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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Unapologetic Nestlé CEO would take more water from drought stricken California if he could

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Nestlé's chief executive officer said he would not consider moving his company's bottling operations out of California - which continues to struggle through a historic drought.

The corporate official said Nestlé would not follow Starbucks and stop drawing water from wells in the state - where personal use has been limited - and move elsewhere, reported KPCC-FM.

"Absolutely not," said CEO Tim Brown. "In fact, if I could increase it, I would."

Brown said the company's water bottling operations serve a growing consumer demand - and he's not willing to give up Nestlé's market share.

"If I stop bottling water tomorrow, people would buy another brand of bottled water," he said. "As the second largest bottler in the state, we're filling a role many others aren't filling. It's driven by consumer demand — it's driven by an on-the-go society that needs to hydrate. Frankly, we're very happy [consumers] are doing it in a healthier way."

Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, said the California water crisis is at least partly the result of a human behavior problem that could threaten water supplies in other areas.

The scientist, who also teaches Earth system science at the University of California-Irvine, said bottling water uses 30 percent to 50 percent more water than turning on the tap.

"An acre-foot [nearly 326,000 gallons] is enough water to supply an entire family for a year, Famiglietti said. "So in this time when we're being asked to flush our toilets less and less, we have to ask the question: Is this really an environmentally, ethically correct thing to be doing right now?"

Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe drew strong criticism two years ago, when he suggested that access to water is not a "public right" — although he claims his views were mischaracterized.

The company announced this week that it was upgrading its Modesto milk factory so that it could reuse and recycle waste water generated in its operations.

"We have these cooling towers [for milk] that use water," Brown said. "Previously, that would have been fresh water that we would've drawn out of the municipal supply. Now we can use our own water that had come previously from the milk. That water normally would've gone into the waste stream."

He said the $7 million upgrades would save almost 63 million gallons of water per year, and he said the company found ways to save another 26 million gallons at facilities in Bakersfield and Tulare.

"Regardless of whether we were in the bottled water business or not, we would need to be doing things like this to operate in a water-scarce environment," Brown said.

Ukrainian nationalist thugs assault women and elderly on Victory Day

"Glory to Ukraine's Nazis!"

As the world marked the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in WWII, Ukraine has seen a wave of attacks against Victory Day symbols associated with May 9 celebrations in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

On May 9, activists from the nationalist Ukrainian Svoboda ("Freedom") party were seen attacking people for wearing the traditional black-and-orange St. George ribbons or carrying red Victory Day banners in several cities across the country.

Among those assaulted was the head of the Antifascist Committee in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov, pensioner and member of the Communist party Aleksandr Kalinyuk. He was sprayed with kefir (a fermented milk drink), and prevented from leaving his home to attend unofficial Victory Day celebrations.

The video of the incident was posted on YouTube by Svoboda members, who later wrote on Facebook that "Kalinyuk and his Colorado ribbons and Soviet flags won't be attending," saying he was "grounded." "Colorado" is the derogatory term used in Ukraine for the St. George ribbon, referring to its resemblance to the color of the Colorado potato beetle.

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This year Ukrainian authorities have changed the way Victory Day is celebrated by introducing the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation on May 8. It's the first time they marked the occasion on the same day as Europe, instead of May 9 as Russia and other former Soviet states do. They also officially switched the traditional Soviet-era Victory Day symbols - the red banner and the St. George ribbon - to a stylized red-and-black poppy.

Also in Lvov, an elderly man trying to lay flowers at a WWII memorial on May 9 was surrounded by people wearing Svoboda insignia. They shoved him and ripped the St. George ribbon from him. Police later escorted the man to the memorial, but told him wearing the ribbon was a "provocation," and did nothing about the attackers.

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In the video, the victim can be heard saying: "I am a free man! I have the right to wear whatever symbols I want. Is there democracy in Ukraine or not?"
The leader of Svoboda activists, a member of the local parliament, then told the media that "this is going to happen to anyone who comes to any of Lvov's memorials with a red banner or with these symbols of Putin."

Independent journalist Dmitry Lyashenko, a Lvov native, was beaten up by unidentified men on May 9 when he went to a square in the city center wearing a St. George ribbon. As a result of the attack he lost one eye and had his nose broken. Speaking to Life News network, Lyashenko said he had been receiving threats over the phone and Facebook some time before the assault.

Across the country in Kharkov, a group of women on a V-Day march were assaulted by members of a local nationalist organization, who accused them of "pro-Russian" views. One of the women was sprayed with kefir for refusing to give up her banner. Further violence was prevented by police, local media report.

In the Ukrainian capital Kiev, a march to lay flowers at a World War II memorial was attacked by camouflaged people. They used force, wrestling V-Day banners from the participants of the march, who had veterans among them. According to the "Ukrainian choice" civil rights group, there were no arrests or any official reaction to the assault.

While the red banner and St. George ribbon are not officially banned, in the run-up to the celebrations the authorities warned Ukrainians against showing up in the streets with the symbols, saying it could be seen as a "provocation."

By introducing the new V-Day symbols Ukrainian authorities insist they are parting with "obsolete Soviet traditions."

"It is a European symbol. Let them wear any other ribbons in Russia, which now claims it won World War II," Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said.

The St. George ribbon, besides being a traditional V-Day symbol in post-Soviet countries, was also taken up by rebels in the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics in eastern Ukraine.

Attacks on Victory Day celebrations were not uncommon in Ukraine even before the current crisis in relations with Russia. Some of the worst occurred on May 9 2011, when dozens of radical activists in Lvov attacked V-Day celebrators and veterans, calling them "Russian fascists."
However, not only Ukraine has seen attacks on veterans in the wake of the 70th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat. In Russia's Leningrad region (near St. Petersburg), three schoolchildren attacked a 77-year old Nazi death camp survivor, pelting him with stones. The veteran was not seriously hurt, and the underage attackers were taken to police for a spoken reprimand.

30 waterbirds found dead on Lake Havasu, Arizona had blunt trauma


An eared grebe (black-necked grebe)

Birds found dead on Lake Havasu in late-April showed signs of "severe blunt trauma" and have been sent to the National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin for further testing, Arizona Game and Fish wildlife biologist Carrington Knox said Tuesday.

A group of more than 30 dead eared grebes were spotted just south of Cattail Cove State Park on April 28 and reported to Game and Fish. Lake Havasu wildlife manager Suzanne Ehret retrieved sample specimens of the grebes and sent them to Game and Fish in Phoenix.

Knox said initial observations of the grebes showed "severe blunt trauma," but the cause of the trauma was unknown. She said grebes aren't "the best fliers" and have been known to fly into power lines or be struck by boats. The testing of the birds is ongoing.

"At this point we can't determine what the trauma was caused by," she said.

Knox said it was still unknown if environmental factors were a cause of the grebe deaths. The wildlife center, which is part of the US Geologic Survey, has more comprehensive testing capabilities than Game and Fish. Knox said it is common for the state to send specimens to be tested there and that it usually takes one or two months to receive results.

Deanna Simpson, who reported the grebes after coming across them while fishing with her husband, said they were surrounded by blue-green algae, which has become more prevalent on Lake Havasu in recent years.

Before You Buy That Rothko…How the CIA Covertly Nurtured Modern Art as a Cold War “Weapon”

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For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art – including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko – as a weapon in the Cold War. In the manner of a Renaissance prince – except that it acted secretly – the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.

Because Abstract Expressionism was expensive to move around and exhibit, millionaires and museums were called into play. Pre-eminent among these was Nelson Rockefeller, whose mother had co-founded the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As president of what he called “Mummy’s museum”, Rockefeller was one of the biggest backers of Abstract Expressionism (which he called “free enterprise painting”). His museum was contracted to the Congress for Cultural Freedom to organise and curate most of its important art shows.

