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Posted: January 10, 2017 at 2:59 am
Top Five Zeitgeist The Movie Myths!
1) The Zeitgeist Movement is all about support of Zeitgeist: The Movie!
Actually, as per my experience over the past 6 years, most within The Zeitgeist Movement (TZM) do not subscribe or agree with this film in general, although mixed reactions are most common. Zeitgeist: The Movie was created years before TZM was formed. TZM was created originally to support Jacque Frescos Venus Project (TVP). After TVP and TZM split three years later, TZM became a self-propelling institution with its own body of work. The text The Zeitgeist Movement Defined is the core source of Movement interests and expresses what TZM is about clearly.
As of 2015, any ongoing association with TZM and Zeitgeist: The Movie is often perpetuated by those merely with malicious intent. As the rest of this list will express, Zeitgeist: The Movie has been a point of extreme attack and bigoted reactions since its inception. Having been seen by literally hundreds of millions of people, it is no surprise so many in vehement disagreement rise to the top. I wish I counted the number of death threats and the amount of cyber stalking I have personally endured. I have spent upwards of $20,000 in legal fees fighting constant defamation by those offended by that film.
As an aside, many have suggested that a simple name change (remove Zeitgeist) would have solved the problem. Yet, if a name change alone is that persuasive, isnt that actually indicative of a deep lack of critical thought? Where a mere superficial title changes peoples sense of association? I find this troubling if so. But regardless, the genie cannot go back in the bottle. Love it or hate it, Zeitgeist: The Movie isnt going anywhere and its content/implications 8 years later seem to only get stronger and more validated. According to my online distributor, it is one of the most popular docs on Netflix, now in many languages/regions there.
2) Its all been debunked!
The term debunked has become a mantra of sorts by the anti-ztm crowd. You also see this kind of overly zealous absolutism in other communities as well, such as the atheist community. As an atheist myself, I have learned that compassion is much more powerful than ridicule and if the goal of any communication is to change minds, taking a condescending and absolute approach does nothing but inflate the initiators ego not help educate others.
In that, many interpreted the first section of Zeitgeist: The Movie as an attack on religion. I would say it is providing a contrary view of its history and it does so in a non-derisive way. It is very academic in its presentation and to call it an attack is without merit.
That noted, Zeitgeist: The Movie was an art piece first and foremost and a great deal of liberty was taken in its expression. In the very first edition, I had a section with John F. Kennedy talking about the grand conspiracy of Communism and overlaid it onto his assassination footage. I knew what I was doing and did so because it was an amazing artistic effect. It wasnt until the film was grossly misinterpreted in its mixed genre style and artistic license that I later went back and made such editorial changes to conform it to a more documentary form.
I was sad to have to do this, in fact but It seems it was too advanced a piece for common culture and people were not ready to be critical of such liberties; understand the context. Zeitgeist: The Movie was the ultimate expression of demanding critical thought. It wasnt made to declare, it was made to challenge.Same goes for the long held up cry of manipulative filmmaking, such as when footage of the Madrid subway bombing was used to introduce a section on the 7/7 London Bombings. How dare I show a different explosion!
In 2010, I cleaned it up to conform to a more traditional documentary form and produced a free 220 booklet to support the literally 100s of claims made in the work. To date, no one has addressed this text. I would also add that while points made in the film from the origins of religion, to the events of Sept 11th, to the history of war for profit and social manipulation by financial interests are subject to interpretation and could perhaps be wrong, no single opposing claim or group of contradictions debunks the whole film. As the filmmaker, I will state that even I am not sure about some of the claims as far as what the absolute truth is. But again, that isnt the purpose of this work.
3) There are no sources!
I have seen this claim posted in reviews constantly. Zeitgeist: The Movie is likely the most sourced film in documentary history. I know of no other work that has painstakingly shown where the content came from. Again, one can argue about the truth of any given idea, but to say it is made up is beyond absurd. Companion Source Guide : http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/Zeitgeist,%20The%20Movie-%20Companion%20Guide%20PDF.pdf
4) Its anti-semitic!
This one really took me by surprise when I starting hear about it, especially since I end the film with one of the most heart warming/human unity quotes of all time by Carl Sagan. It appears to have started with a woman named Michelle Goldberg. She essentially stated that my use of a 1941 anti-war speech by Charles A. Lindbergh implied this, as Lindbergh was supposedly anti-semitic.
In the opening section of part 3 of the film, she claims Charles A. Lindbergh was talking about the jews when describing warring interests trying to bring American into WWII. This is just about as wrong and irresponsible as it comes. Sadly, this theme has carried forward through history as the echo of pro-war/pro establishment media propaganda redefines reality. Long story short, Charles A Lindbergh was a famous American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist. He was the son of Congressman Charles Lindbergh Sr. who was extremely outspoken against the banking system a generation prior, writing texts on the Money Trust, referring to the financial system and its power. (He too was often called anti-semitic with no validation as a means of personal attack.) Charles A. Lindbergh deeply opposed US involve in WWII. He was an isolationist. In this crusade, he was attacked as anti-semitic in order to pollute his message. (sound familiar?) Its that simple. To his discredit, his speaking skills were poor and he often spoke primitively about groups. He held some bad science views that were very common of the time and its easy to look back on such un-informed issues and find false relationships. Yet, his non-racist stance is very clear to those paying attention.
For example, he once stated: I am not attacking either the Jewish or the British people. Both races, I admire. But I am saying that the leaders of both the British and the Jewish races, for reasons which are as understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war. We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction This was a political statement, not a racist one but the press at the time ran that it was anti-semitic, which, again, is a good ploy if you want people to distrust someone. We see this technique being used today, constantly. Here are the last lines of the speech used in Zeitgeist: The Movie (that was called anti-semitic), along with the next sentence, not included in the film (in bold):
Our theaters soon became filled with plays portraying the glory of war. Newsreels lost all semblance of objectivity. Newspapers and magazines began to lose advertising if they carried anti-war articles. A smear campaign was instituted against individuals who opposed intervention. The terms fifth columnist, traitor, Nazi, anti-Semitic were thrown ceaselessly at any one who dared to suggest that it was not to the best interests of the United States to enter the war. Men lost their jobs if they were frankly anti-war. Many others dared no longer speak.
Later in the speech he then states: No person with a sense of the dignity of mankind can condone the persecution of the Jewish race in Germany.
Does this sound like a racist to you? In a book written by his wife, she states: His prewar isolationist speeches were given in all sincerity for what he thought was the good of the country and the worldHe was accused of being anti-semetic, but in the 45 years I lived with him I never heard him make a remark against the jews, not a crack or joke, and neither did any of our children. So what we have is a victim of the media culture, glamorized through history with the vile horror of hindsight given the horrors/persecutions around WWII. Lindbergh might not have been the smartest and most strategic in his manner of activism and communication but there is no evidence he was a racist.
5) Its an anti-New World Order Conspiracy Film!
Proponents who talk about the New World Order, (long before Zeitgeist The Movie) have always agitated me. I have never supported this bizarre and esoteric body of assumptions and, to this day, can honestly say I have no idea how the current ideas even came about given the origin of the original term. New World Order is a term put forward by H. G. Wells in his book of the same title. In this, he speaks about the world unifying as one for the better. Since that time, however, the term has been skyrocketed into bizarro land.The only times I have ever sympathized with anyone who does have this pop culture belief was when I tried and get behind it and talk about root causes of human behavior and power abuse. And yet, even the current Wikipedia entry on Zeitgeist: The Movie says it is about New World Order forces But then again its Wikipedia the encyclopedia that lets random opinion and select news sources serve as historical fact.
Anyway, while the very original version of the film did talk about global government run by corporate power as an Orwellian 1984 type assumption for the future, this was artistically presented and deduced as a result of global financial power and the tendency to constantly concentrate this power. I later removed this section entirely (in 2010) as I was disgusted by the constant misinterpretations.
Likewise, the notion of a Conspiracy film is equally as misguided. This is simply derision by categorical association. No different than how the term communist was used to force people to shy away from any information or ideas that were against the status quo during the Mcarthy Era in the 1950s.
Zeitgeist: The Movie takes three subjects and bridges them within the context of social myth. This context is then evidenced to show how people become biased and can be manipulated based upon those dominant shared (bogus) beliefs (hence the term zeitgeist itself).
In the context of the real world, power abuse is obvious since the nature of our economy supports massive class division and the movement of power and money to a small group. This isnt conspiracy it is a system reality. We live in a war system and massive gaming for personal/group self-interest is happening at every moment.
Thats enough for now.
~Peter Joseph, Feb 22nd 2015
Posted: at 2:58 am
“Domotics/Domotica” redirects here. It is not to be confused with Demotic.
Home automation or smart home (also known as domotics or domotica) is the residential extension of building automation and involves the control and automation of lighting, heating (such as smart thermostats), ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and security, as well as home appliances such as washer/dryers, ovens or refrigerators/freezers that use WiFi for remote monitoring. Modern systems generally consist of switches and sensors connected to a central hub sometimes called a “gateway” from which the system is controlled with a user interface that is interacted either with a wall-mounted terminal, mobile phone software, tablet computer or a web interface, often but not always via internet cloud services.
While there are many competing vendors, there are very few world-wide accepted industry standards and the smart home space is heavily fragmented. Popular communications protocol for products include X10, Ethernet, RS-485, 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth LE (BLE), ZigBee and Z-Wave, or other proprietary protocols all of which are incompatible with each other. Manufacturers often prevent independent implementations by withholding documentation and by suing people.
The home automation market was worth US$5.77 billion in 2015, predicted to have a market value over US$10 billion by the year 2020.
The word “domotics” (and “domotica” when used as a verb) is a contraction of the Latin word for a home “domus” and the words/fields informatics, telematics and robotics.
Early home automation began with labor-saving machines. Self-contained electric or gas powered home appliances became viable in the 1900s with the introduction of electric power distribution and led to the introduction of washing machines (1904), water heaters (1889), refrigerators, sewing machines, dishwashers, and clothes dryers.
In 1975, the first general purpose home automation network technology, X10, was developed. It is a communication protocol for electronic devices. It primarily uses electric power transmission wiring for signalling and control, where the signals involve brief radio frequency bursts of digital data, and remains the most widely available. By 1978, X10 products included a 16 channel command console, a lamp module, and an appliance module. Soon after came the wall switch module and the first X10 timer.
By 2012, in the United States, according to ABI Research, 1.5 million home automation systems were installed.
According to Li et. al. (2016) there are three generations of home automation:
In a review of home automation devices, Consumer Reports found two main concerns for consumers:
Microsoft Research found in 2011, that home automation could involve high cost of ownership, inflexibility of interconnected devices, and poor manageability.
Historically systems have been sold as complete systems where the consumer relies on one vendor for the entire system including the hardware, the communications protocol, the central hub, and the user interface. However, there are now open source software systems which can be used with proprietary hardware.
There are a wide variety of technology platforms, or protocols, on which a smart home can be built. Each one is, essentially, its own language. Each language speaks to the various connected devices and instructs them to perform a function.
The automation protocol transport has involved direct wire connectivity, powerline (UPB) and wireless hybrid and wireless.
Most of the protocols below are not open. All have an API.
Home automation suffers from platform fragmentation and lack of technical standards a situation where the variety of home automation devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work consistently between different inconsistent technology ecosystems hard. Customers may be hesitant to bet their IoT future on proprietary software or hardware devices that use proprietary protocols that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.
Home automation devices amorphous computing nature is also a problem for security, since patches to bugs found in the core operating system often do not reach users of older and lower-price devices. One set of researchers say that the failure of vendors to support older devices with patches and updates leaves more than 87% of active devices vulnerable.
Domestic patch panel, unstructured.
Laptop controller for automated sprinkler system
Well and booster pump automation
An ad for the Kitchen Computer in 1969.
The rest is here:
Posted: January 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm
Empowerment and a strengths perspective which support the development of innate abilities and recognize differences in a positive manner are also helping social workers increase the individual clients capacity to learn to use his or her own systems constructively
More than a simple linguistic nuance, the notion that social workers do not empower others, but instead, help people empower themselves is an ontological distinction that frames the reality experienced by both social workers and clients (Simon, 1990, p. 32, quoted in Saleeby, 2006, p. 98)
Introduction: This paper firstly looks at empowerment, what it is, and how it can assist social workers in enhancing their clients competence through development of self-efficacy, mastery, and their ability to use their own resources (both inner and outer) in a productive and beneficial manner. The paper then looks at the Strengths Perspective and how social workers can use this lens to assist clients in re-framing their sense of self, and therefore enhance their clients capacity for self-determination. The paper then looks at empowerment and the Strengths Perspective in action, through the utilization of Solution Focused theory.
In this paper it is argued that the action of empowerment is fundamental to the application of a strengths perspective. It is also argued that a positive recognition of difference, such as for those experiencing mental health issues, or who may be gay or lesbian for example, can assist clients in normalizing their lived experience.
Empowerment: Empowerment is both a theory and a practice. It is also a process as well as an outcome (Zimmerman, 1995; Gutierrez, DeLois and GlenMaye, 1995; Carr, E.S., 2003).
The practice of empowerment grew out of the womens and black rights movements of the United States in the late 60s/70s where it was recognised that these two powerless/oppressed groups did not have equal access to human services. This had a negative effect both at the level of the individual and at the level of the institution of the family, which meant that the impaired systems [were] unable to shield individuals from the negative effects of the oppressive institutions (Gutierrez et al, 1995, p. 534), thereby self-perpetuating the oppressed state of those, and other subjegated, groups.
The goal of empowerment is to increase personal, interpersonal or political power, so that individuals, families or communities can take action to improve their situation (Gutierrez et al, 1995, p. 535) Australian examples of empowered communities would include the Womens Electoral Lobby and the Tent Embassy, also developing in the 1970s for example This goal means an increase in the actual power of the client or community [as opposed to their coping with, or adaptation to, the dominant paradigm] so that action can be taken [by them] to prevent or change the problems they are facing (Gutierrez et al, 1995, p. 535). A crucial aim of empowerment is therefore enhancing the possibilities for people to control their own lives (Rappapport, 1981, p. 15) and augmenting their sense of self-determination.
The process of empowerment, involves the development of consciousness consciousness raising/conscientization, and psychological empowerment (Carr, 2003, p. 15; Zimmerman 1995) facilitating a reduction in self-blame, an assumption of personal responsibility for change, and enhancement of self-efficacy (Gutierrez et al, 1995, p. 535). Empowerment also involves the understanding by oppressed people that the nature of their oppression is structural and systemic and is not self-inflicted (Cowger, Anderson & Snively, 2006). Further, empowerment involves a commitment to challenging and combating injustice (Pease, 2002, p. 136, quoting Ward and Mullender).
