Engineers create plants that glow…Illumination from nanobionic plants might one day replace some electrical lighting

Imagine that instead of switching on a lamp when it gets dark, you could read by the light of a glowing plant on your desk.

MIT engineers have taken a critical first step toward making that vision a reality. By embedding specialized nanoparticles into the leaves of a watercress plant, they induced the plants to give off dim light for nearly four hours. They believe that, with further optimization, such plants will one day be bright enough to illuminate a workspace.

“The vision is to make a plant that will function as a desk lamp — a lamp that you don’t have to plug in. The light is ultimately powered by the energy metabolism of the plant itself,” says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of the study.

This technology could also be used to provide low-intensity indoor lighting, or to transform trees into self-powered streetlights, the researchers say.

MIT postdoc Seon-Yeong Kwak is the lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Nano Letters.

Nanobionic plants

Plant nanobionics, a new research area pioneered by Strano’s lab, aims to give plants novel features by embedding them with different types of nanoparticles. The group’s goal is to engineer plants to take over many of the functions now performed by electrical devices. The researchers have previously designed plants that can detect explosives and communicate that information to a smartphone, as well as plants that can monitor drought conditions.

Lighting, which accounts for about 20 percent of worldwide energy consumption, seemed like a logical next target. “Plants can self-repair, they have their own energy, and they are already adapted to the outdoor environment,” Strano says. “We think this is an idea whose time has come. It’s a perfect problem for plant nanobionics.”

To create their glowing plants, the MIT team turned to luciferase, the enzyme that gives fireflies their glow. Luciferase acts on a molecule called luciferin, causing it to emit light. Another molecule called co-enzyme A helps the process along by removing a reaction byproduct that can inhibit luciferase activity.

The MIT team packaged each of these three components into a different type of nanoparticle carrier. The nanoparticles, which are all made of materials that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies as “generally regarded as safe,” help each component get to the right part of the plant. They also prevent the components from reaching concentrations that could be toxic to the plants.

The researchers used silica nanoparticles about 10 nanometers in diameter to carry luciferase, and they used slightly larger particles of the polymers PLGA and chitosan to carry luciferin and coenzyme A, respectively. To get the particles into plant leaves, the researchers first suspended the particles in a solution. Plants were immersed in the solution and then exposed to high pressure, allowing the particles to enter the leaves through tiny pores called stomata.


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Source Article from http://govtslaves.info/2017/12/engineers-create-plants-that-glow-illumination-from-nanobionic-plants-might-one-day-replace-some-electrical-lighting/

Tactics the US might employ in destabilizing Russia to influence its elections

Putin America eagle

    

Russian March 2018 Presidential Elections are approaching. Putin has recently announced that he will run as a candidate. The global players who don’t want Putin to stay in power will likely do everything possible to get rid of him. Let’s explore some possible pressure points and try to predict the most unpleasant developments.

The measures to destabilize Russia amid the elections are most likely to be complex and could potentially include:

1. Exacerbating situation in Eastern Ukraine/Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. A coordinated, big scale assault on break-away regions by the Kiev government and ultra-nationalist battalions, if successful, could be exploited informationally by evoking a public discourse inside Russia about Putin betraying the people of Donbass/Novorossia, or being incapable of helping them, which could potentially decrease his approval ratings domestically. There are reports of soldiers from the US National Guard, namely the New York’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), being moved to Ukraine in late October 2017, so we might expect some dangerous provocations early next year. Also, as post-2014 history shows, any increase in military clashes between the Kiev government and Donbass rebels could as well be used internationally to demonise Russia and Putin personally (by blaming it on him directly), which could conveniently serve as a justification for tougher economic sanctions, thus enabling more intense economic warfare against the Russian Federation.

2. Direct US/NATO attack against the Syrian government. Similar to what happened on April 07, 2017, the United States government could use casus belli (manufactured by, say, the White Helmets) to launch a series of missile/airstrikes on the Syrian Arab Army forces, leaving Russia with very little choice but to leave its Syrian ally behind and surrender its geostrategic interests in the region in order to evade direct military confrontation with the United States government (the confrontation that could potentially escalate to a nuclear war). That would not only plummet Putin’s domestic approval ratings, but would also harm his reputation in the Muslim world and in Arabic speaking countries, compromising Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East, Central Asia, Pakistan, as well as potentially spawning an anti-Putin sentiment in the Caucasus region. Such strategy would certainly be dangerous to play, because it, indeed, can lead the world to a Nuclear Apocalypse; yet, given the observed desperation and lack of wisdom among certain circles in the modern US elite, we can’t rule this scenario out completely.


