they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.”
Greetings! There has been quite a lot written recently about what is referred to as a “Paradigm Shift”. If you have not heard the phrase it is quite probable you will sometime in the future. The term Paradigm Shift is often coupled with what are thought to be advances in science. Below is a slightly edited explanation of the term. The following is taken from “Take the Leap” which includes quotes from "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", Second Edition, by Thomas S.Kuhn,
“In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution, and fathered, defined and popularized the concept of "paradigm shift" (p.10). Kuhn argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions", and in those revolutions "one conceptual world view is replaced by another".
Think of a Paradigm Shift as a change from one way of thinking to another. It's a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.”
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. Ecclesiastics 3:1 and Daniel 2:21
“For example, agriculture changed early primitive society. The primitive Indians existed for centuries roaming the earth constantly hunting and gathering for seasonal foods and water. However, by 2000 B.C., Middle America was a landscape of very small villages, each surrounded by patchy fields of corn and other vegetables.
Agents of change helped create a paradigm-shift moving scientific theory from the Plolemaic system (the earth at the center of the solar system) to the Copernican system (the sun at the center of the solar system), and moving from Newtonian physics to Relativity and Quantum Physics. Both movements eventually changed the world view. These transformations were gradual as old beliefs were replaced by the new paradigms creating "a new gestalt" (p. 112).
Likewise, the printing press, the making of books and the use of vernacular language inevitable changed the culture of a people and had a direct affect on the scientific revolution. Johann Gutenberg's invention in the 1440's of movable type was an agent of change. With the invention of the printing press, books became readily available, smaller and easier to handle and cheap to purchase. Masses of people acquired direct access to the scriptures. Attitudes began to change as people were relieved from church domination.
Similarly, agents of change are driving a new paradigm shift today. The signs are all around us. For example, the introduction of the personal computer and the internet have impacted both personal and business environments, and is a catalyst for a Paradigm Shift. We are shifting from a mechanistic, manufacturing, industrial society to an organic, service based, information centered society, and increases in technology will continue to impact globally. Change is inevitable. It's the only true constant.
This cannot be said of God or Jesus.
For I am the LORD, I change not. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 3:18
Thank God for His promises.
“Change is difficult. Human beings resist change; however, the process has been set in motion long ago and we will continue to co-create our own experience. Kuhn states that "awareness is prerequisite to all acceptable changes of theory" (p. 67). It all begins in the mind of the person. What we perceive, whether normal or metanormal, conscious or unconscious, are subject to the limitations and distortions produced by our inherited and socially conditional nature. However, we are not restricted by this for we can change. We are moving at an accelerated rate of speed and our state of consciousness is transforming and transcending. Many are awakening as our conscious awareness expands.”
We would not say so much that our “conscious awareness expands”, but as Christians that our “spiritual awareness” expands.
That massive change, a paradigm-shift, is not only coming but is actually happening and has and is becoming apparent to huge swathes of the worlds population.
What is the paradigm-shift that is happening at a faster and faster pace? Well, it means different things to different people.
To the trans-humanist it would seem to mean that the time is very near at hand when “science” will have advanced to such a stage that it is able to bestow upon mankind immortality. “The belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.” Wikipedia
Coupled very closely with the paradigm-shift trans-humanists believe is coming, is the massive change many, especially again in the scientific, called the “singularity”.
“The technological singularity, or simply the singularity, is a hypothetical moment in time when artificial intelligence will have progressed to the point of a greater-than-human intelligence, radically changing civilization, and perhaps human nature. Because the capabilities of such an intelligence may be difficult for a human to comprehend, the technological singularity is often seen as an occurrence (akin to a gravitational singularity) beyond which the future course of human history is unpredictable or even unfathomable.” Wikipedia
Even the soon coming anti-christ is going to seek to make great changes in the world.
He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws. Daniel 7:25
But, we as Christians, are looking forward to our paradigm-shift, when we ourselves will be changed.
