Truth Code: world
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Τετάρτη, 11 Ιανουαρίου 2017

Credits: Reuters

“You ask me why I left Beijing? It’s because I want to live.”

Though many of the world’s refugees – particularly those seeking asylum in Europe – are fleeing war and political instability, thousands in other parts of the world are now fleeing the hazardous effects of man-made pollution. In the final weeks of 2016, China’s air pollution crisis – estimated to claim the nearly 1 million lives annually – became so bad that tens of thousands have now fled in order to avoid causing permanent damage to their lungs and bodies. Since December 17th, massive sections of north and central China have been under “red alert” due to the toxic smog enveloping key centers of industry, including the nation’s capital Beijing. The alert – slated to last only 5 days but still in effect – has forced schools to close and heavy industries to slow or halt production. Residents were also ordered to stay indoors as the yellow-grey haze enveloped large swaths of the country’s industrial heartland. Greenpeace estimated that the environmental calamity affects a population equivalent to those of the United States, Canada, and Mexico combined.

Despite the fact that some residents have either decided to or have no choice but to stay, many of those who are financially able have decided to flee. The Guardian reported that China’s leading online travel agent, Ctrip, expected 150,000 to leave China in the coming months as they try to outrun the toxic haze, with most heading to destinations such as Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and the Maldives. Other residents have opted for pollution-free destinations within China. Jiang Aoshuang and her family left Beijing to protect their health by heading for Chongli, a smog-free ski resort three hours from the city. However, upon arriving, Jiang’s family found the resort packed with other “smog refugees.” Jiang told the Global Times “it really felt like a refugee camp.” 

Another Beijing native who fled to Chongli told reporters “You ask me why I left Beijing? It’s because I want to live.” Yet, many of those who are trying to escape the pollution have been unable to leave as the thick smog has paralyzed airports in Northern China, particularly in Beijing, Tianjin, and Shijiazhuang. In the first days of the alert, Beijing’s domestic airport canceled all of its flights while its international airport canceled nearly 300 due to poor visibility.

Though China’s government has officially labeled the crisis as a “meteorological disaster,” environmental activists have been warning that a winter smog crisis was imminent months beforehand. Lauri Myllyvirta, a Beijing-based environmental activist working with Greenpeace, said that the group had warned of the coming pollution crisis in summer when the government began an economic stimulus program benefiting some of the nation’s heaviest polluters like cement and steel factories. “A big part of what happened is that the steel price went up when the government started a huge wave of construction projects to stimulate the economy,” Myllyvirta told the Guardian

However, he and other activists remain optimistic as government policy is set to restructure the economy and preserve the environment in the next few years. Indeed, China no longer has much of a choice about the matter with many locals now living in temporary and permanent exile due to the air quality.

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Πέμπτη, 29 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Stores want me to buy stuff I don’t need. The internet wants me to buy stuff I don’t need. But I finally figured it out.

I was only just beginning to think about fast fashion and how strange it was that clothes appeared to be getting cheaper while the rest of life grew more expensive.
I learned from my year of no shopping and refined my ways. But in 2012, I noticed I’d replaced my ambling flaneuse shopper persona with she who magically buys crap on the internet. I would meander from my design work to a blog featuring something cute, and before I knew it, I’d have wasted an hour looking at (and occasionally purchasing) things I absolutely didn’t need. So I stopped shopping again. This time, instead of buying the things I wanted, I painted them.
It was a revelatory experience in that I realized there is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating beautiful things. In fact, it’s hard not to appreciate beautiful things in a world saturated with them. In a world that’s increasingly good at showing you just the kind of beautiful thing you most want to acquire. In a world where people toil expertly to make you want things. Why did I feel guilty for feeling desire?

At the same time I was beginning to learn of fast fashion’s implications beyond my pocketbook, of the gross toll on people and planet the ubiquity of cheap pretty things was taking. Just by admiring a pretty dress in a window, I somehow felt complicit in the system that brings such cruelly wasteful stuff to said window.
Drawing my covets freed up the guilt I felt and often absolved me of desire. But you don’t have to draw the things you want to help stop the impulse buy. Anything that creates some time to pause and reflect about why you want that shiny new thingamajig can do the trick.

