Saturday, May 31, 2014

Pioneering Work on Gluten Allergy Was Wrong

What this does is let us to set aside the doctrine of gluten sensibility itself and that is good.  What it does not do though is license you to make gluten a major component of your diet.  Bread and cakes remain a generally bad food choice and need to be largely eliminated, mostly because it is so persuasive.  Too much means eating mostly sugars and that is straight to the high road to diabetes.

I recently learned to properly make bannock using high quality flours as well as other ground grains.  I added a fair bit of sugar and corn meal in my last experiment and then baked the result.  You end up with a solid enough bread – baking powder is the leaven – which can be sliced very thin as a cracker almost.  I then refry it in oil to make it crisp and chewy as well.  This becomes a real food and allows us to tackle a wide range of edible flours we would otherwise have trouble with.

If you try this it is four cups of wheaten flour and five tablespoons of baking powder with enough water to bring to kneading stage.  Everything else added, including salt is a bonus to enrich the food you are making.   It only takes a few minutes to put together and perhaps a few minutes rest before you put it in the oven.

Our serious problem is that our processed food industry has sold us a lot of grossly inadequate flour based food and it is making us sick.  Yet it used to really feed people.

It’s all in your head: Scientist now believes his pioneering work on gluten allergy was wrong
By Scott Kaufman

Sunday, May 25, 2014 10:24 EDT

The researcher whose work led scientific credence to claims that those without celiac disease — which causes an immune response in the small intestines in the presence of gluten — still benefit from a gluten-free diet  has performed another, more rigorous study that leads him to believe that there is no such thing as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS).

In 2011, Peter Gibson, a professor of gastroenterology at Monash University in Australia, published a study that found that gluten proteins cause gastrointestinal distress even in people who don’t suffer from celiac disease. This study helped provided scientific backing to the “gluten-free” diet  fad, but Gibson believed that the evidence on which the fad was based wasn’t thorough enough, so in 2013 he performed another study.

In the 2013 study, he provided his subjects with three diets: two “treatment” diets, one of which was low-gluten, one of which was high-gluten; and a baseline diet. He found that subjects reported similarly increased gastrointestinal distress on both the low- and high-gluten “treatment” diets compared to the baseline.

Gibson then performed a second experiment to ensure the suitability of the whey protein in the baseline diet, and discovered that when he repeated the experiment with the baseline diet labeled as “treatment,” his subjects reported increased gastrointestinal distress on it as well.

The subjects were responding to what the medical community calls “the nocebo effect,” in which a harmless substance causes negative reactions because the subjects in an experiment expect it to.

Gibson was forced to draw a conclusion that directly contradicted the one he drew in 2011: “In contrast to our first study,” he wrote, “we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten.”

Cleverer Still

This is obviously a topic on which I have some slight familiarity and am quite aware of the sex differential.  That it has now improved is good news.  Other noted differentials are better ascribed to changes in nurture and the lack of available role models for boys in particular.  Yet genius potential is all about real processing speed.

Your brain must be naturally quicker to start with.

That is still not good enough as I have met many could have been types as well.  Two other things must occur.  The brain must be wired properly through an excellent intense training in mathematics as an adolescent.  Then you also must feed the monkey huge amounts of data and as many ideas as much as possible.  There are other mental skills that can be usefully optimized.  Those include a photographic memory which I do not have but now know how to acquire.

For the bulk of humanity slow but steady works pretty well.

Cleverer still

Geniuses are getting brighter. And at genius levels of IQ, girls are not as far behind boys as they used to be

Dec 22nd 2012

SCIENCE has few more controversial topics than human intelligence—in particular, whether variations in it are a result of nature or nurture, and especially whether such variations differ between the sexes. The mines in this field can blow up an entire career, as Larry Summers found out in 2005 when he spoke of the hypothesis that the mathematical aptitude needed for physics and engineering, as well as for maths itself, is innately rarer in women than in men. He resigned as president of Harvard University shortly afterwards.

It is bold, therefore, of Jonathan Wai, Martha Putallaz and Matthew Makel, of Duke University in North Carolina, to enter the fray with a paper that addresses both questions. In this paper, just published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, they describe how they sifted through nearly three decades of standardised tests administered to American high-school students to see what had been happening to the country’s brightest sparks.

They draw two conclusions. One is that a phenomenon called the Flynn effect (which weighs on the “nurture” side of the scales because it describes how IQ scores in general have been rising over the decades) applies in particular to the brightest of the bright. The other is that part, but not all, of the historic difference between the brainiest men and women has vanished.

The three researchers drew their data from Duke University’s Talent Identification Programme, TIP, which is designed to ferret out especially clever candidates early on: all the participants had scored in the top 5% of ability when confronted with exams designed for much older students. TIP, in turn, draws on three national exams: SAT, EXPLORE and ACT. Altogether, Dr Wai, Dr Putallaz and Dr Makel looked at data from 1.7m children. Those data spanned the years between 1981 and 2010.

In the general population boys are well known to do a bit better than girls in maths. Girls, in turn, edge out boys on tests of verbal reasoning. The result is similar overall IQ scores. Among the best young mathematical brains, however, that equality does not pertain. Here, boys do a lot better at maths than girls—but less better than they used to, as the researchers discovered.

In the early 1980s, the ratio of males to females in the top 0.01% of maths scores in SAT, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, was around 13 to 1. By the early 1990s it had fallen to four to one. After this, however, it remained obstinately unaltered (see chart). The other two tests, both of which post-date the period in which the SAT shows those huge changes, indicate less lopsided sex ratios of between two and three to one. But neither shows girls making much recent progress towards equality.

