News-in-Transition

8 April 2017

 - “Managed chaos”. Brilliant. That’s Washington’s foreign policy in a nutshell.

That’s why there’s been no effort to create strong, stable, secular governments that can provide security for their people in any of the countries the US has destroyed in the last 16 years, because this long string of failed states that now stretches from North Africa, through the Middle East and into Central Asia (The ‘arc of instability’) create a permanent justification for US military intervention as well as strategic access to vital resources.

So why waste money and time on nation building when nation building runs counter to Washington’s strategic objectives? Instead, decimate the nation state wherever you go, and leave the people to scratch out a miserable hardscrabble existence for themselves while fending off the relentless violence and persecution of tribal elders or local warlords.

Is that a fair assessment of US foreign policy?

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8 April 2017

 - New research shows that octopuses and other cephalopods have a tremendous capacity to alter and edit their own genes, which scientists believe to be the reason behind their shocking intelligence and ability to learn.

An octopus really shouldn't be intelligent by all rights. Their brains have 1/20th the amount of neurons as humans, and it isn't centralized in their body. Instead, they have a miniature brain in the bases of their arms.

And yet the octopus has both short and long-term memory. It can solve mazes and other simple problems. They've been observed using tools and building things. While their intellect is well-known, scientists have struggled to understand why such prodigious intelligence manifested in such an unlikely creature.

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7 April 2017

 - Recently, with the work of scientists, activists, responsible politicians and institutions around the globe, organic and sustainable agriculture started to be studied and promoted as an option for large-scale production and was also embraced by individuals who started growing their own food by adapting to modern living conditions. An argument against organic agriculture is lower productivity, but the positive aspects for the consumers are regarded as far more important.

The Rodale Institute in the USA carried out a 30-year long study to compare organic and conventional farming which concludes that: “Our current chemical-based agricultural system is already showing its weaknesses – depleted soil, poisoned water, negative impact on human and environmental health, and dysfunctional rural communities.”

The study shows that, if correctly performed, organic agriculture uses 45% less energy and produces 40% less greenhouse gases than conventional methods, since it also keeps the soils fertile for a much longer period of time. Ancient approaches such as crop diversity and rotation, attracting natural pest eliminators are combined with latest technologies that facilitate the use of alternate sources of energy, including wind and solar power.

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7 April 2017

 - So, it comes down to us. We the people are the last resort, the last line of defense, the last chance for peace. Without immediate action by us, escalating events may soon result in the unthinkable.

But perhaps if enough of us get on the phone and are persistent and loud enough, our Senators and Congressional reps will do their job, which is to represent us. Congress must immediately pass legislation rescinding the broad war powers bestowed on the president after 9/11. Here is the Washington Capitol switchboard number (202-224-3121). Please call Friday morning — EARLY!  We must catch our reps before the weekend.

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6 April 2017

 - Early last year, it was reported that Planned Parenthood was illegally profiting from selling aborted body parts. The Center for Medical Progress released an undercover video from inside Planned Parenthood that revealed the tricks and tactics used by the women’s health organization to illegally sell dismembered fetuses. Documents that were released just weeks later by a Congressional committee, went on to confirm the video’s claims.

In a research article published by Jessica Farnsworth in May of 2011, Farnsworth addresses the link between aborted fetuses and vaccine production, a relationship that leads one to conclude that the vaccine industry may in fact be largely reliant on Planned Parenthood.

As the study points out, past investigations reveal that abortion facilities that supply aborted fetuses to researchers are offered a fee by the research facilities so that the baby’s organs can be harvested immediately and on-site.

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6 April 2017

 - One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.

When I embarked on a six-month trip to visit farms around the world to research my forthcoming book, “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” the innovative farmers I met showed me that regenerative farming practices can restore the world’s agricultural soils. In both the developed and developing worlds, these farmers rapidly rebuilt the fertility of their degraded soil, which then allowed them to maintain high yields using far less fertilizer and fewer pesticides.

Their experiences, and the results that I saw on their farms in North and South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ghana and Costa Rica, offer compelling evidence that the key to sustaining highly productive agriculture lies in rebuilding healthy, fertile soil.

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5 March 2017

 - Children younger than 15 – some as young as 5 – work from 6 am till even ing in West Africa at cocoa farms connected to Nestlé, Hershey, Mars, Kraft, ADM Cocoa, Godiva, and Fowler’s Chocolate to produce your favorite chocolates including Reese’s, Kit Kat, M&M’s, MilkyWay and Butterfinger.

In September 2015, three class action lawsuits brought in California accused Nestlé, Hershey, and Mars of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses by cocoa suppliers in West Africa while falsely portraying themselves as socially and ethically responsible. Nestlé, Cargill and ADM are currently facing a separate lawsuit brought by three Malian former child slaves in 2005 that accuses the companies of aiding and abetting child slavery in Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa market.

The shocking 2000 documentary titled Slavery: A Global Investigation exposes the chocolate industry’s deep, dark connection to cocoa harvested by child slaves. The guardian of 19 children freed from slavery by the Ivorian authorities told the makers how they worked from dawn until dusk each day, locked in a shed at night where they were given a tin cup in which to urinate, stripped naked, tied up and routinely beaten...

