Glyphosate and Autism with Dr. Stephanie Seneff

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US couple who sexually abused adopted Russian son for 10 years to get lengthy prison terms

A US couple pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of their adopted Russian son after turning him into their “sex slave,” local media reported, citing officials. Both will now get lengthy prison sentences for molestation of the boy which spanned a decade.

Ralph Flynn, 73, and his wife Carolyn Flynn, 44 , from the town of Los Gatos, California, will be sentenced under a plea deal announced Wednesday, Mercury news reported.

Ralph Flynn, who has been in custody since his arrest in 2015, was charged with sexually molesting the boy since he was nine for a period of 10 years. He will get a 24-year prison sentence under the deal negotiated by Santa Clara County deputy district attorney Oanh Tran.

Carolyn Flynn, who is said to have started abusing the boy when he was 15, will be given 12 years in prison, her attorney Wes Schroeder said.

The story made the headlines several years ago, when the victim, identified as Denis Doe, now 25, told his former Los Gatos High School principal about the abuse, who in turn reported it to police.

I’m really happy that Denis is getting justice,” Tran said. “I’m happy that Ralph and Carolyn both took accountability for what they did,” Tran said, as cited by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The newspaper obtained police report which said that Ralph Flynn also molested another boy whom he had adopted. His name and status haven’t been released to the media. The 100-page document detailed the abuse.

In 2016, Denis shared his story exclusively with the SF Chronicle, saying that he was seven when his mother died of cancer and he and his sister (with whom he was separated) were taken to Russian orphanages.

At the age of nine he moved to the Flynn’s five-bedroom house after being officially adopted. But then began the nightmare that would last 10 years, as Ralph Flynn started sexually abusing him.

He touched me first and then asked me to touch him,” Denis said. “I was in shock. I knew what sex was. I knew what we were doing. I just didn’t know why we were doing it.”

Then Carolyn Flynn started taking part in the abuse.

Ralph called it a special occasion only,” Denis said of his mother’s participation. “His birthday, her birthday, my birthday, Christmas present. It’s messed up.”

His parents always told him to keep silent about the abuse. However, when Denis was 19, he refused Ralph Flynn’s demands and his adoptive father hit him. Denis left the house and never came back.

It’s still a mental, emotional scar that I have to carry,” he later said, as cited by the SF Gate. “I lived it, I experienced his crazy and horrific attitude first hand. If anything, that brought peace to people that I’ve told about my story before. To me, it’s still a journey.”

In 2012, Russia adopted the Dima Yakovlev Law, which bans the adoption of Russian children by US citizens. The text of the law cited several cases of abuse of Russian children by their American adoptive parents to justify the move. They complained that the punishment for the offenders handed down by the US justice system was disproportionately mild.

The document was named after Russian-born toddler Dima Yakovlev. He was 21 months old when he died from heatstroke in 2008, after his adoptive father left him strapped in a car seat for nine hours in searing heat, with the temperature inside the vehicle reaching 170F (76C). The man was initially charged with manslaughter, but a court acquitted him of any wrongdoing.

Local News!

U.S. Xpress announces layoffs in Chattanooga, Tunnel Hill

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — U.S. Xpress announced Wednesday that they will lay off just over 100 of their employees, with the majority of those layoffs happening in Chattanooga and Tunnel Hill.

U.S. Xpress employs roughly 10,000 people in 55 locations across the country.

Vice President of Corporate Communications Danna Bailey says that of the 100 employees laid off, none of them will be drivers.

Bailey told us that the layoffs are a part of a “shift in company focus”, and that the company is rearranging resources and people to meet their goals.

U.S. Xpress says its Human Resources department is offering to help anyone looking for help with the transition to the job market.

7 Ways Magnesium Improves Your Brain

Magnesium is present in all cells of the body and is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes, including energy production. Magnesium is essential for maintaining normal bone density, normal cardiac rhythmicity, normal pulmonary function, and normal blood glucose regulation. Magnesium is one of the most common world-wide deficiencies and it plays a role in most of the common health struggles people face every day.

Most doctors are not trained to detect magnesium deficiencies. Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it does not show up in blood tests as only 1% of the body’s magnesium is stored in the blood (1).

Dr. Norman Shealy’s, M.D., Ph.D. is an American neurosurgeon and a pioneer in pain medicine says, “Every known illness is associated with a magnesium deficiency,” and that, “magnesium is the most critical mineral required for electrical stability of every cell in the body. A magnesium deficiency may be responsible for more diseases than any other nutrient. (2)”

Magnesium Deficiency Rates:

Research has shown that 68% of individuals in the US do not consume the daily recommended amount of dietary magnesium and 19% do not even consume half of the RDA levels (310-420mg daily) (3). Most researchers believe this RDA level is far too low and if it was raised to where it should be we would see that roughly 80% of Americans are consuming insufficient quantities (4).

Magnesium is a basic element of life much like water and air. We need a lot of magnesium, roughly 1000 mgs/day for a healthy active individual to keep up with the demands of the body. Magnesium is to the body like oil is to a car’s engine and if we are deficient problems will arise.

Calcium: Magnesium Ratios:

Our current diet is rich in calcium but insufficient in magnesium. Our ancient ancestors had a a diet that was close to 1:1 whereas our present-day diets are more like 5:1 and up to 15:1. Having roughly ten times more calcium than magnesium is a serious problem (5).

This elevated calcium to magnesium ratio is a major player in conditions such as mitral valve prolapse, migraines, attention deficit disorder, autism, fibromyalgia, anxiety, asthma and allergies. Wherever there is elevated calcium and insufficient magnesium inside of cells the effects are muscle contractions, spasms, twitches and even convulsions (6).