Sarah Lazarovic wrote this article for 50 Solutions, the Winter 2017 issue of YES! Magazine. Sarah is an artist and creative director. As a journalist, she's worked for almost every publication in Canada, covering news and cultural events in comic form. In 2015, her live sketching of a Rob Ford speech won gold at the Online News Association awards. As a Massey Fellow at the University of Toronto in 2014, she studied behavioral economics and environmental sustainability. Her book, A Bunch of Pretty Things I Did Not Buy (Penguin 2014), is available at fine libraries everywhere.

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Παρασκευή, 23 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Chief Little Shell was a leader of the Little Shell Tribe in 1892.
Photo courtesy of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Heritage Center.

Federal recognition offers financial help, and those tribes without it have “second-class status in Indian Country” and remain vulnerable to local authorities.

When President Obama held the eighth White House Tribal Nations Conference last fall, all 567 federally recognized tribes were invited to attend. As the Standing Rock demonstration continued in North Dakota, participants talked about a variety of issues, including how the United States could more carefully consider indigenous rights and property when planning and permitting future infrastructure projects.

But not all indigenous peoples were represented at the president’s home. Invitations were extended only to leaders of federally recognized tribes. As many as 50 tribes, representing tens of thousands of people, were not part of the event because the United States disputes, denies, or has yet to make a decision on their petition for federal acknowledgement. As the Standing Rock Sioux have fought to assert their federal rights as indigenous people, other tribes remain in the shadows, struggling to be recognized as Native communities in the first place.

“Standing Rock is all about sovereignty,” says Gerald Gray, council chairman for Montana’s landless Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, “and that’s exactly what we’re fighting for, to have that legitimacy for our people.”

The Little Shell, a multiethnic people primarily of Chippewa, Cree, Assiniboine, and European descent, have never been recognized through the federal acknowledgement process, which outlines the criteria tribes must meet in order to establish a government-to-government relationship with the United States. The state of Montana recognized the tribe in 2003, a decision that gave the Little Shell equal standing with other Montana tribes when negotiating with the state on issues affecting Native people.

The Little Shell’s relatives are constitutionally recognized as Métis in Canada, but the U.S. Office of Federal Acknowledgement at the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) remains undecided on the tribe’s official status—37 years after the Little Shell first submitted its petition for recognition. The delay has prevented the tribal council from gaining legitimacy as a sovereign political authority in accordance with federal law.

For the Little Shell and other unrecognized tribes, however, there may be hope on the horizon. Last year, indigenous leaders from across the country reached an important milestone when the BIA announced significant revisions to the tribal recognition rule.

“Numerous educated people complained, for years, that the process [was] broken,” says Kevin Washburn, who supervised the revision during his tenure as assistant secretary of the BIA from 2012 to 2015. “Most of the concerns,” he says, “related to lengthy delays, perceived unfairness, and lack of transparency.”

The rule, which addresses each of these concerns, immediately affects 13 tribes from eight states currently seeking recognition through the BIA. For some of these tribes, including the Little Shell, the revision could result in decisions that have been sought for generations.

Since 1978, when the federal acknowledgement process was first created, 87 tribes have petitioned for recognition. Only 51 have received a determination, and about two-thirds of those were denials. Decades-long waits were common under the old rule, in part because petitioning tribes were required to meet seven different criteria, including proof of continuous existence as a distinct community since 1789. Evidence of this existence had to be provided by third parties, such as a local government authority or an anthropologist.

But such historical documentation isn’t easy to come by for tribes like the Little Shell, whose communities were destroyed or dispersed by the U.S. military in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Moreover, the vast majority of North American tribes did not rely on writing systems for communication or historical documentation.

The old rule did not anticipate these challenges, says Gray, who lives in Billings, Montana. “A lot of tribes are based in the oral tradition,” he explains. “We had council meetings around fires in the lodge. So, how do you document that?”

Gray believes the new rule is “more realistic” because it accepts historical gaps in certain circumstances and allows tribes to present evidence of their own existence. Leaders of other unrecognized tribes appear to agree with Gray’s assessment. Of the 13 tribes seeking federal recognition through the BIA, nine have chosen to supplement their petitions with information that would not have been accepted under the old rule.

For citizens of these communities, a positive determination could have life-changing consequences. Members of recognized tribes can receive federal support for housing, education, and health care, which the U.S. government is legally obligated to provide tribes in accordance with negotiated treaties and federal statute.

