Signs of Life After Death, Racial Discrimination in Lending, Radio Show For Inmates
February 20, 2018
Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on the growing body of evidence suggesting human consciousness lingers after bodily death, how financial industry reliance on secret "credit score" algorithms has led to widespread racial discrimination in mortgage lending, a new study showing American diplomats in Cuba displayed symptoms of concussion without blunt head trauma following what was initially reported as a sonic attack, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on a Kentucky radio show that broadcasts messages to prison inmates from their family members, the launch of Patagonia Action Works to connect people with environmental activism opportunities, and more. You can also skip to this section now.
Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note (sources may be less reliable): The usefulness of hemp plants for a wide variety of purposes has been strongly suppressed for decades. Watch the four excellent videos on this webpage to learn more.
Quote of the week: "It's not what happens to you that matters, it's what you do with it." ~~ W. Mitchell, Inspirational Speaker
Where Do You Go When You Die? The Increasing Signs that Human Consciousness Remains After Death
February 10, 2018, Newsweek
Clinically, we understand death to mean the state that takes hold after our hearts stop beating. Philosophically, though, our definition of death hinges on something else: the point past which we’re no longer able to return. Those two were more or less the same until about 50 years ago, when we saw the advent of CPR. Modern resuscitation ... blew apart our understanding of what it means to be dead. Without many people returning from the dead to show us otherwise, it was natural to assume, from a scientific perspective, that our consciousness dies at the same time as our bodies. Over the last few years, though, scientists have seen repeated evidence that once you die, your brain cells take days, potentially longer, to reach the point past which they’ve degraded too far to ever be viable again. People who survive medical death frequently report experiences that share similar themes: bright lights; benevolent guiding figures; relief from physical pain and a deeply felt sensation of peace. Because those experiences are subjective, it's possible to chalk them up to hallucinations. Where that explanation fails, though, is among the patients who have died on an operating table or crash cart and reported watching ... as doctors tried to save them, accounts subsequently verified by the (very perplexed) doctors themselves. How these patients were able to describe objective events that took place while they were dead, we're not exactly sure. But it does seem to suggest that when our brains and bodies die, our consciousness may not.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on near-death experiences. Then explore our near-death experience resource center for lots more fascinating, reliable information on this vital topic.
Kept out: How banks block people of color from homeownership
February 16, 2018, Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
Fifty years after the federal Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in lending, African Americans and Latinos continue to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts. This modern-day redlining persisted in 61 metro areas even when controlling for applicants' income, loan amount and neighborhood, according to millions of ... records analyzed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Lenders and their trade organizations do not dispute the fact that they turn away people of color at rates far greater than whites, [and] singled out the three-digit credit score ... as especially important in lending decisions. Reveal's analysis included all records publicly available under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Credit score was not included because that information is not publicly available. That's because lenders have deflected attempts to force them to report that data to the government. America's largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., has argued that the data should remain closed off even to academics. At the same time, studies have found proprietary credit score algorithms to have a discriminatory impact on borrowers of color. The "decades-old credit scoring model" currently used "does not take into account consumer data on ... bill payments," Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina wrote in August. "This exclusion disproportionately hurts African-Americans, Latinos, and young people who are otherwise creditworthy."
Diplomats in Cuba Suffered Brain Injuries. Experts Still Don’t Know Why.
February 15, 2018, New York Times
A group of American diplomats stationed in Havana appear to have symptoms of concussion without ever having received blows to their heads, medical experts have found. The diplomats originally were said to have been victims of a “sonic attack,” a possibility that the Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly ruled out. The experts’ report, published late Wednesday in the journal JAMA, does not solve the mystery, instead raising even more questions about what could have caused the brain injuries. The incidents occurred in 2016, when 18 of the 21 affected diplomats reported they heard strange sounds in their homes or hotel rooms. All but one reported immediate symptoms: headache, pain in one ear, loss of hearing. Days or weeks later, other symptoms emerged. The State Department asked researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to investigate. Their report confirmed neurological problems in the diplomats, including signs of what appear to be concussions. The study’s lead author, Dr. Douglas H. Smith [said], “This is ... concussion without blunt head trauma.” Like concussion patients, some of the diplomats improved on their own, while others recovered only after therapy. Dr. Smith and his colleagues do not think audible sound caused the injuries. Perhaps, they speculated, a device that produced another sort of harmful energy also produced an audible sound. Low-frequency infrasound, high-frequency ultrasound and microwaves have all been shown to damage the brain, the researchers noted.
