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Missing Stars Suggest ET Intelligence, Dearth of Prisoners in Netherlands, Escaping Gang Violence
Revealing News Articles
December 31, 2019

Dear friends,

Missing Stars Suggest ET Intelligence.

Happy new year to all! Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on stars missing from recent astronomical observations suggesting the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence at work, how the number of prisoners in the Netherlands dropped by almost 1/3 in the last decade, overpopulation and substandard conditions in rural jails in the US driven by addiction-related crime, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on former gang rivals who teamed up to reduce gang violence, author Steven Pinker's assertions that the world is becoming objectively better, the rapid growth of renewable energy, 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.

With best wishes for a transformed world in the new year and decade ahead,
Fred Burks for PEERS and WantToKnow.info
Former White House interpreter and whistleblower

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Special note: Explore a fun collection of all the good news from 2019. For those interested in the reversal of the Earth's magnetic poles, see this excellent CNN article. Read the inspiring story of a high-end restaurant where all staff have disabilities. Read an intriguing NY Times article on "centrist bias." Watch a 13-minute video of NY City's teacher of the year three years straight talking about how the US education system was designed to dumb down many students. Explore a great article titled, "The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know."

Quote of the week: "Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."  ~  Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, in 2005 commencement address at Stanford University


Missing stars could point to alien civilizations, scientists say
December 18, 2019, CNET.com
https://www.cnet.com/news/missing-stars-could-point-to-alien-civilizations...

On March 16, 1950, astronomers at the US Naval Observatory pointed a telescope roughly in the direction of the constellation Lupus the wolf and took a picture. When scientists look at that same patch of sky today, something is missing. Back in 2016, researchers in Sweden reported that a star had been lost. One of the roiling distant suns visible in that USNO image from the previous century could no longer be seen. The team published a paper on the discovery, but called it "very uncertain" at the time, resolving to do more follow-up work and to continue scouring old USNO observations for other celestial objects that seem to have gone missing. Three years later, it's still unclear what happened to that star spotted in 1950, but the team behind the "Vanishing & Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations" (Vasco) project now says they've found a hundred more missing stars like it by comparing old and new observations. While they've seen no signs of aliens just yet, they say parts of space where multiple stars seem to disappear could be the best places to look for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). "Unless a star directly collapses into a black hole, there is no known physical process by which it could physically vanish," explains a new study published in the Astronomical Journal. "The implications of finding such objects extend from traditional astrophysics fields to the more exotic searches for evidence of technologically advanced civilizations."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.


Why are there so few prisoners in the Netherlands?
December 12, 2019, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/12/why-are-there-so-few-prisoners-in...

When Stefan Koning, who has a history of psychosis, was found guilty of threatening a stranger with a knife, a long custodial sentence might have felt like the only answer. In fact, after a short spell in jail, he is back at his home in Amsterdam. Koning is a beneficiary of a growing tendency in the Netherlands to avoid jailing people unless it is necessary. One key aspect of this is a prodigious programme of care in the community for people with psychiatric problems. “We work on two aims: number one, preventing another crime, and then on psychiatric suffering and the social problems that come with it,” says Hommo Folkerts, [an] outreach worker who helps Koning. Today plummeting prison sentences have left the Netherlands with an unusual problem: it doesn’t have enough inmates to fill its prisons. Since 2014, 23 prisons have been shut, turning into temporary asylum centres, housing and hotels. The country has Europe’s third-lowest incarceration rate, at 54.4 per 100,000 inhabitants. According to the justice ministry’s WODC Research and Documentation Centre, the number of prison sentences imposed fell from 42,000 in 2008 to 31,000 in 2018 – along with a two-thirds drop in jail terms for young offenders. Registered crimes plummeted by 40% in the same period, to 785,000 in 2018. There is also a ... rehabilitation programme known as TBS. There were 1,300 people detained with a TBS ruling in 2018: people stay in a treatment centre, sometimes after a jail term, and are treated for ... psychological conditions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.


‘A Cesspool of a Dungeon’: The Surging Population in Rural Jails
December 13, 2019, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/us/rural-jails.html

The Hamblen County Jail has been described as a dangerously overcrowded “cesspool of a dungeon,” with inmates sleeping on mats in the hallways, lawyers forced to meet their clients in a supply closet and the people inside subjected to “horrible conditions” every day. Since 2013, the number of people locked up in rural, conservative counties such as Hamblen has skyrocketed. Like a lot of Appalachia, Morristown, Tenn. ... has been devastated by methamphetamine and opioid use. Residents who commit crimes to support their addiction pack the 255-bed jail, which had 439 inmates at the end of October. While jail populations have dropped 18 percent in urban areas since 2013, they have climbed 27 percent in rural areas during that same period. Almost everyone in the county jail is there because of charges related to addiction, said the sheriff, Esco Jarnagin. Defense lawyers have proposed other options to address the crisis, including a pilot program [that] would have allowed some low-risk defendants to avoid having to post bail. But judges rejected the proposal because of fears that defendants would flee, said Willie Santana ... who is now one of four lawyers in the Hamblen County public defender’s office. “The whole system is geared toward generating pleas and putting people in jail,” he said. For many inmates, that means the jail has been a revolving door. More than three-quarters of the 850 new cases that Mr. Santana handled in the past year involved a client who had previously been incarcerated.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the courts and in the prison system.


