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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Taiwan TransAsia plane with 53 passengers crash-lands in Taipei river

O_O - Purported dashcam pics of the crash, via@Missxoxo168.#GE235#TransAsia http://bit.ly/1xcPL8z

A Taiwanese commercial flight with 53 passengers aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning.

Taiwan's Central News Agency said at least 10 people were being taken to safety after the incident but gave no immediate information about the other passengers and crew aboard the TransAsia Airways flight.

Taiwanese media posted pictures of the plane in the water several dozen metres from the shore in the Keelung River.

CNA said the flight from Taipei to the outlying island of Kinmen lost contact with flight controllers at 10.55am (local time) and the fuselage landed in the Keelung River near the city's downtown Sungshan airport.

ATR-72 Crash

© New Taipei City Fire Department

Taiwan's Central News Agency released a picture of the plane that crashed into a river in New Taipei City.

The plane was identified as a French-made twin-engine turboprop ATR 72 with a two-pilot air crew.

The plane's fuselage was seen half-submerged in the shallow river, with passengers and rescuers standing on the hull and swimming in the water.

The accident comes just months after a TransAsia ATR-72 crashed while attempting to land on the island of Penghu off Taiwan's coast, killing 48 people and injuring another 10.

Stormy weather and low visibility were suspected as factors in that crash last July.

[embedded content]

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Fireball meteor captured on camera over York, UK


© The York Press, UK

Fireball meteor captured on camera over York.

York residents watched in amazement as they saw a fireball fall from the skies this morning.

Bishopthorpe mum Chantelle Byford captured this photograph of what is presumed to be a meteor, at 7.43am.

She posted it on Facebook, in the York Past and Present Group, prompting an excited response.

Fireball over York

© Facebook Snap

Chantelle told : "My 9-year-old daughter said there was a ball of fire in the sky. I thought it would be a lovely sunrise but she opens the blind in front of me and showed me.

"It was falling fast and you could see the flames. I grabbed my phone and we went outside to take a picture. We watched it for a while then went to the upstairs window to get a better look. I told my 18-year-old who came and had a look and my 6-year-old son.

"It was very weird; we didn't have a clue what it was. I looked on Facebook to see if anyone else had seen it, and put the local news on to see if there had been anything related to it."

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Little oligarch gone wild - Conrad Hilton arrested for allegedly acting erratically on plane

"If you wanna square up to me bro, then bring it and I will f*cking fight you," he allegedly said as well as, "I am going to f*cking kill you. I will f*cking rip through you," and "I will f*cking own anyone on this flight; they are f*cking peasants."

"I could get you all fired in 5 minutes," he reportedly said while grabbing a flight attendant's shirt at one point during the incident. "I know your boss! My father will pay this out. He has done it before. Dad paid $300k last time."

- Conrad Hilton on an international flight

The reason I often use the terms "serfs" and "plebs" when referring to the American masses is not to insult the less fortunate; rather, it is to hammer in the fact that the oligarchs running American society see the unwashed masses as useless peasants.

Conrad Hilton

© WAB/Splash News

Conrad Hilton seen arriving at LAX International Airport in May last year. His most recent flight did not end well.

Naturally, they will never admit this publicly, but every now and again one of them slips up and what they really think becomes abundantly clear.

Enter Conrad Hilton, Paris Hilton's brother, and serf-master in training.

He has just been arrested for an outburst on an international flight that occurred last July. The Daily News reports the following:

Looks like daddy couldn't save Conrad Hilton from "peasants" this time.

Paris Hilton's younger brother was arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday for allegedly going insane on an international flight in July, reports TMZ.

While it remains unclear why it took so long to make an arrest, the 20-year-old was flying from London to Los Angeles when he began screaming and threatening flight attendants, according to officials.

During the flight, Conrad was heard yelling obscenities, multiple witnesses said.

"If you wanna square up to me bro, then bring it and I will f - - fight you," he allegedly said as well as, "I am going to f - - kill you. I will f - - rip through you," and "I will f - - own anyone on this flight; they are f - - peasants."

"I could get you all fired in 5 minutes," he reportedly said while grabbing a flight attendant's shirt at one point during the incident. "I know your boss! My father will pay this out. He has done it before. Dad paid $300k last time."

"I told all of them I could get all of their jobs taken away in less than 30 seconds," he reportedly said.

Meanwhile, the Daily Beast added this little nugget:

Hilton's lawyer, Robert Shapiro, chalks the outburst up to an unfortunate side effect of a sleeping pill.

Who knew sleeping pills turned you into Marie Antoinette.

For related articles see:

A Billionaire Lectures Serfs in Davos - Claims "America's Lifestyle Expectations are Far Too High"

The Pitchforks are Coming... - A Dire Warning from a Member of the 0.01%

An Open Letter to Sam Zell: Why Your Statements are Delusional and Dangerous

In Liberty,

Michael Krieger

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Another Conspiracy Theory Becomes Fact: The Entire Oil Collapse Is All About Crushing Russian Control Over Syria

While the markets are still debating whether the price of oil is more impacted by the excess pumping of crude here, or the lack of demand there, or if it is all just a mechanical squeeze by momentum-chasing HFT algos who also know to buy in the milliseconds before 2:30pm, we bring readers' attention back to what several months ago was debunked as a deep conspiracy theory.

Back then we wrote about a certain visit by John Kerry to Saudi Arabia, on September 11 of all days, to negotiate a secret deal with the now late King Abdullah so as to get a "green light" in order "to launch its airstrikes against ISIS, or rather, parts of Iraq and Syria. And, not surprising, it is once again Assad whose fate was the bargaining chip to get the Saudis on the US' side, because in order to launch the incursion into Syrian sovereign territory, it "took months of behind-the-scenes work by the U.S. and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when. The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh U.S. commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority."

We concluded:

Said otherwise, the pound of flesh demanded by Saudi Arabia to "bless" US airstrikes and make them appear as an act of some coalition, is the removal of the Assad regime. Why? So that, as we also explained last year, the holdings of the great Qatar natural gas fields can finally make their way onward to Europe, which incidentally is also America's desire - what better way to punish Putin for his recent actions than by crushing the main leverage the Kremlin has over Europe?

Because at the end of the day it is all about energy. We made as much very clear one month later when in mid-October we said "If The Oil Plunge Continues, "Now May Be A Time To Panic" For US Shale Companies." The panic time has long since come, but only after we laid out the problem clearly enough for all to grasp:

... while we understand if Saudi Arabia is employing a dumping strategy to punish the Kremlin as per the "deal" with Obama's White House, very soon there will be a very vocal, very insolvent and very domestic shale community demanding answers from the Obama administration, as once again the "costs" meant to punish Russia end up crippling the only truly viable industry under the current presidency.

As a reminder, the last time Obama threatened Russia with "costs", he sent Europe into a triple-dip recession.

It would truly be the crowning achievement of Obama's career if, amazingly, he manages to bankrupt the US shale "miracle" next.

Of course, all of the above was purely in the realm of the conspiratorial, because the last thing the administration would admit is that the tradeoff to its bargain with Saudi Arabia to implement a (largely failed) foreign policy regarding ISIS (which has grown in size since the coalition campaign) was to put at risk the entire US shale miracle, a miracle which is evaporating in front of everyone's eyes. And all thanks to that "closest" of US allies in the middle east: Saudi Arabia.

It was conspiratorial, that is, until today, when thanks to the far less "tinfoil" NYT one more conspiracy theory becomes conspiracy fact, following a report that "Saudi Arabia has been trying to pressure President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to abandon his support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, using its dominance of the global oil markets at a time when the Russian government is reeling from the effects of plummeting oil prices."

From the NYT:

Saudi Arabia and Russia have had numerous discussions over the past several months that have yet to produce a significant breakthrough, according to American and Saudi officials. It is unclear how explicitly Saudi officials have linked oil to the issue of Syria during the talks, but Saudi officials say — and they have told the United States — that they think they have some leverage over Mr. Putin because of their ability to reduce the supply of oil and possibly drive up prices."

As we predicted, correctly, in September: it was all about Syria:

“If oil can serve to bring peace in Syria, I don’t see how Saudi Arabia would back away from trying to reach a deal,” a Saudi diplomat said. An array of diplomatic, intelligence and political officials from the United States and Middle East spoke on the condition of anonymity to adhere to protocols of diplomacy.

So what would it take for the price of oil to finally jump? Not much: Putin's announcement that Syria's leader Bashar is no longer a strategic ally of Russia.