If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Job 14:14 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philippians Job 14:14 and 3:21
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
If you have not already received Jesus, do so now, so that you will be ready to shift into your new body when He returns.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him. Revelation 1:7
Near-Death-Experience Science Drives the Paradigm Shift
Maria had never been to Seattle. America was everything she had imagined and more. Although the rain never stopped, that crazy, flying-saucer-looking building epitomized American excess. En la parte superior! However, this visit was only a brief respite from the arduous picking season. Like most other migrant workers, she sent her hard-earned wages home. She came to this country for the work. Flash! …shooting pain, shortness of breath, darkness, sirens, traffic, and blinding overhead lights. A too-skinny nurse said she had a heart attack. She had been admitted to the Harborview Hospital coronary care unit.
While lying in the metal-railed bed, everything seemed white, clean; a bleachy aroma prevailed. Surely she would be up again soon. It came again—like a cannon shot. The pain in her chest exploded her up and out of her body. Really out—she was out of her body. Looking down, she saw the panicked staff rush to her bedside amidst the clamor of squawking alarms. Everything was realer than real…hyper-real, high-definition, holographic, multidimensional immersion. She was floating. As the staff was screaming and equipment was buzzing and beeping, she felt a blissful peace. She rose through the ceiling, through the roof, and looked down on the hospital. Floating, she thought, “Now that is odd.” On a window ledge, she saw a single, tattered, blue tennis shoe sitting on its frayed lace. She wondered, “How did it get way up here on the third floor?” It had a hole in the pinky toe. All of sudden, she shot back into her body and felt an icy hot pain as she looked up and saw the doctor holding the defibrillator paddles.
Kimberly Clark was working as a social worker in Harborview Hospital when an unconscious cardiac arrest patient, Maria, was admitted. She had arrested again in the hospital, flatlining for a minute or two, but was resuscitated within the three-minute window. As part of her customary follow-up, Clark visited her the same day, whereupon Maria related her out-of-body experience (OBE) floating above the hospital. In addition to describing Maria’s perspective looking down on her body and then rising through the building, Clark recorded, “Maria proceeded to describe being further distracted by an object on the third floor ledge on the North end of the building. She ‘thought her way’ up there and found herself ‘eyeball to shoelace’ with a tennis shoe, which she asked me to find for her.”[xi] Anxious to prove that she wasn’t crazy, Maria desperately wanted her social worker to find the shoe.
Incredulous but sympathetic, Clark investigated and with some effort found a shoe that perfectly matched Maria’s description. They were precise details that exclude coincidence, like the fact that the shoe had a hole in the pinky toe facing out from the ledge, and that it was sitting on top of its lace. This marked a paradigm shift for Kim Clark. She would never again doubt the existence of the immaterial soul. She explained, “The only way she could have had such a perspective was if she had been floating right outside and at very close range to the tennis shoe. I retrieved the shoe and brought it back to Maria; it was very concrete evidence for me.”[xii] This is called a veridical near-death experience (NDE), meaning that the experience has objective external evidence confirming it. It really happened, and has stood up well under the scrutiny of peer review.
Philosopher Dr. Gary Habermas not only verified those details, he discovered that Maria had just arrived in Seattle, was unfamiliar with area, and had never before been in that hospital. Also, the shoe could not be seen from the ground, and there were no buildings nearby that provided a vantage point from which it could be seen. Even more astonishing, neither the hole in the toe nor the position of the lace could be seen from the window where Sharp had retrieved it.[xiii] In other words, the perspective that Maria described from her bed could only be realized by floating in the air looking toward the building! As astonishing as this seems, this is one of many such cases with confirming external evidence.
[xi] Kimberly Clark, “Clinical Interventions with Near-Death Experiencers,” in Bruce Greyson and Charles P. Flynn, eds., The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects, Perspectives (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1984) 243.
[xiii] Gary R. Habermas and J. P. Moreland, Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1998) 213.
Excerpted from: THE SUPERNATURAL WORLDVIEW
Examining Paranormal, PSI, and the ApocalypticPosted: April 20, 2014 8:00 am Eastern
by Cris Putnam
PART 7 - What's Missing In The World? Needed! A Supernatural Church
Christopher R. Hill, former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, was US Ambassador to Iraq, South Korea, Macedonia, and Poland, a US special envoy for Kosovo, a negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords, and the chief US negotiator with North Korea from 2005-2009. He is currently Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.
