Side effect of Monsanto's Roundup

SUBHEAD: Algae worry about the notorious glyphosate pesticide discovered in Great Lakes.

By Lorraine Chow on 7 July 2017 for Alternet -
(http://www.alternet.org/environment/glyphosate-sprayed-gmo-crops-linked-lake-eries-toxic-algae-bloom)


Image above: A dead fish surrounded by algae in Lake Erie during a record-setting algae bloom in 2011. Photo by Tom Archer. From original article.

Glyphosate, the controversial main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup and other herbicides, is being connected to Lake Erie's troubling algae blooms, which has fouled drinking water and suffocated and killed marine life in recent years.

Phosphorus—attributed to farm runoff carried by the Maumee River—has long beenidentified as a leading culprit feeding the excessive blooms in the western Lake Erie basin. Now, according to a new study from chemistry professor Christopher Spiese, a significant correlation has been established between the increased use of glyphosate to the percentage of dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) in the runoff.

As No-Till Farmer observed from the study, DRP loads in Lake Erie increased in the mid-1990s at the same time that farmers began the widespread cultivation of crops genetically engineered to withstand multiple applications of Roundup.

"For every acre of Roundup Ready soybeans and corn that you plant, it works out to be about one-third of a pound of P [phosphorus] coming down the Maumee," Spiese told the agricultural publication.

Here's how the team came to the conclusion, as No-Till Farmer reported:

Through his own and others' research, Spiese found that depending on the types of metal in the soil, glyphosate does release P. For example, when glyphosate is applied to soil containing iron oxide-hydroxide, P is immediately released. But almost nothing is removed when it's an iron oxide material.

Finally, Spiese took soil samples all over the Maumee watershed, applied P to them and then sprayed glyphosate to see how much P was released vs. soil that wasn't sprayed with glyphosate after 24 hours. He saw desorption occurred all over the watershed, but certain areas were higher than others, specifically in the southeastern corner.

Based on the average two glyphosate applications growers make every year, Spiese estimates that overall, 20-25 percent of the DRP runoff is caused by glyphosate. But depending on the location within the watershed, that percentage could be much lower or much greater.

"Some of those sites, it's less than a percent. Other sites it's almost 100 percent," he says.

Previous studies have tied glyphosate to the phosphorous fueling Lake Erie's blue-green algae. In 2009, Ohio Sea Grant researchers, Drs. R. Michael McKay and George Bullerjahn of Bowling Green State University, found that glyphosate could only be detected in the lake at certain times of year—after crops are planted.

"Our research is finding that Roundup is getting into the watershed at peak farming application times, particularly in the spring," McKay said.

Approximately 1,000 metric tonnes (about 2.2 million pounds) of Roundup is applied in the Lake Erie watershed per year, and it is being detected in adjacent waterways particularly in the spring, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noted from McKay and Bullerjahn's study.

The researchers also found that the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in the lake are capable of using phosophonates.

"It turns out that many cyanobacteria present in Lake Erie have the genes allowing the uptake of phosphonates, and these cyanobacteria can grow using glyphosate and other phosphonates as a sole source of phosphorus," Bullerjahn said.

• Lake Erie’s Toxic Algae Bloom Forecast for Summer 2016 http://ow.ly/2f31301dia5 @greenpeaceusa@HuffPostGreen

• EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) 3:55 PM - 13 Jun 2016

Harmful Lake Erie blooms have increased at record levels over the last decade,according to the U.S. EPA and are expected to become more common due to warmer temperatures and heavy rainfall that feed algae growth.

The toxic algae rob oxygen from the waters creating dead zones where fish and other marine life are unable to survive. The algae is also a threat to humans—swallowing it can cause health problems such as rashes, vomiting, numbness and difficulty breathing.

In February this year, the U.S. and Canada announced a goal to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering affected areas of Lake Erie by a total of 40 percent by 2025.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Glyphosate harms gut enzyme 6/20/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto and EPA collusion 3/29/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Corporate monster Monsanto 3/20/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto colluded with EPA 3/14/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto and First Amendment 1/24/17
Ea O Ka Aina: EPA obedient to Monsanto 12/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Non-GMO' labels not strong enough 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto's Bizzaro World 8/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Our Right to Health 7/17/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Pope on a roll 7/3/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Gluten or Glyphosate Intolerance? 11/18/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Sri lanka bans RoundUp 3/17/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Roundup and human health 4/25/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto knew of birth defects 6/7/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Feds lay down for GMOs 2/15/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto Lies, Again and Again 10/17/09

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We need "our" Kauai General Plan

SUBHEAD: Take back the General Plan from the hands of the developers, large land owners and tourism industry.

By Sandy Herndon on 23 July 2017 in Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-kauai-general-plan-is-ours.html)


Image above: An indication of how bad the General Plan Update is was indicated with this plan of Kauai. Note the "Districts" in the plan relate to no cultural, historical, bioregional, political, or governing identities, but appears to be the  myopic view from the County Planning Department Office in Lihue. See the New Yorker Magazine map of America below. From (http://plankauai.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/island_graphic2.png).

WHAT:
Organizing meeting to address the County of Kauai’s General Plan Update

WHEN:
August 2, 2017 at 6:30pm - 9pm

WHERE:
Kapaa Public Library
Kuhio Highway, Kapaa

WHO:
Community Coalition of Kauai

WHY: 
There is a lack of community wide input for this proposed plan which is going to the Kauai County Council for approval.

Take Back the General Plan From the Hands of the Developers, Large Land Owners and Tourism Industry and Make it Your Own

THIS IS YOUR GENERAL PLAN. IS THIS THE FUTURE YOU WANT?

The County Planning Department and Planning Commission have proposed a new General Plan that ignores the hundreds of pages of concerns and input of community members and organizations. The new General Plan proposes town designations, re-zonings, up-zonings and entirely new zoning categories for the benefit of large landowners and developers.

§ We do not need a General Plan that was written by and for developers and the tourism industry.

§ We do need a General Plan that will create balanced/sustainable growth, diversified job opportunities, and protects Kauai’s environment, rural character and quality of life.


PLEASE JOIN US IN THIS COORDINATED COMMUNITY-WIDE EFFORT TO SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE ABOUT THE NEED TO HAVE A GENERAL PLAN THAT FIRST AND FOREMOST MEETS THE NEEDS OF THE RESIDENTS OF KAUAI.

