Friday, April 30, 2021

Escobar: Putin Rewrites The Law Of The Geopolitical Jungle

I find the maintenance of a faux opposition to russia by the 'West' to be absurd and increditably stupid unless you happen to be a sociopath wanting a ruinous war..  This has been true since 1990 and only more so for every passing year.

Now the F**ks have attempted to launch a coup in Belarus.  It has obviously been stopped hard.  It compares to the obvious meddling in the Ukraine.  Both these and the other surrounds calls for a international border Commision that works out a proper adjustment and particularly in regards to a better disposition with the Ukraine.

It has been thirty years now.

Escobar: Putin Rewrites The Law Of The Geopolitical Jungle


SATURDAY, APR 24, 2021 - 11:20 PM

Putin’s address to the Russian Federal Assembly – a de facto State of the Nation – was a judo move that left Atlanticist sphere hawks particularly stunned...

The “West” was not even mentioned by name. Only indirectly, or via a delightful metaphor, Kipling’s Jungle Book. Foreign policy was addressed only at the end, almost as an afterthought.

For the best part of an hour and a half, Putin concentrated on domestic issues, detailing a series of policies that amount to the Russian state helping those in need – low income families, children, single mothers, young professionals, the underprivileged – with, for instance, free health checks all the way to the possibility of an universal income in the near future.

Of course he would also need to address the current, highly volatile state of international relations. The concise manner he chose to do it, counter-acting the prevailing Russophobia in the Atlanticist sphere, was quite striking.

First, the essentials. Russia’s policy “is to ensure peace and security for the well-being of our citizens and for the stable development of our country.”

Yet if “someone does not want to…engage in dialogue, but chooses an egoistic and arrogant tone, Russia will always find a way to stand up for its position.”

He singled out “the practice of politically motivated, illegal economic sanctions” to connect it to “something much more dangerous”, and actually rendered invisible in the Western narrative: “the recent attempt to organize a coup d’etat in Belarus and the assassination of that country’s president.” Putin made sure to stress, “all boundaries have been crossed”.

The plot to kill Lukashenko was unveiled by Russian and Belarusian intel – which detained several actors backed, who else, US intel. The US State Department predictably denied any involvement.

Putin: “It is worth pointing to the confessions of the detained participants in the conspiracy that a blockade of Minsk was being prepared, including its city infrastructure and communications, the complete shutdown of the entire power grid of the Belarusian capital. This, incidentally means preparations for a massive cyber-attack.”

And that leads to a very uncomfortable truth: “Apparently, it’s not for no reason that our Western colleagues have stubbornly rejected numerous proposals by the Russian side to establish an international dialogue in the field of information and cyber-security.”

“Asymmetric, swift and harsh”

Putin remarked how to “attack Russia” has become “a sport, a new sport, who makes the loudest statements.” And then he went full Kipling: “Russia is attacked here and there for no reason. And of course, all sorts of petty Tabaquis [jackals] are running around like Tabaqui ran around Shere Khan [the tiger] – everything is like in Kipling’s book – howling along and ready to serve their sovereign. Kipling was a great writer”.

The – layered – metaphor is even more startling as it echoes the late 19th century geopolitical Great Game between the British and Russian empires, of which Kipling was a protagonist.

Once again Putin had to stress that “we really don’t want to burn any bridges. But if someone perceives our good intentions as indifference or weakness and intends to burn those bridges completely or even blow them up, he should know that Russia’s response will be asymmetric, swift and harsh”.

So here’s the new law of the geopolitical jungle – backed by Mr. Iskander, Mr. Kalibr, Mr. Avangard, Mr. Peresvet, Mr. Khinzal, Mr. Sarmat, Mr. Zircon and other well-respected gentlemen, hypersonic and otherwise, later complimented on the record. Those who poke the Bear to the point of threatening “the fundamental interests of our security will regret what has been done, as they have regretted nothing for a very long time.”

The stunning developments of the past few weeks – the China-US Alaska summit, the Lavrov-Wang Yi summit in Guilin, the NATO summit, the Iran-China strategic deal, Xi Jinping’s speech at the Boao forum – now coalesce into a stark new reality: the era of a unilateral Leviathan imposing its iron will is over.

For those Russophobes who still haven’t got the message, a cool, calm and collected Putin was compelled to add, “clearly, we have enough patience, responsibility, professionalism, self-confidence, self-assurance in the correctness of our position and common sense when it comes to making any decisions. But I hope that no one will think about crossing Russia’s so-called red lines. And where they run, we determine ourselves in each specific case.”

Back to realpolitik, Putin once again had to stress the “special responsibility” of the “five nuclear states” to seriously discuss “issues related to strategic armament”. It’s an open question whether the Biden-Harris administration – behind which stand a toxic cocktail of neo-cons and humanitarian imperialists – will agree.

Putin: “The goal of such negotiations could be to create an environment of conflict-free coexistence based on equal security, covering not only strategic weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, heavy bombers and submarines, but also, I would like to emphasize, all offensive and defensive systems capable of solving strategic tasks, regardless of their equipment.”

As much as Xi’s address to the Boao forum was mostly directed to the Global South, Putin highlighted how “we are expanding contacts with our closest partners in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the BRICS, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the allies of the Collective Security Treaty Organization”, and extolled “joint projects in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union”, billed as “practical tools for solving the problems of national development.”

In a nutshell: integration in effect, following the Russian concept of “Greater Eurasia”.
“Tensions skirting wartime levels”

Now compare all of the above with the White House Executive Order (EO) declaring a “national emergency” to “deal with the Russian threat”.

This is directly connected to President Biden – actually the combo telling him what to do, complete with earpiece and teleprompter – promising Ukraine’s President Zelensky that Washington would “take measures” to support Kiev’s wishful thinking of retaking Donbass and Crimea.

