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Feds Deploy Non-Toxic Gas On Subway In Test Of Biological Attack Preparedness

Feds Deploy Non-Toxic Gas On Subway In Test Of Biological Attack Preparedness If you smell something strange during your next subway ride, don't panic, it's not a terror attack - it's just the Feds testing out a new strategy for averting chemical and biological attacks on the country's largest public transportation system. According to NBC 4 New York, the MTA, working in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and a team of researchers and city agencies, will deploy a non-toxic gas at 120 places across the city. The tests will be carried out on five days between Oct. 18 and Oct. 29. Most of the test sites will be above ground, including in some parks. But an unknown number of tests will be carried out below ground in subway stations across the city (exact details aren't being released to the public). The public is advised: should one happen to stumble upon a test site, the gas is non-toxic and poses no public health risk. Although details are slim, the study is intended to simulate "the aerosol release of a biological agent in a densely populated urban environment." "The study will track movement of non-toxic material and the results from these tests will be used to learn more about the relationship between airflow in street level and underground environments," the MTA said. Commuters who encounter test sites will likely see teams of researchers around. The study is part of a secretive federal campaign called the Urban Threat Dispersion program. Testing has taken place in NYC before back in 2016, while cities like Washington DC and Boston have also been tested. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 21:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

South Korea just launched itself into a very exclusive club. Here"s why its new sub-launched missile sets it apart.

It's yet another capability attained by South Korea's increasingly modern and sophisticated military. A South Korean Navy's Type 209-class submarine surfaces during the international fleet review near Busan, October 7, 2008. KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP via Getty Images On September 15, a South Korean submarine successfully test-launched a domestically built ballistic missile. That test puts South Korea into the club of now eight countries with SLBM capability and makes it the only member without nuclear weapons. It may also open a new phase in South Korea's arms race with North Korea. On September 15, the South Korean navy made history when it successfully launched its own domestically built submarine-launched ballistic missile from its first Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarine.With that test, South Korea joins the US, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, and North Korea in the club of nations with SLBM capability, becoming the only member that doesn't possess nuclear weapons.The new capability is yet another attained by South Korea's increasingly modern and sophisticated military, and it is only the latest milestone for the country's rapidly developing domestic defense industry.It may also represent a new phase in South Korea's arms race with North Korea, which has responded with new missile tests of its own.An exclusive club South Korea's first underwater-launched ballistic missile is test-fired from a sub in South Korean waters, September 15, 2021. South Korea Defense Ministry via AP The September 15 test, which President Moon Jae-in attended, was actually the third and final one of South Korea's SLBM program.The first test, conducted in July, involved firing an SLBM from a submerged barge. It was followed two months later by a second "cold launch" test from the Dosan Ahn Changho, a diesel-electric sub commissioned in August.The missiles in all tests were Hyunmoo-4-4s, a variant of the Hyunmoo-2B designed to be fired from submarines. The Hyunmoo-2B has a maximum range of 800 km, though the missile used in the third test reportedly only flew 400 km.With the Biden and Moon administrations agreeing to lift restrictions on the range of South Korean missiles in May, South Korea's navy will likely field SLBMs with longer ranges in the future.South Korea's government has argued that it is actually the seventh country to achieve SLBM capability, as North Korea hasn't clearly demonstrated that its active or under-development ballistic-missile subs are actually capable of launching any of its much-touted Pukguksong series of SLBMs.Second-strike capability A missile is seen launched during a drill by North Korea's Railway Mobile Missile Regiment in September 2021. KCNA via REUTERS South Korea's military is already considered superior to that of the North, but North Korea's growing nuclear arsenal, currently estimated to be between 67 and 116 warheads, could level the playing field in a conflict.South Korea has invested heavily in modern, high-end military hardware, part of an effort to compensate for demographic shifts that will likely shrink the overall size of its military.But that hardware - such as fighter jets and warships - are often in fixed locations that are known to North Korea. South Korea's missile batteries and other ground assets are also at risk of discovery by North Korean spies.As a result, there is a huge risk that South Korea's most important military equipment could be destroyed in a preemptive nuclear attack by North Korea."A fundamental part of [North Korea's] doctrine is surprise," Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation, told Insider. "If they are going to try and get that surprise, South Korea may get very little warning."To better defend against such an attack, Dosan Ahn Changho-class subs, originally envisioned as cruise-missile submarines, were redesigned to carry six SLBMs. A ballistic missile could reach targets deep inside North Korea in minutes, while a cruise missile, which flies closer to the ground, could take as long as an hour depending on where it's launched."If they've got to preempt the North Korean preemption, they've got to have a ballistic missile," Bennett said.Dosan Ahn Changho-class subs can also stay underwater for extended periods, giving South Korea a nearly guaranteed way to strike back if attacked."You can't follow the submarines," Bennett said. "It's a secure second-strike force."'A hedge against the future' An underwater-launched missile emerges off the North Korean coastal town of Wonsan, October 2, 2019. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP Predictably, North Korea has not taken kindly to South Korea's SLBM development.On September 11 and 12, it conducted a series of long-range missile tests - its first in six months - with new cruise missiles that flew 1,500 km, the maximum range of South Korea's cruise missiles.Just hours before the scheduled launch of South Korea's SLBM, North Korea launched two ballistic missiles from train cars in the country's mountains. The missiles traveled 800 km before crashing into the into the waters of Japan's exclusive economic zone.Pyongyang has tried to minimize South Korea's SLBM test. North Korean state media has questioned its authenticity and claimed the missile "will not be effective in war" and has "no strategic or tactical value."On September 15, after Moon called South Korea's missile capabilities a "sure deterrence" against North Korean attacks, Kim Jong Un's sister responded by threatening the "complete destruction" of bilateral relations, describing Moon's comments as "slander and detraction."Finally, at the end of September, North Korea launched the Hwasong-8, which it called a hypersonic missile, and followed it a day later with a test of a new surface-to-air missile. A Hwasong-8 hypersonic missile is test-fired by North Korea,September 29, 2021. KCNA via REUTERS North Korea's missile tests may be an attempt to demonstrate parity with South Korea's missile capabilities, while state media may have downplayed the SLBM test in an attempt to distract from North Korea's lack of progress on its own ballistic-missile subs.South Korea's military said the Hwasong-8 appears to be early in development with "considerable time" needed before it could be deployed. But North Korea's growing nuclear arsenal coupled with the threat of hypersonic weapons, which are virtually impossible to intercept because of their speed and maneuverability, have only increased tensions.Some South Korean officials have even called for again allowing US forces to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in South Korea or for developing its own nuclear weapons.If Seoul did develop its own nuclear weapons, Dosan Ahn Changho-class subs and the Hyunmoo-4-4 missiles would already be able to carry the warheads."If you're going to build your own nuclear weapons, what a great idea to have this submarine ready, to have the missile ready, and only have to build the nuclear warhead and put it on a missile and be set to go," Bennett said. "It's a hedge against the future."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

How Autonomous Weapons Could Be More Destabilizing Than Nukes

How Autonomous Weapons Could Be More Destabilizing Than Nukes Authored by James Dawes via TheConversation.com, Autonomous weapon systems – commonly known as killer robots – may have killed human beings for the first time ever last year, according to a recent United Nations Security Council report on the Libyan civil war. History could well identify this as the starting point of the next major arms race, one that has the potential to be humanity’s final one. Autonomous weapon systems are robots with lethal weapons that can operate independently, selecting and attacking targets without a human weighing in on those decisions. Militaries around the world are investing heavily in autonomous weapons research and development. The U.S. alone budgeted US$18 billion for autonomous weapons between 2016 and 2020. Meanwhile, human rights and humanitarian organizations are racing to establish regulations and prohibitions on such weapons development. Without such checks, foreign policy experts warn that disruptive autonomous weapons technologies will dangerously destabilize current nuclear strategies, both because they could radically change perceptions of strategic dominance, increasing the risk of preemptive attacks, and because they could become combined with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons themselves. As a specialist in human rights with a focus on the weaponization of artificial intelligence, I find that autonomous weapons make the unsteady balances and fragmented safeguards of the nuclear world – for example, the U.S. president’s minimally constrained authority to launch a strike – more unsteady and more fragmented. Lethal errors and black boxes I see four primary dangers with autonomous weapons. The first is the problem of misidentification. When selecting a target, will autonomous weapons be able to distinguish between hostile soldiers and 12-year-olds playing with toy guns? Between civilians fleeing a conflict site and insurgents making a tactical retreat? Killer robots, like the drones in the 2017 short film ‘Slaughterbots,’ have long been a major subgenre of science fiction. (Warning: graphic depictions of violence.) The problem here is not that machines will make such errors and humans won’t. It’s that the difference between human error and algorithmic error is like the difference between mailing a letter and tweeting. The scale, scope and speed of killer robot systems – ruled by one targeting algorithm, deployed across an entire continent – could make misidentifications by individual humans like a recent U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan seem like mere rounding errors by comparison. Autonomous weapons expert Paul Scharre uses the metaphor of the runaway gun to explain the difference. A runaway gun is a defective machine gun that continues to fire after a trigger is released. The gun continues to fire until ammunition is depleted because, so to speak, the gun does not know it is making an error. Runaway guns are extremely dangerous, but fortunately they have human operators who can break the ammunition link or try to point the weapon in a safe direction. Autonomous weapons, by definition, have no such safeguard. Importantly, weaponized AI need not even be defective to produce the runaway gun effect. As multiple studies on algorithmic errors across industries have shown, the very best algorithms – operating as designed – can generate internally correct outcomes that nonetheless spread terrible errors rapidly across populations. For example, a neural net designed for use in Pittsburgh hospitals identified asthma as a risk-reducer in pneumonia cases; image recognition software used by Google identified African Americans as gorillas; and a machine-learning tool used by Amazon to rank job candidates systematically assigned negative scores to women. The problem is not just that when AI systems err, they err in bulk. It is that when they err, their makers often don’t know why they did and, therefore, how to correct them. The black box problem of AI makes it almost impossible to imagine morally responsible development of autonomous weapons systems. The proliferation problems The next two dangers are the problems of low-end and high-end proliferation. Let’s start with the low end. The militaries developing autonomous weapons now are proceeding on the assumption that they will be able to contain and control the use of autonomous weapons. But if the history of weapons technology has taught the world anything, it’s this: Weapons spread. Market pressures could result in the creation and widespread sale of what can be thought of as the autonomous weapon equivalent of the Kalashnikov assault rifle: killer robots that are cheap, effective and almost impossible to contain as they circulate around the globe. “Kalashnikov” autonomous weapons could get into the hands of people outside of government control, including international and domestic terrorists. The Kargu-2, made by a Turkish defense contractor, is a cross between a quadcopter drone and a bomb. It has artificial intelligence for finding and tracking targets, and might have been used autonomously in the Libyan civil war to attack people. Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, CC BY High-end proliferation is just as bad, however. Nations could compete to develop increasingly devastating versions of autonomous weapons, including ones capable of mounting chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear arms. The moral dangers of escalating weapon lethality would be amplified by escalating weapon use. High-end autonomous weapons are likely to lead to more frequent wars because they will decrease two of the primary forces that have historically prevented and shortened wars: concern for civilians abroad and concern for one’s own soldiers. The weapons are likely to be equipped with expensive ethical governors designed to minimize collateral damage, using what U.N. Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard has called the “myth of a surgical strike” to quell moral protests. Autonomous weapons will also reduce both the need for and risk to one’s own soldiers, dramatically altering the cost-benefit analysis that nations undergo while launching and maintaining wars. Asymmetric wars – that is, wars waged on the soil of nations that lack competing technology – are likely to become more common. Think about the global instability caused by Soviet and U.S. military interventions during the Cold War, from the first proxy war to the blowback experienced around the world today. Multiply that by every country currently aiming for high-end autonomous weapons. Undermining the laws of war Finally, autonomous weapons will undermine humanity’s final stopgap against war crimes and atrocities: the international laws of war. These laws, codified in treaties reaching as far back as the 1864 Geneva Convention, are the international thin blue line separating war with honor from massacre. They are premised on the idea that people can be held accountable for their actions even during wartime, that the right to kill other soldiers during combat does not give the right to murder civilians. A prominent example of someone held to account is Slobodan Milosevic, former president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who was indicted on charges against humanity and war crimes by the U.N.’s International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. But how can autonomous weapons be held accountable? Who is to blame for a robot that commits war crimes? Who would be put on trial? The weapon? The soldier? The soldier’s commanders? The corporation that made the weapon? Nongovernmental organizations and experts in international law worry that autonomous weapons will lead to a serious accountability gap. To hold a soldier criminally responsible for deploying an autonomous weapon that commits war crimes, prosecutors would need to prove both actus reus and mens rea, Latin terms describing a guilty act and a guilty mind. This would be difficult as a matter of law, and possibly unjust as a matter of morality, given that autonomous weapons are inherently unpredictable. I believe the distance separating the soldier from the independent decisions made by autonomous weapons in rapidly evolving environments is simply too great. The legal and moral challenge is not made easier by shifting the blame up the chain of command or back to the site of production. In a world without regulations that mandate meaningful human control of autonomous weapons, there will be war crimes with no war criminals to hold accountable. The structure of the laws of war, along with their deterrent value, will be significantly weakened. A new global arms race Imagine a world in which militaries, insurgent groups and international and domestic terrorists can deploy theoretically unlimited lethal force at theoretically zero risk at times and places of their choosing, with no resulting legal accountability. It is a world where the sort of unavoidable algorithmic errors that plague even tech giants like Amazon and Google can now lead to the elimination of whole cities. In my view, the world should not repeat the catastrophic mistakes of the nuclear arms race. It should not sleepwalk into dystopia. *  *  * Get the best science, health and technology stories. Sign up for The Conversation’s science newsletter. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/01/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 1st, 2021

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

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

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

Ransomware gangs targeted 3 different US water treatment plants this year in previously unreported attacks, according to federal agencies

Ransomware is on the rise globally, and attacks on public infrastructure could put lives at risk. Workers look over wastewater from coal ash as it is aerated in a treatment facility outside Dominion Powers Bremo Bluff power plant in Bremo Bluff, Va., Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Steve Helber/AP Three US water treatment plants were hit with ransomware attacks this year, according to a new report. The previously unreported incidents came after a widely publicized attack on a Florida plant. Ransomware is on the rise globally, and attacks on public infrastructure could put lives at risk. Ransomware gangs attacked even more water treatment plants across the US than previously known, according to a new report.Water plants in Nevada, Maine, and California were all hit with ransomware in 2021 - and all three incidents went unreported until Thursday, when the attacks were disclosed in a joint advisory published by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, the NSA, and the Environmental Protection Agency.The cyberattacks on water treatment plants come amid a broader rise in ransomware shaking public and private organizations across the US. Ransomware attacks, in which cybercriminals deploy malicious code that locks up an organizations' computer systems until they agree to pay a ransom, could cost victims $20 billion this year.In all three attacks, cybercriminals took over the water treatment plants' supervisory control and data acquisition systems, also known as SCADA, which lets administrators remotely monitor the facilities. In addition to the three attacks in 2021, a similar ransomware attack hit a New Jersey facility in 2020.The previously undisclosed attacks came after a highly publicized hack of an Oldsmar, Florida, water treatment plant. In that incident, the hacker tried to raise the amount of sodium hydroxide in the water by 11,000%, which authorities said could have put residents in danger - but a different employee who noticed the change immediately reversed it before drinking water was affected.Ransomware is being treated with growing urgency by law enforcement and the cybersecurity community as criminals bring in record profits from ransom victims. Ransomware attacks grew 435% last year, according to the security startup Deep Instinct. Cybercriminals gangs took down the networks of 560 healthcare facilities, 1,681 schools and colleges, and more than 1,300 companies, according to the security firm Emsisoft.The White House convened a meeting earlier this week with leaders from 31 countries to discuss a coordinated approach to stopping ransomware across the globe.Experts say beating ransomware groups will depend on stopping the flow of cash from victims to criminals, either by enforcing bans on ransom payments or by more heavily regulating cryptocurrency used in most ransomware transactions.The federal advisory published Thursday warned water treatment plant administrators to be on the lookout for suspicious activity on their networks and to take steps to prevent fraudulent logins, including activing multifactor authentication on all devices that remotely access facilities.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt14 hr. 55 min. ago

