News ArticlesExcerpts of Key News Articles in Major Media
On the north side of Telegraph Hill is 225 Chestnut St., a swanky modernist building. From 1955 to 1965, this building was the site of “Operation Midnight Climax” - a top-secret mind-control program in which CIA agents used hookers to lure unsuspecting johns from North Beach bars to what they called “the pad,” then dosed the men with LSD and observed the X-rated goings-on through a two-way mirror. As John Marks notes in his 1977 book, “The Search for the ‘Manchurian Candidate’: The CIA and Mind Control,” the CIA’s ... predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services, set up a “truth drug” program whose purpose was to discover a substance that would make subjects reveal their secrets. When the CIA was created in 1947, it ... authorized covert mind and behavior control programs. Drugs were given to people deemed expendable, including North Korean POWs, mental patients, prisoners, addicts and prostitutes. Before the programs were shot down, hundreds of scientists would work on them. [In] 1953, CIA director Allen Dulles approved a program for “covert use of biological and chemical materials” with an initial budget of $300,000. Its name: MKULTRA. CIA operatives began dosing people with acid in restaurants, bars and beaches. They also used other, more exotic drugs. And the agency began using the prostitutes to lure men of all sorts, not just marginal figures, back to the safe house. Because the agency destroyed most of MKULTRA’s files, no one will ever know how many lives and minds [it] damaged or destroyed.
Note: Don't miss the entire, revealing article. For more on CIA mind control experiments, see the extensive documentation on this page. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Mind Control Information Center.
Finland has a history of producing the highest global test scores in the Western world, as well as a trophy case full of other recent No. 1 global rankings, including most literate nation. In Finland, children don't receive formal academic training until the age of 7. Until then, many are in day care and learn through play, songs, games and conversation. Most children walk or bike to school, even the youngest. School hours are short and homework is generally light. Unlike in the United States, where many schools are slashing recess, schoolchildren in Finland have a mandatory 15-minute outdoor free-play break every hour of every day. Fresh air, nature and regular physical activity breaks are considered engines of learning. One evening, I asked my son what he did for gym that day. “They sent us into the woods with a map and compass and we had to find our way out,” he said. In Finland teachers are the most trusted and admired professionals next to doctors. “Our mission as adults is to protect our children from politicians,” one Finnish childhood education professor told me. “We also have an ethical and moral responsibility to tell businesspeople to stay out of our building.” Skeptics might claim that the Finnish model would never work in America's inner-city schools. But what if the opposite is true? What if high-poverty students are the children most urgently in need of the benefits that, for example, American parents of means obtain for their children in private schools, things that Finland delivers on a national public scale.
Note: For more, read this informative article.
Edgar Mitchell, one of just 12 human beings who walked on the moon, has died. Mitchell was 85. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement, "He is one of the pioneers in space exploration on whose shoulders we now stand." On February 5, 1971 ... Mitchell became the sixth man to walk on the lunar surface. [He] found the trip to be a profound experience. "Looking at Earth from space and seeing it was a planet in isolation ... that was an experience of ecstasy, realizing that every molecule in our bodies is a system of matter created from a star hanging in space," Mitchell told the UK Telegraph in 2014. "The experience I had was called Samadhi in the ancient Sanskrit, a feeling of overwhelming joy at seeing the Earth from that perspective." Fascinated and frustrated by the relationship between religion and science, he was very public about seeking links between the known and unknown. He said he had conducted ESP experiments on the mission. He was also a believer in extraterrestrial activity, and was convinced UFOs had visited Earth. He told Bloomberg Business that the 1947 Roswell incident ... was covered up. "It's not just military. It's a cabal of organizations primarily for a profit motive," he told the publication. Mitchell also created the Institute of Noetic Sciences to research paranormal phenomena and consciousness. In addition, he was co-founder of the Association of Space Explorers, an organization for space travelers.