APR 21, 2014
The End of the New World Order
DENVER – Russia’s annexation of Crimea and ongoing intimidation of Ukraine appears to mean the end of a 25-year period whose hallmark was an effort to bring Russia into greater alignment with Euro-Atlantic goals and traditions. Now the question is: What comes next?
As the weeks pass, it is increasingly clear that the challenge is not so much Ukraine – which will continue to lurch from one crisis to the next, as it has since independence 23 years ago – as it is Russia and its regression, recidivism, and revanchism.
Exactly 25 years ago, in the spring of 1989, Poland and other countries of what was then known as the “Eastern Bloc” took the first steps to break free from their forced alliance with the Soviet Union. Indeed, these countries’ relationship with the Soviet Union was no true alliance at all; rather, they were accurately described as “satellites” – states with limited sovereignty, whose main role was to serve Soviet interests.
As subjugating and ahistorical as those relationships were, much of the world accepted the binding of “Eastern Europe” to the Soviet Union as a logical state of affairs, one in keeping with the world order that emerged at the close of WWII. But what seemed like a permanent division of the world into competing spheres of interest suddenly ended in 1989, when the Eastern Bloc left the Soviet orbit, soon followed by the republics of the Soviet Union itself.
Russia emerged not as a renamed Soviet Union, but rather as a state with its own history and symbols, a member of the international state system that had been absent for some time, but had suddenly returned. And the reborn Russia seemed to be dedicated, in its own way, to the same goals as its post-Soviet neighbors: membership in Western institutions, a market economy, and a multi-party parliamentary democracy, albeit with a Russian face.
This new world order held for almost 25 years. Except for Russia’s brief war with Georgia in August 2008 (a conflict generally seen as instigated by reckless Georgian leadership), Russia’s acquiescence and commitment to the “new world order,” however problematic, was one of the great accomplishments of the post-Cold War era. Even Russia’s reluctance to support concerted Western action, such as in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990’s, was based on arguments that could be heard in other European countries. Russian democracy certainly had its share of flaws, but that hardly made it unique among post-communist countries.
Russia’s historical relationship with Ukraine is far more complex and nuanced than many Western pundits suggest. It is difficult to talk about Russian civilization without talking about Ukraine. But, whatever the complexities, Russia’s recent behavior toward its smaller neighbor is not rooted in the legacy of their shared history.
It is rooted in a different legacy – that of a Russian Empire whose habits did not die during the Soviet period. Ukraine did not – and perhaps could not – develop its sovereignty in the way that Poland and others have succeeded in doing since 1989; nonetheless, it is entitled to chart its own future. Russia’s challenge to Ukraine’s status as an independent state is thus a challenge to the entire world, which is why the crisis has risen to the top of the global agenda.
CommentsView/Create comment on this paragraphIn the United States, the media often point out that most Americans would be hard pressed to find Ukraine on a map. They don’t need to. But Americans do need to understand the challenge they are facing from a Russia that no longer seems interested in what the West has been offering for the last 25 years: special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors. All of these seem to be off the table for now.
So what should the West do? An approach based on sanctions that target the Russian economy (and therefore its people) is the preferred alternative of those with the least at stake (US politicians). But sanctions are unlikely to bring about the internal changes that Russia needs, because those changes need to be accomplished by the Russian people.
For the West, the real issue should be shoring up security structures and being prepared for the long haul. NATO has taken an important step in reassuring its eastern members. This is not to say that Russia, having annexed Crimea and intimidated Ukraine, will seek to make similar trouble among former Soviet “allies.” But historical memories die hard.
Poles are well aware that, 75 years ago this year, France and Britain were parties to security agreements that compelled them to declare war on Germany if it invaded Poland. In September 1939, when Germany invaded, both countries dutifully declared war, but neither fired a shot or helped Poland in any tangible way. Poland disappeared from the map of Europe for five years.
The Ukraine crisis is really a Russian crisis. Ukraine – whatever is eventually left of it – will increasingly become a Western country. Russia is showing no sign that it will follow suit.
Instead, Russian President Vladimir Putin seems to be settling in for a long diplomatic winter. The US needs to prepare for it, especially in shoring up partners and allies, and ensuring as best it can that Ukraine is Russia’s last victim, not its first.