We are looking for your input, your participation and your interest in joining a growing group of concerned community members who want to take back the General Plan. We are coordinating our concerns and efforts in preparation for the delivery of the General Plan to the County Council for their approval.


Image above: Ilustration of the  myopic view of America and beyond from Manhattan in this Saul Steinburg cover of the New Yorker Magazine in the fall of 2004. From (http://karakulia.livejournal.com/30444.html).

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Fact or Fantasy - The Kauai General Plan 8/8/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Commission accepts General Plan 6/15/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Okay given to destroy Paradise 6/10/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Testimony against General Plan
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai General Plan open house 12/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Reject the Kauai General Plan update 11/30/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai County "Keep it Rural" 11/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai General Plan Update 9/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai General Plan Update 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Will developers write Kapaa’s future? 5/6/16 
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Plan Disappoints 12/9/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Hokua Place comment deadline 5/28/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Coco Palms good to go 3/11/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Lihue Loss of Vision 9/5/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Tax Donkey Purgatory - Lima Ola 7/18/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Annals of pure bullshit - Coco Palms 6/22/14 
Ea O Ka Aina: Coco Palms Travesty 8/10/13  
Ea O Ka Aina: Review 2000-2020 Kauai General Plan 4/2/09
Island Breath: Kauai Sustainable Land Use Plan 11/1/07
Island Breath: LEGS Sustainability Conference 10/13/07
Existing Kauai County General Plan 2000-2020 1999 
.

Tepco robot finds melted core

SOURCE: Norman Leuter (normandlaurie@gmail.com)
SUBHEAD: The melted fuel debris at Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #3 found on floor of containment.

By AP Staff on 22 July 2017 in The Guardian -
(https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/23/fukushima-images-show-massive-deposits-thought-to-be-melted-nuclear-fuel)


Image above: Still from robot video. What appears to be bolted caps on corroding pipe valves amidst melted core debris. From original article.

Robot spots suspected debris of melted fuel for first time since 2011 earthquake and tsunami destroyed the plant.

Images captured by an underwater robot on Saturday showed massive deposits believed to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor of a damaged reactor at Japan’s destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant.

The robot found large amounts of solidified lava-like rocks and lumps in layers as thick as 1m on the bottom inside a main structure called the pedestal that sits underneath the core inside the primary containment vessel of Fukushima’s Unit 3 reactor, said the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co.

On Friday, the robot spotted suspected debris of melted fuel for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused multiple meltdowns and destroyed the plant. The three-day investigation of Unit 3 ended on Saturday.



Image above: Still from robot video. What appears to be disintegrating metal over a bed of blackened corium. From original article.

Locating and analysing the fuel debris and damage in each of the plant’s three wrecked reactors is crucial for decommissioning the plant. The search for melted fuel in the two other reactors has so far been unsuccessful because of damage and extremely high radiation levels.

During this week’s probe, cameras mounted on the robot showed extensive damage caused by the core meltdown, with fuel debris mixed with broken reactor parts, suggesting the difficult challenges ahead in the decades-long decommissioning of the plant.

TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said it would take time to analyse the debris in the images to figure out removal methods.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Bosses on Trail 6/29/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco plan to dump tainted water 7/14/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop Fukushima as Olympic venue 5/10/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Continuing Fukushima danger 4/14/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Continuing Fukushima danger 4/14/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worse than ever 2/5/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation on West Coast 1/13/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima cleanup cost to double 12/9/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Tokyo damaged by nuclear pellet rain 9/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Nuclear Power and Climate Failure 8/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: High radioactivity in Tokyo 8/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Nuclear Blinders 8/18/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima and Chernobyl 5/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation damages Japan 4/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima's Nuclear Nightmare 3/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fifth Fukushima Anniversary 3/11/16
Green Road Jounral: Balls filled with Uranium, Plutonium 2/19/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima impacts are ongoing 11/8/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Petroleum and Nuclear Coverups 10/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Contamination 10/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Radioactive floods damage Japan 9/22/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fir trees damaged by Fukushima 8/30/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan restarts a nuclear plant 8/11/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima disaster will continue 7/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Too many fish in the sea? 6/22/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima prefecture uninhabitable 6/6/15
Ea O Ka Aina: In case you've forgotten Fukushima 5/27/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Radiation damages top predator bird 4/24/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukshima die-offs occurring 4/17/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Impact Update 4/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima - the end of atomic power 3/13/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Where is the Fukushima Data? 2/21/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fuku-Undo 2/4/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima MOX fuel crossed Pacific 2/4/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worst human disaster 1/26/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan to kill Pacific Ocean 1/23/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan's Environmental Catastrophe 8/25/14
ENE NEws: Nuclear fuel found 15 miles from Tokyo 8/10/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Earthday TPP Fukushima RIMPAC 4/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Daiichi hot particles 5/30/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Japanese radiation denial 5/12/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Entomb Fukushima Daiichi now 4/6/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Disaster 3 Years Old 4/3/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Tsunami, Fukushima and Kauai 3/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Japanese contamination 2/16/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Bill for Fukushima monitoring 2/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco under reporting of radiation 2/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout in Alaska 1/25/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima engineer against nukes 1/17/14
Ea O Ka Aina: California to monitor ocean radiation 1/14/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Demystifying Fukushima Reactor #3 1/1/14
Ea O Ka Aina: US & Japan know criticality brewing 12/29/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Forever 12/17/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Brief radiation spike on Kauai 12/27/13
Ea O Ka Aina: USS Ronald Reagan & Fukushima 12/15/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Pacific Impact 12/11/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Berkeley and Fukushima health risks 12/10/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Madness engulfs Japan 12/4/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Edo Japan and Fukushima Recovery 11/30/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Reaction to Fukushima is Fascism 11/30/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Radioisotopes in the Northern Pacific 11/22/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima cleanup in critical phase 11/18/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fuel removal to start 11/14/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima, What me worry? 11/13/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Remove other Fukushina fuel 10/29/13
Ea O Ka Aina: End to Japanese Nuclear Power? 10/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima & Poisoned Fish 10/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fuel Danger at Fukushima 9/27/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Reactor #4 Spent Fuel Pool 9/16/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima is Not Going Away 9/9/13
Ea O Ka Aina: X-Men like Ice Wall for Fukushima 9/3/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima House of Horrors 8/21/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Apocalypse 8/21/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radioactive Dust 8/20/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Cocooning Fukushima Daiichi 8/16/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima radiation coverup 8/12/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Leakage at Fukushima an emergency 8/5/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima burns on and on 7/26/13
Ea O Ka Aina: What the Fukashima? 7/24/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Spiking 7/15/13
Ea O Ka Aina: G20 Agenda Item #1 - Fix Fukushima 7/7/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima and hypothyroid in Hawaii 4/9/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan to release radioactive water 2/8/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima as Roshoman 1/14/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushia Radiation Report 10/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Fallout 9/14/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Unit 4 Danger 7/22/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima denial & extinction ethics 5/14/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima worse than Chernobyl 4/24/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima dangers continue 4/22/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima children condemned 3/8/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima fights chain reaction 2/7/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Tepco faking Fukushima fix 12/24/11
Ea O Ka Aina: The Non Battle for Fukushima 11/10/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Debris nears Midway 10/14/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Radiation Danger 7/10/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Abandoned 9/28/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Deadly Radiation at Fukushima 8/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima poisons Japanese food 7/25/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Black Rain in Japan 7/22/11
Ea O Ka Aina: UK PR downplays Fukushima 7/1/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima #2 & #3 meltdown 5/17/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima sustained chain reaction 5/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Ocean Radioactivity in Fukushima 4/16/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Japan raises nuclear disaster level 4/12/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima No Go Zone Expanding 4/11/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima to be Decommissioned 4/8/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Poisons Fish 4/6/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Learning from Fukushima 4/4/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Leak goes Unplugged 4/3/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Stick a fork in it - It's done! 4/2/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima reactors reach criticality 3/31/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Non-Containment 3/30/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Meltdown 3/29/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Fukushima Water Blessing & Curse 3/28/11
.

