anb.org . Retrieved December 24, 2014 . ^ Caves, R. W. (2004). Encyclopedia of the City . Routledge. pp. 472. ISBN 9780415252256. ^ a b Leonard, Wallock (1991). The Myth of The Master Builder. Journal of Urban History. p. 339. ^ "New York City Parks Commissioners : NYC Parks". www.nycgovparks.org . Retrieved March 29, 2018 . ^ "Robert Moses |". www.nypap.org . Retrieved March 29, 2018 . ^ "Taconic State Parkway". NYCRoads.com . Retrieved May 25, 2006 . ^ Stern, Robert A. M.; Gilmartin, Patrick; Mellins, Thomas (1987). New York 1930: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Two World Wars. New York: Rizzoli. p. 717. ISBN 978-0-8478-3096-1. OCLC 13860977. ^ a b c Caro, Robert (1974). The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Knopf. p. 456. ISBN 978-0-394-48076-3. OCLC 834874. ^ "23 Bathing Pools Planned by Moses; Nine to Be Begun in a Month to Meet Shortage of Facilities Caused by Pollution". The New York Times. July 23, 1934. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved August 9, 2019 . ^ "Public Swimming Facilities in New York City" (PDF) (Press release). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. July 23, 1934. p. 3 (PDF p. 30) . Retrieved January 6, 2021 . ^ "City to Construct 9 Pools To Provide Safe Swimming". New York Daily News. July 23, 1934. p. 8 . Retrieved August 18, 2019 '' via newspapers.com . ^ a b "History of Parks' Swimming Pools". New York City Department of Parks and Recreation . Retrieved January 15, 2021 . ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (August 14, 2006). "Big Chill of '36: Show Celebrates Giant Depression-Era Pools That Cool New York". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved January 8, 2021 . ^ "Park Work Is Begun on 2 Bathing Pools; Construction Under Way at High Bridge and Hamilton Fish -- 7 Others to Be Started Soon" (PDF) . The New York Times. October 4, 1934. p. 48. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved January 13, 2021 . ^ "Revisiting The 11 Pools Whose Gala Openings Defined 1936". Curbed NY. August 29, 2013. ^ Gutman, M. (2008). "Race, Place, and Play: Robert Moses and the WPA Swimming Pools in New York City". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 67 (4): 532''561. doi:10.1525/jsah.2008.67.4.532. JSTOR 10.1525/jsah.2008.67.4.532. ^ Brozan, Nadine (July 30, 1990). "A Crumbling Pool Divides a Neighborhood". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved January 11, 2021 . ^ Schuster, Karla (August 3, 2007). "After 71 years Astoria Pool is among 10 outdoor public pools that the city is designating as landmarks" . Newsday. ProQuest 280156824 . Retrieved May 12, 2021 '' via ProQuest. ^ Doig, Jameson W. (November 15, 2002). Empire on the Hudson . Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231076777. ^ a b Carion, Carlos. "Robert Moses" (PDF) . Nexus.umn.edu. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 26, 2014 . Retrieved December 24, 2014 . ^ "Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel (I-478)". Nycroads.com . Retrieved March 12, 2014 . ^ a b "Queens-Midtown Tunnel". NYCRoads.com . Retrieved August 1, 2010 . ^ Mesh, Aaron (November 5, 2014). "Feb. 4, 1974: Portland kills the Mount Hood Freeway". Willamette Week . Retrieved November 21, 2014 . Every great civilization has an origin story. For modern Portland, it is an exodus from Moses. That's Robert Moses, the master builder of New York City's grid of expressways and bridges who brought the Big Apple its car commuters, smog and sprawl. In 1943, the city of Portland hired Moses to design its urban future. Moses charted a highway loop around the city's core with a web of spur freeways running through neighborhoods. The city and state embraced much of the plan. The loop Moses envisioned became Interstate 405 as it links with I-5 south of downtown and runs north across the Fremont Bridge. ^ Asimov, Isaac (1979). "Eccentricities". Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-448-15776-4. ^ Fetter, Henry D. (Winter 2008). "Revising the Revisionists: Walter O'Malley, Robert Moses, and the End of the Brooklyn Dodgers". New York History (New York State Historical Association). Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. ^ a b Murphy, Robert (June 24, 2009). "OMalley-vs-Moses". Huffington Post. ^ Lopate, Phillip (March 13, 2007). "Rethinking Robert Moses". Metropolis Magazine. Archived from the original on March 1, 2009 . Retrieved October 9, 2010 . ^ a b Kay, Jane Holtz (April 24, 1989). "Robert Moses: The Master Builder" (PDF) . The Nation. 248 (16): 569. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 16, 2004 . Retrieved October 9, 2010 . ^ "Environmental and Urban Economics: Robert Moses: New York City's Master Builder?". Greeneconomics.blogspot.com. May 6, 2007 . Retrieved March 12, 2014 . ^ "The Next American System '-- The Master Builder (1977)". PBS. February 3, 2010. ^ "Robert Moses: Long Island's Master Builder". YouTube . Retrieved December 24, 2014 . ^ a b "Robert Moses". Learn.columbia.edu . Retrieved December 24, 2014 . ^ Lopate, Phillip (February 11, 2007). "A Town Revived, a Villain Redeemed". The New York Times. Section 14, col. 1 . Retrieved August 1, 2010 . ^ a b Boeing, G. (2017). "We Live in a Motorized Civilization: Robert Moses Replies to Robert Caro". SSRN: 1''13. arXiv:2104.06179 . doi:10.2139/ssrn.2934079. S2CID 164717606 . Retrieved August 13, 2017 . ^ Glaeser, Edward (January 19, 2007). "Great Cities Need Great Builders". The New York Sun . Retrieved October 9, 2010 . ^ a b Chaldekas, Cynthia (March 16, 2010). "Wrestling with Moses: How Jane Jacobs Took on New York's Master Builder and Transformed the American City". New York Public Library . Retrieved October 9, 2010 . ^ a b Powell, Michael (May 6, 2007). "A Tale of Two Cities". The New York Times . Retrieved August 1, 2010 . As for the pool-cooling, Mr. Caro interviewed Moses's associates on the record ("You can pretty well keep them out of any pool if you keep the water cold enough," he quotes Sidney M. Shapiro, a close Moses aide, as saying). ^ Purnick, Joyce (August 1, 1981). "Legacy of Moses Hailed". The New York Times. Section 2, col. 1, p. 29 . Retrieved August 1, 2010 . ^ "Robert Moses, Master Builder, is Dead at 92". Nytimes.com. July 30, 1981 . Retrieved March 12, 2014 . ^ "New York's 'shadow government' debt rises to $140 billion". The Post-Standard. Syracuse. Associated Press. September 2, 2009 . Retrieved December 16, 2010 . ^ Campanella, Thomas. "How Low Did He Go?". Citylab . Retrieved July 25, 2018 . ^ Wiltse, Jeff (2009). Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America. University of North Carolina Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-8078-8898-8 . Retrieved January 10, 2021 . ^ Riess, Steven A. (1991). City Games: The Evolution of American Urban Society and the Rise of Sports. An Illini book. University of Illinois Press. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-252-06216-2. ^ Gutman, Marta (November 1, 2008). "Race, Place, and Play: Robert Moses and the WPA Swimming Pools in New York City". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. University of California Press. 67 (4): 538. doi:10.1525/jsah.2008.67.4.532. ISSN 0037-9808. ^ Glaeser, Edward (January 19, 2007). "Great Cities Need Great Builders". The New York Sun . Retrieved August 1, 2010 . ^ a b Pogrebin, Robin (January 28, 2007). "Rehabilitating Robert Moses". The New York Times. p. 1, Section 2, col. 3 . Retrieved August 1, 2010 . ^ Spitzer, Eliot (May 5, 2006). "Downstate Transportation Issues Speech" (PDF) . Regional Plan Association. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006 . Retrieved February 15, 2007 . CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) ^ "John Forster: the Ballad of Robert Moses". AllMusic . Retrieved January 5, 2018 . ^ Ryan Leeds (December 18, 2017). "If You Build It, They Will Come: "Bulldozer, the Ballad of Robert Moses. " ". thebroadwayblog.com . Retrieved January 5, 2018 . ^ https://m.imdb.com/title/tt9646546/ ^ a b Pape, Allie (May 19, 2017). "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Recap: Furiosity". Vulture. New York, NY: New York Media. ^ "Sick of It All: Robert Moses was a racist". Discogs . Retrieved April 19, 2019 . ^ https://vancouversun.com/entertainment/vancouver-duo-bob-moses-on-going-from-a-parking-lot-to-the-grammys/wcm/818cfa4e-2988-435a-925a-7d5a579737ec ^ Denninger, Lindsay (November 2, 2019). "There's Actually Some Truth Behind Motherless Brooklyn's Moses Randolph". Refinery29 . Retrieved November 4, 2019 . Bibliography [ edit ] Ballon, Hilary (2007). Robert Moses and the modern city : the transformation of New York. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-393-73243-6. OCLC 76167277. Berman, Marshall (1988). All that is solid melts into air : the experience of modernity. New York, N.Y., U.S.A: Viking Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-010962-7. OCLC 16923119. Ballon, Hilary (2007). Robert Moses and the modern city : the transformation of New York. New York: W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN 978-0-393-73243-6. OCLC 76167277. Caro, Robert (1974). The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-0-394-48076-3. OCLC 834874. Christin, Pierre (2014). Robert Moses : master builder of New York City. London: Nobrow. ISBN 978-1-907704-96-3. OCLC 875240382. Doig, Jameson W. (1990). "Regional Conflict in the New York Metropolis: the Legend of Robert Moses and the Power of the Port Authority". Urban Studies. SAGE Publications. 27 (2): 201''232. doi:10.1080/00420989020080181. ISSN 0042-0980. S2CID 146841751. Krieg, Joann (1989). Robert Moses : single-minded genius. Interlaken, N.Y: Heart of the Lakes Pub. ISBN 978-1-55787-041-4. OCLC 18961485. Lewis, Eugene (1980). Public entrepreneurship : toward a theory of bureaucratic political power : the organizational lives of Hyman Rickover, J. Edgar Hoover, and Robert Moses. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-17384-3. OCLC 6581080. Moses, Robert (1970). Public Works: A Dangerous Trade . McGraw-Hill. Rogers, Cleveland (January 1, 1939). "Robert Moses". The Atlantic. Rodgers, Cleveland (1952). Robert Moses: Builder for Democracy. Holt. Vidal, Gore (October 17, 1974). What Robert Moses Did to New York City. New York Review of Books. Other sources [ edit ] External links [ edit ] Robert Moses Papers (MS 360). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Robert Moses (February 11, 1953)" is available at the Internet Archive
Fertiliser prices boom as Incitec Pivot plans closure of Gibson Island plant - ABC News
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 13:33
With global prices soaring, it seemed odd timing this week for Incitec Pivot to announce plans to close one of Australia's largest fertiliser plants.
Key points: Incitec Pivot announces plans to shut down its Gibson Island fertiliser plant in Brisbane Global fertiliser prices are soaring, putting a lot of pressure on farmers' budgets One of the largest issues facing the fertiliser industry is the cost of natural gas, a key inputThe rising cost of another commodity '-- natural gas '-- appears to have sealed the fate for Incitec's Gibson Island facility in Brisbane.
"Despite extensive efforts, [we have] been unable to secure an economically viable long-term gas supply," the company said in a statement to the ASX.
"The decision to close the Gibson Island manufacturing facility after more than 50 years of operation is expected to impact up to 170 employees."
The company said it would cease manufacturing with natural gas at the end of 2022 but was looking into the potential of green ammonia.
The facility has spent decades converting gas into fertiliser products. According to its website, it has the capacity each year to manufacture 300,000 tonnes of ammonia, 280,000 tonnes of urea and 200,000 tonnes of ammonium.
Prices for natural gas reached historic highs in recent weeks.( Landline )Fertiliser supplies tightIncitec Pivot's decision to cease production at Gibson Island joins a long list of fertiliser news going against Australian farmers.
China has enforced a ban on some ports exporting fertilisers, and more recently Russia invoked a six-month quota on its fertiliser exports.
"Incitec's [announcement] is not ideal in light of the other dynamics going on ... and we need to get our product from somewhere, so it's going to be a challenge," GrainGrowers chair Brett Hosking said.
"So to hear reports [about Incitec] has thrown another spanner into the works and that little bit of extra complexity in a grower's mind around how do I make sure I'm covered and how do I make sure I've got product?"
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. New fertiliser plans for Ammaroo Phosphate project in the NT Download 2.4 MB According to Thomas Elders Markets analyst Andrew Whitelaw, the announcement by Russia was another "death by a thousand cuts" for Australian farmers.
"The China ban is worse for us," he said.
"Russia's quota will mean hundreds or thousands of tonnes, not millions of tonnes lost to the global market, but it comes at a time when we need every tonne available.
"So it's another weight against the fertiliser price, which is a really big challenge for Australia."
Research by Mr Whitelaw shows Australian wheat farmers need 2.8 tonnes of wheat sold to buy a tonne of diammonium phosphate (DAP).
"The biggest risk for a grain farmer in the coming year is buying high-priced inputs but not having high-priced grain," he said.
The ratio of DAP fertiliser to wheat has been rising.( Supplied: Thomas Elder Markets )Inputs rising across the boardPaul McLaughlin grows watermelons and peanuts in Central Australia and normally orders his fertilisers six months in advance.
"It's looking like it's going to be a 40 to 50 per cent increase on most fertiliser [prices] going forward, and that's if you can get them," he said.
"Farmers who are not ordering them early enough might have trouble getting the fertiliser when they want it."
He said fertilisers were not the only input increasing in price and hurting margins.
"Our diesel has gone up 50 cents a litre on 12 months ago, wages are up, and we're paying 10 to 15 per cent more for freight than 12 months ago ... so hopefully the demand for melons will counteract the extra input costs we've got."
Asian countries are paying up to $US150 million for a single cargo of liquefied natural gas.( Supplied: Woodside )It's the gas, gas, gasOne of the largest issues facing the fertiliser industry is the cost of natural gas, a major input in ammonia production.
Prices for natural gas reached historic highs in recent weeks as surging demand for the fuel in the Northern Hemisphere collided with tight supplies.
In 2018, Central Petroleum signed a short-term deal to supply gas from its operations in the Northern Territory to Gibson Island, and has since entered a joint-venture agreement with Incitec Pivot to develop the Range gas field in Queensland's Surat Basin.
Get the latest rural news Visit ABC Rural for agriculture and mining news, including weather and the markets Sign up for Rural RoundUp: Stories from rural and regional Australia, in your inbox every Friday, or for Rural news daily.Managing director Leon Devaney said it was a tough situation for Incitec Pivot.
"We supplied gas from Amadeus Basin to the Gibson Island plant for one year, and then [Incitec] re-contracted with another supplier for subsequent volumes," he said.
"I know they've been out looking for gas to supply that Gibson Island plant into the future, and that obviously didn't result in a gas agreement and have decided to close Gibson Island in 2022.
"There's certainly gas available; the issue isn't so much the availability of gas, it's the pricing."
Mr Devaney said he was confident Incitec Pivot would remain fully committed to the joint-venture Range project.
Impact Economy '' Pay For Success Finance '' Silkthreads
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 12:29
Lifelong Anytime, Anywhere LearningPay for Success Finance Preys Upon The Poor
Pay for Success is one of the biggest things we're up against, and something few people are talking about, is social impact investing and pay for success finance. Within the hollowed out shell of the welfare state, which admittedly was always inadequate and used for purposes of racialized social control, global finance has built a new machine that will use predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and wearable and screen-based technologies to monitor the global poor and profit from their misery.
This effort is being carried out in partnership with the non-profit sector, higher education, think tanks, and global foundations with the intention of stabilizing late-stage capitalism with technocratic ''evidence-based'' solutions.
Outcomes-based contracts are this machine's operating system. Contracts employ pay-for-performance agreements that reimburse service providers IF they produce specified success metrics. These metrics are narrowly defined and chosen for their ability to be gamed. Contrived solutions offer up fake ''success'' to enrich investors at the expense of vulnerable populations. Think standardized test scores as success metrics for education or fit-bit step counts for preventative health.
This machine requires a steady supply of people labeled deficient by those in power. Like batteries in the Matrix, the poor are meant to be the fuel. The machine does not care for their actual wellbeing; its sole purpose is to maximize profit. In that it is similar to the capitalist Western medical model where Big Pharma opts for chronic disease management over research leading to cures. Pay for success will not empower the poor, but instead manage them and harvest their data, indefinitely.
The infrastructure for this system was put in place in the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008. After toxic mortgages imploded, financiers needed another way to keep global capital circulating. It had to be even bigger than real estate debt, since global wealth continues to become more and more concentrated. The next BIG target would be financialized public benefit systems. Through financialization, resources are siphoned from the real economy into the financial sector where demands for short-term profit lead to instability, overwhelming debt, income inequality, and wage stagnation.