The museum was also linked to the CIA by several other bridges. William Paley, the president of CBS broadcasting and a founding father of the CIA, sat on the members’ board of the museum’s International Program. John Hay Whitney, who had served in the agency’s wartime predecessor, the OSS, was its chairman. And Tom Braden, first chief of the CIA’s International Organisations Division, was executive secretary of the museum in 1949.

– From the excellent Independent article published in 1995: Modern Art Was CIA ‘Weapon’

Most of you will be aware of the oligarch bidding wars for high end art at recent auctions held by Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In fact, the feeding frenzy was so extreme, the top 10 lots accounted for almost $800 million alone. Some of these paintings are breathtakingly beautiful, such as Vincent Van Gogh’s, “L’Allée des Alyscamps.” Others, not so much. Such as this one by Mark Rothko, which sold for $46.5 million.

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Unsurprisingly, the paintings which seem to be least inspiring were by artists who were covertly pushed by the CIA in the 1950’s as part of its cold war strategy. Mark Rothko, for example, was born in the Russian Empire in 1903 (modern day Latvia) and ended up in America in 1913. Being a Russian artist in America made him the perfect CIA tool, and apparently his art served that purpose unbeknownst to him. The CIA program was originally set up in 1947, under the not so covert division called the Propaganda Assets Inventory. You really can’t make this up.

In one of the most interesting articles I’ve ever read, we learn from the UK Independent in a 1995 article:


For decades in art circles it was either a rumour or a joke, but now it is confirmed as a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency used American modern art – including the works of such artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko – as a weapon in the Cold War. In the manner of a Renaissance prince – except that it acted secretly – the CIA fostered and promoted American Abstract Expressionist painting around the world for more than 20 years.

The connection is improbable. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art – President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: “If that’s art, then I’m a Hottentot.” As for the artists themselves, many were ex- communists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing.

Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.

The existence of this policy, rumored and disputed for many years, has now been confirmed for the first time by former CIA officials. Unknown to the artists, the new American art was secretly promoted under a policy known as the “long leash” – arrangements similar in some ways to the indirect CIA backing of the journal Encounter, edited by Stephen Spender.

The decision to include culture and art in the US Cold War arsenal was taken as soon as the CIA was founded in 1947. Dismayed at the appeal communism still had for many intellectuals and artists in the West, the new agency set up a division, the Propaganda Assets Inventory, which at its peak could influence more than 800 newspapers, magazines and public information organisations. They joked that it was like a Wurlitzer jukebox: when the CIA pushed a button it could hear whatever tune it wanted playing across the world.

This was the “long leash”. The centerpiece of the CIA campaign became the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a vast jamboree of intellectuals, writers, historians, poets, and artists which was set up with CIA funds in 1950 and run by a CIA agent. It was the beach-head from which culture could be defended against the attacks of Moscow and its “fellow travelers” in the West. At its height, it had offices in 35 countries and published more than two dozen magazines, including Encounter.

The Congress for Cultural Freedom also gave the CIA the ideal front to promote its covert interest in Abstract Expressionism. It would be the official sponsor of touring exhibitions; its magazines would provide useful platforms for critics favourable to the new American painting; and no one, the artists included, would be any the wiser.

Because Abstract Expressionism was expensive to move around and exhibit, millionaires and museums were called into play. Pre-eminent among these was Nelson Rockefeller, whose mother had co-founded the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As president of what he called “Mummy’s museum”, Rockefeller was one of the biggest backers of Abstract Expressionism (which he called “free enterprise painting”). His museum was contracted to the Congress for Cultural Freedom to organise and curate most of its important art shows.

The museum was also linked to the CIA by several other bridges. William Paley, the president of CBS broadcasting and a founding father of the CIA, sat on the members’ board of the museum’s International Program. John Hay Whitney, who had served in the agency’s wartime predecessor, the OSS, was its chairman. And Tom Braden, first chief of the CIA’s International Organizations Division, was executive secretary of the museum in 1949.

Woman is savaged by an angry beaver in Russia


While beaver attacks are rare, they are not unheard of. A fisherman died while trying to take a picture of a beaver in Belarus in 2013 after the animal bit through an artery in his leg, causing him to bleed to death

A woman in Russia who had her leg ripped open by an angry beaver was saved after a neighbour came running over and stabbed it in the head.

Evgenia Eliseeva, 24, was at home in her village in southwest Russia's Lipetsk region when she went outside to get a better phone signal to call her mum.

But as she started dialling she felt a terrible pain in her leg and looked down to see a large animal had bitten into her calf.

Miss Eliseeva said: 'I was in complete shock and had no idea what it was at first.

'I thought it might have been a dog that had jumped on me. It was quite dark but it seemed to be standing on its tail as it was so tall.

'Then it he got on all fours and charged at me again. Its teeth were in my leg and it was furiously shaking its head from side to side.

'I was screaming like a maniac and this man suddenly appeared out of nowhere and attacked the beaver.'

The woman's rescuer, local man Hleb Yefremov, 54, said: 'I heard the girl scream and saw this giant hairy beast attacking her.


Evgenia Eliseeva, 24, said she went outside her home in south west Russia to make a phone call when she felt the animal latch on to her calf

'I didn't stop to think what it was, I just pulled out my knife and plunged it into the creature's back. It was only later I realised it was a beaver and not a dog.'

Beaver attacks are rare though not unprecedented, and according to experts usually happen when the animals are rabid - though there is no evidence to suggest the one which attacked Miss Eliseeva was infected.

Beaver expert Alexsander Saveliev told local media: 'The only deadly beaver attack I can recall happened in Belarus when one attacked a fisherman.

'He bled to death after the beaver's teeth severed an artery in his leg.'

In 2012 two girls were mauled by a beaver as they swam through a lake in Virginia, though they survived with bites and scratches.

In late April 2011, a rabid beaver attacked a fisherman in the White Clay Creek area of Chester County, Pennsylvania, though he escaped after drowning the animal.

Evgenia said: 'Luckily, this beaver didn't cause too much damage and I didn't lose too much blood.

'I have no idea what it was doing here but I will take a torch with me when I go out at night again.'

Beaver teeth, which are used by the rodent to chew through tree trunks and bark, are exceptionally sharp and capable of causing a large amount of damage if used in attacks.

Beavers are the second largest rodents in the world, second to the capybara, and adults can measure more than 4ft from head to the tip of their tail.

SOTT FOCUS: EMF Pollution: Man-Made EMF, Dirty Power, and AC magnetic fields


© (Richard Box’s ‘FIELD’ February 2004 Photo: Stuart Bunce, www.richardbox.com) [With permission – Henshaw 1]
Fluorescent tubes lit by overhead power line

This article is part two in a series of articles on EMF pollution. Part one on the bakground to EMF pollution is available here. We'll now proceed with a detailed description of man-made sources of EMF (Electromagnetic Field), discuss past study results, and finish up with some suggestions for gauging your EMF exposure, and steps you can take to minimize it.

Chronic diseases have many potential causes, including genetics, deficient diet, toxin exposure, and repressed emotional expression. Research has mounted over the past two decades in support of adding EMF exposure to the top-level list of causes of chronic disease (including genome/DNA damage). It's likely that a chronic disease condition results from a unique and individual combination of these top-level stressors, so EMF exposure should be considered in the context of other source causes, as suggested in Figure 1.


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Figure 1 EMF health effects in the context of diet and toxin exposure

Man-Made EMF

The primary man-made EMFs that have been identified are AC (alternating current) ELF (extra low frequency) electric/magnetic fields associated with power distribution, 'dirty power' (a negative by-product of our switch to 'energy-efficient' appliances, which produces 'transients' - electrical 'spikes' and 'sags') associated with high frequency noise induced in the power grid, and wireless RF (radio frequency) signals originating from a host communication systems - both commercial and military. Every year volumes of studies are published by researchers attempting to quantify the health risks associated with these man-made EMFs. After several decades of concerted study (and much money), the general public perception remains that little of substance has been proven linking EMF exposure with serious negative health consequences. A good part of the responsibility for this lies with the news media and their lack of motivation to inform the public of what these studies really show. Instead, the media plays a role more akin to concealing the truth and delivering lies - the kind we, collectively, prefer to hear.