Comment: Could be part of the reason why the US intends to remain in Syria.

3. Banning Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyengchang and excluding Russian athletes and representatives from various international sports organisations. This has already happened. Russian track and field athletes were previously banned from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. Then the entire Russian Paralympic team got under a “blanket ban” followed by a WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) report written by a Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, who accused the Russian government of running a state-funded doping program. The report was based on unverifiable testimony given by the former head of Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA) Gregory Rodchenkov. Rodchenkov’s sister Maria was accused of selling illicit substances by the Russian Federal Drug Control Service way back in 2011. Rodchenkov himself was also accused of being complicit in the illegal drug sale, but he managed to evade jail because he was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (F32.3). Yet, the written testimony of a convicted drug dealer (convicted by the Russian government itself!) who also suffers from mental health issues was enough to play as key evidence in the case against the Russian government, which originally led to the ban of the entire Russian Paralympic team in 2016, and now also to the ban of the Russian Olympic team in 2018. It is noteworthy that Russian athletes are given an option to participate in the Games under the Neutral Flag, which further suggests the political nature of the ban, as opposed to doping and genuine concerns for fair competition. It is also noteworthy that banning athletes from Olympic Games based on their nationality (as opposed to individual bans, e. g. when a specific athlete shows positive doping test results) violates the Fundamental Principles of Olympism outlined in the official Olympic Charter. Competitive sports have always been a significant part of Russia’s culture, with the Olympic Games playing a vary important role in forming national pride. Humiliating Russian athletes in Pyengchang 2018 by not letting them perform under the national flag will certainly sow disappointment and dissatisfaction among Russian general public, which can potentially be harvested to destabilise the political situation amid the Presidential Elections in March.

4. Expanding and intensifying economic sanctions on Russian businessmen and oligarchs in order to mobilise them against Putin and his strategic course. Back in April 2017, following the US Tomahawk missile attack on Syrian Shayrat airbase, US State Secretary, Rex Tillerson stated that Russia must choose between Assad and the United States. Tillerson knew about Syria’s strategic importance to Russia and that Putin isn’t going to give it up easily, so it could be speculated that his message was addressed not to Putin but to Russian oligarchs and those segments of the Russian political elite who are oriented towards the economic integration with the Western world (principally the neo-liberal “reformers” from the 1990s Yeltsin era). Essentially, the Russian elites were told that if they don’t oust Putin, they are going to lose their personal wealth and power (and many Russian oligarchs and businessmen are known to keep their finances offshore). So we might expect certain segments of Russian elites mobilising their political, organisational and media resources amid the March 2018 election in an effort to destabilise the political climate and prevent Putin from being re-elected.

5. Expanding and intensifying sanctions against Russia in the energy sector in an effort to decrease Russia’s economic security. Nowadays, Russia is heavily dependant on oil and natural gas sales to the European Union countries. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, a significant portion of all the replaceable parts in the Russian oil and natural gas mining equipment has been imported from the West. The United States already implemented sanctions that forbid Western companies to trade and cooperate with Russia in spheres such as oil mining, oil refinery and oil transportation back in August 2017. If sanctions intensified and/or expanded, the Russian companies would have to invest time and resources into developing and implementing technologies that would allow Russians to replace sanctioned items. Such investment could potentially cripple the entire Russian natural resource mining industry for an indefinite period (especially given that, before the sanctioned items are replaced, the industry wouldn’t be able to function at an optimal level). The economic consequences would be felt by the public, decreasing people’s financial security and overall quality of life. The resulted dissatisfaction could potentially be utilised for social and political destabilisation amid the Presidential Elections.

6. Targeting the construction of Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipeline projects to decrease Russia’s economic security. Since the start of the Ukrainian Crisis in 2014, and due to increased risks of gas supply interruptions, Russia has been working on two major natural gas pipeline projects to create alternatives to the old pipeline routes that go through Ukraine. One route is being constructed to supply gas to Turkey and South Europe through the Black Sea (Turkish Stream) and the other one is being built to supply EU countries with natural gas through the Baltic Sea (Nord Stream 2). Before Turkish Stream, Russia was working on the South Stream project, with original plan of supplying gas to Europe through Bulgaria, but the European Parliament forced the Bulgarian government to freeze the construction works in 2014 due to increased tensions with Russia over Crimea, so the original project had to be cancelled and all efforts refocused on the alternative route through Turkey. The Nord Stream 2 has also been repeatedly met with attempts to sabotage the project by the pro-Transatlantic elites in an effort to minimise the EU-Russian trade and to make the EU switch to the American gas imports instead. So, for example, the US senator John McCain (a huge “friend” of Russia) was sending letters to European Commission in 2016, accusing Russia of trying to make EU more dependant and urging European officials to cancel the project. Recently, on 29 November 2017, John McCarrick, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Bureau of Energy Resources Department, made a statement asserting that Nord Stream 2 will not happen. It is evident that there are certain political forces within the US establishment who are interested in disrupting the EU-Russian gas and oil trade, and that they have been working systematically to actualise their interests. Compromising Russia’s economic security by torpedoing major gas pipeline projects amid the March 2018 elections could play into the hand of those who want Putin gone.

