• 04 SEP 17

    Kicking sacred cows: Perhaps flu vaccinations for the very elderly are not advisable?

    Six deaths confirmed at Tasmania’s Strathdevon aged care home
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-02/six-flu-nursing-home-deaths-in-tasmania/8866068

    “All precautions to prevent an outbreak ahead of the flu season were taken, with 95 per cent of Strathdevon’s 37 residents receiving a flu vaccination,” it said in the statement.
    “All staff were offered the free vaccine, with a large number of them being immunised. “Unfortunately, despite these precautions, 31 residents were affected during the outbreak period.
    “All appropriate care was provided, with nine residents admitted to hospital for further treatment.
    “Staff did everything possible to contain and minimise the outbreak and followed all protocols, working closely with Public Health Tasmania and managing according to state Department of Heath infection control guidelines.” SNIP

    Read more →
    • 31 JUL 17

    The Poison Papers

    100,000 Pages of Chemical Industry Secrets Gathered Dust in an Oregon Barn for Decades — Until Now

    From The Intercept

    Sharon Lerner

    July 27 2017, 12:43 a.m.

    For decades, some of the dirtiest, darkest secrets of the chemical industry have been kept in Carol Van Strum’s barn. Creaky, damp, and prowled by the occasional black bear, the listing, 80-year-old structure in rural Oregon housed more than 100,000 pages of documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others.

    As of today, those documents and others that have been collected by environmental activists will be publicly available through a project called the Poison Papers. Together, the library contains more than 200,000 pages of information and “lays out a 40-year history of deceit and collusion involving the chemical industry and the regulatory agencies that were supposed to be protecting human health and the environment,” said Peter von Stackelberg, a journalist who along with the Center for Media and Democracy and the Bioscience Resource Project helped put the collection online. SNIP

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    • 22 JUL 17

    Now its the “Internet of Battlefield Things”…

    While all the publicity with wireless technology advances centers around the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) where all our devices, even the humble toothbrush, can wirelessly communicate with each other, giving rise to the smart home, little has been publicised about the military applications of the IoT concept. Known as the “Internet of Battlefield Things” (IoBT) it is but the latest version of the old military-industrial complex, which Eisenhower warned us about in 1961, taking advantage of new technology to create and sell, at great profit, new killing technology thereby ensuring an endless state of war which is essential for their very profitable business.

    Read on…

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    • 23 MAY 17

    Off topic: Cancer treatment hype gives false hope to many patients

    After Michael Uvanni’s older brother, James, was diagnosed with a deadly form of skin cancer, it seemed as if everyone told the family what they wanted to hear: Have hope. You can beat this, and we are here to help.

    The brothers met with doctors at a half-dozen of the country’s best hospitals, all with impressive credentials that inspired confidence…. Patients and families are bombarded with the news that the country is winning the war against cancer. The news media hypes research results to attract readers. Drug companies promise “a chance to live longer” to boost sales. Hospitals woo paying customers with ads that appeal to patients’ fears and hopes.

    “I’m starting to hear more and more that we are better than I think we really are,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. “We’re starting to believe our own bullshit.” SNIP…

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    • 15 MAY 17

    Study Finds Link Between Brain Damage and Religious Fundamentalism

    Excerpt

    From Alternet via Bia Winter

    Excerpt

    A new study published in the journal Neuropsychologia has shown that religious fundamentalism is, in part, the result of a functional impairment in a brain region known as the prefrontal cortex. The findings suggest that damage to particular areas of the prefrontal cortex indirectly promotes religious fundamentalism by diminishing cognitive flexibility and openness—a psychology term that describes a personality trait which involves dimensions like curiosity, creativity, and open-mindedness.

    Religious beliefs can be thought of as socially transmitted mental representations that consist of supernatural events and entities assumed to be real. Religious beliefs differ from empirical beliefs, which are based on how the world appears to be and are updated as new evidence accumulates or when new theories with better predictive power emerge. On the other hand, religious beliefs are not usually updated in response to new evidence or scientific explanations, and are therefore strongly associated with conservatism. SNIP

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    • 02 MAY 17

    What is “brain hacking”? Tech insiders on why you should care

    From CBS News (US)

    On Sunday, April 9, 2017 Anderson Cooper reported on some of the ways Silicon Valley insiders are hooking users on technology via apps and other software. Former Google product manager Tristan Harris said designers aren’t just programming for consumers, they’re actually programming consumers.

    Many viewers were struck by what they felt was Silicon Valley’s willingness to manipulate the bottom of the brain stem in order to bolster the bottom line.

    Silicon Valley is engineering your phone, apps and social media to get you hooked, says a former Google product manager. Anderson Cooper reports. SNIP…….