Source: Alison McDowell at Wrench in the Gears
See also: Central Banks Intend to Lay Claim to Bodies and Minds
World Bank / Public Health Finance''The ''pay for success'' finance model works as follows:
Identify a social problem. In this case the possibility of a pandemic.Get an academic institution or think tank to cost out the problem as a negative externality. Remember, the more expensive the problem, the bigger the potential profit from preemptively ''fixing'' it.Establish an equation that fixes a rate of return for ''evidence-based'' ''solutions.''Select the type of data, the parameters, that determine ''success'' for the deal.Set up infrastructure to track the data and provide ''evidence'' of success.Identify partners '' service provider, investors, and project oversight.Deliver the services and collect the data.After a third party determines if success metrics were met, performance payments are issued to investors (or not).''UNITED NATIONSData-driven ''pay for success'' deals are structured around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). ''Health'' is goal number three. The World Bank has played a role in creating new investment products aligned to the UN SDGs. You can read more about the UN SDG financial apparatus here.
''Pay for success'' finance is a performance-based contracting system that has been applied to a wide range of social issues ranging from pre-k, mental health and elder-care services to workforce training and supportive housing. It is clear to me that ''pandemic preparedness'' is being fitted out for pay for success profit-taking, too.
See Alison McDowell's VIDEO explaining what a Social Impact Bond is in 2 minutes: https://lnkd.in/gq2bz9d
Once you peek under the hood, you realize what a grotesque business social impact investing actually is. These tools are built on 400 years of racial capitalism. It is the Doctrine of Discovery with Blockchain replacing double-entry bookkeeping and smart phones and digital identity systems replacing shackles. It is a system that arose in tandem with cloud-based computing, broadband, 5G and the Internet of Things. These advancements are inextricably inked to the interests of the US military and intelligence community, which is why we must recognize that as much as we have come to rely on our devices, true liberation will never come through digital channels. It can't; our opponents run the cloud.'' '' Alison McDowell at Wrench in the Gears
HUMAN CAPITAL MARKETS '' Silkthreads
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 05:45
''Why Is There a Relentless Push to V a c c i n a t e Everyone?
'...thousands losing jobs over C O V I D inoculation mandates.
Here is my take answering this question. Imposing greater control on society through the merging of our physical selves with our digital selves is an essential part of the story.
I think an integrated universal digital identification system makes adopting control mechanisms like digital currencies and digital health passports much easier.
I think the end game is about creating a whole new huge human capital market. For the first time in history, we have the capability of tracking, compiling, organizing, and analyzing detailed information for each person on the planet''genetics, family background, adverse childhood events, innate intelligence, emotional propensities, etc.
With digital tracking systems, people's behavior and activity can be monitored and used by investors. This digital tracking mechanism provides greater assurance that when funders make an investment in a person or in groups of people, they will receive their proper returns.
It seems that leaders from nearly every industry have thrown their lot in with this new societal technocratic digital control model. If you aren't buying into the new ideology, be prepared to make deep sacrifices for the principles that you believe in and are willing to stand for.
Is my pension fund investing in companies that are fully committed to this new paradigm? Am I helping to create this new digital control grid?''
Source '' Mark Skidmore is Professor of Economics at Michigan State University:
Yes, these investments are being planned for your pension funds and no one is discussing the human rights issues of deriving profit from personal data to enrich hedge funds, which is a new form of exploitation and digital slavery. In their eyes, we are no longer the consumer but the product to be mined.
Incidentally, even faith groups are invested in and endorsing these initiatives leading to digital serfdom, including the Vatican and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
''Human capital is the next big short. Collateralized debt obligations tied to income sharing agreements. Will those put out of work by C o v i d be forced to ''reskill'' and code our digital global jail? That seems to be the plan '' giant new equity markets.''
'' @Philly852 on Twitter
See, Central Banks Intend to Lay Claim to Bodies and Minds
Link to LinkedIn Post: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/christine-michelle-chadwick-42a944135_silkthreadspress-activity-6849427984861016064-BoGx
'Grandfather of CDOs' Trying to Do For Higher Education What He Did for Mortgages - WSJ
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 05:36
Christopher Ricciardi, a former Merrill Lynch banker, is bringing his experience to student loans
Christopher Ricciardi, a former Merrill Lynch banker, was known as the ''grandfather of CDOs'' for helping popularize these complex structured products that blew up during the financial crisis.
Now, he is bringing his experience to another corner of the financial world with mounds of debt: student loans.
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A decade after the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal has checked in on dozens of the bankers, government officials, chief executives, hedge-fund managers and others who left a mark on that period to find out what they are doing now. Today, we spotlight former Merrill Lynch banker Christopher Ricciardi and Moody's CEO Raymond McDaniel.
Christopher Ricciardi, a former Merrill Lynch banker, was known as the ''grandfather of CDOs'' for helping popularize these complex structured products that blew up during the financial crisis.
Now, he is bringing his experience to another corner of the financial world with mounds of debt: student loans.
Mr. Ricciardi joined the Andover, Mass.-based investment firm FlowPoint Capital Partners LP as a partner last year. The firm's investment strategy relies in part on buying a product known as income share agreements, or ISAs. Under these arrangements, college students agree to give up part of their future income for a certain period in exchange for payments to cover all or part of their tuition. These products are meant to serve as an alternative to a student loan.
Charles Trafton, managing partner at FlowPoint, said Mr. Ricciardi is helping with the creation of what they call a new asset class. Mr. Trafton said the firm is trying to create a market for higher education by determining the true value of a college degree, factoring in variables like a student's school and major. Students repay up to double the amount of tuition fronted, he said.
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Mr. Trafton added that Mr. Ricciardi was essential to creating the strategy. ''His skills in helping create new asset classes and skills in securitization are really helpful,'' Mr. Trafton said.
Mr. Ricciardi was a financial pioneer who bundled asset-backed securities into pools called collateralized debt obligations. These bundles were then sliced into so-called tranches of varying risk.
From 2003 to 2006, he helped transform Merrill from bit player to powerhouse in this lucrative business. The company leapt from 15th place among CDO underwriting ranks in 2002 to the No. 1 spot on Wall Street in 2004. Merrill's underwriting total soared to $35 billion in 2005, of which $14 billion were backed mostly by securities tied to subprime mortgages'--the debt whose blowup sparked the financial crisis.
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Mr. Ricciardi the following year jumped to Cohen & Co., then one of Merrill's biggest CDO clients. In the 18 months after his arrival, Cohen's assets under management quadrupled to $40 billion. But the value of many of these CDOs began to falter in 2007 as mortgage delinquencies rose.
Mr. Ricciardi declined to be interviewed for this story, though he answered some questions in writing. He said he objected to how media reports have portrayed his role during the crisis. ''Sells papers I guess,'' he said in an email.
Others have offered harsher assessments. Janet Tavakoli, founder of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a consulting firm that has done work on CDOs, said Mr. Ricciardi was a key figure in ''one of several problems that led to the crisis.''
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After leaving Cohen in 2010, Mr. Ricciardi helped launch Mead Park Management LLC, a hedge fund that focused on selling collateralized loan obligations, a subset of CDOs. Mead Park is no longer in operation; Mr. Ricciardi said in an email he left in October.
In addition to his work at FlowPoint, he founded PLAAY Sports, a sports-video-editing company using artificial intelligence, he said in another email.
Write to Lisa Beilfuss at email@example.com
What Income Share Agreements Are, and How They Work - NerdWallet
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 05:34
An income share agreement, or ISA, offers funding for college that you repay based on your future salary.
Although ISA providers have advertised their products as an alternative to loans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, a federal regulatory agency, has said that ISAs are indeed student loans. Consider ISAs after exhausting any undergraduate federal student loans available to you, and compare offers from ISAs with traditional private student loans before deciding on the best funding option for your situation.
>> MORE: Compare private student loan offers
What is an income share agreement?
An income share agreement is a student loan in which you receive money to fund your education or training. In return, you promise to pay the ISA provider a fixed percentage of your income for a set amount of time after you finish school. You may repay more or less than the amount you received, depending on your agreement's terms.
College ISAs have roots back to a 1955 essay by famed economist Milton Friedman that explored the potential of investing in "human capital" to pay for education. While formal ISA programs have gained steam recently, they are still relatively uncommon as a means to pay for school.
Tonio DeSorrento, chief executive officer and co-founder of Vemo Education, a company that sets up and manages ISAs for schools, estimates that roughly 50 colleges have their own ISAs. That doesn't include alternative education programs, like Lambda School's online bootcamps for coding, that use ISAs exclusively instead of student loans.
Most ISAs are run by colleges for their own students, sometimes with private capital sources. But you can get an income share agreement from a few private lenders, such as Stride Funding , that you can use at most schools.
Income-share agreement providers are student loan lenders
ISA providers have said that their products aren't loans, but in September the summer of 2021, the CFPB said in a consent order that one provider was, in fact, providing ''private education loans'' to borrowers since the ISAs are a form of debt and are given to borrowers for education purposes.
As a result, this ISA provider, Better Future Forward, couldn't continue claiming that its product was ''not a loan.'' Ultimately, BFF has to comply with the same rules that private student loan providers do, such as disclosing fees and interest rates, for the ISA.
Although the consent order was issued against just one ISA provider, it's understood to be notice to the entire industry that the CFPB views ISAs as student loans, according to Heather Klein, a consumer financial services attorney at Ballard Spahr LLP.
As a result, all ISAs could begin disclosing rates, ultimately making them easier to compare with traditional student loans.
How do income share agreements work?
Income share agreements are unregulated '''' although this could change following the CFPB's consent order '''' so each can work differently. In general, you'll start repaying an ISA after you leave school and pass a specific income threshold. If you lose your job, you can stop making payments.
How much you'll pay each month and overall will depend on your specific ISA's terms. The ISA provider will determine these based on characteristics like your college major and projected salary. ISAs are not credit-based .
Income share percentage. How much of your gross income you'll pay every month. College ISAs typically have income shares between 2% and 10%, according to the 2019 "State of the Income Share Agreement (ISA) Market" report from Career Karma, a website focused on tech careers.
Salary floor. How much your salary has to be for payments to be due. An ISA's salary floor should reflect your expected post-graduate income. For example, Lambda School's salary floor is $50,000 because it expects graduates to get starting salaries of at least that much.
Payment cap. The most you'll have to repay under your ISA. The payment cap is typically a function of how much you received '-- such as two times that amount. Watch out for caps above 2X borrowed, as well as ISAs that don't have a payment cap at all. You could repay far more than you got.
Repayment term. How long your ISA contract lasts. Repayment terms typically range from two years to 10 years. Some ISAs will count months in which you earn less than the salary floor toward your repayment term. Others extend your repayment term in these instances.
Here's an example of how these terms come together to make an ISA work:
Say your ISA requires you to pay 5% of your post-grad income over a 10-year repayment term. If your salary started at $52,000 and increased 4% each year over the 10-year term, you'd initially pay $217 each month and $31,216 overall. If that ISA required 18% over two years, you'd initially pay $780 each month and $19,904 overall.
Estimate your ISA payments
Is an income share agreement right for you?
Whether an income share agreement is worth it depends on your individual terms.
Consider the example above: If you received $20,000, you'd actually save money by paying $19,904. If you paid $31,216, it would be similar to repaying a student loan with an interest rate of 5.23% '-- which is still a competitive rate.
If you're entering a field with high earnings potential, you'll likely get better repayment terms than someone entering a field with lower income potential. But it's possible you could still end up repaying significantly more than what you received. Pay attention to payment caps, also known as the most you'll repay under your ISA; caps greater than 2X the amount you borrowed are red flags.
ISAs are best used to cover small funding gaps in certain circumstances. Consider an ISA if you're an undergraduate borrower who has exhausted free aid such as scholarships and grants as well as federal student loans, and if you can't get a private loan with payments that would be lower than those with an ISA.
If you can get a private loan at a better rate than an ISA, either with a co-signer or a no-signer student loan, the private loan is a better option as it will end up being cheaper.
>> MORE: Is college worth it? Here's how to do the math
UNICEF Innovation Fund Graduate: NubianVR | UNICEF Office of Innovation
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 05:31
Creating immersive learning experiences in Virtual Reality - making them easily accessible to everyone. Kabiru Seidu, Co-Founder, NubianVR
The UNICEF Innovation Fund is proud to see portfolio member, Nubian VR, graduate. They've come a long way '' from numerous product iterations to deep diving into understanding their ecosystem better, strengthening their business model, and gearing up to take their solution to market. They're now ready to collaborate at a larger scale '' as they find new pathways to work with partners, investors, and the open source community.
NubianVR is a technology company focused on improving how we learn by creating immersive learning experiences in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, and making them easily accessible to everyone.Globally, approximately 61 million children are unable to attain primary education (UNESCO, 2018); this translates into fewer children making it into secondary education. Moreso, in Africa, when it comes to the quality of education that students receive in school, much room for improvement still exists. A global study conducted by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) indicated that 617 million school goers were not acquiring the minimum reading and mathematical skills. In Ghana, there exist challenges to accessing the necessary teaching and learning resources for students to receive quality education; which is compounded by the lack of necessary and up-to-date education materials, huge class sizes and the lack of necessary infrastructural facilities '' well-equipped science & ICT labs, etc. - to support the teaching and learning process. The NubianVR team researched to understand the challenges of the current teaching and learning processes to unearth the impacts of VR in driving the learning experience in Ghanaian secondary schools.
SolutionOver the past 12 months, the NubianVR team researched to identify the opportunities that VR technology could play in the teaching process of Ga-East district educators and their students' learning experience. We forged partnerships with the Ga-East District Education Directorate, which has given us research access to educators and students in about 31 public junior high schools and 180 private schools. Based on our research findings, we built a Unity framework for creating lessons in Virtual Reality. Using this VR lesson creator dubbed Project Konko, we undertook a teacher-centred approach to develop a lesson to teach Junior High School Science students about Basic Electronics.
In the short-term, we see our solution being relevant in improving the teaching of upper and lower secondary school Science lessons by providing VR lessons for historically challenging topics. In the long-term, studies conducted on the efficacy of VR will drive the development of modules for social and emotional learning. We see virtual technology as the bridge between the deficiencies of the conventional learning model and the 21st-century digital and social skills necessary for any student.
PrototypingOur initial attempts involved trying to use a WebVR framework, which is experiencing virtual Reality through a web browser; however, we later transitioned to a Unity framework as it provides easier tools for experimenting with learning pedagogies. The prototyping process started from content development, with educators developing the learning content and lesson objectives. A content creation process followed this and involved turning the lesson objectives and learning goals into media formats: 360 video experience, 2D videos, 3D Interactivity and Assessments. Subsequently, we created a narrative interactivity flow that described how the learner progressed through the various elements of a lesson. Throughout our prototyping stage, we ensured regular usability testing, feedback gathering and iterating several times before reaching the final solution.
User TestingDuring one of our teacher testing sessions, we had science teachers from across the Ga-East district, both male and female, as young as mid-twenties and as old as early sixties. The feedback and responses were reflective of their age group. We were surprised to see responses that challenged our assumptions in ways we could not have predicted. The most memorable example was when one of the older teachers, on seeing a video play button (the triangle in the circle) complained about getting stuck. On inquiring, she said she was seeing an ''eye with a triangle''. That left us confused. In fact, it took a while until we realised the playing video had paused and the play button had come on the screen to resume playback. We had innocently used what we thought was universally understood, but testing with a broad swatch of users proved to be particularly valuable.
Open SourceBeing open-source has made NubianVR's cause more appealing to potential collaborators in the developer and creative community. Of the 35 developers and creators we interacted and collaborated with throughout our creation and testing processes, 100% wished to contribute towards our project. These collaborators would allow us to develop a community of contributors that can advance our open-source project vision.
Business ModelsNubianVR is cultivating a business model that has its roots in content subscriptions. We charge individuals, schools & organizations a premium to access VR learning experiences. We also complement this by additional services that include:
i. Advocacy Services - helping non-governmental organizations such as UN Women and UN Refugees create lessons to drive the social and emotional learning agenda
ii. Commissioned Development - design and creation of media-based learning tools and experiences
iii. VR-on-Demand Services - providing content and hardware subscription-based rental service to schools that are unable to bear the cost of VR devices
iv. Deployment Services - helping organizations and learning institutions develop and maintain VR labs
Challenges encounteredOne of the biggest obstacles we ran into was building a VR learning solution that was cross-platform and device agnostic. During prototyping, our goal was to build in WebVR, but we transitioned to the Unity framework, which offers moremuch versatility. Some of our other challenges included; staffing the team with the locally available talent familiar with VR development. Finally, VR hardware cost is one of the biggest inhibitions towards adoption of VR for schools.; Our team had to think through a walkaround solution to jump the hurdle of schools having to buy headsets,; hence our VR-on-Demand Service package.
Future collaboratorsWe are interested in working with research partners such as the MasterCard Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT and the International Retail Design Conference (IRDC), which will enable us to conduct research at a large scale that will convince governments & large scale educational providers of the efficacy of VR. Additionally, we are looking forward to collaborating with agencies with advocacy needs such as End Violence and World's Largest Lesson as these would help drive our social and emotional learning agenda. Finally, collaborations with large scale education providers like national and state governments, and private school chains such as Bridge International, would help drive VR's impact on education.
