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Bridge update: Contractor named for repair work; governors visit Memphis

TDOT said Kiewit will start work today, May 18, on the bridge project, and that Kiewit was selected based on the firm’s “qualifications, experience, and availability of personnel and equipment.”.....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 18th, 2021

Democrats In Congress Try To Abolish Space Force

Democrats In Congress Try To Abolish Space Force Authored by Li Hai via The Epoch Times, Some Democrats in Congress are trying to abolish the Space Force at a time when China and Russia have been doubling down on expanding their military capabilities in space. On Wednesday, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) introduced a bill named No Militarization of Space Act, trying to abolish the Space Force, a new military service branch created under former President Donald Trump. “The long-standing neutrality of space has fostered a competitive, non-militarized age of exploration every nation and generation has valued since the first days of space travel,” Huffman said in a statement. “But since its creation under the former Trump administration, the Space Force has threatened longstanding peace and flagrantly wasted billions of taxpayer dollars.” The Space Force was established in December 2019 and has been deemed by some to be one of Trump’s signature achievements. But its origin can be traced back to the beginning of the Cold War. “Our mission must be to support the American people, not spend billions on the militarization of space,” Huffman added. Huffman’s bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Jesús García (D-Ill.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The bill comes as Congress moves to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, the annual bill that authorizes funding for the military. Huffman’s bill is unlikely to succeed because the new military branch was established upon the National Defense Authorization Act (FY 2020), which received bipartisan support at the time. To cancel the Space Force, new legislation would need to be enacted. China and Russia have been trying to advance their military capabilities in space for years. China’s communist regime “has devoted significant resources to growing all aspects of its space program, from military space applications to civil applications,” reads the Pentagon’s latest annual report to Congress. In May, China placed a rover on Mars, becoming the second nation after the United States to do so, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. China has continued to develop its space station and explore the moon. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Secure World Foundation reports, Russia performed multiple anti-satellite weapons tests in 2020. China and India have tested their own military capabilities in orbit in past years, too, Axios reported. On Monday at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference, U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said that the threats presented by China continue to grow, including those from space. On Tuesday, Gen. John “Jay” Raymon, chief of Space Operations, talked about the anti-satellite weapons China and Russia have owned. China has deployed satellites with a robotic arm that could be used to “grab” other satellites. Russia has a co-orbital, anti-satellite weapon that “is specifically designed to kill U.S. satellites,” Raymon said during the same conference. President Joe Biden hasn’t publicly shared his views on the future of the Space Force. His press secretary Jen Psaki dodged such a question in February, weeks after Biden took office. However, she took to Twitter to say that “we look forward to the continuing work of Space Force,” signaling that Biden had no intention to change Space Force’s status at the time. “We look forward to the continuing work of Space Force and invite the members of the team to come visit us in the briefing room anytime to share an update on their important work,” Psaki wrote. The Epoch Times has contacted the White House and the Space Force for comment. Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

The Island of Death: Visiting the gulag where my grandfather was tortured, but didn"t officially exist

My grandfather was held at Bulgaria's most notorious gulag. This summer, I saw it for the first time. A Belene survivor crosses the bridge across the Danube that connects the town of Belene and Persin island in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) This summer, Tana Ganeva traveled to Belene, Bulgaria's most notorious prison camp, where her grandfather was held in the 1950s. Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its Communist-era gulags, where thousands were starved, tortured, and killed. Ganeva's grandfather attempted to escape Bulgaria four times, before making it to California. See more stories on Insider's business page. The island of Persin is a bird-watcher's paradise. Set on the Danube River, which divides Bulgaria and Romania, it's a nature park covered in wetlands and home to hundreds of rare bird species: the spoonbill, the pygmy cormorant, the corncrake, as well as herons, eagles, storks, and pelicans. Amid the natural beauty, it's jarring to consider that this was the location of a concentration camp where thousands of Bulgarian political prisoners were brutalized and killed from 1949 to 1953 - and in some cases for years after that. Though it's officially known as Belene after the quiet Bulgarian village that sits 750 feet away on the mainland, old-timers here call it by another name: the Island of Death.My stepgrandfather, Georgi Tutunjiev, was sent here at age 24 and spent four years and three months interred at Belene after someone (he suspected his ex-wife) told the authorities of his plan to escape the country. In his notebooks - he had planned to write a memoir about Belene but never did before he died in 2011 at 87 - he remembered the place as "brutal facilities for re-education," where he'd endured "indescribable physical and psychological abuse." He finally managed to escape Bulgaria in 1966 and settle with my grandma in California. In 1989, my parents and I left Bulgaria and joined my grandparents in California, thanks to the family-reunification policy. While many survivors of trauma shut down, my grandfather never stopped talking about the gulag. He seemed to have an unending loop of stories about Belene. For my immediate family, it could be exhausting, and we were alarmed to discover his extensive gun collection, which my grandmother gamely dismissed as a coping mechanism. But guests who came to the house were often riveted by his dark tales, which he mixed with his sense of humor. "Jeko! The Communistie shot you!" he'd shout at his terrier mix, and the dog would sprawl on his back, playing dead. An aerial view of Persin island. The gulag was known as Belene, after the nearby town. Tsvetomir Nikolaev I've come to the town of Belene on a brutally hot day in August for a tour of the Island of Death. I meet Nedyalka Toncheva, who works for the Belene Island Foundation, a nonprofit that organizes tours of the island, close to the bank of the Danube.We cross a rickety water bridge on foot and then jump aboard a Jeep driven by a 24-year-old Belene native named Peter. Toncheva, who is 35, is passionate and knowledgeable about the island's flora and fauna. Every few minutes, she tells Peter to stop the car to point out a roosting stork or a water eagle. She talks about her plans to make Persin a tourist destination comparable to Borovets, a ski resort with luxury hotels in the Rila mountains; or Koprivchitsa, a living museum honoring the Bulgarian rebels who mounted an uprising in 1876 against the Ottoman Empire.In the three decades since the fall of communism, Bulgaria has effectively buried the history of its many gulags, which operated mostly in the 1950s during the early, and most violent, days of Communist rule in the country. In Belene itself, many lower-level guards came from the village and a former mayor was also the gulag's first superintendent. It's not surprising that the village doesn't advertise its history.After 1989, survivors who had been forced to sign documents promising to never talk about the camps started speaking out. For a brief time, they became the subjects of documentaries and newspaper profiles. But soon, the consensus was that it was better to move on. An interior minister tasked with investigating the camps instead secretly ordered a purge of thousands of pages of documents - 40% of the government record. While Bulgaria's defeat of the Ottomans is central to the national identity, and much is made of the fact that Bulgaria saved its Jews during the Holocaust, the memory of the Communist era is more fraught. Georgi Tutunjiev, the author's grandfather, in around 1977. Tana Ganeva Peculiar for a tour, most of our stops lead us to what's not left of the camp. The shacks where prisoners slept have been razed - there's no trace of them.At the entrance, in what is now an open field, an inscription says, "To be human is to have dignity." From inside the camp - what would have been visible to the internees - the engraving says, "If the enemy doesn't surrender, he is destroyed." But no one I've talked to knows whether it's the original or has been recreated. There are a few abandoned, falling-apart buildings, but those were built in 1959, six years after the camp's official (but not real) closing, when it was converted into a prison, in part to kill rumors that it had operated as a secret gulag. Todor Zhivkov, the Communist premier who took power in 1954 and stayed on until 1989, reopened it in the 1980s to detain Muslims who refused to take on Slavic names in place of their own - a disastrous bid to assimilate them. I ask Toncheva whether there's a list of everyone who was held in the camp. I'm thinking of my grandfather and wondering whether there's any documentation. She tells me everyone who comes here for the camp asks the same question."There's no way to know, no list," Toncheva says, apologetic. "There's almost no proof the camp even existed."'Perfectly calculated by Satan himself'The first contingent of 300 men arrived at the Belene camp in the summer of 1949, five years after the 1944 Communist coup. My grandfather, then 24, arrived that first winter. A camp for women was founded on an adjacent island soon after.It was modeled after Josef Stalin's gulags in Siberia. Most of the prisoners had been dragged from their homes by the military police and sent here without trial. (Estimates vary, but 20,000 to 40,000 people were thought to be murdered by the Bulgarian Communist Party.) Even Stalin eventually warned them to scale down the killing of prominent oppositional figures or risk creating martyrs.The first wave of prisoners had to hack through the unpopulated island and build small shacks that were so crowded the prisoners didn't have room to lie down. In his history of the camp, Borislav Skotchev wrote that the island was dotted with towers manned by guards with machine guns. A survivor of Belene during a commemoration ceremony in 2015. Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images) The men held here included the former leader of the Social Democrats, Orthodox priests (many in their 70s), and the mayor of Bulgaria's capital, Sofia. Tsveti Ivanov, the editor of the newspaper Svoboden Narod, or Free People, was sent to Belene after serving 10 months in prison. He was beaten so brutally that he got tetanus from his wounds and died in the compound. Much of what we know about the place comes from survivors' memoirs. They were fed a thin soup, sometimes with a handful of beans thrown in. Their bread ration - moldy or stale when it made its way to them - was small, and could be withheld by the guards as punishment. Sometimes they got tea. My grandfather told me that, in the winter, both the soup and the tea were given to them already frozen.When Toncheva takes us on a brief walk to go look at storks, the ground gives off wet heat, and brambles and thorns claw at us, as if the island is alive and doesn't want us there. I think of the people who had to work days and nights, in sweltering summers, devoured by mosquitoes. It's unbelievable that anyone survived.An internal CIA document described the grim situation of starving prisoners. "A frequent sight is that of a prisoner eating raw green leaves and roots," it said. "To be caught doing this, however, would result in 10 days in detention in a dungeon for such an offense." The lucky ones got packages from family, though those were often taken by guards. Many had little choice but to choke down the rotting carcasses of wild cats, killed and skinned for their fur by the villagers, or pick through horse dung for undigested barley. According to a CIA information report from March 13, 1952, during one brutal winter 30 prisoners died of cold or starvation."It was an Inferno circle, perfectly calculated by Satan himself," Liliana Pirinchiva, one of the female survivors of Belene, wrote in her memoir. "We were reduced to skeletons." A group of Bulgarian anarchists. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Then there were the guards, who brought an especially sadistic approach to their work. Some would chase packs of prisoners on horseback, letting their rifles off "as if we were a flock of sheep," wrote Stefan Botchev, a survivor. When he got a severe case of scabies, the mites burrowing into his skin, he was locked up in a shed alone because the guards didn't want him to infect the cows. He recalled seeing a beating so severe that a prisoner's spine was broken, turning him into a "reptile crawling on the ground."Kouni Genchev Kounev, the chairman of the Bulgarian Youth Agrarian Union who also survived Belene, recalled one especially brutal punishment, in which the guards would pull back a prisoner's head and strike him in the trachea. They called it the "sword stroke."Years later, Krum Horozov, a survivor, would draw water colors of the camp from memory - it's virtually the only visual documentation that exists. In 2011, six years before his death, Horozov wrote: "And when we die, which will be soon, who will remember what happened on that island in the 1950s, and will they know that people were sent there without a trial and sentence?"Lilia Topouzova, a historian in Toronto who writes about the history and the memory of the camps, recalls meeting Horozov at an academic conference; he was trying to give away copies of his drawings of Belene to university students, but they avoided him as if he were a pesky street vendor.The CricketAt 93, Tsvetana Dzhermanova is the last known survivor of the women's camp, which was known as Shturets, or Cricket. We're sitting outside her home in the mountain village of Leskovets, and she's talking so fast I wonder how she manages to breathe.She smiles and laughs a lot, and she reminds me of my grandfather, who also spoke with the speed of a motorboat, frantic to tell his story."I promised to outlive the Communistie, and here I am!" she boasts. (My grandfather also took an understandable delight at outliving the Communistie. "I survived the Communistie, but I won't survive old age," he once told me, when I was 25 and had no idea about either.) Tsvetana Dzhermanova. Tsvetana Dzhermanova Dzhermanova was an anarchist in the 1950s, and still is today. "That's my personal ideology," she says. "I'm not sure humans are evolved enough to make either anarchism or socialism work the way they should, but for me, anarchism is it. Because I value freedom, family, friendship, and love."When she first heard about anarchism as a teenager, she asked her mother what it meant. "Anarchists are the people all regimes persecute," her mother had replied. That sold her. Dzhermanova joined a village group. She had no designs on power (detesting it) and mostly spent her time reading anarchist literature and working on a community vegetable garden. She estimates that 800 anarchists from the town were swept up in a night and sent to the gulags."We sang songs while we worked," Dzhermanova tells me. "That helped." Last spring the sprightly nonagenarian made the three-hour trip to Belene to speak with a group of students about the camps. "They had no idea about this. They were really surprised," she says. "No one had ever talked to them about it, and they don't learn about it in school."'Out of Fashion'Toncheva and our driver, Peter, walk through a falling-down building that was constructed in 1959, in part to hide evidence of the camp. It's covered in bird shit. Plant life is taking over its rotted remnants, and old decayed furniture has been abandoned here and there. We talk about how nobody talks about the camp.Peter tells us that despite having spent almost his entire life roughly 750 feet from Persin, in Belene village, he learned about the camp only two weeks earlier, when Toncheva hired him as a driver for her tours."To think they only gave them bread and water, and made them work so hard," he says, shaking his head in disbelief. A crumbling building built on the site of Belene. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters As far as Toncheva knows, no one from her family was held here, but she remembers asking her grandmother about the island when she was a teenager and again after reading the memoirs of survivors. "Shhh. Don't talk so much about this," her grandmother would say. "You don't want to bring trouble."There are rumors of a mass grave near Persin. Mikhail Mikailev, the head of the Belene Island Foundation, wants to find it. But money for the equipment required to find and dig up the remains eludes this two-person staff.Unlike Peter and Toncheva, my parents, who were born in the mid-1950s and grew up in Bulgaria, tell me that in the 1970s and 1980s, all their friends in Sofia knew about Belene. "We all heard the stories," my mother says.But for the authorities, maintaining official denial was worth murder.In 1969, the celebrated Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov defected to the West, where he wrote about the regime's abuses. In one essay, Markov described traveling on a boat down the Danube and approaching Belene. "I remembered how, feet dangling over the edge of the boat, a youth with a guitar once sang a strange song: Danube, white river, how quiet you flow / Danube, black river, what anguish you know." A view of Persin island. Tsvetomir Nikolaev On a rainy afternoon in London, a man jabbed the tip of his umbrella into Markov's leg. Later, Markov noticed what looked like a small bug bite but didn't think much of it. A few days later he was dead, most likely poisoned by the Bulgarian secret service.Before my visit to Belene, I met Topouzova, the historian, over Zoom to talk about the erasure of the camps in Bulgaria's consciousness. While former generals wrote best-sellers, the owner of a prominent bookstore dismissed any interest in survivors' memoirs - they were "out of fashion," he had told her.It was gaslighting in its purest form. And it showed how we're all so prone to the "just world" fallacy, a phenomenon where if something is too horribly unjust, the human brain just kind of moves on. It's not all that hard to bury inconvenient truths."It turned out that aging men and women with fragmented memories of bygone violence did not make for the faces of change," Topouzova wrote in a recent paper titled "On Silence and History" for the American Historical Association. "The interned were rendered nonexistent - their experiences and memories fated to vanish along with the files." A pile of stonesNations define themselves by their monuments. The memorial in downtown Manhattan demands that we never forget the victims of 9/11. In the past few years, American activists have torn Confederate statues from their perches, signaling a break with the passive acceptance of the history of slavery. Yet grappling with unpleasant history isn't easy. It was only in 2018 when a museum honoring the Black victims of lynching opened in Alabama. The 1619 Project, which posits that the history of the United States is rooted in slavery, has spurred a massive backlash. School districts have banned children's books about Rosa Parks. Vaunted democracies are as likely to try to bury inconvenient truths as former communist states. At an exhibition in Sofia in 2009, Belene survivors look at images of the gulag's victims. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters In Bulgaria, there are monuments everywhere. From the smallest village to Sofia, the heroes of Bulgaria's uprising against the Ottoman Empire are eternalized in stone. In Plovdiv, a giant sculpture overlooks Bulgaria's second-largest city that honors "Alyosha," an everyman Soviet soldier who helped "liberate" Bulgaria in the 1940s - even though many Bulgarians see that period as Soviet imperialism, much like the Ottoman Empire's 500 years of occupation.The victims of Belene and the other camps have no such honor. The Belene foundation does the best it can. They helped organize an art exhibit, where Korozov's pencil drawings were tacked onto the walls of the decaying structures that had been erected to mask evidence of the gulag. A man places photos of famous victims of Soviet policy in front of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014. Hristo Vladev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images There is one modest monument on the island. It's an abstract stone structure, and you'd have no idea what it was if you didn't already know the history. The original idea was to build a monument that listed the names of all the known internees, something like the Vietnam wall on the Mall in Washington. But the survivors and their families who pooled their resources to build it ran out of money, and no one, including the Bulgarian government, stepped in to help. (The survivors also hoped to open a museum and to recreate the shacks where they were held, but that hasn't happened either.)My grandfather's escape Dzhermanova, the 93-year-old anarchist - and eternal optimist, apparently - has hope that younger people will dig up the buried history.As for my grandfather, his ex-wife (or whoever it was who betrayed him to the authorities) was right that he wanted to escape Bulgaria.After his release from Belene in 1953, that resolve was so much stronger. "After 4 years and three months in the Island of Death, I became determined to go to my real home: America," he explained in his notebooks. The author with her grandfather and grandmother, Tsvetana Tutunjieva. Tana Ganeva As he detailed it, it would take four harrowing attempts. Soon after his release from Belene, he managed to make it into Yugoslavia during a "sabor" - a temporary loosening of borders so family and friends in the two countries could see each other. But he got caught and was thrown into a Yugoslavian jail.From there, he organized an inmate breakout after bribing the guard dog, Jeko, with his dinner. But he and the other prisoners were caught in the woods, and the Yugoslavian authorities gave them up to the Bulgarian authorities in exchange for 10 cows. "They weren't even very good cows - scrawny," he wrote.Several years later, he tried to cross Bulgaria's mountainous border into Greece, but he was caught once again.Finally, he made it into Austria and then Germany by clinging to the underside of a freight train. And then on to California, where he gave his new dog a familiar name: Jeko.Tana Ganeva writes about policing, prisons and criminal justice. She's currently working on a book about escapees from the Soviet bloc. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Future of Surveillance And Control

