Edition III - 2021 

Making Water in the Sky 

In 1946, a researcher at General Electric, Vincent Schaefer, created a moisture cloud in a box. See Scientific American

Throughout World War II, Schaefer had been exploring ways to keep aircraft from icing over as they flew through icy altitudes. To better understand how ice crystals form inside of clouds, Schaefer built a box into which he placed a block of dry ice (solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2)). He then watched as “glistening ice crystals instantly formed in the air” above the block. 

That chance discovery – see the article cited above for details – kicked off a wave of experimentation into “cloud seeding”. Programs were launched to see if injecting dry ice into clouds could produce precipitation. 

For decades, governments have funded programs to seed the clouds – this is currently being done in “at least eight states across the western U.S. and dozens of countries around the world” – but until recently scientists have lacked the technology required to quantify its effects. In the U.S., the greatest successes have come in the production of snowfall, but that has not been accomplished in other than small areas. 

As the Scientific American article points out, weather is chaos, its characteristics changing as it moves through micro climates – my description, not theirs. Here is how they put it: “To prove that cloud seeding has a real effect, scientists have to demonstrate that whatever outcome it produces would not have happened without it. That requires setting up an experiment with at least two tests—one with cloud seeding and one without it—in the same location and under identical weather conditions. 

“Because the weather changes so quickly, that’s really difficult to do. And even when it’s possible, such studies require advanced monitoring technology, including high-tech radar.” 

There is the win: we now have that monitoring technology. 

In fact, we have monitoring technology and more.

Researchers looking for ways to bring rain to the arid United Arab Emirates (UAE) have used a technology to shock air particles, bringing the elements together to produce precipitation. Did it work? Here is how Wired Magazine described the results: “…in the last few months of 2019, the country contended with torrential downpours that have seen people wading through streets, workers pumping water from a flooded residential area, and rainwater flowing down escalators at the world-famous Dubai Mall.” 

Wired Magazine wondered if researchers had gone too far, even questioning if messing with nature might be dangerous. 

In California, where we are rapidly running out of water and fighting the biggest fires in modern history, people are wondering if there isn’t something the cloud seeders could do to save us. After all, we’ve been cloud seeding for decades, so why the drought in the western states? 

Help may be on the way, riding that wave of technology that is changing everything, sometimes for the better, sometimes in ways we may not be able to predict. 


Crisis of Confidence 

Uncle Joe's bad stretch

Couldn't you feel the nervousness developing in the U.S. over the past few weeks. President Joe Biden, who has somewhat successfully returned decorum to the office in the wake of the circus that was the Trump Administration, has seemed oddly insensitive and out of touch.

Biden had already thrown in the towel on talking sense with anti-vaxers, including governors of some states, who have turned political strategy into a resistance that has kept the Covid-19 pandemic "alive", so to speak. It has become a "pandemic of the unvaccinated", per the Biden administration's messaging, and the present explosion in hospitalization is largely in politically "red" states where resistance to vaccination has been strongest.

While the statistics clearly argue in the favor of vaccines, the Biden administration has been unable to cajole the unvaccinated into taking the shot. It has not helped that the public is saturated with conflicting information, not only from fringe sources, but from the Center for Disease Control and other maintstream health organizations. 

The U.S. is returning to pandemic levels not seen since the height of the pandemic, and in the midst of this surge we have witnessed the debacle of Afghanistan. Regarding the U.S. pullout, and the events on the ground, Biden has seemed to say things in contradiction with what people are seeing reported daily on maintstream media.

Reuters reports that Biden's approval rating has dropped to 46%  seven months into his administration. That number isn't terrible, but during his brief honeymoon post-inauguration period he was at 53% . And he was well ahead of the Trump approval rating at a similar time in his presidency (38% after 6 months in office).

Americans were breathing a sigh of relief, but the debacle on the southern border, the Afganistan pullout and poorly executed evacuations, and the failure to bring Americans together to fight Covid-19 is alarming, especially to Democrats who haven't seen much in Vice President Kamala Harris to give anybody hope.

About Negotiating with Taliban over Afghanistan 

Joe Biden was always against U.S. invovlement in Afghanistan beyond the initial mission, which was to hunt down and kill Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He isn't a nation builder, so he campaigned for President last year on the promise of ending U.S. military involvement in that distant land.

Biden came into office and accepted a deal his predecessor made. It was negotiated in Doha, Qatar, between the Trump Administration and the Taliban. The Afghanistan government, which had been put into power by America, was not at the negotiating table.

One might have thought Biden's team would have thrown that negotiation out the window and renegotiated with all parties in the room. For some reason, that wasn't done. It seems like that dangerous first step you always get warned about, just before you fall down the stairs, which is exactly what it feels like Biden has done with the Afghanistan withdrawal. 

