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Elon Musk"s Starlink Can Help Scale Up Dogecoin Without Protocol Changes, Proposes Researcher

Starlink, the internet service powered by SpaceX’s constellation of satellites, can be useful in the efforts to scale Dogecoin by improving network connectivity between miners, according to a lecturer at Imperial College London. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaMay 26th, 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

Altcoins surge as Evergrande crisis cools off, with avalanche, cosmos and polkadot leading the charge

The smaller cryptocurrencies rallied sharply on Thursday, enjoying a swell of risk appetite after some concerns around the Evergrande debt crunch. crypto coins circle Nurphoto Avalanche, cosmos, dot and sol rose sharply, recovering from this week's meltdown. Risk appetite picked up after Evergrande made interest payments on some of its bonds, allaying some investor concerns. Crypto is not tightly correlated with other risk assets in the long term, Marcus Sotiriou from GlobalBlock said. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. The smaller cryptocurrencies rallied sharply on Thursday, enjoying a swell of risk appetite after some of the concerns around the debt crunch at Chinese property company Evergrande that had rattled markets earlier this week subsided.While the likes of cardano's ada, solana's sol and even ether have posted major gains in recent weeks, it was the smaller coins such as the native tokens of the avalanche, cosmos and polkadot networks that led the charge higher on Thursday.Cosmos, a decentralized, peer-to-peer network that enables data exchanges between blockchains, was the front runner, as its atom token gained 23% over 24 hours to stand at $40.38 at 06:13 a.m. ET, according to coinmarketcap.com. Avalanche's avax token rose 20% in a day to $76.39, while layer-zero protocol polkadot's dot went up 9% to $31.26. So-called "ethereum killer" solana's sol rose 12% to $148.02. Worries cooled about Evergrande on Thursday after the firm agreed to settle interest payments on a domestic bond the previous day and the Chinese central bank injected extra liquidity in the financial system. The company owes more than $300 billion to bondholders and banks all over the world and an announcement earlier this week that it might not make a key coupon payment hit risk assets such as stocks and cryptocurrencies hard. "Crypto is a risk-off asset, so will fall with stocks in the short term, but they are not correlated over the long term," Marcus Sotiriou, sales trader at UK based digital asset broker GlobalBlock. Altcoins have been on a tear so this year, with sol up almost 10,000%, meme-token dogecoin up 4,000% and avalanche's avax up 2,300%, prompting many to question whether some of these lesser-known tokens linked with smaller networks are in a bubble."Many coins with strong fundamentals that are solving real life problems are experiencing rapid network adoption. I think these cryptocurrencies are very undervalued given the power of network effects and size of the market they are going after," Sotiriou said. "When comparing the same (total value locked) TVL amounts of these networks against ethereum [it] indicates that they are likely undervalued," Eliézer Ndinga, research lead at 21 Shares, a crypto exchange traded products provider, said.Total Value Locked is the dollar amount invested in decentralized financial applications built on blockchains, Ndinga said. This metric measures the overall health of an application in real-time and is one way to determine the value of one network versus another.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

Do The "Global Managers" Really Want The Pandemic To End?

Do The 'Global Managers' Really Want The Pandemic To End? Authored by Brian Jones via TheAmericanConservative.com, Early treatment of symptoms is the last remaining enemy of the global Covid consensus... In his March 17, 2020, article in Stat, Stanford epidemiologist Dr. John Ioannidis argued for a vast reconsideration of the societal response to the emerging SARS-COV-2 pandemic, commonly called Covid-19. For unknown reasons, the scientific and medical tradition forming the foundation for how to respond to pandemics was being quickly disbanded. Abandoning such previously established traditions entailed filling the void with the appearance of a new global consensus: The combination of unending non-pharmaceutical interventions (masks, social distancing, etc.) and universal vaccination was the key that would end the pandemic. The totalizing power of this new global pandemic consensus has certainly been effective over the last year and a half. However, the last month and a half has brought about a palatable instability to this apparently once-certain agreement. As one writer observes, Until now, Corona policy in every western country has unfolded more or less according to the same script, devised by the World Health Organization at the end of February 2020. The final act was supposed to be the wide-scale eradication of Corona after mass vaccination. It is now clear that this will never happen. For the first time since March 2020, there is no obvious international consensus on the way forward. The global political and health managers of Western nations and their media allies increasingly seem uncertain as to where to go next. Lurking behind the uncertainty of how to respond to the variants, however, is the last remaining consensus. And while it is the last remaining consensus, it has been a little-known, yet real, part of the script from the beginning. It is as simple as it is all-encompassing: Use every available means possible to assault early treatment of the virus.  Consider one of the latest displays of this charade. Many have now seen, or heard about, the American podcaster Joe Rogan’s recent experience with Covid-19. After recognizing some of the common symptoms of Covid-19, Rogan decided to “throw the kitchen sink at it.” Following the insights offered by Dr. Peter McCullough and his multi-drug treatment protocol, Rogan pursued infusion of monoclonal antibodies. Along with antibody infusion, Rogan took a cocktail that consisted of ivermectin, Azithromyicin, the corticosteriod Predinsone, and high doses of vitamin D (through drip line). Within 72 hours after beginning the treatment regimen, Rogan declared that he felt great, and had practically recovered from the virus. We would not have needed the gift of prophecy to have predicted what followed: The Covid machine was deployed to attack Rogan. The inspiration for the assault has been helped by a recent tweet from the FDA, which read: “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” Moving on from its initial onslaught against the effective early use of hydroxychloroquine, the global consensus has now overwhelmingly shifted its ire to ivermectin. Coinciding with the attack on Rogan was a supposed news story from Rolling Stone, which claimed that access to emergency care for gunshot victims at an Oklahoma hospital was threatened due to the number of patients who had been poisoned by overdosing on ivermectin. The hospital offered a clarification that denied the claims, which had been made by a former employee. And yet, only updates have been added; thus far, the story has not been retracted. This widespread jettisoning of the principle and effectiveness of preventative and early treatment has been described as “therapeutic nihilism.” Nearly two years into this pandemic, getting early treatment for Covid-19 that can prevent hospitalization and death is still extremely difficult. Continued attempts to undermine early treatment protocols, as well as frequented campaigns against those who are skeptical of the prevailing narrative, give the impression that certain interested parties are hesitant to bring the pandemic to an end. The global managers writing and executing the Covid script are using it to manipulate the populace. I am reminded of the Polish philosopher and statesman Ryszard Legutko’s 2016 book The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies. Following the collapse of totalitarianism regimes in 1989, Legutko began noticing something that was as confusing as it was unsettling. Supporters of communism appeared to find a somewhat comfortable home in liberal democratic societies. In an attempt to parse out and understand this political phenomenon, Legutko came to realize some shared similarities between the principles of communism and modern liberal democratic regimes: Communism and liberal democracy proved to be all-unifying entities compelling their followers how to think, what to do, how to evaluate events, what to dream, and what language to use. They both had their orthodoxies and their models of an ideal citizen. [Emphasis added] What Legutko’s diagnosis reveals is that the global response to the pandemic has been utilized to accelerate the conditions whereby rigorous and independent thinking may be snuffed out. The pandemic seems to have accelerated the project of Western nations transmuting into large, mechanizing systems oriented towards uniformity of thought and practice. Here is Stanford’s Ioannidis commenting upon this disturbing integration of rapidly declining transparency and collectivism: The retraction of a highly visible hydroxychloroquine paper from the The Lancet was a startling example: A lack of sharing and openness allowed a top medical journal to publish an article in which 671 hospitals allegedly contributed data that did not exist, and no one noticed this outright fabrication before publication. The New England Journal of Medicine, another top medical journal, managed to publish a similar paper; many scientists continue to heavily cite it long after its retraction. Such a situation reveals the emptiness of supposed concerns about “evidence.” Abused tropes such as “follow the science” are revealing themselves to be nefarious power grabs seeking to destroy nuance. “Good” citizens should not even consider the possibility of calling into question the prevailing narrative regarding Covid. More specifically, it is anathema to even fathom the thought that preventative and early treatment should be a fundamental pillar of the response to a pandemic. As the consensus equating vaccination with the elimination of the virus continues to weaken, Ioannidis’s original prediction continues to be persuasive: The response to SARS-COV-2 will eventually be seen as a “once in a century evidence fiasco.” But the citizens of Western nations must think critically for themselves if the coils of the Covid machine have a chance of being loosened. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Fossil Fuel Companies Say Hydrogen Made From Natural Gas Is a Climate Solution. But the Tech May Not Be Very Green

But the tech may not actually be very green As a committee of climate scientists and environmental officials deliberated over how to drastically cut New York State’s carbon footprint last summer, natural gas industry representatives were putting forward a counterintuitive pitch: hydrogen, made from fossil fuels. The concept was simple, explained natural-gas proponents serving on the state’s climate-action council. Industrial hydrogen suppliers had long used a process called steam methane reforming (SMR) to produce what the industry calls “gray” hydrogen from natural gas—a system that accounts for 95% of all current hydrogen production, but releases large amounts of carbon emissions. Emissions-free “green” hydrogen can be produced using water and renewable electricity, but that tends to be more expensive than making gray hydrogen. The solution, gas-industry representatives said, was to pursue a kind of carbon compromise. Instead of making expensive green hydrogen, industrial gray hydrogen facilities could be outfitted with carbon capture systems that buried their emissions underground. Voila: A new color in the hydrogen rainbow—safe, clean, abundant “blue” hydrogen to power the economy of the future. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Bob Howarth, a Cornell University climate scientist serving on the N.Y. State carbon-drawdown committee, decided to look into the gas industry’s arguments. “I’m not surprised that people in the natural gas industry are trying to suggest ways that they keep their industry alive,” he says. “But I was skeptical.” Together with Mark Jacobson, an atmospheric scientist at Stanford University, Howarth set out to document the full emissions picture arising from blue hydrogen production. The results, published Aug. 12 in Energy Science and Engineering, were striking. According to Howarth and Jacobson’s calculations, capturing SMR carbon emissions uses so much energy and results in so much extra leakage of methane—another greenhouse gas that has many times more warming potential than carbon dioxide—that any possible CO2 emissions benefit is nearly canceled out, leaving in place a process that produces about 90% of the emissions of making grey hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is so dirty, in fact, that it’s worse for the climate than burning natural gas for heat in the first place, the researchers found. But in the meantime, blue hydrogen’s proponents were hard at work. Backed up by industry-funded reports, lobbyists had been pushing blue hydrogen to governments around the world, and the governments were listening. The E.U. released a strategy last summer that proposed expanding blue hydrogen production over the next decade. In the U.K., bureaucrats were crafting a national “hydrogen strategy,” released last month, that gives ample support to blue hydrogen development. In the U.S., legislators are currently negotiating a trillion-dollar infrastructure package that, in its current form, would allocate $8 billion to develop so-called “clean” hydrogen, much of it using fossil fuels. To some extent, Howarth’s work had come too late. “Industry marketing is way out ahead of scientific research and policy sometimes,” he says. That’s nothing new. From claims that natural gas could be a “bridge” to lower emissions, to promises of decarbonization through “clean coal,” pie-in-the-sky propositions from the fossil-fuel industry have been a feature of climate policy discussions for years. Now, with worldwide political will finally coalescing around an urgent imperative to draw down carbon emissions, natural-gas producers like Shell and BP and distributors like Engie have allied themselves with companies like Air Liquide that have long produced SMR hydrogen to promote blue hydrogen—which looks clean from certain angles, but from others, appears as CO2-intensive as other fossil fuels—as the future of the energy industry. Industry groups say blue hydrogen will be critical to meeting the world’s climate goals, and can be part of a broad strategy to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But some scientists and experts say the hydrogen industry’s real purpose is to preserve the value of its natural-gas resources and distribution systems under the cover of climate stewardship, locking the world into a technology that will release yet more methane and CO2 emissions for decades to come. For those of us who have gotten used to seeing hydrogen in the context of sleek concept cars, it can be surprising to learn that large-scale hydrogen production has been around for more than a century. Hydrogen became particularly useful after the early 20th century invention of the Haber process, which combines the gas with nitrogen in the atmosphere to produce ammonia, a compound valuable for its use in fertilizer and explosives. U.S. fossil-fuel companies began operating SMR plants to make hydrogen from natural gas in the 1930s, and the industry grew over the following decades. Oil refineries also use hydrogen to remove sulfur from crude oil, with many refineries currently producing their own hydrogen on-site from natural gas. About 6% of the world’s natural gas (and 2% of coal, through another carbon-intensive process) is currently used to produce hydrogen, emitting 830 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the International Energy Agency. In all, hydrogen production accounts for about 2% of all the world’s carbon emissions. But when used as a fuel, hydrogen has an environmental advantage over fossil fuels: burning hydrogen releases nothing but water vapor. Amid rising public concern over climate change in the early 2000s, hydrogen underwent a PR renaissance. No longer was it just a dirty industrial feedstock—now it was the fuel of the future. Though most hydrogen at the time was produced using SMR, experts knew large amounts of it could, in theory, be extracted from water using solar or wind power. And though the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, the hydrogen fuel made using those resources could be transported anywhere and used any time, essentially acting like a portable battery to store renewable energy. “Hydrogen fuel cells represent one of the most encouraging, innovative technologies of our era,” said U.S. President George W. Bush in 2003 while announcing a $1.2 billion federal initiative to launch a fledgling hydrogen sector. Promises of a “hydrogen economy” that would see fossil fuels phased out in favor of the lightest element to power everything from stove-top burners to trucks abounded. But hydrogen’s golden hour, particularly in the automotive sector, was to be short lived. In 2009, the new Obama Administration energy secretary and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu publicly lambasted the idea of a fleet of hydrogen-powered cars, saying the technology wasn’t progressing fast enough, and tried to cut government research funding. Congress restored those funds, though the Energy Department succeeded in making deep hydrogen cuts two years later. The next decade saw hydrogen’s prospects further decline. While hydrogen-powered vehicles from the likes of Toyota were beset by cost problems and difficulties building out fueling infrastructure, the battery-electric sector took off, with industry newcomers like Tesla selling half a million cars a year by the end of the next decade. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, other automakers like GM and Nissan quietly backed off hydrogen passenger car projects (though GM has continued to invest heavily in fuel cells for larger commercial vehicles). But hydrogen stalwarts weren’t going down without a fight. In the late 2010s, fossil-fuel companies, automakers, natural-gas grid operators and legacy SMR hydrogen companies, among others, began promoting a new narrative: Hydrogen, they said, was essential to a green-energy transition. “Green” hydrogen made from renewable energy would supply some of the power demand. The “blue” variety, made from natural gas, would make up the rest, with carbon-capture-and-storage technologies mitigating its emissions. That blue hydrogen narrative is largely descended from previous industry hype cycles around so-called “clean coal,” says Jan Rosenow, European Programme Director for the Regulatory Assistance Project, a nonprofit that helps governments implement green-energy goals. Those projects, launched in the 2010s, were largely based on the notion that coal-fired power plants would use carbon-capture equipment to bury their emissions underground—but they ultimately foundered, resulting in costly, federally-funded failures within a few years. After that, Rosenow says, industry switched tack to promoting natural gas as a low-carbon transition fuel, a push that drew environmental outcry over methane leaks along the gas-supply chain. Fossil-fuel companies, Rosenow says, needed a new option. “That’s where the whole discussion around hydrogen comes from,” he says. As China began to cash in on a green-tech manufacturing boom in the late-2010s, European governments eager to dominate a nascent hydrogen sector proved a receptive audience for industry pitches. In 2020, the non-profit watchdog group Corporate Europe Observatory released a report pointing out what it said were worrying signs of industry influence in the E.U. hydrogen strategy. “The bodies being created by the E.U. like the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance are completely industry dominated and industry driven,” says Pascoe Sabido, a researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory. “I don’t know if I’d even call it lobbying—this is the E.U. putting industry in the driving seat.” He frames the hydrogen push as an attempt by fossil fuel companies to shift a coming green energy transition to suit their own interests, pointing to their involvement in hydrogen industry groups like the Hydrogen Council and Hydrogen Europe. The secretariats of both organizations were previously managed by FTI Consulting, a consulting firm that garnered controversy last year over its role in setting up groups like Texans for Natural Gas and the Main Street Investors Coalition as part of a fossil fuel industry influence campaign. Then Bob Howarth and Mark Jacobson came out with their report last month, further sandbagging the blue hydrogen airship. Industry groups representing SMR producers, fossil-fuel companies and other hydrogen players contest their findings, pointing to their own reports, which argue that the technology can produce energy at an emissions cost 80% to 90% lower than pure fossil fuels. Daryl Wilson, executive director of the Hydrogen Council, an industry consortium, argues that Howarth’s blue hydrogen report would have come up with lower methane leakage rates if it had looked only at wells that were following industry best practices. But Howarth says there is little evidence that many in the industry actually operate that way. (Satellite imaging in recent years has found alarming gas leakage from wells and pipelines around the world.) In their calculations, he and Jacobson used the average methane leakage rate across the U.S. natural gas industry, a number they say better reflects real-world conditions. Right now, there are only a handful of blue-hydrogen facilities around the world, but governments are preparing subsidies and investments that, if enacted, will lead to the construction of many more. Chris Jackson, a green-hydrogen entrepreneur who resigned as chair of the U.K. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association earlier this month over the group’s inclusion of blue-hydrogen proponents, worries that fossil-fuel companies have once again hijacked the green-energy conversation. “Is it really appropriate and right that limited government resources from the public, which are meant to be supporting genuine net-zero technologies, should instead be spent on essentially allowing oil and gas companies to continue to operate the way they do today?,” Jackson says. Plans for new blue-hydrogen facilities, he says, don’t make sense from either an environmental or economic perspective. “You’re putting in infrastructure that’s going to take you five years to build and going to be there for 20 years. Everyone should be asking themselves: ‘if this is an asset…in the middle of 2040, [is it] still going to make sense to be running?’ And if not, you have to ask the question right now: ‘why are you building it?'” Even some with optimistic views of blue hydrogen don’t see why the public should support new facilities. Dolf Gielen, director of the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Innovation and Technology Centre in Bonn, Germany, generally supports blue hydrogen, but disagrees on the question of government assistance. “If blue hydrogen means you add some [carbon-capture equipment] to an existing [methane] reformer facility, why not?” says Gielen. “It’s a different question whether governments should subsidize new blue hydrogen.” Others say it makes little sense to invest limited government funds in a technology that only promises to reduce carbon emissions, rather than eliminate them completely. “We’re talking about 100% reductions in emissions to get to net zero,” says Rosenow, of the Regulatory Assistance Project. “In that context, there isn’t any space for just an 80% reduction. And that’s what blue hydrogen would probably deliver.” In the massive, unthinkably complex task of replacing every boiler, automobile, locomotive, cargo ship, and airplane with a carbon-free alternative—indeed, of tearing out just about every piece of machinery installed over the past hundred years—planners, corporations, governments and citizens generally have two options for what sort of system should take their place: hydrogen or electric. Hydrogen has a high-energy density, which means it would theoretically be lighter, making it good for airplanes, long-haul trucks, and for creating especially high temperatures, like those needed to produce essential materials like steel. But because you lose a lot of energy converting electricity into green hydrogen, and because it requires new infrastructure, electricity is better for smaller scale uses like heating buildings and powering cars. But some industry players are still trying to make hydrogen happen for all sorts of energy uses. Toyota, for instance, has continued what some green energy analysts consider to be a quixotic quest to popularize hydrogen cars, even going so far as to lobby against fuel efficiency rules and gasoline car phase-out requirements around the world that would benefit its battery-electric rivals. European gas companies have sought to show the world that homes can be heated with hydrogen, while industry consortiums push a vision of continent-wide hydrogen distribution networks both to supply gas for industry, and to replace natural-gas home-heating systems. Wilson says such initiatives have a place in an overall decarbonization strategy, and that they could be supplied by both blue and green hydrogen. “The optimized answer for transport and heating will vary region to region,” he says. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer here.” Of course, it’s hard to know for sure; a clear idea about the benefits of blue hydrogen would require spending a few decades and many billions of dollars building the infrastructure necessary to test it. But if blue hydrogen doesn’t pan out, we might be wishing we could go back in time and think a bit harder about investing in that technology now. As for the vast new hydrogen economy it’s intended to supply, many experts say hydrogen-fuel-cell cars are a dead end, with insurmountable cost barriers compared to battery cars, and opponents have characterized hydrogen-based home-heating plans as a gambit intended to extend the life of the gas industry through a vast expenditure of public resources. “The science demands that we keep fossil fuels in the ground,” says Sabido, of the Corporate Europe Observatory. “If we started from that point, [fossil-fuel companies] wouldn’t have a business model. So they’re doing whatever they can to ensure…that the assets they currently have on their books still have value.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 22nd, 2021

Retail Investors Flooded Into Stocks On Monday Just As Professional Sentiment Turned Most Bearish Since Last October

Retail Investors Flooded Into Stocks On Monday Just As Professional Sentiment Turned Most Bearish Since Last October One week ago, when we last looked at the decline in retail participation in the market, we quoted Vanda Research which said that this trend raised the chances of more serious declines if big investors continue to retreat. “While we have seen a pick-up in ETF buying this week, the magnitude has been a little underwhelming relative to previous selloffs,” Ben Onatibia and Giacomo Pierantoni wrote. “This diminishing appetite to support the equity rally raises the odds of a larger selloff if institutional investors continue to sell.” In retrospect, they were right, even if instead of a full-blown 10% correction we just got a modest half "corr", which saw the S&P suffer its first 5% drawdown since 2020. Picking up on this, this morning Susquehanna looking at the latest data from the Options Clearing Corp. and noted that so-called newbie traders - those buying or selling 10 contracts or less at a time - continued to scale back their equity call-option buying to nearly a 17-month low going into the rout... ... a move which according to Bloomberg looked rather smart with the S&P 500 down 1.7% on Monday and bearish bets on the market’s trajectory on the rise. According to Susquehanna’s Christopher Jacobson, the so-called "dumb money" retail crowd had been scaling back its call-buying appetites along with professional investors, albeit for slightly different reasons. The latter is doing it out of fear that this year’s rally of as much as 21% is losing steam, while the former is chasing a rally in hotter assets like cryptocurrencies. Whatever the reason, the synchronized skepticism may lend optimism to the idea that the selloff’s blow to the market won’t be as severe as it could have been otherwise. However, there was a sharp divergence between what professional investors and retail traders did on Monday when stocks tumbled amid growing fears of Evergrande contagion: on one hand, there was a bearish options deluge with ~5.3 million bearish contracts on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust changing hands yesterday, the most since June last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That as the volume of call contacts reached the highest since 2013. This was likely due to Wall Street professionals betting that Monday's slide was just getting started, a sentiment underscored by the latest AAII survey print, which showed that sentiment plumbed lows not seen since 2020 as the gap between bearish and bullish sentiment readings hit the widest level since October 2020... and touched the point that has been historically associated with buying opportunities. Indeed, according to RBC Capital Markets, when the gap was wider than minus-10 in the past, the S&P 500 rallied 86% of the time in the next 12 months, gaining 15% on average. And while to some, like Miller Tabak’s Matt Maley, the soaring negative sentiment wasn't sufficient to sound an all-clear - after all we still haven't had a day when China was back from holiday and we have no idea how Beijing will respond to the Evergrande fireworks - noting that “we’re going to have to see that activity come down and meet the lower level of bullishness before it would signal a change,” retail investors had seen enough, and after treading water for the past few weeks into yesterday's dump, retail daytraders took advantage of the selloff to pile back into some of the largest U.S. exchange-traded funds and bank stocks, providing a buying boost to sliding stock and bucking worries that the group would let stocks tumble. According to the latest Vanda research note, individual investors bought a total of $1.93 billion worth of assets Monday, the fourth-largest net buying since the start of the pandemic. Vanda found that buying from the day-trading crowd was mostly concentrated in popular index ETFs such as the SPY, and the QQQ which saw combined inflows of $337 million, while separate data from Fidelity showed the SPY fund and Apple shares were the most bought assets on its platform Monday. Large investment banks - such as Citigroup and Bank of America - were also among the most bought companies, while bigger institutional investors were likely selling, Vanda said. The data suggest that just as professional investors were positioning for further downside by a surge in put buying, retail investors took the other side of the trade, and rushed into the broader markets, particularly in megacap tech stocks, to increase their holdings in spite of a jump in volatility. There was a surprise in the Vanda data which found individuals sold shares of airline companies like American Airlines Group and Delta Air Lines; Vanda researcher Ben Onatibia wrote. That selling “means institutional investors were on the other side of the trade, building exposure to the reopening trade.” True to form, daytraders also snapped up shares of meme stocks despite the group’s worst day in months. Favorites like AMC Entertainment and GameStop saw continued interest, but newcomers like SmileDirectClub were also bought, Fidelity data show. The three stocks were among the most traded companies on Monday and edged  higher on Tuesday. Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, said the return of retail traders buying the dip was an “important observation,” given their impact on stock markets in 2021, and a continuation of what we said in May 2020 when we explained "How Retail Investors Took Over The Stock Market." Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 12:38.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

HPE acquires MapR business assets

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced it has acquired the business assets of MapR, a data platform for artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics applications powered by scale-out, multi-cloud and multi-protocol file system technology......»»

Category: topSource: digitimesAug 6th, 2019

Goldman Raises Year-End Oil Price Target To $90

Goldman Raises Year-End Oil Price Target To $90 Just days after Goldman's head commodity analyst Jeff Currie told Bloomberg TV that the bank anticipates oil spiking to $90 if the winter is colder than usual, on Sunday afternoon Goldman went ahead and made that its base case and in a note from energy strategist Damien Courvalin, he writes that with Brent prices reaching new highs since October 2018, the bank now forecasts that this rally will continue, "with our year-end Brent forecast of $90/bbl vs. $80/bbl previously." What tipped the scales is that while Goldman has long held a bullish oil view, "the current global oil supply-demand deficit is larger than we expected, with the recovery in global demand from the Delta impact even faster than our above consensus forecast and with global supply remaining short of our below consensus forecasts." Among the supply factors cited by Goldman is hurricane Ida - the "most bullish hurricane in US history" - which more than offset the ramp-up in OPEC+ production since July with non-OPEC+ non-shale production continuing to disappoint. Meanwhile, as noted above, on the demand side Goldman cited low hospitalization rates which are leading more countries to re-open, including to international travel in particularly COVID-averse countries in Asia. Finally, from a seasonal standpoint, Courvalin sees winter demand risks as "further now squarely skewed to the upside" as the global gas shortage will increase oil fired power generation. From a fundamental standpoint, the current c.4.5 mb/d observable inventory draws are the largest on record, including for global SPRs and oil on water, and follow the longest deficit on record, started in June 2020. For the oil bears, Goldman does not see this deficit as reversing in coming months as its scale will overwhelm both the willingness and ability for OPEC+ to ramp up, with the shale supply response just starting. This sets the stage for inventories to fall to their lowest level since 2013 by year-end (after adjusting for pipeline fill), supporting further backwardation in the oil forward curve where positioning remains low. But what about a production response? While Goldman does expect short-cycle production to respond by 2022 at the bank's higher price forecast, from core-OPEC, Russia and shale, this according to Goldman, will only lay bare the structural nature of the oil market repricing. To be sure, there will likely be a time to be tactically bearish in 2022, especially if a US-Iran deal is eventually reached. The bank's base-case assumption is for such an agreement to be reached in April, leading the bank to then trim its price target to an $80/bbl price forecast in 2Q22-4Q22 (vs. its 4Q21-1Q22 $85/bbl quarterly average forecast). This would, however, remain a tactical call and a likely timespread trade according to Courvalin, with long-dated oil prices poised to reset higher from current levels, especially as the hedging momentum shifts from US producer selling to airline buying (a move which Goldman says to position for with a long Dec-22 Brent and short Dec-22 Brent put trade recommendations).   Meanwhile, the lack of long-cycle capex response - here you can thank the green crazy sweeping the world - the quickly diminishing OPEC spare capacity (Goldman expects normalization by early 2022), the inability for shale producers to sustain production growth (given their low reinvestment rate targets) and oil service and carbon cost inflation will all instead point to the need for sustainably higher long-dated oil prices. Remarkably, Goldman now expects the market to return to a structural deficit by 2H23, which leads it to raise its 2023 oil price forecast from $65/bbl to $85/bbl, and the mid-cycle valuation oil price used by Goldman's equity analysts to $70/bbl. Translation: expect a slew of price hikes on energy stocks in the coming days from Goldman. Finally, where could Goldman's forecast - which would infuriate the white house as gasoline prices are about to explode higher - be wrong? For what it's worth, the bank sees the greatest risk on the timeline of its bullish view. On the demand side, it would take a potentially new variant that renders vaccine ineffective. Beyond that, however, the bank expects limited downside risk from China, with its economists not expecting a hard landing and with our demand growth forecast driven by DMs and other EMs instead. This leaves near-term risks having to come from the supply side, most notably OPEC+, which next meets on October 4. And while an aggressively faster ramp-up in production by year-end would soften (but not derail) our projected deficit, it would only further delay the shale rebound, which would reinforce the structural nature of the next rally given binding under-investment in oil services by 2023. In addition, a large ramp-up in OPEC+ production would simply fast-forward the decline in global spare capacity to historically low levels, replacing a cyclical tight market with a structural one. The full report as usual available to pro subscribers in the usual place. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 20:36.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt6 hr. 29 min. ago

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. 17 min. ago

The top 9 shows on Netflix this week, from "Sex Education" to "Manifest"

Netflix's "Sex Education" topped its streaming rankings this week, and "Manifest" is still a hit after the streaming giant announced a revival. "Sex Education." Netflix Every week, the streaming search engine Reelgood compiles for Insider a list of the TV shows that have been most prominent on Netflix's daily top-10 lists. Netflix counts a view if an account watches a movie or TV show for at least two minutes. "Sex Education's" third season debuted recently and propelled the series to the top spot this week. See more stories on Insider's business page. 9. "Nailed It!" (Netflix original, 2018-present) Netflix Description: "Home bakers with a terrible track record take a crack at re-creating edible masterpieces for a $10,000 prize. It's part reality contest, part hot mess."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 98%What critics said: "We're all trying the best we can — and Nailed It! celebrates our gameness to get out of bed every day and keep trying, and maybe laugh along the way, too." — Vox (season four) 8. "Manifest" (NBC and Netflix, 2018-present) NBC Description: "When a plane mysteriously lands years after takeoff, the people onboard return to a world that has moved on without them and face strange, new realities."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/AWhat critics said: "Manifest's premiere is confident and declares that it hasn't lost any of its heart or soul, as the Stone family conquers the new threats that face them more together than ever, even if they're hundreds of miles apart." — Tell-Tale TV (season three) 7. "Sharkdog" (Netflix original, 2021-present) Netflix Description: "Half shark, half dog with a big heart and a belly full of fish sticks! Together, Sharkdog and his human pal Max can take on any silly or messy adventure."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/AWhat critics said: N/A 6. "The Circle" (Netflix original, 2020-present) Netflix Description: "Status and strategy collide in this social experiment and competition show where online players flirt, befriend and catfish their way toward $100,000."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/AWhat critics said: "I'm not even sure the snark of host Michelle Buteau can save season three of The Circle." — The Spool (season three) 5. "Cocomelon" (YouTube, 2019-present) Netflix Description: "Learn letters, numbers, animal sounds and more with J.J. in this musical series that brings fun times with nursery rhymes for the whole family!"Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/AWhat critics said: N/A 4. "Lucifer" (Netflix original, 2016-2021) "Lucifer" Netflix Description: "Bored with being the Lord of Hell, the devil relocates to Los Angeles, where he opens a nightclub and forms a connection with a homicide detective."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 88%What critics said: "For five seasons, we watched Lucifer work on himself in therapy. Season 6 finally lets him use everything he's learned to reach his destiny." — Polygon (season six) 3. "Clickbait" (Netflix original, 2021-present) Netflix Description: "When family man Nick Brewer is abducted in a crime with a sinister online twist, those closest to him race to uncover who is behind it and why."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 55%What critics said: "Clickbait is yet another digital-concerned show/film that gestures at big ideas about the internet — catfishing, cancel culture, surveillance, etc — but fails to capture the contours of life on it." — Guardian (season one) 2. "Squid Game" (Netflix original, 2021-present) Netflix Description: "Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in children's games. Inside, a tempting prize awaits — with deadly high stakes."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 100%What critics said: "Squid Game doesn't offer an escape from the horrors of the real world; within its limitations as a fictional drama, it gives us something far rarer: an affirmation that they exist, and that we're not alone in finding them nightmarish." — Den of Geek (season one) 1. "Sex Education" (Netflix original, 2019-present) Netflix Description: "Insecure Otis has all the answers when it comes to sex advice, thanks to his therapist mom. So rebel Maeve proposes a school sex-therapy clinic."Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 96%What critics said: "All the young actors shine, but none of them more than Ncuti Gatwa, who plays Eric with an energy and resilience that is inspiring to watch. This season, Gatwa isn't just a joy; he brings more nuance and authenticity than ever." — Boston Globe (season three) Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider14 hr. 29 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. 29 min. ago

How We Know Bitcoin Is A Force For Good

How We Know Bitcoin Is A Force For Good Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com, Cryptos are the antidote to repressive Central Bank Digital Currencies Yesterday I wrote up why I don’t think any kind of China-style ban on Bitcoin and cryptos would be tenable in (so-called) liberal democracies here in the West. It referenced an earlier piece that described the threefold governance structure I see competing for relevance over the coming decades. Somebody linked to those in the comments from a Tom Luongo piece (which I rather enjoyed enough to subscribe to his newsletter) but when I read through some of the other comments around Bitcoin, how it’s a globalist Trojan horse for surveillance capitalism and social credit I realized I needed to get a piece out to speak specifically to this aspect of future governance. I cover this a lot in The Crypto Capitalist Letter, in fact it’s a pillar of our macro economic thesis (which you can download free here). It all comes down to the differences between real crypto currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Monero, et al and coming Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), like China’s Digital Yuan, like the coming FedCoin, and anything else that will be issued by central banks, directly from governments or even in conjunction with Big Tech platforms. There are the two main types of digital money that will co-exist in the future. Each type of digital money corresponds to a governance mode of the future. Which type of this money you make your own or your business’ financial centre of gravity will have an outsized impact on whether you live in the future as a neo-Feudal serf or as a sovereign individual. Each one has its own fundamental architecture, and the governance and economics that result from those architectures reflect the governance models of the mode that is built on them. This is critical and builds on what I’ve been writing about for  years now, drawing on the work of relatively obscure commentators like Vincent Locascio and Steven Zarlenga. The latter who wrote in his Lost Science of Money, whoever controls the monetary system, controls society. “a main arena of human struggle is over the monetary control of societies and that control has been and is now exercised through obscure theories about the nature of money. If it had to be summarized in one sentence, it is that by misdefining the nature of money, special interests have often been able to assume the control of society’s monetary system, and in turn, the society itself. ”. It is because of how fundamentally the monetary architecture is reflected in the governance stack that sits atop of it that I can make the case with rather high confidence that Bitcoin and cryptos are not Trojan horses for globalist control. They are the opposite – they are the mechanisms through which people, all people, any person, the masses – can reclaim their own economic autonomy and become self-ruling and free. The defining feature that makes them so is simply that a liberating crypto-currency is designed such that the blockchain is decentralized anybody can take part in validating the blockchain the possessor controls the private keys to the units he or she owns This is Bitcoin. These are cryptos in general. They may also contain other features that confer a “sound money” status on them, like Bitcoin’s 21 million unit hard cap or Ethereum’s EIP 1559 protocol. But it is these three attributes, especially the last one, of holding one’s own private keys, that make them emancipatory monetary technologies. The crypto folks have an expression: “Not your keys, not your coins”. I expect this to be the defining feature that demarcates the difference between a bona fide crypto currency that empowers its holders and centralized digital cash (tokens) that governments and central banks run to control the populace. Those skeptical of Bitcoin, who suspect a globalist, Davos-inspired regimen of surveillance and social credit are correct about digital cash being the conduit for those, but they’ve simply conflated all forms of digital money and view Bitcoin as typical or a test-run of them. This misconception arises simply from not knowing or understanding the differentiators between a crypto like Bitcoin and a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), like a coming “FedCoin”. CBDCs will very much be tools of elitists to implement top-down command-and-control economics and even Great Reset-style social management through monetary policy. CBDCs will in all likelihood not be designed to put the private keys over the currency units into the hands of its possessor. Digital “cash” under CBDCs will be centrally programmable and implemented without end-user consent across all national governance and Davos-inspired initiatives. CBDCs will be the rails of all manner of economic programs (like UBI and MMT) and social policy objectives which simply are not possible, or desirable under cryptos: Expiry dates on “cash” in your wallet Negative interest rates if you try to save any of it Social credit objectives (no jab / no stimmie) Instant taxation on transactions and payments Social justice pricing (cup of coffee costs 10X if you’re in a higher tax bracket) Built-in climate tariffs Capital controls Infinitely inflatable, issue on demand If you thought the Federal Reserve was suffering from mission creep now that they’ve decided to tackle climate change and social justice, just wait until they get the ability to program what you can do with your monthly stimmie after it already in your wallet. (Anybody remember the original Robocop?) That is what we’re looking at with CBDCs and if that’s your dystopian vision of what digital cash means, you’re not wrong. You’re just misdirecting your apprehensions if you think that’s what Bitcoin means. This is because it and most of the other digital currencies are the antidote to CBDCs. Which is why they are subject to such hostility from policy makers, the corporate press and elites. This will be a battle. A never-ending tension between these two digital money systems – crypto currencies, which are actually fungible, inelastic, deflationary (purchasing power increases over time) and which gives their holders economic autonomy in this new era. On the other side we’ll have these centrally issued, programmable digital tokens. Which side of the ledger the majority of your economic activity happens on will govern your future status as a Neo-Serf or an autonomous Sovereign Individual. If the dynamic becomes extreme it could even result in a kind of monetary Apartheid. The good news is that today, at this moment in time, it’s still largely self-selecting. I’ve written many times, that crypto’s (real cryptos, not CBDCs or even stablecoins) are all about optionality. Crypto’s like Bitcoin confer options on their holders (HODL-ers), while the coming CBDCs will be all about limiting them. *  *  * I cover this dynamic extensively in The Crypto Capitalist Letter, a long with a tactical focus on publicly traded crypto stocks. Get the overall investment / macro thesis free when you subscribe to the Bombthrower mailing list, or try the premium service for a month with our fully refundable trial offer. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 12:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge15 hr. 1 min. ago

Sunday links: out of left field

StrategyWhy it's difficult for the average investor to know who to trust on financial TV. (ritholtz.com)On the dangers of selling a stock too soon. (humbledollar.com)Successful investing involves a willingness to let go of some control. (evidenceinvestor.com)If you want to get rich start a company, instead of becoming an investor. (philo.substack.com)CryptoChina is not messing around this time with it's crypto ban. (coindesk.com)FTX is in the process of moving its headquarters to the Bahamas. (theblockcrypto.com)Binance is facing regulatory scrutiny across the globe. (protocol.com)CompaniesWhy DraftKings's ($DKNG) bid for Entain is a big deal for the industry. (frontofficesports.com)The story of how Toast ($TOST) came to be a public company. (cnbc.com)A big profile of Twist Bioscience s($TWST) and how it is changing the industry. (alexdanco.com)What is the Petershill Partners Plc private-equity business worth as a public company. (washingtonpost.com)GlobalDoes combating climate change mean higher inflation down the road? (ft.com)Tel Aviv, Israel is being transformed by the startup boom. (wsj.com)PolicyWhy child care workers are quitting in droves. (washingtonpost.com)Why does the FDA still not have a permanent chief? (npr.org)Plenty of public companies got PPP loans and didn't pay them back. (propublica.org)No single technology can solve rural America's broadband problem. (bloomberg.com)Debt ceilingDebt ceiling debates are pointless and should just go away. (pragcap.com)How an actual debt ceiling-induced default would affect markets. (econbrowser.com)How the press should cover the debt limit issue (fallows.substack.com)EconomyInflation can show up in ways, i.e. inconvenience, than just prices. (awealthofcommonsense.com)The economic schedule for the coming week. (calculatedriskblog.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsTop clicks this week on the site. (abnormalreturns.com)What you missed in our Saturday linkfest. (abnormalreturns.com)Coronavirus links: flu season. (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 mediaThere is a big difference between data and information. (incognitomoneyscribe.com)To get more done, do less if the stuff that doesn't matter. (fs.blog)Lessons learned from a year on Substack. (niemanlab.org).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturns16 hr. 17 min. ago

Making Meals From Mealworms Is ‘Part of the Answer’ to the Climate Crisis, the CEO of Ynsect Says

Ynsect’s powdered protein is currently used in pet food, fish meal and even as an ingredient in burger patties and pasta in parts of Europe (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.)   Global food production accounts for one-third of all greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a comprehensive study published this year in the journal Nature Food that looked at every aspect of food production from transportation to packaging. Meat production alone makes up nearly 60% of that total. The study underscores the growing consensus that in order to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, the world needs a dramatic rethinking of how food is produced and consumed. Especially since the U.N. estimates that food production will have to increase by 70% by 2050 to feed the world’s growing population. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Increasingly, companies and scientists are viewing insects as an environmentally sustainable alternative source of protein. Crickets, grasshoppers and beetles are already commercially produced and processed for human and animal consumption. Ynsect, a 10-year-old French company, is focused on mealworms, the larval stage of beetles. One big advantage of mealworms, aside from their neutral taste and high degree of digestibility, is that they don’t fly or jump, which means it requires a lot less space to grow and process them compared with more mobile insects. One of Europe’s best-funded insect-farming companies (it has raised over $400 million), Ynsect currently has one highly automated vertical farm in France and plans to open a far larger production facility in the country next year. The company is also scouting locations for a major facility in the U.S. and plans to announce a Midwest location before the end of the year. It eventually plans to have farms across the world. Ynsect’s powdered protein is currently used in pet food, fish meal for commercial fish farms and other animal feed. It’s in limited consumer products in parts of Europe, including as an ingredient in burger patties and pasta. It will soon enter the sports-drink and protein-bar markets. Ynsect co-founder and CEO Antoine Hubert recently joined TIME for a video conversation on how the cultivation of insects can help mitigate the impacts of climate change and take pressure off threats to the earth’s biodiversity. (This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.)   Was it always the humble mealworm? When we started the company, we tested several species, from beetles to flies to crickets, locusts and others. Finally, we ended up with mealworms. We worked with a small farmer who had 20 years experience in small-scale insect farming, and it was his opinion that it was the best. We also found that mealworms were super-good for great big vertical farms and able to deliver large volumes that are required for animal feed, pet food or human food—thousands of tons, not a few kilos per day. So scalability was a big factor in anointing mealworms? Exactly. This is about a product and the technology. It is not flying. Butterflies or crickets, they need a lot of space to grow. Mealworms really love to be together. What does the insect version of a vertical farm look like? It’s an automated warehouse, very similar to an Amazon warehouse, where instead of storing stuff, we are storing live insects. There is a climate-control system which is highly complex to maintain temperature and moisture from zero to 30 meters high. All operations are automated. Anything that you do on [an insect] farm is done with robots. Why is developing an alternative protein source with a smaller carbon footprint so essential, and what role is your company playing across the food chain? The two main issues the earth is facing today are climate change and biodiversity collapse. We are not far from reaching tipping points where then things get worse and it cascades and waterfalls—you can’t stop it anymore. Time is very critical. There is a huge need to reduce our consumption of beef. We should keep beef consumption, grazing, on a smaller scale with high levels of fresh products. But everything that is a processed meat should be 100% replaced at some point by alternatives. Insects will be a part of the answer. Another way is to move from existing meat to other meats with no methane emissions: chicken and fish. We help to change the way we feed chicken and fish. And our leftover insect manure is a great organic fertilizer that can fully replace chemical fertilizers. How is fish-meal production, catching fish to be ground up into fish meal to feed farmed fish, harming biodiversity? It’s about overfishing. The largest fisheries today are used for fish-meal production. One in four boats, about 25% of total fish vessels, are used to process fish meal which is going to feed animals. It’s the most overfished stock. We need to reduce the fishing of the stock to be below the renewable threshold. They say in the fishing industry, take only the interest, not your stock. The demand for fish, especially shrimp and salmon, is growing a lot faster than other meats, and they are super-dependent on fish meal. And this is why big companies are looking for alternatives. And mealworms have a fairly neutral taste? We have different products, but the main one is pretty neutral. We also have a very light color, which is exactly what companies are looking at. They don’t want a very strong taste when they do burgers or energy bars or energy drinks. Otherwise you will end up with a highly smelly product, which is something that is not desirable for consumers, which is often what small-scale crickets companies are doing … big smell and big taste, which makes it very difficult to use the product in final food products. Our process helps us to avoid smells.     Note to readers: I want to end this week’s column with a note of thanks to the readers of The Leadership Brief. Starting next week, we at TIME are embarking on a new approach that we are excited to share with you. I will continue to contribute, but going forward, the weekly newsletter will be produced by a team led by TIME’s executive editor, John Simons (John conducted the interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook last week). I want to thank all of you for your loyal readership and offer a particular expression of gratitude to those of you who have taken the time to write and share your thoughts with me. I have loved hearing from you each week and have always benefited from your insights. Eben Shapiro.....»»

Category: topSource: time17 hr. 17 min. ago

It"s hard to be bearish on the stock market as risk-happy Millennials inherit $2 trillion per year, Fundstrat"s Tom Lee says

Lee identified four factors that show why investors ought to take a long-term bullish view on stocks - perhaps even through 2038. Cindy Ord/Getty Images Trillions of dollars flowing to risk-tolerant Millennials are set to boost stock market fundamentals for years, says Fundstrat's Tom Lee. Lee identified four factors that show the scale of the generational wealth transfer underway. "I do believe that both crypto and the equity markets are going to be powered by millennials," ARK Invest's Cathie Wood said last week - having previously cited Lee's work as evidence for this theory. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Trillions of dollars flowing to risk-tolerant Millennials are set to boost stock market fundamentals for years, making it hard to be too bearish, Fundstrat's Tom Lee wrote in a note on Friday.Building on past research, Lee pointed to four factors that show the scale of the generational wealth transfer underway:$2 trillion of wealth flows from Baby Boomers to Millennials per year through inheritance, according to Fundstrat estimatesOver the next 20 years, Millennials will inherit $76 trillion from previous generationsMillennials tend to prefer higher-risk assets like stocks and cryptoBaby Boomers are becoming a smaller relative share of the pool of wealth, meaning Millennial asset preferences will fuel a structural shiftLee argued that the logical conclusion of these data points is that investors ought to take a long-term bullish view on stocks."Can one be structurally bearish on stocks if this is the case?" he said.Lee has previously offered similar arguments for permanent bullishness, pointing to other structural factors like easy monetary policy and abundant cash on the sidelines."Bull market until 2038? This is a possible base case. ... If demographics are destiny, US stocks will do very well," Lee wrote in June, pointing out that every stock market peak since 1900 has coincided with a generation's peak.It is a theory shared by ARK Invest's Cathie Wood, who has cited Lee's research as evidence."I do believe that both crypto and the equity markets are going to be powered by millennials," Wood said at a conference last week. "They're really excited about the new technologies that are evolving today - they're really at the leading edge of them and understand them and are comfortable with them."In his Friday note, Lee discussed new Federal Reserve data that showed US household wealth surging to $142 trillion in the second quarter. With just $46 trillion of that invested in US stocks, some $100 trillion could in theory still be allocated to equities, underscoring how much room stocks have left to run.He also explained why wealth inequality in America is not as severe as some of the topline numbers suggest - noting that while the top 20 richest Americans were "ridiculously wealthy," they only composed 1.2% of total US wealth."This means America has a lot of wealth, flat out, and there are just a lot of mega-rich people," said Lee.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt19 hr. 1 min. ago

Rare Solar Superstorm Could Prompt ‘Internet Apocalypse’ Lasting Several Months: Study

Rare Solar Superstorm Could Prompt ‘Internet Apocalypse’ Lasting Several Months: Study Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The “black swan” event of a solar superstorm directed at earth could prompt an “internet apocalypse” across the entire globe that could last for several months, new research (pdf) has warned. University of California Irvine assistant professor Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi presented the new research, titled “Solar Superstorms: Planning for an Internet Apocalypse,” last month during the Association for Computing Machinery’s annual conference for their Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM). “One of the greatest dangers facing the internet with the potential for global impact is a powerful solar superstorm,” Jyothi wrote in the new research paper. “Although humans are protected from these storms by the earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, they can cause significant damage to man-made infrastructure. The scientific community is generally aware of this threat with modeling efforts and precautionary measures being taken, particularly in the context of power grids. However, the networking community has largely overlooked this risk during the design of the network topology and geo-distributed systems such as DNS and data centers,” he continued. A solar storm, also known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), occurs when a large mass of plasma and highly magnetized particles violently eject from the sun. Large CME’s can contain up to a billion tons of matter and can get accelerated to large fractions of the speed of light. When the earth is in the direct path of a CME, these magnetized and charged solar particles interact with the earth’s magnetic field, producing geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) that can potentially disrupt communication satellites and long-distance cables that provide the world with the internet. According to Jyothi’s research, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and networking cables are the most vulnerable to the impacts of GIC’s, while submarine cables, which span hundreds or thousands of kilometres, are even more vulnerable than land cables, due to their larger lengths. Owing to a lack of real world data on the impacts of GIC’s on these submarine cables, scientists still don’t know how long it would take to repair them if such an event were to occur, and—just like natural disasters such as earthquakes—CME’s are extremely difficult for scientists to predict. The research noted that the “distribution of internet infrastructure is skewed when compared to the distribution of internet users,” and high-latitude climates are more at risk if a solar storm were to occur. Artist’s rendering of a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet’s upper atmosphere. (NASA)Cables on servers at an internet data center in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on July 25, 2018. (Yann Sschreiber/AFP/Getty Images) “The U.S. is one of the most vulnerable locations with a high risk of disconnection from Europe during extreme solar events. Intra-continental connections in Europe are at a lower risk due to the presence of a large number of shorter land and submarine cables interconnecting the continent,” the report notes. Meanwhile, if a severe solar superstorm were to occur, Singapore would maintain good connectivity to neighboring countries, while cities in China would be more likely to lose connectivity than India because China connects to much longer cables. Australia, New Zealand, and other island countries in the region would be at high risk of losing most of their long-distance connections. The research warns that a collapse of the internet—even one lasting a few minutes—could cause devastating losses to service providers and damage cyber-physical systems. The economic impact of an internet disruption for a day in the United States is estimated to be over $7 billion. While the likelihood of a solar superstorm hitting earth is rare—with astrophysicists noting that the probability of extreme space weather events that directly impact earth occurring are between 1.6 percent to 12 percent per decade—they can still happen. In 1921, a solar storm, driven by a series of coronal mass ejections, triggered extensive power outages and caused damage to telephone and telegraph systems associated with railroad systems in New York City and across the state. Years later, in 1989, a solar storm bought an electrical power blackout to the entire province of Quebec, Canada. “Although we have sentinel spacecraft that can issue early warnings of CMEs providing at least 13 hours of lead time, our defenses against GIC are limited. Hence, we need to prepare the infrastructure for an eventual catastrophe to facilitate efficient disaster management,” Jyothi said. The research pointed to “increasing capacity in lower latitudes for improved resiliency during solar storms,” and having “mechanisms for electrically isolating cables connecting to higher latitudes from the rest” at submarine cable landing points to prevent large-scale failures. The paper has yet to appear in a peer-reviewed journal. Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States. Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 22:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

Coronavirus links: flu season

A coronavirus-focused linkfest is still a weekly feature here at Abnormal Returns. Please stay safe and find a vaccination site near you.... BoostersThe full FDA has approved a Pfizer ($PFE)-BioNTech ($BTNX) booster for those over 65 and at high risk of Covid. (cnbc.com)The final CDC decision on boosters will likely include high risk workers. (npr.org)The messaging around boosters has been 'chaotic.' (statnews.com)The definition of fully vaccinated is now going to change. (theatlantic.com)A second J&J ($JNJ) dose further increases protection. (statnews.com)VaccinesPfizer ($PFE)-BioNTech ($BTNX) has filed for an EUA for children 5-11 years old. (statnews.com)Why the Moderna ($MRNA) vaccine is coming out on top. (nytimes.com)Allergic reactions to mRNA vaccinations have been minimal. (sciencedaily.com)A new vaccine is being tested to cover multiple Covid strains in one shot. (businessinsider.com)VaccinationsWe are all likely to get Covid at some point. What matters is if you are vaccinated. (theatlantic.com)Why outreach is needed to reach the remaining unvaccinated population. (washingtonpost.com)Vaccinated individuals with Covid do not spread the virus as the same as the unvaccinated. (theatlantic.com)Why pregnant women should get vaccinated. (washingtonpost.com)The immunocompromised are still struggling in the new world. (wsj.com)ChildrenJust because a vaccine is approved for children doesn't mean parents will get them vaccinated. (theatlantic.com)How doctors can speak with parents reluctant to vaccinate their children. (washingtonpost.com)More testing would allow schools to make better decisions around mitigation. (statnews.com)Schools in a number of states are using weekly testing to stay open. (npr.org)GlobalGlobal vaccinations are ramping up. (marginalrevolution.com)The U.S. is donating another 500 million doses of the Pfizer ($PFE) vaccine overseas. (ft.com)Australia has been unique its willingness to impose Covid restrictions on its populace. (nytimes.com)Combating future pandemics will require more global cooperation. (axios.com)StatesWhy so many Republican governors are coming out against mandates. (washingtonpost.com)West Virginia got off to good start with vaccinations but now lags and Delta cases have surged. (wsj.com)PolicyWhy the U.S. is normalizing its travel restrictions. (theatlantic.com)Post-election the Trump administration largely ignored the accelerating pandemic. (washingtonpost.com)How intelligence agencies can help identify the next pandemic. (wsj.com)TestingWhy rapid Covid tests are more expensive in the U.S. than elsewhere. (wsj.com)CDC made a big error not pushing Covid testing out wide. (reason.com)When you should do an at-home Covid test. (wsj.com)InfluenzaWe should isolate when we have influenza as well. (newscientist.com)What to expect from Covid as the weather cools and people stay inside more. (statnews.com)Other non-Covid viruses are making a comeback. (bbc.com)Antibody treatmentsEli Lilly ($LLY) is trying to catch up to Regneron ($REGN) in the antibody space. (ibj.com)A study shows Remdesivir is effective in keeping high risk Covid patients out of the hospital. (bloomberg.com)TreatmentCovid is delaying care across the country. (nytimes.com)How vaccine mandates could exacerbate the nursing shortage. (npr.org)The story of a Montana hospital that has run out of beds. (khn.org)The cost of Covid care is no longer being waived by insurers. (washingtonpost.com)DataCovid-19 is set to become the most deadly outbreak in recent American history, poised to surpass the estimated U.S. fatalities from the 1918 influenza pandemic. (cnbc.com)The Delta wave is hitting age groups in the U.S. differently, i.e. more middle-aged cases. (bloomberg.com)We're still learning about what drives Covid surges. (vox.com)Weird stuff happens at scale in a pandemic. (theatlantic.com)PodcastsMarc Andreessen, Vineeta Agarwala and Vijay Pande talk with Dr. Scott Gottlieb -- author of the upcoming new book, "Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us, and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic." (a16z.simplecast.com)Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks with former F.D.A. Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. (omny.fm)Dr. Bapu Jena talks with former FDA director Scott Gottlieb. (freakonomics.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: sick societies. (abnormalreturns.com)There's only one way through the pandemic tunnel. (abnormalreturns.com)Why we are eventually going to need digital health passes, i.e. vaccine passports. (abnormalreturns.com)The 'Swiss cheese model' and the importance of avoiding single points of failure in pandemic and life. (abnormalreturns.com)On the challenge of holding two competing thoughts on the pandemic in your head a the same time. (abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaSteven Taylor, an Australian psychologist published what would turn out to be a remarkably prophetic book "The Psychology of Pandemics" in 2019. (theguardian.com)How ivermectin came to be a 'miracle cure' for the anti-vax crowd. (npr.org)Nobody is going to ring a bell when the pandemic is over. (vox.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsSep 25th, 2021

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 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

China banned all crypto transactions on Friday, but experts say the move was mostly priced in for bitcoin

"The reaction is significantly smaller than previous bans as the market has already priced in the risk," Wes Fulford of Viridi Funds said. Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images China's ban on crypto transactions sent the price of bitcoin lower, but the moved was relatively small. An expert said the move had mostly been priced in. Bitcoin hovered near $40,000 on Friday, a slide of around 6% in the past 24 hours, as of publishing. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. China on Friday intensified its crackdown on digital assets by banning all cryptocurrency transactions, in what's been seen as the country's strongest restriction on the sector so far.On Friday, the People's Bank of China said in a statement that virtual currencies "are not legal and should not and cannot be used as currency in the market."They do not have the same legal standing as fiat currency, the central bank added, since they are issued by non-monetary authorities and use encryption technology.The move came after the Asian superpower banned cryptocurrency mining and barred financial institutions from offering cryptocurrency services earlier this year.The news sent bitcoin slipping to near $40,000 on Friday, a drop of around 6% in 24 hours, according to CoinDesk data. Though crypto markets initially slumped, bitcoin's price reaction was muted compared to previous clampdowns, mainly since the news was viewed as a confirmation of previous bans, Wes Fulford, CEO at investment advisor Viridi Funds, said. "We are seeing the crypto markets down in price, however, the reaction is significantly smaller than previous bans as the market has already priced in the risk of China banning cryptocurrency transactions," Fulford said in a note Friday.By comparison, when China banned cryptocurrency mining over a weekend in June, bitcoin tumbled 11%. When it prohibited banks from conducting cryptocurrency transactions in May, the largest digital asset slid 7%.Fulford said that bitcoin, in particular, showed resilience compared to other cryptocurrencies such as ether, which slid around 9% Friday as well as other major altcoins including ripple, solana, and dogecoin, which all fell.While there was a substantial volume increase around the time of the news, only about 37% of the bitcoin-US dollar volume was traded in the two hours between 5 and 7 a.m. ET Friday, data from cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp showed. After which, prices recovered and volumes fell, Bitstamp said, indicating that the markets have largely processed the information."Interestingly however it is not looking like it will become a record day in terms of volume, not even in September," Bitstamp said, adding that September 24 ended up to be the fourth-highest volume day of the month.Memes even circulated on social media, mocking China's move as just the latest in a string of similar moves dating back to 2013. Bitcoin bull and Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor took to Twitter to question the move as well."Nothing has created more wealth in the past decade than technologies banned in China."For Tim Frost, CEO of Yield App, a fintech app, the ban was expected. Anyone who was hoping for a reversal, he said, will just end up "disappointed.""China has made its intentions very very clear: Like all authoritarian regimes, it wants extremely tight control over all financial activity in the country, and it wants zero competition for its own central-bank digital currency," he said via email Friday.Compared to other nations, China is several years ahead in its efforts to develop a central bank digital currency. Around 60 central banks are developing or considering issuing digital currencies, according to the Bank for International Settlements, but none have advanced their plans as far as China has."Thankfully there is no shortage of countries and jurisdictions that are now embracing cryptocurrency," Frost added. "So while the loss of the world's most populous nation is a blow, most of the damage had been done some time ago." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 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