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    • 29 MAR 17

    Internet privacy to go under Trump

    Published in the Washington Post online

    Excerpt

    The House just voted to wipe out the FCC’s landmark Internet privacy protections

    By Brian Fung March 28 at 5:58 PM

    The sharply partisan vote led by Republicans is a sweeping rebuke of Internet policies enacted under the Obama administration and marks a pivot toward allowing Internet providers to collect and sell their customers’ Web browsing history, location information, health data and other personal details. The measure now heads to the White House, where President Trump is expected to sign it. SNIP

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    • 19 MAR 17

    Reykjavik Appeal on wireless technology in schools

    Abstract
    We, the signers, are concerned about our children’s health and development in schools with
    wireless technology for teaching.
    A vast amount of scientific studies have shown considerable medical risks with long-term exposure to Radiofrequency Radiation(RFR) from wireless devices and networks well below the recommended reference levels from the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection(ICNIRP).

    We ask the authorities to take their responsibility for our children’s future health and wellbeing.

    Read more…..SNIP

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    • 17 JAN 17

    The link between highly-polluted air and the risk of developing dementia

    Recommended article: Why Clean Air Is Important for Your Health

    Scientists believe there may be a link between highly-polluted air, and the risk of developing dementia. It has been found that people with dementia have high levels of magnetite in their brains, though it is not clear whether or not these elevated levels are related to dementia.

    If you’re concerned about the air quality in your home or community, there are some steps you can take to clean it up. First, you’ll want to assess whether your local area has polluted air or not. In some cases, you can actually see the smog over a city. A tight-fitting mask that filters pollutants would do the trick here. At home, you’ll need to use your HVAC, and a portable air purifier is also recommended.

    Take a look at this guide and discover more about the connection between dementia and dirty air, and learn how to clean the air around you. SNIP

    Read more →
    • 01 JAN 17

    And the Washington Post issues an update…

    “We specifically have been looking for signatures that match those reported last week by DHS and the FBI related to Russian actors,” Connecticut governor’s office spokesman Chris Collibee said. “We have not detected any activity matching the reported malware at this time.”

    In New York, a spokesman said Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed all state agencies to re-examine their computer systems for any security breaches. Nothing had been found.

    An attack on a U.S. power grid has long been a nightmare scenario for top U.S. officials. The National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command chief Adm. Michael Rogers have previously warned it’s not a matter of if but when attackers will also target U.S. power systems.” SNIP

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    • 01 JAN 17

    Russia Hysteria Infects WashPost Again: False Story About Hacking U.S. Electric Grid

    I have been a subscriber to the Washington Post for some time and have generally found it to be an excellent source of information on what is happening in the world. However it seems even the WP is not immune to false news stories (my last posting – to be deleted shortly). The following was sent in by Swedish investigative journalist Mona Nilsson…..The Post’s story also predictably and very rapidly infected other large media outlets. Reuters thus told its readers around the world: “A malware code associated with Russian hackers has reportedly been detected within the system of a Vermont electric utility.”….

    Excerpt:

    The Washington Post on Friday reported a genuinely alarming event: Russian hackers have penetrated the U.S. power system through an electrical grid in Vermont. The Post headline conveyed the seriousness of the threat:

    The first sentence of the article directly linked this cyberattack to alleged Russian hacking of the email accounts of the DNC and John Podesta — what is now routinely referred to as “Russian hacking of our election” — by referencing the code name revealed on Wednesday by the Obama administration when it announced sanctions on Russian officials: “A code associated with the Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration has been detected within the system of a Vermont utility, according to U.S. officials.”…. The article went on and on in that vein, with all the standard tactics used by the U.S. media for such stories: quoting anonymous national security officials, reviewing past acts of Russian treachery, and drawing the scariest possible conclusions (“‘The question remains: Are they in other systems and what was the intent?’ a U.S. official said”)….. What’s the problem here? It did not happen…. SNIP

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    • 11 NOV 16

    Trump hires telco lobbyist to pick FCC staff … and more.

    WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump, who campaigned against the corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists.

    Jeffrey Eisenach, a consultant who has worked for years on behalf of Verizon and other telecommunications clients, is the head of the team that is helping to pick staff members at the Federal Communications Commission.

    Michael Catanzaro, a lobbyist whose clients include Devon Energy and Encana Oil and Gas, holds the “energy independence” portfolio.
    SNIP

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    • 07 SEP 16

    Cell Phone Radiation Breaks DNA: Latest NTP Findings Are Consistent with Higher Tumor Counts

    From Microwave News Excerpt In May, the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) announced that male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed higher rates of cancer. Soon, the NTP will explain how that might have happened. The same radiation that led male rats to develop brain tumors also caused DNA breaks in their brains. Female

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    • 04 SEP 16

    Fracking and earthquakes in Oklahoma

    Oklahoma earthquake: State orders shutdown of 35 wells

    Five months before Saturday’s 5.6 magnitude temblor in central Oklahoma, government scientists warned that oil and natural gas drilling had made a wide swath of the country more susceptible to earthquakes.

    The U.S. Geological Survey, in a March report on “induced earthquakes,” said as many as 7.9 million people in parts of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas now face the same earthquake risks as those in California.

    The report found that oil and gas drilling activity, particularly practices like hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is at issue.
    SNIP

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    • 30 AUG 16

    News Flash: Political opposition to Fracking galvanizes in Australia

    From the ABC online

    Excerpts:
    VICTORIA
    The Victorian Government is introducing legislation to permanently ban exploration and development of unconventional gas in the state, including coal seam gas and fracking.
    Key points:

    Legislation will permanently ban development, production of all unconventional gas in Victoria
    Moratorium on conventional gas extraction to be extended until 2020
    Government says ban will protect Victoria’s agriculture sector

    The legislation — the first of its kind in Australia — will be introduced into State Parliament later this year…..SNIP

    AND from ABC Rural, August 29, 2016:

    THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
    Landslide victory for NT Labor brings moratorium on fracking, water license review ……SNIP

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    • 28 AUG 16

    Lo And Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

    Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World is a 2016 documentary directed by Werner Herzog. In it, Herzog ponders the existential impact of the Internet, robotics, AI, the Internet of Things, and more on human life.The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival,and was sponsored by the company NetScout. The film contains interviews with Bob Kahn, Elon Musk, Sebastian Thrun, and other leaders of the technology world. SNIP

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    • 20 MAY 16

    Ebay / Myer’s new virtual reality shopping store ignores possible eye damage to the user

    In a world’s first partnership between Ebay and Myer’s department store a virtual reality shopping mall now allows the user to access to thousands of items simply by downloading the eBay Virtual Reality Department Store app on their smart phone. What is also required is a foldout smart phone holder headset (called SHOPTICALS) for your phone which allows you to place the phone immediately in front of your eyes and start shopping.

    As clearly seen, this places the smart phone about 2 inches from the user’s eyes, which will be exposing the eyes to the phone’s light and microwave emissions when using the headset. This should be of concern to both Ebay and Myer, not only because it might harm their customers but also because of the existing evidence (below) that their technology poses a possible risk of eye damage to the user. If this turns out to be the case it exposes these corporations to a class-action litigation risk.

    It is a disgrace that so many of the myriad of new devices being marketed are developed and sold without the slightest consideration of possible long term harm other than thermal (see last message).

    Read on…..

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    • 12 APR 16

    Endocrine disruptors’ link to infertility confirmed (but what is more important?)

    The emerging danger to future human generations from our exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals which are found in plastics is becoming a major concern in the US and Europe. For example in 2009 ,testing in the US found more than 200 Chemicals in newborn umbilical cord blood. In Sweden in the 1990’s Research supported by the Karolinska Institute found that since 1972 there have been significant annual increases of brominated flame retardants (related to PCBs) in human breast milk.

    Despite the clear scientific evidence that endocrine disruptors pose a substantial risk to public health, the European Commission has refrained from introducing firm measures that would finally limit their use. This is a result of the continuing campaign of maintaining scientific uncertainty from the European chemical/plastics industry sector who argue that it is unscientific to legislate any precautions without first having absolute scientific certainty that harm exists.(Sound familiar?). This viewpoint is clearly seen in the concluding sentence of the following article from Euractive.com.
    SNIP

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    • 14 FEB 16

    Argentine and Brazilian doctors suspect mosquito insecticide as cause of microcephaly

    From The Ecologist:

    Claire Robinson / GMWatch
    10th February 2016

    Excerpts:

    With the proposed connection between the Zika virus and Brazil’s outbreak of microcephaly in new born babies looking increasingly tenuous, Latin American doctors are proposing another possible cause: Pyriproxyfen, a pesticide used in Brazil since 2014 to arrest the development of mosquito larvae in drinking water tanks. Might the ‘cure’ in fact be the poison?

    SNIP

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    • 25 NOV 15

    Appin Hall Children’s Foundation End-of-Year Newsletter 2015

    NOTE: This posting is a follow-up from my posting of August 26 2015

    From Ronnie Burns, founder of Appin Hall.

    Excerpt

    In July this year, Appin Hall received notice regarding an application to Kentish Council that the NBNCo (+ Ericsson Australia) were proposing to erect a 60met high telecommunications facility within 20met of our northern neighbouring property. In response to this development application, we submitted a Letter of Objection to Kentish Council based on the fact that many of our clients (children suffering serious illness) are already compromised due to
    illness, treatment + chemotherapy.

    After months of begging the powers that be: Local Council, the Tasmanian Government and the then Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull (and others) the outcome was that no response was forthcoming…
    SNIP

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