Any weakening of Russian support for Mr. Assad could be one of the first signs that the recent tumult in the oil market is having an impact on global statecraft. Saudi officials have said publicly that the price of oil reflects only global supply and demand, and they have insisted that Saudi Arabia will not let geopolitics drive its economic agenda. But they believe that there could be ancillary diplomatic benefits to the country’s current strategy of allowing oil prices to stay low — including a chance to negotiate an exit for Mr. Assad.


"Russia has been one of the Syrian president’s most steadfast supporters, selling military equipment to the government for years to bolster Mr. Assad’s forces in their battle against rebel groups, including the Islamic State, and supplying everything from spare parts and specialty fuels to sniper training and helicopter maintenance."

Will Putin relent?

"Mr. Putin, however, has frequently demonstrated that he would rather accept economic hardship than buckle to outside pressures to change his policies. Sanctions imposed by the United States and European countries have not prompted Moscow to end its military involvement in Ukraine, and Mr. Putin has remained steadfast in his support for Mr. Assad, whom he sees as a bulwark in a region made increasingly volatile by Islamic extremism."

Actually that's not it: Syria, as we have been explaining for nearly two years is the critical transit zone of a proposed natural gas pipeline, originating in Qatar, and one which would terminate somewhere in central Europe. The same Qatar which was the "mystery sponsor of weapons and money to Syrian mercenary rebels" who eventually became ISIS. The same Qatar which is now directly funding ISIS. Of course, if Putin were to handover Syria to the Saudi princes (and to Qatar), he would effectively shoot himself in the foot by ending any leverage Gazprom has over Europe.

This too is very well known to Putin. For now he has shown that he has no intention of abdicating Syria, and losing critical leverage when it comes to being the provider of last resort of European gas:

The Saudis have offered economic enticements to Russian leaders in return for concessions on regional issues like Syria before, but never with oil prices so low. It is unclear what effect, if any, the discussions are having. While the United States would support initiatives to end Russian backing for Mr. Assad, any success by the Saudis to cut production and raise global oil prices could hurt many parts of the American economy.

After the meeting in Moscow in November between Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, and Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, Mr. Lavrov rejected the idea that international politics should play a role in setting oil prices.

We see eye to eye with our Saudi colleagues in that we believe the oil market should be based on the balance of supply and demand,” Mr. Lavrov said, “and that it should be free of any attempts to influence it for political or geopolitical purposes.”

Which, in retrospect puts the Ukraine conflict, and the western isolation of Russia in a very simple spotlight - the whole point is to inflict as much pain as possible, so Putin has no choice but to hand over Syria.

Russia is feeling financial pain and diplomatic isolation because of international sanctions stemming from its incursion into Crimea and eastern Ukraine, American officials said. But Mr. Putin still wants to be viewed as a pivotal player in the Middle East. The Russians hosted a conference last week in Moscow between the Assad government and some of Syria’s opposition groups, though few analysts believe the talks will amount to much, especially since many of the opposition groups boycotted them. Some Russia experts expressed skepticism that Mr. Putin would be amenable to any deal that involved removing support for Mr. Assad.

Saudi Arabia’s leverage depends on how seriously Moscow views its declining oil revenues. “If they are hurting so bad that they need the oil deal right away, the Saudis are in a good position to make them pay a geopolitical price as well,” said F. Gregory Gause III, a Middle East specialist at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.

As for Assad, the Syrian president "has shown no inclination to step aside. He said in a recent interview with Foreign Affairs magazine that the true threat in Syria comes from the Islamic State and Qaeda-affiliated groups that, in his words, make up the “majority” of rebellion. American and Arab officials said that even if Russia were to abandon Mr. Assad, the Syrian president would still have his most generous benefactor, Iran. Iranian aid to the Syrian government has been one of the principal reasons that Mr. Assad has been able to hold power as other autocrats in the Middle East have been deposed.

And as a major oil producer, Iran would benefit if Saudi Arabia helped push up oil prices as part of a bargain with Russia.

“You are going to strengthen your enemy whether you like it or not, and the Iranians are not showing any flexibility here,” said Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center who is close to the Saudi royal family.

But the military aid that Russia provides to Syria is different enough from what Damascus receives from Iran, its other major supplier, that if “Russia withdrew all military support, I don’t think the Syrian Army could function,” a senior Obama administration official said.

The conclusion:

A number of Arab nations have been pushing for the Saudis and Russians — polar extremes in their positions toward Mr. Assad — to find common ground on the matter as a step toward ending the carnage of Syria’s civil war, now almost four years old. But, as one Arab diplomat put it, “This decision is ultimately in Putin’s hands.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what the great oil collapse of 2014/2015 is all about. For those who want to know when to buy oil, the answer is simple: just after (or ideally before) Putin announces he will no longer support the Assad regime. If, that is, he ever does because that act will effectively destroy all leverage Putin may ever have over Europe, and in the process, also end - quite prematurely - his career.

Until then, every single HFT-induced spike in oil is one to be ultimately faded, because as the past few months have shown, it is the Saudis who set the price, and they will not take no for an answer, even if it means crippling the entire US shale, and energy, industry in the process.

Group promoting peace and love labeled as terrorists, surveilled by DHS and police

Rainbow gathering

© Free Thought Project

Rainbow gathering Bosnia, 2007.

Missoula, Montana - According to the Missoula Police Department, peace and love are extremist views, and promoting these ideas could be a possible sign of terrorist activity.

The police department received a Department of Homeland Security grant of $254,930 last week, to assist them in fighting the terrorist threat. That threat was apparently posed by "the Rainbow Family," a large hippy gathering that promotes peace and love.

In the application documents where the agency requested the grant, the Rainbow Family was listed as an "extremist organization" that requires constant surveillance.

Police Chief Scott Hoffman said that the department needed a "mobile command unit" to deal with the Rainbow Family threat.

"It's a mobile command unit. It's just like a motor home with communications and computers and radios and things like that. I don't know what the hazards of the Rainbow people are," Hoffman said.

After the story went public, representatives from the police department have played damage control with the media, claiming that the operation is only to help with cleaning up and keeping the area safe.

When reporters with the Missoulian called the police department for a comment, they were told by Missoula Police Lt. Scott Brodie that the mobile command unit would be primarily for the clean up effort.

"When they have their gatherings, they historically have created a mess that needs to be cleaned up. The command center could just coordinate and speed things up, get it done faster. It's a coordination tool is what it is," Brodie said.

It becomes apparent how ridiculous the accusations of "extremism" are when doing some research into what the Rainbow Family stands for. They are a decentralized, loose-knit group of people who want to promote ideas of peace, freedom, equality, and love.

The group takes their name from the ancient Native American proverb that says "When the earth is ravaged and the animals are dying, a new tribe of people shall come unto the earth from many colors, classes, creeds, and who by their actions and deeds shall make the earth green again. They will be known as the warriors of the rainbow."

Back in 2013, the U.S. Forest Service spent over $500,000 in efforts to police the event and only made two arrests. Otherwise, there were no issues or problems at the event.

Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance

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US stores sell mislabeled herbal supplements

Herbal Supplements

© NY AG's office

Buffalo, New York - New York State wants certain herbal supplements pulled from store shelves. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said four major retailers sell supplements that have contaminants not identified on ingredient labels.

Schneiderman's office said mislabeled consumer products are posing unacceptable health hazards. They are calling on GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart to make some changes.

DNA tests revealed, overall, 21 percent of the test results from store brand herbal supplements verified DNA from the plants listed on the products labeled.

Walmart had the poorest showing for DNA matching the products listed with only four percent, according to Schneiderman.

Details from Schneiderman below:


- Six "Herbal Plus" brand herbal supplements per store were purchased and analyzed: Gingko Biloba, St. John's Wort, Ginseng, Garlic, Echinacea, and Saw Palmetto. Purchased from four locations with representative stores in Binghamton, Harlem, Plattsburgh & Suffolk.

- Only one supplement consistently tested for its labeled contents: Garlic. One bottle of Saw Palmetto tested positive for containing DNA from the saw palmetto plant, while three others did not. The remaining four supplement types yielded mixed results, but none revealed DNA from the labeled herb.

- Of 120 DNA tests run on 24 bottles of the herbal products purchased, DNA matched label identification 22% of the time.

- Contaminants identified included asparagus, rice, primrose, alfalfa/clover, spruce, ranuncula, houseplant, allium, legume, saw palmetto, and Echinacea.


- Six "Up & Up" brand herbal supplements per store were purchased and analyzed: Gingko Biloba, St. John's Wort, Valerian Root, Garlic, Echinacea, and Saw Palmetto. Purchased from three locations with representative stores in Nassau County, Poughkeepsie, and Syracuse.

