Saturday, July 31, 2021

Plumes of Smoke From Fires in the North American West Stretch Across the Continent

This sort of happens every year and we all are subject to wind directions.  This year the western fires are been b lown fully into hte States.

This is all a problem if you suffer from asthma.

I get to be lucky this year as hte winds have stopped it all East of us.  Last couple of years we were  not so lucky and got our share of smoke.

Plumes of Smoke From Fires in the North American West Stretch Across the Continent

Particle pollution is affecting air quality in cities thousands of miles awayThe billowing smoke resulted from nearly 300 wildfires currently ravaging British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost providence, and 80 fires blazing through states in the Western United States. (Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory)

JULY 27, 2021 6:30AM

As regions across the western United States and parts of Canada face an intense early wildfire season, its effects are being witnessed on the opposite side of the country as far east as the Atlantic Ocean.

Skylines from Boston to North Carolina faded behind an eerie haze, and air quality alerts urged residents thousands of miles away from the wildfires to stay inside as winds blew the smoke eastward, reports Sarah Gibbens for National Geographic.

“What they’re experiencing on the East Coast from our West Coast fires shows it’s a nationwide and a global problem,” says Mary Prunicki, Stanford University’s director of air pollution and health research, to National Geographic.

The billowing smoke resulted from nearly 300 active wildfires currently ravaging British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost providence, and 80 fires blazing through the American west. The largest fire is Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, which had already charred 400,000 acres, or roughly an area nine times the size of Washington D.C, per National Geographic.

Ignited by a lightning strike on July 6, the Bootleg Fire was so large it created its own weather, prompting even more lightning and releasing vast amounts of smoke, reports Nadja Popovich and Josh Katz for the New York Times. The fire threatened a total of 5,000 homes, and 2,000 households had to evacuate, reports Gillian Flaccus and Sara Cline for the Associated Press.

Satellite images released on July 23 by NASA’s Earth Observatory revealed the extensity of the smoke’s reach from the various wildfires. The images from July 20 and 21 displayed a band of smoke traveling eastward and particulate matter concentrations, or soot, masking North America, reports Harry Baker for Live Science.

Particulate matter (PM), or particle pollution, are a mix of liquid droplets and particles of dust, dirt, soot, or smoke that can be seen with the naked eye. Particulates are directly released into the air from smokestacks, fires, construction sites, and unpaved roads. Some of the particles can be so tiny that they can be inhaled. PM less than ten micrometers in diameter can only be seen using a microscope. These tiny particles can reach deep into the lungs, pass into the bloodstream, and cause severe respiratory illness and distress, National Geographic reports.

PM less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) poses the greatest health risk. Breathing excessive amounts of PM2.5 increases the risk of asthma attacks, strokes, and heart attacks, National Geographic.

Particulate matter levels are measured using the Air Quality Index (AQI), with a scale ranging from 0 to 500. Any values above 100 are considered unhealthy. In New York City, AQI levels reached above 170, a level unsafe for sensitive populations with existing respiratory conditions and healthy people, reports Live Science. Air quality in cities from Toronto, New York, and Philadelphia also reached unhealthy PM levels, the New York Times reports.

“We fully expect that you’re going to see more situations where smoke, from fires occurring farther away, is going to travel long distances and affect people in other parts of the country,” Jesse Berman, a University of Minnesota air quality expert, tells the Associated Press. “I would not be surprised at all if these events did become more frequent in the future.”

Chronic pain found to alter brain chemistry and emotion regulation

We sort of know that pain stress affects our moods and all that.  It is not just painful and benign otherwise.  It would really help to understand the pathway because this side effect is not overly useful if useful at all.

We may even lock onto the source of depression while we are at it.

Again we do know that CBd and even THC helps change all that to some degree.

It would be nice to know also if the side effects are continous or do they dissapate somewhat.

Chronic pain found to alter brain chemistry and emotion regulation

July 27, 2021

New research has found chronic pain sufferers have low levels of key neurotransmitters in brain regions that regulate emotional behaviors

New research led by a team of Australian scientists has found chronic pain is associated with lower levels of key neurotransmitters in the brain. The researchers believe this chemical disruption plays a role in the difficulties people with chronic pain have in regulating negative emotions.

Anxiety and depression are commonly seen in people suffering chronic pain. It is unsurprising those experiencing persistent long-lasting pain can be quick to temper. Pain is exhausting, and chronic pain can wear a person down.

This new research indicates the emotional dysregulation that often goes hand in hand with chronic pain may be rooted in neurochemical changes actually brought on by the pain itself.