Consciousness raising, practiced by many a feminist in the 1970s for example, is learning about, and increasing ones self awareness of, their individual social fit within…
Posted: January 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm
The Associated Press U.S. Tanks were unloaded in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, Friday Jan. 6, 2017. Ships loaded with U.S. tanks, self-propelled howitzers and hundreds of other fighting vehicles have arrived in the northern German port en route to Eastern Europe to bolster NATOs deterrence to possible Russian aggression. (Ingo Wagner/dpa via AP)
BERLIN Ships began unloading U.S. tanks, self-propelled howitzers and hundreds of other fighting vehicles Friday in the northern German port of Bremerhaven, to be moved into Eastern Europe to bolster NATO’s deterrence against possible Russian aggression.
Some 3,500 troops from the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado, will join up with the equipment, which includes 87 tanks and 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, over the next two weeks.
The deployment marks the start of a new phase of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an American armored brigade combat team in Europe on a nine-month rotational basis. The mission is meant to help allay concerns from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and other NATO allies over an increasingly unpredictable and bellicose Russia.
The new forces will gather first in Poland, then fan out across seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria. A headquarters unit will be stationed in Germany.
When he announced the move last year, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the forces would take part in regular military exercises across the region with NATO allies. At that time, U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges called the deployment the “embodiment of the United States’ commitment to deterring aggression and defending our European Allies and partners.”
The U.S. also plans to move in a combat aviation brigade with about 10 Chinook and 50 Black Hawk helicopters and 1,800 personnel from Fort Drum, New York, and a battalion with 24 Apache attack helicopters and 400 personnel from Fort Bliss, Texas. They’ll be headquartered in Germany with some aircraft positioned in Latvia, Romania and Poland.
Other NATO members are also increasing their presence, with Britain sending fighter jets to the Black Sea area, while a battalion of troops, tanks and light armor will deploy in Estonia in the spring, backed by French and Danish troops. Germany also plans to send troops and tanks to Lithuania.
Albania, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia are also playing roles in what NATO has dubbed its Enhanced Forward Presence. The U.S. plans to relocate a Stryker unit from Germany to Poland as part of that group.
NATO has already started positioning equipment and ammunition in Eastern Europe to reduce the time it would take additional units to deploy if needed.
See more here:
US tanks roll into Germany to bolster NATO deterrent
Posted: January 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm
The Turks and Caicos Islands ( and / / ), or TCI for short, are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean and northern West Indies.
They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The resident population is 31,458 as of 2012[update] of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola and the other Antilles archipelago islands. Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170sqmi).[b]
The first recorded European sighting of the islands now known as the Turks and Caicos occurred in 1512. In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor, and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since. In August 2009, the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands’ self-government after allegations of ministerial corruption. Home rule was restored in the islands after the November 2012 elections.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk’s cap cactus (Melocactus intortus), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning ‘string of islands’.
The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Tano people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800. Together with Taino who migrated from Cuba to the southern Bahamas around the same time, these people developed as the Lucayan. Around 1200, the Turks and Caicos Islands were resettled by Classical Tanos from Hispaniola.
Soon after the Spanish arrived in the islands in 1512, they began capturing the Tano of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Lucayan as slaves (technically, as workers in the encomienda system) to replace the largely depleted native population of Hispaniola. The southern Bahama Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.
The first European documented to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Len, who did so in 1512. During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements.
Bermudian salt collectors settled the Turks Islands around 1680. For several decades around the turn of the 18th century, the islands became popular pirate hideouts. From 17651783, the islands were under French occupation, and again after the French captured the archipelago in 1783.
After the American War of Independence (17751783), many Loyalists fled to British Caribbean colonies; in 1783, they were the first settlers on the Caicos Islands. They developed cotton as an important cash crop, but it was superseded by the development of the salt industry.
In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas. The processing of sea salt was developed as a highly important export product from the West Indies, with the labour done by African slaves. Salt continued to be a major export product into the nineteenth century.
In 1807, Britain prohibited the slave trade and, in 1833, abolished slavery in its colonies. British ships sometimes intercepted slave traders in the Caribbean, and some ships were wrecked off the coast of these islands. In 1837, the Esperanza, a Portuguese slaver, was wrecked off East Caicos, one of the larger islands. While the crew and 220 captive Africans survived the shipwreck, 18 Africans died before the survivors were taken to Nassau. Africans from this ship may have been among the 189 liberated Africans whom the British colonists settled in the Turks and Caicos from 1833 to 1840.
In 1841, the Trouvadore, an illegal Spanish slave ship, was wrecked off the coast of East Caicos. All the 20-man crew and 192 captive Africans survived the sinking. Officials freed the Africans and arranged for 168 persons to be apprenticed to island proprietors on Grand Turk Island for one year. They increased the small population of the colony by seven percent. Numerous descendants have come from those free Africans. The remaining 24 were resettled in Nassau. The Spanish crew were also taken there, to be turned over to the custody of the Cuban consul and taken to Cuba for prosecution. An 1878 letter documents the “Trouvadore Africans” and their descendants as constituting an essential part of the “labouring population” on the islands.
In 2004, marine archaeologists affiliated with the Turks and Caicos National Museum discovered a wreck, called the “Black Rock Ship”, that subsequent research has suggested may be that of the Trouvadore. In November 2008, a cooperative marine archaeology expedition, funded by the United States NOAA, confirmed that the wreck has artefacts whose style and date of manufacture link them to the Trouvadore.
In 1848, Britain designated the Turks and Caicos as a separate colony under a council president. In 1873, the islands were made part of the Jamaica colony; in 1894, the chief colonial official was restyled commissioner. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden suggested that the Turks and Caicos join Canada, but this suggestion was rejected by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. The islands remained a dependency of Jamaica into 1959.
On 4 July 1959, the islands were again designated as a separate colony, the last commissioner being restyled administrator. The governor of Jamaica also continued as the governor of the islands. When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a Crown colony. From 1965, the governor of the Bahamas also was governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands.
When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his Private Member’s Bill for legislation to annex the islands to Canada, but it did not pass in the Canadian House of Commons.
Since August 1976, the islands have had their own government headed by a chief minister, the first of whom was James Alexander George Smith McCartney.
The islands’ political troubles in the early 21st century resulted in a rewritten constitution promulgated in 2006. The UK took over direction of the government in 2009.
In 2013 and 2014, interest in annexing Turks and Caicos to Canada was renewed as Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring met with the Turks and Caicos’ premier Rufus Ewing in a reception at Torontos Westin Harbour Castle hotel.
The two island groups are in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, northwest of Puerto Rico, north of Hispaniola, and about 1,000 kilometres (620mi) from Miami in the United States, at 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583Coordinates: 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583. The territory is geographically contiguous to the Bahamas, both comprising the Lucayan Archipelago, but is politically a separate entity. The Caicos Islands are separated by the Caicos Passage from the closest Bahamian islands, Mayaguana and Great Inagua.
The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 square miles),[b] consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128sqmi) of beach front. The weather is usually sunny (it is generally regarded that the islands receive 350 days of sun each year) and relatively dry, but suffers frequent hurricanes. The islands have limited natural fresh water resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch, and other shellfish.
The two distinct island groups are separated by the Turks Islands Passage.
The Turks Islands are separated from the Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, which is more than 2,200m or 7,200ft deep, The islands form a chain that stretches northsouth. The 2012 Census population was 4,939 on the two main islands, the only inhabited islands of the group:
Together with nearby islands, all on Turks Bank, those two main islands form the two of the six administrative districts of the territory that fall within the Turks Islands. Turks Bank, which is smaller than Caicos Bank, has a total area of about 324km2 (125sqmi).
25 kilometres (16mi) east of the Turks Islands and separated from them by Mouchoir Passage is the Mouchoir Bank. Although it has no emergent cays or islets, some parts are very shallow and the water breaks on them. Mouchoir Bank is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands and falls within its Exclusive Economic Zone. It measures 960 square kilometres (370sqmi) in area. Two banks further east, Silver Bank and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation, but belong politically to the Dominican Republic.
The largest island in the Caicos archipelago is the sparsely-inhabited Middle Caicos, which measures 144 square kilometres (56sqmi) in area, but has a population of only 168 at the 2012 Census. The most populated island is Providenciales, with 23,769 inhabitants in 2012, and an area of 122 square kilometres (47sqmi). North Caicos (116 square kilometres (45sqmi) in area) had 1,312 inhabitants. South Caicos (21 square kilometres (8.1sqmi) in area) had 1,139 inhabitants, and Parrot Cay (6 square kilometres (2.3sqmi) in area) had 131 inhabitants. East Caicos (which is administered as part of South Caicos District) is uninhabited, while the only permanent inhabitants of West Caicos (administered as part of Providenciales District) are resort staff.
The Turks and Caicos Islands feature a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year. Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 33C (91F) and winter nighttime temperatures rarely fall below 18C (64F).
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. As a British territory, its sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, represented by a governor appointed by the monarch, on the advice of the Foreign Office. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization includes the territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
With the election of the territory’s first Chief Minister, J.A.G.S. McCartney, the islands adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday.
The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised 5 March 1988. In the interim two Advisory Councils took over with members from the Progressive National Party (PNP), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which was a splinter group from the PNP:
A new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006, but was in parts suspended and amended in 2009. The territory’s legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age. English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cockburn Town has been the seat of government since 1766.
Under the suspended 2006 constitution, the head of government was the premier, filled by the leader of the elected party. The cabinet consisted of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly. The unicameral House of Assembly consisted of 21 seats, of which 15 were popularly elected; members serve four-year terms. Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands were held on 24 April 2003 and again on 9 February 2007. The Progressive National Party, led by Michael Misick, held thirteen seats, and the People’s Democratic Movement, led by Floyd Seymour, held two seats.
Under the new constitution that came into effect in October 2012, legislative power is held by a unicameral House of Assembly, consisting of 19 seats, 15 elected and 4 appointed by the governor; of elected members, five are elected at large and 10 from single member districts for four-year terms. After the 2012 elections, Rufus Ewing of the Progressive National Party won a narrow majority of the elected seats and was appointed premier.
The Turks and Caicos Islands participates in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in CARICOM, member of the Universal Postal Union and maintains an Interpol sub-bureau. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.
The winning party of Turks and Caicos’ first general election in 1976, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) under “Jags” McCartney, sought to establish a framework and accompanying infrastructure in the pursuit of an eventual policy of full independence for the islands. However, with the early death of McCartney, confidence in the country’s leadership waned. In 1980, the PDM agreed with the British government that independence would be granted in 1982 if the PDM was re-elected in the elections of that year. That election was effectively a referendum on the independence issue and was won by the pro-dependency Progressive National Party (PNP), which claimed victory again four years later. With these developments, the independence issue largely faded from the political scene.
However, in the mid-2000s, the issue of independence for the islands was again raised. In April 2006, PNP Premier Michael Misick reaffirmed that his party saw independence from Britain as the “ultimate goal” for the islands, but not at the present time.
In 2008, opponents of Misick accused him of moving toward independence for the islands to dodge a commission of inquiry, which examined reports of corruption by the Misick Administration.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into six administrative districts (two in the Turks Islands and four in the Caicos Islands), headed by district commissioners. For the House of Assembly, the Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into 15 electoral districts (four in the Turks Islands and eleven in the Caicos Islands).
A great number of tourists who visit the Turks and Caicos Islands are Canadian. In 2011 arrivals from Canada were about 42,000 out of a total from all countries of about 354,000. Owing to this, the islands’ status as a British colony, and historical trade links, some politicians in Canada and the Turks and Caicos have suggested some form of union between Canada and the British territory. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden attempted to persuade the British government to annex the islands, and the idea has been discussed several times over the last century. In 1974, the government of the islands sent Canada a “serious offer” to join the country, however at the time the Canadian government was focusing on their free trade agreement with the United States.
In 2013, Rufus Ewing, the Premier of the islands, rejected the idea of the islands joining Canada, however the following year he stated that he wasn’t “closing the door completely” on the possibility.
In April 2016, it was reported that the New Democratic Party, one of the three major political parties in Canada, was considering a resolution at an upcoming national convention to discuss the possibility of working with lawmakers and citizens of Turks and Caicos Islands to have it join Canada as the eleventh Canadian province.
In 2008, after members of the British parliament conducting a routine review of the administration received several reports of high-level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos, then-Governor Richard Tauwhare announced the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into corruption. The same year, Premier Michael Misick himself became the focus of a criminal investigation after a woman identified by news outlets as an American citizen residing in Puerto Rico accused him of sexually assaulting her, although he strongly denies the charge.
On Monday, 16 March 2009, the UK threatened to suspend self-government in the islands and transfer power to the new governor, Gordon Wetherell, over systemic corruption.
On 18 March 2009, on the advice of her UK ministers, Queen Elizabeth II issued an Order in Council giving the Governor the power to suspend those parts of the 2006 Constitution that deal with ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and to exercise the powers of government himself. The order, which would also establish an Advisory Council and Consultative Forum in place of the House of Assembly, would come into force on a date to be announced by the governor, and remain in force for two years unless extended or revoked.
On 23 March 2009, after the enquiry found evidence of “high probability of systemic corruption or other serious dishonesty”, Misick resigned as Premier to make way for a new, unified government. Politicians were accused of selling crown land for personal gain and misusing public funds. The following day, Galmo Williams was sworn in as his replacement. Misick denied all charges, and referred to the British government’s debate on whether to remove the territory’s sovereignty as “tantamount to being re-colonised. It is a backwards step completely contrary to the whole movement of history.”
On 14 August 2009 after Misick’s last appeals failed, the Governor, on the instructions of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands by authority of the 18 March 2009 Order in Council issued by the Queen. The islands’ administration was suspended for up to two years, with possible extensions, and power was transferred to the Governor, with the United Kingdom also stationing a supply vessel in between Turks and Caicos. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Chris Bryant said of the decision to impose rule, “This is a serious constitutional step which the UK Government has not taken lightly but these measures are essential in order to restore good governance and sound financial management.”
The move was met with vehement opposition by the former Turks and Caicos government, with Misick’s successor Williams calling it a “coup”, and stating that, “Our country is being invaded and re-colonised by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance.” Despite this, the civilian populace was reported to be largely welcoming of the enforced rule. The British government stated that they intended to keep true to their word that the country would regain home rule in two years or less, and Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said that elections would be held in 2011, “or sooner”. Governor Wetherell stated that he would aim to “make a clean break from the mistakes of the past” and create “a durable path towards good governance, sound financial management and sustainable development”. Wetherell added: “In the meantime we must all learn to foster a quality of public spirit, listen to all those who have the long-term interests of these islands at heart, and safeguard the fundamental assets of the Territory for future generations… Our guiding principles will be those of transparency, accountability and responsibility. I believe that most people in the Turks and Caicos will welcome these changes.”