- Three supplements showed nearly consistent presence of the labeled contents: Echinacea (with one sample identifying rice), Garlic, and Saw Palmetto. The remaining three supplements did not reveal DNA from the labeled herb.

- Of 90 DNA tests run on 18 bottles of the herbal products purchased, DNA matched label identification 41% of the time.

- Contaminants identified included allium, French bean, asparagus, pea, wild carrot and saw palmetto.


- Six "Finest Nutrition" brand herbal supplements per store were purchased and analyzed: Gingko Biloba, St. John's Wort, Ginseng, Garlic, Echinacea, and Saw Palmetto. Purchased from three locations with representative stores in Brooklyn, Rochester and Watertown.

- Only one supplement consistently tested for its labeled contents: Saw Palmetto. The remaining five supplements yielded mixed results, with one sample of garlic showing appropriate DNA. The other bottles yielded no DNA from the labeled herb.

- Of the 90 DNA test run on 18 bottles of herbal products purchased, DNA matched label representation 18% of the time.

- Contaminants identified included allium, rice, wheat, palm, daisy, and dracaena (houseplant).


- Six "Spring Valley" brand herbal supplements per store were purchased and analyzed: Gingko Biloba, St. John's Wort, Ginseng, Garlic, Echinacea, and Saw Palmetto. Purchased from three geographic locations with representative stores in Buffalo, Utica and Westchester.

- None of the supplements tested consistently revealed DNA from the labeled herb. One bottle of garlic had a minimal showing of garlic DNA, as did one bottle of Saw Palmetto. All remaining bottles failed to produce DNA verifying the labeled herb.

- Of the 90 DNA test run on 18 bottles of herbal products purchased, DNA matched label representation 4% of the time.

- Contaminants identified included allium, pine, wheat/grass, rice mustard, citrus, dracaena (houseplant), and cassava (tropical tree root).

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Stay or stray? Stats hint at different sexual styles


© chaddlin/iStockphoto

Pinky promise: The longer your ring finger is compared to your index finger, the higher statistical likelihood of promiscuity.

Scientists say they have found the first evidence to back theories that people fall into two broad categories -- promiscuity or faithfulness -- when it comes to sex.

Why humans seem to be an exception among mammals on the matter of sexual relationships has long been a puzzle.

Other mammalian species are emphatically polygamous or monogamous as a group.

But as everyone knows anecdotally, do not fall into one neat category or the other.

Everyone knows of couples that are sexually faithful, but also of those that are not.

What has been lacking are the statistics to show these differences, which is a key step to explaining them.

Now a team of UK scientists say they have found just that.

"We observed what appears to be a cluster of males and a cluster of females who are more inclined to 'stay,' with a separate cluster of males and females being more inclined to 'stray' when it comes to sexual relationships," says study co-author Rafael Wlodarski, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford.

In their study, published today in the journal Biology Letters, Wlodarski and colleagues compared two potential indicators of sexual behaviour.

One source was an online questionnaire on sexual habits, completed by 585 North American and British respondents between the ages of 18 and 63, who on average were nearly 25.

The other was data obtained from 1314 British men and women -- an investigation based on something known as the '2D:4D' ratio.

Finger length

What lies behind the 2D:4D idea is that the length of one's ring finger indicates the level of the hormone testosterone to which one was exposed in the womb.

The longer your ring finger is, compared to your index finger, the higher the likely concentrations of foetal testosterone.

This in turn has been linked to a higher statistical likelihood of promiscuity.

Put together, the datasets showed that 57 per cent of men were more likely to be promiscuous, and 43 per cent faithful.

This balance inversed among women -- 47 per cent fell within the 'stray' category and 53 per cent in 'stay'.

Taken alone, the 2D:4D study, based on a purely physiological characteristic, yielded higher 'stray' numbers for both men and women -- 62 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

The higher number of 'stay' candidates in the questionnaire study may be explained by the influence of life experience and culture.

This very difference underlined the need for caution in interpreting their results, say the researchers.

"Human behaviour is influenced by many factors, such as the environment and life experience," says study co-author Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford.

"What happens in the womb might have only have a very minor effect on something as complex as sexual relationships."

How can different sexual behaviours be explained?

Seen through a Darwinian lens, sex with multiple partners boosts the chances of offspring -- of passing on one's genes.

A long-term sexual relationship requires more personal investment. But it increases chances that the offspring that results from the sex will survive.

"This research suggest that there may be two distinct types of individuals within each sex, pursuing different mating strategies," say the scientists.

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BEST OF THE WEB: It's all a spectacle: Reality TV teaches acceptance of the police state

© Drunkenclownclothing.com

"Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke, that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books."

- Etienne de La Bo├ętie, The Discourse on Voluntary Servitude: How Do Tyrants Secure Cooperation? (1548)

Americans love their reality TV shows - the drama, the insults, the bullying, the callousness, the damaged relationships delivered through the lens of a surveillance camera - and there's no shortage of such dehumanizing spectacles to be found on or off screen, whether it's Cops, Real Housewives or the heavy-handed tactics of police officers who break down doors first and ask questions later.

Where things get tricky is when we start to lose our grasp on what is real vs. unreal and what is an entertainment spectacle that distracts us vs. a real-life drama that impacts us.

For example, do we tune into Bruce Jenner's gender transformation as it unfolds on reality TV, follow the sniping over Navy sharpshooter Chris Kyle's approach to war and killing, or chart the progress of the Keystone oil pipeline as it makes it work through Congress? Do we debate the merits of Katy Perry's Superbowl XLIX halftime performance, or speculate on which politicians will face off in the 2016 presidential election?

Here's a hint: it's all spectacle.

Studies suggest that the more reality TV people watch - and I would posit that it's all reality TV - the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between what is real and what is carefully crafted farce. Unfortunately, Americans have a voracious appetite for TV entertainment. On average, Americans spend five hours a day watching television. By the time we reach age 65, we're watching more than 50 hours of television a week, and that number increases as we get older. And reality TV programming consistently captures the largest percentage of TV watchers every season by an almost 2-1 ratio.

As journalist Scott Collins notes, "reality is a cheap way to fill prime time."

Yet it's more than just economics at play. As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State , we're being subjected to a masterful sociological experiment in how to dumb down and desensitize a population.

This doesn't bode well for a citizenry able to sift through masterfully-produced propaganda in order to think critically about the issues of the day. Then again, it can be hard to distinguish between the two. As cognitive scientist Steven Pinker points out, the hallmark of well-told fiction is that the audience can't tell the difference.

Concerning reality TV, journalist Chris Weller explains:

Producers have become so good at their job of constructing a cohesive narrative, one that imitates life - albeit, dramatically so - that the narrative ends up compelling life to imitate it. This is an important distinction.... drama doesn't emerge accidentally. It's intentional. But not everyone knows that.

"Reality TV is fiction sold as nonfiction, to an audience that likes to believe both are possible simultaneously in life," continues Weller. "It's entertainment, in the same way Cirque du Soleil enchants and The Hunger Games enthralls. But what are we to make of unreal realness? And what does it make of its viewers? Do they...mimic the medium? Do they become shallow, volatile, mean?"

The answer is yes, they do mimic the medium.

Studies suggest that those who watch reality shows tend to view what they see as the "norm." Thus, those who watch shows characterized by lying, aggression and meanness not only come to see such behavior as acceptable but find it entertaining.

It's a phenomenon called "humilitainment," a term coined by media scholars Brad Waite and Sara Booker to refer to the tendency for viewers to take pleasure in someone else's humiliation, suffering and pain. It largely explains not only why American TV watchers are so fixated on reality TV programming but how American citizens, largely insulated from what is really happening in the world around them by layers of technology, entertainment, and other distractions, are being programmed to accept the brutality , surveillance and dehumanizing treatment of the American police state as things happening to other people.

This is what happens when an entire nation, unable to distinguish between what is real and unreal and increasingly inclined to accept as normal the tactics being played out before them in hi-def, not only ceases to be outraged by the treatment being meted out to their fellow citizens but takes joy in it.

Unfortunately, for the majority of Americans who spend their waking, leisure hours transfixed in front of the television or watching programming on their digital devices, the American police state itself has become reality TV programming - a form of programming that keeps us distracted, entertained, occasionally a little bit outraged but overall largely uninvolved, content to remain in the viewer's seat.

In fact, we don't even have to change the channel when the subject matter becomes too monotonous. That's taken care of for us by the programmers (the corporate media and the police state). Before we got too worked up over government surveillance, they changed the channels on us and switched us over to militarized police. Before our outrage could be transformed into action, they changed the channel once again. Next up: ISIS beheadings, plane crashes, terrorist shootings and politicians lip-synching to a teleprompter.