River given human rights

SUBHEAD: A New Zealand river has Human Rights. Now will modern law come to its senses?

By David Korten on 7 July 2017 for Yes Magazine -
(http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/a-new-zealand-river-has-human-rights-now-will-modern-law-come-to-its-senses-20170707)


Image above: Maori men paddle the river in traditional craft. Photo  by Hagan Hopkins. From original article.

Humanity is slowly reawakening to the simple logic that Mother Earth’s rights must come first.

Our system of law has the rights issue exactly backward. But humanity is slowly reawakening to the simple logic that Mother Earth’s rights must come before human rights.

It was a stunning breakthrough in a rights issue that could be a crucial step toward ensuring a human future. In March, New Zealand passed the Te Awa Tupua Bill making New Zealand’s Whanganui River the first river in the world to hold the same legal rights, responsibilities, and liabilities as a human person. For the Maori people, it was the culmination of a 140-year struggle to gain recognition of the river as an ancestor of the tribe.

The victory quickly had a major consequence far beyond New Zealand’s borders.

Only two weeks later, citing the New Zealand law as precedent, a court in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand gave the Ganges River and its main tributary, the Yamuna River, the status of living human entities. Henceforth, polluting or damaging these rivers will be a legal equivalent to harming a person.

I learned of New Zealand’s breakthrough from my longtime friend and colleague Shannon Biggs, executive director of Movement Rights and co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.

Biggs and her Movement Rights co-founder, Pennie Opal Plant, traveled to New Zealand last November as guests of the Maori to learn and share with the world the lessons of their historic victory. Biggs further elaborates those lessons in her report published in Earth Island Journal.

Humanity is slowly reawakening to the essential truth that nature—the living Earth—is the source of human existence and is essential to our nurture. It is simple logic that the needs of Mother Earth must come before ours.

That, in turn, implies that Earth’s rights must come even before human rights.
This logic has sweeping implications for a modern system of law that gives corporations more rights than people and nature no rights at all. Just as our human existence depends on the health and well-being of a living Earth, the existence of corporations depends on the health and well-being of human society.

So at its foundation, modern law has the rights issue exactly backward.

Significant as New Zealand’s action is, it represents only a first step in an essential rethinking and restructuring of a system of law crafted by the rulers of an Imperial Civilization to secure their own power and privilege.

In our transition from Imperial Civilization to Ecological Civilization, we have much to learn from indigenous people as humanity’s elders—keepers of our human memory of a time when we saw ourselves clearly as part of nature.

Earth cared for us, and we cared for her. We organized around the rivers, forests, and prairies. We depended on them for our means of living. We honored them as our ancestors. This was a time when no one had yet invented an exclusive claim or right to own, destroy, or sell a portion of nature’s territory in disregard of the present or future needs of others.

Living in balance with nature came easily when our dependence was self-evident. Now that, despite our technological sophistication, we have reached and exceeded the limits of Earth’s capacity, shouldn’t our dependence once again be self-evident?

Perhaps the anomalies created by giving a river the rights and liabilities of a living person will force us to rethink and revise the foundational principles of modern law. What is the river’s liability to a person whose lands it floods or the swimmer it drowns? How are the seemingly intractable conflicts between legally proclaimed territorial rights of nature, humans, and corporations to be resolved?

My thanks to the Maori people who persevered to compel us all to address these essential questions.
The system is ill-suited to the needs of an Ecological Civilization that is expected to meet the needs of all in a balanced, co-productive relationship with a living Earth.



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Monsanto's army of online bullies

SUBHEAD: Trolls for the GMO company are bullies aboard a sinking ship. Show them links to the truth. 

By Jeffery Smith 12 July 2017 for Light on Conspiracy  -
(https://www.lightonconspiracies.com/monsantos-army-of-online-bullies/)


Image above: Graphic for ignoring GMO bullies and supporting World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer. From (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/316026098837545704).

There are hundreds, possibly thousands of them—paid to bully, shame, and endlessly argue with anyone posting a comment deriding GMOs or pesticides. And when a high-profile person stands up to Monsanto’s technology, watch out. The trolls swarm in and gang up.

Take Marion Nestle, for example. When a GMO propaganda film called Food Evolution purposely quoted her out of context, she demanded that her 10-second clip be removed. Nestle’s blog was then ambushed with 870 comments by Monsanto’s minions, forcing her to block all comments from her site, Food Politics.

The presence of a troll army was revealed during the on-going lawsuit against Monsanto over the cancer-causing properties of their herbicide Roundup. The lawyers wrote:

“Monsanto even started the aptly-named “Let Nothing Go” program to leave nothing, not even Facebook comments, unanswered; through a series of third parties, it employs individuals who appear to have no connection to the industry, who in turn post positive comments on news articles and Facebook posts, defending Monsanto, its chemicals, and GMOs.”

