Ahh, That Monkey Mind

2 Remedies for a Chaotic Mind

January 9th, 2019

By Nick Polizzi

Guest writer for Wake Up World

We certainly live in unusual times, don’t we?

When the news headlines are filled with fear and uncertainty, it’s easy to be thrown off keel and get stuck in our heads. But the elders have taught for thousands of years that personal evolution doesn’t occur without a little ruckus, just like new seeds won’t sprout unless the soil is churned.

There are many real challenges in the world, and as we try to wrap our heads around them, it’s important that we remember to do so with mindfulness and compassion.

We’re all born into this world vulnerable and pure, completely reliant on the kindness of others. By remaining present, we begin to see this humanity in everyone, whether they are the perceived “good guys” or “bad guys”.

A great place to look for inspiration is our children. A child doesn’t recoil in the face of challenge. No, they are perpetually curious, resilient as warriors, and in a constant state of play. We grown-ups somehow lose that superpower as we get older and the perceived stakes of our actions get higher. But luckily for us all, there are a number of ways to shake off the illusion and get ourselves back into a harmonious state of life flow.

I’ve prescribed a couple of practices below that have really helped me quiet my mind and stay grounded, happy, and connected to purpose lately. I hope they help you too!

Sacred Prescription #1

This first one might seem downright crazy. You’ve probably never heard of it before, so get ready for your mind to be blown… Meditation!!!

Okay, maybe you’ve heard of it before… but do you actually make time for it, and incorporate it into your daily routine?

In our seemingly busy lives, there’s a compulsion to stay on the move, make every second count, burn the midnight oil, and then crash at the end of the day. Some might even say that this fire-drill consciousness is at the root of the imbalances we are seeing in the world, and also within our selves.

What happens if we carve out a little time each day to sit and experience the very moment we are in, instead of the road ahead or the rear-view past? In the digital age of speedy information and mini adrenaline rushes, we need something to bring us back into our bodies and help us see our reality for what it truly is.

A close friend and I are in the middle of a meditation challenge right now and it has been extremely helpful over the past month. It’s gotten to the point where I look forward to my 1PM meditation every day.

If you start with just ten minutes each day of quieting the mind in a wakeful state, I can almost guarantee that new openings and releases of tension will happen for you.

Sacred Prescription #2

When our reality gets a little hazy now and again, there are certain “medicine questions” we can ask ourselves that have the power to pull enlightened answers from somewhere within our psyche.

When you’re doing the work, these can be extremely helpful to have in your back pocket. Below are two of my go-to questions, but there are a number of them!

Medicine Question 1:

What is the one conversation that you’ve been putting off having with a friend or loved one?

It’s tempting to get caught up in all the flashy happenings on the world stage, but what about the people right in your own life? This is where you have the most influence and it’s often not a place of focus (ie. texting at the dinner table).

We humans are mirrors for one another and any relationships that are out of whack are often a useful reflection of inner imbalances that we have with ourselves. One of the fastest ways to heal your life is to reach out consciously and resolve any conflict, however subtle or obvious, that you might have with someone dear to you.

Just like a newborn baby cannot survive without the warm touch of another, we “grown-ups” tend to slip into imbalance when a connection to a member of our tribe is languishing.

Medicine Question 2:

When was the last time you put yourself outside your comfort zone?

Are you cozy in the life and role you’ve created for yourself? Is that coziness serving your highest ideals? We humans like predictability and pattern, but you would be surprised at how therapeutic a little shakeup can be.

Rituals like sweat lodge, temascal, vision quest, and the various sacred plant ceremonies are all aimed at bringing an individual to their limit, for what reason? To remind them they are limitless.

Limitlessness is a nice term, but to understand it fully you must be willing to go outside your comfort zone. If you’re looking for a powerful way to expand your limits while enhancing your relationships, refer to Medicine Question #1 ?

Have a wonderful week and remember, we’re all in this thing together.

Stay curious,

Nick Polizzi
Founder of The Sacred Science

from:    https://wakeup-world.com/2019/01/09/2-remedies-for-a-chaotic-mind/

how Safe is Ultrasound?

Shocker: the dangers of Ultrasound

A book by the great researcher Jim West

by Jon Rappoport.  January 21, 2019

Every time Jim West (also here) releases a new finding, it is a revelation.

Some years ago, I wrote this about Jim:

“I always find it riveting to come across an independent investigator who is breaking new ground, against all odds. Jim West is such a person. His meticulous analysis of West Nile Disease [in fact caused by toxic pollution, not a virus] has turned the establishment on its head. We should all thank him for his work. If I were the king of Pulitzers, I would give him a dozen. He is what truly deep reporting is all about. In a sane world, his revelations would bring about the firing of scores of so-called medical journalists and disease researchers, and he would be sitting at the top of the heap — not in order to exercise arbitrary power, but simply because he has trumped the lazy and the incompetent and the lying professionals who are supposed to tell us what is going on.”

There are many other things I could say in praise of Jim’s work. Instead, I’ll present an excerpt from the notice of his new book. It’s a book you should have and read: “50 Human Studies, in Utero, Conducted in Modern China, Indicate Extreme Risk for Prenatal Ultrasound: A New Bibliography”.

It’s a book that should receive wide notice. It’s a book that should change standard medical practice. It’s a book that can save many lives.


Press Release: May 2015

Prenatal Ultrasound: A New Bibliography of Human Studies Conducted in Modern China

“50 Human Studies, in Utero, Conducted in Modern China, Indicate Extreme Risk for Prenatal Ultrasound: A New Bibliography”

Jim West has released his unprecedented Bibliography of critical ultrasound research, as a book, available at Amazon.com.

Ultrasound is a highly controversial topic. It can now be said, without hyperbole, that an understanding of its mysteries are essential to the well-being of the individual and the human species.

The word “ultrasound” commonly refers to diagnostic ultrasound, an acoustic technology utilized to view images of the fetus in real time, its position within the mother, and to view the mother’s reproductive organs. It is an economic boon to medical practitioners who advocate its routine use.

Diagnostic ultrasound is widely declared to be “harmless” to the fetus (*), despite some mothers describing via online forums such as The Thinking Mother’s Revolution, vaginal bleeding and pain, and others describing every detail related to ultrasound and pharmaceutical or vaccine associated damage to their child. Ultrasound is now being applied to most of the entire world population during its fetal stage. The health implications are vast in terms of physical and psychological health for the individual and society.

(*) See: “Fetal Ultrasound”, John Hopkins Medicine Health Library.

Ultrasound appears to have set the human specie on a tragic path, due to the subtle and not-so-subtle effects of ultrasound exposure. Critics argue, for example, that the exponential rise in autism incidence is a product of fetal exposure to ultrasound. If they are correct, then it may take many generations to recover from this misguided application of medical technology.

Technical History:

Ultrasound imaging technology for diagnostic examinations evolved from a type of echo-imaging, originally developed as SONAR, a technology invented to detect submarines by pinging sound waves off the submarine hull and electronically measuring the echo, the duration required to reflect ultrasound from the submarine hull back to the source of the ultrasound.

In the medical field, ultrasound has been in use for many decades, employed to generate “echo images” of the fetus. Ultrasound is not ordinary sound, however.