In this way, televised events of recent years - the Ferguson shooting and riots, the choke-hold of Eric Garner, the Boston Marathon manhunt and city-wide lockdown, etc. - became reality TV programming choices on a different channel.

The more that is beamed at us, the more inclined we are to settle back in our comfy recliners and become passive viewers rather than active participants as unsettling, frightening events unfold. Reality and fiction merge as everything around us becomes entertainment fodder. This holds true whether we're watching American Idol, American Sniper orAmerica's Newsroom.

With every SWAT team raid, police shooting and terrorist attack - real or staged, we're being systematically desensitized and acclimated to the trappings of the police state. This is borne out by numerous studies indicating that the more violence we watch on television - whether real or fictional - the less outraged we will be by similar acts of real-life aggression.

For instance, tasers were sold to the American public as a way to decrease the use of deadly force by police, reduce the overall number of use-of-force incidents, and limit the number of people seriously injured. Instead, we've witnessed an increase in the use of force by police and a desensitizing of the public to police violence. As Professor Victor E. Kappeler points out, "no one riots because the police stunned-gunned a drunk for non-compliance or because a cop pepper-sprayed a group of protesters."

Indeed, notes Kappeler:

Police officers possessing less-than-lethal weapons are often more inclined to use these weapons in situations where they would not have been legally justified in using traditional weapons, or for that matter any level of force at whatsoever. This phenomenon is known as net widening. As use of force technologies improve, police become more likely to apply force in a greater number of situations, in less serious situations, to more vulnerable people and resort to force in cases where people simply do not immediately comply with their directives.

What we're witnessing is net widening of the police state and, incredibly, it's taking place while the citizenry watches.

Viewed through the lens of "reality" TV programming, the NSA and other government surveillance has become a done deal. Militarized police are growing more militant by the day. And you can rest assured that police-worn body cameras, being hailed by police and activists alike as a sure-fire fix for police abuses, will only add to this net widening.

Ironically, whether we like it or not, these cameras - directed at us - will turn "we the people" into the stars of our own reality shows. As Kelefa Sanneh, writing for the New Yorker , points out, "Cops," the longest-running reality show of all which has "viewers ride with police officers as they drive around, in search of perpetrators... makes it easy to think of a video camera as a weapon, there to keep the peace and to discipline violators."

Ultimately, that's what this is all about: the reality shows, the drama, the entertainment spectacles, the surveillance are all intended to keep us in line, using all the weapons available to the powers-that-be. It's the modern-day equivalent of bread and circuses.

As for the sleepwalking masses convinced that all of the bad things happening in the police state - the police shootings, the police beatings, the raids, the roadside strip searches - are happening to other people, eventually, the things happening to other people will start happening to us and our loved ones.

When that painful reality sinks in, it will hit with the force of a SWAT team crashing through your door, a taser being aimed at your stomach, and a gun pointed at your head. And there will be no channel to change, no reality to alter, no manufactured farce to hide behind.

By that time, however, it will be too late to do anything more than submit.

Professor Neil Postman saw this eventuality coming. "There are two ways by which the spirit of a culture may be shriveled," he predicted. "In the first - the Orwellian - culture becomes a prison. In the second - the Huxleyan - culture becomes a burlesque." Postman concludes:

No one needs to be reminded that our world is now marred by many prison-cultures.... it makes little difference if our wardens are inspired by right- or left-wing ideologies. The gates of the prison are equally impenetrable, surveillance equally rigorous, icon-worship pervasive.... Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours.... When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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'Pineapple Express' organizing for heavy rain in California - as much as 20 inches in some areas

WUWT contributor Dr. Ryan Maue writes on his Twitter feed:

Can't ask for better setup for enormous rainfall totals over NorCal & now linto Bay Area in 5+ days

Looking at the model output below, I tend to agree, if the pattern holds. It sets up Northern California for the perfect orographic lifting enhancement in the Sierra Nevada mountain range that will not only provide a bounty of liquid precipitation, but a significant boost to the well below normal California snowpack.

Most or northern California will get some benefit from this "super soaker" storm:

The Quantitative Precipitation Forecasts show some parts of Northern Calfornia getting as much as 20″, along with many mountain areas getting 5″ or more.

How much will be snow? That's anyone's guess at this time, it depends entirely on how much air and moisture is advected into the low pressure system to collide with colder air.

We'll know more as we get closer to the event.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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"Internet of things" and "Smart grid" trojan horse for further erosion of privacy

The "Internet of Things" (IoT) and Smart Grid technologies will together be aggressively integrated into the developed world's socioeconomic fabric with little-if-any public or governmental oversight. This is the overall opinion of a new report by the Federal Trade Commission, which has announced a series of "recommendations" to major utility companies and transnational corporations heavily invested in the IoT and Smart Grid, suggesting that such technologies should be rolled out almost entirely on the basis of "free market" principles so as not to stifle "innovation."[1]

As with the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, the FTC functions to provide the semblance of democratic governance and studied concern as it allows corporate monied interests and prerogatives to run roughshod over the body politic.

The IoT refers to all digital electronic and RFID-chipped devices wirelessly connected to the internet. The number of such items has increased dramatically since the early 2000s. In 2003 an estimated 500 million gadgets were connected, or about one for every twelve people on earth. By 2015 the number has grown 50 fold to an estimated 25 billion, or 3.5 units per person. By 2020 the IoT is expected to double the number of physical items it encompasses to 50 billion, or roughly 7 per individual.[2]

The IoT is developing in tandem with the "Smart Grid," comprised of tens of millions of wireless transceivers (a combination cellular transmitter and receiver) more commonly known as "smart meters." Unlike conventional wireless routers, smart meters are regarded as such because they are equipped to capture, store, and transmit an abundance of data on home energy usage with a degree of precision scarcely imagined by utility customers. On the contrary, energy consumers are typically appeased with persuasive promotional materials from their power company explaining how smart meter technology allows patrons to better monitor and control their energy usage.

Almost two decades ago media sociologist Rick Crawford defined Smart Grid technology as "real time residential power line surveillance" (RRPLS). These practices exhibited all the characteristics of eavesdropping and more. "Whereas primitive forms of power monitoring merely sampled one data point per month by checking the cumulative reading on the residential power meter," Crawford explains.

Modern forms of RRPLS permit nearly continued digital sampling. This allows watchers to develop a fine-grained profile of the occupants' electrical appliance usage. The computerized RRPLS device may be placed on-site with the occupants' knowledge and assent, or it may be hidden outside and surreptitiously attached to the power line feeding into the residence.

This device records a log of both resistive power levels and reactive loads as a function of time. The RRPLS device can extract characteristic appliance "signatures" from the raw data. For example, existing [1990s] RRPLS devices can identify whenever the sheets are thrown back from a water bed by detecting the duty cycles of the water bed heater. RRPLS can infer that two people shared a shower by noting an unusually heavy load on the electric water heater and that two uses of the hair dryer followed.[3]

A majority of utility companies are reluctant to acknowledge the profoundly advanced capabilities of these mechanisms that have now been effectively mandated for residential and business clients. Along these lines, when confronted with questions on whether the devices are able to gather usage data with such exactitude, company representatives are apparently compelled to feign ignorance or demur.

Yet the features Crawford describes and their assimilation with the IoT are indeed a part of General Electric's I-210+C smart meter, among the most widely-deployed models in the US. This meter is equipped with not one, not two, but three transceivers, the I-210+C's promotional brochure explains.[4]

One of the set's transceivers uses ZigBee Pro protocols, "one of several wireless communication standards in the works to link up appliances, light bulbs, security systems, thermostats and other equipment in home and enterprises."[5] With most every new appliance now required to be IoT-equipped, not only will consumer habits be increasingly monitored through energy usage, but over the longer term lifestyle and thus behavior will be transformed through power rationing, first in the form of "tiered usage," and eventually in a less accommodating way through the remote control of "smart" appliances during peak hours.[6]

Information gathered from the combined IoT and Smart Grid will also be of immense value to marketers that up to now have basically been excluded from the domestic sphere. As an affiliate of WPP Pic., the world's biggest ad agency put it, the data harvested by smart meters "opens the door to the home. Consumers are leaving a digital footprint that opens the door to their online habits and to their shopping habits and their location, and the last thing that is understood is the home, because at the moment when you shut the door, that's it."[7]

As the FTC's 2015 report makes clear, this is the sort of retail (permissible) criminality hastened by the merging of Smart Grid and IoT technologies also provides an immense facility for wholesale criminals to scan and monitor various households' activities as potential targets for robbery, or worse.