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Return to Office

Just say no to RTO?

The worst fears of some corporate leaders and likely all commercial real estate professionals continue to lurk as something to be dealt with as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic allows. The plans to return to the office in September have been delayed. Companies are now aiming for January 2022.

A recent LinkedIn survey of U.S. workers indicates that workers are reluctant to return to their previous workplaces, with reasons varying.  

The survery indicated that 87% of employees say workplace health safety protocols are important to them, wanting adherence to  CDC guidelines. That varies by region, with workers in San Francisco and New York City being particularly reluctant to trust return to work environments. Only 19% of San Francisco's hi-tech heavy workforce trusts that they'll be safe in the office.

Contractors have been at the forefront of remote work, even before the pandemic, and predictably more than a third plan to never return to an office.

Probably most profound has been the realization in office workers that they can successfully work from home, and they find noticeable improvements in their quality of life. For all the talk about the psychological toll isolation has taken on people, 39% report to LinkedIn that getting rid of the commute has made the worklife a much sweeter deal.                       

In that, they report that the pandemic has had a positive effect on their mental health, because they no longer deal with the anxiety and pressure of a daily commute. 

The concept of work/life balance has become a powerful new part of the employment equation, an odd gift of the global pandemic, at least in the west. In Asia, almost 97% of office workers have returned to the office. It is a population in which mask wearing was a fact of life a long time ago.  

Weird Governance

America's governors go loony

There was a time last year when it appeared that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and California Governor Gavin Newsom were destined to battle it out for the Democrat nomination for the presidential ticket in 2024. And then many weird things happened, and suddenly Florida Governor Ron DeSantis  seemed to be on the ascent as a possible replacement for Donald Trump on the Republican side. And then things continued to happen.

Covid-19 has been impossible for DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott to circumvent with arguments about parental rights and fascism. Both have resisters in government offices around their states who are willing to challenge their political  decisionmaking in court to protect the well-being of their communities.

We have occasionally seen inspiration coming from unlikely places, like Alabama and Louisiana. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey credits the Trump Administration with the successful Operation Warp Speed that  provided the vaccines we have that could end the pandemic, and she urges everyone to be vaccinated. Alabama, unfortunately, is one of those states where getting vaccinated is a tough sell and people are sick.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, on the other hand, has been getting through to the unvaccinated in his state. There vaccination rates have suddenly risen by more than 300% and Louisiana is now one of the southern states out of the the "red" highest level of danger from the virus.

In California, Gavin Newsom is facing a recall based on his handling of the state's response to Covid-19. The pandemic has had a devastating effect, especially on small business owners, and the Republicans have seized on the opportunity to try to force a recall. That is the only way Republicans can gain the governorship of California, is through the backdoor. That's how Arnold Schwarzenegger replaced Gray Davis, which was the last time the state had a Republican governor. 

Newsom torpedoed his image with the type of ill-considered actions that have sunk many of the privileged elite. In Newsom's case, he committed the gaffe of having a soiree at the French Laundry in Yountville, going unmasked in the midst of a lockdown. 

Newsom's threats seem to be coming from right-wing radio talk show host Larry Elder ("The Sage of South Central"), and      San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. 

The challenge was expected to come from outsider business man John Cox. He was campaigning as "the nicest, smartest guy" in the race, and he has been touring the state with a grizzly bear, usually kept behind an electric fence. Cox has fallen from favor with the Republican leadership. His initial campaign line was too silly even for a business outsider to politics who has already lost to Newsom once for the Governor's office. He has dropped the campaign motto and kept the bear.

And then in New York there is Andrew Cuomo, who is paying the price for being Italian during a time that is no longer the 1950s. He seemed like a probable successor to the quiet and reasonable Joe Biden, the next adult the Democrats would put into the room (as Kamala Harris falters). But you can never underestimate the ability of the elite to trip over their own hubris and tone deafness, so Cuomo is gone, the odd victim of our strange time where the #metoo pheonomena runs headlong into the Trump alternative reality.  


Tic Tac and Disclosure 

Showtime and Netflix both have shows on what we in the know now call Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon (UAP). In the "in the know" part is a joke because the rebranding of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) seems to make sense only to those uncomfortable with associating themselves with flying saucers (old school). It seems like maybe "aerial phenomenon" and "flying objects" are a lot the same.

UPDATE: Upon second and third viewing, the RCJ wonders if J.J. Abrams, at the wheel for "UFO" on Showtime, isn't part of the same information campaign apparent in "Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified" on Netflix. 

The latter is apparently influenced by the work of Chris Mellon and Luis Elizondo, the former intelligence agency operatives who until late in 2020 were involved with Blink 182 rocker Tom DeLonge's "To the Stars Academy of Arts & Sciences".  As it turns out, Mellon, who leaked the Navy videos to the New York Times and revealed the AATIP program, has also been behind other UFO information vehicles. Mellon worked with UFO reporters James Fox and Leslie Kean on another TV series, "Unidentified: Inside America's UFO Investigation" on the History Channel.

