Dark Energy On the Rise

The universe’s dark energy may be growing stronger with time, study suggests

While we aren’t really sure what dark matter and dark energy are, the final data released from ESA’s Planck mission confirms it apparently does exist. Buzz60

Dark energy, a mysterious invisible force believed to play a role in how the universe expands, may be growing stronger over time, according to a new study.

Dark energy, discovered 20 years ago by scientists measuring the distances to supernovas, or exploding stars, is described as an energy of empty space that never changes over space and time. Researchers believe it represents about 70 percent of the total universe.

The study published this week in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Astronomyinstead measures the distances to quasars, bright celestial objects located in the center of galaxies.

Using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton observatory, researchers found the expansion rate of the universe is different from the model using supernovas.

“We observed quasars back to just a billion years after the Big Bang, and found that the universe’s expansion rate up to the present day was faster than we expected,” Guido Risalti, a study co-author from the department of physics and astronomy at the University of Florence in Italy, said in a statement. “This could mean dark energy is getting stronger as the cosmos grows older.”

Elisabeta Lusso of Durham University in the United Kingdom said because this technique for assessing dark energy is new, researchers took extra steps to make sure it was a reliable way to measure. “We showed that results from our technique match up with those from supernova measurements over the last 9 billion years, giving us confidence that our results are reliable at even earlier times,” she said.

Researchers say they used quasars to measure because they have a much farther reach compared to supernovas.

Adam Riess, a professor of physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, said while the discovery would be “a really big deal” if confirmed, quasars have not proven to be historically reliable.

“People have not really used them as precision measuring tools for the universe because they have a very large dynamic range,” said Riess. “We don’t have a lot of confidence when we see one, we know how luminous it ought to be.”

Robert Kirshner, a Clowes Research Professor of Science, Emeritus at Harvard University, said that while the results of the study could prove true, there is no other evidence to date showing dark energy has changed with time.

“The thing that’s attractive about (their work) is that quasars are brighter, so you can see them farther back,” said Kirshner. “But you do worry the quasars from the early universe are not quite the same as the ones nearby.”

from:    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2019/01/31/dark-energy-mysterious-force-space-growing-stronger-study/2732772002/

Whistleblower Hit By Truck

Former Air Force sergeant who claimed he saw NASA photos of alien base on far side of moon dies after tractor trailer hit his bike

  • Karl Wolfe, 74, died last week in upstate New York when he was struck by a truck
  • He was a retired Air Force sergeant and later became a self-help consultant
  • Wolfe previously claimed he saw secret orbital photos of of moon in 1960s
  • Photos revealed a large base of alien origin on the far side of moon, Wolfe said

A former Air Force sergeant who claimed to have seen top-secret photos of an alien base on the far side of the moon has died in a bicycle crash.

Karl R. Wolfe was killed in the crash on October 10 in Lansing, New York, after he was struck from behind by a tractor trailer traveling southbound on North Triphammer Road near Sharon Drive. He was 74.

Wolfe was rushed to Cayuga Medical Center where he later died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Although the crash is under investigation, no charges have been filed and the Tompkins County Sheriff’s office did not release the name of the tractor trailer driver, the Ithaca Journal reported.

Karl R. Wolfe (above) was killed in the crash on October 10 in Lansing, New York

Karl R. Wolfe (above) was killed in the crash on October 10 in Lansing, New York

In 2001, Wolfe gained fame when he came forward with claims that he had he had seen photographic evidence of an alien structure on the far side of the moon.

In a video interview, Wolfe said that in the mid-1960s, he had a top secret clearance and worked for Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.

Wolfe said his job was working as a electronic technician in photographic surveillance labs, and he spent most of his time working on machines that processed surveillance footage of Vietnam.

One day, Wolfe recalled that his superior told him to report to an NSA facility on the base to help with an issue with equipment used to process imagery from the first lunar orbiter mission.

Wolfe said he reported to the facility, which he described as a large hangar-type building with many foreign citizens in civilian clothes, accompanied by interpreters – a surprising sight to the military man.

The former airman recalled that he was alone in a darkroom with another Airman second class, when the other enlisted man said: ‘By the way, we’ve discovered a base on the back side of the moon.’

The far side of the moon is seen in a 1972 photo taken by Apollo 16. Wolfe said that he saw an alien moon base in photos taken by the first lunar orbiter

The far side of the moon is seen in a 1972 photo taken by Apollo 16. Wolfe said that he saw an alien moon base in photos taken by the first lunar orbiter

Wolf (above) was working as a photo technician for the Air Force when he says he was called in to repair equipment that was used to process images from the first lunar orbiter

Wolf (above) was working as a photo technician for the Air Force when he says he was called in to repair equipment that was used to process images from the first lunar orbiter

‘I said, ‘Whose? What do you mean?” Wolfe recalled. He said he was fascinated by the statement but was fearful that someone would walk in on their conversation.

Then, Wolfe said, the Airman showed him a photo mosaic assembled from multiple passes by the lunar orbiter.

‘He pulled out one of these mosaics, and showed this base which had geometric shapes – there were towers, there were spherical buildings, there were very tall towers and things that looked somewhat like radar dishes, but they were very large structures,’ Wolfe said.

‘Every day when I went home I thought, ‘I can’t wait to hear about this on the news,” Wolfe said.

After serving in the Air Force, Wolfe attended the University of Buffalo with a dual major in Social and Cultural Anthropology, and Electronics Engineering.

Wolfe went on to become a self-help consultant. He never married, and had no children.

Garden of Life Sold Out to Nestle

Top Organic Vitamin Company Bought Out By Nestle Foods Corporation for a Cool $2.3 Billion

As far as massive multi-national food corporations go, few are more controversial than Nestlé, whose CEO Peter Brabek-Letmathe’s stances on water privatization have become infamous in the social media age.

The company specializes in a wide range of different food and drink products, but natural and organic has never been their true focus — until now, that is, as the company has agreed to purchase one of the biggest and most influential vitamin lines among holistic health conscious consumers.