Next set of goalsIn the coming year, we hope to deepen our research in Ga-East, Accra by exploring the pedagogical benefits of using VR as a learning tool over a long period. In our initial years, we will prioritize STEM educational topics, and later on, we hope to expand to other subject matters. For our social and emotional learning angle, we intend to develop more content for issues relating to school safety, gender-based violence, and climate change. We also look forward to deploying our VR-on-Demand services and deepening our relationship with the Open Source community.
Working with the UNICEF Innovation FundBeyond the financial support, the UNICEF Innovation Fund has been helpful right from the start by opening doors to other key stakeholders that facilitate our mission such as the UNICEF Ghana country office, Ga-East Educational Directorate, etc. Additionally, the fund team helped us with refining our business ideas into workable models while also connecting us to a cohort of global VR edTech developers. Furthermore, the UNICEF Innovation Fund has given our team the opportunity and muscle to focus on the wicked problem of learning inequality that we otherwise would have found significantly more challenging.
About the UNICEF Innovation Fund:
UNICEF's Innovation Fund invests up to $100k in early stage, open-source, emerging technology digital public goods with the potential to impact children on a global scale. It also provides product and technology assistance, support with business growth, access to a network of experts and partners to allow for scale and growth. The investments can go either to UNICEF Country Offices or to private sector companies in UNICEF programme countries.
nic '' National Interoperability Collaborative
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 05:04
SOCI exhibits at ONC Tech ForumSOCI participated in ONC's online 2021 Tech Forum, which is a showcase for ideas, insights and innovations for advancing health technology to improve patient care, health equity, data exchange and interoperability. SOCI shared its Consent Service Utility (CSU), which is being developed with several partners and dozens of subject matter experts from across the country.
Tech disputes at Rittenhouse trial not new issue for courts
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 05:01
CHICAGO (AP) '-- The late stages of Kyle Rittenhouse's murder trial in the shooting of three men highlighted the U.S. legal system's constant debate over forensic technologies, even fundamental ideas taken for granted outside the courtroom.
Rittenhouse's defense team challenged Kenosha County prosecutors' attempt to introduce enlarged images taken from drone video footage. Prosecutors said the images were a clear contradiction of Rittenhouse's earlier testimony that he had not pointed his weapon at protesters prior to killing Joseph Rosenbaum.
Rittenhouse's defense, though, argued that the method used by a state investigator to enlarge the photos couldn't be trusted to accurately show Rittenhouse's actions.
James Armstrong, a senior forensic imaging specialist with the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, acknowledged on the stand Thursday that enlarging an image requires the addition of pixels. But prosecutors said the software Armstrong used is widely accepted '-- as is the method he used to enlarge the photos.
Software programs used to analyze video evidence provide several ways to enlarge photo or videos, based on algorithms. The attorneys' debate over which is more accurate created a technical slog as testimony wound down this week.
In one instance, Judge Bruce Schroeder opted to let jurors see the evidence and make their own decision. In another, he told prosecutors they would need to bring someone in to address the issue.
The sparring experts in the Rittenhouse case used different software and methods in those programs to enlarge images supporting their testimony. Each method has drawbacks but any means of enlarging an image requires adding pixels, said David Forsyth, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois.
But there is ''no way'' that any means of enlarging a photograph will ''create structures, objects, people, handguns,'' said Forsyth, who isn't involved in the case.
Still, Forsyth said he understands judges who scrutinize the details before allowing similarly technical evidence to go before a jury.
''If someone is going to spend a long time in prison based on evidence, it's probably a good idea that the jury does it based on evidence they understand rather than what they think they understand,'' Forsyth said.
Assistant District Attorney James Kraus accused defense attorneys of making a dishonest argument because the enlarged footage ''shows their client is lying.'' The defense team's hired video analyst used similar software to enlarge video footage during his testimony earlier Thursday, Kraus noted.
''All due respect to Your Honor, I think the defense is trying to take advantage of your lack of knowledge about technology which you've expressed,'' Kraus said.
Schroeder's confusion with the technical details was obvious in court. Earlier in the week, he questioned whether using the pinch-and-zoom feature on an iPad would alter an image and barred prosecutors from using that while presenting video evidence to jurors.
''I totally agree with your comment about my lack of familiarity with these concepts, although logic, I have some logical skills,'' he said on Thursday. ''This is a difficult concept for me, yes.''
At one point, Schroeder, attorneys for both sides and Rittenhouse clustered around a television as a detective played the video footage repeatedly.
At least one forensic video expert uninvolved in the case said Rittenhouse's attorneys were right to challenge the state's approach to enlarging the video evidence. Grant Fredericks of Forensic Video Solutions said the state's first proposal '-- the pinch and zoom method '-- is impossible to exactly replicate, which is essential when creating a record of a criminal case for potential appeal.
Fredericks said he's testified on video evidence hundreds of times, both for defendants and prosecutors in criminal and civil cases, and instructs law enforcement on video analysis. He said the witness called by Rittenhouse's team used video analysis software in a way that could be exactly replicated and ''stayed in his lane,'' while the state crime lab expert struggled to justify the method he had used.
''If a video is not reproduced accurately, one juror might interpret it incorrectly or might see something that they consider to be really clear,'' Fredericks said. ''My duty as an expert is to make sure everything I'm showing is reliable.''
The legal system also tends to be years behind technology advancements, said Stan Goldman, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
''Unless this kind of scientific or picture evidence is really dramatically prejudicial or doesn't really have a good scientific basis, (judges) usually let it in,'' Goldman said. ''And then you let the lawyers explain what the problems might be.''
Find AP's full coverage on the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse: https://apnews.com/hub/kyle-rittenhouse
Graphene-Based Sensors for Human Health Monitoring
Sat, 13 Nov 2021 01:43
Journal List Front Chem v.7; 2019 PMC6580932 Front Chem. 2019; 7: 399.
1,' Shi Su,
1,2,*' Nan Wu,
1 Hao Wan,
1 Shu Wan,
1 Hengchang Bi,
Litao Sun1,2,3,*Haizhou Huang1SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Lab of MEMS of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center for Micro/Nano Fabrication, Device and System, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
Shi Su1SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Lab of MEMS of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center for Micro/Nano Fabrication, Device and System, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
2Center for Advanced Materials and Manufacture, Southeast University-Monash University Joint Research Institute, Suzhou, China
Nan Wu1SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Lab of MEMS of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center for Micro/Nano Fabrication, Device and System, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
Hao Wan1SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Lab of MEMS of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center for Micro/Nano Fabrication, Device and System, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
Shu Wan1SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Lab of MEMS of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center for Micro/Nano Fabrication, Device and System, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
Hengchang Bi1SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Lab of MEMS of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center for Micro/Nano Fabrication, Device and System, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
3Center for Advanced Carbon Materials, Jiangnan Graphene Research Institute, Southeast University, Changzhou, China
Litao Sun1SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Lab of MEMS of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center for Micro/Nano Fabrication, Device and System, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
2Center for Advanced Materials and Manufacture, Southeast University-Monash University Joint Research Institute, Suzhou, China
3Center for Advanced Carbon Materials, Jiangnan Graphene Research Institute, Southeast University, Changzhou, China
1SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Lab of MEMS of Ministry of Education, Collaborative Innovation Center for Micro/Nano Fabrication, Device and System, Southeast University, Nanjing, China
2Center for Advanced Materials and Manufacture, Southeast University-Monash University Joint Research Institute, Suzhou, China
3Center for Advanced Carbon Materials, Jiangnan Graphene Research Institute, Southeast University, Changzhou, China
Edited by: Yang Zhao, University of Michigan, United States
Reviewed by: Chuangang Hu, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University, United States; Ziyu Wang, Wuhan University, China
This article was submitted to Nanoscience, a section of the journal Frontiers in Chemistry
' These authors have contributed equally to this work
Received 2019 Apr 4; Accepted 2019 May 17.
Copyright (C) 2019 Huang, Su, Wu, Wan, Wan, Bi and Sun.
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
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AbstractSince the desire for real-time human health monitoring as well as seamless human-machine interaction is increasing rapidly, plenty of research efforts have been made to investigate wearable sensors and implantable devices in recent years. As a novel 2D material, graphene has aroused a boom in the field of sensor research around the world due to its advantages in mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. Numerous graphene-based sensors used for human health monitoring have been reported, including wearable sensors, as well as implantable devices, which can realize the real-time measurement of body temperature, heart rate, pulse oxygenation, respiration rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, electrocardiogram signal, electromyogram signal, and electroencephalograph signal, etc. Herein, as a review of the latest graphene-based sensors for health monitoring, their novel structures, sensing mechanisms, technological innovations, components for sensor systems and potential challenges will be discussed and outlined.
Keywords: graphene, sensors, health monitoring, invasive, non-invasive, wearable
IntroductionAs the global population is growing rapidly and the life expectancy of humans is increasing drastically (Vaupel, 2010; Takei et al., 2015), the healthcare system is facing increasing expenses and burdens, requiring governments to find feasible solutions to render adequate medical care without increasing healthcare costs (Pantelopoulos and Bourbakis, 2010). Preventive and personalized medicine approaches (Ng et al., 2009), which change with health status, can be detected and diagnosed early. Disease-risk can also be predicted, and utilized to overcome challenges by increasing the cure rate and survivability of an at-risk population, while minimizing the overall treatment costs (Narayan and Verma, 2016; Tricoli et al., 2017). By periodically or continuously tracking critical signs and biomarkers, health monitoring systems are capable of comprehensively assessing health conditions which can remarkably benefit the diagnosis and diseases treatment along with postoperative rehabilitation, which can significantly reduce the burden of medical systems and improve quality of life (Yao et al., 2017).
As a critical component of health monitoring systems and the interface to the human body, sensors, including wearable and implantable sensors, are able to detect and measure various signals or analytes with high specificity and sensitivity (Narayan and Verma, 2016). Indeed, due to the mechanical mismatch between the human skin (or soft biological tissues) and conventional rigid silicon-based sensors, mechanical flexibility is notably essential for these invasive or non-invasive sensors (Wang et al., 2017). Moreover, several constraints including biocompatibility, reliability, stability, comfort, convenience, miniaturization, costs, and biofouling should also be considered or even traded for location-unlimited, long-term, multifunctional, real-time, unobtrusive, pervasive, affordable health monitoring (Pantelopoulos and Bourbakis, 2010). Furthermore, recent impressive data management and analysis methods, such as Big Data (Murdoch and Detsky, 2013; Bates et al., 2014; Raghupathi and Raghupathi, 2014), and machine learning (Ravi et al., 2017) technology are applied in data handling and effective information mining (Banaee et al., 2013), since a large amount of data can be collected by these sensors (Someya et al., 2016). Consequently, personal data security and privacy should be effectively guaranteed.
Graphene, owing to its extraordinary multiple properties, such as ultrahigh carrier mobility (Novoselov et al., 2004; Weiss et al., 2012), excellent electrical conductivity, superior thermal conductivity (Balandin et al., 2008; Balandin, 2011), large theoretical specific surface area (Zhu et al., 2010), high optical transmittance (Nair et al., 2008), high Young's modulus (Lee et al., 2008a) and outstanding mechanical flexibility (Yang H. et al., 2018), is a promising 2D material in many applications, especially for the development of wearable sensors and implantable devices in health monitoring. Various and multifunctional sensors can be realized, which benefits from the performance diversities of graphene. The advantages of graphene for sensors are summarized as follows: the first point is that the high specific surface area and the atomic thickness of graphene layers render entire carbon atoms directly in contact with analytes, as a result, graphene-based sensors have superior sensitivity compared to silicon (Justino et al., 2017). In addition, conformal, intimate contact with organs of interest such as the skin (Ameri et al., 2016), brain (Park et al., 2017) and eyes (Kim et al., 2017) can be achieved by graphene-based sensors, because of the mechanical flexibility and ultrathin thickness of graphene, which is essential in acquiring high-quality signals without irritation, motion artifacts, or contamination (Ray et al., 2018). Moreover, high optical transparency and electrical conductivity renders graphene an ideal material for bio-tissue observation with clear images and without visual disturbances (Lee et al., 2015). Furthermore, a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) can be achieved in electrophysiological signals recording by the conformal integration and the efficient signal transmission depending on the high electrical conductivity (Ameri et al., 2016). Additionally, the superior performance of graphene in biosensors, such as large specific surface area, convenient functionalization, wide potential window as well as high electron transfer rate, allows receptors such as enzymes, antibodies and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to be efficiently immobilized on the surface of graphene (Szunerits and Boukherroub, 2018). More discussions on the properties, synthesis, characterization, and other applications of graphene and its derivatives have been reported in previous review papers and are not included in this review due to limitations in space (Soldano et al., 2010; Huang M. et al., 2011; Huang X. et al., 2011).
As shown in Figure 1 , a lot of graphene and its derivatives, including graphene oxide (GO), reduced graphene oxide (rGO), and graphene composites based sensors for human health monitoring have been reported, including wearable sensors, and implantable devices, which can realize the real-time measurement of body temperature (Trung and Lee, 2016; Wang et al., 2018a), heart rate (Karim et al., 2017), wrist pulse (Yang et al., 2017; Pang et al., 2018), respiration rate (Boland et al., 2014; Xu et al., 2018c), blood pressure (Pang et al., 2016), blood glucose (Pu et al., 2018), electrocardiogram (ECG) signal (Ameri et al., 2016), electromyogram (EMG) signal (Yun et al., 2017; Sun et al., 2018) and electroencephalograph (EEG) signal (Ameri et al., 2016; Yun et al., 2017), etc.
Brief of graphene-based sensor platform for health monitoring. A major distinction can be made between non-invasive and invasive applications, including wearable sensors for monitoring biophysical, biochemical, environment signals, and implantable devices for nervous, cardiovascular, digestive, locomotor system.
In this review, we start from a brief overview about the importance and urgency of health monitoring, as well as the merits of graphene in sensors and its biocompatibility. Following that, we will focus on the latest graphene-based sensors including invasive and non-invasive health monitoring and their novel structures, sensing mechanisms and technological innovations. Components for sensor systems will also be presented. Finally, potential challenges and future prospects of the graphene-based sensing systems are outlined.
Biocompatibility of GrapheneAlthough graphene-based sensors have received considerable attention in health monitoring and biomedical applications, it is crucial to consider the impact of graphene and its derivatives on human health such as its biocompatibility, toxicity, as well as its potential risks to the environment before graphene is integrated with human skin, particularly when implanted into the human body. Numerous studies have been devoted to graphene-based nanomaterials (GBNs). However, there is still a lack of systematic research on human health or the environmental effects (Dasari Shareena et al., 2018). Indeed, thorough safety assessments are an essential part of novel materials (Park et al., 2017). It should be noted that the term ''grapheme'' in research papers generally describe a series of GBNs including GO, and also rGO (Reina et al., 2017; Fadeel et al., 2018). The number of layers, the average lateral size and the carbon-to-oxygen (C/O) ratio are key parameters to classify graphene in different synthesis methods for convenience, due to the lack of standardized descriptions of GBNs (Wick et al., 2014; Reina et al., 2017). The intrinsic physicochemical characteristics of GBNs, such as dose, shape, purity, surface chemistry, layers, thickness, and lateral size, etc., are largely determined by the extent of toxicity and tend to impact their biodistrubution, translocation to secondary organs, accumulation, degradation as well as clearance (Dasari Shareena et al., 2018; Fadeel et al., 2018). The initial properties and biological behaviors of GBNs altered dynamically after exposure to the immune cells, or biomolecules in the biological environment, which may lead to the degradation or biotransformation. Furthermore, characteristics may change when these GBNs move to other biological milieu over time. Therefore, in-situ assessments are significant for future applications (Tran et al., 2017). In recent years, the toxicity of GBNs has been evaluated in main target organs including the immune system, cardiovascular system, along with various sorts of organisms such as bacteria, plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates etc. in diversified ecosystems. There is evidence that GBNs can cross physiological barriers and reach secondary organs away from the initial entry. However, it is still too early to draw conclusions owning to the scarcity of data and a lack of understanding regarding the long-term accumulation effects (Fadeel et al., 2018).