Mellon is the epitome of the Deep State and the "Illuminati" that conspiracy folks are obsessed with, the progeny of one of America's wealthiest, most storied families. He was born to work behind the curtain in the intelligence and defense communities, and one wonders what his agenda must be regarding his UAP revelations. His and Elizondo's departure from DeLonge's enterprise may signal something that we got loud and clear with J.J. Abrams vehicle: that is, confusion, possibly purposeful.  

Abram's four-part episode gives us equal parts of both sides of the UFO story, one accepting the accounts of experiencers, the other the explanations of psychiatrists and intelligence professionals suggesting that these people are just deeply troubled and confused.

Over on Netflix,  "Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified" has undermined its own authority with the bizarre computer generated characters they have created to depict what otherwise are fascinating accounts. As weird as the Netflix production is, folks interested in the subject of UFOs will find it much more satisfying than the mystifying Abrams vehicle on Showtime.  

With the New York Times coverage of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), interest in odd things we see in the sky (and in oceans) has been reframed, slightly.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 40% of those surveyed believe Earth is being visited by visitors from other planets. That is up by 6% since the last survey.

Pew Research indicates that 65% of Americans believe that life exists on other planets. There, however, there is an interesting divide between Protestants and Catholics. 

Only 51% of U.S Protestants believe that there is life on other planets, while 67% of Catholics believe as much. That may be the effect of recent statements by Pope Francis on his willingness to accept extraterrestrial entities into the church.

Not surprisingly, 85% of those respondents identifying as athiest or agnostic believe there is extraterrestrial life.

While the acceptance of extraterrestrial life gains momentum, there is an accompanying campaign to suggest that those tic tac objects reported by Cmdr. David Frazer and others aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz in 2005 are advanced technology unknown to but a few in the U.S. military chain of command.

This dual track of information release has typified the UFO phenomenon. It is the kind of thing you would expect to happen if the government was trying to hide something.

It could be that we have a new generation of aerial technology that exploits previously untameable laws of physics. In that case, the future is so bright we'll have to wear shades.

Or, it could be that what is being hidden is our government and military vulnerability in the face of visitors employing a physics that we are yet to comprehend.

Of course, it might also be that third thing, something tied to religious beliefs.

In 2205, the issue became news when it was learned that "evangelical cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy were being urged to proselytize their fellows, warning them they would burn in hell without Jesus. Other allegations included prayers during mandatory meetings, public shaming, and leaders teaching witness classes to cadets. At one point, 41 percent of non-Christian Air Force cadets reported unwanted proselytizing. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation discovered a video in 2006 used to promote Christian groups that was filmed inside the Pentagon and featured uniformed generals."

Is it any wonder that a significant percentage of U.S. military leadership doesn't believe those things violating our airspace are anything other than demons. 

In their world, demons are a part of God's plan, the one that leads to a big war. 


Pew Research



Going Electric

How will I get my charge up? 

Automobile companies around the world have given in to the electric car revolution. Some would argue they are all one hundred years behind the curve, but still. They have come to peace with the idea that their products aren't going to be cars in the future - not in the old school sense - but rather will be data collectors, digital devices on wheels, computers with navigational skills, and places where you can nap on the way to work, assuming any electric car owners ever return to an office again.

The revolution is on but how well is it going to get along with the environmental movement? That photo above is of a lithium mine. Running the world on batteries is going to require a great deal of that type of thing. Is that going to be plausible?

Electricity seems clean from a user perspective. It puts a blush in the cheeks of Prius and other hybrid drivers, who feel pretty good about the level of responsibility they have expressed for the environment.

Unfortunately, on the mining end of electrical power generation things are really messy, filthy, and polluting. Also resource consuming.

Most of the electrical energy generated today in the U.S. is done using natural gas, coal, and nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is presently produced through a fission process using uranium that produces dangerous radioactive wastes that must be managed into the far distant future.

Mining for coal and natural gas is extraordinarily energy-intensive work, reliant largely on carbon producing petroleum to run the required machinery. Petroleum must be extracted from the earth, as do the materials required to build the machinery to do all those things. We have not yet found that free energy alternative that would save our environment from ongoing damage.

So far, so-called alternative energy sources, like tidal, solar and wind power, have yet to generate enough power (especially versus costs) to replace any significant part of our electrical power needs.

The best answer anyone has come up with is the yet-to-be harnassed fusion power, which eliminates the radioactive waste issue and is phenomenally efficient.

We aren't there with fusion power yet. There may be other futuristic energy alternatives in our future. Right now we are moving to electric vehicles, which will hasten our need to figure out how to improve battery performance to the point where we can feel the advantages of a future age.

