Science + Government + Commerce + Religion
Science + Government + Commerce + Religion
Secrets of Ancient Japan Informs Modern Japanese Technology
U.K. Enforce Cash over Digital Currency*
By Sean Adl-Tabatabai
A credit card giant has vowed to completely eradicate cash in Britain by forcing shops and restaurants to only accept digital currency.
Visa says it wants merchants throughout the United Kingdom to begin rejecting notes and coins in order to make transactions “more secure.”
Daily Mail reports: Any switch from coins and notes to credit and debit card payments or services such as Apple Pay would also be of huge benefit to Visa, which makes money from transaction fees.
But consumer groups warned last night that it would put millions of elderly people and others who rely on cash and cheques at a huge disadvantage.
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said the firm should be referred to the competition authorities if it tried the move. ‘It is essentially the behaviour of a monopolist and I do not think it should happen,’ he said.
‘People should be entitled to settle their bills using legal tender. The most deprived in society who do not have bank accounts and the elderly will be most affected by this.’
Visa has already begun a trial in the U.S. which offers $10,000 (£8,800) to retailers who are prepared to update their payment terminals.
However, they can only get the deal if they agree to stop accepting cash transactions. A similar trial is expected to be launched in the U.K.
Jack Forestell, Visa’s head of global merchant solutions, told The Daily Telegraph the company had its sights on Britain.
‘We very much hope to bring a similar initiative to the U.K. in the near future,’ he said.
‘The U.K. is a bit further ahead than the U.S. in terms of contactless use and cashlessness, so the initiative may look different but watch this space.’
But James Daley, director of consumer group Fairer Finance, accused Visa of ‘bribing companies to stop using cash more quickly’ to make more money.
Consumer champion Which? said cash was still ‘widely used’ by shoppers. It added: ‘Businesses should be led by how their customers want to pay, and not by the incentives offered by card firms.’
And the Federation for Small Businesses said the proposal could make businesses unattractive to tourists who wanted to use cash and was ‘impractical’ for rural areas with slow broadband speeds.
Its chairman, Mike Cherry, said: ‘The vast majority of our members recognise the importance of offering cashless payment options. However, many have high volumes of customers that still want to pay in cash.’
In 2015 the amount of payments made electronically in Britain surpassed the number using coins and notes for the first time. However, cash was still by far the most popular way of paying in pubs, clubs and newsagents. A Treasury spokesman last night stressed that the Government remained committed to cash.
He added: ‘The U.K. leads the way in financial technology such as contactless and digital payments. It’s important that consumers have choice in how to pay for goods and services, and paying cash remains a legitimate and useful way to pay.’
Last night a spokesman for Visa said it was selecting 50 small businesses to receive $10,000 in ‘incentive funding’.
He added: ‘We hope to offer a similar challenge to those merchants who are interested in other countries, including the U.K. At this time, we do not have a firm plan on when such an initiative would be available in the U.K.’
Bangladesh Delivers Energy Free Air Conditioning*
In a lot of places around the world people don’t have access to some of the luxuries we take for granted: electricity, internet, running water, or even regular supplies of food and clean water. Add to that the unbearable heat of summer temperatures in places like India and half the population is out of commission for most the afternoon. But their situation is not without hope!
More than 28,000 people live in a tiny area called Daulatdia in Bangladesh. They are cramped in small huts with no running water and temperatures outside and inside can rise above 113º F.
Something had to be done, so they’ve come up with the first electricity-free air conditioning.
It’s made of one piece of sturdy cardboard and a series of recycled plastic bottles. The bottoms and necks of the bottles are cut away and then stuck into a series of holes cut into the board.
Once all of the bottles are in place, the board is placed in front of a door or window. The cooling effects are immediate.
Hot air enters the bottles from the outside and then sends cooler air out of the thinner neck. The principle is similar to the effect when you exhale into your hand with an open mouth or with pursed lips. Feel the difference for yourself!
This simple solution can cool an indoor space by more than 10º F. What a relief for the people who experience extreme temperatures day in, day out.
Countless villages have already started using the simplest air conditioning in the world.