Nurturing talent
This study is not perfect. Its most interesting result rests on data from just one of the three sets of exams it looked at and its sample sizes are, necessarily, small. But it chimes with the findings of a much older investigation, carried out in 1983 by a group of researchers at Johns Hopkins University, which also discovered a male-to-female sex ratio of 13:1 among the most able young mathematicians.

Why a dramatic rise in the aptitude of America’s brightest young female mathematicians should then be followed by two decades of stagnation is not obvious, and, not being experts in mine-clearance, the researchers offer no hypothesis. It is clear that the rise itself must be “nurture” of some sort—possibly a change in teachers’ attitudes towards girls who are interested in maths—but the subsequent stasis could have either explanation. A line of reasoning in favour of “nature” is that put forward by Simon Baron-Cohen, a psychologist at Cambridge University. This connects the extreme systematising patterns of thought which make a good mathematician with the preponderance of men among those with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that does not harm a person’s general intelligence. But the disparity could equally well be the result of some as-yet-unelucidated difference between the ways girls and boys are brought up.

The nature of the beast

That such unelucidated environmental influences can have real effects on IQ is eloquently illustrated by the Flynn effect. This phenomenon, brought to the world’s attention in the 1980s by James Flynn of the University of Otago, in New Zealand, is that average IQs around the world have been rising at the rate of 0.3 points a year for the past eight decades. Using the TIP data, Dr Wai and his colleagues showed that this is as true of the brightest youngsters in American society as it is of lesser mortals, suggesting that even they can have their abilities boosted by whatever is causing the Flynn effect. Once again, the changes seem to be mainly in mathematics. Scores in the brightest children’s verbal-reasoning and reading abilities demonstrate no clear trend, but all three national tests show sustained improvements in their mathematical ability over the past three decades.

No one knows what causes the Flynn effect. Theories range from better nutrition, via a more stimulating general environment (thanks to such things as television, radio, the internet and video games), to the phasing out of lead in petrol and paint. What is clear is that it cannot be a change in gene-given ability, which is what most people mean by “nature” in this debate, because too few generations have passed for natural selection to have had any meaningful impact.

Featured comment

J. KempDec 21st 2012, 04:48
There are several effects in the mix here which bear mentioning:

1. Mate selection (in Darwin's words, "sex selection") can easily drive up IQs over time. This amounts to one or the other (or both) members of a couple selecting their reproduction mate on the basis of intelligence. If people are selecting against lower-IQ individuals as mates, while selecting in favor of higher-IQ individuals, this can drive up IQ much, much faster than classic "Darwinistic selection".

2. Breastfeeding, which has made a strong comeback in the Western world during the past 30 to 40 years, has been shown to have positive impacts on IQ across populations on a genetically modified basis. See, for example:

3. SAT tests have been very substantially dumbed down over the past 4 decades. In fact, the American Mensa organization ceased accepting high-threshold SAT scores as a pathway to gain Mensa membership as of 1994. Prior to that, there was a sufficiently solid correlation between IQ and SAT scores. After 1994 there is not. Thus, SATs are likely not presently doing much by way of measuring the capacities of the very highest ability individuals. In other words, if IQ is not longer very correlated with SATs, this implies that many people can simply be prepared/trained to do well on these exams somewhat independently of their true native ability. (By contrast, the Miller Analogies is likely a far better tool for distinguishing different levels of ability among the very highest IQ individuals.)

4. There are strong indications that a major structural factor at work in male vs. female intelligence is the reality that there are key intelligence-impacting genes on the X-chromosome, of which men have only one while women have two. All female mammals are mosaics with respect to the X-chromosome, meaning that their tissues are a patchwork quilt in which one or the other of their X-chromosomes is turned on (and the other off) in each patch. This creates a situation where it is easier for males to win the IQ lottery if they happen to get a single very strong version of the relevant genes on their X-chromosome. For a woman to have that same gene in all of her tissues, she would have to inherit the rare, very strong allele/s from both of her parents, which is statistically far less likely to occur. Similarly, males are also far more likely to lose this lottery, and wind up mentally retarded, which is where women pick up the dividend of having two X-chromosomes: X-based mental retardation is far less common among women as their risk is diversified by having two X-chromosomes, and thus a good chance of having one more helpful allele on one of their X-chromosomes to offset any harmful allele.

China Rolling out Global High Speed Rail Plans and Projects

Without question, China is the only regime able to serious tackle this ambitious a project.  Yet their continuing build out of their internal network actually proves capability and serious capacity.  That capacity will need a future market come 2020 and why not the world?

An extended Asian network of track is most attractive, particularly is they shoot a branch down into India and into Africa.  There are serious potential markets all along these corridors that would naturally blossom.  Again it is necessary to target the low hanging fruit like Europe, Africa and India.

A Bering route is a difficult proposition at best and better for freight haulage perhaps.  I personally think even that has better ways.

Yet in the long haul, we will do it anyway unless we come up with a container sized wormhole first.  Which I no longer dismiss as impossible either.

MAY 09, 2014

China's academy of engineering is talking about a global high speed rail network. There are reasons to doubt that the politics and negotiations can come together. However, China plans to have 50,000 kilometers high speed rail network built inside of China by 2020. The external line to the US via Russia and Canada would be an added 12000 km outside of China and a line to Europe via India would be of similar length. So 40% more high speed rail that China was planning and building already. 

China's name in chinese is Middle Kingdom.

China would be building a high a global high speed rail network where the lines lead to and from the middle kingdom. 

The Pan Asian line is funded and being built and will bring South East Asian economies closer to China.

China can afford to do it and the connections would be more powerful than any negotiated trade deal. It would be increased physical access. 