7. Assassinating opposition figures to provoke organised uprising. Killing political activists, journalists and prominent Putin critics would most certainly consolidate the “liberal” opposition inside Russia, sow hysteria and provide grounds for further system destabilisation. The socio-political algorithms could be employed as follows: first, a marginal opposition figure/Putin critic is assassinated, Putin and his security services are blamed immediately. Social media is then used to spread alarmist views and hysteria, making opposition feel threatened, most likely leading to unification and consolidation among its members, as well as attracting new people to the movement. The assassinated figure is iconised and turned into a symbol of a newly formed “resistance”. Shortly after, people flood the streets to commemorate the dead and to protest the regime. From there, further provocations (ranging from police clashes to unseen snipers) and escalations become possible. The history of “colour revolutions” (e. g. the “Arab Spring” or the recent Euromaidan events in Kiev) provide multiple examples of how street protests can be exacerbated into riots that eventually lead to social polarisation, political destabilisation and regime change. Given its effectiveness and well-developed algorithms, this particular option is likely to be considered by the forces who want to see Putin gone. The role of the “sacrificial victim”, in such a case, could be played by marginal political activists who are known to public yet who don’t have any real political and/or legal potential (thus rendering them “expendable”). Potential candidates could be people like Alexey Navalny (who can’t legally run for president due to his criminal record and yet is popular among teenagers and young adults as a “corruption fighter”), Ilya Yashin, or Mark Feygin, for instance. Assassination of Russian opposition figures would also allow the Western mainstream media to further demonise Putin, with Western politicians potentially using it as a justification for further economic sanctions.

8. Terrorist attacks. Terrorist plots that target civilian infrastructures to sow fear and a sense that the government can’t protect its people can potentially be used in an effort to discredit Putin in his presidential campaign. This particular strategy is less likely to be employed because, among all, it is most likely to cause the opposite effect, e. g. Russian people consolidating around their leader in the face of terrorist threat. But, again, given the intellectual and organizational degradation of the US elites we’ve been observing in the last few decades, this scenario can’t be ruled out completely. It is noteworthy that Russia has been a target of terrorist attacks regularly in the past, starting from the times of two Chechen Wars in the 1990s and the early 2000s, as well as the terrorist attacks in more recent years, most prominently the bus stop bombing in Volgograd in late 2013 amid Sochi Winter Olympic Games and the April 2017 Saint-Petersburg metro bombing (coinciding with Putin’s meeting Belarusian president Lukashenko in the city on that day).

***

The destabilising measures listed above are most likely to be employed simultaneously, in a complex and systematic manner. Russia might see itself being attacked from all the fronts in the early 2018: pro-Russian rebels and pro-Russian authorities being slaughtered in a massive attack in Donbass, Russia losing face in the Middle East while its allies in Syria are being extensively bombed by American warplanes, Russia’s strategic pipeline projects being cancelled, all while Russian athletes are being humiliated by IOC authorities under a neutral flag in South Korea, bombs are going off in airports and at train stations, and there are violent teenage riots in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg and Ekaterinburg, with people being murdered on the streets by unseen snipers. And, just to finish it all off, outraged by Western economic sanctions, Russian oligarchs and some influential people in the Kremlin are turning against Putin amid the March Presidential Elections. To say that the Russian leader would be in a difficult situation in such a case would be an understatement.

Further, president Donald Trump, while facing impeachment threats at home, would be relatively easy to manipulate into obnoxious military actions against Russia’s allies in Syria and Eastern Ukraine/Donbass, so that he could prove to the neoconservatives and to the domestic CNN- and MSNBC-watching populace that he is not an agent of Putin and that he can be a “true American leader” who “stands up to the bullies”. Note that launching Tomahawk missiles against a Syrian airbase in April 2017 has been Trump’s only mainstream media “superstar moment” so far, with all American major news channels praising him for his actions. So there is no guarantee that he will not resort to it again while facing extreme political pressure by those who want Putin gone.