What makes the pairing even more odd is the difference in styles between the two companies, with one continuing to place its products in big box stores and the other generally found only in a select few health food stores.

Now, the question on everyone’s mind is whether Nestlé will preserve the traditional values, ingredients and mission of the company, or change things up to their own liking, much to the chagrin of customers who value natural and organic supplements based on whole food ingredients.

Nestlé Buys Garden of Life Owners Atrium Innovations for $2.3 Billion

According to recent reports including this one from Reuters, Nestlé has agreed to purchase Atrium Innovations, the owner of the organic vitamin and supplement company Garden of Life, for the price tag of a cool $2.3 billion.

The move sent shockwaves through social media channels, particularly those in the natural and holistic world where Garden of Life’s whole foods based supplements and vitamins are staples for countless thousands of people. Many of them worry that the formulas could now be changed over the years and synthetic or non-organic ingredients may be added.

Brian Ray, President of the company, said that the plan is to continue with business as usual.

“I spent time getting to know the people at Nestlé, their vision and their values. I saw first-hand how much we have in common. They have no plans to change us — what we do, what we stand for or what we believe,” he said in this letter to customers about the acquisition.

While that may be reassuring to some, the use of the phrase “no (current) plans” still leaves the company open to changes at some point down the road, and it’s also hard for many to buy Ray’s statement that the two companies have similar values especially in light of Nestlé’s use of synthetic ingredients, GMOs, and other questionable items in their products.

Nestlé Plans to Build a “Health and Wellness” Empire Through Garden of Life, Others

Nestlé has been attempting to get into the health and wellness space for quite a while now, and also has been looking at potentially buying a stake in pharmaceutical giant Merck’s vitamin business.

“They’ve been trying to articulate a message around Nestlé Health Science and health and wellness for some time,” Liberum analyst Robert Waldschmidt said to Reuters about the purchase. “In terms of nutrition, this makes sense.”

While Nestlé is the largest packaged food company in the world, Garden of Life is sold almost exclusively in health food stores as well as online, and it is famous for products ranging from probiotics to Vitamin C sprays to multi-viatmins for both men and women.

Their products have been generally well-known and well-received in natural health circles because the company’s commitment to quality ingredients as they are certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan.

In total Atrium Innovations, which also owns other brands including Pure Encapsulations and Klean Athlete, is expected to sell about $700 million worth of products in 2017.

The company is also expected to begin throwing its hat into the food and drink market in the coming years, but the question now is whether or not they will live up to their lofty promises of quality organic and non-GMO ingredients.

Nestlé is also fond of using synthetic vitamins in its products, leaving some to wonder if Garden of Life may go down that same path at some point as well.

Whether or not they will is still an unknown at this point, but if you’re concerned, feel free to buy up Garden of Life products in their original state while you still can, on Amazon.com.

from:    http://humansarefree.com/2019/01/top-organic-vitamin-company-bought-out.html

Songs Are Sadder Than Ever

Pop songs have become angrier AND sadder! Scientists analysed lyrics from 6,000 best-selling songs from the 1950s to 2016 to make the finding
  • Study was by experts from Lawrence Technological University in Michigan   
  • They looked at lyrics from more than 6,000 songs from the US Billboard Hot 100
  • Songs released during the mid 1950s were the least angry and the most upbeat

Pop songs have become angrier and sadder over the past 60 years, experts say.

Researchers analysed lyrics in best-selling songs from the 1950s to 2016 to find expressions of anger and sadness had increased, while words about joy had dropped.

The US study team looked at lyrics of more than 6,000 songs from Billboard Hot 100 in each year.

These are the most popular songs in the US each year as chosen by music fans.

Scroll down for video 

Pop songs have become angrier and sadder over the past 60 years, experts say. Researchers analysed lyrics in best-selling songs from the 1950s to 2016 to find expressions of anger and sadness had increased, while words about joy had dropped. (stock image)

In the past songs were ranked mainly by record sales, radio and jukebox plays, but more recently it is based on other popularity indicators such as streaming and social media to reflect changes in music consumption.

Tones expressed in each song were analysed using ‘automatic quantitative sentiment’ which looked at each word or phrase in the song with a set of tones they express.

The combination of the tones expressed by all words and phrases of the lyrics determines the sentiment of that song.

The sentiments of all Billboard Hot 100 songs in each year are averaged and the average of each year measured whether the expression of that sentiment increased, decreased or remained the same.

The analysis showed the expression of anger in popular music lyrics has increased gradually over time.

Study co-author Lior Shamir, of Lawrence Technological University in Michigan, said: ‘The change in lyrics sentiments does not necessarily reflect what the musicians and songwriters wanted to express, but is more related to what music consumers wanted to listen to in each year.’

The US study team looked at lyrics of more than 6,000 songs from Billboard Hot 100 in each year. These are the most popular songs in the US each year as chosen by music fans. Songs released during the mid 1950s, like those of Buddy Holly (pictured) were the least angry.

More recent music like Adele's (pictured) contain more lyrics dealing with sadness

The US study team looked at lyrics of more than 6,000 songs from Billboard Hot 100 in each year. These are the most popular songs in the US each year as chosen by music fans. Songs released during the mid 1950s, like those of Buddy Holly (left) were the least angry. More recent music like Adele’s (right) contain more lyrics dealing with sadness

Songs released during the mid 1950s were the least angry and the anger expressed in lyrics has increased gradually until peaking in 2015.

The analysis also revealed some variations with songs released between 1982 and 984 being less angry compared to any other period, except for the 1950s.

In the mid 1990s, songs became angrier and the increase in anger was sharper during that time in comparison to previous years.

The expression of sadness, disgust and fear also increased over time, although the increase was milder compared to the increase in the expression of anger.

Disgust increased gradually, but was lower in the early 1980s and higher in the mid and late 1990s.

Popular music lyrics expressed more fear during the mid 1980s and the fear decreased sharply in 1988.

WHAT ARE THE 27 DISTINCT EMOTIONS HUMANS FEEL?

