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Jacoby: Harvesting The Organs of China’s Prisoner’s of Conscience

Writes Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe:

The documentary, “Human Harvest,” won the coveted Peabody Award for its exposé of an unspeakable crime against humanity. In 1999, Chinese hospitals began performing more than 10,000 organ transplants annually, generating a vast and lucrative traffic in “transplant tourists,” who flocked to China on the assurance that they could obtain lifesaving organs without having to languish on a waiting list. China had no voluntary organ-donation system to speak of, yet suddenly it was providing tens of thousands of freshly harvested organs to patients with ready cash or high-placed connections. How was that possible?

The evidence, assembled by human-rights researchers and investigative journalists, added up to something unimaginable: China was killing enormous numbers of imprisoned men and women by strapping them down to operating tables, still conscious, and forcibly extracting their organs — and then delivering those organs to the hospital transplant centers that have become a major source of revenue. Chinese officials claim that organs come from violent criminals on death row. But “Human Harvest” makes it clear that most of those killed are peaceful citizens persecuted for their beliefs: Tibetans, Uighurs, Christians — and, above all, practitioners of Falun Gong, a Buddhist-style spiritual movement of peaceful meditation and ethical commitment.

Read the rest of In China, prisoners of conscience are literally being butchered.

See the movie trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EykFRYWl9Q

 

 

Genetically Engineered Food is Safe: No Evidence that GE Crops are Unsafe to Eat, or Do Damage to the Environment

“The inescapable conclusion, after reading the report, is the G.E. crops are pretty much just crops. They are not the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.” — Wayne Parrott a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia.

A two-year analysis of almost 900 journal articles on the past 30 years of genetically modified, or engineered (GE), crop use concludes that there is no evidence that GE crops are unsafe to eat, or do damage to the environment. The 400-page reportGenetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects’ published by the National Academies Press on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. — was conducted by 20 scientists, and commissioned by the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The report looks at the impacts GE crops have had since the 1980s. Its findings include:

  • Generally positive economic outcomes for farmers, but no indication GE crops changed the rate of increase in yields;
  • Decreased crop losses, insecticide use and greater insect biodiversity for insect-resistant Bt crops, but also instances of insects evolving resistance;
  • No decrease in plant biodiversity for herbicide tolerant crops, but a major problem with herbicide-resistant weeds due to heavy glyphosate use;
  • No evidence that foods from GE crops are less safe to eat than conventional food.

Looking to the future of GE crops, the report notes that new genetic technologies are blurring the line between conventional and GE crops, and that the U.S. regulatory system needs to assess crop varieties based on their individual characteristics, not the way they are produced.

Genetically Engineered Food is Safe: No Evidence that GE Crops are Unsafe to Eat, or Do Damage to the Environment

“The inescapable conclusion, after reading the report, is the G.E. crops are pretty much just crops. They are not the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.” — Wayne Parrott a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia.

A two-year analysis of almost 900 journal articles on the past 30 years of genetically modified, or engineered (GE), crop use concludes that there is no evidence that GE crops are unsafe to eat, or do damage to the environment. The 400-page reportGenetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects’ published by the National Academies Press on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. — was conducted by 20 scientists, and commissioned by the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The report looks at the impacts GE crops have had since the 1980s. Its findings include:

  • Generally positive economic outcomes for farmers, but no indication GE crops changed the rate of increase in yields;
  • Decreased crop losses, insecticide use and greater insect biodiversity for insect-resistant Bt crops, but also instances of insects evolving resistance;
  • No decrease in plant biodiversity for herbicide tolerant crops, but a major problem with herbicide-resistant weeds due to heavy glyphosate use;
  • No evidence that foods from GE crops are less safe to eat than conventional food.

Looking to the future of GE crops, the report notes that new genetic technologies are blurring the line between conventional and GE crops, and that the U.S. regulatory system needs to assess crop varieties based on their individual characteristics, not the way they are produced.

Genetically Engineered Food is Safe: No Evidence that GE Crops are Unsafe to Eat, or Do Damage to the Environment

“The inescapable conclusion, after reading the report, is the G.E. crops are pretty much just crops. They are not the panacea that some proponents claim, nor the dreaded monsters that others claim.” — Wayne Parrott a professor of crop and soil sciences at the University of Georgia.

A two-year analysis of almost 900 journal articles on the past 30 years of genetically modified, or engineered (GE), crop use concludes that there is no evidence that GE crops are unsafe to eat, or do damage to the environment. The 400-page reportGenetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects’ published by the National Academies Press on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. — was conducted by 20 scientists, and commissioned by the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The report looks at the impacts GE crops have had since the 1980s. Its findings include:

  • Generally positive economic outcomes for farmers, but no indication GE crops changed the rate of increase in yields;
  • Decreased crop losses, insecticide use and greater insect biodiversity for insect-resistant Bt crops, but also instances of insects evolving resistance;
  • No decrease in plant biodiversity for herbicide tolerant crops, but a major problem with herbicide-resistant weeds due to heavy glyphosate use;
  • No evidence that foods from GE crops are less safe to eat than conventional food.

Looking to the future of GE crops, the report notes that new genetic technologies are blurring the line between conventional and GE crops, and that the U.S. regulatory system needs to assess crop varieties based on their individual characteristics, not the way they are produced.

Pluto: 3.67 Billion Miles From The Sun

Set foot on an alien world, on average three to four billion miles from the warmth of the sun. 

On July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zipped past Pluto, scanning the dwarf planet in unprecedented detail. Using data from that flyby, The New York Times created a seven-minute virtual reality film. Fly over Pluto’s rugged surface, stand among the icy al-Idrisi Mountains and touch down in frost-rimmed Elliot Crater. The film was produced in collaboration with the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Universities Space Research Association.

Pluto: 3.67 Billion Miles From The Sun

Set foot on an alien world, on average three to four billion miles from the warmth of the sun.

On July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zipped past Pluto, scanning the dwarf planet in unprecedented detail. Using data from that flyby, The New York Times created a seven-minute virtual reality film. Fly over Pluto’s rugged surface, stand among the icy al-Idrisi Mountains and touch down in frost-rimmed Elliot Crater. The film was produced in collaboration with the Lunar and Planetary Institute and the Universities Space Research Association.

Moon Shot: A $30 million competition to land a privately funded robot on the moon

The Google Lunar XPRIZE incentivizes space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond.
“It is only with a commercial mindset and commercial technologies that we will achieve a long-term vision of space commercialization and industrialization.” — Peter H. Diamandis, Chairman & CEO of XPRIZE

Created in 2007, the mission of the Google Lunar XPRIZE is to incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond.

The competition’s $30 million prize purse will be awarded to teams who are able to land a privately funded rover on the moon, travel 500 meters, and transmit back high definition video and images.

The first team that successfully completes this mission will be awarded the $20 million Grand Prize. The second team to successfully complete the mission will be awarded $5 million. To win either of these prizes, teams must prove that 90% of their mission costs were funded by private sources. Teams have until the end of 2016 to announce a verified launch contract to remain in the competition and complete their mission by the end of 2017.

Why the Moon? The Moon is not only our nearest neighbor in space, but it is also the gateway to the rest of the universe. Formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago, the Moon provides exciting opportunities for discovery in the fields of science, technology, resource detection and utilization, and human habitation.

Science Projects: The Moon has already impacted the way we think about future exploration through previous discoveries, such as the existence of lava tubes potentially big enough to support a lunar base and the detection of ice at the lunar poles.

All of these discoveries have been made from lunar orbit. Now think of all the exciting research opportunities for scientists if they can have access to the lunar surface!

Abundant Resources: The Moon is a treasure chest of rare metals and other beneficial materials that can be used here on Earth. A successful Google Lunar XPRIZE would result in cost-effective and reliable access to the Moon, allowing for the development of new methods of discovering and using space resources, and in the long-term, helping to expand human civilization into space.

To Infinity and Beyond: The Moon is an essential stepping-stone to the rest of the universe, and the opportunity to learn from our closest neighbor can provide the necessary experience to further humanity’s presence in the solar system and beyond.

Private Exploration: The technologies developed by the Google Lunar XPRIZE teams will further reduce costs and barriers to entry so that private industry can work alongside government agencies and advance lunar exploration.

 Learn more at http://lunar.xprize.org

 

Technology and Machines Create New Jobs

Technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed, says 140 years of data | Business | The Guardian

Study of census results in England and Wales since 1871 finds rise of machines has been a job creator rather than making working humans obsolete. In the 1800s it was the Luddites smashing weaving machines. These days retail staff worry about automatic checkouts. Sooner or later taxi drivers will be fretting over self-driving cars.

The battle between man and machines goes back centuries. Are they taking our jobs? Or are they merely easing our workload? A study by economists at the consultancy Deloitte seeks to shed new light on the relationship between jobs and the rise of technology by trawling through census data for England and Wales going back to 1871.

Their conclusion is unremittingly cheerful: rather than destroying jobs, technology has been a “great job-creating machine”. Findings by Deloitte such as a fourfold rise in bar staff since the 1950s or a surge in the number of hairdressers this century suggest to the authors that technology has increased spending power, therefore creating new demand and new jobs.

Their study, shortlisted for the Society of Business Economists’ Rybczynski prize, argues that the debate has been skewed towards the job-destroying effects of technological change, which are more easily observed than than its creative aspects. 

Going back over past jobs figures paints a more balanced picture, say authors Ian Stewart, Debapratim De and Alex Cole. “The dominant trend is of contracting employment in agriculture and manufacturing being more than offset by rapid growth in the caring, creative, technology and business services sectors,” they write.

“Machines will take on more repetitive and laborious tasks, but seem no closer to eliminating the need for human labour than at any time in the last 150 years.”

The Mark Zuckerberg Donation: Hatred of the Good for Being The Good

A half century ago the famous philosopher Ayn Rand identified the principle that motivates the haters of success. In her essay “The Age of Envy” she called it the “Hatred of the good for being the good”:

Today, we live in the Age of Envy.

“Envy” is not the emotion I have in mind, but it is the clearest manifestation of an emotion that has remained nameless; it is the only element of a complex emotional sum that men have permitted themselves to identify.

Envy is regarded by most people as a petty, superficial emotion and, therefore, it serves as a semihuman cover for so inhuman an emotion that those who feel it seldom dare admit it even to themselves. …That emotion is: hatred of the good for being the good.

This hatred is not resentment against some prescribed view of the good with which one does not agree…. Hatred of the good for being the good means hatred of that which one regards as good by one’s own (conscious or subconscious) judgment. It means hatred of a person for possessing a value or virtue one regards as desirable.

As a concrete illustration of this principle, ponder the envy-filled “progressive” “social justice” warrior Devon Maloney’s response to Zuckerberg’s donation of 45 billion dollars to charity:

Studies have shown that billionaire altruists like Zuckerberg are increasingly directing the course of American science, for example, and can supercharge research that has otherwise been bogged down in public sector and governmental bureaucracy – thus saving thousands if not millions of lives. But it also means that the rich are still effectively buying the future they’d like to see, no matter how selfless their intentions may be.

Apparently they should build a future that Maloney wants to see.

International philanthropy and the western world’s desire to eradicate poverty and disease can’t ever truly rid themselves of their imperialist roots; as many critics have pointed out, the white savior industrial complex has never been more pervasive in global culture. When you have an extra $45bn lying around, nothing you do with that money will come without strings, whether you craft those strings or not. Simply by creating and overseeing the world’s largest social network and one of the most influential corporations on Earth …. Mark Zuckerberg himself continues to reproduce the inequality he and his wife are taking aim at with their pledge. […] if it took Max Chan Zuckerberg’s birth to give her parents the courage and determination to destroy their own ivory tower for the needs of the many, we should all be praying that she’ll get a few more siblings in the coming years.

One wonders what kind of Ivory Tower of envy and hatred Maloney lives in.

Zuckerberg and other entrepreneurial businessmen have the ability to create values (like Facebook) and make money at the same time — Maloney has little or none. Ergo the “white industrial complex/ivory tower” (capitalism) is wrong and must be destroyed.

Quoting from Galt’s Speech in Atlas Shrugged:

They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die; they desire nothing, they hate existence, and they keep running, each trying not to learn that the object of his hatred is himself . . . . They are the essence of evil, they, those anti-living objects who seek, by devouring the world, to fill the selfless zero of their soul. It is not your wealth that they’re after. Theirs is a conspiracy against the mind, which means: against life and man.

Video: Modern Educayshun

Written and Directed by Neel Kolhatkar Modern Educayshun delves into the potential dangers of our increasingly reactionary culture bred by social media and political correctness. According to Neel “the film is the appraisal of science and reason – how extensive political correctness can hinder the pursuit of such values.”

 

Climate Change: The Science is Not Settled

David Siegel has penned an excellent essay over at Medium on What I Learned about Climate Change: The Science is not Settled:

As I started to look at the data and read about climate science, I was surprised, then shocked. As I learned more, I changed my mind. I now think there probably is no climate crisis and that the focus on CO2 takes funding and attention from critical environmental problems. I’ll start by making ten short statements that should challenge your assumptions and then back them up with an essay.

  1. Weather is not climate. There are no studies showing a conclusive link between global warming and increased frequency or intensity of storms, droughts, floods, cold or heat waves.
  2. Natural variation in weather and climate is tremendous. Most of what people call “global warming” is natural, not man-made. The earth is warming, but not quickly, not much, and not lately.
  3. There is tremendous uncertainty as to how the climate really works. Climate models are not yet skillful; predictions are unresolved.
  4. New research shows fluctuations in energy from the sun correlate very strongly with changes in earth’s temperature, better than CO2 levels.
  5. CO2 has very little to do with it. All the decarbonization we can do isn’t going to change the climate much.
  6. There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon dioxide is coming out of your nose right now; it is not a poisonous gas. CO2 concentrations in previous eras have been many times higher than they are today.
  7. Sea level will probably continue to rise — not quickly, and not much. Researchers have found no link between CO2 and sea level.
  8. The Arctic experiences natural variation as well, with some years warmer earlier than others. Polar bear numbers are up, not down. They have more to do with hunting permits than CO2*.
  9. No one has shown any damage to reef or marine systems. Additional man-made CO2 will not likely harm oceans, reef systems, or marine life. Fish are mostly threatened by people, who eat them.
  10. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others are pursuing a political agenda and a PR campaign, not scientific inquiry. There’s a tremendous amount of trickery going on under the surface*.

Could this possibly be right? Is it heresy, or critical thinking — or both? If I’ve upset or confused you, let me guide you through my journey.

Fukushima Findings

Canadian researcher targeted by hate campaign over Fukushima findings – The Globe and Mail

The research by Dr. Cullen and many other scientists has shown that despite the high levels of contamination in Japan, the levels across the Pacific are so low they are difficult to detect. Even in Japan, he says, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation have determined the doses of ionizing radiation “are low enough that there will be no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related illness in them or their descendants.”

Of course this does not fit the narrative of those who think the Fukushima accident has poisoned the Pacific and is responsible for a wave of cancer deaths across North America.

Dr. Cullen said he frequently hears from people that his science simply can’t be right because the Pacific Ocean is dying. It is adrift with tsunami debris and plastic waste and its stocks have been overfished, but it has not been killed by nuclear radiation.

 

BOOKS: Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?

Capitalism Magazine contributor Ron Pisaturo has released a new book called “Masculine Power, Feminine Beauty: The Volitional, Objective Basis for Heterosexuality in Romantic Love and Marriage.”

According to the book description:

This book presents a theory of heterosexual romantic love. The book argues that heterosexuality enables romantic love in a way that integrates with all aspects of a man and woman, including masculine power and feminine beauty. Author Ronald Pisaturo identifies differences between men and women while recognizing the utmost intellectual ability, rationality, and resultant moral virtue possible in equal measure to each sex. He argues that sexual orientation is the result of volition in the same way that other values pertaining to romantic love are volitional: although we do not directly choose our sexual orientation, as we do not directly choose what personality traits will attract us, we do make more basic choices that cause our sexual orientation.

Pisaturo debunks the mainstream theories that “affirm” non-heterosexual orientations, and argues that objective cognition—in particular, the holding of concepts that clearly identify and emphasize sex-specific romantic values—requires that the concept of marriage refer only to man-woman relationships. Moreover, the proper role of government in marriage is as protector of individual rights—of the husband, wife, and their children—not as social engineer for the ‘public good’.

This book offers an objective alternative to the mysticism of religion and the subjectivism of much of modern philosophy, science, and culture.

An overarching theme of the book is that every individual should understand the personal, chosen values that are consistent with his own sexual orientation. The author offers, in good will, this challenge to all readers: “I can explain my sexual orientation. Can you explain yours?”

The book makes many arguments — some we are not sure we agree with — but it looks interesting enough that it deserves a read.

Live Talk on the Science of Morality: Peter Schwartz on the Morality of Egoism

From Voices for Reason – Peter Schwartz on the Morality of Egoism | The Ayn Rand Institute:

When you hear the word selfishness what comes to mind? Typically, selfishness is associated with amoral, predatory behavior. It’s a word used to describe people like Bernard Madoff or Attila the Hun. On the other hand, selflessness is generally celebrated and aligned with friendship and love. In this talk, Peter Schwartz challenges these misconceptions.

Discussing ideas in his new book, In Defense of Selfishness: Why the Code of Self-Sacrifice Is Unjust and Destructive(publication date June 2, 2015), Schwartz offers a radically different view of selfishness and altruism. The rationally selfish individual — he argues — is committed to moral principles and lives an honest, productive, self-respecting life. Schwartz refutes the ethics of self-sacrifice in all its forms and shows that friendship and love are acts, not of self-sacrifice, but of self-interest.

This talk explains why you have a moral right to exist for your own sake, rather than a moral duty to serve the needs of others.

Copies of the book will be available for sale at the talk. Mr. Schwartz will sign books after the talk.

When will Peter be speaking in a city near you?

  • Chicago — June 9. Refreshments begin at 6:30 PM. Talk begins at 7:00 PM at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, 301 East North Water Street, Chicago, IL 60611.
  • New York City — June 10. Refreshments begin at 7:00 PM. Talk begins at 7:30 PM. CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016.
  • San Francisco — June 16. Refreshments begin at 7:00 PM. Talk begins at 7:30 PM at The Bently Reserve, 400 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94111.
  • Irvine — June 17. Doors open at 7:00 PM. Talk begins at 7:30 PM at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa, 3050 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

Take the discussion online with #ARIonTour.

FREE for students. $10 for all others.

Register online. Walk-ins welcome.

Eight Years Later…

From UN scientists warn time is running out to tackle global warming | Environment | The Guardian: (Published in May 2007)

Governments are running out of time to address climate change and to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures, an influential UN panel warned yesterday.

Greater energy efficiency, renewable electricity sources and new technology to dump carbon dioxide underground can all help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the experts said. But there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more.

The warning came in a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published yesterday in Bangkok. It says most of the technology needed to stop climate change in its tracks already exists, but that governments must act quickly to force through changes across all sectors of society. Delays will make the problem more difficult, and more expensive.

Rajendra Pachauri, who chairs the IPCC, said the report would underpin negotiations to develop a new international treaty to regulate emissions to replace the Kyoto protocol when it expires in 2012.

The report said little on the best way to encourage greater take-up of cleaner technologies. A delegate present at the negotiations said the passages on international policy options had been watered down by the US, which is opposed to Kyoto-style agreements that rely on binding targets.

Harlan Watson, head of the US delegation, said the report “highlights the importance of a portfolio of clean energy technologies, consistent with our approach”.

There were also rows about the role of nuclear power, with countries including Spain and Austria opposed to any form of words that endorsed an increase in electricity from nuclear technology.

[…]

Yesterday’s report follows two studies by the IPCC this year, which said unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions could drive global temperatures up as much as 6C by 2100, triggering a surge in ocean levels, destruction of vast numbers of species, economic devastation in tropical zones and mass human migrations.

The report said global emissions must peak by 2015 for the world to have any chance of limiting the expected temperature rise to 2C, which would still leave billions of people short of water by 2050.

Quoting energy expert Alex Epstein “8 years ago, they said we had only 8 years to avoid a climate catastrophe. Climate danger is now at an all-time low.”