Here’s a video that shows exactly how the system works:
Not only does this system bring a breath of fresh air into overheated huts, it’s a great way to encourage collecting old plastic bottles from the streets and recycling them.
12 American Foods that are Banned in Other Countries*
By Amy Goodrich
Americans are slowly waking up to the sad fact that their food supply is packed with hazardous and toxic compounds.
Many of the American foods you may be eating on a daily basis are banned in other countries because they contain compounds that are known to cause inflammation, growth defects and cancer.
For some reason the U.S. government and FDA allows these toxic foods to end up in our supermarkets while other countries have taken them off the shelves.
Pink slime is a name used for processed low-grade beef trimmings and meat by-products. They use ammonium hydroxide in their processing, which is banned in many other countries outside the US.
This pink slime is often added to processed foods. Products can contain up to 15% without additional labelling.
Banned in: Canada, U.K., and E.U.
Farm raised salmons are fed with an unnatural diet of GMO grains and dangerous chemicals such as synthetic astaxanthin (derived from petrochemical) and antibiotics.
It causes their flesh to become grey-ish instead of the pink-red of wild salmon. Avoid all Atlantic salmon as these are mostly coming from fish farms.
Look for the “Alaskan salmon” and “sockeye salmon, both not allowed to be farmed.
Banned in: Australia and New Zealand
Many of the American cows are fed synthetic hormones to increase meat or milk production. These hormones (rBGH and rBST) end up in the meat and dairy products we consume.
Non-organic meat or dairy has been linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
Banned in: Australia, New Zealand, Israel, E.U., and Canada.
Many of the papayas Americans eat are genetically engineered to be resistant to the ringspot virus.
Studies show that animals fed GMO food, such as corn and soy, have an increased risk of organ damage, tumours, birth defects, premature death, and sterility.
Banned in: E.U.
Commercial baking companies enrich their flour with potassium bromate to reduce the baking time and make the dough more elastic.
Too much potassium bromate can cause kidney and nerve damage, thyroid issues, digestive disorders, and cancer.
Banned in: Canada, China and the E.U.
Ractopamine is a growth stimulator widely used in the U.S. to increase the weight of pigs, cattle, and turkey. It has been linked to cardiovascular issues, birth defects, and hyperactivity.
Banned in: 160 countries across Europe, Russia, China, and Taiwan
Arsenic-based drugs are used to make the chickens grow faster and it makes their meat pinker which gives it a fresher look. Inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen.
Banned in: E.U.
Mountain dew and a few other citrus-flavoured sports drinks are emulsified with brominated vegetable oil (BVO).
Its main compound is bromine, which is used as a flame retardant. Too much bromine can lead to iodine deficiency, skin rashes, acne, fatigue, and cardiovascular problems.
Banned: E.U. and Japan
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are often used as a preservative in cereals, nut mixes, meat, beer, butter, and gum. It has been linked to certain allergies and may cause cancer.
Banned in: infant food in the U.K., parts of the E.U., and Japan.
Azodicarbonamide is often used by U.S. food companies to bleach flour quicker. This chemical, also found in shoe soles, has been linked to asthma and some types of cancer.
Banned in: Singapore.
Some of the food flavourings, additives, colours, and preservatives used in the U.S. are banned in other counties because they are made from coal tar and petroleum.
These include red 40 and yellow 5 which can cause hyperactivity, brain and nerve damage, birth defects, allergies, and cancer.
Banned: Norway in, Austria and most of the E.U.
Olestra, aka Olean, is a substitute for fat in fat free products. It depletes essential vitamins and can cause anal leakages.
Banned in: U.K., Canada and many other countries around the world.
Always make sure to read food labels and eliminate all processed food out of your diet to avoid all these harmful chemicals. Opt for a healthy fresh, whole food diet instead.
EPA’s Silent Approval of Monsanto/Dow’s RNAi Corn*
By Sayer Ji
Without much more than a whisper from the mainstream media, Monsanto’s newest Frankenfood has received full EPA approval and will be arriving on dinner plates by the end of the decade. The implications of this are harrowing, to say the least.