But there is a complicating factor that detracts from many of these studies. Suppose you are studying the health impacts of cell phone use. You find a cohort/control group consisting of people that have never had or used a cell phone (a tough job in itself these days). You are going to base the results of your study on the health of this cell-free group. But what if some members of this group are exposed to strong dirty power EMF in their home or work environment? The negative health consequences of one kind of EMF exposure (dirty power in this example) dilute the study results of another (cell phone use), making it very difficult to isolate and quantify effects. Throw in more unknowns associated with diet, lifestyle and toxin exposure, and we can see that the control and study groups may have to be very large in order to even detect an EMF signal in the data - let alone quantify the risk. So, in many of these studies, large uncertainties are built-in from the very start.

For these reasons, Dr Samuel Milham decided to take a closer look at data from the turn of the twentieth century to 1960 to see whether or not gradual electrification of the US showed a link to rising deaths from chronic diseases. His results were published in Medical Hypotheses2. He says this about the sources of his data:

"US vital statistics tabulations and census records for 1920 - 1960, and historical US vital statistics documents were examined. Residential electrification data was available in the US census of population for 1930, 1940 and 1950. Crude urban and rural death rates were calculated, and death rates by state were correlated with electrification rates by state for urban and rural areas for 1940 white resident deaths."

He gives a snapshot of US electrification progress by 1940:

"Thomas Edison began electrifying New York City in 1880, but by 1920, only 34.7% of all US dwelling units and 1.6% of farms had electric service. By 1940, 78% of all dwelling units and 32% of farms had electric service. This means that in 1940 about three quarters of the US population lived in electrified residences and one quarter did not. By 1940, the US vital registration system was essentially complete, in that all the 48 contiguous United States were included. Most large US cities were electrified by the turn of the century, and by 1940, over 90% of all the residences in the northeastern states and California were electrified. In 1940 almost all urban residents in the US were exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in their residences and at work, while rural residents were exposed to varying levels of EMFs, depending on the progress of rural electrification in their states."

Milham states his hypothesis as follows:

"The diseases of civilization or lifestyle diseases include cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes and are thought to be caused by changes in diet, exercise habits, and lifestyle which occur as countries industrialize. I think the critical variable which causes the radical changes in mortality accompanying industrialization is electrification. ... I suggest that from the time that Thomas Edison started his direct current electrical distribution system in the 1880s in New York City until now, when most of the world is electrified, the electricity carried high frequency voltage transients which caused and continue to cause what are considered to be the normal diseases of civilization. Even today, many of these diseases are absent or have very low incidence in places without electricity."

That is a strong statement, but his data supports it. I have extracted some data from his paper and present it here in slightly different form in order to better summarize his results for this article. Figure 4 shows both the US cancer rate and percent electrification of residences from 1900 to 1960. The blue diamonds are the cancer rate in 5 year increments in deaths per 100,000 population, and the red squares show the corresponding percent electrification of all residences at the time.

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Figure 4 US Cancer Rate and Percent Electrification from 1900-1960 [Adapted from Milham2]

Both the diamonds and the squares (cancer rate and percent electrification) share the same left vertical scale. Notice that the peak in electrification reaches nearly 100% in 1956 and the peak in cancer rate is still rising after 1960. This lagging behavior is what you would expect from EMF-related cancer since many years of exposure are required. Keep in mind that over the time-frame in Figure 4, there were no cell phones, no WiFi, no digital communication signals of any kind. Analog TV only appeared at the end of this period. So power grid electrification was the only significant (man-made) EMF source.

It would be impossible to generate or replicate this kind of data in today's environment. Milham maintains that this correlation strongly suggests causation (see his paper2 for correlation statistics). He also maintains that the causative EMF is noise transients on the power grid (dirty power). I think it's likely that in many homes/businesses, AC magnetic fields also played a role but the two factors are inseparable in this data.

The dashed vertical line in Figure 4 passes through 1940 when 78% of all residences in the US were electrified. By demographics, these were mostly urban. That leaves 22% un-electrified - still a sizeable group of the rural population. Milham broke out the data by disease in 1940 by computing the excess urban deaths over and above the rural population in percent. His results are shown in Figure 5 for various diseases, all deaths, and motor vehicle deaths (for reference) that were recorded in the year 1940.


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Figure 5 Percent excess urban deaths over rural deaths. In 1940 this approximated the electrified residences (urban) versus un-electrified residences (rural). [Adapted from Milham 2]

These percent excess disease deaths for the electrified urbanite are very significant. Notice the excess percent deaths for diabetes is 65%! I wonder if this is related to known, measured blood glucose variations in response to short duration EMF exposure in some diabetics6. Suicide, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer have all - separately, in modern studies - been associated with long-term EMF exposure, and the only significant EMF in 1940 was electrification by the grid. Notice that the excess deaths due to motor vehicles is only about 1% - as one might expect. Excess deaths due to all causes was still elevated by 20%. This excess percent deaths in 1940 in Milham's data shows the same strong correlation with electrification when no other significant EMF is present.

In conclusion Milham states:

"It seems unbelievable that mortality differences of this magnitude could go unexplained for over 70 years after they were first reported and 40 years after they were noticed. I think that in the early part of the 20th century nobody was looking for answers. By the time EMF epidemiology got started in 1979 the entire population was exposed to EMFs. Cohort studies were therefore using EMF-exposed population statistics to compute expected values, and case-control studies were comparing more exposed cases to less exposed controls."

And that would lead to underestimated risk in all subsequent studies. This has, no doubt, played a role in the understated message the public receives regarding the risks of high tech EMF.

It should be noted that Milham does not discuss the likelihood that urban diets (in this time frame) were deficient compared with the rural counterpart, and that this could be a confounding factor in his results. However, the chances that diet alone explains the urban/rural death rate differences in 1940 seems remote.

Dirty Power

Let's back up for a second and take a closer look at 'dirty power', or 'dirty electricity'. Figure 6 shows oscilloscope traces of two 60Hz AC waveforms; one appearing to be a clean sine wave - the other is a very noisy version with a high frequency hash blurring the otherwise smooth 60Hz wave. The two traces are slightly offset so that both can be seen. The high frequency hash is due to voltage/current transients induced on the grid when the grid energy is rapidly switched on and off to achieve variable input power to some device, motor, or appliance. This rapid switching causes transients at the switch rate and noise harmonics up and down the frequency spectrum. This noise is induced on the 60/50Hz grid and appears at every socket in the home (and your neighbor's home). Most of this noise is contained in the 1-140KHz band. Most modern appliances make use of switching power supplies to provide us with variable speed options for convenience (and advertising purposes).

What is not so well known is that these modern devices can make a dirty mess out of our grid system. The more current draw the device demands, the more noise it will produce when the input power is switched. In today's variable speed devices, this switching is accomplished digitally. Decades ago this was not an option and variable speed (in a motor for example) was accomplished via a mechanical switch between taps on a transformer - the point being that our older appliances were much safer and cleaner with respect to dirty power.


Figure 6 Offset oscilloscope traces of clean 60Hz AC and one distorted by induced high frequency noise.

Dirty power also arises from any electronic device that requires AC-DC conversion from the grid. This is because the conversion process requires that the AC be rectified (no negative voltage swings), which induces transients and harmonics similar to switched power supplies. The more power the device demands, the higher the induced noise. This is why cell phone base towers produce so much dirty power on the grid - they require massive amounts of DC power for the digital electronics (digital signal processors) that support the cellular phone system. In fact, Milham maintains that the real threat from cell towers is the dirty power they induce on the grid in homes in the vicinity of the tower.