Magnesium and Detoxification:

Without sufficient magnesium the body struggles to make and utilize protein and enzymes. It is also unable to properly methylate and detoxify and/or process and utilize anti-oxidants like vitamin C and E.

Magnesium is extremely critical for proper detoxification processes. As our world has gotten increasingly more toxic, our need for magnesium has increased. Meanwhile, the nutrition of our modern food has increasingly been diminished. This is due to overcropping, poor composting and pesticides/herbicide chemical residue which reduces nutritional quality of the soil and produce.

  1. Magnesium Supports Optimal Cognition

If you fall prey to habitual symptoms of brain fog you may be deficient in magnesium. Over 300 enzymes require magnesium to perform biological reactions essential to tissue and organ function (2). Magnesium supports optimal cognitive health by maximizing the various intricate functions of the brain.

Magnesium Strengthens Memory:

Critical for age-related memory loss, magnesium is associated with memory potential. Studies show that low levels of brain magnesium directly correlate to poor memory function (4).

Specifically, the hippocampus region of the brain is the primary location for retaining long term memories. Magnesium is known to strengthen the function of synapses in the hippocampus thus improving long-term potentiation. In other words, magnesium better equips the brain with the ability to retain memories over long term periods. (2)

Associated with decision making, the prefrontal cortex area of the brain aids in the retrieval of short-term memories. The effectiveness of the prefrontal cortex is largely dependent on magnesium. Magnesium also strengthens the synaptic nerve endings responsible for transmitting a response (2, 3).

Magnesium Improves Learning Abilities:

As a result of increased long-term potentiation, resulting from the repetitive stimulation of a nerve, as well as the ability for nerves to transmit signals more effectively, magnesium better enables an individual to improve their ability to learn.

Researchers looked to test rats using Magnesium threonate (MgT) supplementation and look at their ability to swim and find a submerged platform on which to rest. In this study, both old and young rats who were using the MgT learned significantly faster than the control group.

Amazingly, the supplemented group was able to retain their memory of where the submerged platform was hidden after 24 hours. Both young and old rats in the control group forgot and began randomly searching through the maze and took more than twice as long as the MgT supplemented group.

This meant that older MgT supplemented rats showed significantly better memory and recall than young rats who didn’t get MgT. The results showed a spatial long-term memory enhancement of 122% in younger supplemented rats and 100% improvement in older supplemented rats (2).

Magnesium Can Prevent Alzheimer’s

With the deteriorating health habits of our modern culture, it is not a surprise that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with decreased levels of magnesium. Toxic plaque buildup is evident in patients with declining cognitive abilities symptomatic of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. (4)

Restoring adequate levels of brain magnesium has been found to prevent the further decline of cognitive function. One study found that the supplemental treatment of magnesium over a 17 month period reduced amyloid plaque accumulation in the hipocampus region of the brain by 35.8% and by 36% in the prefrontal cortex. Some researchers even propose that the development of the disease may even be reversed following magnesium therapy. (4)

  1. Magnesium Regulates Mood and Stress

Magnesium regulates mood and stress by nourishing the nervous system. Damage to the nervous system has been implicated as the cause of numerous health concerns including dementia and depression (5).

Case studies show that treating magnesium deficiency has helped patients struggling with anxiety, irritability, confusion, hyperexcitability, postpartum depression, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as traumatic brain injuries. Magnesium has also been reported by the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society as a “probably effective” treatment for preventing migraines and headaches which can be associated with stress (7).

Magnesium Therapy Treats Depression:

Known as an anti-stress mineral, cellular magnesium levels stimulate serotonin production which improves mood. Clinical studies have found that 125-300 mg of supplemental magnesium is effective at treating symptoms of depression after just one week (5).

Magnesium Therapy Treats Anxiety:

Have you ever experienced instances when you were highly reactive towards situations or people for minimal or no apparent reason? Your body may be signaling to you that your cells are deficient in magnesium. Remember, magnesium is used by our cells as a type of fuel source for biological processes to function. The higher amount of both physical and mental demands in our lives, the higher the rate our bodies deplete magnesium sources.

Magnesium therapy can treat symptoms of anxiety by relaxing nerves, assisting in digestion, relieving muscle tension, and conducting healthy nerve responses (5). Unhealthy nerve impulses in the hippocampus can cause factors conducive to stimulating fear and anxiety (3). Magnesium therapy is not only found to strengthen the ability of nerves in the brain to function properly, but magnesium treatment also increases the selectivity of nerves to fire which reduces one’s risk of excitability and agitation (2).

  1. Magnesium Prevents Insomnia

A healthy sleep cycle is important to promoting overall health and the production of hormones which are synthesized during sleep. Magnesium may help reduce symptoms of insomnia and induce a deep restful night’s sleep.

Primarily reliant on the same factors which regulate mood and manage stress, a healthy night’s sleep is dependent on cellular magnesium concentrations. A healthy magnesium balance is needed to regulate hormones such as melatonin which in turn helps to induce sleep and decreases cortisol. Magnesium is also needed for a restful night’s sleep because it promotes muscle relaxation ensuring less of your night is spent counting sheep.

  1. Magnesium Balances Blood Sugar

Magnesium is a critical component involved in the regulation and maintenance of regulating blood glucose levels. Deficiencies in magnesium impair insulin secretion and the ability of glucose to be transported into cells (7).

Magnesium Improves Type II Diabetes

Many studies conducted show that supplementing diet with magnesium via food or oral supplementation improves insulin secretion and response in type-2 diabetic patients (6). It is this increased concentration of glucose in the kidneys that leads to frequent urination and further promotes magnesium deficiency (7).

However, clinical testing has yet to determine if the magnesium alone is solely responsible for improved glucose control. Physicians speculate whether the improved health benefits are a result of another vitamin or mineral commonly found in food sources high in magnesium.