China is adding a new $10 billion credit line for Africa on top of the existing $20 billion already offered. China will boost the China-Africa Development Fund by $2 billion, bringing it to a total of $5 billion

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang depicted a dream that all African capitals are connected with high-speed rail, so as to boost pan-African communication and development

Li's trip, which also takes in oil-rich Nigeria and Angola, would not simply be for energy deals and Beijing will be seeking to help boost African living standards.

Li said he hoped that some of the loans being offered would be used to support small and medium-seized companies in Africa, adding that economic development on the continent offered huge opportunities for both China and Africa.

"History and reality make clear to all: China's development gives opportunity to Africa; Africa develops, and China also benefits," he said.

Trips by Chinese leaders to Africa are often marked by big natural resource deals, triggering criticism from some quarters that China is only interested in the continent's mineral and energy wealth.

"Right now we're already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years," Wang said.

The project – nicknamed the "China-Russia-Canada-America" line – would run for 13,000km, about 3,000km further than the Trans-Siberian Railway. The entire trip would take two days, with the train travelling at an average of 350km/h (220mph). 

NBF - China's fastest test trains can go about double this speed and low air pressure tunnels could further boost the speed. If the line were built it could be upgrade for one day or even twelve hour or less travel times.

The reported plans leave ample room for skepticism. No other Chinese railway experts have come out in support of the proposed project. Whether the government has consulted Russia, the US or Canada is also unclear. The Bering Strait tunnel alone would require an unprecedented feat of engineering – it would be the world's longest undersea tunnel – four times the length of the Channel Tunnel.

According to the state-run China Daily, the tunnel technology is "already in place" and will be used to build a high-speed railway between the south-east province of Fujian and Taiwan. "The project will be funded and constructed by China," it said. "The details of this project are yet to be finalised."

Google Translate version of the Chinese Academy of Engineering high speed rail proposals and projects

Chinese Academy of Engineering, Wang Meng-shu Secret Chinese high-speed rail "going out" strategy [NBF- for commercial and geopolitical reasons]

Pan-Asian high-speed railway to start construction next month [NBF- his is funded and getting built]

A Eurasian high-speed rail

Line: From London, via Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Kiev, Moscow, after over two branches, one into Kazakhstan, another virtual point of the Far East Khabarovsk, after entering the territory of China Manzhouli

Process: Domestic segment has already started, is still being negotiated outside the lines

2 Central High Speed ​​Rail

Line: The starting point is Urumqi, through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey and other countries, and finally to Germany

Process: Domestic segment is advancing, still being negotiated outside the lines

3 Pan-Asian high-speed rail

Line: starting from Kunming, followed by Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, arrived in Singapore

Process: Inter-China-Burma railway tunnel commenced in June

4 Russia plus the United States and high-speed rail

Line: starting from the northeast all the way north through the Bering Strait in Siberia arrived to build a tunnel way across the Pacific Ocean, arriving in Alaska, and then go from Alaska, Canada, the United States finally arrived

Process: being discussed

And then to Africa, Premier Li Keqiang visited each force will recommend to the local Chinese high-speed railway from Thailand to Eastern Europe. Technically sound, mature operating experience, quality and security, cost-effective, enjoys a good reputation in the international market ...... May 5, at the China-aided AU Conference Center, he enumerated the advantages of Chinese high-speed rail to the five African leaders.

In the name of such a high level of "high iron salesman" behind, is five years China has launched high-speed rail "going out" strategy. This is a big game.

And Northeast were starting from Xinjiang, a North-South high-speed rail construction two intercontinental connectivity in Europe; from Kunming, the construction of a direct high-speed rail through Southeast Asia, Singapore ...... This is China high-speed rail "going out" of the three strategic direction. In the more distant future, China intends to increase cooperation with Russia and the United States, the construction of a across the Bering Strait, up to tens of thousands of kilometers of high-speed rail connecting the two continents Ami.

Yesterday, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the famous railway expert Wang Meng-shu accept the Beijing Times [microblogging] Reporter interview, described the progress of these cross-border high-speed rail lines.

Building process - Europe and Central Asia are negotiating high-speed rail

Pan-Asian high-speed railway to start construction in June

In 2009, China formally proposed high-speed rail "going out" strategy. The following year, the Ministry of Railways for the establishment of a dozen different countries working group officially began operations this strategy. China's participation in the preparation of the Eurasian high-speed rail, high-speed rail in Central Asia and the Pan-Asian high-speed rail, it is three directions of this strategy.

According to the "Southern Weekend" previously disclosed, the planned Eurasian high-speed rail from London, via Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Kiev, Moscow, after over two branches, one into Kazakhstan, another virtual point of the Far East Khabarovsk Trask, Manchuria after entering the territory of China.

With conditions similar to the Eurasian high-speed rail, high-speed rail in Central Asia is also not completely settled. The starting point of this railway line is Urumqi, after Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey and other countries, and finally to Germany. Coincides with the ancient Silk Road.

Pan-Asian high-speed rail runs through Southeast Asia starting from Kunming through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, arrived in Singapore.

Yesterday, Wang Meng-shu in an interview with Beijing Times reporter interviewed introduction, Pan-Asian high-speed rail should start in June this year, from western Yunnan Diamond Hill built an approximately 30 km of tunnels leading to Myanmar, from Burma to the east, out of a branch line to to Thailand, and the other is via a main line Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore leads. This will become China's leading high-wire Southeast Asian countries a convenient channel.