Skin, the largest organ of human body and the primary barrier to the environment exposure, is an ideal bio-integrating platform with graphene-based wearable sensors for health monitoring (Liu Y. et al., 2017), and is the most likely location for contact with GBNs. However, the dermal effects of GBNs are still in their infancy and there are few studies available on cutaneous toxicity and toxicological data at present (Pelin et al., 2018). The most likely scenario is the skin irritation and an allergic reaction when there is a cutaneous exposure to GBNs, whereas the tendency of its reaction with proteins cannot be ruled out (Kenry et al., 2016). The cytotoxicity toward skin keratinocytes and fibroblasts in-vitro have been investigated in recent studies (Fadeel et al., 2018). One study (Liao et al., 2011) showed that an aggregated graphene sheet had a stronger cytotoxicity to adhere to human skin fibroblasts than reversibly aggregated GO, because of a greater propensity to aggregate. One subsequent study (Pelin et al., 2016) suggested that only high concentrations and a long exposure time to a few layers of graphene (acquired by ball-milling treatment) GO could penetrate human primary keratinocytes as well as harm mitochondrial activity associated with plasma membrane damage, indicating low cytotoxicity toward human keratinocytes together with fibroblasts. Currently an available study (Erf et al., 2017) on dermal effects of GBNs in-vivo, where GO was injected into the dermis of a growing feather of a chicken, provided a minimally invasive model for the assessment of the immune response. The result showed that the infiltration of lymphocytes and macrophages increased at the injected position and then decreased gradually. Therefore, the ability to trigger an immune response after dermal injection aroused concerns about GBNs. However, this study is not really an in-vivo experiment on the cutaneous dermal effects of GBNs, due to the invasive injection. Overall, with only a few available studies at present, the exact toxicity of GBNs after cutaneous exposure or any conclusions on dermal efforts of GBNs, cannot be sufficiently defined.
The implanted materials should have an excellent biocompatibility and low toxicity with humans, as described. Thus, the safety assessment of graphene-based implants is of predominate significance. Since graphene-based implantable sensors are currently mainly utilized in neuroscience, herein we emphasize the effects of GBNs to the central nervous system. Graphene is an attractive material for the implementation of multifunctional brain implantable devices, owing to the unique physicochemical properties including the flexibility, high optical transparency and electrical conductivity. However, the brain cells and neuronal circuits are directly exposed to graphene-based implants (Fadeel et al., 2018).
Early studies (Li et al., 2011; Bendali et al., 2013; Sahni et al., 2013; Tu et al., 2014) have shown that neural cells cultured on planar graphene/positively charged GO surfaces, can survive with remarkable viability, normal neuronal metabolism and morphology, even enhanced adhesion, or improved neurite sprouting, outgrowth as well as branching. However, more recent studies (Bramini et al., 2016; Rauti et al., 2016) have presented that lateral size-related graphene/GO flakes impact on neuronal transmission and network functionality despite having no effect on the cell viability and network formation. While no primary neurons and glial cell death occurs in the long-term exposure to graphene or GO in explanted studies, it has a lateral size-dependent impact on several fundamental physiological processes, which may potentially cause toxicity for chronic exposure. In fact, the restoration of pathological changes in the central nervous system can be exploited by utilizing some characteristics of GBNs. Furthermore, despite in vitro studies with rich data, the impact of GBNs in-vivo on neuronal microcircuits is still lacking. Longstanding assessments are crucial to confirm the biocompatibility and overall safety of the graphene-based neural implants (Kostarelos et al., 2017).
In summary, the current studies on biocompatibility of GBNs are still controversial on account of the high heterogeneity of GBNs on the market and various synthesis methods (Bramini et al., 2018). It should be noted that GBNs may produce a varying extent of potential toxicity to cells associated with a direct interaction with the cell membrane (Syama and Mohanan, 2016). So far, GO is preferred to original graphene for biomedical application, due to its surface chemistry, better solubility and stability in biological fluids (Bramini et al., 2018). Hence, future studies should fine-tune the properties of functionalizing GBNs to acquire selected performance, while avoiding its potentially adverse effects if possible.
To overcome these limitations and to extend the biological applications of GBNs, many graphene-biomacromolecule hybrid materials, such as graphene-biopolymer nanohybrids (achieved by combining GBNs with biocompatible polymers), graphene-polysaccharide nanohybrids (achieved by combining GBNs with biocompatible polysaccharides), have been synthesized to meet the demands of biomedical and pharmaceutical application with enhanced biocompatibility, minimized toxicity, improved solubility as well as stability and even to promote cell proliferation (Liu T.C. et al., 2016; Li et al., 2017). Moreover, a number of green routes have also been proposed to reduce the toxicity in the fabrication of rGO with the utilization of microbes, plant extracts and reducing sugars such as glucose instead of strong chemical reducing agents (Syama and Mohanan, 2016). Additionally, avoiding direct contact between GBNs and the human body and even biological fluids, is also a potential method.
In addition to the biological toxicity and biodegradability, material biodegradability should also be considered and ensured in the event of exfoliation or tear when designing implantable devices (Kostarelos et al., 2017). Furthermore, the antibacterial activity of GBNs have also been highlighted in tissue engineering, which have certain antibacterial or antimicrobial properties and can decrease the threat of bacteria, as GO can be adsorbed by the bacterial cells and its sharp edges can damage the cell membrane, which results in cell damage or death (Liu T.C. et al., 2016; Li et al., 2017). The intracellular oxygen partial pressure is also altered by GO, which results in oxidative damage of the intracellular substances, destruction of the cell internal composition and ultimately cell death. As the most effective antibacterial agents among GBNs, GO and rGO are deemed as a superb material for the synthesis of innovative antibacterial agents (Liu et al., 2011).
Current ApplicationsTwo main areas for graphene-based sensors are currently being pursued: non-invasive (wearable) sensors and invasive (implantable) devices. This section provides an overview of diversified applications of graphene-based sensors, both through non-invasive and invasive means for health monitoring.
Non-invasive SensorsNon-invasive health monitoring sensors, typically wearable sensors and electronic artificial skin (e-skin), which do not tend to infiltrate and break in the skin or tissue when detecting vital signals and biomarkers, include a wide range of biosensors for biophysical, biochemical, and environmental signals. This section summarizes the graphene-based non-invasive sensors that graphene and its derivatives provide as the foundation of these systems, through the discussion of a number of the most significant and latest reported sensors for continuous, real-time monitoring of critical parameters for human health.
Biophysical Signals Electrophysiological measurement The active cells or tissues (such as human body and animal tissues), produce regular electrical phenomena, whether in a static state or an active state. This regular electrical phenomenon is known a bioelectrical signal. As for the mechanism of bioelectric signals, it is predominantly a transmembrane flow of ions, which includes a resting potential (RP) and action potential (AP). For static potential, a potential difference between the inside and outside of the cell membrane, is a discrepancy led by an uneven distribution of sodium and potassium ions on both sides of the cell membrane. The different cells' RP is disparate: nerve cell (''86 mV), ventricular myocyte (-90 to 80 mV), purkinje fiber (''100 to 90 mV), sinus node cell (''70 to 40 mV). The active potential, is produced when the cell is stimulated and excited from the outside. A series of transient changes will occur in the membrane potential at the stimulated site, with an initial increase in membrane potential followed by a gradual recovery to resting potential. Clinical bioelectric signals can commonly be gathered by electrodes and becomes an electrocardiogram (ECG), electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyography (EMG), electroretinogram (EOG) after appropriate treatment such as amplification, filtering and post-treatment.
As a vital electrical signal representing the state of human body, it has been utilized in various fields including mobile health care, cognitive psychology and human-machine interactions (Evenson et al., 2015; Steinhubl et al., 2015). However, due to their common mode noise, feeble value and high contact impedance, accurate signal acquisition becomes a prerequisite for signal analysis. Hence, the quality of the electrodes plays a momentous role in measuring the bioelectrical signal. Indeed, bioelectrical electrode sensors should have a broad dynamic range, accuracy, high SNR, low impedance, robustness, durability, and outstanding repeatability among deformation ranges. Nevertheless, existing bio-electrodes are strained by various aspects, i.e., it is expensive to manufacture and has inferior contact with skin. This leads to no guarantee of a stable signal acquisition when a human is in kinetic state. In other words, this limits the real-time collection of bioelectrical signals. With the development of the wearable biometric sensors, there are plentiful and innovate solutions for real-time, high fidelity, low impedance, as well as high SNR for bioelectrical signal acquisition.
In order to obtain accurate, reliable, real-time bioelectric signals, bioelectric electrodes should have excellent mechanical and electrical properties. All the properties of graphene and its derivatives meet the performance requirements of biological electrodes. For instance, graphene is the thinnest conductive medium, it is mechanically robust, biocompatible, and electrochemically stable (Lee et al., 2008b; Nair et al., 2008; Geim, 2009; Pinto et al., 2013; Ameri et al., 2014, 2016). In addition, Graphene and its derivatives are convenient easily shaped into varying types of structures, and this property enhances the practical value of graphene.
Graphene-based bioelectrical electrodes with different composite materials and structures have been achieved efficiently through various types of electrodes, as shown in Figure 2 . These bioelectrical electrodes have significant merits including excellent mechanical properties, flexibility, outstanding electrical properties, low contact resistance, and high SNR. Since the conventional tattoo-like epidermal sensors were made of thin metal films, and silicon membrane, Kabiri Ameri et al. (2017) proposed a cost- and time-effective method called ''wet transfer, dry patterning'' to fabricate the graphene electronic tattoo (GET). This innovative sensor had a thickness of 463 ± 30 nm, a stretchability of more than 40%, excellent adhesion with skin via just van der Waals forces and permeability with the open-mesh structure. Later, the GET sensor was successfully suitable for obtaining the various bioelectrical signals containing ECG, EEG, EMG ( Figures 2A''E ). Because the epidermal devices were fabricated using high-cost methods, which included intricate vacuum microfabrication processes, this peculiarity-imposed restrictions on the widespread adoption of wearable electronics. Yun et al. (2017) proposed a low-cost, solution-based method employing rGO and porous polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to fabricate high-performance bioelectrodes. These graphene bioelectrodes had super stretchability with a maximum strain of 150%, excellent durability up to 5,000 cycles of compression and a low sheet resistance of about 1.5 kÎ(C) per square, which showed the potential for low-cost processing and rage-scale application for future wearable electronic skin. Concerning comfort, the most up-to-date electronic devices are made of materials that limit its gas permeability. This characteristic constrained perspiration evaporation and thus brought sequentially adverse physiological and psychological effects. In addition, for widespread use, the device fabrication process should not contain E-beam or photolithography, etching, thin-film deposition or other complex procedures. Sun et al. (2018) proposed multifunctional on-skin electrodes in which the laser-patterned porous graphene plays the role of an active component, while a sugar-templated silicone elastomer sponge plays the role of a substratum. This multipurpose electrode exhibited high water-vapor permeability (18 mg cm''2.h''1), high water-wicking rates (1 cm/30 s). With such characters, the devices would exhibit excellent air permeability and minimize the inflammation risks to improve long-term feasibility ( Figures 2F,G ). All these biophysical signals can be measured by graphene-based bioelectrical electrodes including EEG, ECG, EOG, EMG. In essence, their strategy principles are the same.
Schematic diagram and its test diagram of graphene-based bioelectrical electrode. Magnified photographs of a GET on compressed (A) and stretched (B) skin. (C) EMG sensing on the forearm with the GET and gel electrodes. (D) EEG sensing on the forehead with both the GET and gel electrodes. (E) ECG measured synchronously by the GET and gel electrodes. Adapted with permission from Kabiri Ameri et al. (2017). (F) Optical images of the as-made on-skin bioelectronics sensing systems (G) Sensor mounting on skin. Adapted with permission from Sun et al. (2018).
Kinematic detection In recent years, numerous efforts have been made to develop flexible and stretchable sensors for human motion detecting and monitoring. The dynamic motions and physical activities at different sites of the human body could generate a wide range of crucial signals from daily exercise monitoring to clinical diagnosis, such as movement disorders, respiratory disorders, blood pressure and athletic performance tracking (Trung et al., 2015), which could be captured by highly sensitive pressure, tactile or strain sensors with conformal integration for continuous monitoring. Various structures and sensing materials are utilized to achieve flexible, highly sensitive pressure, tactile, and strain sensors. Diverse sensing mechanisms, such as piezoresistive, piezocapacitive, piezoelectric, piezophototronic and triboelectric types, are employed for skin-integrated flexible sensors, according to different functional materials. Among these sensing mechanisms piezoresistive and piezocapacitive designs that measure the resistance and capacitance changes, respectively, are generally used owing to their facile designs and direct data acquisition (Ray et al., 2018). This emphasizes the advances made in highly sensitive pressure, tactile and strain sensors, using graphene as a sensing material.
The pressure generated by human dynamic motions and physical activities can be divided into three different pressure regimes: a low-pressure regime (< ~10 kPa, such as gentle touch), medium-pressure regime (10''100 kPa, such as heart rate, blood pressure wave) and a high-pressure regime (>100 kPa, such as sole pressure caused by body weight) (Mannsfeld et al., 2010; Lu et al., 2012), among which the medium-pressure regime has been developed most. Indeed, pressure sensors should have a broad dynamic range, high sensitivity, linearity, rapid response, robustness, durability, and good repeatability, among which sensitivity and pressure ranges are the two most important parameters (Huang et al., 2018; Yang H. et al., 2018). The gauge factor (GF), the relative change in resistance (Î--R/R0) divided by applied force (Îµ), is a significant metric of sensor performance (Lu et al., 2012). Furthermore, several trade-offs are mostly required in sensor designs, such as sensitivity, mechanical stretchability, high and wide working linearity (Pang et al., 2018; Ray et al., 2018; Xia et al., 2018).
Graphene and its derivatives have been commonly used in pressure sensors because of their significant piezoresistive performance and easy handling into varied structures (Yang H. et al., 2018). In recent years, graphene-based flexible pressure sensors with different composite materials and structures have been achieved through their excellent sensing properties (Lv et al., 2017). Diverse methods that use different conduction mechanisms, such as a millefeuille-like architecture, lotus-leaf-like hierarchical structures, graphene elastomer, nanowires/graphene heterostructures, spinosum microstructure, foam, and sparkling blocks have been suggested for heartbeat/wrist pulse monitoring, radial artery monitoring, respiration, phonation/acoustic waves, walking states, finger bending, wrist blood pressure and facial expressions, etc. (Pang et al., 2016, 2018; Chen Z. et al., 2017; Coskun et al., 2017; Huang et al., 2018; Kou et al., 2018; Shi et al., 2018). These methods will contribute to the increased sensitivity of these pressure sensors. However, their cumbersome fabrication and high production costs may limit their applications to some extent.
Recently, several piezoresistive graphene-based pressure sensors with different composite materials and architectures have been developed, which have significant merits including high sensitivity, a broad detection range, low power consumption and facile signal read-out (Chen S. et al., 2017). Since the conventional planar structure piezoresistive pressure sensors suffer from poor sensitivity and are unable to detect in low-pressure regimes, an available approach is based on the employment of micro-structured, micro-patterned and porous-structured sensing materials. Huang et al. (2018) proposed an innovative approach to fine-tune and enhance the sensitivity of pressure sensors by utilizing a millefeuille-like multilayer architecture of rGO intercalated by covalently tethered molecular pillars as a sensing material, which had low cost production, facile fabrication, low operating voltage (0.2 V) and compatibility with printed electronics solutions ( Figures 3A,B ). This pressure sensor exhibited a sensitivity of 0.82 kPa''1, response time (24 ms), low detection limit (7 Pa), high durability (over 2,000 times) and robustness, which can be implemented to monitor wrist pulse and carotid artery pulse for an arterial stiffness diagnosis. Additionally, bioinspired by a high-performance force sensing structure of the epidermis tissue in human skin, Pang et al. (2018), developed a pressure sensor with a random height distribution spinosum microstructure using a simple and low-cost fabrication process, which employed abrasive paper as a template due to the similar topography to epidermis and graphene as a sensing material. Since the effective interlocking of random distribution spinosum layers and sharp morphology, a more homogeneous pressure distribution was achieved compared to the other regular morphologies including the pyramid and hemisphere, which led to a sensitivity of 25.1 kPa''1 in a linear range of 0''2.6 kPa. This pressure sensor can be employed to detect the wrist pulse and walking states, monitor the heart rate and respiration states and recognize the voice and phonation signals ( Figures 3C''E ).
The mechanism and application of flexible graphene-based pressure sensors. (A) Schematic illustration of the inner structure change of the functionalized graphene upon loading pressure. (B) Image of radial artery pulse and carotid artery pulse detection assembled by adhesive bandage. Adapted with permission from Huang et al. (2018). (C) 3D morphology of the graphene pressure sensor using abrasive paper. (D) Photograph and schematic illustration of circuit model corresponding to light loading. (E) Photograph of the sensor put on the heel of the foot (left) and illustration of foot states for supination, neutral, pronation (middle) and photograph of pressure sensors fixed on the insole (right). Adapted with permission from Pang et al. (2018). (F) Pressure response of a PTNWs/G transistor under a pressure pulse. (G) Photograph of the measurement for wrist pulses. Adapted with permission from Chen Z. et al. (2017). (H) Schematic description of a 3 3 graphene tribotronic array. Adapted with permission from Khan et al. (2016).