There are several eyebrow-raising issues with this EO. It denies, de facto, to any Russian national the full rights to their US property. Any US resident may be accused of being a Russian agent engaged in undermining US security. A sub-sub paragraph (C), detailing “actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in the United States or abroad”, is vague enough to be used to eliminate any journalism that supports Russia’s positions in international affairs.

Purchases of Russian OFZ bonds have been sanctioned, as well as one of the companies involved in the production of the Sputnik V vaccine. Yet the icing on this sanction cake may well be that from now on all Russian citizens, including dual citizens, may be barred from entering US territory except via a rare special authorization on top of the ordinary visa.

The Russian paper Vedomosti has noted that in such paranoid atmosphere the risks for large companies such as Yandex or Kaspersky Lab are significantly increasing. Still, these sanctions have not been met with surprise in Moscow. The worst is yet to come, according to Beltway insiders: two packages of sanctions against Nord Stream 2 already approved by the US Department of Justice.

The crucial point is that this EO de facto places anyone reporting on Russia’s political positions as potentially threatening “American democracy”. As top political analyst Alastair Crooke has remarked, this is a “procedure usually reserved for citizens of enemy states during times of war”. Crooke adds, “US hawks are upping the ante fiercely against Moscow. Tensions and rhetoric are skirting wartime levels.”

It’s an open question whether Putin’s State of the Nation will be seriously examined by the toxic lunatic combo of neocons and humanitarian imperialists bent on simultaneously harassing Russia and China.

But the fact is something extraordinary has already started to happen: a “de-escalation” of sorts.

Even before Putin’s address, Kiev, NATO and the Pentagon apparently got the message implicit in Russia moving two armies, massive artillery batteries and airborne divisions to the borders of Donbass and to Crimea – not to mention top naval assets moved from the Caspian to the Black Sea. NATO could not even dream of matching that.

Facts on different grounds speak volumes. Both Paris and Berlin were terrified of a possible Kiev clash directly against Russia, and lobbied furiously against it, bypassing the EU and NATO.

Then someone – it might have been Jake Sullivan – must have whispered on Crash Test Dummy’s earpiece that you don’t go around insulting the head of a nuclear state and expect to keep your global “credibility”. So after that by now famous “Biden” phone call to Putin came the invitation to the climate change summit, in which any lofty promises are largely rhetorical, as the Pentagon will continue to be the largest polluting entity on planet Earth.

So Washington may have found a way to keep at least one avenue of dialogue open with Moscow. At the same time Moscow has no illusions whatsoever that the Ukraine/Donbass/Crimea drama is over. Even if Putin did not mention it in the State of the Nation. And even if Defense Minister Shoigu has ordered a de-escalation.

The always inestimable Andrei Martyanov has gleefully noted the “cultural shock when Brussels and D.C. started to suspect that Russia doesn’t ‘want’ Ukraine. What Russia wants is for this country to rot and implode without excrement from this implosion hitting Russia. West’s paying for the clean up of this clusterf**k is also in Russian plans for Ukrainian Bantustan.”

The fact that Putin did not even mention Bantustan in his speech corroborates this analysis. As far as “red lines” are concerned, Putin’s implicit message remains the same: a NATO base on Russia’s western flank simply won’t be tolerated. Paris and Berlin know it. The EU is in denial. NATO will always refuse to admit it.

We always come back to the same crucial issue: whether Putin will be able, against all odds, to pull a combined Bismarck-Sun Tzu move and build a lasting German-Russian entente cordiale (and that’s quite far from an “alliance’). Nord Stream 2 is an essential cog in the wheel – and that’s what’s driving Washington hawks crazy.

Whatever happens next, for all practical purposes Iron Curtain 2.0 is now on, and it simply won’t go away. There will be more sanctions. Everything was thrown at the Bear short of a hot war. It will be immensely entertaining to watch how, and via which steps, Washington will engage on a “de-escalation and diplomatic process” with Russia.

The Hegemon may always find a way to deploy a massive P.R. campaign and ultimately claim a diplomatic success in “dissolving” the impasse. Well, that certainly beats a hot war. Otherwise, lowly Jungle Book adventurers have been advised: try anything funny and be ready to meet “asymmetric, swift and harsh”.

Here’s the Secret to Staying Mentally Sharp, According to a Psychiatrist and a Neurologist

The first take home is that all we have been taught is questionable.  Then it is a question of diet enhancement which you should be doing as a matter of course.

i will not push a particualr diet, as by now that should be obvious.  If you are not actively practising best food habits, then you are also not reading an item like this.

The good news is to simply pay attention.  That also helps.

Here’s the Secret to Staying Mentally Sharp, According to a Psychiatrist and a Neurologist

Emily Laurence・April 24, 2021

It was once long believed—by the average person and by brain health experts—that each person had a finite number of brain cells, which decreased over time. Lose enough and it can lead to neurological damage or diseases, including dementia. It’s a school of thought that could cause someone to obsess over every soccer ball they’d ever head-butted or night they had one too many alcoholic drinks.

But this line of thinking isn’t exactly true based on what researchers have learned about brain health over the past decade. A wealth of scientific studies are connecting certain food and lifestyle habits with neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons grow in the brain. It’s a topic psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD talks about in his new book, Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety ($22) and means that we can actively protect ourselves from cognitive decline—at least in part. Encouraging, right? The key, of course, is knowing how to do it.

How are brain cells destroyed?

Before we get into brain cell growth, it’s helpful to know what exactly kills them off in the first place. Dr. Ramsey says this comes down to high levels of chronic inflammation. While small doses of short-term inflammation can actually be beneficial, experiencing high-levels of inflammation for extended periods of time can be damaging to the brain (and the body as a whole, TBH).

