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Virtual Reality and Its Practical Application in Modern Medicine

IT technologies are actively developing and opening up a wide range of opportunities for the entertainment industry. Virtual Reality is perhaps the most sparkling example. And although this technology is currently used primarily for entertainment, it has broad prospects for use in the development of medicine. Together with experts from the Healthcare IT industry, we reviewed the latest VR trends in medicine.

History of VR with its start from gaming

The announcement of Microsoft’s Project X-Ray prototype caused a flurry of emotions among gamers around the world. The first game was released in the form of a demo, where users wearing VR glasses and holding a special manipulator in their hands were supposed to destroy hostile robots breaking through the walls.

In March 2020, Valve Corporation released Half-Life: Alyx for VR, which has seriously altered ideas about the future of VR technology. In this game, together with realistic graphics, producers introduced a drawing function – this feature has become a small breakthrough.

The history of VR in games dates back to 1990. At that time, no one could have imagined that this technology would be applied anywhere outside gaming. Today, VR and AR are applied in education, scientific and military research, sports, transport, and medicine. The last option will be discussed here.

VR in studying medicine

A significant event in the world of medicine was a surgical operation, during which a cancerous tumor was removed. The operation was performed at the Royal London Hospital and was observed by 13,000 students. The surgeon used Google Glass and streamed the event on the Internet with a one-minute delay.

Why this event was so remarkable:

  1. The audience watched the operation through the eyes of the surgeon.
  2. Viewers could ask questions online.
  3. The broadcast of the operation could be viewed on any device.

The surgeon received questions during the operation – they were displayed as text off to one side, and he could answer them vocally without stopping the process.

Although students could enjoy a full view, they still were passive viewers in the process. This was the main reason why 3D simulations, not only accurately reproducing all details but also intended for students to practice their skills, started appearing.

Medical Simulation Corp offers a product called Simantha that educates future cardiologists. The product is a 3D manikin with a cardiovascular system, which is designed for training for all operations known to cardiological surgeons. Students can inject contrast agents, study the insides of the heart, see the patient’s reaction to certain medical manipulations, etc.

There are more traditional teaching methods as well. HumanSim offers a simulator for learning the basics of communication with patients, first aid (including that in tactical conditions), lung ventilation, etc. Here users can create unique simulations on their own.

Advantages of learning with 3D simulators

An artificial manikin doesn’t provide the same experience of interacting with a patient as simulations do. The virtual simulator reproduces all the anatomical features of the human body, while standard manikins are not able to contain and display all the necessary information. In the case of using a 3D model, a student can even assess the consequences of their mistake, for example, if a blood vessel is damaged. Stanford University has a simulator that even allows for the tactile sensations of conducting an operation.

By polishing up their surgical skills, future doctors gain experience that will allow them to work more delicately and accurately. This will help to improve the qualifications of graduates, and from a practical perspective, this will reduce the number of errors and post-surgery complications. Such simulators are especially useful for microsurgeons and telesurgeons.

Caring for patients

VR technologies can be useful not only for training future doctors but also for managing various mental disorders. For example, using VR, phantom-limb pains and various forms of phobias can be treated. According to experiments carried out at the Chalmers University of Technology, thanks to the use of VR technologies, it was possible to reduce phantom pain by up to 22% through restructuring the neural networks of the patients’ brains. By simulating the presence of a hand, this technology relieved patients of the obsessive thoughts of a missing limb.

VR can also be used in the treatment of autistic people by helping them practice behaving in a society where patients are not ready to act. Provided that technologies are rapidly developing and becoming more accessible, there is hope that, in the near future, we will receive a qualitatively new level of medical care in all areas.

Finally, VR technology may soon be used for diagnosing and monitoring Alzheimer’s disease. About two years ago, scientists from Cambridge University and University College London conducted research where they used VR headsets to detect Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages. Those who participated in the experiment (both with mild cognitive impairment that often develops into Alzheimer’s disease and without it) were asked to walk within an artificial environment. The technology helped to detect navigation problems in those participants who previously tested positive for MCI. Such a method for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease may soon prove itself to be better than the tests we have today.

Conclusion

VR is a promising technology in healthcare. The simulated environments that it creates are already used for transferring valuable knowledge in the field of surgery, and it soon might prove itself helpful for diagnosing and monitoring various diseases. This, in turn, leads to significant improvement of the quality of patients’ lives, lifts medicine up to a new level, and opens the potential for the development of innovative healthcare software solutions.




Yellowstone Rattled by Swarm of More Than 140 Earthquakes in Past Day, Geologists Say

Grand Prismatic Spring In Yellowstone National Park

By Maddie Capron | phys.org

A swarm of more than 141 earthquakes is rattling Yellowstone National Park, geologists said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Friday that an ongoing earthquake swarm that began at 5:52 p.m. Thursday is centered beneath Yellowstone Lake. There have been 40 earthquakes bigger than a magnitude 2, and two have been above a 3.0 magnitude, USGS said.

In the past day, there have been 10 earthquakes with a 2.5 magnitude or greater, according to USGS. The largest was a 3.1-magnitude quake that shook beneath Yellowstone Lake at 8:12 a.m. Mountain Time.

The earthquake swarm is nothing to worry about, geologists said.

“Earthquake sequences like these are common and account for roughly 50% of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region,” USGS said on Twitter. “This swarm is similar to one that occurred in about the same place during December 2020.”

Some people, however, still worry earthquakes in Yellowstone are a sign that the “supervolcano” that lies beneath the park will soon erupt, which could have regional and global consequences.

“Such a giant eruption would have regional effects such as falling ash and short-term (years to decades) changes to global climate,” USGS said on its website. “Those parts of the surrounding states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming that are closest to Yellowstone would be affected by pyroclastic flows, while other places in the United States would be impacted by falling ash (the amount of ash would decrease with distance from the eruption site).”

The USGS doesn’t think an eruption at Yellowstone is likely for thousands of years. Even with the current swarm, the alert level at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory is green, which is normal.

Earthquakes in Yellowstone typically happen in swarms, according to the park. Swarms happen in many places where there is volcanic activity and occur for a number of reasons. The most common is when water gets into faults in the Earth’s crust, according to USGS.




Teens with Secure Family Relationships ‘Pay It Forward’ with Empathy for Friends

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Teens with more secure family relationships get a head start on developing empathy, according to my colleagues’ and my new study tracking adolescents into adulthood.

In contrast to popular myths about self-obsessed teens, existing research shows that adolescence is a key stage of development for the growth of empathy: the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes, to understand and resonate with their emotions and to care about their well-being. Empathy is a skill that develops over time, and it has major consequences for teens’ social interactions, friendships and adult relationships.

So how do teens learn this critical skill?

Our team’s new findings, published on July 15, 2021, in the journal Child Development, suggest that teens who have secure, supportive family relationships provide more empathetic support to their friends.

Imagine yourself as a teenager with someone in your life who understands your struggles, offers help and makes you feel supported and connected – that’s what empathetic support is all about.

Our study, led by professor of psychology Joseph P. Allen, followed 184 adolescents from their early teens into adulthood. When teens were 14 years old, we interviewed them about their family experiences and their relationships with their parents.

The interviews were designed to measure attachment security – teens’ confidence that they can explore and build autonomy while trusting others to provide connection, safety and support when they need it. Past research shows that experiences of receiving sensitive care from adult caregivers, especially in times of stress, build secure attachment. In each interview, we rated teens as secure if they expressed that they valued their family relationships and described them in a balanced, clear way.

Then we videotaped the teens at ages 16, 17 and 18, while they helped their closest friend talk through problems they were facing. From these videos, we quantified how much support friends sought from the teens we interviewed – for example, by asking for their opinion on a situation. To measure how much empathetic support the teens provided, we looked for four types of behaviors: showing understanding, helping friends solve their problems, providing emotional validation and actively engaging in conversations.

We found that teens who were more secure in their family relationships at age 14 provided more empathetic support to their friends in early adolescence and showed consistently high empathy over time. Teens who were less secure showed lower levels of empathy at first but improved this skill over time and nearly caught up to more secure teens by age 18.

This finding suggests that teens naturally gain empathetic skills as they get older, but those with more secure family relationships may get there faster.

What is especially interesting is that teens’ friends were more likely to seek out support from secure teens, and friends who sought more help were more likely to receive it. Thus, friendships provide a key context for adolescents to practice giving and receiving empathetic support.

Why it matters

Teens who are more empathetic are less aggressive, exhibit less prejudice and are less likely to bully others.

Our research suggests that empathy starts with feeling safe and connected. Building secure relationships, characterized by trust, emotional safety and responsiveness, can give teens a firsthand experience of empathy. With this foundation in place, they can then share that empathy with others.

What’s next

There’s still plenty we don’t know about teens’ empathy. For instance, what equips teens to empathize with individuals from marginalized groups, with new peers or dating partners, or with their own future children?

Learning how to nurture empathy in adolescence is vital for building a more compassionate society.The Conversation

Author

Jessica Stern, Postdoctoral Research Fellow of Psychology, University of Virginia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.




Can We Help Young Brains Fight Off Anxiety?

By Jill Suttie | Greater Good Magazine

Anxiety is one of the most common childhood mental disorders. About 7% of children suffer from it at any given time, with nearly 1 in 3 adolescents experiencing it sometime during their teen years.

For an anxious child, seemingly normal activities can be hard. Worried kids have trouble adjusting to school, making friends, and learning. They can feel inhibited, avoiding challenges by running away or retreating into themselves. While parents may feel desperate to help, their approaches can backfire. For example, trying to talk kids out of their feelings or keep them away from anxiety-producing situations may inadvertently make the anxiety worse.

To help anxious kids, clinicians have developed science-based treatments, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, to alleviate symptoms. But the treatments can be cumbersome and expensive, and they don’t always work. Anxiety in kids as young as preschool-aged can be a sign of future trouble—a precursor to later disorders, like social anxiety, phobias, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. But less is known about how to stop anxiety in its tracks at very young ages, when kids may not even have the cognitive capacity to benefit from the treatment.

What if very young kids could be inoculated against anxiety somehow, sparing them from a future of worry and inhibition? A new line of research conducted by Kate Fitzgerald, professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics at the University of Michigan, suggests this may be possible.

Fitzgerald has been studying very young children with anxiety symptoms and making important discoveries about the brain markers for childhood anxiety. Building on this work, she and her team have created a training program for young children aimed at increasing their cognitive capacities, helping to lessen their anxiety—both immediately and, possibly, in the future.

“We hope our work will show that childhood anxiety is not inevitable, but might be prevented with the right intervention,” says Fitzgerald. “So far, it’s looking promising.”

The neuroscience of anxiety

When we face challenging or scary situations in life, our brains naturally go into action. The amygdala sends out neurochemicals (like adrenaline) to make our hearts pound and prepare our bodies to “fight-flight, or freeze” in case of danger. At the same time, the frontal lobes engage our cognition to assess the situation, draw from past experience, and problem-solve to come up with an appropriate response. In healthy people, these dual systems work in tandem—one putting on the gas and the other applying the brakes—depending on what’s needed.