So, all those transformers that we plug into sockets to power various electronic boxes put noise on the grid even if the electronic device is turned off or not plugged in (these transformers are also a significant source of AC magnetic fields while they are plugged into a socket).

How does dirty power affect our health?

This noise in your wiring and at your sockets does not radiate (couple) to free space in the same way that a cell phone antenna radiates the RF cell signal3 - the frequencies are very different (100KHz versus 900-1800MHz). The mechanism is referred to as capacitive coupling and involves objects in the home (including the human body) and their electrical relationship to ground. Capacitive coupling occurs through the electric field where charge (electrons) at one conductor (the electric wires or socket) acts on the charge on another conductor (your body) through a dielectric medium (the air). It can be looked at as if the electrical grid field is always 'seeking' a path to ground.

For example, Figure 7 shows a trace from two EKG patches placed on the ankles of a man standing at his kitchen sink4. The time snapshot of the window is 250 millisec and the peak-to-peak voltage swing is about 18 millivolts. Both the noise and 60Hz components can be seen. It is estimated (by modeling) that 80% of the noise energy at frequencies below 1KHz is dissipated in the skin and 20% is dissipated internally; and at frequencies above 2KHz, all the energy is dissipated internally5, 6. This indicates that long-term exposure potential for EMF damage is much greater for the higher frequency components of the dirty power noise.

This may be consistent with the masking of the natural EMF discussed in Part 1 of this article. It may also have to do with disturbance of sensitive electro-chemical metabolic functions and signaling at the sub-cellular level. Even without grounding, the effect can vary depending on geometry and proximity of large metal objects (such as refrigerators, stoves, metal ducting, etc). Notice also in Figure 7 that the high frequency components of the noise (evident in Figure 6) are absent - apparently absorbed in the test subject's body.


© Sott.net
Figure 7 “The waveform was recorded between two EKG patches placed on the ankles of a man standing in front of his kitchen sink … It shows a distorted 60 cycle sine wave containing high frequencies applied to each foot, allowing high frequency current to freely oscillate up one leg and down the other. … He was standing with feet shoulder width apart, wearing shoes at the time of the reading. The amplitude increased as the feet were placed farther apart”. [Adapted from Havas & Stetzer 4]

The best response, at this point in time, to dirty power EMF - short of embracing an off-grid lifestyle - is to install Graham-Stetzer (GS) filters7, 8 in some of your home sockets to reduce this noise to acceptable levels, thereby reducing your risk of damaging health consequences from long-term exposure. But more on that later, when we discuss all the things you can do to protect yourself from the sources of EMF.

Before leaving the subject of dirty power EMF, another study worth mentioning is one in which a dirty power EMF signal was clearly identified in the cancer statistics of a group of teachers at La Quinta Middle School, California. This case study is described by Milham and Morgan in their 2008 paper, published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine9:

"In 2003 the teachers at La Quinta, California middle school complained that they had more cancers than would be expected. A consultant for the school district denied that there was a problem. ... Sixteen school teachers in a cohort of 137 teachers hired in 1988 through 2005 were diagnosed with 18 cancers. The observed to expected (O/E) risk ratio for all cancers was 2.78 (P=0.000098), while the O/E risk ratio for malignant melanoma was 9.8 (P=0.0008). Thyroid cancer had a risk ratio of 13.3 (P=0.0098), and uterine cancer had a risk ratio of 9.2 (P=0.019). Sixty Hertz magnetic fields showed no association with cancer incidence. A new exposure metric, high frequency voltage transients, did show a positive correlation to cancer incidence. A cohort cancer incidence analysis of the teacher population showed a positive trend (P=7.1X10 -10) of increasing cancer risk with increasing cumulative exposure to high frequency voltage transients on the classroom's electrical wiring measured with a Graham/Stetzer (G/S) meter. The attributable risk of cancer associated with this exposure was 64%. A single year of employment at this school increased a teacher's cancer risk by 21%."

For any teacher at this school assigned to one of the classrooms in which the GS meter hit maximum scale (>2000 GS units), her/his cancer risk increased 26% per year of employment!

The observed to expected risk ratio (O/E) in the above quote is simply the number of observed cancers in the group of teachers divided by the number of expected cancer cases (in the general population or control group). The P-value is the probability of obtaining a test statistic (by chance) at least as extreme as the one that was actually observed - the lower the P-value, the less likely the result is a chance occurrence, and the stronger the correlation with the measured EMF (in GS units). This study (and its results) are unique in that the EMF levels were so high as to swamp out any noise due to control group EMF exposure and other (unknown) exposure factors (diet, toxins, etc)! In all likelihood, the single-source risk of dirty power EMF exposure is much higher than that found in the study. At these levels of dirty power EMF, everyone should be included in the category of 'electrosensitive'.

The authors conclude with:

"The cancer incidence in the teachers at this school is unusually high and is strongly associated with exposure to high frequency voltage transients. In the 28 years since electromagnetic fields (EMFs) were first associated with cancer, a number of exposure metrics have been suggested. If our findings are substantiated, high frequency voltage transients are a new and important exposure metric and a possible universal human carcinogen similar to ionizing radiation."

AC Magnetic Fields

Another EMF associated with power lines and the power grid is AC magnetic fields. To understand the origin of these fields, we need a little basic physics. Figure 8 shows an AC power distribution system from power plant to home user.


© Sott.net
Figure 8 The AC power system consists of high voltage lines that are stepped down in voltage via transformers as they approach the end home user.

The current (i) that passes out from the power plant is always the same as the current that returns. This is true throughout the system since it is a closed circuit. A voltage drop occurs at the load (home), indicating that power is being consumed (P=v*i). The 'hot' line is associated with the input voltage + . The 'neutral' line is at the voltage - . The current i in these lines is the same, but the voltage is very different. By the time these are transformed back up to the high voltage power lines, this difference between the 'hot' and 'neutral' wires can be hundreds of thousands of volts. This is why high voltage power lines suspend the wires so far apart; if they didn't, this voltage difference would ionize the air between them causing an arc short between the lines. But there is a price to pay for separating these lines - AC magnetic fields.

Figure 9 shows a current on a long straight wire and the resulting magnetic field that will always accompany the current.


Figure 9 Current on a wire and its associated magnetic field. Point your thumb in the direction
of the current(i) – the curl of the rest of your fingers shows the flow of the magnetic field.

Now picture two closely spaced wires that feed a load in closed circuit like the one in Figure 8. The current (i) in the two wires is equal and in opposite direction, and, since they are very close together, the magnetic field from one wire cancels the other, so no AC magnetic field will be measured in the space around the wires. This is why there is a very large AC magnetic field under high voltage power lines - the wires are widely spaced (due to the high voltage) and the magnetic fields do not cancel. The AC electric field (volts per meter) is high due to the high voltage suspended over ground. Take another look at the banner graphic at the start of this article. The photo shows an array of fluorescent lights mounted vertically - one end in the ground - under a high voltage power line in the UK10. This is a real photograph showing the whole array of tubes lit up simply due to the high voltage induced across the end of the tubes. Intuition would suggest that this is not a healthy environment for any animal.

Getting back to the magnetic field, the wire pairs for each home circuit can be run together because the voltage has been stepped down to 120/240V. As long as the wires remain together, there is no net current, and therefore no AC magnetic field. The US National Electric Code (NEC - or your country's equivalent) is very carefully crafted to eliminate net current in all buildings. This is aptly demonstrated by Karl Riley in his book, Tracing EMFs in Building Wiring and Grounding11, in which he describes common wiring errors that can lead to unacceptable AC magnetic fields in the home/office building.