These benefits, however, are less consequential than the legal authority obtained by recognized tribes, according to Arlinda Locklear, an expert in Native American law based in Washington D.C., and the first Native American woman to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“A federally recognized tribe is a government. It’s not a racial classification,” she explains. “It’s a political classification.” In other words, recognition allows a tribe’s “cultural and social mores [to] become the lodestar” for their political organization. For example, recognized tribes may regulate commerce, such as licensing the operation of a casino or hotel, and enforce tribal laws, according to their societal norms, on lands they own.

As a member of the Lumbee tribe, Locklear is familiar with these legal powers. The Lumbee were recognized by North Carolina in 1885, but the United States never followed suit. In 1970, the federal government shut down a state-sanctioned school system, operated by and for Lumbee families, because a federal judge ruled that it was segregated. If the Lumbee had been recognized as a sovereign nation, its schools would not have been disbanded.

“Recognition has implications across the board, from domestic relations to education,” says Locklear. Unrecognized tribes, she argues, have “second-class status in Indian Country” and remain “vulnerable to the not-so-tender mercies of local and state authorities.”

On Dec. 4, following the White House Tribal Nations Conference, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to prohibit pipeline construction beneath the Missouri River and upstream from the Standing Rock reservation until further environmental analysis is completed. The decision underscored the importance of sovereignty for Native people.

“That’s exactly what we’re looking for,” says Gray. “We are a sovereign nation too, and there should be open dialogue between us and the United States.”

Whether the Little Shell will finally join the Standing Rock Sioux as a federally recognized tribe remains to be seen. So far, no final determinations have been issued under the new rule. There’s also reason to believe that last month’s election will produce new challenges for unrecognized tribes.

“Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has twice attempted to cut off all funding [for the federal acknowledgement process] through Interior Appropriations bills,” Locklear says. With Republicans now controlling Congress and the White House, efforts to frustrate this process could be renewed. In short, Locklear says, “The new rule is promising, but the devil will be in the application.”

Gray shares Locklear’s apprehension and worries that the Little Shell will become “a political can that gets kicked down the road.” But he also finds reason for optimism in challenging times. “There’s still a lot of hope,” he says. “We really gained some momentum with that new rule.”

He is also pleased that Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke is President-elect Trump’s choice for secretary of interior. Zinke has been a “steadfast friend” of the Little Shell, according to Gray. Last year, Zinke sponsored the House version of a bill, first introduced in 2007 by Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, to congressionally recognize the tribe, essentially circumventing the administrative process. That bill, which may be reintroduced next year, would trigger a process for determining the appropriate level of federal services for tribal members and convey 200 acres of federal land to be governed by the tribal council.

For now, the tribe plans to finish supplementing its petition in the next two years. If its petition is eventually denied, then Congress represents another option. While neither approach is likely to result in a swift conclusion, the tribe is resolved to continue its struggle.

“We’ve been fighting for recognition for 130 years,” says Gray. “We’ve always had hope, and we continue to have hope.”

He is also pleased that Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke is President-elect Trump’s choice for secretary of interior. Zinke has been a “steadfast friend” of the Little Shell, according to Gray. Last year, Zinke sponsored the House version of a bill, first introduced in 2007 by Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, to congressionally recognize the tribe, essentially circumventing the administrative process. That bill, which may be reintroduced next year, would trigger a process for determining the appropriate level of federal services for tribal members and convey 200 acres of federal land to be governed by the tribal council.

For now, the tribe plans to finish supplementing its petition in the next two years. If its petition is eventually denied, then Congress represents another option. While neither approach is likely to result in a swift conclusion, the tribe is resolved to continue its struggle.

“We’ve been fighting for recognition for 130 years,” says Gray. “We’ve always had hope, and we continue to have hope.”

Gabriel Furshong wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Gabriel writes from Helena, Montana. His writing has appeared in High Country News, In These Times, the Cossack Review, and elsewhere.
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Τετάρτη, 21 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Credit – IOP Science

Seaborne Cesium 134, a radioactive isotope released by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, has been detected on the US’ Pacific coast for the first time by independent researchers

After the catastrophic triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in 2011, the Japanese government and the plant’s parent company, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), worked to cover up the damage done and downplay the amount of radiation the disaster had released into the environment. Though the disaster’s many impacts have been suspiciously absent from mainstream media reports in the years since, the radiation pouring out of the plant’s damaged reactors have never stopped. To this day, 300 tons of contaminated, radioactive water flow into the Pacific Ocean every day as many of the leaks can never be sealed due to the extreme heat. Now, nearly six years after the meltdown, radiation from Fukushima has made landfall on the West coast of the United States, signaling a dangerous new era for residents and wildlife along the Pacific coastal region.