‘It is beyond cruel’: Ice refuses to reunite girl with the only family she has left
December 21, 2019, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/21/it-is-beyond-cruel-ice-refuses-to...

For more than nine months, María, 23, has been waiting in an immigration detention center in Arizona hoping to reunite with the six-year-old niece she raised as a daughter. When the two asked for asylum at the border last March because they feared for their lives in Guatemala, border officials detained María in the Eloy detention center and sent the girl to foster care in New York, 2,400 miles away. Lawmakers and more than 200 clergy asked US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) to grant María parole so she can leave detention and reunite with the girl. A woman in New York volunteered to house them both while María awaits a decision on her appeal for asylum. But despite that public support, Ice denied María’s application for parole in mid-December. Parole was once the norm for arriving asylum seekers, but in recent years approvals have become increasingly rare. On a standardized form, Ice officers indicated María failed to prove she was “not a flight risk” or that her “continued detention was not in the public interest”. After a federal judge in 2018 ordered most family separations to end, attorneys have been scrambling to reunite families. There are currently about 5,500 known cases of children separated from parents during the Trump administration. But no one has tracked how many children have been split from non-parent relatives. The logistics of how and when María will see her niece again if she is not paroled are unclear. María’s asylum appeal could take up to two years.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


As prosecutors go after Epstein's alleged co-conspirators, the line between accomplice and victim may be blurred
September 27, 2019, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/27/us/jeffrey-epstein-alleged-co-conspirators/index.html

After Jeffrey Epstein's death, federal prosecutors in Manhattan pledged to continue investigating his alleged sex-trafficking ring, suggesting they would pursue his co-conspirators. But ... prosecutors have struggled with the question of whether some of those alleged co-conspirators were themselves victims of Epstein. Atop the alleged pyramid of Epstein associates was his ex-girlfriend turned social companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, a contemporary of Epstein's. Allegedly reporting to her and to Epstein was a coterie of assistants in their early 20s, and prosecutors are examining whether their experience with the accused predator should categorize them as an accomplice or as one of the abused. According to police reports, civil lawsuits and other court filings, these women approached girls in various places including near their schools, offering them the opportunity to make money by giving what they described as massages to an older man. The starkest example appears to be Nadia Marcinkova, an Epstein assistant who is accused in civil lawsuits of having perpetrated abuse alongside Epstein, aiding him to "satisfy his criminal sexual desires by, on occasion, directly participating in sexual abuse and prostitution of the minor girls," according to one of the lawsuits. One victim who alleged she was forced to have sex with Marcinkova told police Epstein bragged that he had "purchased" Marcinkova and brought her to the US to be his "Yugoslavian sex slave."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.


Ed Dwight Was Set to Be the First Black Astronaut. Here’s Why That Never Happened.
July 16, 2019, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/us/ed-dwight-was-set-to-be-the-first-black...

The bone-rattling trip to the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere used to require a steady hand, a powerful jet and the precision of an airman ready to dodge enemy fire. It was just the sort of challenge that a chiseled 29-year-old aspiring astronaut named Ed Dwight was after. In 1962, he piloted an F-104 Starfighter, essentially a chrome javelin ... designed to go very fast and very high. A massive engine took up one end; the other was occupied by the pilot. Dwight only made a handful of flights like this, but all told he spent 9,000 hours in the air. A former altar boy turned airman, he was among the pilots training to become astronauts at the Aerospace Research Pilot School, helmed by Chuck Yeager at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Unlike every other pilot in the program, he was black. From Day 1, Dwight said, Yeager wanted him gone. Dwight said he immediately felt he was not welcome, that he was not of the group. “Every week, right on the dot,” Dwight recalled, “he’d call me into his office and say, ‘Are you ready to quit? This is too much for you and you’re going to kill yourself, boy.’ Calling me a boy and I’m an officer in the Air Force.” Dwight ... felt his treatment was so unfair that he later took bias charges to higher-ups. Yeager ultimately graduated him. In October 1963, the agency held a news conference in Houston to announce the astronauts selected for the next class. The 14 chosen men, including the future moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, filed onstage. Dwight was not there. He was not among the chosen.