On 12 June 2012 British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that fresh elections would be held in November 2012, stating that there had been “significant progress with an ambitious reform programme” and that there had been “sufficient progress, on the milestones and on putting in place robust financial controls” A new constitution was approved on 15 October 2012. The terms of the election are specified in the constitution.
The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court; appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal and final appeals by the United Kingdom’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. There are three justices of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice and two others. The Court of Appeal consists of a president and at least two justices of appeal.
Magistrates’ Courts are the lower courts and appeals from Magistrates’ Courts are sent to the Supreme Court.
As of September 2014, the Chief Justice is Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale.
Eight of the thirty islands in the territory are inhabited, with a total population estimated from preliminary results of the census of 25 January 2012 (released on 12 August 2012) of 31,458 inhabitants, an increase of 58.2% from the population of 19,886 reported in the 2001 census. One-third of the population is under 15 years old, and only 4% are 65 or older. In 2000 the population was growing at a rate of 3.55% per year. The infant mortality rate was 18.66 deaths per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy at birth was 73.28 years (71.15 years for males, 75.51 years for females). The total fertility rate was 3.25 children born per woman. The annual population growth rate is 2.82%.
The adult population is composed of 57.5% immigrants (“non-belongers”). The CIA World Factbook describes the islanders’ ethnicity as African 87%, European 7.9%, Mixed 2.5.%, East Indian 1.3% and Other 0.7% 
Vital statistics related to the population are:
The official language of the islands is English and the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole which is similar to Bahamian Creole. Due to its close proximity to Cuba and Hispaniola, large Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities have developed in the territory due to immigration, both legal and illegal, from Creole-speaking Haiti and from Spanish-speaking Cuba and Dominican Republic.
72.8% of the population of Turks and Caicos are Christian (Baptists 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Roman Catholics 11.4%, Anglicans 10%, Methodists 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventists 6%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.8% and Others 14%).
Catholics are served by the Mission “Sui Iuris” for Turks and Caicos, which was erected in 1984 with territory taken from the then Diocese of Nassau.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are most well known for ripsaw music. The islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.
Women continue traditional crafts of using straw to make baskets and hats on the larger Caicos islands. It is possible that this continued tradition is related to the liberated Africans who joined the population directly from Africa in the 1830s and 1841 from shipwrecked slavers; they brought cultural craft skills with them.
The island’s most popular sports are fishing, sailing, football (soccer) and cricket (which is the national sport).
Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch. Two common dishes, whilst not traditionally ‘local’, are conch fritters and conch salad.
Because the Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory and not an independent country, they, at one time, could not confer citizenship. Instead, people with close ties to Britain’s Overseas Territories all held the same nationality: British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981 and subsequent amendments. BOTC, however, does not confer any right to live in any British Overseas Territory, including the territory from which it is derived. Instead, the rights normally associated with citizenship derive from what is called Belonger status and island natives or descendants from natives are said to be Belongers.
In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full British citizenship status to all citizens of British Overseas Territories, including the Turks and Caicos. See British Overseas Territories citizen#Access to British citizenship.
Public Education is supported by taxation, and is mandatory for children aged five to sixteen. Primary education lasts for six years and secondary education lasts for five years. In the 1990s, the island nation launched the Primary In-Service Teacher Education Project (PINSTEP) in an effort to increase the skills of its primary school teachers, nearly one-quarter of whom were unqualified. Turks and Caicos also worked to refurbish its primary schools, reduce textbook costs, and increase equipment and supplies given to schools. For example, in September 1993, each primary school was given enough books to allow teachers to establish in-class libraries. In 2001, the studentteacher ratio at the primary level was roughly 15:1. The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College offers free higher education to students who have successfully completed their secondary education. The community college also oversees an adult literacy program. The Ministry of Health, Education, Youth, Sports, and Women’s Affairs oversees education in Turks and Caicos. Once a student completes their education at The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, they are allowed to further their education at a university in The United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom for free. They have to commit to working in The Turks and Caicos Islands for four years to receive this additional education.
The Turks and Caicos established a National Health System in 2010. Residents contribute to a National Health Insurance Plan through salary deduction and nominal user fees. Majority of care is provided by the private-public-partnership hospitals in Providenciales and Grand Turk. In addition there are a number of government clinics and private clinics. The hospital opened in 2010 is administered by Interhealth Canada and has been accredited by Accreditation Canada in 2012 and 2015.
In 2009, GDP contributions were as follows: Hotels & Restaurants 34.67%, Financial Services 13.12%, Construction 7.83%, Transport, Storage & Communication 9.90%, and Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 9.56%.[clarification needed] Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.
In 2010/2011, major sources of government revenue included Import Duties (43.31%), Stamp Duty on Land Transaction (8.82%), Work Permits and Residency Fees (10.03%) and Accommodation Tax (24.95%). The territory’s gross domestic product as of late 2009 is approximately US$795 million (per capita $24,273).
The labour force totalled 27,595 workers in 2008. The labour force distribution in 2006 is as follows:
The unemployment rate in 2008 was 8.3%. In 20072008, the territory took in revenues of $206.79 million against expenditures of $235.85 million. In 1995, the island received economic aid worth $5.7 million. The territory’s currency is the United States dollar, with a few government fines (such as airport infractions) being payable in pounds sterling. Most commemorative coin issues are denominated in crowns.
The primary agricultural products include limited amounts of maize, beans, cassava (tapioca) and citrus fruits. Fish and conch are the only significant export, with some $169.2 million of lobster, dried and fresh conch, and conch shells exported in 2000, primarily to the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, however, the catch has been declining. The territory used to be an important trans-shipment point for South American narcotics destined for the United States, but due to the ongoing pressure of a combined American, Bahamian and Turks and Caicos effort this trade has been greatly reduced.
The islands import food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufacture and construction materials, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom. Imports totalled $581 million in 2007.
The islands produce and consume about 5 GWh of electricity, per year, all of which comes from fossil fuels.
The United States was the leading source of tourists in 1996, accounting for more than half of the 87,000 visitors; another major source of tourists is Canada. Tourist arrivals had risen to 264,887 in 2007 and to 351,498 by 2009. In 2010, a total of 245 cruise ships arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal, carrying a total of 617,863 visitors.
The government is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to increase tourism. Upscale resorts are aimed at the wealthy, while a large new cruise ship port and recreation centre has been built for the masses visiting Grand Turk. Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the longest coral reefs in the world and the world’s only conch farm.
The French vacation village company of Club Mediterannee (Club Med) has an all-inclusive adult resort called ‘Turkoise’ on one of the main islands.
Several Hollywood stars have built homes in the Turks and Caicos, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner married on Parrot Cay in 2005. Actress Eva Longoria and her ex-husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens went for a vacation there. In 2013 Hollywood writer/director Rob Margolies and actress Kristen Ruhlin vacationed here. Musician Nile Rodgers has a vacation home on the island.
To boost tourism during the Caribbean low season of late summer, since 2003 the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organised and hosted an annual series of concerts during this season called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival. Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina in The Bight on Providenciales, this festival lasts about a week and has featured several notable international recording artists, such as Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men. More than 10,000 people attend annually.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot. The islands have many endemic species and others of international importance, due to the conditions created by the oldest established salt-pan development in the Caribbean. The variety of species includes a number of endemic species of lizards, snakes, insects and plants, and marine organisms; in addition to being an important breeding area for seabirds.
The UK and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments have joint responsibility for the conservation and preservation to meet obligations under international environmental conventions.
Due to this significance, the islands are on the United Kingdom’s tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Providenciales International Airport is the main entry point for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Altogether, there are seven airports, located on each of the inhabited islands. Five have paved runways (three of which are approximately 2,000m (6,600ft) long and one is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft) long), and the remaining two have unpaved runways (one of which is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft)s long and the other is significantly shorter).
The islands have 121 kilometres (75 miles) of highway, 24km (15mi) paved and 97km (60mi) unpaved. Like the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands drive on the left, but use left-hand-drive vehicles that are imported from the United States.
The territory’s main international ports and harbours are on Grand Turk and Providenciales.
The islands have no significant railways. In the early twentieth century East Caicos operated a horse-drawn railway to transport Sisal from the plantation to the port. The 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) route was removed after sisal trading ceased.
There is no postal delivery in the Turks and Caicos; mail is picked up at one of four post offices on each of the major islands. Mail is transported three or seven times a week, depending on the destination. The Post Office is part of the territory’s government and reports to the Minister of Government Support Services.
Mobile phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless Worldwide, using GSM 850 and TDMA, and Digicel, using GSM 900 and 1900 and Islandcom Wireless, using 3G 850. Cable & Wireless provides CDMA mobile phone service in Providenciales and Grand Turk. The system is connected to the mainland by two submarine cables and an Intelsat earth station. There were three AM radio stations (one inactive) and six FM stations (no shortwave) in 1998. The most popular station is Power 92.5 FM which plays Top 100 hits. Over 8000 radio receivers are owned across the territory.
West Indies Video (WIV) has been the sole cable television provider for the Turks and Caicos Islands for over two decades and WIV4 (a subsidiary of WIV) has been the only broadcast station in the islands for over 15 years; broadcasts from the Bahamas can also be received. The territory has two internet service providers and its country code top level domain (ccTLD) is “.tc”. Amateur radio callsigns begin with “VP5” and visiting operators frequently work from the islands.
WIV introduced Channel 4 News in 2002 broadcasting local news and infotainment programs across the country. Channel 4 was re-launched as WIV4 in November 2007 and began providing reliable daily online Turks and Caicos news with the WIV4 News blog, an online forum connecting TCI residents with others interested in the islands, while keeping users updated on the TCI’s daily news.
Since 2013 4NEWS has become the Islands HD Cable News service with Television Studios in Grace Bay, Providenciales. DigicelPlay is the local cable provider.
Turks and Caicos’s newspapers include the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the Turks and Caicos SUN and the Turks and Caicos Free Press. All three publications are weekly. The Weekly News and the Sun both have supplement magazines. Other local magazines Times of the Islands,s3 Magazine,Real Life Magazine, Baller Magazine, and Unleashed Magazine.
From 1950 to 1981, the United States had a missile tracking station on Grand Turk. In the early days of the American space program, NASA used it. After his three earth orbits in 1962, American astronaut John Glenn successfully landed in the nearby ocean and was brought back ashore to Grand Turk island.
Cricket is the islands’ national sport. The national team takes part in regional tournaments in the ICC Americas Championship, as well as having played one Twenty20 match as part of the 2008 Standford 20/20. Two domestic leagues exist, one on Grand Turk with three teams and another on Providenciales.
As of 4 July 2012, Turks and Caicos Islands’ football team shared the position of the lowest ranking national men’s football team in the world at the rank of 207th.
Because the territory is not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Turks and Caicos Islanders compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.
Articles relating to the Turks and Caicos Islands
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Posted: January 5, 2017 at 11:10 am
In the fictional universe of the Stargate franchise, the people of Earth have encountered numerous extraterrestrial races on their travels through the Stargate. In addition to a diversity of alien life, there is also an abundance of other humans, scattered across the cosmos by advanced aliens in the distant past. Some of the most significant species in Stargate SG-1 are the Goa’uld, the Asgard, and the Replicators. Stargate Atlantis, set in the Pegasus galaxy, introduced the Wraith and the Asurans. One of the most influential species in Stargate, the Ancients, have moved on to a higher plane of existence. For practical reasons of television productions, almost all of the alien and human cultures in the Stargate’s fictional universe speak native English. Because of the time constraints of an hour-long episode, it would become a major hindrance to the story each week if the team had to spend a sizeable part of each episode learning to communicate with a new species.
Stargate SG-1 explains the human population in the Milky Way galaxy by revealing that the alien Goa’uld transplanted humans from Earth to other planets for slave labor. Many of these populations were subsequently abandoned, often when deposits of the precious fictional mineral naqahdah were exhausted, and developed into their own unique societies. Some of these extraterrestrial human civilizations have become much more technologically advanced than Earth, the in-show rationale being that they never suffered the setback of the Dark Ages. The most advanced of these humans were the Tollan, although they were destroyed by the Goa’uld in Season 5’s Between Two Fires. The human populations of the Pegasus galaxy are the product of Ancient seeding. few human races in Pegasus are technologically advanced, as the Wraith destroy any civilization that could potentially pose a threat. There are also large numbers of humans in the Ori galaxy, where they empower the Ori through worship.
Stargate SG-1 takes place mostly in the Milky Way galaxy. Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner tried to stay true to the feature film, but also wanted Stargate SG-1 to be unique in its own way.Stargate SG-1 gradually evolved away from the basic premise of the film and developed its own unique mythological superstructure.Stargate SG-1 elaborated on the film’s Egyptian hybrid mythology and mixed in other historical mythologies, coming up with a mythological superstructure that explains the existence of all of the other mythologies in the overarching Stargate narrative. The series expands upon Egyptian mythology (notably the Egyptian gods Apep/Apophis, and Anubis as Goa’uld villains), Norse mythology (notably the god Thor as an Asgard ally), Arthurian legend (notably Merlin as an Ancient ally), and many other mythologies like Greek and Roman mythology. SG-1 does not introduce new alien races as often as some other science fiction television series. Most civilizations that the Goa’uld had transplanted maintain much of their original Earth culture, and Stargate SG-1 does not equate civilization with technology like many other sci-fi shows do. Newly encountered races or visited planets are integrated into the mythology, although plotlines of individual episodes are often new, self-standing and accessible for new audiences, giving a compelling internal coherence.
Stargate Atlantis is set in the Pegasus Galaxy and explores the adventures of an “elite expedition” from Earth. The gate address to the legendary city Atlantis is discovered on Earth by Daniel Jackson at the end of 7th season/start of the 8th season of Stargate SG-1. The Earth expedition has a multi-nation civilian leadership and a predominantly United States military faction providing security. The intent of establishing a diplomatic mission with inhabitants of the galaxy and a permanent human base in the city of Atlantis for scientific and military research and exploration are driving goals for the humans.
Stargate Universe was conceived as “a completely separate, third entity” in the live-action Stargate franchise. Although it is firmly entrenched in pre-established Stargate mythology, Stargate Universe has diverged in a new direction. Like the first two series in the franchise, Stargate Universe takes place during the present time, not in the distant future.