In a recent study, researchers at UC Berkeley found there are 27 distinct human emotions.

It was originally thought we feel just six emotions.

Researchers asked more than 800 participants to freely report or rank the emotions they felt after watching 30 short video clips.

In addition to happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and, disgust, they also determined confusion, romance, nostalgia, sexual desire, and others to be distinct emotions.

The full list inclues:

 Admiration

Adoration

Aesthetic Appreciation

Amusement

Anxiety

Awe

Awkwardness

Boredom

Calmness

Confusion

Craving

Disgust

Empathetic pain

Entrancement

 Envy

Excitement

Fear

Horror

Interest

Joy

Nostalgia

Romance

Sadness

Satisfaction

Sexual desire

Sympathy

Triumph

Another sharp increase in fear was observed in 1998 and 1999, with a sharp decrease in 2000.

The study also showed that joy was a dominant tone in popular music lyrics during the late 1950s, but it decreased over time and became much milder in the recent years.

An exception was observed in the mid 1970s, when joy expressed in lyrics increased sharply.

The study shows that the tones expressed in popular music change over time and the change is gradual and consistent, with a few exceptions.

Since the researchers analysed the most popular songs in each year, the study does not show that music changed, but that the preferences of music consumers have changed over time.

While music fans preferred joyful songs during the 1950s, modern music consumers are more interested in songs that express sadness or anger.

The findings appear in the Journal of Popular Music Studies.

Adele sings along to ‘Lean on Me’ at Grenfell Tower memorial

from:    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6632879/Pop-songs-angrier-sadder-past-60-years.html

Time to Confront Racism

Enough Finger-Pointing: That Kid in the MAGA Hat Is My Kid! (He’s Yours Too)

Our White youth should expect us to demand better behavior from them.
cnnscreenshot_tilted.jpg

It’s so easy to point fingers. And we shouldn’t be so quick to do so.

But in this case, despite what many media outlets are trying to tell us a week out from that Lincoln Memorial encounter, we should be pointing.

And yes, also at our own children.

It’s right to publicly repudiate that smirking, sneering White face under a red MAGA cap, planted inches from wisdom being manifest by and through Nathan Phillips. It’s right to denounce the mocking mimicry of Native dance being performed by White bodies surrounding Phillips and Nick Sandmann, and the sarcastic comments you can hear on any of the videos — “dude, what’s going on???”’ repeated not as a real question but as an invitation to more ridiculing laughter, and, yes, even the “tomahawk chop.”

So, yes, point fingers. But let’s also have a real conversation about our children’s mournful display of racist behavior.

Here’s a group of White youth clearly ignorant about the reality that Native peoples are living, breathing, diverse human beings who have inherent dignity. Here is a group of White boys walking around with an emboldened sense of being so untouchable that the thought of showing deference to an elder never seems to cross their minds. (Let us not pretend here. I don’t care who you are or how complex you think the larger context of the day’s events makes things — we all know those kids would have showed at least some deference if the man standing before them had been White.)

What’s been held up is a mirror, and what’s being reflected back is the terrifying state of our national present and plenty of good reasons to fear what this may portend. Mirrors can be haunting. The closer you peer into a mirror, the more you get drawn in to the never-ending spiral of images that fold and reflect back upon themselves, repeating over and over and over.

We White adults who bear the daunting responsibility of actually raising White youth in the United States would do well to recognize and acknowledge that those same behaviors that were on display for all the world to see were our own not so long ago.

And the White kid in the video? That’s, my kid, today. Guess what? He’s yours, too.

Those fingers we’re pointing should also be directed toward us.

Don’t miss me. I know there’s a whole ton, and more, of White caregivers who wouldn’t let their kids go anywhere near a so-called “March for Life.” I certainly wouldn’t. And I’m pretty sure a whole cadre of White kids coming up right now may as well get used to the idea they’re never going to be allowed out of the house in a red baseball hat again. Because I don’t care if it’s actually a National Honor Society logo. If there’s any chance my little blond child might be mistaken as endorsing the White nationalist agenda now ravaging this country, even from a distance or for a moment — well, it’s just not happening.

But I’m not talking about these obvious things.

Most of us responsible for raising White kids — not just White parents, but coaches, neighbors, uncles, retail clerks, grandmas, clergy people, teachers — don’t really know what we should be doing differently and, frankly, haven’t made it a priority to learn.

That’s so much scarier than what actually happened on the Mall that day. And the implications are far more devastating.

Let’s go back to the “tomahawk chop,” for one teeny, tiny example.

You’d never know it from the way some journalists are writing about White youth right now, but you know who actually can learn that the tomahawk chop is a racist, anti-Native White ritual?

Young White kids. Like, really young ones.

Kids are smart.

Meanwhile, even if yours don’t watch football, they’ve almost certainly been exposed to performances of the tomahawk chop. So, if you haven’t actively created opportunities to talk through with them what the tomahawk chop is and why it’s so racist . . . well, then, guess what? That’s your kid out there on the Mall.

Our children and youth (like us) are exposed to an infinite array of other images, rituals, cartoons, words, story lines that are also deeply anti-Native. These all nurture and sustain deformed public U.S. narratives about Native peoples. The narratives are so powerful and pervasive that lots of young non-Native U.S. children just assume Native peoples are mythical—more like “fairies” (at best) — instead of human beings who exist on this land base; many have active land rights struggles going on as we speak.

If I don’t, early and often (and over again), interrupt these narratives, if I don’t teach my White children to learn to notice the ways Native peoples are spoken of and about, if don’t show them that we who are not Native have to actively seek out different understanding, knowledge, and awareness because of the ways our collective colonial-supremacist histories continue to shape our lives in the present, if I don’t then model how to do that, then the person I should be pointing at is me.

It is time for us to point the finger at ourselves, accept the blame for this racist behavior, and stop making excuses for it.

Have we brainstormed and strategized with our White 15-year-olds about how they will intervene, not if, but when they find themselves in a group of youth who start to engage in racist “play”?