Patients: Roundup gave us cancer
May 16, 2017, CNN News
Christine Sheppard fantasizes about her life before cancer. For 12 years, Sheppard had no idea what might have caused her non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - until IARC [The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer] reported that glyphosate, the key ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup, is "probably carcinogenic to humans". That's the same herbicide Sheppard said she sprayed on her coffee farm in Hawaii for five years. Sheppard is one of more than 800 cancer patients suing Monsanto, the maker of Roundup, claiming the company failed to warn consumers about the risk of cancer associated with Roundup products. Recently unsealed court documents appear to show Monsanto mounting its effort to discredit the IARC report before it was even released. A month before the IARC report came out in 2015, Monsanto executive William F. Heydens sent an internal email [that] suggested ghostwriting parts of an "overall plausibility paper" to save money. After the report [was released] Heydens sent an email to Monsanto's US agency lead. Dan Jenkins, Monsanto's US agency lead ... suggested talking to Jess Rowland, then chairman of the EPA's Cancer Assessment Review Committee. But the next day, Jenkins said Rowland called him. "(Rowland) told me no coordination is going on and he wanted to establish some, saying 'If I can kill this I should get a medal,'" Jenkins wrote, as shown in the plaintiffs' motion to compel the deposition of Rowland.
Note: Read more on Monsanto's fake research and influence over EPA regulators. The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Government spying on immigrants in America is now fair game.
February 12, 2018, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Last week, the existence of a draft Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report came to light, which calls for long-term surveillance of Sunni Muslim immigrants. Internal documents obtained from the FBI and DHS last year also showed how the agencies are surveilling the Movement for Black Lives, bringing into mind tactics of Cointelpro, an FBI program which secretly and illegally conducted surveillance on the civil rights movement in order to disrupt Americans’ ability to organize politically. But these are not the only types of surveillance this administration is engaged in. On 18 October, DHS implemented a new rule to track the internet activity of all visa applicants, visa holders and legal permanent residents. The rule would also apply to naturalized US citizens. The new rule would track and store social media account information and other highly sensitive data as part of individuals’ immigration files. The policy would allow DHS to collect and track immigrants’ social media accounts handles as well as aliases, and search results from both public search engines as well as commercial databases. The rule ... seems like it was designed with the specific purpose of hampering our freedom of speech, in line with the Trump administration’s other chilling tactics of attacks on the press and crackdowns on protesters who do not fall in line with the policies of this administration. This covert surveillance, now culminating in overt spying on immigrants, is designed as a tactic to control and fracture dissent.
Note: Read more about the FBI's infamous Cointelpro program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
German workers win right to 28-hour week
February 7, 2018, CNN News
Millions of German workers are winning the fight for a 28-hour work week. Labor union IG Metall secured an unprecedented deal this week to give a large portion of its 2.3 million members more flexible working hours and a big pay rise. From next year, workers at many of Germany's top engineering firms - such as Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler - can opt to work 28 hours a week for up to two years, before returning to the standard 35-hour week. The deal was negotiated with representatives of more than 700 companies in southwest Germany. It is expected to have ripple effects across German industry. "This sets the standard for everyone else," said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management. IG Metall said the flexibility would help employees who want to care for children or relatives. Pay will be reduced to reflect the shorter working week. The deal also gives workers the option to work 40 hours to earn more. And non-unionized workers could also benefit from the agreement as firms that employ IG Metall workers offer the same terms to their wider workforce. Daimler said it would offer the new flexible hours to all its employees starting in 2019. Bosch, which employs 138,000 people in Germany, said it would offer the same pay rises and perks to the majority of its German workers. It said the flexible hours wouldn't be disruptive. But other companies may find it harder to swallow.
Note: Several major studies have found that long working hours negatively impact health.