Note: Edgar Mitchell was one of the most prominent and credible voices calling for an end to secrecy about UFOs and extraterrestrial contact. Read one of the last, fascinating interviews with Mitchell in an article in the UK's Observer. For more along these lines, see his comments at this link and read concise summaries of deeply revealing UFO cover-up and disclosure news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.
Senior CIA officials have for years intentionally deceived parts of the agency workforce by transmitting internal memos that contain false information. The practice is known by the term “eyewash.” Officials said there is no clear mechanism for labeling eyewash cables or distinguishing them from legitimate records being examined by the CIA’s inspector general, turned over to Congress or declassified for historians. Senate investigators uncovered apparent cases of eyewashing as part of a multi-year probe of the CIA’s interrogation program, according to officials who said that the Senate Intelligence Committee found glaring inconsistencies in CIA communications about classified operations, including drone strikes. Former CIA officials ... acknowledged that the internal mechanisms for managing eyewash cables were largely informal. Skeptics described the safeguards as inadequate. “When you introduce falsehoods into the communications stream then you can destabilize the whole system of intelligence oversight and compliance with the law,” said Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists. “It wasn’t that long ago that we had a CIA executive director who was engaged in criminal activity - you don’t want someone like him preparing eyewash cables,” Aftergood said, referring to Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, the former No. 3 executive at the agency.
Note: Read more about the strange case of Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the CIA executive convicted of fraud in connection with secret CIA prisons. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Half of all the money contributed so far to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates - $176 million - has come from just 158 families, along with the companies they own or control. Who are these people? According to the report, most of these big contributors live in exclusive neighborhoods where they have private security guards instead of public police officers, private health facilities rather than public parks and pools. Most send their kids and grand kids to elite private schools rather than public schools. They fly in private jets and get driven in private limousines rather than rely on public transportation. They don't have to worry about whether Social Security or Medicare will be there for them in their retirement because they've put away huge fortunes. It's doubtful that most of these 158 are contributing to these campaigns out of the goodness of their hearts. They're largely making investments, just the way they make other investments. And the success of these investments depends on whether their candidates get elected, and will lower their taxes even further, expand tax loopholes, shred health and safety and environmental regulations so their companies can make even more money, and cut Social Security and Medicare and programs for the poor - and thereby allow these 158 and others like them to secede even more from the rest of our society. These people are, after all, are living in their own separate society. They want to elect people who will represent them, not the rest of us.
Note: This essay was written by former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Iceland ... has just sentenced five senior bankers and one prominent investor to prison for crimes relating to the economic meltdown in 2008. The nation that gambled so heavily on the markets and lost so disastrously in the consequent crash has [now] sent 26 financiers to jail for combined sentences of 74 years. The authorities pursued bank bosses, chief executives, civil servants and corporate raiders for crimes ranging from insider trading to fraud, money laundering, misleading markets, breach of duties and lying to the authorities. Meanwhile the economy that collapsed so spectacularly has rebounded after letting banks go bust, imposing capital controls and protecting its own citizens over all other losers. This determination to hold people to account for actions that caused intense financial misery contrasts strongly with Britain, most of the rest of Europe and the United States. Britain never bothered holding a proper inquiry into the financial meltdown that still heavily impacts on public finances. In New York, a couple of minor British bankers have just been convicted of manipulating inter-bank lending rates. In London, the massive HSBC is playing political games ... to stave off regulatory pressures. This is the bank, remember, fined Ł1.2bn after a US investigation found it was laundering money for gangsters and rogue nations, then discovered to be helping wealthy clients evade tax in dozens of countries. Its former boss became a government minister and then chairman of the British Museum.