Have we brainstormed and strategized with our 5-year-olds about how they will intervene, not if, but when they’re with a group of kids and one of the White ones makes fun of the skin, hair or name of one of the Black or Latino/a ones?

White kids can be raised to be anti-racist and interrupt racism even if and as they, like we White adults, remain constantly enmeshed in racist systems that seek to benefit us to secure our complicity day after day.

So, if you — like me — have found yourself among the group of White adults pointing at those kids, then you — like me — need to decide just who it is you’re pointing at and what your next move is going to be.

Nothing about the more “complex” set of encounters in anyway excuses or exonerates any of the very obvious (and common) racist group behaviors of the Covington High School youth.

Don’t fall for the whitening of this narrative. If you’re not convinced, do the research. Start with other perspectives of this event.

Our White youth deserve us expecting and demanding better of them.

This article was originally published on Medium. It has been edited for YES! Magazine.

from:    https://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/enough-finger-pointing-that-kid-in-the-maga-hat-is-my-kid-hes-yours-too-20190128

New Directions in Heart Health

Xin-ji-er-kang shown to be an effective medication in the treatment of coronary heart disease

Research has shown that coronary heart disease and myocarditis caused by a heart attack can be treated with the help of the Chinese medicine called Xin-ji-er-kang. The study, published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, evaluated the cardioprotective effects of Xin-ji-er-kang on mice that experienced a heart attack.

  • A team of researchers from Anhui Medical University in China administered Xin-ji-er-kang to mice that experienced a heart attack for four weeks.
  • Xin-ji-er-kang is composed of 14 herbal medicines, including Chinese ginseng, milk vetch, mondo grass, etc.
  • A heart attack reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart, promotes the abnormal enlargement of the heart muscle (cardiac hypertrophy), and causes endothelial dysfunction.
  • Results of the experiment showed that the administration of Xin-ji-er-kang improved the cardiovascular problems caused by a heart attack.
  • The treatment improved endothelial dysfunction, cardiac hypertrophy, and collagen deposition caused by heart attack.
  • It also decreased oxidative stress, which plays a role in cardiovascular diseases, and reduced inflammation by reducing levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
  • The cardioprotective effects of Xin-ji-er-kang may be attributed to its role in improving endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and retaining the immune balance.

The findings of the study suggested that Xin-ji-er-kang may potentially be used in treating heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

To read more stories on Chinese medicines like Xin-ji-er-kang, visit ChineseMedicine.news today.

Journal Reference:

Hu J, Zhang Y, Wang L, Ding L, Huang G, Cai G, Gao S. PROTECTIVE EFFECTS OF XINJI?ERKANG ON MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION INDUCED CARDIAC INJURY IN MICE. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 26 June 2017; 17(338). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-017-1846-5

from:    https://science.news/2018-10-15-xin-ji-er-kang-shown-to-be-an-effective-medication-in-the-treatment-of-coronary-heart-disease.html

Ending School Privatization

OPINION

Betsy DeVos and the Privatizers She Backs Have Met Their Match

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

It took a week, but the public school teachers of Los Angeles won. Over 30,000 teachers and school staff, members of the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union, went on strike for the first time in 30 years, demanding more resources for their classrooms, nurses and librarians in every school, smaller class sizes and higher wages. In rain and shine, they were joined on their picket lines by students, parents and other allies. On Tuesday, LAUSD, the Los Angeles Unified School District — the nation’s second-largest school system, with about three-quarters of its students Latino — agreed to meet the strikers’ demands. Classes resumed Wednesday. This major strike also joins a wave of similar labor actions around the country confronting the attempt by corporate interests to privatize public education.

“We went on strike, in one of the largest strikes that the United States has seen in decades,” UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl said Tuesday night, after a supermajority of union members ratified the agreement. “The creativity and innovation and passion and love and emotion of our members was out on the street, in the communities, in the parks, for everyone to see.”

Arlene Inouye, a speech and language specialist with 18 years’ experience in the LAUSD, chaired the UTLA’s bargaining committee. “This was a historic agreement and gave us more than we expected,” Inouye said on the “Democracy Now!” news hour. All of their principal demands, including a cap on charter schools to reverse the trend toward privatization, were met. Additionally, Inouye explained, “we were also able to bring in some non-mandatory subjects of bargaining into our schools … like green space on campus, stopping the criminalization of youth. We were able to bring in an immigrant defense fund. We’re making a statement of our values.”

Also speaking on “Democracy Now!,” investigative journalist Sarah Jaffe, author of “Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt,” said: “There have been reform currents within the UTLA for at least a decade … going back to the 2008 financial crisis, recession, the layoffs of a lot of teachers. In 2014, the Union Power caucus took charge … teachers like Arlene, with Alex Caputo-Pearl, brought in an organizing department, a research department, a political department, that the union didn’t have before. [They] actually voted to raise their own dues in order to … invest in really becoming a fighting, organizing union.

On the picket lines, teachers repeatedly brought up privatization. “Ultimately, this fight is about the privatization of schools,” teacher Marianne O’Brien told us. “Superintendent Austin Beutner is pushing to privatize schools. … Our students would be disproportionately hurt by that and not have access to a quality education, if all the funding for public school is pulled into charter schools.”

Beutner, a wealthy investment banker, has no background in education. The 2018 LAUSD school board election, Jaffe explained, “had $14.7 million in outside funding spent on it by charter school advocates, big-dollar hedge funds … they got a majority of pro-charter school candidates on there. They put Beutner in.” One of Beutner’s plans is to break up the LA Unified School District into 32 “portfolio” districts, copying efforts in cities like Detroit and Newark the UTLA says “are riddled with a patchwork of privatization schemes that do not improve student outcomes.”

Charter schools can not only fire teachers more easily than public schools can—they can fire students as well. By choosing high-performing students and rejecting those who have special needs or score poorly on standardized tests, charter schools drain resources from schools in poorer neighborhoods. Another teacher on the picket line, Lilit Azarian, told us, “This is about fighting for communities of color, because those are the communities that are affected by this privatization.”