Pope Francis Resurrects the Catholic Church
Added by Kimberly Beller on April 20, 2014.
Pope Francis has done more to resurrect the Catholic Church in his short time at the helm than those who came before him have been able to accomplish. Many are praising this Easter Sunday as a day of their own rebirth as they celebrate the rebirth of Jesus Christ. Catholic leadership has done more to damage the image of the church than any war, law, or policy has created. The Catholic faithful have long felt the need to defend the church under images of child abuse and manipulation. It is hard to argue that Priests and pedophilia has become synonymous in the American psyche. It is a sad fact knowing that the mass majority of Catholic figures have done so much good all over the world. However, none have been able to rebuild the trust of the people like Pope Francis, though some have tried unsuccessfully.
Breaking with traditions that have taken over the Vatican for centuries is exactly what the doctor ordered. Shrugging off the status quo, Francis has humanized the Papal image from one of opulence to one of the people. Calling out against close-minded ideas that have long been interpreted by religious figures, Pope Francis has reconnected separated Catholics with spirituality. In a time that communities have felt nothing less than divisiveness, people the world over are connecting with the words of the new Pope. Christians everywhere are feeling more in touch with the Lord this Easter because of Francis’ leadership. The Pope has washed the feet of the homeless, cast away the luxuries of the Vatican, and stripped the church of the over indulgent. He has delved into the most divisive issues world-wide and broken barriers that have separated the faithful. He represents the people on their level; a level that everyone in every realm can connect with.
Social issues have always separated those raised to believe any sort of liberal attitude is strictly forbidden. Pope Francis has expressed alternate views that have never been part of the church before; one that concedes social causes offer an opportunity to open one’s mind. The theory that Jesus was the ultimate liberal ignites a new passion for followers. Many leave religion because they don’t feel they can live up to the strict standards that religious figures have always insisted upon to their congregation. Priests, nuns, ministers, and religious figures have held followers to the same strict standards they have purported to follow. That is simply not possible in an ever-changing world with people who lead very different lives. Facing difficulties that secluded individuals like Priests and Nuns have never faced tend to lead people on a path of rethinking religious teachings. Those that never faced difficult daily commutes, painful marriages, raising children, and life in a war zone build walls with their holier-than-thou mentality. More often people in society feel the challenge of evil in everyday lives that religious figures simply cannot understand; yet these same figures critique and criticize individuals for allowing bad thoughts to seep in. Pope Francis has freed the hearts and minds of the faithful from the guilt and pain of life; single handily resurrecting the Catholic Church.
On one of the holiest weeks for Christians, churches are over-flowing with the faithful. People are feeling closer to their spirituality because they now recognize a connection with the holy Pontiff and in turn a connection with God. The introduction of Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the world has given people hope. Bergoglio has brought honor on to the Argentine people and peace to the religious. Bergoglio is simply a man, a man who has honored his name and repaired 500 years of damage in a single act of taking the name of Pope Francis and accepting his higher calling. Today as the world celebrates the resurrection of Jesus it can also celebrate the resurrection of itself. The world is far from living up to the standards that Jesus spoke of, but is at the cusp of a rebuilding. A rebuilding of families, a rebuilding of souls, and a rebuilding of minds. Many may not formally rejoin the church, but they will walk a path that will lead to their own salvation. Francis has not only resurrected the Catholic Church, but he’s also resurrected the people. God Bless Pope Francis and may he live long and prosper.
Opinion by Kimberly Beller
Sources: Fox News CNN Huffington Post
Costa Rican a celebrity after certified miracle
AP Photo: Enrique Martinez, File
Floribeth Mora stands by her shrine to Pope John Paul II inside the entrance to her home in La Union de Cartago, Costa Rica, July 5, 2013. Mora, her doctors and the Catholic Church say her aneurysm disappeared in May of 2011 in a miracle that cleared the way for the late pope to be declared a saint.
TRES RIOS, Costa Rica (AP) — On a warm spring day, Floribeth Mora was in her bed waiting to die from a seemingly inoperable brain aneurysm when her gaze fell upon a photograph of Pope John Paul II in a newspaper.