And there are many segments among the Western/Transatlantic elites who want to see Putin gone. He (and Russia as whole) has been an obstacle to their global hegemony, starting from the 2007 Munich speech, in which Putin condemned the current unipolar world order, stating that the US “has overstepped its national borders in every sense”. He further consolidated his “evil dictator” status when he prevented Obama from invading Syria in 2013, and then again in 2014 when he ruined the US and NATO plans of installing military bases in Crimea, thus preventing their dominance in the Black Sea region.

So, there are plenty of reasons for the Western elites to try to prevent Putin from being re-elected in March 2018, and they will do everything in their power to bury him from the international scene. The question of whether or not they will be able to execute all their plans (and whether their actions will actually lead to the desired outcomes) remains open. Putin himself isn’t novel to strategic and political games, after all. Besides, most Russian people have lived through Perestroika and they still remember the 1990s, so one should never underestimate the power of Russian cynicism while trying to manipulate the Russian public with socio-political technologies from outside.

Better be prepared for anything than sorry, though.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/371234-Tactics-the-US-might-employ-in-destabilizing-Russia-to-influence-its-elections

US ready to talk to N Korea: ‘It’s a breakthrough, but many twists & turns might be ahead’

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington is willing to engage in direct talks with North Korea over the country’s nuclear program.

“We’re ready to talk anytime they’d like to talk,” Tillerson said about North Korea on Tuesday afternoon at an Atlantic Council think-tank event in Washington.

The statement came two weeks after North Korea tested its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile.

RT: Rex Tillerson admitted the possibility of peace talks with North Korea. Do you think talks could actually happen?

Joseph Cheng: I guess so. Obviously, the negotiations will be very frustrating, they will be quite slow, but this is a very important breakthrough in a sense that the Donald Trump administration has finally come around and accepted the importance of negotiations. In the past weeks, it has been proven that various attempts to indicate the use of violence has been proven empty and ineffective. The use of military means on the part of the US does not have the support of Seoul and meets significant opposition from Beijing and Moscow. At least, the parties concerned are willing to talk, and that is important that Rex Tillerson has indicated that negotiations hopefully will begin without any preconditions.

RT: Back in October, Trump said talks with North Korea would be a “waste of time.” Are we seeing a reversal of US policy on North Korea?

JC: We all know that Donald Trump is rather unpredictable and there may be different views existing in his administration. At least, this is an important beginning. There may well be a lot of twists and turns and a lot of pitfalls ahead, but the world has got to understand that negotiations are possible and that the Donald Trump administration is at least willing to try to negotiate.

RT: To what extent has previous warnings from the Trump administration (about destroying North Korea) damaged the prospect of peace talks?

JC: Negotiations normally demand an appropriate atmosphere; the threat of the use of force, fiery rhetoric does not help. Especially, when the Donald Trump administration and Kim Jong-Un administration are both very concerned with the respective images and international standing. The indication of the willingness to talk is just the beginning, and there are many difficulties ahead. One can rest assured that rational governments understand the tremendous danger of a nuclear war and the danger of intentional or unintentional escalation leading to the prospects for the possibility of war.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/412969-us-north-korea-talks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

How Strong Is Your Intuition? It Might Be The Highest Form of Intelligence







Next Story

This article was inspired by one published in Forbes with the same title. Who would have ever expected to see Forbes, a finance publication, post something about intuition? This is a surefire sign that times really are changing. 

So, if you’re thinking, intuition has nothing to do with intelligence, then you’re not alone. Because intuition is so difficult to measure and observe. The dictionary definition of intuition is as follows:

“1. the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.”

Intuition is our first instinct; it’s what we feel right away before the mind has time to come in and consciously analyze. Often times we hear of people who are near death, and everything becomes clear and they just instinctively know exactly what needs to be done to get themselves out of the situation; there is no time to hum and haw and weigh options, and intuition takes over, if we let it. 

Where Does Intuition Come From?

You know when you get that “gut feeling” that maybe something isn’t right? That is your intuition, and while we feel it in our gut or stomach area, many people often argue it comes from the heart. I recently watched an incredible documentary on Gaia called The Power Of The Heart  that explained how this feeling is actually coming from the heart, and the heart is always the first to react to any given situation. The heart intuitively knows what’s up.

Why Does Forbes Call Intuition the Highest Form of Intelligence?