Climate Change Just Got a Little Less Terrible
February 9, 2018, Bloomberg
There are some 20,000 research papers listed on Google Scholar, a search engine for academics, that mention the worst-case scenario for climate change. Basically, it’s the most cataclysmic estimate of global warming. This scenario is important to scientists. According to a provocative new analysis from the University of British Columbia, it’s also wrong. This is good news. The researchers contend that current goals of reducing coal, oil and gas consumption may be closer than we think. The basic issue has to do with coal. Quite simply, the more we burn, the faster we destroy the atmosphere. The darkest scenario assumes much more coal burning will take place in this century than is likely to happen, according to the study’s authors. For example, the most extreme worst-case storyline assumes that by 2100 coal would grow to 94 percent of the world energy supply. In 2015, that figure was about 28 percent. The new work, published this week in Environmental Research Letters, shows just how much all that phantom coal may be distorting our picture of what the future may look like. It casts “doubt on whether this outlook is still valid,” the researchers write. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted as a result of using energy - called the carbon intensity of energy - has been slipping for decades. The drop in carbon intensity is likely to continue. [The new study] suggest that climate scenarios should be adjusted to capture this “passive decarbonization.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
Struggling With Japan’s Nuclear Waste, Six Years After Disaster
March 11, 2017, New York Times
Six years after the largest nuclear disaster in a quarter-century, Japanese officials have still not solved a basic problem: what to do with an ever-growing pile of radioactive waste. Each form of waste at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, where three reactors melted down after an earthquake and a tsunami on March 11, 2011, presents its own challenges. The Tokyo Electric Power Company is pumping water nonstop through the three reactors to cool melted fuel that remains too hot and radioactive to remove. About 400 tons of water passes through the reactors every day. The water picks up radiation in the reactors and then is diverted into a decontamination facility. All this water is being stored in 1,000 gray, blue and white tanks on the grounds. The tanks already hold 962,000 tons of contaminated water. Within a few years, though, and no one is sure exactly when, the plant may run out of room to store the contaminated water. The process of decontaminating the water leaves radioactive sludge trapped in filters, which are being held in thousands of containers of different sizes. Tokyo Electric says it cannot quantify the amount of radioactive sludge being generated. The ultimate goal of the cleanup is to cool and, if possible, remove the uranium and plutonium fuel that was inside the three reactors at the time of the disaster. Tokyo Electric hopes to begin removing fuel debris from the reactor cores in 2021. The entire effort could take decades.
Note: Other signs of serious environmental problems may be related to radiation contamination in the Pacific. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster.
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Radioactive Water May Have Been Leaking From Reactors for Months
September 29, 2017, Newsweek
The Japanese company in charge of cleaning up one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters said Friday its latest error may have caused contaminated water to leak into the ground for nearly half a year. The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) said it erroneously configured gauges used to measure groundwater levels in six wells near Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant reactors Nos. 1 through 4, all of which were destroyed when a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami ... caused a series of meltdowns at the plant. The false readings, which have been relied on since April 19 and were discovered this week, meant that groundwater levels were actually more than two feet below what Tepco was measuring. This mistake caused groundwater levels to fall below the limit set to prevent radioactive water from flowing out of the plant and into the nearby wells, known as subdrains, at least once, in May. Between May 17 and May 21, groundwater reportedly fell as much as 7 and a half inches below the safety levels at least eight times. Since the disaster, plant owner Tepco has struggled through the recovery process, the price tag of which was raised to $192 billion last year. The leading obstacle that the company faces is extracting the nuclear fuel that remains in the plant’s damaged nuclear reactors. Japan’s latest plan to clean up the site did not make any mention of what Tepco would do with about 777,000 tons of water contaminated with tritium, a nuclear byproduct.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster.
Key Articles From Years Past
5 years later, Fukushima radiation continues to seep into the Pacific Ocean
March 9, 2016, PBS
I’ve spent the past five years piecing together the impacts that radioactive releases from Fukushima have had on the ocean, marine life, and the people who live on both sides of the Pacific. In the process ... I’ve become frustrated with both sides of the nuclear power debate, [and] grown concerned over the lack of oversight for radioactive contamination in U.S. waters. Five years later, the story from the Japanese side of the Pacific is this: Overall, things are under control. Fishing has resumed in all regions except those within 10 kilometers of the reactors. However ... the Japanese will be wrestling with the cleanup for decades and will spend trillions of yen in the process. More than 80 percent of the radioactivity from the damaged reactors ended up in the Pacific - far more than reached the ocean from Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. In 2015 we detected signs of radioactive contamination from Fukushima along the coast near British Columbia and California. It is incorrect to say that Fukushima is under control when levels of radioactivity in the ocean indicate ongoing leaks. Recently, I’ve begun to see a much more serious threat to U.S. waters. With our nearly 100 reactors ... you might expect a federal agency to be responsible for supporting research to improve our understanding of how radioactive contamination ... would affect our marine resources. Instead, the response we receive from an alphabet-soup of federal agencies is that such work “is ... ultimately “not our job.”
Note: The article above was written by Dr. Ken Buesseler, director of the WHOI Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster.