“Chronic pain is more than an awful sensation,” explains Sylvia Gustin, senior author on the new study “It can affect our feelings, beliefs and the way we are. We have discovered, for the first time, that ongoing pain is associated with a decrease in GABA, an inhibitive neurotransmitter in the medial prefrontal cortex. In other words, there's an actual pathological change going on.”

The researchers recruited 24 subjects with chronic pain, and 24 matched healthy controls with no history of chronic pain. GABA levels in the medial prefrontal cortex were measured and those subjects with chronic pain were found to have significantly lower levels of the vital neurotransmitter compared to the controls. Interestingly, GABA levels were consistently low across the chronic pain cohort regardless of the type of chronic pain they were suffering from.

“A decrease in GABA means that the brain cells can no longer communicate to each other properly,” says Gustin. “When there’s a decrease in this neurotransmitter, our actions, emotions and thoughts get amplified.”

A prior study from the same research team found low levels of another important neurotransmitter in the medial prefrontal cortex of chronic pain sufferers. That research directly linked low glutamate levels in that brain region with increased feelings of fear and worry.

The researchers are clear to note the findings do not offer evidence of a causal link between chronic pain and these neurotransmitter imbalances. However, Gustin does hypothesize a plausible mechanism by which pain could cause these brain changes.

“Everything starts with stress,” says Gustin. “When someone is in pain, it increases stress hormones like cortisol, which can trigger massive increases in glutamate. This happens during the initial, acute stage of pain.”

It is possible that immune cells in certain parts of the brain then attempt to try and regulate these neurotransmitter abnormalities. But by doing so, in the context of chronic pain, this leads to long-term downregulation of key neurotransmitters needed to manage emotional behaviors.

“As a result of this disruption,” says Gustin, “a person’s ability to feel positive emotions, such as happiness, motivation and confidence may be taken away – and they can’t easily be restored.”

What all this means is that there could potentially be a treatment in the future that can specifically target GABA and glutamate levels in the medial prefrontal cortex to help improve mental health in chronic pain sufferers. While there are already drugs designed to influence GABA and glutamate levels they only work broadly across one’s entire central nervous system.

Gustin says for a drug to be effective in helping chronic pain sufferers and causing little side effects it would have to be very targeted on the medial prefrontal cortex. In the meantime, the researchers suggest therapy programs helping chronic pain sufferers learn ways to better regulate negative emotions can be effective. We may not be able to pharmacologically solve this problem yet, but the brain is plastic enough to learn novel techniques that can help mitigate this chemical imbalance.

“It's important to remember it’s not you – there’s actually something physically happening to your brain,” concludes Gustin. “We don't know why it happens yet, but we are working on finding solutions on how to change it.”

Weird compound jumps from conductor to insulator and back under pressure

Converting mechanical energy into electrical choices has always been pretty rough.  Now we have another neat tool in the tool box.

I suspect this will spawn a whole new range of advanced electrical devices.  That is always welcome.

I grew up when crude was just that in electrical devices.  Now i can envisage a power spliter been just a snap on .device.  Then wiring becomes paiinless and much safer because we may be able to avoid much cutting at all.

Weird compound jumps from conductor to insulator and back under pressure

July 27, 2021

An illustration depicting how the new material works – normally, the manganese atomic ions (purple circles) and the disulfur molecular ions (figure-8s) are separated (left of frame). But under pressure, they move closer together (right of frame) changing the conductivity of the material

Normally metals and insulators sit at opposite ends of a spectrum of conductivity, but researchers have discovered a material that can switch between those states freely, even at room temperature. The material, a compound of manganese and sulfide (MnS2), starts off as an insulator but becomes conductive under pressure.

A material’s conductivity is a result of how easily electrons can move through it. Conductors, semiconductors and insulators are differentiated by their band gap, which essentially measures how much energy electrons need to move freely through the material. So in a conductor, that band gap is very low, in insulators it’s prohibitively high, and semiconductors fall in between.

For the new study, researchers at the University of Rochester and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas investigated compounds that act strangely. Specifically, it seems that pairing metals with sulfides brings out bizarre behavior under high pressure.

MnS2 is normally a soft insulator, but when the team compressed tiny amounts of it in a diamond cell anvil, it transitioned into a metallic, conductive state. That’s weird enough, but as the pressure increases further it switches back to an insulator at a certain point.

“Metals usually remain metals; it is highly unlikely that they can then be changed back to an insulator,” says Ranga Dias, an author of the study. “The fact that this material goes from an insulator to a metal and back to an insulator is very rare.”

On closer inspection, the team uncovered what’s happening inside the material during this process. In its usual insulator state, the electrons in the MnS2 are bouncing around somewhat randomly, leaving very little room for other electrons to move through the material and produce an electric current.

But as the pressure is applied and the material is physically compressed, the electrons are pushed closer together so that they start to link up in pairs. That means that individual electrons can now move through the material more freely – in fact, the resistance drops by eight orders of magnitude, the team says.