The FTC, utility companies and smart meter manufacturers alike still defer to the Federal Communications Commission as confirmation of the alleged safety of Smart Grid and smart meter deployment. This is the case even though the FCC is not chartered to oversee public health and, basing its regulatory procedure on severely outdated science, maintains that microwave radiation is not a threat to public health so long as no individual's skin or flesh have risen in temperature.

Yet in the home and workplace the profusion of wireless technologies such as ZigBee will compound the already significant collective radiation load of WiFi, cellular telephony, and the smart meter's routine transmissions. The short term physiological impact will likely include weakened immunity, fatigue, and insomnia that can hasten terminal illnesses.[8]

Perhaps the greatest irony is how the Internet of Things, the Smart Grid and their attendant "Smart Home" are sold under the guise of convenience, personal autonomy, even knowledge production and wisdom. "The more data that is created," Cisco gushes, "the more knowledge and wisdom people can obtain. IoT dramatically increases the amount of data available for us to process. This, coupled with the Internet's ability to communicate this data, will enable people to advance even further."[9]

In light of the grave privacy and health-related concerns posed by this techno tsunami, the members of a sane society might seriously ask themselves exactly where they are advancing, or being compelled to advance to.


[1] Federal Trade Commission, Internet of Things: Privacy and Security in a Connected World, Washington DC, January 2015. Accessible at http://1.usa.gov/1Aq9Yz6

[2] Dave Evans, "The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet is Changing Everything, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, April 2011, 3. Accessible athttp://bit.ly/1KpyBvL

[3] Rick Crawford, "Computer Assisted Crises," in George Gerbner, Hamid Mowlana and Herbert I. Schiller (eds.), Boulder CO: Westview Press, 1996, 47-81.

[4] "I-210+C with Silver Spring Networks Micro-AP" [Brochure], General Electric, Atlanta Georgia. Accessible athttp://bit.ly/1Aq9Yz9

[5] Stephen Lawson, "ZigBee 3.0 Promises One Smart Home Standard for Many Uses," , November 16, 2014.

[6] One of the United States' largest utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric, has already introduced tiered pricing to curb energy usage in summer months during "high demand" times of the day.http://bit.ly/1Aq9VTP

[7] Louise Downing, "WPP Unit, Onzo Study Harvesting Smart-Meter Data," , May 11, 2014.

[8] Sue Kovach, "The Hidden Dangers of Cellphone Radiation," , August 2007; James F. Tracy, "Looming Health Crisis: Wireless Technology and the Toxification of America," , July 8, 2012.

[9] Evans, 6.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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The Brookings Institution, increased firebombing in E. Ukraine, and the resonances of Nazi Germany


Brookings Institution has now issued a call for us to finance more firebombings, clusterbombings, and other support to the ethnic cleansing, which has been going on since Ukraine's coup - the ethnic cleansing that's occurring in the region of Ukraine's southeast that's called "Donbass" (which is the Ukrainian area shown in dark purple on this map, the map of the election results in Ukraine's last nationwide Presidential election before the coup; and that's the same region which rejects the U.S.-imposed coup-Government; the people there had voted 90% for the man whom the U.S. coup overthrew, which is the reason the U.S. Government wants them eliminated, so that Ukraine can keep the land - and its resources - but now cleansed of its residents, so that the U.S. can place missiles there aimed at Russia, which is America's current strategic objective: to control Russia).

On Monday, February 2nd, Brookings (whose Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack had been among the leaders of the invade-Iraq movement before the 2003 U.S. invasion there on false pretenses) issued a report, "Preserving Ukraine's Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do," and Brookings urged "providing direct military assistance - in far larger amounts than provided to date and including lethal defensive arms - so that Ukraine is better able to defend itself. The U.S. government should provide Ukraine $1 billion in military assistance as soon as possible in 2015, followed by additional tranches of $1 billion in FY 2016 and FY 2017." That euphemism "defensive arms" is for gullible individuals only: guns and tanks obviously fire in both directions, and so do anti-tank weapons etc. - and there was no "Russian Aggression" in Ukraine until the Obama Administration violently overthrew the existing Government there in February of last year. Adolf Hitler claimed to be "defending" Germany when he invaded and took over Poland in 1939, following a "false flag" incident in Poland that could have been a model for Obama's in Ukraine last year, and the United States is copying not only his PR tactics about it, but the continuing violence afterwards, differing mainly in his using surrogates to do the job, instead of (as Hitler did) claiming the consequences as being his own. (Hitler was able to tell Germans that Poland was threatening Germany, but Obama can't likewise persuasively say to Americans that Ukraine constitutes a threat to America: Americans aren't that gullible, and he knows this.) As the following videos of the U.S.-sponsored firebombings - and of regular bombings - of cities and villages in Donbass will make clear, these consequences also compete rather well with Hitler's in their sheer violence.

An outline of that coup should be expressly stated here: The U.S. overthrew Ukraine's peaceful (though like all of that country's previous ones corrupt) Government, by hiring Ukrainian (and some foreign) masked racist-fascist (or nazi) mercenaries (who were dressed as that Government's security forces so that the existing Ukrainian President would be blamed), to fire down onto anti-corruption demonstrators massed at Kiev's Maidan square - and here will be shown the reality of what our billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are already buying for the resulting war from that overthrow, which Brookings wants Americans to buy yet more of:

But, first, it should also be noted, in this introduction, that the OSCE, Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe, refuses to investigate the documented usages of firebombs in Ukraine's war against the southeastern portion of Ukraine, Donbass - the region that rejects the legitimacy of the Ukrainian Government which came into power at that violent February 2014 coup. (Here is the U.S. official on 4 February 2014 at the very moment when she was selecting the man to run Ukraine after the coup, the man who then did become appointed as Ukraine's leader 22 days later. And here is the telephone conversation during which the EU's minister for foreign affairs first learned that it had been a coup.) However, some of these firebombing-instances have (notwithstanding OSCE and other U.S.-controlled agencies) been caught on videos, the authenticity of which has not been challenged; and, sometimes, the resulting fires on the ground have likewise been documented in these videos. Furthermore, it unfortunately must be pointed out (since the Government blames the "Terrorists" as being not themselves but instead as being their victims: the people who live in the region) that the locals who live there (the "Terrorists" as the Government calls the area's residents) are never the people who are flying those planes and dropping these bombs onto themselves and their neighbors. It's always the Government - the Government that Obama placed into power in Kiev a year ago. As this phone conversation made undeniably clear, that government had been brought to power in a coup that was recognized, at the time, as being such, even by the man who ultimately won Ukraine's Presidency after the coup, Petro Poroshenko; furthermore, it violated Ukraine's Constitution. Everything that has occurred since then (and actually even since at least 25 January 2014, leading up to the coup ) is fundamentally illegal; and that is why the country is now ruled by sheer force; and anyone who would pretend otherwise is not being honest about it.

With all of that out of the way as an introduction now, we can consider:

Our Firebombings

Here is a video of a typical firebombing of a Donbass village, this one being Gorlovka:

from on .</p>

Not all of Gorlovka was destroyed in that attack; so, the Ukrainian Government sent in a plane with a large bomb, and here is someone standing in the crater that was caused by it:

The British website, Vice News, has sent reporters into the region, and the present reporter previously headlined about that, "Britain's Vice News Reports Ukraine's Firebombing of Southeast." I noted then that their reporters independently verified that Iliovaisk had been hit by a bombing attack "each of which warheads delivered hundreds of 4,000-degree-Fahrenheit thermite pellets that are illegal to use, except when deployed precisely against military targets, not against civilians, and not imprecisely, such as here (via an 'unguided rocket delivered by an outdated 9K51 MLRS system')."

This was their firebomb-video of "Rockets Exploding Over Iliovaisk":

[embedded content]

The present reporter has also discussed the multiple evidences of "Ukraine Atrocities: The Illegal Use of White Phosphorous Fire Bombs Against Dopnetsk Civilians," which linked to videos taken by Russian Television of one particular such event. For example, Here is a sequence of three of these videos, first of the firebombing itself, then of the resulting fires, and then of the residents hiding in their basements trying to protect themselves from the attack:

[embedded content]

[embedded content]

[embedded content]

So: it is clear that this is happening, and that it's being little reported in the West - and that it's notbeing investigated by Western agencies (such as the OSCE).