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a crowd-funded team of scientists, announced yesterday that they had detected, for the first time, seaborne cesium 134 in seawater on the shores of Tillamook Bay in Oregon. The group has been monitoring the waterborne radiation as it extends from Fukushima across the Pacific for years. According to WHOI as well as other scientists, cesium 134, a dangerous and carcinogenic radioactive isotope, could only have originated from the Fukushima disaster due to its short half-life, or rate of decay.

The samples themselves contained 0.3 becquerels/m3 of the isotope, a relatively small amount that some researchers and corporate media outlets say poses “no risk to humans or the environment.” However, there is no such thing as “safe” amounts of radiation, which is particularly true of radioactive cesium as it imitates potassium within the body. Japanese citizens were also told there was nothing to worry about, despite the fact that cancer rates have spiked since the incident. The real and unstated danger here is that of bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation refers to the gradual build-up over time of chemicals in an organism, absorbing the substance at a faster rate than it is excreted. Now, that Fukushima radiation has reached the US, those living on the West Coast or eating fish from that region could be at risk if they consume radioactive water or fish as all consumed cesium would remain in their body, continuously causing damage until it is excreted. Children are said to be especially at risk. Another reason why there is cause for concern is that these samples were actually collected in January 2016 and not tested until recently, suggesting that landfall may have happened earlier than thought. This, in turn, would also mean that higher levels of cesium as more of Fukushima’s radiation has made contact with Western coastal shores in the months since as researchers have said that radiation will not “peak” until well after the plume’s initial landfall.

No matter how often the Japanese government, TEPCO, or the corporate media say that radiation from Fukushima is nothing to worry, ignoring a problem does not make it go away. The world’s oceans, particularly the Pacific Ocean, are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis as mass die-offs of fish and coral are signaling that something is horribly wrong. These trends, combined with the devastating effects of over-fishing, led the World Wildlife Fund to recently warn that all marine life could die out before the year 2050, less than forty years from now. It is incredible that a nuclear disaster that has leaked 300 tons of radioactive water into the ocean every day for the last five years could have no effect on the massive environmental crisis unfolding before our eyes. Until Fukushima’s consequences are acknowledged and treated with the concern they clearly merit, we will continue to be unable to understand the true scope of the problem.

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Παρασκευή, 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Credit: Michigan Urban Farming Initiative

By Amanda Froelich

The agrihood is located in Detroit, Michigan, and feeds thousands of families in the area. Children and adults can learn about sustainable agriculture when they take part in the food forest's development.

Have you ever contemplated the fact that humans are the only species on Earth that pays to live on the planet? This continues, despite the fact that there is presently more than enough resources to care for every citizen.

As a matter of fact, enough food is produced around the world to feed 10 billion people. However, because 70% of the mono crops which are grown are  feed livestock intended for slaughter, a distribution problem exists. In effect, 795 million people go to bed hungry each evening.

Solving the conundrum of world hunger has been many peoples’ dream. Hopefully, it will be remedied within the next century or two. Perhaps one of the ways inspired activists will make this ambition a reality is to install more community gardens which can offer nutrient-dense food to local civilians for free!

If it sounds too good to be true, look no further than what has developed in Michigan. Inhabitat reports that in the city of Detroit – which is recognized as a location where many families are affected by economic imbalance, America’s first urban ‘Agrihood’ exists and it feeds approximately 2,000 households.
The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) is responsible for implementing the three-acre project. Two acres of the land is devoted to growing crops, such as fruits and vegetables, and the remaining one acre allows for a fruit orchard with 200 trees. Additionally, a sensory garden has been constructed for kids to experience and learn more about sustainable agriculture.

MUFI explains its project as an alternative neighborhood growth model which centers around urban agriculture. Co-founder and president of the non-profit, Tyson Gersh, explained in a statement:

“Over the last four years, we’ve grown from an urban garden that provides fresh produce for our residents to a diverse, agricultural campus that has helped sustain the neighborhood, attracted new residents and area investment.”

Volunteers are essential for MUFI to flourish. Reportedly, plans are in the works to construct a 3,200 square-foot Community Resource Center at the agrihood. The building will serve as a colorful headquarters and education center. Nearby, a health food cafe will also be built, and it will likely utilize crops grown in the urban food forest.