Note: Don't miss the excellent 13-minute NY Times documentary on this great man. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


Key Articles From Years Past


Santa and Magic Mushrooms: Was the Christmas Icon Derived from Trippy Fungi?
December 24, 2017, Newsweek
https://www.newsweek.com/santa-and-magic-mushrooms-was-christmas-icon-derived-trippy...

According to one theory, jolly old St. Nick might have been so jolly because he was derived from shamans who went from hut to hut handing out hallucinatory mushrooms in Siberia and the Arctic during the Winter Solstice, right around the same time as Christmas. "As the story goes, up until a few hundred years ago these practicing shamans or priests connected to the older traditions would collect Amanita muscaria (the Holy Mushroom), dry them, and then give them as gifts on the winter solstice," [said] anthropologist John Rush. The festive deep red and white mushrooms were eaten by the humans and reindeer who roamed the region, sending both of them on well ... a tinsel-turvy trip. "This idea [is] that reindeer go berserk because they're eating Amanita muscaria. Reindeers flying — are they flying, or are your senses telling you they're flying because you're hallucinating?" Harvard biology professor Donald Pfister told NPR. Reindeer were also considered "spirit animals" and the Siberian shamans wore red deer pelts as tributes, according to scholars. Even more, shamans dressed up like the mushrooms, which explains Santa's cozy red and white suit. Another scholar told NBC that the idea of Rudolph's flashy red nose likely originated from the color of the mushrooms, noting how remarkable it was that the tripping beast was put in charge of directions. "It's amazing that a reindeer with a red-mushroom nose is at the head, leading the others," Boston College classics professor Carl Ruck mused.

Note: See a 7-minute New York Times video on this intriguing hypothesis. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.


Drug-Company Payments Mirror Doctors' Brand-Name Prescribing
March 17, 2016, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/03/17/470679452/drug-company-payments...

A ProPublica analysis has found that doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed prescribe drugs differently on average than their colleagues who don't. And the more money they receive, the more brand-name medications they tend to prescribe. [They] matched records on payments from pharmaceutical and medical device makers in 2014 with corresponding data on doctors' medication choices in Medicare's prescription drug program. Doctors who got money from drug and device makers prescribed a higher percentage of brand-name drugs overall than doctors who didn't. Even those who simply got meals from companies prescribed more brand-name drugs, on average. Doctors who received more than $5,000 from companies in 2014 typically had the highest brand-name prescribing percentages. Among internists who received no payments, for example, the average brand-name prescribing rate was about 20 percent, compared to about 30 percent for those who received more than $5,000. ProPublica has been tracking drug company payments to doctors since 2010 through a project known as Dollars for Docs. The tool now covers every drug and device company, thanks to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, a part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Separately, ProPublica has tracked patterns in Medicare's prescription drug program ... which covers more than 39 million people. This new analysis ... looked at doctors who wrote at least 1,000 prescriptions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.


Gardasil Researcher Speaks Out
August 19, 2009, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500690_162-5253431.html

Amid questions about the safety of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, one of the lead researchers for the Merck drug is speaking out about its risks, benefits and aggressive marketing. Dr. Diane Harper says young girls and their parents should receive more complete warnings before receiving the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Dr. Harper helped design and carry out the Phase II and Phase III safety and effectiveness studies to get Gardasil approved, and authored many of the published, scholarly papers about it. She has been a paid speaker and consultant to Merck. It's highly unusual for a researcher to publicly criticize a medicine or vaccine she helped get approved. Dr. Harper joins a number of consumer watchdogs, vaccine safety advocates, and parents who question the vaccine's risk-versus-benefit profile. She says data available for Gardasil shows that ... there is no data showing that it remains effective beyond five years. This raises questions about the CDC's recommendation that the series of shots be given to girls as young as 11-years old. "If we vaccinate 11 year olds and the protection doesn't last... we've put them at harm from side effects, small but real, for no benefit," says Dr. Harper. "The benefit to public health is nothing, there is no reduction in cervical cancers, they are just postponed, unless the protection lasts for at least 15 years, and over 70% of all sexually active females of all ages are vaccinated." She also says that enough serious side effects have been reported after Gardasil use that the vaccine could prove riskier than the cervical cancer it purports to prevent. Cervical cancer is usually entirely curable when detected early through normal Pap screenings.

Note: For more on the dangers of vaccines, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Inspiring Articles


These former gang rivals are helping Dallas youth escape gang violence
December 24, 2019, Optimist Daily
https://www.optimistdaily.com/2019/12/these-former-gang-rivals-are-helping-dallas...