While you may not have made up your mind on the dangers of GMOs, you likely feel entitled to know when you’re consuming a food that is the product of laboratory research. For this reason, I am reporting on Monsanto’s latest food technology, unfortunately, already in the pipeline. And quite silently so. I write this with a certain degree of solemnity, if not also a tinge of regret, because, for three years, I have heard rumblings of Monsanto’s next project – RNA interference technology.
It was actually the late Heidi Stevenson, my friend, colleague, and founder of the platform Gaia Health, who first alerted me to the dangers of RNA interference-based tinkering with our food supply when she reported on the near disastrous approval of GMO wheat using RNA interference technology in Australia. Thankfully a few brave scientists and informed public stood up and, together, averted the disaster. But since then, both the dangers and the breakneck speed of development of this technology have gone largely ignored, even among activists deep in the non-GMO movement. In order to truly appreciate the gravity of the situation, and why the EPA’s approval of RNAi corn intended for human consumption, is so concerning, it will first require a little background information on the fascinating topic of non-coding small RNAs, and their formidable relevance to our health.
How Non-Coding, Small RNAs Link Together the Entire Biosphere
One of the most important discoveries of our time is that all plants, including those we use for food and animal feed, contain a wide range of RNA molecules capable of inhibiting gene expression or translation. These non-coding RNA molecules neutralize targeted messenger RNA molecules (mRNAs), which prevents their translation into a protein, i.e. they “silence genes.”
Compelling research has surfaced suggesting that not only do these genome-regulating small RNA molecules exist in our foods, but that they are capable of surviving digestion, and being absorbed into our bodies fully intact where they alter, suppress or silence genes, post-transcriptionally. Moreover, some of these small RNAs — primarily microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) — are believed to be cross-kingdom mediators of genetic information, making it possible for RNAs in one species impacting many others through both their active and passive exposure to them.
Food therefore is essentially an epigenetic modifier of gene expression, making it a form of information, and not only a source of bodily building blocks and caloric energy, as conventionally understood. As such, any significant changes to food or feed staples within our food chain could have powerful impacts on the physiological fate of those consuming them, essentially rewriting the functionality of our genomic hardware via software like changes in RNA profiles. The entire biosphere, therefore, is held together in a web-like fashion through these molecular RNA messengers, lending a plausible mechanism to the biotic aspect of Lovelock and Margulis’ Gaia theory of Earth as a self-regulating, meta-organism. You can learn more by reading my article Genetic Dark Matter, Return of the Goddess, and the Post-Science Era.
Monsanto and Co Capitalizing on RNA interference Technology
While this discovery will have profound implications for the field of nutrition and medicine, it has also created enormous interest among biotech and agricultural firms, namely, Monsanto and Dow, looking to capitalize on the design of proprietary products using interference (RNAi) technology.
In mid June, last month Monsanto received EPA approval for a type of corn genetically altered to produce an RNA-based pesticidal agent (aka, a plant-incorporated protectant (PIP)) which lethally targets a metabolic pathway within the corn rootworm, known within the industry as the “billion dollar bug.” Branded as Smartstax PRO, the newly minted GMO plant produces a small, double-stranded RNA known as DvSnf7 dsRNA which disrupts a critical gene within the rootworm, causing its death. This was added on top of four other “stacked” GMO traits, such as the ability to produce two other pesticidal proteins (Cry1A.105 and Cry2Ab2), as well as survive exposure to both glyphosate (aka Monsanto’s Roundup 2) and Glufosinate (aka Dow’s Libertylink), highly toxic herbicides.
Roundup, for instance, has demonstrated carcinogenicity in the parts per trillion range. Yet, the EPA considers it perfectly safe for consumers to ingest many orders of magnitude higher concentrations than that, proving its function as a cheerleader and not a regulator of the industry that controls our food supply.
The Atlantic, one of the only mainstream news outlets to report on the topic, pointed out how surprisingly low key the approval process was:
“The EPA’s decision attracted little attention from the press or even from environmental groups that reliably come out against new genetically modified crops.”