A special election in March to fill a seat on the LAUSD school board, vacated when a member pleaded guilty to felony campaign finance violations, is being hotly contested between charter school advocates and the UTLA and other allies of traditional public schools. “If the teachers want Beutner gone, that’s going to be the way to do it,” Jaffe said.

A wave of teacher strikes swept the nation last year, but in largely Republican-controlled red states like West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona. Teachers and staff went on strike and achieved remarkable improvements, not only in pay and benefits but by directing more resources to schools and classrooms. Now the teachers are rising up in Democratic strongholds like Los Angeles. On Tuesday, as the UTLA declared victory, ending the strike, the teachers union in Denver, voted overwhelmingly to strike. Unionized teachers in Oakland, California, also are expected to strike, as are teachers in Chicago’s community colleges.

If the Los Angeles teachers are any indication of what’s to come, the privatizers and their champion in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump’s billionaire Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, may have met their match.

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan
Amy Goodman
Columnist
Amy Goodman is the co-founder, executive producer and host of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 900 public broadcast stations in North America.
from:    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/betsy-devos-and-the-privatizers-she-backs-have-met-their-match/

What Game Are We Playing?

As usual, do your research; make an informed decision.

The Ruling Elites Love How Easily We’re Distracted and Turned Against Each Other

Let’s say you’re one of the ruling elites operating the nation for the benefit of the oligarchy. What’s the best way to distract the populace from your self-serving dominance in a blatantly neofeudal system?

1. Provide modern-day versions of Bread and Circuses to distract the commoners from what actually matters: “the golden age of TV” and binge-watching; a cultural obsession with glorifying oneself via selfies posted on Facebook and Instagram; tweeting outrage and indignation on Twitter; a corporate-state media which magnifies insignificant events into social crises, political “leaders” who intentionally inflame polarization and conflict and so on.

Combine all these distracting circuses into one 24/7 system-overload, and what do you get? A populace so distracted, so stressed, so emotionally dazed that they are unable to focus on the predatory exploitation of the ruling elites, much less figure out how to change the neofeudal status quo.

2. Divide the populace with calculatedly divisive cultural issues and turn the commoner class against itself: with no middle ground and no shared class identity allowed, the populace is easily sliced and diced into angry, disaffected tribes who blame whomever media propaganda has targeted as “the other” for the nation’s woes.

Correspondent Jonathan Twombly recently posted a description of this divide-and-conquer strategy of the ruling elites:

I eschew conspiracy theories because I don’t feel humans are smart enough or cohesive enough to pull them off. Usually self-interested people pulling in the same direction create the conditions that some people view as conspiracies.

With that preface stated, it seems to me that Right and Left elites, who share the common goal of making the world work for themselves, and who do not have to live with the consequences of their policies, have co-opted non-elite people with cultural and social issues meant to distract them from what’s going on economically.

Right elites take the bread out of the non-elites mouths by coopting non-elites on the right with the circuses of religion and nationalism. At the same time, the left elites have done the same by coopting left non-elites with the circuses of political correctness, multiculturalism, etc..

None of these things – religion, nationalism, political correctness, multiculturalism, feminism, anti-racism, etc. – are necessarily bad in themselves, particularly in moderation.

However, to distract people from having the economic wool pulled over their eyes, they need to be amped up into a public shouting match, which is what we see happening in media outlets controlled by, you guessed it, the elites.

The Old Left was concerned with bread and butter issues and extracting a bigger piece of the economic pie from the elites. The Old Right, in turn, was concerned with order and the stability of the system, and was prepared to give up some of the pie in order to stave off the pitchforks.

However, the stateless super-rich of the New Left-Right Elite Alliance no longer need to buy off the non-elites with money.

They have no fear of the pitchforks because they can flee behind bodyguards (private armies as in the Middle Ages are coming) or gated communities, or they can flee the country in an instant if they need to, taking with the large chunks of their wealth, which is now either offshore or mobile thanks to international banking. They have become insulated from the consequences of their policies.

The non-elites are mad as hell, but don’t know exactly where to direct their anger, because the social and cultural issues the elites have used to co-opt the non-elites are also incredibly effective at keeping the left and right non-elites in a constant state of anger at each other.

The Elite’s greatest fear is that left and right non-elites realize who their real enemies are, and that their fighting with each other over cultural issues is what the Elites want them to be doing.

Well said, Jonathan, thank you for the succinct summary of these control mechanisms.

The era we’re entering – a disintegrative winter – lends itself to discord and the decline of common ground, as I addressed two years ago in A Disintegrative Winter: The Debt and Anti-Status Quo Super-Cycle Has Turned.

We can see this is the rise of cultural, social, financial and political polarization:

Huxley spoke of loving our servitude: if we let the ruling elites distract and divide us, then we will in effect be choosing to love our servitude.

No wonder the ruling elites love how easily we’re distracted and divided against ourselves: it’s so easy to dominate a distracted, divided, blinded-by-propaganda and negative emotions populace.

By Charles Hugh Smith, Guest writer

from:    http://humansarefree.com/2019/01/the-ruling-elites-love-how-easily-were.html

YouTube versus “Conspiracy” Content

1984: YouTube Will Demote Conspiracy Videos In Its Recommendation Algorithm — A Scary Prospect For Freedom Of Thought

By Aaron Kesel

YouTube said Friday it will stop recommending conspiracy videos such as those claiming the Earth is flat, or promoting alternative theories about the September 11, 2001 attacks.

We’ll continue that work this year, including taking a closer look at how we can reduce the spread of content that comes close to—but doesn’t quite cross the line of—violating our Community Guidelines. To that end, we’ll begin reducing recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways—such as videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat, or making blatantly false claims about historic events like 9/11.

While this shift will apply to less than one percent of the content on YouTube, we believe that limiting the recommendation of these types of videos will mean a better experience for the YouTube community. To be clear, this will only affect recommendations of what videos to watch, not whether a video is available on YouTube. As always, people can still access all videos that comply with our Community Guidelines and, when relevant, these videos may appear in recommendations for channel subscribers and in search results. We think this change strikes a balance between maintaining a platform for free speech and living up to our responsibility to users.

