"Online retailers like iTunes and Amazon offer thousands of apps promising all kinds of real-time information about your body—they can measure blood pressure, take your pulse, track your menstrual cycle, and tell you how well your lungs are working. Mobile health is one of the fastest-growing app categories: According to the consulting firm research2guidance, there are 100,000 mobile health apps on the market, double the number available two and a half years ago. The industry is worth some $4 billion today, and analysts predict that it will reach $26.5 billion by 2017. It's not hard to understand why these apps have taken off. For one, doctors are busier than ever; the Health Resources and Services Administration reports a shortfall of 8,200 primary-care physicians. Yet replacing clinic visits with smartphones can be a risky move. A few years ago, for example, Nathan Cortez, a law professor specializing in health care regulation, noticed an app that claimed to treat seasonal affective disorder: Patients who felt depressed in winter months could simply gaze into their phones, which supposedly emitted mood-lifting light. "The phones couldn't possibly give off enough light to make a difference for people with this disorder," Cortez told me. "Here was this burgeoning industry creating all of these apps that could be really useful—or really dangerous." Indeed, a number of recent studies have identified medical apps that failed to measure up." (Photo Credit: Alexei Vella)
"Not all officers of the law are bad. Some are actually so good that they are worthy of our praise, condolences, and protection. But on a normal day, what do most police officers in the United States think about the US constitution? That supreme body of law that they swore to uphold from day one. Do they really care about it so much if they are willing to abide by commands to set up unconstitutional roadblocks, search and seize property without a warrant, or enforce “free speech zones” at events and rallies? When you really think about it, here is what most police officers in the United States truly think about the US constitution…"
"According to the American Civil Liberties Union, although the US is home to only 5 percent of the world’s population, it boasts 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. About one in 100 American adults are behind bars, the Economist reports. If those stats aren’t enough to shock you, consider that the state of New Hampshire alone has about the same number of prisoners as the entire country of Israel. Now that’s shocking, right? Of course, the overflow of prisoners in the US causes all sorts of problems. For starters, it’s expensive to incarcerate people. Those pushing for prison reform have been steadily raising their voices. Here is a visual aid that helps elucidate why. The map below compares prisoner populations in individual US states with prisoner populations from different countries around the world."
"Ten years of oversight of the Department of Homeland Security finds that the Department still has a lot of work to do to strengthen our nation’s security,” Coburn explained. “Congress needs to review the Department’s mission and programs and refocus DHS on national priorities where DHS has a lead responsibility.” Homeland Security spent $50 billion over the past 11 years on counterterrorism programs, but the Department cannot demonstrate if the nation is more secure as a result. Coburn also found that 700 miles of the nation’s southern border remain unsecured. The DHS is not effectively administering or enforcing the nation’s immigration laws, while only 3 in 100 illegal immigrants will ever face deportation. The report also found that the DHS spends more than $700 million annually to lead the federal government’s efforts on cybersecurity, but struggles to protect itself, federal and civilian networks from the most serious cyberattacks. The Department has spent $170 billion for natural disasters since 2002 because of an increased federal role in which the costs of small storms are declared “major disasters.” Even with the grim findings, Coburn expressed optimism about the Department’s future if Congress acts swiftly to address the problems in the report."
"Forget scouring the January sales for clothes and electrical goods and cheap Christmas wrapping paper for next year – the thing to be stocking up on this month is olive oil. A dreadful 12 months for olives in several major producing countries has led to 2014 being labelled the “black year” for the industry and to the doubling of the bulk cost of olive oil in some areas. Unusual weather and a proliferation of insects and bacterial blight have devastated the harvest in several countries. Analysts have been predicting a bad year for olive oil since the summer, after it became clear that hot late spring weather in Spain – the world’s largest producer of olives – was going to have a key impact on autumn harvests. Other producers have been coming in with equally poor results, adding to the woes of the industry Europe-wide. Farmers in Italy have suffered so badly from pests and adverse weather that many are reporting harvests 40% to 50% down on 2013. Unusually large flocks of starlings have been reported as further destroying the fruits in parts of southern Italy, leading to calls for a cull."
"The United Nations committee tasked with combating racial discrimination today opened its latest round of work in Geneva with a focus on stopping the spread of racist hate speech on the Internet and social media networks, as well as the need to use education to prevent racism and xenophobia. “Where does the right of expression, which we all want to respect, stop and the need to sanction and prevent hate speech begin? What is the point in time when one right has to recognize that it cannot be exercised if it implies the violation of another one,” UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri said in her address to the opening of the 83rd session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). As the world becomes more inter-connected, incidents in numerous countries have drawn attention to the issue of racist hate speech, which today is more easily spread across national borders, she added. Ms. Pansieri urged the Committee to include in its deliberations the Rabat Plan of Action, adopted by independent UN experts at a meeting in Morocco in October 2012, on the prohibition of advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence."
"The story of the Social Security Act of 1935 is an enjoyable one to tell — and hopefully to read, despite all the details — because it is so counterintuitive to what all of us believe. Who’d have thought that leaders from some of the biggest corporations of the 1930s — companies such as Standard Oil of New Jersey (now known as ExxonMobil) and General Electric — were strong supporters of the Social Security Act? Or guessed that several of the key experts who worked on the details of the act were employed by the richest person in the United States at the time, John D. Rockefeller, Jr.? Furthermore, most Americans assume that big business has always opposed Social Security. They assume this because the most outspoken businessmen of the time, the leaders in the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, railed against it when it was considered by Congress, and have been hostile toward it ever since. Furthermore, the most ultra of the ultraconservatives, often men with very large fortunes, have done everything they can to undermine the act since it first passed — and they’re still at it in 2013, their hopes renewed by the Tea Party advocates in Congress (even though most Tea Party supporters outside of Congress want to maintain Social Security). The story is also an enjoyable one to write about because the kind of moderate conservatives that helped create the Social Security Act (mostly I will call them “corporate moderates”) have tried to cut it back since the 1980s — and they have partially succeeded. But they won’t be satisfied until it is but a ghost of the robust program it became during the early 1970s with the support of Republican President Richard M. Nixon and many other Republicans of that era, a breed of Republican now known sneeringly by far-right Republicans as mere “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only). So there’s also a political angle to the conventional wisdom of the twenty-first century."