Wang Meng-shu told reporters that the current high-speed rail and Central Eurasian domestic high-speed rail segment or have started, or are pushed outside the line in negotiations on how to build it. Go north on Western Europe via the Eurasian high-speed rail line, since the need to go through Russia, China advocates the use of internationally accepted standards of 1435 mm track, but the Russian railway network has been using quite different from the international standard 1524 mm broad gauge, connect the not yet settled.

And Eurasian same high-speed rail, high-speed rail in Central Asia of the negotiations. Wang Meng-shu said that the high-speed rail line through Central Asia, Southern Europe destined Germany, which is the ancient Silk Road, trade between China and Europe in the past mainly rely on cargo vessels, such as China imported advanced equipment from Germany, currently ship transportation needs, But from Europe to China is bound to go through the Malacca Strait, shipping at least a month to arrive. Future high-speed rail in Central Asia, once completed, can save a lot of time and cost, "go overland through the high-speed rail, freight from China to Germany may only need a short period of five days."

Cooperation - China to build high-speed rail technology funding commitments

The replacement of resources through the construction of high-speed rail

Three cross-border high-speed rail in the pipeline, due to the cross-border high-speed railway construction involving many countries, and also funded the construction of the countries involved along with the completion of operational problems. In this regard, Wang Meng-shu said, these cross-border high-speed rail construction has a principle, by the Chinese side of the capital, the technology and the equipment to construction, is completed by the passing countries will be involved in operations. In this process, China will negotiate with the country, with the construction of high-speed rail to replace local resources, such as Central Asia and Europe, oil and gas resources, Burma potash, thereby establishing a long-term cooperation mechanism to protect our resources to use.

Wang Meng-shu, currently planning several of these cross-border high-speed rail are referring to this concept in the negotiation and operation, through the "replacement of existing resources" approach, on the one hand to promote connectivity between China and neighboring Asian countries to facilitate trade between countries, the other hand, imports from China in order to protect scarce resources, which will help the oil, gas flow.

Wang Meng-shu introduction, the construction of these three high-speed rail lines, China is not only responsible for surveying, planning, design, construction, and will ensure that after completion of operations, personnel training. According to Wang Meng-shu, at present there is a regular train from Zhengzhou to carry exploration equipment and technical personnel destined for Central Europe and other regions of the high-speed rail line through the area for exploration may negotiate with the relevant countries are being conducted.

For the "replacement resources with high-speed rail technology" of cooperation, the relevant person in charge of the Ministry of Railways had to accept the "Southern Weekend" interview, he explained: "China is another country to build high-speed rail, the money to get money, get money exchanged for something else This is a fair way to trade. "

Vision for the future - Canada and the U.S. and Russia begin high-speed rail plan

People are expected to take the high-speed rail to the United States

Wang Meng-shu also mentioned that China is considering the construction of a railroad through Siberia, across the Bering Strait to Alaska directly, through Canada to the United States from China in the future so that you can take the train to the United States.

Wang Meng-shu introduction of the railway in Northeast China's departure from the way north through the Bering Strait in Siberia arrived, by way of the construction of a tunnel through the Pacific, arrived in Alaska, and then go from Alaska, Canada, the United States finally arrived. "It is now talking about, which is the idea of ​​Russia for many years." Wang Meng-shu said that the construction of the railway across the Bering Strait need to build about 200 kilometers of tunnels, the tunnel leading technology in Fujian Taiwan High Speed ​​Rail tunnel will applications are now technically qualified. The railway will also take the Chinese out of technology, the capital building, and replacement of resources through the country the way forward, this plan is currently under discussion.

Wang Meng-shu said the line preliminary estimate of about 13,000 kilometers, if completed, China to the United States will be able to no longer have to take a plane, take the high-speed rail can be viewed along the multi-country scenery, according to the 350 km / h design speed passenger ride high-speed rail is expected to less than two days walk from the United States.

Difficulty Analysis - Construction of transnational high-speed rail faces three challenges

Several of these cross-border high-speed railway construction plan was put forth on the concern, but the construction of the railway is not easy. There have been an example to analyze high-speed rail in Europe and Asia that China's high-speed rail construction of these international challenges facing at least the following three areas:

One is difficult to raise huge amounts of money. Eurasian necessary funds to build high-speed rail will be an astronomical figure, not a Chinese government can afford. Even along the countries are willing to provide some funding for the Eurasian high-speed rail, still unable to meet demand.

Second, the rail operator would be a problem. Eurasian high-speed rail to pass through a dozen countries, how to manage and operate cross-border high-speed rail system this will be a huge challenge. If along the Eurasian countries can not agree on a high-speed rail operators, subsequent cooperation would be impossible.

The third is still unable to resolve technical problems. Eurasia is the world's largest continent, geological conditions along the Eurasian high-speed rail is extremely complex, both alpine valley insurance also has rivers and lakes, the construction of a complex geological environments across so many high-speed rail is technically
faces enormous challenges.

New Super-Heavy Element 117 Confirmed by Scientists

Always pleasing to add another element to the list even if it is never likely to be of any use to anyone.  What is interesting is that I now know how to go about modeling proton and neutron location in the elements and it may be possible to achieve something super heavy.  Actually making a lot of it would be important and needs to be considered.

A breakthrough must come in a single jump to a higher stable configuration with a lot more protons and special symmetries in place.  The rest will exist but as shown very briefly.  It will still be a serious fabrication challenge.  We may be able to identify a stable configuration but no obvious route.

All good fun.

New Super-Heavy Element 117 Confirmed by Scientists

By Denise Chow, Sci-Tech Editor   |   May 01, 2014 06:12pm ET

Atoms of a new super-heavy element — the as-yet-unnamed element 117 — have reportedly been created by scientists in Germany, moving it closer to being officially recognized as part of the standard periodic table.