In the context of this process, a little bit of anxiety can have a positive side—like when it motivates us to practice hard to master a piano piece or study for a test. But, in anxious people, that gas pedal goes to the metal every time, making them want to run or flee challenge. It can be debilitating and exhausting, too, as they often have to exert a lot of effortful control just to get through. Facing stressful situations while tamping down that fear response is key to overcoming anxiety—in adults as well as older kids.

But in young kids, Fitzgerald and her team are discovering, the brain may respond a little differently. For example, four to seven-year-olds have a higher-than-normal startle response in “neutral situations”—where nothing threatening is happening—but have a normal startle response in scary situations that any child might react to. That suggests that they have more to overcome when facing everyday challenges, like going to school or meeting new people.

Her team has also discovered that a part of the brain that responds when people make a mistake—the error-related negativity (or ERN)—is weaker in anxious five to seven-year-olds than in worried older children and adults. That’s likely because young kids don’t have well-developed cognitive capacities that could help them understand that errors happen, aren’t scary, and can often be fixed. Without more cognitive control, their startle response wins out, making them anxious, says Fitzgerald.

A young child with low cognitive control is also more likely to develop anxiety later on in childhood, while one with a higher capacity will be more resilient to stress. Raising cognitive control (which can be measured by the ERN) could both treat anxiety in young children and potentially prevent it from becoming worse over time.

“If we could just help kids gain some cognitive control when they are anxious, it could really make a difference in how they deal with stressful situations,” says Fitzgerald. “We just need to empower them.”

Preventing harmful anxiety

To test this idea, Fitzgerald and her colleagues conducted a pilot study (as yet unpublished) with anxious four to seven-year-olds. The children came to a “camp” the researchers designed called Kid Power for four half-day sessions over two weeks. At the camp, children played fun, ordinary childhood games, like “Simon Says” and “Red Light/Green Light,” that help strengthen cognitive control.

Counselors at the camp gradually increased the challenge within the games to help kids master the skills needed to do well—like being flexible, using their working memory, and inhibiting undesirable responses (like moving when they’re supposed to freeze). They also enjoyed the company of other kids, with whom they brainstormed ways to improve their performance. And parents participated at the end of each session, learning the games from their kids so they could practice playing together at home.

To see the effects this training had on the kids’ brains and behavior, Fitzgerald and her colleagues measured their startle response and ERN before they attended the Kid Power camp and four to six weeks after. To do that, they had kids play computer games that required cognitive control while wearing special monitors that could capture their startle and ERN responses when they made mistakes. Additionally, the researchers gathered information from the parents and the kids themselves about anxiety symptoms before and after the camp.

After analyzing the data, the team found that the children’s ERNs increased (signifying greater cognitive control), while their startle responses went down—a pattern associated with less anxiety at that age.

“The brain signal that related to detecting an error actually increased, but in a good way,” said Fitzgerald. “Kids were getting better at doing hard things, stopping instinctual responding, including the fear response.”

This mirrored the children’s (and their parents’) own assessments. They reported fewer anxiety symptoms, including fear and avoiding challenging situations, after the training—something Fitzgerald found particularly rewarding.

“It’s exciting to link the brain to behavior, but what’s even more rewarding is the individual children we’ve seen go through the program who are experiencing fewer anxiety symptoms,” she says.

For example, one parent reported that her daughter, who’d had symptoms of the obsessive-compulsive disorder prior to attending the Kid Power camp, had made a noticeable improvement, even while the camp was still going on.

“She didn’t want to leave while she was here, and she was in a better mood during the week in between—a little less rigid and able to experience more joy,” the parent wrote in an evaluation.

Fitzgerald recalls another five-year-old camper who’d been very afraid of making mistakes in his kindergarten class, which led to bouts of crying and other disruptive behaviors, requiring daily calls home. After attending the camp, though, and learning how to calm anxiety, everything changed.

“After a week of playing those games that were part of the intervention, those calls from home stopped,” says Fitzgerald. “His mom was impressed because earlier counseling with a trained therapist had not led to improvement. Only after Kid Power did he successfully adjust to kindergarten and begin to enjoy it.”

With encouraging results from this pilot study, Fitzgerald applied for and received a $3 million National Institutes of Health grant to expand the Kid Power program and conduct further research. She hopes future studies will help her nail down the key ingredient in the program that led to reduced anxiety and, potentially, find a way to tailor treatment to individual children—some of whom may need a stronger dose of the training or slightly different activities to improve, she says.

If her initial findings hold, her work could have broad implications, providing a template that others can follow for treating and preventing childhood anxiety disorders in the future.

“Interventions are within reach,” she says. “As we work to understand the science behind anxiety in young minds, we can use that science to develop treatments that are more effective.”

This article was originally published by AIM Youth Mental Health, a non-profit dedicated to finding and funding promising youth mental health research that can identify solutions to make a difference in young people’s lives today, which contributed to funding Kate Fitzgerald’s research. Read the original article.

About the Author
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Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s former book review editor and now serves as a staff writer and contributing editor for the magazine. She received her doctorate of psychology from the University of San Francisco in 1998 and was a psychologist in private practice before coming to Greater Good.




Astronomers Find A New Kind Of Supernova

 

It’s almost impossible for the human mind to imagine the incredible forces involved in a supernova. They’re so colossal that they would make the largest atomic bomb that’s ever exploded on Earth seem like a party popper. They’d make the biggest volcanic eruption ever seen look like popping candy. When stars expand, collapse, or implode, each event is monumental. In extreme cases, such events can warp the space-time continuum. The death of a star is a reminder of the impermanence of everything and also the fact that we live in a tiny corner of an enormous universe.

We’re all fascinated with stars to a greater or lesser degree. We looked up at them at night and wished upon them as children. Our ancient ancestors imagined shapes in them, creating constellations and building legends around them. We’ve used them to navigate the oceans and track the passing of time. Even today, some people trust their fate to them via the medium of astrology. They’ve also become playthings in online slots games like “Starburst.” For all the entertainment value of that online slots game and all the complex mathematics that goes into its running, it’s nothing compared to a real supernova. You could add all the mathematical functions of every online slots game at Rose Slots CA together, and you still wouldn’t get close to being able to accurately model a supernova. They’re difficult things to study because they happen so rarely and so far away.

The rarity of supernovae is what makes them so difficult to study. Even our most powerful telescopes can’t see past the dense cluster of stars at the centre of the Milky Way, obscuring our view of our native galaxy. It’s thought that there’s an average of around four supernovae per century in the Milky Way, but none of them have ever been directly observed from Earth because we can’t predict them and don’t know where to look. The closest and most detailed look that scientists on Earth have ever got at a supernova happened in 2016 when a star died in a small galaxy more than 4.6 billion light years from our own. The explosion was unusually bright – around five hundred times brighter than the average supernova – so the star must have been colossal. That’s about all scientists could discern about it from such a distance other than the fact that a massive release of hydrogen probably meant it was two stars that had merged to form a white dwarf before collapsing.

Because of the comparative lack of information available about supernovae, scientists have until now divided them into just two different categories. That all changed at the beginning of July 2021. Through a combination of luck and observation, astronomers were able to capture a supernova in progress a mere 31 million light years away. It exhibited characteristics that experts have never seen in a supernova before, leading it to be classified as a third, never-before-seen type of supernova. In the process, they believe they might have solved a one-thousand-year-old mystery.

Before this new observation, supernovas were divided into “core-collapse supernovae” and “thermonuclear supernovae.” A core-collapse supernova happens when a large star – at least eight times more massive than our own Sun – runs out of fuel to burn and collapses in on itself, becoming either a super-dense neutron star or even a black hole in the process. Thermonuclear supernovae happen when white dwarf stars explode outward, sometimes creating nebulae or enormous gas clouds in the process. A third type of supernova – a so-called “electron-capture supernova” – was theorised by Japanese scientist Ken’ichi Nomoto during the 1980s but remained strictly theoretical until this week. We now know that Ken’ichi’s theory was correct.

In Nomoto’s model, a large star that runs out of fuel and begins to collapse might eventually force electrons into the atomic nuclei of its core through sheer gravity, resulting in the star losing most of its mass before exploding. Such a supernova should be far less radioactive than a regular thermonuclear supernova and should leave behind a neutron-rich core. The recently detected supernova, named “Supernova 2018zd” after the year in which the star began to be monitored, shows signs of all these processes. It lost a lot of its mass before it went supernova, its chemical composition is highly unusual, the explosion was comparatively weak, there’s little sign of radiation, and the core appears to be rich in neutrons. Happily, Nomoto is still alive and has had the opportunity to review the data first-hand. He’s delighted to finally be proven correct.

Perhaps encouraged by the discovery of this new type of supernova (which might be named the Nomoto Supernova in his honour), Nomoto has now suggested that the great supernova of 1054 might have been a stellar event of this kind. Historical accounts tell us that in the year 1054, a bright light appeared in the sky and remained visible in the daytime for 23 days. The people of the time didn’t know what it was, but we now recognise it as the supernova that created the Crab Nebula. It’s long been suspected that the Crab Nebula was created by a supernova, but Nomoto now believes it to be the product of an electron-capture supernova. The detection of a neutron star or even a neutron-rich core within the heart of the nebula might confirm his theory – and that’s the project he’s now working on.

Stars can live for billions of years. Our own native star will still be spinning in the sky long after everybody reading this article has turned to dust. We’re all footprints in the sand as far as the stars are concerned. They existed long before life emerged on Earth, and they’ll still be spinning in the sky long after the Earth has been destroyed by the expansion of the sun. Even after thousands of years of gazing up at them in wonder, our understanding of them leaves much to be desired. Understanding how they die, though, might hold the key to understanding how they’re born. Thanks to Nomoto and the people who monitored Supernova 2018zd, we know more today than we did yesterday. Progress is slow, but it’s happening.




Are We Living in A Computer Simulation? | Gregg Braden

Video Source: Inspired

Numerous scientists believe that we live in a simulated, virtual reality. Gregg Braden discusses this belief.




The Empire Depends on Psychological Compartmentalization

Britain’s High Court has granted the US government limited permission to appeal its extradition case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, meaning that the acclaimed journalist will continue to languish in prison for exposing US war crimes while the appeals process plays out.

If the western media were what it purports to be, every member of the public will be acutely aware of the fact that a journalist is being imprisoned by the most powerful government on earth for exposing inconvenient facts about its war machine. Because the western media are propaganda institutions designed to protect the powerful, this fact is far from the forefront of public attention. Most people are more aware of the smears about Assange being a Russian agent or a rapist than they are of his victimization by a tyrannical assault on world press freedoms.

There is a whole other world happening just below the surface of mainstream public attention. The membrane of celebrities and entertainment and partisan bickering overlays public perception of the world almost the entire time, only occasionally being disrupted by short-lived blasts of dissonance piercing through the fog.