However, several micro-structure graphene-based piezoresistive pressure sensors may suffer from cumbersome and expensive fabrication processes, as an alternative, a piezoelectric pressure sensor is applied. Graphene has presented a significant potential for nano-electromechanical systems such as the negative piezoconductive effect of mono-layer graphene (Huang X. et al., 2011; Chen Z. et al., 2017). The piezoelectric effect, which alters mechanical energy into electrical signals due to the occurrence of electrical dipole moments when mechanical force is applied, has been applied in pressure sensors for sensing dynamic signals and shows a great potential in implementing self-powered sensors. Nevertheless, a number of limitations exist for the piezoelectric pressure sensors including performance degradation, unreliable static response, and a pyroelectric effect which is a confounding factor in sensing. Moreover, piezoelectric sensors are not usually chosen because of their lower pressure sensitivities (Mannsfeld et al., 2010; Huang et al., 2018). Since these piezoelectric-induced pressure sensors face challenges in measuring static signals because the output voltage generated by the piezoelectric materials is an impulsive signal, which could only be observed when driven by the piezopotential from dynamic stress, Chen S. et al. (2017), proposed a nanowires/graphene heterostructures piezoelectric pressure sensor for static measurements with mechanisms that strain-induced polarization charges in piezoelectric nanowires, which can work as charged impurities and impact the carrier mobility in graphene, which is employed an uncomplicated fabrication method. This piezoelectric pressure sensor with enhanced sensitivity (9.4 10''3 kPa''1), a fast response time (5''7 ms), was applied to monitor the radial artery of a human ( Figures 3F,G ).
Tribotronics has also recently been utilized for pressure sensors, which the charges transport in a FET, coupled with the extrinsic stimulation through triboelectrification (Chen Z. et al., 2017). Graphene with ambipolar transport behaviors is a desirable material for the fabrication of triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG), since the carrier transport can be modulated by either of the triboelectric potential (positive or negative) due to contact electrification between two materials. Khan et al. (2016), proposed a graphene tribotronic touch sensor consisting of a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) graphene FET and a single-electrode-mode TENG integrated in a coplanar fashion. This sensor exhibited a touch-sensing performance with a detection limit (< 1 kPa), a sensitivity of 2% kPa''1, a response time of 30 ms, and low power consumption (180 Î¼W), which provided a great significance for e-skins ( Figure 3H ).
A piezocapacitive sensing mechanism is another prevalent path for pressure sensors due to their higher sensitivity, lower hysteresis, and lower power consumption (Chen S. et al., 2017; Ray et al., 2018). However, by miniaturizing the sensing unit of the capacitive pressure sensors, the effect of parasitic capacitance is increased when it is close to the capacitance of each unit and more susceptible to the ambient, which leads to the low SNR. Because of its high flexibility, excellent electrical conductivity, and large surface area, graphene and its conductive elastomers have been employed as both the dielectric materials and electrodes (Wan et al., 2017). Kou et al. (2018) proposed a flexible capacitive pressure sensor that consisted of graphene/polydimethylsiloxane (Gr/PDMS) dielectric layer, PDMS substrate, the wrinkled Au electrode and antenna, which showed the sensitivity of 0.24 kPa''1 in the low-pressure regime (0''10 kPa) and 0.0078 kPa''1 in the high-pressure regime (10''100 kPa). This sensor also exhibited a low detection limit of 5 Pa, and a response time of 67 ms, which could be employed to detect subtle pressures such as facial expressions and hand bending.
Flexible strain sensors, which measure the deformation of objects (Lu et al., 2012), should have a desirable performance, such as a high sensitivity, superb stretchability, stability, durability, linearity, fast response, and high SNR among other criteria. Among these features, sensitivity and stretchability that are determined by the threshold sensing level and working range without damage, respectively, are the two significant parameters that commonly require a trade-off between them. It is essential to maintain conductivity for the sensing material in order to achieve a wide range of strain (Xu et al., 2018c). As described previously, GF is also a significant metric of strain sensor performance. Graphene can be employed as piezoresistive strain sensors, not only due to its excellent strain sensitivity, and mechanical properties, but also changes in the electronic band structure and the resistance of graphene. Indeed, the hexagonal structure near the edge of the graphene film would partially be damaged when tensile strain is applied (Zang, 2013). Thus, many demonstrations have been presented on graphene-based piezoresistive strain sensors. However, the perfect graphene for strain sensing has a low sensitivity owing to its sensing mechanism that the zero bandgap can be opened under high tensile strain (23% for uniaxial) (Nair et al., 2008). For increasing the sensitivity of graphene-based strain sensors, several structural innovations have been developed recently, such as using aerogel, graphene textile, fiber yarns, porous structure/foam, fish-scale-like structures, woven fabrics, films, spring like mesh, grid-patterns, graphene/glycerol-KCl networks, liquid forms, piezopotential-gated coplanar graphene transistors, gels, as well as mazelike networks, etc., for pulse/heart rate/blood pressure monitoring, vocal cord vibration/swallowing/acoustic wave, human body motion monitoring including gesture recognition, joint bending, facial expressions, muscle movements, etc. (Lu et al., 2012; Zang, 2013; Sun et al., 2015; An et al., 2016; Liu Q. et al., 2016; Lou et al., 2016; Cai et al., 2017; Lee et al., 2017; Wan et al., 2017, 2018; Kou et al., 2018; Liu C. et al., 2018; Ma et al., 2018; Shi et al., 2018; Souri and Bhattacharyya, 2018; Wu et al., 2018; Xu et al., 2018a,b,c; Yang Z. et al., 2018; Yuan et al., 2018; Yu et al., 2018; Zhang et al., 2018). The presence of these graphene-based strain sensors indicate a promising solution to home health monitoring and point-of-care testing (POCT) devices.
The majority of flexible strain sensors are based on nano-sheets or network structures as sensing elements. Therefore, Liu C. et al. (2018) developed a liquid-state-based wearable strain sensor with a graphene/glycerol/potassium chloride (graphene/Gly-KCl) ionic conductor as the sensing element and Ecoflex as the encapsulant. As a deformable Gly-KCl ionic conductor combined with cracked graphene sheets in conductive path, this sensor showed a stretchability of 300%, a gauge factor of 25.2, and a response time of 80 ms, which could be utilized to monitor large-scale and subtle human motions including joint movement, facial expressions and pulses ( Figures 4A,B ). Additionally, Xu et al. (2018c) reported a novel highly stretchable and durable strain sensor based on rGO/DI (deionized water) sensing liquids and Ecoflex rubber with a facile, low-cost and scalable process, with rGO foams mixed with DI and packaged by rubber. The sensing mechanism was based on reversible micro-contact among rGO nano-foams in the sensing fluid, which led to the resistance changes when stretching or compressing deformations were applied. This strain sensor showed both stretching and compressing properties (maximum GF of 31.6 and pressure sensitivity of 0.122 kPa''1), a sensing range up to 400% in strain and 87 kPa in pressure, a low limit of detection (0.1% strain), superb reliability and stability (>15,000 cycles for pressuring and >10,000 cycles for stretching), distinguishing capability between compression, tensile deformation and reusability. This sensor could be utilized to monitor varied human-motions such as drinking, phonation, wrist bending and fist clenching, along with distinguishing stretching signals from pressing signals ( Figures 4C,D ). Since human skin is relatively rough with dermatoglyph, although tape-fixation may work to some extent, it is challenging to gain an ultra-conformal contact with skin. For this purpose, Wan et al. (2018) developed an ultra-conformal, biodegradable strain sensor with a simple, low-cost, double transfer process based on a commercial make-up accessory (nose film) and graphene as the substrate and active materials, respectively. The sensing mechanism is based on the sliding of the nanosheets in fish-scale like graphene layers under an applied strain. This sensor showed a strong adhesion (a peel-off strength 29.4 N.m''1), a high sensitivity (gauge factor, GF: 502), a rapid response (54 ms), as well as a skin-level stretchability (35%), which could monitor the vital physiological signals including vocal cord movements, jugular venous pulses and radial artery waves, enabling human-machine interaction ( Figures 4E''H ). Yang Z. et al. (2018) fabricated a close-fitting and wearable graphene textile strain sensor with the employment of thermally reduced GO dyed polyester fabric, which had a negative resistance when the applied strain was increased. In addition, this sensor exhibited a high sensitivity (GF = ''26, strain range 8%, y-direction/GF = ''1.7, strain range 15%, x-direction), high stability and comfort, which could be incorporated into clothing to monitor subtle and large human motions ( Figures 4I,J ). Cai et al. (2017) developed an all-carbon nanoarchitecture strain sensor based on 3D graphene foam and carbon nanotubes (3D-Graphene/CNTs), which showed a GF of 35, high stretchability (up to 85%), excellent SNR, and which could be easily mounted on human skin for real-time monitoring of human motions and even for acoustic vibration recognition ( Figures 4K,L ). A summary of graphene-based pressure and strain sensors is presented in Table 1 .
The preparation, mechanism, and application of flexible graphene-based strain sensors. (A) Schematic of process for fabricating the Gly-KCl based strain sensor. (B) Schematics illustrating the electron pathway in the strain sensor in the initial state and with applied strain. Adapted with permission from Liu C. et al. (2018). (C) Schematic of the cross-section of the strain sensor based on rGO/DI sensing liquids and Ecoflex rubber. (D) Photographs of the strain sensor under bending, torqueing and stretching. Adapted with permission from Xu et al. (2018c). (E) Photograph of the nose film on skin with graphene pattern under compression. (F) Optical microscopy images of the substrate. (G) The set of commands consisting of bending different fingers for human-machine interaction. (H) Photograph of playing a video game with the movement of the bar being controlled by appropriately bending the corresponding finger. Adapted with permission from Wan et al. (2018). (I) SEM image of the graphene textile and entire wire in the x-direction. (J) Detection of various human motions in different sensing locations using the wearable graphene textile strain sensor. Adapted with permission from Yang Z. et al. (2018). (K) Photograph of the bended strain sensor and SEM image of 3DGF/CNTs percolation networks. (L) Photograph of the 5 5 array of the 3DGF/CNT networked strain sensor. Adapted with permission from Cai et al. (2017).
Table 1Graphene-based pressure sensors and strain sensors.
Sensing materialsType§Sensing mechanism' Detecting range (kPa/%)Sensitivity (kPa''1)/GFResponse time (ms)Detection limit (Pa)ReferencesMille-feuille assembly of rGOPPR.0''0.60.82247Huang et al., 2018Graphene/PDMS filmPPR.0''251.2/5Shi et al., 2018Spinosum microstructure rGOPPR.0''2.625.1120'¤16Pang et al., 2018Graphene porous network/PDMSP/SPR.0''10.09 25.6100 //Pang et al., 2016Air''bubbled graphene blockPPR.0''0.12229.8//Lv et al., 2017MXene/rGO aerogelPPR.1''3.522.56< 20010Ma et al., 20183D Graphene/PDMS hollow structurePPR.0''6015.91.2/Luo et al., 2017Wrinkled graphene film/PVA nanowiresPPR.3''1028.34872.24Liu W. et al., 2018Fingerprint''like 3D graphene filmPPR.0''0.2110< 300.2Xia et al., 2018rGO paperPPR.0''2017.2120/Tao et al., 2017CNTs/graphene/PDMSPPR.< 0.319.816.70.6Jian et al., 2017Graphene/GO composite filmPPR.0''9000.0002''0.0012//Liu S. et al., 2017Graphene/porous AlxOy membranePPR.0.3''1.5 1.5''4.56.92 0.14/~300Chen W. et al., 2017rGO/PVDF''(TrFe) nanofibersPPR.20''6015.651.2Lou et al., 2016Vanadium nitride-graphenePPR.2''1040130/Yu et al., 2018Micro''patterned graphene/PDMSPPC.0''10 10''1000.24 0.0078< 1005Kou et al., 2018GO foamPPC.0''10.81000.24Wan et al., 2017PbTiO3 nanowires/graphenePPE.0''1.49.4 10''35''7/Chen Z. et al., 2017Graphene FET/triboelectricPTE.0''100.0230< 1Khan et al., 2016Graphene/polyester fabricSR.x''axis: 0''15%GF = ''1.7//Yang Z. et al., 2018y''axis: 0''8%GF = ''26Fiber/GNP/carbon blackSR.0''60%GF = 1.46''5.62209/Souri and Bhattacharyya, 2018Porous rGO filmSR.0.25''0.75%GF = 282.2//Xu et al., 2018b3D graphene foam/CNTsSR.0''85%GF = 3530/Cai et al., 2017Graphene/nose filmSR.0.8''35%GF = 50254/Wan et al., 2018Fish''scale''like rGO filmSR.0''82%GF = 16.2''150/0.1%Liu Q. et al., 2016Graphene woven fabricsSR.0''2%GF = 500//Yang et al., 20172''6%GF = 103>8%GF = 106rGO/acetylcellulose filmSR.0.17''0.43%GF = 208150/Xu et al., 2018aGF = 495Graphene/polymer springlike meshP/SR.80 0''110%72 GF = 0.37/1.38 0.1%Yuan et al., 2018rGO/deionized waterP/SR.87 0''400%0.122 GF = 31.660.3/Xu et al., 2018c0.1%Grid''patterned graphene nanoplateletSR.5%, 10%''25%GF = 301.61''29631100/Lee et al., 2017Graphene/Glycerol''KCl solutionSR.0''300%GF = 25.280/Liu C. et al., 2018graphene /PVDF''(TrFE) transistorsSPE0''0.12% 0.12''0.3%GF = 389 GF = 69/0.008%Sun et al., 2015Graphene/PAAM/PVP/ethylene glycol (EG) organogelSR.0''9,200% 9,200''10,500%GF = 0.8 GF = 2.3160/Zhang et al., 2018Mazelike vertical graphene filmSPR.120% 55%GF = 32.6 GF = 88.4960/Wu et al., 2018Thermometer Warm-blooded animals are a long-term evolution of cold-blooded animals, while human beings are typical representatives. From a physiological point of view, monitoring human body temperature is of great significance as it reflects the body's metabolic level. For sick and injured patients, body temperature can be introduced to assess recovery rate. For athletes, it can provide a reference for their training and competition arrangements (Sahatiya et al., 2016). Usually people only measure body temperature when they are unwell. However, continuous body temperature monitoring is receiving increased attention. For instance, body temperature is related to our biological clock and can be utilized to research human being's sleeping patterns. To meet the requirements above, temperature sensors should have biocompatibility, high thermal responsivity, stability, reproducibility, linearity, and if possible, optical transparency, stretchability and mechanical flexibility (Trung et al., 2014). Usually the principle of a resistive temperature sensor is the resistance of sensitive material changes with temperature alteration, as the relationship between resistance and temperature is the sensitivity (Wang et al., 2018a). To obtain more precise data and to maintain timely measurements, a real-time monitoring technique is required. Consequently, wearable solutions have been proposed.
The thermal properties of graphene, such as thermal conductivity, has captured the attention of many researchers. Compared to metals and carbon nanotubes, graphene has a higher thermal conductivity which is promising in thermal applications and energy storage fields. With the techniques of fabricating complex graphene structures in microscales and nanoscales, graphene is becoming an excellent candidate for temperature sensors due to its great electronic properties, remarkable mechanical strength and high thermal conductivity (Davaji et al., 2017). In recent years, various graphene-based temperature sensors emerged, which attracted widespread attention. Trung et al. (2018) proposed wearable temperature sensors fabricated by freestanding single reduction graphene oxide (rGO), of which the resistance is dependent on temperature. These sensors do solve many problems like real-time monitoring, stretchability, transparency, thermal conductivity and so on, however, the complex fabrication steps and high cost limit its widespread use.
Recently, several graphene composite sensors with different materials have been reported, which have a stable sensing performance under deformation of the sensor, high sensitivity and long duration. Wang et al. (2018a) developed a stretchable temperature sensor consisting of a cellular graphene/PDMS composite. The desired structure of the sensor was fabricated using 3-D printing technology, which forms long-range ordered and precisely controlled cellular microstructures, including grid, triangular, and hexagonal porous structures.
With these porous structures to share the external strain, the composites show better sensitivity than solid composites. For instance, the grid structure shows only a 15% sensitivity decrease at a large tensile strain of 20%. As the next generation of wearable devices may need to be integrated into clothes, Trung et al. (2018) developed fiber-based wearable temperature sensors using freestanding single reduction graphene oxide (rGO) fiber. In addition, the thermal index was tunable by using wet spinning and by controlling the GO's reduction time. This sensor has a fast response time (7 s), good recovery time (20 s) and high responsivity to temperature. When a deformation occurs, the response will be maintained. As the sensor is fiber-based, it can be conveniently integrated into socks or undershirts and can monitor body temperature in real time.
Biochemical Signals Although measuring biophysical signals offers a window into the health status of human body, there are a lot of limitations for a comprehensive assessment, which commonly requires further considerations of biochemical signals. In addition, traditional biochemical measurements utilize costly biochemical analytical instruments with trained personnel in centralized laboratory facilities, which involve sampling (a biofluid, commonly blood), pretreatment, and further analysis by professional instruments for identifying and quantifying the concentrations of biochemical markers of interest (Ray et al., 2018). Moreover, conventional testing is typically invasive, expensive, complicated and time consuming. Accordingly, there are increasing requirements in cost-effective, continuous, non-invasive, real-time, portable wearable biochemical sensing devices for fast, point-of-care detection to address these constraints.
