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A sixteen year old girl in Gaza has discovered a way to overcome chronic power shortages, by constructing a device that can generate electricity from the heat of candles.

Hwaairfan's Blog

Gaza Teen Uses Candle Heat to Generate Electricity*

A sixteen year old girl in Gaza has discovered a way to overcome chronic power shortages, by constructing a device that can generate electricity from the heat of candles.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA ) said that electricity blackouts were triggered when the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) shut down completely in April, having exhausted its fuel reserves due to a shortage of funds. The OCHA said that the blackouts lasted for 18-30 hours a day.

RT reports:

Faced with regular blackouts, Shahd Abu Lebda, 16, told New China TV that she

“depends on the principle that ‘a person in need will find a way’ – which pushed me towards inventing a device that generates electric charges for smart mobile phones from the energy of heat that comes from candles.”

The teen started the project after attending a course…

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The Toxins Return

Directed by Inge Altmeier and Reinhard Hornung (2009)

Film Review

The Toxins Return is a German documentary about the failure of western governments to regulate the toxic chemicals present in their imports from third world countries.

Most of the film focuses on textiles. Textile manufacturing has virtually collapsed in the developed world, with most multinational corporations moving  their factories to Asian countries that pay sweat shop wages. Unsurprisingly these third world countries also make no effort to regulate the toxic chemicals used to bleach, “soften” and dye these textiles – nor the toxic pesticides used to protect them from insect pests during their long journey to the industrialized world.

Organophosphates, organochlorine compounds and methyl bromide*, toxic chemicals long banned in the EU (but not in the US), are used routinely in China and India, where 90% of European textiles are produced. Most third world textile workers survive at most two years in the industry before they become too ill with work.

Meanwhile German workers who come in direct contact with the shipping containers and/or textiles are also at high risk of developing chronic occupational illnesses.

One-fifth of shipping containers that enter through the Hamburg port are found to contain toxic gasses. In Hamburg, customs workers have special instruments to detect toxic gasses before the containers are opened. Yet only a minority of textile containers are opened in Hamburg. Most on on-shipped by train to the Czech Republic for opening and redistribution of the goods they contain.

The Czech Republic has no protocol in place to protect their workers from toxic shipping containers. Although the EU has laws regulating toxic imports, there is virtually no mechanism in place for enforcing them.

The last third of the documentary examines the toxic chemicals Chinese companies use in children’s toys. Although phthalates (chemicals used to soften plastic toys) have been banned in the EU for more than a decade, all German children tested in a three year study continued to excrete phthalates in their urine (from  exposure to imported toys). Phthalates are known to cause reproductive cancers and low sperm counts.

Update: Although the film is eight years, there seems to be little progress in regulating the toxins we are exposed to in imported textiles. See Health Risks in International Container and Bulk Cargo Transport Due to Volatile Toxic Compounds

Progress seems to be somewhat better in terms of phthalates. Last year the US banned six phthalates in toys (including imports) children are likely to put in their month (though the enforcement mechanism is unclear) – see Phalates Information

The EU, meanwhile is proposing a total ban on all phthalates.


*The US ban on methyl bromide only extends to indoor use.

 

Julian Assange could be a free man soon as it was reported that the United Nations rejected UK appeal.

The United Nations has dealt a bitter blow to the UK government, ordering them to immediately release Julian Assange from his “illegal detention”.

The UN rejected a UK appeal against its previous ruling in favor of Assange as “inadmissible,” which means that both the UK and Sweden will be forced to free the WikiLeaks founder with immediate effect.

“Now that all appeals are exhausted, I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free,” Julian Assange said in a statement.

Source: Bombshell: UN Orders immediate release of Julian Assange – Mirrorspectrum

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A study out of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California has demonstrated that the psychoactive compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), removes clumps of proteins from nerve cells which are believed to kick-start Alzheimer’s disease.

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Anna Hunt, Staff Writer
Waking Times

A study out of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California has demonstrated that the psychoactive compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), removes clumps of proteins from nerve cells which are believed to kick-start Alzheimer’s disease.

Scientists continue to struggle when it comes to preventing and treating Alzheimer’s. The illness affects about 50 million people worldwide. It is believed to result from a build-up of two types of substances in the brain’s nerve tissue. The first are amyloid beta proteins that clump together between the neurons. The second are neurofibrillary tangles that form inside the neurons due to defective tau proteins that have clumped together.

The recent medical study now offers hope for a possible treatment of Alzheimer’s patients. It reveals that THC aides in the removal of amyloid beta proteins that have accumulated between the neurons.

“Although other studies have offered evidence that…

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While the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) appears to be dead [1] and negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) stalled [2], another similar corporate trade deal still in the making – the Trade in Services Agreement or TiSA – maintains significant threats for essential protections for people and planet.

Hwaairfan's Blog

Secret TISA Trade Deal Equally as Dangerous as TPP and TTIP*

By Friends of the Earth

While the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) appears to be dead [1] and negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) stalled [2], another similar corporate trade deal still in the making – the Trade in Services Agreement or TiSA – maintains significant threats for essential protections for people and planet.

New comparative analysis carried out by Friends of the Earth International about the mechanisms and likely impacts of these three ‘new generation’ trade agreements highlight the dangerous complementarity of the TPP-TTIP-TiSA trade trio. It calls for further mobilisation against corporate-led trade deals in the making in particular TiSA.

Friends of the Earth International’s trade campaigner Sam Cossar-Gilbert said:

“While the TPP has been much more hyped about than the secretive TiSA talks, our findings show that both deals would threaten hard won rights for citizens and the environment in a very similar way. It would be hypocritical…

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by Greg Palast for Truthout

 

There’s been so much complete nonsense since I first broke the news that the Green Party would file for a recount of the presidential vote, I am compelled to write a short guide to flush out the BS and get to just the facts, ma’am.

Nope, they’re not hunting for Russian hackers

To begin with, the main work of the recount hasn’t a damn thing to do with finding out if the software programs for the voting machines have been hacked, whether by Putin’s agents or some guy in a cave flipping your vote from Hillary to The Donald.

The Green team does not yet even have the right to get into the codes. But that’s just not the core of the work.

The ballots in the electoral “dumpster”

The nasty little secret of US elections, is that we don’t count all the votes.

In Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania—and all over America—there were a massive number of votes that were simply rejected, invalidated, and spoiled. They were simply, not counted.  Officially, in a typical presidential election, at least three million votes end up rejected, often for picayune, absurd reasons.

The rejects fall into three big categories:  provisional ballots rejected, absentee and mail-in ballots invalidated and in-precinct votes “spoiled,” spit out by a machine or thrown out by a human reader as unreadable or mis-marked.
So, as Robert Fitrakis, lead lawyer for the recount tells me, their first job is to pull the votes out of the electoral dumpster—and, one by one, make the case for counting a rejected provisional, absentee or “spoiled” ballot.

Spoiled:  over-votes and under-votes

How does a vote spoil? Most fall in the categories of “over-votes” and “under-votes.”

In Michigan, the Green team has found a whole lot of people who voted for TWO candidates for President.  These are the “over-vote”—votes that will count for neither candidate.

How odd.  While the schools in Detroit are not stellar, its graduates do know that they can only have one president.
Then, some folks didn’t vote at all.  They are the “under-voter.”

But, Fitrakis and team suspect, many of these under- and over-voters meant to vote for a candidate but the robot reader couldn’t understand their choice.

Here’s how it happens.  Voters in Michigan and Wisconsin fill in bubbles next to their choice.  The cards, filled up with darkened bubbles for each race, are gathered and fed through an “optical scanner.” These robotic eyeballs mess up all the time.

This is what Fitrakis, an old hand at vote-machine failures (both deliberate and benign), calls “the calibration problem.”

Are machines calibrated with a Republican or Democratic bias? No, that’s not how it works. But just as poor areas get the worst schools and hospitals, they also get the worst voting machines.

The key is an ugly statistic not taught in third grade civics class:  According to the US Civil Rights Commission, the chance your vote will be disqualified as “spoiled” is 900% more likely if you’re Black than if you’re white.

So the Green Party intends to review every single one of the six million bubble-filled cards. They’ll use the one instrument that can easily tell one bubble from two, or one bubble from none: the human eye.

As you can imagine, This will require several thousand eyes.  The good news is, Fitrakis reports, that well over a thousand volunteers have already signed up.  Training by Skype begins Tuesday morning. . .


Read on: The No-BS Inside Guide to the Presidential Recount Sorry, no Russian hacker hunt

Oil Going To $70 By July (Video)

Posted: November 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Oil prices have surged by 8% as OPEC agrees to cut back production.

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By EconMatters


We discuss where Oil is headed over the next six months and how producers might want to buy back their hedges before they start losing money big time above $54 a barrel. Producers could lose big on all those hedges they thought were their friend in the oil market!

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