Note: So the one nation that jailed its big bankers and let banks go bust is doing very well. Why are so exceedingly few bankers in other countries being jailed for crimes involving trillions of dollars and bankrupting millions of citizens? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
He has restored eyesight to more than 100,000 people, perhaps more than any doctor in history. His patients ... stagger and grope their way to him along mountain trails from remote villages, hoping to go under his scalpel. A day after he operates to remove cataracts, he pulls off the bandages - and, lo! They can see clearly. At first tentatively, then jubilantly, they gaze about. A few hours later, they walk home, radiating an ineffable bliss. Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepali ophthalmologist ... has pioneered a simple cataract microsurgery technique that costs only $25 per patient and is virtually always successful. Indeed, his “Nepal method” is now taught in United States medical schools. In the United States, cataract surgery is typically performed with complex machines. But these are unaffordable in poor countries, so Dr. Ruit [pioneered a] small-incision microsurgery to remove cataracts without sutures. At first, skeptics denounced or mocked his innovations. But then the American Journal of Ophthalmology published a study of a randomized trial finding that Dr. Ruit’s technique had exactly the same outcome (98 percent success at a six-month follow-up) as the Western machines. One difference was that Dr. Ruit’s method was much faster and cheaper. He founded the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, which ... conducts eye surgery on 30,000 patients annually, [as well as] manufactures 450,000 tiny lenses a year for use in cataract surgery, keeping costs to $3 a lens compared to $200 in the West.
Note: Your direct donation to help this man can cure blindness for many people. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The U.S. government secretly allowed radiation from a damaged reactor to be released into air over the San Fernando and Simi valleys in the wake of a major nuclear meltdown in Southern California more than 50 years ago — fallout that nearby residents contend continues to cause serious health consequences and, in some cases, death. "Area Four," which is part of the once-secret Santa Susana Field Lab, [was] founded in 1947 to test experimental nuclear reactors and rocket systems. In 1959, Area Four was the site of one of the worst nuclear accidents in U.S. history. But the federal government still hasn't told the public that radiation was released into the atmosphere as a result of the partial nuclear meltdown. Now, whistleblowers ... have recounted how during and after that accident they were ordered to release dangerous radioactive gases into the air above Los Angeles and Ventura counties, often under cover of night, and how their bosses swore them to secrecy. For years starting in 1959, workers at Area Four were routinely instructed to release radioactive materials into the air above neighboring communities, through the exhaust stacks of nuclear reactors, open doors, and by burning radioactive waste. Radioactive contamination ... remains in the soil and water of Area Four and in some areas off-site. The fallout could be linked to illnesses, including cancer, among residents living nearby. In addition to the radiation, dozens of toxic chemicals, including TCE and Perchlorate, were also released ... from the 1950s to 80s.
Note: The government is lying, and people are dying. For lots more on this huge nuclear cover-up, see this NBC article and this one. You can also watch an eight-minute History Channel video on this disaster. The video states that the amount of radiation released during this accident was 240 times the amount released at Three Mile Island, making it one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, yet it was all kept secret. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and nuclear power issues.
Peer review is supposed to be the pride of the rigorous academic publishing process. But increasingly journals are finding out that those supposedly authoritative checks are being rigged. In the latest episode of the fake peer review phenomenon, one of the world’s largest academic publishers, Springer, has retracted 64 articles from 10 of its journals after discovering that their reviews were linked to fake e-mail addresses. The announcement comes nine months after 43 studies were retracted by BioMed Central (one of Springer’s imprints) for the same reason. Retraction Watch co-founder Ivan Oransky ... said he didn’t know of any instances of retractions for faked peer reviews before 2012. In a report for the journal Nature last fall, Oransky and his colleagues told the story of a ... researcher who wrote peer reviews for 28 of his own papers. Investigations ... have also uncovered a number of services selling names and contact information for made-up experts guaranteed to give an expedited, positive review. In a statement on its Web site in February, the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) detailed these agencies’ “systematic, inappropriate attempts” to manipulate the process. COPE’s chair Ginny Barbour wrote in December, “The uncovering of companies systematically manipulating publications, by the use of fake reviewers and more, offers an alarming glimpse into what can happen if reward systems are implemented with no thought or oversight.”
Note: The editor of a top medical journal recently suggested that half all of scientific literature may simply be untrue. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in science.