Every individual and family deserve to have abundant access to nutrient-dense, life-saving foods. 

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Πέμπτη, 15 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Hunting vet who became social media hate figure dies while hunting.

Luciano Ponzetto, the vet who sparked an outraged firestorm on social media after pictures of him posing next to dead animals had hunted appeared on the internet, has died in the countryside surrounding the Italian city of Turin. Early reports have suggested that he slipped down a ravine while he was out on a hunt. Officials had said that Ponzetto was out hunting in the mountains when he accidentally slipped on some ice and toppled down a steep ravine in the Italian countryside. It has been said that the fifty-five-year-old vet was out shooting wild birds when he had his accident and that he recently returned from another hunting trip in Canada. 

The Italian police had released a statement about his death saying that they were first alerted to the accident when mountain rescue services arrived on the scene. The body of Mr. Ponzetto was recovered by helicopter and taken to a local hospital. However, attempts to revive him proved fruitless, and the doctors decided that there was nothing they could do to help him. 

News of Ponzetto’s death is already making waves on social media where he had previously become a hate figure after posing for a photograph next to the corpse of a lion he had killed. Ponzetto was bombarded with hate mail and death threats during the scandal and was even forced to resign from his role as the medical director of a kennel business as the controversy started to affect his professional life. Throughout it all, Ponzetto maintained that he had done nothing wrong in pursuing hunting as a hobby. In a statement, he said, “I know that I have done nothing wrong. I am being criticized by people who do not know me, I have always loved my work, and I have always loved animals.I will carry on hunting until the law changes.” While most social media users have abstained from attacking Ponzetto in the wake of this news out of respect for his family, others have been less kind. Some have described the ‘irony’ of the event in gleeful terms and others have described it as ‘karma.' 

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Τετάρτη, 14 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Studies say that 4 minutes of uninterrupted eye contact can increase intimacy. To test this theory out, we brought in six pairs in different stages of their relationship and had them try it. How do you stay connected?

Video Credits: SoulPancake
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We had people rate their success on a scale of 1 to 10. But when we asked their loved ones to do the same, their answers told a different story. Visit for more stories like this.

Video Credits: A Plus

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Δευτέρα, 12 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

What would you do if a random girl approached you on the street and asked whether you wanted to have sex?

According to a new social experiment by the crew at YouTube entertainment and comedy channel "whatever," most men would answer 'No.'

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A woman who was filmed breastfeeding a baby on busy London Tube train was heckled by an actor to find out how other passengers reacted to the situation.

YouTube pranksters Trollstation produced the six-minute clip as a 'social experiment' to test whether people believe it's 'appropriate' for a woman to feed in public.

The video begins on a platform at Elephant & Castle station, where actress Amina Maz explains: 'Today we're doing a breastfeeding experiment. Let's see if people find this uncomfortable.'

Wath the video below

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Κυριακή, 11 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

When a refugee crisis of such magnitude as the mass exodus from Syria occurs, it tends to draw out both the best and worst qualities of people. The progressive, humanitarian angle on a situation like this is to take the high of road of offering solace and aid to as many suffering people as possible. An understandable expression of human compassion, however, on the other hand, as a means of protecting and preserving their individual customs and culture, nationalistic movements come out swinging for an end to such destructive immigration policies. 

Immigration is being used as a political weapon to destabilize the West. Western governments and political leaders are deliberately permitting unlimited unreasonable amounts of legal and illegal immigration as well as accepting hundreds of thousands of refugees from Muslim nations into their own states. Additionally, radical Islam is admittedly using immigration into Western nations as a tactic to achieve the publicly stated and oft-repeated goal of conquering non-Muslim nations from within their own borders by simply outgrowing them.

Typically known for his peaceful spiritual guidance and leadership in our troubled world, the Dalai Lama recently chimed in with his thoughts about the present refugee crisis in Europe. Without going into too much detail, he stated the simple and unavoidable truth of the situation: immigration, both legal and illegal, is not always a good thing.

Speaking from Dharamsala in northern India where the Tibetan government resides in exile, the Dalai Lama began by reminding us of the compassion normal people feel when seeing such terrible suffering as is happening in Syria and around the Middle East.