Gerd Gigerenzer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and author of the book Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious, claims to be both intuitive and rational:

In my scientific work, I have hunches. I can’t explain always why I think a certain path is the right way, but I need to trust it and go ahead. I also have the ability to check these hunches and find out what they are about. That’s the science part. Now, in private life, I rely on instinct. For instance, when I first met my wife, I didn’t do computations. Nor did she.

Intuition itself doesn’t equal intelligence, but intuition with action most certainly can be intelligent. You’ve probably said it to yourself before, I knew that was the answer; I should have went with my first instinct. You see, this is an example of how your intuition often knows what your conscious mind does not. But just as Gigerenzer says, he tests his first instinct to see if it was correct and often time it is. So, intuition does hold some form of intelligence.

Below is a nice little bit from Dean Radin, Chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences

Trusting Your Intuition

So, despite often having that great idea, do you find that you have a difficult time trusting this answer or path is correct? The amazing thing about intuition is that it can be thought of as a muscle. Every time you use it and trust it, it becomes stronger. So, if you feel your intuition isn’t very clear, try strengthening this muscle. Next time, act on the first idea that comes your way. For example, I had plans to meet a friend, but her phone died, and I had to go home to grab something before I picked her up. I was circling the area in which I was supposed to meet her, but she was nowhere to be found. My intuition kept saying, Go to Green Cuisine, she’ll be there, but my mind was telling me, Don’t go there, it’ll be a hassle to find parking, and it’s doubtful she’ll even be there. By the time she got her phone charged and gave me a call, I found out that she too had an intuitive feeling to go to the restaurant and that’s where she had been waiting. Had I trusted this feeling right off the bat, I could have saved myself a lot of time and stress.

Try acting on the first thought you have, and see how often it leads you where you need to go, or gives you the right answer. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Help develop your intuition and get aligned with your soul purpose in our Explorer Lounge Program.

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Source Article from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Collective-evolution/~3/RRWJOiXdNVk/

Fresno Cop Who Killed His Ex-Lover’s Husband Might be Paroled


Paul Hurth, a former Fresno police officer and chaplain jailed for the 2000 shooting death of his ex-lover’s husband, is expected to be released in December, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

If released next month, Hurth, who is now 61, will have served 17 years of the 21-year sentence ordered by Fresno County Superior Court Judge Edward Sarkisian. Hurth, who is imprisoned at Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, was convicted for voluntary manslaughter in the death of Ralph Gawor, then 43. Hurth was having an affair with Gawor’s wife, Nancy.

The corrections department does not release the exact date, time or location of an inmate’s release to protect the safety of the public, the staff and the inmate, said spokesman Luis Patino.

In a case that riveted the community, Hurth testified that he went to Gawor’s north Fresno home, dressed in his police uniform, to talk to his lover’s husband and end the affair. But when Hurth told the man about the relationship, Gawor became enraged and attacked, he testified. Scared for his life, Hurth fired his service weapon in self-defense, he said.

Prosecutor James Oppliger, who is now a retired Superior Court judge, argued that Hurth began to plan the killing after learning that the victim and his wife were reconciling. After the killing, Hurth tried to hide evidence and elude capture, Oppliger said.

Sarkisian handed Hurth the longest sentence allowed by law, saying the former police officer abused his power and lied about his motives.

“It’s very difficult for the court to accept that the defendant went to the Gawor residence to announce that the affair was over and ask for forgiveness,” Sarkisian said at the sentencing.

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How Exercise Might Increase Your Self-Control

For most of us, temptations are everywhere, from the dessert buffet to the online shoe boutique. But a new study suggests that exercise might be a simple if unexpected way to increase our willpower and perhaps help us to avoid making impulsive choices that we will later regret.

Self-control is one of those concepts that we all recognize and applaud but do not necessarily practice. It requires forgoing things that entice us, which, let’s face it, is not fun. On the other hand, lack of self-control can be consequential for health and well-being, often contributing to problems like weight gain, depression or money woes.

Given these impacts, scientists and therapists have been interested in finding ways to increase people’s self-restraint. Various types of behavioral therapies and counseling have shown promise. But such techniques typically require professional assistance and have for the most part been used to treat people with abnormally high levels of impulsiveness.

There have been few scientifically validated options available to help those of us who might want to be just a little better at resisting our more devilish urges.

So for the new study, which was published recently in Behavior Modification, a group of researchers at the University of Kansas in Lawrence began wondering about exercise.



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Source Article from http://govtslaves.info/2017/11/exercise-might-increase-self-control/

Do you have plastic in your gut? You might, if you drink water from the tap

Image: Do you have plastic in your gut? You might, if you drink water from the tap

(Natural News)
Whether you live in the United States or France, there’s a high chance you’ve been ingesting microscopic plastic fibers whenever you drink water from the tap. According to the researchers behind the shocking new study, nearly all of the world’s tap water is contaminated.