Scientists Attacked

The legal brief also points out that, “Monsanto quietly funnels money to ‘think tanks’ such as the ‘Genetic Literacy Project’ and the ‘American Council on Science and Health,’ organizations intended to shame scientists . . .”

As a frequent target of these groups, I know well their unethical bullying tactics. And so too do the scientists who discover evidence that GMOs are harmful.

World renowned biologist Arpad Pusztai, for example, was pummeled by the biotech machinery when he accidentally discovered that GMOs caused massive damage to rats in just 10 days. In the late 1990s. he led a team that was designing test protocols to be used by European authorities to evaluate GMO safety.

His research, however, revealed that the generic process of creating a GMO caused dangerous and unpredictable side-effects that might already be eroding the health of consumers. Because his shocking discovery could have destroyed the entire GMO industry, they came after Pusztai with far more than just a shaming campaign.

Within days, his employer of 35 years terminated his contract. Pusztai’s 20-member team was dismantled. He was silenced with threats of a lawsuit. And the biotech industry and pro-GMO UK government unleashed a campaign to destroy his reputation.

Although Pusztai was the first scientist to undergo this type of industry battering, many others have since been targeted. One told me that these types of attacks have deterred hundreds of other scientists from doing research on GMOs.

The online bullies have a similar intimidating effect. Their well-chosen words are sharp and condescending, designed to scare away others from making comments—lest they become the next target.

The folks at the International Fitness Profesionals Association learned this the hard way. After posting what they considered to be a balanced article on GMOs, a troll got wind of it, posted a negative comment on the Pro-GMO FB site “We Love GMOs and Vaccines,” and asked his comrades to also make comments. The trolls swarmed.

They not only challenged the GMO article, they attacked the integrity and reputation of the organization. And of course, the trolls avoided commenting on details about GMOs, since they would quickly lose that argument with anyone familiar with the science. Facts are not their strong point. They prey on emotions.

Standing up to the Bully
Bullying and shaming can traumatize. In schools, online, at work, they have damaged and destroyed lives. It works. That’s why the biotech industry uses them.

Before discussing what to do, the first step is how to feel. The answer: INVINCIBLE!

After reporting for years about Monsanto’s strong-arm tactics, I finally became their target about eight years ago. Rather than feeling hurt or depressed, I felt uplifted. I viewed their baseless attacks as a badge of honor. I was now such a threat to their business dealings around the world, they invested a significant amount of money trying to distort my work and discredit me.

I considered whether I should spend time countering their spin to set the record straight, but soon realized that it was a black hole that would suck up my life. After all, why would I want to write posts to correct the views of the handful of people who wander onto their site, when I could reach millions of others with real information.

And so I smile, shake my head, and don’t even bother to read their posts about me. We’re winning the battle against GMOs and soon these bounty hunters will be hired by the next toxic industry.

That’s right, I said we are TOTALLY WINNING. Mainstream food companies in the US are falling over themselves to remove genetically engineered ingredients in order to boast a Non-GMO label.

With 57% of surveyed Americans saying that they are concerned about the health impacts of GMOs, we are now the majority. We have the average American on the right side of this issue.

And that’s why Monsanto has unleashed its online army. It’s a last-ditch attempt to turn the tide.

So, if you get a troll on your case or see one doing their dark dance on someone else’s post, feel GREAT! Let it remind you that our collective work sharing the truth about GMO dangers has been so successful, we are seeing the dying embers of a desperate and failing industry.

And have absolutely no anxiety or concern about any details of their accusations. They will portray themselves as mainstream, pretending to have logic and science on their side. They will appear absolutely sure of themselves. And their colleagues will give them support.

It’s their game. It’s just a game. It means nothing. And by the way, we have become the mainstream in this argument (finally).

So What Do We Do? Strike Back!
Arguing with a professional GMO huckster is hopeless. Forget about it. (Or as my NY colleagues say: fugedabowdit.)

If you are in charge of the website or account, just delete their comments. Don’t waste the time or damage the emotions of your readers. Replace their mindless ramble with a statement like:

We just found a Monsanto troll! That’s right. Monsanto hired and trained an online army to attack anyone who dares to reveal the dangers of GMOs and pesticides like Roundup. Their campaign is called “Let Nothing Go.”

So we deleted a post that had all the markings of a troll: It was emotionally bullying or shaming. It used talking points made popular by Monsanto’s PR companies, including myths like GMOs feed the world, increase yield, reduce pesticide use, or are proven safe.

And it was clearly uninformed. So it was either posted by a paid troll, or worse yet, some poor person who actually believes and emulates them. Read more about the GMO trolls and GMO dangers in general.

If you can’t delete the offending post, here’s a similar type of statement you can post in response:

Looks like we’ve found a Monsanto troll! If you haven’t heard, Monsanto hired and trained an online army to attack anyone who dares to reveal the problems with GMOs and pesticides like Roundup. Their campaign is called “Let Nothing Go.” You can decide for yourself if this is one of Monsanto’s minions.

The tone of the trolls are typically emotionally bullying or shaming. They claim the high ground, pretending that science is on their side. They often roll out one of the many talking point myths made popular by Monsanto’s PR companies, pretending that GMOs feed the world, increase yield, reduce pesticide use, and are proven safe, etc.

And they are clearly uninformed. So either this is a troll, or worse yet, some poor person who actually believes and emulates them. Read more about the GMO trolls and GMO dangers in general.

If they engage you in an online argument (and if they’re a troll, they or their friends will) you can ignore the baseless claims and just use the opportunity to post links to one of the many informative articles that shreds Monsanto’s myths.

Find lots of stuff to post at ResponsibleTechnology.org or on our Facebook page.

Please subscribe to our newsletter and like our page so we can get you more ammunition—and stories of success.

This is a time to celebrate our victories, but we can’t let up. Let’s nail the coffin shut on this dangerous and irresponsible use of genetic engineering and protect future generations. With life itself at stake, we can withstand the buzzing of a few online gnats.

Safe eating and posting.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto colluded with EPA 4/14/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Glyphosate harms gut enzyme 6/21/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto and EPA collusion 3/29/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Corporate monster Monsanto 3/20/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto and First Amendment 1/24/17
Ea O Ka Aina: EPA obedient to Monsanto 12/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Whole Foods and Monsanto partners 7/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Molokai says "A'ole GMO" 9/8/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Monsanto lobbying Congress 5/18/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Roundup and human health 4/25/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Supreme Court Monsanto seed case 2/19/13
Ea O Ka Aina: Hungary denies GMOs & IMF 9/8/12
Ea O Ka Aina: GMO Corn HFCS & Cancer 8/4/10 .