Biochemical sensors are extremely promising for wearable health monitoring owing to their high specificity, rapidity, portability, low price and power consumption. The primary sensing mechanisms of a classic biochemical sensor are as follows: a receptor such as an enzyme, antibody, DNA or whole cell is employed for specific recognition of the target analyte in the samples and generates physicochemical signals. Then the transducer, such as an electrochemical, optical and mechanical transducer translates the signal into an electrical, optical signal that can be quantified (Kim et al., 2019). Currently available biochemical sensors on the market, such as blood glucose test strips, have been widely applied for blood analysis and require blood sampling through an invasive, painful process, especially for infants, the elderly and diabetics, which also carries the potential risk of infection or being unsuitable for high sampling rates in continuous monitoring. As an alternative to blood, biofluids such as sweat, saliva, tears and interstitial fluid (ISF), can be readily sampled in a non-invasive, user-friendly manner without breaking the protecting layer of the skin and contacting blood, which contain a wealth of health-related biochemical targets and show the potential for health monitoring. For instance, the concentration of chloride, lactate and glucose in sweat can be utilized, respectively, to screen for cystic fibrosis in infants, identify the beginning of pressure-induced ischemia and the transition between an aerobic and anaerobic state during physical activities (Ray et al., 2018), as well as detect blood glycemic transitions for diabetes management (Kim et al., 2019). Wearable biochemical sensors render an approach to non-invasive, continuous, real-time, routine monitoring of biomarkers in these biofluids for the management of chronic diseases and for monitoring abnormal and unforeseen situations. However, challenges exist before practical utilization can occur, including a deep understanding of the analyte correlations, proportionality between biofluids and blood biochemical composition, physiology of biofluid secretion, physiological variance among individuals, lag, scope, validation, stability, accuracy, sample volumes, secretion rates, filtration, active analyte channels, variable pH and salinity, analyte breakdown, and storage, etc. (Heikenfeld et al., 2019). Although there has been rapid progress in wearable biochemical sensors technology in recent years, commercially successful applications remain elusive for biochemical analytes beyond glucose, which are still in their infancy for wearable biochemical sensors to improve the performance of sensors and quality of life. Additionally, the majority of electrochemical biosensors are utilized in vitro to detect the analytes in metabolites, blood or artificial serum, therefore, biosensors for real-time measurements in-vivo should be a priority in the future.
The superior performance of graphene in biochemical sensors, such as large specific surface area, facile modification, wide potential window, high electron transfer rate, high charge-carrier mobility and low electrical noise levels, allows highly sensitive detection, efficient receptor immobilization, easy interaction with biomolecules, promotion of electron transfer between the reagents and graphene, etc. (Justino et al., 2017; Szunerits and Boukherroub, 2018). Compared with conventional carbon electrode based sensors, graphene-based biochemical sensors show better performance, including sensitivity, limits of detection (LOD) and response time. Thus, a number of graphene-based biochemical sensors have been demonstrated in health monitoring, including the detection of electrolytes (i.e., sodium, potassium and calcium, etc.) and metabolites (i.e., lactate and glucose, etc.) in biofluids such as sweat, ISF, saliva or tears, the monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the exhaled breath (i.e., acetone, ethanol, and ammonia) and other biochemical targets (i.e., heavy metals, ketamine, bacteria, and neurotransmitter, etc.). The flexible graphene-based non-invasive sensors for detection of biomarkers in biofluids are shown in Table 2 .
Table 2Graphene-based flexible non-invasive biochemical sensors' .
Sensing materialsAnalyte sampleWearable platform/Sensing MechanismSensitivityDetection rangeDetection limitReferencesGraphene/GOx/CATGlucose in tearsContact lens/ElectroChem22.72%/mM0.1~0.9 mM12.57 Î¼MPark J. et al., 2018Graphene/GOxGlucose in tearsContact lens/ElectroChem/1 Î¼M~ 10 mM1 Î¼MKim et al., 2017Prussian blue/gold-doped graphene-hybrid/GOxGlucose in sweatPatch/ElectroChem/10 Î¼M~ 0.7 mM10 Î¼MLee et al., 2016Pt nanoparticles-graphene hybrid/hydrogel/GOxGlucose in ISFPatch/ElectroChem37 Î¼A mM''1.cm''26 Î¼M~ 0.7 mM0.76 Î¼MLipani et al., 2018PtAuNP/ rGO/CHIT/GOxGlucose in sweatPatch/ElectroChem48 Î¼A mM''1.cm''20~2.4 mM5 Î¼MXuan et al., 2018bPtAuNP/3D porous LIG/AgNW/GOxGlucose in sweatPatch/ElectroChem6.4 Î¼A mM''1.cm''20~1.1 mM5 Î¼MXuan et al., 2018aAu nanowrinkles/rGO/polyurethaneGlucose in sweatPatch/ElectroChem140 Î¼A mM''1.cm''21 Î¼M ~1 mM500 nMToi et al., 2019Electroreduced graphene oxide/cortisol and lactate antibodiesCortisolIn sweat/salivaPatch/ElectroChem/0.1~200 ng.mL''10.1 ng.mL''1Tuteja et al., 2018Lactate0.5~25 mM0.1 mMAmino-functionalized graphene paper/Cu3(btc)2 nanocubesLactateIn sweatPatch/ElectroChem29 Î¼A mM''1.cm''20.05~22.6 mM5 Î¼MWang et al., 2018bGlucose5.36 mA mM''1.cm''20.05 ~1.776 Î¼M30 nMAu and Co3O4 modified SGGTs/GOx/CHIT and SGGTs/BSA/CHITGlucoseIn tearsAs prepared/ElectroChem/100 nMXiong et al., 2018Uric acidAOx/graphene platelets/PS-b-PAAAscorbic acidIn tear filmStrip/ElectroChem/5~350 Î¼M4.93 ± 0.53 ng/Î¼LKhan et al., 2017In aqueous humor39.63 ± 4.4 ng/Î¼LGraphene/AMPBacteria in salivaPatch/LC resonant//Single bacteriumMannoor et al., 2012Metabolites Analytes in blood are separated from ISF, saliva, sweat and tears by thin, cell-based barriers, and the ease and route of diffusion are related to the morphology and composition of these barriers, which result in differences in composition. For small molecules (for example, Na+, K+, glucose, and lactate), the ISF concentration is extremely similar to the plasma concentration due to the rapid paracellular diffusion through the capillary walls. On the contrary, for large molecules (such as proteins and lipids), the analyte concentrations in ISF is diluted compare to blood, which are relaxed to molecular weight. However, for saliva and sweat, the paracellular route results in substantial dilution of most analytes. If analyte concentrations change rapidly in the plasma, there is a time delay before the corresponding change occurs in the ISF, saliva, sweat and tears. Although these biofluids contain rich targeted analytes of interest, currently, the majority of studies are focused on monitoring glucose and lactate.
Amperometric methods are utilized in most skin-integrated metabolic sensors owing to their intrinsic sensitivity, selectivity, and facile miniaturization. High sensitivity, conformal integration with targeted tissues are critical for detecting most analytes of interest on account of their low concentrations in these biofluids, which are also capable of preventing irritation and sample contamination. Surface micro-structured electrodes, which commonly exhibit higher catalytic performance in comparison with bulk structures, are leveraged to obtain high sensitivity for monitoring analytes at low concentrations by increasing the surface area, thereby augmenting the loading of reagents and establishing the stable transfer of electrical signals from reagents. Owing to unique physical and electrochemical properties, especially fast electron transfer and superior electrocatalytic activity, graphene can enhance the sensitivity of sensors. However, there is generally a lack of selectively without specific receptors such as enzymes, antibodies or DNA, which specifically bind to target analytes. Therefore, the reliance on labile biological receptors is the primary obstacle to robust biochemical sensors, which deteriorates if exposed to temperatures, pressures, or humidity levels out of the narrow range, or if stored with/without certain chemical species. For these sensors, robust operations are crucial in a relatively uncontrolled environment (i.e., time varying ambient, skin temperatures, oxygen levels, humidity and interfering chemistries, etc.). Thus, to minimize degradation and to promote sensor stability, incorporating multiple biochemical sensors onto a single platform and stabilizers (such as polyelectrolytes and polyols) are employed, whereas the lifetimes of sensors exists (Ray et al., 2018). Herein, graphene-based sensors for glucose monitoring in metabolites are highlighted.
Tears also contain various biomarkers such as glucose, cholesterol, sodium ions, and potassium ions, which can be collected in the contact lens by thoroughly natural means, such as normal secretion and blinking (Farandos et al., 2015). As previously reported, the contact lens sensors can only monitor a single analyte at a time and employ opaque, brittle components as the electronic device, which could obstruct the wearer's view and potentially harm the eye. Moreover, signal measurements with costly and bulky equipment from the contact lens sensors could hinder the wearer in physical activities. Kim et al. (2017) developed a transparent (>91%), stretchable (~25%) and multifunctional wireless contact lens sensor that could monitor the glucose in tear fluid and intraocular pressure simultaneously without crosstalk, by utilizing the RLC circuit. A graphene-silver nanowire hybrid structure served as stretchable, transparent electrodes, resistors and antenna due to its enhanced electrical, mechanical properties without sacrificing transparency. A field-effect transistor (FET) mainly consisted of graphene/glucose oxidase as a channel and graphene-silver nanowire hybrid as a source/drain of electrodes, which responded to glucose in tears. Changes in capacitor that contains silicone elastomer as a dielectric layer and antenna could shift the resonance frequency at ocular hypertension ( Figure 5A ). After that, Park J. et al. (2018) proposed a soft, smart contact lens for real-time, wireless operation in-vivo tests to monitor the glucose concentration in tears with sensing results displayed simultaneously. The main functional devices including the rectifier circuit, a glucose sensor and light-emitting diode (LED) pixel were fixed on the reinforced islands of a hybrid substrate, while the stretchable, transparent antenna and interconnect electrodes made by silver nanofibers were located on elastic regions. The transparent and stretchable antenna with a rectifier droves the LED to display real-time sensing results wirelessly. Glucose oxidase (GOD) and catalase (CAT) was immobilized on the graphene surface with a pyrene linker by the p-p stacking interaction for glucose sensing. Finally, a live rabbit was utilized to tests in-vivo to prove its reliable operation without obvious adverse effects, which demonstrated a potential of the smart contact lenses for non-invasive tear-based health monitoring ( Figure 5B ).
Graphene-based metabolic sensors. (A) Schematic of the wearable contact lens sensor and photograph of integrated onto the eyes of a live rabbit. Adapted with permission from Kim et al. (2017). (B) Schematic of the soft, smart contact lens and operation of this contact lens. Adapted with permission from Park J. et al. (2018). (C) Optical image of the electrochemical sensor array (left), therapeutic array (middle) and the diabetes patch laminated on human skin with perspiration (right). Adapted with permission from Lee et al. (2016). (D) Schematic of generic individual miniature pixel (left) and photographs of array realization (right). Adapted with permission from Lipani et al. (2018).
Sweat has abundant analytes of interest such as glucose. An early example (Lee et al., 2015) proposed a graphene-functionalized stretchable device with transcutaneous drug delivery for sweat-based glucose monitoring and diabetes management. The device employed a soft, stretchable silicone membrane as a substrate and glucose oxidase/Au-doped graphene/Au mesh electrodes as a sensing element. These electrodes increased the surface area, improved electrochemical activity and established efficient electronic routes between the enzyme and the electrode surface, while maintaining the intrinsic softness of graphene. The device could detect glucose concentrations ranging from 10 Î¼M and 0.7 mM in human perspiration with a high sensitivity and electrochemical performance under mechanical deformation (up to a 30% strain). The combined operation of the glucose sensor with other sensors including a potentiometric polyaniline-based pH sensor, a temperature sensor and a humidity sensor (for the pH, temperature calibration of the glucose sensor and monitoring the relative humidity to start glucose sensing, respectively) demonstrated robust performance in glucose sensing. Changes in the sweat glucose concentration are strongly correlated with those in blood with time lags. High glucose concentration detection could activate the embedded heaters to dissolve phase-change material (PCM) and bioresorbable microneedles deliver Metformin transcutaneously, which achieved a closed-loop for treatment of diabetes and showed immense potential for the treatment of chronic diseases ( Figure 5C ). For cases where there is little or no perspiration, sweat-inducing drugs including acetylcholine, pilocarpine, bethanechol, methacholine, and carbachol, can be employed by iontophoresis to induce a partial sweat response for subsequent sensing (Li et al., 2018). Additionally, different sweating rates, volumes as well as the pH of sweat could also affect the measurement.
ISF has been commonly extracted from skin using reverse iontophoresis (RI) via electrosmosis, which causes an ion flow of ISF from within the skin toward the cathode on the skin surface when a small electric field is applied across the skin. As a result, glucose within ISF can be detected and qualified. However, non-invasive, ISF-based continuous glucose monitoring devices commonly require finger-stick calibration after a few days because glucose is extracted randomly, varying across a relatively large area of skin (>3 cm2) and suffers substantial dilution before quantification. In fact, most of the electro-osmotic flow during iontophoresis follows low-resistance, prior pathways with hair follicles. Thus, Lipani et al. (2018) proposed a path-selective, non-invasive, transdermal hydrogel reservoir-based ISF-glucose monitoring pixel array platform. Glucose was extracted from individual, privileged follicular pathways across the skin and then detected via the pixels of the array. The miniaturized individual pixel array comprised an enzyme-encasing gel and CVD graphene decorating platinum nanoparticles on a RI to extract ISF. Graphene was desirable as it could be patterned and integrated on flexible substrates. A 2 2-pixel array was fabricated on a flexible substrate for mammalian skin ex vivo and critical performance of the monitor was evaluated and demonstrated. In-vivo continuous monitoring of glucose in ISF on healthy human subjects demonstrated the ability to continuously track glucose for 6 h with an applied current density of 1 or 2 mA.cm''2. This approach could assure that the ISF-glucose monitoring is not subject to inter- or intra-individual fluctuations in skin characteristics compared with the actual blood glucose concentrations, which paved a way to calibration-free non-invasive glucose monitoring ( Figure 5D ).
Electrolytes Electrolytic sensors, which are mainly based on potentiometry, can also provide useful health information as discussed previously. A classical potentiometric sensor has an ion-selective electrode (ISE) and a reference electrode, in which the ISE potential is proportional to the ion activity complying with the Nernst equation and the reference electrodes (commonly Ag/AgCl) potential is independent of composition. Accordingly, ion activity is proportional to the potential difference between these two electrodes, which is almost the ion concentration. Wearable electrolytic sensors commonly leverage solid-state polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-based ion selective membranes rather than pH-sensitive conducting polymer membrane for pH sensing, in which the ion selective membrane contains an ionophore, ionic additives and a plasticizer for selectivity, charge transport and flexibility. The pH sensitive conducting polymers, such as polyaniline and polypyrrole, etc., have been employed by direct electrodeposition or solution casting onto noble metals or carbon electrodes in conducting polymer-based pH sensors. Signal stability is crucial for potentiometric sensors since tiny drifts in voltage lead to significant errors in the ion concentration. In addition, colorimetric analysis is an alternative for electrolyte detection with no need for a power supply (Li et al., 2018).
Wearable electrolytic sensors with the employment of varied graphene-based structures, such as sheets, flakes, 3D porous, field-effect transistors and nanocomposites, are capable of continuous monitoring of pH (Xuan et al., 2018a; Dang et al., 2019), potassium (He et al., 2017; Yuan et al., 2019), sodium (Ruecha et al., 2017) and chloride (Tseng et al., 2018), etc. The presence of graphene increases the hydrophobicity of the electrode surface, provides a high surface area, excellent conductivity, electrocatalytic activity and accelerates the electron transportation during ion exchange between an electrode and the solution.
Volatile biomarker gases Despite the metabolites and electrolytes detection, the volatile biomarker gases also contain vital information. For example, detecting the ammonia from human breath gases can diagnose helicobacter pylori infections in the stomach; measuring exhaled NO can diagnose asthma (Tricoli et al., 2017; Xu et al., 2018a). Nearly 2600 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from breath, skin, urine and blood have been found to be vital auxiliary diagnostic references. Therefore, clinical diagnostics with the help of the precise measurement of VOCs yielded by human metabolism is an emerging approach. However, the key obstacle for accurate detection of VOCs is that extreme high selectivity and sensitivity of the target gases, blend with thousands of other gases and only a few particles per billion gas particles can be detected. In addition, volatile biomarker gas sensors should have high stability, reproducible responses, and fast recovery time. Based on the above requirements, graphene and its derivate display a potential candidate for application of the VOC sensors, which possess a large surface-to-volume ratio. These characteristics mean that graphene has a high sensitivity in detecting gas particles. Recently, there are enormous graphene-based biochemical sensors detecting dimethyl methylphosphonate (DMMP) (Park et al., 2016b), ethanol (Meng et al., 2018; Thu et al., 2018), NO2, SO2 (Cui et al., 2018) and tumor markers (Barash et al., 2015). Park et al. (2016b) presented an innovate DMMP gas sensor with high flexibility and transparency, which was fabricated by drop-coating polypyrrole onto graphene. This gas sensor exhibited excellent strain ability (up to 20%) and outstanding selectivity regardless of acetone, methanol, water as well as tetradecane. Concerning the ethanol gas, Thu et al. (2018) proposed a high-performance ethanol gas sensor, which was assembled of Fe3O4 and rGO. This gas sensor maintained a great selectivity of ethanol that the response of 100 ppm ethanol was 9.5, much higher than that of NH3, H2, and CO. It also had a fast response time, that the response (90%) time of the sensor was < 5s at 400°-500°C ( Figures 6A,B ). In addition, Meng et al. (2018) proposed a one-step method that fabricated ethanol gas sensor utilizing Au/SnO2 and rGO. This ethanol sensor exhibited a wide linear range (1''1,000 ppm) and high reproducibility ( Figures 6C''E ).