“Scientific research has been very clear that excess inflammation affects the circuits in the brain,” Dr. Ramsey says. Inflammation not only disrupts brain circuity, it actively kills brain cells, too. He explains that an inflamed brain leads to brain fog, anxiety, depression, low energy, and (over a long period of time) cognitive decline and disease. What causes long-term inflammation? Chronic stress, eating a lot of processed sugar, processed meat, and refined carbs, and not getting enough sleep are some of the major causes.

Something else chronic inflammation does is prohibit neurogenesis, the key process for producing new brain cells, says neurologist Faye Begeti, MD, PhD. “The brain is shielded by a blood-brain barrier. This barrier can become leaky, but this would only happen in prolonged, systemic inflammatory states rather than a simple cough or cold,” she says.

How new brain cells are grown

Okay, so we can blame excess inflammation for killing brain cells. How do we get them back? Actively working to fight off inflammation. This not only prevents neurons from dying, it actively leads to brain cell growth, as well, according to Dr. Ramsey.

When it comes to brain cell growth, though, it’s important to understand the connection between neurogenesis and neuroplasticity—two words that sound similar, but mean different things—says Dr. Begeti. While neurogenesis refers to new brain cell growth, she explains that neuroplasticity is where existing neurons grow and form different connections with each other. “Kind of like interweaving branches from nearby trees,” she says. “Neuroplasticity is vital for shaping our brain into who we are, learning, and recovering from diseases, like a stroke.” Neuroplasticity is how existing and new brain cells are all communicating with each other; that’s why both are important, Dr. Begeti adds. (But because most of the scientific studies on neuroplasticity have been done in mice—very few have been done in humans—knowledge around the process of rewiring one’s brain is still limited, she says.)

From what doctors can tell, it seems that neurogenesis only happens in two parts of the brain, the hippocampus being one of them. (The other is the olfactory bulb, linked to smell.) Dr. Ramsey explains that the hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for emotional health as well as memory function, remembering old memories as well as creating new ones. Because of this, neurogenesis is key for staying mentally sharp and emotionally balanced. And that’s where what you eat and your daily habits can come in.

Food and lifestyle habits that promote neurogenesis

A healthy diet, consistent good sleep, and regular workouts are all beneficial for the hippocampus, studies have shown. “Exercise, socialization, and environmental enrichment—which means having plenty of stimulating activities—increases neurogenesis but these studies have only been done in mice, as it is difficult to study [brain cell growth] in humans,” Dr. Begeti says. This means that while there likely is a strong connection, more human studies need to be done to confirm it.

Though, some nutrients have been linked to benefitting the brain through neurogenesis in humans, according to Dr. Ramsey: omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods like fish, nuts and seeds, and soybeans), phytonutrients (natural compounds found in plants such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes), B vitamins (found in meat, dairy, whole grains, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, avocado, banana, nuts and seeds, and legumes), zinc (found in lean meats, eggs, seafood, lentils, nuts and seeds, and soy), and magnesium (found in whole grains, soy, nuts and seeds, legumes, and dark chocolate). This is one reason why so many doctors are into the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes all the foods mentioned here.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in the nutrients associated with neurogenesis:

Besides all the nutrients mentioned above, Dr. Ramsey says there’s a specific brain chemical that plays a role in neuroplasticity and brain cell growth: BDNF, which is a neurotrophin, aka a type of protein that helps brain cells grow and survive. “Some say that BDNF is a lot like ‘Miracle-Gro for the brain’—a fertilizing biomolecule that supports the birth of new brain cells and synapses during development,” he says in his book. He also says that besides helping with brain cell growth, BNDF works to protect the mind from toxins.

Want to boost your BDNF production? Dr. Ramsey says regularly eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids is key. (Yep, the nutrient is doubly good for brain health.) He says flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in green tea, berries, kale, tomatoes, dark chocolate, and nuts (except for macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts), are also linked to spurring more BDNF production in the brain.

Working all the aforementioned foods into your diet will likely benefit your hippocampus, but Dr. Ramsey says doing what you can to keep excess inflammation away in general is important too, since it’s what kills precious neurons. When it comes to food, cooking with anti-inflammatory spices such as turmeric, rosemary, and ginger can help. So can prioritizing getting enough fiber. In terms of lifestyle, Dr. Ramsey says stress management, good sleep, and regular movement are all key.

And when it comes to prioritizing these healthy practices, remember that embracing a “mind-over-matter” mindset can help make new habits stick. “Knowing that we can actively grow the size of our brain is really empowering to me personally,” Dr. Ramsey says. “It motivates me to make choices to eat nutrient-rich foods, meditate, and exercise. It’s not always easy to do those things consistently, but when you know how it’s affecting your brain, it’s very motivating.” A mind is a terrible thing to waste, after all.

Plasma Kinetics Light-Activated Hydrides

This will be huge because all battery systems store chemical energy.  The best source of chemical energy has always been hydrogen. storage was the problem.

Now we can store it with hydrides and then release it using light.  Hydrides have been understood for a long time, but this is a practical system for using it.  It also supplies a viable hydrogen supply for fuel cells as well.  Again a long lasting problem.

Finally tapping hydrides for hydrogen storage makes the whole power grid system wonderfully efficient.  It would be amusing if the onsert of full EV economics creates a huge surplus of available power..

Plasma Kinetics Light-Activated Hydrides

April 27, 2021 by Brian Wang

Plasma Kinetics makes light-activated hydrides. It removed the hydrogen from a hydride using light. It system is safe, clean, and scalable and holds more energy than a lithium-ion battery, costing less, and recharges in 5 minutes. This is an energy storage technology that Sandy Munro believes is workable.