You’ll be reading about what Ronnie Republican said to Debbie Democrat, and it will feel so real and normal, then all of a sudden you’re getting blasted in the face with talk of Jeffrey Epstein getting suicided in prison amid reported ties to government-run sexual blackmail operations using minors for the purpose of controlling society’s leading influencers. Then it gets quickly memory-holed, the membrane returns, and it’s back to Ronnie and Debbie once again.

But before the fog returns there’s always a short-lived moment of “What?? Huh??” as you try to re-orient yourself to reality in light of the new information you just received. What you just saw is completely irreconcilable with your current view of the world, the one you’ve been fed piece-by-piece by school and mass media and internet algorithms. The clash between your comfortable existing worldview and the new information you just received causes a kind of psychological discomfort known as cognitive dissonance, which makes it hard to hold them both at the same time.

From there, psychological compartmentalization takes over. Compartmentalizing is when we mentally separate information or experience from our existing understanding of ourselves and our world and kind of sweep it under the carpet so we don’t experience cognitive dissonance anymore. We don’t delete it; the information is still there to be accessed if we want to, but it’s placed in a separate file and treated as though it exists in a parallel alternate reality.

Compartmentalization sometimes comes into play when a wife discovers that her husband has been sexually molesting their child; she files the information away into a separate container because the way that information would shatter her world if she held onto it is too frightening and the cognitive dissonance of holding both worlds at the same time too uncomfortable.

Compartmentalization comes in when we’re scrolling through our news feed and see something about the horrors that are being unleashed upon Yemen with the help of our government; it doesn’t square with the model of the world we’ve been trained to hold in our minds, so we dissociate it from our model.

It comes in when we remember that we were lied to about Iraq. It comes in when we think about what humankind’s way of living on this planet is doing to our ecosystem. It comes in when we think about the fact that nuclear weapons are a thing and that cold war tensions are escalating. It comes in when we are reminded that our government is participating in the torture and imprisonment of a journalist whose only crime was trying to bring the truth out from the locked files it’s been hidden away in so we can make it a part of our worldview.

The cost of coming out of compartmentalization into a worldview of integrity is cognitive dissonance and the discomfort of constructing a new conceptual framework for reality. But the reward is having a perspective that is based on truth instead of lies.

Compartmentalization is a weapon of the propagandists. It’s a glitch in our cognitive processing which means they don’t have to work as hard to keep us living in a lie-based reality tunnel; all they have to do is construct our perception of reality for us, and from there our own psychological defense systems will do the work for them.

The oligarchic empire which rules our world is not truly hidden from view; we see signs of it all the time, it’s just too uncomfortable for most of us to look at. The monster isn’t hiding under the bed, it’s staring us right in the face and we’re looking all over the room except where it’s standing because to meet its gaze would obliterate our world.

But obliterate it we must. Lie-based worldviews are what hold the empire together; the powerful spend so much energy propagandizing us because they need to in order to retain power. Without it, we could realize that they are unleashing immense evils upon our world and that there are a whole lot more of us than there are of them.

And this is what we must do if our species is to survive in the future. We must find a way to move past the cognitive dissonance from a lie-based way of living into a truth-based way of living, and become a truth-based species with a truth-based relationship with each other and with our ecosystem. If we keep hiding from reality, we’ll compartmentalize ourselves right out of existence.

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud, or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon, or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here

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Caitlin Johnstone is an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz

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Science Journals Engaged in Massive Disinformation Campaign

By Dr. Joseph Mercola | mercola.com

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The Lancet and Nature have both promoted the natural origin theory for SARS-CoV-2 and protected the theory by refusing to publish counterarguments and/or publishing scientific statements by individuals with serious conflicts of interest
  • The Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission included Peter Daszak, Ph.D., president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that collaborated with various universities and organizations on research in China, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). He was recently taken off the Commission due to controversy over his large number of conflicts of interest
  • The Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission also includes Danielle Anderson, an Australian WIV virologist who left Wuhan shortly before the pandemic broke out. Anderson says she “does not believe” the virus is manmade. Anderson’s Commission biography does not mention that she worked at the WIV
  • In January 2021, 14 global experts submitted a letter to The Lancet in which they argued that “the natural origin is not supported by conclusive arguments and that a lab origin cannot be formally discarded.” The submission was rejected with the justification that the topic was “not a priority” for the journal
  • Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of The Lancet is now being criticized for his long defense and support of the Chinese regime and is accused of using The Lancet to pursue political causes and stifle scientific debate

More than a year ago, in February 2020, a group of 27 scientists wrote a letter published in The Lancet condemning “conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”1

Although The Lancet — like other medical journals — requires contributors to disclose financial or personal interests that might be viewed as possible conflicts of interests with their submissions, the 27 authors declared they had “no competing interests.”

June 21, 2021, The Lancet published an addendum admitting that “some readers have questioned the validity of this disclosure, particularly as it relates to one of the authors, Peter Daszak.”2

As a result, The Lancet asked the 27 signers to “re-evaluate” their competing interests and to declare any “financial and non-financial relationships that may be relevant to interpreting the content of their manuscript.” So far, Daszak has updated his previous claim of having no competing interests to include a 416-word disclosure statement clarifying that, indeed, he had several conflicts of interest.

First, he is the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that receives funding from a “range of U.S. Government funding agencies and non-governmental sources.”

Second — and most importantly — Daszak also explained that, although its work with China is currently unfunded, he and the Alliance have collaborated with various universities and organizations on research in China, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Specifically, this work includes studies of bats and viruses, including “the isolation of three bat SARS-related coronaviruses that are now used as reagents to test therapeutics and vaccines.”

The Lancet Accused of Kowtowing to China

The COVID pandemic has brought attention to any number of problems within the academic arena. Disturbingly, we’ve discovered that scientific journals held in high regard for many decades — The Lancet has been around for 198 years — are colluding to censor important facts and stifle scientific debate. The Lancet statement deriding the lab leak theory as a conspiracy theory to be ignored is a prime example. As reported by the Daily Mail, June 26, 2021:3

“The Lancet letter, signed by 27 experts, played a key part in silencing scientific, political and media discussion of any idea that this pandemic might have begun with a lab incident rather than spilling over naturally from animals.

It was even reportedly used by Facebook to flag articles exploring the lab leak hypothesis as ‘false information’ … Yet it emerged later that The Lancet statement was covertly drafted by British scientist Peter Daszak — a long-term collaborator with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which was carrying out high-risk research on bat coronaviruses and had known safety issues …

Four months later, The Lancet set up a ‘Covid-19 Commission’ to assist governments and scrutinize the origins. It was led by Jeffrey Sachs … Incredibly, he backed Daszak to lead his commission’s 12-person taskforce investigating Covid’s origins — joined by five fellow signatories to The Lancet statement …

Last week The Lancet finally ‘recused’ him from its commission and published an ‘addendum’ to its statement detailing some of his Chinese links. Yet critics say the journal has still failed to admit that six more signatories to that February statement have ties to Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance as directors or partners.

‘It would have been better for The Lancet to have stated that Daszak’s and other signers’ previous declarations were untruthful and to have attached an editorial expression of concern,’ said Richard Ebright, a bio-security expert and professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Now The Mail on Sunday has learned that The Lancet is set to publish a second statement by these signatories that presses the case that Covid probably emerged through natural ‘zoonotic’ transmission from animals to humans.”

Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of The Lancet is now being criticized for his long defense and support of the Chinese regime and is accused of using The Lancet to pursue political causes and stifle scientific debate.4

In January 2021, 14 global experts submitted a letter to The Lancet in which they argued that “the natural origin is not supported by conclusive arguments and that a lab origin cannot be formally discarded.” Horton rejected the submission, stating it was “not a priority” for the journal.5

Any medical journal worthy of a good reputation needs to be an open platform for wide-ranging debate. Horton’s refusal to publish the other side of the origins argument has without a doubt damaged the credibility and reputation of the journal. Tory MP Bob Seely told the Daily Mail:6

“The claims of a cover-up over the most important scientific issue of our time grow stronger by the day. It is vital we get to the truth over what appears to have been a cover-up on the pandemic origins with the collusion of journals such as The Lancet.”

Let’s also remember that The Lancet published an entirely fake study claiming hydroxychloroquine was dangerous. This paper using completely fabricated data made the media rounds and led to countries banning the drug’s use against COVID-19.

This too raises serious questions about the journal’s credibility. How was this fraud not discovered during the peer review process? Could it be that The Lancet allowed it because it would help protect the roll-out of profitable new COVID drugs and “vaccines”?

What’s Behind Science Journals’ Censorship?

What could possibly be behind science journals’ decision to silence debate in what appears to be a concerted effort to protect Chinese interests? In a June 18, 2021, article,7 Matt Ridley suggests it might have to do with the fact that “scientific papers have become increasingly dependent on the fees that Chinese scientists pay to publish in them, plus advertisements from Chinese firms and subscriptions from Chinese institutions.”

The Lancet is not alone in its less than objective stance on China. In 2017, the Nature journal admitted it censors articles containing words like “Taiwan,” “Tibet” and “cultural revolution” in its Chinese editions at the request of the Chinese government.8 “In April 2020 Nature ran an editorial apologizing for its ‘error’ in ‘associating the virus with Wuhan’ in its news coverage,” Ridley writes.9

Nature also attached an editorial note to several old articles, saying they were being misused “as the basis for unverified theories that the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 was engineered,” and that “there is no evidence that this is true; scientists believe that an animal is the most likely source of the coronavirus.”

One of those articles, published in 2015, was titled “Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research.” The research being questioned was done by WIV researchers.

Gaslighting Alert: Abusers Now Play the Victim Card

For the past year and a half, scientists, doctors, reporters, and anyone else who dared point out blatant discrepancies in the natural origins narrative have been attacked and painted as quacks and dangerous conspiracy theorists. They’ve been censored, de-platformed, and publicly defamed and shamed. Many a fine career has been ruined or seriously tarnished by baseless personal attacks.

Now that undeniable evidence is finally reaching critical mass, natural-origin defenders are playing the victim card. For example, Amy Maxmen, Ph.D., a journalist for Nature for the past 13 years, has been covering the SARS-CoV-2 origin debate. In a May 26, 2021, tweet, she stated the “debate over a lab-leak has become toxic and risky.”10

Angela Rasmussen, Ph.D., a natural origin proponent, responded saying that “the origins debate has become a toxic milieu dominated by opportunists, dilettantes, racist/misogynist assholes, and trolls.”11 Rasmussen claims she’s been personally attacked and abused for trying to explain the natural origin theory.

The irony is that the same people who abused others for talking about the lab leak theory are now getting a taste of their own medicine, and they don’t like it. They’re the ones who have been peddling misinformation all along, and as the masses are catching on to the deceit, they’re catching heat.