Electricians, just like everyone else, take shortcuts and make mistakes, but in the case of net current, they rarely consider the consequences of the resulting AC magnetic fields on the health of people in the environment - especially children. The majority of NEC inspectors are probably unaware of this as well, and the mistakes are rarely spotted. This is tragic because a simple gauss meter (which measures the magnetic field) and ammeter (which measures net current) can reveal the problem quickly before the wiring is encased in the building's internal structure. Fixing these problems after the fact can be difficult and costly - and you may need a Karl Riley to diagnose, locate, and correct the problem. You can quickly determine if you have a problem with a cheap $40 gauss meter, but more on that later.

When the pair of wires begins to separate, AC magnetic fields develop in the vicinity. All wire pairs must separate widely at the panel box for connection to grid power. This makes the panel box a strong source of AC magnetic fields and explains why you do not want any living areas adjacent to or in the vicinity of the panel box. The wires must also separate at each socket, light fixture, and appliance in the home/office. In the case of appliances, the wires separate internal to the appliance in order to power circuit boards, transformers, heating elements, etc. The more current and separation of the wires, the higher the magnetic field.

Today it is generally and widely accepted that long-term exposure to AC magnetic fields in the range of 3-4 milligauss (0.3-0.4 mT) results in a doubling of the risk for childhood leukemia. It is, therefore, suggested that long-term exposure not exceed 2mG (0.2mT). Many scientists and health organizations suggest that a wider safety margin be applied, reducing this to 0.5-1.0mG (0.05-0.1mT). A healthy safety margin makes sense since there will undoubtedly be periods of much higher exposure, and the dose should be considered cumulative - much like ionizing radiation (radioactivity).

Riley11 relates an interesting (and sad) case study:

"The next case is unusual in that it involves a child who developed leukemia in the first year of his life. I was called in to measure the magnetic fields in his crib room since it was next to the service entrance [panel box] closet in a large Los Angeles estate. I found no unusual field level emanating from the service closet itself, since the equipment was not mounted adjacent to the wall to the child's room, but a substantial magnetic field was coming from an under-floor source which angled out from the service closet location, ran under the crib and exited near the corner of the room. The field at the crib was 4mG and on the floor where the child crawled it was 12mG [1.2mT]. These values were measured during the day when the only loads were the washer and/or dryer. During the evening the field levels would have been much higher.

The field was due to a net current on the service lateral [circuit] which ran under the floor. I clamped the ammeter around the copper water supply pipe where it entered the building and found it was carrying amperage. Following my recommendation the owner had a plumber insert a dielectric [insulator] coupling in the water pipe down near the water meter near the curb, which was about 100' from the house. This took the neutral current off the pipe and restored it to the neutral conductor in the service lateral and balanced the magnetic field, thus reducing the magnetic field in the crib room to tenths [of an mG].

The child underwent chemotherapy and for awhile was doing well. Before finishing this revision [of his book] I learned that sadly he had not survived. Was his leukemia due to having been exposed to 4+ mG in his crib and 12+ mG while crawling around on the carpet?"

I'll include one more of Riley's case studies because it involves a very common wiring error, with devastating results in this case:

"I was called in by a family living in a desert community north of Barstow, California, who had experienced a sudden onset of electrosensitivity [ES]. They were sure something was wrong with the house as they could feel burning sensations, etc and had rashes on their hands which puzzled their doctor. A child born while they lived in the house was born with three kinds of brain damage.

As this was the first case of electrical hypersensitivity I had come in contact with I was cautious if not a little skeptical. But when I measured the house with the lights on I found elevated fields in the master bedroom, the baby's bedroom, and a field of 82mG at the couch the family gathered together on to watch TV.

After a couple of hours of tracing I found the point where GCs [neutrals] of two circuits had been connected [together]. As mentioned in the text, it was at a duplex receptacle in the master bedroom where one circuit was controlled by a wall switch and the other was always energized. In such receptacles one must break off the tabs connecting the two parts of the receptacle - both the hot tab and the neutral tab. In this case only the hot tab had been broken off. As soon as the receptacle was disconnected the field dropped from 82mG one foot from the wall to below a tenth of a mG at the couch. An 82mG field one foot from the wall is generated by a net current of approximately 12 amps; in this case due mainly to an electric heater used by the family in winter.

Whether the mother's use of this couch for sleep during pregnancy was related to both the birth defects and hypersensitivity is up to medical specialists to sort out. The hypersensitivity was real, as I found by a careful experiment in which I found that the mother was able to tell if a 2mG field was on or off 11 times out of 12, with no external clues from me or the apparatus I used (a covered coil and a silent mercury switch, plus a predetermined randomized on-off sequence)."

The footprint of induced ES is very evident in this account. The effect seems very similar to what gluten does to the Celiac sufferer, and makes one wonder: what are these EMFs are doing to the rest of us? To answer that question with any degree of confidence, we may have to factor in toxin exposure and diet - but more on that later.

Figure 10 shows a tragedy unfolding in June of 2008 with the construction of a residential neighborhood directly under a high-voltage power line.


Figure 10 Construction of a residential neighborhood directly under high-voltage transmission lines. [Courtesy of http://bit.ly/1H5F6C6]

The health risks associated with this kind of exposure are well-known, yet this construction practice continues as if local and national authorities are completely unaware of the risks. These homes sell well to consumers, which simply means that the general public remains uninformed as to the health risks of EMF in its major manifestations. Our media, scientific community and governments are doing a dismal job of protecting public health. Glance back at that banner picture at the beginning of this article - would you choose to live in one of these homes? These residents might be able to light the interior of their homes with upright standing arrays of fluorescent tubes.

There is another EMF source in proximity to high voltage power lines that has received significant attention from researchers Henshaw et al13 due to the fact that epidemiological studies show increased leukemia incidence in areas of extended range from power lines that cannot be explained by direct electric and magnetic fields:

"Recent epidemiological studies have reported an increased risk of leukaemia in adults and children near overhead high voltage powerlines at distances beyond the measured range of the direct electric and magnetic fields. Corona ions are emitted by powerlines, forming a plume that is carried away from the line by the wind. The plume generates random disturbances in the atmospheric electric field of tens to a few hundred V m-1 on time scales from seconds to minutes. Such disturbances can be seen up to several hundred metres from powerlines. It is hypothesised that these random disturbances result in the disruption of nocturnal melatonin synthesis and related circadian rhythms, in turn leading to increased risk of a number of adverse health effects including leukaemia. In support of the hypothesis it is noted that melatonin is highly protective of oxidative damage to the human haemopoietic system. A review of electric field studies provides evidence that (i) diurnal variation in the natural atmospheric electric field may itself act as a weak zeitgeber; (ii) melatonin disruption by electric fields occurs in rats; (iii) in humans, disturbances in circadian rhythms have been observed with artificial fields as low at 2.5 V m-1".

The high voltage lines will ionize some of the air particles, and when these waft over local neighborhoods, they cause variations in the electric field. Henshaw has done extensive field testing of this effect near power lines, and his theory explains why leukemia is still elevated so far away from the power lines. It may be that it is the variation of the electric field over time (as opposed to the absolute field value) that has such a marked effect on the biological system. Henshaw has also theorized that the ions can attach to other aerosols (pollution) and that these particles can then be taken into the lungs, with negative health effects.

Epidemiology/statistical studies associated with high voltage power line EMF should be expected to show a significant footprint (against a range of symptoms) since the magnetic and electric fields are so high. Such a study was performed in 2008 in France, by the Centre de Recherche et d'Information Indépendantes sur les Rayonnements Electromagnétiques, along 250km of existing 400KV power lines14. Figure 11 shows the study zone (pink) of the region in France, and three power line routes: 1) a proposed future 400KV line (green), 2) an existing 400KV line running at 75% average capacity (red), and 3) an existing 400KV line running at 40% average capacity (yellow). These three lines were chosen so that one would represent no exposure, a second would represent moderate exposure, and a third would represent high exposure. The zones of exposure for these existing lines were defined as 600 meters around the ground track of the lines (300 meters to either side). Figure 12 shows typical measured results for the electric and magnetic fields under the power lines, as a function of lateral offset. These values will vary depending on load conditions at the time of measurement.