Researchers at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, an accelerator laboratory located in Darmstadt, Germany, say they have created and observed several atoms of element 117, which is temporarily named ununseptium.

Element 117 — so-called because it is an atom with 117 protons in its nucleus — was previously one of the missing items on the periodic table of elements. These super-heavy elements, which include all the elements beyond atomic number 104, are not found naturally on Earth, and thus have to be created synthetically within a laboratory.

Uranium, which has 92 protons, is the heaviest element commonly found in nature, but scientists can artificially create heavier elements by adding protons into an atomic nucleus through nuclear fusion reactions.

Over the years, researchers have created heavier and heavier elements in hopes of discovering just how large atoms can be, said Christoph Düllmann, a professor at the Institute for Nuclear Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Is there a limit, for instance, to the number of protons that can be packed into an atomic nucleus?

"There are predictions that super-heavy elements should exist which are very long-lived," Düllmann told Live Science. "It is interesting to find out if half-lives become long again for very heavy elements, especially if very neutron-rich species are made."

Typically, the more protons and neutrons are added into an atomic nucleus, the more unstable an atom becomes. Most super-heavy elements last just microseconds or nanoseconds before decaying. Yet, scientists have predicted that an "island of stability" exists where super-heavy elements become stable again. If such an "island" exists, the elements in this theoretical region of the periodic table could be extremely long-lived — capable of existing for longer than nanoseconds — which scientists could then develop for untold practical uses, the researchers said. (A half-life refers to the time it takes for half of a substance to decay.)

Düllmann and his colleagues say their findings, published today (May 1) in the journal Physical Review Letters, are a step in the right direction.

"The successful experiments on element 117 are an important step on the path to the production and detection of elements situated on the 'island of stability' of super-heavy elements," Horst Stöcker, scientific director at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, said in a statement.

Element 117 was first reported in 2010 by a team of American and Russian scientists working together at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. Since then, researchers have performed subsequent tests to confirm the existence of the elusive new element.

A committee from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), the worldwide federation charged with standardizing nomenclature in chemistry, will review the findings to decide whether to formally accept element 117 and grant it an official name.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Valery P. Burdakoy and Phobos

Here again we have direct reference to Russia’s extraordinary interest in Phobos.  They have never promoted this but they certainly spelled it out as in fact I have.  Just as last year their mission crashed and burned, so too had the effort made in 1989.  This represents an unusual level of single mindedness that is surprising.

Recall that it appears from mass calculations made by the Russians in 1959, that Phobos is hollow.  This makes it a powerful candidate for a human or otherwise manufactured Space Station.  It would have a spinning onion shelled craft inside which naturally produces g force artificial gravity on a myriad of working surfaces.   The shell would remain thick enough to protect from space radiation.  It may well have served as mankind’s refugia when the Pleistocene nonconformity was deliberately induced almost 13,000 years ago.

I should observe that its manufacture would entail mass acceleration to hollow out the craft and that would allow it to be moved for the asteroid belt down to Mars orbit.

Obviously it must still be operating and it is a pretty good bet that planetary facilities exist as well.  However as posted before, they all are likely underground for the same protective reason.

Russian Scientist Dies

Paul Stonehill writes, “Ph.D. of Engineering Sciences Valery Pavlovich Burdakov who passed away on April 22, 2014, was a, a distinguished Russian scientist, and co-author of an immensely popular book Rockets of the Future.” He knew many of those who had created Soviet ballistic missiles and the nation’s space exploration program. For thirty two years, Valery P. Burdakov had worked in Korolyov’s design bureau who led the development of several generations of Soviet ballistic missiles, launch vehicles, military and communications satellites, interplanetary probes and manned spacecraft in the USSR.

Valery P. Burdakov was author of more than 400 works in engineering sciences and patents. In the course of his career he had often communicated with cosmonauts and knew of their UFO sightings. Professor Burdakov studied UFOs for sixty years and felt 3% are real messages from extraterrestrial civilizations and we should listen to such messages.

In October of 1996, Professor Burdakov published his memoirs in Anomaliya Magazine and revealed Stalin’s interest in Ufology. According to Burdakov, Sergey Korolyov was summoned, and informed that it was by Comrade Stalin's request to come to the Kremlin where he was provided with two female translators to assist him; was given a stack of foreign newspapers, books, and three days to evaluate the 1947 UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico. In the stack of papers, Korolyov saw many published materials, testimonies and USSR sightings reports. After a few days he was again summoned before the dictator.

Korolyov's told Stalin that UFOs were not weapons of some potential adversary, and did not pose a serious threat to the country. However, the phenomenon itself does exist, added Korolyov. Stalin said that other experts were of similar opinion.

The second information had to do with the failure of the Phobos 1989 mission. Valery Burdakov made direct inquiries about the loss of Phobos 2 probe, and discussed the matter with the original designers of the project. Professor Burdakov questioned the series of strange events that led to the destruction of Phobos 2. The Professor came up with a hypothesis: if Mars is inhabited, the intelligent beings who exist there would not like the idea of a device placed on the surface of their moonlet for purposes of constant observation. Consequently, in his opinion, they did something about it. Burdakov's views were expressed in 1992 in a Russian magazine Quant. Valery P. Burdakov was a full member and Presidium member of the A.M. Prokhorov Russian Academy of engineering. His influence, research and knowledge have made him part of the history of Soviet and Russian Ufology. Thanks to Paul Stonehill

How much Longevity Can be Achieved Now?

What this asks is can we achieve significant longevity with what must be described as item by item restoration.  It seems we should but I am more inclined to expect any practical system will tackle all tissues and restoration will remain available for gross damage.