“When we look into the face of every single refugee, especially the children and women, we can feel their suffering.” – The Dalai Lama

He went a bit further then, commenting on our inherent human duty to help others, but pointing out that a even a policy of compassion has its limits:

“A human being who is a bit more fortunate has the duty to help them. On the other hand, there are too many now.”

Too many? As reported by RT, the refugee crisis is admitting so many people that there is no possible way to effectively integrate their wildly different political, social and religious beliefs into Europe. Regarding the Dalai Lama’s statements, RT notes:

“He said that countries taking in refugees should take a healthy look at the situation and realize that it’s not possible for all of the newcomers to be integrated into European society, stressing that the main goal for Europe’s leaders is to provide them with temporary shelter.” [Source]

In the age of political correctness and forced diversity, few in the corporate press are willing to speak on this unavoidable fact of life, but, people of different cultures have rarely historically been able to peacefully assimilate and combine their cultures, traditions and ways of life. The result is all too often conflict both political and physical, which we are already seeing spreading throughout Europe. In the present scenario, it is clear that many Muslim immigrants are not at all interested in assimilating into their refugee states, which is causing a clash of cultures.

The Dalai Lama touched on this issue, noting that the reality that unfettered immigration into Europe directly threatens to overpower long standing European culture:

“Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country. Germany is Germany… There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult.” – The Dalai Lama

The issue of immigration is complex and difficult, and even the most compassionate of leaders have little to say about an amicable and functional solution to the problem. While the Dalai Lama did indeed approach this issue with his comments, he offers no wisdom on how to manage the situation going forward, only stating the general sentiment that the immigration threatens Europe and that it should only be temporary.

The West, however is engaged in the mass destruction of the Middle East through the war on terror and the policies of regime change and nation-building. This offers little hope that refugee immigrants will have a livable place to return to any time soon.

We’re already see the first serious signs of the effects of weaponized immigration into Europe, and in some areas, major physical conflicts and dangerous lawlessness are already happening. Take, for example, recent footage from France that shows wild mobs of immigrants disrupting transit and attacking, robbing and vandalizing people.

Events of this nature add to testimony against policies of diversity and political correctness, which aim to conceal the truth and shame people into moulding their personal views and statements around the political agenda of the elite. You are not racist, nor are you xenophobic to speak the truth about the negative effects of uncontrolled immigration.

For someone in a position of spiritual leadership as is the Dalai Lama, it is rather incredible to hear truthful statements that speak to the fact that in order for human compassion to be of value to those who need it, there must be limits to protect those who are in a position to offer aid and solace. 

Peace is just not possible in a lawless environment where people of conflicting cultures are forced to coexist when neither group would have chosen to do so if not coerced to do so by agenda-driven politics.

For a broader perspective on the European immigration crisis and how it is affecting communities around Europe, take a look a this video of compiled footage of the immigration crisis in Europe.

About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for and Offgrid Outpost, a provider of storable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
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Παρασκευή, 9 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

UP TV set up a social experiment to see if children would rather receive a Christmas gift for themselves - or give one to their families. Their responses left everyone completely shocked.

The experiment took place at a Boys and Girls Club in metro Atlanta, where 83% of the kids come from low-income families. One by one kids are brought into a room to answer several questions. At first, they are asked what they want for Christmas. The video shows different clips of the children revealing their most desired gift - from a dollhouse, to an Xbox 360. Then, the interviewer asks what their moms (or families) would like for Christmas. Each of the kids name a gift that they know that their person would love.

Here comes the hard part of the scenario. The kids are presented with their dream gift, and told that it is theirs to keep. Everyone is thrilled...but then they are also given their family's gift as well. They are told that they must pick between the presents. Although it seems as if it would be a tough choice, every single one of the kids chooses to act selflessly - and picks the family gift. All of them provide answers for why they made their decision, which are so heartfelt, they will bring you to tears. Wow, what amazing kids!

Video Source:
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Κυριακή, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

By  Arjun Walia

Evidence continues to emerge, both scientific and historical, suggesting that the way in which the majority of us currently sleep may not actually be good for us.

In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a paper that included over 15 years of research. It cited an overwhelming amount of historical evidence which reveals that humans used to in fact sleep in two different chunks. (1)

In 2005, he published a book titled “At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past,” which included more than 500 references to a disjointed sleeping pattern. It included diaries, medical books, literature and more taken from various sources ranging from Homer’s Odyssey all the way to modern tribes in Nigeria.