Hawaii readies for N. Korea missile

SUBHEAD: State Emergency Mgt. Agency plans education and monthly tests of “attack-warning” siren.

By AP Staff on 21 July 2017 in Civil Beat -
(http://www.civilbeat.org/2017/07/hawaii-prepares-for-unlikely-north-korea-missile-threat/?mc_cid=0b03c49776&mc_eid=28610da3ab)


Image above: Photo shows launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, 2017 distributed by the North Korean government. From original article.

Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the unlikely possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea.

The state’s Emergency Management Agency on Friday announced a public education campaign about what to do. Hawaii lawmakers have been urging emergency management officials to update Cold War-era plans for coping with a nuclear attack as North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can reach the islands.

Starting in November, Hawaii will begin monthly tests of an “attack-warning” siren the state hasn’t heard since the end of the Cold War in the 1980s.

The wailing siren will be tested on the first working day of each month, after a test of an “attention-alert” steady tone siren with which residents are already familiar.

Informational brochures, along with TV, radio and internet announcements will help educate the public about the new siren sound and provide preparedness guidance.

“If they’re not educated, they could actually be frightened by it,” agency Executive Director Toby Clairmont said of needing several months to introduce the new siren.

Because it would take a missile 15 minutes — maybe 20 minutes — to arrive, the instructions to the public are simple: “Get inside, stay inside and stay tuned,” said Vern Miyagi, agency administrator. “You will not have time to pick up your family and go to a shelter and all that kind of stuff. … It has to be automatic.”

He stressed that his agency is simply trying to stay ahead of a “very unlikely” scenario, but it’s a possibility that Hawaii can’t ignore.

Hawaii is an important strategic outpost for the U.S. military. The island of Oahu is home to the U.S. Pacific Command, the military’s headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region. It also hosts dozens of ships at Pearl Harbor and is a key base for the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine Corps.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority supports preparing for disasters, but it is concerned that misinformation about bracing for a North Korea attack could scare travelers from visiting the islands, spokeswoman Charlene Chan said in a statement:
“The effect of such a downturn would ultimately be felt by residents who rely on tourism’s success for their livelihood.”
With that in mind, Miyagi reiterated, “Hawaii is still safe.”

Hawaii residents, who already face hazards including from tsunami and hurricanes, are familiar with disaster preparedness. Because it’s currently hurricane season, residents should already have an emergency kit that includes 14-days of food and water.

“It also works for this type of scenario,” Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, spokesman for the Hawaii State Department of Defense.

Hawaii officials surveyed 28 U.S. states and cities about what they’re doing for the North Korea threat. “They think it’s too soon,” Clairmont said.

But counterparts in California have contacted him asking for guidance now that they are starting to look at a similar effort, Clairmont said.

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Not telling the truth

SUBHEAD: Lies, half-truths and cover-ups are all manifestations of fatal weakness in a society.

By Charles Hugh Smith on 21 July 2017 for Of Two Minds -
(http://www.oftwominds.com/blogjuly17/no-truth7-17.html)


Image above: Some lies are subtle - like this mashup photo of Donald Trump's small hands. Some lies are obvious - like everything Trump says. From (http://imgur.com/1AMQJNu).

When we can no longer tell the truth because the truth will bring the whole rotten, fragile status quo down in a heap of broken promises and lies, we've reached the perfection of dysfunction.

You know the one essential guideline to "leadership" in a doomed dysfunctional system: when it gets serious, you have to lie. In other words, the status quo's secular goddess is TINA--there is no alternative to lying, because the truth will bring the whole corrupt structure tumbling down.

This core dynamic of dysfunction is scale-invariant, meaning that hiding the truth is the core dynamic in dysfunctional relationships, households, communities, enterprises, cities, corporations, states, alliances, nations and empires: when the truth cannot be told because it threatens the power structure of the status quo, that status quo is doomed.

Lies, half-truths and cover-ups are all manifestations of fatal weakness. What lies, half-truths and cover-ups communicate is: we can no longer fix our real problems, and rather than let this truth out, we must mask it behind lies and phony reassurances.

Truth is power, lies are weakness. All we get now are lies, statistics designed to mislead and phony reassurances that the status quo is stable and permanent. The truth is powerful because it is the core dynamic of solving problems.

Lies, gamed statistics and false reassurances are fatal because they doom any sincere efforts to fix what's broken before the system reaches the point of no return.

We are already past the point of no return. The expediency of lies has already doomed us.

Honest accounts of hugely successful corporations that implode share one key trait: in every case, managers were pressured to hide the truth from top management, which then hid the truth from investors and clients.

This is the key dynamic in failed oligarchies as well: if telling the truth gets you sent to Siberia (or worse), then nobody with any instinct for self-perservation will tell the truth.

If obscuring the truth saves one's job, then that's what people do. That this dooms the organization is secondary to immediate self-preservation.

A distorted sense of loyalty to the family, community, company, institution, agency or nation furthers lying as the "solution" to unsavory problems. Daddy a drunk? Hide the bottle. Church a hotbed of adultery and thieving?

Maintain the facade of holiness at all costs. Company products are failing? Put some lipstick on the pig.

The statistical truth doesn't support the party's happy story? Distort the stats until they "do what's needed." The agency failed to fulfill its prime directive? Blame the managerial failure on a scapegoat.

Pathological liars and cheats rely on self-preservation and misplaced loyalty to mask their own failure and corruption.

A hint here, a comment there, and voila, a culture of lying is created and incentivized.
Obscuring the truth is the ultimate short-term expediency. Now that it's serious, we have to lie. We'll start telling the truth later, after everything's stabilized.

But lying insures nothing can ever be truly stabilized, so there will never be a point at which the system is strong enough and stable enough to survive the truth.

We are now an empire of lies. The status quo--politically, socially and economically- depends on lies, half-truths, scapegoats and cover-ups for its very survival. Any truth that escapes the prison of lies endangers the entire rotten edifice.

In an empire of lies, "leaders" say what people want to hear. This wins the support of the masses, who would rather hear false reassurances that require no sacrifices, no difficult trade-offs, no hard choices, no discipline.

The empire of lies is doomed. Lies are weakness, and they prohibit any real solutions. Truth is power, but we can no longer tolerate the truth because it frightens us. Our weakness is systemic and fatal.