Figure 11 France study zone and 400KV power line routes. [Adapted from Gouhier 14]


© Sott.net
Figure 12 Typical electric and magnetic field measurements around the power line. [Adapted from Gouhier 14]


A total of 6,220 useable questionnaires associated with home, work, and farm environment (which took into account animal behavior) were used in the compilation of statistics. The data was compiled by power line zone to see if problems in animal behavior (on the farms) and human symptoms were correlated with power line EMF exposure. Figure 13 shows the results for animal behavior. Farmers reported serious divergence (from the norm) in behaviors of the animals within 300 meters of the power lines relative to the unexposed animals - up to 5 times the percent incidence. This incidence increase is clearly dominated by the high capacity exposure, but the low capacity exposure shows extreme deviation as well. Figure 14 shows the same percent incidence in each exposure group for a range of negative human symptoms.

Here we see the same trend - peak incidence occurs in the high capacity exposure group and is still significantly elevated in the low capacity group. Note that psychological depression is reported at nearly twice the incidence for high capacity power line exposure relative to the exposure-free group. Many of these symptoms are associated with ES as well as acute exposure in non-ES individuals. But the percent incidence increase over the unexposed group is not nearly as large as that in the animal groups.


© Sott.net
Figure 13 Percent incidence of the behavior in each exposure group. [Adapted from Gouhier 14]


© Sott.net
Figure 14 Percent incidence of human symptoms in each exposure group. [Adapted from Gouhier14]


This suggests the possibility of competing exposures to toxins, other EMF sources, and a deficient 'standard Western diet'. Nevertheless, the EMF footprint is strong in this data due to the extreme nature of the exposure. These kinds of results have motivated many scientists to call for the application of the Precautionary Principle to legislate reductions in allowable public EMF exposure levels across all significant sources. [Note: the p-value indicated in Figures 13 and 14 is the approximated probability that the observed data could occur randomly and is based on the number observations or measurements - eg: p=.01 is a 1% chance and p=.0001 is a .01% chance.]

AC Magnetic Fields AND Dirty Power

Henshaw15 has suggested that the high frequency noise associated with dirty power may also act detrimentally through the AC magnetic field even though the field strength may be quite small (very little net current). He suggests that it is the pulsed nature of the transients acting through even a weak AC magnetic field that produces biological effects when exposure is chronic. This is partially based on findings that a patterned (pulsed) magnetic field causes cellular anomalies at levels as low as 0.9mG (.09 mT)16. Henshaw has also referenced epidemiology studies17, 18 that show increased odds ratio for miscarriage when the environmental magnetic field is characterized according to its pulse amplitude as opposed to the time-weighted average. Again, we see that it is the high frequency components of the noise associated with grid power transients that appears to have the greatest biological effect.

This is extremely important because it suggests that dirty power in conjunction with a net current problem may amplify the negative biological effects significantly over and above the effects of either in isolation. So, it is very important to characterize both the AC magnetic field (due to net current sources) as well as grid power noise - and reduce both as much as possible in the living environment.

References and Notes

1. Denis Henshaw, Professor Emeritus (retired), School of Physics, University of Bristol

2. Milham, Samuel, 'Historical evidence that electrification caused the 20th century epidemic of ''diseases of civilization"', Medical Hypotheses 74 (2010) 337 - 345.

3. Radiation from a cell antenna is a transverse electromagnetic wave (TEM) propagating in free space. Both electric and magnetic field directions are orthogonal to the direction of propagation. Reactive EM coupling can involve a radial component to the field in the direction of propagation making it behave more as a sound or percussive wave phenomena (longitudinal wave propagation).

4. Havas M, Stetzer D. 'Graham/Stetzer Filters Improve Power Quality in Homes and Schools, Reduce Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics, Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms, and Headaches', International Scientific Conference on Childhood Leukemia, London, 2004.

5. Reines, R.S., M. A. Cook, J.D. Loock. 2000. Cornell Cow Model, White Paper, Public Service of Wisconsin

6. Reilly, J.P. 1992. Applied Bioelectricity: From Electrical Stimulation to Electropathology, Cambridge University Press.

7. Graham-Stetzer socket filters are designed by Professor Graham and David Stetzer and offered for sale by Stetzer Electric, see stetzerelectric.com for more information on the GS meters and filters.

8. Greenwave filters are another option for home grid filtering, see here

9. Milham, S, Morgan, L, 'A New Electromagnetic Exposure Metric: High Frequency Voltage Transients Associated With Increased Cancer Incidence in Teachers in a California School', Am. J. Ind. Med. 2008.

10. Richard Box's 'FIELD' (richardbox.com), February 2004 Photo: Stuart Bunce.

11. Riley, Karl, Tracing EMFs in Building Wiring And Grounding - A practical guide for reducing magnetic fields due to wiring errors as well as current grounding practices, 2nd Edition 2007 by ELF Magnetic Surveys.

12. Powerwatch.org

13. Henshaw, DL Ward, JP Matthews, JC, 'Can disturbances in the atmospheric electric field created by powerline corona ions disrupt melatonin production in the pineal gland?' Journal of Pineal Research 2008, vol 45, pages 341 - 350. (see also: http://bit.ly/1H5F7FT)

14 Gouhier, Catherine, Le Ruz, Pierre, 'Citizen's Survey, Living with a Very High Voltage Power line?', Centre de Recherche et d'Information Indépendantes sur les Rayonnements Electromagnétiques 2009 (see this [PDF]).

15 Ainsbury EA, Henshaw DL. 2006. 'Observations on the relationship between magnetic field characteristics and exposure conditions'. Phys Med Biol 51:6113 - 6123.

16 St-Pierre, L.S. IJRB. 2008. 84(4): 325-335

17 Lee, GM. et al. Epidemiology. 2002; 13: 21-31.

18 Li, D. et al. Epidemiology. 2002; 13: 9-20.

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China requests IMF recommend renminbi as a reserve currency

China has made a request of the International Monetary Fund (IMF): It wants the IMF to recommend the Chinese renminbi as a reserve currency. Being a reserve-currency economy would give China easier and cheaper access to capital (something an indebted China is likely to cheer). But there are also drawbacks. Reserve currencies tend to be in high demand, pushing up the value of their currency relative to where it would otherwise trade. This makes exports less competitive and imports more competitive. China is unlikely to welcome such an outcome. Whether or not the IMF says "yes"—and to what extent—has the potential to shift the global economy toward a duopoly with two dominant reserve currencies—the U.S. dollar and the Chinese renminbi.

The odd thing about the above statement is that the renminbi is not yet considered a reserve currency. The IMF would confer this honor by adding the renminbi to its Special Drawing Right (SDR). The SDR is a sort of IMF reserve currency consisting of specific allocations to stable, global currencies—a guide to what global central banks should hold for reserves. Currently, this is the yen, euro, pound sterling and U.S. dollar. There are a couple reasons the IMF could decide that the renminbi should not have reserve status—such as its nonfree floating status or the role of the state in the Chinese economy, or the potentially destabilizing effects of disturbing global central banking in a time of extraordinary monetary policies. Regardless of the near-term issues, the renminbi is likely to be a reserve currency at some point—officially or not.

There is the possibility the IMF may approve the renminbi as an official portion of its SDR in November. Being added to the SDRs would essentially elevate the renminbi to reserve currency status—and give it a recommended holding size. But this is only the first piece of a much larger puzzle around the renminbi and reserve-currency status.

Recently, China has been at the center of two new institutions with global aspirations: the so-called "BRICS" bank and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB). These institutions could, and maybe should, be considered counterpoints to similar Western establishments such as the IMF itself or the World Bank. Infrastructure is needed in much of still emerging Asia, and—by providing the funding and framework to construct it—China makes strides toward achieving economic and political duopoly status with the United States.