Finally, the material becomes an insulator again at even higher pressure because the electrons are kept in a low spin state.

Perhaps most importantly, the conditions required for the transitions are relatively simple, meaning it should be more practical to make use of the material. It can be done at room temperature of 27 °C (80 °F), and at pressures between 3 and 10 gigapascals (GPa). Normally, manipulating conductivity like this requires ultracold temperatures and high pressures of over 180 GPa, conditions that don’t translate well outside of the lab. That said, the team has also recently had success in making materials superconductive at room temperature.

As for what applications there might be for this material, the team has a few ideas.

“You could imagine having a logic switch or writing hard disk, where a very, very small permutation in strain or voltage could make something jump from one electronic state to another,” says Ashkan Salamat, an author of the study. “New versions of flash memory, or solid state memory, could permutate and take on a new approach using these types of materials.”

The research was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

Piwakawaka tiny house puts small living on the level

We are really getting there.  The tech is now starting to nicely shake out as we all learn to build and manufacture for the limitations rather than adding footage as the cheapest expedient.

It is necessary to have the ability to open the space to the outdoors and having a working deck out of doors.  We could even place a drop down panel to hinge out and form a strong sundeck.  The space exists on any lot.  The point is that the personal need for space can easily be externalized.  As these things are typically going nowhere for a long time the pads can even be gravel.

Add that sun deck and two people can readily work with this.  Throw in an awning as well for when it rains.  most of us make poor use of sundecks but as a direct extension of our entire living space it will fully integrate.

Piwakawaka tiny house puts small living on the level

July 27, 2021

The Piwakawaka has a total length of just 9 m (29 ft) and its interior is arranged all on one leve

Back in 2020, New Zealand's Build Tiny designed a tiny house named the Dark Horse. The firm has now used that model as a starting point for another tiny house that's arranged on one level. It features a well-stocked kitchen and a bedroom and living room that open up to the outside with double glass doors.

This tiny house is named the Piwakawaka and has a total length of 9 m (29 ft), which is on the money for New Zealand tiny houses, but quite short compared to many US examples. It's based on a double-axle trailer and is finished in vinyl and cedar. Visitors access the interior through the glass doors and the light-filled interior is finished in poplar core plywood. The living area itself is pretty small and has some seating and shelving, plus a wood-burning stove that heats the home.

The Piwakawaka's bedroom opens up to the outside with double glass doors

Nearby, just to the right of the living room as you enter, is the bedroom. This has generous glazing and, like the living room, opens up to the outside. Additionally, there's plenty of headroom to stand upright – always a nice feature to have in a tiny house – plus it contains some storage space (though perhaps a storage-integrated bed would have been a good addition too).

Over on the other side of the living room is the kitchen area. This is quite well-stocked for a compact tiny house and includes a large bifold window, a breakfast bar for two, cabinetry, a two-burner propane-powered stove, an oven, a microwave, a pull-out pantry, a sink, a fridge/freezer, and even a small dishwasher. The kitchen connects to the bathroom, which contains a sink, shower, and composting toilet, as well as some extra storage space and a washer/dryer.

Visitors enter the Piwakawaka through double glass doors into a small living area

The Piwakawaka gets power from a standard RV-style hookup, but has also been wired ready to accept a solar panel installation at some point in the future. The home was delivered as a turnkey build, ready to move in, including furniture. We've no word on the price of this one, though the similar Dark Horse cost NZD 155,000 (roughly US$80,000).

Friday, July 30, 2021

Reports of Injuries, Deaths after Covid Vaccines near 500,000

This is what happens when you run an experiment built on wishful thinking while having the MSM and the so called regulators in your back pocket.

In the meantime we have the whole medical industry awash with cash to keep them in line.

The worst is to come.


July 26, 2021

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Data released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) included a total of almost 500,000 reports of injuries and deaths, across all age groups, following COVID vaccines — an increase of 27,761 compared with the previous week.

The data comes directly from reports submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S.

Every Friday, VAERS makes public all vaccine injury reports received as of a specified date, usually about a week prior to the release date. Reports submitted to VAERS require further investigation before a causal relationship can be confirmed.

Data released today show that between Dec. 14, 2020 and July 16, 2021, a total of 491,218 total adverse events were reported to VAERS, including 11,405 deaths — an increase of 414 over the previous week. There were 48,385 serious injuries reported during the same time period — up 7,767 compared with the previous week.

Excluding “foreign reports” filed in VAERS, there were 425,950 adverse events reported, including 5,467 deaths and 33,748 serious injuries, reported in the U.S.

In the U.S., 336.6 million COVID vaccine doses had been administered as of July 16. This includes: 137 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, 187 million doses of Pfizer and 13 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine.