To deflect and finger-point yet again, abusers are now playing the victim. Another tactic is to claim that attacks on them are attacks on science itself. Dr. Anthony Fauci, for example, has stated this on more than one occasion already.12,13 In a June 2021 MSNBC interview, Fauci said criticizing him was “very dangerous,” and that:14,15

“A lot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me quite frankly are attacks on science because all of the things I have spoken about from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science … If you are trying to get at me as a public health official and scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science.”

His comments didn’t go over well, based on social media responses.16 Reporter Glenn Greenwald’s Tweet will suffice to summarize the general consensus:17

“Beyond the dangerous arrogance and pomposity of proclaiming ‘anyone who criticizes me is attacking Science’ — thus placing himself off-limits from questioning — he *admitted* he purposely issued false, anti-science, politicized claims … Once you *admit* that you made false statements in violation of The Science™, you don’t then get to equate yourself to The Science™ such that attacks on you are attacks on it.”

Another example is that of Dr. Peter Hotez, one of the most shockingly hateful people in the medical field who has publicly stated he wants to “snuff out” vaccine skeptics and has called for cyberwarfare measures to be deployed against me and others who share vaccine safety information. Coincidentally, this public plea was published in the journal Nature.18

This man, who has spewed all sorts of vile language at parents of vaccine-injured children and called for physical harm and imprisonment of people who don’t agree with the one-size-fits-all vaccine agenda is now complaining about getting bombarded with “anti-vax hate speech.”19

Billions of Dollars at Stake

To circle back to the question of why prominent and previously respected science journals are publishing propaganda and suppressing open discussion, the most likely reason — aside from their dependence on Chinese publishing fees and advertising dollars — is the fact that if SARS-CoV-2 is proven to be a manmade virus that escaped from a lab (regardless of its location), billions of dollars in funding for gain-of-function research and even vaccine research could evaporate.

As a publisher of research, it makes sense that journals would be willing to protect the research industry as a whole, and provide a platform for chosen spokespeople — such as Hotez — who shamelessly promote the official narrative, no matter how tenuous or unscientific it might be, or how clear the conflicts of interest.

Here’s another case in point: On June 28, 2021, Bloomberg tweeted out a short video featuring Danielle Anderson, an Australian WIV virologist who left Wuhan shortly before the pandemic broke out. Anderson says she “does not believe” the virus is manmade. In response, Hotez tweeted:20

“And we’re in agreement: SARS-2 coronavirus has natural origins, was not produced through GOF [gain-of-function] research, and probably has nothing to do with the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

Coincidentally, Anderson is also on The Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission,21 the same Commission that Daszak was on. Her Lancet Commission bio22 says nothing about her work at the WIV, only that she is a senior research fellow at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Why is that? Is Anderson’s link to the WIV yet another “random coincidence” that has no bearing on her message? Or is it part of a pattern?

I believe the engineering of viruses and other pathogens is one of the greatest threats to life on earth at this point. We lucked out with SARS-CoV-2, as it turned out to be far less lethal than initially predicted. The next time we might not be so lucky.

As reported in July 2020, China has plans to erect high-security Biolabs in all of its 23 provinces, despite concerns about leakage risks.23 Worldwide, there are hundreds of laboratories where this kind of research is taking place on a daily basis. Considering the history of lab leaks, it’s only a matter of time before something truly nasty gets out.

This is why we must get to the bottom of where SARS-CoV-2 came from. We must know if it was manmade because, if so, we need to ban gain-of-function research aimed at making pathogens more dangerous to humans.

Yes, there are harmless gain-of-function experiments, and that’s not what we’re talking about here, although, harmless experiments can, of course, be steps in a process that ultimately results in a dangerous bioweapon. Overall, I think we need to seriously reconsider the need and value of genetic manipulation of viruses and the creation of synthetic ones.

For full references please use THIS source link.



Remembering Who We Truly Are in the Face of the Digital Revolution

By Jeremy Nadler | New Dawn

In the Western wisdom tradition, there is a recurrent theme of humanity’s self-forgetfulness. We find it, for example, in Plato, in the Corpus Hermeticum, in Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy, and in Gnostic texts such as the Hymn of the Pearl. This self-forgetfulness is a forgetting of our spiritual origins, and of the fact that human nature has a transcendent source. The person we ordinarily identify with is not the totality of who we are. This totality includes a spiritual kernel of which we are for the most part unconscious, and yet is nevertheless the foundation of our being, and our relationship to it is the secret of true happiness.

The wisdom traditions of both West and East have perennially sought to inculcate awareness of this spiritual kernel, in order to counteract the tendency of humans of all cultural epochs to forget and to neglect our spiritual origins. But where we today differ from cultures of the past is that not only do we suffer from the forgetfulness that is part of the human condition, but we also pay scant attention to the wisdom traditions that seek to rouse us to remembrance.

Instead, the whole thrust of contemporary culture is towards distraction, fragmentation, and dispersion of consciousness. The Digital Revolution has carried this tendency to an extreme, so much so that if we had deliberately set out to design technologies to induce the distractedness and self-forgetfulness that traditional spirituality has always endeavored to save us from, then we could hardly have done better. This in turn has led to many of us fail to notice just how corrosive these developments can be to the essential human task of remembering the totality of who we are.

But as well as inducing distractedness and self-forgetfulness, our technologies are the vehicles of something else, potentially far more detrimental to our wellbeing.

The Inhuman

Towards the end of his life, the post-modernist thinker Jean-François Lyotard formulated a question that haunts the times we live in. It lurks beneath the surface of our consciousness, for most of us unarticulated and for that reason all the more menacing. Lyotard had the sensitivity to understand its profound importance, and hence the need to raise it to conscious awareness.

The question that he formulated is this: What if what is “proper” to humankind were to be inhabited by the inhuman?

By the ‘inhuman’ we should understand that which is essentially hostile to the human. Lyotard distinguished two kinds of ‘inhuman’ – one is the inhumanity of our social, political, and economic systems. The other is the ‘infinitely secret’ inhumanity that invades the soul and holds it hostage. It is this latter kind of inhumanity that is the more insidious of the two, and it is this that, as our relationship with our digital devices becomes ever more intimate, poses the greatest danger to us. For the inhuman is carried towards us by our technologies.

While we can stand back from and critique the inhumanity of the social, political, and economic systems in which we live, our personal susceptibility to the ingress of the inhuman puts us in far greater jeopardy. This susceptibility has been exploited by the direction that our digital technologies have taken, which has been unwaveringly towards accommodating themselves within the sphere of the human. As they have evolved, they have adapted themselves to the human body as well as to the human soul, becoming physically smaller and lighter and at the same time more powerful and capable.

The first computers were so large we had to stand in front of them or walk around them in order to operate them. With the invention of desktop computers, it became possible to sit in front of them and engage with them, as it were, face to face. Then it became possible to put computers in our pocket, and now it is possible, with smartwatches and smartglasses, to wear them. At each stage, the interface between them and us has become more ‘human friendly’, while at the same time humans have inwardly adjusted to relate to them on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour, and even minute-by-minute basis.

While the computer has been molding itself to the contours of the human body and soul, the inner life of human beings has slowly but surely been molded towards a greater degree of computer compatibility – affecting our language, our thought processes, and our daily habits. In this evolving symbiosis, in which we have become ever more intertwined with the computer, we have also become more dependent on it. Biological integration is not far away. It is the logical next step.

It is of utmost importance, therefore, that we open our eyes to the fact that even though human beings are the inventors, manufacturers and eager consumers of digital technologies, the driving force behind the Digital Revolution is not simply human: the ‘inhuman’ is also seeking to be realized within the human.

How are we to characterize this specter of the inhuman? Human beings have always had the tendency to fall away from their essential nature. For pre-industrial humanity, the danger was conceived in terms of our descending to the animal or bestial level, captives of our untransformed instinctual drives and passions. That, we could say, is to fall beneath the human level: to fall into the sub-human. In our industrial and post-industrial age, the primary danger to our humanity lies less in succumbing to instincts and passions than in succumbing to the cold inhumanity of the machine and the unfeeling, compassionless algorithm. That is to fall into the inhuman.

Both tendencies live within us, and both works to undermine the possibility of realizing our true human potential, but today it is the peril of the inhuman that we must especially guard against. Its aim is to totally supplant the human, and it will surely succeed, should we fail to ground ourselves in the authentically human. We must wake up to the prospect of the colonization of the human by the inhuman and, in full awareness of the gravity of the threat posed by the inhuman, consciously take on the challenge of living humanly.

To Live Humanly

What does it mean to live humanly? If the totality of who we are includes a spiritual kernel of which we are for the most part unconscious, then it follows that to live humanly must be to live in greater consciousness of it. It is incumbent on us to strengthen our sense that this spiritual kernel is our deepest and truest self, and therefore the part of us with which we should seek to identify. This requires that we engage in the arduous work of inner transformation, so that those desires, inclinations, and deep-seated habits of thought, which draw us away from that essential remembrance, are slowly changed, and become inwardly aligned with what the wisdom traditions tell us is the true center of our being.

This moral effort of turning towards, and rooting ourselves in, the spiritual kernel of who we are also involving a shift in the quality of our thinking. This shift is from reliance on result-oriented, discursive thinking that runs along from one thought to another, towards giving more value to the stillness and open receptivity of the act of contemplation. Boethius gives the beautiful image of the seekers of truth having to bend their wandering consciousness into a circle and teach their souls ‘to lodge in the treasure house’ at its center. For there they will find a light, stronger even than the light of the sun, which will illumine their minds from within.

This ‘contemplative turn’ has always been regarded as the foundation of the spiritual life, but it is of especial relevance to us today. Our technologies are based on the automation of logical analysis, calculation and problem solving, and are fundamentally discursive and result-oriented: they are hyperactive and aim always to output results. By contrast, the act of contemplation brings the mind to a standstill: it is not result-oriented, it cannot be automated, and it can only be engaged for its own sake. It enables us to gain insights into the deeper meaning of things, about which machine thinking knows nothing. These insights can well up from the imaginal world as powerful archetypal images, for contemplative thinking borders on imaginative vision. Equally, they can take the form of ideas or intuitions that, like rays of light, illumine a question or life situation from a more comprehensive standpoint.

Contemplation is often described as involving the opening of an inner eye of the soul. It is referred to as ‘the mind’s eye’ or ‘the eye of the heart’, and through it, we become aware of what is invisible to the physical eye. This more interior source of knowledge, which is unconditioned by habits of thought and opinion, could also be described as entailing an opening of the ‘inner ear’ of the soul to the voice of conscience. It can guide us towards a sense of moral certainty about what it is we should or should not do, and to the ideals that can inspire our actions.

Aristotle maintained that an action is only fully our own when we have ‘carried back the origin of the action’ to this contemplative part of ourselves, referred to as the nous, or ‘the center of spiritual intelligence’ within a person. Once it has been carried back to this source, then the action is entirely free because it has been chosen from the center, rather than from the periphery, of ourselves.