Regardless of the lack of scientists to directly correlate magnesium to the healthy balance of blood sugar, a decreased risk factor for developing diabetes is not to be overlooked following dietary magnesium supplementation. Individuals supplementing their diets with 1,000 mg/day of magnesium oxide after 30 days showed improved glycemic control. Other reports found that there was a 15%-23% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes following different doses of magnesium supplements. (7)

  1. Magnesium Fortifies Bones and Joints

Up to 60% of magnesium is concentrated in bones and the remaining is found in soft tissue and blood. When magnesium supply is deficient in cells, the body has to search for magnesium which can affect overall health. Low levels of blood magnesium affects heart rate, nervous function, and can lead to chronic headaches. As a result of their magnesium hunt, cells are forced to pull what limited magnesium concentration is found in a delicate balance out of bone formations. (1, 7)

Calcium is not the only mineral critical to bone formation and strength. Magnesium has to be in a proper balance with calcium in order to maintain healthy bone density and is essential to bone health as we age. When magnesium is pulled from the bones resulting from cellular magnesium deficiency, the concentration of calcium to magnesium becomes too imbalanced leading to the calcification of bones and joints. Such problems lead to conditions as osteoarthritis. (7)

Limited clinical trials have found that when magnesium citrate is taken daily over long periods may prevent and possibly reverse osteoporosis (7). Women who supplemented their diets with enriched magnesium food sources over a 2 year period reportedly had fewer fractures and a decreased rate of bone loss (1).

  1. Magnesium Supports Heart Health

Along with calcium, magnesium also plays a critical role in its balance with potassium. In combination with these other minerals, magnesium is responsible for the function of muscle contraction and heart rhythm. As previously mentioned, magnesium assists in regulating nerve impulses and is perhaps most important in maintaining cardiovascular health. (7)

Magnesium May Lower Blood Pressure:

Magnesium is believed to balance blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Aside from alleviating symptoms of anxiety, relieving the restriction around blood vessels and regulating a healthy contraction of the heart may lower blood pressure (2, 7).

Magnesium Reduces Heart Attack Risk:

Up to 250mg/day of magnesium supplementation is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack. Lower doses of magnesium supplementation was found to reduce the risk of stroke by 8% requiring further studies to analyze the link between dose dependency and results. (7)

  1. Magnesium Assists in Detoxification

Magnesium assists in detoxifying the body’s tissue of acids, toxins, gasses, poisons and other impurities. Environmental contaminants in our food expose our bodies to a higher amount of toxins and impurities than in the past. These impurities deplete our body of essential minerals.

Magnesium improves the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and colon and thereby stimulating the removal of contaminants by promoting a laxative effect. For this reason, magnesium is a primary ingredient in most laxatives used to relieve constipation. (7)

Risks of Magnesium Deficiency

Individuals at greatest risk of magnesium deficiency should pay special attention to health problems they are experiencing. Only 32% of Americans are believed to meet the recommended daily requirements for magnesium (2). Those at a higher risk of developing a magnesium deficiency include: (5, 6, 7)

Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease and patients with other gastrointestinal diseases– These individuals are less able to absorb nutrients from dietary intake.

Type-2 diabetics- A high concentration of blood glucose leads to increased urination and a higher risk of kidney damage.

Alcoholics- Chronic alcohol abuse is likely to cause gastrointestinal problems which further promote the removal of magnesium in urine.

Elderly- As the body ages, the gastrointestinal tract becomes less efficient at absorbing minerals. Older adults are more likely to be taking medications which can interfere with the absorption of magnesium.

Did The Dogon Tribe Have Knowledge Of Theoretical Physics 5,000 Years Ago?

The puzzling knowledge of the Dogon tribe remains a great ancient mystery that raises a number of thought-provoking questions.

About 5,000 years ago, something strange happened in Mali, West Africa, the homeland of the Dogon people.

The Dogon tribe was by no means as advanced as other ancient civilizations, and yet these people possessed incredible knowledge about astronomy. They say they received their knowledge from people who came from the stars…

How could the ancient and secret traditions of an African tribe contain highly precise astrophysical knowledge about invisible stars in the Sirius star system? How did the Dogon know that the smaller Sirius B is a white dwarf – a dead sun that cannot be seen with the naked eye? Did the Dogon tribe have knowledge of theoretical physics in 3,000 BC.?

Today, the Dogon population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000. The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture, but it’s their ancient cosmological knowledge that makes them fascinating.

The Dogon And The Nommo Mystery

When Robert Temple published his controversial, but very interesting book the “The Sirius Mystery”, he provided readers with answers so many crucial questions related to the mysterious Dogon tribe.

In his book, Robert Temple, a brave man and an extraordinary scientist, presented strong evidence that the Dogon tribe received knowledge about Sirius and other starts from sky visitors who visited their tribe 5,000 years ago.

Skeptics maintain that Dogons’ extraordinary astronomical knowledge was implanted with the tribe by some enlightened outsider.

Many authors have speculated on the subject of extraterrestrial contact, but never before has such detailed evidence been presented. Temple applies his in-depth knowledge of ancient history, mythology, Pythagorean physics, chaos theory, and Greek, to a close examination of the measurements of the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built to align directly with the star Sirius. He concludes that the alien civilization of Sirius and our own civilization are part of the same harmonic system, and are destined to function and resonate together. His findings warrant a profound reappraisal of our role in the universe.

Professor Nicolas Grimal, who has held the chair of Egyptology at the Collège de France since 2000 discovered that Dogon mythology includes a host of symbols and stories that bear strong resemblance to the ancient Egyptian religion, but the African tribe also discuss events that we cannot encounter in Egyptian mythology.