Of the 5,467 U.S. deaths reported as of July 16, 20% occurred within 48 hours of vaccination, 14% occurred within 24 hours and 34% occurred in people who became ill within 48 hours of being vaccinated.

This week’s U.S. data for 12- to 17-year-olds show:
14,494 total adverse events, including 871 rated as serious and 17 deaths. Two of the nine deaths were suicides.
The most recent reported deaths include a 13-year-old boy (VAERS I.D. 1463061) who died after receiving a Moderna vaccine, a 16-year-old boy (VAERS I.D. ​​1466009) who died after receiving his second dose of Pfizer and a 16-year-old boy (VAERS I.D. 1475434) who died with an enlarged heart six days after receiving his first Pfizer dose.

Other reports include three 13-year-old boys (VAERS I.D. 1406840, 1431289 and 1429457) who died two days after receiving a Pfizer vaccine, three 15-year-olds (VAERS I.D. 1187918, 1382906 and 1242573), three 16-year-olds (VAERS I.D. 1420630, 1225942 and 1386841) and three 17-year-olds (VAERS I.D. 1199455, 1388042 and 1420762).
2,127 reports of anaphylaxis among 12- to 17-year-olds with 99% of cases
attributed to Pfizer’s vaccine.
383 reports of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation) with 379 cases attributed to Pfizer’s vaccine.
68 reports of blood clotting disorders, with all cases attributed to Pfizer.

This week’s total U.S. VAERS data, from Dec. 14, 2020 to July 16, 2021, for all age groups combined show:
21% of deaths were related to cardiac disorders.
54% of those who died were male, 43% were female and the remaining death reports did not include gender of the deceased.
The average age of death was 73.4.
As of July 16, 2,488 pregnant women reported adverse events related to COVID vaccines, including 850 reports of miscarriage or premature birth.
Of the 2,428 cases of Bell’s Palsy reported, 50% were attributed to Pfizer vaccinations, 43% to Moderna and 7% to J&J.
429 reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, with 41% of cases attributed to Pfizer, 36% to Moderna and 22% to J&J.
117,379 reports of anaphylaxis with 44% of cases attributed to Pfizer’s vaccine, 48% to Moderna and 8% to J&J.
7,633 reports of blood clotting disorders. Of those, 3,221 reports were attributed to Pfizer, 2,779 reports to Moderna and 1,588 reports to J&J.
1,848 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis with 1,176 cases attributed to Pfizer, 606 cases to Moderna and 62 cases to J&J’s COVID vaccine.
CDC ‘corrects’ number of reported deaths after COVID vaccines by dumping foreign reports

As The Defender reported July 22, a sudden increase in the number of deaths reported to VAERS following COVID vaccination is not correct and was the result of an “error,” according to the CDC.

The CDC said July 16 that since the mid-December rollout of COVID vaccines in the U.S., VAERS had received 12,313 reports of death among people who received a COVID vaccine — a sharp increase from the 6,079 U.S. deaths reported by the CDC the previous week.

Over the past few weeks, The Defender noticed thousands of “foreign reports” entered into VAERS, mostly associated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. According to the CDC website, when searching VAERS, the “United States, Territories and Unknown” group includes all of the location values, except for “Foreign” locations.

The “Foreign” group includes reports from any location other than U.S. states/territories included in the drop-down list. The “Unknown” group includes reports where a U.S. state is not identified.

We reached out to the CDC to ask why there were thousands of reports suddenly dumped into VAERS, why the CDC doesn’t publicize the total number of reported deaths — which includes foreign reports — and why there are foreign entities using the U.S. VAERS system. We did not hear back by the set deadline.

The CDC website states:

“VAERS occasionally receives case reports from U.S. manufacturers that were reported to their foreign subsidiaries. Under FDA regulations, if a manufacturer is notified of a foreign case report that describes an event that is both serious and unexpected (in other words, it does not appear in the product labeling), they are required to submit it to VAERS.”

The Defender will continue to post the latest VAERS numbers weekly, but will differentiate between foreign reports and U.S. reports.
CDC advisory group urges vaccine booster for immune-compromised

On June 22, the CDC’s advisory panel — the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) — urged federal regulators to move quickly in determining whether people with weakened immune systems should receive a booster dose of COVID vaccine, NBC News reported.

The CDC appears to be looking into ways to work around the Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA), to provide additional vaccines for immunocompromised patients.

Doctors say it is increasingly clear many people with compromised immune systems fail to mount an effective immune response against COVID following vaccination.

Studies examining safety and effectiveness of a booster dose in vulnerable populations are ongoing, and it is unknown whether the low levels of immunity to the vaccine in immune-compromised people can be addressed with an additional dose.