NATO"s Plans To Hack Your Brain

NATO's Plans To Hack Your Brain Authored by Ben Norton via TheGrayZone.com, Western governments in the NATO military alliance are developing tactics of “cognitive warfare,” using the supposed threats of China and Russia to justify waging a “battle for your brain” in the “human domain,” to “make everyone a weapon.” NATO is developing new forms of warfare to wage a “battle for the brain,” as the military alliance put it. The US-led NATO military cartel has tested novel modes of hybrid warfare against its self-declared adversaries, including economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, and psychological warfare. Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.” Until recently, NATO had divided war into five different operational domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyber. But with its development of cognitive warfare strategies, the military alliance is discussing a new, sixth level: the “human domain.” A 2020 NATO-sponsored study of this new form of warfare clearly explained, “While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human domain, cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.” “The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century,” the report stressed. “Humans are the contested domain,” and “future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power.” The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare While the NATO-backed study insisted that much of its research on cognitive warfare is designed for defensive purposes, it also conceded that the military alliance is developing offensive tactics, stating, “The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO’s human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries’s vulnerabilities.” In a chilling disclosure, the report said explicitly that “the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military.” With entire civilian populations in NATO’s crosshairs, the report emphasized that Western militaries must work more closely with academia to weaponize social sciences and human sciences and help the alliance develop its cognitive warfare capacities. The study described this phenomenon as “the militarization of brain science.” But it appears clear that NATO’s development of cognitive warfare will lead to a militarization of all aspects of human society and psychology, from the most intimate of social relationships to the mind itself. Such all-encompassing militarization of society is reflected in the paranoid tone of the NATO-sponsored report, which warned of “an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” The study makes it clear that those “competitors” purportedly exploiting the consciousness of Western dissidents are China and Russia. In other words, this document shows that figures in the NATO military cartel increasingly see their own domestic population as a threat, fearing civilians to be potential Chinese or Russian sleeper cells, dastardly “fifth columns” that challenge the stability of “Western liberal democracies.” NATO’s development of novel forms of hybrid warfare come at a time when member states’ military campaigns are targeting domestic populations on an unprecedented level. The Ottawa Citizen reported this September that the Canadian military’s Joint Operations Command took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to wage an information war against its own domestic population, testing out propaganda tactics on Canadian civilians. Internal NATO-sponsored reports suggest that this disclosure is just scratching the surface of a wave of new unconventional warfare techniques that Western militaries are employing around the world. Canada hosts ‘NATO Innovation Challenge’ on cognitive warfare Twice each year, NATO holds a “pitch-style event” that it brand as an “Innovation Challenge.” These campaigns – one hosted in the Spring and the other in the Fall, by alternating member states – call on private companies, organizations, and researchers to help develop new tactics and technologies for the military alliance. The shark tank-like challenges reflect the predominant influence of neoliberal ideology within NATO, as participants mobilize the free market, public-private partnerships, and the promise of cash prizes to advance the agenda of the military-industrial complex. NATO’s Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge is hosted by Canada, and is titled “The invisible threat: Tools for countering cognitive warfare.” “Cognitive warfare seeks to change not only what people think, but also how they act,” the Canadian government wrote in its official statement on the challenge. “Attacks against the cognitive domain involve the integration of cyber, disinformation/misinformation, psychological, and social-engineering capabilities.” Ottawa’s press release continued: “Cognitive warfare positions the mind as a battle space and contested domain. Its objective is to sow dissonance, instigate conflicting narratives, polarize opinion, and radicalize groups. Cognitive warfare can motivate people to act in ways that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society.” NATO-backed Canadian military officials discuss cognitive warfare in panel event An advocacy group called the NATO Association of Canada has mobilized to support this Innovation Challenge, working closely with military contractors to attract the private sector to invest in further research on behalf of NATO – and its own bottom line. While the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) is technically an independent NGO, its mission is to promote NATO, and the organization boasts on its website, “The NAOC has strong ties with the Government of Canada including Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence.” As part of its efforts to promote Canada’s NATO Innovation Challenge, the NAOC held a panel discussion on cognitive warfare on October 5. The researcher who wrote the definitive 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare, François du Cluzel, participated in the event, alongside NATO-backed Canadian military officers. The October 5 panel on cognitive warfare, hosted by the NATO Association of Canada The panel was overseen by Robert Baines, president of the NATO Association of Canada. It was moderated by Garrick Ngai, a marketing executive in the weapons industry who serves as an adviser to the Canadian Department of National Defense and vice president and director of the NAOC. Baines opened the event noting that participants would discuss “cognitive warfare and new domain of competition, where state and non-state actors aim to influence what people think and how they act.” The NAOC president also happily noted the lucrative “opportunities for Canadian companies” that this NATO Innovation Challenge promised. NATO researcher describes cognitive warfare as ‘ways of harming the brain’ The October 5 panel kicked off with François du Cluzel, a former French military officer who in 2013 helped to create the NATO Innovation Hub (iHub), which he has since then managed from its base in Norfolk, Virginia. Although the iHub insists on its website, for legal reasons, that the “opinions expressed on this platform don’t constitute NATO or any other organization points of view,” the organization is sponsored by the Allied Command Transformation (ACT), described as “one of two Strategic Commands at the head of NATO’s military command structure.” The Innovation Hub, therefore, acts as a kind of in-house NATO research center or think tank. Its research is not necessarily official NATO policy, but it is directly supported and overseen by NATO. In 2020, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) tasked du Cluzel, as manager of the iHub, to conduct a six-month study on cognitive warfare. Du Cluzel summarized his research in the panel this October. He initiated his remarks noting that cognitive warfare “right now is one of the hottest topics for NATO,” and “has become a recurring term in military terminology in recent years.” Although French, Du Cluzel emphasized that cognitive warfare strategy “is being currently developed by my command here in Norfolk, USA.” The NATO Innovation Hub manager spoke with a PowerPoint presentation, and opened with a provocative slide that described cognitive warfare as “A Battle for the Brain.” “Cognitive warfare is a new concept that starts in the information sphere, that is a kind of hybrid warfare,” du Cluzel said. “It starts with hyper-connectivity. Everyone has a cell phone,” he continued. “It starts with information because information is, if I may say, the fuel of cognitive warfare. But it goes way beyond solely information, which is a standalone operation – information warfare is a standalone operation.” Cognitive warfare overlaps with Big Tech corporations and mass surveillance, because “it’s all about leveraging the big data,” du Cluzel explained. “We produce data everywhere we go. Every minute, every second we go, we go online. And this is extremely easy to leverage those data in order to better know you and use that knowledge to change the way you think.” Naturally, the NATO researcher claimed foreign “adversaries” are the supposed aggressors employing cognitive warfare. But at the same time, he made it clear that the Western military alliance is developing its own tactics. Du Cluzel defined cognitive warfare as the “art of using technologies to alter the cognition of human targets.” Those technologies, he noted, incorporate the fields of NBIC – nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. All together, “it makes a kind of very dangerous cocktail that can further manipulate the brain,” he said. Du Cluzel went on to explain that the exotic new method of attack “goes well beyond” information warfare or psychological operations (psyops). “Cognitive warfare is not only a fight against what we think, but it’s rather a fight against the way we think, if we can change the way people think,” he said. “It’s much more powerful and it goes way beyond the information [warfare] and psyops.” De Cluzel continued: “It’s crucial to understand that it’s a game on our cognition, on the way our brain processes information and turns it into knowledge, rather than solely a game on information or on psychological aspects of our brains. It’s not only an action against what we think, but also an action against the way we think, the way we process information and turn it into knowledge.” “In other words, cognitive warfare is not just another word, another name for information warfare. It is a war on our individual processor, our brain.” The NATO researcher stressed that “this is extremely important for us in the military,” because “it has the potential, by developing new weapons and ways of harming the brain, it has the potential to engage neuroscience and technology in many, many different approaches to influence human ecology… because you all know that it’s very easy to turn a civilian technology into a military one.” As for who the targets of cognitive warfare could be, du Cluzel revealed that anyone and everyone is on the table. “Cognitive warfare has universal reach, from starting with the individual to states and multinational organizations,” he said. “Its field of action is global and aim to seize control of the human being, civilian as well as military.” And the private sector has a financial interest in advancing cognitive warfare research, he noted: “The massive worldwide investments made in neurosciences suggests that the cognitive domain will probably one of the battlefields of the future.” The development of cognitive warfare totally transforms military conflict as we know it, du Cluzel said, adding “a third major combat dimension to the modern battlefield: to the physical and informational dimension is now added a cognitive dimension.” This “creates a new space of competition beyond what is called the five domains of operations – or land, sea, air, cyber, and space domains. Warfare in the cognitive arena mobilizes a wider range of battle spaces than solely the physical and information dimensions can do.” In short, humans themselves are the new contested domain in this novel mode of hybrid warfare, alongside land, sea, air, cyber, and outer space. NATO’s cognitive warfare study warns of “embedded fifth column” The study that NATO Innovation Hub manager François du Cluzel conducted, from June to November 2020, was sponsored by the military cartel’s Allied Command Transformation, and published as a 45-page report in January 2021 (PDF). The chilling document shows how contemporary warfare has reached a kind of dystopian stage, once imaginable only in science fiction. “The nature of warfare has changed,” the report emphasized. “The majority of current conflicts remain below the threshold of the traditionally accepted definition of warfare, but new forms of warfare have emerged such as Cognitive Warfare (CW), while the human mind is now being considered as a new domain of war.” For NATO, research on cognitive warfare is not just defensive; it is very much offensive as well. “Developing capabilities to harm the cognitive abilities of opponents will be a necessity,” du Cluzel’s report stated clearly. “In other words, NATO will need to get the ability to safeguard her decision making process and disrupt the adversary’s one.” And anyone could be a target of these cognitive warfare operations: “Any user of modern information technologies is a potential target. It targets the whole of a nation’s human capital,” the report ominously added. “As well as the potential execution of a cognitive war to complement to a military conflict, it can also be conducted alone, without any link to an engagement of the armed forces,” the study went on. “Moreover, cognitive warfare is potentially endless since there can be no peace treaty or surrender for this type of conflict.” Just as this new mode of battle has no geographic borders, it also has no time limit: “This battlefield is global via the internet. With no beginning and no end, this conquest knows no respite, punctuated by notifications from our smartphones, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The NATO-sponsored study noted that “some NATO Nations have already acknowledged that neuroscientific techniques and technologies have high potential for operational use in a variety of security, defense and intelligence enterprises.” It spoke of breakthroughs in “neuroscientific methods and technologies” (neuroS/T), and said “uses of research findings and products to directly facilitate the performance of combatants, the integration of human machine interfaces to optimise combat capabilities of semi autonomous vehicles (e.g., drones), and development of biological and chemical weapons (i.e., neuroweapons).” The Pentagon is among the primary institutions advancing this novel research, as the report highlighted: “Although a number of nations have pursued, and are currently pursuing neuroscientific research and development for military purposes, perhaps the most proactive efforts in this regard have been conducted by the United States Department of Defense; with most notable and rapidly maturing research and development conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).” Military uses of neuroS/T research, the study indicated, include intelligence gathering, training, “optimising performance and resilience in combat and military support personnel,” and of course “direct weaponisation of neuroscience and neurotechnology.” This weaponization of neuroS/T can and will be fatal, the NATO-sponsored study was clear to point out. The research can “be utilised to mitigate aggression and foster cognitions and emotions of affiliation or passivity; induce morbidity, disability or suffering; and ‘neutralise’ potential opponents or incur mortality” – in other words, to maim and kill people. The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare The report quoted US Major General Robert H. Scales, who summarized NATO’s new combat philosophy: “Victory will be defined more in terms of capturing the psycho-cultural rather than the geographical high ground.” And as NATO develops tactics of cognitive warfare to “capture the psycho-cultural,” it is also increasingly weaponizing various scientific fields. The study spoke of “the crucible of data sciences and human sciences,” and stressed that “the combination of Social Sciences and System Engineering will be key in helping military analysts to improve the production of intelligence.” “If kinetic power cannot defeat the enemy,” it said, “psychology and related behavioural and social sciences stand to fill the void.” “Leveraging social sciences will be central to the development of the Human Domain Plan of Operations,” the report went on. “It will support the combat operations by providing potential courses of action for the whole surrounding Human Environment including enemy forces, but also determining key human elements such as the Cognitive center of gravity, the desired behaviour as the end state.” All academic disciplines will be implicated in cognitive warfare, not just the hard sciences. “Within the military, expertise on anthropology, ethnography, history, psychology among other areas will be more than ever required to cooperate with the military,” the NATO-sponsored study stated. The report nears its conclusion with an eerie quote: “Today’s progresses in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), boosted by the seemingly unstoppable march of a triumphant troika made of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and civilisational ‘digital addiction’ have created a much more ominous prospect: an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” “The modern concept of war is not about weapons but about influence,” it posited. “Victory in the long run will remain solely dependent on the ability to influence, affect, change or impact the cognitive domain.” The NATO-sponsored study then closed with a final paragraph that makes it clear beyond doubt that the Western military alliance’s ultimate goal is not only physical control of the planet, but also control over people’s minds: “Cognitive warfare may well be the missing element that allows the transition from military victory on the battlefield to lasting political success. The human domain might well be the decisive domain, wherein multi-domain operations achieve the commander’s effect. The five first domains can give tactical and operational victories; only the human domain can achieve the final and full victory.” Canadian Special Operations officer emphasizes importance of cognitive warfare When François du Cluzel, the NATO researcher who conducted the study on cognitive warfare, concluded his remarks in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada panel, he was followed by Andy Bonvie, a commanding officer at the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre. With more than 30 years of experience with the Canadian Armed Forces, Bonvie spoke of how Western militaries are making use of research by du Cluzel and others, and incorporating novel cognitive warfare techniques into their combat activities. “Cognitive warfare is a new type of hybrid warfare for us,” Bonvie said. “And it means that we need to look at the traditional thresholds of conflict and how the things that are being done are really below those thresholds of conflict, cognitive attacks, and non-kinetic forms and non-combative threats to us. We need to understand these attacks better and adjust their actions and our training accordingly to be able to operate in these different environments.” Although he portrayed NATO’s actions as “defensive,” claiming “adversaries” were using cognitive warfare against them, Bonvie was unambiguous about the fact that Western militaries are developing these tecniques themselves, to maintain a “tactical advantage.” “We cannot lose the tactical advantage for our troops that we’re placing forward as it spans not only tactically, but strategically,” he said. “Some of those different capabilities that we have that we enjoy all of a sudden could be pivoted to be used against us. So we have to better understand how quickly our adversaries adapt to things, and then be able to predict where they’re going in the future, to help us be and maintain the tactical advantage for our troops moving forward.” ‘Cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date’ Marie-Pierre Raymond, a retired Canadian lieutenant colonel who currently serves as a “defence scientist and innovation portfolio manager” for the Canadian Armed Forces’ Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program, also joined the October 5 panel. “Long gone are the days when war was fought to acquire more land,” Raymond said. “Now the new objective is to change the adversaries’ ideologies, which makes the brain the center of gravity of the human. And it makes the human the contested domain, and the mind becomes the battlefield.” “When we speak about hybrid threats, cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date,” she added, noting that it aims to influence individuals’ decision-making and “to influence a group of a group of individuals on their behavior, with the aim of gaining a tactical or strategic advantage.” Raymond noted that cognitive warfare also heavily overlaps with artificial intelligence, big data, and social media, and reflects “the rapid evolution of neurosciences as a tool of war.” Raymond is helping to oversee the NATO Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defence, which delegated management responsibilities to the military’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program, where she works. In highly technical jargon, Raymond indicated that the cognitive warfare program is not solely defensive, but also offensive: “This challenge is calling for a solution that will support NATO’s nascent human domain and jump-start the development of a cognition ecosystem within the alliance, and that will support the development of new applications, new systems, new tools and concepts leading to concrete action in the cognitive domain.” She emphasized that this “will require sustained cooperation between allies, innovators, and researchers to enable our troops to fight and win in the cognitive domain. This is what we are hoping to emerge from this call to innovators and researchers.” To inspire corporate interest in the NATO Innovation Challenge, Raymond enticed, “Applicants will receive national and international exposure and cash prizes for the best solution.” She then added tantalizingly, “This could also benefit the applicants by potentially providing them access to a market of 30 nations.” Canadian military officer calls on corporations to invest in NATO’s cognitive warfare research The other institution that is managing the Fall 2021 NATO Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defense is the Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). A Canadian military officer who works with CANSOFCOM, Shekhar Gothi, was the final panelist in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada event. Gothi serves as CANSOFCOM’s “innovation officer” for Southern Ontario. He concluded the event appealing for corporate investment in NATO’s cognitive warfare research. The bi-annual Innovation Challenge is “part of the NATO battle rhythm,” Gothi declared enthusiastically. He noted that, in the spring of 2021, Portugal held a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on warfare in outer space. In spring 2020, the Netherlands hosted a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on Covid-19. Gothi reassured corporate investors that NATO will bend over backward to defend their bottom lines: “I can assure everyone that the NATO innovation challenge indicates that all innovators will maintain complete control of their intellectual property. So NATO won’t take control of that. Neither will Canada. Innovators will maintain their control over their IP.” The comment was a fitting conclusion to the panel, affirming that NATO and its allies in the military-industrial complex not only seek to dominate the world and the humans that inhabit it with unsettling cognitive warfare techniques, but to also ensure that corporations and their shareholders continue to profit from these imperial endeavors. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Accessing “Whole” – People Is the Path to Sustained Innovation and Growth

Putting the human back in human resources turns work from a transactional exchange into a transformational connection. Creating authentic connections opens the door to advancing productivity and building a culture of innovation to sustain growth in and out of crisis. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more In the dogged pursuit of emergent technology, […] Putting the human back in human resources turns work from a transactional exchange into a transformational connection. Creating authentic connections opens the door to advancing productivity and building a culture of innovation to sustain growth in and out of crisis. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more In the dogged pursuit of emergent technology, we can often overlook the most critical factor in organizational success: People. In the quest for talent, businesses become focused on human resources for knowledge, skills, and ability. We seek out the relevant experiences but see people as simply the storage bins for talent. However, people aren’t solely made up of experience relevant to their jobs. People are made up of whole life experience that impacts every corner of their being including their work. If they are having a negative experience at home, at work or otherwise, guess what? It is going to manifest in their work performance. It will have an impact on business. Business tends to covet all resources a human can offer but with less of the human vulnerabilities. There Is No Work/Life Balance For years society has chased after “work/life balance,” but the reality is there is no separation between work and life. I prefer to speak in terms of work/life integration precisely because work is part of life and life is part of work. More than connected, they are integrated. The human experience cannot be successfully segmented. Mental, Physical, Social, Financial, it all matters. It all impacts life therefore it all impacts work. We saw this play out with the overnight shift to remote and hybrid work. People’s personal lives were on display as work and home fused into a single location. Now, as a CEO my control over what goes on in the personal lives of my employees is almost non-existent. Sure, I can care; I can be empathetic to their experiences, but without overstepping my bounds I simply don’t have a direct role in their personal lives. The greatest influence business executives can make stems from how they lead their companies. As a CEO, I am charged with providing stability in periods of upheaval whether they derive from internal or external sources. Let’s look back to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seemingly overnight, at least 220 million people worldwide lost full-time job alone (Source: COVID-19 and the world of work, International Labor Organization, 2021). The receding tide of widespread financial insecurity deflated our collective spirit. A SHRM poll found nearly six in ten Americans felt increased symptoms of depression. As leaders, we must understand how life impacts work performance and ultimately organizational productivity. Recognizing how these twists, trials and traumas manifest in the workplace can help us formulate a response and, if necessary, adjust our strategies. And because it impacts the balance sheet, it should definitely matter to the CEO, the CFO, the COO. Many executives I speak with claim they have little, to no interest in the lives of their employees. They assume leadership plus strategy plus talent somehow equals performance. But when we bury our heads in the sand, we shouldn’t be shocked when these issues land on our doorstep and performance suffers. As COVID-19 has made us painfully aware, business leaders need a broader radar to detect crisis whether they stem from internal or external sources. To be truly effective, leaders’ must be cognizant of what their workers are experiencing—that’s simply doing your job. For years we’ve been telling people to bring their whole selves to work, only to balk when parents need to take leave to care for an ill child. It’s time to walk the walk. As a CEO, executive, leader or people manager your sphere of influence extends further than you know. Finding Humanity In A Global Pandemic We all had a front row seat to see how intertwined home and work life truly is. Leaders had no choice but to be keenly aware of what workers experience and how it impacts their work. As we look to reset our workplaces, we must take into account workers entire lives. Their lives aren’t going always be on screens for all to see. It will take an intentional effort to stay plugged into what they are going through. Their humanity, and their whole self, is too often neglected as their coveted talent is methodically mined. When times are good, we can skate by with these tendencies. But when people and organizations face strife, neglect of people’s whole selves can quickly devolve into workplace troubles. As a CEO I’m not omniscient or omnipresent. As much as I might want to, I alone cannot sustain a connection with hundreds of employees. Managers reach more people in an organization on a daily basis. That is precisely why I emphasis the moniker, “People Managers.” They are critical to transmitting organizational culture, mission, values, and objectives. The C-Suite plays a large role in determining our organization values and establishing our culture. When you want to engage the bulk of your workers business executives can do so through People Managers, but you need good ones. I say it all the time. People don’t quit companies, they quit their managers. It is not uncommon to hear: “great company, but I couldn’t stand working for Bob.” So, the great work you’re doing in the C-Suite won’t register, if you have poor People Managers not executing that vision on the front line. In a 2019 SHRM report on toxic workplace culture, we discovered that 58 percent of employees who quit their jobs due to workplace culture blamed their People Managers. Their ability to clearly communicate the culture, build positive workplaces by listening, and implement accountability by setting expectations is vital to your success. People Managers are the ones best positioned to cultivate the awareness of the workforce. They are better suited to keep a pulse on how workers are doing on an individual level and check for signs of distress and disfunction that could hinder their work performance. But organizations must prioritize and invest in developing great People Managers. Investment in People Managers is multiplied in the workforce. However, the greatest tool in their toolbox is empathy. Empathy is vital because it opens up a space for employees to be their entire selves. When that happens, we can better gauge and respond to issues that would otherwise be invisible. Empathy builds the trust and credibility required to better understand people and engage them in the work. Truly listening to workers yields insight on how to best manage workers and adapt work to produce at a higher level. Empowering the right people is critical for growth and innovation. Technology Is A Tool; Innovation Is The Process; Innovators Are The Source Going back to people. It’s really people who drive business. Innovators are the ones that discover the breakthroughs that evolve business. Your best ideas come from creative minds with unique viewpoints. Survival in the pandemic meant birthing new ideas to meet challenges daily. Maintain an understanding of who and where your best ideas come from. Invest in those sources regularly. Those people who felt empowered to take risks in order to accomplish something new are your change agents. They imbue your organization with the agility and flexibility to meet tomorrow’s challenges. They are the one’s more likely to ask for forgiveness over permission. It’s the innovators who are inspired by future opportunity, not blinded by past success. Breakthroughs are fueled by people being curious enough to ask the questions that make others feel uncomfortable. Facing the uncomfortable requires being open to new concepts and trusting that there is a new solution around the corner. Innovators trust there is a way forward even when they can’t yet see it. Fostering new ideas requires a willingness to test a concept and be wrong, so we can learn something new and build it into the next iteration to test again. Innovators value the process of creation and thinking beyond convention. To commit to ideation, we must be willing to set time and money aside away from operations to “play,” to tinker. Again, it requires being ok with risk and possible failure. Embrace failure. Autopsy your failures to find out what went wrong. Those lessons shed light on the way forward. Conversely, the fear of failure can paralyze action and limit success. Past success can also blind you to future opportunity. That is part of the vulnerability of the status quo where hyper focus on day-to-day operations and crises can have a chilling effect on innovation. Fat And Happy When I worked for Blockbuster, we found that our revenues grew in relation to the number of stores we opened. We made our mission to be everywhere. For us that meant putting a brick and mortar storefront in every corner of the global. And nobody was going to beat us at that game. Meanwhile, Netflix took that premise, stepped back and reimagined what “being everywhere” could mean. As movies became digital, Netflix saw the next delivery mechanism for movies. First, it was mailing DVDs on request, then morphed into streaming subscriptions. Subsequently, Blockbuster became obsolete almost overnight. Focusing on their past definition of success robbed them of the time and energy needed to envision future potential. Are you investing in your innovators? Are you regularly reimaging your execution? Are you evaluating emerging technologies to understand their potential to transform your operations? Do you have a start-up mentality embedded in your business? There are no shortages of organizations that talk innovation. They point to R&D as their evidence. But innovation doesn’t just take place in R&D. From service to manufacturing to finance and marketing, innovation can be cultivated in every aspect of an organization. But it requires a willingness to identify, recruit, develop and advance creative talent. But oftentimes, those creative people defy convention. They can and often do have vastly different outlooks on life. And that’s what we want. People who challenge convention. They often bring attitudes, behaviors and even an appearance that is outside of our expectations and workplace norms. We rely on them not to fit in, but to stretch the workplace culture. Their idiosyncrasies are part of the whole package. As I said earlier, organizations tend to want that creative talent sans the messiness of humanity. If we are truly intentional about embedding innovation within our Culture, we have to embrace “whole people.” This means employing empathy. This means being accepting of some of the eccentricity that innovators bring. If you want an Elon Musk you’ve got to be willing to embrace his quirkiness. I would argue it could be worth it. You want people who have the ability to focus on an objective without being locked in on a particular route. People who are willing to uncover better ways to getting the work done. People who look at our collection of assets and MacGyver them into something new. The emergence of e-books should have been fatal to Amazon Books who had built a revolutionary system for inventory and distribution of physical books. They saw value in that efficient operation and reapplied their product fulfillment strategy to selling just about anything. That doesn’t happen unless you have a culture infused with a flexible mindset that can adapt to shifting paradigms. It doesn’t happen without the visionaries who have license to reinvent the wheel. Article By Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and author of Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval About the Author: Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, is President and Chief Executive Officer of SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management. With over 300,000 members in 165 countries, SHRM is the largest HR professional association in the world, impacting the lives of 115 million workers every day. As a global leader on the future of employment, culture and leadership, Mr. Taylor is a sought-after voice on all matters affecting work, workers and the workplace. He is frequently asked to testify before Congress on critical workforce issues and authors the weekly USA Today column, "Ask HR." Mr. Taylor's career spans over 20 years as a lawyer, human resources executive and CEO in both the not-for-profit and for-profit space. He has held senior and chief executive roles at IAC/Interactive Corp, Viacom's Paramount Pictures, Blockbuster Entertainment Group, the McGuireWoods law firm, and Compass Group USA. Most recently, Mr. Taylor was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. He was appointed chairman of the President's Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and served as a member of the White House American Workforce Policy Advisory Board during the Trump Administration. He is a Trustee of the University of Miami, Governor of the American Red Cross, and member of the corporate boards of Guild Education, iCIMS, and XPO Logistics (NYSE: XPO).. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C. All author proceeds will benefit the SHRM Foundation, which is committed to empowering HR as a social force for change. To learn more, please visit reset.shrm.org. Updated on Oct 14, 2021, 11:25 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 14th, 2021