Bill Freese, The Center for Food Safety’s science policy analyst, told the Atlantic he was caught off guard by EPA’s decision to only allow 15 days of public comment, and the fact that it did not post its decision to the Federal Register, as it customary, especially considering how unprecedented the use of a RNAi insecticide in a plant intended for human consumption is. Monsanto anticipates the new corn will be on the market by the end of the decade.
One would imagine that such revolutionary technology would require short and long-term (decades) of safety testing before licensure. Instead, as is often the case with big-ticket market agendas, the product is being rushed to market. There are already significant biases in place within the EPA and USDA in regard to nucleic acids – assumptions that exempt them from cautionary considerations. RNA is considered Generally Accepted As Safe (GRAS), but this is because it is defined and perceived only as a physical substance rather than as the powerful signaling/informational molecule it is. The EPA’s approval of RNAi food crops ignores the fact that it takes a multi-generational timescale to understand the influence of epigenetic modifiers on the genome of a species, much less the human species, whose timescale is orders of magnitude beyond animal models used to establish much of the risk/benefit data used in pre-approval evaluations. RNAi interference technology promises specificity — one RNAi molecule change equals one gene suppressed — but ignores the virtually infinite possibility of unintended, adverse effects in what are incomprehensibly complex biological systems. Indeed, researchers have warned that RNAi can not only profoundly affect gene expression, but that the changes it induces can permanently alter a species through inherited traits:
“Once a silencing effect is initiated, the effect may be inherited. The biochemistry of this process varies depending on the organism and remains an area of active research with many unknown aspects. Nevertheless, it is known for example that human cells can maintain the modifications necessary for TGS, creating actual or potential epigenetic inheritance within tissues and organisms (Hawkins et al., 2009). In some cases the dsRNA pathways induce RNA-dependent DNA methylation and chromatin changes (TGS) that persist through reproduction or cell division, and in other cases the cytoplasmic pathways remain active in descendants (Cogoni and Macino, 2000).”
GM Technology and Unintended Consequences
Indeed, critics of RNA interference technology make the point that RNAi technology aims to target the production of a specific protein by identifying the sequence in question. But two or more genes can have sequence homologies. This means, as applies to the use of RNA interference in medicine, a gene that is targeted to turn off a “disease-causing gene” could have a number of off-target effects, one of which would be turning off a gene that is essential to health and vitality.
This is, in fact, what happened October of last year, when Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a leading developer of RNAi drugs, announced it had decided to discontinue revusiran, its lead drug candidate, after an excess of deaths occurred in the experimental drug group versus placebo. This sent shockwaves throughout the overly exuberant RNAi drug industry, reducing their stock 6% on average.
Criticisms of RNAi in the agricultural sector are long-standing among the highly informed. For instance, Jonathan Latham, Ph.D. and Allison Wilson, Ph.D., wrote a seminal paper on the topic over a decade ago titled “Off-target effects of plant transgenic RNAi: three mechanisms lead to distinct toxicological and environmental hazards,” wherein 3 of the primary safety concerns are addressed: 1) Off target effects leading to non-specific down-regulation of plant RNAs 2) Off target effects affecting non-target invertebrates feeding on plant material 3) potential effects on mammals. In mammals, long (>30 bp) perfectly duplexed RNAs (such as are typically produced by plant RNAi transgenes) are Pathogen Associated Molecular Patterns (PAMPS) and are consequently highly potent triggers of innate anti-viral defences. The effects of long dsRNAs on mammalian cellular functions are typically profound and extend to complete inhibition of protein translation and cell death. Nevertheless, the implications of such molecules in the mammalian diet have hardly been tested.
That’s quite a serious list of concerns. As you can see, concern #3 includes the possibility that these dsRNAs may lead to protein translation and cell death. Clearly if the EPA has declared Monsanto and Dow’s new RNAi corn safe for human consumption, they would need to prove this a non-issue.