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Future of Surveillance And Control Submitted by Ronan Manly, BullionStar.com One of the most potentially far-reaching trends in the financial landscape right now is the imminent roll-out of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and the parallel attacks which central bankers are waging on private digital currencies and tokens as they tee up the launch of their CBDCs. First some clarifications. While the majority of central bank issued currencies (fiat currencies) in existence around the world are already in digital form, a fiat currency held in digital form is not the same as a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). What is a CBDC? A CBDC generally refers to electronic or virtual central bank (fiat) money that is created in the form of digital tokens or account balances which are digital claims on the central bank. CBDCs will be issued by central banks and will be legal tender. Many CBDCs that are being researched and developed employ Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), with the recording of transactions on a blockchain.  However unlike private cryptocurrencies which use a permissionless and open design, CBDCs that use DLT will use permissioned variants (deciding who has access to the network and who can view and update records in the ledger). See here for a discussion of permissionless vs permissioned blockchains. CBDCs - The antithesis to decentralized private cryptocurrencies and tokens Critically, as the name suggests, CBDCs will be centralized and governed by the issuing authority (i.e. a central bank). So, in their design and structure, CBDCs can be viewed as the very antithesis to decentralized private cryptocurrencies and tokens. Central banks have already working on two types of CBDCs, ‘wholesale’ digital tokens that would have access restricted to banks and financial entities to be used for activities like interbank payments and wholesale market transactions, and ‘general purpose’ (retail) CBDC for the general public to be used in retail transactions. It is this ‘general purpose’ CBDC which most people are referring to when they discuss central bank digital currencies, and it is these ‘general purpose’ CBDCs that will be most important to watch when  central banks and governments begin to attempt their roll-outs to distribute CBDCs to billions of people across the world either through account-based CBDCs or ‘digital cash’ tokens. As you can guess, account-based CBDCs will be tied to user identities and Digital IDs, and straight off the bat they allow for total surveillance by the State and torpedo any chance of anonymity. For this reason, they are already a favourite among central banks. Given that CBDCs will be centralized ledgers and can be programmable, the ‘digital cash’ token option is not much better in terms of privacy and freedom. The Bank for International Settlements - The Dark Tower of Basel Many central banks will probably opt for a hybrid model of both account-based and token based digital cash. As an example, Canada, the one time liberal democracy, perhaps illustrates the account-based vs token based choices best, where Canada’s central bank, the Bank of Canada, in it’s design documentation for CBDCs shows that at the end of the day, it's about surveillance and control, saying that: “anonymous token-based options would be allowable for smaller payments, while account-based access would be required for larger purchases.” Central banks are also experimenting with various models for distribution of CBDCs to the masses, including using private commercial banks and payment providers who will intermediate on the central banks’ behalf, and also direct distribution of payments by a central bank to a population. Either way, you can see that CBDCs greatly facilitate the statists to advance their Orwellian plans for Universal Basic Income (UBI) and dependency on the state.    Accelerating rollout CBDCs are not just a buzzword or a hazy innovation that may appear sometime in the distant future. They are actively being developed now, and in widespread fashion. In January 2020, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) issued the results of a survey on CBDCs that it had conducted in the second half of 2019, and to which 66 central banks had responded. Strikingly, 10% of central bank respondents (which represented a fifth of the world’s population) said that they were likely to issue a ‘general purpose’ CBDC (for the general public) in the near future (within the next 3 years). Another 20% of central bank respondents said they would likely issue a ‘general purpose’ CBDC in the medium term (within 6 years). In August 2020, the BIS published a comprehensive working paper on CBDCs titled “Rise of the central bank digital currencies: drivers, approaches and technologies” one part of which analysed the BIS database of central banker speeches and found that between December 2013 and May 2020, there had been 138 central banker speeches mentioning CBDCs, with a dramatic increase in CBDC related speeches since 2016, a timeframe which coincided with central banks launching research projects on CBDCs. The same BIS report also highlighted that, (totally coincidentally) the Covid-19 'pandemic'  "accelerated work on CBDCs in some jurisdictions."  BIS slide on CBDC global project status - August 2021. Source. Fast forward to right now, and on the website of the globalist Atlantic Council (headquartered in Washington D.C.), there is an interesting Central Bank Digital Currency Tracker which lists all the countries that have either launched or piloted a CBDC or are developing or researching a CBDC. Here we find that 5 central banks have already launched a CBDC, 14 have a CBDC in pilot, 16 have a CBDC in development, and another 32 central banks are at the research stage with their CBDC. That makes 67 central banks (countries in total). While the 5 currency areas that have already launched a CBDC are all islands in the Caribbean, the central banks at the pilot stage include heavy weights such as China, South Korea, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.   Those at the development stage include the central banks of Canada, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, France and Nigeria. Those at the research stage include the central banks of the US, UK, Australia, Norway, India, Pakistan and Indonesia. So as you can see, this is not some theoretical issue. Centrally controlled digital currencies are coming down the pipe in a big way, and some will be appearing, if not imminently, then very soon. And given the ease with which governments have imposed lockdowns and restrictions on their compliant populations during 2020 and 2021, it is not hard to envisage that these same pliable masses will be easily influenced to embrace CBDCs as being in their 'best interests'. BIS Switzerland - The Usual Suspect    In fact, one third of the entire BIS annual report 2021 is focused on CBDCs in a section titled “CBDCs: an opportunity for the monetary system”. Here, the BIS predictably trumpets the benefits of introducing central bank issued centralized digital currencies while at the same time attempting to undermine private cryptocurrencies. The BIS wording reveals the fact that central banks are in panic over the competitive threat of private cryptos and have accelerated the development of CBDCs partially due to this fear, with the BIS stating that: “Central bank interest in CBDCs comes at a critical time. Several recent developments have placed a number of potential innovations involving digital currencies high on the agenda. The first of these is the growing attention received by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies; the second is the debate on stablecoins; and the third is the entry of large technology firms (big techs) into payment services and financial services more generally.” The BIS then attempts to dismiss each of these 3 threats: Cryptocurrencies, claims the BIS “are speculative assets rather than money, and in many cases are used to facilitate money laundering, ransomware attacks and other financial crimes”. Bitcoin comes in for some special mention with the BIS saying that “Bitcoin in particular has few redeeming public interest attributes when also considering its wasteful energy footprint’. Stablecoins, says the BIS “attempt to import credibility by being backed by real currencies” that are “ultimately only an appendage to the conventional monetary system and not a game changer.” The entry of large tech firms that dominate social networks, search, messaging, and e-commerce into the realm of financial services and payments provision infrastructure seems to especially bother the BIS, and it spins it’s criticism into the argument that although these platforms have large network affects, this creates “further concentration” in the market for payments. The irony is not lost on the fact that it’s the BIS, as the central bank of central banks and one of the most concentrated power centres in the world, that is criticizing others’ “concentration” of power.   Throughout this CBDC pitch, the BIS report refers at numerous points that digital currencies should be “in the public interest”, which really means that digital currencies should be controlled by the BIS and its central bank members, as well as perpetuate their centralized monetary power structure. The BIS even has the gall to claim that CBDCs should respect privacy rights, when in fact the whole architecture, rationale and design of central bank digital currencies will allow central banks and national authorities to invade totally on privacy rights.  But sometimes the BIS let's it's guard down, and reveals it's authoritarian plans for CBDCs. A case in point is a recent interview with Agustín Carstens general manager of the BIS, where he chillingly said:  "We don’t know who’s using a $100 bill today and we don’t know who’s using a 1,000 peso bill today. The key difference with the CBDC is the central bank will have absolute control on the rules and regulations that will determine the use of that expression of central bank liability, and also we will have the technology to enforce that.” See video segment below for Carstens' remarks: Singing from the Same Song Sheet With the BIS is Basel Switzerland as the conductor and orchestrator, it's not surprising that central bank governors and country heads are now singing from the same song sheet, the song being ‘private digital currencies bad, central bank digital currencies good’. Earlier this month (September 2021) at a banking conference in Stockholm, the governor of Sweden’s central bank (Riksbank), Stefan Ingves, commented that ‘private money usually collapses sooner or later’, while conveniently failing to mention the hundreds of government and central bank issued paper currencies that have collapsed throughout history due to overprinting, depreciation and hyperinflation. Nor did Ingves mention Voltaire’s famous quote that “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value - zero”. Ingves, whose country is one of the leaders in promoting a cashless society, also took a derogatory swipe at Bitcoin saying “sure, you can get rich by trading in bitcoin, but it’s comparable to trading in stamps.” All the while the Riksbank is pushing ahead with it’s central bank digital currency, called the e-krona, a CBDC which uses distributed ledger technology, and which the Swedish central bank is currently testing in conjunction with Handelsbanken, one of Sweden’s largest retail banks. In the same week as Ingves’s comments in Sweden, the governor of Mexico’s central bank, Alejandro Diaz de Leon, was also taking a shot at private cryptocurrencies and for good measure he also put the boot into precious metals. Diaz de Leon said that Bitcoin is more like a method of barter than ‘evolved’ fiat money, and continued “in our times, money has evolved to be fiat money issued by central banks. Bitcoin is more like a dimension of precious metals than daily legal tender.” That comment, which attacks two birds with one stone (crypto and precious metals), will definitely please his central bank governor colleagues at thee BIS, and may even earn Diaz de Leon a nomination as the next BIS general manager, to succeed his fellow countryman Agustín Carstens.    Speaking of the BIS, Benoit Coeure, head of the BIS Innovation Hub, also gave a WEF style speech about CBDCs in early September, acknowledging the convenient catalyst of the covid 'pandemic', and the accelerated development of CBDCs by central banks:  "the world is not returning to the old normal. Payments are a case in point. The pandemic has accelerated a longer-running move to digital .... the world's central banks are stepping up efforts to prepare the ground for digital cash – central bank digital currency (CBDC): "A CBDC's goal is ultimately to preserve the best elements of our current systems while still allowing a safe space for tomorrow's innovation. To do so, central banks have to act while the current system is still in place – and to act now." Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also recently joined in the attack on private digital currencies, while simultaneously promoting Turkey’s CBDC. At an event on 18 September, the Turkish president stated that:  “we have absolutely no intention of embracing cryptocurrencies” “on the contrary, we have a separate war, a separate fight against them. We would never lend support to [cryptocurrencies]. Because we will move forward with our own currency that has its own identity.” PBOC SAYS ALL CRYPTO-RELATED TRANSACTIONS ARE ILLEGAL So the digital yuan is a complete disaster eh? — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 24, 2021 China: Digital Yuan - An Ominous Blueprint  A huge red flag over CBDCs and user privacy is that these central bank digital currencies are programmable, as details on China’s ‘Digital Yuan’ already show. For example, the Digital Yuan can be programmed to be activated on a certain date, programmed to expire on a certain date, programmed to be only valid for certain purchases, and ominously, programmed to be only available to citizens who meet certain pre-conditions. As a potential blueprint for other CBDCs, people across the world need to sit up and take notice, because the issuing authorities of these CBDCs coming down the pipe can therefore decide who gets access to CBDCs, what they can transact using those currencies, and how long the purchasing power remains valid. Central Banks can thus influence and control the behaviour of the recipients of this centralised digital cash,  as well as exclude those who they want to penalize or who don’t comply with the State's rules or parameters. And right on cue as this article was just published, Chinese authorities have now announced (on 24 September)  a total ban on all cryptocurrency transactions. Except of course, it's upcoming authoritarian Digital Yuan.    The future according to WEF's Klaus Schwab and his Elite private banker handlers Conclusion - Slavery or Monetary Freedom Although central banks will claim that they are introducing CBDCs for reasons such as improving payments efficiency, boosting financial inclusion for the unbanked and tackling illicit transactions, their real motivations, as always, are for surveillance and control. Surveillance of a population via complete visibility into financial transaction flow and user identities, and centralized control of the money supply within a cashless financial system. Think China’s social credit system on a global dystopian scale, where vax passes evolve into digital IDs and digital IDs link to CBDC issuance and use. In fact, the entire coercion around implementing vaccine passports and digital IDs looks to be a pre-planned stepping stone for the roll-out of central bank digital currencies and global social credit systems. The timing of the accelerated emergence of CBDCs may partially be an attempt by central banks to outflank the numerous private cryptocurrencies, tokens and decentralized finance ecosystems that have emerged and that are a threat to the power of the centralized banking system at whose apex sits the BIS. But it would be naïve to think that central banks that knew in advance about the initiation of a‘WEF’ global technocratic and corpocratic takeover that would begin in 2020, are not now orchestrating the rollout of CBDCs as part of a long-term global agenda, that agenda being the global socialist Agenda 2030, and a future in which, according to the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) “You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy”. BIS and central bank attacks against private cryptocurrencies are to be expected. After all, the same central banks and the BIS have waged a very long war against physical gold and silver. And precious metals have been money since 4000 B.C.. With the launch of CBDCs by central banks and their elitist private banking controllers, that war looks set to intensify. So, do you want a future of monetary freedom, or a future of perpetual slavery to central banker CBDCs?  If you want monetary freedom, then ownership of physical precious metals and private and anonymous digital currencies are now some of the only ways to counter and protect against the ominous CBDC plans which the BIS and its central bank members are intent with imminently rolling out. *  *  * This article originally appeared on the BullionStar.com website under the same title "Central Bank Digital Currencies – A Future of Surveillance and Control" Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 15:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt11 hr. 34 min. ago

AAR Reports First Quarter 2022 Results

First quarter sales of $455 million, up 14% over the prior year First quarter GAAP diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.31 compared to a loss per share of $(0.40) in Q1 FY2021 Adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.52, up 206% from $0.17 in Q1 FY2021 First quarter cash flow from operating activities from continuing operations of $18 million WOOD DALE, Ill., Sept. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AAR CORP. (NYSE:AIR) today reported first quarter Fiscal Year 2022 consolidated sales of $455.1 million and income from continuing operations of $11.2 million, or $0.31 per diluted share. For the first quarter of the prior year, the Company reported sales of $400.8 million and loss from continuing operations of $13.9 million, or $0.40 per diluted share. Our adjusted diluted earnings per share from continuing operations in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2022 were $0.52 compared to $0.17 in the first quarter of the prior year. Current quarter results included net pretax adjustments of $9.9 million, or $0.21 per share, primarily due to a previously disclosed customer contract termination and related asset impairment charges. Consolidated first quarter sales increased 14% over the prior year quarter. Our consolidated sales to commercial customers increased 53% over the prior year quarter primarily due to the recovery in the commercial market from the impact of COVID-19. Our consolidated sales to government customers decreased 17% primarily related to timing as the prior year quarter included significant activity across both our U.S. Marine Corps C-40 and U.S. Air Force pallet contracts. On a sequential basis, consolidated first quarter sales increased 4% over the fourth quarter. Our consolidated sales to commercial customers increased 17% over the fourth quarter while consolidated sales to government customers decreased 10%. Sales to commercial customers were 59% of consolidated sales compared to 44% in the prior year's quarter reflecting the recovery in the commercial market from the impact of COVID-19. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, we announced several new contract awards including: Exclusive distribution agreement with Arkwin Industries covering its broad line of engine actuation and commercial aviation products, which complement our existing engine parts offerings Firm, fixed price contract from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration for the conversion and delivery of a Boeing 737-700 aircraft Extension of our long-term, component support agreement with Volotea, a growing low-cost carrier in Spain, for its fleet of Airbus narrowbody aircraft utilizing our logistics centers in Europe "We had a very strong start to the year across our commercial business. We saw robust performance in our MRO operations and continued recovery in our parts activities. We also secured new government and commercial program contract awards while adding another exclusive new parts distribution agreement, which we expect to contribute to our long-term growth," said John M. Holmes, President and Chief Executive Officer of AAR CORP. Gross profit margins increased from 12.1% in the prior year quarter to 14.2% in the current quarter and adjusted gross profit margin increased from 13.0% to 16.1%, primarily due to the favorable impact from our actions to reduce costs and increase our operating efficiency. Expeditionary Services profitability increased significantly from 10.8% to 19.0% reflecting the sale of the Composites business in the prior year quarter and improved execution in the Mobility business. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased from $45.3 million to $49.3 million mainly due to restoration of temporary compensation reductions. Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percent of sales decreased from 11.3% to 10.8% due to the favorable impact from our cost reduction actions. Operating margin increased from 0.8% in the prior year quarter to 3.3% in the current quarter and adjusted operating margin increased from 2.5% to 5.5%, primarily due to the favorable impact from our actions to reduce costs and increase our operating efficiency. Sequentially, our adjusted operating margin increased from 5.2% in the fourth quarter to 5.5% in the current quarter. In conjunction with the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, we have concluded our activities in country under our WASS and U.S. Department of Defense contracts. The operations related to our activities in Afghanistan contributed revenue of $67 million in Fiscal 2021. Holmes continued, "I am extremely proud of our WASS team and their work in Afghanistan. Our team played a vital role in helping to evacuate over 2,000 U.S. Embassy personnel over a 36 hour period. This was a very difficult operation in a challenging environment but all of our flights were completed successfully and once our mission was accomplished, all of our AAR team members were safely evacuated. We are very grateful for their service." Net interest expense for the quarter was $0.7 million compared to $1.6 million last year. Average diluted share count increased to 35.7 million from 35.0 million in the prior year quarter. Cash flow provided by operating activities from continuing operations was $17.5 million during the current quarter compared to $39.8 million in the prior year quarter, which included $48.5 million related to our receipt of funding from the CARES Act through the Payroll Support Program. Excluding our accounts receivable financing program, our cash flow provided by operating activities from continuing operations was $25.9 million in the current quarter. Holmes concluded, "Our continued focus on driving operating efficiency and working capital management led to another quarter of sequential margin improvement and strong cash flow. Looking forward, while the U.S. exit from Afghanistan will impact our government business in the near term, we are encouraged by the strong pipeline of offsetting government opportunities such as the recent contract award from the Department of Energy. In our commercial markets, the timing of the recovery has been impacted by the Delta variant, but as we continue to see demand increase, particularly in our parts activities, we expect continued growth and operating margin expansion." Conference Call Information                                         AAR will hold its quarterly conference call at 3:45 p.m. CT on September 23, 2021. The conference call can be accessed by calling 866-802-4322 from inside the U.S. or +1-703-639-1319 from outside the U.S. A replay of the conference call will also be available by calling 855-859-2056 from inside the U.S. or +1-404-537-3406 from outside the U.S. (access code 8294140). The replay will be available from 7:15 p.m. CT on September 23, 2021 until 10:59 p.m. CT on September 29, 2021. About AAR AAR is a global aerospace and defense aftermarket solutions company with operations in over 20 countries. Headquartered in the Chicago area, AAR supports commercial and government customers through two operating segments: Aviation Services and Expeditionary Services. AAR's Aviation Services include parts supply; OEM solutions; integrated solutions; maintenance, repair, overhaul; and engineering. AAR's Expeditionary Services include mobility systems operations. Additional information can be found at www.aarcorp.com. Contact: Dylan Wolin – Vice President, Strategic & Corporate Development and Treasurer | (630) 227-2017 | dylan.wolin@aarcorp.com This press release contains certain statements relating to future results, which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which reflect management's expectations about future conditions, including but not limited to (i) the ability of our latest distribution, government and commercial programs contract awards to support continued long-term growth,(ii) the impact of our continued focus on driving operating efficiency and working capital management on sequential margin improvement and cash flow, (iii) the impact on our government business in the near term of the recent U.S. exit from Afghanistan, (iv) the impact of the strong pipeline of offsetting government opportunities on our future results and (v) our expectations regarding continued growth and operating margin expansion. Forward-looking statements often address our expected future operating and financial performance and financial condition, or sustainability targets, goals, commitments, and other business plans, and often may also be identified because they contain words such as "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "likely," "may," "might," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "seek," "should," "target," "will," "would," or similar expressions and the negatives of those terms. These forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs of Company management, as well as assumptions and estimates based on information available to the Company as of the dates such assumptions and estimates are made, and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or those anticipated, depending on a variety of factors, including: (i) factors that adversely affect the commercial aviation industry; (ii) the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on air travel, worldwide commercial activity and our and our customers' ability to source parts and components; (iii) a reduction in the level of sales to the branches, agencies and departments of the U.S. government and their contractors (which were 44.7% of total sales in fiscal 2021); (iv) non-compliance with laws and regulations relating to the formation, administration and performance of our U.S. government contracts; (v) cost overruns and losses on fixed-price contracts; (vi) nonperformance by subcontractors or suppliers; (vii) changes in or non-compliance with laws and regulations that may affect certain of our aviation and government and defense related activities that are subject to licensing, certification and other regulatory requirements imposed by the FAA, the U.S. State Department and other regulatory agencies, both domestic and foreign; (viii) a reduction in outsourcing of maintenance activity by airlines; (ix) a shortage of the skilled personnel on whom we depend to operate our business, or work stoppages; (x) competition from other companies, including original equipment manufacturers, some of which have greater financial resources than we do; (xi) financial and operational risks arising as a result of operating internationally; (xii) inability to integrate acquisitions effectively and execute our operational and financial plan related to the acquisitions; (xiii) inability to recover our costs due to fluctuations in market values for aviation products and equipment caused by various factors, including reductions in air travel, airline bankruptcies, consolidations and fleet reductions; (xiv) asset impairment charges we may be required to recognize to reflect the non-recoverability of our assets or lowered expectations regarding businesses we have acquired; (xv) limitations on our ability to access the debt and equity capital markets or to draw down funds under loan agreements; (xvi) non-compliance with restrictive and financial covenants contained in certain of our loan agreements, and government funding received under the CARES Act; (xvii) restrictions on paying, or failure to maintain or pay dividends; (xviii) exposure to product liability and property claims that may be in excess of our liability insurance coverage; (xix) threats to our systems technology from equipment failures' cyber and other security y breaches or other disruptions; (xx) the costs of compliance, and liability for non-compliance, with environmental regulations, including future requirements regarding climate change; and (xxi) a need to make significant capital expenditures to keep pace with technological developments in our industry. Should one or more of those risks or uncertainties materialize adversely, or should underlying assumptions or estimates prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described. Those events and uncertainties are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many are beyond our control. For a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, refer to our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Part I, "Item 1A, Risk Factors" and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. These events and uncertainties are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many are beyond the Company's control. The risks described in these reports are not the only risks we face, as additional risks and uncertainties are not currently known or foreseeable or impossible to predict accurately or risks that are beyond the Company's control or deemed immaterial may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations in future periods. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events. AAR CORP. and Subsidiaries Consolidated Statements of Operations (In millions except per share data - unaudited) Three Months Ended August 31,     2021       2020                   Sales $ 455.1     $ 400.8   Cost and expenses:               Cost of sales   390.5       352.2   Selling, general and administrative   49.3       45.3   Loss from joint ventures   (0.2 )     (0.1 ) Operating income   15.1       3.2   Loss on sale of business   ––       (19.5 ) Interest expense, net   (0.7 )     (1.6 ) Other income, net   0.7       0.2   Income (Loss) from continuing operations before income taxes   15.1       (17.7 ) Income tax expense (benefit)   3.9       (3.8 ) Income (Loss) from continuing operations   11.2       (13.9 ) Income (Loss) from discontinued operations   0.3       (0.6 ) Net income (loss) $ 11.5     $ (14.5 )                 Earnings (Loss) per share – Basic               Earnings (Loss) from continuing operations $ 0.32     $ (0.40 ) Earnings (Loss) from discontinued operations   0.01       (0.02 ) Earnings (Loss) per share – Basic $ 0.33     $ (0.42 )                 Earnings (Loss) per share – Diluted               Earnings (Loss) from continuing operations $ 0.31     $ (0.40 ) Earnings (Loss) from discontinued operations   0.01       (0.02 ) Earnings (Loss) per share – Diluted $ 0.32     $ (0.42 )                 Share Data:               Weighted average shares outstanding – Basic   35.1       34.9   Weighted average shares outstanding – Diluted   35.7       35.0                   AAR CORP. and Subsidiaries Consolidated Balance Sheets (In millions) August 31, 2021   May 31, 2021   (unaudited)     ASSETS       Cash and cash equivalents $ 48.8   $ 51.8 Restricted cash   3.8     8.4 Accounts receivable, net   180.8     166.7 Contract assets   74.6     71.9 Inventories, net   525.8     540.6 Rotable assets and equipment on or available for lease   52.3     50.4 Assets of discontinued operations   19.2     19.5 Other current assets   39.6     27.7 Total current assets   944.9     937.0 Property, plant, and equipment, net   109.1     120.0 Operating lease right-of-use assets, net   73.6     75.8 Goodwill and intangible assets, net   122.1     123.8 Rotable assets supporting long-term programs   178.0     184.3 Other non-current assets   108.0     98.8 Total assets $ 1,535.7   $ 1,539.7             LIABILITIES AND EQUITY           Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 304.0   $ 301.4 Liabilities of discontinued operations   20.2     35.4 Total current liabilities   324.2     336.8 Long-term debt   127.6     133.7 Operating lease liabilities   58.0     59.9 Other liabilities and deferred income   37.7     34.9 Total liabilities   547.5     565.3 Equity   988.2     974.4 Total liabilities and equity $ 1,535.7   $ 1,539.7             AAR CORP. and Subsidiaries Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (In millions – unaudited) Three Months Ended August 31,.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 23rd, 2021

BlackBerry Reports Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2022 Results

Revenue exceeds expectations and Company adds deep cybersecurity industry experience to drive growth - Total company revenue of $175 million. - IoT revenue of $40 million. - Cyber Security revenue of $120 million. - Licensing & Other revenue of $15 million. - Positive operating cash flow of $12 million. - Non-GAAP loss per basic and diluted share of $0.06; GAAP loss per basic and diluted share of $0.25. A non-cash accounting adjustment to the fair value of the convertible debentures, as a result of market and trading conditions, accounts for approximately $0.12 of GAAP loss per share. WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- BlackBerry Limited (NYSE:BB, TSX:BB) today reported financial results for the three months ended August 31, 2021 (all figures in U.S. dollars and U.S. GAAP, except where otherwise indicated). "Revenue for all businesses beat expectations this quarter.  The Cyber Security business unit delivered robust sequential billings and revenue growth and the IoT business unit performed well in the face of global chip shortage pressures," said John Chen, Executive Chairman & CEO, BlackBerry. "We are already seeing benefits from establishing the two key business units and are delighted to appoint John Giamatteo as President of Cyber Security.  Giamatteo, who was previously President and Chief Revenue Officer at McAfee, adds leading industry expertise. In IoT, design activity for our QNX products remains very strong, demonstrating both our industry leadership position and secular trends, such as ECU consolidation. In Cyber Security we received strong third-party validation of the effectiveness of our AI-driven, prevention-first suite of products, illustrating progress made with recent product launches." Second Quarter Fiscal 2022 Financial Highlights Total company revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $175 million. Total company non-GAAP gross margin was 65% and GAAP gross margin was 64%. IoT revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $40 million, with gross margin of 83% and ARR of $89 million. Cyber Security revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $120 million, with gross margin of 59% and ARR of $364 million. Licensing and Other revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $15 million as negotiations for the sale of a portion of the patent portfolio continue. Gross margin was 60%. Non-GAAP operating loss was $30 million. GAAP operating loss was $141 million, primarily due to a non-cash accounting adjustment to the fair value of the convertible debentures, resulting from market and trading conditions, of $67 million. Non-GAAP loss per share was $0.06 (basic and diluted). GAAP loss per share was $0.25 (basic and diluted). Total cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments were $772 million. Net cash generated from operating activities was $12 million. Business Highlights & Strategic Announcements BlackBerry has design wins with 24 of the world's leading 25 Electric Vehicle (EV) automakers. This has increased from 23 of the top 25 last quarter following an EV win with Daimler. BlackBerry IVY™ to deliver highly secure vehicle-based payments, leveraging direct access to vehicle sensor data and edge processing to create a "digital fingerprint". Delivered through a partnership with Car IQ. Nobo Technologies selects BlackBerry QNX® Neutrino® as foundation for new Digital Cockpit Controller for Great Wall Motors' Haval G6S SUV. Great Wall Motors is China's largest producer of SUV vehicles. sTraffic, Korea's leading solution developer for transportation infrastructure systems, selects QNX® OS for Safety as the foundation for their train traffic management system that includes unmanned train operations. BlackBerry launches BlackBerry® Jarvis 2.0® composition analysis tool. Delivered as a more user-friendly SaaS offering, Jarvis 2.0 empowers OEMs to validate and ensure the quality of their multi-tiered software bill of materials. BlackBerry awarded highest AAA rating by SE Labs in breach test of BlackBerry® Protect (EPP) and BlackBerry® Optics (EDR). The breach test adopted a range of real-world hacker tactics and BlackBerry's AI-driven products delivered complete prevention and detection with zero false positives. BlackBerry® UEM integrates with Microsoft 365, delivering BlackBerry's industry-leading security to Microsoft's productivity products. BlackBerry® AtHoc® critical event management platform used as foundation for autonomous flood risk and clean water monitoring solution. BlackBerry updates SecuSUITE capabilities to protect group phone calls and messages for governments and businesses from high risk eavesdropping. Appointment of New Cyber Security Business Unit PresidentBlackBerry has appointed John Giamatteo as President of the Cyber Security business unit.  With this strategic hire the company adds significant industry experience. Giamatteo will join the company on October 4th and report to Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen.  He will be responsible for business unit strategy, engineering, and go-to-market. Giamatteo brings to BlackBerry over 30 years of experience with technology companies. Most recently he served as President and Chief Revenue Officer of McAfee, where he was responsible for sales, marketing, and customer success.  During his time with McAfee, he delivered strong double-digit growth across its Enterprise, SMB and Consumer businesses as well as significant margin expansion across the portfolio.  Prior to that he served as Chief Operating Officer at AVG Technologies, a leading provider of Internet and mobile security. Giamatteo also held leadership positions with Solera Holdings, RealNetworks, Inc. and Nortel Network Corporation. "I'm excited to be joining BlackBerry and to be leading the Cyber Security business unit.  Never has the threat of cyberattacks been higher, nor more in the minds of management," said Giamatteo. "BlackBerry's AI-driven, prevention-first technology is well placed to scale to meet the constantly evolving cybersecurity needs of companies everywhere.  I'm very positive about the opportunities that we have as a company." Tom Eacobacci, BlackBerry's President and COO, has decided to pursue other opportunities and will leave the Company on October 29th.  BlackBerry thanks Tom for his hard work and contributions in his time at the Company. OutlookBlackBerry will provide fiscal year 2022 outlook in connection with the quarterly earnings announcement on its earnings conference call. The earnings call transcript will be made available on our website and on SEDAR. Use of Non-GAAP Financial MeasuresThe tables at the end of this press release include a reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures used by the company to comparable U.S. GAAP measures and an explanation of why the company uses them. Conference Call and WebcastA conference call and live webcast will be held today beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET, which can be accessed by dialing +1 (877) 682-6267 or by logging on at BlackBerry.com/Investors. A replay of the conference call will also be available at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET by dialing +1 (800) 585-8367 and entering Conference ID #6149337 and at the link above. About BlackBerryBlackBerry (NYSE:BB, TSX:BB) provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments around the world. The company secures more than 500M endpoints including more than 195M vehicles.  Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company leverages AI and machine learning to deliver innovative solutions in the areas of cybersecurity, safety and data privacy, and is a leader in the areas of endpoint security, endpoint management, encryption, and embedded systems.  BlackBerry's vision is clear - to secure a connected future you can trust. BlackBerry. Intelligent Security. Everywhere.  For more information, visit BlackBerry.com and follow @BlackBerry.   Investor Contact:BlackBerry Investor Relations+1 (519) 888-7465investor_relations@blackberry.com Media Contact:BlackBerry Media Relations+1 (519) 597-7273mediarelations@blackberry.com This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of certain securities laws, including under the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws, including statements regarding BlackBerry's plans, strategies and objectives including its expectations with respect to increasing and enhancing its product and service offerings.  The words "expect", "anticipate", "estimate", "may", "will", "should", "could", "intend", "believe", "target", "plan" and similar expressions are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by BlackBerry in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors that BlackBerry believes are appropriate in the circumstances, including but not limited to, BlackBerry's expectations regarding its business, strategy, opportunities and prospects, the launch of new products and services, general economic conditions, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, competition, and BlackBerry's expectations regarding its financial performance.  Many factors could cause BlackBerry's actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, risks related to the following factors: BlackBerry's ability to enhance, develop, introduce or monetize products and services for the enterprise market in a timely manner with competitive pricing, features and performance; BlackBerry's ability to maintain or expand its customer base for its software and services offerings to grow revenue or achieve sustained profitability; the intense competition faced by BlackBerry; the occurrence or perception of a breach of BlackBerry's network cybersecurity measures, or an inappropriate disclosure of confidential or personal information; the failure or perceived failure of BlackBerry's solutions to detect or prevent security vulnerabilities; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; BlackBerry's continuing ability to attract new personnel, retain existing key personnel and manage its staffing effectively; BlackBerry's dependence on its relationships with resellers and channel partners; litigation against BlackBerry; network disruptions or other business interruptions; BlackBerry's ability to foster an ecosystem of third-party application developers; BlackBerry's products and services being dependent upon interoperability with rapidly changing systems provided by third parties; BlackBerry's ability to obtain rights to use third-party software and its use of open source software; failure to protect BlackBerry's intellectual property and to earn expected revenues from intellectual property rights; BlackBerry being found to have infringed on the intellectual property rights of others;  the substantial asset risk faced by BlackBerry, including the potential for charges related to its long-lived assets and goodwill; BlackBerry's indebtedness; tax provision changes, the adoption of new tax legislation or exposure to additional tax liabilities; the use and management of user data and personal information; government regulations applicable to BlackBerry's products and services, including products containing encryption capabilities; the failure of BlackBerry's suppliers, subcontractors, channel partners and representatives to use acceptable ethical business practices or comply with applicable laws; regulations regarding health and safety, hazardous materials usage and conflict minerals; acquisitions, divestitures and other business initiatives; foreign operations, including fluctuations in foreign currencies; the fluctuation of BlackBerry's quarterly revenue and operating results; the volatility of the market price of BlackBerry's common shares; adverse economic, geopolitical and environmental conditions. These risk factors and others relating to BlackBerry are discussed in greater detail in BlackBerry's Annual Report on Form    10-K and the "Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" section of BlackBerry's MD&A (copies of which filings may be obtained at www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov). All of these factors should be considered carefully, and readers should not place undue reliance on BlackBerry's forward-looking statements. Any statements that are forward-looking statements are intended to enable BlackBerry's shareholders to view the anticipated performance and prospects of BlackBerry from management's perspective at the time such statements are made, and they are subject to the risks that are inherent in all forward-looking statements, as described above, as well as difficulties in forecasting BlackBerry's financial results and performance for future periods, particularly over longer periods, given changes in technology and BlackBerry's business strategy, evolving industry standards, intense competition and short product life cycles that characterize the industries in which BlackBerry operates. BlackBerry has no intention and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.   BlackBerry Limited Incorporated under the Laws of Ontario (United States dollars, in millions except share and per share amounts) (unaudited) Consolidated Statements of Operations  Three Months Ended Six Months Ended August 31, 2021 May 31, 2021 August 31,2020 August 31, 2021 August 31, 2020 Revenue $ 175 $ 174 $ 259 $ 349 $ 465 Cost of sales 63 60 60 123 123 Gross margin 112 114 199 226 342 Gross margin % 64.0 % 65.5 % 76.8 % 64.8 % 73.5 % Operating expenses Research and development 58 57 57 115 114 Selling, marketing and administration 83 73 79 156 169 Amortization 45 46 46 91 92 Impairment of goodwill — — — — 594 Impairment of long-lived assets — — 21 — 21 Debentures fair value adjustment 67 (4) 18 63 19 253 172 221 425 1,009 Operating loss (141) (58) (22) (199) (667) Investment loss, net (1) (2) (5) (3) (5) Loss before income taxes (142) (60) (27) (202) (672) Provision for (recovery of) income taxes 2 2 (4) 4 (13) Net loss $ (144) $ (62) $ (23) $ (206) $ (659) Loss per share Basic $ (0.25) $ (0.11) $ (0.04) $ (0.36) $ (1.18) Diluted $ (0.25) $ (0.11) $ (0.04) $ (0.36) $ (1.18) Weighted-average number of common shares outstanding (000s) Basic 568,082 567,358 558,882 567,724 558,365 Diluted 568,082 567,358 558,882 567,724 558,365 Total common shares outstanding (000s) 566,995 566,248 556,468 566,995 556,468   BlackBerry Limited Incorporated under the Laws of Ontario (United States dollars, in millions) (unaudited) Consolidated Balance Sheets As at August 31, 2021 February 28, 2021 Assets Current Cash and cash equivalents $ 291 $ 214 Short-term investments 416 525 Accounts receivable, net of allowance of $9 and $10, respectively 121 182 Other receivables 23 25 Income taxes receivable 9 10 Other current assets 50 50 910 1,006 Restricted cash equivalents and restricted short-term investments 27 28 Long-term investments 38 37 Other long-term assets 13 16 Operating lease right-of-use assets, net 57 63 Property, plant and equipment, net 44.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 22nd, 2021

General Motors (GM) Seals Deal With Hertz, Unveils 3 New E-Motors

General Motors (GM) unveils three new electric motors for its Ultium-based EVs, set to debut on the all-new 2022 GMC Hummer EV. General Motors GM recently inked an agreement with Hertz to help provide additional loaner cars to dealerships amid the global shortage of microchip.Reportedly, Hertz, a rental car giant, will primarily pivot on furnishing loaner vehicles to Chevy Bolt EV customers. Further, Hertz will provide the additional loaner vehicles at the automaker’s current rate as an add-on to the GM Dealer Courtesy Transportation Program.General Motors recently extended an existing recall for the Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Bolt EUV to all models and model years, including the revamped 2022 Chevy Bolt EV and all-new 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV. General Motors had issued the recall as the company had discovered two manufacturing defects in the battery cells supplied by South Korea's LG Energy Solution, its long-time electric vehicle (EV) partner. These include a torn anode tab and folded separator, which, in rare circumstances, could lead to a battery fire. To resolve the issue, General Motors had stated that the early Bolt models would have the entire battery packs replaced, while the newer models would have only the defective modules within the pack replaced. This had forced the auto biggie to suspend the production of new cars, until LG fixed the manufacturing lines and started supplying defect-free battery cells.This was followed by General Motors recently announcing that the production of the Chevy Bolt EV and Bolt EUV battery packs were resumed, with the replacement battery modules to be shipped out to dealers by mid-October. General Motors is also planning to issue a new state-of-the-art diagnostic software update, developed to locate the potential defects in the charging and battery packs, while enabling it to prioritize damaged batteries for replacement. Chevrolet dealers will commence installing the new software update in vehicles tentatively over the next 60 days.Like most other automakers, General Motors continues to fight the semiconductor chip dearth, used in the various car parts, since the beginning of the current calendar year. This had forced the automaker to temporarily halt production across several plants in North America.Nonetheless, the automaker was able to successfully navigate the chip crunch, as was evident by the company’s plans to ramp up production and deliveries of nearly all its vehicles, announced in June. General Motors was able to resume operations in nearly all of its assembly plants by diverting the scarce chip parts to the vehicles that are in the highest demand and generate the biggest profits.Other automakers scrambling with this supply-chain issue include Ford F, Toyota TM and Honda HMC.In a separate development, General Motors yesterday unveiled three new electric motors for its Ultium-based EVs at the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference. The motors will power the automaker’s future EVs and debut on the 2022 GMC Hummer EV.The motors — a 180-kilowatt front-drive motor, a 255-kW rear and front-drive motor, and a 62-kW all-wheel-drive assist motor — are designed in-house by General Motors and can be configured in several different ways for different power and torque needs. Also, the motors can be used on a wide range of vehicles, spanning from performance cars to work trucks.Additionally, General Motors has developed the software for Ultium Drive’s motor controllers, which, per the auto biggie, is crucial to catering to the propulsion needs of various vehicle types with a minimal set of components. This new controller is also going to be first integrated in the GMC Hummer EV.The power electronics of General Motors’ Ultium-based EVs will be integrated directly into the Ultium Drive units, thereby bringing down costs, weight and manufacturing complexity, while increasing the performance and reliability.The company’s years of expertise and skill in electric drive system development are aiding it to transit quickly from conventional vehicles to EVs. The Ultium Drive components will allow the company to more quickly ramp up the EV production and adjust the production mix to cater to the rising market demand. Moreover, the company’s vertical integration in the EV space, incorporating both hardware and software, has helped take its EV game a notch higher, giving it significant competitive advantage over its peers.General Motors currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report Toyota Motor Corporation (TM): Free Stock Analysis Report Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC): Free Stock Analysis Report General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

Is Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF) a Strong ETF Right Now?

Smart Beta ETF report for DEF The Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF) made its debut on 12/15/2006, and is a smart beta exchange traded fund that provides broad exposure to the Style Box - Large Cap Growth category of the market.What Are Smart Beta ETFs?The ETF industry has traditionally been dominated by products based on market capitalization weighted indexes that are designed to represent the market or a particular segment of the market.Because market cap weighted indexes provide a low-cost, convenient, and transparent way of replicating market returns, they work well for investors who believe in market efficiency.However, some investors believe in the possibility of beating the market through exceptional stock selection, and choose a different type of fund that tracks non-cap weighted strategies: smart beta.Based on specific fundamental characteristics, or a combination of such, these indexes attempt to pick stocks that have a better chance of risk-return performance.Methodologies like equal-weighting, one of the simplest options out there, fundamental weighting, and volatility/momentum based weighting are all choices offered to investors in this space, but not all of them can deliver superior returns.Fund Sponsor & IndexBecause the fund has amassed over $369.35 million, this makes it one of the average sized ETFs in the Style Box - Large Cap Growth. DEF is managed by Invesco. DEF seeks to match the performance of the Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index before fees and expenses.The Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index is comprised of approximately 100 stocks selected from the S&P 500 Index based on investment and other screening criteria. The companies selected have potentially superior risk-return profiles during periods of stock market weakness while still offering the potential for gains during periods of market strength.Cost & Other ExpensesSince cheaper funds tend to produce better results than more expensive funds, assuming all other factors remain equal, it is important for investors to pay attention to an ETF's expense ratio.Annual operating expenses for DEF are 0.53%, which makes it on par with most peer products in the space.DEF's 12-month trailing dividend yield is 1.18%.Sector Exposure and Top HoldingsWhile ETFs offer diversified exposure, which minimizes single stock risk, a deep look into a fund's holdings is a valuable exercise. And, most ETFs are very transparent products that disclose their holdings on a daily basis.This ETF has heaviest allocation in the Healthcare sector - about 24.20% of the portfolio. Industrials and Consumer Discretionary round out the top three.Looking at individual holdings, Danaher Corp (DHR) accounts for about 1.14% of total assets, followed by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (TMO) and Copart Inc (CPRT).Its top 10 holdings account for approximately 10.95% of DEF's total assets under management.Performance and RiskThe ETF has added roughly 15.33% so far this year and was up about 25.25% in the last one year (as of 09/22/2021). In the past 52-week period, it has traded between $53.51 and $70.The ETF has a beta of 0.88 and standard deviation of 21.74% for the trailing three-year period, making it a medium risk choice in the space. With about 102 holdings, it effectively diversifies company-specific risk.AlternativesInvesco Defensive Equity ETF is a reasonable option for investors seeking to outperform the Style Box - Large Cap Growth segment of the market. However, there are other ETFs in the space which investors could consider.Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG) tracks CRSP U.S. Large Cap Growth Index and the Invesco QQQ (QQQ) tracks NASDAQ-100 Index. Vanguard Growth ETF has $83.68 billion in assets, Invesco QQQ has $188.90 billion. VUG has an expense ratio of 0.04% and QQQ charges 0.20%.Investors looking for cheaper and lower-risk options should consider traditional market cap weighted ETFs that aim to match the returns of the Style Box - Large Cap Growth.Bottom LineTo learn more about this product and other ETFs, screen for products that match your investment objectives and read articles on latest developments in the ETF investing universe, please visit Zacks ETF Center. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Invesco Defensive Equity ETF (DEF): ETF Research Reports Danaher Corporation (DHR): Free Stock Analysis Report Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO): Free Stock Analysis Report Copart, Inc. (CPRT): Free Stock Analysis Report Invesco QQQ (QQQ): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

Realogy Named Great Place to Work®

Realogy Holdings Corp. has been named a certified Great Place to Work® for the fourth year in a row. The award is based entirely on current employee feedback about their experience working at Realogy. This year, 86% of Realogy employees said the company is a great place to work—27 percentage points higher than a typical […] The post Realogy Named Great Place to Work® appeared first on RISMedia. Realogy Holdings Corp. has been named a certified Great Place to Work® for the fourth year in a row. The award is based entirely on current employee feedback about their experience working at Realogy. This year, 86% of Realogy employees said the company is a great place to work—27 percentage points higher than a typical U.S.-based company, according to the National Employee Engagement Survey by Great Place to Work®. “I am incredibly proud that for the fourth consecutive year Realogy has been recognized as a Great Place to Work,” said Ryan Schneider, Realogy’s chief executive officer and president, in a statement. “As we continue to transform and accelerate Realogy’s leadership in both residential real estate and workplace culture, the Great Place to Work designation is especially meaningful. The direct feedback from our people reflects not only their company pride but also their strong dedication to supporting affiliated agents, franchise owners, customers, and each other, every day.” Over two-thousand employees participated in the Great Place to Work survey, with Realogy scoring particularly high ratings, 90% and up, to questions, such as feeling welcomed when joining the company, being given a lot of responsibility and people caring about each other. “Great Place to Work Certification isn’t something that comes easily—it takes ongoing dedication to the employee experience,” said Sarah Lewis-Kulin, vice president of global recognition at Great Place to Work, in a statement. “It’s the only official recognition determined by employees’ real-time reports of their company culture. Earning this designation means that Realogy is one of the best companies to work for in the country.” For more information, please visit www.realogy.com. The post Realogy Named Great Place to Work® appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaSep 22nd, 2021

KCI Technologies bolsters bridge capabilities with latest acquisition

KCI Technologies Inc., a multi-disciplined engineering firm with offices throughout the United States, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Florida-based consulting firm Bridging Solutions. KCI will expand its capabilities to include Bridging Solutions’ highly specialized bridge and structural engineering services in the transportation and land development markets. Bridging Solutions... The post KCI Technologies bolsters bridge capabilities with latest acquisition appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. KCI Technologies Inc., a multi-disciplined engineering firm with offices throughout the United States, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Florida-based consulting firm Bridging Solutions. KCI will expand its capabilities to include Bridging Solutions’ highly specialized bridge and structural engineering services in the transportation and land development markets. Bridging Solutions offers a range of bridge design and inspection expertise to a diverse client base consisting of state and local agencies, community associations, professional service firms, and private owners. Their portfolio includes the completion of preliminary and final design, construction engineering inspection, and structural evaluation for a multitude of new and existing vehicular, rail and pedestrian bridges, retaining walls, privacy and sound walls, and traffic signals and signage structures. “Bridging Solutions is an accomplished structures engineering firm in South Florida,” said Vice President and Discipline Manager Erick J. Fry, PE. “Their experience working with private and public clients will provide a platform for KCI to leverage our collective strengths and better serve the growing market.” The firm was founded by Ralph Verrastro, PE, in 2006. Verrastro is a nationally recognized expert in accelerated bridge construction—a fast-track repair and replacement method utilizing prefabricated components. He has served as the structural engineer for hundreds of bridge-related projects throughout the country and has extensive experience in the rehabilitation of historic metal truss and concrete arch bridges. He is a registered professional engineer in 37 states, earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Cornell University, and in 2018 was named Engineer of the Year by the Florida Engineering Society. Verrastro is a frequent presenter of technical presentations on engineering topics at industry conferences, seminars and training courses. Bridging Solutions will join KCI’s staff of more than 230 employees in the state of Florida to continue its expansion in the Southeast and further its transportation-related service offerings in the surrounding regions. The post KCI Technologies bolsters bridge capabilities with latest acquisition appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 21st, 2021

Fathom Realty Expands Leadership Team

Fathom Realty recently announced several additions to its leadership team: Claire Addison District: Greater Albuquerque, New Mexico Addison relocated from Hawaii to practice law and real estate in New Mexico. She is a highly experienced REALTOR® in estates, investment, residential and trust properties. She enjoys helping families who are upsizing or downsizing and first-time homebuyers. […] The post Fathom Realty Expands Leadership Team appeared first on RISMedia. Fathom Realty recently announced several additions to its leadership team: Claire Addison District: Greater Albuquerque, New Mexico Addison relocated from Hawaii to practice law and real estate in New Mexico. She is a highly experienced REALTOR® in estates, investment, residential and trust properties. She enjoys helping families who are upsizing or downsizing and first-time homebuyers. Her goal is to provide valuable advice, market data and problem solving that results in successful outcomes. Addison looks forward to growing Fathom Realty’s presence in New Mexico by attracting the most capable agents and supporting their dreams and goals. Andres Aviles Greater Collin County – Southwest, Texas One of Fathom’s youngest district directors, Aviles, was inspired to pursue real estate and establish his career shortly after college. After just five years in the industry, Aviles has shown strong leadership and team-building skills that align with Fathom’s servant-based leadership mentality and culture, according to the company. He hopes to bring together a community based on trust, authenticity and transparency. Aviles caters to Spanish and English-speaking clients and specializes in assisting first-time home buyers, new construction projects and land purchases. Melissa Gibbens District: Southwest Missouri (Springfield/Joplin) Gibbon’s husband of 26 years is a general contractor who gave her the nudge to start a real estate career. With professional experience in customer service, Gibbens prides herself on focusing on serving the needs of her clients. She began her real estate career 16 years ago, focusing on new construction sales. As her career evolved, Gibbens became a specialist in another area, CAFO or concentrated animal feeding operation sales. She is proud to support rural America and the farmers that feed the U.S. Wendy Holcomb District: Greater Collin County – East, Texas Holcomb serves the Collin County East district in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. She brings a mix of investment banking and a legal background into her work in real estate. Holcomb is a Fathom Mentor and enjoys guiding, teaching and serving other agents. Julian Jacksonlt District: Greater Southwest San Antonio, Texas Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Jackson earned degrees in Information System Technology and Psychology and was accepted to flight school as an Army helicopter pilot. He later became an Army instructor pilot training new Army flight students where he was voted the outstanding instructor of the flight in the  overwhelming majority of classes that he taught. After moving to San Antonio in 2003, Jackson went on to train Air Force officers in logistics readiness and attained his Master Instructor certification the following year with over 3000 hours on the podium. While still serving in the military, Jackson earned his license as a loan officer in 2006 and shortly after opened Paradigm Institute Loan Officer and Mortgage Broker Training School. He wrote and taught one of the highest first-time pass rate courses in the state of Texas. Thirteen months later he would open his own mortgage branch of Southwest Funding. Wendy Lahn District: East Central Minnesota Lahn has been in the real estate business collectively for 29 years. She has worked solo and in big brick-and-mortar offices but recently joined Fathom Realty to expand the brokerage into Minnesota. Lahn has achieved the Graduate REALTORS® Institute (GRI), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and the ePro designations from the National Association of REALTORS®. Rachel Mann District: Greater Denton County – Southwest, Texas Mann has been a licensed REALTOR® in the State of Texas since 2016. Her passion for the industry includes mentoring, investing and working with custom builders. Mann’s experience and her industry connections help to ensure each transaction is handled with the utmost importance and professionalism Janet Mitchell District: Greater Collin County – Northwest, Texas Mitchell has been in the real estate industry for over 15 years. In addition to her real estate experience, she spent ten years as a sales director in a major cosmetic company helping consultants build successful businesses. Mitchell’s passion for assisting people to achieve their dreams and become a better version of themselves in the process is the driving force in all that she does. Rhonda Ryals District: Tampa, Florida In 2017, Ryals embarked on her journey into the world of real estate and never looked back! First, she began her career working in an apprenticeship role. The next step, to venture as a solo agent, was a natural progression for Ryals. Cindy Woyak District: Boise/Twin Falls, Idaho; State Broker Woyak has been a principal broker for many years, leading small and large brokerages, and teaching thousands of agents across the state of Idaho. As a new member of the Fathom family, she is excited to continue raising the bar in our ever-changing industry. For more information, please visit www.fathomrealty.com. The post Fathom Realty Expands Leadership Team appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaSep 21st, 2021

TDOT provides update on Hernando de Soto Bridge fracture, repairs

The design team is considering an interim repair concept — using steel rods that are attached to the bridge and span over the fractured section — potentially providing enough strength to reopen it to vehicular traffic......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 14th, 2021

Plans underway to combine all traffic to one side of I-10 while crews work to repair bridge

This story is courtesy of our partners at KHOU 11. Click here for KHOU's original story and video. HOUSTON — The closure of Interstate 10 over the San Jacinto River is creating headaches for drivers who depend on one of the busiest freeways in the c.....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsSep 24th, 2019

Boeing Has Software Fix for 737 Max, Now Comes the Hard Part

Boeing announced Thursday that it has completed work on the software update to repair the 737 MAX anti-stall system. Now the fix has to be certified and accepted by civil aviation authorities around........»»

Category: blogSource: 247wallstMay 16th, 2019

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt2 hr. 46 min. ago

Georgia GOP Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan says he"s "not sacrificing a thing" to appease Trump: book

"Is it hard to understand that a husband and father of three boys chose to stick by the truth?" asked Lt. Gov. Duncan of rejecting election lies. Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan of Georgia. AP Photo/John Amis In his new book, Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan of Georgia rejected the party's fealty to Trump. Duncan remarked on criticism that he's faced in affirming the state's 2020 election results. "Has the former president poisoned our system to the degree that I'm the curiosity?" he asked. See more stories on Insider's business page. Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan of Georgia, a conservative who has defended the veracity of the 2020 presidential election results against allegations of voter fraud, said that he isn't "sacrificing a thing" to appease former President Donald Trump.The lieutenant governor, emphasizing his work last year to elect GOP candidates in the Peach State, laments that the chatter surrounding "the impending end" of his political career was driven not by his lack of commitment to party ideals, but because he examined the party's 2020 loss and "moved on to fight again next cycle."In his newly-released book, "GOP 2.0," Duncan spelled out how he would help build a more independent and inclusive party, which is especially important in Georgia, a rapidly-diversifying state that was narrowly won by President Joe Biden last fall.But he also makes it clear that he has been a longtime adherent to conservative principles and won't let any one individual - notably Trump - dictate his beliefs."I'd left people on both sides of the aisle scratching their heads," he wrote, pointing to a March article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled 'The Curious Case of Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.'"The article, written by political reporter Greg Bluestein, explained how most Georgia Republicans were tying themselves to the former president or "trying to avoid his wrath," while the lieutenant governor rejected such overtures.Duncan said that his actions simply reflected normalcy, something that he said was lost amid the GOP push to placate Trump."When the party's headliner - the president - lost, I was disappointed," he wrote. "Like other lieutenant governors, I triple-checked to make sure our elections ran free and fair; they did. I studied the loss and moved on to fight again next cycle. Nothing unusual there."He added: "Of course, other Republicans didn't follow tradition in 2020. They took a bizarre turn and created an alternative universe where facts, truth, conservative principles, and institutional respect didn't matter. They followed a demagogue with a magical grip over their voters ... They intentionally misled their constituents and spread misinformation for personal gain on a scale never seen in American elections. They convinced millions of Republicans they were right; they made me look like the crazy one."Duncan, who warned that Trump's criticism of Georgia's voting processes would imperil the party in future contests, saw his worst case scenario come true with the loss of both US Senate seats formerly held by Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler after critical runoff elections this past January.In the book, the lieutenant governor wrote of the incredulity of being questioned by others about his principles."Is it hard to understand that a husband and father of three boys chose to stick by the truth? That a conservative stood up for the rule of law? That a lieutenant governor did his duty and followed the traditions that have kept American democracy vibrant for nearly 250 years? Has the former president poisoned our system to the degree that I'm the curiosity?" he asked.He added: "Apparently yes because everyone now expects Republicans to sacrifice every principle to satisfy one person. I'm here to tell you I'm not sacrificing a thing to placate the former president."Duncan, who was elected alongside Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in 2018, announced earlier this year that he would not run for reelection in 2022 and would instead focus on the GOP 2.0 independent movement to expand the Republican coalition.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider14 hr. 46 min. ago

Saturday links: craving silence

On Saturdays we catch up with the non-finance related items that we didn’t get to earlier in the week. You can check... AutosDriving is the most dangerous thing most Americans do every day. What can be done to reduce traffic fatalities? (vox.com)A sustainable car needs to be designed from the ground up. (nytimes.com)Is the Arcimoto FUV the future of mobility? (axios.com)What is a 'diminished value claim'? (humbledollar.com)EnergyWhy New Orleans lost power for so long post-Hurricane Ida. (nytimes.com)China’s president Xi Jinping has pledged to end the financing of new coal power plants overseas. (ft.com)Fire'Fire weather,' i.e. hot, dry and windy, is on the rise in the West. (arstechnica.com)Americans keep moving into fire-prone areas. (bloomberg.com)Goats are particularly effective at eliminating wildfire risks. (nytimes.com)ClimateClimate risk is coming for banks. (ritholtz.com)In the Northern hemisphere Summer is getting longer. (washingtonpost.com)It's going to get more expensive to insure coastal real estate. (nytimes.com)EnvironmentWe can pull carbon from the atmosphere, the question is one of scaling. (reasonstobecheerful.world)The biggest toilet paper brands are made from pulp from virgin forests. (axios.com)Why the Mississippi River Delta is sinking. (theconversation.com)How a new microdrip irrigation system could change farming. (bloomberg.com)Covid has not been great for trash generation. (nytimes.com)AnimalsWhy does Colossal want to re-introduce woolly mammoths into the Arctic? (businessofbusiness.com)Commercial fishing is a global Ponzi scheme. (scientificamerican.com)SpaceSolar flares are an ongoing risk for humanity. (knowablemagazine.org)The soon-to-be launched James Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times as powerful as the Hubble. (vox.com)ArchaeologyWhy scientists believe that a large airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam, a Middle Bronze Age city. (nature.com)The date that humans populated the Americas keeps getting pushed back. (wsj.com)Researchers may have found the oldest case of archaic human art. (scientificamerican.com)Air travelThe FAA is struggling to keep up with all the new stuff in the sky. (axios.com)The U.S. is set to lift the travel ban for vaccinated flyers from the EU and UK. (yahoo.com)Where the major U.S. airlines stand on vaccine mandates for employees. (washingtonpost.com)What's next for airport screening? (axios.com)TravelNational parks are looking for ways to keep crowds in check. (wsj.com)Barcelona is kicking Airbnb ($ABNB), and other short term rentals, out. (nytimes.com)TechnologyThe case for having a laptop separate from work. (theverge.com)New security features in Apple ($AAPL) iOS 15. (wired.com)BehaviorWhat constitutes a psychologically rich life? (psychologytoday.com)Why we all feel so tired all the time. (time.com)Health careHow the pandemic is causing nurses to reassess their career choice. (indystar.com)Nursing home staff shortages are at crisis levels. (axios.com)HealthOn the prospects for a vaccine for poison ivy. (scientificamerican.com)Baby poop is loaded with microplastics. (wired.com)Why have the Dutch people stopped growing taller? (washingtonpost.com)FitnessPeloton ($PTON) is pushing to get its machines in public spaces like hotels and gyms. (frontofficesports.com)Why your workout burns fewer calories than you think. (nytimes.com)DogsTherapy dogs are available at some airports for travelers and workers. (washingtonpost.com)Therapy dogs are also a thing on college campuses. (theconversation.com)A startup, Loyal, wants to improve the healthspan and lifespan in dogs. (techcrunch.com)What's the purpose of a dog's dewclaw? (mentalfloss.com)WeedAmazon ($AMZN) is a force for marijuana legalization. (protocol.com)The legal marijuana business is on a hiring spree. (washingtonpost.com)College students are using marijuana more and drinking less. (washingtonpost.com)FoodSome restaurateurs are using the pandemic as an opportunity to restructure how they do business, including wages. (nytimes.com)Scaling up cultured meat production is going to difficult and expensive. (thecounter.org)MBAApplications to elite MBA programs have leveled off. (wsj.com)The MBA gender pay gap is slowly closing. (ft.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: flu season. (abnormalreturns.com)What you missed in our Friday linkfest. (abnormalreturns.com)Podcast links: the future of finance. (abnormalreturns.com)Are you a financial adviser looking for some out-of-the-box thinking? Then check out our weekly e-mail newsletter. (newsletter.abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaLuxury brands are offering customers expert, in-house repair services. (robbreport.com)Why songwriters get such a small cut of music revenues. (variety.com)Home dining rooms have been repurposed in pandemic. (washingtonpost.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsSep 25th, 2021

The world"s biggest carbon-removal plant just opened. In a year, it"ll negate just 3 seconds" worth of global emissions.

Companies are developing technology that sucks carbon dioxide out of the air. But scientists say it can't be scaled up fast enough. "Orca," Climeworks' new facility in Iceland, can capture 4,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Business Wire via AP The world's biggest carbon-capture plant - which sucks carbon dioxide out of the air - just opened. A UN report says carbon capture technology is necessary if the world wants to be carbon neutral by 2050. But many experts think the tech is too expensive and not scalable in the next few decades. See more stories on Insider's business page. Framed by a backdrop of volcanoes, a semi-circle of gigantic fans in Iceland are sucking in air, super-heating it, then filtering out the carbon dioxide.This carbon capture and storage facility, named Orca, turned on two weeks ago after more than 18 months of construction. The fans are embedded in shipping container-sized boxes, and once the carbon dioxide is separated, it gets mixed with water then travels through snaking, fat tubes deep underground, where the carbon cools and solidifies.Through this process, Orca can trap and sequester 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year - making it the largest facility of its kind in the world (though there are currently only two running)."Think of it like a vacuum cleaner for the atmosphere," Julio Friedmann, an energy policy researcher at Columbia University who attended the plant's ribbon-cutting ceremony, told Insider. "Nothing else can do what this tech does."According to the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon capture and storage is a necessary part of our best-case climate scenarios. But currently, facilities like Orca only negate a sliver of global emissions.Climate scientist Peter Kalmus has done the math: "If it works, in one year it will capture three seconds worth of humanity's CO2 emissions," he wrote on Twitter.-Dr Peter Kalmus STOP LINE 3 (@ClimateHuman) September 9, 2021Put another way, Kalmus told Insider, "at any given moment, it will capture one 10-millionth of humanity's current emissions.""It's remarkable to me it is being considered as part of those plans," he said of the IPCC report.'Probably the most expensive solution' Equipment used to capture carbon dioxide at a coal-fired power plant owned by NRG Energy in Thompsons, Texas, on January 9, 2017. Ernest Scheyder/Reuters The Orca facility works differently than the carbon-capture technologies built into some power plants, steel mills, and industrial facilities. Those collect the carbon produced in the manufacturing process before it enters the air. It can then be converted into materials like concrete or stored underground.More than 20 facilities worldwide currently do this, most of which are in the US. But that simply prevents more carbon from accumulating in the atmosphere. Orca, by contrast, is an attempt to deal with the greenhouse gas that's already up there.This technology, known as direct air capture, is in its infancy. The Swiss company Climeworks, which built Orca, has the only operational game in town; its other plant is in Switzerland. Before that, the technology had only been used on a small scale in spacecraft and submarines.Two other plants are in planning phases: The Canadian company Carbon Engineering, which is backed by Bill Gates, started designing a similar facility in northeastern Scotland three months ago. It also plans to start construction on a a plant in Texas next year. Each of those facilities could remove up to 25 times more carbon per year than Orca. A Climeworks facility for capturing carbon dioxide atop the roof of a waste incinerating plant in Hinwil, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters But as with many emerging technologies, direct air capture is expensive. Christoph Gebald, Climeworks' co-founder, told the Washington Post that it costs at least $600 to capture one metric ton of carbon dioxide, since super-heating the air takes a lot of energy.That cost would need to drop to one-fourth its current level to bring it in line with technologies like wind and solar in terms of their carbon abatement - the degree to which they reduce emissions. To sell carbon commercially - like to beverage companies making fizzy drinks - the price would have to get even lower, probably between $65 and $110 per metric ton.Friedmann thinks a drop to below $200 is likely by 2030, and a drop to $100 two decades after that. By that point, he said, the market for carbon removal market - companies paying to abate their emissions - will have grown significantly.But even at that $100 price, removing all of humanity's annual carbon emissions would cost more than $5 trillion per year, according to Gates' book, "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster." That would require 50,000 Orca plants."It's probably the most expensive solution," Gates wrote. Icebergs melting near Ilulissat, Greenland. Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images There's also the question of timing. The IPCC report says that without capturing significant amounts of carbon over the next 30 years, it will be impossible to get humanity to net-zero emissions by 2050 - and, consequently, to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.But Mathew Barlow, a climate scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, said three decades isn't enough for the technology to be deployed widely."There's no possible way for it to scale up on that timescale," Barlow, who contributed to the IPCC report, told Insider. "We're at the point where you need to get the tech off the shelves, not be building it out."'Fossil-fuel companies love carbon capture'Plants like Orca do, however, out-perform their natural counterparts - trees. "The Orca facility does the work of 200,000 trees in 1,000 times less space," Friedmann said.What's more, once a facility like this stores its carbon, it's locked away. If trees burn, the carbon they've absorbed gets released. A reforestation project in Leiria, Portugal in 2018. Carlos Costa/Getty Images But trees capture carbon at a much lower cost of $50 per metric ton.Kalmus thinks carbon capture ultimately distracts the world from other solutions that would make a bigger dent in emissions, like investment in renewables and regulations targeting the fossil-fuel industry."Fossil-fuel companies love carbon capture because it really does let them off the hook," he said.Friedmann, though, thinks it's possible to expand carbon-capture infrastructure enough to make a difference. If the Senate's infrastructure bill passes in the House, it would allocate $3.5 billion toward direct air capture facilities in the US. Elon Musk also announced this year that he's funding a $100 million carbon-capture contest."We now know that we can do it," Friedmann said. "Now we're just haggling over price and literally asking how much we're willing to pay to save the Earth."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

Visualizing The World"s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies

Visualizing The World's Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies Some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies have played a central role in the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s likely no surprise that the pandemic has also been great for many healthcare businesses. In fact, as Visual Capitalist's Anshool Deshmukh notes, in 2020 alone, the world’s 50 largest pharmaceutical companies still combined for a whopping $851 billion in revenues. In this graphic, using data from Companies Market Cap, we list the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world by market capitalization. It’s worth noting this list also includes healthcare companies that work closely with pharmaceuticals, including biotech, pharmaceutical retailers, clinical laboratories, etc. Editor’s Note: A previous version of this graphic was missing some key companies such as GSK and AbbVie. They were unfortunately not included in the original source and we are now working to make sure there were no other smaller omissions. Thanks to all that sent in corrections. The Pharmaceutical Leaders To start, here are the top five biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world at the moment by market capitalization: 1. Johnson & Johnson The pharmaceutical and consumer goods giant is worth $428.7 billion in market cap. They developed the third vaccine authorized for use in the U.S. and were named among the TIME100 Most Influential Companies List in 2021. 2. Roche The Swiss pharmaceutical giant is at the forefront of oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology, and neuroscience. In 2019, Roche’s pharma segment sales rose by a healthy 16% to $53 billion. 3. Pfizer Despite being the leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer in North America, Pfizer slid in the rankings to third place. The company has recently gained momentum, especially in the past quarter, with Q2’2021 revenues of $19.0 billion, reflecting a 86% operational growth from 2020. 4. Eli Lilly Eli Lilly has taken a significant step towards establishing itself as a pharmaceutical industry leader. Having a market cap value of $125 billion in 2019, Eli Lilly has jumped to a current value of $214.9 billion, a significant growth of 72%. 5. Novartis The second-biggest pharmaceutical company out of Switzerland, Novartis has been the face of the pharma industry for about 25 years. The primary manufacturer for the most recognizable drugs on the market pulled in a revenue of over $48 billion in 2020, a 3% increase compared to 2019. Here’s how all the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world stack up against each other:   World’s Largest Pharmaceutical Exporters and Importers   According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), these countries exported the most number of pharmaceuticals in the year 2019:   In contrast, here are the biggest importers over the same period.     This position is hardly surprising for the U.S., where six of the world’s top 10 pharmaceutical companies are headquartered. The country also captures 45% of the global market.   The Future of Pharmaceutical Companies If the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that in building a patient-centered future, the pharmaceutical industry plays a key role. It has to constantly find new ways to customize medicines while researching and developing new tools and drugs. By embracing disruptive technologies like 3D printed drugs, artificial intelligence guided therapies, and preventive medicine while working with regulatory agencies, the pharmaceutical companies will benefit from having a digital revolution. Furthermore, emerging markets will have a more significant say in the global pharmaceutical market in the coming years. Even though ‘big pharma’ will keep raking in the massive profits they do every year, their reliance on countries like Brazil and India for research and drug production will significantly impact the years to come. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com, The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service) If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con. One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it. By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease. Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become.  But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public.  And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting. This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride.  Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools.  This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ― the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service".  So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Table of Contents:     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again. *  *  * Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ― we're getting close.  But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses. Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ― there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings. Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever. As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not. SARS: The Exception to the Rule? This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties: SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious) SARS made people extremely sick. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread. These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members.  By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke). In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle. Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical. All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ― our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants."  This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ― a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations.  Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies.  A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts. For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ― it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells. By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ― immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time.  Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity.  Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ― a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East. Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly.  Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID. So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ― they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years?  Feeling conned yet? Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection.  In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more. Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination. Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ― basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly. On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero. Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019) The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information... A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there. Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus. As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime. Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat. Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed. Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not.  From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources. The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle. So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality. From a 2003 study [my emphasis]: "Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again." In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack. We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly. What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.) And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs) Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one. If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense.  The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones.  Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ― a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever. Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity? The short answer is no.  Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun.  “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."  - President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ― only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations. From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this!  We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself.  A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters. So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus.  That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts s.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Ignored Warnings, Deferred Maintenance Caused Michigan Dams To Collapse

Ignored Warnings, Deferred Maintenance Caused Michigan Dams To Collapse By Julie Strupp of ConstructionDive, Following the rare and dramatic collapse of the Edenville and Sanford dams in Midland County, Michigan, in May 2020 that forced 10,000 residents to evacuate, a newly released preliminary report sheds light into why they failed, and offers safety lessons for other aging, earthen infrastructure.  The independent investigation from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) covers the physical mechanisms involved in the accident but doesn’t place blame; a final report expected in several months will delve into human factors.  The report says poor construction and ignored upkeep, combined with intense rainfall, were the primary causes of the failure. Experts previously assumed that only an earthquake could cause a dam embankment to liquify the way it did in Edenville. A series of failures On May 19, 2020, water poured into the Wixom Lake reservoir, filling it to a record high. This waterlogged the dam’s embankment, which caused it to liquify and collapse, per the report. This overwhelmed the downstream Sanford Dam, causing it to fail as well. The problems started long before that day though: The two dams were built in the 1920s, but a key embankment wasn’t compacted the way it was supposed to be, setting it up for failure about 100 years later. Boyce Hydro bought the Edenville, Sanford, and two other central Michigan dams as tax shelters in 2006 and owned them at the time of the collapse, Bridge Michigan reported.  After the company failed for decades to repair spillways that are supposed to prevent flooding, the FERC revoked the license to generate power for the Edenville dam a year and a half before the accident. The Sanford Dam was an active hydroelectric facility at the time of the incident. A 2012 report by Boyce says that the company knew since at least 2012 that the section of the dam that failed lacked the tile drains that were supposed to line the entire bottom, leaving that soil vulnerable to saturation. The company disputes it is to blame. It also argues area landowners and federal regulators are responsible for rules that made it unable to preemptively drain the lake to make room for the additional rainwater. Other dams at risk While the liquification seen at Edenville is rare, dam failure is unfortunately not unique: The 2017 Oroville Dam incident in California forced 180,000 people to evacuate, and in 2019 the Spencer Dam failure in Nebraska killed one person. Both failures were also sparked by heavy rain. The Michigan dam failures caused about $175 million in damage to homes and buildings and left two lake beds empty. Victims of the incident are suing Boyce Hydro (as well as state and federal regulators) but the company has filed for bankruptcy, thus plaintiffs are unlikely to receive much compensation from it. Experts don’t know exactly how many U.S. dams might have the same issues as Edenville, said Mark Ogden, technical specialist for the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, and information is sparse about the many dams that were constructed a century ago. "We know there are likely about 4,000 high hazard-potential dams that have an assessment rating of poor or are not rated, and it’s likely that a good percentage of those require some remedial action," Ogden said. "The need for action to get these dams upgraded and improved is really significant." More than half of dams are privately owned, and lack of upkeep is sometimes an issue, according to Ogden. Plus, climate change-related extreme weather will put increasing stress on aging dams in coming years, and could cause more breakdowns unless remedial measures are taken, he said. Policy, engineering remedies Going forward, engineers will look for lessons from the incident, according to Ogden.  "Any time we see a failure or incident at a dam, it’s really important to investigate... I think that we will see that dam owners will look at these types of dams and will make decisions based on this new info to make sure it doesn’t happen again," said Ogden. "There are definitely dams out there in a similar situation [as Edenville], and hopefully dam owners and regulators and others in the dam safety field can work together." One of the issues with preventing dam failures is that there isn’t enough funding for inspections and upkeep, according to Ogden. The Twenty-First Century Dams Act, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in July, would provide $21.1 billion to rehabilitate, retrofit and remove dams as needed, as well as to fund inspections and state safety programs. States regulate about 70% of dams in the U.S. "Many dam safety programs are terribly under-resourced," Ogden said. "[The 21st Century Dam Act] is an important piece of legislation that could help in terms of improving the safety of dams." Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 20:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021