FOR A FEW months in the fall of 1957, citizens of Earth could look up and see the first artificial star. It shone as bright as Spica, but moved across the sky at a much faster clip. Lots of people thought they were seeing Sputnik—Russia’s antennaed, spherical satellite, and the first thing humans had flung into orbit. But it wasn’t: It was the body of the rocket that bore Sputnik to space—and Earth’s first piece of space junk.

Space junk is the colloquial name for orbital bits that do nothing useful: spent rockets, fragments splayed by collisions and degradation, old satellites no one cares about anymore. In total, they amount to millions of pieces of debris, many of which are large enough to seriously ding satellites and the International Space Station. And then there’s Kessler Syndrome: a space sickness in which low-Earth orbit is so overpopulated that collisions cascade into more collisions, which create more debris that causes more collisions that cascade into more collisions. It’s all very bad for Sandra Bullock. And it’s about to get worse: Thousands and thousands of satellites are set to launch to low-Earth orbit before 2025.

This is not a new problem: Since Sputnik, Russians and non-Russians have already launched thousands of satellites: orbiters that send you Game of Thrones, track global climate, and even track you. Nation-states have developed systems to know where they are and where they’re going, along with all their leftover launch paraphernalia. But it will get much more complicated when the Smallsat Revolution fully arrives.

In the US, two governmental offices share that daunting task: a NASA group and the military’s US Strategic Command—USSTRATCOM, if you feel like yelling an acronym that will automatically make you sound like a sergeant—keeps track of 24,000 objects, down to about 10 centimeters in size. Some 18,700 of these are publicly listed at Space Track (the rest are for the Department of Defense to know and you never to find out). Stratcom gets intel from its Space Surveillance Network—a murder of optical and radar instruments that senses space objects. All that data sluices into uber-bunker Cheyenne Mountain, which processes their streams.

Those teams know even more data is coming, as the number of active satellites in orbit grows by at least tenfold by the mid 2020s. So they are working on new sensors, says the command’s Brian Maguire. A radar system called the “S-Band Space Fence,” located in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, will operate at high, microwave frequencies (the S-band part), allowing it to detect smaller objects. Microwaves for microsats (and micro trash), in other words.

The US and Australia also recently spooled up a C-band (even higher-frequency) radar in March of this year, which sees space objects in even finer detail. The military plans to do more of that: share, team up with companies and other countries that run their own “space situational awareness” operations. And that’s a good thing: Last year, the 18th Space Control Squadron had to deliver 3,995,874 pieces of potentially bad news: “conjunction data messages” that let satellite owners know some other sat or sizable junk was threatening theirs.

The Department of Defense lets NASA sweat the small stuff, though. The space agency formed its Orbital Debris Program Office in 1979, and that office is responsible for characterizing objects too small to be tracked by the Air Force but big enough to cause problems. NASA uses two radar systems operated by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory for about 1,000 hours a year to understand the population of millimeter-to-centimeter-sized objects in low-Earth orbit. That schedule that will likely get busier, along with the number of close encounters.

Space Jam

Just how much bigger will the problem get? SpaceX alone plans to send up nearly 12,000 small internet-beaming objects over time. OneWeb has designs on some 700 similar sats. Planet just launched around 100 that take pictures of the Earth’s entire landmass every day. And those are just the heaviest hitters. Little orbiters—especially the smallest types, CubeSats and NanoSats—are within reach of research scientists, government agency experiments, smaller companies, and even individual humans. Take the private Breakthrough Starshot project, which eventually plans to send diminutive spacecraft to Alpha Centauri star system (really). It just launched six “Sprites”: the world’s smallest satellites, measuring 3.5 centimeters on a side.

All of those satellite operators are in charge of making sure what they sent up comes back down, in a timely way. Bigsat operators can just use the last of their fuel to plunge their darlings toward the ocean. But many smallsats, especially the smallest kinds, don’t have propulsion systems. To naturally “de-orbit” fast, they have to be in an orbit that naturally decays quickly—an ellipse in which atmospheric drag drags them back to Earth fast.

Some smallsat operators are planning to put propulsion systems aboard. Great! But that poses another problem: explosions. If there’s pressurized fuel, there’s always the possibility for paroxysm. Which means more debris. And problematically, most members of a given smallsat constellation have the same exact specs—and so the same flaws. If one sat’s propulsion system has critical personality defects, so too do its identical siblings. When that happens with cars, automakers recall them. When that happens in space, a bunch of satellites can explode. And that’s not just true for their movement-making parts: It’s also true of satellite batteries. Just ask Samsung.

The international timeline for self-destruction, originally set by NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office, is that 25 years after the operational life of a satellite ends, it should burn up in the atmosphere. That’s the goal for new launchers, to limit how much bigger they make the pile of space trash. NASA calls it “mitigation.”

But you can’t admonish all those bolts and rocket cores and paint chips and, you know, junk that’s already out there. And you can’t guilt non-operational satellites into getting down from there (you can take them down, but more on that later). The idea, at this point, is just to make what’s bad only as worse as necessary.

On top of that, countries don’t have to enforce the 25-year guideline. In 2015, 35 percent of satellites were out of compliance. Of all CubeSats, specifically, launched between 2003 and 2014, a fifth didn’t meet the criteria. Know why? It’s hard. It costs money. And, for the most part, no one makes them do it.

There’s good news, though, for at least the heftiest of the coming smallsat herds: “Both SpaceX and OneWeb have indicated at that end of the operation of their spacecraft, they plan to lower the orbits so the orbits will naturally decay in [less than] five years rather than 25 years,” says the program’s J.C. Liou. But that still leaves unregulated rogues up there, endlessly circling, dead and dangerous.