It is a highly unusual form of sound when used for the purpose of prenatal or obstetric diagnostic examinations. Humans ordinarily are capable of hearing sounds in the range of 20 to 20,000 cycles per second (hertz). Ultrasound for fetal examination carries a frequency in the range of 3 to 9 megahertz, millions of cycles per second, above the EMF frequencies of the AM radio band.

Ultrasound imaging technology has supplanted, to an extent, the earlier imaging technology, X-rays. That older technology is now known publicly to be hazardous, to be carcinogenic, however, it took decades for this knowledge to become public. The history of medical X-ray imaging may be a parallel for ultrasound history. X-rays were previously known to be a risk though continuously advocated as harmless by the medical profession.

Hazards Unconfirmed:

Ultrasound is known to have the potential to produce harmful biological effects in the fetus. This has been found via animal and cell studies. However, these hazards have supposedly not been confirmed by human studies. Funding for ultrasound studies has virtually disappeared since the late 1980s. despite the FDA raising ultrasound intensity limits in 1991.

Cibull et al (2013) provides definitive assurance.

“Although laboratory studies have shown that diagnostic levels of ultrasound can produce physical effects in tissue, there is no evidence from human studies of a causal relationship between diagnostic ultrasound exposure during pregnancy and adverse biological effects to the fetus.” — Sarah L. Cibull, BS, Gerald R. Harris, PhD, and Diane M. Nell, PhD. “Trends in Diagnostic Ultrasound Acoustic Output From Data Reported to the US Food and Drug Administration for Device Indications That Include Fetal Applications.” J Ultrasound Med 32 (2013): 1921–32.

Confirmed in China:

Unknown to Western scientists, the hazards of ultrasound have been confirmed in China since the late 1980s, where thousands of women, volunteering for abortion, thousands of maternal-fetal pairs, were exposed to carefully controlled diagnostic ultrasound and the abortive matter then analyzed via laboratory techniques.

From these human studies, Professor Ruo Feng, of Nanjing University, published guidelines in 2000:

“Commercial or educational fetal ultrasound imaging should be strictly eliminated. Ultrasound for the identification of fetal sex and fetal entertainment imaging should be strictly eliminated. For the best early pregnancy, avoid ultrasound.”

Feng is very clear. He is also gentle. He could have written bluntly, “For a lesser quality pregnancy, use ultrasound.” He could have written “fetus” or “child” instead of “pregnancy”.



A New Bibliography:

An unprecedented Bibliography of Chinese ultrasound studies by Jim West, is now available, published as a book with commentary, illustrative graphs and tables. This is a presentation of arcana, i.e., vitally important but unknown scientific studies. The title is, “50 Human Studies Indicate Extreme Risk for Prenatal Ultrasound: A New Bibliography”.

This is the most important bibliography and commentary ever compiled for the field of ultrasound criticism, though for legal reasons, its conclusions and implications should be suspended, pending trustworthy authoritative review.

The book presents human studies conducted in modern China, which examine the results of in utero fetal exposure to diagnostic ultrasound. They far exceed Western science in terms of technical sophistication, era relevancy, volume of work, and number of subjects. They bring empirical evidence for ultrasound hazards.

These studies involve the exposure of over 2,700 maternal-fetal pairs to diagnostic ultrasound. The number of scientists involved are approximately 100. Pregnant women were carefully selected and then exposed to controlled ultrasound sessions. Ethical concerns were carefully observed. Abortive matter was examined via state-of-the-art technology, e.g., electron microscopy, flow cytometry, and various biochemical analysis (immuno- and histo-). The results were compared against the results of sham-exposed pregnant women (exposed at zero intensity).

Chinese scientists measured damage to the brain, kidney, cornea, chorionic villi, and the immune system. They determined the amount of ultrasound exposure required to produce damage to the human fetus, and that amount was found to be very low. Ultrasound hazards to the human fetus were confirmed without doubt.

Western scientists had previously found hazards via animal and cell studies, however, their findings were deemed inconclusive because they were not confirmed by human studies.

Human studies can be of two types: 1) epidemiological studies, i.e., population reviews, and, 2) in utero exposure studies, where abortive matter is evaluated in a laboratory following diagnostic ultrasound exposure to the fetus in the mother.

Western scientists have conducted only a few epidemiological studies, and virtually no human exposure studies. Epidemiological studies are complex, have many statistical variables, and are thus highly vulnerable to biased interpretation. They are often published as moot or statistically insignificant, despite finding patterns of ultrasound damage.

Due to abortion ethics, in utero exposure studies were virtually banned in the Western realm. Within the entire world population, the medical industry has not reported one case of human damage. Thereby, without certain proof, authorities continued on with the assumption that humans were resistant to ultrasound toxicity.

The Chinese studies were unknown in the Western realm and little known even in the East. These represent 23 years of critical research, from 1988 to 2011. Unfortunately, these studies were overwhelmed by a tremendous flood of studies that promote medical and therapeutic innovations for ultrasound.

The Chinese studies have remained disconnected from the Western realm, beyond discussion outside of China, being the casualty of cultural and language gaps, and lacking a benefit for industry.

These studies are not generally available through global search engines or medical databases. Even if a researcher knew the titles, the studies would not be found, however, they are available through internal links within the Chinese databases.

The Research Path:

As of 2013, Jim West began his research out of frustration. He had experienced the impossibilities of discussion whenever the topic of ultrasound hazards was attempted, even with his nearest friends. He always brought eloquent documentation, though to no avail. He was met with reflexive blocks. These were passive and aggressive, apparently out of fear of the birth process and a belief that ultrasound would provide assurance.

Realizing that people require authoritative statements, Jim searched for a simple statement of empirical evidence that could not be denied.

After several months of intensive research within the Western scientific realm, he, like others, realized there was little definitive evidence that would satisfy the strict industrial requirements, that is, there were few human studies of any kind. Human studies had been deemed by authorities to be essential for confirmation of hazards. He was aware of the hundreds of animal and cell studies, but they were known to be ill-designed and inconclusive. Excellent critical studies were contradicted by competing studies that declared ultrasound safe. Jim did find a few very strong animal studies that had not been contradicted, but they were ignored or rejected by mere authoritative assertion.

Electrophoresis:

As a working research theory, Jim hypothesized that the ideal modern ultrasound study would utilize a very sensitive type of chromatography, called “electrophoresis”, to detect cell damage caused by ultrasound exposure. Electrophoresis is a simple technology, the moving of electric current through a sample of biological matter in order to draw its various components through a gel-covered plate. The various components separate out through the gel, creating visual patterns for analysis. Electrophoresis is used to analyze biological complexes such as nucleic acid (DNA or RNA). It is employed, for example, in DNA fingerprinting, to identify people, their DNA, to detect their prior presence at a location, by examining samples of blood, hair, or tissue and matching those analytical results with suspects who had been similarly analyzed.

Jim’s focus on electrophoresis lead to a Chinese electrophoresis study of ultrasound causation for DNA fragmentation in abortive matter. The study is published in pristine scientific format and published in English. The study’s references lead to an expanding tree of studies located in Chinese online databases such as CNKI. Though these studies are primarily in Chinese language, many contained an Abstract, translated into English manually or by machine software.