“It’s not just the number of references – it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge.” – Ekirch (source)

What Was Found In The Research

Ekirch’s research found that we didn’t always sleep for an average of 8 hours straight. Instead, we would sleep in two shorter periods throughout the night. All sleep would occur within a 12 hour time frame that started with 3 or 4 hours of sleep, followed by being awake for 3 hours or so, and then sleeping again until the morning.

There was also some research done in the early 1990’s by psychiatrist Thomas Wehr. He conducted an experiment where 14 people were put into complete darkness for 14 hours a day for an entire month. By the fourth week the participants had settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern: the same bimodal sleeping pattern that Ekirch described. The subjects slept for approximately 4 hours, woke for another few, and then went back to sleep until morning. (2)

“Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society. By the 1920’s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.” (source)

Possible Reasons As To Why It Was Like This

One reason could be that this type of segmented sleep is what really comes naturally to the human body. At least, that’s what Wehr’s experiment would suggest, but there are other theories.

Historian Craig Koslofsky writes:

“Associations with night before the 17th Century were not good. The night was a place populated by people of disrepute – criminals, prostitutes and drunks. Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night.” (source)

Things changed, however, in 1667 when Paris became the first city in the world to light its streets, and eventually throughout Europe staying up at night became the social norm. And then the industrial revolution happened:

“People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century, but the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds.” (source)

Eventually, we got to the point where parents were forcing their children to sleep at a certain time, pushing them away from the segmented sleeping pattern that was more dominant.

Many Sleeping Problems May Have Roots In The Human Body’s Natural Preference For Segmented Sleep 

Ekirch believes that many modern day sleeping problems have roots in the human body’s natural preference for segmented sleep. He believes that our historical sleeping patterns could be the reason why many people suffer from a condition called “sleep maintenance insomnia,” where individuals wake in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. This type of condition first appeared at the end of the 19th century, at approximately the same time segmented sleep began to die off.

“For most of evolution we slept a certain way. Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology. The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleep and is likely to seep into waking life too.”  – Psychologist Greg Jacobs (source)

According to Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford:

“Many people wake up at night and panic. I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern. But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural. Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centers where sleep is studied.” (source)

As far as what people did during this in-between time of wakefulness, Ekirch’s research suggests that they primarily used the time to meditate on their dreams, read, pray, or partake in spiritual practices.


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Παρασκευή, 2 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Krystal Miller posts semi-nude photos with her ileostomy bag on her Facebook page, Bag Lady Mama, to raise awareness about hidden illnesses and to empower women.
Photo by Kristy Lee Photography.

For years, I suffered alone with Crohn’s disease. But a one-night stand and Bag Lady Mama’s body-positive Facebook page changed that.

Blue neon lights colored more than two hundred dancers on a stage above thousands of clubbers on the ground floor of Discovery, a multi-level nightclub in Darwin, Australia. Krystal Miller used to frequent—and win—Tits-Out-Tuesday flashing contests here. But on this particular night, a Friday, Miller was dancing with friends to celebrate her 24th birthday.

She remembers how she felt as she got ready with her girlfriends, listening to music and drinking wine. “I always loved my curves,” Miller said. That night, she wore a form-fitting, low-cut dress. “I felt beautiful and sexy even though I had just been dumped.” 

Miller’s ex-boyfriend hadn’t liked that she had an ileostomy bag, a waste-collecting bag set in an abdominal opening connected to the bowels. She had it placed two years earlier because a Crohn’s disease diagnosis meant that part of her small and large intestines and anus had to be surgically removed. So even though she felt beautiful in her dress, she was ashamed about what was underneath. She remembers “feeling pathetic” on the inside. 

That night at the club, Miller met who she thought was the hottest guy there. He wasn’t the type she would usually go for—a “ripped pretty boy [who] could’ve been a model”—but her friends were envious and she was having fun. His name was Caleb. After locking eyes with Miller, he asked his friend to convince her to talk with him at the bar. Conversation evolved to dirty dancing—“I knew what he was packing,” Miller said. 

At the end of the night, Caleb asked to take her home. She automatically replied, “No,” nervous to explain why. “Look, I have a bag,” she eventually told him. “I had bowel surgery. I can’t.”

Miller calls Crohn’s disease an invisible illness, a condition whose burdens are almost entirely internal. It is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract. But with symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and weight loss due to malabsorption, the disease also affects quality of life. Coping with body-altering surgeries and associated illnesses, like depression, takes a toll on self-confidence and personal relationships. 