"Stand up," Mora recalls the image of the pope saying to her. "Don't be afraid."
Mora, her doctors and the Catholic Church say her aneurysm disappeared that day in a miracle that cleared the way for the late pope to be declared a saint on April 27 in a ceremony at the Vatican where Mora will be a guest of honor.
For Mora, the church-certified miracle was only the start of her metamorphosis from an ill and desperate woman into an adored symbol of faith for thousands of Costa Ricans and Catholics around the world.
Mora, 50, has been greeting a stream of local and international visitors in her modest home in a middle-class neighborhood outside the Costa Rican capital, and accepts invitations to as many as four Masses a day. The faithful have given her so many letters to deliver to current pontiff Pope Francis that she has had to buy an extra suitcase.
Mora has suspended her late-in-life law studies and much of her work for her family security business to dedicate herself full-time to her role as a symbol of faith for many in Costa Rica.
"With all of this going on I appreciate having my own business, because if I had a boss, they would have already fired me for missing so much work," she joked.
She says she ignores skeptics who doubt she was really healed.
"Everyone can think what they want," she told The Associated Press during a visit to her home. "What I know is that I am healthy."
Mora was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm and sent home to rest and take pain medication in April 2011 after doctors said the problem was inoperable. Mora, who thought she was simply returning home to await death, looked at the image of John Paul on May 1, the day of John Paul's beatification six years after his death.
Then, she says, it spoke to her.
She surprised her family by walking around, and, after her doctors declared her healed, word spread quickly to the local church, and from there to the Vatican.
Today, Mora says speaking about her experience has become her calling.
"I've got so much to do that I'm going to dedicate myself above all to telling the world the story of God's greatness and what it's done for me," she said.
She says people sometimes ask whether the experience was somehow imagined, or the result of mental illness.
"I have no reason to doubt what I am. I am healthy and that's the most important thing," said Mora, the daughter of a shoemaker and a seamstress, born in a tough neighborhood south of San Jose.
Grandchildren run through the narrow halls of the home she shares with her husband, a retired police officer. Images of John Paul, the infant Jesus and the Virgin Mary look down from the walls of virtually every room.
The back garden smells of the oregano and rosemary she grows for cooking, and is shared by a pair of roosters, three rabbits and some ducks. Her 15-year-old son, the youngest of three, tells her off occasionally for attending so many Masses.
"I have to be there," she said.
Mora is often overwhelmed by the petitions for prayer the faithful ask her to take to Francis.
"I have to buy a special suitcase for those letters, because some of them are big packages," she said. Mora said she is filled with excitement for meeting the pope, whom she admires for his humility and the changes he's made in the church.
While she looks tired, she says she feels great, and none of the symptoms that she felt brought her to the brink of death three years ago have returned. She has no doubt that she owes her life to John Paul."It's important for them to name him a saint, but for me he's already a saint," she said. "I never imagined I would become a part of all of this."
China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years
The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than America
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 Photo: ALAMY
By Tom Phillips, Liushi, Zhejiang province
2:00PM BST 19 Apr 2014
It is said to be China's biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the Cross.
The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a "miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church".
The £8 million building is also one of the most visible symbols of Communist China's breakneck conversion as it evolves into one of the largest Christian congregations on earth.
"It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It gives us great confidence," beamed Jin Hongxin, a 40-year-old visitor who was admiring the golden cross above Liushi's altar in the lead up to Holy Week.
"If everyone in China believed in Jesus then we would have no more need for police stations. There would be no more bad people and therefore no more crime," she added.
Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
"By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.
"It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change."
China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.
By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.
"Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this," Prof Yang said. "It's ironic – they didn't. They actually failed completely."
Like many Chinese churches, the church in the town of Liushi, 200 miles south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, has had a turbulent history.
It was founded in 1886 after William Edward Soothill, a Yorkshire-born missionary and future Oxford University professor, began evangelising local communities.
But by the late 1950s, as the region was engulfed by Mao's violent anti-Christian campaigns, it was forced to close.
Liushi remained shut throughout the decade of the Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, as places of worship were destroyed across the country.
Since it reopened in 1978 its congregation has gone from strength to strength as part of China's officially sanctioned Christian church – along with thousands of others that have accepted Communist Party oversight in return for being allowed to worship.
