Last year was the worst for human rights since at least 2008, says an annual report from Chinese Human Rights Defenders. The signature “Chinese Dream” of the new leadership has instead become a “nightmare,” they say.
“The Chinese government’s assault on activists last year indicates just how far authorities under the rule of President Xi Jinping are willing to go to suppress an increasingly active and emboldened civil society,” said Renee Xia, the international director of CHRD.
Defining new developments in 2013, when Xi Jinping’s regime took office, as well as ongoing rights concerns, CHRD points to a major crackdown on civil and human rights across the board.
The assault on the New Citizens Movement and asset disclosure advocates targeted peaceful assemblies; new laws concerning “rumors” targeted bloggers and signaled increased criminalization of speech in the media and online; the widespread physical violence against human rights lawyers served to deny legal counsel to rights advocates, the report charges.
Dozens of human rights activists interviewed for the report pointed out that 2013 was the worst year for human rights since the crackdowns around the Olympics in 2008. Specifically, the report states:
The number of activists detained last year was greater than any since crackdowns in 1999; the number of criminal detentions of human rights defenders trebled that of 2012; over 220 activists were detained, with dozens formally arrested and tried or awaiting trial; there were over three times more enforced “disappearances” than in 2012.
Despite the highly publicized abolishment of Re-education Through Labor, CHRD identifies notes that other extrajudicial detention methods have sprung up, including increased use of “black jails.”
Although Xi Jinping, the Party leader, pledged to purge corruption from the Communist Party at all levels, activists who requested that high-ranking officials declare their personal wealth were hastily detained. Activists considered to be leaders of the asset disclosure movement were charged with “gathering a crowd to disrupt order of a public place” and other terms that disguise the political nature of the arrests.
Rights defenders involved in the New Citizens’ Movement, a loose-knit group seeking political, legal, and social reforms, were detained, tried and issued harsh sentences. Most notably, the respected law professor Xu Zhiyong was tried on those charges and sentenced to four years of imprisonment.
The regime made it clear in a 2013 internal memo, Document No. 9, that discussion of “Western ideals,” including universal values, democracy, and human rights would not be tolerated. An assault was launched on activists advocating rule of law, constitutional democracy, and freedom of the press.
Political persecution and suppression in ethnic minority regions increased, as did harsher security measures and intensified violence in Tibet and Xinjiang, the report said.
Chinese Human Rights Defenders also pointed out that the leadership failed to ratify the international standard for human rights, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), despite repeated promises to do so. The group urged the Chinese regime to honor its promise to the international community to “promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
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Learn how to handle stressful situations with confidence and skill
By Peter Andrew Sacco
Some people associate the concept of mental toughness with aggression, violence, or anger. Mental toughness is the ability to stand firm in the positive and proactive thoughts that you have created for yourself and remain determined to follow through into creating positive feelings and actions.
It is a commitment to doing what is right because you know it will make your life better. The truest and toughest battles most people will ever fight are the battles that start and finish in their minds.
The best method for improving mental toughness and maintaining it is to apply these basic yet simple principles. If you practice these simple suggestions and boost your motivation to discipline your mind because you truly want to see positive change in your life, then you will be able to handle stressful situations with confidence and skill.
1. Don’t blow things out of proportion. Try to keep things in perspective; don’t magnify them into being worse than they are or have to be.
When things go bad repeatedly over a period of time, we may start to stereotype every bad thing that happens as “Murphy’s law.” Everything bad or unfortunate that can happen will happen. Do you know why? You are continually using the same negative magnifying glass to look at them.
Some individuals take minute situations and blow them into catastrophes. Always ask yourself this simple question, “What difference will this make a year from now?”
2. Try to avoid all-or-nothing thinking. When you think in terms of extremes, you set ourselves up for failure. Basically, you will always need to be perfect to avoid failure.
For example, you want to do well, but when something doesn’t turn out the way you expected, you view the outcome as bad. As a result, you extrapolate the performance into who you are—making yourself a “bad” person because your performance was bad.
In order not to “be bad” you try too hard to be good, leading yourself to make further mistakes because of the added pressure you’ve placed on yourself. Perfectionism makes it hard to be perfect!
3. You can’t please everyone all of the time. If you try to keep everyone happy, thinking everyone will like you, then you are in for a major shock. When you try to be a people-pleaser, you submit to others and become passive, deviating from your main goal—being assertive, which helps you accomplish your goals.
As soon as you become passive, you are more inclined to dislike certain people and situations because you have compromised yourself and no longer feel comfortable.
Catering to the needs and whims of others will get you quickly on your way to becoming a procrastinator—not only to their demands, but also for what you would like to achieve.