PK is the first company to pursue hydrogen in the form of a light-activated nano-structured thin film. Plasma Kinetics’ success is in our unique ability to filter out hydrogen from exhaust gases “like a sponge” with low temperature and pressure – reducing cost. Captured hydrogen is contained indefinitely, releasing with light on demand. Plasma Kinetics advancements offer the means for zero-carbon hydrogen, it’s an economical and safe hydrogen transport and infrastructure system. Our technology scales to fit the power demand of any application.

Plasma Kinetics patent portfolio includes five U.S. patents with more than 40 granted claims. They have patents in Canada, Japan and Korea and patents pending in multiple countries around the world. Plasma Kinetics introduced Light Activated Energy Storage (LAES) hydrogen storage technology to the U.S. Department of Energy in July 2009. The DOE Advanced Research Projects Division stated that our technology had “the potential to have a high transformational impact”.

Transforming Power

Plasma Kinetics is planning the introduction of 19L containers with 500 g of H2 for mobile applications (aircraft, vehicles, and boats). Larger containers of 67 m3 and 76 m3 will have 500 kg and 1000 kg of H2. The larger containers are used for hydrogen production, storage, and delivery to stationary or large mobile (ship and rail) applications. All products are lighter, smaller, and less expensive than lithium-ion batteries. All products are zero-carbon and are also reusable and recyclable.

Plasma Kinetics proprietary nanophotonic material absorbs hydrogen at standard atmospheric pressure and temperature. The material absorbs metric tons of hydrogen in minutes. Hydrogen is released by controlled light at 99.99+% purity.

Plasma Kinetics employs a layered nanophotonic structure with proprietary shape memory alloy that interacts with light. Individual layers are only angstroms thick, and nanolithography provides surface structures that support release of hydrogen with light.

They capture green solar-to-hydrogen or wind-to-hydrogen from electrolysis without pressure. Storage is 30% lighter, 7% smaller, and 17% less expensive than Lithium-ion battery per kWh. Plasma Kinetics Energy Systems are heavier and larger than compressed gas above 350 bar. Plasma Kinetics technology is more ecological and economical than compressed H2 without needing reforming energy, pump energy, pressure or carbon-fiber tanks.

Plasma Kinetics technology does not require a compressed gas infrastructure to produce, move, distribute or deliver hydrogen. 19L containers provided at convenience stores allow customers to return empty containers in exchange for recharged containers. Non-flammable hydrogen storage allows transported via air, truck, rail, or ship without restriction. Swapping containers takes less than 5 minutes and recharging of containers takes 5 to 30 minutes. Vehicles and aircraft can be hot-swappable (without engine shut-off) to allow more time on the road or in the air.

SOURCES- Plasma Kinetics, Sandy Munro
Written By Brian Wang,

New Malaria Vaccine Trial Reports 77 Percent Efficacy Rate

This is promising. With everything else we throw at it, it may well be enough to really drive it out.  This has happened in plenty of places, but has always taken a major multi pronged assault.

Just eliminating the potential human resovoir is only part of the solution.

Real global eradication is a long way off but still underway thanks to modetrnity.  after all that means largely living in sealed homes without the chance of nightime predation by mosquitos.

I grew up eliminating mosquitoes every night and i am sure this is common.

This type of vaccine is likely sufficient to block occasional exposures.  That should be good enough.

New Malaria Vaccine Trial Reports 77 Percent Efficacy Rate

The promising results were announced following a second phase vaccine trial that included 450 children between five and 17 months old

The Anopheles stephensi mosquito is a carrier of the malaria parasite, and can infect people with the parasite when it bites them (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Public Domain)

APRIL 27, 2021 1:50PM

Asmall clinical trial testing a vaccine against malaria has shown promising results, and for the first time, appears to have met the World Health Organization’s target efficacy benchmark, Heidi Ledford reports for Nature News.

Malaria kills about 400,000 people per year, mostly young children, so scientists have spent decades attempting to develop a strong vaccine. The World Health Organization called on the scientific community in 2013 to develop and license a vaccine that is at least 75 percent effective by 2030. The results of the latest trial show that a high dose of the experimental malaria vaccine has a 77 percent efficacy rate at preventing malaria infections over the course of one year. The results were published report last week in the Lancet's preprint server, so the findings have not yet been externally peer-reviewed.

“The efficacy we have got has never been obtained by any [malaria] vaccine candidate. These are really amazing findings,” says Nanoro Institute for Health Sciences Research parasitologist Halidou Tinto, a lead investigator of the new study, to Meredith Wadman at Science magazine.

The trial involved 450 children between five and 17 months old, split into three groups: a high dose of vaccine, a lower dose of vaccine, which resulted in a 71 percent efficacy rate, and a group that received a licensed rabies vaccine instead of the trial malaria vaccine. That way, all participants benefited from involvement with the study, reports Science magazine.

The research team also plans to continue administering booster shots and following the 450 participants for at least another year or two, Tinto tells Nature News. The researchers are also now planning a Phase III trial with 4,800 children, aged five months to three years old, across four African countries.

If the efficacy rate holds up to further trials, the Oxford University vaccine, called R21, will be far more effective than any previously tested vaccine. The second-most effective malaria vaccine, called Mosquirix, is about 56 percent effective over one year, and that falls to 36 percent effective over four years, per Nature News.

Unlike comparatively simple viruses and bacteria, malaria is a parasite with many stages to its life cycle and thousands of genes. That means it doesn’t always look the same to the immune system over time.

"That's a real technical challenge," says co-author Adrian Hill, vaccine expert and director of the Jenner Institute, to BBC News’ Philippa Roxby. "The vast majority of vaccines haven't worked because it's very difficult."

Both Mosquirix and R21 vaccines carry a single protein that the malaria parasite secretes during the first stage of its life cycle. That teaches the immune system to respond in full force if the person gets infected with malaria later.

R21 has a few key differences from previous vaccines. Compared to Mosquirix, it has more of the secreted protein per dose. The R21 vaccine is designed to be produced at a low cost so that it can be made widely available. The Serum Institute of India has already partnered with Oxford University to produce 200 million doses of the R21 vaccine if it is licensed.

“Definitely it’s exciting because of the possibility of large-scale production at relatively low cost,” says Nicholas White, a specialist in tropical medicine at Mahidol University who was not involved in the study, to Nature News. “But because it’s a small study, I don’t think you can say, ‘Wow, slam dunk, we’ve got a much better vaccine.’”

The R21 vaccine also targets the most dangerous form of the malaria parasite, but there are many varieties. Although the study gathered data for 12 months, the region where the study was conducted only faces a high risk of malaria for six months; in the latter half of the study, one child in the control group contracted malaria. Of 146 children who received the vaccine, 38 developed malaria, but the study did not include genetic analysis from those malaria cases.

As University of Florida malaria researcher Rhoel Dinglasan put it to Science magazine, “Where’s the biology?”

The Phase III trial will include regions that face malaria year-round, and continued study of the Phase II participants will illuminate whether the R21 vaccine holds its efficacy over time. Many other malaria vaccines are also in development, including some that try to introduce the immune system to more than a single protein at a time.

“I think R21 has now hit a ceiling for where we can go for this single-component vaccine,” says immunologist Stefan Kappe, an expert in malaria-parasite biology at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, to Nature News. “From here on out, we need to build on additional components.”

Thursday, April 29, 2021

I Once Tried to Cheat Sleep, and For a Year I Succeeded Would I do it again? Perhaps.

Rather interesting and it lays out a working protocol.  The take home is that it is worthwile to train up hte ability to have thirty minutes naps that cleanser your mind and allows you to arise fully refreshed.   Doing this three times a day or ultimately two times a day can fuel your productivity.  Thus mastdering the thirty minute gig is important.

Assume four hours at night but have a good reason to arise.  then we have three six and a half sessions available.  The naps allow us to switch horses.  And six hours is ample to waste your mental resources.

Six hours happens to also be ample to waste your physical resources as well.

So yes, the real trick is to train that fhalf hour nap system   

I once Tried to Cheat Sleep, and For a Year I Succeeded

Would I do it again? Perhaps.

The serial napper. Photo by Evan/flickr under CC-BY

In the summer of 2009, I was finishing the first—and toughest—year of my doctorate. To help me get through it, while I brewed chemicals in test tubes during the day, I was also planning a crazy experiment to cheat sleep.

As any good scientist would, I referred to past studies, recorded data, and discussed notes with some of my colleagues. Although the sample size was just one—and, obviously, biased—I was going to end up learning a great deal about an activity that we spend nearly a third of our life doing.

With looming deadlines and an upcoming thesis defense, I was determined to find more hours to fit in work and study. The answer came from reading about the famous American inventor Buckminster Fuller, who, Time reported in 1943, spent two years sleeping only two hours a day.

Fuller’s Short Dreams

The method to achieving what seemed like a superhuman feat was called the Dymaxion sleeping schedule: four naps of 30 minutes taken every six hours. Much of Fuller’s inventions were labeled “Dymaxion,” which is a portmanteau of dynamic, maximum, and tension, and I was certainly inspired to live like a great man once did.

When I started reading the scientific literature on the topic, I was surprised by how little we know about sleep. And the little we can explain comes from studying the effects of the absence of sleep. The average duration of a night’s sleep has been declining in recent years. In the US more than a third of the population gets less than seven hours of sleep in the day, and in the UK a similar proportion gets away with less than six hours.

Not sleeping properly causes problems, so we say that sleep is essential to many functions such as memory and cognition. But why we sleep and what ill-effect sleep deprivation may have remain poorly understood.

That lack of knowledge, however, hasn’t stopped people from experimenting with sleep. My experiment began in 2009, and today there are many more online forums dedicated to discussions around what is now referred to as “polyphasic sleep.” People have scoured past examples, such as the life of Leonardo da Vinci, to develop new polyphasic schedules. Like the Dymaxion schedule, the general idea is to break the large chunk of sleep at night in to multiple naps and thus reduce the total time spent sleeping.
The Experiment Begins

I saw that there were risks to what I was about to try, but I was also really fed up with dealing with my frequent grogginess just because I didn’t sleep eight hours each night. I jumped into the experiment and told a few good friends to keep a close eye on me; if anything seemed awry I would stop.

At the time, I didn’t drink tea or coffee and I wasn’t sad about giving up alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol affect sleep, and I wasn’t taking chances with something that was going to require so much effort.

For the sleep schedule to work, I needed places to nap. I had a few secret spots in my huge chemistry lab at Oxford University (far away from any chemicals, of course). Better still, I had access to a couch in my college nearby.

My Australian housemate Alex at the time wanted to tame sleep too and decided to join in. We set about imitating Fuller and decided to take 30-minute naps every six hours.

Problems began after 36 hours. I was finding it hard staying awake at night, and Alex wasn’t able to wake up in time after naps despite many alarms.

We were aware that difficulties were bound to arise, but we didn’t realize how bad sleep deprivation truly feels. Alex went back to being monophasic, but I was determined. To make it work, I changed to an easier sleep schedule: the Everyman, where I slept for 3.5 hours at night and took three 20-minute naps in the day.

After three weeks and a few more obstacles, I finally settled into the new schedule. I was getting 4.5 hours of sleep in total, which was just a little more than half the hours I used to sleep.

The extra time was proving to be a wonderful benefit: I finished my first-year thesis; successfully defended it; decided that after finishing my doctorate I didn’t want to be in academia for the rest of my life; got a chance to explore Oxford University’s wonderful offerings without sacrificing on lab time; started exploring other career options, including writing, which eventually led me to become a journalist.

There were other gains. I found myself waking up fully refreshed after a nap. Quite often, before the alarm began ringing. The best bit was that I was benefitting from that superb early-morning blank mind four times a day instead of just once.

Others who’ve tried polyphasic sleeping had mentioned similar benefits. But what really surprised me was that I had managed to do something that seemed impossible going in.

Wasting No Sleep

Sleep expert Claudio Stampi explained in his 1992 book Why We Nap: Evolution, Chronobiology, and Functions of Polyphasic and Ultrashort Sleep that humans shouldn’t find it hard to adjust to a polyphasic schedule.

Many animals are known to be polyphasic sleepers, and our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have been too. But we don’t even need to go so far back in time to find examples of polyphasic humans.

As Roger Ekirch notes in At Day’s Close: A History of Nighttime, a segmented sleep pattern was common as recently as the 18th century.

Back then people often slept for four hours, then woke up for an hour or two before going back to bed for another four hours. In the period they were awake at night, people smoked, had sex, and even visited neighbors. It was the advent of night-time lighting that allowed us to squeeze in more awake time doing things and made people adapt to what is today’s monophasic sleep.

Sleep to Dream

A few decades ago, Stampi ran a polyphasic-sleep study to find out what happens to the brain under such circumstances. With the help of electric probes attached to a willing participant’s skull, Stampi compared how normal sleep cycles adjust to polyphasic sleep.

We may not realize it, but monophasic sleep is broadly divided into three stages. The first stage is that of light sleep consisting of rapid theta waves. The second stage is that of deep sleep characterized by slow delta waves. And finally, the last stage when we dream can be spotted with the help of rapid eye movements (REM).

During a night’s sleep, these three stages repeat in a cyclic manner over 90 to 200 minutes. But Stampi’s subject, who had adapted to taking six 30-minute naps per day, known as the Uberman schedule, seemed to have broken down those stages to fit them in during his short naps. In some naps he was in the first stage or the second stage, and in others he experienced REM.

Among the three phases, we understand REM’s role the best. It is believed to be key to learning and forming memories. People taught a skill and deprived of REM sleep, were not able to recall what they had learned. However, Stampi noted that the various stages of sleep were experienced in the same proportions in polyphasic sleeping, as the subject experienced them during monophasic sleeping, indicating that all stages were important.

I couldn’t find a scientific study on the sleep cycles in an Everyman schedule, but I noted that during at least one or two of my daily naps I experienced dreams, which are a sign of entering REM sleep. So it meant that I was probably directly entering the very last stage of monophasic sleep in a short nap.

And sometimes these dreams were lucid. In them, I was aware that I was dreaming and sometimes I was able to make conscious decisions in the dream. For instance, once after a long session of Assassins’ Creed, I found myself in a lucid dream where I was present in the virtual world of the video game. Though there were no people around to kill or interact with, I was able to choose which direction I wanted to go next to explore this world that I had come to know well from spending hours in front of a screen.

There are scientific explanations for why such dreams occur. But there remains skepticism because there is no way to test what are, by definition, self-reported observations.

Developing Habits

To keep up this crazy sleep schedule, I always needed a good reason to wake up the next morning after my 3.5-hour nighttime sleep. So before I went to bed, I reviewed the day gone past and planned what I would do the next day. I’ve carried on with this habit, and it serves me well even today.

The hardest part, after the initial three weeks of adjusting to the schedule was keeping up with socializing. The world is monophasic and students in universities love alcohol. I sometimes avoided events if they clashed with my naptime, or I often left parties early so that I could keep living my polyphasic life.

But the Everyman schedule was reasonably flexible. Some days when I missed a nap, I simply slept a little more at night. There were also days when I couldn’t manage a single nap, but it didn’t seem to affect me very much the next day.

To the surprise of many, and even myself, I had managed to be on the polyphasic schedule for more than a year. But then came a conference where for a week I could not get a single nap. It was unsettling but I was sure I would be able to get back to sleeping polyphasic without too much trouble.

I was wrong. When I tried to get back into the schedule, I couldn’t find the motivation to do it; I didn’t have the same urgent goals that I had had a year ago. So I returned to sleeping like an average human.

Doing It Again

Five years on, I carry a few napping skills from my experiment. I can nap anywhere (as long as I have ear plugs to block noise and I’m not caffeinated). I use naps to clear my head, and I haven’t found a better solution for doing that.

The experiment also taught me that I should respect sleep. Stretching myself to the limits gave me a deeper understanding of how crucial this activity is to our life.

Would I do it again? Perhaps, if I can find enough motivation for a large, well-defined project, such as writing a book. But I won’t do it for more than a few months, because there is a biological purpose of sleep that has only become clear in the last few years.

All the cells in our body require nutrients and produce waste. Blood vessels supply these nutrients throughout the body, and lymphatic vessels collect the waste from all parts of the body except the brain.

That waste, recent studies have shown, is cleared by the cerebrospinal fluid, which acts like the lymphatic system but does the job more effectively in the tight space inside the skull. What is more important, however, is that this waste clearance only happens while sleeping.

This is the most compelling answer to the question why sleep is so important to the normal functioning of the brain. Until I see studies that say that a polyphasic pattern, does not affect this waste clearance system, I won’t be returning to polyphasic sleeping on a long-term basis. But I don’t regret the experiment I ran fueled with my youthful spirit.

Akshat Rathi is a senior reporter for Quartz in London. He has previously worked at The Economist and The Conversation. His writing has appeared in Nature, The Guardian and The Hindu. He has a PhD in chemistry from Oxford University and a BTech in chemical engineering from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai.

Making biochar the simple method

This is a great video on the making of biochar that works for the small operator.  He walks you through it all.

Here is what i will add.  We now have plenty of wood chips to work with.  in fact i do think that every farm needs a chipper in order to reduce wood waste in general as it allows it to be easily piled up and protected from the weather while it also dries out uniformally.  The larger pieces go to firewood of course or the saw mill if large enough.

The same process can be made much easier using a layer of dried chips staged in untill you have a drum full of hot coals and a layer of ash on top.  As he does. i would start with straw and sticks as well to create space for the initial burn but follow up with a good layer of chips.  when it starts to burn through dump in another layer.  keep this up until you have it topping up.

His wetting process is sensible as well.

What i would add to all this is that i would then use a stamping pole on the coals in order to speed the crushing up of the carbon and reduce it it in size generally.  I would go as far as to run it through a quarter inch mesh as well in order to reduce the rest as well.

Then i would also run an equal amount of dried earth as well through that mesh and then mix it with the char.  This give you an easy to work with blend that is also easy to work in other manures and fertilizers as well without making it too strong.

Application is best through hills or into last stage transplanting pots.  Learning to preserve locations for the next year is also advised.  The nutriens actually accumulate in the biochar to steadily improve the soils

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As Covid-19 Devastates India, Deaths Go Undercounted

We are now having a death surge in India.  This comes closest to an unarrested flu epidemic which has been used as a vaccine promotion tool for decades.  The death rate will peak and the burn out as 90 percent of the population is largely touched and has immunity.

I wish i could actually recommend the vaccines been touted but they simply cannot actually work for an actual corona virus at all.  Thus the chatter over varients.  That is why the vaccines are a likely a waste.

Are people been protected by any of these vaccines?  We also see a story out there in which vaccinated folk are causing a form of infection on unvaccinated folk.  Is there any truth?


The bodies of people who died from Covid-19 were cremated in East Delhi on Friday.

As Covid-19 Devastates India, Deaths Go Undercounted

The bodies of people who died from Covid-19 were cremated in East Delhi on Friday.Credit...

Photographs by Atul Loke

April 24, 2021

Fatalities have been overlooked or downplayed, understating the human toll of the country’s outbreak, which accounts for nearly half of all new cases in a global surge.

NEW DELHI — India’s coronavirus second wave is rapidly sliding into a devastating crisis, with hospitals unbearably full, oxygen supplies running low, desperate people dying in line waiting to see doctors — and mounting evidence that the actual death toll is far higher than officially reported.

Each day, the government reports more than 300,000 new infections, a world record, and India is now seeing more new infections than any other country by far, almost half of all new cases in a global surge.

But experts say those numbers, however staggering, represent just a fraction of the real reach of the virus’s spread, which has thrown this country into emergency mode. Millions of people refuse to even step outside — their fear of catching the virus is that extreme. Accounts from around the country tell of the sick being left to gasp for air as they wait at chaotic hospitals that are running out of lifesaving oxygen.

The sudden surge in recent weeks, with an insidious newer variant possibly playing a role, is casting increasing doubt on India’s official Covid-19 death toll of nearly 200,000, with more than 2,000 people dying every day.

Interviews from cremation grounds across the country, where the fires never stop, portray an extensive pattern of deaths far exceeding the official figures. Nervous politicians and hospital administrators may be undercounting or overlooking large numbers of dead, analysts say. And grieving families may be hiding Covid connections as well, out of shame, adding to the confusion in this enormous nation of 1.4 billion.

Relatives mourning outside a hospital mortuary in Delhi after seeing bodies of Covid-19 victims on Friday.

“It’s a complete massacre of data,” said Bhramar Mukherjee, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan who has been following India closely. “From all the modeling we’ve done, we believe the true number of deaths is two to five times what is being reported.”

At one of the large cremation grounds in Ahmedabad, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat, bright orange fires light up the night sky, burning 24 hours a day, like an industrial plant that never shuts down. Suresh Bhai, a worker there, said he had never seen such a never-ending assembly line of death.

But he has not been writing down the cause of death as Covid-19 on the thin paper slips that he hands over to the mournful families, even though the number of dead is surging along with the virus.

“Sickness, sickness, sickness,” Mr. Suresh said. “That’s what we write.”

When asked why, he said it was what he had been instructed to do by his bosses, who did not respond to requests for comment.

Bodies awaiting cremation on Friday in East Delhi.

On Saturday, officials reported nearly 350,000 new infections, and the deaths continued to rise. At one hospital in New Delhi, the capital, doctors said 20 patients in a critical care unit had died after oxygen pressure dropped. The doctors blamed the deaths on the city’s acute oxygen shortage.

Months ago, India seemed to be doing remarkably well with the pandemic. After a harsh initial lockdown early last year was eased, the country did not register the frightening case-count and death numbers that sent other big countries into crisis mode. Many officials and ordinary citizens stopped taking precautions, acting as if the worst days were over.

Now, countless Indians are turning to social media to send out heartbreaking S.O.S. messages for a hospital bed, medicine, some oxygen to breathe. “‘National Emergency,’” blared a banner headline in one of India’s leading papers, The Hindustan Times. Across India, mass cremations are now taking place. Sometimes dozens of fires go up at once.

At the same time, India’s Covid vaccine campaign is struggling: Less than 10 percent of Indians have gotten even one dose, despite India being the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer. India’s dire needs are already having ripple effects across the world, especially for poorer countries. It had planned to ship out millions of doses; now, given the country’s stark vaccination shortfall, exports have essentially been shut down, leaving other nations with far fewer doses than they had expected.