Today it has 2,600 regular churchgoers and holds up to 70 baptisms each year, according to Shi Xiaoli, its 27-year-old preacher. The parish's revival reached a crescendo last year with the opening of its new 1,500ft mega-church, reputedly the biggest in mainland China.
"Our old church was small and hard to find," said Ms Shi. "There wasn't room in the old building for all the followers, especially at Christmas and at Easter. The new one is big and eye-catching."
The Liushi church is not alone. From Yunnan province in China's balmy southwest to Liaoning in its industrial northeast, congregations are booming and more Chinese are thought to attend Sunday services each week than do Christians across the whole of Europe.
A recent study found that online searches for the words "Christian Congregation" and "Jesus" far outnumbered those for "The Communist Party" and "Xi Jinping", China's president.
Among China's Protestants are also many millions who worship at illegal underground "house churches", which hold unsupervised services – often in people's homes – in an attempt to evade the prying eyes of the Communist Party.
Such churches are mostly behind China's embryonic missionary movement – a reversal of roles after the country was for centuries the target of foreign missionaries. Now it is starting to send its own missionaries abroad, notably into North Korea, in search of souls.
"We want to help and it is easier for us than for British, South Korean or American missionaries," said one underground church leader in north China who asked not to be named.
The new spread of Christianity has the Communist Party scratching its head.
"The child suddenly grew up and the parents don't know how to deal with the adult," the preacher, who is from China's illegal house-church movement, said.
Some officials argue that religious groups can provide social services the government cannot, while simultaneously helping reverse a growing moral crisis in a land where cash, not Communism, has now become king.
They appear to agree with David Cameron, the British prime minister, who said last week that Christianity could help boost Britain's "spiritual, physical and moral" state.
Ms Shi, Liushi's preacher, who is careful to describe her church as "patriotic", said: "We have two motivations: one is our gospel mission and the other is serving society. Christianity can also play a role in maintaining peace and stability in society. Without God, people can do as they please."
Yet others within China's leadership worry about how the religious landscape might shape its political future, and its possible impact on the Communist Party's grip on power, despite the clause in the country's 1982 constitution that guarantees citizens the right to engage in "normal religious activities".
As a result, a close watch is still kept on churchgoers, and preachers are routinely monitored to ensure their sermons do not diverge from what the Party considers acceptable.
In Liushi church a closed circuit television camera hangs from the ceiling, directly in front of the lectern.
"They want the pastor to preach in a Communist way. They want to train people to practice in a Communist way," said the house-church preacher, who said state churches often shunned potentially subversive sections of the Bible. The Old Testament book in which the exiled Daniel refuses to obey orders to worship the king rather than his own god is seen as "very dangerous", the preacher added.
Such fears may not be entirely unwarranted. Christians' growing power was on show earlier this month when thousands flocked to defend a church in Wenzhou, a city known as the "Jerusalem of the East", after government threats to demolish it. Faced with the congregation's very public show of resistance, officials appear to have backed away from their plans, negotiating a compromise with church leaders.
"They do not trust the church, but they have to tolerate or accept it because the growth is there," said the church leader. "The number of Christians is growing – they cannot fight it. They do not want the 70 million Christians to be their enemy."
The underground leader church leader said many government officials viewed religion as "a sickness" that needed curing, and Prof Yang agreed there was a potential threat.
The Communist Party was "still not sure if Christianity would become an opposition political force" and feared it could be used by "Western forces to overthrow the Communist political system", he said.
Churches were likely to face an increasingly "intense" struggle over coming decade as the Communist Party sought to stifle Christianity's rise, he predicted.
"There are people in the government who are trying to control the church. I think they are making the last attempt to do that."
LIBERALS ANNOUNCE PLAN TO 'PURGE' CHRISTIANS
Exclusive: Matt Barber sounds alarm over leftist plot to punish pro-family Americans
Published: April 18, 2014
(Author’s note: This is a revised version of my original 4/18/14 column. William Saletan, author of the below referenced Slate magazine article, contacted me claiming that his piece was intended as satire. I have given him the benefit of the doubt.)