I heard a statistic that asserts that 10 percent of the people you meet will never like or accept you no matter who you are, what you do for them, and so on. So focus on the other 90 percent, but be sure to never have your rights or needs taken away or compromised.
4. Don’t bog yourself down with “uncertainty questions” such as, “Why me?” “When will things change?” “Will any good breaks ever come my way?” Oftentimes, when things go bad, you seek answers of an absolute nature. Let’s face it, not all questions have answers you can understand.
When you question yourself, you sometimes analyze things to death, causing stress. Did you know that when you ask questions of a negative nature, you tend to focus on negative experiences and create corresponding visual experiences? If you believe in the law of attraction and affirmations, this theory will hold true when you are asking yourself a question.
If you are placing your focus on something negative, since “like attracts like,” you will be bringing more negativity your way.
Did you know some experts claim that your memory file cabinets get compromised when you dwell on negative experiences? It takes twice as much energy to dwell on the negative than on the positive. Perhaps that is why you are so tired.
5. Take one day at a time. Enjoy the present moment and be in the moment. There are always enough worries in today, so why spend energy on thoughts of tomorrow?
Too many people want instant change. In fact, we are all changing instantly, because our bodies (cells) and the situations around us are always changing and evolving. People want to see tangible results instantly. But that is not how it works.
The exercise in mental toughness is to develop moment-to-moment awareness. Focus on your thoughts. Hit the delete button whenever a negative one comes on the screen and replace it with a positive one immediately. How does one do this? Keep your thoughts focused on the present. It will take practice, but you will succeed at it with time, but not months or years.
Disclaimer: This is in no way designed to diagnose, classify, or treat mental health problems or addictions. You should always consult with a licensed or trained professional when seeking an actual diagnosis or assessment.
Dr. Peter Sacco has been working with individuals in private practice and support groups since 1995. He specializes in anger-management classes, overcoming addictions, individual coaching, and counseling. He teaches courses in addiction studies, police studies, criminal psychology, and education at universities and colleges in the United States and Canada. Petersacco.com
By Gidon Belmaker
Volvo’s new ad featuring soccer superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović looks like a dream. It features Sweden’s great outdoors in all its glory. But Volvo is only Swedish in appearance. It was bought by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
Swedish organization Supporting Human Rights in China made a spoof of the original ad showing where Volvo’s money ends up.
“Doing business with this regime of terror is to support the abuse, torture, and persecution. It is shameful wanting to associate your brand with the Chinese regime. It was shameful of Volvo to sell out a Swedish brand to them, and it is even more shameful to now give the appearance of Swedishness and Swedish values,” the group wrote in a description of its video.
Here is the original ad:
Water is the origin of life. It can increase your energy, improve your complexion, and keep your eyes looking clear. Water also carries nutrients to every cell in the body, helps the kidneys cleanse the body of toxins, improves circulation, and lubricates joints.
For centuries, Chinese medicine has advocated drinking clean water for optimal health. There are several ways to make the water you drink on a regular basis safer.
1. Run Your Tap Before Drinking
After sitting idle in the pipe all night, tap water is prone to carry a higher amount of bacteria. Always let the water run for a few minutes before drinking it. The water will be much cleaner. The running water from the first five minutes can be collected for washing or for watering plants.
2. Keep Bottled Water Cool
Plastic bottles contain plasticizers to improve the plastic’s flexibility and durability. If bottled water is stored for too long, a small amount of plasticizer will mix with the water. When consumed, the smell of plastic can be easily discerned. Bottled water should be stored in a cool place out of direct sunlight.
3. Boil Water Lightly
Water that is kept boiling for an extended period of time or was boiled multiple times is problematic.
Tap water contains organic and inorganic matter. If tap water is boiled for a long time, the concentration of matter will increase. For example, the amount of lead in tap water is within established safety limits; however, lead does not get boiled out of water, so the longer the water is boiled, the more concentrated lead becomes as the water evaporates.
Chlorine is usually used to sterilize tap water. Once a small amount of a pollutant in the water is compounded with chlorine, a type-A carcinogen variant can form. The longer the water is boiled, the more carcinogens are created.
The best thing to do when boiling water is to take it off the heat once it starts to boil. Dump out previously boiled water and start with fresh water for each boil. Most bacteria and viruses are killed when the water starts boiling and cannot survive at temperatures higher than 175 Fahrenheit.
4. Drink Boiled Water Soon
When boiled water is left for an extended period of time, the nitrogen-bearing compounds in it will decompose into nitrites, which are known carcinogens.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that boiled water be consumed on the same day it was heated.