A safe that tallies the cash that is placed in it. A sniper rifle equipped with advanced computer technology for improved accuracy. A car that lets you stream music from the Internet. All of these innovations sound great, until you learn the risks that this type of connectivity carries. Recently, two security researchers, sitting on a couch and armed only with laptops, remotely took over a Chrysler Jeep Cherokee speeding along the highway ... while a Wired reporter was driving. A hacked car is a high-profile example of what can go wrong with the coming Internet of Things — objects equipped with software and connected to digital networks. The selling point ... is added convenience and better safety. In reality, it is a ... train wreck in privacy and security. That smart safe? Hackers can empty it with a single USB stick while erasing all [evidence] of their crime. That high-tech rifle? Researchers managed to remotely manipulate its target selection without the shooter’s knowing. The Internet of Things is also a privacy nightmare. Databases that already have too much information about us will now be bursting with data on the places we’ve driven, the food we’ve purchased and more. Last week, at Def Con, the annual information security conference, researchers set up an Internet of Things Village to show how they could hack everyday objects like baby monitors, thermostats and security cameras. Connecting everyday objects introduces new risks if done at mass scale. Once a hacker is in - she's in everywhere.
Note: Read how a hacked vehicle may have resulted in journalist Michael Hastings' death in 2013. The networked computerization of everyday objects means that these objects can spy on you, accelerating the disappearance of privacy in the name of convenience. What will happen when the "internet of things" expands to include microchip implants in people?
For the fearmongers in the West and their allies, it’s always the scariest time ever. In February, former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell, arguing for renewal of the Patriot Act, warned that “the ‘lone wolf’ terrorist threat to the United States has never been greater.” In January, an anonymous senior aide to U.K. Prime Minister ... argued for a new “snooper” bill by saying that “the terrorist threat has never been greater.” In mid-2014, U.K. Prime Minister Cameron himself raised the threat level to “severe” and announced: “Britain faces the ‘greatest and deepest’ terror threat in the country’s history.” Throughout the Bush years ... officials raised their color-coded terror alerts and issued similar warnings so many times that it became a running joke. Years later, the face of that joke, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, admitted he was pressured to issue warnings for political gain. Here we are 14 years after 9/11, and it’s still always the worst threat ever in all of history. If we always face the greatest threat ever, then one of two things is true: 1) fearmongers serially exaggerate the threat for self-interested reasons, or 2) the threat is always getting more severe, year after year — which might mean we should evaluate the wisdom of “terrorism” policies that constantly make the problem worse. Whatever else is true, the people who should have the least credibility on the planet are [those] who have spent the last 15 years exploiting the terror threat in order to terrorize the American population into doing what they want.
Note: Read an excellent essay by a top US general exposing how war is a racket. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.
Five of the world’s largest banks have agreed to pay more than $5 billion in fines to settle charges made by regulatory agencies and the Justice Department that the banks had acted in concert to manipulate international interest and foreign currency exchange rates. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said the banks had engaged in “brazenly illegal behavior on a near-daily basis.” The scale of the price-fixing scandal is hard to grasp. It touched ... almost every company and individual in the financial markets. By tweaking global benchmarks used to set foreign exchange and interest rates for a staggering number of transactions a day, the banks — over several years — bilked billions of dollars of extra profits by altering rates in their favor. Critics complained that the Justice Department had failed to prosecute any additional individuals. Wall Street watchdog group Better Markets called it a “slap on the wrist,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in an e-mail: “That’s not accountability for Wall Street. It’s business as usual, and it stinks.” Barclays, along with JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Citigroup, will plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. currency and euros, authorities said. JPMorgan Chase said it had agreed to plead guilty to a single antitrust violation and pay a fine of $550 million. Under the resolution with the Fed, the firm will pay a fine of $342 million. The bank said it had previously set aside reserves for these settlements.
Note: When it comes to international banking, it appears that almost everything is rigged. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the systemically corrupt financial industry.