Monsanto Falling On Their Own ‘Peer-Reviewed’ Sword
Surprisingly, Monsanto itself has produced one of the most damning papers on the topic yet. Several years ago I stumbled upon a study funded by Monsanto that raised a number of red flags for me. Titled, “Endogenous small RNAs in grain: Semi-quantification and sequence homology to human and animal genes,” researchers employed by Monsanto in their St. Louis, MO, laboratory analyzed the presence of endogenous small RNAs in common food and feed staples — soybeans, corn, rice — discovering that hundreds of these plant RNAs had a perfect 100% complementary match to human genes as well as other mammals.
Why is this significant? Endogenous small RNAs, such as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), are effector molecules of RNA interference (RNAi), which is a gene suppression mechanism found in plants, mammals, and other eukaryotes. The implication, therefore, of Monsanto’s finding is that plant RNAs — were they capable of surviving digestion and accumulating in target tissues to physiologically relevant concentrations — are capable of epigenetically silencing hundreds of genes within the human body. Below you will find a list of the RNA/gene matches between rice and the human genome:
Despite the abundance of perfect 100% complementarity matches listed above, Monsanto’s conclusion was a conveniently pollyannish dismissal of the safety implications of these findings, stating that:
“The abundance of endogenous small RNA molecules in grain from safely consumed food and feed crops such as soybean, corn, and rice and the homology of a number of these dietary small RNAs to human and animal genomes and transcriptomes establishes a history of safe consumption for dietary small RNAs.”
While this may be true for traditionally used plants, it does not follow that genetically modified organisms would necessarily be safe because non-GMO versions are. [The pseudo-scientific conceptual ploy of “substantial equivalency“ behind traditional and GMO cultivars has been the basis for the approval of GMOs since their inception.] Monsanto’s conclusion relates to the fact that it has invested a great amount of resources into developing proprietary RNAi-based organisms which help it to maintain and further expand its monopolizing control on the global food supply.
Additionally, one of their primary justifications for concluding the safety of endogenous plant RNAs on human health was that: “…there does not appear to be any evidence in the scientific literature suggesting that intact RNA is absorbed following ingestion.” This bold claim has been disproven. The Monsanto paper was written in 2008, 3 years before the groundbreaking discovery of Zhang et al published in the Cell Research, entitled,” Exogenous plant MIR168a specifically targets mammalian LDLRAP1: evidence of cross-kingdom regulation by microRNA,” wherein it was demonstrated that human subjects fed rice containing the microRNA MIR168a have measurable amounts of it present in their blood and tissue, and that it binds to the lipoprotein receptor adapter protein in the liver. More succinctly:
“These findings demonstrate that exogenous plant miRNAs in food can regulate the expression of target genes in mammals.”
Since then, a hotly contested debate has ensued, which is understandable, given the increasingly politicized and financially-motivated nature of scientific debate and findings.
Here’s Monsanto’s conclusion about the safety of RNAi-based food technology:
“Based on this evidence it can be concluded that RNAi-mediated regulation of gene expression in biotechnology-derived crops is as safe for food and feed use as conventional crops that harness RNAi-based gene regulation as one of several ways to achieve new plant traits. The safety of future crops generated through applications of RNAi should thus be evaluated for safety using the existing comparative safety assessment paradigm, which has been developed for biotechnology-derived Crops.”
First of all, the “evidence” they are referring to is based on an axiomatic absurdity: equating the absence of evidence with evidence of absence. In other words, you can’t prove this negative: “that a hazard does not exist” because positivistic proof of anything requires that you demonstrating something, not nothing.
Let’s also not overlook the conflict of interest statement at the end of their paper: “All authors are employees of the Monsanto Company. The Monsanto Company is an agricultural company that produces,” which speaks to Monsanto’s long history of funding science that denies safety risks of their products, such as the Roundup-Cancer link, which now even the California EPA accepts as fact.
The Heart of the Problem
In a seminal paper published in 2016 in Trends in Microbiology, entitled, “How Our Other Genome Controls Our Epi-Genome,” it is proposed that the very RNAs biotech/agrochemical companies like Monsanto and Dow are tinkering with in our food should be reconsidered as part of the definition of our species versus the conventional view that it is just something informationally inert that we eat and exists “out there.” Using a revised version of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man, as pictured below, they propose that there are 4 inseparable parts of our species: 1) human cells 2) human microbiota and other bacteria 3) Fungi and Viruses 4) Food.