And here, we have "Ukraine's President, to the People He's Bombing: Go to Hell!":

[embedded content]

And here is that same person addressing a special joint session of the U.S. Congress and receiving lengthy standing ovations from them:

C-Span showed the whole thing, and opened with a solid one minute and eight seconds of standing ovation for him, before House Speaker John Boehner formally introduced Poroshenko:

[embedded content]

And, as if that doesn't already make sufficiently clear that the Washington Establishment is almost entirely united in its support for nazism in our time, Chris Ernesto at UkraineWar.Info bannered, on 30 January 2015, "US Announces Support of Neo-Nazis," and he reported that, "Pentagon officials confirmed last week that US troops will deploy to Ukraine in the spring to help build the Ukrainian National Guard. In addition to sending US troops, Washington has already sent heavy military equipment and has earmarked $19 million for Ukrainian forces." Ernesto documented that the money that U.S. taxpayers will increasingly be sending to Ukraine will be used in order to intensify the campaign to exterminate the people in Donbass, the people who reject the Government that was imposed upon Ukraine by the United States in an illegal coup. (And it certainly was a coup, which is known as such practically everywhere but in the West.)

President Poroshenko has especially honored one military leader, Andriy "Biletsky, who was given an 'Order For Courage' award by Poroshenko," and who "recently wrote that, 'The historic mission of our nation in this critical moment is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade for their survival. A crusade against the Semite-led sub-humans. The task of the present generation is to create a Third Empire. '" Adolf Hitler called it "the Third Reich." But now that the U.S. aristocracy are placing rabid nazis into power, they get standing ovations in the U.S. Congress.

These little Hitlers, such as Biletsky, have no conscience-qualms about being led by a big black Hitler in the world's superpower, and serving the American aristocracy, and many Jewish aristocrats, and not only most of Ukraine's aristocrats (many of whom, like Ihor Kolomoysky, are likewise Jewish), otherwise called " oligarchs."

What they all are actually fighting for, is the global supremacy of America's aristocracy. In this sense, and only in this sense, Hitler really did lose WW II: Germany's aristocracy were reigned-in, even if only a bit. After that War, there was a long FDR-shaped interregnum of increasing democracy in the United States and throughout the developed world; but then came 1980 and Ronald Reagan and the reverse long-term trend, back toward fascism, and now into outright nazism (racist fascism), this time against Russians, whom Republicans have long particularly hated. (Obama pretends not to hate them; he condemned Mitt Romney for saying, "in terms of a geopolitical foe, ... Russia is the geopolitical foe."Obama is the master-liar; Romney wasn't smart enough to be in his league, on that; so, Romney lost.) After 1980, America's aristocracy defeated not only (Hitler's bane) democracy itself, in the United States and in much of Europe, but they are climbing yet higher on the global power-mountain, increasingly threatening to defeat Russia's aristocrats, who are, it seems, just about the only ones that today are trying to organize a global resistance against them, and therefore against global dictatorship by the American elite.

Yet again, Russia is being forced to wage war against the apparently insatiable leading fascist and even nazi (racist-fascist) powers, the global aristocracy (led by the U.S. aristocracy). And, yet again, it's not something that any Russians wanted; it's instead something that no Russians seek or sought. Only the global aristocracy seeks it - because Russia is, still, the only powerful opponent of the global aristocracy, the only powerful nation that won't buckle to it.

So, of course, outfits like Brookings want U.S. taxpayers to spend yet more billions, in order to bring Russia's aristocracy under American aristocrats' (or "U.S. mega-corporate") control.

- - - - -

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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How cell phone radiation exposure affects the blood

Blood is the essence of life. It is useful to examine the blood under a microscope to look for any changes in reaction to a stressor. In this exploratory study, ten human subjects were exposed to a cell phone radiation stressor. Their blood was examined under a dark-field microscope to look for changes, if any, from the cell phone microwave frequency. We also investigated whether there might be a protective effect on the blood from consuming the recommended Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) diet.

The world has rapidly changed over the past few decades with the advent of cell phones. Almost seven billion cell phones are now used worldwide, of which over five billion are in developing countries. As of January 2014, 90 percent of American adults possessed cell phones, and 58 percent of the users had smart phones.1 Due to increasing affordability along with the many useful functions that cell phones provide, the explosion in cell phone usage is not surprising. Indeed, they have become the leading technology in the brave new wireless world of communications.


Are cell phones completely safe? There is no consensus on how to address this question with its various complex, multifaceted issues. There are many factors to consider, such as the duration of exposure, a person's age, whether the radiation dose is cumulative or not, the long-term use over a person's lifetime, pregnancy, and how cell phones are being used - and stored - on the body.

Cell phones and smart phones are powered by microwaves, part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which range from 300 to 3,000 megahertz (MHz). The key frequencies used in cell phone communications worldwide are 850, 900, 1,800, and 1,900 MHz (1.9 gigaHz). (A microwave oven, which heats water and the water in food, works on 2450 MHz.)

Cell phones and smart phones both receive and emit these frequencies, smart phones emitting far more than the old clam-shell type of cell phone. The radiation they receive comes from cell phone towers, which is ambient, meaning that it is everywhere, and we are all receiving it, all the time. The radiation coming out of the smart phone is of much higher intensity than that coming from cell phone towers, unless one happens to be located very close to a tower.

There are guidelines in the U.S. for short term exposure to cell phone frequency microwaves, defined in terms of the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), the rate at which energy is absorbed by the human body when exposed to radio frequency radiation. Specifically, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States requires that phones sold have a SAR level at or below 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) taken over the volume containing a mass of one gram of tissue that is absorbing the most signal.2 This is a guideline, not a standard, and is solely based on heat generation by cell phone microwaves, because microwaves are well known to produce tissue heating. However, besides heating, there are other types of biological effects from the extremely low-level microwaves associated with cell phones, called "nonthermal" effects. The Russians have conducted many studies on the nonthermal effects, which they consider more significant than thermal effects, and as a result, they adopted a more stringent guideline that is sixty to one hundred times lower than U.S. guidelines.

Studies on the nonthermal biological effects of microwaves have taken place mostly outside of the U.S., on animals, cell cultures, and humans, for the past several decades. This research has found effects at every level of organization of life, from the behavior and performance of humans and animals down to the molecular and genetic levels. Studies show effects on the brain, stem cells, reproductive organs, enzyme activities, and sperm quantity and quality in animals and humans. More specifically, changes in calcium transport from cells, altered enzyme activities, increased cell proliferation of human epithelial cells, increase in breaks in DNA in animal cells, changes in brain blood flow in healthy people, leakage of proteins through the blood brain barrier, and decreased sperm count and motility are some changes that have been documented. Two recent reviews on nonthermal effects summarize the findings from over two hundred scientific papers.3,4 Many of these nonthermal effects are considered controversial because they have not been replicated by other researchers or published in what are considered to be the top peer-reviewed journals. There is also the paradox that lower intensity microwaves sometimes produce larger biological effects than higher intensities, known as the biological "window" effect. The physical mechanisms of how low-level microwaves can cause so many different biological effects are not well understood. There is no unifying theory that combines the many reported biological effects of low-level microwaves to explain the possible health risks of cell phone radiation exposure.

Most of the studies on cell phone radiation and its biological effects are short-term exposure studies. But some epidemiological studies suggest that chronic exposure to low-level microwaves may increase the risk for cancer and other tumors. In fact, the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, and acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor in the ear area, both associated with wireless phone use.5 However, given the potential twenty-to-thirty year latency period of cancer development, the effect of cell phone radiation on cancer risk as well as the risk for other chronic health problems may not be fully understood for many years to come.

Exposure to various electronic devices including cell phones, cell phone towers, DECT (digitally enhanced cordless telecommunications) and other cordless phones, and wireless modems has been found to cause a variety of symptoms in some people, including headaches, anxiety and irritability, restlessness, sleep problems, difficulty in concentration, ringing in the ears, heart palpitations and fatigue. This is labeled Electro-Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS). In 2011, WHO estimated that 3-6 percent of the world population suffered from EHS. It is possible that the percentage may grow as chronic exposure to Wi-Fi continues.

Most studies on cell phone radiation have tested cell cultures and animals rather than humans. No formal studies examining the blood of humans exposed to cell phones have been found in the medical literature to date. A small number of studies on human lymphocytes showing changes in cell nuclei and impaired DNA repair have been published. In the present study, we investigated only short-term effects of cell phone radiation exposure on normal healthy persons.


1. Does the blood as observed under a darkfield microscope change after human subjects are exposed to a smart phone for a short time period?