Structure diagram and its test diagram of graphene-based gas sensor. (A) Schematic illustrations of material coating on graphene channel. (Red box) Ï-Ï stacking interactions between graphene and PPy. (Blue box) hydrogen bonding between PPy and DMMP. (B) Photos of graphene gas sensors integrated with antenna fabricated or transferred onto various substrates. Adapted with permission from Park et al. (2016b). (C) Schematic illustration of the formation process of the Au/SnO2/RGO nanocomposites. (D) Responses of the Au/SnO2/RGO nanocomposites to ethanol. (E) Dilogarithm fit curve of the response (R) to the concentration (C). Adapted with permission from Meng et al. (2018).
Environmental and Other Biochemical Applications Gases Despite the flexible graphene-based wearable sensors for human health status, graphene and its derivatives have important applications in surrounding environment monitoring, which may be threatening to human health. It can be used in fabricating gas sensors to detect enormous hazardous gases such as NO2, NH3 and volatile gases, and also for ultraviolet (UV) rays. This kind of reaction, particularly the doping process, would induce the change of the electrical resistance of GO that can be detected by electrical methods. Su and Shieh (2014) proposed an innovative flexible NO2 gas sensor via a layer-by-layer (LBL) method that clings GO to a gold electrode. This gas sensor exhibited excellent flexibility of a 30° angle bent with 4% deviation and extreme sensitivity with the minimum detectable trace at 5 ppm with a mixture of 200 ppm of NH3. Furthermore, it showed outstanding long-term stability which maintained 86% of the initial performance by exposing 5 ppm of NO2 for 43 days. Yang et al. (2012) developed a flexible gas sensor with CVD-grown graphene as the active layer and a paper as the substrate. In this case, this gas sensor exhibited excellent flexibility that remained at 32''39% response when it was exposed to 200 ppm of NO2 with a strain of 0.5%. In view of transparency, Kim et al. (2015) innovated a flexible and transparent gas sensor based on an all-graphene structure ( Figures 7A''C ).
Schematic diagram and its test diagram of graphene-based environment signal sensor. (A) Optical microscopic images of patterned graphene on a Cu foil. (B) Photograph of a fabricated all-graphene gas sensor on a PI substrate. (C) Schematic for the patterned all-graphene sensor attached on ball pen leads. Adapted with permission from Kim et al. (2015). (D) Cross-sectional schematic of the hybrid FET photodetector on a flexible polyimide substrate. (E) Time-dependent responses of the flexible ZnO NR/Gr hybrid FET photodetector measured as a function of UV intensities at a fixed VG of 0 V and VD of 1 V. Adapted with permission from Dang et al. (2015). (F) Illustration of an electrolyte-gated flexible graphene field-effect transistor. (G) Real-time monitoring of changes in the TNF-Î± concentration. Adapted with permission from Hao et al. (2018).
Light Except for the detection of environmental chemical signals, a graphene-based sensor is also applied in environmental physical signals measurement, among which light signals are of vital importance. Considering the health of human skin, UV sensors exhibit a vital role in detecting the degree of UV intensity on the skin. Among the active materials for measuring UV, two-dimensional graphene is one of the potential candidates, displaying outstanding flexibility and high mobility at room temperature. Based on the ZnO nanorods (NRs) and graphene, Dang et al. (2015) proposed a flexible UV field effect transistor which showed high photoconductive gain (8.3 106) under a gate bias of 5 V, high flexibility of a bend of 12 mm without performance degradation and high stability with UV response after 10,000 bend cycles ( Figures 7D,E ). Concerning the cost and high response, Wang et al. (2012) proposed a flexible UV sensor utilizing the rGO and hydrangea-like ZnO. This UV sensor exhibited a high photoresponse current (~1 Î¼A), which was 700 times that of the ZnO UV sensor and a high on/off ratio (116/16), which increased one order of a magnitude compared with the original ZnO sensor.
Heavy metals In addition, adhibitions of graphene are summarized in monitoring toxic heavy metal ions containing Cd2+, Hg2+, and Pb2+. Based on electrospinning, Yuan et al. (2015) proposed light-emitting nanofibrous films including conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs)/polylactic acid (PLA). The innovative chemical sensor showed high porosity, excellent flexibility and high surface-area-to-volume ratio which enhanced the ability to detect nitroaromatic, oxidizing heavy metal ions and so on. An et al. (2013) proposed a toxic Hg2+ sensor with liquid-gate FET-type and transparent graphene, which displayed high flexibility and specificity of Hg2+ despite other chemical substances.
Others According to the above information, graphene and its derivatives exhibit outstanding characteristics such as excellent mechanical flexibility, electrical properties and long-term stability in measurement of vital human signals including bioelectrical signals, kinematic signals, and temperature signals. Except for the measurement of signals mentioned above, graphene-based biochemical sensors also occupy a small place in detecting biochemical signals such as dopamine (Tang et al., 2015; Raj et al., 2017), bacteria (Mannoor et al., 2012), acetyl choline (ACH) (Hess et al., 2014), ascorbic acid (Liu C. et al., 2016), medicine (Narang et al., 2016), cocaine (Hashemi et al., 2017), and tumor markers (Kwon et al., 2012; Azzouzi et al., 2015; Hao et al., 2018), which also have great significance in human health. For instance, Tang et al. (2015) proposed a graphene-modified acupuncture needle by incorporating graphene oxide and traditional needles, which showed an excellent sensitivity with a limit measurement of 0.24 Î¼M, selectivity of dopamine and pH dependence (range from 2.0 to 10.0). As for detection of bacteria, in an early study, Mannoor et al. (2012) proposed a fully biointerfaced sensor for detection of bacteria from human respiration and saliva, which was fabricated by the self-assembly of antimicrobial peptides. This bacteria sensor exhibited single level detection and high sensitivity. Concerning the measurement of ACH, Chauhan et al. (2017) proposed a novel biochemical sensor combing reduced graphene oxide and enzyme acetylcholinesterase. In this case, this acetylcholine detection sensor displayed high electrical properties, particular selectivity, wide linear range (4.0 nM-800 Î¼M) and a fast response time (< 4 s). With regards to the detection of cocaine, Hashemi et al. (2017) presented an innovative label free aptasensor employing magnetic reduced graphene oxide, polyaniline and gold nanoparticle, which exhibited a linear response to cocaine within 0.09 to 85 nM and high sensitivity (detection limit of 0.029 nM). In addition, there has been some exploratory work on graphene in detecting tumor cells. For instance, Azzouzi et al. (2015) combined reduced graphene oxide with L-lactate dehydrogenase to fabricate a particular sensor for L-lactate; Hao et al. (2018) proposed a graphene-based field effect transistor for the detection of cytokine biomarkers from human bodily fluids ( Figures 7F,G ).
Invasive SensorsWhile non-invasive wearable sensors are promising in human health monitoring, they do not have the ability to obtain data on the entire complexity of organ systems and long-term monitoring biological events continuously. Invasive sensors, which are close to the target organs or tissues, significantly increase the sensing accuracy and the curative effect in comparison to non-invasive counterparts. Thus, it is attracting a huge surge of interest in the monitoring, diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases, which shows its potential in medical application (Eckert et al., 2013). As described previously, challenges including biocompatibility, biofouling, biodegradability, power supply, device minimization, integration, durability and lifetime, also exist in designing invasive sensors (Narayan and Verma, 2016; Gray et al., 2018). Although a large amount of work on implantable sensors for health monitoring has been done, graphene-based invasive sensors have been developed in limited aspects, such as neural recording and stimulation (Blaschke et al., 2017), glucose monitoring (Pu et al., 2018), cardiac monitoring (Chen et al., 2013) and EMG signals recording (Kim et al., 2016), which to date mainly focus on neural implants. The feasibility of graphene-based implants has been demonstrated in vivo in physiological systems, including the nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestive system and motional system.
Implants for Nervous System Active neural implants that stimulate and/or record the electrical activity of the nervous system, can highlight the prospects for the clinical interventions and treatments of various diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, retinitis pigmentosa, pain or even psychiatric conditions (Kostarelos et al., 2017; Kireev et al., 2018). Moreover, brain-machine interfaces with neural implants allow for direct communication between the brain and machines (Choi J. et al., 2018). Although conventional non-invasive electrodes are capable of recording EEG signals (slow rhythms, 5''300 Î¼V, < 100 Hz) from single or multiple sites on the scalp, the spatial resolution and SNR are undesired due to the filtering of different media, such as the skull and cerebral spinal fluid, which may not provide sufficient information to decode nerve signals. As an alternative, electrocorticography (ECoG) (medium rhythms, 0.01''5 mV, < 200 Hz) can achieve better spatial and time resolution and high SNR in an invasive way, by placing electrode arrays directly on the intracranial cortex. Penetrating electrodes are also utilized to record local field potentials (< 1 mV, < 200 Hz) and action potentials (ca. 500 Î¼V, 0.1''7 kHz) (Fattahi et al., 2014). In order to improve the spatiotemporal resolution, microelectrode arrays (MEAs) with electrode diameters in tens of micrometers and electrode-to-electrode separation down to dozens of microns have been employed (Hebert et al., 2017). As with any implant, biocompatibility and non-immune responses are fundamental for electrodes. In addition, high flexibility (reaching conformability and stretchability) or Young modulus matching are crucial to minimize the movement within the soft tissue and to avoid shear-induced inflammation as the body moves, which cannot be achieved when utilizing rigid electrodes, such as silicon or noble metals. Furthermore, biochemical stability and electrical properties are also critical, indicating that the conductivity of electrodes must be high enough to enable safe stimulation or efficient recording signals in slightly salty, gel-like, and 37°C environments. Additionally, as the impedance and noise of the electrode are inversely proportional to electrode size, a trade-off is required between spatial resolution and SNR (Blaschke et al., 2017).
With the combination of extraordinary conductivity, electrochemical stability, flexibility, mechanical conformability and transparency, graphene is almost perfect in addressing many current challenges in neural interface design, where very few conductive polymers can claim all these features. Moreover, optical transparency of graphene is favorable for the study of neural networks and cortical features, where optogenetics, and calcium imaging at the same site can render complementary information (Kuzum et al., 2014; Park et al., 2014; Lu et al., 2018). Therefore, graphene microelectrode arrays (GMEAs) and graphene field effect transistors (GFETs) have been widely utilized for neural stimulation, recording and local preamplification (Thunemann et al., 2018). High surface-to-volume ratio makes graphene sensitive to charges at its surface. Furthermore, high transconductance and low intrinsic noise of GFETs, which require directly or extremely close to the electrode site, render capabilities in high SNR ratios recording with preamplification. As a consequence, the sensitivity to external noise is minimized.
Several structural innovations have been exploited in graphene-based materials for GMEAs and GFETs. For instance, wet-spun rGO fibers have been developed as free-standing penetrating electrodes in an early study (Apollo et al., 2015). Futhermore, highly crumpled all-carbon transistors with graphene channels and hybrid graphene/carbon nanotube electrodes have been achieved in-vivo recording of brain activity, with high sensitivity and substantially improved spatial resolution through aggressive in-plane compression (Yang L. et al., 2016). In addition, platinum nanoparticles (PtNPs) electrodeposited on monolayer graphene have been developed to overcome the quantum capacitance limitation and the lack of Faradaic reaction for the graphene electrodes (Du et al., 2018).
Furthermore, operating in-vivo was recently performed (Liu T.C. et al., 2016; Park et al., 2017; Du et al., 2018; Lu et al., 2018). One study has employed flexible arrays of graphene solution-gated field-effect transistors to record brain activity in vivo, which shows a SNR of up to 72 compared to classical metal Pt electrodes of similar sizes (Blaschke et al., 2017). These graphene transistors have advantages such as intrinsic signal amplification, the possibility for down-scaling and high-density integration, which can compete with state-of-the-art MEAs technologies. The biocompatibility of the graphene implants has also been confirmed without any significant changes of circularity or solidity at any of the time points tested, compared to naive rats or polyimide samples without graphene ( Figures 8A,B ). Furthermore, imaging spatiotemporal neural responses to electrical stimulation with minimal artifacts can help to better understand the mechanisms of electrical stimulation in neural tissue and allow for various studies, which cannot be accomplished with existing opaque neural electrodes. Therefore, several studies (Liu X. et al., 2018; Lu et al., 2018; Thunemann et al., 2018) have developed fully transparent graphene electrodes for electrical brain stimulation and simultaneous optical monitoring of the underlying neural tissues.
Graphene-based implants for nervous system. (A) Schematic of cross section of a graphene transistor. (B) Schematic of the implant placed on the surface of the rat's brain (left) and microscope image of a MEA with Pt electrodes and the graphene device next to it (right). Adapted with permission from Blaschke et al. (2017). (C) Graphene microECoG array with 16 transparent electrode sites and a ZIF PCB connector. (D) Visualization of the fluorescent neural response after stimulation with graphene electrodes (left) and platinum electrodes (right). (E) Visualization of the intensity of neural response to electrical stimulation with graphene electrode array and the same platinum electrode array. Adapted with permission from Park D. W. et al. (2018). (F) Photograph and Schematic of the array. (G) The PtNP/graphene electrode array placed on the cortex (left), two-photon microscope for cell bodies detection (middle) and image of multiple cells (right). Adapted with permission from Lu et al. (2018). (H) Optical microscope images of the active area of a 4 4 gSGFET array and a 15-channel intracortical array. (I) Schematic of a rat skull depicting the LSCI field of view and the position of the gSGFET array. (J) Electrical recordings and optical imaging were performed directly on the cortical surface. Color maps represent the spatial value of the extracellular voltage as measured by the gSGFET array and the rCBF at a given set of times after the induction of a CSD event. Adapted with permission from Masvidal-Codina et al. (2018).
For example, Park D. W. et al. (2018) developed a transparent graphene neural electrode, implanted in GCaMP6f mice, with capabilities in electrical stimulation and optical full-field monitoring of the neural tissues concurrently. With the employment of these transparent electrodes, fluorescence imaging of neural activity with minimal image artifacts was carried out in different electrical stimulation parameters, which also showed that more efficient neural activation could be obtained with cathode leading stimulation compared to that of anode. These graphene electrodes showed potential in therapeutic electrical stimulation of the nervous systems ( Figures 8C''E ). Although transparent graphene electrodes could enable simultaneous electrical stimulation and optical monitoring, the high impedance of the graphene obstructed wide application. Lu et al. (2018) demonstrated that quantum capacitance is the reason for high impedance of graphene electrodes. By electrodepositing platinum nanoparticles (PtNPs) on monolayers, the impedance of the PtNPs/graphene electrodes were dramatically reduced without a decrease in transparency. By utilizing transgenic mouse models, concurrently cortical activity recording with optical imaging was available with the PtNPs/graphene electrodes, which rendered the possibilities in figuring out the cellular dynamics as well as brain-scale neural activity ( Figures 8F,G ).
Monitoring brain activities below 0.1 Hz, commonly known as infralow activity (ISA), is valuable for clinical diagnosis, prognosis and therapy in neurocritical care, which can indicate brain states, such as sleep, or a coma. Cortical spreading depression (CSD), a slowly propagating wave of near-complete depolarization of neurons and astrocytes followed by a period of electrical activity suppression, occurs at infralow frequencies in brain pathophysiology, which is usually provoked in persons suffering a stroke, brain injury, and migraines. In order to record ISA in-vivo, Masvidal-Codina et al. (2018) exploited graphene solution-gated field-effect transistors (gSGFETs) arrays for both the epicortical and intracortical mapping of CSD. The results showed that graphene transistors were superb in recording ISA with spatially resolved mapping and could record in a wide frequency bandwidth from an infralow frequency to the typical local field potential bandwidth. With the employment of gSGFETs and optical techniques, such as laser speckle contrast imaging, 2D maps of neurovascular coupling could be obtained, which were significant in for a deep understanding of the neurovascular coupling phenomena ( Figures 8H''J ).
Implants for Cardiovascular System In cardiovascular system, oxygenated blood is pumped to the whole body by the heart through the network of blood vessels. Diseases or even life threats may occur due to heart failure or a change in blood. Therefore, monitoring the biomarkers in blood and heart diseases is significant.