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5 April 2017

 - Man’s best friend is known for being capable of amazing feats. For years dogs have been trained to do many extraordinary tasks. They have been trained to assist people with disabilities in a number of different ways or to become therapy animals. Our four-legged furry friends are also often taught how to sniff out bombs, drugs or people in need of rescue, to boot. Researchers have also found that our beloved canines can even help to detect cancer with their super-sensitive noses.

Impressive results from a diagnostic trial found that a pair of specially trained German Shepherds could detect breast cancer with 100 percent accuracy. The technique is described as “simple, non-invasive and cheap” and could replace mammograms, particularly in areas where the diagnostic method is hard to come by. Project Kdog, the name the initiative goes by, has shown marked success and could stand to shake up current diagnostic practices.

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5 April 2017

  - Every single day, grocery stores throw out perfectly good food either because it’s not pretty (too bruised, funny shaped) or because it has “gone bad.” However, the reality is that the food that’s thrown away is still healthy and edible and could provide much-needed calories, sustenance, energy for someone who is starving or struggling to feed themselves or their family. That’s right. People go hungry here because we routinely throw away perfectly good food.

But, thanks to groups like Feeding America, who understand the importance of capturing excess food and providing it to people in need, good food no longer has to go to waste. “Last year, the Feeding America network and our partners diverted over 2 billion pounds of safe, edible food that might otherwise have gone to waste, to Americans facing hunger.”

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4 April 2017

 - People in the small town of Cajamarca, Colombia understand that water is life, and that’s why they rejected a $35 billion gold mine project, choosing instead to put people and the Earth before profit. “Around 98 percent of the residents in Cajamarca said no to the mine due to concerns over the environment and water pollution.”

The South African company, AngloGold Ashanti, wanted to build the gold mine (La Colosa) in Central Colombia. It is planned to be the biggest gold mine in South America, and has the backing of the national government. However, residents of Cajamarca, the planned location of the mine, overwhelmingly rejected the project in a recent referendum.

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4 April 2017

 - Just as birders can identify birds by their melodious calls, David George Haskell can distinguish trees by their sounds. The task is especially easy when it rains, as it so often does in the Ecuadorian rainforest. Depending on the shapes and sizes of their leaves, the different plants react to falling drops by producing “a splatter of metallic sparks” or “a low, clean, woody thump” or “a speed-typist’s clatter.” Every species has its own song. Train your ears (and abandon the distracting echoes of a plastic rain jacket) and you can carry out a botanical census through sound alone.

“I’ve taught ornithology to students for many years,” says Haskell, a natural history writer and professor of biology at Sewanee. “And I challenge my students: Okay, now that you’ve learned the songs of 100 birds, your task is to learn the sounds of 20 trees. Can you tell an oak from a maple by ear? I have them go out, pour their attention into their ears, and harvest sounds. It’s an almost meditative experience. And from that, you realize that trees sound different, and they have amazing sounds coming from them. Our unaided ears can hear how a maple tree changes its voice as a soft leaves of early spring change into the dying one of autumn.”

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3 April 2017

 - “For thousands of years Australia was a timeless land where things stood still and very little change took place. The Aboriginal people were cut off from the rest of the world, unaware of all the things going on around the globe. Time had passed them by, whilst in other places, great civilisations built up, and great civilisations were built up on the ruins of other civilisations.

“It was a world of good and evil. Great and wonderful things were happening as humanity strived towards greater knowledge and understanding. Scholars traveled all over the world seeking knowledge in other lands, exchange of cultures and ideas were taking place, it was an exciting world of new discoveries and inventions as mankind pressed ever forward. It was also a world of great and terrible things, as large armies clashed and wars swept continents.

“Civilisation as we have it today,  did not come easily to mankind, for there was a price to pay. The price paid, was the blood, sweat, and tears of the people of the ages. Cultures clashed with cultures, there was religious intolerance, and whole races of people became wiped out from the face of the earth.

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3 April 2017

karimic-tools-144 - 4/5 ~ Mars (energy) ~trine~ Pluto (transformation): This is an active, transformative energy that will help you to change your life in a healthy, positive way. You may have the energy & inclination to make major personal (and permanent) changes to who you are and what you want on a deep Soul level...

 - 4/7 ~ Sun (core essential Self) ~oppose~ Jupiter (expansion & learning):  This energy is a double-edge sword in that you may "feel" positive and optimistic - which is a good thing - but it is also prone to excess - which brings us to the philosophy of "anything in moderation" or "balance in all things". Be positive but be alert too! Beware of the urge to overdo it or over-extend yourself on any level...

 - 4/8 ~ Venus (values) ~square~ Saturn (foundation): This energy can make you feel cool & detached with loved ones. It is time to 'take stock' of your relationships and really evaluate the level of balance between giving & receiving. Business or personal - relationships must have a balance of give & take. You may feel more aware of your true independence in life and start reevaluating the need for certain relationships in your life...

 - 4/8 ~ Sun (illumination) ~square~ Pluto (transformation): This is a challenge to grow out of your comfort zone and into new territory. That said, with Pluto in Capricorn (2008-2024), twice a year for these 16-years, when the Sun is in Aries (Spring) and Libra (Fall), we get an opportunity to grow & change in fundamental departments of life: self vs other and home vs work...

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