5. Taste-Test Your Mineral Water
Many people believe mineral water is the best water. In fact, not all mineral water is actually suitable for drinking. For example, if the fluorine content of water from a mineral spring is very high, like one in a suburb of Tianjin City in China, it can cause long-term issues like osteofluorosis (skeletal changes caused by too much fluorine intake) and dental fluorosis (mottling of tooth enamel from excessive fluorine).
The mineral content of natural mineral water is very critical. If the content is right, the water will taste refreshing. Mineral water that tastes metallic or earthy should be avoided.
6. Drink More Than Just Purified Water
While water filters do absorb bacteria and viruses that may exist in the water, the activated charcoal used in most water purifiers can also remove and deplete beneficial minerals from the water, such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
Since these minerals are beneficial to human health, it is not recommended to drink only purified water.
Headquartered in New York City, New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television was founded by Chinese-Americans to serve as a unique bridge between East and West.
New research shows that the extreme air pollution in China could severely impact agriculture and food supplies, because it is blocking out the light plants need for photosynthesis.
He Dongxian at China Agricultural University found that chilli and tomato seeds grown in Beijing took over two months to sprout due to pollutants reducing light levels in the greenhouse by about 50 percent. In comparison, seeds grown in the lab under artificial light took around 20 days to germinate.
If the smog continues, He told the Guardian her findings suggest Chinese agriculture will suffer conditions “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter.”
Describing the greenhouse plants, He said, “They will be lucky to live at all. Now almost every farm is caught in a smog panic,” according to the South China Morning Post.
“A large number of representatives of agricultural companies have suddenly showed up at academic meetings on photosynthesis in recent months and sought desperately for solutions,” she added. “Our overseas colleagues were shocked by the phenomenon because in their countries nothing like this had ever happened.”
This past week, nearly one-quarter of China has been enveloped by a thick haze, including Beijing, which is on an unprecedented orange alert, with red being the most dangerous to health.
The Yanzhao Evening News reported that a man in Hebei Province is suing local authorities for failing to deal with the smog, and also seeking compensation.
His lawyer refused to comment, because this is the first such case of a citizen suing the regime over air pollution, making it a sensitive issue.
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By Tara MacIsaac
Here’s a look at what your dog’s breed may say about you. Researchers at Bath Spa University surveyed 1,000 dog owners, compiling data about the owners’ personality traits and their dogs’ breeds.
The researchers presented their findings to the British Psychological Society Annual Conference in 2012.
Stanley Coren, a psychologist and author of “Why We Love the dogs We Do,” also discussed the connection between owner personality traits and dog breeds, in an interview with Modern dog Magazine.
By Lu Chen
Although the notorious labor camp system in China has effectively been shut down in most parts of the country, the extralegal detention and torture of large numbers of Chinese citizens has not ended.
One of the new, legally dubious, facilities that has cropped up for those deemed by the Chinese Communist Party to be anti-social elements—such as elderly people who petition the government after their houses are demolished—are called “disciplinary centers.”
The full name of one of the facilities exposed on the Internet recently was “The Education and Discipline Center for Abnormal Petitioning.” It was located in Wolong District, Nanyang City, in Henan Province, central China.
Petitioning refers to seeking out higher-level authorities to resolve injustices perpetrated by officials at lower levels, which the judicial system has been unable or unwilling to correct.
“It’s a new style of labor camp,” said Yang Jinfen, an Internet user who posted a photograph of the facility in Nanyang. “It illegally detains petitioners. My mom Zhang Fengmei who’s nearly 70 years old, has been detained there since Feb. 4 without any legal procedure …”
The picture and message was first put onto Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, and then deleted.
Yang said her mother was first locked away there for 10 days in January.
“They detained my mom in a very small room without a bed,” she said to Epoch Times in a telephone interview. “They just gave her a blanket and let her sleep on the floor. They detain you as long as they want. It’s the same with the labor camp and black jail. The local government officials are just like rogues.”
Local Communist Party cadres respond to the incentives and disincentives set by those higher up in the system.
“The local government is afraid that if my mom goes to Beijing to petition, it will reflect badly on their political achievements,” Yang said. “So they just detain her.”
Zhang Fengmei, the mother, is calling for justice for her son, who was tortured into disability during a prison sentence. The son, Yang Jinde, was an entrepreneur who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2010 for six crimes including “leading a criminal syndicate” and “disturbing social order.” The criminal justice system in China is often prone to corruption and, many Chinese complain of unfair judgments.
Rather than investigate the torture of her son, authorities in Henan simply locked up the mother.
Inside the disciplinary centers, petitioners are said to be under “24-hour nonstop discipline, warnings, and educative persuasion,” according to a local government website.
But according to Xinhua, the state mouthpiece, an official at the State Bureau of Letters and Calls in Henan, the agency that is responsible for petitioners, admitted that the disciplinary centers “do not meet legal requirements.” The official did not disclose his name.
Yang Jinfen, whose mother is locked up, said, “My mom just wants her son healthy.”
WASHINGTON—Using videos that claim to teach toddlers, or flash cards for tots, may not be the best idea. Simply talking to babies is key to building crucial language and vocabulary skills—but sooner is better, and long sentences are good.
So says research that aims to explain, and help solve, the troubling “word gap”: Children from more affluent, professional families hear millions more words before they start school than poor kids, leaving the lower-income students at an academic disadvantage that’s difficult to overcome.
That gap starts to appear at a younger age than scientists once thought, around 18 months, said Stanford University psychology professor Anne Fernald.
And research being presented this week at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggests that it’s not just hearing lists of words that matters as much as rich, varied language with good grammar that trains babies’ brains to learn through context.
Instead of just saying, “Here’s an orange,” it would be better to say: “Let’s put the orange in this bowl with the banana and the apple and the grapes.”
“It’s making nets of meaning that then will help the child learn new words,” Fernald explained.
“The advice I give mothers is to have conversations with your babies,” added Erika Hoff, a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University. “Children can hear lots of talk that goes over their head in terms of the meaning, and they still benefit from it.”
Income Word Gap
The research comes amid a growing push for universal preschool, to help disadvantaged youngsters catch up. But it also raises the question of whether children from low-income, less educated families need earlier intervention, such as preschool that starts at age 3 instead of 4, or higher quality day care or even some sort of “Let’s talk” campaign aimed at new parents to stress talking, singing, and reading with tots even before they can respond. That can be difficult for parents working multiple jobs, or who may not read well or who simply don’t know why it’s important.
Scientists have long known that before they start kindergarten, children from middle-class or affluent families have heard millions more words than youngsters from low-income families, leaving the poorer children with smaller vocabularies and less ready to succeed academically. Fernald said by some measures, 5-year-olds from low-income families can lag two years behind their peers in tests of language development.
Brain scans support the link, said Dr. Kimberly Noble of Columbia University Medical Center. Early experiences shape the connections that children’s brains form, and kids from higher socio-economic backgrounds devote more “neural real estate” to brain regions involved in language development, she found.
Language Quality Matters
How early does the word gap appear? Around age 18 months, Stanford’s Fernald discovered when she compared how children mentally process the language they hear. Lower-income kids in her study achieved at age 2 the level of proficiency that more affluent kids had reached six months earlier.
To understand why language processing is so important, consider this sentence: “The kitty’s on the bench.” If the youngster knows the word “kitty,” and his brain recognizes it quickly enough, then he can figure out what “bench” means by the context. But if he’s slow to recognize “kitty,” then “bench” flies by before he has a chance to learn it.
Next, Fernald tucked recorders into T-shirts of low-income toddlers in Spanish-speaking households to determine what they heard all day—and found remarkable differences in what’s called child-directed speech. That’s when children are spoken to directly, in contrast to television or conversations they overhear.
One child heard more than 12,000 words of child-directed speech in a day, while another heard a mere 670 words, she found. The youngsters who received more child-directed speech processed language more efficiently and learned words more quickly, she reported.
But it’s not just quantity of speech that matters—it’s quality, Hoff cautioned. She studied bilingual families and found that whatever the language, children fare better when they learn it from a native speaker. In other words, if mom and dad speak Spanish but aren’t fluent in English, it’s better for the child to have a solid grounding in Spanish at home and then learn English later in school.
Next, scientists are testing whether programs that teach parents better ways to talk to tots really do any good. Fernald said preliminary results from one of the first—a program called Habla Conmigo, Spanish for Talk With Me, that enrolls low-income, Spanish-speaking mothers in San Jose, Calif.—are promising.
Fernald analyzed the first 32 families of the 120 the program will enroll. Mothers who underwent the eight-week training are talking more with their toddlers, using higher-quality language, than a control group of parents—and by their second birthday, the children have bigger vocabularies and process language faster, she said Thursday.
By Tara MacIsaac
We are engulfed by electromagnetic fields all day everyday, and the fields are only getting stronger as technology progresses and spreads. The health effects are of increasing concern, as it has been shown they not only affect individuals, but also harm DNA passed along to offspring.
Wi-Fi routers, cell phones, cordless phones, baby monitors, electric blankets, alarm clocks—all of these devices are damaging, says electrical engineer and environmental consultant Larry Gust. He discussed the dangers and how people can protect themselves in a video presented by Electromagnetic Health this week.
Here’s a look at the health effects, recommended maximum levels of exposure, the levels most people are exposed to, and tips on how to protect yourself.
Health Effects Overview
Dr. Martin Blank, who studies the effects of electromagnetic radiation at Columbia University, pointed out in a 2012 lecture uploaded to YouTube that the damage to DNA disrupts normal cell growth and protein production.
He cited studies that have shown DNA damage causes cancer. Illustrating the impact of the field emanated from a simple daily device, he said it has been shown electric blankets greatly increase a woman’s chance of miscarriage.
Electric field health effects:
-Muscle and nerve pain
-Bed wetting in children
Radio frequency health effects:
-Inability to concentrate
Electric, Magnetic Field Exposure
Recommendations for the maximum exposure in electric fields vary from about 3 volts per foot at the upper end of the spectrum to 1.5 volts or fewer per foot at the lower end. The typical bedroom has 3 to 9 volts per foot.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the maximum level for a magnetic field in a home should be 3 to 4 milliGauss.
In Marin, Calif., a 4-year-old girl had an 80 milliGauss field around her bed and in the play yard she frequented, recalled Gust. She was lethargic, had no appetite, and had rectal bleeding. As soon as the field was cleared, her symptoms vanished.
Maximum Recommended Levels of Radio Frequency Exposure
The BioInitiative Report was produced by a working group of doctors. Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany co-edited it. The Building Biology Report was released by the International Institute for Building-Biology & Ecology, a non-profit research and advisory institution.
Typical Radio Frequency Exposure Levels
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A visitor to the Coral Castle will see a stone fantasy garden with carved coral stones and blocks weighing several dozen tons each. The mystery of the garden is not in the blocks themselves but in how they were carved and put into place.
This feat of engineering was accomplished entirely by one man—Edward Leedskalnin—who carved, transported, and set all of the stone slabs and blocks by himself with no help or modern machinery. He used only hand tools he bought from a junkyard. Additionally, the blocks are cut and set with intricate precision, locked into place without mortar.
Leedskalnin, born in Latvia on Aug. 10, 1887, was a quiet, private man who was just over 5 feet tall, weighing just over 100 pounds. He somehow managed to carve and sculpt more than 1,100 tons of coral rock, transporting the rocks 10 miles and setting them into place using only a crude wooden tripod, a borrowed tractor, and a truck.
All of his work was done during the night between midnight and 6:00 a.m., according to the documentary Mystery at Coral Castle. Whenever someone would try to catch a peek at his work, he would stand upon his watchtower and announce: “As soon as you leave, I will continue my work.”
People could see the blocks being transported down the highway, but no one ever saw Leedskalnin move, lift, or set any of the blocks. The only witnesses are two children who supposedly saw Leedskalnin “float” the blocks into place like moving balloons. The mysterious man was also known for his extensive theories on magnetism.
The Coral Castle walls themselves weight 125 pounds per cubic foot, and each section is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 3 feet thick, according to the Coral Castle Museum. Weighing approximately 30 tons, the greatest stone in the castle is twice as massive as any used in the pyramids, according to the documentary In Search of Coral Castle.
Another particular oddity of the castle includes a 9-ton swinging stone door that moves when just a little force is applied; a child could move it with ease. A raised obelisk weighing 28 tons is another curious feature, as well as a carved stone crescents sitting atop 20-foot high walls.
The story regarding the inspiration for the Coral Castle is that of a tragic romance. When Leedskalnin was still a young man, at the age of 26, he was engaged to a woman who left him the day before they were to be wed. Leedskalnin vowed to create the structure as a symbol for his love for her.
The stones were quarried near his original home in Florida City. After a developing subdivision threatened his privacy and the privacy of the Castle, he bought property in Homestead, Fla., just 25 miles from Miami, and moved all of his pieces over the course of three years.
Leedskalnin started the endeavor in approximately 1923 and finished around 1951. Through the ‘40s up until his death in December of 1951, he would charge 10 cents admission for visitors to his castle and garden.
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Romantic love tends to light up the same reward areas of the brain that are activated by cocaine. But new research shows that selfless love—a deep and genuine wish for the happiness of others—actually turns off the brain’s reward centers.
“When we truly, selflessly wish for the well-being of others, we’re not getting that same rush of excitement that comes with, say, a tweet from our romantic love interest, because it’s not about us at all,” says Judson Brewer, adjunct professor of psychiatry at Yale University now at the University of Massachusetts.
As reported in the journal Brain and Behavior, the neurological boundaries between these two types of love become clear in fMRI scans of experienced meditators.
The reward centers of the brain that are strongly activated by a lover’s face (or a picture of cocaine) are almost completely turned off when a meditator is instructed to silently repeat sayings such as “May all beings be happy.”