"It is amazing that so many citizens are eager to espouse the virtues of democracy. Multitudes of Americans love their government, no matter what it does or where it goes – the State is their mistress. Trusting in the institutions of the federal government is an article of faith, democracy protects the public, voting selects the representatives. Are you a ‘true believer’ in the system that serves the populace? Or are you one of those awful cynics that knock the good intentions of the inner circle that brings freedom and justice to the little folks? Surely, you count yourself among the chorus of the cheering crowd! Now you have your fondest dream – coming soon – to safeguard the protector of the people. It’s focus is on preserving Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court and comes from “The Continuity of Government Commission”."
"Will 2015 be a year of financial crashes, economic chaos and the start of the next great worldwide depression? Over the past couple of years, we have all watched as global financial bubbles have gotten larger and larger. Despite predictions that they could burst at any time, they have just continued to expand. But just like we witnessed in 2001 and 2008, all financial bubbles come to an end at some point, and when they do implode the pain can be extreme. Personally, I am entirely convinced that the financial markets are more primed for a financial collapse now than they have been at any other time since the last crisis happened nearly seven years ago. And I am certainly not alone. At this point, the warning cries have become a deafening roar as a whole host of prominent voices have stepped forward to sound the alarm. The following are 11 predictions of economic disaster in 2015 from top experts all over the globe…"
"Even among die-hard conspiracy theorists, very few issues are more divisive than chemtrails, and for very good reason. It’s such a blatant, in-your-face attack on the American public, and would likely require large numbers low ranking logistics personnel to pull off. This sort of thing couldn’t transpire without a massive collusion between both civilian and military fields, and a strict protocol of compartmentalization. So for most people, a conspiracy of this scale seems improbable. With so many people required to pull it off, it seems likely that if chemtrails are real, then somebody would have blown the whistle by now. Why hasn’t anybody on the inside exposed this despicable practice? The truth is that insiders have exposed chemtrails, and often at a great risk to their own personal safety. One such person is Air Force veteran Kristen Meghan, who went from denier, to full-blown believer after her experiences in the US military. In this interview with Luke Rudkowski, she explains how her job in the Air Force gave her a first hand look at the evidence for chemtrails, the dangers faced by whistleblowers, and why the government is doing this."
"According to Army Times, our Army is now concentrating on fighting in ‘megacities’ of 20 million or more people against “criminal and extremist groups” who can “influence the lives of the population while undermining the authority of the state.” “It is inevitable that at some point the United States Army will be asked to operate in a megacity and currently the Army is ill-prepared to do so,” reported Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno’s Strategic Studies Group. The military isn’t allowed to serve as police on American soil, but once the jihadists Obama has been bringing into the U.S. via our open border commits serious acts of terror, expect that to be thrown out the window as America has already been declared a ‘battlefield’ per S.1867, or the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)."
"The truth is that the U.S. economic and social systems (subsidies, entitlements, etc.) are heading for another crash, and bigger than the one we had in 2008. We have all the characteristics of a failing empire; falling domestic production, big and increasing debt (government and personal), desperate politicians seeking more money and control (search for ‘FATCA’), restricting rights of citizens, and endless wars to gain and retain powers. For details, see my essays, “The Phases of an Empire” and, “The Cost of Building and Operating Empire (USA).” To avoid (or minimize) the next crash, we must; 1) End wars for empire (fight only for homeland defense), 2) Reduce government and personal debt, 3) Convert to gold as money, and 4) Comply with the Constitution."
"Though it’s not as deadly as the West African Ebola virus, the Avian Influenza A (H5N1) still has a mortality rate of 60% for those who contract it. That makes it a serious disease with deadly implications and it has now made its way to North America for the first time ever according to the CDC. The virus, a mutation of which was created by scientists in a lab, is believed to have the potential to kill up to half the world’s population should it ever start to spread at a more rapid rate."
(Sgt Trainer: Here comes more "fear porn"!)
"On Monday, the price of oil fell below $50 for the first time since April 2009, and the Dow dropped 331 points. Meanwhile, the stock market declines over in Europe were even larger on a percentage basis, and the euro sank to a fresh nine year low on concerns that the anti-austerity Syriza party will be victorious in the upcoming election in Greece. These are precisely the kinds of things that we would expect to see happen if a global financial crash was coming in 2015. Just prior to the financial crisis of 2008, the price of oil collapsed, prices for industrial commodities got crushed and the U.S. dollar soared relative to other currencies. All of those things are happening again. And yet somehow many analysts are still convinced that things will be different this time. And I agree that things will indeed be “different” this time. When this crisis fully erupts, it will make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic. Another thing that usually happens when financial markets begin to unravel is that they get really choppy. There are big ups and big downs, and that is exactly what we have witnessed since October. So don’t expect the markets just to go in one direction. In fact, it would not be a surprise if the Dow went up by 300 or 400 points tomorrow. During the initial stages of a financial crash, there are always certain days when the markets absolutely soar."