These new institutions are important, not only for their potential influence on development in emerging Asian economies, but for the renminbi. If the renminbi gets approved as a reserve currency, the emerging world is likely to seize this as an opportunity to use it in trade with their primary trading partners. For many countries that rely on commodity exports to China, it makes sense to trade using renminbi. Not to mention that the aforementioned new development institutions may well function with a heavy dose of renminbi. This allows the renminbi to more easily become the reserve currency of the Southeast Asian region (which makes the transition to becoming a significant global reserve currency much easier).

Though China is simply executing the U.S. playbook, the legitimacy of these institutions should not be simply thrown aside. China has spent the past decade bringing its infrastructure up to par. It knows how to execute this type of infrastructure growth model—something Western powers cannot bring to the table. These are China-led institutions with Chinese goals at the forefront, constituting a significant deviation from the current Western-oriented Bretton Woods model that has dominated global economic influence in the postwar era.

The other factor in play here is the continued saga between Greece and the rest of Europe. The potential consequences of a "Grexit" and the possibility of the euro currency collapse should not be underestimated. In the near term, the financial destruction of China's largest trading partner—Europe—would be difficult to overcome without significant economic consequences. But it would also force central banks to rethink their reserve-currency allocations, and therefore their long-term economic alignments. If Europe and the monetary union begin to implode, China could emerge as the primary beneficiary of the carnage in the long run.

There are reasons to believe that the renminbi would gain share even without an implosion of the euro. Central banks appreciate stability, and China may actually provide the stability they crave, relatively speaking. China also has the highest yields—meaning the currency would be attractive. Critically, the U.S. dollar does not have to lose any share of its central bank reserves for the renminbi to become a significant factor. The U.S. dollar comprises around 63 percent of global reserves with the euro in the low 20 percent range. This is where the opportunity lies for a viable secondary candidate. The euro is the second largest reserve holding, and the renminbi allocation would likely come at the expense of the other European currencies. In many ways, this may actually be welcomed by Europe. The outflow of reserves, assuming it is not too significant, would assist in keeping the value of the euro depressed. This could create problems as the U.S. dollar appreciates relative to the euro and sterling as those currencies are sold to compensate for the euro.

The spillover from adding the renminbi to the SDR has the potential to accelerate the shift to a truly bipolar economic regime. One in which the United States is likely to still dominate—but with fewer and fewer advantages over rivals. If the renminbi bursts onto the international scene, it has the potential to cause a sharp transition between currency regimes. This type of violent, unexpected transition risks sparking a crisis in the short term, though little of the longer-run story would be altered.

If all goes smoothly for China, central banks will spend the next decade or so trading euros for renminbis. Economic hegemony has already given way, regardless of the IMF's decision. Influence has, and will continue to, pivot to Asia. There are no givens in economics or politics, but it appears that China and the United States are on the precipice of an economic and political duopoly with all the benefits and perils that come with it.

First warm-blooded fish found

© NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center
Southwest Fisheries Science Center biologist Nick Wegner holds a captured opah, the first-ever warm-blooded fish..

The car-tire-size opah is striking enough thanks to its rotund, silver body. But now, researchers have discovered something surprising about this deep-sea dweller: It's got warm blood.

That makes the opah () the first warm-blooded fish every discovered. Most fish are exotherms, meaning they require heat from the environment to stay toasty. The opah, as an endotherm, keeps its own temperature elevated even as it dives to chilly depths of 1,300 feet (396 meters) in temperate and tropical oceans around the world.

"Increased temperature speeds up physiological processes within the body," study leader Nicholas Wegner, a biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California told Live Science. "As a result, the muscles can contract faster, the temporal resolution of the eye is increased, and neurological transmissions are sped up. This results in faster swimming speeds, better vision and faster response times."

The result, Wegner said, is a fast-swimming fish with an advantage for hunting slow, cold-blooded prey. [See Photos of the Gigantic Warm-Blooded Opah (Moonfish)]

Undersea moon

The opah, also known as the moonfish, has relatively small red fins decorating its large, round body, which can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) long. These fins, which flap rapidly as the fish swims, turn out to be important in generating body heat for the opah.

"The opah appears to produce the majority of its heat by constantly flapping its pectoral fins which are used in continuous swimming," Wegner said.

Researchers first suspected that something might be strange about the opah after analyzing a sample of the fish's gill tissue. According to the new study, published today (May 14) in the journal , the blood vessels in the tissue are set up so that the vessels carrying cool, oxygenated blood from the gills to the body are in contact with the vessels carrying warm, deoxygenated blood from the body to the gills. As a result, the outgoing blood warms up the incoming blood, a process called counter-current heat exchange.

"There has never been anything like this seen in a fish's gills before," Wegner said in a statement. "This is a cool innovation by these animals that gives them a competitive edge. The concept of counter-current heat exchange was invented in fish long before [humans] thought of it."

To confirm that these special gills helped the opah stay toasty, the researchers tagged a number of moonfish with temperature monitors and tracked the fish as they dove. The fish spend most of their time at least 150 feet (45 m) below the ocean surface. No matter how deep they dive, however, their body temperature stays about 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) warmer than the surrounding water. Fat deposits around the gills and muscles help insulate the fish, the researchers found.

Built for speed

Warm blood gives deep-sea fish a boost, according to Wegner. The opah's muscles and nervous system likely function faster than an equivalent fish with cold blood. Other deep-diving fish, such as tuna and some sharks can shunt blood to certain body parts to keep them warm during deep dives. But these fish have to swim up out of the depths frequently to prevent their organs from shutting down.

In contrast, the opah can stay deep for long periods of time.

"Nature has a way of surprising us with clever strategies where you least expect them," Wegner said in a statement. "It's hard to stay warm when you're surrounded by cold water, but the opah has figured it out."

Next, Wegner told Live Science, he and his colleagues want to study , the opah's southern cousin. This fish, the southern opah, lives in colder waters than the northern opah, so it would be harder to keep warm, Wegner said — but even more beneficial.

Hidden GMO Ingredients

These days it seems we know less and less about what's in our food. As big food and lawmakers have their way, ingredients sneakily make their way into our food. It's up to us, the consumer, to research what we eat and take a closer look at the labels. We've already identified the many places MSG is hiding in your food, but GMOs have an even stronger prevalence in what we eat.


Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) refers to foods that have been modified to withstand heavy doses of pesticides, mainly glyphosate, or are engineered to contain a toxin that kills bugs when they feed on the crop. Currently, up to 93% of US corn crops were genetically modified and a staggering 96% of US soybeans grown were GMO, and those aren't the only genetically modified foods. With these biotech foods making their way into the majority of our food, it's important to consider their safety.


Despite GMOs being in around 70% of the nation's food, no testing has been done by the FDA to ensure their safety. However, independent testing has shown glyphosate to cause rapid tumor growth in lab rats. Glyphosate, which is the most common pesticide sprayed on GM crops and an additional 200 crops, has been linked to birth defects and intestinal discomfort, among other things. Glyphosate is now deemed to probably cause cancer by the World Health Organization (WHO) after review.


The most common GMO crops are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and zucchini and yellow squash. In addition to those crops, these 100 ingredients, usually indicate the presence of hidden GMOs unless the product is certified organic or Non-GMO project verified.