The researchers — who were commissioned by journalism outlet Orb Media — came to this conclusion after collecting and testing tap water samples obtained from over a dozen nations across five continents. In total, 83 percent of the samples were found to contain plastic fibers. Tap water from the United States had the highest rate of contamination, with 94 percent of the samples falling under this category. Moreover, every 500 milliliters of tap water was loaded with an average of 4.8 microplastic fibers. The tap water for the U.S. samples included water taken from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Trump Tower in New York.

Beirut followed the United States, with a 93.8 contamination rate and and 4.5 microplastic fibers in every 500 ml of tap water. Interestingly, the water supply of Beirut originates from natural springs, suggesting that the microplastic pollution situation in the Lebanese Republic’s capital city is a truly grave one. The other nations that were sampled included:

  • New Delhi, India (82.4 percent and an average of four microplastic fibers in each 500ml sample)
  • Kampala, Uganda (80.8 percent and 2.2 fibers)
  • Ecuador (79 percent and 2.2 fibers)
  • Indonesia (76.2 percent and 1.9 fibers)
  • Europe, including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (72.2 percent and 1.9 fibers)

Even those who don’t drink from the tap are at risk of microplastic contamination if they consume seafood. Microplastics can be found in our oceans and, consequently, in seafood. Dr. Sherri A. Mason, microplastics expert at the State University of New York in Fredonia and supervising analyst of the study, has commented: “We have enough data from looking at wildlife, and the impacts that it’s having on wildlife, to be concerned. If it’s impacting [wildlife], then how do we think that it’s not going to somehow impact us?” (Related: Seafood lovers are eating 11,000 plastic fragments each year.)

As to where the plastics are coming from, the researchers have stated that they come from seemingly benign sources such as clothing, paints, upholstery, and even personal care products. In their study, the researchers named synthetic clothing materials such as polyester, fleece, and acrylic as the top source of microplastic fibers. They estimated that about one million tons of tiny fibers and fragments are released into wastewater annually, with more than half bypassing treatment processes to seep into our environment.

“There are certain commons that connect us all to each other, air, water, soil, and what we have universally found time and time again is if you contaminate any of those commons, it gets in everything,” says Mason.

This is a cause for concern since microplastics have been found to attract the bacteria in sewage, as well as contain and absorb toxic chemicals. “Some studies have shown there are more harmful pathogens on microplastics downstream of wastewater treatment plants,” notes Dr. Anne Marie Mahon of the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

Prof. Richard Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University, adds: “It became clear very early on that the plastic would release those chemicals and that actually, the conditions in the gut would facilitate really quite rapid release.”

In order to prevent the microplastic problem from becoming bigger than it already is, the researchers have put out a few suggestions, like:

  • Cutting down on plastic bag and straw use: Over a billion plastic straws are thrown away each year, and can take upwards of several centuries before fully breaking down. Plastic bags have a similarly lengthy lifespan, and can survive for over 500 years in the ocean. In lieu of these, the researchers recommend utilizing metal straws and reusable bags.
  • Use different toothbrushes: By “different,” we mean opting for toothbrushes made from biodegradable materials like flax, bamboo, and even recycled dollar bills. There’s no guarantee that toothbrushes tossed in the recycling bin will undergo the recycling process, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Take a walk or carpool: Plastic tire dust is one of the biggest sources of microplastic pollution. Walking, sharing rides with friends, or even taking public transportation, can reduce the amount of plastic tire dust entering our environment.

Go to Environ.news for even more stories about our environment and what we can do to protect it.

Sources include:

WakingTimes.com

TheGuardian.com

OrbMedia.com

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Source Article from http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-11-10-do-you-have-plastic-in-your-gut-you-might-if-you-drink-water-from-the-tap.html

Nov. 8 ‘Scream Helplessly at the Sky’ Might Just Be Major Media Event

With the anniversary of the election of Donald Trump to the presidency only a little over two weeks way on November 8, how are you planning to commemorate that momentous event? Well, for thousands of Social Justice Warriors who still can’t accept the notion of a President Trump the answer seems to be to scream helplessly at the sky. I kid you not. In fact they have named their event “Scream Helplessly at the Sky.”