Doctors worry that the runaway surge is being at least partly driven by the emergence of a virus variant known as the “double mutant,” B.1.617, because it contains genetic mutations found in two other difficult-to-control versions of the coronavirus. One of the mutations is present in the highly contagious variant that ripped through California earlier this year. The other mutation is similar to one found in the South African variant and believed to make the virus more resistant to vaccines.

Still, scientists caution it is too early to know for sure how pernicious the new variant emerging in India really is.


Family members praying for a man who died of Covid-19 in New Delhi.

The result could be the worst of both worlds, faster-spreading and less controllable. This is worrying scientists around the globe, who see people starting to relax their guard in well-inoculated countries even as huge setbacks in India, Brazil and other places raise the likelihood that the coronavirus will mutate in ways that could outflank the current vaccines.

In Bhopal, a large city in central India that was the site of a catastrophic gas leak in the 1980s that killed thousands, residents say the cremation grounds haven’t been as busy since that disaster.

April 25, 2021, 5:35 p.m. ET2 hours ago2 hours ago

Is this helpful?

Over 13 days in mid-April, Bhopal officials reported 41 deaths related to Covid-19. But a survey by The New York Times of the city’s main Covid-19 cremation and burial grounds, where bodies were being handled under strict protocols, revealed a total of more than 1,000 deaths during the same period.

“Many deaths are not getting recorded and they are increasing every day,” said Dr. G.C. Gautam, a cardiologist based in Bhopal. He said that officials were doing this because “they don’t want to create panic.”

The same phenomenon appeared to be happening in Lucknow and Mirzapur — major cities in Uttar Pradesh State — and across Gujarat, where, during a similar period in mid-April, the authorities reported between 73 and 121 Covid-related deaths each day.

But a detailed count compiled by one of Gujarat’s leading newspapers, Sandesh, which sent reporters to cremation and burial grounds across the state, indicated that the number was several times higher, around 610 each day.


A body is lowered into a grave in New Delhi.

The biggest newspapers in India have seized on the discrepancies. “COVID-19 deaths in Gujarat far exceed government figures,” read a recent front-page headline in The Hindu.

India’s population is, on average, much younger than in most Western nations. Experts say that is the most likely reason that deaths per million in India had seemed relatively low. But the number is quickly climbing.

According to excess mortality studies, Covid-19 deaths have been underestimated in many countries, including in the United States and Britain.

But India is a much bigger and poorer country. And its people are spread across 28 states and several federal territories in a highly decentralized system of governance, with different states counting deaths in different ways.

Even in a good year, experts say, only about one-fifth of deaths are medically investigated, meaning that the vast number of Indians die without a cause of death being certified.

According to the World Health Organization, a death should be recorded as Covid-19-related if the disease is assumed to have caused or contributed to it, even if the person had a pre-existing medical condition, such as cancer.

In many places in India, that doesn’t seem to be happening.

Rupal Thakkar tested positive for Covid-19 in mid-April. On April 16, she was admitted to Shalby Limited, a private hospital in her home city of Ahmedabad, but her oxygen levels suddenly dropped. The next day Ms. Thakkar, 48, died.

The hospital listed her cause of death as “sudden cardiac death,” which left the Thakkar family outraged.

“It was a lifetime shock,” said her younger brother, Dipan Thakkar. “Why would a private hospital connive with the government in hiding the real death numbers? It was an organized crime. It was an illegal act.”

Officials at Shalby didn’t respond to requests for comment.

After her situation was widely publicized in Indian newspapers, the hospital issued a second death certificate, this time including Covid-19 as a contributing cause.

Some families don’t want the truth to come out, said Dr. Mukherjee of the University of Michigan. Some want to cremate loved ones outside strict Covid-19 government protocols, and so they hide the fact that their family member died from the coronavirus. Others may feel ashamed about losing a loved one, as if it were their fault.

A political agenda may also be at play, experts said. States controlled by India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, may face pressure to underreport, according to some analysts. Dr. Mukherjee cited the very public scandal in 2019 when Mr. Modi’s government tried to suppress data showing a rise in the unemployment rate.

When it comes to Covid data, she said, “there is tremendous pressure from the central government on the state governments for projecting progress.”

Several officials from the governing party did not respond to messages seeking comment.

But manipulating death numbers seems to be happening in other places, too. One example is the state of Chhattisgarh, in central India, which is run by the leading opposition party, Congress.

Officials in Chhattisgarh’s Durg district, home to a large steel plant, reported more than 150 Covid-19 deaths from April 15 to April 21, according to messages sent to local media that were seen by The Times. The state reported less than half that number for Durg.

Chhattisgarh’s health minister, T.S. Singh Deo, denied any intentional underreporting. “We have tried to be as transparent as humanly possible,” he said. “We stand to be corrected at any point in time.”

Cremations are an important part of Hindu burial rituals, seen as a way to free the soul from the body. Those working at the burning grounds said they were utterly exhausted and could never remember so many people dying in such a short span of time.

In Surat, an industrial city in Gujarat, the grills used to burn bodies have been operating so relentlessly that the iron on some has actually melted. On April 14, Covid-19 crematories in Surat and another district, Gandhi Nagar, told The Times that they cremated 124 people, on a day when the authorities said 73 had died of Covid-19 in the entire state.

In Kanpur, in Uttar Pradesh State, bodies are now being burned in some of the city’s parks; the crematories are that backed up.

In Ahmedabad, at the Vadaj crematory, huge smokestacks pump out black smoke. Mr. Suresh, a clerk, sits in a tiny office, the door closed firmly shut.

When reached by telephone, he said he put “beemari,” or sickness in Hindi, on all the death certificates, and he referred questions to a sanitation official who then referred questions to another official who declined to answer calls.

Mr. Suresh said that his crematory handled 15 to 20 bodies of Covid-19 patients every day. As he spoke on Friday, three bodies burned on separate pyres, next to a large and growing stack of freshly chopped wood.