Dr. Sara Oliver, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC, pointed to emerging data that found among immunocompromised patients who had no detectable antibody response after full vaccination, only 33% to 50% developed antibodies to a third dose.

​​There are no plans for the ACIP to hold another meeting, although the panel is currently scheduled to meet in August.

Federal lawsuit seeks halt of COVID vaccines, citing whistleblower testimony

America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLDS) on July 19 filed a motion seeking immediate injunctive relief in Alabama Federal District Court to stop the use of EUA COVID vaccines — Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and J&J — for three groups of Americans.

As The Defender reported July 20, according to a press release, AFLDS is asking to immediately stop administration of experimental COVID vaccines in anyone 18 and younger, all those who have recovered from COVID and acquired natural immunity, and every other American who has not received informed consent as defined by federal law.

The authors of the 67-page motion attached a declaration by a whistleblower who alleged deaths occurring within 72 hours of receiving a COVID vaccine are significantly under-reported in VAERS, by a conservative factor of at least five. In a sworn statement under penalty of perjury the whistleblower alleged the actual number of COVID vaccine-related deaths is closer to 45,000.

AFLDS said the findings were shocking, and informed consent is impossible when safety data are not accurate.
COVID breakthrough cases continue to rise

Reports of COVID breakthrough cases continue to rise. As The Defender reported this week, as of July 12, the CDC had reported 5,492 breakthrough cases resulting in death and hospitalization.

According to data updated July 14 by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), 151 people in Illinois have died from COVID or COVID-related complications after being fully vaccinated. At least 563 fully vaccinated people were hospitalized, IDPH said.

In Massachusetts, public health officials tracked 4,450 breakthrough cases. About 92% of those cases did not result in hospitalization, while 303 people, or 6.8%, were hospitalized, according to Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) data through July 10.

Seventy-nine vaccinated residents in Massachusetts died from COVID, either without being hospitalized or following a hospital stay, DPH said.

Despite being fully vaccinated, more than 656 Alaskans tested positive for COVID between February and June, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Of the 656 breakthrough cases, 17 people were hospitalized and two people died with COVID, though health officials noted both had other “substantial comorbidities.”

137 days and counting, CDC ignores The Defender’s inquiries

According to the CDC website, “the CDC follows up on any report of death to request additional information and learn more about what occurred and to determine whether the death was a result of the vaccine or unrelated.”

On March 8, The Defender contacted the CDC with a written list of questions about reported deaths and injuries related to COVID vaccines. We have made repeated attempts, by phone and email, to obtain a response to our questions.

Despite multiple phone and email communications with several people at the CDC, and despite being told that our request was in the system and that someone would respond, we have not yet received answers to any of the questions we submitted. It has been 137 days since we sent our first email to the CDC requesting information.

Children’s Health Defense asks anyone who has experienced an adverse reaction, to any vaccine, to file a report following these three steps.

The US embargo on Cuba has failed

All embargos fail largely because the people can hunker down and naturally subsist.  This should remind us that Government ismostly parasitic.

The governmet can generally endure.

Thus the application of an embargo serves to freeze the situation until some form of change occurs internally and even that can drag on..

The US embargo on Cuba has failed

If Biden truly wants to put principles, and effectiveness, ahead of politics, he should make a bold choice and end the embargo.

Lecturer in Government at Harvard University and lecturer in Social Sciences at Boston University.
21 Jul 2021

Police scuffle and detain an anti-government demonstrator during a protest in Havana, Cuba, Sunday July 11, 2021. Hundreds of demonstrators went out to the streets in several cities in Cuba to protest against ongoing food shortages and high prices of foodstuffs, amid the new coronavirus crisis. [Ramon Espinosa/AP Photo]

For nearly 60 years, the United States has enforced an embargo against Cuba, severely restricting the flow of goods to the island. Most US companies are forbidden from dealing with Cuba, and various US laws punish foreign companies that do business in Cuba. The restrictions are meant to economically squeeze the island and create enough discontent within Cuba to force the ruling Communist Party to either significantly reform or step down.

The Obama administration, with then-Vice President Biden’s support, sought to rethink the policy and pursue re-engagement with Cuba. Barack Obama relaxed sanctions, allowed direct flights between the two countries, and eased restrictions on Americans doing business in Cuba. Donald Trump reversed Obama’s strategy. He placed Cuba back on the US list of state sponsors of international terrorism, cut off travel between Cuba and the US, and barred Americans from sending remittances to their relatives in Cuba, cutting off a major economic lifeline for many Cubans.

Joe Biden promised to move away from this Trump strategy of “maximum pressures” against Cuba, but has so far not altered any of the Trump restrictions. The White House admitted earlier this year that “a Cuba policy shift is not currently among President Biden’s top priorities.”