In the Western wisdom tradition, the defining characteristic of any action that is truly human is that it is free, precisely because it stems from this originating source. In AristotleThomas Aquinas, and Rudolf Steiner, we find this vital tenet reiterated: that we cannot adequately conceive of what it means to live humanly if we exclude freedom. Freedom belongs to the essence of human nature. That is not to say we necessarily live from the essence of ourselves every moment of the day. Far from it! But the trouble is that our digital technologies, because of their tendency to scatter the soul, don’t help us to do this. Rather they introduce a dark undertow with which we must constantly contend if we are to carry back the origin of our actions to the center of ourselves.

This movement back to the center is the premise of true freedom. It is not given to us on a plate: it has to be won. To become free, we must engage in the work of inner transformation previously referred to, which involves permeating the everyday self and its fantasies, obsessions, and desires with the clearly conceived aims that spring from the inmost source of who we are. In Christian mysticism, this inner work is called theosis, or ‘making divine’. Another word used to describe it was coined by the Italian poet Dante, who called this inner work ‘to transhumanise’ (trasumanare). The verb ‘to transhumanise’ well expresses the fact that our core human striving must be to overcome ourselves so that we go beyond the ‘merely human’ life lived at the periphery of who we are. It is a sign of our times that today ‘Transhumanism’ is a materialistic ideology that seeks to technologically ‘enhance’ the human being. Contemporary Transhumanists fail to grasp that to go beyond the merely human can only be achieved by grounding ourselves in the transcendent, and this requires dedicated soul-work, sustained by the spiritual discipline of coming back to the still point at the center of the circle.

As one of the most influential ideologies steering the Digital Revolution, the contemporary Transhumanist movement shows us the price that the Digital Revolution threatens to exact from us. The price is that we lose our ability to know the meaning and purpose of the spiritual life, we lose even our ability to understand the language that the wisdom traditions use. And ultimately we lose our humanity as overcome by the collective amnesia regarding what it means to realize our deeper human potential, we succumb to the inhuman.

The Interiority of Nature

From nature, too, a price is exacted by the Digital Revolution, which has swamped the natural environment with a complex mix of artificially generated electromagnetic fields. As a result, not just human beings but all living organisms are exposed to levels of electromagnetic radiation far in excess of natural background levels. It would be unwise to assume that this does not have any adverse effect on the wellbeing of living organisms and the ecosystems to which they belong. A growing number of studies show that many organisms are highly sensitive to electromagnetic fields and that increasing their exposure to them can indeed have demonstrable negative effects. It seems appropriate, at the very least, to extend the remit of the question originally posed by Lyotard to nature and ask:

“What if what is ‘proper’ to nature were to be inhabited by that which is hostile to nature? What if the living world were to be infiltrated by a force inimical to life?”

The rollout of 5G is premised on a further significant increase in the overall amount of radiofrequency radiation to which the planet will be subjected. 5G will help to establish a global ‘electronic ecosystem’ that, in addition to servicing the technological desires and aspirations of city-dwellers living in their ‘smart homes, will also enable greater monitoring and control of natural ecosystems and living creatures. It involves the insertion of the electronic ecosystem into these natural ecosystems, in order to create a ‘smart planet’.

The Western wisdom tradition has long acknowledged two aspects of nature: visible and invisible, or manifest and unmanifest. The physical forms that we perceive in the world around us arise from non-perceptible creative and formative forces, which must be taken into account if we are to grasp things in their wholeness. It is these forces that carry the energies of life, just as surely as electromagnetic radiation opposes them. One of the challenges we face today is to overcome our collective desensitization to these subtle life forces.

One step towards doing so is to free ourselves from the dominant utilitarian stance towards nature, which prioritizes data-collection and analysis and ever seeks practical results but is closed to nature’s interiority just as it is closed to the interior of our soul-life. A different kind of consciousness is needed – more receptive, open, and empathetic. Regarding this different kind of consciousness, Goethe advised:

Our full attention must be focused on the task of listening to nature, to overhear the secret of her process.

All of creation speaks of a transcendent spiritual intelligence at its source, if only we are able to hear it. The mystical path to union with God has long been understood to lead from the loving contemplation of creatures to the contemplation of this greater spiritual intelligence from which they issue, and on which they, like we, ultimately depend. For human beings to forget or neglect this relationship of nature to the divine is as serious a failure as it is for us to forget our relationship to the spiritual intelligence that dwells within us. To put it in Christian terms, the same Cosmic Logos lives at the very heart of both nature and the human soul.

Contemporary conditions make it very difficult for such perspectives to be taken with the seriousness they deserve. The incursion of the inhuman has allowed the utilitarian mind to break free of the moral and spiritual constraints that once kept it in bounds. But with the burgeoning electronics industry and the drive to forge a ‘smart planet’, a force hostile to nature insinuates itself into nature’s heart. These developments make nature vulnerable to increasing technologisation, one example of which is the fabrication of completely new synthetic organisms using computer programs. Another example is the design of remotely controlled robot bees to replace the dwindling number of living bees. Such interventions are only the beginning of a vastly ambitious project to redesign the world to satisfy the requirements of a ruthlessly technological consciousness that has lost all connection with its spiritual roots. This consciousness has no sense of the sacredness of life, nor of the spiritual responsibilities of human beings towards nature.

Foremost amongst these responsibilities is the obligation to know things in the truth of their being. Of all creatures on Earth, it is human beings alone who have the possibility of selflessly entering into the inner nature of another creature, without seeking to use or exploit it for our own ends. We alone can place ourselves imaginatively and empathetically into the being of another and, through opening the inner eye of the mind, or heart, we have the possibility of beholding the other in their truth. If we can regularly practice this, then we can help to build up a ‘spiritual ecosystem’ that can counterbalance the deathly ‘electronic ecosystem’ currently being established, for our mode of knowing can contribute something positive and life-affirming to the world. It can be a deed of illumination, which gives to nature the gift of our conscious recognition of its sacred ground.

Human beings and nature belong together. The struggle for a human future is at the same time a struggle for nature’s future. Just as we depend on nature for our survival, so too does nature depend on the quality of our knowing and relating, through which we may bring spiritual light to the world.

About the Author

Jeremy Naydler is the author of two articles on related subject matter that were recently published in New Dawn: ‘Machine Intelligence & Human Intelligence: What is the Difference?’ (New Dawn 170) & ‘5G: The Final Assault’ (New Dawn 173).

The above is slightly abridged and reprinted with permission of the publisher from the Introduction of Jeremy Naydler’s book Struggle for a Human Future: 5G, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2020). Available from all good bookstores and in Australia from www.rudolfsteinerbookcentre.com.au.

This article was published in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 14 No 4.



Astronomers Have Identified a White Dwarf so Massive That It Might Collapse

By W. M. Keck Observatory | Science Daily

Maunakea and Haleakala, Hawai’i — Astronomers have discovered the smallest and most massive white dwarf ever seen. The smoldering cinder, which formed when two less massive white dwarfs merged, is heavy, “packing a mass greater than that of our Sun into a body about the size of our Moon,” says Ilaria Caiazzo, the Sherman Fairchild Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate in Theoretical Astrophysics at Caltech and lead author of the new study appearing in the July 1 issue of the journal Nature. “It may seem counterintuitive, but smaller white dwarfs happen to be more massive. This is due to the fact that white dwarfs lack the nuclear burning that keeps up normal stars against their own self-gravity, and their size is instead regulated by quantum mechanics.”

The discovery was made by the Zwicky Transient Facility, or ZTF, which operates at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory; two Hawai’i telescopes — W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, Hawai’i Island, and University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy’s Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) on Haleakala, Maui — helped characterize the dead star, along with the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar, the European Gaia space observatory, and NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory.

White dwarfs are the collapsed remnants of stars that were once about eight times the mass of our Sun or lighter. Our Sun, for example, after it first puffs up into a red giant in about 5 billion years, will ultimately slough off its outer layers and shrink down into a compact white dwarf. About 97 percent of all stars become white dwarfs.

While our Sun is alone in space without a stellar partner, many stars orbit around each other in pairs. The stars grow old together, and if they are both less than eight solar masses, they will both evolve into white dwarfs.

The new discovery provides an example of what can happen after this phase. The pair of white dwarfs, which spiral around each other, lose energy in the form of gravitational waves and ultimately merge. If the dead stars are massive enough, they explode in what is called a type Ia supernova. But if they are below a certain mass threshold, they combine together into a new white dwarf that is heavier than either progenitor star. This process of merging boosts the magnetic field of that star and speeds up its rotation compared to that of the progenitors.

Astronomers say that the newfound tiny white dwarf, named ZTF J1901+1458, took the latter route of evolution; its progenitors merged and produced a white dwarf 1.35 times the mass of our Sun. The white dwarf has an extreme magnetic field almost 1 billion times stronger than our Sun’s and whips around on its axis at a frenzied pace of one revolution every seven minutes (the zippiest white dwarf known, called EPIC 228939929, rotates every 5.3 minutes).

“We caught this very interesting object that wasn’t quite massive enough to explode,” says Caiazzo. “We are truly probing how massive a white dwarf can be.”

What’s more, Caiazzo and her collaborators think that the merged white dwarf may be massive enough to evolve into a neutron-rich dead star, or neutron star, which typically forms when a star much more massive than our Sun explodes in a supernova.

“This is highly speculative, but it’s possible that the white dwarf is massive enough to further collapse into a neutron star,” says Caiazzo. “It is so massive and dense that, in its core, electrons are being captured by protons in nuclei to form neutrons. Because the pressure from electrons pushes against the force of gravity, keeping the star intact, the core collapses when a large enough number of electrons are removed.”

If this neutron star formation hypothesis is correct, it may mean that a significant portion of other neutron stars takes shape in this way. The newfound object’s close proximity (about 130 light-years away) and its young age (about 100 million years old or less) indicate that similar objects may occur more commonly in our galaxy.

MAGNETIC AND FAST

The white dwarf was first spotted by Caiazzo’s colleague Kevin Burdge, a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech, after searching through all-sky images captured by ZTF. This particular white dwarf, when analyzed in combination with data from Gaia, stood out for being very massive and having a rapid rotation.

“No one has systematically been able to explore short-timescale astronomical phenomena on this kind of scale until now. The results of these efforts are stunning,” says Burdge, who, in 2019, led the team that discovered a pair of white dwarfs zipping around each other every seven minutes.

The team then analyzed the spectrum of the star using Keck Observatory’s Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (LRIS), and that is when Caiazzo was struck by the signatures of a very powerful magnetic field and realized that she and her team had found something “very special,” as she says. The strength of the magnetic field together with the seven-minute rotational speed of the object indicated that it was the result of two smaller white dwarfs coalescing into one.

Data from Swift, which observes ultraviolet light, helped nail down the size and mass of the white dwarf. With a diameter of 2,670 miles, ZTF J1901+1458 secures the title for the smallest known white dwarf, edging out previous record holders, RE J0317-853 and WD 1832+089, which each have diameters of about 3,100 miles.