Such mindfulness meditations are a staple of Buddhism and are now commonly practiced in Western stress reduction programs.
The tranquility of this selfless love for others—exemplified in such religious figures such as Mother Teresa or the Dalai Llama—is diametrically opposed to the anxiety caused by a lovers’ quarrel or extended separation. And it carries its own rewards.
“The intent of this practice is to specifically foster selfless love—just putting it out there and not looking for or wanting anything in return,” Brewer says.
“If you’re wondering where the reward is in being selfless, just reflect on how it feels when you see people out there helping others, or even when you hold the door for somebody the next time you are at Starbucks.”
Source: Yale University
Originally published on www.futurity.org
A flock of migrating starlings flies over the southern Israeli village of Tidhar, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. AP Photo/Oded Balilty
‘Emotional reaction’ from peers when a scientist breaks from conventional thinking
By Tara MacIsaac
1. Richard von Sternberg
Richard von Sternberg was an editor at the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. He published an article written by Stephen C. Meyer, which had been reviewed by three other scientists. The article mentioned intelligent design might be possible, Von Sternberg explained in the documentary “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”
He said he was fired when his superiors “had a physical, emotional reaction.”
Meyer said: “I was viewed as an intellectual terrorist.”
2. Bill Donato, Archaeologist
Donato has been working for many years to prove that Bimini Wall, a structure off the coast of the Bahamas, was built by a prehistoric civilization, one that far out-dates any civilization thought capable of building the structure.
“I do not fear any professional repercussions, because I know what I’m talking about and they [skeptics] have typically done no investigations of any kind,” Donato wrote in an email to Epoch Times. He said his funding comes from like-minded people and he is confident in his findings, confident that truth will prevail.
“Though reductionism is useful, it also has decided limitations; you can’t build an automobile engine from only understanding a bolt,” he said.
Dr. Greg Little, a psychologist who has taken a keen interest in Bimini and has worked closely with Donato, wrote in a 2005 paper: “I have no expectation that any of the skeptics will actually change their views or even consider any alternatives to their beliefs. … All contradictions to their beliefs are probably perceived as a direct threat to them professionally and psychologically.”
“Skeptics invoke emotion-laden, ridiculing terms,” Little wrote. “For obvious reasons, mainstream archaeologists have avoided Bimini as if it was infected with a deadly virus. They have been convinced by reading others’ summaries of the early research—not by digesting the actual facts—that Bimini has to be nothing but natural beachrock and that a harbor cannot be there—therefore it is not there.”
3. Caroline Crocker, George Mason University
Crocker mentioned intelligent design in a couple of slides while lecturing at the university, she said in “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” She said she was nonetheless disciplined for teaching creationism and fired at the end of the semester. She said she was essentially blacklisted in the academic community for what she called her “science sin.”
4. Michael Egnor, Stony Brook University
Egnor is a neuroscientist at Stony Brook University who completed his medical degree at Columbia University.
He expected criticism for his support of intelligent design theories, but “what has amazed me is the viciousness and the sort of baseness of it,” he said in the documentary. He has, however, retained his position at the university.
Prof. Robert J. Marks II at Baylor University had tenure before expressing a belief in intelligent design. He said “I’m academically safe, but the young people, what has happened to them right now in America because of this scientific gulag is really terrible.”
5. Klaus Dona, Researcher, Exhibit Curator
Klaus Dona says advanced civilizations existed 100 million years ago. Conventional science holds that civilization only emerged some 6,000 or 7,000 years ago.
Dona has traveled the world to research artifacts that don’t seem to have any proper place in history. He toured with a collection of such artifacts to draw attention to what he says are pieces of evidence that our current understanding of history may be incorrect—pieces usually stuffed away in museum basements.
In an interview with Russell Scott on “West Coast Truth,” Dona spoke about his findings and also about researchers who have held similar views and have been penalized.
“They face real problems in their universities or in their communities.” He gave the example of William Brown, a theoretical biophysicist whose DNA research related to the human consciousness got him fired from his university position. He now works for the Resonance Project Foundation and Hawai’i Institute for Unified Physics.
“Scientists are scared to lose their jobs or … [have] problems if they give out some very, very unbelievable—but real—facts,” he said. “It’s not easy for a scientist to deal with these unbelievable things.”
6. Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, Iowa State University
When you say “intelligent design” in a room of academics “them is fighting words,” Gonzalez said in “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.”
“People really get emotional about this.”
He feels certain that if he hadn’t spoken of intelligent design, he would have tenure. He says of scientists who hold controversial views: “If they value their careers, they should keep quiet.”
See Epoch Times article “10 Scientific Blunders That Could Shake Your Faith in Science” to read about scientists in history who have been shunned, but whose theories were later vindicated.
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Several influenza viruses, including bird flu and swine flu, that have rapidly spread to eight Chinese provinces, including the two municipalities Beijing and Shanghai, are steadily gaining pace from day to day and causing national panic. At least 181 human cases of influenza viruses with 38 fatalities have been confirmed since January, according to data compiled from reports by local authorities.
As of Feb. 9, 179 cases of H7N9 bird flu have been reported with 37 fatalities, alongside one fatal case of H1N1 swine flu and one case of H10N8 bird flu. The 179 recorded cases in first 40 days of this year has surpassed China’s official total number of 146 cases of H7N9 in 2013, which included 45 fatalities.
The first recognized case of H7N9 human infection emerged in east China last March. The virus re-emerged in October and has rapidly spread since January, primarily in southeast China. According to China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), on average, five to seven cases of H7N9 are reported daily, with numbers increasing.
Zhejiang Province has reported the most cases–77 cases with 12 deaths have been confirmed. Li Lanjuan, professor and chief physician at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine predicts a large rise in infections this winter.
“The H7N9 flu virus is known to be more active in the winter. There will be an increasing number of cases in the coming months in Zhejiang, even bigger than the cases being reported,” Li was quoted by Zhejiang News Online.
According to the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO), as of Jan. 28, the case fatality rate of all confirmed cases in 13 provinces and municipalities in east China, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China), and Taipei CDC is 22 percent, but many cases are still hospitalized.
As the H7N9 death toll rises, there has been growing panic among the public.
“Everyone is now panicking over the bird flu,” said Shen Jianmin, a resident in Zhejiang. “Worried about a deadly influenza pandemic, people wear masks and don’t eat poultry or meat.”
Among the 37 confirmed fatalities is a 31-year-old surgeon from the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Hospital. His death from the bird flu was identified on Jan. 18, with the source of infection unknown.
Shanghai resident Ms. Li told Epoch Times: “Even the doctor as a patient couldn’t be treated successfully, to say nothing of ordinary people.”
Ms. Li was also doubtful about the accuracy of reported fatalities. “The government has definitely not reported the real death toll,” Li said. “Now all the major hospitals in Shanghai are full of patients with flu-like symptoms. We’re really scared of the spread of bird flu, even not daring to go to a hospital for treatment of minor illnesses,” she added.
A female doctor at the hospital where the surgeon died, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Because the H7N9 virus is more transmissible and harder to detect than H5N1 bird flu, we doctors even fear the prospect of human-to-human transmission of this virus.”
Mr. Ye, a resident from Guangdong, the province with the second most cases–60 with 13 deaths have been recorded since August of last year, told Epoch Times: “Increased cases of the bird flu raise concerns about the potential of more widespread infections and transmission to humans. So live chicken sales are banned here and even restaurants have removed chicken dishes from their menus.”
Beijing resident Mr. Yuan told Epoch Times that people are scared at the mere mention of the bird flu. They don’t even dare to eat chicken and eggs, and try to stay home for fear of getting bird flu, he said.
Multiple cases of family cluster infections have also been reported, indicating human-to-human transmission. If the virus mutates into a form that can directly pass between humans, it could result in the disease spreading rapidly, causing global epidemics, according to Chen Taoan, former director of the Information Division of Shanxi’s CDC.
According to the U.S. CDC, there are three types of influenza viruses, classified A, B and C. Only influenza type A and B viruses that routinely spread in people are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
Type A influenza viruses are further divided into subtypes on the basis of two proteins on the surface of the virus, the hemaglutinin or “H” protein and the neuraminidase or “N” protein. There are 18 known H subtypes (H1 to H18) and 11 known N subtypes (N1 to N11), possibly generating 198 different combinations of these proteins such as H1N1 and H7N2.
According to the WHO and CDC, wild aquatic birds, in particular certain wild ducks, geese, and swans are the natural hosts for all known influenza A viruses. Type A influenza viruses infect a range of avian species and mammals like pigs and horses, whereas type B and C infections are largely restricted to humans.
They indicate that the majority of the currently identified subtypes of influenza A viruses are maintained in wild avian populations. Humans are generally infected by virus of the subtypes H1, H2 or H3, and N1 or N2. However, humans can also be infected with influenza viruses that are routinely circulating in animals, such as avian influenza virus subtypes H5N1 and H9N2 and swine influenza virus subtypes H1N1 and H3N2.
“Usually these human infections of zoonotic influenza are acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments, and do not spread very far among humans. If such a virus acquired the capacity to spread easily among people either through adaptation or acquisition of certain genes from human viruses, it could start an epidemic or a pandemic,” the WHO said.