However, the protests that have been rocking Cuba for the past week – some of the largest since the Revolution – have forced the issue. Many Cuban American activists and Republicans are urging Biden to keep up or even increase pressure on Cuba, and Democrats are divided on whether to maintain or ease the embargo.

The strongest reason to end the embargo against Cuba is the massive toll that the policy continues to enact on the Cuban population. Both the Cuban government and the United Nations have estimated that the embargo has cost the Cuban economy $130 billion over six decades. It’s also worth noting that the US Chamber of Commerce estimates that the embargo costs the US economy billions of dollars each year, as well. The human toll is harder to quantify, but has clearly been significant. Human rights experts at the UN have urged the US to ease sanctions during the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that such a change will save lives by allowing Cuba greater access to medical supplies and equipment.

Cuba-policy hardliners have implicitly accepted the human and economic costs of the embargo as acceptable in order to achieve the goal of undermining the communist regime. They will point towards the unprecedented level of protests currently going on in Cuba as evidence that the embargo is working. It’s not. Yes, Cubans are angry at the economic hardships and pandemic suffering happening amongst their population. But as Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel uses repression and anti-US rhetoric to contain the protests, there’s little indication that the regime is in immediate danger.

The communist regime has already survived the fall of its Soviet sponsor, the death of Fidel Castro, and the handover of power from his younger brother Raul to Díaz-Canel, who is not a Castro and was born after the Revolution took power. Sixty years of sanctions have only created hardships for the Cuban people while providing the regime with a convenient scapegoat to blame for all of their country’s economic woes and societal discontent.

Counterintuitively, ending the embargo and promoting ties between the US and Cuba is the greatest weapon that America can deploy against the oppressive regime in Cuba. President Obama laid out the strategy when he opened up travel between the two countries: “Nobody represents America’s values better than the American people,” Obama said in 2014, “and I believe this contact will ultimately do more to empower the Cuban people.”

Exposing Cubans to the freedoms and opportunities available to their American relatives will increase outrage and pressure towards the Cuban government for failing to provide these things. And removing the ability of the Communist Party to blame the United States for its own failures will lay bare the consequences of the Cuban government’s unwillingness to shift away from Soviet-era economic policies and political repression.

Hardliners will argue that easing the embargo now will lessen the pressure on the Cuban government by lessening the societal desperation that has fuelled these protests. And while economic crises can lead to collective outrage, spontaneous protests against authoritarian regimes usually ends in renewed repression rather than regime change. Many experts believe that movements for social change are most effective when people and organisations gain the resources that are necessary for sustained political and social activism. Loosening the economic vice grip on Cuba will help to empower its citizens and civil society to stand up to their government.

The administration should be thoughtful about how it rethinks the embargo policy. It need not eliminate the policy all at once, nor should it relent on pressuring Cuba when it comes to democracy or human rights. But being thoughtful should not be an excuse for inaction. For example, rather than dismissing the idea of renewing remittances to Cuba, Biden should seriously explore ways to allow Americans to securely transfer money to their Cuban relatives.

Relaxing the embargo will be a risky political move for the president. Biden lost Florida in the 2020 election after underperforming among Latino voters, and a radical change in policy towards Cuba could risk alienating parts of the Cuban American population in the state.

Republicans will no doubt accuse the president of being soft on communism or caving in to progressive demands. But if Biden truly wants to put principles, and effectiveness, ahead of politics, he should make a bold choice and end six decades of US failure and Cuban suffering.

Promisin Green Method to convert waste water into Fertilizer


27 JUL, 2021

Dr. Haotian Wang with Rice University and Dr. Samira Siahrostami with the University of Calgary.

An international team of researchers is hopeful that their green method for producing fertilizer could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and food insecurity in the future.

Farmers rely heavily on fertilizers to help feed the world’s over seven billion people. However, the only commercially available method to produce ammonia—a key ingredient in fertilizers—is not environmentally friendly.

The standard Haber-Bosch procedure for converting nitrogen gas (N2) to ammonia is energy intensive. This process accounts for about 1-2% of global energy consumption as well as 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

A research team involving scientists from Calgary, Toronto, Houston and Tennessee recently developed a new, green process for converting the nitrates (NO3) in industrial wastewater into ammonia.

Dr. Haotian Wang, an assistant professor at Rice University, and colleagues successfully converted nitrate to ammonia by adding electricity to a single atom catalyst. Honing in on a single atomic site was key to ensuring the desired reaction.

“If we have multiple active sites, we could end up with nitrogen gas instead,” said Wang. Single atom catalysts are created by reducing or shrinking a nanoparticle down to a single atom. Nanoparticles are made up of hundreds or thousands of individual atoms.