This change relies on a combination of machine learning and real people. We work with human evaluators and experts from all over the United States to help train the machine learning systems that generate recommendations. These evaluators are trained using public guidelines and provide critical input on the quality of a video.

While the former is a psyop — the Earth obviously isn’t flat and is a spheroid — the latter is the more worrying contention, since to this day there are still valid questions about 9/11. For information on 9/11 that doesn’t quite add up, you only need to watch two of James Corbett’s YouTube documentary films: 9/11 War Games and 9/11 Trillions: Follow The Money.

This also follows the news that a NYC Federal Grand Jury has been empaneled to investigate the claims made by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which will look into the evidence of the World Trade Towers being a controlled demolition operation with thermite.

This YouTube algorithm and policy change further comes as a mysterious group The Dark Overlord (TDO) has claimed to hack “the truth behind 9/11,” by breaching numerous different insurers and legal firms, claiming specifically that it hacked Hiscox Syndicates Ltd, Lloyds of London, and Silverstein Properties. While not much has come out of the hack, there was one curious document alluding to military intervention in Flight 93, which if you remember was said to have been civilians who brought down the plane in a heroic move, not military intervention.

Activist Post previously reported that YouTube was planning to combat conspiracy-driven videos by introducing informative debunking boxes linking back to Wikipedia and other sources. Although it seems that’s not enough, and now they have to remove “conspiracy videos” from suggested videos as well.

We also reported that since Google was heading towards targeting critical thinkers — demonized as “Conspiracy Theorists” — who ask the difficult questions in its rating guidelines, YouTube wouldn’t be too long to follow those actions. It seems we were right!

Considering that the origination of the word “Conspiracy Theorist” comes from the CIA, I would say using a derogatory word to discuss those who think is dangerous. More modernized, in fact, it is also straight out of the JTIRG playbook that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed.

Misinformation is plaguing the Internet, but who is to decide what is and isn’t misinformation?  The readers themselves need to, because policing thought and opinion opens a door to the avenue of a Truth Council and information oversight where admins (the purveyors of truth) decide what is and isn’t fact. What happens when one of these people doesn’t dig deep enough and just dismisses something without looking at the evidence, due to lack of information or understanding? Censorship of not only ideas but also people as a whole who are effectively removed from the discussion.

As discussed in this reporter’s last article entitled “YouTube Purge: The End Of Freedom Of Expression Or The Great Awakening For Alternatives?” – questioning is healthy; and as writer Naomi Wolf exposed, you should think before it’s illegal to do so. “It’s no longer crazy to assess news events to see if they are real or not real,” she stated in the video below. As history has shown through declassified documents (overthrow of Mossadegh), leaked diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, and reporting by murdered journalist Michael Hastings who exposed propaganda used against the Senate and Congress, “all over the world, it’s well-established, the State Department intelligence agencies engage in theatre, and it’s what they do, it’s spycraft, to create spectacles and events that people may not realize are spectacles and events…,” Naomi says.

Hastings exposed the use of propaganda to get into Afghanistan in his report entitled: “The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn’t Want You to Read.” The article was surrounding a leaked unclassified Pentagon report.  The report took the shroud off the U.S. military’s psyops operation command revealing several techniques the group uses in psychological warfare to manipulate the public, including but not limited to fake intelligence information, lack of information and social media manipulation, according to Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis. The kicker is that not only were those tactics used against the American people but the tactics were used against Senators.

It is an extremely worrying fact that the Military Industrial Complex would manipulate elected officials with fake news, especially considering that propaganda wasn’t legalized in America again until 2012. Previous legislation had been passed to protect citizens during the Church Committee hearings as part of a series of investigations into intelligence abuses during the mid-1970s, amended by the Smith-Mundt Act. Smith-Mundt was repealed in 2012 under Obama, as Business Insider reported, “The NDAA Legalizes The Use Of Propaganda On The US Public.”

As Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright stated, VOA, Radio Free Europe, and many others “should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics.” Fulbright’s amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued that such “propaganda” should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. “from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.”

This is extremely dangerous; one perspective might see things in a different way because one person has acquired information, while the other lacks that information. For example, the U.S. government (specifically the CIA) used documented propaganda on the public and uses foreign propaganda against other countries. It’s not just the CIA, other nations’ intelligence services do it too.

While one person might feel that is insane, (and it quite literally is) the other person might know of the previous existence of Operation Mockingbird, which used CIA-employed journalists to produce fake stories during the Cold War-era 1950s through 1970s. They also funded student and cultural organizations and magazines as front organizations.  This CIA operation became known as Operation Mockingbird and was mentioned in the infamous CIA Family Jewels collection.

The U.K. smaller equivalent to Operation Mockingbird was known as Operation Mass Appeal. It was allegedly run by MI6 during 1997–98 and exaggerated Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, according to former U.N. chief weapons inspector Scott Ritter. That claim was further exaggerated just a few years later in 2003 when the U.K. government Downing St. produced a fake Iraq war memo  that was exposed as being based on academic papers. It is a claim that would never have seen the light of day if it wasn’t for a doctor named David Kelly, one of the lead scientists who called the Iraq dossier a sham. Kelly was later found in the woods, and his death remains a mystery to this day.

Another example is how the media as a whole portrayed a video that was claimed to be from Syria (known as the “Syrian boy hero”) as real but was later revealed by Norwegian filmmakers to have been faked. As a result, the media had to backpedal their story issuing retractions.

Years later, in an unrelated incident, five people were arrested for using children in staged Aleppo videos, showing how dangerous it is to report any information out of Syria, as well as how important it is to have independent free thinkers.

Now, a UN panel (with little media attention) has revealed that the infamous White Helmets in Syria, the subjects of an Oscar-winning documentary, were engaged in criminal activity including but not limited to organ theft, staging rescues, and stealing from civilians.  As a further fun fact, the leader of the White Helmets, Raed Salah, was denied entry into the U.S.  at Washington’s Dulles International Airport and deported, due to “extremist connections” while on his way to receive a humanitarian relief award at a gala dinner hosted by USAID.