Space and Space Nets to the Rescue

Slacker satellites—ones that haven’t prepared for mitigation—get a bit of a reprieve, thanks to some quirky orbital properties. “Like a river, like the atmosphere, space can clean itself,” says Lisa Ruth Rand, a science historian writing a book about space junk. During solar maximum, which happens every 11 years, the thermosphere heats up and expands, pressing its particles against objects in near-space, where many small satellites operate. That creates extra friction. “It drags them back to the atmosphere,” says Rand.

But there’s always gotta be equal-and-opposite bad news, right?

Recent research suggests that human-added CO2 is cooling the thermosphere, and so contracting it. “This contraction, in turn, will reduce atmospheric drag on satellites and may have adverse consequences for the orbital debris environment that is already unstable,” wrote the authors of a 2012 Nature Geoscience paper.

Since Earth is having a harder time taking satellites down, governments and companies may instead opt for more “remediation”: forcing satellites to fall. It’s something experts from space agencies in the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee have said will need to happen regardless of how well newsat makers behave.

NASA did not want to talk about this option. But a 2006 study by Liou himself showed that if no one launched anything else, which Elon would never agree to, collisions would increase the number of debris pieces 10-centimeter and larger, even considering objects that de-orbit, starting around 2055. And that was using the satellite population 11 years ago.

But remediation remains politically fraught, which is likely why NASA stayed mum. In 2007, for instance, China decided to de-orbit one of its defunct weather satellites … by firing a missile at it. That certainly took the sat out of its path—but it also created a flume of debris that flung toward the Space Station in 2011.

In February 2008, the US Navy launched its own projectile at a spy satellite toward its own satellite. The government claimed to worry that if it let the satellite fall back intact, its hydrazine fuel could release toxic vapors at breathing level. But some, at the time and still, interpret the action militarily. “That exchange right there was a ‘Hey, look at us,’” says Rand. “China is saying, ‘We can take down a satellite,’ and the US is saying, ‘We can do it, too.’”

That, of course, is gun-flexing: It implies, “…and we can also take down yours.”

Not all remediation has to be so violent. Scientists have proposed focusing the sun’s radiation onto small junk, and vaporizing it, in the adultspace version of the magnifying-glass-and-ant gig. The European Space Agency’s e.Deorbit program would like to grab junk—with a net or robotic arm—and then send it to its fiery end in the atmosphere. One could also use a space harpoon.

However the spacefarers of the world choose to bring down their satellites—naturally, or with lethal force—one thing is clear: You should keep an eye out for the synthetic meteor showers of the future, as the CubeSats and paint chips of near-space rain back down onto the atmosphere.

The Darker Side of This Summer’s Total Solar Eclipse.

Visitors to some small cities are expected to equal half of entire state populations.

Millions of people are expected to travel to see the total solar eclipse later this month, a rare astronomical happening that will be visible from a mere 70-mile-wide path from Oregon to South Carolina. When the sky goes dark midday and the moon completely overlaps with the sun, twelve states along the path of totality are expected to be inundated with visitors. South Carolina, for example, with a population of 4.9 million residents, is expected to get 1 to 2 million visitors.

Small cities are bearing the brunt of preparing for this influx, and city officials and logistics experts say preparation will feel similar to, or even more intense than, major events like the World Series.

We have a playbook that we follow for big events,” said Chris Hernandez, a spokesman for Kansas City, Missouri. “Just a few years ago, we won the World Series [and had] about 800,000 people crowded into downtown for one day.”

Here are some of the biggest contingencies cities and visitors should be prepared for.

Traffic could feel like an evacuation, stalling emergency responders and deliveries

Gridlocks are expected across the U.S. for several days before and after the eclipse.

It is similar to what would happen for an evacuation for a hurricane,” said Howard Duvall, councilman for Columbia, South Carolina.

To help the public grasp the size of these traffic jams, Duvall said it’s easier, and less frightening to compare the impact to a football game, even if no football game aside from the Super Bowl can really get close to the scale of traffic. “This is going to be like having 10 Carolina-Clemson football games on the same day,” Duvall said.

Joleen Kelley, spokeswoman for Marion County, Oregon, said the more dispersed traffic will require officials to reroute travels away from small two-lane roads.

A lot of times when there is a big event, [traffic is] usually central to an area, and this time with the eclipse it will cover the state,” she said. “It will go border to border in Oregon.”

All that traffic is likely to trap EMS, fire, and police in its grasps. Larsen said the city plans to position emergency responders across the city ahead of traffic, for example on both sides of a critical bridge.

Some jurisdictions are pulling in additional personnel from other counties and states.

Regular deliveries might also get stuck in transit, so grocery stores, gas stations and even hospitals have to think about supply chain concerns in the weeks before eclipse travelers get on the road.

Hospitals have begun ordering extra medicine for their patients for that week, plus some supplies to treat an influx of minor injuries that go hand-in-hand with large crowds, like heat stroke.

Gas stations have been warned to keep up with supply that week, Kelley said. “We certainly don’t want a run on gas,” she said.

Risk will be high for pedestrian crashes and even parking garage collapses

Celestial events prompt people to wander out into city roads with their heads pointed skyward, and drivers to pull over to get a better view. But both are a recipe for fatal accidents, especially in large numbers.

Merritt McNeely, director of marketing for the South Carolina State Museum, who is assisting with city-wide logistical preparation, advised city officials to close roads as needed, and to post billboard alerts that highway drivers should not stop during the eclipse.

Some visitors may be inclined to stand on top of parking garages to get the best view, said Duvall, who has a background in hardware supply management. But due to the weight distribution of people versus cars, he cautioned that in a particularly extreme scenario, hundreds of people standing on a parking garage could cause a collapse.