After Australia"s landmark sub deal with the US and UK, an underwater arms race may heat up in the Pacific

The AUKUS pact may drive China to expand its own sub fleet, and those are the only countries interested in bigger undersea arsenals. Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Sheean arrives for a port visit in Hobart, Australia, April 1, 2021. LSIS Leo Baumgartner/Australian Defence Force via Getty Images Indo-Pacific countries are interested in nuclear and non-nuclear subs and are developing, replacing, or expanding their fleets. The growing number of underwater vessels makes competition between them more dangerous, says academic. Australia's acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines from the United States and Britain will spark a complex naval competition in the Indo-Pacific above and below the water, according to analysts.The announcement of the Aukus pact and the plan by the US and Britain to equip Australia with, stealthy, long-range nuclear-powered attack submarines has clearly irritated its apparent target, Beijing, which will only accelerate its own rapid build-up of submarine fleets and anti-submarine forces to counter the new Anglo alliance.On September 30, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the move would "not only have a far-reaching impact on the international non-proliferation system but also bring real threats to regional peace and stability."In his address to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on September 16, China's ambassador to the UN in Vienna Wang Qun also warned that nuclear weapon states aiding non-nuclear states, such as Australia, could "give rise to serious negative implications on the ongoing international efforts" to address nuclear issues relating to North Korea and Iran."This is going to be a big threat to China, especially in the South China Sea region," said Hu Bo, director of the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative. "Although Australia's submarines can't be delivered in the near future, it will trigger an arms race." A Chinese Type 094A Jin-class ballistic-missile sub in the South China Sea, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer A 2020 Pentagon report said the Chinese navy had four Type 094A nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) in service, six Type 093 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) and 50 diesel-powered attack submarines. Type 095 SSN and Type 096 SSBN are also under development. In April this year, one more Type 094A entered service, commissioned by Chinese President Xi Jinping in person.On the other side, Australia operates six Collins-class diesel-electric attack submarines, and they are planning to acquire "at least eight" SSNs.Although the new vessels will not be operational until after 2030, or even in the 2040s, senior cabinet ministers of Australia have mentioned they may lease some attack submarines from the US or Britain for temporary use or training as a stopgap solution.The US Navy has the world's strongest underwater force, with 14 Ohio-class SSBNs and three classes of nuclear-powered attack submarines - Virginia, Seawolf and Los Angeles - making 52 vessels. All the US subs are nuclear-powered and at any given time US Navy fleets have some 24 deployed in the Indo-Pacific.Additionally, if the US Navy meets its goal of stationing 60% of its warships in the region, it would increase deployment to more than 31 vessels.Britain, which is geographically far from the Indo-Pacific but has military forces permanently based in the region, has four Vanguard-class SSBNs, four Astute-class SSNs and four Trafalgar-class SSNs in service, plus three more Astute-class and a new Dreadnought-class SSBN in construction.The Astute-class and the Virginia-class are among the candidates Australia may buy."Over the next 18 months, Australia will work with the United Kingdom and United States to intensely examine the full suite of requirements that underpin nuclear stewardship," Australia's newly formed Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force said in a statement. Ambush, a British Astute-class attack sub, at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, September 9, 2021. Royal Navy/LA(Phot) Stu Hill China is not the only potential opposition for Aukus. In the Indo-Pacific a lot more countries are interested in diving deep. India, North Korea and South Korea have either started or have plans to develop nuclear-powered submarines.Others are also expanding their underwater strength, even if they are not so keen on using nuclear power. Vietnam is buying from Russia and Thailand from China to bolster its fleets. And as tensions rise with Beijing, Taipei is also eager to replace its pair of aged submarines with new ones."The US will restrict Taiwan. But it might let Japan and India loose, or even transfer some of its SSN tech to India," said Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator, pointing out that the two are members of another US-led pact in the region, the Quad, which also involves Australia.India has commissioned one Arihant-class SSBN, with three more to follow. It has also just returned a Russian-made Akula-class SSN and will lease another one from 2025. And Japan, long focused on it strength below the surface, has 20 diesel-electric attack submarines in service and is building one more."Japan and India both have the ability to build their own nuclear-powered submarine. And Japan only needs the green light from the Americans, as do the South Koreans," Song said.In January, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country had finished the design of a nuclear-powered submarine capable of firing a "nuclear strategic weapon," and the development was in "the final stages of examination."In response, Seoul has reportedly negotiated with Washington for authorisation to build nuclear-powered submarines. It conducted its first successful underwater test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile earlier this month. A South Korean Navy Type 209-class sub surfaces near Busan, October 7, 2008. KIM JAE-HWAN/AFP via Getty Images A popular belief is that the best weapon against a submarine is a submarine. But observers said they were expensive to acquire, operate and maintain. Not every country in the region could afford, or was willing, to build subs.However, the rising tension means those that could not afford to create a new undersea fleet or expand existing fleets would probably also have to seek other anti-submarine warfare (ASW) solutions when caught up in this big boys' race."The 'cheaper' solution is to invest in other countervailing capabilities, in this case ASW-capable assets such as purpose-designed surface ships, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft," said Collin Koh, a research fellow from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.When deployed, many of these submarines are likely to be crowded in the South China Sea, a busy, strategic waterway that is deep enough for submarines."The more congested the regional littorals are, the risk of naval close encounters involving submarines and surface forces - as well as accidents such as collisions with other ships including civilian ones - correspondingly increase," Koh said.Submarines are essentially "invisible" for the most part while they are navigating and do not surface unless necessary, which makes the underwater competition more dangerous, he said, adding that mechanisms for preventing or mitigating underwater incidents in the region have yet to be developed.Last week, the US navy confirmed its Seawolf-class nuclear attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) "hit an unknown underwater object" in the South China Sea, which China said it was seriously concerned about.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Brandon Smith: If You Don"t Respect My Freedoms, I Don"t Respect Your Pronouns

Brandon Smith: If You Don't Respect My Freedoms, I Don't Respect Your Pronouns Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, No group in this world is above ridicule, and that includes the mentally ill. Just because the mentally ill become an organized mob does not mean they are a victim status group deserving of special protection or special treatment. The mentally ill are the LAST people on the planet that should be given the power to dictate the course of society. Madness is, in a way, infectious. Narcissism is poisonous. Psychopathy is radioactive. The majority of humans naturally discriminate against such people because every facet of our biology, every cell of our being warns us that if they are given an ounce of control, destruction will surely follow. Human tribes and societies have understood this reality for thousands of years. Our repellent reactions to madness are ingrained in our cellular memory. Just as we instinctually recoil from snakes and spiders we have also learned over millennia to recoil from unhinged minds. But for some reason in the past 5-10 years we are being told to embrace the exact reverse. The insane are now above the rest of us. The insane must be worshiped. The insane are our leaders and role models. Biology is wrong, and the cultural Marxists and woke ideologues are right. The new narrative is that truth tellers and rational people are the “insane” ones and they should be watched or possibly locked up. I’ve been writing about political correctness and woke culture for a long time now, and I have to say that the developing trends of social justice are not surprising. However, the speed at which they are being forced on the rest of us today is disturbing. One has to wonder if the woke mob is in a rush to meet some kind of propaganda deadline the rest of us are not aware of. The gender and “Trans” issues are really at the forefront of leftist ideology these days. If you have observed these people for any length of time you know all about the Oppression Olympics and the intersectional totem pole. And, you are also probably aware that people who claim to be trans earn an automatic spot at the top of that totem pole, well above women, black people, and even your run-of-the-mill gay people. The trans costume is the most powerful of all SJW costumes and imbues a person with unlimited protection no matter how terrible that person might be. It even allows them to dictate the very thoughts and speech of the public at large. For example, there is a policy among western governments to allow male convicted criminals who claim to be trans women to be interned in women’s prisons. This allows them to rape female inmates at their leisure while claiming special status. Yet, according to the leftist media it is the men posing as women that are being “victimized” by guards and female inmates. In Britain, they are even passing a law which makes it a crime for prisoners to use the wrong pronouns when referring to a trans inmate. It is important to note that the trans identity is a sort of magic ticket for white people in particular. The SJW cult is especially concerned with all white people (mainly white men) as some kind of monstrous threat to the safety and emotional stability of everyone else. If you are a white person within the SJW religion you are immediately hated for your original sin and are relegated to the leftist gutter. They despise your skin color, and no amount of help you give as an “ally” is going to earn you a place among the oh-so-holy oppressed. Unless, that is, you say you are trans. Then, as if you have touched the pure hand of the SJW deity, you are suddenly absolved of all your inherent white evil and are given a mantle of divinity. You are better than everyone else, because you are supposedly the most oppressed of them all. Maybe this sounds like a bit of exaggeration. Surely I am engaging in hyperbole. I promise you I am not. Western culture is being increasingly segregated by the political left into various tiers of people based on their skin color as well as their sexual orientations and mental instabilities, and the more made-up the orientations and the more volatile the mental instability the more privileges a person is afforded. The patients are truly taking over the asylum. I am revisiting this subject because I have noticed a renewed uptick in aggression from leftists on the trans issue, and I suspect this is because they are starting to get more push-back from the public. The latest Dave Chappelle special on Netflix triggered the sensitive snowflakes again simply because Chappelle argues what most of us already know –That gender is a biological fact, not a social construct. This has led to numerous angry demands on Twitter to have Chappelle kicked off Netflix and canceled in general. For now it seems as though these demands are being ignored, which is exactly what should be happening everywhere all the time. Others, like author JK Rowling, have not been as lucky. And I suspect if Dave Chappelle was white it would be a different story. Sometimes people in the middle of the totem pole can get away with criticizing another group in the progressive stack, but if you’re a straight white person there are no allowances. Why are people that represent a tiny percentage of the population (around 0.3% or less) being given massive special attention and enjoying unprecedented legal regulations in their favor? Why are states like California going out of their way to force the public to accommodate the tiny trans minority, to the point of passing laws which make it an offense to have separate toy aisles for boys and girls, or trying to make it illegal to ignore a person’s preferred pronouns? Again, it seems that leftists (mostly middle-class and rich white progressives) are creating a kind of ultimate victim pass – A way to climb to the top of the totem pole from the very bottom. All they have to do is loudly denounce biological gender and say they are “trans”, and like magic they become part of a new civil rights movement in which they are the righteous “freedom fighters” in a fake revolution for a fake cause. Anyone that asserts conflicting viewpoints on the trans issue is usually met with accusations of bigotry and “transphobia.” After all, why should we care about the trans movement getting whatever it wants? Is it because we are prejudiced? This is a gaslighting tactic among leftists to deter any criticism of their activities. For most people who argue against corporate marketing and government laws in favor of gender neutrality, our interest is in fighting against the propaganda and disinformation, not fighting against trans people in general. There are some real transexual men and women out there that suffer from a disorder called “Gender Dysphoria.” It is an extremely rare condition; a mental illness that is mostly harmless to the rest of society but does cause a high rate of depression and suicide among those that have it. I don’t have any problem with these folks or their existence. What I do have a problem with is social justice Marxists exploiting gender dysphoria as a weapon in their ideological war to tear down western society and replace it with their own dystopian vision. The issue here is not about actual trans people, but about respect for freedom of speech and thought. You see, every single facet of the leftist movement is about collectivism and control. They say they care about minorities and their well-being, but they are really just using them to further their own twisted political conquests. Whether we are talking about critical race theory or the transgender movement the end goal is always the same: The leftists want to put themselves in the position of arbiter over what speech is acceptable and what speech is not acceptable. Once they are allowed to dictate what is and what is not “hate speech”, they then control ALL speech. Control is obviously the agenda rather than the defense of minorities; all you have to do is examine how they treat minorities that step out of line. Look at how they attack blacks like Dave Chappelle, classic feminists like JK Rowling, gay people like Dave Rubin or even trans conservatives like Blaire White. They are part of the precious totem pole, but as soon as any of these people leave the leftist plantation or speak contrary to the main agenda they are declared heretics and viciously excommunicated. The purpose of the trans movement and the purpose of social justice overall is two-fold: The first purpose is to break down the foundations of western society and create chaos so that leftists can replace the existing culture with their own communist framework. The second purpose is to use supposed “victim groups” as a shield from any criticism of their agenda by controlling the language and labeling the people that oppose them as “intolerant.” The battle over pronouns is indicative of this agenda because it requires the forced participation of everyone in the delusions of a minority of people with mental instability. It requires that I give respect to someone who hasn’t earned it and is not entitled to it, and call them whatever label they dictate I call them for however long they wish. And if I don’t, I am evil and should be punished by the state or by the mob. Imagine if schizophrenics decided to join together into a movement to demand that the rest of society call them by whatever delusional persona they happen to fantasize about that day. A guy suddenly decides that on Monday he is Napoleon Bonaparte or Jesus Christ and I’m supposed to accommodate him or be called a bigot? There is really no difference between this and what the LGBTQ-whatever movement is demanding when it comes to their made-up pronouns. I really don’t care if a person wants to declare themselves transgendered. That action by itself doesn’t really affect me and I hope it makes them happy. I think they should seek psychological help because if they really have gender dysphoria then they are statistically far more likely to commit suicide (and it’s not because society makes them commit suicide, there is no evidence to support that claim). Beyond that, as long as they don’t turn their sexual preferences into a political mob then there’s really no conflict. If I really like the person and they are respectful of my personal freedoms, I might even use their pronouns, who knows. Frankly, I don’t think any reasonable person would care about pronouns outside of their own biology. The war arises when leftists and the trans people they exploit try to impose their ideology and their views on the rest of us. The fight is over freedom, not over trans people. If you want to control how I talk, how I think and how I live; If you don’t respect my freedoms then I don’t respect you. You are not owed or entitled to respect just because you were born or because you think you are special. You get respect by earning respect. You get respect for your actions, not your identity. The world is not here to accommodate you or your pronouns. People are not here to adjust their speech to protect your feelings. Your feelings do not matter. Your pronouns do not matter. You will be measured by your accomplishments and by how much or how little you violate the rights of others. And if your goal is to manipulate or control how the rest of us speak or interact according to our natural biological preferences then perhaps you should start your own society somewhere else? Maybe somewhere far, far away… *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 22:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Which War Is Beijing Preparing For?

Which War Is Beijing Preparing For? Op-Ed by James Gorrie via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Soldiers march to position during an anti-invasion drill on the beach during the annual Han Kuang military drill in Tainan, Taiwan, on Sept. 14, 2021. (Ann Wang/Reuters) It’s no secret that Beijing is preparing for war. One of the main reasons is China’s cratering economy. The recent collapse of the Evergrande real estate development firm is only the latest in a series of dire symptoms that are fueling rising domestic discontent. The $8 trillion debt crisis in the shadow economy—more than half of its GDP—is also looming large in China’s ability to keep its financial system afloat. An aging, less productive population, higher production costs, and fleeing foreign investment all result in falling GDP. China’s Power Has Peaked The reality is that China’s economic power is already declining. Sure, the statistics can be adjusted, but it doesn’t change reality. What’s more, this across-the-board economic decline is driving the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to impose even more extreme, oppressive measures against its people and businesses. The CCP’s response only worsens economic performance and civil unrest. Concurrently, Beijing has been adjusting its internal arrangements for several years. For example, its National Defense Transportation Law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2017. The law restructured its legal framework, putting all commercial shipping under direct authority of the CCP. Externally, China’s deepening isolation from the world is clearly evident and underscores its ongoing decoupling from the global economy and the international norms of trade and diplomacy. This trend may well make a Taiwan invasion likely sooner than later, if only to divert attention from China’s domestic problems. Taiwanese domestically-built Indigenous Defense Fighters (IDF) take part in the live-fire, anti-landing Han Kuang military exercise in Taichung, Taiwan, on July 16, 2020. (Ann Wang/Reuters) Military and naval experts conclude that Beijing plans to use commercial transport ships to help transport up to 2 million soldiers in a Taiwan invasion. Recent news reports seem to confirm such a conclusion. China’s official press, the Global Times, all but acknowledges the inevitable, if not imminent, invasion of Taiwan. “China is prepared for the worst-case scenario—the US and its allies, including Japan, launch(ing) an all-out military intervention to interrupt China’s national reunification.” Clearly, war or the threat of war is on the horizon, and all the nations in the Asia-Pacific region know it. In response to China’s increasing aggressive posture, including the commercial shipping arrangement, Taiwan and other nations are adding more long-range anti-ship missiles. Japan, which for decades has maintained a pacifist foreign policy, has also made a massive shift in its thinking, linking Taiwan’s security to its own. The impact of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan wouldn’t be limited to just Taiwan. Should it occur, like Japan, it will be perceived by the United States and other nations as a strategic threat to their own national security. This is partially due to the fact that Taiwan provides more than 50 percent of the world’s semiconductors necessary for advanced data processing, automobiles, artificial intelligence, and other high technology. But an invasion would also threaten democratic nations in the region, as well as trade and international legal norms. More Trigger Points But Taiwan is not the only trigger point. China is also threatening the uninhabited Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which Japan considers its territory. They’re also claimed by China and Taiwan, and could become a flashpoint for war. The Biden administration has recently assured Japan’s new prime minister, Fumio Kishida, that the United States would defend the Senkaku Islands if China should attack. And as noted in an earlier article, the CCP has already put Australia on notice. Should Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines from the United States under the recent AUKUS military alliance, China would add Australia as a legitimate target for nuclear attack. A type 094 Jin-class nuclear submarine Long March 15 of the Chinese Navy participates in a naval parade in the sea near Qingdao, in eastern China’s Shandong Province on April 23, 2019. (Mark Schiefelnein/AFP via Getty Images) South Korea has expressed clear opposition to Beijing’s ambitions in Taiwan. In a joint statement with the United States, and for the first time, both nations committed to defend international rules and norms in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. The unusual directness of the message is an acknowledgement of the imminent threat China poses to Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region. Further afield, China’s recent military skirmish with India in the Himalayan heights of the Galwan Valley has alerted New Delhi to the reality that China is seeking unambiguous hegemony over its neighbors, of which India is one. This has driven India to strategically align itself with the U.S.-led AUKUS alliance. Its recent participation in the Malabar joint naval exercises off the U.S. territory of Guam from Aug. 26 to 29 of this year sent a clear message to Beijing. The lynchpin to all of these arrangements is, of course, the United States. It still maintains a significant naval advantage over China. But what is less certain is the political will of the Biden administration to follow through on its military commitments. With the United States’ retreat from Afghanistan, the Biden administration is perceived as weak and more concerned with domestic economic and social issues than projecting American power to protect the international order. Around the world, confidence in American leadership is at an ebb. Beijing is certainly aware of these facts, and it may be influencing its strategy with respect to Taiwan and the region as a whole. Chinese leadership may have concluded that the Biden administration’s weakness poses a unique opportunity to test American resolve in the region. Such perceptions would help explain the new and greater threats to the United States that are coming out of Beijing. But Xi Jinping’s personal leadership and ownership of the CCP, coupled with China’s mounting domestic failures, are most certainly also contributing factors. China would prefer to avoid war—at least until it can match U.S. military might in the region. But one area that it does lead the United States is in hypersonic anti-ship missile technology. Rather than clashing with its neighbors, could the CCP be planning a strike on American naval forces to drive the United States from the region? If so, how would the United States react? How would the region react? Anything less than a full response by the United States to a Chinese attack would mean that the U.S.-led Asia-Pacific security alliance would immediately cease to exist. It would then likely be up to each nation to make their separate peace with Beijing—if that were even an option. That would suit the CCP just fine. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/12/2021 - 22:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

The 5 best bed-in-a-box mattresses for every type of sleeper

Insider tested mattresses from all the major bed-in-a-box companies, including Casper and Leesa. These are the best for every type of sleeper in 2021. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky A great bed-in-a-box offers comfort and support based on your body type and sleeping preferences. The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid is our top pick, with a 365-day risk-free trial and lifetime warranty. It performed well in all of our tests, offering great edge support, motion isolation, and cooling. DreamCloud As of 2019, bed-in-a-box companies accounted for 12% of all mattress sales. That share likely increased during the pandemic as most brick-and-mortar stores were closed to in-person shopping. Buying a bed online continues to be an attractive option. You can skip the high-pressure sales of the mattress showroom, and virtually all of the online retailers offer long risk-free trial periods so you can try your bed-in-a-box in your home with no commitment. Since the only way to tell if a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it, a long trial period is the most important factor to consider when shopping for a bed-in-a-box.I tested dozens of mattresses to help you pick the best bed in a box for your needs. While a bed's suitability is based on individual preferences, I developed many objective tests to determine which models are best for an array of sleeping styles and body types. Each bed I tested in this guide was queen size, the most popular size. The price listed for each mattress is for the queen.I'd also like to note that I mainly sleep on my back but will occasionally sleep on my back and stomach as well. My wife is mainly a back sleeper. We cover all of the major sleeping styles between us. In addition to our top picks, we list other models we recommend, our testing methodology, what we look forward to testing, and common FAQs at the end of the guide.Here are the best beds-in-a-box of 2021 Best bed-in-a-box overall: DreamCloud Premier Hybrid MattressBest budget bed-in-a-box: Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam MattressBest foam bed-in-a-box: Tempur-Pedic Cloud MattressBest ultra-firm bed-in-a-box: Airweave MattressBest soft bed in a box: Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress Best bed-in-a-box overall Maria Del Russo/Insider The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress performed well in all the tests we put it through, which makes it ideal for most sleeping types, couples, and people who tend to overheat at night.Best for: Side and back sleepersAvailable sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress type: HybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest): 5Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best): 7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool): 6Edge support (1 awful to 10 best): 8Trial period: 365 nightsWarranty: LifetimeWeight: 99 poundsThickness: 15 inchesShipping and returns: Free shipping and returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removal: Unavailable due to pandemicShowroom availability: Yes, nationwidePros: Side handles help you move it, great motion isolation, made with CertiPUR-US certified foams, 365-night trial period, excellent edge support, good heat dissipation, lifetime warrantyCons: Stomach sleepers may find this doesn't offer the support they needThe DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress is the top pick in our main guide to the best mattresses. Since it comes in a box, it's only natural that it's our top bed in a box, too. We also consider it to be the best hybrid/innerspring and mid-priced bed. As a bed-in-a-box, it has several benefits. Setup took about five minutes, and though it had an initial odor, it dissipated by bedtime. It's heavy, but you can move it around easily thanks to the sewn-in handles. If you decide the Dreamcloud Premier Hybrid isn't right for you during the first year of ownership, you can return it for a full refund. If you keep it, it's backed by a lifetime warranty.The Premier Hybrid is made of high-quality materials, including foams certified by CertiPUR-US to be free of common harmful chemicals. It sports an average firmness that will appeal to most sleeping styles and body types. Plus, it was one of two mattresses to perform well in all of our tests. It passed our bowling ball test, and when my dog or son jumped on the bed, I barely felt it. This means the bed has outstanding motion isolation. I had the same positive experience with the edge support. I felt supported while lying close to the edge, suggesting the bed is ideal for couples who share a bed.Lastly, in our heat-dissipation tests, the DreamCloud Premier Hybrid Mattress did an impressive job of cooling down. It showed the biggest temperature drop, falling 14 degrees within two minutes of me getting up from it.Maria Del Russo, a senior editor for Insider Reviews, has slept on the DreamCloud Premier for two months. After the break-in period, she found the mattress incredibly comfortable. She usually sleeps sweaty, but this mattress "keeps me cool as a cucumber," she said. Best budget bed-in-a-box James Brains/Insider Back and stomach sleepers looking for a budget-friendly bed should strongly consider the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress.Best for: Back and stomach sleepers, hot sleepersAvailable sizes: Twin, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress type: FoamFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest): 7Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best): 8Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool): 8Edge support (1 awful to 10 best): 3Trial period: 100 nightsWarranty: 10 yearsWeight: 42.3, 51.9, 59.9, or 70.2 pounds depending on thicknessThickness: 8-, 10-, 12-, and 14-inch optionsShipping and returns: Free shipping and free returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removal: NoShowroom availability: NoPros: Ideal for back and stomach sleepers, excellent motion isolation, 10-year warranty, affordable, four thickness options, made of cooling gel memory foam, 100-night trialCons: Poor edge support, took a week to fully expandZinus is one of the top names in affordable boxed beds. The Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress is our budget pick because the gel-infused memory foam did a great job of keeping my hot-sleeping body cool. The Zinus mattress comes in four thicknesses: 8, 10, 12, and 14 inches. I tested the 14-inch-thick option and strongly recommend picking one of the thicker models since I've found in my testing that mattresses less than 10 inches thick generally aren't supportive enough.Unboxing the Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress was a fast, simple process, especially since it's on the lighter side at 70 pounds. However, out of the packaging, the bed was only about half the thickness it was supposed to be. The instructions said it should expand within 72 hours, but it was closer to a week. On the plus side, the initial odor dissipated quickly.The bed is firmer than average, and it slowly cradled the contours of my body as I lay down. I was most comfortable on my stomach, but I think the firmness will also appeal to back sleepers.In our objective tests, the Zinus mattress shined in the motion isolation test, and I remained undisturbed when my wife or dog moved around on it in the night. Yet, the edge support left a lot to be desired. When I lay on the edge of the bed, I felt like falling off. For its price, though, the many positives outweigh the few negatives. Best foam bed-in-a-box James Brains/Insider The Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress features contouring foam that cradles sleepers of all body types and sleeping styles while offering outstanding pressure relief and heat dissipation.Best for: All sleeping stylesAvailable sizes: Twin, twin long, full, queen, king, split king, California kingMattress type: FoamFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest): 6Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best): 7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool): 9Edge support (1 awful to 10 best): 3Trial period: 90 nightsWarranty: 10 yearsWeight: 58 poundsThickness: 10 inchesShipping and returns: Free shipping, $175 return feeWhite-glove delivery and mattress removal: UnavailableShowroom availability: Yes, nationwidePros: Caters to all sleep styles, features 10 inches and three layers of comfortable and supportive Tempur foam, great motion isolation, 90-night trial, outstanding heat dissipationCons: No white-glove delivery, there's a charge for shipping deducted from your refund if you return your mattress, poor edge supportTempur-Pedic is best known for its traditional mattresses that you pick out in a brick-and-mortar showroom and have delivered fully expanded to your home. The Cloud Mattress represents the brand's entrance into the bed-in-a-box space, and we think it did a terrific job.What sets Tempur-Pedic apart is the proprietary CertiPUR-US certified memory foam featured in all of its mattresses. The Tempur material contours to your body to offer an impressive balance of support, pressure relief, and comfort. The Cloud has three foam layers: a durable and supportive base, a firm middle support layer, and a top layer of responsive and soft foam. The cover is made of a polyester blend for breathability and moisture wicking.The Cloud arrives at your door in a reusable, 15-inch-diameter-by-43-inch-long canvas bag. The handles on the bag, along with the weight of the mattress — it only weighs 58 pounds — made it easy to carry up to my third-floor testing room and to unpackage it. By bedtime, the mattress had expanded to full size, and the initial odor had dissipated.This was one of the most comfortable mattresses I've ever tested, whether I slept on my side or stomach. I fell asleep within a few minutes of lying down each night. My back-sleeping wife also enjoyed the feel. Plus, the excellent heat dissipation kept me cool. In addition to passing my bowling ball motion-transfer tests, the Tempur-Cloud dampened the motion so much that I didn't notice when my rambunctious rat terrier jumped on board. Yet, the bed has poor edge support. When I lay or sat on the edge of the bed, there was significant sinkage. Read our full Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress review. Best ultra-firm bed-in-a-box James Brains/Insider The Airweave Mattress has a breathable and non-toxic polyethylene core that offers ultra-firm support to all parts of the bed, even the very edges.Best for: Back and stomach sleepersAvailable sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California KingMattress type: FoamFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest): 10 (9 with the soft insert)Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best): 7Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool): 7Edge support (1 awful to 10 best): 10Trial period: 100 nightsWarranty: 10 yearsWeight: 71.5 poundsThickness: 8 inchesShipping and returns: Free shipping within the contiguous US and free returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removal: $40 for white-glove delivery, $125 for all mattress removals outside the state of California, $0 for California-based removalsShowroom availability: Only one, located in BrooklynPros: Machine-washable cover, decent motion isolation, great heat dissipation, 100-night sleep trial, excellent edge support, comes with soft insert that transforms mattress from ultra-firm to just firmCons: Not recommended for side sleepers, hard to move around, some assembly requiredMost beds in a box come vacuum-sealed, and the setup process involves nothing more than removing the packaging. However, the Airweave Mattress bucks that trend. It comes fully expanded in two boxes.The bed consists of three polyethylene blocks that you zip up in a machine-washable cover. You can choose to add the included soft polyester insert to give the mattress a firm  — rather than ultra-firm — feel.The setup process took about 20 minutes, which is about 15 minutes more than most beds in a box, but the Airweave was ready to sleep on right away: There was no waiting for it to expand or for the odor to dissipate. When assembled, the mattress is hard to move. It only weighs 71.5 pounds, but the foam blocks flop around as you lift it. However, if you disassemble the mattress, it's much easier and you can fit it in tight spaces for storage or transport.I prefer a softer-than-average mattress, so the Airweave was not for me. Even with the soft insert added, it was firmer than I would have liked. Yet, I was surprisingly comfortable on both my stomach and back. Plus, the breathable core with its open structure kept it cool through the night. I've found that mattresses that are less than 10 inches thick usually aren't supportive enough. But the eight-inch-thick Airweave is the exception. The firm construction provided plenty of support. The firmness also continued to the very edges of the bed, which gave it excellent edge support. I didn't feel like I would fall off when sleeping on the periphery, and I didn't sink down when sitting on the edge.The motion transfer is good. In my bowling ball tests, the can would only fall over sometimes. Yet, it's so bouncy that subsequent bounces of the ball would cause the can to tumble over. The firmness and bounce suggest this would be a good mattress for sex. Best soft bed-in-a-box James Brains/Insider Casper's Nova Hybrid Mattress is a great option for people looking for a soft and plush yet supportive mattress.Best for: Side sleepersAvailable sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingMattress type: HybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest): 4Motion isolation (1 awful to 10 best): 3Heat dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool): 8Edge support (1 awful to 10 best): 6Trial period: 100 nightsWarranty: 10 yearsWeight: 89 poundsThickness: 12 inchesShipping and returns: Free shipping and free returnsWhite-glove delivery and mattress removal: Yes, $149Showroom availability: Yes, nationwidePros: Plush comfort perfect for side sleepers, good edge support, made with eco-friendly materials, outstanding heat dissipation, 100-night risk-free trialCons: Failed motion transfer tests, held onto its new bed odor, may not be supportive enough for back or stomach sleepersIn addition to being the best soft mattress, we awarded the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress the title of best mattress for side sleepers in our main mattress guide. (Also, check out our guide to the best mattresses for side sleepers.) Plus, because of its soft feel, it's the ideal solution for petite sleepers, who might not be able to sink into firmer mattresses, and older individuals, who may lack the natural cushioning they once had and need a little extra soothing comfort.After testing all of the top mattresses from Casper, one of the leading names in the bed-in-a-box industry, I found the Nova Hybrid was the most comfortable and best at cooling. The Nova Hybrid is appealing because of the high-quality materials used in its construction. The CertiPUR-US certified foams feature ergonomic zones that are softer under the shoulders and firmer around the lower back, hips, and waist. The pocket coils add durability and support. Lastly, thanks to a firm foam border, the mattress performed well in our edge-support tests. Unboxing the Casper Nova Hybrid was a quick process, taking less than five minutes. The mattress flops around, which makes it harder to move, but the handles built into each corner on the bottom helped. Unfortunately, it had a strong new bed smell that took several days to dissipate.The bed also has noticeable motion transfer. It failed our bowling ball test, and as my wife shifted positions in the night, I could feel her movements.Casper recently introduced a new version of this bed, the Nova Hybrid Snow, which costs $500 more and is supposed to offer a cooler sleep. I just wrapped up my testing of it, and I still prefer the Nova Hybrid. I found the new model doesn't have as good of edge support, and any heat dissipation improvements were minimal. What else we tested James Brains/Insider Over the last few years, we've tested dozens of boxed beds. Each has the potential to meet the needs of the right person, so there aren't any we don't recommend. Yet some models missed the cut for inclusion in our guide:What else we recommend and whyUnder $1,100Nest Bedding Flip Double-Sided Hybrid Mattress: This is a good, cheap alternative if our top budget pick isn't available or you're a side sleeper. You can flip it to cater to your firmness needs. One side is firmer than average and the other is medium firmness, which I preferred for side sleeping. The bed is made of CertiPUR-US foam, is easy to transport, and has great edge support. The poor motion dampening was the main downfall.Casper Original Mattress: We recommend the Casper Original to sleepers of all types because it has an average firmness, great motion isolation, outstanding heat dissipation, and is made of eco-friendly materials. Yet, its edge support falls short. Read our full Casper Original review.Under $2,000Bear Pro Mattress: I was comfortable on both my side and stomach while testing the Bear Pro. The slightly softer than average, all-foam construction works well for back sleepers too. The mattress features outstanding cooling properties thanks to the breathable Celliant cover, gel-infused foam, and copper-infused foam. The biggest negative is the poor edge support. Read our full Bear Pro review.Birch Mattress by Helix: The Birch earned accolades in our main mattress guide as our best latex mattress. It's also one of the most eco-friendly options, receiving certifications from several environmental organizations. The bed's firmness will appeal most to stomach and back sleepers, but I tested it with the optional plush organic mattress topper, which made it perfect for my side sleeping.Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress: Like our top pick, the Awara mattress comes with a 365-night risk-free sleep trial and lifetime warranty. It offers a supportive, slightly firm feel that is balanced by the plush Euro top. I also appreciated that it's made of eco-friendly materials and offers good heat dissipation. In our main mattress guide, it's the best mattress for stomach sleepers. It would also work well for back sleepers, but it's too firm for most side sleepers.Leesa Hybrid Mattress: I slept on the Leesa Hybrid mattress for about a year before my testing schedule made it impossible. It was my favorite, with its average firmness and outstanding heat dissipation. It also offers great edge support and motion isolation, which makes it ideal for couples. In our main mattress guide, we recommend it as the best mattress for back pain due to its combination of support and comfort. Read our full Leesa Hybrid review.Over $2,000Purple Hybrid Premier Mattress: Purple mattresses feature the patented Purple Grid, which is a series of small, open squares made of a hyper-elastic polymer gel. This mattress also features CertiPUR-US certified foams and pocket coils, giving it an average firmness. The heat dissipation was outstanding. We think it's the best mattress for hot sleepers. The Purple Hybrid Premier comes in 3- and 4-inch-thick grids. We tested both, and they performed similarly. The Purple 4 was slightly softer, so we'd recommend it for side sleepers.Visit our guide to the best mattresses for all of the mattresses we've tested. Our testing methodology James Brains/Insider I tested each of the beds-in-a-box found in this guide. I slept on all of the mattresses for a minimum of 14 days and put them through a battery of objective tests. Comfort, trial period, and setup are the most important factors to consider when buying a bed-in-a-box.Here are some of the test results for the main attributes we tested:AttributeDreamCloud Premier HybridZinus Cooling Gel Memory FoamTempur-CloudAirweaveCasper Nova HybridFirmness (1 softest to 10 firmest)57610 (9 with insert)4Motion Isolation (1 awful to 10 best)78773Edge Support (1 awful to 10 best)833106Heat Dissipation (1 traps heat to 10 stays cool)68978Trial Period365 days100 nights90 nights100 nights100 nightsWarrantyLifetime10 years10 years10 years10 yearsHere are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:Comfort: I evaluate the firmness of each mattress by comparing it to my experiences with dozens of other models over the years. My subjective experience also plays into my evaluations of how supportive and comfortable the beds are. I also note which sleeping positions my body gravitates towards. Heat dissipation is also important to comfort. I measure this using an infrared thermometer, taking measurements before, right after, and two minutes after lying on the bed for at least an hour.Trial and warranty: I look at if there's white-glove delivery and how much it costs, if the bed is available to test in showrooms, and the fine print of the home trial and warranty. We closely examine the return policy because this is what sets beds-in-a-box apart: You want a mattress that you can try out for months risk free before committing to it.Setup: If you don't get white-glove delivery, you want the setup to be as effortless as possible. I timed how long it took me to unbox the mattresses. I noted any strange or confusing steps. Most took less than five minutes. I also took a good whiff to see if there was a "new bed smell," and I checked again before going to bed (at least 10 hours later) to see if the odor dissipated. Motion isolation: You don't want your partner's tossing and turning to wake you up in the night, so it's important to find a bed-in-a-box with good motion isolation. In addition to tracking my subjective experience, I perform an objective test where I drop a 15-pound bowling ball onto the mattress from a height of four feet so that it lands 12 inches from a 12-ounce can of soda pop. If the can stays upright, the bed has good motion isolation. If it doesn't, the motion isolation is poor.Edge support: This is a somewhat subjective test. I lie on the very edge of the bed and slowly roll until I literally fall. I note how much I'm able to roll before I fall. I also sit on the side of the bed and put my shoes and socks on and observe how much the mattress sinks. Lastly, when sleeping on the bed, I pay attention to how I feel close to the edges. Does it feel like I'm going to fall off? I'm developing an objective edge support test, which I plan to roll out once I have more data.Portability: We don't weigh portability heavily, but it's useful to know how easy a mattress is to move around if you frequently redecorate or relocate, regularly rotate your bed to increase its longevity, or need to reposition it to put on fitted sheets. I move each mattress around several times during testing and note if it flops around, has handles, or is hard to move in general. What we're testing next James Brains/Insider We regularly test new mattresses and evaluate our top picks for long-term durability. Here are the mattresses we currently have lined up to test:Helix Midnight Mattress: Helix markets the Midnight, a hybrid bed, as an excellent solution for side sleepers. As someone who mainly sleeps on his side, I'm excited to see if it lives up to the hype. Bear Hybrid Mattress: I've tested the Bear Pro and Original and liked them both. This is supposed to be softer than the other two, which could make for stiff competition with the Casper Nova Hybrid for the best soft bed-in-a-box.Helix Midnight Luxe Mattress: The Midnight Luxe is an upgrade of the Midnight. It has a breathable Tencel cover, a quilted pillow top, and zoned lumbar support coils for pressure relief. The firmness is supposed to be similar to the Midnight, so I'm excited to see how it caters to my side-sleeping ways.Big Fig Mattress: I love that the Big Fig is specifically designed for full-figured individuals. It can hold up to 1,100 pounds, and a foundation is included with your purchase. I'm curious to see how the firm construction feels and if it dissipates heat well.Casper Wave Hybrid Snow Mattress: This is Casper's most expensive bed-in-a-box. It's supposed to be a cooler version of the Wave Hybrid, which I liked the least when I tested all of Casper's mattresses. One of the negatives of the Wave Hybrid was that it slept hot. I'm curious to see if this new version provides the cooling it claims to. FAQs James Brains/Insider What's the difference between a bed-in-a-box and a traditional mattress?The differences between the two types of mattresses keep getting hazier every day.When online mattresses were first introduced, they were mainly made of foam. The biggest benefit was the at-home trial period, where you could sleep on the mattress for several nights before deciding whether or not you wanted to keep it.However, these days, online retailers offer a range of mattress types, including hybrid or innerspring mattresses. Some brick-and-mortar stores now offer trial periods. Retailers on both sides are trying to neutralize the benefits of the other.For instance, many bed-in-a-box brands now let you test out their mattresses in showrooms across the country. You can go to a physical store, try out a mattress for 15 minutes or so, and then buy the bed online. "You get overall cost savings because you aren't paying the additional fees that come with the in-store shopping experiences, such as shipping, delivery, and setup," saud Russell Jelinek, the senior director of engineering, quality, and compliance at Casper.If you're concerned about a salesperson trying to pressure you into buying a mattress, going online and skipping the in-person experience is the way to go. What happens to mattresses that are returned?This varies by manufacturer. Once you sleep on a mattress, the manufacturer can't resell it. They may coordinate with a local organization to recycle your mattress or donate it to those in need. If you're concerned about the environmental impact your returned mattress might have, we encourage you to ask the manufacturer about what they do with returned mattresses in your area. How do you unbox a bed-in-a-box?First off, we recommend you unbox your mattress within a day or two of its arrival. The beds are not designed to stay in the box for long periods, and prolonged time spent in the vacuum seal (a month or more) could impact the structural integrity of the mattress. Jelinek said Casper mattresses can stay in the box for at least six months without experiencing structural damage. However, this is from the manufacture date, which could be months before you received your mattress.We recommend unboxing the mattress in the room where you will sleep on it. Some companies provide you with an envelope slitter to safely cut the packaging without cutting the mattress. If you don't have an envelope slitter, use extreme caution when removing the packaging and cut parallel to the mattress, not towards it. Also, have another person help you with the process since most mattresses weigh around 100 pounds. I've injured my back trying to do it on my own. Cut open one end of the box and tip it onto your foundation or bed frame. Lift the unopened end of the box and shake the sealed mattress onto the foundation. Take a second to look for any instructions or materials that may have come in the box. This is when you might find an envelope slitter.You can use the slitter or other cutting implement to cut through the first layer of plastic, but I've found it's easier to just unroll the plastic with a yanking motion. Once this plastic is removed, unfold the mattress onto your foundation. You may need to flip it so the top is facing up. If you can find the seam in the second plastic layer, you can pull at it, and the plastic should be easy to remove. I rarely find the right place to pull at the plastic and instead end up using my cutting implement to cut the plastic along the length and width.Then I push all of the plastic that's on top to the far end of the mattress. Lastly, I use a yanking motion while trying to keep the mattress in place so I can remove the plastic from the bottom of the mattress, kind of like a magician might pull the tablecloth off a table. This should be the final step.Jelinek says you can then sleep on the mattress right away. "However, we recommend giving it some time to acclimate to the room temperature," he said. He also warned that some mattresses may take longer to expand to their full size. I've found it rarely takes more than a few hours for a mattress to fully expand.For answers to general mattress questions, check out our guide to the best mattresses. Check out more mattress guides James Brains/Insider The best mattressesThe best mattresses for side sleepersThe best mattresses for back painThe best hybrid mattressesThe best foam mattressesThe best spring mattressThe best mattress protectorsThe best online delivery mattress companiesThe best mattresses for kids Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

PHOTOS: The US Army"s new Strykers blasted drones out of the sky with missiles during first live fire in Europe

See soldiers knock out drones with Stinger missiles fired from the Army's new Strykers while hammering ground targets with the 7.62mm machine gun. Crews from Alpha Battery, 5-4 ADAR perform digital rehearsals with the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system in preparation for the first live-fire of M-SHORAD at the tactical unit level and the first-ever live-fire of the system in Europe on Oct. 7, 2021. US Army photo by Maj. Robert Fellingham The first US Army unit to receive the service's new short-range air defense system put it to the test last week. Soldiers in Germany fired missiles from an M-SHORAD Stryker for the first time in Europe, blasting drones. The M-SHORAD came about amid concerns about Russian unmanned assets and other aerial threats. US soldiers fired off missiles from the Army's new M-SHORAD Strykers last week, blasting drones out of the sky as they became the first to fire the weapon system in Europe, the Army announced recently.Soldiers from the 5th Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, which is part of the 10th Army Air & Missile Defense Command, knocked out aerial drones with Stinger missiles fired from the Army's new Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) Strykers while hammering ground targets with the 7.62mm machine gun at Putlos Bundeswehr range in Germany, the Army said in a statement. A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021. US Army photo by Maj. Robert Fellingham A Stryker is an 8-wheeled armored infantry vehicle. In 2018, the Army made the decision to arm some of these vehicles with sensors and missiles for an air defense role, specifically to defend maneuvering forces from unmanned assets, fixed-wing aircraft, and other aerial threats. The Army decision followed warnings about Russian drone use in Ukraine. A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021. US Army photo by Maj. Robert Fellingham Soldiers from the 5-4 ADAR were the first to get their hands on the M-SHORAD Strykers when they tested a prototype system at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in November 2020. The testing wrapped up in February the following year. A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021. US Army photo by Maj. Robert Fellingham The Army began fielding the M-SHORAD Strykers in April of this year, delivering four units to the 5-4 ADAR operating out of Ansbach, Germany. A Stinger missile launches from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021. US Army photo by Maj. Robert Fellingham M-SHORAD is a replacement for the AN/TWQ-1 Avenger, which is a short-range air defense system that was mounted on a Humvee. Comparatively, the M-SHORAD Strykers are better armored and better armed for high-end combat.M-SHORAD gunner Spc. Lilly Allen said in an Army statement that she thinks the "Stryker platform overall is one of the best things we could have added to ADA. The maneuverability, the capabilities, everything about it definitely gives our branch an upper hand." A drone target breaks apart over after a successful intercept by a Stinger missile fired from the new Maneuver Short Range Air Defense system on Oct. 7, 2021. US Army photo by Maj. Robert Fellingham "With SHORAD in general, our job is to protect the maneuver force, and being on the Stryker platform gives us that key capability to move with them wherever they go and protect from enemy rotary and fixed-wing attack," Capt. Connor Knapp, the commander of Alpha Battery, said.Potentially highlighting concerns about threats posed by Russia, the next major exercise in which the M-SHORAD Strykers will participate is Saber Strike 22 in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland. The large multinational training is focused on responding to regional emergencies, border security challengers, and other threats.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 12th, 2021

25 Secret Santa gifts under $25 they"ll actually want to keep

If you're doing Secret Santa, do it right. Check out our list of Secret Santa gifts that won't get regifted, all under $25. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Uncommon Goods You don't have to spend a lot on Secret Santa gifts to find something that's still special. We rounded up 25 fun gifts under $25 that they'll actually really like. Check out all of our gift guides for even more inspiration, including White Elephant gift ideas. Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals In theory, Secret Santa is a great idea. In practice, it can be a little underwhelming. You could end up with that cozy scarf your best friend knew you wanted - or, you could end up with lackluster socks from your neighbor that will definitely end up in your re-gift pile.Whether you're responsible for getting a gift for someone you know really well or someone you barely do, get them a gift they won't relegate to the storage closet. If you're spending money, make it count with something they'll actually want. Don't worry, we already did the grunge work and found 25 gifts that your secret Santa recipient will love. We've got everything from the more generically-appealing, like chocolate for your sweet coworker, to the more personal, like a portable cheese melter for your cheese-obsessed friend. Plus, they're all $25 or less, so scroll with abandon.Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard if you've left it to the last minute - just remember that the sooner you order, the better your chances of a timely arrival.Keep reading for all 25 Secret Santa gifts under $25: A LED ring light for video calls and pictures Amazon UBeezie 10" LED Ring Light with Tripod, available at Amazon, $21.99Secure the best lighting for your friend that always needs to be camera-ready. This luminous ring light is the perfect solution for getting the best angles whether it's video calls or content creation posts. The ten-inch ring light comes with a desk tripod stand, 360 degrees of adjustable phone angles, and three lighting modes with 11 brightness levels. A healthy popcorn maker Best Buy Bella 12-Cup Hot Air Popcorn Maker, available at Best Buy, $14.99This popcorn maker makes movie night at home much more easier and enjoyable as they never have to leave their spot. This must-have item pops 12 tasty cups of healthy, homemade popcorn with no oil required. A reusable bag that's cute and sustainable Baggu Standard Baggu, available at Baggu, $12If they hate single-use plastic, they'll love this cute, reusable bag. It comes in a variety of fun colors and patterns and the simple style makes it a go-to choice for bringing to the gym, grocery shopping, or even to use like a purse. Lip balm inspired by "Schitt's Creek" Beekman 1802 Rose Apothecary Tinted Lip Balm, available at Beekman 1802, $8Any fan of "Schitt's Creek" will love getting to feel like they shopped at David's chic general store, Rose Apothecary. Part of a limited edition collection, this tinted lip balm is made from natural goat milk and botanicals, and fittingly scented with the signature Beekman 1802  fragrance, Heirloom Rose.  A portable cheese melter Amazon Boska Holland Partyclette Melting Pan, available at Amazon, $16.99Melted cheese can make pretty much every meal better. If you don't believe us, check out this video to see the gooey goodness in action.  A small speaker they can fit in their pocket Amazon Rokono Bass + Mini Speaker, available at Amazon, $19.22 This speaker isn't the best in the world audio-wise (for that you'll have to spend a bit more), but for less than $20 it's a great choice. Give it the friend that values convenience, since this thing is so small they fit it in their pocket and can literally take it anywhere.  A healing Himalayan salt lamp Amazon Mineralamp Glow Salt Lamp, available at Amazon, $19.97Himalayan salt lamps have recently become a big trend in home decor, but they're also said to have healing properties that can potentially help purify the air around them. Whether they believe in the health benefits or not, anyone can enjoy the warm glow and aesthetic appeal of this hand-carved, 100% pure Himalayan salt lamp. A set of reusable straws Crate & Barrel Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, available at Sur la Table, $14.95 (set of 6)For those trying to make a positive impact on the planet, give them these reusable straws so they never have to rely on the wasteful plastic ones again. Use these for cocktails, lemonade, frozen coffee drinks, smoothies, and more. A carry-on cocktail kit to make flights a little more bearable Uncommon Goods Old Fashioned Carry-On Cocktail Kit, available at W&P, $24This kit fits right in their carry-on bag and has all of the fixings for two Old Fashioned cocktails. All they need to do is add whiskey or rye. This cocktail kit can be enjoyed at any altitude, but it will most definitely make for a fun flight activity, and help inspire future travels when the time is right.  A five-year journal that asks the big questions - and little ones, too Urban Outfitters One Question a Day Journal, available at Amazon, $14.59A gift for your ambitious friend who's always asking where you see yourself in five years. Help them answer this question for themselves, with a daily journal that poses a new question each day for five years. A letter board they can leave fun messages on Amazon Felt Letter Board, available at Amazon, $20.99This is a fun message board and a great piece of home decor all in one. They'll love using this to display mantras, messages for roommates, or just to show off some random thoughts. It comes in plenty of colors, so you're sure to find one that fits their space and aesthetic.  A french press coffee maker for their morning brew Amazon OXO Good Grips Shatterproof French Press, available at Amazon, $20.99A French press makes it easy to enjoy delicious, rich coffee every morning. It's not as quick as a Keurig (you have to let the grounds steep for a few minutes), but the results are worth the wait. Plus, they'll love that they can fill it with their favorite beans.  A face mask that calms red and irritated skin Nordstrom Mario Badescu Azulene Calming Mask, available at Amazon, $18This light, refreshing face mask is made with botanical ingredients that calm irritated skin. It's delicate on skin and will leave it looking more hydrated, even, and refreshed.  A spice set for rescuing bland pizzas Uncommon Goods Pizza Rescue Kit, available at Etsy, $15All pizza is not created equal. That's why the pizza aficionado in your life deserves this pizza rescue kit. With three flavorful spices, this set will transform even the most "meh" slices to something delicious. If you're not sold, it was made by New Yorkers — and they know good pizza.  A best-selling book for foodies Amazon "Salt Fat Acid Heat," available at Amazon, $16.67Home cooks will love honing in on their craft with this book. Don't expect just a recipe book, though. The vivid illustrations in this one help explain how to master cooking techniques by looking at those four important elements that are in everything we cook and eat.  A diary for sports, music, or movie lovers Uncommon Goods Ticket Stub Diary, available at Uncommon Goods, $14A great gift for anyone who is constantly attending shows, concerts, or sports games — and never throws away their tickets. Instead of keeping them hidden in a shoe box or desk drawer, they can use this diary, which has plastic sleeves to fit all different kinds of tickets as well as open margins on the sides where they can scribble notes to remind them of each event.  A tracker for keys, wallets, bags or any other important items they’re prone to lose Amazon Tile Mate, available at Tile, from $24.99Your forgetful friends and family will be so thankful for this gift. They can place this tracker in their wallet, purse, or phone case to make sure they never lose their things, because if they do, the Tile app makes it easy to retrace.  A cute set of planters Amazon Mkono Modern Succulent Planters, available at Amazon, $21.99 for threeHelp them add some greenery to their space with these cool concrete planters. Add some small plants if you want to complete the gift.  A mini, portable pinball machine Urban Outfitters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, available at Amazon, $21.99This pint-sized pinball machine brings all of the fun and nostalgia of their favorite retro arcade game. It even comes with a keychain, so they can take it with them wherever they go. A cozy beanie for impending chilly days Urban Outfitters Loose Knit Beanie, available at Urban Oufitters, $15It's that time of year when everyone needs a cozy hat. With a classic cable knit, this one is as cool as it is comfortable. A cheese-making kit for chefs and foodies Thrive Market Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit, available at Thrive Market, $24.99The only thing better than cheese is cheese that you made with your own two hands. Cheese fiends will love the chance to make their own favorite Italian cheeses. Plus, once they learn they'll be armed with cheese-making knowledge to last a lifetime — now that's a gift that keeps on giving. A mini waffle maker for the cutest breakfast ever Urban Outfitters Dash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, $12.99This miniature waffle maker is adorably small and will look super cute in their kitchen. Plus, it makes for a delicious, easy breakfast. A unique hot sauce blend for an adventurous eater Uncommon Goods Gochujang Sriracha, available at Sur La Table, $9.95Give them a gift to take their hot-sauce habit to the next level. The blend of Thai sriracha and Korean gochujang is sweet, spicy, and unlike anything they've ever tasted before. A shower beer holder for mid-rinse brews Uncommon Goods Shower Beer Holder, available at Uncommon Goods, $15Shower time might not seem like the most opportune moment to crack open a cold one — that is, until now. This silicone beer holder sticks to tile (or any other glossy surface), so they can always have their favorite brew by their side, whatever time it is.  A catch-all inspired by their favorite animal West Elm Llama Trinket Dish, available at West Elm, $23.40Everyone could use a catch-all to collect the small odds and ends around the house. Llama lovers will love using this cute trinket dish modeled after their favorite animal. A set of cool coasters that's worthy of Instagram Society6 Blue Aqua Agate Coaster, $12.79 (set of 4), available at Society6Let's be real — nobody wants water stains and rings on their nice tables, but admittedly, telling guests to put down coasters first isn't the coolest move. These agate-style coasters are practical, but also add a nice aesthetic, so you'll actually want to leave them out to be used. A history lesson with their cup of tea Uncommon Goods Tea Leaf Reading Set, $23, available at Uncommon GoodsGive tea lovers the chance to try something new every day with this tea leaf reading kit. It comes with a mug, loose leaf tea, and of course a lesson that explains how to read different symbols. A convenient phone grip for texting on the go Amazon PopSockets Grip, starting at $9.97, available at AmazonThey might seem unnecessary at first, but PopSocket Grips are extremely useful. They can use them as a kickstand to prop up their tablet and to comfortably hold their phone while reading on the subway. It's a very useful way to spend $10 (or less.) An adult card game that will make parties a lot more interesting Amazon Cards Against Humanity, $25, available at AmazonIf they don't already own Cards Against Humanity, you owe it to them. It's a fun party game that always leaves everyone cackling, and I'm not the only one that thinks this — the game has over 29,000 5-star reviews on Amazon. A cute mug that lets them track their travels Uncommon Goods Color Map Mugs, $25, available at Uncommon GoodsNo matter what they're sipping on, they'll love doing so in this mug that they can completely customize. With the included markers they can color in the destinations they've been to or want to go to, for a map of the world that's unique to them.  A scratch-off bucket list to spur their next adventure Uncommon Goods 100 Things To Do Scratch Off Poster, $15, available at Uncommon GoodsThis bucket list suggests 100 unique activities to look forward to once they're safe again — from little things like "take a cooking class" to big ones like "see the Northern Lights." They can scratch each box off after they complete it to reveal a colorful image. It's a cool poster to have hanging and a definite conversation starter. A faux plant desk organizer for much needed greenery and tidiness Amazon Kikkerland Potted Pen Phone Stand, $12, available at AmazonIf they're stuck inside an office all day, they could benefit from the sight of something green. This plastic plant isn't as good as the real deal, but it adds some much-needed color and works as desk decor, plus it functions as a phone stand and organizational tool. A stylish cheese and pastry board Amazon mDesign Modern Marble Round Pastry Board, $21.99, available at AmazonFor the entertainer, this elegant marble cheese or pastry serving board will make for a great addition the next time they host a wine and cheese night. To complement the board, you can also pick up a matching wine bottle chiller. A hilarious coffee table book Uncommon Goods "F in Exams," from $7.93, available at Uncommon Goods or AmazonThis is a great gift for the person who can laugh at the little things in life, or for anyone who works as a teacher. It's a collection of hilarious wrong test answers that is sure to keep them laughing. A bestselling body moisturizer Nordstrom Kiehl's Creme de Corps, 2.5-ounce, from $11.90, available at NordstromHelp them treat their skin right with Kiehl's beloved, and super-hydrating Creme de Corps, another one of our favorite remedies for dryness. A sweet snack they'll enjoy eating Uncommon Goods Decadent Chocolate Fondue, $24, available at Uncommon GoodsSweeten up their holiday season with this incredibly easy-to-make chocolate fondue. All they have to do is heat up the stoneware containers (which are pre-filled with chocolate) and find some fruit for dipping. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

China Prepares For Possible Large-Scale COVID-19 Outbreak: Leaked CCP Documents

China Prepares For Possible Large-Scale COVID-19 Outbreak: Leaked CCP Documents Authored by Alex Wu via The Epoch Times, The Chinese regime has notified local authorities to prepare for a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19, according to leaked internal documents obtained by the Chinese Epoch Times. One document, titled “Notice of Further Strengthening of Epidemic Prevention” was issued by the Chinese regime’s State Council, and forwarded by Fujian provincial government to local authorities on Sept. 30. The other is a “National Day Epidemic Prevention Notice” issued by the State Council on Oct. 1 and distributed by the Fujian provincial officials to local authorities. The documents are both marked “extra urgent.” Both notices request enhanced preparations for an emergency response to the outbreak, with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) putting forward at least two standards for local authorities. One is to build central isolation sites, with local authorities required by the end of October to set up isolation centers and rooms of not less than 20 rooms per 10,000 people. The scale of each isolation site must be more than 100 rooms. According to public data, the population of Fujian Province in 2020 was 41.54 million. As of Sept. 19, the province has set up 35,691 quarantine rooms in 296 central sites. Based on the standard in the epidemic prevention notice, Fujian Province will need to build at least 83,000 quarantine rooms by the end of October, which is around 47,000 rooms in less than a month. According to one expert, the requirements for the COVID-19 quarantine sites reveal the real situation of the pandemic in China. Dr. Sean Lin, a former virology researcher at the U.S. Army Research Institute, told The Epoch Times: “This reflects the CCP’s concern about the rise of the epidemic. It must have been concealing the true epidemic in mainland China, otherwise it would not suddenly issue a national notice of emergency preparedness.” “Notice of Further Strengthening of Epidemic Prevention” requires the establishment of a five-layered control system. It states: “Township and street CCP cadres, community grid staff, grassroots medical workers, police, and volunteers shall jointly implement community epidemic prevention,” such as “strictly implement[ing] community prevention and control,” or locking down residential communities. Lin said that the control system is actually to tighten social management in local areas, and “the CCP’s purpose is to tighten control.” “If there is no nucleic acid test, all the CCP’s epidemic prevention measures are the same as political campaigns. For example, you can be quarantined at any time and put in a quarantine site. And the quarantine sites can also be a place of political persecution,” Lin said. “No matter who you are, as long as the CCP says that you tested positive in a nucleic acid test, it will deprive you of all your rights. The CCP’s quarantine sites are actually an alternative form of concentration camp.” Tyler Durden Sun, 10/10/2021 - 23:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 10th, 2021

Coronavirus links: triple protection

A coronavirus-focused linkfest is still a weekly feature here at Abnormal Returns. Please stay safe and find a vaccination site near you.... VaccinesThe CEO of BioNTech ($BTNX) expects new vaccines to cover new variants. (ft.com)The holy grail for researchers is a vaccine that covers all coronavirus variants. (wsj.com)AstraZeneca ($AZN) has filed for EUA of a preventive antibody cocktail. (reuters.com)Did Pfizer ($PFE) shoot too low for the initial dose of the vaccine? (theatlantic.com)Vaccines and childrenPfizer ($PFE) has officially asked the FDA for approval of its vaccine for 5-11 year olds. (npr.org)To avoid side effects, some countries are recommending a single dose for adolescents. (nytimes.com)Plans are being made for the vaccine rollout for children. (washingtonpost.com)Vaccines and pregnancyThe messaging around the vaccine for pregnant women has been inconsistent. (washingtonpost.com)Covid vaccines protect mothers against severe cases. (scientificamerican.com)BoostersJ&J ($JNJ) has filed a EUA for a booster for its vaccine. (cnbc.com)Why we need better language around 'booster shots.' (theatlantic.com)The reasons people give for wanting a booster shot. (theatlantic.com)Vaccine manufacturingThe Novavax ($NVAX) vaccine relies on ingredients derived from Quillay trees from Chile. (nbcnews.com)Moderna ($MRNA) is planning to build a vaccine factory in Africa. (news.trust.org)Vaccine mandatesLos Angeles is mandating Covid vaccines for entry to movie theaters, concerts and restaurants. (hollywoodreporter.com)96% of NYC teachers have been vaccinated. (nytimes.com)A majority of Americans support a Covid vaccine mandate for school children. (politico.com)Vaccine distributionThe West is doing a bad job of getting Covid vaccines to poorer nations. (wsj.com)COVAX is now acknowledged as a failure. (statnews.com)InfluenzaFlu is always unpredictable. This year we are in new territory. (npr.org)Researchers are hoping to avoid a true 'twindemic.' (theconversation.com)Don't hold your breath for a surge in influenza vaccine uptake this year. (axios.com)It takes two week for your body to develop antibodies after a flu shot. (slate.com)TestingThe FDA has approved another at-home Covid antigen test. (marginalrevolution.com)Breakthrough infections are easily mistaken for cold or flu. (wsj.com)Long CovidSome additional studies showing the prevalence of long Covid symptoms. (newatlas.com)Even non-severe Covid cases increase the risk of heart issues. (bloomberg.com)TreatmentCovid is accelerating the use of 'tele-ICUs' in rural hospitals. (statnews.com)Overburdened hospital in many areas are now facing a financial crisis. (washingtonpost.com)AntiviralsHow Merck’s ($MRK) new antiviral drug molnupiravir works. (vox.com)The sooner you take molnupiravir the better. (theatlantic.com)Why researchers would like to see multiple antivirals to treat Covid. (fortune.com)GlobalNew Zealand is preparing to ease pandemic restrictions. (wsj.com)Why New Zealand is changing its approach to Covid. (newscientist.com)Asia's success stories are nervously opening things up. (ft.com)Singapore has paused its reopening. (nytimes.com)MasksWhy are Americans still wearing cloth masks? (theatlantic.com)England has sent kids back to school, sans masks. (nytimes.com)VentilationIt's going to take awhile to upgrade the ventilation in buildings. (theatlantic.com)And costs a pretty penny. (telegraph.co.uk)Other countries are way ahead of the U.S. when it comes to upgrading ventilation systems. (marginalrevolution.com)DataComparing how authoritarian regimes and democracies have done during pandemic. (theatlantic.com)The optimistic (and pessimistic) cases for Covid this Winter. (vox.com)Children are now more likely to get Covid than adults. (washingtonpost.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsCoronavirus links: pandemic preparedness. (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)PodcastsScott Gottlieb on why the U.S. was unprepared for the Covid pandemic. (youtube.com)Andy Slavitt talks with Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, about the dangers of treating Covid like a horse race. (podcasts.apple.com)Mixed mediaHow Steve Kirsch went from funding important research to becoming a source of Covid misinformation. (technologyreview.com)A Q&A with Scott Gottlieb author of "Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic." (npr.org).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsOct 9th, 2021

A Message To Fauci: You Are In No Position To Dictate The "Greater Good"

A Message To Fauci: You Are In No Position To Dictate The "Greater Good" Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, How does a fraud like Anthony Fauci find himself in the highest paid position in US bureaucracy? Well, Fauci’s career is a rather shocking testament to the reality of our government and our era – The more corrupt you are the more favors and promotions you will receive. Fauci is well known as a shameless opportunist among many within the medical research community. For example, the creator of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test, Kary Mullis, had nothing but disdain for Fauci. Mullis was an interesting figure who valued scientific honesty above all else. He often warned that his PCR test could be exploited to inflate infection numbers by identifying remnants of a virus in person’s body without distinguishing whether or not they are actually “infected” (sick). Sadly, his test is no be used in this exact manner today to exaggerate infection rates of the covid-19 virus. In interviews Mullis has referred to Anthony Fauci as a “liar”, arguing that he is a bureaucrat that “doesn’t know anything about anything”. Mullis noted that people like Fauci have an agenda that is outside of the public good, and that they have no problem misrepresenting the science to the populace to achieve their goals. It should also be noted that YouTube has made it their mission to consistently erase any traces of the Mullis interviews mentioning Fauci from their website. It is also not surprising that Fauci’s rampant fear mongering over AIDS in the 1980’s has gone mostly unmentioned by the mainstream media. His claim that 1 in 5 heterosexual Americans would be dead from AIDS by 1990 has been summarily memory-holed and the guy is treated like a scientific genius by the journalistic community in 2021. If there is any justice in this world then Fauci should really go down in history as one of the primary initiators of the Covid pandemic, being that he was the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that funded Gain of Function research on corona-viruses at the Wuhan Lab in China. This is the same research that Fauci blatantly lied about to congress on multiple occasions. And, the Wuhan lab is the same lab that evidence suggests was the ground zero source of the Covid-19 outbreak. It is important to note that it was Fauci and the NIH that LIFTED the ban on gain of function research on deadly viruses in 2017, and it was well known around this time that the Level 4 Wuhan lab in China was not secure. If anyone is responsible for global covid deaths, it is Fauci, the Chinese government and anyone else involved in that gain of function research which is primarily used to WEAPONIZE viruses under the guise of creating “therapeutics.” Gain of function research was originally banned under the Biological Weapons Convention which went into effect in 1975, unless it was being used for therapeutics. Now ALL gain of function research that is revealed publicly is labeled as therapeutics even if it is actually designed to produce biological weapons. This is sometimes referred to as “dual use research.” The prevailing narrative continues to be that even if the virus came from the Wuhan lab then it was surely an accident. I continue to believe according to the available evidence that Covid-19 was deliberately released in order to create a global crisis which could then be exploited by the establishment to introduce extreme controls over the populace to the point of medical totalitarianism. But of course, there is no smoking gun to prove this, only common sense. If we take the notorious Event 201 into account things get a little weird. Event 201 was a war game held by the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its claimed purpose was to simulate the effects of a deadly coronavirus pandemic “spread by animals” to humans and to develop the policies governments and their corporate partners should employ to deal with it. Interestingly, this simulation was held in October of 2019, only two months before the REAL THING happened. Nearly every policy suggested by the participants of Event 201 has now been adopted by most governments, including the social media censorship campaign against anyone that questions the origins of the virus and the safety of the experimental mRNA vaccines. Anthony Fauci and friends…. WEF founder Klaus Schwab was quick to announce at the start of the pandemic that Covid-19 was the “perfect opportunity” to launch the “Great Reset”, which is a globalist plan to completely erase free market systems and replace them with a highly centralized socialist framework. The WEF envisions a world in which carbon related power is banned, all financial transactions become digital and are monitored and controlled by central authorities, and they have even suggested that one day people will “own nothing and be happy”. This is a reference to the so-called “shared economy” of the future, where the concept of personal property is abolished and all people will live in communal housing collectives where necessities are rationed or rented out to them by the government. Something must have went wrong with covid, however, because the Event 201 death estimates for such a virus were around 65 million within the first year of the outbreak. This of course never happened with Covid-19. So, the resistance to the mandates has been high, or much higher apparently than the globalists expected. They have been forced to engage in an endless fear campaign for the past 18 months over a virus with a mere 0.26% median death rate. It is a virus that well over 99.7% of all people will survive and it has an extremely low chance of long term effects on those who do actually end up hospitalized. In the majority of states the hospitalization rates are between 10-35 people for every 100,000 people infected. These numbers come from the CDC and the medical establishment at large, yet they are ignored by propagandists like Fauci, just as Fauci has continued to ignore natural immunity as a factor in covid mandates. It might seem bizarre to almost any scientist, doctor and virologist not paid by the government, but Fauci has argued that natural immunity should be ignored when compared to vaccination. Multiple studies from around the world now show that natural immunity is up to 27 times more effective at preventing covid infection than the vaccines, but those with natural immunity are considered a threat to others under the new mandates unless they are also vaxxed. This simply makes no sense from a scientific perspective until you realize that the mandates are not about science, they are about authoritarianism. Fauci is the US front man for a campaign of medical tyranny being imposed in every nation; this is why he does not care about natural immunity. The idea of it is inconvenient to his narrative, so he pretends it is inconsequential. It is perhaps ironic that Fauci himself is becoming inconsequential as he is slowly fading away from the media limelight. I have noticed that ever since the NIH gain of function information was released to the public Fauci has been in the media less prominently. A documentary produced by National Geographic and soon to be distributed by Disney+ portrays the conman as a misunderstood savior and is sure to be a trash fire. That said, it does represent a clear last-ditched effort to save the man’s false reputation. There is a good reason for all of this. Fauci’s distaste for personal freedom has been well documented and is making him extremely unpopular. He even recently argued on CNN in favor of vaccine mandates using this perverse position: “There comes a time when you do have to give up what you consider your individual right of making your own decision for the greater good of society.” Fauci and his globalist ilk can be distilled down to this single mantra: Do as you are told for the greater good. But who gets to determine what the “greater good” is? Isn’t it disturbing that it’s always the same elitists that end up in that position? I know that leftists in particular love the idea of the vaccine mandates and worship Fauci, and they say we skeptics should “listen to the science”, but Fauci is not a scientist, he’s a door-to-door salesman, and as I’ve noted above the REAL science does not support the arguments for forced vaccinations or lockdowns. Hell, I keep asking the same questions on the mandates in these articles and not a single leftists or pro-vax proponent has come up with a valid or logical response, but out of morbid curiosity I would love to see Fauci give his answers: 1) Covid has a median death rate of only 0.26%, so why should we take ANY risk on an experimental mRNA vaccine with no long term testing to prove its safety? 2) Why not give support to the 0.26% of people actually at risk from dying due to covid instead of spending billions of dollars on Big Pharma producing a rushed vaccine that you plan to force on the 99.7% of people who are not at risk? 3) In majority vaccinated countries like Israel, over 60% of covid hospitalizations are fully vaccinated people. The exponential rise of fully vaccinated patients in multiple nations suggests that the vaccines do not work. Why should we take a vaccine that has been proven not to be effective? 4) If you believe the vaccines actually do work despite all evidence to the contrary, then why should vaccinated people fear anything from unvaccinated people? How are we a threat to them? 5) If the vaccines don’t work, then doesn’t this mean the mandates are pointless and the people that are most safe are the people with natural immunity? Shouldn’t we be applauding the naturally immune and encouraging treatment instead of useless vaccination? 6) Since the vaccines actually don’t work according to the data, isn’t it time to stop blindly dismissing treatments like Ivermectin and focus on trials and studies that research these alternatives? Why the vitriolic propaganda campaign to label Ivermectin nothing more than “horse paste” when it is actually a long used Nobel Prize winning treatment for human ailments? Is it because the experimental covid vaccines would lose their emergency authorization status under the FDA if effective treatments exist? 7) Why are government funded scientists so keen on defending Big Pharma to the point of ignoring all data that contradicts their claims? Are you just embarrassed of being wrong, or are you corrupt? 8) Who decided you are qualified to determine what constitutes the “greater good?” Globalists and errand boys like Fauci will never be able to answer these questions without twisting the narrative. They will say “What about the 700,000 dead in the US?” to play on the idea that the freedom minded lack empathy for their fellow man. Of course, around 40% of those deaths are patients from nursing homes with preexisting conditions, so we have no idea if they died from covid or from their previous ailments. Also, millions of people die every year from a plethora of communicable diseases including the flu and pneumonia, and we never tried to lock down the entire country and crush people’s civil rights because of this. If we maintained a running tally of flu and pneumonia deaths year after year as we are doing with covid, then the ever increasing number of bodies would seem just as forbidding. Society cannot function when it is preoccupied with death. Yes, around 0.26% of people die from covid, but life goes on for everyone else. Our freedoms are more important than your irrational fears. Our freedoms are more important than globalist agendas for centralization. Our freedoms ARE the greater good. Without them our society dies, and as our society dies millions more people will die from the inevitable collapse and tyranny that will follow; far more than will ever die from covid. This is why nothing Fauci says has any relevance to us. He is so transparent in his corruption that he might as well be invisible. We will continue to ignore his declarations and admonitions and we will continue to fight back against the vaccine passports and restrictions. When all is said and done, if Fauci, Biden and other globalist puppets try to use force to impose their agenda upon us then there will come a day very soon when they will be held accountable for their crimes against humanity, and then they will wish they were invisible. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Japan is converting its 2 biggest warships into aircraft carriers, and US Marines are helping it train to use them

This month, US Marine Corps F-35Bs became the first fixed-wing aircraft to operate on a Japanese aircraft carrier in 75 years. A US Marine Corps F-35B lands aboard Japanese light aircraft carrier Izumo, October 3, 2021. US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Tyler Harmon This month, US Marine Corps F-35Bs landed on and took off aboard Japanese warship Izumo. It was the first time a fixed-wing aircraft has operated from a Japanese aircraft carrier in 75 years. The milestone reflects Japan's growing focus on countering China and its close work with allies to do so. As China increases the size and capability of its military, Japan has responded by adapting its Self-Defense Force to meet what it sees as a growing threat.Japan has created its first amphibious military unit since World War II and launched a new class of high-tech frigates, and it's restructuring its tank force to be lighter and more mobile and building up its missile capabilities.Perhaps the most eye-opening move, though, is the conversion of its two Izumo-class helicopter carriers into dedicated aircraft carriers.On Sunday, two US Marine Corps F-35Bs landed on and took off from the deck of the Izumo, the lead ship of the class - the first time a fixed-wing aircraft has operated from a Japanese carrier in 75 years.The test is just the first step toward Japan getting its first carriers since World War II.Early adapter Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier Hosho conducts tests in Tokyo Bay in December 1922. Wikimedia Commons Japan has a long history with flattops, commissioning its first, Hōshō, in 1922.Hōshō was the world's first purpose-built carrier to enter service, beating HMS Hermes, which the British Royal Navy began constructing almost three years earlier.Japan was one of the first countries to use carriers effectively. Their employment against China in the 1930s gave the Japanese considerable experience compared to their Western counterparts and led to better designs for Japanese carriers and carrier aircraft as well as high training standards.By 1941, some of Japan's carriers were widely considered to be the best in the world. The Japanese navy used coordinated formations of multiple carriers, which showed their strength at Pearl Harbor and then helped Japan dominate the Pacific for the first six months of the war.But while Japan started the war with one of the best carrier forces in service, it couldn't match the industrial might of the US, which built newer carriers and warships far more quickly and in much higher numbers.By the end of the war, all the carriers Japan had in service had been sunk or damaged, and it lacked the manpower or resources to finish building the ones it had under construction.Aircraft-carrying warships Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ship JS Haruna in Pearl Harbor, June 26, 2008. US Navy/Michael R. McCormick After the war, Japan adopted a pacifist constitution. As a result, the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) never fielded carriers because of their traditionally offensive nature.By the 1960s, however, the JMSDF had grown worried about the threat from increasingly sophisticated Soviet submarines and wanted ships capable of carrying helicopters for anti-submarine-warfare (ASW) operations.The first of these ships were the two Haruna-class destroyers Haruna and Hiei. Commissioned in 1973 and 1974, respectively, they each had a large central hangar that carried three SH-3 Sea King and later SH-60K helicopters, and flew from a flight deck on the aft part of the ship.In addition to the helicopters, the destroyers were armed with two Mk. 42 5-inch guns, two Phalanx close-in weapon systems, a single eight-barreled Sea Sparrow SAM launcher, an ASROC launcher with eight barrels, and two triple torpedo tubes. Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Hyūga-class helicopter destroyer Ise departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, July 7, 2014.. US Navy/MCS2 Corey T. Jones The Haruna-class was followed by the Shirane-class destroyers, Shirane and Kurama, which were commissioned in 1980 and 1981, respectively, and were similarly armed.In 1998, the JMSDF commissioned the first of three Ōsumi-class tank landing ships. The Ōsumis have a flattop deck and can carry multiple helicopters and amphibious vehicles. While similar in appearance to amphibious assault ships, they are used primarily for transportation duties.In 2009, the JMSDF commissioned the helicopter destroyer Hyūga, the first of its class. It has a 646-foot flattop deck and can carry up to 11 helicopters, mainly MCH-101s and SH-60Ks. It's armed with 16 Mk 41 vertical launch system cells, two Phalanx close-in weapon systems, and two triple torpedo tubes.A second Hyūga-class vessel, Ise, was commissioned in 2011. Both ships are tasked primarily with ASW missions, and are classified as "escort ships" by the JMSDF.Japan's biggest ships Japanese helicopter carrier Kaga during a naval drill in the Indian Ocean, September 26, 2018. Reuters Hyūga and Ise were the JMSDF's largest ships until Izumo, which was launched in 2013 and commissioned in 2015.Izumo and its sister-ship, Kaga, are both 813 feet long, and, like the Hyūgas, were helicopter-carriers intended for ASW operations.However, in 2018, after years of speculation, the Japanese government confirmed that it would convert the Izumo-class ships into aircraft carriers and that it would buy 42 F-35Bs with short-takeoff and vertical-landing capability.It's not clear how many aircraft each ship can deploy with, but the conversion may allow them to carry well over a dozen helicopters and fighter jets. JS Izumo at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan, September 30, 2021. US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Darien Wright The first phase of modification for Izumo began in 2020 and was completed in July. The ship now has a distinctive yellow line similar to that on the US Navy's America-class amphibious assault ships. Izumo's deck was also given heat-resistant coating.The second phase of modification is planned to start around early 2025 and will involve changing the bow from its current trapezoidal shape to one that is rectangular, as well as changes to the ship's interior.Kaga is planned to begin its first phase of modification around early 2022, and the work is expected to take 14 months.Japan hopes to acquire its first 18 F-35Bs in 2023 or early 2024. They will be flown by Japan's air force and be based at Nyutabaru Air Base in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four largest islands. The jets will embark on the carriers only in select situations.More aircraft, more options A US Marine Corps F-35B conducts a vertical landing aboard Izumo off the coast of Japan, October 3, 2021. US Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Tyler Harmon The decision to convert the ships into carriers was prompted by China. Beijing has adopted an aggressive foreign policy, particularly in dealing with territorial disputes, that has alarmed many of its neighbors.In 2018, Japan accused China of engaging in "unilateral, coercive attempts to alter the status quo based on its own assertions that are incompatible with existing international order."Particularly worrying for Japan are China's actions around the Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islands north of Taiwan that are administered by Japan but claimed by China as the Diaoyu Islands.China's navy, which is the largest in the world and is still growing, includes two aircraft carriers with a third on the way. It also has one Type 075 amphibious assault ship in service and two more in the water. China's air force and naval aircraft give it the largest aviation force in the region, according to the Pentagon.In the face of China's growing air and naval fleets, the new carriers will enable Japan to bring its own aircraft to bear from multiple directions and will allow Japanese, US, and maybe even European F-35Bs to operate from each other's ships.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 8th, 2021

Blue Origin is launching TV star William Shatner on Tuesday, but employees say they wouldn"t fly on that rocket

William Shatner said he's "thrilled" and "a little frightened" to fly on Blue Origin's rocket. Some employees say the flight isn't safe enough. Jeff Bezos (left) and Blue Origin's the New Shepard rocket (right). Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters; Blue Origin Blue Origin plans to fly Star Trek's William Shatner and three others to the edge of space on Tuesday. In a recent open letter, some Blue Origin employees said they wouldn't ride its New Shepard rocket. New Shepard's emergency systems should protect passengers, but the letter raised safety concerns. See more stories on Insider's business page. After launching its own founder, Jeff Bezos, to the edge of space this summer, rocket company Blue Origin has moved on to its first celebrity customer.William Shatner, the actor best known for playing Captain James T. Kirk in "Star Trek," is set to fly 62 miles above sea level aboard the company's New Shepard launch system on Tuesday. He'll share the spaceship with former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen, healthcare entrepreneur Glen de Vries, and Blue Origin's vice president of mission and flight operations, Audrey Powers. The flight is automated, so no pilot will be onboard.At the peak of their 11-minute flight, the passengers will briefly experience weightlessness. They'll be able to see the curvature of the Earth and its thin atmosphere against the blackness of space.Shatner, who is 90, will be the oldest person to reach the boundary of space, breaking the record set by 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk on Blue Origin's first passenger flight with Bezos. William Shatner, 90, is set to fly to the edge of space on Tuesday. AP Photo/Steven Senne "I'm thrilled and anxious and a little nervous and a little frightened about this whole new adventure," Shatner told "The Today Show" on Tuesday.But the flight comes amid fallout from a recent open letter from current and former Blue Origin employees. That essay called New Shepard's safety into question, with some of the anonymous employees who signed it saying they would not fly on the rocket themselves.Spaceflight has always been risky, but the private companies now rocketing people to space face little government oversight. Passengers like Shatner fly at their own risk.Employees said 'making progress for Jeff' trumps safety Jeff Bezos holds Amelia Earhart's aviation goggles up to his eyes after returning from his own flight to the edge of space. Joe Raedle/Getty Images New Shepard has flown 16 times without any apparent errors - a strong record. But some Blue Origin employees said in the letter that things look more concerning from the inside.Alexandra Abrams, who used to head Blue Origin's employee communications, published the letter on the website Lioness last week. Abrams was the only named author, but she said 20 other current and former Blue Origin employees cowrote it. CBS News spoke with five of them, and two confirmed that they would not feel comfortable riding a Blue Origin spacecraft."Competing with other billionaires - and 'making progress for Jeff' - seemed to take precedence over safety concerns that would have slowed down the schedule," the letter said.It continued: "Some of us felt that with the resources and staff available, leadership's race to launch at such a breakneck speed was seriously compromising flight safety." Jeff Bezos inspects a New Shepard rocket booster after it landed from a test flight. Blue Origin The letter added that for many of the coauthors, safety was "the driving force" behind the decision to publish it."In the opinion of an engineer who has signed on to this essay, 'Blue Origin has been lucky that nothing has happened so far,'" the letter said. "Many of this essay's authors say they would not fly on a Blue Origin vehicle."In a statement emailed to Insider, Blue Origin said, "We stand by our safety record and believe that New Shepard is the safest space vehicle ever designed or built."The statement added that Abrams "was dismissed for cause two years ago after repeated warnings for issues involving federal export control regulations." Abrams has denied receiving such warnings.New Shepard has safety features in case of emergency The New Shepard rocket booster falls away from the capsule high above Earth. Blue Origin The most nail-biting moments of a spaceflight are when the engines burn for liftoff, when the rocket separates from the capsule, and when parachutes deploy on the way down.Blue Origin has not shared much detail about its testing process, but it has highlighted some of New Shepard's safety features.Once the New Shepard rocket lifts off, it screams through the atmosphere for about three minutes before releasing the passenger capsule and falling back to Earth. During that time, if something goes wrong, an emergency escape system should prompt the capsule to detach and jettison away from impending doom.Blue Origin has tested that escape system three times - on the launchpad, in mid-air, and in space. Presumably, this means that if the rocket threatens to explode, the capsule should be able to carry its passengers to safety. The New Shepard crew capsule parachutes to a landing at Blue Origin's Launch Site One in Texas, January 14, 2021. Blue Origin Then once the capsule is falling back to Earth, three parachutes should deploy. If one fails, the capsule is designed to give more thrust to its downward-facing engines. If two parachutes fail, a crushable "bumper" section on the bottom of the capsule should absorb the impact of landing."The capsule is the most highly redundant and safe spaceflight system, we think, that has ever been designed or flown," Gary Lai, senior director of New Shepard's design, says in a Blue Origin video about safety. "In most cases, you have a backup to the backup system."The capsule also has oxygen masks, much like on an airplane, in case the cabin becomes depressurized.Blue Origin passengers fly at their own risk A screengrab from video recorded inside the New Shepard capsule shows (left to right) Oliver Daemen, Jeff Bezos, Mark Bezos, and Wally Funk in microgravity. Blue Origin About 1% of US human spaceflights have resulted in a fatal accident, according to an analysis published earlier this year."That's pretty high. It's about 10,000 times more dangerous than flying on a commercial airliner," George Nield, a coauthor of that report, previously told Insider. Nield formerly served as the Federal Aviation Administration's associate administrator and led its Office of Commercial Space Transportation.No federal agency regulates the safety of passengers on private commercial spaceflights. For now, the FAA just ensures that these rocket launches don't pose a threat to other aircraft or to people on the ground. However, in a statement emailed to Insider last week, the FAA said it was "reviewing" the open letter from Blue Origin employees.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 8th, 2021

The 5 best electric scooters of 2021

Electric scooters provide a reliable form of transportation no matter if you're commuting to work or running errands. Here are the best we've tested. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Electric scooters are a convenient and fun way to commute to work or run errands around town. The best electric scooters should have a reliably long battery range and travel at speeds of up to 20-plus mph. Our top pick, the Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4, has a dual-battery design that gets up to 28 miles of range. Electric scooters have gone from curious novelties to a bonafide form of transportation thanks to advancements in tech and the rise of e-scooter rental services like Lime and Bird.And I can't overlook the fact they're just plain fun to ride.But more people have also discovered that owning their own is incredibly convenient - I know I have. Whether it's a quick jaunt to the store, a ride to a friend's house, or just commuting from a distant parking lot to the office, there are numerous times when having an e-scooter has proved incredibly handy for me. If you've been considering buying an electric scooter of your own, I highly recommend it. But the most important question to ask yourself before buying is what you plan to use it for - after that, there are plenty of models that stand out from the crowd. To help, I've compiled the following guide of the best electric scooters I've tested, perfect for a variety of people and use cases.I've also included some insight into how to shop for an electric scooter, as well as how I tested each of the scooters featured in this guide. Here are the best electric scooters of 2021:Best overall: Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4Best on a budget: Gotrax XR UltraBest for commuters: Xiamoi Mi M365 Best for performance: Outstorm Maxx Ultra High-SpeedBest for kids: Razor E100 How I test electric scooters Each of the electric scooters in this guide went through a series of tests to determine how well they compared against these four categories: Range, portability, versatility, and value. Here's how I specifically considered each category while testing:Range: Most electric scooters are defined by the range they're capable of delivering, and this is the top factor to consider. To test this, we compared the on-paper range to how it fared in real-world tests. Where range begins to take a hit on almost every model is when you start riding uphill or traveling at its top speed for extended periods of time (and we've noted in the review of each model where this was the most significant).Portability: Being able to easily transport a scooter is a vital consideration for anyone living in an apartment building or someone who plans on commuting part of the way on a scooter. Portability means not just how much it weighs but whether it folds up and is easy to carry. Versatility: Versatility also means that a scooter can handle a wide range of uses, from fun rides to commuting to running errands. Judging a scooter's versatility meant seeing if it was capable of operating outside of its typical use case (within a set of safe parameters, of course).Value: Value is a combination of the three categories above and how it relates to what it actually costs. This can often mean that it's better to spend a little more on a quality scooter designed to last and function properly, as opposed to spending less on something you'll need to replace more often.  The best electric scooter overall Segway For excellent all-around performance, including good range and speed, the Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4 is a great option for riders looking for a versatile, easy-to-use model.Pros: Up to 28 miles of range on a single charge, features a dual-battery design, large wheels allow for very minimal offroad travel, speeds up to 18 mphCons: Long battery recharge timeThe Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4 has been on the market for several years and yet, it remains one of the top all-around models. Not only does it offer a solid and accurate range of 28 miles on a single charge, it can also hit top speeds in excess of 18 mph.That level of performance is due in part to its dual-battery design. Equipped with both a built-in and removable power cell, the ES4 provides good versatility when it comes to staying charged, too. The ES4's solid 8-inch wheels allow it to roll over large obstacles and provide a smooth ride on a variety of surfaces. Front and rear shock absorbers increase the level of comfort and help smooth out your commute. That's especially important when zipping along at top speed, which tends to amplify every bump in the road. Fortunately, the ES4 offers a relaxing and fun ride across a variety of terrain.Other nice features include a front-facing LED light, as well as user-customizable lights on the side and undercarriage to aid in visibility in lowlight conditions. A small, but easy to read, LCD screen displays current speeds and the battery's charge level, while electric and mechanical braking systems allow for a good sense of control. This model even folds down nicely for easy transport and comes with IPX54 water resistance for use in poor weather conditions. Because the ES4 uses two batteries to keep it running at such a high level, it takes a little longer than some other models in this guide to recharge. It can take more than six hours to power this scooter up to its full capacity, which can require a bit of planning depending on your needs. The ES4 can function as a traditional kick scooter in a pinch, though. Although there are other options that cost less, few of them offer the same level of performance and convenience in such a well-designed package as the ES4. The best budget electric scooter Amazon The budget-friendly Gotrax XR Ultra electric scooter provides good speed and range, along with more than few unexpected features, without putting a major dent in your wallet. Pros: Inexpensive, weighs 27 pounds, sturdy tires, has both disc and electric brakesCons: Limited featuresWhile the top end of the electric scooter market continues to push the envelope in terms of speed, range, and portability, many of those models remain too expensive for the general consumer. As with most products, however, the technology eventually trickles down to price points that are more palatable to the general public, delivering a lot of bang for the buck in the process. Such is the case with the Gotrax XR, a budget e-scooter that offers a level of performance that will meet most people's needs, without making them feel buyer's remorse afterward. The XR Ultra's top speed of 15.5 mph and a max range of 17 miles seems unimpressive when compared to other–more expensive—competitors. But its sub-$400 price tag makes this model a much more approachable option for those looking to dip their toe in the e-scooter waters. Put in other terms, this is the Toyota Camry of electric scooters. It is affordable, reliable, and offers good performance–just don't compare it to a Mercedes S Class. One of the best elements of the XR Ultra is its very smooth and comfortable ride. This scooter glides along at a steady pace, its 8.5-inch inflatable tires rolling over most obstacles with ease. The XR's folding frame and 27-pound weight should make it a favorite amongst budget-conscious commuters as well. In an effort to keep costs down, Gotrax didn't including any kind of suspension, however, which means this model performs best on smooth, paved surfaces. That isn't to say that the XR Ultra doesn't have a good feature set. The scooter comes with both a disc and electric braking systems with regenerative properties. It also includes a bright LED headlight and an LCD screen that displays speed, distance, battery life, and a number of other items. An integrated kickstand is a nice touch, as is the IP54 water resistance rating too. While I think the Gotrax XR Ultra is the best budget e-scooter on the market, it should be noted that there are plenty of other models that are available at a lower price. With those other options, you'll more than likely find yourself having to make compromises in terms of speed, range, and weight in order to save a little cash. The XR Ultra doesn't have any of those glaring compromises, bridging the gap between a truly budget scooter and the more expensive higher-end quite nicely. The best electric scooter for commuters Amazon Lightweight and capable of folding down to a surprisingly small size, the Xiaomi Mi M365 is an electric scooter built specifically with commuters in mind. Pros: Folds down for easy portability, weighs 27 pounds, comes standard with front and rear taillightsCons: Only rated to carry riders up to 220 poundsWhen selecting an e-scooter for use as a daily commuter, I want something that's lightweight and easy to carry around, without compromising on performance. That's exactly what I found in the Xiaomi Mi M365, which manages to provide 18.6 miles of range and a top speed of 15.5 mph while tipping the scales at a shade over 27 pounds. Add in a small battery charger and the ability to fold down to a smaller size and the M365 is easy to recommend to anyone who places an emphasis on portability. And don't let that lightweight fool you, it still has plenty of features packed into its design. For instance, it comes with front and rear lights, wide shock-absorbing tires, and an LED indicator for battery life. It also has a regenerative braking system that feeds power back into the battery, as well as a companion app for customizing settings and tracking distance, speed, and other metrics.This scooter even has a power-saving mode that helps extend the range by limiting the rate of acceleration and its top speed. Turning that mode on also makes the M365 more accommodating to beginners. It's clear Xiaomi put a lot of thought into making the M365 easy to use. This is especially evident in its folding mechanism, which allows it to shrink down to a more compact size in under three seconds. I appreciate that simplicity when entering and exiting trains, climbing stairs, riding elevators, or even taking the M365 in and out of a car trunk. While folding e-scooters are hardly a rarity, the speed and fluidity at which this one operates is a great feature.In order to achieve the M365's relatively low weight, Xiaomi used a minimalist design and a lightweight aluminum frame. Because of this, the scooter is only rated to carry riders weighing up to 220 pounds. The frame itself is plenty durable and can certainly support someone who exceeds that weight limit, but a heavier passenger cuts into performance, reducing both its range and speed.Weight limit aside, the Xiaomi Mi M365 is in a class by itself when used as a daily commuter. Lightweight and easy to carry, it offers a good blend of range and speed and delivers a smooth ride. The best electric scooter for performance Amazon If you're in the market for a fast scooter with long-range, the Outstorm Maxx Ultra-High-Speed is exactly what you're looking for. Pros: Up to 52 miles of range and speeds to 56 mph, maximum weight capacity of 485 pounds, can ride on gravel, dirt trails, and in sandCons: Extremely heavy at 100 poundsWhen moving up to the performance level of the e-scooter market, prices can increase substantially. While the models found at the top end of the scale are indeed fast and powerful, they can also cost several thousands of dollars. The Outstorm Maxx Ultra-High-Speed flirts with a $2000 price tag but ultimately delivers a lot of bang for the buck, striking an intriguing middle ground when it comes to performance and cost. So, what exactly does a performance scooter at this price point have to offer? In the case of the Maxx, it provides a top speed of 56 mph and a range of up to 52 miles. This is achieved thanks to its dual motors, which can produce as much as 3200 watts of power at their highest level of output. It also allows the scooter to carry a maximum weight of 485 pounds and ride not only on paved surfaces but also on dirt trails, gravel, and sand. The Maxx does well on hills too, powering up steep inclines without missing a beat. This scooter features three different speed modes and two power modes, which made it easy to find a good balance between speed and range. A digital readout prominently displays how fast the scooter is currently moving and shows battery life and distance traveled. A regenerative braking system helps feed energy back into the battery throughout the ride, while a bright LED headlight makes riding at night much safer as well. The Maxx also features a hydraulic shock system, 11-inch tires, durable running boards, and electronic cruise control. Of course, all the high-performance components used in the Maxx's construction come at the expense of weight. This model weighs in at a whopping 100 pounds, which means it isn't an especially good choice for commuting. Yes, it can fold down to a smaller size for ease of storage, but that doesn't make it any easier to lift or move around when the battery is dead. Thankfully, with its large 60V power cells, it doesn't run out of juice all that often. In terms of performance scooters, the Outstorm Maxx Ultra High Speed is a relative bargain, offering plenty of speed and range in an attractive package. But it also provides a smooth, comfortable ride as well, both on and off-road. Because it falls into the pricier end of the market, it definitely isn't a model for most people. Riders who are willing to pay the extra money will find that it more than delivers on its promise of exhilarating two-wheeled thrills. The best electric scooter for kids Amazon Built with kids in mind, the Razor E100 is stable, comfortable to ride, and easy to control, while managing to remain nimble and fun. Pros: Offers a stable ride perfect for kids to learn on, easy to maneuver, favors safety over performanceCons: Limited long-term durability, 26-pound weight could be a lot for kids to carry, not many featuresRazor has been designing scooters—both electric and kick models—for a variety of age groups for years. Over that time, the company has learned that the features that you look for in an adult model are quite different than those for kids. While speed and range are of the utmost importance to the former, safety and stability are the chief concerns for the latter. That design philosophy is evident with the E100, an e-scooter that is sure to delight younger riders. The E100 provides a top speed of 10 mph and offers a ride time of about 40 minutes between charges. Yes, the range of this model is measured in minutes rather than miles, which is another departure from the adult scooter market. Forty minutes of continous use is a fairly long time by kid standards, however, providing a reasonable amount of range before the battery runs dry. With its 8-inch pneumatic front tire, the E100 provides a nice, smooth ride. Coupled with the scooter's rear-wheel-drive system, this shifts much of the weight to the back, enhancing stability and balance as a result. Hand brakes and a thumb throttle make learning to ride quick and easy too, making this a scooter even younger kids will feel comfortable on quite quickly. As with any product designed for kids, long-term durability is always in question. To alleviate those concerns, Razor used a steel frame in the construction of the E100, giving it a very solid feel overall. Those materials do end up adding some weight to the scooter, which tips the scales at 26 pounds. By adult e-scooter standards, that is quite svelte but younger kids may find the E100 unwieldy to lug around.  Compared to most electric scooters designed for adults, the Razor E100 doesn't have a lot of features and amenities. Still, thanks to its ease of use and uncomplicated design, kids will find this model a lot of fun to ride around. After all, their goal isn't to commute to and from the office but to ride with friends and enjoy some time outdoors. For that, this is a wonderful choice. How to shop for an electric scooter As the electric scooter market has grown and diversified, there are now a number of categories that help to define it. The most obvious of those categories is whether or not a specific model is designed with kids or adults in mind.Those made for the younger crowd tend to be smaller, less expensive, and slower. They often have less battery life as well, which translates to a shorter range. Conversely, adult scooters are built for, well, adults, and as such, they are larger, faster, and heavier. They also tend to be more expensive. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to choosing an electric scooter, price is one of the major defining factors. At the lower end, you'll find budget models that come with less expensive components, smaller batteries, and slower top speeds. Mid-tier e-scooters typically fall into the commuter segment and offer a nice blend of range and speed, with prices reflecting those upgrades.At the high-end of the market, you'll find performance models that can potentially cost more than $1,000 but are also quicker, more nimble, and have a longer range than their competitors. RangeWhen shopping for an e-scooter of your own, there are some important specifications that you'll want to keep in mind. Probably the most important of those specs is the range a scooter offers. Each scooter manufacturer offers an estimated range for a given model, which is defined as the distance it travels on a single charge. That distance is directly impacted by the size of the battery, the weight of the rider, and the surface type of surface that it is ridden on.The outside temperature can also have an impact on the range, with colder temps drastically reducing the life of the battery. In real-world conditions, you can expect to ride anywhere from 10-40 miles before having to recharge.SpeedAnother defining characteristic of an e-scooter is its top speed. Its actual number varies greatly depending on the model and manufacturers will often boast of speeds in excess of 25 or even 30 mph, although in practice those numbers aren't always accurate.The size of the motor and battery, along with the weight of the rider, each have an impact on the level of performance. This results in many scooters cruising along in the 5-10 mph range, particularly when not riding on a flat, even surface. Still, shoppers are encouraged to consider the top speed of a model very carefully. A faster model may seem more fun, but it can be much more challenging to control. Quicker acceleration and more power can come in handy, particularly for commuters, but safety should be a primary concern as well.Inexperienced riders are encouraged to choose slower, more stable options while still learning to ride. Additionally, faster scooters also tend to burn through their battery life more quickly, reducing range as result. Portability and weightIf you're the kind of owner who plans to just keep your scooter in the garage and only ride it around the neighborhood, then portability probably isn't something you're all that concerned with.Those who plan to use a scooter for commuting should pay close attention to its weight. Lugging it on and off the subway, or up and down several flights of stairs, can be quite a challenge, especially if your particular model wasn't built with that in mind.As with buying a bicycle, the components used in manufacturing an e-scooter have a direct impact on how much it weighs. Budget models tend to have smaller batteries and motors, which of course weigh less than their larger, more powerful counterparts. However, the other components found on these types of scooters often weigh quite a bit more, which keeps the price down but pushes the weight up.More expensive models tend to have a more powerful drivetrain but are made from high-quality, lighter components. The result tends to be a scooter that costs more, performs better, and is easier to carry around. Some electric scooters that have been specifically designed with commuters in mind may even offer the option to collapse down to a smaller size for ease of transport. Scooters that fold up and can be stored in a carrying case or bag have become so common that they now fall into a category entirely of their own.Usually, these types of scooters sacrifice some performance for improved portability, making them very compelling options for those placing a high value on convenience rather than speed or range. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 7th, 2021

58 thoughtful gifts to give your friends under $100

Buying gifts for friends is a thoughtful way to show them how much you care. Here are 58 gift ideas for your friend, all for less than $100. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Getty Images Whether it's your friend's birthday or you simply want to say thank you, they deserve the best. We rounded up 58 gifts, each under $100, that your special friend will treasure. Still looking for gift ideas? Check out all Insider Reviews gift guides here. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyFriends are the ones you rely upon, confide in, and plague with everything from menu choices to whether or not you should move across the country for a new job. So when those gifting occasions roll around, it can be difficult to find something adequately thoughtful to give to that important person - especially within the relatively affordable under-$100 range.To make things easier for you, we put together a list of unique, thoughtful gifts that your friend would love to receive - all for less than $100.Below are 58 gifts under $100 that your friend will actually want: A set of friendship lights Urban Outfitters Brookstone Friendship Lamp Set, available at Urban Outfitters, $89.95If your close friend lives far away, let them know you're always thinking of them with this friendship light. Your friend will know you haven't forgotten them by tapping your light to instantly activate their twin light. A luxurious lavender scent perfume Nordstrom Yves Saint Laurent Libre Fragrance, available at Nordstrom, from $25.50A designer perfume like this Saint Laurent fragrance is a fitting gift for a friend who enjoys luxurious items. The floral fragrance's bold lavender scent appeals to the confident friend who's daring and always lives true to herself. A gold bracelet with her favorite football team Baublebar NFL x Baublebar Gold Pisa Bracelet, available at Baublebar, $30Even if you don't share in friend's enthusiasm for sports, this sports team bracelet shows you get them. Match the bracelet with their favorite team to help her be prepared for the next game day outfit. A relaxing weighted blanket Amazon Luna Weight Blanket, available at Amazon, $76.99For the friend who's constantly working or just needs a chance to unwind, a weighted blanket can make all the difference. We love this one because it's wallet-friendly but still made from quality materials like Oeko-Tex-certified cotton and natural glass beads.  A scent tied to a favorite place Amazon Homesick candle, available at Uncommon Goods, $34For your old college roommate or your friend who's taken a job across the country, this candle is a sweet reminder of home. A planner to help them stay organized Rifle Paper Co. 2022 17-Month Large Planner, available at Rifle Paper Co., $36Your Type A friend will thank you for this planner and its neat, detailed layout. The 17-month design means they can finish out this year and be set for the new year. Plus, two pages of colorful stickers can help liven up the notes, weekly, and monthly planning pages. A neoprene makeup bag from a cool startup they'll love Dagne Dover Hunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is one of our all-time favorite handbag companies, and most of that has to do with quality, style, and unmatched attention to detail. The Hunter bag comes in six colors of water-resistant neoprene. It has helpful features like elastic lip gloss loops, slip pockets and a removable zipper pouch for compacts and shadows, and a smooth lining that's easily cleaned. Zipper tabs can be unsnapped to adjust the shape, too.  A playful earbud pouch for that one forgetful friend Baggu Puffy Earbuds Case, available at Baggu, $14If you have a friend who tends to lose their AirPods or earbuds all too often, this unique case attaches straight onto their keyring. Plus, it's quilted, padded, and machine washable. The pouch fastens with velcro and comes in fun colors and patterns like leopard print and stripe. A phone case and wallet all-in-one Nomad Rugged Folio, available at Nomad, $69.95You might have a friend who doesn't like carrying around bulky wallets and would rather keep it simple and sleek. This leather folio case sports three card slots and one cash slot, and also has a new internal shock absorption bumper that protects against 10-foot drops. Best of all, it's made of Horween leather, which ages and appears more rugged as time passes.  A Fitbit for the activity tracker newcomer Fitbit Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Walmart, $87.99If they're contemplating joining the Fitbit bandwagon, they'll appreciate this uncomplicated activity tracker that monitors their exercise, sleep, and heart rate. It's slimmer than its counterparts, but still lasts for 10 days, has 20+ different exercise modes, and receives basic smartphone notifications. A high-tech towel that's better for their hair AQUIS Aquis Lisse Luxe Long Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of reviewers.The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that's composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction the hair experiences while in its weakest state. It also prevents hygral fatigue — the stretching and swelling of wet hair that makes it vulnerable to frizz and damage — by cutting the hair's drying time by 50%. Their favorite specialty food straight from the source Goldbelly/Instagram Order their favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.  A book of witty, quirky postcards Amazon/Business Insider 'Friendship Maintenance: 30 Postcards to Say How Much You Freaking Care,' available at Amazon, $8.34"Friendship Maintenance" adds a more personal touch to the frequent check-ins you're probably already having with one another. The witty postcards weave in themes of friendship in a hilariously relatable way. A tie-dye kit Amazon/Business Insider Just My Style Tie Dye Kit, available at Amazon, $7.03Tie-dye has made a resurgence: It's a socially distant (or virtual) activity that friends can enjoy together. They'll appreciate this affordable tie-dye kit that will provide them with enough dye for up to 12 projects. A gift card to a popular wine subscription club Winc Gift Card, available at Winc, from $60Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions.  A custom note with a surprise inside Greetabl/Business Insider Greetabl Gift Box, available at Greetabl, from $14Greetabl is one of the Insider Reviews team's favorite modes of checking in on those we love. The customizable box includes a fun print, a spot for a personal message, and the selection of a small gift like Sugarfina treats or quirky pins.  An upgrade to the classic travel pillow Amazon/Business Insider Trtl Pillow Super Soft Neck Support Travel Pillow, available at Amazon, $29.99One of the best gifts for frequent travelers is a genuinely supportive neck pillow. The super-soft fleece of the Trtl holds the neck and head in an ergonomic position during flight, and it's lightweight — weighing only about a half a pound — so it won't weigh them down too much. Read our full review of the pillow here. There's also a newer, slightly more expensive version that we like too.  A hilarious collection of Tinder exchanges that, altogether, become one modern horror story Amazon/Business Insider "Tinder Nightmares," available on Amazon, $14.95"Tinder Nightmares" is a modern horror story of Tinder exchanges organized by theme, with chapters such as Bad English, Broetry, Strange Requests, Sneak Attacks, and more. The Instagram account of the same name has nearly 2 million followers. But beware — like Tinder, this book is not for the faint of heart.  A set of the best socks they'll ever wear Bombas Women's Ankle Sock, 4-Pair Box, available at Bombas, $47.50Men's Original Ankle Sock, 4-Pair Box, available at Bombas, from $47.50Bombas' ankle socks have extra blister tabs to prevent chafing, a honeycomb arch-support system to cradle the foot's arch, and a seamless toe that gets rid of the annoying bump that runs across the toes of most socks.  A three-month subscription to the book club that put "Gone with the Wind" on the map Book of the Month Three Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99This subscription gift was handcrafted for bookworms. Book of the Month has been around since 1926, and it's credited with the discovery of titles like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye." A team of experts and celebrity guest judges curate must-read books — usually new releases, hot topics, and debut authors — and send them to the subscriber's doorstep.If they're more into audiobooks or e-reading, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here). A makeup and skincare subscription Birchbox Three Month Subscription, available at Birchbox, $30-$45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products so subscribers can find products they love without committing to buying full-sized anything in the meantime. It's also a monthly excuse for them to treat themselves. An insulated stainless steel water bottle that keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6 hours Amazon Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug (12 oz), available at Amazon, from $24.44This double-wall, vacuum insulated stainless steel mug is especially perfect for commuters who would rather drink hot coffee than room-temperature for the 45 minutes on the subway — or any other time. We're big fans, and it does a pretty incredible job of keeping cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to six hours.  A gimmicky-seeming nail polish holder they'll actually wind up using Amazon/Business Insider Tweexy Wearable Nail Polish Holder, available on Amazon, $9.99Finding a convenient spot to place an open bottle of sticky, vibrant, and fast-drying liquid while you paint your nails is not easy. This $10 nail polish holder looks gimmicky, but it's actually pretty useful.  A funny adult coloring book Amazon Wine Life: A Snarky Adult Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $6.99Adult coloring has had a resurgence in recent years as a great de-stressor (even Kate Middleton is a fan). It turns out, though, that adult coloring is even more fun with adult beverages. Here's one that combines both.  A brass and wood display box that's a bit cooler than the average picture frame Artifact Uprising Brass & Wood Display Box, available at Artifact Uprising, $55Artifact Uprising's brass and hardwood Display Box is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional picture frame. They can showcase their favorite picture by sliding it into the front of the box, and the box itself can hold up to 50 five-inch by five-inch Square Prints inside.If you're just looking for prints, you can find those starting at $9 here. A silk pillowcase for smoother hair and less breakage Amazon Celestial Silk 100% Silk Pillowcase, available at Amazon, $40.99This Celestial Silk pillowcase is one of the internet's hidden gems. It's nearly $40 on Amazon, but it gives you more silk per square inch than options twice the price at Sephora. It's made out of 100% Mulberry silk — one of the highest quality silks you can buy — and comes in more than 25 colors and three sizes: standard, queen, and king. It's the one I personally own, and it makes a big difference for frizzy hair.  A poetry book that has become a phenomenon Urban Outfitters/Business Insider Milk and Honey, available at Target, from $7.38Rupi Kaur's "Milk and Honey" is a New York Times bestseller and a small cultural phenomenon. It's a collection of poetry and prose dealing with love, loss, femininity, and survival. If they already have this, you may want to look into Cleo Wade's "Where to Begin" here. A yoga mat towel with skid-less technology made by a trusted company Amazon Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, available at Amazon, from $45.39Manduka consistently makes some of the best yoga gear on the market, and their cult-favorite Yogitoes mat towels aren't an exception — they'd probably be the main response if you asked around yoga studios for a mat towel recommendation. They have patented skid-less technology that uses 100% silicone nubs, and it makes a big difference. Each Yogitoes towel is also made from at least eight recycled plastic water bottles, and the dyes used to make it are free of azo, lead, or heavy metal. A vitamin C serum developed by MIT scientists that keeps selling out Maelove Glow Maker, available at Maelove, $27.95Maelove is a skincare company founded by a team of MIT grads (skincare obsessives, brain and cancer researchers, and chemical engineers) to make affordable, high-quality skincare accessible. The entire under-$30 line is supposedly great, but this $28 vitamin C serum (which people have likened to the multi-award-winning $166 C E Ferulic Serum) is the real showstopper — and it keeps selling out. I've tried it, and it does a great job of reducing hyperpigmentation, hydrating, and adding a "glow" to the skin.Read our full Maelove review here.  A monogrammed leather passport case Leatherology Standard Passport Cover, available at Leatherology, from $50For the world traveler, adventure companion, or person who has a lot of places left to see before they're satisfied, this leather passport cover is one of the best mixes of quality for price you're bound to find. You can also personalize your gift further with a monogram (starting as an extra $10). Every time they use it, they'll think of you.  A design service that can help them figure out their decor or new apartment layout Modsy Premium Package, available at Modsy, $159Whether they're moving, always talking about redecorating, or would love a gallery wall but don't want to expend the necessary brain power, they'll appreciate a Modsy gift. The service makes an exact 3D, digital replica of their room and fills it with actual pieces of furniture from well-known brands that they can buy on the spot. A super soft $75 cashmere sweater from a sustainable startup Naadam The Essential Cashmere Sweater, available at Naadam, $75This $75 cashmere sweater is one of the best I've worn, and it took me by surprise for $75. You can get it in either crew-neck or v-neck styles, unisex sizing, and 20 colors. In person, the cashmere is one of the softest I've felt.Plus, Naadam is a sustainable startup. They avoid toxic chemicals, invest in sustainable grazing practices, fund better vaccination programs for healthier goats, and use 100% clean energy to power production facilities. By cutting out middlemen, they pay nomadic herders about 50% more and charge about 50% less to customers without changing quality. A new book by the co-creator of "Broad City" Amazon/Business Insider I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawings, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff, available at Amazon, $10.64This book by Abbi Jacobson, co-creator of "Broad City", deals with love, loss, work, comedy, and identity.  A soft, durable pair of slippers they'll want to live in Nordstrom UGG Ansley Water Resistant Slipper, available at Nordstrom, from $99.95They're not a new name, but UGG slippers have stuck around for a very good reason: they're incredibly soft, durable, and made really well. The sole is sturdy enough to withstand walks to the mailbox, and the water-resistant material can take a little gross winter slush on the way there.If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out Minnetonka — we're big fans of their mix of price and quality, too. An award-winning at-home facial Sephora Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This now-legendary AHA and BHA at-home "facial" gently resurfaces the skin to remove built-up dead skin cells and reveal brighter, more even skin underneath. It's also won multiple notable beauty awards, including a Best of Beauty from Allure and Reader's Choice from InStyle in 2017. For more skincare products, check out the best luxury skincare on Amazon and best gifts from Sephora here. Popular leggings they can wear anywhere Outdoor Voices Outdoor Voices Core 3/4 Leggings, available at Outdoor Voices, $88It seems like everyone and their best friend is talking about Outdoor Voices leggings, and these are the company's most sweat-friendly option.  A card game to play with other friends to rehash favorite stories and learn some new ones Amazon/Business Insider The Voting Game Adult Card Game, available at Target, $19.99The Voting Game is basically a card game that gives you a funny prompt and invites you to anonymously answer "Who's the most likely to..." out of your friends. It's a great way to rehash your favorite memories and learn new stories. A vase and smartphone stand handmade from glazed stoneware Uncommon Goods Bedside Smartphone Vase, available at Uncommon Goods, $32These smartphone stands are handmade out of glazed stoneware, and they double as vases so their owner can have the benefit of convenience without totally giving into the sterility of tons of tech devices. A mug with a "coffee reading" tarot-inspired theme Society6/Business Insider Coffee Reading, available at Society6, $13.59Perfect for the avid coffee drinker or casual fan of the occult, this ceramic mug made by the independent artists of Society6 is a fun — and useful — gift. They've also got pretty much every mug pattern you could want. A cocktail recipe book that pairs music with good drinks Amazon/Business Insider Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks, available at Amazon, $21.99Have a friend that loves music and a nice cocktail? This pairs both for a perfect combination every time. The guide includes music from 70 albums, ranging from the '50s to the '00s, with an accompanying A-side and B-side cocktail for each — all organized by mood.  A tiny waffle maker Amazon/Business Insider Dash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, $12.99This mini waffle maker may seem more gimmick than substance, but it didn't garner 1,800+ reviews just for being pretty cute. It's compact for small kitchens and people who only want to make three waffles rather than buffet quantities, and it's really easy to clean. A screw-on top that turns a wine bottle into a glass Amazon/Business Insider Guzzle Buddy Wine Bottle Glass, available on Amazon, $15.06If they're more of a "one bottle per person" vino drinker, why not cut out the middleman with this twist-on bottle-to-glass helper?  The personal diary of icon Frida Kahlo Amazon "The Diary of Friday Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait", available at Amazon, $21.94In the last 10 years of her life, Friday Kahlo kept a journal full of thoughts, poems, illustrations, and dreams. This is it, and it's a particularly perfect gift for an artistic or feminist friend.  Machine-washable sneakers they'll wear all the time Allbirds Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98Soft, lightweight, breathable shoes that wick away moisture and can be tossed in a machine washer when they get dirty — what's not to love?  A guard to keep away hot, messy splatter Amazon/Business Insider Frywall 10 Splatter Guard, available at Sur La Table, $13.99A splatter guard gives you the benefit of an uncovered pan, minus the countertop cleaning and dodging of hot, popping oil. An elegant, unobtrusive diffuser that smells great Snowe Diffuser, available at Snowe, $40Snowe's Diffuser has the advantage of looking more like home decor than a diffuser, but it also fills the room with a wonderful smell. Plus, the bottles of scent tend to last for months. Pick it up for a friend in five scent options that range from Speak Easy (leather, bitters, burnt cedar) to Pillow Talk (sandalwood, ginger, lavender).  A beautiful candle that smells amazing Otherland Manor House Weekend Candle, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Ralph Lauren's former art buyer, Abigail Cook Stone. If you want to give your friend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from an up-and-coming startup that they've probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option.Read our full Otherland review here. A Tile with a replaceable battery to help them find missing keys and wallets Amazon Tile Pro with Replaceable Battery, 2 Pack, available at Target, $59.99Few gifts are going to be as useful as a Tile Pro with a replaceable battery. It'll help them find missing items like keys and wallets. An app on their phone can trigger the Tile to ring out so they can locate where they accidentally left their belongings.  A rechargeable battery Amazon Anker PowerCore 10000, available at Amazon, $31.99Anker's PowerCore is a powerful, compact external battery that can provide nearly three and a half iPhone 8 charges or two and a half Galaxy S8 charges.  Luxurious bodycare products Necessarie Nécessaire The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25Nécessaire is a new line of bodycare products that use vitamins and plant-based oils. It was founded by Randi Christiansen, a former Estée Lauder vice president, and Nick Axelrod, a co-founder of Into the Gloss, the editorial site that preceded Glossier. Read our full Nécessaire review here. A cute plant in a ceramic pot delivered to their door The Sill Shop plants and accessories at The Sill, from $5A plant from The Sill will come in a small ceramic pot with a drainage hole and its own saucer. It comes potted in the company's potting mix and will be delivered to their doorstep.  A renewing honey mask that warms up while it's on their face Sephora Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask, available at Sephora, from $38This intensely hydrating mask from beauty brand Farmacy is infused with antioxidants to leave the skin looking glowy and plump. It also physically warms up while on the face, so the self care feels a bit more tangible.  A subscription to K-beauty sheet masks Facetory/Instagram/Business Insider Facetory Gift Subscription Plan, available at Facetory, from $19.90Facetory is an affordable monthly subscription to various K-beauty sheet masks. You can opt to pay for one, three, six, nine, or 12 months at a time.  A cult-favorite sleeping lip mask Sephora Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, available at Sephora, $22Laneige's hyper-popular overnight lip mask smooths and moisturizes with vitamin C and antioxidants. Currently, it has over 13,000 reviews and a rating of 4.4-stars on Sephora.  A pretty leather wrap for taking chargers and cables on the go Mark & Graham Leather Charger Roll Up, available at Mark & Graham, from $22.99Mark & Graham's Leather Charger Roll Up is made from soft, supple leather and has three separate pockets to stash cables and chargers on the go. Get it monogrammed for free. A box of gourmet artisan milk and dark chocolate Amazon Chuao Chocolatier Share the Love 36-Piece Gift Set, available at Amazon, $39.95A box stuffed full of chocolate needs no introduction, but this one is a pretty good deal. The box comes with 36 mini bars of gourmet artisan milk and dark chocolate, all made in small batches and free of artificial flavors. The 14 flavors range from sweet to savory, and each bar is only 60 calories.  A ClassPass gift card Class Pass Gift Card, available at ClassPass, choose your amountStart heading to more (virtual or socially distant) boutique fitness classes with your friend by making them easier and cheaper to attend. ClassPass lets you drop in to different specialized studios for $15 or less per class. A class or experience for you to take together Airbnb Experiences Check out local Airbnb ExperiencesCheck out local GrouponsOnce it's safe to do so, book an experience like a pasta-making class, brewery tour, or local tour that the two of you can enjoy together. Plus, you can buy this gift as last-minute as you like. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

The best cookware sets in 2021

Every home chef should have a high-quality set of pots and pans. These are the best cookware sets of 2021. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Cookware sets are an efficient way to equip your kitchen with all the basics. We evaluated the pros and cons of each set so you can find one that suits your needs and budget. The best cookware set overall is the Tramontina Tri-Ply Stainless Steel Set because its pieces are practical and durable. Purchasing a cookware set can be overwhelming, no matter how confident you are in the kitchen. The variety of materials and different combinations of pots and pans can seem endless. That's why we turned to the experts, who all agreed that less is more when it comes to cookware. Based on our own experience and conversations with chefs, food editors, and leaders of the Cookware Manufacturers Association, we came up with the following as a basic outline for an ideal cookware set.Type of panPurpose10-inch skilletMaking eggs, pancakes, fried rice12-inch sauté panLarger recipes with more liquids, sautéing vegetables and meats5-quart Dutch ovenBraising, roasting, slow cooking, stews and soups3-quart saucepanSmall portions of pasta or rice, saucesNot every set in this guide includes a Dutch oven, but a casserole dish or stockpot can serve the same purpose. Here are the best cookware sets of 2021Best cookware set overall: Tramontina 12-Piece Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel SetBest budget cookware set: T-fal All-in-One Hard-Anodized Cookware Set Best cookware set upgrade: All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Cookware SetBest ceramic cookware set: Caraway Ceramic Coated Set The best cookware set overall Tramontina The Tramontina set stocks your kitchen without cluttering it, and features useful pieces in a durable material.Pieces: 10- and 12-inch fry pans, 6-quart covered deep sauté pan, 1.5- and 3-quart covered saucepans, 5-quart covered Dutch oven, and 8-quart covered stock potDishwasher safe: YesOven safe temperature: 350Induction safe: YesPFOA free: YesPros: Includes essential pieces, tri-ply construction for durability Cons: Oven safe temperature on the low endWhen we asked King Phojanakong, chef at the Institute of Culinary Education, which pots and pans were kitchen must-haves, he listed a 5-quart Dutch oven, 12-inch saute pan, and 3-quart saucepan, all of which happen to be included in Tramontina's cookware set. The versatility of these pieces is the selling point: Phojanakong uses the saute pan for chicken dishes or baby bok choy, and takes out the 3-quart saucepan when he needs to heat up leftover soups and sauces and cook rice or small portions of pasta. Not only is the Tramontina set's practical range of sizes — with cookware scaled for both individual meals and large gatherings — one of its major assets, so is its durable construction. "Stainless steel is the most universal material. You don't have to treat it gently," said Lisa Chernick, author of Your Starter Kitchen. Each piece is made up of an aluminum core sandwiched between external 18/10 stainless steel layers. This tri-ply construction gives you the excellent heat conductivity of aluminum with the strength of stainless steel. While the set is dishwasher safe, hand washing your cookware will maintain its shine longer. You can purchase the individual components separately, though the set offers the best deal. There are also smaller and larger sets, but the 12-piece has all the essentials and no unnecessary extras. Best budget cookware set Amazon If you need to stock your kitchen quickly and on a budget, the T-fal Hard-Anodized Set is easy to maintain, scratch resistant, and comes with three serving utensils.Pieces: 11- and 12-inch fry pans, 10-inch deep saute pan, 1-quart stewpot, 2-quart covered stewpot with fridge lid, 4.2-quart covered stewpot, three utensils Dishwasher safe: YesOven safe temperature: 400 degrees, lids to 350Induction safe: NoPFOA free: YesPros: Dishwasher safe, large frying pans, stewpot can act as dutch ovenCons: No pot larger than 4 quarts, saute pan does not have a lidThe exteriors of all the pots and pans in T-fal's cookware set are hard-anodized aluminum, a material resistant to scratches from metal utensils, while the interiors are glazed with nonstick coating and then reinforced with titanium, which is commonly used as a strengthening layer. Insider reporter James Brains has used a similar T-fal set since 2018. He said that the pieces have held up well through daily use, though he recommends hand washing the fry pans to preserve the nonstick coating.The largest pot in this 12-piece collection is only four quarts, but if you're not hosting a party, that should be big enough for pasta night. Plus, the set includes a serving spoon, spatula, and a slotted spatula, so you'll be ready to dole out dinner. And if you have leftovers, the 2-quart pot comes with a refrigerator lid so you can store them.Ring-shaped thermo spot indicators turn red when the pans get hot, which can take some of the guesswork out of properly preheating — especially for less experienced cooks. Once you're done, these stackable pieces nest easily into one another. Best cookware set upgrade Crate & Barrel If you splurge on an All-Clad Stainless Steel set, your kitchen will be stocked with essential pieces that stand the test of time.Pieces: 8- and 10-inch fry pans, 2-quart covered saucepan, 3-quart covered casserole dish, 3-quart covered sauté pan, and 8-quart stockpot with lidDishwasher safe: NoOven safe temperature: 600 degreesInduction safe: YesPFOA free: YesPros: High oven safe temperature, thick gauge aluminum coreCons: Fry pans on the small side, not dishwasher safeOur best overall pick, which is also stainless steel, is less expensive and offers much of the same benefits as this All-Clad set. However, the longevity and durability of the All-Clad D3 line may make it worth spending the extra money, depending on your cooking needs. The All-Clad D3 cookware set has the highest oven safe temperature in this guide: 600 degrees. The ability to withstand such high heat also improves the performance of the casserole dish or stock pot as a substitute Dutch oven. And as Chernick mentioned, more experienced cooks may want to brown something on the stovetop and then put it in the oven. We should note that while these All-Clad pots and pans hold up in the oven, you're better off hand-washing them than putting them in the dishwasher, which is something to consider if keeping cleanup time to a minimum is important. Best ceramic cookware set Caraway Home The Caraway Ceramic Coated Set is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional nonstick pots and pans — and it's available in six attractive colors.Pieces: 10.5-inch fry pan, 3-quart saucepan with lid, 4.5-quart saute pan, 6.5-quart Dutch ovenDishwasher safe: YesOven safe temperature: 550 degreesInduction safe: YesPFOA free: YesPros: Includes storage system, aluminum core for rapid heatingCons: No larger fry pan, ceramic coating isn't as durable as stainless or other metalsThough this set is on the smaller side, Caraway's set has everything you need to get cooking. The 6.5-quart Dutch oven can be your pasta pot or serving dish for large meals, and the 4.5-quart saute pan is perfect for large fry ups. Additionally, the set comes with a storage system: magnetic pan racks and a canvas lid holder. Caraway's signature is its ceramic nonstick coating. Ceramic coatings offer the same nonstick properties as traditional ones, but contain no trace elements of PFOA, PFTE, lead, or cadmium. Caraway cookware has an aluminum core that ensures rapid and even heating, while the coating decreases your need for oil and makes the surface easier to clean.The Caraway Home set is shipped in recycled cardboard with no plastic bags. Plus, the ceramic coating releases less CO2 when manufactured than traditional nonstick coatings.  (Though keep in mind that all nonstick coatings, including ceramic, are less durable than stainless steel and other metals.) Altogether, this set is designed to limit clutter and keep your kitchen functional as well as well-stocked. Our research methodology Lily Alig While we haven't yet tested the sets in this guide firsthand, our picks are based off of extensive research and expert interviews. Here are the factors we considered when putting together this guide:Pieces: The first thing we did was establish a list of essential pieces all cookware sets should have. Our three experts agreed that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to cookware. Chernick, Battiliana, and Phojanakong each suggested a pared down list of essential pieces. With this input and our own experience in the kitchen, we created the guidelines found at the top of the page.Materials: We identified the pros and cons of different cookware materials, which you can see here. Chernick recommended stainless steel for cookware sets because it can handle the wear and tear of a busy kitchen, and we agree. Stainless steel is durable, doesn't require special maintenance, and cooks most things well. Construction: We considered the construction of each cookware set. Besides cast iron, most cookware is made by layering different metals. This can increase the heat conductivity of less conductive metals; for instance, stainless steel pans often have aluminum cores because aluminum heats up much quicker. Additionally, having multiple layers makes the cookware more durable. Battiliana said there is a connection between performance and quality, as thinner metal pans will wear out faster than better constructed pans. What is the best cookware material? Based on our own cookware experience and conversations with experts, these are the differences between the most common cookware materials.MaterialCompositionPros and ConsBest forCast ironSeasoned: Oil baked into cast iron over time prevents food from sticking and the pan from rustingEnameled: Cast iron coated with thick, enamel glaze to prevent food sticking and eliminate the need to season the panPros: Great heat retention, durableCons: Slow to heat up, requires special maintenanceSearing, slow cooking, if you want a piece to pass downAluminumHard-anodized: Aluminum that is electrochemically altered to be more durable and nonstick.Pros: Great heat conductivity, inexpensiveCons: Not durable when untreated, can warp and scratchCasual cooks, inexpensive pieces like sheet pansCopperCore: Copper layer sandwiched between layers of other materialsBase: thin copper ring embedded in the bottom of the cookwareClad: Copper foil exteriorPros: Excellent heat conductivityCons: Reactive with acidic foods, needs to be lined and maintained, expensiveRapid and even heating, experienced chefsStainless steelTri-ply: Stainless steel interior and exterior with a core made from a material with better heat conductivity, often aluminumPros: Non-reactive, durable, scratch resistantCons: Slow to heat up, can be expensiveEveryday chefs, cookware to last through a lot of use FAQs When should I get rid of a pot or pan?If the handles start to wiggle, you need to tighten them or throw out the piece. Chef Phojanakong said to look at the rivets and welding on the handles for signs of looseness.  It's not safe if you can't handle your pan with ease. Most nonstick coatings will scratch if you regularly use metal utensils on them. It's up to you whether or not this means you have to throw the pan away. For Chernick, once a nonstick pan is scratched, it's time to say goodbye: "It might not be toxic, but I don't want to eat pieces of teflon."What makes a cookware set induction safe?Cookware needs to have magnetic properties in order to work on an induction stovetop, according to the Cookware Manufacturer's Association. If the cookware material is not magnetic, a magnetic plate is applied to the base in order to make it induction safe. The manufacturer will clearly label the induction capabilities of the cookware. More great cookware guides Flickr / sarah The best hard anodized cookware setsThe best cast iron skillets and pans Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021