In the future, Caiazzo hopes to use ZTF to find more white dwarfs like this one, and, in general, to study the population as a whole. “There are so many questions to address, such as what is the rate of white dwarf mergers in the galaxy, and is it enough to explain the number of type Ia supernovae? How is a magnetic field generated in these powerful events, and why is there such diversity in magnetic field strengths among white dwarfs? Finding a large population of white dwarfs born from mergers will help us answer all these questions and more.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by W. M. Keck ObservatoryNote: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Caiazzo, I., Burdge, K.B., Fuller, J. et al. A highly magnetized and rapidly rotating white dwarf as small as the MoonNature, 2021 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03615-y



The Largest Meat-Eating Dinosaur: 11 Facts About the Spinosaurus

Dinosaurs are some of the most fascinating and astonishing creatures ever to walk the earth. Some of the most popular meat-eating dinosaurs are the Tyrannosaurus rex, velociraptor, and Spinosaurus.

While the Spinosaurus is popularly seen in many movies, video games, and cartoons, most people aren’t too aware of details about it, aside from the fact that it’s a carnivore. To learn more about this fantastic creature, here are some exciting facts and theories.

1. Spinosaurus Means’ Spine Lizard’

The name Spinosaurus is fitting because it means ‘spine lizard’. However, its scientific name is Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, which is a mouthful. It was the name given by Ernst Freiherr Stromer von Rechenbach all the way back in 1915. He was a German paleontologist, which means he studied fossils to classify organisms and learn more about how they lived with other creatures and their environment.

2. The First Remains Were Found In 1912

The first partial remains of this carnivorous semi-aquatic dinosaur were found in 1912 by Ernst Stromer. Unfortunately, complete remains haven’t yet been discovered. But, here are what Strormer found:

  • Lower jaw bone
  • Other bones that belong to the jaw area
  • Twenty teeth
  • Two cervical vertebrae
  • Seven dorsal vertebrae
  • Three sacral vertebrae
  • One caudal vertebra
  • Four thoracic ribs
  • Gastralia

One exciting finding about the spine is that the longest one measured up to 5.4 feet or 1.65 meters. There were some drawings of the fossil remains, but the teeth, vertebrae, ribs, and gastralia were not illustrated.

3. The First Fossil Remains Were Destroyed In World War 2

Although the remains found survived through World War 1, they wouldn’t make it past World War 2. They kept the bones in the Deutsches Museum in Munich. However, an Allied bombing raid in 1944 completely devastated the Spinosaurus remains. Since then, plaster casts were used as fossils of this specimen are rare.

4. The Spinosaurus Lived In The Cenomanian Period

After finding and examining these remains, Stromer believed that this particular Spinosaurus lived in the early Cenomanian period, about 97 million years ago. However, the species is believed to have existed somewhere between 112 to 97 million years ago.

5. They Lived In Northern Africa

When Ernst Stromer found the first Spinosaurus remains, he was in Egypt. Thus, ‘aegyptiacus’ was used. However, the species, including its other types, is believed to have lived all over Northern Africa, specifically Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco. It probably lived somewhere near the seashore as well.

6. They Might Have Been Swimmers

Based on where they lived and how they were built, experts believe that the Spinosaurus was semi-aquatic. This means that they could have been able to swim around and also live on land. For instance, their cylindrical and widely-spaced teeth in their long narrow jaws indicated that they could have had a fish diet. In addition, their skull was shaped a lot like a crocodile’s

The nostrils were also different from other dinosaurs as the Spinosaurus’ were nearer the eyes, on top of the nose. So, you could imagine how this made it easier for them to breathe while they waded and hunted for food in bodies of water. It’s also notable that other species from the spinosaurid family were fish-eaters too.

7. They Might Have Had A Fin

Another thing that’s unique about the Spinosaurus is that they might have had a large sail-like fin on their backs. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to be sure of what they were for, but here are some theories:

  • Temperature control
  • Attracting mates
  • Swimming

But, did you know that scientists aren’t exactly sure if the spine had a fin or a lump on the back? With only bones to help them out, there are limitations to what they could accurately propose a Spinosaurus looked like.

8. They Weren’t Restricted To Eating Fish

It’s believed that they mostly ate fish, but not tiny ones as it wouldn’t have sufficed. They probably caught massive fish species that also existed in their era. But, they probably hunted other prey too. However, experts could only theorize what other creatures were hunted, depending on other species that lived in the ecosystem.

Here are some possible food sources for the Spinosaurus:

  • Lepidotes sp.
  • Onchopristis numidus
  • Spinosaurus aegyptiacus
  • Bawitius bartheli
  • Polycotylidae incertae sedis
  • Mawsonia libyca
  • Cretolamna appendiculata
  • Asteracanthus aegyptiacus
  • Neoceratodus africanus
  • Retodus tuberculatus
  • Apertotemporalis baharijensis
  • Paranogmius doederleini
  • Schizorhiza stromeri
  • Squalicorax baharijensis

9. They Probably Walked On Twos
The next fact about the Spinosaurus is that it was a theropod. This means that it walked on twos. The name ‘theropod’ was derived from Greek, which essentially translated to ‘wild beast’ and ‘foot’.

On the other hand, the velociraptor is a different kind, belonging to dromaeosaurid theropods. Dromaeosaurid indicates that velociraptors were a kind of theropod that had feathers. The Spinosaurus didn’t have feathers, but what sets theropods apart is that they had hollow bones and limbs characterized by their three toes. Other theropod groups include:

  • Herrerasauria
  • Coelophysoidea
  • Dilophosauridae
  • Ceratosauria
  • Tetanurae

However, the Spinosaurus’ long front limbs indicated to experts that it might have been able to walk on fours too. If not, it’s believed that it evolved from being quadrupeds to theropods.

10. They Might Have Been The Biggest Meat-Eating Dinosaur

While the Tyrannosaurus rex is the most popular meat-eating dinosaur, it’s not the biggest. The ferocious Spinosaurus is believed to be the biggest carnivorous dinosaur, measuring an average of 50 feet long. It also weighed somewhere between 7-23 tons, so it was probably one of the most fearsome predators at that time.

11. There Could Have Been Two Kinds Of Spinosaurus

Although it’s pretty challenging to find their remains, there were two types of Spinosaurus species that had been named. The first is the Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, which was what Ernst Stromer found in Egypt. Its name translates to ‘Egyptian spine lizard’.

There’s also the Spinosaurus maroccanus found in Morocco and was described by Dale Russel as an entirely different Spinosaurus species. He made this determination based on how long the neck vertebrae were.  However, experts debate the Spinosaurus Maroccanus’ validity as an entirely different species because Spinosaurus aegyptiacus possibly had varying neck lengths.

Conclusion

Because dinosaurs are believed to have become extinct due to an asteroid, it isn’t easy to be precise about specific details of dinosaurs, including the Spinosaurus. Thankfully, with discoveries and studies from experts like paleontologists, one could get an idea about how big they were, what they ate, and how they lived in their age. It also helps to imagine what they could have looked like, especially their color and how they moved.




The Benefits and Risks of LSD: Everything You Need to Know Available on Psychable

LSD is a potent psychedelic that has been around for a long time, but what exactly is it? Why do people take it? What are the risks and benefits of LSD use? Psychable is an online community connecting those interested in psychedelic therapy with professionals that can support them.  We have gone through Psychable’s content library on LSD to gather information for you on the benefits and risks of LSD.

What is LSD?

Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a psychedelic substance derived from the ergot fungus that is found in rye and other grains. Ergot was once called “common spirit” and was used medicinally by midwives to help ease labor pains as early as the 1500s.

LSD was discovered in 1938 by Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, who experienced its mind-altering effects firsthand when he accidentally ingested it while studying ergot in a lab. It wasn’t until 1943, however, that he intentionally ingested LSD to study its hallucinogenic effects. It was studied by other scientists in the 1950s and 1960s, and gained popularity among members of the counterculture movement during the 1960s and 1970s, but it still retains an aura of a mystery today.

In recent decades, research on LSD has been conducted by private institutions in Europe and North America. The substance remains illegal worldwide under UN conventions on narcotics and is considered a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act and is illegal for use in the United States.

How does it work?

“LSD interacts with chemical messengers (serotonin) within your cells to produce an altered state of consciousness and change how you experience things; for example, music may sound better or colors may look more vivid than usual”, explains Matt Zemon, Psychable Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder.

Matt Zemon, Psychable Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder

LSD is typically taken by placing a tab underneath the tongue, but can also be administered in liquid form or in gelatin or sugar cubes. By placing a blotter paper or tab of LSD underneath the tongue, the chemicals dissolve into mucous membranes and enter into circulation quickly without being metabolized by stomach acids first. The onset of effects usually begins in the first 30-60 minutes and has an average duration of about 12 hours depending on the dose and how it was ingested.

The Importance of Set & Setting

There are two fundamental factors that go into the experience of taking LSD; set and setting. Set refers to both the short-term mindset one is in as well as one’s overall outlook on life, including any past traumas that may affect the psychedelic experience. Setting refers to the physical surroundings where one takes LSD, as well as the people involved in the experience. These two elements combined will determine how an individual will react to the drug. It is also important to note that set and setting may be different each time a person experiences a psychedelic trip, meaning that the same person can react differently each time.

If someone has a positive outlook on life, they may have a better time with their trip than if they were feeling anxiety or fear about it beforehand. If somebody takes LSD at home alone or with a sober guide, rather than out in public, it is less likely that they will experience an adverse reaction.

Is there a safe dose for taking LSD?

Although lethal doses have been determined from experiments in several animal models, there has never been a recorded case of death exclusively attributed to LSD in humans. The appropriate amount of LSD to take will depend on the desired outcome.

Dosage can vary depending on the type of LSD as well as where it is sourced from but generally falls into one of two categories: a full dose, or a microdose. A full dose (100-200 micrograms) is typically used for spiritual purposes and will produce mind-altering effects. A microdose, which is a sub-perceptual amount of LSD (usually 20-30 micrograms) is often used to increase creativity and can be taken while going about one’s daily activities. While a full dose of LSD can last for up to 12 hours, a sub-perceptual amount can last up to six or eight hours.

What are the benefits of taking LSD?

“LSD has been shown to help people have meaningful experiences, giving way for insightful new ideas,” says Jemie Sae Koo, Psychable CEO and Co-Founder. “Some people report that LSD helped them gain insight into themselves, their lives, and the nature of the universe. In one study, healthy subjects who were given a single 200 μg dose of LSD reported positive mood changes, positive social effects, and positive attitudes about life”.

Jemie Sae Koo, Psychable CEO and Co-Founder

The benefits of taking LSD in sub-perceptual dosages (microdosing) may include feeling happier, increased self-awareness or insight into oneself, heightened sensory perception and increased creativity and productivity.