I am actually optimistic that aging itself can be seriously slowed and actually stabilized.  With that restoration methods can be awaited for any necessary application.  One clear example of this will be dental restoration already close to leaving the laboratory.  The same methods and stem cell methodology are all allowing us to already replace simple organs with our own replacements.

The next decade should make the century mark common and continuous sound health as common.   If that is all that were on tap, we would all take it.

The real breakthrough will be the cessation of cellular aging and even some regression.  That also suggests that real success there can slowly regress cellular age back to the human prime which is typically mid thirties.

Thus I think that we can make an interesting predictive chart.

Present age group                    45 – 60                        60 – 70                        70 – 85

Adding one decade:               75%                             25%                             10%
Adding two decades              50%                             15%                             2%
Adding three decades             25%                             5%                               <1 o:p="">
Adding five decades              5%                               1%                               <1 o:p="">
Note that I am not now prepared to make this last entry the zero it has been.

What is not so obvious is that it requires special care to actually be able to tap life extension options.  Possible is a long way from ready availability, particularly as much of our culture is not prepared for it nor particularly good choices for true life extension.  Once availability becomes clear, everyone will prepare properly.  Today most make a real mess of it.

How much longevity could be achieved with rejuvenation of 98.5% of the body

MAY 05, 2014

These approaches and using young stem cells to replace old cells in various locations are heading towards replacing more and more of the body with younger cells. This intuitively would seem to be an effective way to extend lives if the procedures can avoid any harmful effects of replacing the tissue and cells.

By being able to repair or regenerate the spinal cord it would be possible to perform whole body donations.

A whole body donation would be something that is technically feasible but unproven and very expensive with a lot of work to overcome or prevent the damage.

Report: Pesticide Pushers Spin Bee Crisis to Protect Profits

Without question the industry is in overdrive playing the denial game in exactly the same way as the tobacco industry.  The problem was obvious early.  By early I posted on this in 2007 when it became clear.  The situation has only worsened and slowly but surely bee keepers have been succumbing.  The problem is also not abating which it makes it pretty clear that a systemic non biological killer is at work.

As this protocol progresses, it will drive agriculture into organic methods in both self-defense and for sound economic reasons.

The industry itself will not abate this problem until we are faced with a real crop collapse.  In the meantime the bee keepers struggle to sustain their current industry against the worst crisis ever.

Report: Pesticide Pushers Spin Bee Crisis to Protect Profits

As bee collapse threatens global food supply, report says chemical industry employing Big Tobacco-style PR blitz to deflect blame

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Published on Monday, April 28, 2014 by Common Dreams

Worldwide bee deaths have now entered a crisis state threatening the global food supply and, according to a new report out Monday by Friends of the Earth, the human-made epidemic has been worsened by an industry-funded disinformation campaign.

The report, Follow the Honey: 7 ways pesticide companies are spinning the bee crisis to protect profits (pdf),details how the leading pesticide corporations—Bayer, Syngenta, and Monsanto—are taking a page from the playbook of Big Tobacco companies to stall any potential legislation from protecting bee colonies.

According to report author and noted food industry critic Michele Simon, these corporations are engaging in a full-throttled public relations blitz, which includes funding industry-friendly research, targeting children, attacking regulators, blaming farmers and "pretending to care" by creating their own greenwashed "save the bees" campaigns.

These efforts are meant to distract policy makers and the general population from identifying the cause of bee decline, which —according to "a strong and growing body of evidence" — is linked to a widely-used class of neurotoxic pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics.

Following a 2013 review by the European Food Safety Authority, the European Commission implemented a continent-wide two-year suspension of the three most-used neonics — imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

U.S. efforts to enact similar legislation have floundered due to "sophisticated, multi-pronged public relation campaigns" by the leading chemical companies, intent on "manufactur[ing] doubt about their products’ contribution to the bee crisis," the report charges.

Neonics are used on more than 140 crop seeds and virtually all corn and a large percentage of soy, wheat and canola seeds planted in the U.S. are pretreated with neonics. According to the report, the pesticide makers would have much to lose if neonics were universally banned. In 2009, the neonicotinoid global market was worth roughly $2.6 billion.

"Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto make billions from bee-killing pesticide products while masquerading as champions of bee health,” said Lisa Archer, food and technology program director at Friends of the Earth. Asking if industry profits are "more important than our food supply," Archer says that Congress must act now to ban these pesticides that threaten our food security.

"Bees are essential to one out of three bites of the food we eat, and two thirds of global food crops, from almonds to strawberries," the report states. "While industry attempts at spin, distraction, and the manufacture of doubt may be effective political tools in the U.S. for causing delay and inaction, they will only cause more harm in the long run."

The Snowden Saga Begins with Glenn Greenwald

The world has grown quiet on the Snowden affair, but it is also fair to say that legislation is working its way forward and new tools are been deployed, all driven by the clear light of what is clearly full disclosure.

I also know how to end the whole problem and that insight driven through others will slowly slam the surveillance door shut.  It will still take most of five years of course.

In the meantime here is the story of the early days of Snowden setting up key reporters to receive his data dump.  He was not making silly mistakes while he did this either.

Good Germans and Good Americans always face a special hell when they do what they and we know is right.  Let us struggle to be kinder and forgiving when this happens.  Sometimes motives are less clear, but here they are unassailable.  It was F**k you, you are not going down this road because it is wrong.

The Snowden Saga Begins: “I Have Been to the Darkest Corners of Government, and What They Fear Is Light”

Published on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 by TomDispatch

[This essay is a shortened and adapted version of Chapter 1 of Glenn Greenwald’s new book,No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Security State, and appears with the kind permission of Metropolitan Books.]