As you can see, because of the interconnectivity and “social networking” functionalities of RNAs packaged in microvesicles called exosomes, all four parts of this new definition of man become united in an indivisible whole. Because these RNAs packed in edible exosomesepigenetically active, the food we eat “literally talks to our mRNA and DNA,” as I have explained in greater detail here: “Amazing Food Science Discovery: Edible Plants ‘Talk’ To Animal Cells, Promote Healing.”
As we have seen in Monsanto’s own paper on the topic, foods contain hundreds of small RNAs whose 100% complementarity match with human genes imply they can directly impact, and even silence those genes. This silencing is not necessarily “bad,” but it is clear that we are tinkering with a design that we are only just beginning to understand, much less know how to ascertain the risks of and properly regulate. But, considering that Monsanto’s research reveals how intricately connected the human and the food genomes are are — and furthermore, that post-2008 research has surfaced showing Monsanto was wrong and plant RNAs from food do have direct impacts on human genome/epigenome expression — it is highly irresponsible for them to continue to claim that food manipulation technologies will not have unintended, adverse effects in principle. Sadly, with the EPAs approval of four new RNAi forms of corn already completed, and likely many more on the way, we may be stuck with secondary and much slower forms of recourse: post-marketing, epidemiological surveillance of exposed populations, where patterns of disease can take decades if not generations to surface — and then with so many confounding factors at play, not with any certainty.
That said, I believe education and the awareness it generates is our best bet at countermanding the widespread acceptance of this highly experimental and obviously dangerous form of genetic engineering. As has been the case recently with glyphosate being classified as a carcinogen by the California EPA, and a growing mainstream movement to fight the forced feeding of non-labeled GMO laden products (March Against Monsanto), the tides are turning. Please help us spread this information far and wide.
The Children of Tomorrow*
In this episode of AAE tv, Ethann is joined by Multi-Dimensional Psychologist, Mary Rodwell. Ethann and Mary discuss the very advanced children being born into the world today, what they have to teach us, and how best we can support them in their life journey.
Mary shares specific stories of gifted children she’s interviewed, and what she learned from them. She further delves into the significance of autism, aspergers and other similar conditions, and explains that these are symptoms of a new more advanced race of humans who are having difficulty adjusting to the 3 dimensional world. Other topics discussed, include light language, what purpose it serves, and what role spoken language plays among more advanced telepathic extraterrestrial races.
About Mary Rodwell
Mary Rodwell is recognised internationally as one of Australia’s leading researchers and writers in the UFO and contact phenomenon areas. Mary is the author of the highly acclaimed book ‘Awakening: How Extraterrestrial Contact Can Transform Your Life’ (2002); and producer of EBE award winning documentaries:- Expressions of ET Contact: A Visual Blueprint? (2000), and Expressions of ET Contact: A Communication and Healing Blueprint? (2004). Her new book ‘The New Human’ which describes and documents star children is due to be released in late 2016.
Mary is the Founder and Principal of Australian Close Encounter Resource Network (ACERN) which was established in 1997 to provide professional counselling, support, hypnotherapy and information to individuals and their families with ‘anomalous’ paranormal experiences and abduction-‐contact experiences. Mary is also Director and Chair of the Experiencer Support Programs of Dr Edgar Mitchell: Foundation for Research into Extra-‐terrestrial Encounters (FREE); and an advisory Committee member of Exopolitics (www.etworldpeace.com). Mary also organised the inaugural ‘Hidden Truths’ international conference held in Perth, Western Australia in 2003.
Mary has researched more than 3000 cases and suggests extraterrestrial encounters are a global phenomenon and this is evident in the new humans referred to as star children. Mary affirms that star children exhibit a maturity and wisdom beyond their years and have an awareness and connection to spiritual realms. ‘Indigo’s’ or ‘crystal’ children as they are also known have telepathic abilities, are spiritually awakened, and can describe many species of non-‐human visitors with a feeling that they are as real to them as their ‘real’ family because they feel supported by them.