They were always deadly serious about criminalizing Christianity and killing free speech, but now the American left has stopped pretending otherwise. In a recent column titled, “Why Are They Called ‘Homofascists’? Here’s Why,” I wrote that “progressive,” “Christian-hating fascists” – but I repeat myself – are “hell-bent on criminalizing Christianity and pushing to the fringes anyone who publicly acknowledges natural human sexuality and the age-old, immutable institution of legitimate marriage as created by God.”
I was referring specifically to the left’s well-organized and highly disturbing character assassination of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for his private support of natural marriage. I was also addressing the larger goal of the American left to completely shut down free speech and freedom of religion and to severely punish anyone who maintains both biblically and biologically correct views on human sexuality.
I closed with this: “They smell blood in the water. I’ve often said that these folks want those who speak biblical truth about human sexuality and legitimate marriage either 1) dead, 2) imprisoned or, if they can have neither of these, 3) marginalized to the point where they can’t even support their families.
“Check No. 3 off the list. I guess they’re working backwards.”
The very next day, and as if right on cue, lefty rag Slate magazine vomited evidence of my claims. It could not have been better scripted if I’d written it myself.
In an article titled, “Purge the Bigots,” Slate writer William Saletan penned these chilling words: “Some of my colleagues are celebrating. They call Eich a bigot who got what he deserved. I agree. But let’s not stop here. If we’re serious about enforcing the new standard, thousands of other employees who donated to the same anti-gay ballot measure must be punished.
“More than 35,000 people gave money to the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that declared, ‘Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,’” he continued. “Why do these bigots still have jobs? Let’s go get them.”
Now, to be fair, Saletan later claimed that his article was intended as satire to illustrate the hypocrisy of his own “progressive” movement. Many, if not most, of his readers seemed to miss the joke,and the article’s comments section quickly filled with people agreeing that it was, indeed, time to “purge the bigots” (read: Christians).
The Fox News Channel observed that the piece “may or may not be tongue-in-cheek.” Satire is traditionally somewhat clever, witty and fairly easy to recognize as such. Mr. Saletan’s piece was none of these things. Nevertheless, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute noted, “The problem with Saletan’s satirical piece is that, unlike Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal,’ Saletan’s is not outrageous enough. It should be outrageous enough for a satire, but unfortunately, homosexual activists and their allies are tyrannical enough to do just what he’s proposing.
“I know there are many progressives who think such a proposal is defensible,” she observed. “In fact, eight years ago, a colleague (AMM) at Deerfield High School told me that she is so sure conservative beliefs about homosexuality are wrong that they shouldn’t be allowed to be spoken in public schools – even if kids are studying homosexuality-affirming resources. And she was not speaking satirically.”
So here we have Mr. Saletan playing the role of today’s Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi propaganda minister, in an effort, albeit a clumsy one, to underscore how utterly out of control his own “progressive” movement has become and, in the spirit of argumentum ad absurdum, gently coax his fellow bohemians from madness.
Slate was apparently in on the fun too, pretending, for a day, to be “Nationalsozialistischen Briefe,” Goebbels’ parallel publication, in an equally awkward attempt to use the power of metaphor as a scrub brush to wash away the stench of totalitarianism from an American left bathed in it.
But as you read the article a frightening reality quickly rises to the surface. It’s neither funny nor untrue. None of it. The cultural Marxist American left is 100-percent serious about “purging” Christians from society.
They’re as serious as Josef Stalin’s heart attack.
Continued Saletan: “To organize the next stage of the purge, I’ve compiled the financial data into three tables” (he actually did this). He then listed details from, and linked to, the Proposition 8 hit list reportedly leaked by the Obama IRS and meticulously assembled and published by the Los Angeles Times.
This was all by design. It’s what led to Brendan Eich’s career beheading. But Eich was just the opening act. The list provides the exact names, employers, places of residence and dollar amounts of every single person in America who donated even a dime to the Golden State’s campaign to protect natural marriage (I realize it’s hopelessly symbolic, but as matter of principle I will not link to the list).
This is a level of voter intimidation and journalistic terrorism on the part of the Obama administration and the L.A. Times that is unprecedented in American history.