  1. corn flour
  2. corn masa
  3. corn meal
  4. corn oil
  5. corn sugar
  6. corn syrup
  7. cornstarch
  8. starch
  9. food starch
  10. modified food starch
  11. modified starch
  12. hydrogenated starch
  13. milo starch
  14. high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  15. dextrin
  16. cyclodextrin
  17. maltodextrin
  18. dextrose
  19. malt
  20. malt syrup
  21. malt extract
  22. hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  23. baking powder
  24. caramel color
  25. sugar (unless specified as cane sugar)
  26. E951
  27. Nutrasweet
  28. Aspartame
  29. minoSweet
  30. Canderel
  31. BeneVia
  32. Phenylalanine
  33. Equal
  34. confectioners sugar
  35. invert sugar
  36. inverse syrup
  37. fructose (any form)
  38. glucose
  39. condensed milk
  40. milk powder
  41. glycerides
  42. glycerin
  43. glycerol
  44. glycerol monooleate
  45. diglyceride
  46. mono and diglycerides
  47. triglyceride
  48. teriyaki marinades
  49. tofu
  50. tamari
  51. tempeh
  52. textured vegetable protein
  53. soy flour
  54. soy isolates
  55. soy milk
  56. soy oil
  57. soy sauce
  58. soy protein
  59. soy protein concentrate
  60. soy protein isolate
  61. protein isolate
  62. soy lecithin
  63. lecithin
  64. whey
  65. whey powder
  66. xanthan gum
  67. canola oil (rapeseed oil)
  68. cottonseed oil
  69. vegetable oil
  70. vegetable fat
  71. shoyu
  72. monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  73. glutamate
  74. glutamic acid
  75. citric acid
  76. lactic acid
  77. phytic acid
  78. oleic acid
  79. stearic acid
  80. erythritol
  81. inositol
  82. mannitol
  83. sorbitol
  84. cellulose
  85. hemicellulose
  86. methylcellulose
  87. trehalose
  88. colorose
  89. malitolmaltose
  90. cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
  91. vitamin B12
  92. vitamin E
  93. diacetyl
  94. isoflavones
  95. tocopherols (vitamin E)
  96. threonine
  97. glycine
  98. leucine
  99. lysine
  100. cystein
List from the Non-Gmo Shopping Guide.


With so many potential places for hidden GMO ingredients, the easiest way to keep them off your plate is to look for the Non-GMO project verified label or the USDA Organic seal. Opting for organic has many benefits in addition to helping you and your family avoid GMOs, such as avoiding synthetic pesticides that can still be sprayed on even non GMO crops.

BEST OF THE WEB: Roger Waters to Dionne Warwick: "You are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947″


© AP/Vadim Ghirda
Roger Waters

Singer and U.N. global ambassador Dionne Warwick recently released an interesting if puzzling statement asserting that she would, and I quote, "never fall victim to the hard pressures of Roger Waters, from Pink Floyd, or other political people who have their views on politics in Israel."

"Waters' political views are of no concern," I assume she means to her, the statement read. "Art," she added, "has no boundaries."

Until today, I have not publicly commented on Ms. Warwick's Tel Aviv concert or reached out to her privately. But given her implicit invitation, I will comment now.

First, in my view, Dionne Warwick is a truly great singer. Secondly, I doubt not that she is deeply committed to her family and her fans.

But, ultimately, this whole conversation is not about her, her gig in Tel Aviv, or even her conception of boundaries and art, though I will touch on that conception later. This is about human rights and, more specifically, this is about the dystopia that can develop, as it has in Israel, when society lacks basic belief in equal human value, when it strays from the ability to feel empathy for our brothers and sisters of different faiths, nationalities, creeds or colors.

It strikes me as deeply disingenuous of Ms. Warwick to try to cast herself as a potential victim here. The victims are the occupied people of Palestine with no right to vote and the unequal Palestinian citizens of Israel, including Bedouin Israeli citizens of the village of al-Araqib, which has now been bulldozed 83 times by order of the Israeli government.

I believe you mean well, Ms. Warwick, but you are showing yourself to be profoundly ignorant of what has happened in Palestine since 1947, and I am sorry but you are wrong, art know boundaries. In fact, it is an absolute responsibility of artists to stand up for human rights - social, political and religious - on behalf of all our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed, whoever and wherever they may be on the surface of this small planet.

Forgive me, Ms. Warwick, but I have done a little research, and know that you crossed the picket line to play Sun City at the height of the anti-apartheid movement. In those days, Little Steven, Bruce Springsteen and 50 or so other musicians protested against the vicious, racist oppression of the indigenous peoples of South Africa. Those artists allowed their art to cross boundaries, but for the purpose of political action. They released a record that struck a chord across the world. That record, "I Ain't Gonna play Sun City," showed the tremendous support of musicians all over the world for the anti-apartheid effort.

Those artists helped win that battle, and we, in the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, will win this one against the similarly racist and colonialist policies of the Israeli government of occupation. We will continue to press forward in favor of equal rights for all the peoples of the Holy Land. Just as musicians weren't going to play Sun City, increasingly we're not going to play Tel Aviv. There is no place today in this world for another racist, apartheid regime.

As I'm sure you know, Lauryn Hill canceled her gig in Tel Aviv last week. She did not explicitly cite Israeli oppression of Palestinians as her reason for canceling, but the subtext of her actions is clear and we thank her for her principled stand.

Dionne, I am of your generation. I remember the road to Montgomery, I remember Selma, I remember the struggles against the Jim Crow laws here. Sadly, we are still fighting those battles, whether here in the USA in Ferguson or Baltimore, or in Gaza or the Negev, wherever the oppressed need us to raise our voices unafraid. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with them, our brothers and sisters, until true equality and justice are won.

Remember, "Operation Protective Edge," the Israeli bombing of Gaza last summer, resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including more than 500 Palestinian children. It is hard for us over here to imagine what it is like to be exiled, disenfranchised, imprisoned, rendered homeless and then slaughtered, with no place to flee. Hopefully, in the end, love will triumph. But love will not triumph unless we stand up to such injustice and fight it tooth and nail, together.

Dionne, your words indicate that part of you is set on going through with your concert. I am appealing to another part of you, to implore that other part to join us. We will welcome you. It is more than likely that you harbor reservations in your heart about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians, that when you see a mother's child in ruins you wonder what if that child were mine? It is not too late to hear those reservations, to listen to that other voice, to value freedom and equality for all over the value you place on your concert in Tel Aviv.

When global pressure finally forces Israel to end its occupation, when the apartheid wall comes down, when justice is served to Palestinian refugees and all people there are free and equal, I will gladly join you in concert in the Holy Land, cross all the boundaries and share our music with all the people.

Ukraine Makes John McCain A Presidential Advisor

Most of the group’s supposed members are former European politicians who have been vocal supporters of Ukraine’s pro-Western course. It’s not clear what Poroshenko actually okayed with any of them before publishing the decree, since each of them is listed as a council member “by agreement” — including Saakashvili, whom Poroshenko appointed head of the council by a separate decree in February. Two of the other men listed are current members of the European Parliament.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was to take up an official part-time government post in Kiev on Wednesday — apparently without clearing it with McCain, who says he never signed off on the gig.

decree published on Poroshenko’s website on Wednesday lists McCain as one of eight foreign members of a presidential advisory group headed by Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian leader who has found a new lease of life in Ukraine as a political gadfly and government aide.

McCain told BuzzFeed News, however, that he never agreed to do it. “I was asked to do it both by Ukraine and Saakashvili and I said I would be inclined to do it but I said I needed to look at all the nuances of it, whether it’s legal under our ethics and all that kind of stuff,” he told BuzzFeed News. “I of course would love do anything I can to help Ukraine, but I’ve got to make sure it’s ok under Senate rules.”

The position would entail the former presidential candidate giving advice to the leader of a foreign power and working under Ukrainian law — an unusual step for a sitting U.S. lawmaker. Its goal is to recommend specific policy steps Ukraine should take to reform and modernize its decrepit and corrupt Soviet-era bureaucracy, as well as attract expert advice and support from abroad.

Most of the group’s supposed members are former European politicians who have been vocal supporters of Ukraine’s pro-Western course. It’s not clear what Poroshenko actually okayed with any of them before publishing the decree, since each of them is listed as a council member “by agreement” — including Saakashvili, whom Poroshenko appointed head of the council by a separate decree in February. Two of the other men listed are current members of the European Parliament.