We have already remarked on this work.  what we have here iss the pertinate science.  It is necessary to get to the single atom state and that will be the real difficulty.  this is a problem throughout chemistry so no surprise..

At least we have discovered this reaction.

So yes it is now plausible that we can convert waste nitrates back into usable ammonia.


Isolated metal atoms can efficiently convert industrial waste water into fertilizer.

After testing a variety of single atom catalysts, the team found that iron was the most effective at converting nitrate into ammonia and recently published their findings. Wang said the SXRMB beamline at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan was a critical tool in their work. “It enabled us to confirm that the catalyst we used was in fact a single atom catalyst and not a cluster of atoms or a nanoparticle.”

Team member Dr. Samira Siahrostami and her colleagues at the University of Calgary, used computational chemistry to study the atomic structure of the catalyst, to better understand why single atoms of iron selectively produce ammonia but do not generate other products such as nitrogen.

While these are still early days for this type of research, Wang said the team’s initial results are very promising.

“What we found shows that this is possible,” says Wang. “We can use something that is a headache, the wastewater that people want to get rid of, to produce a valuable chemical with the input of renewable electricity. And we can do that without generating more carbon dioxide emissions.” Traditional thermal catalysis uses fossil fuels and the energy conversion is considerably less efficient.

Next steps include figuring out how to boost the catalyst’s efficiency and stability—so it can be scaled up for use in real-world applications—and doing more experiments using industrial wastewater, which has a more complex chemistry than the samples the team used.

Co-author Dr. Samira Siahrostami with the University of Calgary said their team will use what they have learned to finetune the process and generate a purer, more concentrated form of ammonia from wastewater. “Having a more efficient catalyst material would help to boost the reaction even further.”

Rockbeds and Making and Applying Biochar/Urine


This video is a training video for women in Uganda.  It is wonderful in that it shows us how to produce biochar in a village.  It introduces hte use of small stones to make the burn for cooking a third more efficient.  Better yet it is all crude tech they can even make.

Even better we see tongs vbeen used to collect biochar, and stones used to properly crush it all.  Better yet they collect urine to mix with the biochar which supercharges the biochar.

The biochar is collected in a pit until planting time while covered with some soil.  All in it is possible to mix the soil in as weill to produce a seed hill for planting.

Way more important, they are using this in conjunction with a corn hill just as done by the Amazon for thousands of years.  Plant performance is excellent.

This is how a billion people can improve soil fetrtility using what is at hand.

Training Video - Rockbeds and Making and Applying Biochar/Urine

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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Nine Chinese nationals in America charged as being illegal agents of People’s Republic, part of bigger plot

Tip of the iceberg of course.  Presume two thousand incoming each year as a scope estimation.

Coud be much more but then quality drops of.  Plenty of students were given loyalty interviews befor they left China.  some of those would still pay off.

However the best and brightest were poor prospects and the ranks are inevitably filled with cadres kids.  These are typically not so smart. 

Nine Chinese nationals in America charged as being illegal agents of People’s Republic, part of bigger plot


BROOKLYN, NY- A federal jury in Brooklyn, NY has indicted nine people charging them with acting as illegal agents of the People’s Republic of China.
The nine are accused of conspiring to stalk and harass a couple living in the United States and coercing them to return to China where they were subject to criminal charges.

Two of the defendants have also been charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice as part of the campaign called “Operation Fox Hunt.”

In that effort federal authorities said, a Chinese prosecutor and a police officer allegedly traveled to the United States to direct the operation targeting the Chinese ex-patriates, now American citizens.

Authorities said Tu Lan, 50 along with Zhai Yongqiang, 46 were recently indicted while seven other defendants had been previously charged.

The others named in the indictment include Hu Ji, 46; Li Minjun, 65; Zhu Feng, 34, a Chinese resident who was living in Queens; Michael McMahon, 53 of Mahwah, NJ; Zheng Congying, 24 of Brooklyn; and Zhu Young (alias Jason Zhu), 64, of Norwich, CT.

The ninth defendant has had his/her name sealed as part of the indictment, according to acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis, quoted in a news released.

According to federal prosecutors, Lan was employed as a prosecutor with the Hanyang People’s Procuratorate, directed the harassment campaign and ordered one of the co-conspirators to destroy evidence and obstruct the investigation.

Not all of the suspects were taken into custody, with Lan, Ji, Minjun, Yongqiang and Feng all remaining at large. The release said the other defendants will be charged in the Eastern District of New York at a later time, the release read.

Between the years 2012 and 2014, the indictment read, the Chinese government caused the International Criminal Police Organization to issue so-called “red notices” for the couple, identified in the indictment as John Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 1, his wife. In the red notices, the John Doe No. 1 was wanted by the Communist Chinese government for embezzlement, abuse of power and accepting bribes.