Wall Street Whistle-Blower Awarded $22 Million for Revealing the Truth about Monsanto
August 31, 2016, Vanity Fair
A whistle-blower who once worked for Monsanto walked away with a handsome payout for alerting regulators to accounting improprieties within the company, according to Reuters. Regulators will reportedly award the former executive with $22 million in connection with the $80 million settlement agreement Monsanto made with the S.E.C. over an incentive program the company ran to promote its trademark weed killer, Roundup. The $22 million payout is the second-highest sum the S.E.C. has given so far to a whistle-blower, behind a $30 million award paid in September 2014. The regulatory agency enacted a program to sweeten the idea of reporting impropriety in 2011, as part of the Dodd-Frank reforms. With between 10 and 30 percent of penalties or settlement agreements made with the government on the line, Wall Streeters and company insiders have all but lined up to tip off the S.E.C. Between September 2014 and September 2015 alone, the agency says 4,000 people forked over information, and more than 30 of them have pocketed a collective $85 million over the last five years.
Note: Monsanto lied to regulators and investors about RoundUp's profitability for three years. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies on the dangers of Roundup. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
'Calls From Home': How one Kentucky radio station connects inmates and families
February 9, 2018, Christian Science Monitor
Tom Sexton leans forward into a microphone. “Coming up by request,” he says in a softened-for-radio Appalachian drawl, “going out to Sporty Black from his wife, this is Kendrick Lamar with ‘LOVE.’ ” The melodic R&B track then begins to emanate from the heart of this small eastern Kentucky town. Tonight’s shows are targeted for a very specific audience. People like “Sporty Black.” More than 5,000 men are incarcerated in the six federal and state prisons in the broadcasting range of WMMT. Every week, for almost 20 years, the station has produced a show called “Calls From Home” that broadcasts recorded messages from the inmates’ friends and family members. WMMT bills itself as “a 24 hour voice of mountain people,” and as far as the station is concerned, if the inmates can tune in, then they are mountain people too. “They’re here and part of our communities,” says Elizabeth Sanders, WMMT’s co-general manager. “Anything we can do to help make the barriers between them and their families a little bit less, then we’re fulfilling part of our mission as the radio station here,” she adds. The show has become something of a national phenomenon. Every Monday night calls flood in to the station. Some of the calls come with children discussing a report card, a “happy birthday” rendition, or more somber family news. The costs of calling prisons directly ... have been rising for years, reaching in excess of $10 a minute. “Having a toll-free number can help families keep in touch a little bit more,” says Sanders.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Patagonia Steps Up Environmental Activism With 'Dating Site' For Grassroots Projects
February 7, 2018, Forbes
Things are so bad for the planet right now that it’s easy to get depressed about it, says Patagonia Inc. founder Yvon Chouinard. The cure for that depression, he says, is action. So he launched Patagonia Action Works, which ... connects individuals with opportunities to support and get involved with grassroots environmental groups. It matches people with events and volunteering opportunities in their area as well as petitions they can sign and ways to donate money. Participating organizations cover issues of land, water, climate, communities and biodiversity. The Ventura, Calif.-based outdoor clothing retailer is no stranger to activism. It has given $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to environmental groups since 1985 as part of a pledge to donate at least 1% of sales to preserve and restore nature. “Patagonia’s reason for existence is to force government and corporations to take action in solving our environmental problems,” Chouinard said in a video promoting the new program. The company made headlines recently for taking a stand against President Donald Trump’s action to reduce the size of two national monuments. Patagonia’s latest move comes as a number of other companies delve into the politically charged realm of activism, including Tiffany and Co., which urged Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement, and REI, which also spoke out against the shrinking of public lands.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Safe, happy and free: does Finland have all the answers?
February 12, 2018, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Western Europe’s last naturally caused famine ended 150 years ago. In ... Finland, more than a quarter of a million people – nearly 10% of the population – starved to death. Last year ... Finland was ranked, by assorted international indices, the most stable, the safest and the best-governed country in the world. It was also the third wealthiest, the third least corrupt, the second most socially progressive and the third most socially just. Finland’s judicial system is the most independent in the world, its police the most trusted, its banks the soundest, its companies the second most ethical, its elections the second freest, and its citizens enjoy the highest levels of personal freedom, choice and wellbeing. The Nordic country’s 5.5 million inhabitants are also the third most gender-equal in the world and have the fifth lowest income inequality. Their babies are the least underweight, their kids feel the most secure, and their teens perform the second best at reading (only third at science, though). In a century and a half, they seem to have done rather well. The magic sauce ... seems based mainly on basic virtues: self-confidence, cooperation, equality, respect for education, trust. At bottom and in practice, says [Finnish journalist] Anu Partanen ... it boils down to a different quality of relationship. She calls it ... the Nordic theory of love. “In a society, it means policy choices aimed at ensuring the greatest possible degree of independence, freedom and opportunity for everyone.”
Note: Watch this 10-minute video about how Finlad completely turned around it's education system to become #1 in the world, largely by cutting out homework. The above article is part of an inspiring new Guardian series investigating the things that are going right in the world.
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