Many studies were reviewed by professor Ruo Feng, of the Acoustic Institute at Nanjing University. He determined guidelines from the studies, stipulating that routine ultrasound be avoided. Only if there were exceptional medical indications should ultrasound be allowed, and at minimum intensity. Sessions should be very brief, no more than 3 minutes, 5 minutes at most. Multiple sessions should be avoided because hazards are cumulative. Sensitive organs were found damaged at 1 minute exposure.

The Chinese studies echo and confirm the earlier, ignored and rejected, 1984 “Consensus Statement”, written and published by the National Institute of Health and signed by the preeminent American scientists of that era. (See: NIH, “Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging in Pregnancy: NIH Consensus Development Conference Statement” (February 6, 1984))

Currently, the medical industry loudly claims that ultrasound is “harmless” while it advocates routine ultrasound for pregnant women and even prepubescent girls. It is not uncommon for ultrasound sessions to use intensities and durations far above those used in the Chinese studies.

Jim has done the math and graphically illustrates the evidence, for example, this comparison of Western critical studies and Chinese studies in terms of durations to damage, when subjected to the average device intensity for a common diagnostic ultrasound session in B-mode. These durations are approximated extrapolations.

Jim’s ultrasound causation model is fully compatible with the vaccine model, because it includes the concept of toxic synergy, and ultrasound is an effective synergist. Ultrasound is theoretically capable of initiating fetal vulnerabilities to subsequent toxic exposure. Thus the risk of subsequent exposure to vaccines, birth drugs, antibiotics and other environmental stressors would be raised by prenatal ultrasound, not in addition, but as a multiplier. (Emphasis added)

from:    https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/shocker-the-dangers-of-ultrasound/

RE: Manuka Honey

Image: Nine ways to experience the magic of Manuka honey

(Natural News) As far as sweeteners go, honey has been around for thousands of years and has been used as a food and a potent natural remedy. Unfortunately, like most foods produced today, the potency has been greatly diminished through various processing techniques and profitable short cuts that have left many honeys devoid of enzymes and nutrients and filled with GMOs like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The good news is there are high quality honeys on the market today, that are raw and sustainably sourced so they benefit you and the bee population. Arguably, the most potent honey with the most medicinal benefits is Manuka honey, and there are several health benefits to using it internally and topically.

Health benefits and uses for Manuka honey

Put simply, Manuka honey is from bees that pollinate the Manuka bush. What makes it unique is the naturally occurring methylglyoxal (MGO) which forms in the flower’s nectar and is believed to be primarily responsible for its magnificent health benefits. Some of those benefits include:

  1. Relieves occasional sleeplessness – Manuka honey supports a more deep and restful sleep. Add some to a warm tea like chamomile in the evening to help usher you into a more peaceful bedtime routine.
  2. Supports healthy digestion – A good Manuka honey can support healthy digestive function. Get some in every day by making this amazing smoothie.
  3. Supports healthy immune function – Due to the MGO contained in Manuka honey, the immune-boosting capabilities exceed that of regular honey.
  4. Rich in antioxidants – Since Manuka honey is very high in antioxidants, it can provide protection against dangerous free radicals.
  5. Supports skin health – Apply it directly to your face as a mask or with other skin rejuvenating nutrients to leave your skin refreshed and rejuvenated.
  6. Helps defend against seasonal and environmental threats – Using Manuka honey on a consistent basis will help naturally guard you against external threats by supporting immunity.
  7. May help support healing of minor burns or scratches – For centuries, Manuka honey has been used as a remedy for minor scratches and mild burns. Simply apply directly to the affected area, and cover with a bandage or dressing.
  8. Helps boost your vitality – The nutrient-dense profile of Manuka honey can help boost your overall energy. Combine with bee pollen and put on oatmeal or in a smoothie.
  9. Supports good oral health – Put a little bit directly on your toothbrush!

from:    https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-01-20-nine-ways-to-experience-the-magic-of-manuka-honey.html

Stand Up For Your Truth

HOW TO LEVERAGE YOUR OWN CONSCIENCE AS PURE LAW

Gary Z McGee, Staff Writer
Waking Times

If we heed these wise words by Lao Tzu, then it stands to reason that we focus more on developing highly evolved people capable of honoring universal laws, rather than waste our energy bludgeoning people with invalid laws that violate the golden rule, the nonaggression principle, and the universal laws that dictate health.

But what constitutes a highly evolved person? What might a highly evolved person’s character look like? How do we define such a broad concept? In Five Counterintuitive Traits of Highly Evolved Humans, I broke down the emotional disposition of highly evolved people. In this article we’ll break down the political disposition of highly evolved people.

Choose a courage-based lifestyle over a fear-based lifestyle:

Does your government have a taste for blood and a thirst for power? A highly evolved person, with their own conscience as pure law, would choose smart rebuking over fearful obsequiousness.

Don’t allow such a government to have its way. Question its authority. Practice strategic civil disobedience. Count coup on overreaching power constructs. Challenge outdated, immoral, and unjust laws. Be the personification of checks and balances. Dare to be a courageous David facing down the Goliath of the state.

We don’t need more people who blindly obey in deadly fear. That’s already the vast majority of people. We need more people who are highly evolved enough to smartly rebuke any and all governments that use violence to “solve” problems.

Choosing a courage-based lifestyle over a fear-based lifestyle is choosing to no longer be a victim. It’s choosing, instead, to become a hero. It’s choosing courage over fear, self-sacrifice over comfort and security, adventure over banality, fierceness over obsequiousness, and ruthless skepticism over blind faith.

Understand that the vast majority of people are still willing to live fear-based lifestyles. Sympathize with them for having not woken up yet, but do not pity them. It’s not their fault they were brainwashed, conditioned and indoctrinated into living fear-based lifestyles, but it is their responsibility to educate themselves and to break themselves of their conditioning.

You can lead people to knowledge, but you can’t make them think. You can, however, remain ruthless with your courage-based lifestyle. Become a beacon of courageous hope. Especially for those who are still living fear-based lifestyles. Call it tough love. As Derrick Jensen said, “Love does not imply pacifism.”

Choose heart-centeredness over political divisiveness:

Bipartisan politics is old hat. It’s high time you toss that hat in the fire. Highly evolved people have already done so. They have gone Meta with politics. They’ve gone beyond the outdated, codependent divisiveness of bipartisanism and graduated into an updated, interdependent metamorality.

Metamorality, coined by Joshua Greene, is based on a common ground that all humans can agree upon while proposing a utilitarian deep pragmatism that empathically broadens the mind and compassionately opens the heart to the plight of us all as interdependent beings on an interconnected planet. Highly evolved humans use this strategy, along with the Astronaut Overview Effect, to go big-pictur

Going big-picture helps us change our minds. Or, at least be more flexible and open in our thinking. It puts things into proper perspective. It helps us feel more empathic and less psychopathic toward each other. We’re better able to see the world as one, without borders.

We’re better able to narrow our highfalutin politics down to a single concept we can all agree on: freedom. We’re better able to see through all the red herring cognitive biases of the climate debate and realize that our problem is a single problem we can all agree on: pollution. We’re better able to cut straight through the divisiveness of religion and narrow it down to a single concept that we can all agree on: love. Especially love for our children, and creating a healthy environment for them to grow up in. And suddenly there are not so many differences between us.

Choosing heart-centeredness over political divisiveness puts a compassionate spin on our conscience. Indeed, it puts the “conscience” in having our own conscience as pure law. For pure law is universal law, based upon the healthy interconnectedness of all things.

Choose self-improvement over self-preservation and create a better world:

When it comes down to it, becoming a highly evolved human is about spitting out the unhealthy blue pill of comfort, safety, and security based on outdated laws, and having the courage to swallow the healthy red pill of curiosity, questioning, and skepticism that questions bad laws in order to create healthy laws that align with universal laws.

It’s about becoming the personification of checks and balances. It’s about putting in the hard and difficult work of becoming a highly evolved person who has the wherewithal to “use their own conscience as pure law.” And to teach others how to do the same.

The answer is not creating more bad laws to shove down people’s throats. The answer is creating people smart enough to question the authority that seeks to shove bad laws down people’s throats. Indeed. The answer is teaching people how to become bigger than the law, how to gain the capacity to have their own conscience as pure law, and how to become a more valuable human. As Niels Bohr said, “Every valuable human being must be a radical and a rebel, for what he must aim at is to make things better than they are.”

If, as Plato famously said, “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws,” then it stands to reason that we should focus more on teaching people how to act responsibly and less on creating laws. Especially since humans are so terrible at making good laws. And especially-especially since humans are even more terrible about abusing their power regarding those ill-conceived laws.

As Edward Abbey wisely suggested, “Since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” The few seeking to rule others do so through the enforcement of bad laws.

So, it is incumbent upon anyone with their own conscience as pure law to ruthlessly interrogate such bad laws and then mercilessly check and balance any authority seeking to enforce such bad laws. We do ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren a disservice when we decide not to.

There is no greater cause than becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in. Will you defend outdated unethical laws and merely turn a blind eye to those who unjustly enforce them? Or will you defend the people’s right to ruthlessly challenge unethical laws and those who unjustly enforce them? The choice is yours. As William James said, “We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.”

from:   https://www.wakingtimes.com/2019/01/21/how-to-leverage-your-own-conscience-as-pure-law/

A New Look at Animal Emotions

The Emotional Lives of Animals

Grief, friendship, gratitude, wonder, and other things we animals experience.
animalempathy.jpg

This article from the YES! Media archives was originally published in the Spring 2011 issue of YES! Magazine.

Scientific research shows that many animals are very intelligent and have sensory and motor abilities that dwarf ours. Dogs are able to detect diseases such as cancer and diabetes and warn humans of impending heart attacks and strokes. Elephants, whales, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and alligators use low-frequency sounds to communicate over long distances, often miles. And bats, dolphins, whales, frogs, and various rodents use high-frequency sounds to find food, communicate with others, and navigate.

Many animals also display wide-ranging emotions, including joy, happiness, empathy, compassion, grief, and even resentment and embarrassment. It’s not surprising that animals—especially, but not only, mammals—share many emotions with us because we also share brain structures, located in the limbic system, that are the seat of our emotions. In many ways, human emotions are the gifts of our animal ancestors.

Grief in magpies and red foxes: saying goodbye to a friend

Many animals display profound grief at the loss or absence of a relative or companion. Sea lion mothers wail when watching their babies being eaten by killer whales. People have reported dolphins struggling to save a dead calf by pushing its body to the surface of the water. Chimpanzees and elephants grieve the loss of family and friends, and gorillas hold wakes for the dead. Donna Fernandes, president of the Buffalo Zoo, witnessed a wake for a female gorilla, Babs, who had died of cancer at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo. She says the gorilla’s longtime mate howled and banged his chest, picked up a piece of celery, Babs’ favorite food, put it in her hand, and tried to get her to wake up.

I once happened upon what seemed to be a magpie funeral service. A magpie had been hit by a car. Four of his flock mates stood around him silently and pecked gently at his body. One, then another, flew off and brought back pine needles and twigs and laid them by his body. They all stood vigil for a time, nodded their heads, and flew off.

I also watched a red fox bury her mate after a cougar had killed him. She gently laid dirt and twigs over his body, stopped, looked to make sure he was all covered, patted down the dirt and twigs with her forepaws, stood silently for a moment, then trotted off, tail down and ears laid back against her head. After publishing my stories I got emails from people all over the world who had seen similar behavior in various birds and mammals.

Empathy among elephants

A few years ago while I was watching elephants in the Samburu National Reserve in Northern Kenya with elephant researcher Iain Douglas-Hamilton, I noticed a teenaged female, Babyl, who walked very slowly and had difficulty taking each step. I learned she’d been crippled for years, but the other members of her herd never left her behind. They’d walk a while, then stop and look around to see where she was. If Babyl lagged, some would wait for her. If she’d been left alone, she would have fallen prey to a lion or other predator. Sometimes the matriarch would even feed Babyl. Babyl’s friends had nothing to gain by helping her, as she could do nothing for them. Nonetheless, they adjusted their behavior to allow Babyl to remain with the group.

Waterfall dances: Do animals have spiritual experiences?

Do animals marvel at their surroundings, have a sense of awe when they see a rainbow, or wonder where lightning comes from? Sometimes a chimpanzee, usually an adult male, will dance at a waterfall with total abandon. Jane Goodall describes a chimpanzee approaching a waterfall with slightly bristled hair, a sign of heightened arousal:

“As he gets closer, and the roar of the falling water gets louder, his pace quickens, his hair becomes fully erect, and upon reaching the stream he may perform a magnificent display close to the foot of the falls. Standing upright, he sways rhythmically from foot to foot, stamping in the shallow, rushing water, picking up and hurling great rocks. Sometimes he climbs up the slender vines that hang down from the trees high above and swings out into the spray of the falling water. This ‘waterfall dance’ may last 10 or 15 minutes.” After a waterfall display the performer may sit on a rock, his eyes following the falling water. Chimpanzees also dance at the onset of heavy rains and during violent gusts of wind.

In June 2006, Jane and I visited a chimpanzee sanctuary near Girona, Spain. We were told that Marco, one of the rescued chimpanzees, does a dance during thunderstorms during which he looks like he’s in a trance.

Shirley and Jenny: remembering friends

Elephants have strong feelings. They also have great memory. They live in matriarchal societies in which strong social bonds among individuals endure for decades. Shirley and Jenny, two female elephants, were reunited after living apart for 22 years. They were brought separately to the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tenn., to live out their lives in peace, absent the abuse they had suffered in the entertainment industry. When Shirley was introduced to Jenny, there was an urgency in Jenny’s behavior. She wanted to get into the same stall with Shirley. They roared at each other, the traditional elephant greeting among friends when they reunite. Rather than being cautious and uncertain about one another, they touched through the bars separating them and remained in close contact. Their keepers were intrigued by how outgoing the elephants were. A search of records showed that Shirley and Jenny had lived together in a circus 22 years before, when Jenny was a calf and Shirley was in her 20s. They still remembered one another when they were inadvertently reunited.

A grateful whale

In December 2005, a 50-foot, 50-ton, female humpback whale got tangled in crab lines and was in danger of drowning. After a team of divers freed her, she nuzzled each of her rescuers in turn and flapped around in what one whale expert said was “a rare and remarkable encounter.” James Moskito, one of the rescuers, recalled, “It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing it was free and that we had helped it.” He said the whale “stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun.” Mike Menigoz, another of the divers, was also deeply touched by the encounter: “The whale was doing little dives, and the guys were rubbing shoulders with it … I don’t know for sure what it was thinking, but it’s something I will always remember.”

Busy bees as mathematicians

We now know that bees are able to solve complex mathematical problems more rapidly than computers—specifically, what’s called “the traveling salesman problem”—despite having a brain about the size of a grass seed. They save time and energy by finding the most efficient route between flowers. They do this daily, while it can take a computer days to solve the same problem.

Dogs sniffing out disease

As we know, dogs have a keen sense of smell. They sniff here and there trying to figure who’s been around and also are notorious for sticking their noses in places they shouldn’t. Compared to humans, dogs have about 25 times the area of nasal olfactory epithelium (which carries receptor cells) and many thousands more cells in the olfactory region of their brain. Dogs can differentiate dilutions of 1 part per billion, follow faint odor trails, and are 10,000 times more sensitive than humans to certain odors.

Dogs appear to be able to detect different cancers—ovarian, lung, bladder, prostate, and breast—and diabetes, perhaps by assessing a person’s breath. Consider a collie named Tinker and his human companion, Paul Jackson, who has Type 2 diabetes. Paul’s family noticed that whenever he was about to have an attack, Tinker would get agitated. Paul says, “He would lick my face, or cry gently, or bark even. And then we noticed that this behavior was happening while I was having a hypoglycemic attack so we just put two and two together.” More research is needed, but initial studies by the Pine Street Foundation and others on using dogs for diagnosis are promising.

It’s OK to be a birdbrain

Crows from the remote Pacific island of New Caledonia show incredibly high-level skills when they make and use tools. They get much of their food using tools, and they do this better than chimpanzees. With no prior training they can make hooks from straight pieces of wire to obtain out-of-reach food. They can add features to improve a tool, a skill supposedly unique to humans. For example, they make three different types of tools from the long, barbed leaves of the screw pine tree. They also modify tools for the situation at hand, a type of invention not seen in other animals. These birds can learn to pull a string to retrieve a short stick, use the stick to pull out a longer one, then use the long stick to draw out a piece of meat. One crow, named Sam, spent less than two minutes inspecting the task and solved it without error.

Caledonian crows live in small family groups and youngsters learn to fashion and use tools by watching adults. Researchers from the University of Auckland discovered that parents actually take their young to specific sites called “tool schools” where they can practice these skills.

Love dogs

As we all know, dogs are “man’s best friend.” They can also be best friends to one another. Tika and her longtime mate, Kobuk, had raised eight litters of puppies together and were enjoying their retirement years in the home of my friend, Anne. Even as longtime mates, Kobuk often bossed Tika around, taking her favorite sleeping spot or toy.

Late in life, Tika developed a malignant tumor and had to have her leg amputated. She had trouble getting around and, as she was recovering from the surgery, Kobuk wouldn’t leave Tika’s side. Kobuk stopped shoving her aside or minding if she was allowed to get on the bed without him. About two weeks after Tika’s surgery, Kobuk woke Anne in the middle of the night. He ran over to Tika. Anne got Tika up and took both dogs outside, but they just lay down on the grass. Tika was whining softly, and Anne saw that Tika’s belly was badly swollen. Anne rushed her to the emergency animal clinic in Boulder, where she had life-saving surgery.

If Kobuk hadn’t fetched Anne, Tika almost certainly would have died. Tika recovered, and as her health improved after the amputation and operation, Kobuk became the bossy dog he’d always been, even as Tika walked around on three legs. But Anne had witnessed their true relationship. Kobuk and Tika, like a true old married couple, would always be there for each other, even if their personalities would never change.

Jethro and the bunny

After I picked Jethro from the Boulder Humane Society and brought him to my mountain home, I knew he was a very special dog. He never chased the rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, or deer who regularly visited. He often tried to approach them as if they were friends.

One day Jethro came to my front door, stared into my eyes, belched, and dropped a small, furry, saliva-covered ball out of his mouth. I wondered what in the world he’d brought back and discovered the wet ball of fur was a very young bunny.

Jethro continued to make direct eye contact with me as if he were saying, “Do something.” I picked up the bunny, placed her in a box, gave her water and celery, and figured she wouldn’t survive the night, despite our efforts to keep her alive.

I was wrong. Jethro remained by her side and refused walks and meals until I pulled him away so he could heed nature’s call. When I eventually released the bunny, Jethro followed her trail and continued to do so for months.

Over the years Jethro approached rabbits as if they should be his friends, but they usually fled. He also rescued birds who flew into our windows and, on one occasion, a bird who’d been caught and dropped in front of my office by a local red fox.

Dog and fish: improbable friends

Fish are often difficult to identify with or feel for. They don’t have expressive faces and don’t seem to tell us much behaviorally. Nonetheless, Chino, a golden retriever who lived with Mary and Dan Heath in Medford, Oregon, and Falstaff, a 15-inch koi, had regular meetings for six years at the edge of the pond where Falstaff lived. Each day when Chino arrived, Falstaff swam to the surface, greeted him, and nibbled on Chino’s paws. Falstaff did this repeatedly as Chino stared down with a curious and puzzled look on her face. Their close friendship was extraordinary and charming. When the Heaths moved, they went as far as to build a new fishpond so that Falstaff could join them.

An embarrassed chimpanzee: I didn’t do that!

Embarrassment is difficult to observe. By definition, it’s a feeling that one tries to hide. But world famous primatologist Jane Goodall believes she has observed what could be called embarrassment in chimpanzees.

Fifi was a female chimpanzee whom Jane knew for more than 40 years. When Fifi’s oldest child, Freud, was 5 1/2 years old, his uncle, Fifi’s brother Figan, was the alpha male of their chimpanzee community. Freud always followed Figan as if he worshiped the big male.

Once, as Fifi groomed Figan, Freud climbed up the thin stem of a wild plantain. When he reached the leafy crown, he began swaying wildly back and forth. Had he been a human child, we would have said he was showing off. Suddenly the stem broke and Freud tumbled into the long grass. He was not hurt. He landed close to Jane, and as his head emerged from the grass she saw him look over at Figan. Had he noticed? If he had, he paid no attention but went on being groomed. Freud very quietly climbed another tree and began to feed.

Harvard University psychologist Marc Hauser observed what could be called embarrassment in a male rhesus monkey. After mating with a female, the male strutted away and accidentally fell into a ditch. He stood up and quickly looked around. After sensing that no other monkeys saw him tumble, he marched off, back high, head and tail up, as if nothing had happened.

Animal rescues: feeling compassion for those in need

Stories about animals rescuing members of their own and other species, including humans, abound. They show how individuals of different species display compassion and empathy for those in need.

In Torquay, Australia, after a mother kangaroo was struck by a car, a dog discovered a baby joey in her pouch and took it to his owner who cared for the youngster. The 10-year-old dog and 4-month-old joey eventually became best friends.

On a beach in New Zealand, a dolphin came to the rescue of two pygmy sperm whales stranded behind a sand bar. After people tried in vain to get the whales into deeper water, the dolphin appeared and the two whales followed it back into the ocean.

Dogs are also known for helping those in need. A lost pit bull mutt broke up an attempted mugging of a woman leaving a playground with her son in Port Charlotte, Florida. An animal control officer said it was clear the dog was trying to defend the woman, whom he didn’t know. And outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a dog rescued an abandoned baby by placing him safely among her own newborn puppies. Amazingly, the dog carried the baby about 150 feet to where her puppies lay after discovering the baby covered by a rag in a field.

Raven justice?

In his book Mind of the Raven, biologist and raven expert Bernd Heinrich observed that ravens remember an individual who consistently raids their caches if they catch them in the act. Sometimes a raven will join in an attack on an intruder even if he didn’t see the cache being raided.

Is this moral? Heinrich seems to think it is. He says of this behavior, “It was a moral raven seeking the human equivalent of justice, because it defended the group’s interest at a potential cost to itself.”

In subsequent experiments, Heinrich confirmed that group interests could drive what an individual raven decides to do. Ravens and many other animals live by social norms that favor fairness and justice.

from:    https://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/can-animals-save-us/the-emotional-lives-of-animals-20190117

What Can I Say???

YAKAMA NATION REACTS TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS IN “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” CAPS TAUNTING NATIVE ELDER

YAKAMA INDIAN RESERVATION — Following the disgusting display of disrespect of taunting American Indian elder, Nathan Phillips, at the Lincoln Memorial by a group of boys from the all-boys Covington Catholic School, the chairman of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, based Toppenish, Washington, issued the following statement:

Statement from Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy:

“Yakama Nation along with the rest of the world has observed the shameful actions and behaviors of the school children from Covington Catholic School. Their actions were not only distasteful but dangerous. For the young people involved to be so bold and blatant with actions that promote hate and fuel ignorance reminds us all of the great challenge that knows no boundaries of race or origin.That we must guide and raisethe next generations to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes the opposite of this unfortunate event, peace, prayer, tolerance, patience should have ruled the day.It is as though the very thing wrong with the current condition of the United States showed us its spirit. Fortunately, Elder Nathan Phillips and the others that were verbally accosted were able to remain peaceful and resilient. The boys from Covington are themselves victims, victims to the Doctrine of Discovery and it’s teachings. Teachings of domination, dehumanization, social injustice, racism, and violations of basic and fundamental human rights. It should be of no surprise to the United States or the Catholic Church that if both are not ready to rescind and denounce the Doctrine of Christian Discovery and move away from Its dark teachings, the hatred and intolerance will continue. Yakama Nation stands with Elder Phillips. We call on Covington Catholic School to do what is right. This is a very teachable moment in our history. If we choose to learn from the resilience that Elder Phillips showed it will make us all stronger as Nations and Peoples.”

from:    https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/yakama-nation-reacts-to-catholic-school-students-in-make-america-great-again-caps-taunting-native-elder/

The actions of these students are indefensible.  Something is definitely wrong with an educational system and the current societal ethos that allows for such behavior.  

Water Fluoridation & Your Health

Why Water Fluoridation Is A Forced Experiment That Needs To Stop

The United States stands almost entirely alone among developed nations in adding industrial silicofluorides to its drinking water—imposing the community-wide measure without informed consent. Globally, roughly 5% of the population consumes chemically fluoridated water, but more people in the U.S. drink fluoride-adulterated water than in all other countries combined. Within the U.S., just under a third (30%) of local water supplies are not fluoridated; these municipalities have either held the practice at bay since fluoridation’s inception or have won hard-fought battles to halt water fluoridation.
Dozens of studies and reviews—including in top-tier journals such as The Lancet—have shown that fluoride is neurotoxic and lowers children’s IQ.

The fluoride chemicals added to drinking water are unprocessed toxic wasteproducts—captured pollutants from Florida’s phosphate fertilizer industry or unregulated chemical imports from China. The chemicals undergo no purification before being dumped into drinking water and often harbor significant levels of arsenic and other heavy metal contamination; one researcher describes this unavoidable contamination as a “regulatory blind spotthat jeopardizes any safe use of fluoride additives.”

Dozens of studies and reviews—including in top-tier journals such as The Lancet—have shown that fluoride is neurotoxic and lowers children’s IQ. Fluoride is also associated with a variety of other health risks in both children and adults. However, U.S. officialdom persists in making hollow claims that water fluoridation is safe and beneficial, choosing to ignore even its own research! A multimillion-dollar longitudinal study published in Environmental Health Perspectives in September, 2017, for example, was largely funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences—and the seminal study revealed a strong relationship between fluoride exposure in pregnant women and lowered cognitive function in offspring. Considered in the context of other research, the study’s implications are, according to the nonprofit Fluoride Action Network, “enormous”—“a cannon shot across the bow of the 80 year old practice of artificial fluoridation.”

According to declassified government documents summarized by Project Censored, Manhattan Project scientists discovered early on that fluoride was a leading health hazard to bomb program workers and surrounding communities.

A little history

During World War II, fluoride (a compound formed from the chemical element fluorine) came into large-scale production and use as part of the Manhattan Project. According to declassified government documents summarized by Project Censored, Manhattan Project scientists discovered early on that fluoride was a “leading health hazard to bomb program workers and surrounding communities.” In order to stave off lawsuits, government scientists “embarked on a campaign to calm the social panic about fluoride…by promoting its usefulness in preventing tooth decay.”

To prop up its “exaggerated claims of reduction in tooth decay,” government researchers began carrying out a series of poorly designed and fatally flawed community trials of water fluoridation in a handful of U.S. cities in the mid-1940s. In a critique decades later, a University of California-Davis statistician characterized these early agenda-driven fluoridation trials as “especially rich in fallacies, improper design, invalid use of statistical methods, omissions of contrary data, and just plain muddleheadedness and hebetude.” As one example, a 15-year trial launched in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945 used a nearby city as a non-fluoridated control, but after the control city began fluoridating its own water supply five years into the study, the design switched from a comparison with the non-fluoridated community to a before-and-after assessment of Grand Rapids. Fluoridation’s proponents admitted that this change substantially “compromised” the quality of the study.

In 1950, well before any of the community trials could reach any conclusions about the systemic health effects of long-term fluoride ingestion, the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) endorsed water fluoridation as official public health policy, strongly encouraging communities across the country to adopt the unproven measure for dental caries prevention. Describing this astonishingly non-evidence-based step as “the Great Fluoridation Gamble,” the authors of the 2010 book, The Case Against Fluorideargue that:

“Not only was safety not demonstrated in anything approaching a comprehensive and scientific study, but also a large number of studies implicating fluoride’s impact on both the bones and the thyroid gland were ignored or downplayed” (p. 86).

In 2015, Newsweek magazine not only agreed that the scientific rationale for putting fluoride in drinking water was not as “clear-cut” as once thought but also shared the “shocking” finding of a more recent Cochrane Collaboration review, namely, that there is no evidence to support the use of fluoride in drinking water.

Bad science and powerful politics

The authors of The Case Against Fluoride persuasively argue that “bad science” and “powerful politics” are primary factors explaining why government agencies continue to defend the indefensible practice of water fluoridation, despite abundant evidence that it is unsafe both developmentally and after “a lifetime of exposure to uncontrolled doses.” Comparable to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s bookThimerosal: Let the Science Speak, which summarizes studies that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and “credulous journalists swear don’t exist,” The Case Against Fluoride is an extensively referenced tour de force, pulling together hundreds of studies showing evidence of fluoride-related harm.

… death rates in the ten most fluoridated U.S. states are 5% to 26% higher than in the ten least fluoridated states, with triple the rate of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research assembled by the book’s authors includes studies on fluoride biochemistry; cancer; fluoride’s effects on the brain, endocrine system and bones; and dental fluorosis. With regard to the latter, public health agencies like to define dental fluorosis as a purely cosmetic issue involving “changes in the appearance of tooth enamel,” but the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology (IAOMT)—a global network of dentists, health professionals and scientists dedicated to science-based biological dentistry—describes the damaged enamel and mottled and brittle teeth that characterize dental fluorosis as “the first visible sign of fluoride toxicity.”

The important 2017 study that showed decrements in IQ following fluoride exposure during pregnancy is far from the only research sounding the alarm about fluoride’s adverse developmental effects. In his 2017 volumePregnancy and Fluoride Do Not Mix, John D. MacArthur pulls together hundreds of studies linking fluoride to premature birth and impaired neurological development (93 studies), preelampsia (77 studies) and autism (110 studies). The book points out that rates of premature birth are “unusually high” in the United States. At the other end of the lifespan, MacArthur observes that death rates in the ten most fluoridated U.S. states are 5% to 26% higher than in the ten least fluoridated states, with triple the rate of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2006 report by the National Research Council warned that exposure to fluoride might increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The word is out

Pregnancy and Fluoride Do Not Mix shows that the Institute of Medicine, National Research Council, Harvard’s National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Toxicology Program all are well aware of the substantial evidence of fluoride’s developmental neurotoxicity, yet no action has been taken to warn pregnant women. Instead, scientists with integrity, legal professionals and the public increasingly are taking matters into their own hands. A Citizens Petitionsubmitted in 2016 to the EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act requested that the EPA “exercise its authority to prohibit the purposeful addition of fluoridation chemicals to U.S. water supplies.” This request—the focus of a lawsuit to be argued in court later in 2019—poses a landmark challenge to the dangerous practice of water fluoridation and has the potential to end one of the most significant chemical assaults on our children’s developing bodies and brains.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

from:    https://www.collective-evolution.com/2019/01/10/why-water-fluoridation-is-a-forced-experiment-that-needs-to-stop/

Time To Protect Your IN-PHONE-FO

Change your phone settings so Apple, Google can’t track your movements

Your phone tracks your movements all the time. grapestock/Shutterstock.com

Technology companies have been pummeled by revelations about how poorly they protect their customers’ personal information, including an in-depth New York Times report detailing the ability of smartphone apps to track users’ locations. Some companies, most notably Apple, have begun promoting the fact that they sell products and services that safeguard consumer privacy.

Smartphone users are never asked explicitly if they want to be tracked every moment of each day. But cellular companies, smartphone makers, app developers and social media companies all claim they have users’ permission to conduct near-constant personal surveillance.

The underlying problem is that most people don’t understand how tracking really works. The technology companies haven’t helped teach their customers about it, either. In fact, they’ve intentionally obscured important details to build a multi-billion-dollar data economy based on an ethically questionable notion of informed consent.

How consumers are made to agree

Most companies disclose their data protection practices in a privacy policy; most software requires users to click a button saying they accept the terms before using the program.

But people don’t always have a free choice. Instead, it’s a “take-it-or-leave-it” agreement, in which a customer can use the service only if they agree.

Consumers often do not have a free choice when it comes to privacy agreements. Marta Design/Shutterstock.com

Anyone who actually wants to understand what the policies say finds the details are buried in long legal documents unreadable by nearly everyone, perhaps except the lawyers who helped create them.

Often, these policies will begin with a blanket statement like “your privacy is important to us.” However, the actual terms describe a different reality. It’s usually not too far-fetched to say that the company can basically do whatever it wants with your personal information, as long as it has informed you about it.

U.S. federal law does not require that a company’s privacy policy actually protect users’ privacy. Nor are there any requirements that a company must inform consumers of its practices in clear, nonlegal language or provide consumers a notice in a user-friendly way.

Theoretically, users might be able to vote with their feet and find similar services from a company with better data-privacy practices. But take-it-or-leave-it agreements for technologically advanced tools limit the power of competition across nearly the entire technology industry.

Data sold to third parties

There are a few situations where mobile platform companies like Apple and Google have let people exercise some control over data collection.

For example, both companies’ mobile operating systems let users turn off location services, such as GPS tracking. Ideally, this should prevent most apps from collecting your location – but it doesn’t always. Further, it does nothing if your mobile provider resells your phone’s location information to third parties.

App makers are also able to persuade users not to turn off location services, again with take-it-or-leave-it notifications. When managing privileges for iOS apps, users get to choose whether the app can access the phone’s location “always,” “while using the app” or “never.”

But changing the setting can trigger a discouraging message: “We need your location information to improve your experience,” says one app. Users are not asked other important questions, like whether they approve of the app selling their location history to other companies.

And many users don’t know that even when their name and contact information is removed from location data, even a modest location history can reveal their home addresses and the places they visit most, offering clues to their identities, medical conditions and personal relationships.

Why people don’t opt out

Websites and apps make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for most people to say no to aggressive surveillance and data collection practices. In my role as a scholar of human-computer interaction, one issue I study is the power of defaults.

When companies set a default in a system, such as “location services set to on,” people are unlikely to change it, especially if they are unaware there are other options they could choose.

Further, when it is inconvenient to change the location services, as is the case on both iOS and Android systems today, it’s even less likely that people will opt out of location collection – even when they dislike it.

Companies’ take-it-or-leave-it privacy policies and default choices for users’ privacy settings have created an environment where people are unaware that their lives are being subjected to minute-by-minute surveillance.

They’re also mostly not aware that information that could identify them individually is resold to create ever-more-targeted advertising. Yet the companies can legally, if not ethically, claim that everyone agreed to it.

Overcoming the power of defaults

Monitor your phone’s default settings. Georgejmclittle/Shutterstock.com

Privacy researchers know that people dislike these practices, and that many would stop using these services if they understood the extent of the data collection. If invasive surveillance is the price of using free services, many would rather pay or at least see companies held to stronger data collection regulations.

The companies know this too, which is why, I argue, they use a form of coercion to ensure participation.

Until the U.S. has regulations that, at a minimum, require companies to ask for explicit consent, individuals will need to know how to protect their privacy. Here are my three suggestions:

  • Start by learning how to turn off location services on your iPhone or Android device.
  • Turn location on only when using an app that clearly needs location to function, such as a map.
  • Avoid apps, such as Facebook Mobile, that dig deeply into your phone for as much personal information as possible; instead, use a browser with a private mode, like Firefox, instead.