Antong Lucky and Def D had nearly identical childhoods: both were raised in underprivileged neighborhoods in Dallas, both experienced gang violence at an early age, and both had family members who were in gangs. There was, however, one notable difference: they were raised one mile apart, in different neighborhoods. This mile meant the difference between friend and foe: Antong was in the Bloods’ territory, and Def D was in the Crips’. In prison, both came to recognize the devastation that gang violence was wreaking on young people and their families. After both men were released from prison, the former enemies met together to create OGU (Original Gangsters United), an organization that tries to help young people in Dallas from falling into the same cycle of gang violence that Antong and Def D experienced growing up. OGU, which now has more mentors than the original duo, spend their days hanging out with Dallas youth, looking for kids at risk of gang violence — or, rather, those most in need of a positive relationship in their lives. Just this year, OGU mentors have reached 470 youth. There are many organizations that try to help at-risk teenagers escape gang violence, but what makes OGU so unique is the relationship that Antong and Def D share. They’re a real-life example of how two people from different neighborhoods can forge a meaningful relationship and use their common experiences to do good for others.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


News got you down? Fear not, Harvard professor tells U.N., the world really is getting better
May 22, 2019, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/harvard-steven-pinker-says-world-getting-better-in...

Diplomats at the United Nations got a dose of data-driven positivity this week from Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker, who delivered a history lesson to prove the human condition is actually more peaceful and more prosperous than ever before. The world, Pinker told the gathering of officials ... is a better place than ever, but our perspective - and the way the news media convey events - needs to change. Pinker's most recent book, "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress," presents facts that demonstrate how life around the globe, statistically, is improving. The psychologist measures a range of qualities to define progress; life, health, sustenance, prosperity, peace, freedom, safety, knowledge, leisure, happiness. As those have increased over time on aggregate, Pinker argues, humanity is making progress. His data paint a clear picture, over the course of centuries, of life expectancy increasing, deaths by famine falling, the world's gross earnings rising and extreme poverty falling. Pinker said the world has become freer, too, with dictatorships and autocracies decreasing in number. Pinker concluded in his remarks that we are collectively depressing ourselves for lack of a complete, fact-based view with full appreciation for what came before. He said the media and intelligentsia have been complicit in the depiction of modern Western nations as unjust and dysfunctional.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Renewable capacity set for 50% growth over next few years, IEA says
October 21, 2019, CNBC News
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/21/renewable-capacity-set-for-50percent-growth-over...

Renewable power capacity is forecast to increase by 50% between 2019 and 2024, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said. According to its “Renewables 2019” market report, the increase will amount to 1,200 gigawatts (GW) and be driven by drops in cost and what the IEA described as “concerted government policy efforts.” Capacity refers to the maximum amount that installations can produce, not what they are currently generating. In 2018, renewable capacity hit just over 2,500 GW. If the IEA’s forecast plays out, it would bring total renewable capacity to approximately 3,700 GW by 2024. Solar photovoltaics (PV) are due to make up nearly 60% of the expected rise, with the onshore wind sector accounting for 25% and offshore wind responsible for 4%. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity. The IEA said that distributed solar PV – systems installed on commercial buildings, homes and in industry – would make up nearly half of the increase in the solar PV market. Overall, renewables’ share in worldwide power generation is seen growing from 26% now to 30% in 2024. For 2019, renewable power capacity additions are seen increasing by 12% following a stall last year. Growth this year is being driven by solar PV, which has benefited from “rapid expansion in the European Union”, a stronger Indian market and an “installation boom” in Vietnam. Growth in the onshore wind sector is also cited as a contributing factor.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Acidity in atmosphere minimized to preindustrial levels
September 24, 2016, Science Daily
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160924223232.htm

New research shows that human pollution of the atmosphere with acid is now almost back to the level that it was before the pollution started with industrialisation in the 1930s. The results come from studies of the Greenland ice sheet and are published in the scientific journal, Environmental Science and Technology. By drilling ice cores down through the kilometre-thick ice sheet, the researchers can analyse every single annual layer, which can tell us about ... pollutants in the atmosphere. Acid in the atmosphere can come from large volcanic eruptions and human-made emissions from industry. For many years, there has been a quest to solve the problem of measuring acidity in the porous annual layers of the ice and now scientists from the Niels Bohr Institute have succeeded [by employing] a Continuous Flow Analyses or CFA method. The CFA system can ... distinguish whether the emissions come from volcanic eruptions, large forest fires or industry. The researchers can therefore filter out both volcanic eruptions and forest fires in the assessment of industrial pollution and the new results are revolutionary. "We can see that the acid pollution in the atmosphere from industry has fallen dramatically since humanmade acid pollution took off in the 1930s and peaked in the 1960s and 70s. In the 1970s, both Europe and the United States adopted the 'The clean air act amendments', which required filters in factories, thus reducing acid emissions," explains [researcher] Helle Astrid Kjćr.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


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