On December 1, 2012, I received my first communication from Edward Snowden, although I had no idea at the time that it was from him.

The contact came in the form of an email from someone calling himself Cincinnatus, a reference to Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, the Roman farmer who, in the fifth century BC, was appointed dictator of Rome to defend the city against attack. He is most remembered for what he did after vanquishing Rome’s enemies: he immediately and voluntarily gave up political power and returned to farming life. Hailed as a “model of civic virtue,” Cincinnatus has become a symbol of the use of political power in the public interest and the worth of limiting or even relinquishing individual power for the greater good.

The email began: “The security of people’s communications is very important to me,” and its stated purpose was to urge me to begin using PGP encryption so that “Cincinnatus” could communicate things in which, he said, he was certain I would be interested. Invented in 1991, PGP stands for “pretty good privacy.” It has been developed into a sophisticated tool to shield email and other forms of online communications from surveillance and hacking.

In this email, “Cincinnatus” said he had searched everywhere for my PGP “public key,” a unique code set that allows people to receive encrypted email, but could not find it. From this, he concluded that I was not using the program and told me, “That puts anyone who communicates with you at risk. I’m not arguing that every communication you are involved in be encrypted, but you should at least provide communicants with that option.”

“Cincinnatus” then referenced the sex scandal of General David Petraeus, whose career-ending extramarital affair with journalist Paula Broadwell was discovered when investigators found Google emails between the two. Had Petraeus encrypted his messages before handing them over to Gmail or storing them in his drafts folder, he wrote, investigators would not have been able to read them. “Encryption matters, and it is not just for spies and philanderers.”  

“There are people out there you would like to hear from,” he added, “but they will never be able to contact you without knowing their messages cannot be read in transit.” Then he offered to help me install the program.  He signed off: “Thank you. C.”

Using encryption software was something I had long intended to do. I had been writing for years about WikiLeaks, whistleblowers, the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous, and had also communicated with people inside the U.S. national security establishment. Most of them are concerned about the security of their communications and preventing unwanted monitoring. But the program is complicated, especially for someone who had very little skill in programming and computers, like me. So it was one of those things I had never gotten around to doing.

C.’s email did not move me to action. Because I had become known for covering stories the rest of the media often ignores, I frequently hear from all sorts of people offering me a “huge story,” and it usually turns out to be nothing. And at any given moment I am usually working on more stories than I can handle. So I need something concrete to make me drop what I’m doing in order to pursue a new lead.

Three days later, I heard from C. again, asking me to confirm receipt of the first email. This time I replied quickly. “I got this and am going to work on it. I don’t have a PGP code, and don’t know how to do that, but I will try to find someone who can help me.”

C. replied later that day with a clear, step-by-step guide to PGP: Encryption for Dummies, in essence. At the end of the instructions, he said these were just “the barest basics.” If I couldn’t find anyone to walk me through the system, he added, “let me know. I can facilitate contact with people who understand crypto almost anywhere in the world.”

This email ended with more a pointed sign-off: “Cryptographically yours, Cincinnatus.”

Despite my intentions, I did nothing, consumed as I was at the time with other stories, and still unconvinced that C. had anything worthwhile to say.

In the face of my inaction, C. stepped up his efforts. He produced a 10-minute video entitledPGP for Journalists.

It was at that point that C., as he later told me, became frustrated. “Here am I,” he thought, “ready to risk my liberty, perhaps even my life, to hand this guy thousands of Top Secret documents from the nation’s most secretive agency -- a leak that will produce dozens if not hundreds of huge journalistic scoops. And he can’t even be bothered to install an encryption program.”

That’s how close I came to blowing off one of the largest and most consequential national security leaks in U.S. history.

“He’s Real”

The next I heard of any of this was 10 weeks later. On April 18th, I flew from my home in Rio de Janeiro to New York, and saw on landing at JFK Airport, that I had an email from Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker. “Any chance you’ll be in the U.S. this coming week?” she wrote. “I’d love to touch base about something, though best to do in person.”

I take seriously any message from Laura Poitras. I replied immediately: “Actually, just got to the U.S. this morning... Where are you?” We arranged a meeting for the next day in the lobby at my hotel and found seats in the restaurant. At Laura’s insistence, we moved tables twice before beginning our conversation to be sure that nobody could hear us. Laura then got down to business. She had an “extremely important and sensitive matter” to discuss, she said, and security was critical. 

First, though, Laura asked that I either remove the battery from my cell phone or leave it in my hotel room. “It sounds paranoid,” she said, but the government has the capability to activate cell phones and laptops remotely as eavesdropping devices. I’d heard this before from transparency activists and hackers but tended to write it off as excess caution.  After discovering that the battery on my cell phone could not be removed, I took it back to my room, then returned to the restaurant.

Now Laura began to talk. She had received a series of anonymous emails from someone who seemed both honest and serious. He claimed to have access to some extremely secret and incriminating documents about the U.S. government spying on its own citizens and on the rest of the world. He was determined to leak these documents to her and had specifically requested that she work with me on releasing and reporting on them.

Laura then pulled several pages out of her purse from two of the emails sent by the anonymous leaker, and I read them at the table from start to finish. In the second of the emails, the leaker got to the crux of what he viewed as his mission:

The shock of this initial period [after the first revelations] will provide the support needed to build a more equal internet, but this will not work to the advantage of the average person unless science outpaces law. By understanding the mechanisms through which our privacy is violated, we can win here. We can guarantee for all people equal protection against unreasonable search through universal laws, but only if the technical community is willing to face the threat and commit to implementing over-engineered solutions. In the end, we must enforce a principle whereby the only way the powerful may enjoy privacy is when it is the same kind shared by the ordinary: one enforced by the laws of nature, rather than the policies of man.