I know this because I have lived with the same disease for six years and have experienced the invisible struggle Miller describes: I have attended birthday parties with pulsating pain in my abdomen and a smile on my face; I have cordially taken unassuming compliments about my weight loss, knowing inside that I was only absorbing a third of the nutrients from my food; and, like Miller, I have danced on a club stage while feeling broken on the inside, the intestinal suture from a surgery throbbing at my insides, though I never showed others how sick I felt. Miller considers herself an exceptional actress, and so do I. People with hidden illnesses are some of the strongest people, Miller told me when I met her over Skype in May. We are conditioned to keep pain to ourselves, showing only what we want others to see.

At 26, with one abdominal surgery—and many lovers—behind me, I had also experienced toxic, unsupportive relationships that made me question my worth to another person. The disease tested my partners’ emotional fortitude, as well as my own. I learned to create better boundaries and navigate pain, and as I grew through my journey, outer strength morphed into inner strength. Still, I often experienced the trauma alone—until I discovered Miller’s body-positive Facebook page, Bag Lady Mama. I saw my story reflected there. 

Miller posts semi-nude photos of herself to broaden awareness about invisible illnesses and to empower women struggling with the resulting emotional tolls, particularly those arising from negative self-image. She launched the page in January and now has more than 26,000 followers. 
Krystal is wearing underwear from the Jasmine Stacey Collection
designed for people with ostomies.
Photo by Kristy Lee Photography for her "Be Inspired Project."

Almost 10 years post-surgery, Miller says she experiences normal, everyday insecurities, but she is confident in her body—and unapologetic about it. She also shares anecdotes about life with a bag—the time she gave birth to her son or the time that she ate too much chocolate and accidentally pulled out her bag too soon. Underwear-clad and wickedly funny, Miller chronicles her continuing evolution around body image, romantic relationships, and pain—bag, tattoos, and belly out. “I love to shock people,” she laughs.

No matter how silly or arresting, her posts speak to common struggles most women face in the search for self-acceptance. She wants others with Crohn’s disease to feel OK about the possibility of life with a bag, especially women, who often experience dread. In the end, having a bag is not the worst thing that can happen.

Miller’s journey toward body confidence didn’t exactly happen overnight, but the experience that sparked it did.
Krystal Miller, the "Bag Lady Mama."
Photo by Kristy Lee Photography for her "Be Inspired Project."

Remember Caleb? Miller has never forgotten the response she heard when she revealed she had a bag: “I already know,” he said. “We’ve been dancing all night. I put two and two together.”

Miller felt shocked. “I didn’t realize he knew what I was packing too!” she told me.

Caleb persisted: “So, wanna come home?” And Miller finally said, “Let’s go!”

It was the last thing she expected to happen. She never thought of herself as someone who’d have a one-night stand, but then she never thought she’d meet a stranger who would accept her with all of her “medical drama,” she said.

I knew what she meant. Last year, fresh on the heels of my own breakup, I took a two-day trip to Chicago for a job interview. At a cafe on my first day, I was invited out by my lunch server, Charles. Going home with him that night—after some hesitation—was transformative in ways I never expected. I felt more understood by a stranger than some of my closest friends and family. Charles, a stranger, had the luxury of meeting me without all the gunk and drama. He sensed my strength and vulnerability in the first moments he saw me—he explained that to me as many times as I brushed him off. I remember we had locked eyes many times, but my mask was still on. He finally settled to say, “You don't know how beautiful you are.”

Miller remembers feeling shy and nervous that night as she undressed, but Caleb kept pushing her hand away so that she couldn’t cover herself or the bag. “He even kissed my tummy, which I thought was sweet,” she said.

While some people remember their first kiss on the lips, Miller and I remember our first kisses on our tummies—scars bare.

As I left Chicago after my night with Charles, I didn’t realize that, separated by years and miles, another woman who shared my disease would also give voice to my story. It was only after I had talked to her that I was ready to fully accept the affection Charles had shown me that night.

She described to me the poiesis of human relationships this way: “All of our experiences define who we are. Every individual touches another person. We mold each other. [That night] had a tremendous impact. It shaped me. I took that and made it mine.”


Jasleena Grewal wrote this article for YES! Magazine. Jasleena is an online reporting intern. Follow her on Twitter @JasleenaGrewal.  
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