Prepare to use old-school means of communication

Cell phone service and smartphone internet are expected to be unavailable inside the path of totality due to the large concentration of people. So visitors should go old-school and print out directions and reservations for hotels and campsites.

City officials will need to know how to access emergency channels. Cell phone companies are beefing up their network capacity for emergency responders, but not increasing capacity for commercial use, according to a Verizon spokesperson.

Some responders will turn to more outdated technology. Brad Kieserman, Vice President for Disaster Operations and Logistics for the American Red Cross, said the Red Cross will rely on ham radio to communicate with their staff and volunteers. Coleen Niemann of Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center said her hospital will use landlines to contact on-call doctors and medical staff.

There will be terrified calls to 911

Expect that small number of residents who just won’t know why the sun is darkening. Duvall said Columbia’s 911 operators will be prepared to reassure unaware residents—and perhaps impart some science education.

No matter how much publicity we have, some people will not know about it,” he said, “and it’s going to be a frightening thing to someone who isn’t prepared to understand what is happening.”

*The Largest ‘Dead Zone’ Ever Has Been Recorded off the Coast of Louisiana

A recent expedition to the Gulf of Mexico has yielded the largest “dead zone” ever recorded in the area. Measuring 8,776 square miles, this massive patch of oxygen depleted water is wreaking havoc on the Gulf’s marine life—a consequence of unchecked agricultural runoff pouring down from the Mississippi River.

Dead zones appear in the Gulf every summer, and the typical size is around 5,800 square miles. Back in 2002, scientists detected an unusually large dead zone stretching for 8,497 square miles, but this new one, detected just last week, is now the largest ever recorded. At a whopping 8,776 square miles (22,730 sq km), it’s 4.6 times larger than the target size set by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force. In the words of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, this finding shows that “nutrient pollution, primarily from agriculture and developed land runoff in the Mississippi River watershed is continuing to affect the nation’s coastal resources and habitats in the Gulf.”

Hypoxia is a fancy term for low oxygen, and it’s primarily a problem for estuaries and coastal waters. These dead zones have dissolved oxygen concentrations of less than two to three parts per million, and they’re triggered by a variety of factors. In the case of the Gulf of Mexico, excess nutrients stream down the Mississippi river, stimulating massive algal growths that eventually decompose—a process that depletes the oxygen required to support marine life. Sources of these nutrients include fertilizers from agriculture, golf courses, and suburban lawns, erosion of soil packed with nutrients, and sewage discharge from treatment plants.

Dead zones can cause a loss of fish habitat, or force fish to migrate to other areas to survive. They can also cause reproductive issues among marine animals. Studies suggest that dead zones in the Gulf are leading to fewer large shrimp, for instance. There are over 400 hypoxic zones in the world, but the Gulf of Mexico dead zone is the largest in the US, and one of the largest globally.

The latest measurements in the Gulf were made by a team of scientists led by Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON). Data was recorded aboard the RV Pelican from July 21 to 31. Sadly, the size of the dead zone didn’t come as a surprise.

We expected one of the largest zones ever recorded because the Mississippi River discharge levels, and the May data indicated a high delivery of nutrients during this critical month which stimulates the mid-summer dead zone,” said LSU scientist Nancy Rabalais in a statement.

These findings suggest that efforts to reduce nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River basin aren’t working. The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast, an initiative to help farmers apply fertilizers at optimum times, is either ineffective or being ignored. Dead zones obviously affect the fishing industry, but as for farmers, not so much.

It’s not immediately clear how voluntary measures to rectify the situation are actually going to shrink the Gulf Zone’s dead zone to an annual average of 1,900 square miles, a goal set by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force. Perhaps this year’s record-setting dead zone will finally get a serious conversation started.

A scientist explains 10 psychology beliefs that are complete bullsh*t

*A letter from H.R. McMaster said Susan Rice will keep her top-secret security clearance

Almost one month after it was disclosed that former President Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice was unmasking members of President Trump’s team and other Americans, Trump’s own national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, sent an official letter giving her unfettered and continuing access to classified information and waiving her “need-to-know” requirement on anything she viewed or received during her tenure, Circa has confirmed.

The undated and unclassified letter from McMaster was sent in the mail to Rice’s home during the last week of April. Trump was not aware of the letter or McMaster’s decision, according to two Senior West Wing officials and an intelligence official, who spoke to Circa on condition that they not be named.

This is the letter from McMaster to Rice. Names, phone numbers and personal addresses have been blurred.

I hereby waive the requirement that you must have a ‘need-to-know’ to access any classified information contained in items you ‘originated, reviewed, signed or received while serving,’ as National Security Adviser,” the letter said. The letter also states that the “NSC will continue to work with you to ensure the appropriate security clearance documentation remains on file to allow you access to classified information.”

Circa revealed in March that during President Obama’s tenure, top aides — including Rice, former CIA Director John Brennan and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch — routinely reviewed intelligence reports received from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad. They were doing so by taking advantage of rules Obama relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, according to documents obtained by Circa.

In June, the House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Rice as part of the committee’s larger investigation into the unmasking of Americans under the Obama administration. Rice maintains that she never accessed the information inappropriately and has agreed to testify before the committee.

Under the law, and under certain conditions, it is common practice for some senior government officials to be given the unfettered access to classified information, and their “need to know” is waived under “Executive Order 13526 Section 4.4 Access by Historical Researchers and Certain Former Government Personnel.” But the White House officials told Circa that under the current congressional investigation, and given President Trump’s ongoing concern that members of his team were unmasked, Rice’s clearance should have been limited to congressional testimony only or revoked until the end of the investigation. Rice and Brennan have confirmed they sought the unredacted names of Americans in NSA-sourced intelligence reports, but insisted their requests were routine parts of their work and that they did nothing improper. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power also has legal authority to unmask officials.

In a June tweet, Trump called the revelation that Rice and other Obama senior officials were unmasking members of his team the “big story… the ‘unmasking and surveillance’ that took place during the Obama administration.”

Basically, this letter which was signed in the last week of April undercuts the president’s assertion that Susan Rice’s unmasking activity was inappropriate. In essence, anybody who committed a violation as she did would not be given access to classified information,” said a senior West Wing official, who was shown the document by Circa and verified its authenticity. “In fact, they would have their security clearance and right to ‘need-to-know’ stripped.”

The point is, is that it lowers the bar for her,” the Senior West Wing official said.

This memo McMaster sent to Rice makes it so that she doesn’t have to prove a continuing ‘need-to-know’ to have access to classified information and in effect is a White House pardon of Susan Rice and could be used by other Obama officials who conducted targeted unmasking of the campaign as a defense,” the official added.

The White House has not responded to requests for comment.

An intelligence official told Circa “that the NSA decision to provide this level of access to the subject of several ongoing investigations and to waive her ‘need-to-know’ requirement raises serious legal, moral and ethical concerns.”

According to information obtained by Circa, dozens of times in 2016, those intelligence reports identified Americans who were directly intercepted talking to foreign sources or who were the subject of conversations between two or more monitored foreign figures.

Sometimes Americans’ names were officially unmasked; other times they were so specifically described in the reports that their identities were readily discernible. Among those cleared to request and consume unmasked NSA-based intelligence reports about U.S. citizens were Rice, his Brennan and Lynch.

Shortly after Circa released the redacted documents disclosing the change in rules, it was revealed that Power had also extensively requested permission to unmask American names in incidental foreign intercepts.

SUNY Purchase Eliminates Mandatory ACT, SAT For Admissions

PURCHASE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — While most teenagers are hitting the beach or pool this summer, others are stuck preparing for college entrance exams.

But one SUNY school in Westchester is trying to change that by getting rid of the dreaded ACT and SAT.

The sign outside of one high school said ‘have a great summer’ but that’s not really happening for Ryan Kelly.

One study session is like three hours, practice tests take about four, then there is work that I have to do in between the times that I study, so it’s quite a bit of time,” Ryan Kelly said.

The 16-year-old straight A student is heading into his junior year and taking an ACT prep course with a tutor to pump up his scores for college.

His mother told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare she knows people spending more than $6,000 on classes for their kids.

The costs are huge, but also we’re hoping that he does well early, and then we don’t have to continue it into his junior year and senior year,” Karen Kelly said.

Purchase College, Vice President Dennis Craig said the SUNY school in Westchester finds that the test, “can be a tremendous distraction.”

That’s one reason the school is eliminating mandatory ACT or SAT scores for admissions as of this fall.

The strength of a student’s high school record, the grade point average, the rigor of their curriculum of the courses that they’ve chosen have all been proven by science, by studies to be much better indicators of success,” Craig said.

The growing trend is called ‘test optional.’

It’s designed to encourage creativity as well as attract a more racially and economically diverse student body.

Purchase joins more than 900 colleges nationwide that focus more on the arts and humanities rather than engineering, science, and math.

At Purchase, all applicants will provide an essay, video, poem, or portfolio of their work instead of test scores.

It gives a chance to show personality, a chance to actually allow students to be more than just a couple of figures,” senior Demetrius McCray said.

McCray said he took twelve SAT practice exams and welcomes the change, even though it’s too late for him.

It’s a lot of money, it’s a lot of time, it’s a lot of stress,” he said.

For Kelly and other teens it’s still a summer of hitting the books.

Purchase is the second SUNY school to go ‘test optional’ but other local colleges like Sarah Lawrence, Hofstra, St. John’s, and NYU are doing it in some of their programs as well.

Is there a link between autism and glyphosate-formulated herbicides?

James E. Beecham1 and Stephanie Seneff2*

*Correspondence: Stephanie Seneff

  1. MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.


Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide on the planet, and its increasing use over time in the United States aligns well with the increasing rates of autism determined by the Centers for Disease Control. Based on the known mechanism of glyphosate toxicity, we hypothesize that a pregnant woman’s exposure at midpregnancy to glyphosate-formulated herbicides (GFH) may produce, in her unborn child’s brain, anatomic alterations of cortical neuron layering remarkably similar to those found in the brains of humans with autism. Glyphosate’s known ability to chelate manganese ions combined with evidence of severely depleted serum manganese in cows exposed to glyphosate makes it likely that glyphosate would induce manganese deficiency in humans, interfering with the function of manganese-dependent enzymes. In particular, this would affect the maternal pituitary’s manganese-dependent Protein Phosphatase 1 (PP1) enzyme, resulting in a significant reduction in maternal serum levels of Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH). A study of mid-pregnancy maternal TSH serum levels in human mothers has found a statistical correlation of reduced TSH to increased risk of autism in offspring. Since insufficient thyroid stimulation by TSH or by iodine deficiency would both induce hypothyroidism, effects of iodine deficiency can be expected to emulate effects of TSH deficiency. Cortical neuron disarrangements have been produced in the brains of offspring of rat dams fed an iodine-deficient diet, and such foci of disordered cortical neurons are characteristically found in human autistic brains. While the research literature on glyphosate’s endocrine disrupting effects is limited, diverse evidence from animal studies reveals effects that suggest impaired thyroid function. If our hypothesis can be substantiated by a focused research effort, it would provide further justification for reducing or, ideally, eliminating glyphosate-formulated herbicide exposures in pregnant women.