The idea for this event originated in Boston but has spread to other parts of the country where we can fully expect to see media coverage of it. NBC Boston provides us with the details of the upcoming “Scream Helplessly at the Sky” event. However, before we read that, let us look at a video of some really helpless sky screaming from Inauguration Day which all the November 8 event participants must measure their helpless sky screams against:

Still frustrated about the results of the 2016 presidential election? Looks like you’re not alone.

An event being advertised on Facebook urges people to gather on the Boston Common on Nov. 8, 2017 to “scream helplessly at the sky” on the anniversary of last year’s election.

The event is slated for 6 p.m. Nearly 4,000 people have already RSVP’d and 30,000 more say they’re interested.

“Come express your anger at the current state of democracy, and scream helplessly at the sky,” the Facebook event reads.

“Scream Helplessly at the Sky” should be way overmatched in terms of participation by “Laugh Hilariously at the Screen” when this event appears on the television news.

The Boston event was posted by two local residents, and has since spawned imitators across the country, including Philadelphia; Austin, Texas; and even one at Trump Tower in Chicago.

More than 100 people have already commented on the Facebook page for the Boston event.

“I will show up even if I am by myself,” said David Thomas. “I hope that you will join me in helplessly yelling into the sky.”

Yes, join David in screaming helplessly at the sky so we can laugh hilariously at your antics. 

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Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/pj-gladnick/2017/10/29/nov-8-scream-helplessly-sky-promises-be-major-media-event

People Who Want to Make it Easier to Prosecute Cops Who Kill Might Get Their Way Soon


For two years, police-reform groups have unsuccessfully tried to convince state lawmakers to make it easier to prosecute law enforcement officers who kill in the line of duty.

Those reformers now might have something on their side to put their efforts over the top: Political leverage.

A group called De-Escalate Washington has decided to push its proposed changes as an initiative to the Legislature in 2018.

If the campaign hits its 260,000-signature target by the end of the year, it will bring a bill to the Capitol that would lower the state’s uniquely high bar for prosecuting officers who improperly use deadly force. Group leaders say the measure would increase police accountability.

Key lawmakers say the threat of the initiative going to the ballot gives De-Escalate Washington the upper hand should it choose to negotiate a legislative alternative with police groups that have stuffed more modest change in the Legislature.

Those against revamping the law, namely the Fraternal Order of Police, say Initiative 940 could lead to witch hunts against police who make honest mistakes in stressful situations. But lawmakers who have been deeply involved in the debate say the Fraternal Order might be more willing to strike a deal on an compromise to avoid a vote of the people on I-940.

De-Escalate Washington, which launched in July, said in a news release Thursday it had about 160,000 signatures so far.

“Bottom line is, I think the opponents might realize that a legislative solution is better for them than the initiative,” said Sen. Mike Padden, a Republican from Spokane Valley who chairs the Senate’s Law and Justice Committee.

There are three outcomes possible with an initiative to the Legislature. Lawmakers can pass it. They can approve an alternative to compete with I-940 on the fall 2018 ballot — possibly one that unites police and community advocates as a compromise. Or they can do nothing, sending Initiative 940 to the ballot by itself.

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When You Die, You Might Know That You’re Dead. Scientists Discover Signs of Life After Death







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It’s one of the biggest mysterious in human history: What happens when we die? Does ‘consciousness’ cease to exist, because it’s a product of the brain? Or does consciousness remain, because it does not require the brain or any other physical organ to exist? It’s hard to tell, because we don’t really have any specific tool for measuring consciousness, but things are changing. Non-material science is really starting to take giant leaps forward, and more studies are emerging every year suggesting that a persons’s consciousness continues to work after the body has died.

The newest one comes from a team from New York University’s Lagone School of Medicine. They investigated twin studies from Europe and the United States that looked at people who suffered cardiac arrest, flatlined, and then came back to life. We’re talking about people whose hearts have stopped; once this happens, blood no longer circulates to the brain, which means brain function is also completely dead.

As reported by Live Science, “The brain’s cerebral cortex — the so-called “thinking part” of the brain — also slows down instantly, and flatlines, meaning that no brainwaves are visible on an electric monitor, within 2 to 20 seconds. This initiates a chain reaction of cellular processes that eventually result in the death of brain cells, but that can take hours after the heart has stopped.”

The study, conducted in 2008, was the largest of its kind. It involved 2,060 patients from 15 different hospitals in the United Kingdom, United States, and Austria, and it emphasized the need for more studies of its kind to focus on cardiac arrest when asking these questions, because it is biologically synonymous with death.

The study found, as have several others, that many of these patients were still aware and able to see following their biological death, but from “outside” their body, so to speak.