"If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear"
~ George Orwell
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Louisiana snubs TigerSwan

SUBHEAD: The state won’t give the security firm that tracked DAPL opponents a license to operate.

By Nikhil Swaminathan on 20 July 2017 for Grist Magazine -
(http://grist.org/briefly/louisiana-wont-give-the-security-firm-that-tracked-dapl-opponents-a-license/)


Image above: TigerSwan mercenaries at Standing Rock were hired by the Dakota Access Pipeline to fight the indigenous Sioux and others protesting the construction of the pipeline. From (http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2017/05/intercept-exposes-tigerswan-mercenaries.html).

The state Board of Private Security Examiners rebuffed the North Carolina company known as TigerSwan, citing a legal complaint filed by a similar North Dakota agency charging that the outfit operated in that state without legal permission.

Fabian Blache III, the board’s executive director, said that Louisiana law governing the private security industry is designed to protect the state’s people. He said TigerSwan — which was denied a license in North Dakota twice — had not shown it could follow regulations.

Internal company documents obtained and reported on separately by Grist and The Intercept last month revealed the extent of TigerSwan’s surveillance operations during last year’s protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that Energy Transfer Partners said it no longer had a security presence on the ground in North Dakota, and TigerSwan said it had ended work with the Dallas-based pipeline developer at the end of June.

But apparently the firm was still seeking to work for Energy Transfer Partners in Louisiana, where the company is currently planning to build a 162-mile pipeline known as Bayou Bridge, which would shuttle refined crude oil to hubs in Texas.

That project, like Dakota Access, faces court challenges.
Regional advocacy groups pleaded with the Louisiana board to deny TigerSwan’s license, citing the type of intrusive surveillance reportedly employed by the company in North Dakota.

“TigerSwan follows people as if we were criminals,” said Anne Rolfes, founding director of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “We can disagree about the pipeline without resorting to such behavior.”

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL battle not over 6/15/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Defense contractors fought NoDAPL 5/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Tribes divest DAPL Bankers 2/13/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Veterans defending NoDAPL 2/11/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps okays DAPL Easement  2/8/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump orders go on DAPL EIS 2/3/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Water Protectors pipeline resistance 2/1/17 
Ea O Ka Aina: Force a full EIS on DAPL 1/27/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Missile launcher at Standing Rock 1/19/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Lockdown at Trans-Pecos Pipeline 1/10/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock has changed us 12/9/16
Ea O Ka Aina: As Standing Rock celebrates... 12/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Army Corps denies easement 12/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: My Whole Heart is With You 12/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Loving Containment of Courage 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Beginning is Near 12/1/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Feds to shutdown NoDAPL Camp 11/25/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL people are going to die 11/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Hundreds of vets to join NoDAPL 11/22/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama must support Standing Rock 11/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump's pro oil stance vs NoDaPL 11/15/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai NoDAPL Demonstration 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama to Betray Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Trump impact on Standing Rock 11/12/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Ann Wright on Standing Rock 11/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Turning Point at Standing Rock 11/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jackson Browne vs DAPL owner 11/5/16
Democracy Now: Boycott of DAPL Owner's Music Festival
Ea O Ka Aina: World responds to NoDAPL protests 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL victory that was missed 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: DAPL hid discovery of Sioux artifacts 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Dakota Access Pipeline will leak 11/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sanders calls for stopping DAPL 11/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Obama hints at DAPL rerouting 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: New military attack on NODAPL 11/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How to Support NoDAPL 11/3/16
Unicorn Riot: Tweets from NoDAPL 11/2/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Rock & the Ballot Box 10/31/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL reclaim new frontline 10/24/16
Ea O Ka Aina: How far will North Dakota go? 10/23/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodman "riot" charge dropped 10/17/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Amy Goodwin to face "Riot Charge" 10/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Shutdown of all tar sand pipelines 10/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why Standing Rock is test for Oabama 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Why we are Singing for Water 10/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Labor's Dakota Access Pipeline Crisis 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Standing Firm for Standing Rock 10/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Contact bankers behind DAPL 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: NoDAPL demo at Enbridge Inc 9/29/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Militarized Police raid NoDAPL 9/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Stop funding of Dakota Access Pipeline 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: UN experts to US, "Stop DAPL Now!" 9/27/16
Ea O Ka Aina: No DAPL solidarity grows 9/21/16
Ea O Ka Aina: This is how we should be living 9/16/16
Ea O Ka Aina: 'Natural Capital' replacing 'Nature' 9/14/16
Ea O Ka Aina: The Big Difference at Standing Rock 9/13/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Jill Stein joins Standing Rock Sioux 9/10/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Pipeline temporarily halted 9/6/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Native Americans attacked with dogs 9/5/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Mni Wiconi! Water is Life! 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Sioux can stop the Pipeline 8/28/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Officials cut water to Sioux 8/23/16

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Coal and nuclear are uneconomic

SUBHEAD: High levels of wind penetration can be integrated into the grid without harming reliability.

By Joe Romm on 17 July 2017 for Think Progress -
(https://thinkprogress.org/draft-doe-study-bombshell-9221a62afefd)


Image above: Energy Secretary Rick Perry holds his hands up as if at gunpoint. Photo by Eduardo Verdugo. From original article.

On Saturday, we reported that a leaked draft of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s grid study obtained by Bloomberg debunks his attack on renewable energy.

ThinkProgress has now obtained a copy of that draft, and it has many more surprises — or, rather, findings that are fairly well known to energy experts but may come as an unpleasant surprise to Perry and the White House. For instance, a large fraction of America’s aging fleet of coal and nuclear plants are simply not economic to operate anymore.

The July draft, which ThinkProgress received from multiple sources, is here, so the public will be able to compare the final “politically-approved” version with the draft prepared by Department of Energy (DOE) staff. It is widely feared Perry’s team of Trump appointees will simply erase the the study’s inconvenient truths before it final report is released to the public.

The release of the study has been delayed several weeks — and the findings in the draft might explain why. The study was specifically requested to back up Perry’s claims that EPA regulations, along with renewable power sources like solar and wind power, were undermining the U.S. electric grid’s reliability by forcing the premature closure of “baseload” (24–7) power sources like coal and nuclear.

But the leaked July draft concludes the grid is as reliable than ever.

As for baseload plant retirements, factors like environmental regulations and renewable energy subsidies “played minor roles compared to the long-standing drop in electricity demand relative to previous expectation and years of low electric prices driven by high natural gas availability.”

The draft report finds that since 2002, “most baseload power plant retirements have been the victims of overcapacity and relatively high operating cost but often reflect the advanced age of the retiring plants.”

Overcapacity is a major cause of the turmoil in electricity markets. The report explains that because the grown in electricity demand has flattened since 2008, it is harder for “less competitive plants” to survive.

Between 1970 and 2005, “total US electricity generation grew steadily at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.7 percent.” But since then, the rate has fallen to 0.05 percent — “even as the nation’s gross domestic product grew by 1.3 percent per year over the same period” (see chart), the draft report says.

 
CREDIT: July draft of DOE grid report

It’s increasingly clear that, for the foreseeable future, gas prices will stay low, demand growth will stay lower (thanks in large part to energy efficiency), and renewables will keep getting cheaper.

And it doesn’t make sense to keep an uneconomic plant running when you know it’s going to keep losing money.

In the case of nuclear power, the study notes that vast majority of the plant closure announcements blame plant retirement on “unfavorable market conditions.” And the “most unfavorable condition is that the marginal cost of generation for many nuclear plants is higher than the cost of most other generators in the market.”

 
Marginal cost estimates for major U.S. generators. Combined cycle (CC) gas plants are very efficient whereas combustion turbine (CT) plants are inefficient, but cheaper to build. 
CREDIT: Draft DOE report

The bottom line is that “as long as natural gas prices stay down and there is an oversupply of energy in many hours of the day and year [because of zero-marginal-cost renewable power] the typical nuclear plant will lose money on every kWh produced, and not be able to make it up on volume.”

As an aside, if existing nuclear power plants are unprofitable, it should be pretty obvious that building a new nuclear power plant, which costs many billions of dollars — makes no economic sense at all.

Similarly, coal is also hurt by its high marginal cost: “[Coal] plants that have retired are old and inefficient units that were not recovering their operations and fuel costs, much less capital cost recovery.”

Uneconomic coal plants are run less often. The DOE draft reports that a detailed analysis found “about 70 percent of the [coal] plants that have retired between 2010 and 2016 had a capacity factor of less than 50 percent in the year prior to retirement.” That is, averaged over the whole year, they were running at half of their full power rating.

The DOE staff also explain that not only is the reliability of grid continuing to improve even as we add more and more renewables, but “High levels of wind penetration can be integrated into the grid without harming reliability.” And since renewables keep dropping in price, we can expect more and more penetration.

It’s really no surprise that DOE staff would conclude renewables are not threatening grid reliability. After all, many countries around the world, such as Germany, have integrated far higher percentages of solar and wind than we have, while maintaining high reliability.

The only surprise remaining is how many of these findings Trump’s political appointees will erase.
.

Your brain doesn't contain memories

SUBHEAD: It allows you to integrate something from its past into its future to respond the new.

By Nick Stockton on 19 July 2017 for Wired Magazine -
(https://www.wired.com/story/your-brain-is-memories/)


Image above: DSetail of illustration of human brain function. From (https://www.wtfclub.net/brain-facts/).

Recall your favorite memory: the big game you won; the moment you first saw your child's face; the day you realized you had fallen in love. It's not a single memory, though, is it? Reconstructing it, you remember the smells, the colors, the funny thing some other person said, and the way it all made you feel.

Your brain's ability to collect, connect, and create mosaics from these milliseconds-long impressions is the basis of every memory. By extension, it is the basis of you. This isn't just metaphysical poetics. Every sensory experience triggers changes in the molecules of your neurons, reshaping the way they connect to one another.

That means your brain is literally made of memories, and memories constantly remake your brain. This framework for memory dates back decades. And a sprawling new review published today in Neuron adds an even finer point: Memory exists because your brain’s molecules, cells, and synapses can tell time.

Defining memory is about as difficult as defining time. In general terms, memory is a change to a system that alters the way that system works in the future.

"A typical memory is really just a reactivation of connections between different parts of your brain that were active at some previous time," says neuroscientist Nikolay Kukushkin, coauthor of this paper. And all animals—along with many single-celled organisms—possess some sort of ability to learn from the past.

Like the sea slug. From an evolutionary perspective, you'd have a hard time drawing a straight line from a sea slug to a human. Yet they both have neurons, and sea slugs form something similar to memories.

If you pinch a sea slug on its gills, it will retract them faster the next time your cruel little fingers come close. Researchers found synapse connections that strengthen when the sea slug learns to suck in its gills, and molecules that cause this change. Remarkably, human neurons have similar molecules.

So what's that got to do with your favorite memory? "What is unique about neurons is they can connect to thousands of other neurons, each very specifically," says Kukushkin.

And what makes those connections a network is the fact that those specific connections, those synapses, can be adjusted with stronger or weaker signals. So every experience—every pinch to the gills—has the potential to reroute the relative strengths of all those neuronal connections.

But it would be a mistake to believe that those molecules, or even the synapses they control, are memories.

"When you dig into molecules, and the states of ion channels, enzymes, transcription programs, cells, synapses, and whole networks of neurons, you come to realize that there is no one place in the brain where memories are stored," says Kukushkin. This is because of a property called plasticity, the feature of neurons that memorize. The memory is the system itself.

And there's evidence of memory-making throughout the tree of life, even in creatures with no nervous system—scientists have trained bacteria to anticipate a flash of a light. Kukushkin explains that primitive memories, like the sea slug's response, are advantageous on an evolutionary scale. "It allows an organism to integrate something from its past into its future and respond to new challenges," he says.

Human memories—even the most precious—begin at a very granular scale. Your mother's face began as a barrage of photons on your retina, which sent a signal to your visual cortex. You hear her voice, and your auditory cortex transforms the sound waves into electrical signals. Hormones layer the experience with with context—this person makes you feel good.

These and a virtually infinite number of other inputs cascade across your brain. Kukushkin says your neurons, their attendant molecules, and resultant synapses encode all these related perturbations in terms of the relative time they occurred. More, they package the whole experience within a so-called time window.

Obviously, no memory exists all by itself. Brains break down experience into multiple timescales experienced simultaneously, like sound is broken down into different frequencies perceived simultaneously. This is a nested system, with individual memories existing within multiple time windows of varying lengths.

And time windows include every part of the memory, including molecular exchanges of information that are invisible at the scale you actually perceive the event you are remembering.
Yes, this is very hard for neuroscientists to understand too. Which means it's going to be a long time before they understand the nuts and bolts of memory formation.