Under Chinese law, to nobody’s surprise the crimes carry a maximum sentence of death. The charge of accepting bribes carried with it a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the indictment.

The indictment says that nine defendants participated in the campaign, designed to harass, threaten and intimidate the couple to return to China as part of Operation Fox Hunt.

That operation, run by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security seeks to locate Chinese fugitives who had fled to foreign countries.

Chinese government officials deliberately sidestepped U.S. authorities by traveling to the U.S. and directing non-official operatives to carry out the program, a violation of U.S. law, prosecutors said.

Furthermore, between 2016 and 2019, Lan and Ji, a Chinese police officer with the Wuhan Public Security Bureau, traveled to the United States and instructed the Chinese operatives to harass and threaten the couple to return to China.

Kasulis said that such activity by foreign government officials cannot include secret surveillance of U.S. residents and will not be tolerated.

To make matters worse, the suspects also transported the father of John Doe No. 1 to the U.S from China to tell him their family would be harmed in China if he didn’t return to that country. Lan returned to China and continued to direct the co-conspirators to harass the couple in the U.S.

“Today’s announcement serves to highlight the efforts of the FBI and its law enforcement partners to tirelessly and aggressively continue to utilize all available investigative tools and methods at their disposal to combat any illegal intrusions by the Chinese government to unilaterally undermine our economy and our free markets,” said FBI Special Agent-in-Charge George Crouch of the FBI’s Newark Field Office.

“The FBI remains committed to holding actors from the People’s Republic of China accountable when they direct criminal activity on U.S. soil. Further, the FBI will vigorously defend the American ideals of freedom and the rule of law against any foreign malign influence actors.”

Meanwhile, a Department of Justice charging document said a federal grand jury in San Diego, California returned an indictment in May in which four nationals and residents of the People’s Republic of China were charged with attempting to hack into the computer systems of dozens of victim companies, universities and government entities in the United States and abroad between 2011 and 2018.

The indictment alleges that a majority of the conspiracy’s theft focused on information that was of “significant economic benefit to China’s companies and commercial sectors.” The indictment said that theft allowed “the circumvention of lengthy and resource-intensive research and development processes.

The conspirators tried to hide the Chinese government’s role in the thefts by establishing a front company known as Hainan Xiandun Technology Development Co., Ltd., which has since been disbanded.

The two-count indictment alleges that Ding Ziaoyang, Cheng Qingmin, and Zhu Yunmin were Hainan State Security Department (HSSD) officers responsible for coordinating, facilitating, and managing computer hackers and linguists at Hainan Xiandun and other MSS front companies to conduct hacking for the benefit of China and its state-owned and sponsored instrumentalities.

The fourth suspect, Wu Shurong was a computer hacker who created malware, hacked into computer systems operated by foreign governments, companies and universities, and supervised other Hainan Xiandun operatives.

The hacking victims included victims in the United States, Austria, Cambodia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK.

Industries targeted included aviation, defense, education, government, health care biopharmaceutical, and maritime, among many others.

The stolen trade secrets and confidential business information included sensitive technologies used for submersibles and autonomous vehicles, specialty chemical formulas, commercial aircraft servicing and others. The hacking was utilized to support Communist China’s forays to secure contracts for state-owned enterprises within the targeted country, such as high-speed rail.

The plot used staff and professors at various universities in Hainan and elsewhere in China to further the conspiracy’s goals.

“These criminal charges once again highlight that China continues to use cyber-enabled attacks to steal what other countries make, in flagrant disregard of its bilateral and multilateral commitments,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.

“The breadth and duration of China’s hacking campaigns, including these efforts targeting a dozen countries across sectors ranging from healthcare and biomedical research to aviation and defense, remind us that no country or industry is safe. Today’s international condemnation shows that the world wants fair rules, where countries invest in innovation, not theft.”

“The FBI, alongside our federal and international partners, remains committed to imposing risk and consequences on these malicious cyber actors here in the U.S. and abroad,” said Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate of the FBI.

“We will not allow the Chinese government to continue to use these tactics to obtain unfair economic advantage for its companies and commercial sectors through criminal intrusion and theft. With these types of actions, the Chinese government continues to undercut its own claims of being a trusted and effective partner in the international community.”

The investigation was a joint operation between the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Controls Section, and the FBI’s San Diego Field Office.

The FBI’s Cyber Division, Cyber Assistant Legal Attaches and Legal Attaches in countries around the world provided essential support. Numerous victims cooperated and provided valuable assistance in the investigation.

For a flashback on a story we did a while back about a Harvard professor who was involved in some nefarious dealings in of all places, Wuhan. For more on that, we invite you to: