WHY MOVIES STILL MATTER


In a new piece on Wired.com, “Could This Be the Year Movies Stopped Mattering?” Brian Raftery suggests that movies have “devolved from Culture-Conquering Pastime to merely Something to Do When the Wi-Fi’s Down,” and that their former centrality to the culture has been taken over by a diverse range of media events—serial television above all, but also Pokémon Go, “Hamilton,” YouTube memes, and visual albums such as Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.” The simplest refutation is that what matters is determined not by media discussion but by each person for herself; movies matter to me, therefore they matter.

But Raftery is on to something important, even if, as I think, he comes at it backward. He’s right that the kinds of work that capture widespread attention and find widespread favor have changed in recent years—and he’s right that these changes are inseparable from the realm of criticism, the very nature of which has changed drastically in the same period. Raftery’s fixation on “the pop-cultural conversation” and the “zeitgeist” is one that’s shared by the era, by the critical community at large, and this fixation yields its own predestined results. Modern cultural criticism gives rise to its own cultural artifacts, and the two fit together like a lock and key. As a work of criticism, Raftery’s essay is exemplary of the very phenomenon that he’s documenting—and that circularity, that self-fulfilling critical criterion, is the defining trait of the time.

The rise of so-called quality television has coincided with the advent of widespread access to the Internet, which is closely correlated with consumers’ level of education. The serial nature of serial television lent itself to online discussion—blogs, comments, e-mails, and then, a few years later, social-media postings—in a way that the one-time-only and freestanding experience of going to a movie doesn’t, at the same time that it also locked specifically into the new habits of the educated in a way that moviegoing didn’t.

The principal quality of quality TV has proven to be its ability to generate discourse—not just on the part of critics and viewers but on the part of journalists. As particular series, and television over all, became the subjects of widespread public discussion—discussion in the literal sense, of writers and viewers responding to each other—that discussion became news. Suddenly, television was propelled from the arts page to the front page, and that trend was accelerated by the nature of the shows. Their emphasis on stories and characters involving iconic phenomena in cultural history and hot-button issues of contemporary sociology and politics grabbed—and still grabs—hold of journalists’ nose for stories. Many series seem to exist only to present topics in ready-to-debate form; they are built to give rise to “think pieces,” which have become the dominant, if easily parodied, critical mode.

The experience that the watching and the critique of new serial television resemble above all is the college experience. Binge-watching is cramming, and the discussions that are sparked reproduce academic habits: What It Says About, What It Gets Right About, What It Gets Wrong About. There is a lot of aboutness but very little being; lots of puzzle-like assembling of information to pose particular kinds of questions (posing questions—sounds like a final exam), to explore particular issues (sounds like a term paper). For these reasons, television’s actual competition isn’t movies or museums or novels but nonfiction books, documentary films, journalism, radio discussions, and general online clicking. Serial television is designed to gratify the craving for facts to piece together and analyze. The medium seems created for the media buzz that’s generated by the media people who are its natural audience, and to whom the shows owe their acclaim, their prestige, and their success.

Even now, the way that Raftery underlines the importance of new television shows is with the assertion that “they certainly won the impossible to quantify—yet equally hard to deny—metrics of online chatter, where they spawned countless essays and arguments for weeks and months on end.” Just as the numbers matter for the TV business, the quantity of chatter matters for the culture business, because it’s what happens when the work of art extends beyond itself into other fields and makes its influence apparent. That’s why so much of the discourse generated by television is political—and why, in this moment that’s so rich in cultural discourse, the dominant way of discussing art is political.

Raftery displays the skewed results of this trend when he cites three recent movies that strike him as “culturally crucial”: “Straight Outta Compton,” a good movie; “Inside Out,” a mediocre one; and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a great one. What makes them important, in his eyes, is that “they spurred uncomfortable but essential conversations.” Here, he’s practicing the echo-chamber mode of criticism: the movies are crucial because they spark “conversations,” they spark conversations because they address issues that are deemed crucial. He considers these movies—unlike those he’s seen this year—to be important, and his criterion for their importance is that they’re politically relevant, not that they’re of aesthetic value. What’s more, he measures political relevance by counting clicks.

Ultimately, democratic politics are a numbers game. Politics are what concern everyone, which is why “everyone” (i.e., those who create the “online chatter” and the “countless essays and arguments” by which Raftery measures importance) talks about politics. Art, by contrast, is what concerns one person, intimately. Culture is a matter of power; art is a matter of beauty. It’s also a matter of freedom—of spiritual freedom, of free-spiritedness—and so it’s also political, though not in any immediately recognizable way and, above all, not in any way that lends itself to the think-piece brand of discourse. The power of beauty, the impact of beauty on a single person, eludes discussion and invites silence, even as it incites something radically different from analysis: ecstasy. That’s the force behind the side of criticism that, if it’s any good at all, converges with the work of art by being itself a literary, poetic, philosophical inspiration.

This is why much of the best art has always been a niche phenomenon, and why, when great art is popular, it’s often due to a fortuitous accident, and the artist is often punished the next time around (as happened when Terrence Malick followed “The Tree of Life” with “To the Wonder” and “Knight of Cups,” and as I hope won’t happen with Scorsese’s next movie, “Silence”). That’s all the truer now with movies, because the role of the studios and of wide releases has diminished. The possibility of making films independently and on a low budget is greater than ever, at exactly the moment that studios, following the lead of television, have turned their movies mainly into political allegories and statements precisely calculated to leap to the front pages and the op-ed section.

At the same time, the democratization of criticism online has had a crucial and positive effect on cinematic events. Today, there’s both more and better film criticism than ever; as a result, it’s less likely than ever that an extraordinary movie will go utterly unnoticed or be dismissed. But the breadth of a film’s distribution and its box-office take are no more measures of its merit than is the quantity of online discussion that it inspires. It’s common knowledge that, for “Lemonade,” Beyoncé derived inspiration from, and made reference to, Julie Dash’s great 1991 feature “Daughters of the Dust,” which, despite its generally favorable reception at the time of its release, is the only theatrical feature that Dash has made. “Lemonade” also alludes to Khalik Allah’s bold and inventive documentary “Field Niggas.” Allah is also one of the cinematographers on “Lemonade,” yet his feature film was hardly released at all; in New York, it only played for one week at the IFP Media Center, in Brooklyn. “Daughters of the Dust” has taken in only 1.6 million dollars at the box office during the past quarter century. (It will have a welcome and long-overdue rerelease in November.) Beyoncé’s allusions to “Daughters of the Dust” and “Field Niggas” don’t make them better or more important films—those of us who have seen and love those movies don’t need external confirmation of the experience. Rather, the references make “Lemonade” better and more important. Beyoncé didn’t need voluminous online chatter to be moved and inspired by Dash’s and Allah’s work; she had an experience of her own, and the intensity of that experience comes through in her own work.

Is this year in movies, as Raftery asserts, the “Worst. Year. Ever.”? I think it’s been a terrific year so far, with a long list of remarkable new movies already released. With the New York Film Festival coming up, along with the packed fall season and year-end releases, the list is likely to get much longer very soon. A year as a measure of film releases is an odd artifice—production and distribution are cyclical, and this is a year featuring no new releases by some of the best Hollywood or off-Hollywood directors, such as Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Spike Lee, David Fincher, and Paul Thomas Anderson. But other luminaries, including Martin Scorsese and James Gray, have movies coming up; so do notable independent filmmakers, including Barry Jenkins and Matías Piñeiro. When, a quarter century from now, a pop-music visionary refers to “Men Go to Battle” or “For the Plasma” or “Krisha” or “Viktoria” or “Kate Plays Christine” or another under-the-radar low-budget film of imagination and ingenuity, woe unto the critics who were here at the time and didn’t pay attention.

Anthrobotics: Where The Human Ends and the Robot Begins


IN BRIEF

The Anthrobotics Cluster seeks to start conversations (and answer questions) regarding some of the biggest topics in AI research. Here, Luis de Miranda, one of the founders, discusses anthrobots and the relationship between humans and machines.

Technology is accelerating at an ever increasing rate. Each year, we develop smaller and smarter systems…systems that allow us to interact with information in ways that previous eras only dreamed about. In fact, given their ability to process, identify, and categorize information—and their uncanny ability to synthesize information and make judgments—many of our systems seem to be developing a true form of intelligence. In this respect, it seems that the dawning age of AI is truly upon us.

But what does this mean?

In order to make this determination, it is necessary to, first, locate the human and the robot. Where does one end and the other begin? In order to try and answer this question and develop a way of figuring humans, robots, and intelligent systems alongside one another, Luis de Miranda and his colleagues at the University of Edinburgh have created the Anthrobotics Cluster. It is a a platform of cross-disciplinary research that seeks to investigate some of the biggest questions that will need to be answered as our technology progresses and we continue to advance into the next age.

In a recent interview, he spoke with me about why the relationship between humans and robots (and having an accurate understanding of it) is so very important.
Futurism: To begin with, for those who may not know, what is an anthrobot?

Luis de Miranda: Anthrobot is a portmanteau word composed of anthropos for human and robot. I didn’t invent the neologism, it was introduced by roboticist Mark Rosheim a few years ago, as a technical designation for anthropomorphic robotic devices, “man-equivalent devices.” For example, robotic prostheses.

But I proposed to extend the concept in a way that is meant to consider two timely questions through fresh eyes: What is human? What is robotic?

Robot is a contested concept with many possible definitions: philosophical, legal, functional, technical, and political. I guess they each serve a different purpose. Yet, provided we keep in mind that a concept like “robot” has an evolving and metamorphic history since the dramatic invention of the term in 1920 in Čapek’s notorious play, a simple and more or less consensual definition might be useful.

In dialogue with my colleages, Dr Michael Rovatsos and Dr Ram Ramamoorthy at the University of Edinburgh informatics forum, I proposed to define a robot as an algorithmic enabler. This definition might evolve and be refined, but I’ve opted for the concept of enablement because of its bivalence in psychological literature, which mirrors greatly the ambivalent appreciation of machines in public opinion.

To enable a task can be positive and virtuous, as a synonym of facilitation, labour alleviation for example. But enabling is also related to notions of co-dependency, addiction, and loss of responsibility, when a user becomes too heavily dependent on others or on machines for fulfilment of a pseudo-sense of self. Defining a robot as an algorithmic enabler contains therefore a useful ethical component: it allows evaluations in terms of simultaneously good and bad consequences. It also addresses the diverse potential uses of robots, whether they’re related to labour or emotional uses – industrial, social and domestic robots: it’s possible to enable physical, mental, or emotional tasks.

What is an anthrobot then? It can be understood as a human collective hybrid system made of flesh and protocols, with a fluctuating zone of embodiment. Institutions are a collective anthrobot, a “coordination artefact”. It’s not only that humans are particularly gifted in developing new tools and techniques.

My hypothesis is that humans have always been anthrobots: on one hand working unceasingly towards social automation, functionalism and the organisation and codification of the real, on the other engaging in more aimless, unstructured dispersions, developing creative and emotional aspirations and recreation.

Futurism: To that end, what is anthrobotics?

LdM: It relies on a philosophical view of humans as being the technological animal par excellence. We code and de-code our protocols under the dialectic influence of the creation of the real. Our functionalism can be called collective robotism. Human societies are organic and artificial, and at every moment, as social anthrobots, we’re products and producers, partly creators and partly created, partly automata and partly agents capable of adaptability, self-actuation, and sense-making.

Anthrobotics is a working hypothesis towards an interdisciplinary science of world-forming.

Futurism: How is anthrobotics different from other ways of thinking? Why is it necessary—what problem does it help solve or what does it enable us to do?

LdM: Anthrobotics is the choice to consider the human-machine intertwining from the perspective of organised and evolving collectives rather than separated individual entities. Association is not what happens after individuals have been defined with few properties, but what characterizes entities in the first place: this is a conscious step away from methodological individualism. Individual users co-emerge as social agents from the matrix of a social process.

I’m not claiming that this perspective is totally new, because nothing is totally new. Anthrobotics is a hypothesis that says: let’s look at the human-machine intertwining as a dynamic union of more or less institutionalised collectives involved in processes of worldforming. The goal is to facilitate the implementation of more plural and harmonious forms of shared natural-artificial forms of live.

It’s been said that the relationship between humans and technology can at times resemble an infinite game where the principal outcome is to continue playing.Anthrobots that pre-date the computer age, such as institutions, organisations, corporations, nation states, rituals, collective organised projects, etc. provide blueprints that we can use as models for understanding and developing more plural and harmonious socio-technical systems.

Looking at pre-computerised groups and their social protocols, where individuals assume, embody, and express different forms of belongingness or esprit de corps could perhaps provide guiding principles for the design of socially embedded robotics. Anthrobotics is not only a matter of social engineering and ethics, but also of policy. If a human collective is an axiomatic, intrinsically normative system, we can aim at more healthy, co-creative, and virtuous systems that favours respectful collaborations within socio-technical assemblages.

It’s been said that the relationship between humans and technology can at times resemble an infinite game where the principal outcome is to continue playing. We get caught up in the game, but we can also step back, and remember that our sociocultural games are indeed made-up. By whom? Our worlds are, in one way or another, co-created by us, both by our courage and our cowardice. Our worlds are our anthrobots. We should extend the collective co-creation of these social machines, as proposed for example by philosophers Deleuze and Guattari, who defined human communities as “desiring machines”, which is another definition of anthrobotics.

Futurism: How does the ‘Anthrobotics Cluster’ play into this? Where did the idea come from and what is the overall mission?

LdM: I created the CRAG Research Group at the University of Edinburgh in 2014 in order to bring together researchers from different disciplines around the theme of “creation of reality.” At the same time, I started writing a PhD thesis on the concept of “esprit de corps,” which is the spirit of unity sometimes felt in human organised groups or institutions. By looking carefully at the conceptual history of “esprit de corps” since the eighteenth century, I realised that a human institution could be called a collective robot (what Lewis Mumford called the “megamachine”).

I looked at a handbook of collective robotics, the discipline that studies robotic swarms, and was amused to discover that many of the notions employed by roboticist and engineers were adapted from the social sciences. I organised an international conference around the theme of “creation of reality” in December 2015 where I brought together for example Alan Bundy, a specialist in artificial intelligence, and social-anthropologist Tim Ingold. During our exchanges, the word “anthrobotics” popped in my mind.

What makes us humans as opposed to intelligent artificial systems?Of course, my interest in the philosophy of technology is far from new. In 2010 I published an essay in French on the cultural history of digital machines, L’art d’Être libres au temps des automates, where the idea of anthrobotics is already present, for example in the distinction between the “Creal” and the “Real,” which would perhaps take too long to explain here – a translator is currently being sought to make this available to an English audience. I also published a novel in 2008, Paridaiza, that is entirely set in a videogame, with similar questions in mind: What makes us humans as opposed to intelligent artificial systems?

I decided to create the Anthrobotics Cluster a few days after the conference in the winter of 2015/16. Alan Bundy is a wonderful person and was graciously attentive: he introduced me to several roboticists and informatics people. This is when Michael Rovatsos and Ram Ramamoorthy jumped on this strange anthrobotic asteroid, and agreed to co-write an exploratory paper with me. For a philosopher and novelist, it was a privilege to be adopted by the informatics community, and I found that they often have very interesting philosophical instincts, rooted in concrete and contemporary problems.

Futurism: What current projects or research are you working on—what’s in the immediate future?

LdM: The first paper on anthrobotics will be presented at Robophilosophy Conference 2016 at the University of Aarhus, in October and will be published in the Proceedings. I’ve received some funding from the University of Edinburgh Institute for Academic Development to run a workshop and reading-group on anthrobotics with students and staff from all disciplines.

A first anthrobotics international workshop is scheduled for March 2017. For this I’m partnering with the Human Centred Computing Group at the University of Oxford, where I’ve started working with Dr Marina Jirotka, Dr Helena Webb, and Dr Mark Hartswood and I’ve just been chosen by the department of Computer Science at Oxford University to present a Templeton Independent Research Fellowship application, on the notions of information as worldforming and anthrobotics, which would allow me to deepen my research.

I’ll submit my completed PhD in about six months time, after which I’d like to continue to work not only with computer scientists, but with biologists, physicists, anthropologist, social scientists, psychologists, towards a general theory of information as worldforming in anthrobotics systems.

Futurism: How do you see technology advancing over the next few years (over the next few decades?) and what challenges will we face as a result?

LdM: I’ve read many futurism.com headlines and articles daily over the last several months, and am both overwhelmed and fascinated by the turmoil of technological and scientific breakthroughs that seem to be made on a weekly basis today. But as I’ve said, and as many others have said before me, humans have always been technological animals by definition. Each generation feels that technology is developing extremely fast and I suspect this has – more or less – always been the case.

In my book L’être et le néon, a cultural history of neon signs, I narrate the fascination of Italian futurists in the 1910s for the then new technology of neon. They looked at neon signs as we now look at anthropoid robots. We’re not only a neotenic animal, who tends to increasing juvenile physical and psychological traits, but are also a technotenic animal: we have had a desire for technology since the dawn of time.

I don’t wish to annoy readers of this interview with cosmological speculation, but I suspect the universe is a dialectic dance between the “Creal” and the One. What I’ve taken to calling the Creal is an all-encompassing dynamic process of explosion of novelty and possibilities, a cosmological chaotic expansion. And the idea of unity is the exact opposite. I see the universe as a Heraclitean love story between the absolute-multiple and the absolute-unity.

We as humans carry this love-story within us. Our love for unity is realised – becomes real – as technology and protocols. But we also love – consciously or unconsciously – the creativity of chaos, the emotional call of the wild, so we’re never totally robotic. Animals also have this opposition in them, but not as extreme as humans. I guess I’m inspired to such views by process philosophers such as Bergson, Deleuze, Whitehead and Hegel.

Futurism: How can we, as a society and as individuals, help make this process smoother?

LdM: Summarising I would say, we can wonder if human history will ever be smooth. But let’s try and be optimistic: we can certainly become aware of our anthrobotic condition in order to ease the dialectic dynamic of our lives, and become co-creators rather than alienated adapters.

When I say we’re anthrobots, it’s also a political claim: it’s a call for more pluralism in the sense of Chantal Mouffe’s agonistic pluralism. We need more democratic technological and scientific empowerment, the capacity for many to become the worldformers of our future diverse environments.

Expert warns sex with robots could be dangerously good


Wanting to find something different when it comes to sex is nothing new, but apparently the craze for sex robots could be risky.

We’ve already reported on claims that teenagers could soon be losing their virginity to the mechanical love machines, with scientists also said to be working on robot sex brothel to cut the risk of STIs.

But now comes the warning – according to a expert in the field, we’ll need to be careful we don’t get addicted to artificial intelligence love making.

shutterstock_197136716

Joel Snell is an American Research Fellow from Kirkwood College, and he’s told the Daily Starthere’s a real risk linked to the robots.

That’s because they’ll offer great sex at any time of the day and night.

There’ll be no need to for a bond with the robot, plus it’ll never be able to turn you down.

“People may become obsessed by their ever faithful, ever pleasing sex robot lovers,” he warned.

“People will rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions.”

The other issue is people will be able to tell robots exactly what they like between the sheets.

That means there’s no risk of an unsatisfactory romp ever again.

Of course, you could try actually talking to your real life human partner too. If you’re open about your likes and dislikes, the result could be pretty much the same.

Although sex robots have been in the headlines a lot lately, versions of them have been around for years.

Many people already use sex toys regularly, and there is a growing group of people who can’t get enough of sex dolls.

The Future of Farming: Meet The Driverless Tractor


Case IH recently showed off a prototype of their “Autonomous Concept Vehicle.” It’s a farm tractor that can plant, monitor crops, and harvest without a driver.

We have all heard about autonomous cars. Elon Musk, Uber, and a host of other individuals and organizations have been working on them for years. Also, we have autonomous big-rigs. Then, of course, there are the autonomous buses (no, seriously).

Now, we have a new kind of driverless transport… a farm tractor.

At Iowa’s Farm Progress Show earlier this week, Case IH showed off some remarkable tech. It’s tech that they assert will, one day, culminate in a fleet of driverless tractors. Notably, this gear isn’t meant to be completely autonomous. Rather, it is actually a remote controlled tractor.

At this stage, it is still just a prototype, and it is known as the Case IH Autonomous Concept Vehicle. Check it out in the video below:

Rather than hopping in and cruising across fields, individuals will be able to control the machine with an app. And honestly, what could possibly go wrong with driving a multi-ton piece of equipment while you are on the opposite side of the field? But of course, a host of testing will be done before the tractors go online, and safety standards will need to be met (so there’s probably no reason to worry…probably).

The team asserts that the tractor can plant crops and gather real-time data on how the crops are doing. It can also harvest.

This device harvests wave power and could power 1/3 of the US


Researchers from Oscilla Power – a US-based renewable energy company, have developed a mechanism, called Triton, that rests on the ocean surface and gathers power from the constant source of waves.

The machine contains a series of generators and no moving parts, intentionally, so that it won’t be destroyed from all the jostling it’s expected to receive.

“As waves interact with the device, there is an alternating magnetic polarity created in the metal that is used to generate electricity,” reports Meagan Parrish for ChemInfo.  “By the use of flexible tethers, themselves enabled by an asymmetric heave plate, Triton uniquely captures energy from heave, pitch, sway and roll motions”.

So what we have is a giant, floating, metal plate that is connected to tethers that generate electricity when they’re moved around by waves.

Each Triton is expected to produce about 600kW of power, enough to supply energy for 500 average homes every month.   When fully implemented, the program can power 1/3 of the United States’ power consumption and 15% of global need.

Ocean waves are a constant source of power, so it is refreshing when a company taps into it.

Why Are Chilean Beaches Covered With Dead Animals?


Warm waters have turned the country’s once-pristine coast into a putrid sight

Chile Beach
A Chilean beach–before. 

Compared to other countries, Chile is almost all coast, and that geographical fluke means that the country is known for its beautiful beaches. But that reputation may be on the wane thanks to a new sight on Chilean shores: dead animals. Lots of them. Heaps of them, in fact. As Giovanna Fleitas reports for the Agence France-Presse, the South American country’s beaches are covered with piles of dead sea creatures—and scientists are trying to figure out why.

 Tales of dead animals washing up on shore are relatively common; after all, the ocean has a weird way of depositing its dead on shore. But Chile’s problem is getting slightly out of hand. As Fleitas writes, recent months have not been kind to the Chilean coast, which has played host to washed-up carcasses of over 300 whales, 8,000 tons of sardines, and nearly 12 percent of the country’s annual salmon catch, to name a few.

At least some of the damage to fish appears to be due to fish farming, which encourages toxic algal blooms. But as with so many strange sea phenomena in the last year, El Niño, which warms the equatorial Pacific, appears to be at least partly to blame. The warm water brought on by the phenomenon put stress on coral reefs near Hawaii and appears to have delayed the arrival of whales to the islands. Meanwhile, off the shores of Chile, the warm water appears to have provided great conditions for toxic algae. The blooming creatures poison fish and other marine life that eat them, and this year the bloom is blamed for losses of nearly a billion dollars among Chilean fishers.

Algae also suck oxygen from the water itself—a change to which Pacific Ocean creatures appear to be particularly vulnerable. In a newly published paper in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers warn that declining oxygen levels worldwide kill animals, but that the diversity of life in the Pacific Ocean is at particular risk. That long-term danger isn’t helped by algae that blooms in response to short-term phenomena like El Niño.

The rising tide of dead animals is raising health concerns, as when thousands of squid washed up on shore earlier this year. At the time, reports Latin Correspondent’s Steven James Grattan, health officials were criticized for not clearing coasts of about 10,000 rotting, dead squid sooner. (They eventually did so with the help of heavy equipment.)

So how should Chile get rid of the rest of the festering fish and withering whales on its once-pristine shores? WIRED’s Sarah Zhang has some advice for those faced with a dead whale: “Don’t blow it up.” Instead, she recommends that scientists study the carcasses and take chunks back to their labs…or bury the whales on the beach where they met their sad, smelly end.

More Than 6 Million Americans in 33 States Exposed to Unsafe Levels of Teflon Chemicals In Drinking Water


water dupont

As it turns out Flint, Michigan isn’t the only place suffering from the problem of contaminated water — the problem may be even more widespread than previously thought, according to a new study published on Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

While the problem may not be quite as drastic and immediate as the horror story that unfolded in the Great Lakes State, this particular study’s major finding —that over 6 million people in 33 states are being exposed to dangerously high levels of Teflon chemicals in their water supply, is pretty serious in its own right.

The chemicals, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid (or PFOA), are viewed as “extremely dangerous to human health” and have been linked to birth defects and numerous cancers, as well as heart and thyroid disease. The news was reported on by the website EcoWatch.com as well as The Washington Post.

While a large amount of the water supplies of United States regions did not contain detectable levels of the chemicals, a total of 194 out of 4,864, spanning nearly three dozen states, did, affecting over 6 million people. And those who did had at least one water sample test at levels higher than the EPA’s recommended safety limit of 70 parts per trillion, for both PFOAs and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid).

Study co-author Dr. Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health is among those concerned.

“…The available water data only reveals the tip of the iceberg of contaminated drinking water,” Grandjean told the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Teflon is known as the “most slippery material in existence,” but its functionality in non-stick pans and other products comes at a serious cost to health and the environment.

“They never break down. Once they are released into the environment, they are there,” said Xindi Hu to the Post, adding that virtually all Americans are exposed to these compounds. Hu is the lead author on the study and a doctoral student from the Harvard Department of Environmental Health.

As disconcerting as the tests results were, the study notes another frustrating truth about Teflon chemicals: “exposure to these chemicals can make people sick, even at or below the concentration recommended as acceptable under the EPA health advisory.”

Grandjean elaborated in comments to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, saying that the EPA advisory limit is “much too high to protect us from the toxic effects on the immune system.”

The scenario is eerily similar to what has unfolded with the EPA and glyphosate, the active chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup. The EPA has raised raised the “safe” limits of the chemical numerous times in order to placate chemical companies (and the farmers who use their products) over time while the public remains blissfully unaware and uninformed by the mainstream media.

Teflon is produced most notably by DuPont, a chemical and GMO seed giant that has manufactured it for decades, polluting public water supplies even while knowing the harm it’s capable of inflicting on human health and the environment.

Thousands of personal injury cases are now pending against the company in the Ohio River Valley area after a cattle rancher named Wilbur Tennant sued the company in 1998 over the deaths of nearly 300 cattle, many of which were found with “neon green organs” in their bodies.

A Forgotten Warning: United States On the Verge of Being Hit With an “Autism Tsunami”


autism tsunami

Photo via TechTimes.com

The United States spends more on healthcare than any other nation in the industrialized world, and yet despite that the country lags behind in many crucial health categories.

Aside from an epidemic of potentially deadly diseases such as cancer and heart disease as well as a confounding rise in nagging chronic diseases like fibromyalgia, the U.S. is also facing a serious challenge in the form of autism, a complex condition that mainstream medical science still can’t quite get a handle on.

Because of the mystery (and borderline taboo) surrounding both the causes and possible treatments of autism, many have hypothesized that our changing diet (i.e. what’s being done to our food) is just one potential factor that has led to a dramatic increase in autism cases.

For example, Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist from MIT, made waves when she warned that as many as 50% of all children may be autistic by the year 2025. Seneff’s work showed a correlation between the rising use of glyphosate (the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup). While some argue that correlation does not equal causation, it is nonetheless an important piece of evidence to consider.

Additives in vaccines and the high-frequency, dangerously untested vaccine schedule being administered by doctors has also been theorized as a possible contributor.

As more and more people are diagnosed as autistic, the question has now shifted to how those people will be treated — and with the way things are going, this “autism tsunami” could be devastating.

Autism on the Rise

A warning by the Autism Speaks advocacy organization in 2015 laid out the situation the U.S. is currently facing: more than 1.5 million people have autism here, and most are people younger than 22.

Once they grow up, thousands could be left without the necessary support, the organization warned.

“The current system we have right now is woefully inadequate,” Angela Lello, director of housing and community living at Autism Speaks said in this articleoriginally published in U.S. News & World Report. “There are lots of long waiting lists. In some states, it can take as long as 10 years to gain access to (these support)services.”

While some people on the autism spectrum are considered “high-functioning” and can live with no help or minimal help on their own, many others need someone to watch over and care for them during even the most basic of everyday tasks.

The lack of care for these individuals is pronounced: as the article notes, about 50,000 autistic children are transitioning into adulthood every year, outpacing resources that provide them with the help they need.

In order to combat this, President Barack Obama signed a $1.3 billion CARES Act (Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support) into law in 2014 to find and address gaps in care for children, as well as to support research for treatment. But will it be enough if the autism rates continue to grow with no end in sight?

Currently, the autism treatment industry is expected to grow by leaps and bounds, to as much as $1 trillion by 2020.

Many have stated emphatically that preparing children with autism for adulthood needs to be the focus, including New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, who helped create the CARES Act.

But others wonder when society will begin focusing on the root causes of autism, including the evidence showing the links between our woefully deficient, chemical-dominant food and medicine industry and the disease.