There has been clinical research conducted on the use of LSD as a therapeutic tool to treat alcoholism and addiction to drugs such as heroin, morphine, or methadone. While more research is needed, clinical trials have shown promising results so far. The studies have shown that LSD may be able to help an individual break the cycle of dependency by effectively altering their mental state and their self-perception, which is a huge factor in the success of curing alcohol dependency.

What are the risks of taking LSD?

Studies have shown that no severe acute adverse effects have been observed when administering LSD to healthy subjects in double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled studies. Mild adverse effects in some people included psychological reactions such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • hallucinations
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia and feelings of confusion

and physical reactions such as:

  • increased heart rate
  • muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • sweating profusely
  • numbness or tingling sensations around the mouth or extremities (hands/feet)
  • dizziness/lightheadedness
  • chills/shivering spells
  • blurred vision
  • dry mouth
  • tremors
  • palpitations

In those who experienced them, these effects were shown to have completely subsided within 72 hours of dosage.

People who have a personal or family history of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia should not take LSD. In such individuals, there is an increased risk of prolonged psychosis or chronic depression.

Probably the most common psychological risk of LSD is the fear of having a “bad trip” or what the psychedelic therapy world refers to as a challenging trip, so as to not label the experience good or bad, as many insights that are beneficial can come from difficult journeys. Psychedelics have a way of bringing up memories and emotions from the past. Though this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can sometimes lead to intense bouts of anxiety or depression. Additionally, altered perceptions of time and reality can lead to paranoia. Taking time to properly prepare for a psychedelic experience can help reduce the chances of experiencing a bad trip.

How to Minimize the Risk of a Challenging Trip

If you’re looking to have a psychedelic experience, it is recommended that you find a trained guide who is not under the influence of LSD as well. The role of this guide is to prevent you from engaging in dangerous activities and to help bring you back to a state of calm if you begin to feel scared or anxious.

A trained guide or “sitter” can help you ground your mind in the present moment by doing things like helping you focusing on an object or listening closely for familiar sounds around yourself like the sounds of birds singing or of soft music. The guide should also help you address physical needs, like staying hydrated.

If you begin to feel like you’re having a challenging trip, there are a few things you can do (with the help of your guide).

  • Try to keep calm and focus on your breathing. You can do this by sitting down, closing the curtains or blinds or turning off the light, and turning off any music that might be playing loudly nearby.
  • You can also try to remember that hallucinogenic drugs can make you see, feel, and even hear things that are distorted or have no basis in reality. This is why it’s important to be in a safe space and with people you trust. Your sitter or guide can help remind you of this.
  • Knowing that time will return to its normal state of consciousness is also important. Those who understand this are less likely to experience anxiety or bad trips, making it an easier and more enjoyable journey overall.

Are there any long-term effects of taking LSD?

Research subjects given a single dose of LSD reported some long-lasting positive effects. These positive effects include increased optimism about the future and a sense of increased well-being and self-esteem as long-lasting changes.

Physically, LSD is considered to be one of the least toxic drugs. This is because it does not have any addictive properties and can be used in small doses. There are no documented deaths from an LSD overdose. LSD does not cause users to commit violent crimes or act recklessly without regard for their own safety.

It is important to note that scientific research on the use of LSD is ongoing, but survey data indicates that LSD is one of the least dangerous recreational drugs, along with psilocybin mushrooms and cannabis. Even so, if you are considering using LSD you should be sure to weigh the potential risks and benefits for your unique situation and make an informed, educated decision.




Get Ready for the Full “Strawberry Moon” on Thursday, June 24 – The Last Supermoon of 2021

By | The Mind Unleashed

Whether it’s rare conjunctionssupermoons, or the dazzling ring of fire solar eclipse earlier this month, 2021 has been a year absolutely filled with brilliant lunar events.

However, this month will see the year’s last supermoon– with a full “strawberry moon” gracing our night skies in the latter half of this week.

A “supermoon” takes place when a new or full moon is at its closest approach to Earth in its orbit. As a result, the moon will appear to be significantly larger and brighter than the usual full moon taking place throughout the year. Researchers remain split on whether the upcoming June moon is, indeed, a supermoon.

Much of this has to do with the different criteria used by various publications over which full moons actually qualify as supermoons, according to NASA.

“For 2021, some publications consider the four full Moons from March to June, some the three full Moons from April to June, and some only the two full Moons in April and May as supermoons,” said the space agency’s Gordon Johnston.

And while the expectation of a dazzling red- or pink-hued moon would make sense given the June moon’s title as a “strawberry moon,” the moon will be its typical golden hue.

The strawberry moon name instead reflects the time of year when Native American peoples harvested the fruit in parts of North America, notes the Farmer’s Almanac.

The strawberry moon marks the final full moon of spring or the first of the summer season. It has also gone by a number of other names, according to The Farmer’s Almanac. These names include the birth moon, blooming moon, egg-laying moon, green corn moon, hoer moon, hatching moon, honeymoon, and mead moon.

The full moon will be at its brightest on Thursday, June 24, at 2:40 p.m. ET, but won’t be fully visible until later that evening when it ascends past the horizon. The moon will then appear full for roughly three days, from about Wednesday morning through Saturday morning.

The precise time of the moonrise and moonset in your location can be found at timeanddate.com.

And don’t worry if weather conditions won’t allow you to view this rare lunar event – you can also view it live from the comfort of your home using the Virtual Telescope Project’s Livestream of the moon over Rome, Italy, which begins on June 24 at 3 p.m. ET.




Fear Is Contagious and Used to Control You

By Dr. Mercola | Waking Times

Governments are using fear to control and manipulate their citizens. That has now been admitted by members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behavior (SPI-B), a subcommittee that advises the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in the U.K. And they should know, because they advocated for it, and now say it was a regrettable mistake. As reported by The Telegraph, May 14, 2021:1

“Scientists on a committee that encouraged the use of fear to control people’s behavior during the COVID pandemic have admitted its work was ‘unethical’ and ‘totalitarian.’ Members of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behavior (SPI-B) expressed regret about the tactics in a new book about the role of psychology in the Government’s COVID-19 response.

SPI-B warned in March last year that ministers needed to increase ‘the perceived level of personal threat’ from COVID-19 because ‘a substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened.’

Gavin Morgan, a psychologist on the team, said: ‘Clearly, using fear as a means of control is not ethical. Using fear smacks of totalitarianism. It’s not an ethical stance for any modern government. By nature I am an optimistic person, but all this has given me a more pessimistic view of people.’”

Psychological Warfare Is Real

The Telegraph quotes several of the SPI-B members, all of whom are also quoted in the newly released book, “A State of Fear: How the UK Government Weaponised Fear During the Covid-19 Pandemic,” written by Laura Dodsworth:2

“One SPI-B scientist told Ms Dodsworth: ‘In March [2020] the Government was very worried about compliance and they thought people wouldn’t want to be locked down. There were discussions about fear being needed to encourage compliance, and decisions were made about how to ramp up the fear. The way we have used fear is dystopian.

The use of fear has definitely been ethically questionable. It’s been like a weird experiment. Ultimately, it backfired because people became too scared’ …

One warned that ‘people use the pandemic to grab power and drive through things that wouldn’t happen otherwise … We have to be very careful about the authoritarianism that is creeping in’ …

Another member of SPI-B said they were ‘stunned by the weaponization of behavioral psychology’ during the pandemic, and that ‘psychologists didn’t seem to notice when it stopped being altruistic and became manipulative. They have too much power and it intoxicates them.’

Steve Baker, the deputy chairman of the COVID Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said: ‘If it is true that the state took the decision to terrify the public to get compliance with rules, that raises extremely serious questions about the type of society we want to become. If we’re being really honest, do I fear that government policy today is playing into the roots of totalitarianism? Yes, of course it is.’”

The Manufacture of Fear

For nearly a year and a half, governments around the world, with few exceptions, have fed their citizens a steady diet of frightening news. For months on end, you couldn’t turn on the television without facing a ticker-tape detailing the number of hospitalizations and deaths.

Even when it became clear that people weren’t really dying in excessive numbers, the mainstream media fed us continuous updates on the growing number of “cases,” without ever putting such figures into context or explaining that the vast majority were false positives.

Information that would have balanced out the bad news — such as recovery rates and just how many so-called “cases” actually weren’t, because they never had a single symptom — were censored and suppressed.

They also refused to put any of the data into context, such as reviewing whether the death toll actually differed significantly from previous years. Instead, each new case was treated as an emergency and a sign of catastrophic doom.

Don’t Be Confused — Contradiction Is a Warfare Tactic

Aside from the barrage of bad-news-only data — which, by the way, was heavily manipulated in a variety of ways — fear and anxiety are also generated by keeping you confused. According to Dodsworth, giving out contradictory recommendations and vague instructions is being done intentionally, to keep you psychologically vulnerable.

“When you create a state of confusion, people become ever more reliant on the messaging. Instead of feeling confident about making decisions, they end up waiting for instructions from the Government,” she said in a May 20, 2021, interview on the Planet Normal podcast.3

An example provided by Dodsworth is the pandemic measures implemented over Christmas 2020:

“Family Christmases were on, then off, then back on, then off again. You have got someone tightening the screw, then loosening the screw, then tightening it again. It’s like a torture scenario.”

But that’s not all. As explained by psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin, by layering confusion and uncertainty on top of fear, you can bring an individual to a state in which they can no longer think rationally. Once driven into an illogical state, they are easily manipulated. I have no doubt driving people into a state where logic and reason no longer registers is the whole point behind much of the conflicting information we’re given.

The Fear Factory

In her book, Dodsworth details a number of branches of the British government that are using psychological warfare methods in their interaction with the public. In addition to the SPI-B, there’s the:4

Behavioral Insights team, the so-called “nudge unit,” a semi-independent government body that applies “behavioral insights to inform policy, improve public services and deliver positive results for people and communities.”5 This team also advises foreign nations.

Home Office’s Research, Information, and Communications Unit (RICU), which is part of the U.K.’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, advises front groups disguised as public “grassroots” organizations on how to “covertly engineer the thoughts of people.”

Rapid Response Unit, launched in 2018, operates across the British Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister’s office (colloquially known as “Number 10” as in the physical address, 10 Downing Street in London) to “counter misinformation and disinformation.” They also work with the National Security Communications Team during crises to ensure “official information” gets maximum visibility.6

Counter Disinformation Cell, which is part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. Both monitor social media and combat “fake news” about science in general and COVID-19 in particular, with “fake news” being anything that contradicts the World Health Organization’s guidance.7

Government Communications Headquarters (QCHQ), an intelligence and security organization that provides information to the U.K. government and the armed forces. According to Dodsworth, QCHQ personnel, and even members of the 77th Brigade, have been enlisted as so-called sockpuppets and trolls to combat anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown messaging on social media.

According to Dodsworth, there are many others. In her book, she claims at least 10 different government departments in the U.K. are working with “behavioral insights teams” to manipulate the public.