The show is set on the Ancient ship Destiny. Destiny was part of an Ancient experiment to seed the universe with Stargates millions of years ago but which was lost because of the Ancients’ ascension. Ships were sent ahead of the Destiny to seed the universe with Stargates. The Destiny itself was intended to follow a pre-programmed course to explore these galaxies; the Destiny was left unmanned at the time of the Ancients’ ascension. To reach this ship, an address would have to be dialled consisting of nine chevrons. The destination of this ninth chevron was previously unknown. The series starts when a team of soldiers and scientists from Earth step through the Stargate to find the Destiny after their base is attacked; unable to return to Earth, they must fend for themselves aboard the ship as it takes them to the far reaches of the universe. The show was more serialized than its predecessors.
The show is more relationship-based and more arc-driven and will involve more space-based action than SG-1 or Atlantis. “Survival and sacrifice” were the two main themes that were discussed at the preliminary script stages of the show, and the first episode deals with a failing life support system.Stargate Universe will be “a lot darker” than the previous Stargate series, although humor will remain part of the franchise. The show focuses mostly on the people aboard the ship instead of planet-based exploration, and in Brad Wright’s words will be “hopefully exploring the truly alien, and avoiding the rubber faced English-speaking one”. Despite the focus on survival, the show “will also focus on exploration and adventure and, by extension, the occasional alien encounter as well”. A single dominant villain race like on SG-1 and Atlantis are not featured.
A Stargate is a fictional device that allows practical, rapid travel between two distant locations. The first Stargate appears in the 1994 film Stargate, and subsequently carries over to Stargate SG-1 and its spin-offs. In these productions the Stargate functions as a plot generator, allowing the main characters to visit alien planets without the need for spaceships or any other fictional technology.
Within the Stargate fictional universe, Stargates are large metal rings with nine “chevrons” spaced equally around their circumference. Pairs of Stargates function by generating an artificial stable wormhole between them, allowing one-way travel through. The symbols on the inner ring of the Stargate correspond to constellations and serve to map out coordinates for various destination planets. A typical Stargate measures 6.7m (22ft) in diameter, weighs 29,000kg (64,000lb), and is made of the fictional heavy mineral “naqahdah”. The Stargates were created millions of years ago by an alien race known as the Ancients; their modern history begins when Egyptologist Daniel Jackson deciphers their workings in the Stargate film.
The Stargate device sets apart SG-1 from other science fiction shows by allowing modern-day people to travel to other planets in an instant, although scholar Dave Hipple argued that SG-1 “also deploys [science fiction] stereotypes both to acknowledge forebears and to position itself as a deserving heir”. With the help of the central Stargate device, the premise of Stargate SG-1 combines ancient cultures, present-day political and social concerns, aliens and advanced technologies. Near-instantaneous interplanetary travel allows a fundamental difference in plot structure and set design from other series. There is a disjunction between politics on Earth and the realities of fighting an interstellar war. The Stargate also helps to speed up the exposition of the setting.
The Ancients are the original builders of the Stargate network. At the time of their introduction in SG-1’s “Maternal Instinct” (season 3), they have long Ascended beyond corporeal form into a higher plane of existence. The humans of Earth are the “second evolution” of the Ancients. The Ancients (originally known as the Alterans) colonized the Milky Way galaxy millions of years ago and built a great empire. They also colonized the Pegasus galaxy and seeded human life there, before being driven out by the Wraith. The civilization of the Ancients in the Milky Way was decimated thousands of years ago by a plague, and those who did not learn to ascend died out. With few exceptions, the ascended Ancients respect free will and refuse to interfere in the affairs of the material galaxy. However, their legacy is felt profoundly throughout the Stargate universe, from their technologies (such as Stargates and Atlantis, to the Ancient Technology Activation gene, that they introduced into the human genome through interbreeding) as well as many of the antagonists in the series, having resulted from failures or negligence on the part of the Ancients.
The Ancients were a small percentage of the Alteran Population, the remainder focused more on religious pursuits than scientific ones. Upon ascending to their higher plane of existence, they discovered ways of gaining strength by convincing material humans to abandon their wills to the ascendants’ desires. The Ori created the religion of Origin to gain power from the humans who practiced their religion. Priors, missionaries of the Origin religion, attempted to forcefully introduce their belief system to the Milky Way Galaxy. Their ways of conversion brought forth indiscriminate intimidation, terror and consequences. The people of Earth fought vehemently against this oppressive force and encouraged the people of the Milky Way Galaxy to defend their cultures and beliefs. The ascended Ancients did not become involved in the struggle and thereby allow the humans from Earth to maintain their role as heroic defenders.
Aschen are a technologically advanced (much more so than humans) race, from a world designated P4C-970. Aschen are a rather unemotional people (described as a “race of accountants”), and can’t tolerate loud noises which humans normally can. Typically, the Aschen will approach a prospective world, invite them into the Aschen Confederation, and provide that world with advanced medicines and technology; however, the Aschen then secretly target that world with a variety of covert means (including biological weapons), intended to severely reduce that planet’s population and thus create a new farming world to use for the Aschen’s benefit. In the Episode 2001 it is mentioned that the Volian homeworld was such a target; the Volians were formerly a prosperous technological civilization but reduced to little more than a few scattered farming communities. The Aschen also have the ability to turn a Jovian-type planet into a second sun to increase crop yields, and also possess a form of teleportation.
A benevolent race that, according to the mythology of Stargate, gave rise to Norse mythology on Earth and inspired accounts of the Roswell Greys. The Asgard can no longer reproduce and therefore perpetuate themselves by transferring their minds into new clone bodies as necessary. Extremely advanced technologically, the threat of their intervention shields many planets in the Milky Way from Goa’uld attack, including Earth. They also provide much assistance to Earth in the way of technology, equipment, and expertise. Their main adversary in Stargate SG-1 are the mechanical Replicators, against which they enlist the aid of SG-1 on several occasions. The entire Asgard civilization chooses to self-destruct in “Unending”, due to the degenerative effects of repeated cloning. A small rogue colony of Asgard, known as the Vanir, still exist in the Pegasus galaxy. They were able to slow cloning’s diminishing returns by experimenting on humans.
Artificial life-forms composed of nanites, introduced in season 3 of Stargate Atlantis. They are similar to the human-form Replicators of Stargate SG-1 and so are called that in the show. The Asurans were created by the Ancients to combat the Wraith but were ultimately abandoned for being too dangerous. Extremely aggressive, the nanites thrived and built an advanced civilization. In season 4, Rodney McKay activates the Asurans’ attack code, causing them to attack the Wraith, but this eventually comes to threaten all the inhabitants of Pegasus as the Asurans decide the best strategy is to starve the Wraith by eliminating all human life in the galaxy.
A’t’trr: Microscopic aliens that feed on energy.
Crystalline species: Beings that can travel through electrical conductors and can enter the minds of humans through touch.
The Berzerker drones are a robotic war system with attack drones and motherships to control them. They appear to attack and destroy all not-self spacecraft. The Destiny crew speculate that their parent civilization is long dead, and that they just carry out their mission to destroy all non-native technology, destroying other races along the way.
These bugs give the illusion of sand floating around. They can consume large volumes of water at a rapid rate considering they are such small entities. They seem to be intelligent creatures and are passive and helpful unless provoked, in which case they can be extremely lethal. They fly around in “swarms” and will attack together. They were the first species to be encountered in the Destiny expedition, though they were initially dismissed as a hallucination suffered by Matthew Scott. The creatures appeared to develop a rapport with Scott and aided him in his quest for Lime after he offered them water as a test of their sentience. The creatures also revived him on their home world when he collapsed due to the heat, through burrowing into the ground to release some water to wake him.
The Furlings are revealed as one of the alliance of four great races in “The Fifth Race”, but virtually nothing else has been revealed about them in the series. In “Paradise Lost”, Harry Maybourne leads SG-1 to a Furling teleportation arch that leads to an intended Utopian colony. Furling skeletons were originally planned to be featured in the episode, but the production of such proved to be too expensive.Jack O’Neill concludes that the Furlings must be cute and cuddly creatures, based solely on their name. In “Citizen Joe”, another character equates the Furlings to Ewoks based on their name.
The length of time that the Furling nature has remained a mystery in the series has given the producers the opportunity to tease fans with a running gag. When Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper was asked “Will we ever meet the Furlings?”, his answer was “Who says we haven’t?”. The writers later went on to state that although we have seen Furling technology and the Furling legacy, no actual Furling has ever appeared on the show. Joseph Mallozzi claimed that more about the Furlings would finally be revealed in Stargate SG-1’s tenth season. In a Sci Fi Channel advertisement for the 200th episode, Cooper stated that “We’re finally going to get to see the Furlings.” What was actually shown was an imagined scene from a script for a movie based on the fictional television series “Wormhole X-Treme!”, a parody of Stargate SG-1 set in the Stargate SG-1 universe. The Furlings were depicted as Ewok-like, or Koala-like creatures that are destroyed by the Goa’uld soon after making contact with SG-1.
Gadmeer The society of the Gadmeer was a peaceful and technologically advanced one that lasted for over 10,000 years. Over a thousand years ago they were defeated by a superior power due to a lack of military technology and tactics, and thus their race apparently died out. To prevent their culture from vanishing they built a giant vessel which stored all their knowledge, including arts, mathematics and even the DNA samples of thousands of the plants and animals of their homeworld. 
The Goa’uld are the dominant race in the Milky Way and the primary adversaries from seasons 1 to 8 of Stargate SG-1. They are a parasitic species that resemble finned snakes, which can burrow themselves into a humanoid’s neck and wrap around the spinal column. The Goa’uld symbiote then takes control of its host’s body and mind, while providing longevity and perfect health. Thousands of years ago, the Goa’uld ruled over Earth, masquerading as gods from ancient mythologies. They transplanted humans throughout the galaxy to serve as slaves and hosts, and they created the Jaffa to serve as incubators for their larvae. The most powerful Goa’uld in the galaxy are collectively known as the System Lords.
The Goa’uld are the first and most prominent alien race encountered by the SGC, and also one of the few nonhumanoid species to appear in the early seasons of the series. The Goa’uld are branded as evil by their pretending to be gods and forcing people to submit to their quasireligious pronouncements.
The humans of Earth play a central role in the story and mythology of the Stargate fictional universe. According to the Stargate film and Stargate SG-1, the parasitic Goa’uld ruled Earth thousands of years ago, posing as gods of ancient Earth mythologies, and transplanted Earth humans throughout the galaxy via the Stargate. Thus, the Goa’uld and their Jaffa servants know the humans of Earth as the “Tau’ri” ( or ), which means “the first ones” or “those of the first world” in their fictional language. Earth is also known as “Midgard” by offworld humans protected by the Asgard, who masquerade as Norse gods.Stargate SG-1 further extended the backstory of Earth humans by introducing the Ancients, an advanced race of humans from another galaxy. The Ancients regard the humans of Earth as their “second evolution”, and some of their number merged with primitive human populations 10,000 years ago after they returned to Earth from Atlantis.
Five thousand years ago, the people of Earth rose up against their Goa’uld oppressors, and buried their Stargate. The modern history of Earth and the Stargate begins when it is unearthed in Egypt in 1928. The device is brought to the United States in 1939 to keep it out of Nazi hands and eventually installed in a facility in Creek Mountain, Colorado (Cheyenne Mountain in Stargate SG-1). In the events of the Stargate film, Dr. Daniel Jackson deciphers the workings of the Stargate and a team is sent through to the planet on the other side. In “Children of the Gods”, taking place a year after the film, Stargate Command is established in response to an attack by the Goa’uld Apophis, and given the mandate to explore other worlds and obtain technologies that can be used to defend Earth. In the Stargate SG-1 spin-off Stargate Atlantis, the people of Earth establish a presence in the Pegasus galaxy. The ancients who occupied Atlantis in the Pegasus galaxy are often referred to as the “Atlanteans” (or simply “Lanteans”), after their occupation of Atlantis.
The writers had to strike a balance in the interaction between the explorers from Earth and advanced races (of which there were only few in the story) so that alliances could be developed where the advanced races do not give Earth all their technology and knowledge.Stargate SG-1 emphasized its present-day-Earth story frame by frequently referencing popular culture, like The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had done before. According to one critic in 1997, Stargate SG-1 was designed to have no nationality, which might appeal to viewers all over the world. The final episodes of season 7 (2004) brought a more global approach to the scenario when the Stargate Program was revealed to over a dozen nations, which further helped the international appeal of Stargate SG-1.
A new race created by the Wraith Michael, first seen in “Vengeance”. After being outcast by his own kind, Michael sought to combine iratus bug and human DNA to create new followers with the strengths of the Wraith but not their weaknesses. He destroys the Taranians, amongst others, as test subjects for his experiments. The first Hybrids are bestial in appearance, with carapaces and claws. The two-part episode “The Kindred” reveals that Michael has created more “refined” Hybrids using the abducted Athosian population. These Hybrids resemble the Wraith, but do not need to feed on humans. In “Search and Rescue”, many of the Hybrids are killed by the destruction of Michael’s cruiser, and the rest are captured by the Atlantis Expedition. They are transformed back into their original selves using Beckett’s retrovirus. They are interred in a camp on the mainland by the IOA, before being allowed to return to their people. In the episode “Whispers”, an Atlantis team discovers one of Michael’s labs, containing earlier versions of his Hybrids that incorporate DNA from several other organisms in addition to the iratus bug. These vicious creatures are blind and hunt by sound, and can extrude a fog from gill slits on their necks that interferes with electronics.
The Jaffa (usually pronounced jah’FAH) are modified humans genetically engineered by the Goa’uld in antiquity to serve as soldiers and as incubators for their young. Their story is primarily told through Teal’c. The main difference between a Jaffa and a normal human is an abdominal pouch accessible from the outside by a X-shaped slit. The pouch serves as an incubator for a larval Goa’uld. Implanted during a “coming of age” rite known as a prim’tah, the pouch improves the Goa’uld’s ability to successfully take a host upon maturation from 50% to nearly 100%. The Goa’uld have a device capable of quickly transforming humans into Jaffa. The larval symbiote grants the Jaffa enhanced strength, health, healing, and longevity (more than 150 years). However, the presence of the symbiote also replaces the Jaffa’s immune system, and if removed the Jaffa will die a slow and painful death that can only be avoided by either acquiring a new symbiote or by lifelong regular injections of the drug tretonin which replaces the Goa’uld functions in the Jaffa body. The Jaffa equivalent of puberty is the Age of Prata, at which time a prim’tah must be performed. Jaffa do not require sleep, but must engage in a form of meditation called kel’no’reem to synchronize with their symbiote. It is possible for a Jaffa to communicate with his/her symbiote through a dangerously deep state of kel’no’reem.
Jaffa who are in service of a Goa’uld bear a black tattoo of their master’s insignia on their foreheads. The highest-ranking Jaffa in the service of a Goa’uld is known as the First Prime and bears a raised gold insignia, made by baring the bone with a special knife and filling the wound with molten gold; Teal’c describes it as a painful process. Other high-ranking Jaffa may bear similar silver marks. The elite guard of powerful Goa’uld sometimes wear helmets shaped like that Goa’uld’s symbolic animal; the helmets are made from articulated metal plates that can fold to reveal the face, and are intended to intimidate the Goa’uld’s enslaved human populations. Helmeted Jaffa seen or mentioned in the series include the Horus Guards (falcon-headed, serving Ra and Heru-ur), Serpent Guards (cobra-headed, serving Apophis), and the Setesh Guards (Set animal-headed, serving Seth). A jackal-headed (Anubis) guard also appears in service of Ra in the Stargate movie.
SG-1 encounters three notable Jaffa factions. The Hak’tyl (“liberation”), introduced in “Birthright”, are a group of female Jaffa warriors founded by Ishta, High Priestess of the Goa’uld Moloc. When Moloc ordered that all female children born to his Jaffa be sacrificed, Ishta began secretly saving them on the planet Hak’tyl. The SGC assassinates Moloc in “Sacrifices”. The Hak’tyl are a significant power in the Free Jaffa Nation, and are represented by Ka’lel on the High Council. The Sodan are introduced in “Babylon” as a legendary group of Jaffa who, over 5,000 years ago, realized that the Goa’uld were not gods and rebelled against their Goa’uld master Ishkur. The Sodan worship the Ancients and seek Ascension as their ultimate goal. They do not have tattoos on their foreheads specifying allegiance to any System Lord. They are massacred by one of their own who had been infected by a Prior in “Arthur’s Mantle”. The third Jaffa faction are the Illac Renin (“Kingdom of the Path”), who follow Origin in the belief that the Ori will Ascend them upon death. Their leader, Arkad, is killed by Teal’c in “Talion”.
Also called Anubis drones or Supersoldiers, the Kull Warriors are creatures created by the Goa’uld Anubis as a personal army to replace his Jaffa as foot soldiers. They consist of a genetically engineered humanoid form given life using Ancient healing technology, and implanted with a mentally “blank” Goa’uld symbiote to make it subservient. This results in a creature that is utterly obedient to its master. A Kull Warrior possesses much greater strength and stamina than a human and are relentless and single-mindedly focused on their goal; they will ignore any enemies that stay out of their way. The Kull Warrior is bonded to armour that is impervious to almost all firearms, energy weapons, and explosives. Stargate Command and the Tok’ra eventually find a way to counteract the Kull Warriors’ life-sustaining energy.
One of the alliance of four great races, the Nox are a fairy-like people encountered by SG-1 on P3X-774 in “The Nox”. They want nothing to do with humanity, viewing them as “young” and having “much to learn”. The Nox can live to be hundreds of years old and have a great desire for wisdom and understanding. They are extreme pacifists and never employ violence for any reason, even to defend themselves. As they have the ability to render themselves and other objects invisible and intangible, as well as the ability to resurrect the dead, they never need to fight. They also have the ability to activate a Stargate wormhole without the use of a DHD. Although they outwardly seem to be primitive forest-dwellers, they possess advanced technology beyond that of the Goa’uld, including a floating city. The Nox also appear in “Enigma” and “Pretense”.
Not much is known of this species, but they seem to be a highly advanced race who are eager to obtain Destiny’s secrets. They have attacked Destiny with the intention of boarding it on numerous occasions. They kidnapped Rush and Chloe in an attempt to gain key knowledge of destiny. During their captivity a locator beacon was implanted in Rush’s body which enabled the aliens to track Destiny.
An ancient amphibious species which appear in the Season 1 episode “Fire and Water”.
A major threat in the cosmos, the Ori are Ascended beings who use their advanced knowledge of the universe to force lesser beings to worship them. In essence, they used to be Ancients, however they split into separate groups due to different views of life. The Ori are religious while the Ancients prefer science. The Ori sway lesser-developed planets into worshiping them by promising Ascension through an invented and empty religion called “Origin”. This religion states that they created humanity and as such are to be worshiped by their creations. It also promises its followers that, on death, they will Ascend. However, Origin was designed to channel energy from the human worshipers to the Ori. As such, the Ori never help anyone else Ascend because then they would have to share the power that they sap from their worshipers. Their ultimate goal is to completely destroy the Ascended Ancients, who they know as “the Others”. All of their efforts, including their technology, are for the purpose of garnering worshipers.
As Ascended beings, the Ori do not interfere directly in the mortal plane. They use instead humans called Priors, which they artificially evolve so that they are one step from Ascension, giving the Priors godlike powers. Because the Ori have worshipers across the entire home galaxy of the Ancients, and use their knowledge to spread, they are nearly unstoppable. For example: Ori warships, built using conventional means while operated through the supernatural abilities of the Priors, are generally considered to be the most powerful vessels in the Stargate universe.
The Ori might be regarded as a shadow form of the Goa’uld, with the significant difference that the Ori promise transcension to their followers but never provide it. The moral balance between the Ancients and the Ori clearly echoes that of the Goa’uld and the Tok’ra.
Reol The Reol are a race of humanoid aliens, supposedly from the Milky Way. They are a peaceful race who were almost wiped out by the Goa’uld. They were forced to abandon their home world because of the Goa’uld. Reol have a unique natural defense; one of their bodily secretions is used to create false memories and illusions when it comes into contact with a living creature. Their appearance are tall, lanky bipedal creatures with thick strands of hair and dark black eyes. Their heads appear almost skeletal in shape. The Reol have also decided not to embrace technology to the extent that no other species have. 
A potent mechanical lifeform using a kiron-based technology composed of building blocks using nanotechnology. They strive to increase their numbers and spread across the universe by assimilating advanced technologies. They are hostile to all other lifeforms in the universe, but are opposed primarily by the Asgard. In the episode “Unnatural Selection”, the Replicators had developed human-form Replicators, based on the technology they extracted from their Android creator, that appear just like humans and are able to change their form. Standard Replicators are resistant to energy weapons, and can only be destroyed by projectile weapons. Human-form Replicators, on the other hand, are resistant to projectile weapons as well due to the change in their nature from large blocks to smaller units the size of organic cells (cell blocks).
In the episode “New Order (Part 2)”, an Ancient weapon called the Replicator Disruptor was developed by Jack O’Neill while he still had the knowledge of the Ancients in his mind. It works by blocking the cohesion between the blocks that make up the Replicators. The Replicators in the Milky Way galaxy were wiped out by the Dakara Superweapon in the two-part episode “Reckoning” at the climax of Season 8. It has been indicated that the Asgard used the same technology to defeat the Replicators in their own home galaxy as well.
Re’tu: Invisible non-humanoid aliens. A small terrorist like group of these beings wage war on the Goa’uld by eliminating humans as their potential hosts. They operate in 5-man suicide units, which are capable of setting off an explosion equivalent to a small tactical nuke.
Sakari: An ancient silicon-based lifeform, which uses severe hallucinations into manipulating others. The Sekkari are an extinct civilization that distributed devices across the Pegasus galaxy. These “seed carriers” contained the means to begin their evolution again on other worlds, as well as a repository of knowledge to tell the Sekkari descendants everything that once was. They are also the only known silicon-based lifeform in both the Pegasus and the Milky Way galaxy.
Serrakin: An advanced race that has lived together in a largely harmonious society on the planet Hebridan.
Shadow entity: Accidentally released from a container, it roams looking for energy to feed on, and the more it feeds, the more lethal it becomes.
Spirits: Advanced aliens that, for a millennium, have been the object of a religion among the Salish ago.
Stragoth: Aliens that use a frequency-based technology to mimic the appearance of other beings, i.e. humans.
The Unas (meaning “First Ones”) are the original hosts used by the Goa’uld on their homeworld of P3X-888, first seen in “Thor’s Hammer”. A race of large and primitive humanoids, the Unas possess great physical strength and have been exploited for physical labor by both Goa’uld and humans. Their strength is enhanced even further when they are taken as Goa’uld hosts, and the symbiote is additionally able to heal even grievous injuries.
The Unas are a tribal society living in close-knit communities with defined territories. Each tribe is led by a dominant alpha male leader. They have limited stone age-level technology, but are more culturally sophisticated than is apparent at first glance and have established codes of behavior and honor. One of the most valuable possessions of an Unas is a necklace made of bone, which prevents Goa’uld symbiotes from burrowing into their necks. The Unas speak their own language that varies between planets but is close enough to be mutually intelligible. Only Goa’uld-possessed Unas have been shown to speak any language other than their own. In “The First Ones”, Daniel Jackson is able to decipher the Unas language and befriend a young Unas named Chaka.
In “Beast of Burden”, it is shown that a race of humans from another unnamed world use Unas as slaves. A group of slavers from this planet learn the location of the Unas home world, and launched an expedition to capture more Unas. On this expedition, Chaka was captured. SG-1 subsequently followed them to rescue Chaka, and although they were successful, Chaka chose to remain on the planet to lead a rebellion to free his people.
Unity: Alien life that forms unstable doubles of people.
The Ursini first appear in “Awakening”. They are small bipedal aliens, but are agile. Their skin is a greenish grey color. They were in pods when Destiny docked with the Seed Ship. These pods were subsequently found aboard a heavily damaged ship floating in space. The pods were uninhabited this time. When Telford was stranded on the Seed Ship with them, they used the pods to transfer their knowledge to him (by the use of a neural interface), and together they repaired the Seed Ship. Eventually coming to Destiny’s rescue when it was being attacked by the same Drone Ships that destroyed the Ursini’s ships. It is learned that the seedship Ursini are the last of their race, as no communication with any other Ursini can be established. The Ursini die with the seedship on an attack run on the second Drone Command Ship.
Water lifeform: Microscopic beings that live in, and control, water.
A vampire-like telepathic race who feed on the “life-force” of humans. While intelligent humanoids, they are genetically close to insects. They evolved in the Pegasus galaxy after a human population seeded by the Ancients was fed upon by an insect called the irratus bug, which has the ability to draw upon a human’s life to heal itself. As they fed, the bugs incorporated human DNA into themselves, giving rise to the Wraith. The Wraith too feed on humans, treating them akin to livestock and regarding the act of feeding as nothing more than natural predation. Their existence is restricted to waking en masse every few centuries to replenish their health by galaxy-wide abductions of humans called “cullings.” A small selection of Wraith were tasked with remaining active during this time to maintain watch on the galaxy to prevent human reprisals.
The main antagonists in Stargate Atlantis, the Wraith, are the dominant species in the Pegasus Galaxy. They are biologically immortal hive-based humanoids who feed on the “life-force” of humans, causing them to “lose years” in a way similar to aging. The Wraith drove the Ancients out of Pegasus 10,000 years ago; they now maintain the human worlds of the Pegasus Galaxy as sources of food. The arrival of the Atlantis Expedition in the Pegasus Galaxy leads to the Wraith waking prematurely from their hibernation; the human population of the Pegasus Galaxy is not enough to sustain all of the waking Wraith. To sate their hunger, the Wraith try to get to Earth whose population is much bigger than that of the whole Pegasus Galaxy. This can only be achieved either through the Stargate or by getting more advanced Hyper drive technology, both of which are present in Atlantis. After the expedition tricked them into thinking the city was destroyed, the Wraith began a brutal civil war.
One Wraith, whom Sheppard named Todd, was particularly cooperative after he was rescued from the Genii by him; Todd subsequently aides the expedition’s efforts for mutual gain.
Although most known habitable planets in the Stargate universe are populated by humans, there was once an Alliance of four great races. A strategic alliance of the four advanced species was built over many millennia since before the rise of the Goa’uld. In “The Torment of Tantalus”, SG-1 discovers a meeting place for the alliance on the planet Heliopolis. There they find a chamber showing the written languages of the four races, as well as a hologram of a common language based on graphical representations of the 146 known (to them) chemical elements. This is possibly derived from the H. Beam Piper novelette Omnilingual in which a similar scene takes place. In the season 2 episode “The Fifth Race”, Jack O’Neill learns from the Asgard that the alliance consisted of the Ancients, the Asgard, the Furlings, and the Nox. The Asgard also say that humanity has taken the first steps towards becoming “the Fifth Race”. In the Stargate SG-1 finale “Unending”, Thor declares the Tau’ri are the Fifth Race.
The Tok’ra (literally “against Ra”, the Supreme System Lord) are a faction of Goa’uld symbiotes who are opposed to the Goa’uld culturally and militarily. Spawned by the queen Egeria, they live in true symbiosis with their hosts, both beings sharing the body equally and benefiting from each other. Although they have few members, the Tok’ra have fought the Goa’uld for thousands of years, favoring covert tactics and balancing the various System Lords against one another. Since season 2 of Stargate SG-1, the Tok’ra have become valuable allies of Earth.
The Athosians are a group of hunters, farmers, and traders from the planet Athos. First introduced in “Rising”, they are the first humans encountered by the Atlantis Expedition in the Pegasus galaxy. The Athosians were once technologically advanced, but reverted to a pre-industrial state to avoid the Wraith. Following their contact with the Expedition, the Athosians move to Lantea and their leader, Teyla Emmagan, joins Major Sheppard’s team. In “The Gift”, it is revealed that some Athosians possess Wraith DNA, resulting from an old Wraith experiment to make humans more “palatable”. This allows these individuals to sense the presence of Wraith, to tap into their telepathic communications, and to control Wraith technology. In the third season episode “The Return”, the Athosians are asked to leave Lantea by a group of surviving Ancients reclaiming Atlantis from Earth. The Athosian population is subsequently found to have disappeared from New Athos in “Missing”. The search for the missing Athosians and their fate at the hands of the rogue Wraith Michael contributes to a major plot arc near the end of the fourth season.
The Genii appear to be simple farmers, but are in fact a military society with technology comparable to 1940s Earth. First appearing in “Underground”, the Genii were once a formidable human confederation until the Wraith vanquished the Ancients 10,000 years ago, and the subsequent victory forced them into hiding in subterranean bunkers during cullings. They have since built their entire civilization underground, and devoted their existence to developing technology such as fission bombs to destroy the Wraith. Their collective desire for revenge has made them paranoid and hostile towards others and they pursue their aims regardless of the cost to anyone else. They become enemies of the Atlantis Expedition in the first season when they attempted to seize an SG team’s puddle jumper and weapons, and once try to invade Atlantis, though after a coup d’etat in the second season they have been more favorable towards cooperation with the city.
The Satedans are the people of Ronon Dex, who joins the Atlantis Expedition in the season 2 episode “Runner”. In that episode, it is revealed that the Satedans were a civilization comparable in technology to Earth in the mid-20th century, but met the fate of all advanced civilizations in Pegasus when their homeworld Sateda (P3R-534) was devastated seven years ago by the Wraith. In “Trinity”, Ronon discovers that some 300 Satedans survived the attack in shelters west of the capital and later moved onto other planets like Ballkan and Manaria. In “Reunion”, Ronon encounters more Satedans, his former military comrades, who have been converted into Wraith worshipers.
The Travelers are humans who live on a fleet of ships to avoid the Wraith, introduced in “Travelers”. Although not as technologically advanced as the Ancients, the Travelers possess hyperdrives and advanced weapons. Due to their population outgrowing their available space, the Travelers had been forced to abandon some of their people on planets. Their discovery of an Aurora-class battleship promised to solve this problem, but without the ATA gene they were unable to operate it. They kidnap John Sheppard and extort him to create an interface for them. Though uncooperative at first on account of his abduction, Sheppard and the Traveler leader Larrin eventually came to an understanding after a mutual experience with the Wraith. In “Be All My Sins Remember’d”, the Travelers become concerned by the Asuran Replicator threat after one of their trading partners is wiped out. Several of their ships, including their Ancient battleship, join the Atlanteans and the Wraith in battling the Replicators over their homeworld. According to producers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the Travelers were created as a “wild card” like the Genii, but with advanced technology that would make them a “challenge” for the Atlantis team. Their lifestyle was devised as a way around the established fact that the Wraith wipe out any civilizations that approach them in technological advancement.
Dakara is the planet where the Ancients first landed in the Milky Way Galaxy after fleeing the Alteran Galaxy. It is here where they later built a powerful device, capable of destroying existing life or creating it where there was none before, long before the galaxy was colonized by the Goa’uld or the humans. Long after the Ancients disappeared, the Goa’uld System Lords eventually took possession of the planet, unknowing of its history. The place eventually became a holy ground for their Jaffa servant race since they held legends which described Dakara as the planet where their enslavement began. At the Temple of Dakara, Jaffa were given their strength and longevity through the first implantation of symbiotes. The temple is therefore the ultimate holy ground of the Goa’uld, who kept the Jaffa loyal by propagating lies that they were gods. The idea of stepping into Dakara was unthinkable to the free Jaffa.
After the Replicators start to invade the galaxy in season 8, killing Goa’uld and taking over their fleets, Bra’tac and Teal’c decide this to be the best time to take over Dakara. Dakara easily falls to the rebellion, and the capture of the planet proves to the majority of Jaffa still in servitude that the Goa’uld were not in fact gods. This leads to a general revolt by the Jaffa against their masters. Also, the final battle with the Replicators occurs here which results in their destruction by the Dakara superweapon. Combined with the weakened state the Goa’uld are left in after their war with the Replicators, this resulted in the fall of the System Lords and the collapse of the Goa’uld Empire. Shortly after, the Free Jaffa Nation is declared, with Dakara being made the capital. Two seasons later, Adria sets course for Dakara, destroying the weapon and conquering the planet in the process. After the loss of Dakara, the Free Jaffa Nation begins to fracture into several warring factions, some of which blame the Tau’ri for the devastation of Dakara. In Stargate: The Ark of Truth SG-1 returns to the ruins of Dakara in search of the weapon that could stop the invasion of the Milky Way galaxy by the Ori Crusade.
Stargate Atlantis is set in the dwarf galaxy Pegasus. In reality, there are two galaxies in the Local Group called Pegasus Dwarf; the Pegasus Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy and the Pegasus Dwarf Irregular Galaxy. It has not been explicitly stated which of these is the galaxy in Stargate Atlantis. However, in this discussion regarding the new McKay-Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge, General Hank Landry states that the distance between the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies is “three million light-years,” suggesting that the series takes place in the Pegasus Dwarf Irregular Galaxy. Also, in a few episodes the Pegasus galaxy has been seen from between the Milky Way and Pegasus, showing an irregular galaxy.
Unlike what happened in the Milky Way, the human population of the Pegasus galaxy is a product of Ancient seeding. The Lanteans arrived in the Pegasus galaxy via the Ancient city ship of Atlantis. As there was seldom interbreeding between the Ancients and humans, the ATA gene is virtually non-existent amongst the natives of Pegasus. Few human races in Pegasus surpass Earth in technological advancement, as the Wraith destroy any such civilizations as potential future threats to their dominance.
Atlantis is an Ancient city equipped with intergalactic hyperdrive engines that serves as the base of operations for the main SGA characters, from which they explore other planets through the Stargate. According to the mythology of the show, the city was built by an advanced race known as the Ancients originally as a central outpost in prehistorical Antarctica, until an unexplained crisisinvolving a virulent plagueforced them to relocate the city to the planet Lantea in the Pegasus Galaxy. The Ancients (known as “Ancestors” to the denizens of Pegasus, “Lanteans” to the Wraith) submerged the city around 8,000 BCE to evade Wraith detection and returned via stargate to Earth, where survivor recollections formed the basis for the ancient Greek accounts of Lost City of Atlantis. As the humans from Earth inhabit the fabled City of the Ancestors after the series pilot of Stargate Atlantis, some Pegasus cultures believe the SGA members to be the Ancients returned.
Ascension is a process by which sufficiently evolved sentient beings may shed their physical bodies and live eternally as pure energy on a higher plane of existence, where their capacity for learning and power grows exponentially. It is a mental, spiritual, or evolutionary enlightenment that can arise as the direct result of achieving a certain level of wisdom and self-knowledge. Ascension was once employed by the Ancients as a means to avoid several issues threatening their species with extinction, but it is sought by major powers on Earth and other races such as the Jaffa later. The concept is introduced in the SG-1 season 3 episode “Maternal Instinct” and becomes a central theme of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis.
Ascension can happen in one of two ways: evolutionarily or spiritually. Ascension can occur when a human evolves the ability to use approximately 90% of his or her brain capacity. The Ancients who ascended naturally reached this point without the aid of technology. They, however, developed the DNA Resequencer, a device capable of enhancing humans so that they would gain telepathy; telekinesis; superhuman senses, speed, and strength; precognition; perfect health; the ability to self-heal rapidly and the power to heal by touch; and the ability to use many parts of their mind and fully focus on a single thing. Spiritual ascension can occur through meditation when one is pure of spirit and in the search for enlightenment, has a fully opened mind, and has shed one’s fears and attachment to the mortal world. In the process of ascension through meditation, many beings obtain the same supernatural abilities that users of the DNA resequencer receive. In some cases, however, no level of spiritualism can help with ascension: the Asgard’s genetic degradation was so severe that they could not ascend, in spite of the fact that many of them would otherwise have been good candidates.
The ascended Ancients maintain a strict rule of noninterference in mortal affairs. If broken, this rule may result in forceful de-ascension or other punishment by the other ascended beings. The Ori, on the other hand, seek to increase their power by any means, including destroying their former compatriots, the Ancients, in a crusade against the Milky Way Galaxy. The power of an ascended being can be negated through the Sangraal, a device that the Ancient Merlin gave up his life to create to battle the Ori.
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Posted: January 4, 2017 at 6:08 pm
The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup. Early proponents of eugenics believed that, through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution. They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws; and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”. Eugenics was also supported by African Americans intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Thomas Wyatt Turner, and many academics at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Hampton University; however they believed the best blacks were as good as the best whites and “The Talented Tenth” of all races should mix. W. E. B. Du Bois believed “only fit blacks should procreate to eradicate the race’s heritage of moral iniquity.”
The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune. In 1906 J.H. Kellogg provided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1911 by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport, using money from both the Harriman railroad fortune and the Carnegie Institution. As late as the 1920s, the ERO was one of the leading organizations in the American eugenics movement. In years to come, the ERO collected a mass of family pedigrees and concluded that those who were unfit came from economically and socially poor backgrounds. Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and the conservationist Madison Grant (all well respected in their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the “unfit”. Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination. The Eugenics Record Office later became the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Eugenics was widely accepted in the U.S. academic community. By 1928 there were 376 separate university courses in some of the United States’ leading schools, enrolling more than 20,000 students, which included eugenics in the curriculum. It did, however, have scientific detractors (notably, Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of the few Mendelians to explicitly criticize eugenics), though most of these focused more on what they considered the crude methodology of eugenicists, and the characterization of almost every human characteristic as being hereditary, rather than the idea of eugenics itself.
By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder’s Association was the first eugenic body in the U.S., established in 1906 under the direction of biologist Charles B. Davenport. The ABA was formed specifically to “investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood.” Membership included Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford president David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank. The American Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality was one of the first organizations to begin investigating infant mortality rates in terms of eugenics. They promoted government intervention in attempts to promote the health of future citizens.[verification needed]
Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organization that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms.
One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenic agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement. Margaret Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement. Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defect. She advocated sterilization in cases where the subject was unable to use birth control. Unlike other eugenicists, she rejected euthanasia. For Sanger, it was individual women and not the state who should determine whether or not to have a child.
In the Deep South, women’s associations played an important role in rallying support for eugenic legal reform. Eugenicists recognized the political and social influence of southern clubwomen in their communities, and used them to help implement eugenics across the region. Between 1915 and 1920, federated women’s clubs in every state of the Deep South had a critical role in establishing public eugenic institutions that were segregated by sex. For example, the Legislative Committee of the Florida State Federation of Women’s Clubs successfully lobbied to institute a eugenic institution for the mentally retarded that was segregated by sex. Their aim was to separate mentally retarded men and women to prevent them from breeding more “feebleminded” individuals.
Public acceptance in the U.S. was the reason eugenic legislation was passed. Almost 19 million people attended the PanamaPacific International Exposition in San Francisco, open for 10 months from February 20 to December 4, 1915. The PPIE was a fair devoted to extolling the virtues of a rapidly progressing nation, featuring new developments in science, agriculture, manufacturing and technology. A subject that received a large amount of time and space was that of the developments concerning health and disease, particularly the areas of tropical medicine and race betterment (tropical medicine being the combined study of bacteriology, parasitology and entomology while racial betterment being the promotion of eugenic studies). Having these areas so closely intertwined, it seemed that they were both categorized in the main theme of the fair, the advancement of civilization. Thus in the public eye, the seemingly contradictory[clarification needed] areas of study were both represented under progressive banners of improvement and were made to seem like plausible courses of action to better American society.[verification needed]
Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was “epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded” from marrying.
The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan, in 1897 but the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted. Eight years later Pennsylvania’s state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor. Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907, followed closely by Washington and California in 1909. Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for the mentally retarded. The number of sterilizations performed per year increased until another Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, complicated the legal situation by ruling against sterilization of criminals if the equal protection clause of the constitution was violated. That is, if sterilization was to be performed, then it could not exempt white-collar criminals. The state of California was at the vanguard of the American eugenics movement, performing about 20,000 sterilizations or one third of the 60,000 nationwide from 1909 up until the 1960s.
While California had the highest number of sterilizations, North Carolina’s eugenics program which operated from 1933 to 1977, was the most aggressive of the 32 states that had eugenics programs. An IQ of 70 or lower meant sterilization was appropriate in North Carolina. The North Carolina Eugenics Board almost always approved proposals brought before them by local welfare boards. Of all states, only North Carolina gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization. “Here, at last, was a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies by an acceptable, practical, and inexpensive method,” wrote Wallace Kuralt in the March 1967 journal of the N.C. Board of Public Welfare. “The poor readily adopted the new techniques for birth control.”
The Immigration Restriction League was the first American entity associated officially with eugenics. Founded in 1894 by three recent Harvard University graduates, the League sought to bar what it considered inferior races from entering America and diluting what it saw as the superior American racial stock (upper class Northerners of Anglo-Saxon heritage). They felt that social and sexual involvement with these less-evolved and less-civilized races would pose a biological threat to the American population. The League lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among “inferior races”. Literacy test bills were vetoed by Presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson’s second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917. Membership in the League included: A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, William DeWitt Hyde, president of Bowdoin College, James T. Young, director of Wharton School and David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford University.
The League allied themselves with the American Breeder’s Association to gain influence and further its goals and in 1909 established a Committee on Eugenics chaired by David Starr Jordan with members Charles Davenport, Alexander Graham Bell, Vernon Kellogg, Luther Burbank, William Ernest Castle, Adolf Meyer, H. J. Webber and Friedrich Woods. The ABA’s immigration legislation committee, formed in 1911 and headed by League’s founder Prescott F. Hall, formalized the committee’s already strong relationship with the Immigration Restriction League. They also founded the Eugenics Record Office, which was headed by Harry H. Laughlin. In their mission statement, they wrote:
Society must protect itself; as it claims the right to deprive the murderer of his life so it may also annihilate the hideous serpent of hopelessly vicious protoplasm. Here is where appropriate legislation will aid in eugenics and creating a healthier, saner society in the future.”
Money from the Harriman railroad fortune was also given to local charities, in order to find immigrants from specific ethnic groups and deport, confine, or forcibly sterilize them.
With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of “inferior stock” from eastern and southern Europe.[verification needed] The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of “old stock” white Americans as members of the “Nordic race” (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing. Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.
Stephen Jay Gould asserted that restrictions on immigration passed in the United States during the 1920s (and overhauled in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act) were motivated by the goals of eugenics. During the early 20th century, the United States and Canada began to receive far higher numbers of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. Influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Harry Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments they would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted. It has been argued that this stirred both Canada and the United States into passing laws creating a hierarchy of nationalities, rating them from the most desirable Anglo-Saxon and Nordic peoples to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants, who were almost completely banned from entering the country.
Both class and race factored into eugenic definitions of “fit” and “unfit.” By using intelligence testing, American eugenicists asserted that social mobility was indicative of one’s genetic fitness. This reaffirmed the existing class and racial hierarchies and explained why the upper-to-middle class was predominantly white. Middle-to-upper class status was a marker of “superior strains.” In contrast, eugenicists believed poverty to be a characteristic of genetic inferiority, which meant that those deemed “unfit” were predominantly of the lower classes.
Because class status designated some more fit than others, eugenicists treated upper and lower class women differently. Positive eugenicists, who promoted procreation among the fittest in society, encouraged middle class women to bear more children. Between 1900 and 1960, Eugenicists appealed to middle class white women to become more “family minded,” and to help better the race. To this end, eugenicists often denied middle and upper class women sterilization and birth control.
Since poverty was associated with prostitution and “mental idiocy,” women of the lower classes were the first to be deemed “unfit” and “promiscuous.”
In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in the world. Thirty U.S. states would soon follow their lead. Although the law was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1921, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, upheld the constitutionality of the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924, allowing for the compulsory sterilization of patients of state mental institutions in 1927.
Some states sterilized “imbeciles” for much of the 20th century. Although compulsory sterilization is now considered an abuse of human rights, Buck v. Bell was never overturned, and Virginia did not repeal its sterilization law until 1974. The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States. Beginning around 1930, there was a steady increase in the percentage of women sterilized, and in a few states only young women were sterilized. From 1930 to the 1960s, sterilizations were performed on many more institutionalized women than men. By 1961, 61 percent of the 62,162 total eugenic sterilizations in the United States were performed on women. A favorable report on the results of sterilization in California, the state with the most sterilizations by far, was published in book form by the biologist Paul Popenoe and was widely cited by the Nazi government as evidence that wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane.
Men and women were compulsorily sterilized for different reasons. Men were sterilized to treat their aggression and to eliminate their criminal behavior, while women were sterilized to control the results of their sexuality. Since women bore children, eugenicists held women more accountable than men for the reproduction of the less “desirable” members of society. Eugenicists therefore predominantly targeted women in their efforts to regulate the birth rate, to “protect” white racial health, and weed out the “defectives” of society.
A 1937 Fortune magazine poll found that 2/3 of respondents supported eugenic sterilization of “mental defectives”, 63% supported sterilization of criminals, and only 15% opposed both.
In the 1970s, several activists and women’s rights groups discovered several physicians to be performing coerced sterilizations of specific ethnic groups of society. All were abuses of poor, nonwhite, or mentally retarded women, while no abuses against white or middle-class women were recorded. Although the sterilizations were not explicitly motivated by eugenics, the sterilizations were similar to the eugenics movement[according to whom?] because they were done without the patients’ consent.
For example, in 1972, United States Senate committee testimony brought to light that at least 2,000 involuntary sterilizations had been performed on poor black women without their consent or knowledge. An investigation revealed that the surgeries were all performed in the South, and were all performed on black welfare mothers with multiple children. Testimony revealed that many of these women were threatened with an end to their welfare benefits until they consented to sterilization. These surgeries were instances of sterilization abuse, a term applied to any sterilization performed without the consent or knowledge of the recipient, or in which the recipient is pressured into accepting the surgery. Because the funds used to carry out the surgeries came from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, the sterilization abuse raised older suspicions, especially amongst the black community, that “federal programs were underwriting eugenicists who wanted to impose their views about population quality on minorities and poor women.”
Native American women were also victims of sterilization abuse up into the 1970s. The organization WARN (Women of All Red Nations) publicized that Native American women were threatened that, if they had more children, they would be denied welfare benefits. The Indian Health Service also repeatedly refused to deliver Native American babies until their mothers, in labor, consented to sterilization. Many Native American women unknowingly gave consent, since directions were not given in their native language. According to the General Accounting Office, an estimate of 3,406 Indian women were sterilized. The General Accounting Office stated that the Indian Health Service had not followed the necessary regulations, and that the “informed consent forms did not adhere to the standards set by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).”
One of the methods that was commonly suggested to get rid of “inferior” populations was euthanasia. A 1911 Carnegie Institute report mentioned euthanasia as one of its recommended “solutions” to the problem of cleansing society of unfit genetic attributes. The most commonly suggested method was to set up local gas chambers. However, many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors had to find clever ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions. For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis (reasoning that genetically fit individuals would be resistant), resulting in 30-40% annual death rates. Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.
In the 1930s, there was a wave of portrayals of eugenic “mercy killings” in American film, newspapers, and magazines. In 1931, the Illinois Homeopathic Medicine Association began lobbying for the right to euthanize “imbeciles” and other defectives. The Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938.
Overall, however, euthanasia was marginalized in the U.S., motivating people to turn to forced segregation and sterilization programs as a means for keeping the “unfit” from reproducing.
Mary deGormo, a former classroom teacher was the first person to combine ideas about health and intelligence standards with competitions at state fairs, in the form of “better baby” contests. She developed the first such contest, the “Scientific Baby Contest” for the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, in 1908. She saw these contests as a contribution to the “social efficiency” movement, which was advocating for the standardization of all aspects of American life as a means of increasing efficiency. deGarmo was assisted by the pediatrician Dr. Jacob Bodenheimer, who helped her develop grading sheets for contestants, which combined physical measurements with standardized measurements of intelligence. Scoring was based on a deduction system, in that every child started at 1000 points and then was docked points for having measurements that were below a designated average. The child with the most points (and the least defections) was ideal.[verification needed]
The topic of standardization through scientific judgment was a topic that was very serious in the eyes of the scientific community, but has often been downplayed as just a popular fad or trend. Nevertheless, a lot of time, effort, and money were put into these contests and their scientific backing, which would influence cultural ideas as well as local and state government practices.[verification needed]
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People promoted eugenics by hosting “Better Baby” contests and the proceeds would go to its anti-lynching campaign.
First appearing in 1920 at the Kansas Free Fair, Fitter Family competitions, continued all the way up to World War II. Mary T. Watts and Dr. Florence Brown Sherbon, both initiators of the Better Baby Contests in Iowa, took the idea of positive eugenics for babies and combined it with a determinist concept of biology to come up with fitter family competitions.
There were several different categories that families were judged in: Size of the family, overall attractiveness, and health of the family, all of which helped to determine the likelihood of having healthy children. These competitions were simply a continuation of the Better Baby contests that promoted certain physical and mental qualities. At the time, it was believed that certain behavioral qualities were inherited from your parents. This led to the addition of several judging categories including: generosity, self-sacrificing, and quality of familial bonds. Additionally, there were negative features that were judged: selfishness, jealousy, suspiciousness, high temperedness, and cruelty. Feeblemindedness, alcoholism, and paralysis were few among other traits that were included as physical traits to be judged when looking at family lineage.
Doctors and specialists from the community would offer their time to judge these competitions, which were originally sponsored by the Red Cross. The winners of these competitions were given a Bronze Medal as well as champion cups called “Capper Medals.” The cups were named after then Governor and Senator, Arthur Capper and he would present them to “Grade A individuals”.
The perks of entering into the contests were that the competitions provided a way for families to get a free health check up by a doctor as well as some of the pride and prestige that came from winning the competitions.
By 1925 the Eugenics Records Office was distributing standardized forms for judging eugenically fit families, which were used in contests in several U.S. states.
After the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it spread to Germany. California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals. By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s.
The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs, including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.
Upon returning from Germany in 1934, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe bragged to a colleague:
You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.
Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws. In 1936, Laughlin was invited to an award ceremony at Heidelberg University in Germany (scheduled on the anniversary of Hitler’s 1934 purge of Jews from the Heidelberg faculty), to receive an honorary doctorate for his work on the “science of racial cleansing”. Due to financial limitations, Laughlin was unable to attend the ceremony and had to pick it up from the Rockefeller Institute. Afterwards, he proudly shared the award with his colleagues, remarking that he felt that it symbolized the “common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics.”
After 1945, however, historians began to attempt to portray the US eugenics movement as distinct and distant from Nazi eugenics.Jon Entine wrote that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution.”
Barbara Rothman and Gareth Thomas, writing for AMA Journal of Ethics, wrote that prenatal screening can be considered a form of contemporary eugenics because it prevents the birth of people with conditions considered undesirable.
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Posted: December 26, 2016 at 3:14 pm
Gab Axler is originally from Chicago. He moved to Beer Sheva 6 years ago to help found a pluralistic intentional community called Beerot. Beerot has40 family members, meets every Shabbat and holiday, and is involved in the local school and other projects. Professionally, Gabe runs a social enterprise called Pnima in the field of educational tourism, connecting groups from Israel and abroad to the work being done by intentional communities across Israel.
Eden Banarie is Moishe Houses Senior Regional Director: West, overseeing the houses in the Northwestern, Southwestern, and Southern regions. Eden is an alumna of Moishe House LA West Hollywood, and a member of the first cohort of the Moishe House Ignite Fellowship. Eden previously worked as the Youth Engagement Coordinator at Jewish World Watch, working with student activists to end genocide and mass atrocities. She received her BA in Business and MBA in Nonprofit Management from American Jewish University in Los Angeles. Eden can often be found attending Jewish community events throughout southern California, searching for the perfect breakfast burrito, or checking out cool new spots in the wonderful city of Los Angeles.
Rabbi Deborah Bravo is the spiritual leader and founder of Makom NY: A New Kind of Jewish Community, seeking to reach the unaffiliated and unengaged Jew in suburban Long Island. Prior to creating Makom NY, Rabbi Bravo served synagogues in Syosset, NY, Edison, NJ, Short Hills, NJ and in Washington DC. Ordained from HUC-JIR in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1998, Rabbi Bravo also holds a Master in Education from Xavier University. She is in the current Rabbis Without Borders Cohort, and a member of the Hakhel 2nd Incubator Cohort. She and her husband David now reside in Woodbury, NY with their two children, Samuel, 13, and Sophie, 10.
Cheryl Cookjoined Avodah as the Executive Director at the beginning of 2015 and has over twenty five years of leadership experience as a manager, fundraiser, and program planner in the Jewish community. Shes worked across the innovative sector of the Jewish community at Hazon, Makor, New Israel Fund, JESNA, Hillel, and the 92nd Street Y and is proud to lead Avodahs work shaping Jewish leaders to be social changemakers. Cheryl is passionate about creating a vibrant Jewish community that opens doors, engages people from across all backgrounds and plays a significant role in making the world a more just and caring place for everyone. Aside from her professional work, Cheryl serves on the board of PS/MS 282 PTO. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their two sons within an incredible village of family and friends.
Zev Chana is the Adamah Apprentice and Barnyard Manager at Isabella Freedman. Zev is from Albany, NY. Zev arrived as an Adamahnik in the fall of 2014, and fell in love with the work, the community and the seasons at Adamah. Zev loves dirt, the woods, the goats, renewed Jewish ritual and text study, and harvesting their meals.
David Cygielmanis the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Moishe House. He has been a non-profit innovator since high school when he started Feed the Need, a nationally recognized homeless feeding organization. While attending the University of California at Santa Barbara, David served as the Hillel Student President and later the Executive Director of the Forest Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping college and high school students develop leadership qualities while following their passions. In 2006, he helped establish Moishe House and became the organizations first CEO. Through his work in the Jewish community, David has garnered many honors including the Avi Chai Fellowship, the JCSA Young Leadership Award, and the Bernard Reisman Award for Professional Excellence. In 2013, David was the recipient of UCSB Hillels inaugural Alumni Achievement Award. David graduated with honors from UCSB with a BA in Business Economics. When hes out of the office, David enjoys playing basketball, spending time with friends, and traveling to destinations with no dress code. David currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife Myka and their dog Binx.
Chelsea Elena is a Teva Educator. During the year, she is an urban farmer and prolific knitter in the great city of Philadelphia. As of now, she isexcited to get back into the forest and make nature her home. She enjoys dystopian fiction, historical fiction and fantasy. Nothing excites her like the idea of a road trip. She recently got a bike for the first time since her childhood and has greatly enjoyed all the padded short options and urban explorations it has opened up for her.
Elizabeth (Liz) Fisheris the Chief Operating Officer at Repair the World, where she is responsible for overseeing all of the organizations development, communications, finance, operations, and human resources. Prior to Repair the World, Liz was Managing Director at NEXT: A Division of Birthright Israel Foundation, where she led the organization in strategy, operations, and talent management. Liz began her career in grassroots community development in rural Missouri. She moved into working in the Jewish community with roles at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, UJA-Federation of New York, and The Jewish Education Project. Lizs passion is the role of people in organizational life. She loves working with partners, lay leaders, and professional staff. Liz has a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a focus in community development and management and is a Schusterman Fellow. She is a fan of Brooklyn (where she lives with her husband and two children), an amateur runner and bread baker, and an avid reader of periodicals.
Avi Garelick is the director of the Ivry Prozdor Hebrew High School at JTS, and the founder of a communal school in Washington Heights. He has been leading davening for his entire adult life, in communities in Berkeley, Chicago, and New York, and is a proud alumnus of the Yeshivat Hadar education fellowship. He is excited to learn more about peoples efforts to establish communal norms for conflict management.
Sarah Garfinkelis a Repair the World NYC Fellow.Sarah worked as a writing tutor at the UC Davis Student Academic Success Center. She graduated from UC Davis with a major in Spanish and minors in Human development, English, and Education. She has worked as a camp counselor in Germany and Hawaii. Her experiences working with second language learners, children with disabilities, and underrepresented and first generation college students have motivated her to serve as a fellow. She also volunteers as a Special Olympics swim coach.
Eliana Roberts Golding is a tenant organizer and community advocate based in Washington DC, where she was an Avodah Corps Member in 2013-2014. She spends her time organizing tenant associations and working to fight gentrification and displacement. She primarily identifies as a community organizer, friend, and relentless justice-seeker with a healthy sense of humor. Eliana lives in a co-op in Northwest DC, where she and her housemates build community around activism, potlucks, goofiness, and dancing. When not fighting the good fight, Eliana can be found singing, doing ceramics, or riding her bike in Rock Creek Park.
James Grant-Rosenhead is a founding member of Kibbutz Mishol, the biggest urban kibbutz in Israel. James was born in Leeds, England, in 1974. He became active as a Jewish Labor Zionist youth leader with Habonim Dror (HDUK) in 1990 after his first visit to Israel. From 1992-3, James spent a year of leadership training on kibbutz in Israel, then returned and directed local branches of the youth movement around London until 1996. He completed his LL.B Hons Law degree in 1996, then served as HDUKs national secretary until 1998. Concerned for the future of the Jewish world and Israel, and inspired by the first urban kibbutzim, James made aliyah to Jerusalem in 1999 with Kvutzat Yovel, the first Anglo olim to build a thriving urban kibbutz. From 1999-2010 James led a worldwide transformation and renewal of Habonim Dror programs, education and ideology from their traditional kibbutz bases to social activist urban kvutzot. The result is a new adult movement of urban cooperative kvutzot including olim from around the world. Since 2010, James joined the leadership of Tikkun, building new native sabra activist kibbutzim in the socio-economic and geographic peripheries, and became a founder of M.A.K.O.M. the National Council of Mission Driven Communities in Israel. James currently lives in NYC whilst serving as the Habonim Dror North America central shaliach, as a mentor for Hazons Hakhel and for Hillels Ezra Fellowship. James is married with three children.
Morriah Kaplan is a member of GariNYC, a two-year-old Jewish intentional community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. She is a program manager at the NYC Department of Small Business Services, where she manages a business education program for women and minority business owners, as well as entrepreneurs in the creative industry. An alumna of Habonim Dror, the progressive Labor Zionist youth movement, she also volunteers as a trainer with the anti-occupation Jewish activist group, IfNotNow. Previously, Morriah graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014, and completed the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in 2015. She enjoys spending time with her found family in Crown Heights, and thinking about how to build better communities and social movements.
Rebecca Katz recentlyjoined Repair the World as their new Education and Training Manager.After six years away,Rebecca is excited to be back home in Brooklyn. Prior to Repair,Rebecca spent two years as the Director of Social Justice Initiatives at Texas Hillel in Austin, Texas, engaging UT students in different modes of social justice through a Jewish lens. However, before the heat of Austin, she learned to organize in the bitterly cold city of Chicago. Rebeccalead the Or Tzedekprogramat the Jewish Council in Urban Affairs,teaching Jewish teens to create systemic change in partnership with directly impacted communities.
Aharon Ariel Laviis the founder of Garin Shuva, a mission-driven community bordering Gaza, and co-founder of the Nettiot Network which re-engages baalei teshuva into Israeli society. Additionally he is co-founder of MAKOM (The National Council of Mission-Driven Communities) and is a consultant to Hazons Jewish Intentional Communities Initiative. In 2013-14 Aharon was a Tikvah Fund fellow in New York. He lives with his wife Liat and their four children in Shuva.
William Levin is the founder of ACRe (Alliance Colony Reboot). He was born and raised on the farm in Vineland, NJ, where his family have lived since founding Alliance Colony in 1892. Levin, a.k.a. the Jewish Robot, is the creator of Shabot 6000 and other educational content for Jewish organizations, and was a writer for the 2010 Shalom Sesame series. Known for his edgy and innovative work and his ability to create synergies in the Jewish community, Levin is now returning to his roots by creating ACRe.
Malya Levin, wife and partner to William, is a lawyer admitted to the New York and New Jersey Bars. Malya is the Staff Attorney at the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, the nations first emergency elder abuse shelter. In that capacity, she works to address the legal needs of older adults experiencing acute abuse, and writes and speaks extensively on the legal aspects of elder abuse prevention and intervention. This year, she has been working with William to birth and grow two new family additions, ACRe and one year old Sammy Lulav.
Elan Margulies, Director of Teva at Hazon, aims to inspire joy and reverence for the natural world by introducing students to earth-based Jewish traditions and the wonders right outside their door. He has taught ecology at Eden Village Camp, the Student Conservation Association and the Cornell University Naturalist Outreach Program, led hikes in Israel, volunteered in the Kalahari Desert, worked for the US National Park Service, and directed a Jewish educational farm outside Chicago where he learned that the best way to catch a goat is to run away from it.Before returning to Teva he pursued graduate studies in forest ecology at University of Michigan and The Hebrew University.In his free time, he enjoys finding wild edibles, brewing ginger beer and working with wood and metal.
Mira Menyuk studied at the New England school of Photography in Boston before getting bitten by the farming bug. She was an Urban Adamah fellow in the spring of 2013 before returning to her home state of Maryland to work at the Pearlstone Center, where she is entering her fourth year of involvement. Her work at the Pearlstone center has included full-year farming, volunteer coordination, kitchen work and currently running programs for kids and adults on the farm and in the fields and forest.Her passions include being outdoors in all weather, hiking, singing, andreading.
Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer is part of the rabbinic team atRomemu. Shewas ordained June 2014 by Hebrew College Rabbinical School. She strives to build community through prayerful music, and music through prayerful community.During her rabbinic training she developed family programming for Temple Beth Zion in Brookline, MA, interned for a Masorti community in Tel Aviv, and directed leadership programs for the non-profit organization Encounter, in Jerusalem. Jessica has performed as a vocalist with Hankus Netsky, Frank London, and Yuval Ron, and studied and performed sacred Jewish music with rabbis and paytanim while living in Jerusalem. After graduating from Wellesley College with a degree in MiddleEasternStudies, Jessica pursued graduate theater training in London, and appeared in many film, theater, and television projects in Europe and the United States: most notably, as a principal role in Roman Polanskis The Pianist.
Rabbi Avram Mlotek is a co-founder of Base, a home-based model for Jewish outreach that focuses on hospitality, learning and service.The Forwardrecently listed him as one of Americas Most Inspiring Rabbis and in 2012, he was recognized by TheJewish Weekas one of the leading innovators in Jewish life today as part of their 36 Under 36 Section. Mlotek served as a rabbi in training at The Carlebach Shul, The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, The Educational Alliance and Hunter College Hillel. Hiswritings have appeared inThe Forward,Tablet, Haaretz,The Jerusalem Post,The Jewish Week, andThe Huffington Post. A native Yiddish speaker, Avram is the grandson of noted Yiddish song collectorsand Holocaust refugees. He is married to Yael Kornfeld and proud Tati to Revaya and Hillel Yosl.
Craig Oshkello, MLA, founding member and current resident of Living Tree Alliance has spent nearly two decades advocating alternative models of land ownership as a means for revitalizing our shared connections to the living landscape. Craig has presented at the JICC each of the past three years and joined first Hakhel trip to Israel in the spring of 2015. He lived with his family in a farm centered community for 13 years before moving to the house he is building at LTA this fall.
Sasha Raskin-Yin has been the New York Program Director at Avodah since 2015. She supports the development of Jewish leaders through Avodahs combination of Jewish and social justice learning, communal living, and direct service work at anti-poverty non-profits. Helping young people connect their Judaism to social justice work has long been Sashas dream, which she arrived at by way of organizing, community-building, and study. She has organized with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and for LGBTQ causes, worked in college access at Goddard Riverside Community Center, and studied white Jewish immigration, assimilation, and settler colonialism in the US at the New School for Social Research. Sashas self-care practices include walking around NYC, drinking tea, and defending the often-maligned regions of New Jersey and Queens.
Kate Re, Associate Director of Teva, works with the team as they bring transformative Jewish nature experiences to early childhood through adult participants. She holds a BFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and has a professional background in Jewish environmental teaching and management. She is a passionate advocate for all things natural, sustainable, and community oriented.
Nigel Savage, originally from Manchester, England, founded Hazon in 2000, with a Cross-USA Jewish Environmental Bike Ride. Since then, Hazon has grown the range and impact of its work in each successive year; today it has more than 60 staff, based in New York City, at Hazons Isabella Freedman campus, and in other locations across the country. Hazon plays a unique role in renewing American Jewish life and creating a healthier and more sustainable world for all.
Hazon is one of a tiny handful of groups to have been in the Slingshot 50 every year since inception, and in 2008, Hazon was recognized by the Sierra Club as one of 50 leading faith-based environmental organizations.
Nigel has spoken, taught, or written for a wide and significant range of audiences. (A selection of his essays are at hazon.org/nigel). He has twice been named a member of the Forward 50, the annual list of the 50 most influential Jewish people in the United States, and is a recipient of the Bernard Reisman Award. He has given Commencement speeches at Wagner (NYU, in 2011) and at Hornstein (Brandeis, in 2014). In 2015 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Before founding Hazon, Nigel was a professional fund manager in London, where he worked for NM Rothschild and was co-head of UK Equities at Govett. He has an MA in History from Georgetown, and has learned at Pardes, Yakar, and the Hebrew University. He was a founder of Limmud NY, and serves on the board of Romemu.
Nigel executive produced the British independent movies Solitaire For 2 and Stiff Upper Lips and had an acclaimed cameo appearance in the cult Anglo-Jewish comic movie, Leon The Pig Farmer. He is believed to be the first English Jew to have cycled across South Dakota on a recumbent bike.
Shamu Fenyvesi Sadeh is the co-founder and director of Adamah. He teaches Judaism and ecology, turns the compost piles, maintains the orchards, and supervises and mentors staff and Adamah Fellows. His wife Jaimie and kids Yonah, Ibby and Lev keep the bees, help harvest and pickle, and DJ staff dance parties.
Janna Siller leads the Adamah crew in growing organic vegetables for CSA distribution, value-added production, Isabella Freedman food service, and donations, while maintaining the fields as resonant learning space for fellows and visitors. She teaches classes on practical farming and gardening skills as well as classes that explore the big picture systems, policies and issues that shape what we eat and how it is grown. Janna lives in Falls Village with her family- Arthur, Tzuf, and the cats.
Roger Studley is founder of Urban Moshav, a nonprofit development partner for Jewish cohousing, and convener of the Berkeley Moshav effort to create Jewish cohousing in Berkeley, CA. He and these projects were selected for the inaugural cohort of the Hahkel incubator of Jewish Intentional communities, on whose steering committee he now serves. He has been an organizer of previous JIC Conferences as well as multiple independent minyanim (including San Franciscos pluralist Mission Minyan) and co-chaired a Hazon Food Conference. Roger is married to Rabbi Chai Levy of Congregation Kol Shofar and looks forward to moving into Berkeley Moshav with his family in the next few years.
Yasaf Warshai was born in Ann Arbor Michigan, and started attending Habonim Dror Camp Tavor in 2002. It was there that he fell in love with the idea of Jewish Intentional Community over the next fifteen summers of being a counselor, camper, and director. Yasaf graduated from Michigan State University in 2016 with a degree in Arts & Humanities and Religious Studies. Now as the Mazkir Klali (National Director) of Habonim Dror North America, he works in the central office in Brooklyn to bring those same values of Jewish Intentionality and Social Justice to the next generation of Jewish leaders.
Michal Wetzler is from Kibbutz Kfar hachoresh in Israel. In the IDF she was a combat engineer instructor. She has a B.ed in informal education, majoring in the history and nature of Israel. She owns a small tour guide business and has vast experience leading a wide range of groups, indoor and outdoor. She also ran a community forest project in her Kibbutz back home, to connect between the members of the community, and between the community to the forest and nature around.Now she is a Shlicha (emissary of the Jewish agency) in Pearlstone center.In her spare time she loves to hike, travel, dance and scuba-dive.
Casey Baruch Yurow currently serves as Program Director at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD. Casey has held leadership roles in the field of Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental education for over ten years with the Teva Learning Center, Urban Adamah, Wilderness Torah, and Eden Village Camp. Casey believes deeply in the power of nature connection and hands-on learning to revitalize healthy human culture and community. He earned a B.Sc in Environmental Science from the University of Maryland and spent two years studying in yeshiva in Israel. When not at work, Casey can be found building mandolins, hiking, gardening, cooking, and inviting friends over for spirited, song-filled Shabbat meals. Casey lives with his wife Rivka outside of Baltimore and he looks forward to co-creating a new Moshav on the Pearlstone Center campus, speedily in our days.
Kesher (Rayenbo) Zabell- Spears is an alum of Moishe House Cleveland, cos* first experience of intentional community living, which gave Kesher the desire to delve deeper into sharing day-to-day life with like-minded individuals. Since living in MHCle, Rayenbo has been living in ICs, including seven communities of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities (FEC). Kesher has worked extensively with the FEC and through this work with the FEC as the Rainbow Intern, co excitedly participated in 2014s JICC. Co is a frequent MH retreat participant and a consistent Moishe House Without Walls host. As a currently wandering communard, Rayenbo sees this conference as an opportunity to network and discover potentially future homes.*Co: Gender neutral pronoun. Co/co/cos. derived from words such as: community member, communard, co-creator, comrade and communitarian.
Please check back for this growing list of educators and session leaders.
Posted: at 2:54 pm
Gene Policinski, Inside the First Amendment 9:30 a.m. MST December 25, 2016
Gene Policinski writes the First Amendment column distributed by Gannett News Service. (Gannett News Service, Sam Kittner/First Amendment Center/File)(Photo: GNS)
Our First Amendment freedoms will work if we still have them around to use.
Those five freedoms religion, speech, press, assembly and petition have been challenged at various times in our nations history, as many would say they are today.
But the very freedoms themselves provide the means and mechanisms for our society to self-correct those challenges, perhaps a main reason why the First Amendment has endured, unchanged, since Dec. 15, 1791.
Case in point: The tragic mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, on June 12 was followed by a burst of anti-Islamic rhetoric across the country after the killer declared allegiance to ISIS. The speech, however hateful, generally was protected by the First Amendment.
But in turn, those attacks were followed by pushback in the other direction. Muslim leaders decried the use of their faith to justify hatred of the United States or homophobic terrorism. Opposition was ramped up to the idea of increased surveillance of Muslims in America and now-President-elect Donald Trumps suggestion for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.
In two rounds of national polling in the Newseum Institutes annual State of the First Amendment survey, support for First Amendment protection for fringe or extreme faiths actually increased after the Orlando attack, compared with sampling done in May.
The number of people who said First Amendment protection does not extend to such faiths dropped from 29 to 22 percent. In both surveys, just over 1,000 adults were sampled by telephone, and the margin of error in the surveys was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.
The First Amendment is predicated on the notion that citizens who are able to freely debate without government censorship or direction will exchange views, sometimes strongly and on controversial subjects, but eventually find common ground.
Of course, that kind of vigorous and robust exchange in the marketplace only can happen if there is a marketplace freedom for all to speak and a willingness to join with others in serious discussion, debate and discourse that has a goal of improving life for us all.
Heres where the survey results turn ominous: Nearly four in 10 of those questioned in the 2016 State of the First Amendment survey, which was released July 4, could not name unaided a single freedom in the First Amendment.
Perhaps not identifying by name even one of the five freedoms is not the same as not knowing you have those core freedoms. But neither does the result build confidence that, as a nation, we have a deep understanding of what distinguishes our nation among all others and is so fundamental to the unique American experience of self-governance.
We have thrived as a nation with a social order and a government structure in which the exchange of views is a key to solving problems. The nations architects had a confidence and optimism that such exchanges in the so-called marketplace of ideas would ultimately work for the public good.
What would those founders think of a society in which so many seem to favor the electronic versions of divided marketplaces that permit only that speech of which you already approve or that confirms your existing views?
Or worse yet, a society in which the five freedoms are used as weapons from cyberbullying to mass Twitter attacks to deliberate distribution of fake news to figuratively set ablaze or tear down an opponents stand?
As a nation, we cannot abandon the values of our First Amendment freedoms that protect religious liberty, that defend free expression at its widest definition and that provide a right to unpopular dissent, without fundamentally changing the character of our nation.
As a people, we must stand in defense of the values set out in the First Amendment and Bill of Rights some 225 years ago, even as we face one of the deepest public divides on a range of issues in our history.
And we must revisit and renew our faith in a concept expressed in 1664 by English poet and scholar John Milton and later woven deep into the institutional fabric of America: that in a battle between truth and falsehood, who ever knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?
Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and senior vice president of the Institutes First Amendment Center. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @genefac.
Read or Share this story: http://www.thespectrum.com/story/opinion/2016/12/25/first-amendment-works-and-if-we-still-have/95705830/
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First Amendment works and will if we still have it