2. Does eating a mostly WAPF-recommended diet help protect the blood from the effects of cell phone radiation?


An exploratory pilot study with ten normal healthy adult subjects who consumed the WAPF-recommended diet to varying degrees was conducted to look for an effect. This study is an outcome type of design in which each subject served as his or her own control. A technique that has been called live blood analysis or whole blood microscopy was used. Peripheral blood samples taken from subjects before and after different types of exposure to a cell phone were placed under a microscope, photographed, scored by a trained researcher using a Likert scale, and compared. These data were analyzed to discover which of various blood factors may have changed in relation to exposure condition, diet, subject age, and personal history of cell phone use. Because the sample size (N=10 subjects) was very small, statistical tests were not done.


Prospective subjects were recruited from the WAPF email list in the San Francisco Bay Area. Responders completed a background questionnaire to see whether they qualified. Qualified subjects were normal healthy adults with no chronic disorders or conditions and who consumed the WAPF diet to varying degrees. No prior use of a cell phone was required. Subjects who fully participated consisted of two males and eight females ranging from twenty-seven to seventy-five years of age, with a mean age of 53.3 years. Their daily consumption of the WAPF diet ranged from 20 to 98 percent, with a range from two to twenty years on the diet, and an average of 6.1 years on the diet. Eight of the ten subjects possessed a cell phone, of whom six had a smart phone. The average number of years that the subjects had used a cell phone was 10.8 years. Cell phone use among them varied from none whatsoever to twenty years of daily use, and with usage up to 3.5 hours per day. Subjects spent an average of 1.2 hours per day using a cell phone. One subject claimed some sensitivity to electrosmog, although she had not been formally diagnosed with EHS and did not complain of any symptoms during the trial.

Subjects completed a questionnaire about their health, diet and personal cell phone habits. Written informed consent was given by those who participated in the study. Each subject received a modest fee for participating in a three-hour experimental session.


Live blood analysis involves examination of a small droplet of fresh capillary blood typically taken from the fingertip. This is observed under an optical microscope at magnifications from 600 to 1200x. A camera mounted on the microscope records digital photographs of the blood samples. This technique provides information on the ecology of the blood, sometimes referred to as the "biological terrain." Live blood analysis has traditionally been used in clinical medicine to look for the presence of certain parasites including the malaria organism and the spiral-shaped bacteria that causes Lyme disease. It is a research tool sometimes also used in holistic health assessment. The size, shape, variability, and cellular integrity of the red blood cells (RBCs) can readily be seen, as well as any stickiness and aggregation of the RBCs. The presence and relative number of white blood cells and their subtypes are noted, along with the motility (movement) of these cells. The blood plasma is checked for platelet aggregates, the formation of fibrin, the presence of microbial and parasitic forms, as well as particulates including cholesterol, crystals, and various contaminants.

This study utilized a custom-built, dark-field microscope attached to a digital video camera system with zoom lens linked to a computer monitor. Software was used to capture and store microphotographs for subsequent analysis. The blood specimen was lit by means of light delivered through fiber optics attached to the microscope condenser to prevent sample heating. A sterile lancet was used to collect a droplet of peripheral blood from the fingertip, which was immediately placed on a glass microscope slide and covered with a glass cover slip. Oil immersion lenses at the microscope objective and dark-field condenser were used for image optimization.

A microphotograph of normal healthy blood from a person consuming the WAPF diet is shown in Figure 1. This photograph shows the blood immediately after it is drawn. Round RBCs appear uniform in size, separated from one another, and with no debris in the blood plasma.

Subjects fasted for at least five hours and refrained from exposure to cell phones for four hours prior to individual appointments in the study. During their three-hour experimental session, subjects were allowed to drink only water. Each subject was given three blood tests associated with three different exposure conditions as described below. Each blood sample was evaluated and scored for different blood factors. These factors include the shape of red blood cells and membrane distortion; state of aggregation of the red blood cells, including clumping, rouleaux formation (cells stuck together in rolls) and stickiness; white blood cell shape and motility; and the degree of early clotting factors including platelet aggregates and presence of fibrin. A Likert scale from 0 to 6 was used to score the blood factors, in which 0 indicates an absence of the blood factor, and larger numbers indicate greater levels of the blood factors observed in the blood samples. This method has been previously described in detail in other studies on diet reported in this journal.6,7

Three blood tests were performed on each subject as follows: (1) initially, prior to cell phone exposure (baseline condition); (2) following exposure to a smart phone in receiving mode placed in a backpack worn by the subject for 45 minutes (carrying condition); and (3) following active use of the cell phone for 45 minutes (active use condition). These are the two conditions in which most people use a cell phone. Cell phones can also be put in "airplane mode," in the sense that the user cannot make a call or access the web. However, the phone is still in communication with the nearest cell phone tower.

Ten or more typical blood microphotographs were made for each of the three exposure conditions. During the active use condition, the subjects continually used the cell phone's communication functions to access the Internet and to make phone calls. Also in the active use condition, subjects placed the cell phone near their heads at least twice for approximately five minutes each time during phone calls. During other times while making phone calls, subjects used the speaker phone mode while holding the phone in one or both hands. Following photographic analysis of all blood testing, the Likert scale data were analyzed to see which factors - diet, age, and personal cell phone habits - correlated with any observed blood changes.

The cell phone used for subject exposure was a particular model of a smart phone, and the same network carrier was used throughout the study. (Brand and model number of smart phone and network provider used in the study are deliberately withheld from this report.) Subjects remained in the laboratory throughout the experimental sessions. The exposure times and phone call durations for subjects were timed and otherwise controlled such that the cell phone radiation exposure for each subject was the same as possible for each condition. The ambient power level of radiowaves (including microwaves) in the laboratory, as measured by a radio frequency meter, was typically -45dBm corresponding to a power density of 18 microWatts per square meter. No other devices were present that could be significant sources of microwaves.


The baseline blood tests of all subjects revealed normal healthy blood in almost all cases as has been reported previously for those consuming the WAPF-recommended diet.6 Figure 2 shows a photograph of normal healthy blood from a female subject, seventy-five years old, in baseline condition. The red blood cells (RBCs) are mostly circular, although they appear to be slightly sticky as some cells overlap, and the plasma is relatively clear.

Figure 1: Healthy blood showing round, separate RBCs and clean blood plasma.

Figure 2: Baseline condition showing normal, healthy blood from 75-year-old female subject.

Figure 3 shows the blood from the same female immediately after the carrying condition. The RBCs are entirely stuck together in rouleauxtype aggregates, which look like rolls of coins.

Figure 3: Carrying condition of 75-year-old female subject showing all RBCs in rouleaux.

Figure 4 shows the blood from the same female 45 minutes later after using the cell phone in active communication mode. The rouleaux have dissipated, although the RBCs are still aggregated. Most RBCs are misshapen rather than round. Many RBCs show spiky projections on the surface, which are abnormal, spiculed RBCs called echinocytes. This particular subject, seventy-five years old and the oldest person in the study, showed the most characteristic changes in the blood following both exposure conditions.

Figure 4: Active use condition of same subject showing most RBCs are misshapen.

Most of the other subjects showed similar but less clear-cut effects. As another example, Figure 5 shows the blood from a male, age fifty-five, in baseline condition. The red blood cells (RBCs) are mostly round and separate, and the plasma is relatively clear.

Figure 5: Baseline condition of male, age 55, showing normal, healthy blood.

Figure 6 shows the blood from the same male subject immediately following the carrying condition. The red blood cells are observed to be loosely aggregated. Some of the cells are no longer round but misshapen.

Figure 6: Carrying condition of same male showing aggregated cells and a few misshapen RBCs.

Figure 7 shows the blood from the same male subject immediately following the active use condition. Every RBC appears to be misshapen. Many of the cells show spikes and are echinocytes.

Figure 7: Active use condition of same male subject showing all RBCs are misshapen.

Because subjects were holding the phone during the active use condition, their fingers received considerable microwave radiation doses. So we compared peripheral blood drawn from the fingertip as well as from the toe of one female subject, age fifty-five, in the active use condition to determine whether the blood changes were localized or not; see Figures 8 and 9. No difference between fingertip and toe blood was observed.

Figure 8: Active use condition of female subject, age 55, fingertip blood showing RBCs in rouleaux.

Figure 9: Active use condition of same female subject, toe blood showing RBCs in rouleaux.

Nine out of ten subjects showed observable blood changes due to cell phone radiation exposure. One female subject, age fifty-three, did not show a significant effect from exposure in the study. In general, a particular sequence of blood changes was observed for cell phone radiation exposure in which the subjects' RBCs first became sticky and aggregated, and upon further exposure, for most subjects, the cells became misshapen. We observed no distinct change in other blood factors including platelet aggregation, fibrin, white blood cell morphology and white blood cell motility.