We’re Just Seeing It Now

Importantly, the government’s reliance on behavioral psychology didn’t just happen as a result of the pandemic. These tactics have been used for years, for myriad PR purposes, and while the pandemic may be winding down, Dodsworth warns that more and more behavioral scientists are being hired:8

“It’s growing and growing. Right now, I feel we are in a maelstrom of nudge,” she says. “In the past, there have been calls to consult the public on the use of behavioral psychology, and those calls have come from the behavioral scientists themselves. And yet it hasn’t happened. We haven’t yet been consulted on the use of subconscious techniques which effectively strip away our choices …

I fervently hope this book [‘The State of Fear’] is actually going to inspire a much-needed conversation about the use of fear, not just in the epidemic, but the way we use behavioral psychology overall.

It’s not just a genie that has been let out the bottle. It’s like we’ve unleashed a Hydra and you can keep chopping its head off, but they keep employing more of these behavioral scientists throughout different government departments. It’s very much how the Government now does business. It’s the business of fear …

I think ultimately people don’t want to be manipulated. People don’t enjoy being hoodwinked and they don’t want to live in a state of fear. We maybe need to be a bit bolder about standing up more quickly when something is not right.”

Fear Is Contagious

Fear has long been the tool of tyrants. It’s profoundly effective, in part because it spreads from person to person, just like a virus. The contagion of fear is the topic of the Nova “Gross Science” video above, originally aired in mid-February 2017. Among animals, emotional distress responses are telegraphed through pheromones emitted through various bodily secretions such as sweat and saliva.

As explained in the video, when encountering what is perceived as a serious threat, animals with strong social structures, such as bees and ants, will release alarm pheromone. The scent attracts other members of the hive or colony to collectively address the threat.

Humans appear to have a very similar capability. When scared or stressed, humans produce chemosignals, and while you may not consciously recognize the smell of fear or stress, it can have a subconscious impact, making you feel afraid or stressed too.

Humans also tend to mimic the feelings of those around us, and this is yet another way through which emotion can spread like wildfire through a community or an entire nation — for better or worse. Behavioral psychologists refer to this as “emotional contagion,” and it works both positive and negative emotions.

For example, if you’re greeted by a smile when meeting someone, you’re likely to smile back, mimicking their facial expression and behavior. If someone looks at you with an angry scowl, you’re likely to suddenly feel angry too, even if you weren’t before and have no subjective reason to — other than that someone looked at you the “wrong” way.

However, while both positive and negative emotions are contagious, certain emotions spread faster and easier than others. Research cited in the Nova report found that “high arousal” emotions such as awe (high-arousal positive emotion) and anger or anxiety (high-arousal negative emotion) are more “viral” than low-arousal emotions such as happiness or sadness.

The Nova report also points out that researchers have been mining Twitter and other social media data to better understand how emotions are spread, and the types of messages that spread the fastest. However, they ignored the primary culprits, Google and Facebook both of which steal your private data and use it to manipulate your behavior.

At the time, in 2017, they said this information was being harvested and used to develop ways to avoid public messaging that might incite mass panic. But the COVID-19 pandemic suggests the complete opposite. Clearly, behavioral experts have been busy developing ways to generate maximum fear, anxiety, and panic.

How to Inoculate Yourself Against Negative Contagion

At the end of the report, Nova cites research detailing three effective ways to “immunize” yourself against negative emotional contagions.

  1. Distract yourself from the source of the negative contagion — In the case of pandemic fearporn, that might entail not reading or listening to mainstream media news that for the past year have proven themselves incapable of levelheadedness.
  2. Project your own positive emotions back at the source of the negative contagion — If talking to someone who is fearful, they might end up “catching” your optimism rather than the other way around.
  3. Speak up — If someone is unwittingly spreading “negative vibes,” telling them so might help them realize what they’re doing. (This won’t work if the source is knowingly and purposely spreading fear or anxiety though.)

Pandemic of Panic

In a recent Tweet,9 Ivor Cummins, a biochemical engineer who researches the root causes of chronic disease, shared a short video detailing the root cause of the panic pandemic. Why has the whole world seemingly gone mad from fear?

As explained by Cummins, the outsized level of public fear is the result of a catastrophic feedback loop system where political and mainstream media drivers are pushing fear onto the public, and public fears are then feeding the media (fear sells) and pushing politicians to take action, which generates more fear messages. And so, round and round it goes.

However, at a certain point, this engine of fear starts losing steam. To keep the pandemic pandemonium going, academics bearing doomsday predictions were brought in to scare politicians and provide more fearporn fodder for the media.

Aiding the academic drivers are unelected, undemocratic organizations such as the World Health Organization, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Big Pharma (just to name a few), all of which support these academic doomsday prophets from behind the scenes or openly promote them.

All of the organizations Cummins mentions are part of a technocratic, unelected elite that are making decisions for the entire world. If we were to somehow shut down this secondary engine that feeds into the first, the global insanity would probably start to abate.

The question is, can that be done? Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has likened our current predicament to “an apocalyptical battle,”10 as we’re facing formidable undemocratic forces with seemingly unlimited financial resources, political influence, and the ability to control the global landscape of communications.

We’re facing a globalist agenda that ultimately seeks to gain total control by stripping away human rights and the rights of countries, and they’re using “biosecurity” as justification for it all.

Exposing the Grand Plan

As explained by journalist James Corbett in his October 16, 2020, Corbett Report,11 the Great Reset is a new “social contract” that ties every person to it through an electronic ID linked to your bank account and health records and a social credit ID that will end up dictating every facet of your life.

It’s about getting rid of capitalism and free enterprise and replacing them with “sustainable development” and “stakeholder capitalism” — terms that belie their nefarious, anti-humanity intents. As noted in the book, “Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order”:12

“… Sustainable Development is Technocracy … The Sustainable Development movement has taken careful steps to conceal its true identity, strategy and purpose, but once the veil is lifted, you will never see it any other way. Once its strategy is unmasked, everything else will start to make sense.”

In her blog post “The Great Reset for Dummies,” journalist Tessa Lena summarizes the purpose behind the call for a global “reset”:13

“The mathematical reason for the Great Reset is that thanks to technology, the planet has gotten small, and the infinite expansion economic model is bust — but obviously, the super wealthy want to continue staying super wealthy, and so they need a miracle, another bubble, plus a surgically precise system for managing what they perceive as ‘their limited resources.’

Thus, they desperately want a bubble providing new growth out of thin air — literally — while simultaneously they seek to tighten the peasants’ belts, an effort that starts with ‘behavioral modification,’ a.k.a. resetting the western peasants’ sense of entitlement to high life standards and liberties … The practical aim of the Great Reset is to fundamentally restructure the world’s economy and geopolitical relations based on two assumptions:

One, that every element of nature and every life form is a part of the global inventory (managed by the allegedly benevolent state, which, in turn, is owned by several suddenly benevolent wealthy people, via technology).

And two, that all inventory needs to be strictly accounted for: be registered in a central database, be readable by a scanner and easily ID’ed, and be managed by AI, using the latest ‘science.’

The goal is to count and then efficiently manage and control all resources, including people, on an unprecedented scale, with unprecedented digital … precision — all while the masters keep indulging, enjoying vast patches of conserved nature, free of unnecessary sovereign peasants and their unpredictability.”

These new global “assets” can also be turned into brand-new financial instruments that can then be traded. For example, Zero-Budget Natural Farming is now being introduced in India. This is a brand-new concept of farming in which farmers must trade the carbon rate in their soil on the global market if they want to make a living. They’ll get no money at all for the crops they actually grow.

The Pandemic Has Been a Psychological Operation

There’s not a single area of life that is left out of this Great Reset plan. The planned reform will affect everything from government, energy, and finance to food, medicine, real estate, policing, and even how we interact with our fellow human beings in general.

It goes without saying that to radically transform every last part of society has its challenges. No person in their right mind would agree to it if aware of the details of the whole plan. So, to roll this out, they had to use psychological manipulation, and fear is the most effective tool for inducing compliance there is.

The following graphic illustrates the central role of fearmongering for the successful rollout of the Great Reset.

Social Engineering Is Central to Technocratic Rule

Technocracy is inherently a technological society run through social engineering. Fear is but one manipulation tool. The focus on “science” is another. Anytime someone dissents, they’re simply accused of being “anti-science,” and any science that conflicts with the status quo is declared “debunked science.”

The only science that matters is whatever the technocrats deem to be true, no matter how much evidence there is against it. We’ve seen this first-hand during this pandemic, as Big Tech has censored and banned anything going against the opinions of the WHO, which is just another cog in the technocratic machine.

If we allow this censorship to continue, the end result will be nothing short of devastating. So, we simply must keep pushing for transparency, truth, medical freedom, personal liberty, and the right to privacy.

Recognizing that the fear we feel has been carefully manufactured can help free us from its grip, and once we — en masse — no longer believe the lies being put before us, the engine driving the fear and panic will eventually run out of steam.




Scientists Prove What Causes Aurora Borealis for the First Time

By | The Mind Unleashed

Since the dawn of time, humans have been mystified by what causes the aurora borealis or northern lights. However, a group of scientists has finally uncovered what causes the dazzling light show that has captivated people for so long.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have proven that the shimmering auroras are the result of powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms, according to a newly published study.

According to the study, phenomena known as Alfven waves propel electrons toward Earth and cause the particles to produce the brilliant display of northern lights seen in the higher latitudes of our planet,

“Measurements revealed this small population of electrons undergoes ‘resonant acceleration’ by the Alfven wave’s electric field, similar to a surfer catching a wave and being continually accelerated as the surfer moves along with the wave,” Prof. Greg Howes, a co-author of the study, told CNN.

Scientists have long understood that the aurora was the likely result of electrons surfing across the electric field, at least since the theory was introduced in 1946 by Soviet scientist Lev Landau.

However, the University of Iowa professors were able to finally put the theory to the test through a simulation at a lab at the Large Plasma Device (LPD) in the Basic Plasma Science Facility of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Using a 20-meter-long chamber to simulate the magnetic field of the Earth through state-of-the-art magnetic field coils, scientists were able to generate plasma similar to that which exists in space.

“Using a specially designed antenna, we launched Alfven waves down the machine, much like shaking a garden hose up and down quickly, and watching the wave travel along with the hose,” said Howes.

While this didn’t result in the type of auroras we might see in the sky, “our measurements in the laboratory clearly agreed with predictions from computer simulations and mathematical calculations, proving that electrons surfing on Alfven waves can accelerate the electrons (up to speeds of 45 million mph) that cause the aurora,” Howes noted.

Scientists across the country were elated by the results of the experiment.

“I was tremendously excited! It is a very rare thing to see a laboratory experiment that validates a theory or model concerning the space environment,” said Patrick Koehn, a scientist in the Heliophysics Division of NASA.

“Space is simply too big to easily simulate in the lab,” he added.

Researchers are hopeful that a greater understanding will allow forecasters to better understand weather conditions in space.