Keywords: Autism, glyphosate, manganese, hypothyroidism, topoisomerase, protein phosphatase, herbicide, neurodevelopment


The prevalence of autism has been rising at an alarming rate in the United States over the past two decades, as determined for example by the progressive rise in the number of children in the public school system designated as autistic under the Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA). The pattern of this rise is extremely well matched temporally to the rising use of glyphosate on corn and soy crops, as pointed out in an article by Swanson et al., and illustrated in their figure 23, reproduced here as Figure 1 [1]. The data plotted in this figure are readily available from U.S. government sources on the Web, and the correlation is nearly perfect (0.99) (p<1.1E-6). While correlation does not necessarily mean causation, it is striking that the only pesticide whose usage rates have gone up dramatically exactly in step with the rise in autism is glyphosate, and it is the most used herbicide on the planet. Pesticides are clearly toxic as that is their intent, and a strong correlation in the rise of a serious disorder with a toxic chemical can not be simply dismissed.


This paper has developed the hypothesis that glyphosate may be contributing to the autism epidemic in part through its suppression of thyroid hormone production. We have presented supporting evidence from a diverse literature, including epidemiological evidence from temporal correlations, regulatory and other animal toxicology studies, studies characterizing the symptoms of acute glyphosate poisoning, and the research literature relating autism in the offspring to maternal hypothyroidism.

In order to clarify explicitly whether autism-type changes can be caused in fetal brains due to maternal exposure to glyphosate/GFH from consumption of common food and beverages, relevant animal dosing studies need to be carefully designed. Such studies are increasingly important to fund and conduct because the incidence of autism is rising alarmingly. If exposure to glyphosate/GFH from common food and beverages is a factor in autism, governmental and medical authorities need such information, as do prospective parents, in particular pregnant women.


Many different factors have been purported to be linked to autism. These have included, among others, genetic factors, iodine deficiency, vitamin D deficiency, and toxic exposures to a variety of substances, including lead, mercury, aluminum, thimerosal, fluoride, particulate matter in air pollution, to name a few. Whether, and to what magnitude, glyphosate/GFH have a place on the list is still debatable.

This paper presents a hypothesis that glyphosate exposure in utero can cause developmental defects leading to autism due in part to impaired thyroid function in the mother and in the fetus. Hypothyroxinemia in rat dams fed an iodine-deficient diet (15) caused neuron migration defects in the brains of offspring reminescent of those observed in association with autism. If glyphosate causes even borderline hypothyroxinemia in mothers exposed to glyphosate-formulated herbicides, as studies we suggest be carried out might definitively establish, then we see no reason to believe such exposure could not produce, in human fetuses, similar disordered neuron migration. Glyphosate can be expected to impair thyroid function both through depletion of manganese essential for the production of TSH in the pituitary and through inhibition of the synthesis of multiple selenoproteins involved in thyroid function.

Compelling evidence comes from research by Yau et al., which showed that a decrease in mid-pregnancy maternal TSH correlates statistically with a higher risk of ASD in the offspring of such pregnancies [10]. Although only trace amounts of glyphosate/GFH are thought to be present in commonly consumed food and beverages, even such small exposures at critical times in development might cause autism-type neuron migration defects in the in-utero fetus. Glyphosate-resistant weeds growing among genetically engineered Roundup® -Ready crops have necessitated ever increasing use of glyphosate on core crops of the processed food industry. Furthermore, the now widespread practice of desiccation, i.e., the spraying of crops with glyphosate just days before the harvest, on wheat, sugar cane, legumes, and other crops, has further raised residue levels in staple crops and therefore in many processed foods. These foods are not required to be labelled with the level of GFH residue present, and are almost never tested.

We have reviewed in a broader context evidence of thyroid dysfunction in association with glyphosate exposure, and have found support related to acute glyphosate poisoning and myxedema coma in humans, as well as impaired growth, lowered IQ, hypothermia, and decreased physical activity, all related to hypothyroidism.

We urgently encourage researchers with appropriate resources to consider carrying out carefully designed studies, including glyphosate/GFH dosing to pregnant animals while using glyphosate-free feeding diets for control animals. Examination of offspring should include detecting signs of autistic behavior in animals. Also, careful histologic review of brain tissue should be carried out to specifically look for signs of fetal neuron migration defects and/or other features commonly found in autistic brains.

We acknowledge that we have not yet proven that glyphosate/GFH exposure from common food and beverages causes human autism. On the other hand, we have perhaps highlighted glyphosate’s/GFH’s molecular potential, through a set of deduced mechanisms. This theory will have served its purpose if it spurs appropriate future research, including as outlined above. If that research confirms our hypothesis, it will also have enabled strategies to effectively reduce the incidence of autism. Regardless, mothers are advised to consume and feed their family an organic diet as a precautionary measure.


Dr. Stephanie Seneff MIT.

Stephanie Seneff is a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She received the B.S. degree in Biophysics in 1968, the M.S. and E.E. degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1980, and the Ph.D degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1985, all from MIT. For over three decades, her research interests have always been at the intersection of biology and computation: developing a computational model for the human auditory system, understanding human language so as to develop algorithms and systems for human computer interactions, as well as applying natural language processing (NLP) techniques to gene predictions. She has published over 170 refereed articles on these subjects, and has been invited to give keynote speeches at several international conferences. She has also supervised numerous Master’s and PhD theses at MIT. In 2012, Dr. Seneff was elected Fellow of the International Speech and Communication Association (ISCA). 

In recent years, Dr. Seneff has focused her research interests back towards biology. She is concentrating mainly on the relationship between nutrition and health. Since 2011, she has published over two dozen papers in various medical and health-related journals on topics such as modern day diseases (e.g., Alzheimer, autism, cardiovascular diseases), analysis and search of databases of drug side effects using NLP techniques, and the impact of nutritional deficiencies and environmental toxins on human health.

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