For example, recent studies suggest that gut healthy bacteria may be play an especially important role in preventing autism, and some parents have reported excellent results by focusing in this area, and optimizing nutrition in general while removing processed and chemically enhanced foods.

Meanwhile, as the answers continue to evade mainstream pundits, the autism epidemic just keeps on growing: 1 in every 68 kids will be diagnosed, as the article noted.

Shocking Research Confirms Vaccines Are Contaminated With Monsanto’s Herbicide


Folks, I have written about the problems with vaccines in previous blog posts.

Now, a new serious contamination problem with our vaccines has been identified.

Researcher Anthony Samsel has published five peer-reviewed articles on the herbicide Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup®). A yet-to-be published sixth paper found various commonly-used vaccines contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate.

Yes, you read that correctly: Our vaccines are contaminated with an herbicide that the World Health Organization characterized as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

How can this happen? That answer is easy.

Many vaccines contain animal byproducts such as gelatin, bovine casein, bovine serum, bovine calf serum, or chicken egg protein. The animals from which these products come from are fed grains sprayed with glyphosate. It does not take a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that these animals, fed glyphosate in their diet, would contain glyphosate in their byproducts.

Samsel sent a letter to Congress that stated:

“I have run numerous groups of vaccines and identified several vectors of contamination. These include the excipient gelatins, egg protein and or similar substrates used to grow vaccines. I have found gelatins and egg proteins contaminated with Glyphosate-based herbicides from animals fed a glyphosate contaminated diet. This contamination carries into thousands of consumer products i.e. vitamins, protein powders, wine, beer and other consumables which use gelatins as part of the product or in fining and processing.”

What did Samsel hear back?

He heard nothing.

In other words, our do-nothing Congress, so far, has failed to respond. In his letter to Congress, Samsel also stated that Glyphosate is a synthetic amino acid. It bioaccumulates and is found in all tissue types, particularly the bone and marrow of animals fed a diet contaminated with Glyphosate residues.

You can see Dr. Samsel talk about his research by clicking here.

The following vaccines were found to be contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate:

1. MMR
2. Varicella (chicken pox)
3. Zostavax (shingles)
4. Proquad (MMR, rubella, varicella)
5. Fluzone Quad (flu vaccine)
6. Hepatitis B (B Energix-B)

Multiple vaccines from different manufactures were found to be contaminated. Folks, this is a big deal. Injecting a vaccine contaminated with a known herbicide that is “probably carcinogenic to humans” should be prohibited. We need a Congressional investigation into our vaccines.

We keep hearing the mantra that vaccines are safe. Injecting a vaccine containing an herbicide is safe? Give me a break!

It is time to call your Congressmen and women and tell them to investigate this matter.

I can assure you that it is not safe to inject a known neurotoxin such as mercury or aluminum. Nor is it safe to inject a known carcinogen such as formaldehyde.

Guess what? It is not safe to inject an herbicide that is a probable human carcinogen.

Fourth herd of animals killed by ‘freak lightning bolts’ in the last couple of months.


Just last week a herd of cows was electrocuted by a freak lightning bolt in Texas, making the group of 19 cattle the fourth herd of animals- in the last couple of months- to be killed by lightning. One single bolt hit a tree and killed the animals who were there taking refuge from the storm.

Breaks my heart.

“All of a sudden, a lightning bolt came down and the cows just fell. In the blink of an eye a lightning bolt, and there was lightning everywhere, but just one (bolt) and it was over”, reported Victor Benson who witnessed the cows death.

The first herd to die was in South Dakota in May. During a storm 21 cows were killed by lightning.

The next herd to die was in the Hardangervidda region of Norway. More than 300 wild reindeer, most likely huddled togther because of the especially heavy thunderstorm, were killed after they were struck by lightning at the southern Norway nature park.

The third was on August 25th, in the Indian district of Kanchipuram, where 38 sheep died after they were hit by lightning. Residents of the Kammalam Poondy village were devastated by the deaths of their livestock.

I’m personally unsure why there seems to be an uptick in lightening strikes, perhaps it has something to do with the El Nino and La Nina weather patterns, but it breaks my heart to know these poor animals were killed.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/mGJqTdXrQLk

%d bloggers like this: