Tag Archives: united-states

Pole Camera Surveillance Under the Fourth Amendment …

Posted: December 10, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Placing a video camera on a utility pole and conducting surveillance can be a useful law enforcement tool to gather information without requiring an in-person presence by officers at all times. But this tool may be subject to the Fourth Amendment restrictions. This post reviews the evolving case law, particularly since the United States Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012).

Jeff Welty in a 2013 post reviewed video surveillance generally, not just pole cameras, and discussed Jones and the few cases decided in light of its ruling. This post, after reviewing Jones, will discuss a few pole camera cases decided in federal courts since his post and whether officers should seek approval from a court before conducting pole camera surveillance.

United States v. Jones. Officers installed a GPS device without a valid search warrant on a suspected drug-traffickers vehicle and then tracked the vehicles movements for about four weeks. The holding of Jones was that the installation of the GPS tracking device on a suspects vehicle was a Fourth Amendment search because it involved a physical intrusion (a trespass) into the vehicle for the purpose of obtaining information. In addition, five Justices (the four who joined Justice Alitos concurrence in the judgment plus Justice Sotomayor, who also had joined the Courts opinion) expressed the view that prolonged GPS monitoring intrudes upon a suspects reasonable expectation of privacy and is a search under the Fourth Amendment. These Justices reasoned that although short-term monitoring of a suspects movement on the public roads may not intrude upon a reasonable expectation of privacy, long-term monitoring generates so much information about a suspects movements and activities that the aggregate effect is an invasion of privacy.

Although Jones involved tracking a suspects movements, it could be used to support a broader argument about long-term electronic surveillance. One could contend that under Jones, while officers are free to observe a suspects residence from the public streets or a neighbors property to see who comes and goes, permanent round-the-clock video surveillance is substantially more intrusive and constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment.

Post-Jones cases on pole camera surveillance. The Jones ruling revived the trespass theory in Fourth Amendment analysis concerning what constitutes a search, so the trespass theory and the separate reasonable expectation of privacy theory both must be considered in appropriate cases.

Trespass theory. All the cases that have considered the issue have rejected a defendants argument based on the trespass theory that the installation of the camera was a trespass under Jones, because in most cases the utility pole is not on the defendants property or, even it is located there, the utility had an easement to access the pole as needed. United States v. Nowka, 2012 WL 6610879 (N.D. Ala. 2012); United States v. Root, 2014 WL 4715874 (E.D. Wash. 2014); United States v. Wymer, 40 F. Supp.3d 933 (N.D. Ohio 2014).

Reasonable expectation of privacy theory. I have found one post-Jones cases that ruled that warrantless pole camera surveillance violated the Fourth Amendment under the reasonable expectation of privacy theory. That case is Shafer v. City of Boulder, 896 F. Supp. 915 (D. Nev. 2012), where a pole camera surveilled the defendants backyard without a search warrant for 24 hours a day for 56 days, and the camera was long-range, infrared, and waterproof. The defendants backyard was protected by a solid fence and within the homes curtilage. The court cited two pre-Jones cases in support of its ruling, but not Jones, probably because it was unnecessary to do so based on the facts.

Most of the cases have ruled that warrantless pole camera surveillance did not violate the Fourth Amendment under the reasonable expectation of privacy theory. For example, a recent federal appellate case, United States v. Houston, 813 F.3d 282 (6th Cir. 2016), found that ten weeks surveillance with a camera installed on a utility pole about 200 yards from a trailer used as a residence on a farm did not violate a residents reasonable expectation of privacy because the camera recorded the same view of the residence as that enjoyed by people on nearby public roads. The court believed that the Jones case did not require a different result. Interestingly, a concurring opinion in Houston believed that Jones required the officers to obtain a search warrant.

A few case have upheld surveillance with reservations, being bound by prior pre-Jones precedents. See, e.g., United States v. Garcia-Gonzalez, 2015 WL 5145537 (D. Mass. 2015).

There have been no North Carolina appellate court or United States Supreme Court cases on pole camera surveillance since Jones.

Advice to officers. Nothing in Jones or lower court cases after Jones calls into question the use of surveillance cameras that are focused on public streets, parks, and other public areas. For example, if drug activity is commonplace at a particular intersection, the Fourth Amendment does not preclude placing a surveillance camera on a light pole facing that intersection.

It would not be surprising if in the relatively near future the United States Supreme Court decides a case on pole camera surveillance, and there is a reasonable probability that the Court might rule that extensive video surveillance of a residence requires a search warrant or its functional equivalent, such as a court order. Of course, predicting future Court rulings is highly speculative and subject to reasonable disagreement.

In the meantime, a cautious officer may wish to seek a court order authorizing the use of a pole camera directed at a residence or at least consult with the officers agencys legal advisor or a prosecutor before deciding not to do so. No case or statute sets out the proper procedure for obtaining such an order, but it likely would be similar to obtaining a search warrant or other investigative court order that could be sought ex parte and would need to be supported by an affidavit establishing probable cause. If a court order is sought, the order might limit pole camera surveillance to a relatively short period, such as 30 days, and apply again if additional surveillance is needed.

View post:
Pole Camera Surveillance Under the Fourth Amendment …

Posted in Fourth Amendment | Comments Off on Pole Camera Surveillance Under the Fourth Amendment …

THE NEW CHAIN REACTION – Game Show Utopia

Posted: December 7, 2016 at 8:08 am

AIRDATES

United States: September 29, 1986- December 27, 1991 Canada: 1986-1991 (Exact dates unknown, but Canadian broadcasts began several months earlier than American broadcasts)

NETWORK(S)

United States: USA Network Canada: Global

ANNOUNCER(S)

Rod Chalabois

Produced by

Bob Stewart-Sande Stewart Productions

The game is

Geoff, having tested the waters as a substitute host for Bill Cullen in 1980, got the Chain Reaction emcee gig full-time with this version.

Two teams of two players compete. The teams face a seven-word chain, with the first & last words already revealed, and the middle five words completely hidden. For example, connect the word CONFORM to the word TICKET

If something is made to CONFORM, it’s made to FIT. A healthy person stays FIT and TRIM. To make meat more nutritional, you may TRIM the FAT. An unlucky person is said to have a FAT CHANCE. You might have a CHANCE if you play the LOTTERY, and to do that, you need a LOTTERY TICKET.

Each teams players have a designated role, either giver or receiver. (Teammates alternate these roles after each chain.) The giver decides whether to reveal a letter above or below a completed word, and whether to give that word to their partner or to the receiver on the other team. With the letter revealed, the receiver guesses. Guessing the word correctly wins points and keeps control for their team.

In Round One, each word guessed is worth 10 points, but the final word guessed in that chain is worth 20. In Round Two, these values escalate to 20 points each & 40 points for the final word. In Round Two, the middle word of the chain was also a bonus word (designated by a dollar sign) worth $250 for the team that guessed it. Round Three awarded 30 points per word & 60 points for the last word.

The first team to score 200 points or more wins the game and the right to play the Final Chain for a cash jackpot.

In the Final Chain, the team is given only the first word of the chain, and the first letter of the six remaining words in the chain. Additionally, they are given a seven letter counter. The teammates alternate guessing each word in the chain. A correct guess earns the right to guess the next word in the chain. A wrong guess adds a letter to the word, while taking a letter away from the counter. If the team can complete the chain without going beyond the allotted seven letters, they win a cash jackpot that starts at $3,000 and grows by $1,000 a day until won. If the team uses all seven letters and still fails to complete the chain, they receive $100 per revealed word (including the word given for free at the start).

At the end of the show, Geoff would play a game called Missing Link with announcer Rod Chalabois. Rod would show Geoff the first and last words of a three-word chain, plus the first letter of the word in between. Geoff would make his guess, and Rod would reveal the correct answer, plus a preview of the puzzle for the next episode. The reason for this seemingly arbitrary game will be explained later.

In addition to a few new coats of paint on the set, the new year brought some changes to the format. In Round One, the final word of the chain is worth 15 points. In Round Two, the bonus word was eliminated and replaced by the Missing Links game. The team in the lead would be shown the first and last words of a three-word chain. If they could guess the word in between with no letters revealed, the team received $500. Every wrong guess added a letter while taking away $100 from the potential payoff.

Two solo players competed, acting as both giver and receiver. It now took 300 points to win the game. In the event that a fourth chain was needed to decide the game, the point values were 40 points per word and 80 for the final word.

On New Year’s Eve, 1991, the twilight of the shows run, it became The $40,000 Chain Reaction. In the new format, contestants competed to 500 points. If a fifth chain was needed, the point values were 50 points per word and 100 for the final word. The winner played Missing Links for $300. Each week had a tournament format, and the champion of the week received $7,500 and a spot in the championship tournament. The winner of the tournament received $40,000 in cash.

Taped in Montreal, Quebec and attracting mostly Canadian contestants, The New Chain Reaction launched in 1986 on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation with host Blake Emmons. Although hes known in Canada as an established country music star, Blake proved to be a less-than-stellar emcee and was replaced by Geoff shortly before the series made its American debut on the USA cable network. USA skipped Emmons entire run as host and began their broadcasts with Geoffs first episode, and American viewers didnt see Blake Emmons until GSN unearthed his episodes several years ago.

Geoffs involvement caused an interesting problem: Canadian television has a regulation that shows imported to other countries must have Canadian content, and Geoff was 100% American. Hence, Canadian-born announcer Rod Chalabois was given an on-camera role for most of his duties; he engaged in banter with Geoff and played the Missing Links game to give the show Canadian content.

GEOFF REMEMBERS: PUT SOME ENGLISH INTO IT We did that show in Canada. It was part-owned by USA, part-owned by Canadian Broadcasting Company. We did it in Montreal where the first language is French, second language is English. Most of our contestants were one step behind, trying to translate everything, and we thought, “Oh my gosh, this is terrible, what are we going to do?” It turns out that because they were so slow, the audience could solve it before them, and the show got to be popular because of that, just like “Wheel of Fortune.”

Much like the original Bill Cullen version, this version was far more fun than the description sounds. For the most part, the half-hour moved along briskly. Because of budget considerations, celebrity participation was wiped out and the jackpot was slashed significantly, but “Chain” overcame both of those constraints to last five years, showing what a strong game that seemingly-boring rulesheet really has going for it.

After a decade and a half, Geoff now comes across as a seasoned veteran, hosting the show in a smooth way that certainly can’t be called phoning it in, but would certainly make a viewer think, “Well, this guy knows what he’s doing.” Despite having no live audience to feed from, Geoff manages to pull excitement and energy for the game out of thin air. Nobody could fill Bill Cullen’s shoes, but with Chain Reaction, Geoff seemed to be making a pair of his own.

Follow this link:

THE NEW CHAIN REACTION – Game Show Utopia

Posted in New Utopia | Comments Off on THE NEW CHAIN REACTION – Game Show Utopia

Farallon Islands – Wikipedia

Posted: at 8:07 am

The Farallon Islands, or Farallones (from the Spanish faralln meaning “pillar” or “sea cliff”), are a group of islands and sea stacks in the Gulf of the Farallones, off the coast of San Francisco, California, United States. They lie 30 miles (48km) outside the Golden Gate and 20 miles (32km) south of Point Reyes, and are visible from the mainland on clear days. The islands are officially part of the City and County of San Francisco. The only inhabited portion of the islands is on Southeast Farallon Island (SEFI), where researchers from Point Blue Conservation Science and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stay.[2] The islands are closed to the public.[3]

The Farallon National Wildlife Refuge is one of 63 National Wildlife Refuges that have congressionally designated wilderness status.[4] In 1974 the Farallon Wilderness was established (Public Law 93-550) and includes all islands except the Southeast Island for a total of 141 acres (57ha).[5]

The islands were long known by the name “Islands of the Dead” to the American Indians who lived in the Bay Area prior to the arrival of Europeans, but they are not thought to have traveled to them, either for practical reasons (the voyage and landing would be difficult and dangerous) or because of superstition (the islands were believed to be an abode of the spirits of the dead).[6][7][8]

The first European to land and record the islands was Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1539, who named the islands “Farallones”, Spanish for cliffs or small pointed islets.[9] Cabrillo had departed from Puerto de Navidad in Mxico with two ships (three according to others): San Salvador, Victoria, and San Miguel, after which Catalina Island, Clemente and San Diego Bay were respectively named in this voyage. The expedition missed the entrance to San Francisco Bay, but it sighted and named nearby places such as “Punta de los Pinos” (Point Reyes), and “Bahia de los Pinos” (Monterey Bay).[10]

On July 24, 1579, English privateer and explorer Sir Francis Drake landed on the islands, in order to collect seal meat and bird eggs for his ship.[9] He named them the Islands of Saint James because the day after his arrival was the feast day of St James the Great. The name of St James is now applied to only one of the rocky islets of the North Farallones.

The islands were given the name “Los Frayles” (“The Friars”) by Spanish explorer Sebastin Vizcano, when he first charted them in 1603.

In the years following their discovery, during the Maritime Fur Trade era, the islands were exploited by seal hunters, first from New England and later from Russia. The Russians maintained a sealing station in the Farallones from 1812 to 1840, taking 1,200 to 1,500 fur seals annually, though American ships had already exploited the islands.[11] The Albatross, captained by Nathan Winship, and the O’Cain, captained by his brother Jonathan Winship, were the first American ships sent from Boston in 1809 to establish a settlement on the Columbia River. In 1810, they met up with two other American ships at the Farallon Islands, the Mercury and the Isabella, and at least 30,000 seal skins were taken.[12][13] By 1818 the seals diminished rapidly until only about 500 could be taken annually and within the next few years, the fur seal was extirpated from the islands. It is not known whether the northern fur seal or the Guadalupe fur seal were the islands’ native fur seal, although the northern fur seal is the species that began to recolonize the islands in 1996.

On July 17, 1827, the French sea captain Auguste Duhaut-Cilly sailed by the southernmost Farallon Island and counted the “crude dwellings of about a hundred Kodiaks stationed there by the Russians of Bodega…the Kodiaks, in their light boats, slip into San Francisco Bay by night, moving along the coast opposite the fort, and once inside this great basin they station themselves temporarily on some of the inner islands, from where they catch the sea otter without hindrance.”[15]

After Alta California was ceded by Mexico to the United States in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the islands’ environment became linked to the growth of the city of San Francisco. Beginning in 1853, a lighthouse was constructed on SEFI. As the city grew, the seabird colonies came under severe threat as eggs were collected in the millions for San Francisco markets. The trade, which in its heyday could yield 500,000 eggs a month, was the source of conflict between the egg collecting companies and the lighthouse keepers. This conflict turned violent in a confrontation between rival companies in 1863. The clash between two rival companies, known as the Egg War, left two men dead and marked the end of private companies on the islands, although the lighthouse keepers continued egging. This activity, combined with the threat of oil spills from San Francisco’s shipping lanes, prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to sign Executive Order No. 1043 in 1909, creating the Farallon Reservation to protect the chain’s northern islands. This was expanded to the other islands in 1969 when it became a National Wildlife Refuge.

The islands are the site of many shipwrecks. The liberty ship SS Henry Bergh, a converted troop carrier that hit West End in 1944, pieces of which can still be seen from the island today (all hands were saved). The USS Conestoga, a US Navy tugboat that disappeared with its 56 crew members in 1921, was found in 2009 and positively identified in 2016. (The Conestoga had sailed from nearby San Francisco, but the waters of the Farallons were never searched because the vessel was assumed to have traveled far out into the Pacific.)[16]

The islands have also been mentioned in connection with the schooner Malahat as one possible site for Rum Row during Prohibition.[17] The United States Coast Guard maintained a manned lighthouse until 1972, when it was automated. The islands are currently managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in conjunction with the Marin-based Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly Point Reyes Bird Observatory – PRBO). The islands are currently the subject of long term ecological research. Today, the Farallones are closed to the public, although birders and wildlife enthusiasts can approach them on whale watching boats and the sail-training vessel Seaward out of Sausalito.[18]

From 1902 to 1913, the former U.S. Weather Bureau maintained a weather station on the southeast island, which was connected with the mainland by cable. The results of the meteorological study were later published in a book on California’s climate. Temperatures during those years never exceeded 90F (32C) or dropped to 32F (0C).[19] Years later, the National Weather Service provided some weather observations from the lighthouse on its local radio station.

Three people have successfully swum from the Farallones to the Golden Gate, with two more swimming to points north of the Gate. The first, Ted Erikson, made the swim in September 1967, with the second, Joseph Locke, swimming to the Golden Gate on July 12, 2014, in 14 hours.[20] The third person, and the first woman to complete the distance, Kimberley Chambers, made it in just over 17 hours on Friday August 7, 2015.[21]

The Farallon Islands are outcroppings of the Salinian Block, a vast geologic province of granitic continental crust sharing its origins with the core of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The block was torn off far to the south of its present position and rifted north by the movement of the Pacific Plate on which the islands rest. Other nearby examples of the Salinian Block include the Point Reyes Peninsula and Bodega Head. The San Andreas Fault, marking a boundary zone between the Pacific and North American Plates, passes a few miles east of the islands.

The ancient Farallon Plate is named after the islands.

The islands string northwestward from Southeast Farallon Island for 5 miles (8.0km). Their total land area is 0.16 square miles (0.41km2). The islands were initially exploited for bird eggs and fur seal skins, then used as a lighthouse station and a radio station. They have been protected in the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, first established in 1909 with the Southeast Farallons added in 1969,[22] and contain the largest seabird colony in the U.S. outside of Alaska and Hawaii. The islands are part of the City and County of San Francisco, and are considered part of Supervisorial District One (Northwest), also called Richmond District.

Middle Farallon Island, 2 miles (3.2km) northwest of SEFI, is a 20-foot (6.1m) high guano-covered black rock about 65 meters in diameter, with an area of 3,362 m2. This island is informally known as “the pimple.”

North Farallon Islands, about 7km further northwest, consist of two clusters of bare precipitous islets and rocks 31 to 85 meters high, with an aggregate area of 28,270 m2

Some of those unnamed rocks however have Spanish names, such as Piedra Guadalupe, Peasco Quebrado and Faralln Vizcano.

5km WNW of the North Farallones is Fanny Shoal, a bank 3km in extent, with depth less than 55 meters, marking the northernmost and westernmost feature of the group, albeit entirely submerged. Noonday Rock, which rises abruptly from a depth of 37 meters, with a least depth of 4 meters (13ft) over it at low tide, is the shallowest point of Fanny Shoal. There is a lighted bell buoy about 1km west of Noonday Rock. Noonday Rock derives its name from that of the clipper ship that struck it on January 1, 1863 and sank within one hour.[24]

The banks northwest of Fanny Shoal are not considered part of the Farallon Islands anymore, and they are outside of U.S. territorial waters. About 25km northwest of Fanny Shoal is Cordell Bank, a significant marine habitat (3801N 12325W / 38.017N 123.417W / 38.017; -123.417). About halfway between Fanny Shoal and Cordell Bank is Rittenburg Bank, with depths of less than 80 meters (3753N 12318W / 37.883N 123.300W / 37.883; -123.300).

The Farallon Islands are an important reserve protecting a huge seabird colony. The islands’ position in the highly productive California Current and eastern Pacific upwelling region, as well as the absence of other large islands that would provide suitable nesting grounds, result in a seabird population of over 250,000. Twelve species of seabird and shorebird nest on the islands; western gull, Brandt’s cormorant, pelagic cormorant, double-crested cormorant, pigeon guillemot, common murre, Cassin’s auklet, tufted puffin, black oystercatcher, rhinoceros auklet, ashy storm-petrel, and Leach’s storm-petrel. Since the islands were protected, common murres, which once numbered nearly 500,000 pairs but suffered from the egg collecting, oil spills and other disturbances that had greatly reduced their numbers, recovered and climbed from 6,000 birds to 160,000. Additionally, since protection, the locally extinct rhinoceros auklet has begun to breed on the islands again. The island has the world’s largest colonies of western gulls and ashy storm petrels, the latter species being considered endangered and a conservation priority. The island also is the wintering ground of several species of migrants, and regularly attracts vagrant birds (about 400 species of bird have been recorded on or around the island).

Five species of pinniped come to shore on the islands, and in some cases breed. These are the northern elephant seal, harbor seal, Steller’s sea lion, California sea lion, and the northern fur seal (the last of which, like the rhinoceros auklet, began to return to the island again after protection).

American whalers took 150,000 northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) from the Farallons between 1810 and 1813, followed by Russian fur hunters who lived on the Farallons and extirpated the pinnipeds from the islands. In 1996 West End Island became the fourth American northern fur seal rookery when a pup was born. The recolonizers bore tags from San Miguel Island in the Channel Islands. By 2006, nearly 100 pups were born.[25] The fur seals are aggressive and have displaced larger sea lions from their territory. The high count for 2011 was 476 individuals, a 69 percent increase from the year before.[26]

Several species of cetaceans are found near the Farallon Islands, most frequently gray whales, blue whales, and humpback whales. Blue whales and humpback whales are most frequently found near the islands in the summer and fall, when strong upwelling may support a rich pelagic food web. Killer whales are also found around the islands. Gray whales are reliably found near the Farallones during their spring migration north and the fall/winter migration south. Some gray whales may also be found during the summer, when a few whales skip the trip north to Alaska and spend the summer months off the coast of Canada and the continental United States.

In December 2005 one humpback was rescued from netting entanglement east of the Farallones by staff of The Marine Mammal Center.[27] The last sighting of another famous humpback, named Humphrey, was near the Farallones in 1991. The islands are in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which protects the feeding grounds of the wildlife of the refuge.

The elephant seal population attracts a population of great white sharks to the islands. In 1970 Farallon biologists witnessed their first shark attack, on a Stellers sea lion. During the next fifteen years, more than one hundred attacks on seals and sea lions were observed at close range. By the year 2000, biologists were logging almost eighty attacks in a single season.

While the males return annually, the females return only every other year, often with fresh, deep bites around their heads. The seasonal shark population at the Farallones is unclear, with estimates from thirty to one hundred. The Farallones are unique in the size of the great whites that are attracted. The average length of a full-grown great white shark is 4 to 4.8 metres (13.3 to 15.8ft), with a weight of 680 to 1,100 kilograms (1,500 to 2,450lbs), females generally being larger than males. Farallon great whites range between the “smaller” males at 13ft (4.0m) to the females, which generally range between 17ft (5.2m) to 19ft (5.8m). The largest accurately measured great white shark was a female caught in August 1988 at Prince Edward Island off the North Atlantic coast and measured 20.3ft (6.2m). A killer whale was recorded killing a great white near the Farallones in 1997.[29] Over the decades of study, many of the individual white sharks visiting the Farallones have been nicknamed, often based off their scars and appearances, such as Gouge, The Hunchback, The Jester, and Stumpy. Stumpy, an 18-foot female great white, in particular was well known for her appearance in the BBC documentary “Great White Shark” narrated by David Attenborough and stock footage of her attacks on decoys is often utilized in more recent documentaries, and another example, Tom Johnson, a 16-foot male white shark that was featured in an episode of the 2012 season of Shark Week called “Great White Highway” is believed to be the oldest living white shark so far documented returning to the Farallones, estimated at around 2530 years old.

Some individual sharks have been tagged and found to roam the Pacific as far as Hawaii and Guadalupe Island off Baja California, returning regularly to the Farallones every year in the autumn. Satellite tracking has revealed the majority of great white sharks from the Faralllones (and from other parts of California, Hawaii and the west coast of Mexico) migrate to an area of ocean dubbed the White Shark Caf, 1,500 miles (2,400km) west of Ensenada, Baja California. The peak of activity at this location is from mid-April to Mid-July, but some shark spend up to eight months of the year there.

According to a report in USA Today, it is the most rodent-dense island in the world, with an average of 500 Eurasian house mice occupying each of its 120 acres (49ha) and an amount of 60,000 total.[32]

From 1946 to 1970, the sea around the Farallones was used as a nuclear dumping site for radioactive waste under the authority of the Atomic Energy Commission at a site known as the Farallon Island Nuclear Waste Dump. Most of the dumping took place before 1960, and all dumping of radioactive wastes by the United States was terminated in 1970. By then, 47,500 containers (55-gallon steel drums) had been dumped in the vicinity, with a total estimated radioactive activity of 14,500 Ci. The materials dumped were mostly laboratory materials containing traces of contamination. Much of the radioactivity had decayed by 1980.[33]

44,000 containers were dumped at 3737N 12317W / 37.617N 123.283W / 37.617; -123.283, and another 3,500 at 3738N 12308W / 37.633N 123.133W / 37.633; -123.133.[33]

The exact location of the containers and the potential hazard the containers pose to the environment are unknown.[34] Attempts to remove the barrels would likely produce greater risk than leaving them undisturbed.[33]

Waste containers were shipped to Hunters Point Shipyard, then loaded onto barges for transportation to the Farallones. Containers were weighted with concrete. Those that floated were sometimes shot with rifles to sink them.[35]

In January 1951, the highly radioactive hull of USS Independence, which was used in Operation Crossroads and then loaded with barrels of radioactive waste, was scuttled in the area.[36]

Read more:

Farallon Islands – Wikipedia

Posted in Private Islands | Comments Off on Farallon Islands – Wikipedia

Ascension Wikipedia

Posted: at 8:06 am

Ascension (offiziell englisch Ascension Island) ist eine kleine tropische Insel im Sdatlantik zwischen Afrika und Sdamerika, die zum Britischen berseegebiet St.Helena, Ascension und Tristan da Cunha gehrt. Ihre Hauptstadt ist Georgetown.

Die Insel ist vulkanischen Ursprungs und liegt 80km westlich des Mittelatlantischen Rckens. Die grte Ausdehnung der Insel betrgt etwa 12km in Nord-Sd-Richtung und etwa 14km in Ost-West-Richtung. Die Flche betrgt etwa 91km und der hchste Punkt (The Peak, Green Mountain) liegt bei 859m ber dem Meer.[1] Groe Teile der Insel sind dland aus erkalteter Lava; insgesamt existieren 44 Krater. War die Insel ursprnglich nur dnn bewachsen, so existieren heute Wlder. Vor allem eingeschleppte Pflanzen wie Prosopis juliflora, eine Mesquitenart, haben sich weitlufig auf der Insel ausgebreitet. Auf Ascension herrscht ein subtropisches Klima mit durchschnittlichen Temperaturen zwischen 20C und 31C. Regen fllt das ganze Jahr ber wenig; nur zwischen Februar und April werden die Regenflle strker. Im Osten ist der Insel die kleine und unbewohnte Boatswain Bird Island vorgelagert. Ascension ist ein wichtiger Paarungs- und Eiablageort derjenigen Suppenschildkrten (Chelonia mydas), die in der brigen Zeit berwiegend in Seegraswiesen vor der brasilianischen Kste weiden.

Monatliche Durchschnittstemperaturen und -niederschlge fr Ascension

Erstmals wurde die Insel am 25. Mrz 1501 von Joo da Nova entdeckt und Ilha de Nossa Senora de Conceicao getauft, geriet aber schnell wieder in Vergessenheit. Zwei Jahre spter wurde die Insel von Afonso de Albuquerque am 20. Mai 1503 ein zweites Mal entdeckt. Er gab ihr den Namen Ascenso, weil er sie an Christi Himmelfahrt (engl.: Ascension) sichtete. Die Insel wurde aber nicht in Besitz genommen.

1701 fuhr der Forschungsreisende William Dampier vor der Insel mit seinem Schiff HMS Roebuck auf Grund und harrte mit seiner Besatzung sechs Wochen lang aus, ehe ein Ostindiensegler die Schiffbrchigen aufnahm. Damit gelten der Freibeuter und seine Mannschaft als erste (unfreiwillige) Siedler auf der Insel.

Am 5. Mai 1725 wurde der wegen Sodomie verurteilte hollndische Seefahrer Leendert Hasenbosch auf der Insel ausgesetzt. Ausgehend von einem spter auf der Insel gefundenen Tagebuch starb er vermutlich nach etwa sechs Monaten aufgrund von Nahrungsmangel.[2]

Als Napoleon Bonaparte 1815 auf die etwa 700 Seemeilen sdstlich gelegene Insel St.Helena verbannt wurde, besetzte die Royal Navy Ascension, um mgliche Befreiungsversuche durch Franzosen zu erschweren. Die Insel wurde zur Festung ausgebaut. Damit Ascension dem Kommando der Marine und nicht einer Kolonieverwaltung unterstand, wurde ein Trick angewandt. Die Insel wurde zu einer Steinfregatte (stone sloop of war of the smaller classes) erklrt und bekam als HMS Ascension 65 Soldaten Besatzung. Nachdem Napoleon starb, diente sie als Sttzpunkt fr das Westafrika-Geschwader, das Piraten und Sklavenhandel bekmpfen sollte. In Wirklichkeit wurde die Insel mehr als Krankenhaus benutzt, da in diesen Jahren viele Seuchen in Afrika grassierten.

Im November 1816 besichtigte Christian Ignatius Latrobe, ein Inspekteur der Herrnhuter Brdergemeine, auf seiner Rckreise von der sdafrikanischen Herrnhuterkolonie Gnadenthal die Inseln St. Helena und Ascension. Latrobe war auf der Suche nach weiteren Siedlungspltzen fr die Herrnhuter Mission und war zunchst von der Schnheit der Insel Ascension beeindruckt, musste aber nach seinem Besuch zur Kenntnis nehmen, dass die kleine Ziegenherde der britischen Militrbasis und unzhlige Ratten die Inselvegetation schon nach wenigen Jahren fast kahl gefressen hatten und die Selbstversorgung der wenigen Bewohner nicht mehr gewhrleistet war. Auch berichtet er, dass die auf der Insel wachsenden Frchte meist ungeniebar oder giftig seien und sich die beiden Swasserquellen in einem schwer erreichbaren Teil der Insel befnden, wobei schon mehrfach Soldaten durch Unflle beim Wasserholen dienstuntauglich geworden seien. Die Insel sei auch von zahllosen Klippen umsumt, so dass Fischfang unmglich erschiene und selbst die Anlandung von Reisenden, Frachtgut und Proviant sehr gefhrlich sei.[3]

Im Jahr 1836 landete Charles Darwin von St.Helena kommend an Bord der HMS Beagle auf Ascension. Er war von der Insel und ihrem Erscheinungsbild so begeistert, dass er, gemeinsam mit dem britischen Biologen und Botaniker Joseph Dalton Hooker, begann, einen Plan zur Belebung dieser kargen Insel zu entwickeln. Es sollte eine Art Garten Eden oder vielmehr Insel Eden entstehen.

1854 legte Hooker einen Plan zur Bepflanzung der Insel vor. Die Royal Navy begann in den folgenden Jahren damit, Pflanzen und Bume aus England (Kew Gardens) einzuschiffen und auf der Insel anzupflanzen. Schon Ende 1870 hatte sich auf dem hchsten Gipfel der Insel (Green Mountain) eine reiche Flora an Eukalyptus, Pinien, Bambus und Bananenstauden entwickelt. Es war innerhalb krzester Zeit ein voll funktionierendes kosystem entstanden. Heute bezeichnen Forscher dieses Experiment von Darwin und Hooker als erstes und erfolgreiches Terraforming-Experiment; es wurde ein sich selbst erhaltendes und selbstreproduzierendes kosystem geschaffen.[4][2]

Am 15. Dezember 1899 verlegten die Eastern Telegraph Company und andere Firmen die ersten Seekabel zur Insel, um London und das damals britische Kapstadt zu verbinden. Im Laufe der Zeit wurden weitere Kabel nach Sierra Leone, Kap Verde, Buenos Aires und Rio de Janeiro verlegt. Dies markiert den Beginn der Insel als Kommunikationsknotenpunkt des sdlichen Atlantiks.

Die militrische Bedeutung der Insel wuchs. So wurden whrend des Ersten Weltkriegs erste groe Funkanlagen gebaut. Im Zweiten Weltkrieg diente die Insel zur berwachung der Handelsrouten im Sdatlantik (U-Boot-Abwehr) und als Horchposten der Alliierten, der Funksprche abfangen und entschlsseln konnte. Auch wurden Kreuzpeilungen vorgenommen, um die Position von Schiffen im Ozean zu ermitteln. Im September 1941 wurde von den United States Army Air Forces die Sdatlantik-Luftbrcke in Betrieb genommen, die groe Bedeutung fr den europischen und nordafrikanischen Kriegsschauplatz hatte. Von Florida ausgehend wurden Militrflugpltze in Puerto Rico (Borinquen Army Air Field), Trinidad (Waller Air Force Base), Britisch-Guayana (Atkinson Field, heute Cheddi Jagan International Airport), Brasilien (Belem, heute Belm-Val de Ces Airport; Natal, heute Augusto Severo International Airport und Recife, heute Guararapes International Airport), Liberia (Roberts Field, heute Roberts International Airport), Franzsisch Westafrika, Marokko und Algerien angeflogen. Kritisch war die Distanz der Atlantikberquerung von Brasilien nach Westafrika (Liberia oder Sierra Leone – Hastings Airfield), sie betrgt etwa 3000 Kilometer, Flugzeuge kurzer Reichweite (jedoch mindestens 2000 Kilometer) hatten nur die Mglichkeit, den auf Ascension im Sommer 1942 angelegten Flugplatz Wideawake Field zum Auftanken zu nutzen. Im Verlauf des Krieges gelangten so mehr als 25.000 Bomber nach Nordafrika und Europa.[5] Auch der amerikanische Prsident Franklin D. Roosevelt nutzte die Sdatlantik-Luftbrcke zum Besuch der Konferenzen von Casablanca (Januar 1943) und Teheran (November/Dezember 1943).

Im Kalten Krieg wurde die Insel als Testgelnde fr Interkontinentalraketen verwendet. Die Raketen starteten in Florida und flogen Ascension als Ziel an. Kurz vor dem Einschlag wurden sie von der rtlichen Bodenstation ins Meer umgeleitet. Unter anderem bauten daher die ESA und die NASA dort Bodenstationen. Auch fr das Satellitennavigationssystem GPS wurde eine Station gebaut. Seit 1963 wurden von Ascension Hhenforschungsraketen (hauptschlich vom Typ Arcas) bei 75829S, 142453W-7.9748-14.4147 gestartet.

Ascension Island ist Standort einer Kurzwellen-Sendeanlage des BBC World Service bei 75436S, 142250W-7.909901-14.380643.

1982 diente die Insel den Briten als eine Basis fr ihre Rckeroberung der Falklandinseln im Falklandkrieg. Vom Flugplatz Wideawake aus starteten die Victor-Tankflugzeuge und die Avro-Vulcan-Bomber zu den Luftoperationen Black Buck.

Derzeit (Stand 2016) leben etwa 806 Menschen[6] auf der Insel, hauptschlich Mitarbeiter jener Organisationen, die auf der Insel ttig sind, sowie deren Angehrige. 250 hiervon sind Auslnder Auf Ascension lebte nie eine indigene Bevlkerung. Hauptort der Insel ist Georgetown mit 560 Einwohnern. Two Boats Village im stlichen Inselinnern hat 120 Einwohner. Cat Hill, die US-Basis, hat 150 Einwohner und Travellers Hill, das zur Royal-Air-Force-Basis Wideawake gehrt, hat 200 Bewohner.

Der Gouverneur von St. Helena ist auch Gouverneur von Ascension. Die Regierung von Ascension wird von einem Verwalter (englisch Administrator) angefhrt, der direkt vom Mutterland entsandt und vom Gouverneur ernannt wird. Dieser steht dem Rat der Insel (Island Council) vor und ist das hchste Amt auf Ascension. Aktueller Administrator ist Marc Holland, der 2014 vereidigt wurde. Holland ist seit der Einfhrung des Amtes 19. Administrator der Insel. Der Administrator ist in der Regel kein Inselbewohner, sondern wohnt nur fr die Dauer seiner Amtszeit auf Ascension.

Der Island Council (Inselrat) wird seit 2002 alle drei Jahre von der wahlberechtigten Bevlkerung der Insel gewhlt und umfasst sieben Mitglieder. Hinzu kommen mit dem Administrator, dem Attorney General und dem Direktor vor Ressourcen drei ex-officio-Mitglieder ohne Stimmrecht. Dem Inselrat steht der Gouverneur vor. Wenn weniger als acht Kandidaten zur Wahl stehen, werden lediglich fnf Ratsmitglieder gewhlt; sollten weniger als sechs zur Wahl stehen, werden Wahlen erst binnen sechs Monaten veranstaltet, solange nicht mindestens fnf Ratsmitglieder gewhlt werden knnen.[7]

Es existieren weder politische Parteien noch Wahlkreise. Die letzten Wahlen fanden am 1. September 2016 statt.[8]

Ascension verfgt mit dem Wideawake-Flugfeld ber einen Flughafen. Ein Teil der vor allem durch Dieselgeneratoren sichergestellten Stromversorgung, wird seit 2010 durch Windenergie ergnzt. Diese Energie wird vor allem fr die Anlagen der BBC genutzt.[9]

Die Vereinigten Staaten unterhalten eine Militrbasis auf Ascension, die zum Spionagesystem der National Security Agency (NSA) mit dem Namen Echelon gehrt. Im Laufe der berwachungs- und Spionageaffre 2013 wurde bekannt, dass von hier aus die Telekommunikation in Brasilien, Argentinien, Uruguay, Kolumbien und Venezuela berwacht wird. Die in Ascensin gesammelten Daten werden in dem Geheimdienstzentrum in Fort Meade in Maryland, USA, ausgewertet.[10]

Originally posted here:

Ascension Wikipedia

Posted in Ascension | Comments Off on Ascension Wikipedia

Ageing – Wikipedia

Posted: at 7:57 am

Ageing, also spelled aging, is the process of becoming older. The term refers especially to human beings, many animals, and fungi, whereas for example bacteria, perennial plants and some simple animals are potentially immortal. In the broader sense, ageing can refer to single cells within an organism which have ceased dividing (cellular senescence) or to the population of a species (population ageing).

In humans, ageing represents the accumulation of changes in a human being over time,[1] encompassing physical, psychological, and social change. Reaction time, for example, may slow with age, while knowledge of world events and wisdom may expand. Ageing is among the greatest known risk factors for most human diseases:[2] of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds die from age-related causes.

The causes of ageing are unknown; current theories are assigned to the damage concept, whereby the accumulation of damage (such as DNA breaks, oxidised DNA and/or mitochondrial malfunctions)[3] may cause biological systems to fail, or to the programmed ageing concept, whereby internal processes (such as DNA telomere shortening) may cause ageing. Programmed ageing should not be confused with programmed cell death (apoptosis).

The discovery, in 1934, that calorie restriction can extend lifespan by 50% in rats has motivated research into delaying and preventing ageing.

Human beings and members of other species, especially animals, necessarily experience ageing and mortality. Fungi, too, can age.[4] In contrast, many species can be considered immortal: for example, bacteria fission to produce daughter cells, strawberry plants grow runners to produce clones of themselves, and animals in the genus Hydra have a regenerative ability with which they avoid dying of old age.

Early life forms on Earth, starting at least 3.7 billion years ago,[5] were single-celled organisms. Such single-celled organisms (prokaryotes, protozoans, algae) multiply by fissioning into daughter cells, thus do not age and are innately immortal.[6][7]

Ageing and mortality of the individual organism became possible with the evolution of sexual reproduction,[8] which occurred with the emergence of the fungal/animal kingdoms approximately a billion years ago, and with the evolution of flowering plants 160 million years ago. The sexual organism could henceforth pass on some of its genetic material to produce new individuals and itself could become disposable with regards to the survival of its species.[8] This classic biological idea has however been perturbed recently by the discovery that the bacterium E. coli may split into distinguishable daughter cells, which opens the theoretical possibility of “age classes” among bacteria.[9]

Even within humans and other mortal species, there are cells with the potential for immortality: cancer cells which have lost the ability to die when maintained in cell culture such as the HeLa cell line,[10] and specific stem cells such as germ cells (producing ova and spermatozoa).[11] In artificial cloning, adult cells can be rejuvenated back to embryonic status and then used to grow a new tissue or animal without ageing.[12] Normal human cells however die after about 50 cell divisions in laboratory culture (the Hayflick Limit, discovered by Leonard Hayflick in 1961).[10]

A number of characteristic ageing symptoms are experienced by a majority or by a significant proportion of humans during their lifetimes.

Dementia becomes more common with age.[35] About 3% of people between the ages of 6574 have dementia, 19% between 75 and 84 and nearly half of those over 85 years of age.[36] The spectrum includes mild cognitive impairment and the neurodegenerative diseases of Alzheimer’s disease, cerebrovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Furthermore, many types of memory may decline with ageing, but not semantic memory or general knowledge such as vocabulary definitions, which typically increases or remains steady until late adulthood[37] (see Ageing brain). Intelligence may decline with age, though the rate may vary depending on the type and may in fact remain steady throughout most of the lifespan, dropping suddenly only as people near the end of their lives. Individual variations in rate of cognitive decline may therefore be explained in terms of people having different lengths of life.[38] There might be changes to the brain: after 20 years of age there may be a 10% reduction each decade in the total length of the brain’s myelinated axons.[39][40]

Age can result in visual impairment, whereby non-verbal communication is reduced,[41] which can lead to isolation and possible depression. Macular degeneration causes vision loss and increases with age, affecting nearly 12% of those above the age of 80.[42] This degeneration is caused by systemic changes in the circulation of waste products and by growth of abnormal vessels around the retina.[43]

A distinction can be made between “proximal ageing” (age-based effects that come about because of factors in the recent past) and “distal ageing” (age-based differences that can be traced back to a cause early in person’s life, such as childhood poliomyelitis).[38]

Ageing is among the greatest known risk factors for most human diseases.[2] Of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds100,000 per daydie from age-related causes. In industrialised nations, the proportion is higher, reaching 90%.[44][45][46]

At present, researchers are only just beginning to understand the biological basis of ageing even in relatively simple and short-lived organisms such as yeast.[47] Less still is known about mammalian ageing, in part due to the much longer lives in even small mammals such as the mouse (around 3 years). A primary model organism for studying ageing is the nematode C. elegans, thanks to its short lifespan of 23 weeks, the ability to easily perform genetic manipulations or suppress gene activity with RNA interference, and other factors.[48] Most known mutations and RNA interference targets that extend lifespan were first discovered in C. elegans.[49]

Factors that are proposed to influence biological ageing[50] fall into two main categories, programmed and damage-related. Programmed factors follow a biological timetable, perhaps a continuation of the one that regulates childhood growth and development. This regulation would depend on changes in gene expression that affect the systems responsible for maintenance, repair and defence responses. Damage-related factors include internal and environmental assaults to living organisms that induce cumulative damage at various levels.[51]

There are three main metabolic pathways which can influence the rate of ageing:

It is likely that most of these pathways affect ageing separately, because targeting them simultaneously leads to additive increases in lifespan.[53]

The rate of ageing varies substantially across different species, and this, to a large extent, is genetically based. For example, numerous perennial plants ranging from strawberries and potatoes to willow trees typically produce clones of themselves by vegetative reproduction and are thus potentially immortal, while annual plants such as wheat and watermelons die each year and reproduce by sexual reproduction. In 2008 it was discovered that inactivation of only two genes in the annual plant Arabidopsis thaliana leads to its conversion into a potentially immortal perennial plant.[54]

Clonal immortality apart, there are certain species whose individual lifespans stand out among Earth’s life-forms, including the bristlecone pine at 5062 years[55] (however Hayflick states that the bristlecone pine has no cells older than 30 years), invertebrates like the hard clam (known as quahog in New England) at 508 years,[56] the Greenland shark at 400 years,[57] fish like the sturgeon and the rockfish, and the sea anemone[58] and lobster.[59][60] Such organisms are sometimes said to exhibit negligible senescence.[61] The genetic aspect has also been demonstrated in studies of human centenarians.

In laboratory settings, researchers have demonstrated that selected alterations in specific genes can extend lifespan quite substantially in yeast and roundworms, less so in fruit flies and less again in mice. Some of the targeted genes have homologues across species and in some cases have been associated with human longevity.[62]

Caloric restriction substantially affects lifespan in many animals, including the ability to delay or prevent many age-related diseases.[103] Typically, this involves caloric intake of 6070% of what an ad libitum animal would consume, while still maintaining proper nutrient intake.[103] In rodents, this has been shown to increase lifespan by up to 50%;[104] similar effects occur for yeast and Drosophila.[103] No lifespan data exist for humans on a calorie-restricted diet,[76] but several reports support protection from age-related diseases.[105][106] Two major ongoing studies on rhesus monkeys initially revealed disparate results; while one study, by the University of Wisconsin, showed that caloric restriction does extend lifespan,[107] the second study, by the National Institute on Ageing (NIA), found no effects of caloric restriction on longevity.[108] Both studies nevertheless showed improvement in a number of health parameters. Notwithstanding the similarly low calorie intake, the diet composition differed between the two studies (notably a high sucrose content in the Wisconsin study), and the monkeys have different origins (India, China), initially suggesting that genetics and dietary composition, not merely a decrease in calories, are factors in longevity.[76] However, in a comparative analysis in 2014, the Wisconsin researchers found that the allegedly non-starved NIA control monkeys in fact are moderately underweight when compared with other monkey populations, and argued this was due to the NIA’s apportioned feeding protocol in contrast to Wisconsin’s truly unrestricted ad libitum feeding protocol.[109] They conclude that moderate calorie restriction rather than extreme calorie restriction is sufficient to produce the observed health and longevity benefits in the studied rhesus monkeys.[110]

In his book How and Why We Age, Hayflick says that caloric restriction may not be effective in humans, citing data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging which shows that being thin does not favour longevity.[need quotation to verify][111] Similarly, it is sometimes claimed that moderate obesity in later life may improve survival, but newer research has identified confounding factors such as weight loss due to terminal disease. Once these factors are accounted for, the optimal body weight above age 65 corresponds to a leaner body mass index of 23 to 27.[112]

Alternatively, the benefits of dietary restriction can also be found by changing the macro nutrient profile to reduce protein intake without any changes to calorie level, resulting in similar increases in longevity.[113][114] Dietary protein restriction not only inhibits mTOR activity but also IGF-1, two mechanisms implicated in ageing.[74] Specifically, reducing leucine intake is sufficient to inhibit mTOR activity, achievable through reducing animal food consumption.[115][116]

The Mediterranean diet is credited with lowering the risk of heart disease and early death.[117][118] The major contributors to mortality risk reduction appear to be a higher consumption of vegetables, fish, fruits, nuts and monounsaturated fatty acids, i.e., olive oil.[119]

The amount of sleep has an impact on mortality. People who live the longest report sleeping for six to seven hours each night.[120][121] Lack of sleep (9 hours) is associated with a doubling of the risk of death, though not primarily from cardiovascular disease.[122] Sleeping more than 7 to 8 hours per day has been consistently associated with increased mortality, though the cause is probably other factors such as depression and socioeconomic status, which would correlate statistically.[123] Sleep monitoring of hunter-gatherer tribes from Africa and from South America has shown similar sleep patterns across continents: their average sleeping duration is 6.4 hours (with a summer/winter difference of 1 hour), afternoon naps (siestas) are uncommon, and insomnia is very rare (tenfold less than in industrial societies).[124]

Physical exercise may increase life expectancy.[125] People who participate in moderate to high levels of physical exercise have a lower mortality rate compared to individuals who are not physically active.[126] Moderate levels of exercise have been correlated with preventing aging and improving quality of life by reducing inflammatory potential.[127] The majority of the benefits from exercise are achieved with around 3500 metabolic equivalent (MET) minutes per week.[128] For example, climbing stairs 10 minutes, vacuuming 15 minutes, gardening 20 minutes, running 20 minutes, and walking or bicycling for 25 minutes on a daily basis would together achieve about 3000 MET minutes a week.[128]

Avoidance of chronic stress (as opposed to acute stress) is associated with a slower loss of telomeres in most but not all studies,[129][130] and with decreased cortisol levels. A chronically high cortisol level compromises the immune system, causes cardiac damage/arterosclerosis and is associated with facial ageing, and the latter in turn is a marker for increased morbidity and mortality.[131][132] Stress can be countered by social connection, spirituality, and (for men more clearly than for women) married life, all of which are associated with longevity.[133][134][135]

The following drugs and interventions have been shown to retard or reverse the biological effects of ageing in animal models, but none has yet been proven to do so in humans.

Evidence in both animals and humans suggests that resveratrol may be a caloric restriction mimetic.[136]

As of 2015 metformin was under study for its potential effect on slowing ageing in the worm C.elegans and the cricket.[137] Its effect on otherwise healthy humans is unknown.[137]

Rapamycin was first shown to extend lifespan in eukaryotes in 2006 by Powers et al. who showed a dose-responsive effect of rapamycin on lifespan extension in yeast cells.[138] In a 2009 study, the lifespans of mice fed rapamycin were increased between 28 and 38% from the beginning of treatment, or 9 to 14% in total increased maximum lifespan. Of particular note, the treatment began in mice aged 20 months, the equivalent of 60 human years.[139] Rapamycin has subsequently been shown to extend mouse lifespan in several separate experiments,[140][141] and is now being tested for this purpose in nonhuman primates (the marmoset monkey).[142]

Cancer geneticist Ronald A. DePinho and his colleagues published research in mice where telomerase activity was first genetically removed. Then, after the mice had prematurely aged, they restored telomerase activity by reactivating the telomerase gene. As a result, the mice were rejuvenated: Shrivelled testes grew back to normal and the animals regained their fertility. Other organs, such as the spleen, liver, intestines and brain, recuperated from their degenerated state. “[The finding] offers the possibility that normal human ageing could be slowed by reawakening the enzyme in cells where it has stopped working” says Ronald DePinho. However, activating telomerase in humans could potentially encourage the growth of tumours.[143]

Most known genetic interventions in C. elegans increase lifespan by 1.5 to 2.5-fold. As of 2009[update], the record for lifespan extension in C. elegans is a single-gene mutation which increases adult survival by tenfold.[49] The strong conservation of some of the mechanisms of ageing discovered in model organisms imply that they may be useful in the enhancement of human survival. However, the benefits may not be proportional; longevity gains are typically greater in C. elegans than fruit flies, and greater in fruit flies than in mammals. One explanation for this is that mammals, being much longer-lived, already have many traits which promote lifespan.[49]

Some research effort is directed to slow ageing and extend healthy lifespan.[144][145][146]

The US National Institute on Aging currently funds an intervention testing programme, whereby investigators nominate compounds (based on specific molecular ageing theories) to have evaluated with respect to their effects on lifespan and age-related biomarkers in outbred mice.[147] Previous age-related testing in mammals has proved largely irreproducible, because of small numbers of animals and lax mouse husbandry conditions.[citation needed] The intervention testing programme aims to address this by conducting parallel experiments at three internationally recognised mouse ageing-centres, the Barshop Institute at UTHSCSA, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the Jackson Laboratory.

Several companies and organisations, such as Google Calico, Human Longevity, Craig Venter, Gero,[148]SENS Research Foundation, and Science for Life Extension in Russia,[149] declared stopping or delaying ageing as their goal.

Prizes for extending lifespan and slowing ageing in mammals exist. The Methuselah Foundation offers the Mprize. Recently, the $1 Million Palo Alto Longevity Prize was launched. It is a research incentive prize to encourage teams from all over the world to compete in an all-out effort to “hack the code” that regulates our health and lifespan. It was founded by Joon Yun.[150][151][152][153][154]

Different cultures express age in different ways. The age of an adult human is commonly measured in whole years since the day of birth. Arbitrary divisions set to mark periods of life may include: juvenile (via infancy, childhood, preadolescence, adolescence), early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. More casual terms may include “teenagers,” “tweens,” “twentysomething”, “thirtysomething”, etc. as well as “vicenarian”, “tricenarian”, “quadragenarian”, etc.

Most legal systems define a specific age for when an individual is allowed or obliged to do particular activities. These age specifications include voting age, drinking age, age of consent, age of majority, age of criminal responsibility, marriageable age, age of candidacy, and mandatory retirement age. Admission to a movie for instance, may depend on age according to a motion picture rating system. A bus fare might be discounted for the young or old. Each nation, government and non-governmental organisation has different ways of classifying age. In other words, chronological ageing may be distinguished from “social ageing” (cultural age-expectations of how people should act as they grow older) and “biological ageing” (an organism’s physical state as it ages).[155]

In a UNFPA report about ageing in the 21st century, it highlighted the need to “Develop a new rights-based culture of ageing and a change of mindset and societal attitudes towards ageing and older persons, from welfare recipients to active, contributing members of society.”[156] UNFPA said that this “requires, among others, working towards the development of international human rights instruments and their translation into national laws and regulations and affirmative measures that challenge age discrimination and recognise older people as autonomous subjects.”[156] Older persons make contributions to society including caregiving and volunteering. For example, “A study of Bolivian migrants who [had] moved to Spain found that 69% left their children at home, usually with grandparents. In rural China, grandparents care for 38% of children aged under five whose parents have gone to work in cities.”[156]

Population ageing is the increase in the number and proportion of older people in society. Population ageing has three possible causes: migration, longer life expectancy (decreased death rate) and decreased birth rate. Ageing has a significant impact on society. Young people tend to have fewer legal privileges (if they are below the age of majority), they are more likely to push for political and social change, to develop and adopt new technologies, and to need education. Older people have different requirements from society and government, and frequently have differing values as well, such as for property and pension rights.[157]

In the 21st century, one of the most significant population trends is ageing.[158] Currently, over 11% of the world’s current population are people aged 60 and older and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that by 2050 that number will rise to approximately 22%.[156] Ageing has occurred due to development which has enabled better nutrition, sanitation, health care, education and economic well-being. Consequently, fertility rates have continued to decline and life expectancy have risen. Life expectancy at birth is over 80 now in 33 countries. Ageing is a “global phenomenon,” that is occurring fastest in developing countries, including those with large youth populations, and poses social and economic challenges to the work which can be overcome with “the right set of policies to equip individuals, families and societies to address these challenges and to reap its benefits.”[159]

As life expectancy rises and birth rates decline in developed countries, the median age rises accordingly. According to the United Nations, this process is taking place in nearly every country in the world.[160] A rising median age can have significant social and economic implications, as the workforce gets progressively older and the number of old workers and retirees grows relative to the number of young workers. Older people generally incur more health-related costs than do younger people in the workplace and can also cost more in worker’s compensation and pension liabilities.[161] In most developed countries an older workforce is somewhat inevitable. In the United States for instance, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that one in four American workers will be 55 or older by 2020.[161]

Among the most urgent concerns of older persons worldwide is income security. This poses challenges for governments with ageing populations to ensure investments in pension systems continues in order to provide economic independence and reduce poverty in old age. These challenges vary for developing and developed countries. UNFPA stated that, “Sustainability of these systems is of particular concern, particularly in developed countries, while social protection and old-age pension coverage remain a challenge for developing countries, where a large proportion of the labour force is found in the informal sector.”[156]

The global economic crisis has increased financial pressure to ensure economic security and access to health care in old age. In order to elevate this pressure “social protection floors must be implemented in order to guarantee income security and access to essential health and social services for all older persons and provide a safety net that contributes to the postponement of disability and prevention of impoverishment in old age.”[156]

It has been argued that population ageing has undermined economic development.[162] Evidence suggests that pensions, while making a difference to the well-being of older persons, also benefit entire families especially in times of crisis when there may be a shortage or loss of employment within households. A study by the Australian Government in 2003 estimated that “women between the ages of 65 and 74 years contribute A$16 billion per year in unpaid caregiving and voluntary work. Similarly, men in the same age group contributed A$10 billion per year.”[156]

Due to increasing share of the elderly in the population, health care expenditures will continue to grow relative to the economy in coming decades. This has been considered as a negative phenomenon and effective strategies like labour productivity enhancement should be considered to deal with negative consequences of ageing.[163]

In the field of sociology and mental health, ageing is seen in five different views: ageing as maturity, ageing as decline, ageing as a life-cycle event, ageing as generation, and ageing as survival.[164] Positive correlates with ageing often include economics, employment, marriage, children, education, and sense of control, as well as many others. The social science of ageing includes disengagement theory, activity theory, selectivity theory, and continuity theory. Retirement, a common transition faced by the elderly, may have both positive and negative consequences.[165] As cyborgs currently are on the rise some theorists argue there is a need to develop new definitions of ageing and for instance a bio-techno-social definition of ageing has been suggested.[166]

With age inevitable biological changes occur that increase the risk of illness and disability. UNFPA states that,[159]

“A life-cycle approach to health care one that starts early, continues through the reproductive years and lasts into old age is essential for the physical and emotional well-being of older persons, and, indeed, all people. Public policies and programmes should additionally address the needs of older impoverished people who cannot afford health care.”

Many societies in Western Europe and Japan have ageing populations. While the effects on society are complex, there is a concern about the impact on health care demand. The large number of suggestions in the literature for specific interventions to cope with the expected increase in demand for long-term care in ageing societies can be organised under four headings: improve system performance; redesign service delivery; support informal caregivers; and shift demographic parameters.[167]

However, the annual growth in national health spending is not mainly due to increasing demand from ageing populations, but rather has been driven by rising incomes, costly new medical technology, a shortage of health care workers and informational asymmetries between providers and patients.[168] A number of health problems become more prevalent as people get older. These include mental health problems as well as physical health problems, especially dementia.

It has been estimated that population ageing only explains 0.2 percentage points of the annual growth rate in medical spending of 4.3% since 1970. In addition, certain reforms to the Medicare system in the United States decreased elderly spending on home health care by 12.5% per year between 1996 and 2000.[169]

Positive self-perception of health has been correlated with higher well-being and reduced mortality in the elderly.[170][171] Various reasons have been proposed for this association; people who are objectively healthy may naturally rate their health better than that of their ill counterparts, though this link has been observed even in studies which have controlled for socioeconomic status, psychological functioning and health status.[172] This finding is generally stronger for men than women,[171] though this relationship is not universal across all studies and may only be true in some circumstances.[172]

As people age, subjective health remains relatively stable, even though objective health worsens.[173] In fact, perceived health improves with age when objective health is controlled in the equation.[174] This phenomenon is known as the “paradox of ageing.” This may be a result of social comparison;[175] for instance, the older people get, the more they may consider themselves in better health than their same-aged peers.[176] Elderly people often associate their functional and physical decline with the normal ageing process.[177][178]

The concept of successful ageing can be traced back to the 1950s and was popularised in the 1980s. Traditional definitions of successful ageing have emphasised absence of physical and cognitive disabilities.[179] In their 1987 article, Rowe and Kahn characterised successful ageing as involving three components: a) freedom from disease and disability, b) high cognitive and physical functioning, and c) social and productive engagement.[180]

The ancient Greek dramatist Euripides (5th century BC) describes the multiply-headed mythological monster Hydra as having a regenerative capacity which makes it immortal, which is the historical background to the name of the biological genus Hydra. The Book of Job (c. 6th century BC) describes human lifespan as inherently limited and makes a comparison with the innate immortality that a felled tree may have when undergoing vegetative regeneration.[181]

View original post here:
Ageing – Wikipedia

Posted in Human Longevity | Comments Off on Ageing – Wikipedia

Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom …

Posted: December 4, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Three weeks ago, around a quarter of the American population elected a demagogue with no prior experience in public service to the presidency. In the eyes of many of his supporters, this lack of preparation was not a liability, but a strength. Donald Trump had run as a candidate whose primary qualification was that he was not a politician. Depicting yourself as a maverick or an outsider crusading against a corrupt Washington establishment is the oldest trick in American politics but Trump took things further. He broke countless unspoken rules regarding what public figures can or cannot do and say.

Every demagogue needs an enemy. Trumps was the ruling elite, and his charge was that they were not only failing to solve the greatest problems facing Americans, they were trying to stop anyone from even talking about those problems. The special interests, the arrogant media, and the political insiders, dont want me to talk about the crime that is happening in our country, Trump said in one late September speech. They want me to just go along with the same failed policies that have caused so much needless suffering.

Trump claimed that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were willing to let ordinary Americans suffer because their first priority was political correctness. They have put political correctness above common sense, above your safety, and above all else, Trump declared after a Muslim gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. I refuse to be politically correct. What liberals might have seen as language changing to reflect an increasingly diverse society in which citizens attempt to avoid giving needless offence to one another Trump saw a conspiracy.

Throughout an erratic campaign, Trump consistently blasted political correctness, blaming it for an extraordinary range of ills and using the phrase to deflect any and every criticism. During the first debate of the Republican primaries, Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked Trump how he would answer the charge that he was part of the war on women.

Youve called women you dont like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals, Kelly pointed out. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees

I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct, Trump answered, to audience applause. Ive been challenged by so many people, I dont frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesnt have time either.

Trump used the same defence when critics raised questions about his statements on immigration. In June 2015, after Trump referred to Mexicans as rapists, NBC, the network that aired his reality show The Apprentice, announced that it was ending its relationship with him. Trumps team retorted that, NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct.

In August 2016, after saying that the US district judge Gonzalo Curiel of San Diego was unfit to preside over the lawsuit against Trump Universities because he was Mexican American and therefore likely to be biased against him, Trump told CBS News that this was common sense. He continued: We have to stop being so politically correct in this country. During the second presidential debate, Trump answered a question about his proposed ban on Muslims by stating: We could be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there is a problem.

Trump and his followers never defined ‘political correctness, or specified who was enforcing it. They did not have to

Every time Trump said something outrageous commentators suggested he had finally crossed a line and that his campaign was now doomed. But time and again, Trump supporters made it clear that they liked him because he wasnt afraid to say what he thought. Fans praised the way Trump talked much more often than they mentioned his policy proposals. He tells it like it is, they said. He speaks his mind. He is not politically correct.

Trump and his followers never defined political correctness, or specified who was enforcing it. They did not have to. The phrase conjured powerful forces determined to suppress inconvenient truths by policing language.

There is an obvious contradiction involved in complaining at length, to an audience of hundreds of millions of people, that you are being silenced. But this idea that there is a set of powerful, unnamed actors, who are trying to control everything you do, right down to the words you use is trending globally right now. Britains rightwing tabloids issue frequent denunciations of political correctness gone mad and rail against the smug hypocrisy of the metropolitan elite. In Germany, conservative journalists and politicians are making similar complaints: after the assaults on women in Cologne last New Years Eve, for instance, the chief of police Rainer Wendt said that leftists pressuring officers to be politisch korrekt had prevented them from doing their jobs. In France, Marine Le Pen of the Front National has condemned more traditional conservatives as paralysed by their fear of confronting political correctness.

Trumps incessant repetition of the phrase has led many writers since the election to argue that the secret to his victory was a backlash against excessive political correctness. Some have argued that Hillary Clinton failed because she was too invested in that close relative of political correctness, identity politics. But upon closer examination, political correctness becomes an impossibly slippery concept. The term is what Ancient Greek rhetoricians would have called an exonym: a term for another group, which signals that the speaker does not belong to it. Nobody ever describes themselves as politically correct. The phrase is only ever an accusation.

If you say that something is technically correct, you are suggesting that it is wrong the adverb before correct implies a but. However, to say that a statement is politically correct hints at something more insidious. Namely, that the speaker is acting in bad faith. He or she has ulterior motives, and is hiding the truth in order to advance an agenda or to signal moral superiority. To say that someone is being politically correct discredits them twice. First, they are wrong. Second, and more damningly, they know it.

If you go looking for the origins of the phrase, it becomes clear that there is no neat history of political correctness. There have only been campaigns against something called political correctness. For 25 years, invoking this vague and ever-shifting enemy has been a favourite tactic of the right. Opposition to political correctness has proved itself a highly effective form of crypto-politics. It transforms the political landscape by acting as if it is not political at all. Trump is the deftest practitioner of this strategy yet.

Most Americans had never heard the phrase politically correct before 1990, when a wave of stories began to appear in newspapers and magazines. One of the first and most influential was published in October 1990 by the New York Times reporter Richard Bernstein, who warned under the headline The Rising Hegemony of the Politically Correct that the countrys universities were threatened by a growing intolerance, a closing of debate, a pressure to conform.

Bernstein had recently returned from Berkeley, where he had been reporting on student activism. He wrote that there was an unofficial ideology of the university, according to which a cluster of opinions about race, ecology, feminism, culture and foreign policy defines a kind of correct attitude toward the problems of the world. For instance, Biodegradable garbage bags get the PC seal of approval. Exxon does not.

Bernsteins alarming dispatch in Americas paper of record set off a chain reaction, as one mainstream publication after another rushed to denounce this new trend. The following month, the Wall Street Journal columnist Dorothy Rabinowitz decried the brave new world of ideological zealotry at American universities. In December, the cover of Newsweek with a circulation of more than 3 million featured the headline THOUGHT POLICE and yet another ominous warning: Theres a politically correct way to talk about race, sex and ideas. Is this the New Enlightenment or the New McCarthyism? A similar story graced the cover of New York magazine in January 1991 inside, the magazine proclaimed that The New Fascists were taking over universities. In April, Time magazine reported on a new intolerance that was on the rise across campuses nationwide.

If you search ProQuest, a digital database of US magazines and newspapers, you find that the phrase politically correct rarely appeared before 1990. That year, it turned up more than 700 times. In 1991, there are more than 2,500 instances. In 1992, it appeared more than 2,800 times. Like Indiana Jones movies, these pieces called up enemies from a melange of old wars: they compared the thought police spreading terror on university campuses to fascists, Stalinists, McCarthyites, Hitler Youth, Christian fundamentalists, Maoists and Marxists.

Many of these articles recycled the same stories of campus controversies from a handful of elite universities, often exaggerated or stripped of context. The New York magazine cover story opened with an account of a Harvard history professor, Stephan Thernstrom, being attacked by overzealous students who felt he had been racially insensitive: Whenever he walked through the campus that spring, down Harvards brick paths, under the arched gates, past the fluttering elms, he found it hard not to imagine the pointing fingers, the whispers. Racist. There goes the racist. It was hellish, this persecution.

In an interview that appeared soon afterwards in The Nation, Thernstrom said the harassment described in the New York article had never happened. There had been one editorial in the Harvard Crimson student newspaper criticising his decision to read extensively from the diaries of plantation owners in his lectures. But the description of his harried state was pure artistic licence. No matter: the image of college students conducting witch hunts stuck. When Richard Bernstein published a book based on his New York Times reporting on political correctness, he called it Dictatorship of Virtue: Multiculturalism and the Battle for Americas Future a title alluding to the Jacobins of the French Revolution. In the book he compared American college campuses to France during the Reign of Terror, during which tens of thousands of people were executed within months.

None of the stories that introduced the menace of political correctness could pinpoint where or when it had begun. Nor were they very precise when they explained the origins of the phrase itself. Journalists frequently mentioned the Soviets Bernstein observed that the phrase smacks of Stalinist orthodoxy but there is no exact equivalent in Russian. (The closest would be ideinost, which translates as ideological correctness. But that word has nothing to do with disadvantaged people or minorities.) The intellectual historian LD Burnett has found scattered examples of doctrines or people being described as politically correct in American communist publications from the 1930s usually, she says, in a tone of mockery.

The phrase came into more widespread use in American leftist circles in the 1960s and 1970s most likely as an ironic borrowing from Mao, who delivered a famous speech in 1957 that was translated into English with the title On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People.

Until the late 1980s, ‘political correctness’ was used exclusively within the left, and almost always ironically

Ruth Perry, a literature professor at MIT who was active in the feminist and civil rights movements, says that many radicals were reading the Little Red Book in the late 1960s and 1970s, and surmises that her friends may have picked up the adjective correct there. But they didnt use it in the way Mao did. Politically correct became a kind of in-joke among American leftists something you called a fellow leftist when you thought he or she was being self-righteous. The term was always used ironically, Perry says, always calling attention to possible dogmatism.

In 1970, the African-American author and activist Toni Cade Bambara, used the phrase in an essay about strains on gender relations within her community. No matter how politically correct her male friends thought they were being, she wrote many of them were failing to recognise the plight of black women.

Until the late 1980s, political correctness was used exclusively within the left, and almost always ironically as a critique of excessive orthodoxy. In fact, some of the first people to organise against political correctness were a group of feminists who called themselves the Lesbian Sex Mafia. In 1982, they held a Speakout on Politically Incorrect Sex at a theatre in New Yorks East Village a rally against fellow feminists who had condemned pornography and BDSM. Over 400 women attended, many of them wearing leather and collars, brandishing nipple clamps and dildos. The writer and activist Mirtha Quintanales summed up the mood when she told the audience, We need to have dialogues about S&M issues, not about what is politically correct, politically incorrect.

By the end of the 1980s, Jeff Chang, the journalist and hip-hop critic, who has written extensively on race and social justice, recalls that the activists he knew then in the Bay Area used the phrase in a jokey way a way for one sectarian to dismiss another sectarians line.

But soon enough, the term was rebranded by the right, who turned its meaning inside out. All of a sudden, instead of being a phrase that leftists used to check dogmatic tendencies within their movement, political correctness became a talking point for neoconservatives. They said that PC constituted a leftwing political programme that was seizing control of American universities and cultural institutions and they were determined to stop it.

The right had been waging a campaign against liberal academics for more than a decade. Starting in the mid-1970s, a handful of conservative donors had funded the creation of dozens of new thinktanks and training institutes offering programmes in everything from leadership to broadcast journalism to direct-mail fundraising. They had endowed fellowships for conservative graduate students, postdoctoral positions and professorships at prestigious universities. Their stated goal was to challenge what they saw as the dominance of liberalism and attack left-leaning tendencies within the academy.

Starting in the late 1980s, this well-funded conservative movement entered the mainstream with a series of improbable bestsellers that took aim at American higher education. The first, by the University of Chicago philosophy professor Allan Bloom, came out in 1987. For hundreds of pages, The Closing of the American Mind argued that colleges were embracing a shallow cultural relativism and abandoning long-established disciplines and standards in an attempt to appear liberal and to pander to their students. It sold more than 500,000 copies and inspired numerous imitations.

In April 1990, Roger Kimball, an editor at the conservative journal, The New Criterion, published Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted our Higher Education. Like Bloom, Kimball argued that an assault on the canon was taking place and that a politics of victimhood had paralysed universities. As evidence, he cited the existence of departments such as African American studies and womens studies. He scornfully quoted the titles of papers he had heard at academic conferences, such as Jane Austen and the Masturbating Girl or The Lesbian Phallus: Does Heterosexuality Exist?

In June 1991, the young Dinesh DSouza followed Bloom and Kimball with Illiberal Education: the Politics of Race and Sex on Campus. Whereas Bloom had bemoaned the rise of relativism and Kimball had attacked what he called liberal fascism, and what he considered frivolous lines of scholarly inquiry, DSouza argued that admissions policies that took race into consideration were producing a new segregation on campus and an attack on academic standards. The Atlantic printed a 12,000 word excerpt as its June cover story. To coincide with the release, Forbes ran another article by DSouza with the title: Visigoths in Tweed.

These books did not emphasise the phrase political correctness, and only DSouza used the phrase directly. But all three came to be regularly cited in the flood of anti-PC articles that appeared in venues such as the New York Times and Newsweek. When they did, the authors were cited as neutral authorities. Countless articles uncritically repeated their arguments.

In some respects, these books and articles were responding to genuine changes taking place within academia. It is true that scholars had become increasingly sceptical about whether it was possible to talk about timeless, universal truths that lay beyond language and representation. European theorists who became influential in US humanities departments during the 1970s and 1980s argued that individual experience was shaped by systems of which the individual might not be aware and particularly by language. Michel Foucault, for instance, argued that all knowledge expressed historically specific forms of power. Jacques Derrida, a frequent target of conservative critics, practised what he called deconstruction, rereading the classics of philosophy in order to show that even the most seemingly innocent and straightforward categories were riven with internal contradictions. The value of ideals such as humanity or liberty could not be taken for granted.

It was also true that many universities were creating new studies departments, which interrogated the experiences, and emphasised the cultural contributions of groups that had previously been excluded from the academy and from the canon: queer people, people of colour and women. This was not so strange. These departments reflected new social realities. The demographics of college students were changing, because the demographics of the United States were changing. By 1990, only two-thirds of Americans under 18 were white. In California, the freshman classes at many public universities were majority minority, or more than 50% non-white. Changes to undergraduate curriculums reflected changes in the student population.

The responses that the conservative bestsellers offered to the changes they described were disproportionate and often misleading. For instance, Bloom complained at length about the militancy of African American students at Cornell University, where he had taught in the 1960s. He never mentioned what students demanding the creation of African American studies were responding to: the biggest protest at Cornell took place in 1969 after a cross burning on campus, an open KKK threat. (An arsonist burned down the Africana Studies Center, founded in response to these protests, in 1970.)

More than any particular obfuscation or omission, the most misleading aspect of these books was the way they claimed that only their adversaries were political. Bloom, Kimball, and DSouza claimed that they wanted to preserve the humanistic tradition, as if their academic foes were vandalising a canon that had been enshrined since time immemorial. But canons and curriculums have always been in flux; even in white Anglo-America there has never been any one stable tradition. Moby Dick was dismissed as Herman Melvilles worst book until the mid-1920s. Many universities had only begun offering literature courses in living languages a decade or so before that.

In truth, these crusaders against political correctness were every bit as political as their opponents. As Jane Mayer documents in her book, Dark Money: the Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Bloom and DSouza were funded by networks of conservative donors particularly the Koch, Olin and Scaife families who had spent the 1980s building programmes that they hoped would create a new counter-intelligentsia. (The New Criterion, where Kimball worked, was also funded by the Olin and Scaife Foundations.) In his 1978 book A Time for Truth, William Simon, the president of the Olin Foundation, had called on conservatives to fund intellectuals who shared their views: They must be given grants, grants, and more grants in exchange for books, books, and more books.

These skirmishes over syllabuses were part of a broader political programme and they became instrumental to forging a new alliance for conservative politics in America, between white working-class voters and small business owners, and politicians with corporate agendas that held very little benefit for those people.

By making fun of professors who spoke in language that most people considered incomprehensible (The Lesbian Phallus), wealthy Ivy League graduates could pose as anti-elite. By mocking courses on writers such as Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, they made a racial appeal to white people who felt as if they were losing their country. As the 1990s wore on, because multiculturalism was associated with globalisation the force that was taking away so many jobs traditionally held by white working-class people attacking it allowed conservatives to displace responsibility for the hardship that many of their constituents were facing. It was not the slashing of social services, lowered taxes, union busting or outsourcing that was the cause of their problems. It was those foreign others.

PC was a useful invention for the Republican right because it helped the movement to drive a wedge between working-class people and the Democrats who claimed to speak for them. Political correctness became a term used to drum into the public imagination the idea that there was a deep divide between the ordinary people and the liberal elite, who sought to control the speech and thoughts of regular folk. Opposition to political correctness also became a way to rebrand racism in ways that were politically acceptable in the post-civil-rights era.

Soon, Republican politicians were echoing on the national stage the message that had been product-tested in the academy. In May 1991, President George HW Bush gave a commencement speech at the University of Michigan. In it, he identified political correctness as a major danger to America. Ironically, on the 200th anniversary of our Bill of Rights, we find free speech under assault throughout the United States, Bush said. The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land, but, he warned, In their own Orwellian way, crusades that demand correct behaviour crush diversity in the name of diversity.

After 2001, debates about political correctness faded from public view, replaced by arguments about Islam and terrorism. But in the final years of the Obama presidency, political correctness made a comeback. Or rather, anti-political-correctness did.

As Black Lives Matter and movements against sexual violence gained strength, a spate of thinkpieces attacked the participants in these movements, criticising and trivialising them by saying that they were obsessed with policing speech. Once again, the conversation initially focused on universities, but the buzzwords were new. Rather than difference and multiculturalism, Americans in 2012 and 2013 started hearing about trigger warnings, safe spaces, microaggressions, privilege and cultural appropriation.

This time, students received more scorn than professors. If the first round of anti-political-correctness evoked the spectres of totalitarian regimes, the more recent revival has appealed to the commonplace that millennials are spoiled narcissists, who want to prevent anyone expressing opinions that they happen to find offensive.

In January 2015, the writer Jonathan Chait published one of the first new, high-profile anti-PC thinkpieces in New York magazine. Not a Very PC Thing to Say followed the blueprint provided by the anti-PC thinkpieces that the New York Times, Newsweek, and indeed New York magazine had published in the early 1990s. Like the New York article from 1991, it began with an anecdote set on campus that supposedly demonstrated that political correctness had run amok, and then extrapolated from this incident to a broad generalisation. In 1991, John Taylor wrote: The new fundamentalism has concocted a rationale for dismissing all dissent. In 2015, Jonathan Chait claimed that there were once again angry mobs out to crush opposing ideas.

Chait warned that the dangers of PC had become greater than ever before. Political correctness was no longer confined to universities now, he argued, it had taken over social media and thus attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old. (As evidence of the hegemonic influence enjoyed by unnamed actors on the left, Chait cited two female journalists saying that they had been criticised by leftists on Twitter.)

Chaits article launched a spate of replies about campus and social media cry bullies. On the cover of their September 2015 issue, the Atlantic published an article by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff. The title, The Coddling Of the American Mind, nodded to the godfather of anti-PC, Allan Bloom. (Lukianoff is the head of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, another organisation funded by the Olin and Scaife families.) In the name of emotional wellbeing, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they dont like, the article announced. It was shared over 500,000 times.

The climate of digital journalism and social media sharing enabled the anti-political-correctness stories to spread

These pieces committed many of the same fallacies that their predecessors from the 1990s had. They cherry-picked anecdotes and caricatured the subjects of their criticism. They complained that other people were creating and enforcing speech codes, while at the same time attempting to enforce their own speech codes. Their writers designated themselves the arbiters of what conversations or political demands deserved to be taken seriously, and which did not. They contradicted themselves in the same way: their authors continually complained, in highly visible publications, that they were being silenced.

The climate of digital journalism and social media sharing enabled the anti-political-correctness (and anti-anti-political correctness) stories to spread even further and faster than they had in the 1990s. Anti-PC and anti-anti-PC stories come cheap: because they concern identity, they are something that any writer can have a take on, based on his or her experiences, whether or not he or she has the time or resources to report. They are also perfect clickbait. They inspire outrage, or outrage at the outrage of others.

Meanwhile, a strange convergence was taking place. While Chait and his fellow liberals decried political correctness, Donald Trump and his followers were doing the same thing. Chait said that leftists were perverting liberalism and appointed himself the defender of a liberal centre; Trump said that liberal media had the system rigged.

The anti-PC liberals were so focused on leftists on Twitter that for months they gravely underestimated the seriousness of the real threat to liberal discourse. It was not coming from women, people of colour, or queer people organising for their civil rights, on campus or elsewhere. It was coming from @realdonaldtrump, neo-Nazis, and far-right websites such as Breitbart.

The original critics of PC were academics or shadow-academics, Ivy League graduates who went around in bow ties quoting Plato and Matthew Arnold. It is hard to imagine Trump quoting Plato or Matthew Arnold, much less carping about the titles of conference papers by literature academics. During his campaign, the network of donors who funded decades of anti-PC activity the Kochs, the Olins, the Scaifes shunned Trump, citing concerns about the populist promises he was making. Trump came from a different milieu: not Yale or the University of Chicago, but reality television. And he was picking different fights, targeting the media and political establishment, rather than academia.