"In an ideal world, we would be able to trace the behavior of each individual neuron in time," says Kukushkin. At the moment, however, projects like the Human Connectome represent the cutting edge, and they are still working on a complete picture of the brain at a standstill. Like memory itself, putting that project into motion is all a matter of time.


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The American Empire is ‘collapsing’

SUBHEAD: A United States military study indicates that the Global Order it supports is fraying and crumbling.

By By Darius Shahtahmasebi on 18 July 2017 for the Last American Vagabond -
(http://www.thelastamericanvagabond.com/military/us-military-establishment-study-american-empire-collapsing/)


Image above: US military equipment including Hummers and tanks fill a road to the horizon. From original article.

A new study conducted by members of the U.S. military establishment has concluded that the U.S.-led international global order established after World War II is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing” as the U.S. continues to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs.
“In brief, the sta­tus quo that was hatched and nurtured by U.S. strategists after World War II and has for decades been the principal ‘beat’ for DoD is not merely fraying but may, in fact, be collapsing,” the report states.
The report, published in June by the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, evaluated the Department of Defense’s (DOD) approach to risk assessment at all levels of Pentagon policy planning.

The study was supported and sponsored by the U.S. Army’s Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate; the Joint Staff, J5 (Strategy and Policy Branch); the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Develop­ment; and the Army Study Program Management Office.

Imperial hubris
As explained by Nathan Freier, the project director and principal author of the report, the U.S. and its defense establishment “are stumbling through a period of hypercompetition.” From Freier’s point of view, the current era is marred with furious battles for positional advantage at a number of levels, whether national, transnational, or extra-national.

Freier explains that America’s failure to cope is the result of “hubris,” which is reminiscent of Imperial Hubris, a book by Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit. Imperial Hubris also warned the U.S. about the very controversial and hubristic reasons it was losing the war on terror (hubris means “exaggerated pride or self-confidence,” according to Merriam-Webster).

Technically, the report does not officially represent the Pentagon, though it does represent the “collective wisdom” of those consulted – including a number of Pentagon officials and prominent think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the RAND Corporation, and the Institute for the Study of War.

Nevertheless, the report involved consultation with key agencies across the DoD and the Armed Forces and encouraged the U.S. government to invest more heavily in surveillance, better propaganda through “strategic manipulation” of public opinion, and a “wider and more flexible” U.S. military. The report states:
“While as a rule, U.S. leaders of both political parties have consistently committed to the maintenance of U.S. military superiority over all potential state rivals, the post-primacy reality demands a wider and more flexible military force that can generate ad­vantage and options across the broadest possible range of military demands. To U.S. political leadership, maintenance of military advantage preserves maximum freedom of action… Finally, it allows U.S. decision-makers the opportunity to dictate or hold significant sway over outcomes in international disputes in the shadow of significant U.S. military capability and the implied promise of unac­ceptable consequences in the event that capability is unleashed.”
The year-long study concluded that the DoD should discard its outdated risk conventions and change how it describes, identifies, assesses, and communicates strategic-level and risk-based choices.

As investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed observed, these are the very strategies that have led to the U.S.’ declining power in the first place. Further enacting these failed strategies will only exacerbate the problem and demonstrates America’s refusal to go down without a fight.

The blame lies with resistant states
According to Freier and his team, the dangers currently challenging the U.S. don’t just come from countries like Russia and China (and even North Korea and Iran), but also from the increasing risk of “Arab Spring”-style events that could potentially erupt all over the world.

One might wonder, then, why the U.S. decided to support a number of these events, even to the great benefit of known jihadist movements that already existed within them.

Ahmed also astutely points out that the report doesn’t actually substantiate its claims that countries like Russia are a genuine threat to America’s national security, aside from the fact that these countries seek to pursue their own core interests – as most countries should be free to do (within reason).
According to the report, Iran and North Korea are ;

“… neither the products of, nor are they satisfied with, the contemporary order… At a minimum, they intend to destroy the reach of the U.S.-led order into what they perceive to be their legitimate sphere of influence. They are also resolved to replace that order locally with a new rule set dictated by them.”
It is notable that the report does not list Iran and North Korea as nuclear threats — as traditional neoconservative propaganda often asserts — but simply as perceived threats to the American-led world order.

The report also found that the international framework has been restructured in ways that are “inhospitable” and often “hostile” to U.S. leadership. For example, “proliferation, diversification, and atomization of effective counter-U.S. resistance,” as well as “resurgent but transformed great power competition” are seen to be at the heart of this new international restructuring.

According to the report, the U.S. is not prepared for these circumstances, and the report seeks to provide the U.S. with guidance to deal with these emerging scenarios.

In all seriousness, hostility to the U.S. military did not develop in a vacuum – it is quite clearly the sheer arrogance of America’s leadership and its incessant meddling in foreign affairs that have created a number of adversaries who are no longer willing to bow to American interests.

The “Wake Up Call”
Though the report throws the word “adapt” around often, the U.S. is clearly not willing to adapt at all if the only way it can deal with its issues is to strengthen the very sources of said issues in the first place. If the only tool the U.S. has is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail. The more problems the U.S. faces, the more nails it sees in need of quashing.

While some may laud a report in which advisors to the U.S. have acknowledged America’s status as a dying power, the truth, as demonstrated in this recent analysis, is that the U.S. will not give up its place in global affairs without a fight.

As the report states, the reality of this looming collapse should not be seen as defeatism, but rather, should be a “wake up call.”

Take the Syrian conflict, for example. The more places Assad’s military liberates, the more refugees are returning home and the more concerts are being held. Syria, Russia, and Iran have achieved these mounting successes even in the face of direct American intervention – and yet the U.S. still refuses to leave the country.

Irrespective of crimes committed by the pro-Assad axis, if the ultimate objective has been to reduce the suffering in Syria and end the war, the U.S. should admit defeat and move on — especially once ISIS’ caliphate collapses entirely. But the U.S. won’t – and is reportedly considering greater involvement in the war-torn country.

The U.S. knows it is on the brink of collapse but refuses to go down peacefully. From the point of view of the powers-that-be, as long as every nail of resistance can be broken, the American hammer will continue to lead the world in international affairs.

But even as this report indicates, it is precisely because of America’s hubris that it has found itself in this position in the first place.

In this context, the report is somewhat contradictory and only further encourages the United States to provoke further hostility from aggrieved players on the world stage.

Carrying on these practices and exacerbating them is totally nonsensical, but doing so continues to be the go-to mantra of the U.S. war machine.

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