Meet Sam Tsemberis. He's all but solved chronic homelessness. His research, which commands the support of most scholars, has inspired policies across the nation. The results have been staggering. Late last month, Utah, the latest laboratory for Tsemberis's models, reported it has nearly eradicated chronic homelessness. Phoenix, an earlier test case, eliminated chronic homelessness among veterans. Then New Orleans housed every homeless veteran. Homelessness has long seemed one of the most intractable of social problems. For decades, the number of homeless from New York City to San Francisco surged – and so did the costs. At one point around the turn of the millennium, New York was spending an annual $40,500 on every homeless person with mental issues. Tsemberis ...unfurled a model so simple children could grasp it, so cost-effective fiscal hawks loved it, so socially progressive liberals praised it. Give homes for the homeless, and you will solve chronic homelessness. Success begat success. The federal government tested the model on 734 homeless across 11 cities, finding the model dramatically reduced levels of addiction as well as shrank health related costs by half. "Adults who have experienced chronic homelessness may be successfully housed and can maintain their housing," the report declared. Utah's Gordon Walker, explain[s] how his state succeeded at eliminating homelessness – and saved millions, "It was costing us in state services, health-care costs, jail time, police time, about $20,000 per person. Now, we spend $12,000 per person."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Several industries have become notorious for the millions they spend on influencing legislation. But one has managed to quickly build influence with comparatively little scrutiny: Private prisons. The two largest for-profit prison companies in the United States – GEO and Corrections Corporation of America – and their associates have funneled more than $10 million to candidates since 1989 and have spent nearly $25 million on lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, these private companies have seen their revenue and market share soar. They now rake in a combined $3.3 billion in annual revenue and the private federal prison population more than doubled between 2000 and 2010. A report by the Justice Policy Institute ... identified the private-prison industry’s three-pronged approach to increase profits through political influence: lobbying, direct campaign contributions, and building relationships and networks. Private-prison companies have indirectly supported policies that put more Americans and immigrants behind bars ... by donating to politicians who support them. With the growing influence of the prison lobby, the nation is, in effect, commoditizing human bodies for an industry in militant pursuit of profit. For instance, privatization created the atmosphere that made the “Kids For Cash” scandal possible, in which two Pennsylvania judges received $2.6 million in kickbacks from for-profit juvenile detention centers for sending more kids to the facilities and with unusually long sentences.
Note: The "Cash for Kids" scandal mentioned in the article above resulted in the unlawful incarceration of thousands of kids. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the prison industry.
The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000. Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence. The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions. The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said. The question now, they said, is how state authorities and the courts will respond to findings that confirm long-suspected problems with subjective, pattern-based forensic techniques — like hair and bite-mark comparisons — that have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.
People who receive flu vaccines year after year can sometimes show reduced protection, an effect that Canadian infectious disease specialists say muddies public health messages for annual flu vaccine campaigns. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, researchers at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control originally thought seasonal flu shots from 2008 might offer extra protection. They were puzzled to find instead, seasonal flu vaccination almost doubled the risk of infection with pandemic flu. Dr. Danuta Skowronski and her colleagues went on to do five more studies during the summer that showed the same effect in people and in ferrets, which are considered the best animal model of flu. What was originally called "the Canadian problem" has since been found in a randomized control trial by researchers in Hong Kong ... Japan and the U.S. Researchers in several countries have found a blunting or "interference" effect between previous seasonal vaccines and reduced levels of vaccine protection in later years. "People do not have a good explanation for why," said Dr. Michael Gardam, director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network. "We have kind of hyped this vaccine so much for so long we are starting to believe our own hype. Really, what we should be doing is looking for better vaccines," Gardam said. In the meantime, public health officials who aim to protect people from flu complications need to grapple with the imperfections of a vaccine given every year to a moving target of strains.
Note: Healthcare workers in New York protested the government mandate that they be given this vaccine, from which drug companies made billions of dollars. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the mysterious and profitable avian and swine flu panics and questioning the effectiveness of many other vaccines.
The Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, but Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried. Our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defence and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. Glennon spoke with Ideas from his office. IDEAS: Where does the term “double government” come from? GLENNON: Walter Bagehot - the scholar who presided over the birth of The Economist magazine. IDEAS: What evidence exists for saying America has a double government? GLENNON: The documented evidence in the book is substantial — there are 800 footnotes. I think the American people ... believe that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change. Policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.
Traditionally, you wouldn't gift someone a rat. Tanzania-based NGO Apopo, however, thinks rats make excellent gifts. So much so that they've launched an adopt-a-rat program, which allows participants to sponsor the animal. Despite the creatures' reputation for thieving and spreading disease, [Apopo's founder Bart] Weetjens has proven that rats can ... save lives. Apopo's rats have actually saved thousands. They are highly trained to sniff out land mines and detect tuberculosis - two scourges that have had a tremendously negative impact across the African continent. And his rats are fast. A single rat can clear 200 square feet in an hour (done manually, the same area would take 50 hours to clear). A TB-detection rat can evaluate 50 samples in eight minutes (almost a day's work for a lab technician). In 2006, Weetjens started testing his "hero rats," as he dubs them, on the mine fields in Mozambique, a country that at that time was one of the worst affected by landmines, thanks mainly to a civil war that ended in 1992. Since then, Apopo has cleared the country of 6,693 landmines, 29,934 small arms and ammunition, and 1,087 bombs. Mozambique is on track to be free of landmines by the year's end. In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a TB crisis in Africa. It's a problem Weetjens realized he could address with his sniffer rats. So far, they've analyzed over 260,000 samples from health clinics in Dar es Salaam. They are cheap to train, cheaper to procure, and plentiful.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones. The handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant. The experts are saying the same about solar energy now. They say that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will fail without government subsidies. They too are wrong. Solar will be as ubiquitous as cellular phones are. Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years — as costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings — or less than 14 years — away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs. By Kurzweil’s estimates, inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years. In places such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and the Southwest United States, residential-scale solar production has already reached “grid parity” with average residential electricity prices. In other words, it costs no more in the long term to install solar panels than to buy electricity from utility companies. The prices of solar panels have fallen 75 percent in the past five years alone and will fall much further as the technologies to create them improve and scale of production increases. By 2020, solar energy will be price-competitive with energy generated from fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis in most parts of the world. Within the next decade, it will cost a fraction of what fossil fuel-based alternatives do. Despite the skepticism of experts and criticism by naysayers, there is little doubt that we are heading into an era of unlimited and almost free clean energy.
Note: This article also points out how some big energy companies and the Koch brothers are lobbying to stop alternative technologies from flowering. Read through a rich collection of energy news articles with inspiring and revealing news on energy developments. And explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In March I received a call from the White House counsel’s office regarding a speech I had prepared for my boss at the State Department. The speech was about the impact ... of National Security Agency surveillance practices. The draft stated that “if U.S. citizens disagree with congressional and executive branch determinations about the proper scope of signals intelligence activities, they have the opportunity to change the policy through our democratic process.” But the White House counsel’s office told me that no, that wasn’t true. I was instructed to amend the line. Some intelligence practices remain so secret, even from members of Congress, that there is no opportunity for our democracy to change them. Public debate about the bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ data by the NSA has focused largely on Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Based in part on classified facts that I am prohibited by law from publishing, I believe that Americans should be even more concerned about the collection and storage of their communications under Executive Order 12333 than under Section 215. Unlike Section 215, the executive order authorizes collection of the content of communications, not just metadata, even for U.S. persons. It does not require that the affected U.S. persons be suspected of wrongdoing and places no limits on the volume of communications by U.S. persons that may be collected and retained. None of the reforms that Obama announced earlier this year will affect such collection.
Note: The above was written by John Napier Tye, former section chief for Internet freedom in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. A 2014 Washington Post investigation sheds more light on the NSA's legally dubious domestic mass surveillance program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
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