Regeneron Me!

What's with the elite treat?

When Donald Trump was still in office denying the out-of-control Covid-19 pandemic, while also taking credit for rushing delivery of vaccines to battle that same virus, he fell ill with Covid-19 and was transported to hospital for treatment.

There he made a remarkable recovery, which he credited to the monoclonal antibodies treatment that he received. Trump received a monoclonal antibody cocktail, REGN-COV2, representing the highest dose of the drug being tested in late-stage clinical trials. That's according to Politico. The name of the pharmaceutical firm Regeneron started coming up in the media. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved emergency use of this treatment to Regeneron and Eli Lilly pharmaceutical.  

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses.

The New York Times has reported that treatments can be given to anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19, is at high risk of developing a severe form of the disease, and is within 10 days of developing symptoms. This group includes people who are at least 65 and those who are obese or who have medical conditions like diabetes.

Texas Governor Greg Abott is presently receiving this treatment for his Covid-19 case.

The other treatment that has received a great deal of attention from those on the right, who are anti-vaccination and somehow have access to these limited-approval treatments, is the anti-viral remdesivir. That is a nucleotide analogue prodrug originally developed for the treatment of Ebola virus. Remdesivir injection is used to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19 infection) caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus in hospitalized adults and children 12 years of age and older who weigh at least 88 pounds (40 kg). (Reference medlineplus.gov)

The effectiveness of that is discussed in this CNBC interview with an Eli Lilly CEO who protests World Health Organization doubts about the use of remdesivir for COVID-19 patients.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a tremedously lucrative affair for the major pharmceutical companies. 

"The pharmaceutical company Pfizer expects to earn up to US$26 billion (£18 billion) this year from the sale of its COVID-19 vaccine. Profits for the first quarter of 2021 are apparently 44% higher than they were a year ago. Similarly, Moderna expects to make US$18.4 billion (£13 billion), and record its first ever profit this year." - see theconversation.com.



Elon's Robot

Non-humans in Hi-Tech

That cheeky Elon Musk always has a new fascination to surprise the public, and probably his investors. There is the boring machine (a tunneler, not a drag), the flamethrowers, the high-speed rail system, Space-X, and sports car turned deep space junk for no apparent reason.

In fact, a report this week indicated that Elon's internet-service satellites are the most hazardous thing in near Earth orbit, threatening to collide with any of the thousands of other pieces of human produce that clutters our heavenly dome.

This week the Tesla Bot robot was introduced. It will do your grocery shopping, alleviate your requirement to do mundane tasks. 

Are aliens not already among us?

That is probably the most profound statement President Ronald Reagan ever uttered.

Reagan said that in 1987 at a speech at the United Nations. He imagined the way revelation of such would bring our diverse peoples together to confront a shared enemy.

Reagan hadn't had the advantage of reading or watching "The Game of Thrones", so probably was still pluck with optimism for human nature. Or, perhaps he was wise to something else?

Mark Zuckerburg was born in 1984. 

Elon Musk beamed to Earth in 1971. 

Jeff Bezos ("Dr. Evil") showed up in 1964.

Given the changes those three disruptive individuals have brought to planet Earth, a person might argue that any of the three may have been the alien presence who inspired Reagan to issue his plea for unity.  

Reagan is said to have had a UFO experience. Maybe that is when he became wise to the alien presence, here to rule over the humans of planet Earth through our love of online shopping, social media, and mythical hero worship.

Nikola Tesla Came from Venus

There exists today a "cult of Tesla", which has grown up around the genius inventor of alternating current (AC) electricity, Croatian-born scientist/engineer Nikola Tesla.

His late fame has been promoted by the History Channel juggernaut "Ancient Aliens", who have found his eccentric nature to yield a gold mine's worth of wonderful accounts of high stangeness.

It has nearly come to be generally accepted that Tesla invented a death ray, a way to share electricity virtually free of charge, and he built an electric car way back in 1897. More than that, he built an electric car that would do 97 miles per hour, as it once did with Tesla's nephew Peter Savo in the passenger seat.

The only problem with the story is that Tesla did not have such a nephew. His storied, modified Pierce Arrow has never shown up, either.

In fact, a great deal of the Tesla story, as known to modern day viewers of alternative media, seems to have come from interviews done with a fellow named Arthur Matthews. He may have been a lab assistant for Tesla, whose financial fortunes were initially tied to the sponsorship of Thomas Edison.  They had a falling out and Tesla sold many of his patents to George Westinghouse, which may have robbed him of his rightful place in history were it not for the Arthur Matthews interviews.

Matthews may not have been the most credible spokesman for the great inventor, who he claimed came from Venus.

There is great background on all of this at the tesla universe site.  

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