As a candidate, Trump inaugurated a new phase of anti-political-correctness. What was remarkable was just how many different ways Trump deployed this tactic to his advantage, both exploiting the tried-and-tested methods of the early 1990s and adding his own innovations.

First, by talking incessantly about political correctness, Trump established the myth that he had dishonest and powerful enemies who wanted to prevent him from taking on the difficult challenges facing the nation. By claiming that he was being silenced, he created a drama in which he could play the hero. The notion that Trump was both persecuted and heroic was crucial to his emotional appeal. It allowed people who were struggling economically or angry about the way society was changing to see themselves in him, battling against a rigged system that made them feel powerless and devalued. At the same time, Trumps swagger promised that they were strong and entitled to glory. They were great and would be great again.

Second, Trump did not simply criticise the idea of political correctness he actually said and did the kind of outrageous things that PC culture supposedly prohibited. The first wave of conservative critics of political correctness claimed they were defending the status quo, but Trumps mission was to destroy it. In 1991, when George HW Bush warned that political correctness was a threat to free speech, he did not choose to exercise his free speech rights by publicly mocking a man with a disability or characterising Mexican immigrants as rapists. Trump did. Having elevated the powers of PC to mythic status, the draft-dodging billionaire, son of a slumlord, taunted the parents of a fallen soldier and claimed that his cruelty and malice was, in fact, courage.

This willingness to be more outrageous than any previous candidate ensured non-stop media coverage, which in turn helped Trump attract supporters who agreed with what he was saying. We should not underestimate how many Trump supporters held views that were sexist, racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic, and were thrilled to feel that he had given them permission to say so. Its an old trick: the powerful encourage the less powerful to vent their rage against those who might have been their allies, and to delude themselves into thinking that they have been liberated. It costs the powerful nothing; it pays frightful dividends.

Trump drew upon a classic element of anti-political-correctness by implying that while his opponents were operating according to a political agenda, he simply wanted to do what was sensible. He made numerous controversial policy proposals: deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, banning Muslims from entering the US, introducing stop-and-frisk policies that have been ruled unconstitutional. But by responding to critics with the accusation that they were simply being politically correct, Trump attempted to place these proposals beyond the realm of politics altogether. Something political is something that reasonable people might disagree about. By using the adjective as a put-down, Trump pretended that he was acting on truths so obvious that they lay beyond dispute. Thats just common sense.

The most alarming part of this approach is what it implies about Trumps attitude to politics more broadly. His contempt for political correctness looks a lot like contempt for politics itself. He does not talk about diplomacy; he talks about deals. Debate and disagreement are central to politics, yet Trump has made clear that he has no time for these distractions. To play the anti-political-correctness card in response to a legitimate question about policy is to shut down discussion in much the same way that opponents of political correctness have long accused liberals and leftists of doing. It is a way of sidestepping debate by declaring that the topic is so trivial or so contrary to common sense that it is pointless to discuss it. The impulse is authoritarian. And by presenting himself as the champion of common sense, Trump gives himself permission to bypass politics altogether.

Now that he is president-elect, it is unclear whether Trump meant many of the things he said during his campaign. But, so far, he is fulfilling his pledge to fight political correctness. Last week, he told the New York Times that he was trying to build an administration filled with the best people, though Not necessarily people that will be the most politically correct people, because that hasnt been working.

Trump has also continued to cry PC in response to criticism. When an interviewer from Politico asked a Trump transition team member why Trump was appointing so many lobbyists and political insiders, despite having pledged to drain the swamp of them, the source said that one of the most refreshing parts of the whole Trump style is that he does not care about political correctness. Apparently it would have been politically correct to hold him to his campaign promises.

As Trump prepares to enter the White House, many pundits have concluded that political correctness fuelled the populist backlash sweeping Europe and the US. The leaders of that backlash may say so. But the truth is the opposite: those leaders understood the power that anti-political-correctness has to rally a class of voters, largely white, who are disaffected with the status quo and resentful of shifting cultural and social norms. They were not reacting to the tyranny of political correctness, nor were they returning America to a previous phase of its history. They were not taking anything back. They were wielding anti-political-correctness as a weapon, using it to forge a new political landscape and a frightening future.

The opponents of political correctness always said they were crusaders against authoritarianism. In fact, anti-PC has paved the way for the populist authoritarianism now spreading everywhere. Trump is anti-political correctness gone mad.

Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here.

Visit link:

Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom …

Posted in Political Correctness | Comments Off on Political correctness: how the right invented a phantom …

Biological immortality – Wikipedia

Posted: December 2, 2016 at 12:19 pm

-4500

-4000

-3500

-3000

-2500

-2000

-1500

-1000

-500

0

Biological immortality refers to a stable or decreasing rate of mortality from senescence, thus decoupling it from chronological age. Various unicellular and multicellular species, including some vertebrates, achieve this state either throughout their existence or after living long enough. A biologically immortal living being can still die from means other than senescence, such as through injury or disease.

This definition of immortality has been challenged in the new Handbook of the Biology of Aging,[1] because the increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age may be negligible at extremely old ages, an idea referred to as the late-life mortality plateau. The rate of mortality may cease to increase in old age, but in most cases that rate is typically very high.[2] As a hypothetical example, there is only a 50% chance of a human surviving another year at age 110 or greater.

The term is also used by biologists to describe cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit.

Biologists chose the word “immortal” to designate cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit, the point at which cells can no longer divide due to DNA damage or shortened telomeres. Prior to Leonard Hayflick’s theory, Alexis Carrel hypothesized that all normal somatic cells were immortal.[3]

The term “immortalization” was first applied to cancer cells that expressed the telomere-lengthening enzyme telomerase, and thereby avoided apoptosisi.e. cell death caused by intracellular mechanisms. Among the most commonly used cell lines are HeLa and Jurkat, both of which are immortalized cancer cell lines. HeLa cells originated from a sample of cervical cancer taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951.[4] These cells have been and still are widely used in biological research such as creation of the polio vaccine,[5] sex hormone steroid research,[6] and cell metabolism.[7] Normal stem cells and germ cells can also be said to be immortal (when humans refer to the cell line).[citation needed]

Immortal cell lines of cancer cells can be created by induction of oncogenes or loss of tumor suppressor genes. One way to induce immortality is through viral-mediated induction of the large Tantigen,[8] commonly introduced through simian virus 40 (SV-40).[9]

According to the Animal Aging and Longevity Database, the list of organisms with negligible aging (along with estimated longevity in the wild) includes:[10]

Many unicellular organisms age: as time passes, they divide more slowly and ultimately die. Asymmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast also age. However, symmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast can be biologically immortal under ideal growing conditions.[11] In these conditions, when a cell splits symmetrically to produce two daughter cells, the process of cell division can restore the cell to a youthful state. However, if the parent asymmetrically buds off a daughter only the daughter is reset to the youthful state – the parent isn’t restored and will go on to age and die. In a similar manner stem cells and gametes can be regarded as “immortal”.

Hydras are a genus of the Cnidaria phylum. All cnidarians can regenerate, allowing them to recover from injury and to reproduce asexually. Hydras are simple, freshwater animals possessing radial symmetry and no post-mitotic cells. All hydra cells continually divide.[citation needed] It has been suggested that hydras do not undergo senescence, and, as such, are biologically immortal. In a four-year study, 3 cohorts of hydra did not show an increase in mortality with age. It is possible that these animals live much longer, considering that they reach maturity in 5 to 10 days.[12] However, this does not explain how hydras are consequently able to maintain telomere lengths.

Turritopsis dohrnii, or Turritopsis nutricula, is a small (5 millimeters (0.20in)) species of jellyfish that uses transdifferentiation to replenish cells after sexual reproduction. This cycle can repeat indefinitely, potentially rendering it biologically immortal. This organism originated in the Caribbean sea, but has now spread around the world. Similar cases include hydrozoan Laodicea undulata[13] and scyphozoan Aurelia sp.1.[14]

Research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken, or lose fertility with age, and that older lobsters may be more fertile than younger lobsters. This does not however make them immortal in the traditional sense, as they are significantly more likely to die at a shell moult the older they get (as detailed below).

Their longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs long repetitive sections of DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes, referred to as telomeres. Telomerase is expressed by most vertebrates during embryonic stages but is generally absent from adult stages of life.[15] However, unlike vertebrates, lobsters express telomerase as adults through most tissue, which has been suggested to be related to their longevity.[16][17][18] Contrary to popular belief, lobsters are not immortal. Lobsters grow by moulting which requires a lot of energy, and the larger the shell the more energy is required.[19] Eventually, the lobster will die from exhaustion during a moult. Older lobsters are also known to stop moulting, which means that the shell will eventually become damaged, infected, or fall apart and they die.[20] The European lobster has an average life span of 31 years for males and 54 years for females.

Planarian flatworms have both sexually and asexually reproducing types. Studies on genus Schmidtea mediterranea suggest these planarians appear to regenerate (i.e. heal) indefinitely, and asexual individuals have an “apparently limitless [telomere] regenerative capacity fueled by a population of highly proliferative adult stem cells”. “Both asexual and sexual animals display age-related decline in telomere length; however, asexual animals are able to maintain telomere lengths somatically [ie during reproduction by fission or when regeneration is induced by amputation], whereas sexual animals restore telomeres by extension during sexual reproduction or during embryogenesis like other sexual species… homeostatic telomerase activity observed in both asexual and sexual animals is not sufficient to maintain telomere length, whereas the increased activity in regenerating asexuals is sufficient to renew telomere length… “[21]

Lifespan: For sexually reproducing planaria: “the life span of individual planarian can be as long as 3 years, likely due to the ability of neoblasts to constantly replace aging cells.” Whereas for asexually reproducing planaria: “individual animals in clonal lines of some planarian species replicating by fission have been maintained for over 15 years.”[22]

Although the premise that biological aging can be halted or reversed by foreseeable technology remains controversial,[23] research into developing possible therapeutic interventions is underway.[24] Among the principal drivers of international collaboration in such research is the SENS Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates a number of what it claims are plausible research pathways that might lead to engineered negligible senescence in humans.[25]

In 2015, Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva, treated herself using gene therapy, with the goal of not just halting, but reversing aging.[26] She has since reported feeling more energetic, but long-term study of the treatment is ongoing.[citation needed]

For several decades,[27] researchers have also pursued various forms of suspended animation as a means by which to indefinitely extend mammalian lifespan. Some scientists have voiced support[28] for the feasibility of the cryopreservation of humans, known as cryonics. Cryonics is predicated on the concept that some people considered clinically dead by today’s medicolegal standards are not actually dead according to information-theoretic death and can, in principle, be resuscitated given sufficient technological advances.[29] The goal of current cryonics procedures is tissue vitrification, a technique first used to reversibly cryopreserve a viable whole organ in 2005.[30][31]

Similar proposals involving suspended animation include chemical brain preservation. The non-profit Brain Preservation Foundation offers a cash prize valued at over $100,000 for demonstrations of techniques that would allow for high-fidelity, long-term storage of a mammalian brain.[32]

In 2012 in Russia, and then in the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, pro-immortality transhumanist political parties were launched.[33] They aim to provide political support to anti-aging and radical life extension research and technologies and want to ensure the fastest possibleand at the same time, as least disruptive as possiblesocietal transition to radical life extension, life without aging, and ultimately, immortality. They aim to make it possible to provide access to such technologies to the majority of people alive today.[34]

Biogerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that biological immortality in humans is an inevitable consequence of natural evolution.[35][36] His theory of extreme lifespans through perpetual-equalising interventions (ELPIs) proposes that[37] the ability to attain indefinite lifespans is inherent in human biology, and that there will come a time when humans will continue to develop their intelligence by living indefinitely, rather than through evolution by natural selection.[38][39] Finite telomere regeneration would enable such a theory in biological models upcoming.

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair devices, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular machines, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[40] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical micromachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[41]

View post:
Biological immortality – Wikipedia

Posted in Immortality Medicine | Comments Off on Biological immortality – Wikipedia

Brooklyn Street | Neighborhood Alliance

Posted: November 30, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Intentional Communities/Co-housing

Some people consider an intentional/co-housing neighborhood a return to the best of small-town America.

Futurists suggest that intentional communities and co-housing options are a response to the 21st century’s social, economic, and environmental challenges.

We say it’s an ideal balance of privacy and community a safe, sustainable, and rewarding way to live! Imagine a neighborhood where…

We value acceptance, inclusion, and self-determination. We believe everyone deserves to be a life-long contributing member of a diverse community, and to have the opportunity to develop life-long, meaningful relationships. We know that all members of our community have something to learn from one another, and that everyone should have “a voice at the table”. We enjoy life sharing!

Our community is developing into an old-fashioned neighborhood, created with strong values, and a little ingenuity. It brings together the value of private homes with the benefits of safety, community support, and more sustainable living. This means:

Co-housing first emerged in Denmark more than thirty years ago, and the first co-housing in the United States was completed in 1991. In 2010, there were over 100 well-established co-housing neighborhoods in the United States, and approximately 100 more in development. Most of these are neighborhoods with a specific intention, and most are intergenerational.

The Brooklyn Street Neighborhood Alliance is unique in that it combines the vision and mission of a cohousing community and also welcomes and supports diversity, including people with special needs and their families and friends. It is also unusual in that it is a retrofit of an old and established neighborhood, rather than a new development – and it is reflective of our commitment to the revitalization of North Adams. We want to be part of a thriving, sustainable community we know it can happen, one neighborhood at a time!

Go here to see the original:

Brooklyn Street | Neighborhood Alliance

Posted in Intentional Communities | Comments Off on Brooklyn Street | Neighborhood Alliance

What are endeogens entheogens? – 5-MeO- DMT

Posted: at 6:41 pm

And why are they so important?

An introduction by James Oroc, 1/11/11

This web-site is dedicated to the only two known endogenous entheogens, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and 5-Methoxy-Dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT).

These two compounds are of unique interest to humanity for a number of extraordinary reasons probably the best-known being the simple fact that they are the most powerful of the known natural psychedelics. Found in the leaves, roots, and bark of a wide variety of trees, plants, and grasses, (and in the case of 5-MeO-DMT, also in the venom of the Bufo Alvarius or Sonaran Desert Toad), both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been utilized by Amazonian shamans for at least three thousand years in a wide-variety of sacred methods including snuffs and the now-legendary jungle brew most widely known as ayahuasca.

DMT and 5-MeO-DMT both have the reputation of being so powerful that when snuffed, drank, or in these modern times, smoked, they can produce a myriad of near magical effects, including the classical shamanic death-and-rebirth, and the ultimate mystical realization of Union-with-God. Psychedelic compounds this powerful are now often classified as entheogens a term which means ‘God-generated-within’ – in an attempt to recognize the often spiritual or even mystical nature of the experience they produce.

DMT can create extraordinary visual tapestries that seem to be able to mine the entire mythos of the Collective Unconsciousness, while 5-MeO-DMT allows for an out-of-body experience that can result in a singular resonance with The Void, which like so many mystics before, many users often identify as The Source of All Things. Both compounds are capable of producing intense intuitions about the sacred unity of all life, and even the transpersonal experience itself, where one actually feels the connectivity of all things and experiences a state most commonly described as Oneness. Both compounds have been known to produce genuine religious conversions, even converting hardened atheists to a more spiritual interpretation of Life. Because of its similarity to the near-death experience, 5-MeO-DMT has proven useful for easing the suffering of people dying of terminal illnesses, and also has a reputation of being able to break addictive patterns.

Within the psychedelic community itself these two compounds now have an almost mythical status thanks to both the advocacy of Terence McKenna and the scholarship of Alexander Shulgin, and more recently, the publication of simple extraction recipes on the Internet, coupled with the enthusiasm of today’s crop of psychedelic authors such as Rick Strassman, Daniel Pinchbeck, Martin Ball, and myself. Due to the intense and often fantastical visions that DMT creates it has been particularly influential with visual artists such as painters and video artists. The art, music, and video forms being produced by this neo-tribe of artists influenced by DMT and other psychedelic compounds is known as Visionary Art or Visionary Culture, and is at the heart of a now global web of psychedelic influenced electronic music, performance, and art festivals with illustrious names like Burning Man, BOOM! (Portugal), Symbiosis, Lightning-In-A-Bottle, the Rainbow Serpent Festival (Australia), Moksha, and Alchemeyez.

But as extraordinary as the effects of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT may be, as fascinating their history with humanity, or as influential their role may be in our spirituality or art, the most extraordinary fact about DMT and 5-MeO-DMT is the fact that they are both endogenous, and are in fact the only endogenous entheogens we know of. Endogenous means that a compound is found and produced within the human body itself; Serotonin is another endogenous tryptamine natural to our bodies and brains, just as DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been discovered to be. But what makes both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT so unique is that they are the only endogenous entheogens compounds that can invoke a mystical experience and are in fact two of the most powerful entheogens we have ever discovered.

One would think that the discovery in the early 1970s of the two compounds most known to be capable of invoking a mystical experience naturally within the human physiology would have been the cause the cause of tremendous scientific and social excitement, since such a discovery could obviously have potentially extraordinary implications upon the age-old search for the source of Human Spirituality; these two compounds may well be the link to that Source itself. But thanks to the draconian world-wide laws imposed against virtually all psychedelic compounds at around the same time (1971) there has been a virtual ban on research on the endogenous tryptamines (or any other psychedelics) in the United States since then. DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are now both highly illegal Schedule 1 drugs in most countries, the possession of which could result in lengthy jail time even though we all possess both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT that is produced naturally from some where within our own bodies.

This website was created to collate and share what is known and what has been speculated about DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, in the hope that our Society can realize how important these two extraordinary compounds may be to both understanding ourselves, and our relationship with the spiritual dimension within Life itself. It is intended as a web-companion to my book also titled Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad: A Journey from Burning Man to the Akashic Field. (2009). I realized upon completion of that book in 2009 that after 6 years of research into the endogenous tryptamines I had a lot of information that I had gathered (and especially on DMT) that did not fit within the parameters of that book itself. And now, thanks to the publication of Tryptamine Palace to a global audience, even more information continues to pour in, and my own theories and intuitions continue to develop as I have been fortunate to travel and speak about my book and my experiences around the world.

I have thus created this related website and blog in an attempt to share my own ever evolving view of both the mighty Tryptamine Universe and the emerging global Visionary Culture that it is inspiring. It is also my hope that this web site will help to separate some of the facts from the rampant speculation that is unfortunately most common. I hope the information you find within this endeavor both resonates within you, and is of some value in your own journey life, for regardless of your position on the Drug Laws or your personal experience with psychedelics, if you simply consider the facts, personal accounts, and tremendous art that you will find within this website, it is hard to argue that there are many things more capable of putting some Mystery back in the world then the remarkable endogenous entheogens, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.

In 1956, Humphry Osmond derived the term ‘psychedelic’ from the Greek words (psyche, “soul”) and (delein, “to manifest”), translating the new word to mean “mind-manifesting”. He created this new word in an attempt to differentiate the experiences of certain compounds that he believed were being insufficiently classified by the psychiatric community as ‘hallucinogens’. Many of today’s researchers, writers, and psychonauts, now prefer the term ‘entheogen’ over the term ‘psychedelic’ as way of further differentiating the unique and sacred properties of certain fascinating compounds that can induce a lasting sense of spirituality, or even the mystical experience of union-with-god itself.

Creating a new term is obviously easier than assuring its definition, an anomaly that Humphry Osmond undoubtedly realized when the word ‘psychedelic’ left the confines of the psychiatric community and over the following decade took on a life of it’s own. The definition of what compounds should be classified as ‘entheogens’ remains at large up to the discretion of the user, since it can be applied to compounds that are capable of inducing out-of-body mystical experiences, such as DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, more broadly as compounds that promote a heightened sense of awareness or ‘love’ such as MDMA, or even compounds that are used in a spiritual context or ceremony, such as cannabis. The majority of the compounds classified as ‘entheogens’ belong to the tryptamine family or are closely related to it, and include DMT (di-methyl- tryptamine), 5-MeO-DMT, DIPT, psilocybin, and LSD.

While an entheogen can be entirely created (such as LSD or 2CB) or synthesized (DMT and 5-MeO-DMT) in a laboratory, and are sometimes packaged as ‘research chemicals’ (AMT, DIPT, etc), many entheogens also occur naturally and have been utilized by human beings for centuries in numerous inventive ways. (Rain-deer urine leaps to mind). The natural tryptamine-containing entheogens can be eaten directly, or as a tea (‘magic mushrooms’ – 4-HO-DMT), administered as snuffs of powdered barks (such as y-kee, y-to, and yopo, in Colombia, epna in Brazil and Venezuela, and paric and nyakwna in Brazil; 5-MeO-DMT, 5-HO-DMT, and DMT in varying degrees), as plant admixtures (brews like ayahuasca; DMT/and sometimes 5-MeO-DMT), or even by smoking dried Bufo alvarius toad venom (5-MeO-DMT).

The consumption of entheogens has been at the core of humanitys search for the sacred since the earliest days of our societies, and examples are abundant. Some 3,500 years ago the ancient Hindus worshipped a lost entheogen called Soma as if it was a God and created their greatest legacy (the Vedas) in tribute to it. Mescaline-containing Trichocereus cacti were used by the Chavin culture of Peru as long as 3000 years ago and continue to be used by the northern Peruvian shamans today. Psychoactive kykeon was drunk for the two thousand-year period of the Eleusinan Mysteries, which were considered to be the pinnacle of Greek civilization. Tryptamine snuffs have been used in South America and the Caribbean for at least 2000 years, although their origins, along with the origins of ayahuasca as well, now appear to be lost in the mists of time. Peyote has been used by the Mexican Native Americans for the past 400 years, and the Amanita muscaria in Siberia for the past 300 years. A wide variety of many additional visionary plants – Psilocybe mushrooms, morning glory seeds, Salvia divinorum, Cannabis, tobacco, Datura, and so on have been used ceremonially by other traditional peoples the world over.

~ James Oroc, Tryptamine Palace (2009)

See the original post here:

What are endeogens entheogens? – 5-MeO- DMT

Posted in Entheogens | Comments Off on What are endeogens entheogens? – 5-MeO- DMT

Space exploration – Wikipedia

Posted: November 29, 2016 at 1:30 am

Space exploration is the ongoing discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology. While the study of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, the physical exploration of space is conducted both by unmanned robotic probes and human spaceflight.

While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the early 20th century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, national prestige, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity, and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries.[1]

Space exploration has often been used as a proxy competition for geopolitical rivalries such as the Cold War. The early era of space exploration was driven by a “Space Race” between the Soviet Union and the United States. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth, the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial period. The Soviet space program achieved many of the first milestones, including the first living being in orbit in 1957, the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1) in 1961, the first spacewalk (by Aleksei Leonov) on 18 March 1965, the first automatic landing on another celestial body in 1966, and the launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971.

After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS).

With the substantial completion of the ISS[2] following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the USA remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020[3] was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009.[4] The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as EarthMoon L1, the Moon, EarthSun L2, near-Earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit.[5]

In the 2000s, the People’s Republic of China initiated a successful manned spaceflight program, while the European Union, Japan, and India have also planned future manned space missions. China, Russia, Japan, and India have advocated manned missions to the Moon during the 21st century, while the European Union has advocated manned missions to both the Moon and Mars during the 20/21st century.

From the 1990s onwards, private interests began promoting space tourism and then private space exploration of the Moon (see Google Lunar X Prize).

The highest known projectiles prior to the rockets of the 1940s were the shells of the Paris Gun, a type of German long-range siege gun, which reached at least 40 kilometers altitude during World War One.[6] Steps towards putting a human-made object into space were taken by German scientists during World War II while testing the V-2 rocket, which became the first human-made object in space on 3 October 1942 with the launching of the A-4. After the war, the U.S. used German scientists and their captured rockets in programs for both military and civilian research. The first scientific exploration from space was the cosmic radiation experiment launched by the U.S. on a V-2 rocket on 10 May 1946.[7] The first images of Earth taken from space followed the same year[8][9] while the first animal experiment saw fruit flies lifted into space in 1947, both also on modified V-2s launched by Americans. Starting in 1947, the Soviets, also with the help of German teams, launched sub-orbital V-2 rockets and their own variant, the R-1, including radiation and animal experiments on some flights. These suborbital experiments only allowed a very short time in space which limited their usefulness.

The first successful orbital launch was of the Soviet unmanned Sputnik 1 (“Satellite 1”) mission on 4 October 1957. The satellite weighed about 83kg (183lb), and is believed to have orbited Earth at a height of about 250km (160mi). It had two radio transmitters (20 and 40MHz), which emitted “beeps” that could be heard by radios around the globe. Analysis of the radio signals was used to gather information about the electron density of the ionosphere, while temperature and pressure data was encoded in the duration of radio beeps. The results indicated that the satellite was not punctured by a meteoroid. Sputnik 1 was launched by an R-7 rocket. It burned up upon re-entry on 3 January 1958.

The second one was Sputnik 2. Launched by the USSR in November 1957, it carried dog Laika inside.

This success led to an escalation of the American space program, which unsuccessfully attempted to launch a Vanguard satellite into orbit two months later. On 31 January 1958, the U.S. successfully orbited Explorer 1 on a Juno rocket. In the meantime, the Soviet dog Laika became the first animal in orbit on 3 November 1957.

The first successful human spaceflight was Vostok 1 (“East 1”), carrying 27-year-old Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on 12 April 1961. The spacecraft completed one orbit around the globe, lasting about 1 hour and 48 minutes. Gagarin’s flight resonated around the world; it was a demonstration of the advanced Soviet space program and it opened an entirely new era in space exploration: human spaceflight.

The U.S. first launched a person into space within a month of Vostok 1 with Alan Shepard’s suborbital flight in Mercury-Redstone 3. Orbital flight was achieved by the United States when John Glenn’s Mercury-Atlas 6 orbited Earth on 5 May 1961.

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, orbited Earth 48 times aboard Vostok 6 on 16 June 1963.

China first launched a person into space 42 years after the launch of Vostok 1, on 15 October 2003, with the flight of Yang Liwei aboard the Shenzhou 5 (Spaceboat 5) spacecraft.

The first artificial object to reach another celestial body was Luna 2 in 1959.[10] The first automatic landing on another celestial body was performed by Luna 9[11] in 1966. Luna 10 became the first artificial satellite of the Moon.[12]

The first manned landing on another celestial body was performed by Apollo 11 on 20 July 1969.

The first successful interplanetary flyby was the 1962 Mariner 2 flyby of Venus (closest approach 34,773 kilometers). The other planets were first flown by in 1965 for Mars by Mariner 4, 1973 for Jupiter by Pioneer 10, 1974 for Mercury by Mariner 10, 1979 for Saturn by Pioneer 11, 1986 for Uranus by Voyager 2, 1989 for Neptune by Voyager 2. In 2015, the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto were orbited by Dawn and passed by New Horizons, respectively.

The first interplanetary surface mission to return at least limited surface data from another planet was the 1970 landing of Venera 7 on Venus which returned data to Earth for 23 minutes. In 1975 the Venera 9 was the first to return images from the surface of another planet. In 1971 the Mars 3 mission achieved the first soft landing on Mars returning data for almost 20 seconds. Later much longer duration surface missions were achieved, including over 6 years of Mars surface operation by Viking 1 from 1975 to 1982 and over 2 hours of transmission from the surface of Venus by Venera 13 in 1982, the longest ever Soviet planetary surface mission.

The dream of stepping into the outer reaches of Earth’s atmosphere was driven by the fiction of Peter Francis Geraci[13][14][15] and H.G.Wells,[16] and rocket technology was developed to try to realize this vision. The German V-2 was the first rocket to travel into space, overcoming the problems of thrust and material failure. During the final days of World War II this technology was obtained by both the Americans and Soviets as were its designers. The initial driving force for further development of the technology was a weapons race for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to be used as long-range carriers for fast nuclear weapon delivery, but in 1961 when the Soviet Union launched the first man into space, the United States declared itself to be in a “Space Race” with the Soviets.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, Hermann Oberth, and Reinhold Tiling laid the groundwork of rocketry in the early years of the 20th century.

Wernher von Braun was the lead rocket engineer for Nazi Germany’s World War II V-2 rocket project. In the last days of the war he led a caravan of workers in the German rocket program to the American lines, where they surrendered and were brought to the USA to work on U.S. rocket development (“Operation Paperclip”). He acquired American citizenship and led the team that developed and launched Explorer 1, the first American satellite. Von Braun later led the team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center which developed the Saturn V moon rocket.

Initially the race for space was often led by Sergei Korolyov, whose legacy includes both the R7 and Soyuzwhich remain in service to this day. Korolev was the mastermind behind the first satellite, first man (and first woman) in orbit and first spacewalk. Until his death his identity was a closely guarded state secret; not even his mother knew that he was responsible for creating the Soviet space program.

Kerim Kerimov was one of the founders of the Soviet space program and was one of the lead architects behind the first human spaceflight (Vostok 1) alongside Sergey Korolyov. After Korolyov’s death in 1966, Kerimov became the lead scientist of the Soviet space program and was responsible for the launch of the first space stations from 1971 to 1991, including the Salyut and Mir series, and their precursors in 1967, the Cosmos 186 and Cosmos 188.[17][18]

Although the Sun will probably not be physically explored at all, the study of the Sun has nevertheless been a major focus of space exploration. Being above the atmosphere in particular and Earth’s magnetic field gives access to the solar wind and infrared and ultraviolet radiations that cannot reach Earth’s surface. The Sun generates most space weather, which can affect power generation and transmission systems on Earth and interfere with, and even damage, satellites and space probes. Numerous spacecraft dedicated to observing the Sun have been launched and still others have had solar observation as a secondary objective. Solar Probe Plus, planned for a 2018 launch, will approach the Sun to within 1/8th the orbit of Mercury.

Mercury remains the least explored of the inner planets. As of May 2013, the Mariner 10 and MESSENGER missions have been the only missions that have made close observations of Mercury. MESSENGER entered orbit around Mercury in March 2011, to further investigate the observations made by Mariner 10 in 1975 (Munsell, 2006b).

A third mission to Mercury, scheduled to arrive in 2020, BepiColombo is to include two probes. BepiColombo is a joint mission between Japan and the European Space Agency. MESSENGER and BepiColombo are intended to gather complementary data to help scientists understand many of the mysteries discovered by Mariner 10’s flybys.

Flights to other planets within the Solar System are accomplished at a cost in energy, which is described by the net change in velocity of the spacecraft, or delta-v. Due to the relatively high delta-v to reach Mercury and its proximity to the Sun, it is difficult to explore and orbits around it are rather unstable.

Venus was the first target of interplanetary flyby and lander missions and, despite one of the most hostile surface environments in the Solar System, has had more landers sent to it (nearly all from the Soviet Union) than any other planet in the Solar System. The first successful Venus flyby was the American Mariner 2 spacecraft, which flew past Venus in 1962. Mariner 2 has been followed by several other flybys by multiple space agencies often as part of missions using a Venus flyby to provide a gravitational assist en route to other celestial bodies. In 1967 Venera 4 became the first probe to enter and directly examine the atmosphere of Venus. In 1970, Venera 7 became the first successful lander to reach the surface of Venus and by 1985 it had been followed by eight additional successful Soviet Venus landers which provided images and other direct surface data. Starting in 1975 with the Soviet orbiter Venera 9 some ten successful orbiter missions have been sent to Venus, including later missions which were able to map the surface of Venus using radar to pierce the obscuring atmosphere.

Space exploration has been used as a tool to understand Earth as a celestial object in its own right. Orbital missions can provide data for Earth that can be difficult or impossible to obtain from a purely ground-based point of reference.

For example, the existence of the Van Allen radiation belts was unknown until their discovery by the United States’ first artificial satellite, Explorer 1. These belts contain radiation trapped by Earth’s magnetic fields, which currently renders construction of habitable space stations above 1000km impractical.

Following this early unexpected discovery, a large number of Earth observation satellites have been deployed specifically to explore Earth from a space based perspective. These satellites have significantly contributed to the understanding of a variety of Earth-based phenomena. For instance, the hole in the ozone layer was found by an artificial satellite that was exploring Earth’s atmosphere, and satellites have allowed for the discovery of archeological sites or geological formations that were difficult or impossible to otherwise identify.

The Moon was the first celestial body to be the object of space exploration. It holds the distinctions of being the first remote celestial object to be flown by, orbited, and landed upon by spacecraft, and the only remote celestial object ever to be visited by humans.

In 1959 the Soviets obtained the first images of the far side of the Moon, never previously visible to humans. The U.S. exploration of the Moon began with the Ranger 4 impactor in 1962. Starting in 1966 the Soviets successfully deployed a number of landers to the Moon which were able to obtain data directly from the Moon’s surface; just four months later, Surveyor 1 marked the debut of a successful series of U.S. landers. The Soviet unmanned missions culminated in the Lunokhod program in the early 1970s, which included the first unmanned rovers and also successfully brought lunar soil samples to Earth for study. This marked the first (and to date the only) automated return of extraterrestrial soil samples to Earth. Unmanned exploration of the Moon continues with various nations periodically deploying lunar orbiters, and in 2008 the Indian Moon Impact Probe.

Manned exploration of the Moon began in 1968 with the Apollo 8 mission that successfully orbited the Moon, the first time any extraterrestrial object was orbited by humans. In 1969, the Apollo 11 mission marked the first time humans set foot upon another world. Manned exploration of the Moon did not continue for long, however. The Apollo 17 mission in 1972 marked the most recent human visit there, and the next, Exploration Mission 2, is due to orbit the Moon in 2021. Robotic missions are still pursued vigorously.

The exploration of Mars has been an important part of the space exploration programs of the Soviet Union (later Russia), the United States, Europe, Japan and India. Dozens of robotic spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been launched toward Mars since the 1960s. These missions were aimed at gathering data about current conditions and answering questions about the history of Mars. The questions raised by the scientific community are expected to not only give a better appreciation of the red planet but also yield further insight into the past, and possible future, of Earth.

The exploration of Mars has come at a considerable financial cost with roughly two-thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failing before completing their missions, with some failing before they even began. Such a high failure rate can be attributed to the complexity and large number of variables involved in an interplanetary journey, and has led researchers to jokingly speak of The Great Galactic Ghoul[19] which subsists on a diet of Mars probes. This phenomenon is also informally known as the Mars Curse.[20] In contrast to overall high failure rates in the exploration of Mars, India has become the first country to achieve success of its maiden attempt. India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)[21][22][23] is one of the least expensive interplanetary missions ever undertaken with an approximate total cost of 450 Crore (US$73 million).[24][25] The first ever mission to Mars by any Arab country has been taken up by the United Arab Emirates. Called the Emirates Mars Mission, it is scheduled for launch in 2020. The unmanned exploratory probe has been named “Hope Probe” and will be sent to Mars to study its atmosphere in detail.[26]

The Russian space mission Fobos-Grunt, which launched on 9 November 2011 experienced a failure leaving it stranded in low Earth orbit.[27] It was to begin exploration of the Phobos and Martian circumterrestrial orbit, and study whether the moons of Mars, or at least Phobos, could be a “trans-shipment point” for spaceships traveling to Mars.[28]

The exploration of Jupiter has consisted solely of a number of automated NASA spacecraft visiting the planet since 1973. A large majority of the missions have been “flybys”, in which detailed observations are taken without the probe landing or entering orbit; such as in Pioneer and Voyager programs. The Galileo spacecraft is the only one to have orbited the planet. As Jupiter is believed to have only a relatively small rocky core and no real solid surface, a landing mission is nearly impossible.

Reaching Jupiter from Earth requires a delta-v of 9.2km/s,[29] which is comparable to the 9.7km/s delta-v needed to reach low Earth orbit.[30] Fortunately, gravity assists through planetary flybys can be used to reduce the energy required at launch to reach Jupiter, albeit at the cost of a significantly longer flight duration.[29]

Jupiter has 67 known moons, many of which have relatively little known information about them.

Saturn has been explored only through unmanned spacecraft launched by NASA, including one mission (CassiniHuygens) planned and executed in cooperation with other space agencies. These missions consist of flybys in 1979 by Pioneer 11, in 1980 by Voyager 1, in 1982 by Voyager 2 and an orbital mission by the Cassini spacecraft, which entered orbit in 2004 and is expected to continue its mission well into 2017.

Saturn has at least 62 known moons, although the exact number is debatable since Saturn’s rings are made up of vast numbers of independently orbiting objects of varying sizes. The largest of the moons is Titan. Titan holds the distinction of being the only moon in the Solar System with an atmosphere denser and thicker than that of Earth. As a result of the deployment from the Cassini spacecraft of the Huygens probe and its successful landing on Titan, Titan also holds the distinction of being the only object in the outer Solar System that has been explored with a lander.

The exploration of Uranus has been entirely through the Voyager 2 spacecraft, with no other visits currently planned. Given its axial tilt of 97.77, with its polar regions exposed to sunlight or darkness for long periods, scientists were not sure what to expect at Uranus. The closest approach to Uranus occurred on 24 January 1986. Voyager 2 studied the planet’s unique atmosphere and magnetosphere. Voyager 2 also examined its ring system and the moons of Uranus including all five of the previously known moons, while discovering an additional ten previously unknown moons.

Images of Uranus proved to have a very uniform appearance, with no evidence of the dramatic storms or atmospheric banding evident on Jupiter and Saturn. Great effort was required to even identify a few clouds in the images of the planet. The magnetosphere of Uranus, however, proved to be completely unique and proved to be profoundly affected by the planet’s unusual axial tilt. In contrast to the bland appearance of Uranus itself, striking images were obtained of the Moons of Uranus, including evidence that Miranda had been unusually geologically active.

The exploration of Neptune began with the 25 August 1989 Voyager 2 flyby, the sole visit to the system as of 2014. The possibility of a Neptune Orbiter has been discussed, but no other missions have been given serious thought.

Although the extremely uniform appearance of Uranus during Voyager 2’s visit in 1986 had led to expectations that Neptune would also have few visible atmospheric phenomena, the spacecraft found that Neptune had obvious banding, visible clouds, auroras, and even a conspicuous anticyclone storm system rivaled in size only by Jupiter’s small Spot. Neptune also proved to have the fastest winds of any planet in the Solar System, measured as high as 2,100km/h.[31] Voyager 2 also examined Neptune’s ring and moon system. It discovered 900 complete rings and additional partial ring “arcs” around Neptune. In addition to examining Neptune’s three previously known moons, Voyager 2 also discovered five previously unknown moons, one of which, Proteus, proved to be the last largest moon in the system. Data from Voyager 2 supported the view that Neptune’s largest moon, Triton, is a captured Kuiper belt object.[32]

The dwarf planet Pluto presents significant challenges for spacecraft because of its great distance from Earth (requiring high velocity for reasonable trip times) and small mass (making capture into orbit very difficult at present). Voyager 1 could have visited Pluto, but controllers opted instead for a close flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan, resulting in a trajectory incompatible with a Pluto flyby. Voyager 2 never had a plausible trajectory for reaching Pluto.[33]

Pluto continues to be of great interest, despite its reclassification as the lead and nearest member of a new and growing class of distant icy bodies of intermediate size (and also the first member of the important subclass, defined by orbit and known as “plutinos”). After an intense political battle, a mission to Pluto dubbed New Horizons was granted funding from the United States government in 2003.[34] New Horizons was launched successfully on 19 January 2006. In early 2007 the craft made use of a gravity assist from Jupiter. Its closest approach to Pluto was on 14 July 2015; scientific observations of Pluto began five months prior to closest approach and will continue for at least a month after the encounter.

Until the advent of space travel, objects in the asteroid belt were merely pinpricks of light in even the largest telescopes, their shapes and terrain remaining a mystery. Several asteroids have now been visited by probes, the first of which was Galileo, which flew past two: 951 Gaspra in 1991, followed by 243 Ida in 1993. Both of these lay near enough to Galileo’s planned trajectory to Jupiter that they could be visited at acceptable cost. The first landing on an asteroid was performed by the NEAR Shoemaker probe in 2000, following an orbital survey of the object. The dwarf planet Ceres and the asteroid 4 Vesta, two of the three largest asteroids, were visited by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, launched in 2007.

Although many comets have been studied from Earth sometimes with centuries-worth of observations, only a few comets have been closely visited. In 1985, the International Cometary Explorer conducted the first comet fly-by (21P/Giacobini-Zinner) before joining the Halley Armada studying the famous comet. The Deep Impact probe smashed into 9P/Tempel to learn more about its structure and composition and the Stardust mission returned samples of another comet’s tail. The Philae lander successfully landed on Comet ChuryumovGerasimenko in 2014 as part of the broader Rosetta mission.

Hayabusa was an unmanned spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to return a sample of material from the small near-Earth asteroid 25143 Itokawa to Earth for further analysis. Hayabusa was launched on 9 May 2003 and rendezvoused with Itokawa in mid-September 2005. After arriving at Itokawa, Hayabusa studied the asteroid’s shape, spin, topography, color, composition, density, and history. In November 2005, it landed on the asteroid to collect samples. The spacecraft returned to Earth on 13 June 2010.

Deep space exploration is the term used for the exploration of deep space, and which is usually described as being at far distances from Earth and either within or away from the Solar System. It is the branch of astronomy, astronautics and space technology that is involved with the exploration of distant regions of outer space.[35] Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights (deep-space astronautics) and by robotic spacecraft.

Some of the best candidates for future deep space engine technologies include anti-matter, nuclear power and beamed propulsion.[36] The latter, beamed propulsion, appears to be the best candidate for deep space exploration presently available, since it uses known physics and known technology that is being developed for other purposes.[37]

In the 2000s, several plans for space exploration were announced; both government entities and the private sector have space exploration objectives. China has announced plans to have a 60-ton multi-module space station in orbit by 2020.

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 provided a re-prioritized list of objectives for the American space program, as well as funding for the first priorities. NASA proposes to move forward with the development of the Space Launch System (SLS), which will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment, and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The SLS rocket will incorporate technological investments from the Space Shuttle program and the Constellation program in order to take advantage of proven hardware and reduce development and operations costs. The first developmental flight is targeted for the end of 2017.[38]

The idea of using high level automated systems for space missions has become a desirable goal to space agencies all around the world. Such systems are believed to yield benefits such as lower cost, less human oversight, and ability to explore deeper in space which is usually restricted by long communications with human controllers.[39]

Autonomy is defined by 3 requirements:[39]

Autonomed technologies would be able to perform beyond predetermined actions. It would analyze all possible states and events happening around them and come up with a safe response. In addition, such technologies can reduce launch cost and ground involvement. Performance would increase as well. Autonomy would be able to quickly respond upon encountering an unforeseen event, especially in deep space exploration where communication back to Earth would take too long.[39]

NASA began its autonomous science experiment (ASE) on Earth Observing 1 (EO-1) which is NASA’s first satellite in the new millennium program Earth-observing series launched on 21 November 2000. The autonomy of ASE is capable of on-board science analysis, replanning, robust execution, and later the addition of model-based diagnostic. Images obtained by the EO-1 are analyzed on-board and downlinked when a change or an interesting event occur. The ASE software has successfully provided over 10,000 science images.[39]

The research that is conducted by national space exploration agencies, such as NASA and Roscosmos, is one of the reasons supporters cite to justify government expenses. Economic analyses of the NASA programs often showed ongoing economic benefits (such as NASA spin-offs), generating many times the revenue of the cost of the program.[40] It is also argued that space exploration would lead to the extraction of resources on other planets and especially asteroids, which contain billions of dollars worth of minerals and metals. Such expeditions could generate a lot of revenue.[41] As well, it has been argued that space exploration programs help inspire youth to study in science and engineering.[42]

Another claim is that space exploration is a necessity to mankind and that staying on Earth will lead to extinction. Some of the reasons are lack of natural resources, comets, nuclear war, and worldwide epidemic. Stephen Hawking, renowned British theoretical physicist, said that “I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”[43]

NASA has produced a series of public service announcement videos supporting the concept of space exploration.[44]

Overall, the public remains largely supportive of both manned and unmanned space exploration. According to an Associated Press Poll conducted in July 2003, 71% of U.S. citizens agreed with the statement that the space program is “a good investment”, compared to 21% who did not.[45]

Arthur C. Clarke (1950) presented a summary of motivations for the human exploration of space in his non-fiction semi-technical monograph Interplanetary Flight.[46] He argued that humanity’s choice is essentially between expansion off Earth into space, versus cultural (and eventually biological) stagnation and death.

Spaceflight is the use of space technology to achieve the flight of spacecraft into and through outer space.

Spaceflight is used in space exploration, and also in commercial activities like space tourism and satellite telecommunications. Additional non-commercial uses of spaceflight include space observatories, reconnaissance satellites and other Earth observation satellites.

A spaceflight typically begins with a rocket launch, which provides the initial thrust to overcome the force of gravity and propels the spacecraft from the surface of Earth. Once in space, the motion of a spacecraftboth when unpropelled and when under propulsionis covered by the area of study called astrodynamics. Some spacecraft remain in space indefinitely, some disintegrate during atmospheric reentry, and others reach a planetary or lunar surface for landing or impact.

Satellites are used for a large number of purposes. Common types include military (spy) and civilian Earth observation satellites, communication satellites, navigation satellites, weather satellites, and research satellites. Space stations and human spacecraft in orbit are also satellites.

Current examples of the commercial use of space include satellite navigation systems, satellite television and satellite radio. Space tourism is the recent phenomenon of space travel by individuals for the purpose of personal pleasure.

Astrobiology is the interdisciplinary study of life in the universe, combining aspects of astronomy, biology and geology.[47] It is focused primarily on the study of the origin, distribution and evolution of life. It is also known as exobiology (from Greek: , exo, “outside”).[48][49][50] The term “Xenobiology” has been used as well, but this is technically incorrect because its terminology means “biology of the foreigners”.[51] Astrobiologists must also consider the possibility of life that is chemically entirely distinct from any life found on Earth.[52] In the Solar System some of the prime locations for current or past astrobiology are on Enceladus, Europa, Mars, and Titan.

Space colonization, also called space settlement and space humanization, would be the permanent autonomous (self-sufficient) human habitation of locations outside Earth, especially of natural satellites or planets such as the Moon or Mars, using significant amounts of in-situ resource utilization.

To date, the longest human occupation of space is the International Space Station which has been in continuous use for 700850716800000000016years, 26days. Valeri Polyakov’s record single spaceflight of almost 438 days aboard the Mir space station has not been surpassed. Long-term stays in space reveal issues with bone and muscle loss in low gravity, immune system suppression, and radiation exposure.

Many past and current concepts for the continued exploration and colonization of space focus on a return to the Moon as a “stepping stone” to the other planets, especially Mars. At the end of 2006 NASA announced they were planning to build a permanent Moon base with continual presence by 2024.[54]

Beyond the technical factors that could make living in space more widespread, it has been suggested that the lack of private property, the inability or difficulty in establishing property rights in space, has been an impediment to the development of space for human habitation. Since the advent of space technology in the latter half of the twentieth century, the ownership of property in space has been murky, with strong arguments both for and against. In particular, the making of national territorial claims in outer space and on celestial bodies has been specifically proscribed by the Outer Space Treaty, which had been, as of 2012[update], ratified by all spacefaring nations.[55]

View original post here:

Space exploration – Wikipedia

Posted in Space Exploration | Comments Off on Space exploration – Wikipedia