Really none of this should come as a surprise since White Helmets are connected to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which in turn is connected to AlQaeda and Al-Nusra.

Perhaps a better example, and one that doesn’t involve propaganda, which more people can relate to is the situation in Flint, Michigan where water was poisoned due to negligence that was attempted to be covered up by the local government. YouTube as a medium allowed those citizens to have a voice and show the carelessness by their government officials. Further, the government even removed the citizens’ power to sue the state of Michigan over the lead contamination of its water supply.

For a moment imagine that this was called fake; these people would have been ignored far more than they were by the national mainstream media. Policing information is outright reckless and could endanger lives.

Then there is the spraying of carcinogenic chemicals on unknowing residents in the U.S. and Canada by the Army under Operation DEW and Operation Large Area Coverage (LAC) during the Cold War in testing linked to weaponry involving radioactive ingredients meant to attack the Soviet Union. Which, if I am being frank, sounds absolutely bonkers; but if you study history, you will see that this is the least that was done during that time frame, i.e. the infamous program known as Project MKUltra. During that covert program, people all over the place were tested with various experiments, many times against their own will.

So to say that YouTube will link to one source that can be edited by anyone and claim it as the moral high ground of “truth” is crazy, but to then introduce a recommendation block on “conspiratorial information” is outright insanity, which suppresses research efforts.

It doesn’t matter what your views are or what you think about a particular subject YouTube is aiming to censor the free flow of information, and this could be dangerous for a democratic society. This means that channels promoting free thinking and questioning of news events will now face further demoting within YouTube’s algorithms. These actions endanger a free and open society; no one should be able to decide what a user can and can’t search for no individual platform should be able to decide what is and isn’t the truth for their users. While in the same respect no one should be able to decide who does and doesn’t have a voice. (That’s the silencing of freedom of opinion and expression.)

YouTube is walking us straight into George Orwell’s nightmare 1984 through its proposed actions to silence free thinkers deemed “conspiracy theorists.” I will be the first one to tell you some theories are bat shit crazy such as the theory of flat Earth. But that doesn’t mean I want to censor the content. As another example, the rise of an anonymous insider who has been wrong more times then I can count on two hands:  Q. However, again I don’t want YouTube as a corporate giant to have the ability to censor anyone who speaks about the Quidiot conspiracy. Because if you give them an inch they will take a mile and begin censoring other topics or even individuals as they already have including Activist Post‘s own YouTube channel.

If someone wants to promote a ridiculous theory they should be free to do so.  After all, it’s their own credibility at stake. A democratic society is free and open and full of debates; and while YouTube wants to promote that theories about 9/11 are ludicrous, there are far more dots that don’t add up than they or the general public care to see or admit. (I won’t go into the topic as it would take far too long to dive into, but I’ll make a few quick suggestions of names and events to research – Michael Riconisciuto, John Patrick O’Neill, Bill Cooper, Able Danger, dancing Israelis, WTC7, bombs on George Washington bridge, et al.)

See my article: “The Official Narrative Of 911 A Bigger Conspiracy Theory” for just some of the various evidence against the official story.

It’s particularly worrying that they single out theories of 9/11 — one of the worst tragedies in American history shrouded in mystery — in the blog post. Since, again, there is more that doesn’t add up than makes sense in regards to 9/11. There are several holes such as the various war game drills that James Corbett goes into in detail within his documentary War Games.  We may never know what happened on 9/11, but there is way more to it than the official government narrative, and we the people have a right to know or at the very least seek out potential answers.

While YouTube wants you to think the governments of the world aren’t involved in any sort of corruption, “conspiratorial plots,” or cover-ups, history has proven quite the opposite. All of this information now risks being censored under YouTube’s policy and algorithm changes a scary and worrying prospect. It seems as though they want to protect the establishment rather than allow people to freely think for themselves. This is about the human right not to be indoctrinated with information, but rather to make up our own minds. Even if we are wrong about a particular subject (such as those of you who think the Earth is flat), this allows for healthy debate among individuals and the stopping of tyranny or tyrannical rule by dictatorships

For now, at the very least, we can be thankful that YouTube is stating that it will not outright ban all content it designates as a conspiracy theory (yet), despite the recent purge of dozens upon dozens of accounts that are connected to free speech and free thought. There are also always alternatives such as DTube, BitChute, and many others for uploading content. We need to ask ourselves is the YouTube purge the end of freedom of expression or the great awakening for alternatives?

YouTube’s moves against free thinkers could backfire for the company quite severely, because truth is stranger than fiction. Although this writer can agree with YouTube that the world is a spheroid, definitely not flat or completely round for that matter, it is important to have free independent thought and speech. Even if that means I have to share the planet with flat-Earthers or people who believe every crazed murder spree is a false flag attack (granted some might be because Operation Northwoods against Cuba and a memo suggested a false flag attack against Russia during the Cold War using civilians as cannon fodder, so it’s not that insane to suggest.)

The rapid changes we are witnessing with the main drivers of Internet perception has even drawn the attention of one of the inventors of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee. He noted in an open letter that “What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms.” Do we really want those dominant platforms telling us their exclusive version of the truth?

Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.

from:   https://www.activistpost.com/2019/01/1984-youtube-will-demote-conspiracy-videos-in-its-recommendation-algorithm-a-scary-prospect-for-freedom-of-thought.html

What’s Up with Oumuamua?

Back in October of 2017, astronomers at the University of Hawaii spotted something bizarre passing through our solar system and they named it ‘Oumuamua, Hawaiian for scout or messenger. ‘Oumuamua was the first interstellar object to ever be detected in our solar system.

One year later, in October of 2018, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department co-wrote a paper examining the object’s acceleration, which they described as “peculiar.” The two, Harvard professor Avi Loeb and Harvard postdoctoral fellow Shmuel Bialy, suggested that the object “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.” That’s quite the claim and the pair instantly received significant backlash for their controversial theory.