The concentration of blood glucose is a critical parameter in blood; hence blood glucose monitoring is significant, especially in diabetics. The glucose concentration of the venous plasma is regarded as the gold standard for glucose measurement. Although conventional glucose self-monitoring devices based on single-use test strips has been widely applied to improve the life quality for diabetes patients, it still has limitations such as pain, failure in measuring at sleep, as well as problems in continuous monitoring. Consequently, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is considered to be an optimized approach to obtain the illness state of diabetics for management of diabetes and complications. As discussed previously, biofluids-based non-invasive painless wearable glucose sensors are capable of continuous monitoring, however, they are still less accurate compared to direct blood glucose monitoring. Therefore, in order to measure blood glucose continuously, implantable glucose sensors and microdialysis-type devices have been developed (Lee et al., 2018). Several commercial state-of-the-art CGM systems do exist however, containing a minimally invasive needle-type sensor to monitor the glucose in the ISF, as the glucose concentrations in the ISF are closely related to those in the blood, and most of them rely on enzyme-based electrochemical detection (Bobrowski and Schuhmann, 2018). The implantable glucose sensors are also accompanied by some difficulties, including a short lifetime, biofouling and poor biocompatibility.
Unfortunately, few invasive graphene-based glucose sensors have recently been reported. One recent study (Pu et al., 2018) proposed an inkjet printing based cylindrical flexible enzyme-electrode sensor for implantable CGM, to minimize signal drift and implement hypoglycemia detection. With the employment of a large surface area working electrode with 3D nanostructures consisting of graphene and platinum nanoparticles, the sensitivity was significantly enhanced with a detecting range of 0''570 mg.dL''1. An in vivo rat experiment showed that this sensor was promising in implantable CGM in subcutaneous tissue, which is comparable with commercial glucometers, even under hypoglycemic conditions ( Figures 9A,B ).
Other applications of invasive graphene-based sensors. (A) Schematic of the WE (left) and photos of the fabricated sensor (middle and right). (B) Schematic of implantable application of the flexible sensor in the subcutaneous tissue. Adapted with permission from Pu et al. (2018). (C) Schematic and optical micrographs of a flexible microprobe. (D) Schematic and actual view of the cardiac recording system for zebrafish. Adapted with permission from Chen et al. (2013). (E) Schematic illustrations and images of the multifunctional endoscope system based on transparent bioelectronic devices and theranostic nanoparticles. (F) Schematic illustration of the graphene hybrid in the exploded view. (G) Merged fluorescence image of the colon cancer on the mouse sub-dermis 6 h after intravenous injection of NPs. (H) Images of the tumor, captured by the camera of the endoscope through electronic devices (left: through transparent bioelectronic devices; right: through control metal devices). Adapted with permission from Lee et al. (2015). (I) Architecture of the stretchable and transparent cell-sheet-graphene hybrid. (J) Implantation of the cell-sheet-graphene hybrid onto target site of a nude mouse in-vivo. Adapted with permission from Kim et al. (2016).
Heart failure is still a major public health problem, with a higher mortality rate than that of most cancers (Park et al., 2016a). As a primary organ of the cardiovascular system, heart activities can be recorded in-vitro and in-vivo for the early diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Until now, cardiac implanted devices including pacemakers and defibrillators, are capable of long-term sensing and pacing, diagnosis and treatment of rhythms and resynchronization, which can hardly be realized outside of the body (Freedman et al., 2017). Traditional pacing only activates the myocardium in leads, which may also face complications including lead failure, infection or tricuspid valve insufficiency (Bussooa et al., 2018). Leadless pacing is an alternative with a subcutaneous pocket and transvenous lead, which reduces complications (Merkel et al., 2017). Recently, electromechanical cardioplasty with an epicardial mesh has been employed to reconstruct cardiac tissue (Park et al., 2016a; Choi S. et al., 2018).
However, few studies are related to cardiac monitoring in-vivo with graphene-based electrodes. An early study (Chen et al., 2013) utilized steam plasma to treat the surface of a graphene-based flexible microprobe, which decreased the interfacial impedance, and thus high resolution and high SNR was obtained during neural and cardiac recording. The CVD prepared graphene electrode was in contact with a zebrafish heart to record the electrocardiographic signals. The signaling recording results exhibited that the QRS complex, P wave, and T wave were significantly increased in amplitude. The total noise of this microprobe was 4.2 Î¼Vrms for hydrophilic the graphene-based sensor and 7.64 Î¼Vrms for the hydrophobic graphene-based sensor ( Figures 9C,D ).
Implants for Digestive System The digestive system supplies nutrients to the entire body, thus disorders of this system may lead to various associated diseases. the gastrointestinal tract is the largest structure of the digestive system and gastrointestinal diseases have become extremely common among the population (Yang N. et al., 2016). Minimally invasive surgical endoscopes with imaging and therapies are widely used to diagnose and treat gastrointestinal diseases. However, they lack spatial resolution in detecting and treating tiny cancers or other abnormalities. Thus, integrating electronic devices on the limited surface of cameras is required with transparent bioelectronics to avoid visual or light blockage. An early study (Lee et al., 2015) demonstrated a multifunctional endoscope system to diagnose and treat diseases like colon cancer, which contained graphene-based hybrid transparent electronic devices such as tumor, pH, viability, temperature sensors. Moreover, this closed-loop system contained radio frequency ablation as well as localized photo/chemotherapy, which could be utilized for colon cancer treatment in-vivo. This endoscope system enabled remarkable compatibility between the camera and the devices, accurate detection, delineation and fast targeted therapy ( Figures 9E''H ).
Implants for Locomotor System The locomotor system provides the human body with the capability of movement through the muscular and skeletal systems. Accurate and continuous monitoring of EMG signals with instant feedback treatment is significant in diagnosing neuromuscular disorders, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy. Thus, one study (Kim et al., 2016) proposed a cell-sheet-graphene hybrid stretchable, transparent, implantable device with a high quality bio-interface to record EMG signals and stimulate muscles and nerves, which includes a sheet of C2C12 myoblast (~10 Î¼m), Au-doped graphene mesh electrodes (~5 nm) with wrinkles, a polyimide (PI) membrane (~600 nm) and a PDMS substrate (500 Î¼m). The cell-sheet-graphene hybrid with highly conductive Au doping graphene mesh electrodes was highly transparent, which could be employed to optically stimulate the modified muscle tissues. This device could be used in vitro for monitoring and stimulation of the C2C12 myoblasts. Moreover, in-vivo recordings of the EMG signals of hind-limb muscles in mice and electrical/optical stimulation of the implanted sites were applied without any immune reactions. This multifunctional device exhibited immense potential in soft bioelectronics ( Figures 9I,J ).
Challenges and Future OutlookThe focus of human healthcare has shifted gradually from hospitals to communities (families, individuals). Tremendous effort has therefore been devoted toward sensors and devices for health monitoring. Due to its unique features, including chemical and physical properties, graphene is extremely attractive for flexible electronics and sensors. In this review, recent achievements in graphene-based sensors for human health monitoring, including both non-invasive flexible wearable sensors and invasive devices have been reviewed. The graphene-based sensors have been explored to measure a wide range of vital signs and biomarkers of the human body, which are highly promising in the foreseeable future for applications in healthcare, personalized/preventive medicine, disease treatment, human-machine interaction, as well as brain computer interfaces. Novel structures have been employed to improve performance, while their sensing mechanisms and technological innovations were also thoroughly discussed.
Non-invasive wearable sensors are more acceptable and desirable in healthcare applications, as they are less invasive, and reduce risks while maintaining their function and performance. Public attitudes toward wearable devices have changed from curiosity to clinical-grade healthcare (Rogers et al., 2019). However, there is still a long way to go before meeting the requirements of medical devices. With the progress of materials and manufacturing techniques, implantable medical devices are becoming increasingly attractive, because of their capability in long-term real-time accurate monitoring of the state of tissues, organs, system, while also further providing guidance/assistants/prognoses for diagnosis and therapeutics, which gradually replace traditional portable and wearable devices. However, for implantable devices, several challenges such as biocompatibility, biofouling, as well as power supply should be solved. Transient/biodegradable electronics show immense potential in implantable applications, which can be degraded in a manner of controlled triggers and/or self-triggering without secondary surgeries or risks of infection. Furthermore, the exciting thing is that the highly dispersed GO sheets can be biodegraded by myeloperoxidase which is derived from human neutrophils, which may be employed in biodegradable electronics for implants (Kurapati et al., 2015). In general, sensors for human health monitoring, whether being invasive or non-invasive sensors, can be considered as an ''augmented sense,'' which is an extension of human senses.
Considerable amounts of data will be generated with the development of sensor technologies and material science due to ubiquitous sensing ranging from the internet of things (IoT) to health care. Thus, statistical and computational methods, such as a range of machine learning techniques, can be utilized in data processing and effective information mining. Real-time data analytics capabilities are desired for robust data management (Paulovich et al., 2018). Ethical and moral issues in data collection, analysis and storage, particularly the data concerning personal health, must be properly resolved to protect personal privacy.
Although tremendous efforts have been devoted toward graphene-based sensors in recent years, a number of scientific and engineering challenges should be addressed before practical applications can proceed. For a start, human health risks such as the biocompatibility, biological toxicity, along with the environmental impact of graphene and its derivatives, need to be further assessed, especially in long-term in-vivo tests. Whole devices, with graphene as the core, are also required to be carefully checked. In addition, conformal, functional biotic/abiotic interfaces are crucial for robust sensing. Sensors on the epidermis and other organs with permeability to gases and moisture are desired. Moreover, high selectivity is required for multiple stimuli or ultra-low concentration biomarkers detection. The sensor may also be sensitive to stimuli other than the targeted stimulus to some extent, especially for integrated multifunctional sensors. For example, most sensors are affected by the environmental temperature floating. Crosstalk may exist in integrated multifunctional sensors, which can detect multi-signals simultaneously or separately. Long-term stability and mechanical durability are also demanded. Furthermore, integrated multifunctional sensors with feedback point-of-care therapy to construct a closed-loop system are significant in disease management. Power sources are essential for these devices, especially for implantable devices in long-term applications. Additionally, sensors combined with energy-harvesting technologies, such as triboelectrics nanogenerators (TENGs), photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, radio frequency (RF) and biofuel cells, are becoming a growing trend in the formation of self-powered systems (Liu et al., 2019). Finally, price and cost control are always an inevitable topic in commercialization. Therefore, cost-effective and facile fabrication methods with excellent uniformity should be developed for the large-volume high-throughput production of graphene and graphene-based sensors.
Each material has its unique advantages and limitations, and the requirements in different applications are also different, thus trade-offs are required. Although graphene provides a variety of distinctive characteristics in one, limitations also exist. First, a zero-gap structure of graphene results in the relatively low on/off ratio as FETs, which hinders its usability in biomedical applications. A possible way to open its bandgap is with functionalized organic molecules. Other attempts such as strain engineered lattice distortions, spintronics have also been explored. In addition, graphene is absent of selectivity toward target analytes of interest, owing to its excessive sensitivity to external stimuli. One possible approach to improve selectivity is to modify its surface with specific functional groups, bioreceptors or to cover it with a thin selective layer such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) (Tan et al., 2017). Furthermore, graphene has relatively low long-term stability induced by the moisture absorption and ultrathin nature. The solution may be to coat the surface with stable thin layer materials. Furthermore, the employment of graphene for functional devices in different applications requires a close integration with other functional materials; the intrinsic properties of graphene could be easily (usually negatively) impacted by these material integrations, device fabrication, and processing steps. Primary challenges including control, quality, scalability, and durability, should be resolved before commercially significant devices with graphene move forward.
Author ContributionsHH collected all the references and wrote the review Part 1, 2, 3, and 4. NW and HW wrote the Part 2 and 3. SS edited the whole manuscript and sorted all the references. SW and HB managed the structure, provided constructive advices and suggestions. LS edited the whole paragraph and provided final revision.
Conflict of Interest StatementThe authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
FootnotesFunding. This research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant 2017YFA0204800), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos.: 51420105003, 11525415, 11327901, 61274114, 61601116, 11674052, and 11204034), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2242017K40066, 2242017K40067, and 2242016K41039).
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The Central Banks Intend to Lay Claim to Bodies and Minds '' Silkthreads
Fri, 12 Nov 2021 22:03
The virus ushers in the proposed plans of Human Capital Bonds; modern digital slavery.We are reaching a point where it is no longer sustainable in our present trajectory, in terms of consumption of material goods. This ''Great Reset'' that is being framed as stakeholder capitalism, like the newer kinder version of capitalism, will essentially mean conditioning people to ''live'' within smaller physical footprints & virtualized spaces in digital environments. We are being pushed into the virtual world. That is where the new economic model of capitalist growth is happening.
The infrastructure has already been set up to create both Augmented Reality physical world spaces, the spatial web, and then there is this parallel world that is linked to the exterior world that is a virtualized world of gaming. The idea that we will live in these games & that you will have an avatar that is coming out of Epic Games in the Research Triangle Park & their Unreal Engine. They've just launched Meta Humans which is software that allows people to create very accurate representations of humans in a digital space very rapidly, something that used to take a lot of time. So they can literally virtualize you. There's been a lot of discussion about Deep Fakes & what that means to live in a virtual world '' these worlds. The spatial web hooked up to sensor networks, the Internet of Things, the Internet of Bodies. There is much more to be planned that will interface with both wearable technology and potentially bio-sensor technology that is being developed.
It's all military R&D. The research comes out of a military space. We will exist as characters in their mind. This is how they imagine it. Those in power imagine that we will be virtualized as almost like characters in the game of our lives and pushed into virtual spaces to consume digital items. Even when we are allowed to go out into the actual real world, we will be trackable & traceable through wearable technologies & this sort of global bio-security state that is rolling out with these pass systems. Digital identity systems will track our real body as that character in real physical space & also in virtual space.
There is a shift towards something called Globalization 4.0 which is the next phase of globalization where they are not only platforming screen based labor but also with haptic robotics & controllers so that you sit in your bedroom and control a factory halfway around the world. All that competition for that ''work'' will be mediated through your digital identity on blockchain systems. This is all in the works but it has to still be built out. The sensor networks have to be built out. The coding has to be built out. Training the artificial intelligence & the machine learning systems still have to be built out. Under the Obama Administration there was a huge shift towards STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math). This push is very limited on literature, creative thinking unless it was in robotics.
A huge push towards STEM because what those in power knew is that their plan was to build a spatial web to build the Internet of Bodies, to build this global prison planet essentially & that they needed the children to be willing participants to making that happen & that it would happen under the guise of a fun game. You would code these games & it would normalize the world you live in of gaming environments. Even today in school classrooms there is a push for behavioral management systems that are gamified where you are a cartoon and teachers give children points and scrip for good behavior they can then exchange for digital items. That is all about conditioning kids to live in a virtual economy which is how the capitalist growth model intends to move. It is going to go inward into this other dimension that is a virtual world. But the children have to code it via Minecraft which is owned by Microsoft.
THE INTERNET OF BODIES''Before taking that mRNA ''software of life'' jab consider the broader implications of joining WEF's Internet of Bodies. This RAND report on risks and opportunities of IoB was funded by Jacques DuBois, former chair Swiss Reinsurance Ltd.'' '' Alison McDowell, A Wrench in the GearsLink to report: https://lnkd.in/gVtnvm2Microsoft also owns HoloLens which is military technology and is working on the haptic robotics and DNA programming is linked in. The idea of getting children excited to code Minecraft '' which is essentially both a gaming system and a virtual world building system and it has its own economic layer '' it is to normalize that this is how life happens.
Right now people are really fixated on bitcoin & cryptocurrency & this perception of sort of easy money, a gold rush in expansive crypto spaces where many people who are not steeped in the background of bitcoin, who are new to this area, are not necessarily following parallel developments in the central banking digital currency system. The way I see it is that ultimately what is coming are markets in human capital, markets in controlling people as characters in this online video game because with automation they won't really need that many people to do the ''work''. That work will be outsourced to A.I. & robotics.
So they need a new profit center for human beings that are left in the equation who are essentially disposable, dispossessed by this next round of enclosures that are happening. What is going to happen is in this ''game'' '' the game is both in a smart environment in which you are tracked within a smart environment & we're being normalized to accept this contract tracing, as well as in a gamified environment.
There are whole systems of finances that have been set up that are called ''social impact investing.'' They are being framed as benevolent. They are being framed as solving poverty and fixing the environment that are predicated on an idea of ''impact data'' which essentially enables widespread data surveillance of populations of ecosystems and the full-on financialization of all of that. This is actually fed through the United Nations sustainable development goals which if people are not looking closely at what is happening with those goals, they are actually an extension now of the World Economic Forum. It is corporate capture of ostensible true needs around poverty & around environmental devastation. But the tracking system to run global capital, to ostensibly fix the problem as data analytics, requires the implementation of these sensor networks that will essentially kill the planet for mining the rare minerals for energy to run the data center, the water to cool the data center, the ''e-waste.'' But they need to capture the progressive mind thr