H7N9 has been identified as one of the most lethal influenza viruses. “When we look at influenza viruses, this is an unusually dangerous virus for humans,” Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for Health Security and Environment, said last April.
One of the biggest problems with H7N9 is that the source of human infections has not been identified yet. In their paper published on May 2013 in The Lancet, Chinese researchers revealed that the H7N9 virus, based on past experience and epidemiological investigation, might be carried by infected poultry, but about 40 percent of the patients have not been in contact with poultry. The finding implies that it’s harder to prevent further spreading of the infection.
Because the H7N9 virus does not appear to cause clinical symptoms in infected poultry, clear links between infections in poultry and human cases have been difficult to establish, according to the WHO.
The absence of illness symptoms in birds carrying the H7N9 virus also makes it impossible to detect whether birds are infected, showing experts few signs as to where the flu might spread, and making the virus extremely difficult to detect, according to a research paper published on January 2014 in Chinese Medical Journal cmj.org.
“It could be that the infected animals might not shed the virus for more than a few days, so it is a matter of chance if you test and find it. It might be that they are not sampling enough animal species, and they may have to take a look at the less common species of birds being sold in Chinese markets,” the paper quoted Ho Pak-leung, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong.
Many people have speculated about the official number of H7N9 cases reported by Chinese authorities.
According to the female doctor in Shanghai who spoke to Epoch Times on condition of anonymity, Chinese official data are used for maintaining social stability and to prevent panic among the public. Therefore, authorities will often withhold the true number of infected people from the public.
“The Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau has instructed us to ‘report what you ought, and do not report what you ought not,’ for this is a big thing, creating an international impact,” the doctor added.
Zhu Xinxin, a former editor at Hebei People’s Radio Station, told Epoch Times about the official Chinese media reports of the epidemic situation.
“Sporadic cases are currently being reported by different provinces and municipalities, without the total number of cases published by the state. This is a measure commonly employed by the Chinese communist regime. They tend to see the Chinese New Year as a big sales occasion that helps boost the gross domestic product (GDP).
“If they report the true scale of the epidemic, they fear this will cause widespread public alarm. Consequently, the national industrial production chains would be hard hit and domestic market sales would then slide downward to a large extent, causing weak economies being devastated. Then a major economic panic may sweep the nation with declining GDP.”
A female employee who answered the phone at China CDC said that since the second half of last year, the authorities have adopted a degrading tactic to tackle H7N9 in China; they use a monthly reporting system in line with state guidelines, instead of daily incident reports.
Asked about the actual fatality rate, the woman said: “January data will be released on Feb. 10. The true tally in January is much greater than that in those provinces. I can’t answer that, though.”
According to another employee at China CDC, there have been more human cases of H7N9 in Beijing, but the true number is not clear.
By Tara MacIsaac
The Viking sword Ulfberht was made of metal so pure it baffled archaeologists. It was thought the technology to forge such metal was not invented for another 800 or more years, during the Industrial Revolution.
About 170 Ulfberhts have been found, dating from 800 to 1,000 A.D. A NOVA, National Geographic documentary titled “Secrets of the Viking Sword” first aired in 2012 took a look at the enigmatic sword’s metallurgic composition.
In the process of forging iron, the ore must be heated to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit to liquify, allowing the blacksmith to remove the impurities (called “slag”). Carbon is also mixed in to make the brittle iron stronger. Medieval technology did not allow iron to be heated to such a high temperature, thus the slag was removed by pounding it out, a far less effective method.
The Ulfberht, however, has almost no slag, and it has a carbon content three times that of other metals from the time. It was made of a metal called “crucible steel.”
It was thought that the furnaces invented during the industrial revolution were the first tools for heating iron to this extent.
Modern blacksmith Richard Furrer of Wisconsin spoke to NOVA about the difficulties of making such a sword. Furrer is described in the documentary as one of the few people on the planet who has the skills needed to try to reproduce the Ulfberht.
“To do it right, it is the most complicated thing I know how to make,” he said.
He commented on how the Ulfberht maker would have been regarded as possessing magical powers. “To be able to make a weapon from dirt is a pretty powerful thing,” he said. But, to make a weapon that could bend without breaking, stay so sharp, and weigh so little would be regarded as supernatural.
Furrer spent days of continuous, painstaking work forging a similar sword. He used medieval technology, though he used it in a way never before suspected. The tiniest flaw or mistake could have turned the sword into a piece of scrap metal. He seemed to declare his success at the end with more relief than joy.
It is possible that the material and the know-how came from the Middle East. The Volga trade route between the Viking settlements and the Middle East opened at the same time the first Ulfberhts appeared and closed when the last Ulfberhts were produced.
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