Loeb said of the potential for making contact with alien civilization:

As soon as we leave the solar system, I believe we will see a great deal of traffic out there. Possibly we’ll get a message that says, ‘Welcome to the interstellar club.’ Or we’ll discover multiple dead civilizations — that is, we’ll find their remains.”

In a recent interview in The New Yorker, Loeb attempts to shed on some light on the object, the paper he co-authored and the controversial theory that his paper presented.

So what’s so unusual about ‘Oumuamua anyway? Loeb explains that astronomers can calculate the rate at which rocks are ejected in space and how that calculation leads one of many peculiar facts about ‘Oumuamua:

When you look at all the stars in the vicinity of the sun, they move relative to the sun, the sun moves relative to them, but only one in five hundred stars in that frame is moving as slow as ‘Oumuamua. You would expect that most rocks would move roughly at the speed of the star they came from. If this object came from another star, that star would have to be very special.”

The object was observed spinning every eight hours while it’s brightness changed significantly, leaving the astronomers puzzled.

When it was discovered, we realized it spins every eight hours, and its brightness changed by at least a factor of ten. The fact that its brightness varies by a factor of ten as it spins means that it is at least ten times longer than it is wide. We don’t have a photo, but, in all the artists’ illustrations that you have seen on the Web, it looks like a cigar. That’s one possibility. But it’s also possible that it’s a pancake-like geometry, and, in fact, that is favored.

‘Oumuamua is shaped like a pancake, another bizarre and significant observation. Why a pancake and why is that abnormal? Objects that orbit the sun have a shape influenced by the gravitational force of the sun, the same force that results in their orbit. Deviation from that rule happens in objects like comets. Evaporation of ice from the surface of a comet creates gasses that push it, sort of like a rocket, and also cause the tail of evaporated gas that most stargazers are familiar with. ‘Oumuamua doesn’t have one of those.

We don’t see a cometary tail here, but, nevertheless, we see a deviation from the expected orbit. And that is the thing that triggered the paper. Once I realized that the object is moving differently than expected, then the question is what gives it the extra push.

‘Oumuamua is unlike any comet we have ever seen in our solar system, so it probably isn’t one. Could it be an asteroid?

Its brightness varies by a factor of ten, and the maximum you typically observe is a factor of three. It has a much more extreme geometry, and there is some other force pushing it.”

So the question remains, what is making ‘Oumuamua move?

The only thing that came to my mind is that maybe the light from the sun, as it bounces off its surface, gives it an extra push. It’s just like a wind bouncing off a sail on a sailboat. So we checked that and found that you need the thickness of the object to be less than a millimeter in order for that to work. If it is indeed less than a millimeter thick, if it is pushed by the sunlight, then it is maybe a light sail, and I could not think of any natural process that would make a light sail. It is much more likely that it is being made by artificial means, by a technological civilization.”

Loeb, who has long been interested in “long been interested in the search for extraterrestrial life,” according to The New Yorker, took the opportunity to elaborate on just that:

I should say, just as background, I do not view the possibility of a technological civilization as speculative, for two reasons. The first is that we exist. And the second is that at least a quarter of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy have a planet like Earth, with surface conditions that are very similar to Earth, and the chemistry of life as we know it could develop. If you roll the dice so many times, and there are tens of billions of stars in the Milky Way, it is quite likely we are not alone.

If ‘Oumuamua does originate from an alien civilization, it didn’t come from our solar system, according to Loeb, it would have originated from somewhere in our galaxy instead, but there’s a chance “that the civilization is not alive anymore.”

Imagine another history, in which the Nazis have a nuclear weapon and the Second World War ends differently. You can imagine a civilization that develops technology like that, which would lead to its own destruction.”

Loeb insists the point is simple:

[T]his is the very first object we found from outside the solar system. It is very similar to when I walk on the beach with my daughter and look at the seashells that are swept ashore. Every now and then we find an object of artificial origin. And this could be a message in a bottle, and we should be open-minded. So we put this sentence in the paper.”

In response to those criticizing his paper and in summary of why ‘Oumuamua is worth paying attention to, Loeb had this today:

The point is that we follow the evidence, and the evidence in this particular case is that there are six peculiar facts. And one of these facts is that it deviated from an orbit shaped by gravity while not showing any of the telltale signs of cometary outgassing activity. So we don’t see the gas around it, we don’t see the cometary tail. It has an extreme shape that we have never seen before in either asteroids or comets. We know that we couldn’t detect any heat from it and that it’s much more shiny, by a factor of ten, than a typical asteroid or comet. All of these are facts. I am following the facts.”

Speaking of the facts, Loeb drew a grand distinction between his curiosity of and the facts surrounding ‘Oumuamua and popular ideas such as the multiverse and extra dimensions:

The multiverse is a mainstream idea—that anything that can happen will happen an infinite number of times. And I think that is not scientific, because it cannot be tested. Whereas the next time we see an object like this one, we can contemplate taking a photograph. My motivation, in part, is to motivate the scientific community to collect more data on the next object rather than argue a priori that they know the answer. In the multiverse case, we have no way of testing it, and everyone is happy to say, “Ya!”

Another mainstream idea is the extra dimension. You see that in string theory, which gets a lot of good press, and awards are given to members of that community. Not only has it not been tested empirically for almost forty years now but there is no hope it will be tested in the next forty years.

In the end, Loeb’s questioning is simply a part of science:

We have seen an object from outside the solar system, and we are trying to figure what it is made of and where it came from. We don’t have as much data as I would like. Given the data that we have, I am putting this on the table, and it bothers people to even think about that, just like it bothered the Church in the days of Galileo to even think about the possibility that the Earth moves around the sun. Prejudice is based on experience in the past. The problem is that it prevents you from making discoveries. If you put the probability at zero per cent of an object coming into the solar system, you would never find it!”

In conclusion: “If these beings are peaceful, we could learn a lot from them.” 

from:    https://themindunleashed.com/2019/01/harvard-scientist-oumuamua-aliens.html