“He’s real,” I said when I finished reading. “I can’t explain exactly why, but I just feel intuitively that this is serious, that he’s exactly who he says he is.”

“So do I,” Laura replied. “I have very little doubt.”

I instinctively recognized the author’s political passion. I felt a kinship with our correspondent, with his worldview, and with the sense of urgency that was clearly consuming him.

In one of the last passages, Laura’s correspondent wrote that he was completing the final steps necessary to provide us with the documents. He needed another four to six weeks, and we should wait to hear from him.

Three days later, Laura and I met again, and with another email from the anonymous leaker, in which he explained why he was willing to risk his liberty, to subject himself to the high likelihood of a very lengthy prison term, in order to disclose these documents. Now I was even more convinced: our source was for real, but as I told my partner, David Miranda, on the flight home to Brazil, I was determined to put the whole thing out of my mind. “It may not happen. He could change his mind. He could get caught.” David is a person of powerful intuition, and he was weirdly certain. “It’s real. He’s real. It’s going to happen,” he declared. “And it’s going to be huge.”

“I Have Only One Fear”    

A message from Laura told me we needed to speak urgently, but only through OTR (off-the-record) chat, an encrypted instrument for talking online securely.

Her news was startling: we might have to travel to Hong Kong immediately to meet our source. I had assumed that our anonymous source was in Maryland or northern Virginia. What was someone with access to top-secret U.S. government documents doing in Hong Kong?  What did Hong Kong have to do with any of this?

Answers would only come from the source himself. He was upset by the pace of things thus far, and it was critical that I speak to him directly, to assure him and placate his growing concerns. Within an hour, I received an email from Verax@******. Verax means “truth teller” in Latin. The subject line read, “Need to talk.”

“I’ve been working on a major project with a mutual friend of ours,” the email began. “You recently had to decline short-term travel to meet with me. You need to be involved in this story,” he wrote. “Is there any way we can talk on short notice? I understand you don’t have much in the way of secure infrastructure, but I’ll work around what you have.” He suggested that we speak via OTR and provided his user name.

My computer sounded a bell-like chime, signaling that the source had signed on. Slightly nervous, I clicked on his name and typed “hello.” He answered, and I found myself speaking directly to someone who I assumed had, at that point, revealed a number of secret documents about U.S. surveillance programs and who wanted to reveal more.

“I’m willing to do what I have to do to report this,” I said. The source -- whose name, place of employment, age, and all other attributes were still unknown to me -- asked if I would come to Hong Kong to meet him. I did not ask why he was there; I wanted to avoid appearing to be fishing for information and I assumed his situation was delicate. Whatever else was true, I knew that this person had resolved to carry out what the U.S. government would consider a very serious crime.

“Of course I’ll come to Hong Kong,” I said.
We spoke online that day for two hours, talking at length about his goal. I knew from the emails Laura had shown me that he felt compelled to tell the world about the massive spying apparatus the U.S. government was secretly building. But what did he hope to achieve?

“I want to spark a worldwide debate about privacy, Internet freedom, and the dangers of state surveillance,” he said. “I’m not afraid of what will happen to me. I’ve accepted that my life will likely be over from my doing this. I’m at peace with that. I know it’s the right thing to do.” He then said something startling: “I want to identify myself as the person behind these disclosures. I believe I have an obligation to explain why I’m doing this and what I hope to achieve.” He told me he had written a document that he wanted to post on the Internet when he outed himself as the source, a pro-privacy, anti-surveillance manifesto for people around the world to sign, showing that there was global support for protecting privacy.

“I only have one fear in doing all of this,” he said, which is “that people will see these documents and shrug, that they’ll say, ‘We assumed this was happening and don’t care.’ The only thing I’m worried about is that I’ll do all this to my life for nothing.”

“I seriously doubt that will happen,” I assured him, but I wasn’t convinced I really believed that. I knew from my years of writing about NSA abuses that it can be hard to generate serious concern about secret state surveillance.

This felt different, but before I took off for Hong Kong, I wanted to see some documents so that I understood the types of disclosures the source was prepared to make.

I then spent a couple of days online as the source walked me through, step by step, how to install and use the programs I would need to see the documents.  

I kept apologizing for my lack of proficiency, for having to take hours of his time to teach me the most basic aspects of secure communication. “No worries,” he said, “most of this makes little sense. And I have a lot of free time right now.”

Once the programs were all in place, I received a file containing roughly twenty-five documents: “Just a very small taste: the tip of the tip of the iceberg,” he tantalizingly explained.

I unzipped the file, saw the list of documents, and randomly clicked on one of them. At the top of the page in red letters, a code appeared: “TOP SECRET//COMINT/NO FORN/.”

This meant the document had been legally designated top secret, pertained to communications intelligence (COMINT), and was not for distribution to foreign nationals, including international organizations or coalition partners (NO FORN). There it was with incontrovertible clarity: a highly confidential communication from the NSA, one of the most secretive agencies in the world’s most powerful government. Nothing of this significance had ever been leaked from the NSA, not in all the six-decade history of the agency. I now had a couple dozen such items in my possession. And the person I had spent hours chatting with over the last two days had many, many more to give me.

As Laura and I arrived at JFK Airport to board a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong, Laura pulled a thumb drive out of her backpack. “Guess what this is?” she asked with a look of intense seriousness.


“The documents,” she said. “All of them.”


For the next 16 hours, despite my exhaustion, I did nothing but read, feverishly taking notes on document after document. One of the first I read was an order from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court, which had been created by Congress in 1978, after the Church