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Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution

https://phys.org/news/2017-04-caterpillar-bags-biodegradable-solution-plastic.html

Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution

April 24, 2017

Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution

Scientists have found that a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene: one of the toughest and most used plastics, frequently found clogging up landfill sites in the form of plastic shopping bags.

The wax worm, the larvae of the common insect Galleria mellonella, or greater wax moth, is a scourge of beehives across Europe. In the wild, the worms live as parasites in bee colonies. Wax moths lay their eggs inside hives where the worms hatch and grow on beeswax – hence the name.

A chance discovery occurred when one of the scientific team, Federica Bertocchini, an amateur beekeeper, was removing the parasitic pests from the honeycombs in her hives. The worms were temporarily kept in a typical plastic shopping bag that became riddled with holes.

Bertocchini, from the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria (CSIC), Spain, collaborated with colleagues Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Biochemistry to conduct a timed experiment.

Around a hundred wax worms were exposed to a plastic bag from a UK supermarket. Holes started to appear after just 40 minutes, and after 12 hours there was a reduction in plastic mass of 92mg from the bag.

Scientists say that the degradation rate is extremely fast compared to other recent discoveries, such as bacteria reported last year to biodegrade some plastics at a rate of just 0.13mg a day.

Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution
Plastic biodegraded by 10 worms in 30 minutes. Credit: César Hernández/CSIC

“If a single enzyme is responsible for this chemical process, its reproduction on a large scale using biotechnological methods should be achievable,” said Cambridge’s Paolo Bombelli, first author of the study published today in the journal Current Biology.

“This discovery could be an important tool for helping to get rid of the plastic waste accumulated in and oceans.”

Polyethylene is largely used in packaging, and accounts for 40% of total demand for plastic products across Europe – where up to 38% of plastic is discarded in landfills. People around the world use around a trillion plastic bags every single year.

Generally speaking, plastic is highly resistant to breaking down, and even when it does the smaller pieces choke up ecosystems without degrading. The environmental toll is a heavy one.

Yet nature may provide an answer. The beeswax on which wax worms grow is composed of a highly diverse mixture of lipid compounds: building block molecules of living cells, including fats, oils and some hormones.

While the molecular detail of wax biodegradation requires further investigation, the researchers say it is likely that digesting beeswax and polyethylene involves breaking similar types of chemical bonds.

Caterpillar found to eat shopping bags, suggesting biodegradable solution to plastic pollution
A close-up of wax worm next to biodegraded holes in a polyethylene plastic shopping bag from a UK supermarket as used in the experiment. Credit: Paolo Bombelli

“Wax is a polymer, a sort of ‘natural plastic,’ and has a chemical structure not dissimilar to polyethylene,” said CSIC’s Bertocchini, the study’s lead author.

The researchers conducted spectroscopic analysis to show the in the plastic were breaking. The analysis showed the worms transformed the polyethylene into ethylene glycol, representing un-bonded ‘monomer’ molecules.

To confirm it wasn’t just the chewing mechanism of the caterpillars degrading the plastic, the team mashed up some of the worms and smeared them on polyethylene bags, with similar results.

“The caterpillars are not just eating the plastic without modifying its chemical make-up. We showed that the polymer chains in polyethylene plastic are actually broken by the wax ,” said Bombelli.

“The caterpillar produces something that breaks the chemical bond, perhaps in its salivary glands or a symbiotic bacteria in its gut. The next steps for us will be to try and identify the molecular processes in this reaction and see if we can isolate the enzyme responsible.”

As the molecular details of the process become known, the researchers say it could be used to devise a biotechnological solution on an industrial scale for managing polyethylene waste.

Added Bertocchini: “We are planning to implement this finding into a viable way to get rid of plastic waste, working towards a solution to save our oceans, rivers, and all the environment from the unavoidable consequences of accumulation.”

Explore further: Gut bacteria from a worm can degrade plastic

More information: Current Biology (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.02.060

 

Archaeology shocker: Study claims humans reached the Americas 130,000 years ago

Archaeology shocker: Study claims humans reached the Americas 130,000 years ago

 

Sarah Kaplan

Some 130,000 years ago, scientists say, a mysterious group of ancient people visited the coastline of what is now Southern California.

More than 100,000 years before they were supposed to have arrived in the Americas, these unknown people used five heavy stones to break the bones of a mastodon. They cracked open femurs to suck out the marrow and, using the rocks as hammers, scored deep notches in the bone. When finished, they abandoned the materials in the soft, fine soil; one tusk planted upright in the ground like a single flag in the archaeological record. Then the people vanished.

This is the bold claim put forward by paleontologist Thomas Deméré and his colleagues in a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The researchers say that the scratched-up mastodon fossils and large, chipped stones uncovered during excavation for a San Diego highway more than 20 years ago are evidence of an unknown hominin species, perhaps Homo erectus, Neanderthals, maybe even Homo sapiens.

If Deméré’s analysis is accurate, it would set back the arrival date for hominins in the Americas and suggest that modern humans might not have been the first species to arrive. But the paper has raised skepticism among many researchers who study American prehistory. Several said this is a classic case of an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence — which they argue the Nature paper doesn’t provide.

“You can’t push human activity in the New World back 100,000 years based on evidence as inherently ambiguous as broken bones and nondescript stones,” said David Meltzer, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University. “They need to do a better job showing nature could not be responsible for those bones and stones.”

For decades, discussion of early settlement of the Americas has focused on the tail end of the Ice Age. Most archaeologists agree that humans crossed a land bridge from Asia into Alaska sometime after 25,000 years ago, then either walked between ice sheets or took boats down the Pacific coastline to reach the wide open plains of Pleistocene America roughly 15,000 years before present. Though scientists debated the exact timing of this journey, their estimates differed by hundreds or a few thousand years, not tens of thousands.

“It is a bold claim,” Deméré acknowledged, “an order of magnitude older age than has been suggested.” But he asked his colleagues not to dismiss the research out of hand based only on a number.

“This evidence begs for some explanation,” he said, “and this is the explanation we’ve come up with.”

The rocks and mastodon remains were identified in 1992 by paleontologist Richard Cerutti, a colleague of Deméré’s at the San Diego Museum of Natural History. Cerutti was asked to monitor work on a new freeway south of San Diego in case any important fossils were uncovered.

When Cerutti spotted a broken tusk stuck in the soil overturned by an excavator, he called for a halt in activity and summoned Deméré to the site.

“You’ll want to see this,” Deméré recalled Cerutti saying.

The scientists set up a geographic grid system and began carefully excavating several more stones and bones, plotting each new object on their grid to preserve its location. It took several months to uncover every artifact.

“As the site unfolded over that five month period it became more and more exciting and more puzzling at the same time,” Deméré recalled.

San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontologist Don Swanson pointing at rock fragment near a large horizontal mastodon tusk fragment.© San Diego Natural History Museum San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontologist Don Swanson pointing at rock fragment near a large horizontal mastodon tusk fragment.

The biggest find was a partial skeleton from a single American mastodon. Peculiarly, the largest bones were scarred and broken, but more fragile ribs and vertebrae were still intact. Some of the bones seemed to have been arranged deliberately alongside one another. Many bore the spiral fractures that are a signature of ancient people hammering on fresh bone — either to extract marrow for food or break the bone into tools.

The bones were clustered in groups around a few large, heavy stones known as “cobbles.” The size and makeup of these rocks didn’t match the fine-grained surrounding soil. They bore marks you’d expect to see on a hammer and anvil. Scattered around the site were flakes that seem to have been chipped off the cobbles, as though someone had struck the rocks against another solid object. When held up to their source stones, the flakes fit back into them like pieces of a puzzle.

“It was unusual to say the least … and suggested this was a not a typical paleontological site and we should consider the possibility that we had association of extinct megafauna with humans, or at least early human activity,” Deméré said of the findings.

But it was difficult to figure out how old the site was. Any soft tissue in the fossilized bones had long decayed, so scientists couldn’t use radiocarbon dating to determine their age. They attempted to date fossils using the uranium-thorium method, which measures radioactive decay of uranium. But the technique was not very reliable at the time, so the Cerutti mastodon remained an enigma.

More than a decade later, a mutual friend put Deméré in touch with archaeologist Steve Holen. Holen believes that human history in the Americas dates back much farther than the end of the Ice Age, something he acknowledges is a “minority position” in his field. For several years, he has been examining museum collections and new fossil sites in search of ancient bones that look like they were touched by people.

The breaks on the mastodon fossils looked as though they were human-caused, he said. But to make sure, Holen tried to recreate them using a stone hammer the same size as the one found at the Cerutti site and the skeleton of an elephant that had been recently buried.

“The bone was extremely fresh and smelled very bad,” Holen said of that experiment. “I almost wished I wasn’t doing this.” It took all of Holen’s effort — and the help of a younger, stronger colleague — to break the bones. When they succeeded, they recognized the same breakage patterns as the ones found on the fossils. There’s no evidence that anyone hunted or butchered the mastodon for meat, but it definitely seemed to him like some human or human cousin had cracked the bones.

“Once you do the experiment then you really can understand this much better,” Holen said.

The surface of mastodon bone showing half impact notch on a segment of femur.© Tom Deméré, San Diego Natural History Museum The surface of mastodon bone showing half impact notch on a segment of femur.

Next the team reached out to geochronologist James Paces, who retried the now much-improved uranium-thorium dating technique on the bones. He concluded that they are 130,000 years old, give or take 9,400. This date corresponds with the accepted age of the layer of rock in which the bones and cobbles were found.

But it far exceeds any established date for settlement of the Americas. The oldest biological remains from any humans on the continent is a coprolite (fossilized poop) from 14,300 years ago. Studies based on genetic analysis of modern Native Americans suggest that humans didn’t make it over the land bridge that once linked northeast Asia to Alaska until 25,000 years ago.

If the stones and bones really are evidence of people, then who were they? How did they get to this part of the world so long ago? And why haven’t we found other evidence of their presence? Did they die out not long after they arrived?

A boulder discovered at the Cerutti Mastodon site thought to have been used by early humans as a hammerstone.© Tom Deméré, San Diego Natural History Museum A boulder discovered at the Cerutti Mastodon site thought to have been used by early humans as a hammerstone.

Because there are no hominin remains at the site, and rock hammer technology was used by many hominin species, the scientists caution that discussion of the identity of these people is purely speculative. In a supplement to their Nature paper, they say the Cerutti people may have been Neanderthals, Denisovans (a species known only from a few fragments found in a cave in northern Siberia), or members of the species Homo erectus. It seems unlikely that they were Homo sapiens — anatomically modern humans didn’t migrate out of Africa until after 100,000 years ago, according to most estimates.

As for how they got here, Deméré said they may have been able to cross the land bridge before the last ice age, when the planet warmed and sea levels rose. Other species migrated to the Americas in this period, Deméré said, and the hominins may have followed them over.

Otherwise, the first Americans could have used boats to cross the Bering Strait, and then scoot down the Pacific coast — archaeological finds on the Mediterranean island of Crete suggest that hominins were able to cross the sea via boat more than 100,000 years ago.

To some who study American prehistory, this interpretation of the Cerutti site beggars belief. Meltzer called the claim “grandiose.” Donald Grayson, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Washington, noted that history is rife with examples of scientists misinterpreting strange markings on stone as evidence of human activity. He pointed to the Calico Hills site in the Mojave Desert, which the archaeologist Louis Leakey believed contained 200,000-year-old stone tools. Subsequent studies have largely discredited Leakey’s claim — the apparent tools were most likely “geofacts,” natural stone formations that only look like they were crafted by humans.

Some of the fossil bones and rocks found at the Cerutti mastodon site.© San Diego Natural History Museum Some of the fossil bones and rocks found at the Cerutti mastodon site.

“It is one thing to show that broken bones and modified rocks could have been produced by people, which Holen and his colleagues have done,” Grayson said. “It is quite another to show that people, and people alone, could have produced those modifications. This, Holen [has] most certainly not done, making this a very easy claim to dismiss.”

Mike Waters, the director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M, also criticized the claim. To convince him that people were in the Americas so much earlier before the first physical evidence of their remains, he would expect to see “unequivocal stone artifacts,” he said. He doesn’t think the cobbles found at the Cerutti mastodon site meet that standard.

Rick Potts, the director of the Human Origins Program at the National Museum of Natural History, was more measured in his appraisal. Though he thought the team’s analysis of the bones and stones was thorough, he pointed out a few oddities about the site. For one, it’s unusual that people would use hammer stones to process bones but not any sharp-edged tools, even though that technology had been around for more than a million years. For another, as he pointed out, the mastodon’s molars were also crushed, and there’s no reason he can think of that humans would crack the huge teeth. If those teeth were broken by natural forces, then perhaps the rest of the bones were too.

“It’s not a solid case,” Potts said, “but my goodness it’s a compelling one.”

Briana Pobiner, a paleoanthropologist at NMNH who specializes in studying tooth and tool marks on ancient bones, agreed.

“It’s funny because when I first started reading the paper I didn’t see the extra zero and I thought, ‘oh, 13,000 years, this sounds good,'” Pobiner said. “And then I saw the extra zero and I thought, ‘Holy cow!’”

Pobiner acknowledged that the Cerutti site contains less archaeological evidence than scientists would like before making a claim of this magnitude. But as someone who has spent her whole career looking at scratch marks and breakage patterns on bones, the evidence looks to her like it could be human modification.

Deméré said that he and his colleagues considered possible alternate explanations, but none seemed to fit. Trampling by another large animal would not produce those breakage patterns, they concluded. And environmental forces, like a powerful flood, would have broken the smaller, more fragile bones as well as the big one. Holen added that the rock layer in which the artifacts were found is largely intact — it does not seem to have been subject to disturbances like earthquakes or upheavals that would make the site more difficult to interpret.

Erella Hovers, an archaeologist at Hebrew University in Jerusalem who reviewed the paper and wrote an analysis of it for Nature, said she thought the researchers did a thorough job of ruling out natural causes of the particular breakage patterns. She added that the evidence looks much like archaeological sites she has studied in Africa and the Middle East; if the same site was found in that part of the world, she said, people would have fewer questions about it.

The Cerutti site researchers expect to face scrutiny from his colleagues about the paper. That is partly why they have made 3-D images of the mastodon fossils available online.

“I think the models are important in terms of supporting the paper because they allow anyone to look at this evidence in much the same way the co-authors did,” co-author Adam Rountrey, collection manager at the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology, said in a statement. “It’s fine to be skeptical, but look at the evidence and judge for yourself. That’s what we’re trying to encourage by making these models available.”

The scientists also hope that their paper will prompt their colleagues to take a closer look at this period in American history. Perhaps they will find more evidence of hominin presence, bolstering the Cerutti researchers’ claim. Or perhaps the mastodon site is a fluke — or a mistake — and they will find nothing at all.

“The thing to remember is it’s a beginning to a new line of inquiry. It doesn’t solve anything,” said Hovers. “It asks new questions.”

A Bedtime Story For Gilad

Interesting story/hypothesis:

Image result for pagan tribe yemen one god

By Taxi

https://platosguns.com/2017/04/16/bedtime-story-for-gilad/ 

In a recently published article, Gilad Atzmon wondered where the concepts of ‘chosenness’ and a ‘vengeful god’ come from.  Here below, I posit a plausible answer to his poignant questions.

*   *   *   *   *   *

Imagine it’s four thousand years ago and you are the chief elder of a small pagan tribe living in what is now known as Yemen.  You have chosen to pitch your tribe’s tents near an oasis that’s also shared by, say, half a dozen small Arab pagan tribes.  Paganism, with its orgiastic sexual promiscuity, its lawless blood-sacrifices and hyper-irrational superstitions is the zeitgeist of the day – and you, as tribe leader are becoming more concerned for the safety of your tribe because the new four-horned pagan god of your nearest neighbor’s tribe is an aggressive god who instructs his worshipers to raid and kill what they can by night to appease him.  You stoically start to wonder how best you can insure your tribe’s safety: you spend all day performing pagan protection rituals and prayers; and your nights you spend sleepless in nerve-knotting anxiety: over-thinking everything and hitting one mental wall after the other in search of a solution to your security crisis.

 

Soon, you’re worn down emotionally and mentally and crippled by anguish and despair.

Soon, the fears within you multiply causing you bouts of melancholia and paranoia and loss of appetite.  You look everywhere but you can find no reprieve from your laden mental agony and exhaustion.  So profound, intense and unbearable is your solitary anguish that you begin to doubt the protective powers of the very pagan gods you yourself worship.  Doubting your gods thus day and night, you soon enough therefore decide that you are no longer a pagan: that worshiping effigies and natural phenomenon and inane objects has never produced any reliable results anyway; and has certainly not guaranteed you safety, especially when as a wandering tribe in the past, you had been repeatedly ambushed and your animals and half your women were dragged off away by brutal raiders.  Yes, you fully realize that paganism is futility itself.  You feel strange but brilliantly liberated to shed the mantle of paganism.  You look around you and you start to see pagan folks as inferior, as physically uninhibited but mentally enslaved.  You are thrilled by your internal discoveries, but this euphoria is soon shot down when you realize that you now have a much bigger problem:  what do you next worship?

You’ve killed off your old pagan gods and you need to fill the void with something… something?… yes, something… something that would be… even… better – even bigger and scarier than anyone can ever imagine!  Well, you have to think super big so you can sell why you dumped the old gods to your cynical brother and to others in the tribe.  Domestically, your tribe folk absolutely need ‘stuff’ to worship; and foreign policy wise, your neighboring tribes are always curious to know what ritual you performed, whether it worked or not, and you have to be able to convincingly accommodate this normal pagan curiosity, otherwise they would view your tribe as unconventional and shrouded in dark secrecy; they will accuse you of nefarious and antisocial activities; they will spread ugly rumors about you and your tribe; they will disown all previous trade deals with you; exclude you from important regional social events, and humiliate you by calling you a godless crackpot and a feeble tribal chief: which in turn would invite violent raids and unwanted hostility – the very thing you’re desperate to avoid.

You sit under stars alone outside your tent and wonder what kind of new gods you can kneel to, impressive gods unlike any other in the pagan world around you.  But… where, where on earth does one find such a mighty and hidden collection of gods, you ask yourself.  You find no answer to this question, hard as you try, and so you think to yourself: perhaps I can start by finding the first god and when that’s done, I can be looking for the next one and so on and so forth.  It seems like an awful lot of mental work is ahead of you and you despair at the impossible challenges you’ve entangled yourself in.  Then it hits you!  All you really need is ONE GOD!  ONE GOD!  Only one!  A god who is so imbibed with mystery and magic and might that he works from a grand and fantastic invisible realm – a god who is absolutely everywhere, yet unseen by the human eye as his face is too powerful for a human to behold without causing injury and even death to the beholder: for you, there’s no more praying to multiple silly effigies anymore (yet ironically, you still believe in paganistic magic).

You start to think that this conjured ONE GOD of yours is so very powerful, by far more powerful than any and all pagan gods in this desert and the next – more than that, your god is the very creator of everything, creator of the dead and the living, creator of even every single pagan god on earth!  Yes, these are the foundational qualities of your new god.  Yes, you will now mentally toil to tailor-make this hybrid ONE GOD of yours: adding to him, polishing here, trimming there, exaggerating where you can, even plagiarizing from other pagan gods’ cloth and promises that please worshipers – hoping also that this preoccupation with god-making that now has you completely occupied will help mentally distract you and reduce your random bouts of paranoia.  But it doesn’t.  You spend half your time fine-tuning your ONE GOD model and the other half wrestling with terrible sun-stroked mirages of blood and visions of perpetual demonic genocide.  Yet despite all this, you finish the task of creating your ONE GOD.

You tell yourself that your ONE GOD is the best idea you’ve ever had in your long life – you’re blown away by your own creative endeavors – you’re giddy with joy that you’ve finally solved your religious problem.  But… you still need to figure out a way to get this ONE GOD to provide you with security for your tribe, especially that some of your neighbors might be skeptical and worse: offended that you’re declaring their gods are nothing more than the small children of your ONE GOD, that their gods are merely created and not powerful creators themselves; that your ONE GOD can snuff them out any time he pleases: being their creator and all.  You know that this kind of religious offense will attract unrelenting brutal violence towards you and your tribe from pagan zealots – maybe your offended neighbor tribes will conspire against you and together set your tents on fire while you sleep: burning you and your tribe into a pile of charred bones and ending your rogue bloodline for once and for all: genociding you completely with no mercy and no remorse.  You shudder at the thought of a torturous death and the savage annihilation of your tribe.  You cannot bear the thought of causing and helplessly witnessing such an event.  This becomes your darkest pathological fear and very quickly you become deeply haunted and terrorized by hellish scenarios of gruesome mass murder.  Killing the pagan gods seems to have now led you to the dark night of soul itself, but you know with absolute certainty that there is no returning to the failed pagan gods.  There is nowhere else to go to except forward with the ONE GOD concept, despite its dangers and its predatory shadows that torment you.

Under a scorching sun, you walk alone burdened and still looking for the answer to your impossible security problem.  There are so few of your tribesmen and you cannot raise an army large enough to defend your new ONE GOD concept against a whole region of pagans, numbered in the hundreds of thousands.  No, no human army can help, you tell yourself, but… a supernatural bag of curses will certainly work wonders on the superstitious pagan mind.  Yes!  You know this for a fact because you are an ex pagan.  Threats of colossal and deadly retribution from your ONE GOD will stop any pagan in their tracks and make them think twice before attacking you.  Yes, this is it: your invisible ONE GOD’s wrath will be your valiant shield, your indestructible army!  And you have just the perfect sales pitch for it!

First, you will assemble the neighboring tribes and yours too.  You will tell them all that at great risk to your own life, you would like to share with them a most unusual religious experience you’ve recently had.  You will tell them a beautiful story about how a new god visited you when you were walking the desert alone; that this god is the most wondrous and kind and helpful of all gods; that this god claims sole reign over all existing pagan gods; and that those who follow him will each be given a true heaven all to themselves as reward.  You will spin and exaggerate all the positive aspects of this ONE GOD, you will wax lyrical about his beauty and his astonishing divine powers.  You will say that this new messianic god has arrived to save mankind from illness and poverty and suffering, that if men followed this ONE GOD, they too will live in eternal wealth, security and physical and spiritual fulfillment.

Immediately after you’ve disarmed your skeptical listeners through the power of poetry and promises of utopia, after you’ve buttered them up nicely with rare sweet honey, you will then proceed to tell them, with soulful tears in your eyes, that this new ONE GOD has chosen you and your bloodline to be the very first followers: divinely privileged above all others and favored till eternity.  With earnest conviction you announce to your riveted audience that the ONE GOD has promised to generously reward and bless all those who help you.  You watch your listeners’ eyes now widen with wonderment before you quickly dim the light in your speech.  You clench a fist and crease your brows in sudden anger and forewarn them that your ONE GOD has also darkly vowed to utterly smite all those who injure you!  You will firmly and bleakly caution your listeners: you will tell them your ONE GOD works in such mysterious and powerful ways that anyone resisting your message from him tonight will go to sleep and never wake again – that your ONE GOD is capable of killing whole tribes in the same second by merely thinking it.  You basically put the fear of god into the hearts of pagan men.

This threat of imminent death will play havoc with any riddled-with-superstition pagan mind – nobody now would dare threaten or question you.  But you know that you still need to do more convincing – long term persuasion is necessary.  So, to re-enforce your ONE GOD declaration and warnings, to back up your fantastical claims, you will wait a couple of days after your confessional then pick a petty public fight with your drunken, deadbeat nephew.  He will insult you in public and you will later poison his drink in secret under the cloak of moon; and when he is found all contorted and dead the following morning, you will point at his pitiful corpse and in horror cry: my God did this!  My ONE GOD did this!  You will raise your head and arms to the sky and declare thus divine proof of your vengeful god’s existence.  You will do this again several times over: you will nefariously incite then murder a couple of travelers, and also poison the doubting wife of the tribal chief whose pagan god has four horns.  And so the word about your ONE GOD and his astoundingly devastating powers will henceforth spread among other tribes, who will either subsequently follow you, or else leave you alone in peace: fearing your ONE GOD’s deadly vengeance.

And so it was that you would have created for yourself a way out of failed paganism and its religious wasteland; you would have created the most powerful god in the history of mankind and made yourself high priest; created the first mental weapon of mass destruction; and also you would have created definitive tribal security, provided by no less than, God, himself.

Next, being a nomadic trader at heart, you will seek ways to acquire gold and riches using your very own and successful ONE GOD brand name.  You will declare that all your blessings are personal gifts from the ONE GOD – that he enriches you because you were chosen by him to be his very first follower – that whoever becomes a faithful follower like you, he too will receive the title of ‘chosen’ with all its divine and extravagant advantages.  New followers from other tribes are seduced and begin to join your ONE GOD world order. You tax them for teaching them hundreds of new prayers and other religious rituals – you make yourself a fortune as high priest.

Your tribe becomes wealthy and feared – you and every single member of your tribe soon become rich elites in ancient pagan Arabia.  Your grandiose scam you would eventually share on your deathbed with your closest family members; but after you die, they will swear to secrecy and never utter a word of it to anyone.  Your fabricated ONE GOD story would thus continue and evolve and soon enough become a rooted religious system: all based on your self-appointed claims of being chosen by the ONE GOD who will mercilessly and brutally punish your enemies and protect you, and only you, the chosen, for eternity.

1958: Mike Wallace Interview With Donald Keyhoe On UFOs And Censorship

For historical interest and reference. Fascinating interview:

Keyhoe was famously cut off during an interview on television in the early 50’s (referenced in this later interview). The UFO research organisation NICAP, which Keyhoe led, had CIA operatives hidden within the ranks, as the Freedom of Information Act has since revealed. The CIA took a keen interest in UFO groups both as a means of psychological manipulation of public perceptions, and as a handy cover for flights of  clandestine air technology, such as the U2 spyplane and various experimental exotic aircraft. In other words, disinformation.

Keyhoe presents himself as a calm, well spoken man with a thoughtful, logical approach to what was at the time, a very new and perplexing phenomenon.

The Truth About Popular Culture: Infowars

Every time I switch on the TV it’s obvious as far as I’m concerned. Even the News is becoming dumber and trashier.

Opinions, people?

From The 1950’s: Frank Lloyd Wright Interview

As an interesting diversion from current events, readers might be interested in this fascinating interview with one of the most extraordinary minds of the Twentieth Century: Architect, socialist and maverick, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Wright was 88 when this interview took place in the 1950s and clearly still possessed a sharp mind. In fact the program was extended to double it’s usual 25 minute slot as there was so much material to cover.

Also fascinating in historical context (note the shameless cigarette advertising and Wright’s disdainful reaction!).

Enjoy.

 

Russian Foreign Ministry’s Epic April Fool’s Day Prank

This is a Classic! Funniest part is that AP had to check if it was a joke or not!:

 

Russia is known for many things—communism, vodka and bizarre dancing, for starters—but one thing Russia is not well-known for is its sense of humor. Perhaps that’s about to change.

In what could go down as one of the most interesting April Fools’ Day pranks of all time, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted on its Facebook page an audio file that supposedly showed the agency’s new switchboard message.

The message begins with, “You have reached the Russian Embassy. Your call is very important to us.”

“To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent, press 1,” the recording continues (in both English and Russian). Users are then instructed to “press 2” in order “to use the services of Russian hackers.” For “election interference” requests, “press 3.”

The Associated Press reports—because, apparently, AP felt the need to check—it was able to confirm the recording was meant as a “joke.”

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized those in the United States who continue to play the “Russian card” to score political points, alluding to the Democratic Party. He also called the accusations of election interference made against his government “endless and groundless,” according to a report by CBS News.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/04/01/russia-trolls-democratic-party-in-epic-april-fools-day-prank/

Anarchy In the UK, But Trumps’ OK!

Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon has revealed himself to be a supporter of Brexit and defender of Donald Trump, saying the US President was definitely not racist and could even be a “possible friend”.

The man known by his former stage name Johnny Rotten, who once wrote the now aptly-named ‘Anarchy in the UK’, also described Nigel Farage as “fantastic”.

“Where do I stand on Brexit?” he asked during an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. “Well, here it goes, the working class have spoke and I’m one of them and I’m with them.”

On Mr Trump, the 61-year-old singer said he was a “complicated fellow” who had been “smeared” by the “left-wing media”.

“One journalist once said to me, is he the political Sex Pistol? In a way.

I dislike is the left-wing media in America are trying to smear the bloke as a racist and that’s completely not true.

“There are many, many problems with him as a human being but he’s not that and there just might be a chance something good will come out of that situation because he terrifies politicians.

“This is a joy to behold for me. Dare I say, [he could be] a possible friend.”

Lydon was correct to link class to the Brexit vote, as research conducted after the June referendum found areas with higher levels of people from the DE social class also recorded higher ‘Leave’ votes.

Only three of the top 50 areas with the highest share of people from DE class backgrounds – which includes semi-skilled or unskilled labour and pensioners – voted to Remain.

Mr Farage caught the attention of Lydon after a stunt on the River Thames involving Bob Geldof, the former Ukip leader and a ‘Brexit flotilla’ comprising 60 vessels.

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