The portion of the study that focused on UK cases, which was conducted over a four year period by researchers at the University of Southhampton, found that nearly 40% of people who survived described some type of ‘awareness’ during the time they were pronounced clinically dead, before their hearts were restarted.

For example, one patient, who was a 57 year old man at the time, despite being pronounced dead and completely unconscious, with no detectable biological activity going on, recalled watching the entire process of his resuscitation.

The study’s authors argue this “merits a genuine investigation without prejudice.”

When science examines non-material concepts such as this, it is often hindered by skeptics who are unable to set aside their beliefs in the quest for truth, which is perhaps why we have labels like “pseudoscience” draped upon concepts that have gone through rigorous investigation, and shown to be repeatable.

Dr. Sam Parnia, the study’s lead author, states:

We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating. . . . But in this case conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.

The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three-minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for.

He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.

He went on to emphasize the significance of these results, since this phenomenon has often been associated with hallucinations or illusions. Yet we now have proof this might not be the case.

Out of the approximate 2,000 cardiac arrest patients, a staggering 330 survived, and 140 of those 330 experienced some type of awareness during the time they were clinically, biologically dead.

According to Live Science, Parnia and his colleagues are continuing on with their investigations into consciousness after death, including observing the brain in detail during the period of cardiac arrest, death, and revival so they can better understand how much oxygen is actually reaching the brain.

Parnia says, “In the same way that a group of researchers might be studying the qualitative nature of the human experience of ‘love,’ for instance, we’re trying to understand the exact features that people experience when they go through death, because we understand that this is going to reflect the universal experience we’re all going to have when we die.”

The Problem of Consciousness

Fascinating, isn’t it? How could almost half of these patients experience awareness during death if something extraordinary weren’t going on here? There are two possible explanations — either they are experiencing something phenomenal, and consciousness does continue on after death, or the slight brain activity that is going on is creating the experience. The latter is harder to believe, given the fact that if there is any brain activity happening beyond our ability to detect it, it’s minuscule. How could so little brain activity provide such an experience? How do we even know that there is any brain activity at all given the fact that it cannot be measured? Remember, these people were biologically dead.

The first is more believable, particularly if we correlate these findings to others within the realms of neuroscience and quantum physics. When it comes to quantum physics, according to Eugene Wignor, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

Consciousness, according to many within the field, including the founding father of quantum mechanics, Max Planck, is the backbone of physical material matter, in that consciousness is first required for the creation of physical matter, not the other way around. So, if we take a quantum perspective and lay it over the above cardiac arrest study, it suggests that physical matter is not required for consciousness to exist, and this is perhaps what these doctors, patients, and researchers have found.

Dr. Eben Alexander is a Harvard trained brain neurosurgeon who published a book titled “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.” He once believed that consciousness was a product of our biology, but that all changed when he fell into a coma for seven days that was caused by severe bacterial meningitis, during which time he experienced himself outside of his body.

He explained the problem of consciousness succinctly in a lecture he gave about his experience a few years ago:

There are a lot of scientists around the world who realize that when you start getting into the mystery of consciousness, which in essence is the only thing anyone of us truly knows exists, and trying to see exactly what consciousness is, it’s kind of like asking a fish what it’s like in the water. We are so close to it that there’s no way to really separate it out. I assure you that the only thing you’ve ever really known is your own consciousness.

Here is a video of Dr. Bruce Greyson speaking at a conference held by the UN. He’s a professor emeritus of psychiatry and neurobehavioral science at the University of Virginia. In the video, he describes many instances of individuals who are able to describe things that should have been impossible to describe.

It was also encouraging to hear him mention how this type of study has been discouraged due to our tendency to view science as completely materialistic.

You can read more about that in this article.

The simple fact that “consciousness” itself is a non-physical “thing” is troubling for some scientists to consider, and as a result of it being non-material, they believe it cannot be studied by science. But this isn’t true. Studies like the one above and many more have shown that we can actually measure non-physical phenomenon in several ways.

“Some materialistically inclined scientists and philosophers refuse to acknowledge these phenomena because they are not consistent with their exclusive conception of the world. Rejection of post-materialist investigation of nature or refusal to publish strong science findings supporting a post-materialist framework are antithetical to the true spirit of science inquiry, which is that empirical data must always be adequately dealt with. Data which do not fit favoured theories and beliefs cannot be dismissed as priori. Such dismissal is the realm of ideology, not science.”

– Dr. Gary Schwartz, professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery at the the University of Arizona

Below is a great lecture from him discussing the anomaly of consciousness, where he explores whether it exists independently of our biology or not.

 

 


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