Don’t let default settings reveal more about you than you want.

from:    Change your phone settings so Apple, Google can’t track your movements January 14, 2019 6.41am EST Your phone tracks your movements all the time. grapestock/Shutterstock.com Author Jen King Director of Consumer Privacy, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford University Disclosure statement The Center for Internet and Society receives funding from multiple organizations; information is available here: http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/about-us Partners View all partners Republish this article Republish Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons license. Email Twitter103 Facebook421 LinkedIn Print Technology companies have been pummeled by revelations about how poorly they protect their customers’ personal information, including an in-depth New York Times report detailing the ability of smartphone apps to track users’ locations. Some companies, most notably Apple, have begun promoting the fact that they sell products and services that safeguard consumer privacy. Smartphone users are never asked explicitly if they want to be tracked every moment of each day. But cellular companies, smartphone makers, app developers and social media companies all claim they have users’ permission to conduct near-constant personal surveillance. The underlying problem is that most people don’t understand how tracking really works. The technology companies haven’t helped teach their customers about it, either. In fact, they’ve intentionally obscured important details to build a multi-billion-dollar data economy based on an ethically questionable notion of informed consent. How consumers are made to agree Most companies disclose their data protection practices in a privacy policy; most software requires users to click a button saying they accept the terms before using the program. But people don’t always have a free choice. Instead, it’s a “take-it-or-leave-it” agreement, in which a customer can use the service only if they agree. Consumers often do not have a free choice when it comes to privacy agreements. Marta Design/Shutterstock.com Anyone who actually wants to understand what the policies say finds the details are buried in long legal documents unreadable by nearly everyone, perhaps except the lawyers who helped create them. Often, these policies will begin with a blanket statement like “your privacy is important to us.” However, the actual terms describe a different reality. It’s usually not too far-fetched to say that the company can basically do whatever it wants with your personal information, as long as it has informed you about it. U.S. federal law does not require that a company’s privacy policy actually protect users’ privacy. Nor are there any requirements that a company must inform consumers of its practices in clear, nonlegal language or provide consumers a notice in a user-friendly way. Theoretically, users might be able to vote with their feet and find similar services from a company with better data-privacy practices. But take-it-or-leave-it agreements for technologically advanced tools limit the power of competition across nearly the entire technology industry. Data sold to third parties There are a few situations where mobile platform companies like Apple and Google have let people exercise some control over data collection. For example, both companies’ mobile operating systems let users turn off location services, such as GPS tracking. Ideally, this should prevent most apps from collecting your location – but it doesn’t always. Further, it does nothing if your mobile provider resells your phone’s location information to third parties. App makers are also able to persuade users not to turn off location services, again with take-it-or-leave-it notifications. When managing privileges for iOS apps, users get to choose whether the app can access the phone’s location “always,” “while using the app” or “never.” But changing the setting can trigger a discouraging message: “We need your location information to improve your experience,” says one app. Users are not asked other important questions, like whether they approve of the app selling their location history to other companies. And many users don’t know that even when their name and contact information is removed from location data, even a modest location history can reveal their home addresses and the places they visit most, offering clues to their identities, medical conditions and personal relationships. Why people don’t opt out Websites and apps make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for most people to say no to aggressive surveillance and data collection practices. In my role as a scholar of human-computer interaction, one issue I study is the power of defaults. When companies set a default in a system, such as “location services set to on,” people are unlikely to change it, especially if they are unaware there are other options they could choose. Further, when it is inconvenient to change the location services, as is the case on both iOS and Android systems today, it’s even less likely that people will opt out of location collection – even when they dislike it. Companies’ take-it-or-leave-it privacy policies and default choices for users’ privacy settings have created an environment where people are unaware that their lives are being subjected to minute-by-minute surveillance. They’re also mostly not aware that information that could identify them individually is resold to create ever-more-targeted advertising. Yet the companies can legally, if not ethically, claim that everyone agreed to it. Overcoming the power of defaults Monitor your phone’s default settings. Georgejmclittle/Shutterstock.com Privacy researchers know that people dislike these practices, and that many would stop using these services if they understood the extent of the data collection. If invasive surveillance is the price of using free services, many would rather pay or at least see companies held to stronger data collection regulations. The companies know this too, which is why, I argue, they use a form of coercion to ensure participation. Until the U.S. has regulations that, at a minimum, require companies to ask for explicit consent, individuals will need to know how to protect their privacy. Here are my three suggestions: Start by learning how to turn off location services on your iPhone or Android device. Turn location on only when using an app that clearly needs location to function, such as a map. Avoid apps, such as Facebook Mobile, that dig deeply into your phone for as much personal information as possible; instead, use a browser with a private mode, like Firefox, instead. Don’t let default settings reveal more about you than you want.

from:https://theconversation.com/change-your-phone-settings-so-apple-google-cant-track-your-movements-109059

Marian Apparitions

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican’s approval.

  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.

The divine is supernatural, but religion is very much of this world. The way people worship even has an impact on their physical surroundings. Here’s a telltale sign that you’re in Catholic country: chapels, shrines and grottoes dot the roadside. The latter are replicas of the cave in southern France where the Virgin Mary appeared to a local peasant girl in the early 19th century.

Those Marian apparitions themselves are another peculiar point of contact between faith and the world. Typically, they happen in times of crisis to young children from a humble background. They are often the only ones able to see the apparition. The visitations sometimes reoccur over a prolonged period. If the Virgin speaks to those who can observe her, it is to ask for a chapel or church to be built, to implore the faithful to be more devout, and/or to offer warnings for the future. Witnesses are often able to report in great detail on the dress and attributes of the apparition, but mostly there is no direct contact between the Virgin and the observers.

What is a Marian apparition?

Marian apparitions are generally associated with Catholicism, which has great devotion for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Despite her being the mother of Christ, the church does not consider Mary to be divine herself. According to Catholic doctrine, the age of public revelation ended when John, the last apostle, died around the year 100 AD. Marian apparitions therefore are ‘private revelations’, illuminating aspects of faith but never revealing new ones.

Apparitions often are the object of ridicule. Some may be fraudulent. Most do not get an official church approval, neither from the local bishop or from the Vatican. Unrecognized apparitions may thus lead to schisms with the official church. The visionary and their followers may decide to found their own independent movement or join existing sects. Either path is usually characterized by a traditionalist approach to the faith, often rejecting the innovations of the Second Vatican Council.

A world map of Marian apparitions

Image: National Geographic

Outside Europe, the U.S. leads the world in Marian apparitions – all but one unrecognized by the Catholic church.

Image: National Geographic

The Virgin Mary tends to appear in regions mostly inhabited by Catholics.

These maps, produced by National Geographic, show the geography of Marian visitations, in Europe and in the rest of the world.

  • Crosses show where the Virgin Mary appeared to a future saint.
  • Yellow dots mark visitations related by tradition (but not attested by the Vatican).
  • Blue dots denote more recent, but as yet unconfirmed apparitions.
  • Green dots signify visions approved as ‘worthy of faith’, but not supernatural.
  • Red dots mean a local bishop has ‘approved’ the apparition as genuine.
  • Larger red dots (for named apparitions) mark those that have also been recognized by the Vatican.

In Europe, the Virgin’s favorite destinations appear to be Italy and France, followed by southern Germany (i.e. the Catholic half) and Belgium. Considering the traditional hold of the faith on Spain and Poland, the number of Marian apparitions is relatively small. A fair number in western Ukraine, but none in eastern Germany. A handful in Hungary, almost none in the Balkans (Medjugorje being the most notable exception). Ireland out-Marys England, and Scandinavia is entirely free of Holy Mothers.

The U.S. leads the rest of the world in the number of apparitions, although most are unrecognized. Two apparitions in Africa and one in Mexico are officially recognized by the Vatican. Here’s an overview of all Vatican-approved apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

from:   https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/world-map-marian-apparitions