To address the question of whether a higher percentage of WAPF diet served to protect subjects from blood changes, the Likert scale scores of the blood factors were grouped together as follows. Baseline scores were subtracted from the carrying condition scores and also from the active use scores to yield net blood factor changes due to exposure. Then the net scores for rouleaux, other red blood cell aggregates, and protein linkage were summed and called "net RBC aggregates." The scores for RBC membrane distortions and RBC echinocytes were also added together and called "net RBC shape changes." Figures 10 and 11, respectively, show the blood scores for the carrying condition and the active phone use condition for each of the ten subjects, arranged in order of percent WAPF diet. In either case, the blood scores for the subjects show no clear correlation with the percent WAPF diets. Thus, it appears that a higher percentage of WAPF diet does not offer protection against observed blood changes following short-term exposure to cell phone radiation.

Figure 10. Net blood factor scores for the phone carrying condition show no clear relation to % WAPF diet.

Figure 11. Net blood factor scores for the active use condition show no clear relation to % WAPF diet.

There is a possible relationship between the levels of change observed in the blood with subject age and/or cell phone habits in daily life. Figures 12 and 13 show levels of blood changes observed in subjects immediately following the carrying condition and the active phone use condition, respectively, as a function of subject age. It appears that younger subjects show less aggregated RBCs than older subjects for the carrying condition (Figure 12). It also appears that younger subjects show less aggregated RBCs as well as less blood cell shape changes than older subjects for the active use condition (Figure 13). Figure 14 shows the reported use of cell phone on the average per day for each subject. In general, younger subjects reported using their cell phones a greater number of hours per day than older subjects. Unfortunately, in this small study the distinction between age and cell phone use cannot be separated.

Figure 12. Net blood factor scores in subjects after carrying cell phone vs. subject age.

Figure 13. Net blood factor scores in subjects after active use of the cell phone vs. subject age.

Figure 14. Cell phone habits for each subject as self-reported daily use.

Figure 15 summarizes the overall observed effects on the blood from short-term exposure to cell phone radiation for both the carrying condition and active use condition. The observed changes are substantial in magnitude. For the carrying condition, RBC aggregates dominate, while RBC shape changes are fewer. For the active condition, RBC shape changes dominate, and RBC aggregates, while present, are somewhat less pronounced.

Figure 15. Blood changes observed for the whole group, averaged, for the two exposure conditions: carrying and active use. Error bars indicate standard error.


Results show substantial changes in the blood from short-term cell phone radiation exposure in nine out of ten human subjects. RBC aggregation and stickiness were mainly observed following 45 minutes of exposure to a smart phone in receiving mode worn by subjects in a backpack. By contrast, RBC morphological (shape) changes including the formation of echinocytes (spiky cells) were dominant after subjects actively used the phone for an additional 45 minutes. It appears that RBC stickiness with clumping is the first stage of the cell phone radiation effect. Subsequently, the RBC aggregates tend to break apart, and then cell shape changes occur, in which echinocytes and other misshapen cells are observed. Not all subjects showed both types of changes. The difference in net RBC aggregates between the carrying and the active use conditions are not significant for this small sample, as indicated by the overlap in the error bar values in Figure 15. However, the differences in RBC shape changes between the carrying and the active use conditions appear to be significant.

Such blood morphologies - RBC clumping and misshapen cells - are frequently observed in ill persons or those eating less-than-optimal diets.6,7 Echinocyte formation has been associated with aging RBCs and diseases such as cirrhosis of the liver.8 In a study exposing mice to cell phones, clumped RBCs were found after short- term exposure, and abnormal RBC shapes were observed over longer exposure times,9 which is similar to the results observed in this study.

It is possible that the changes in RBC shape that we observed may be related to functional changes in cell membrane permeability. Other studies have reported changes in RBC membranes following exposure to microwaves, too. Low-power microwave radiation increased membrane permeability and destabilized the cell membrane in rabbit RBCs, and also caused the shedding of particular membrane proteins.10 Similar effects showing changes in membrane permeability have been reported for human RBCs.11 Some, but not all, studies show a loss of hemoglobin from RBCs irradiated with cell phone frequency microwaves, indicating greater membrane fragility.12 However, these are in vitro studies in which blood taken from the body was directly exposed to microwaves.

The observation that peripheral blood taken from a finger and toe of the same subject showed the same blood changes in response to cell phone radiation exposure suggests that the blood changes we observed are systemic. This deserves further study to investigate whether the observed blood changes are consistent throughout the human body.

The blood effects observed in this study could not conclusively be correlated with the percentage WAPF diet that subjects consumed. Thus, it appears that the WAPF diet did not have a substantial protective effect. However, the percentage WAPF diet was self-reported by subjects and is somewhat unreliable. This study was an initial small exploratory study and did not compare the WAPF diet to other diets in a controlled trial. Thus, we cannot draw firm conclusions on the role of diet.

We did not investigate how long these blood changes last after the cell phone radiation exposure period ends. However, because subjects refrained from using a cell phone for four hours prior to the study, we can surmise that the blood recovers within four hours. The onset, reversibility, recovery time, and chronicity of these blood changes need further investigation.

It is probable that the blood changes we observed would affect blood circulation. RBC aggregation has been widely studied and its importance is well-established in the microcirculation. RBCs that are stuck together in rouleaux or other aggregates increase the blood viscosity, and this affects the passage of RBC through the microvessels throughout the body.13 RBC shape and deformability are also relevant to blood flow. The typical round disk shape of normal RBCs is considered optimum for blood flow. The shape of the echinocytes might impair blood flow and oxygen release from echinocytes is known to be impaired.14 It would be important to explore whether symptoms such as fatigue and poor concentration, characteristic of EHS, may possibly result from the blood changes that we observed in this study.

It is not known whether repeated or chronic exposure to cell phone radiation produces similar effects on the blood as observed in this study. However, we found that older subjects who reportedly use cell phones less in daily life than younger subjects showed greater levels of blood changes. It is possible that younger subjects may simply have greater resilience to cell phone radiation than older subjects. It is also possible that because younger subjects receive more regular exposure, they have become habituated, i.e., less sensitive to it. Their reactivity is diminished, and they may be unable to respond to it appropriately as a stressor due to various long-term changes in their bodies from repeated exposure. Further studies comparing different groups of users by age and cell phone habit could resolve these issues.


This is a small short-term study with ten subjects tested in single experimental sessions. Neither experimenter blinding nor control groups were used. However, it was a preliminary study designed to look for any acute effects on the blood. Apparently it is among the first studies of its kind to document visual effects on peripheral blood following short-term human exposure to cell phone radiation. It achieved its goal. Larger, controlled studies should be conducted to expand on these results.

In support of this study, certain controls were used. Subject fasting, exposure to cell phone radiation, and exposure to ambient electrosmog from the local environment were controlled. An unbiased method of selecting and photographing the blood specimens near the sample center to avoid edge effects was used. The researcher has many years of experience in blood microphotography and developed a Likert scale to score blood factors reliably using a well-trained eye. The blood changes recorded by microphotography are objective and visually compelling.


How can we protect ourselves from cell phone radiation? Various commercial devices are being sold with claims of protection. However, controlled trials on these products are lacking. They need testing by independent laboratories and publications in peer-reviewed journals to establish their validity. The method used in this study could be adapted to test such devices for a protective effect on the blood.

The exposure of over 80 percent of the world's population to cell phone radiation makes this a potentially immense problem that needs more public health champions to raise awareness and educate people. Many users wear microwave transmitters attached to their heads, or carry cell phones in pockets or on hips. These devices remain active, even when turned off, still communicating with the nearest cell phone tower. Pregnant women, and of course children, are believed to be the most vulnerable to cell phone radiation, the latter due to their thinner skulls, developing brains and other organs.15 Yet half of the children in the U.S. as well as many children around the world use cell phones regularly.

In light of these findings and those from other studies on the biological effects of cell phone frequency microwaves, the evidence suggests that their safety is uncertain. Meanwhile people may choose to reduce their exposure to cell phones by changing their habits and usage. The public should demand more independent testing - outside of the industry. More funding should be made available to clarify the nonthermal biological effects of cell phone radiation and to investigate long-term effects, too. This would help establish appropriate safety standards with a solid scientific basis.

The authors of this study wish to keep their names and affiliations confidential.

This study was funded in part by the Weston A. Price Foundation.


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7. Rubik B. How does pork prepared in various ways affect the blood? Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts, 2011, 12(3), 24-32.

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15. O'Neill K, Teo C, Davis D, et al. Mobile Phone Health Risks: The Case for Action to Protect Children, 2011.

This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2014

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