Joking or not, Herr Saletan then gave the rainbow-shirts their jackbooted marching orders: “If we’re serious about taking down corporate officers who supported Proposition 8, and boycotting employers who promote them, we’d better get cracking on the rest of the list,” he said, concluding, “otherwise, perhaps we should put down the pitchforks.”
You do understand this, right? Obama, the L.A. Times and America’s larger “progressive” movement are dead serious about purging Christians and other traditionalists from both the workplace and society at large. It’s coming. Mozilla was just the opening salvo.
In the very same way Eich’s forced resignation was deliberately calculated to terrorize any American who might resist the left’s sexual anarchist agenda, and support some future, legally executed pro-family ballot initiative, the clear purpose behind releasing the Prop 8 donor list was to instill terror in the hearts of Christians and other traditionalists who support natural marriage, family and human sexuality. It was a not-so-subtle shot over the bow.
It was also a call to arms.
It’s fight or flight time, America.
I’ve made my choice.
What about you?
I say that if we once crushed fascism from without … we can sure as hell crush it from within.
Christian nursery worker 'sacked after refusing to read gay stories to children'
Sarah Mbuyi, a Christian nursery worker, is to claim she was sacked from her job due to religious discimination, as a group backing her case says David Cameron's defence of faith is 'failing to play out'
Nursery worker Sarah Mbuyi Photo: JANE MINGAY FOR THE TELEGRAPH
By Edward Malnick
10:30PM BST 19 Apr 2014
A Christian nursery worker is taking her former employers to court claiming she was sacked for her beliefs after refusing to read stories about gay couples to children.
Sarah Mbuyi says she was dismissed due to religious discrimination, having also been accused of “harassing” a lesbian colleague to whom she gave a Bible when she was recovering from an accident.
The case, lodged at an employment tribunal, comes amid growing concerns among some Christians that religious beliefs are being “outlawed” in the workplace. A Christian group backing the case says it is an example of believers being “robbed” of the freedom to express views.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has warned that “militant atheists” are attempting to impose “politically correct intolerance” on others. “We’re a Christian nation,” he insisted.
Last week David Cameron said Christians should be “more evangelical” about their faith and “get out there and make a difference to people’s lives”. But the Christian Legal Centre, which is funding Miss Mbuyi’s case, said his words were “failing to play out”.
Miss Mbuyi, 30, who lives in north London, carries a Bible. She started work for Newpark Childcare, a London-based group of four nurseries, last April, before being taken on full-time in one of the schools in September.
The same month a lesbian worker also joined the nursery, in Shepherd’s Bush, west London. After discovering that Miss Mbuyi was Christian she repeatedly asked her about her beliefs, the tribunal will be told.
Miss Mbuyi, now working at another nursery, will claim her colleague sought to provoke her. In December the co-worker spent time in hospital having had an accident at work and Miss Mbuyi gave her a Bible on her return.
The present, Miss Mbuyi says, was as a result of the interest she had shown in her faith. It was received well, she insists.
The following month, however, Miss Mbuyi, a Belgian national who came to Britain six years ago, says her colleague told her she had received abuse about her sexuality from religious people in the past.
During the discussion, Miss Mbuyi says she told the woman that “if I tell you that God is OK with that I am lying to you”.
At a disciplinary meeting, her employers accused Miss Mbuyi of “harassing” her co-worker, saying such behaviour amounted to “gross misconduct”. The co-worker could not be reached for comment.
Her employers inquired how she would feel if she was asked to read children’s storybooks featuring same-sex parents. She replied that she would not be able to read such books.
The Christian Legal Centre has instructed Paul Diamond, a prominent religious rights barrister, to fight the case.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the group, said: “Sharing Biblical truths out of genuine love and concern for colleagues is being outlawed in the workplace by a dominating cultural correctness. There is a culture of fear which closes down freedom of speech and the manifestation of faith. This culture brands the liberating good news of the Gospel as oppressive and regressive.
“The Christian Legal Centre is representing Sarah Mbuyi as the latest in a line of Christians who are being threatened by a movement to repress Christians from living out a genuine expression of their faith in a country which once led the world in freedom and justice.”
Fatah and Hamas agree landmark pact after seven-year rift
Move has aim of forming unity government within five weeks, but Israel says agreement will derail peace talks
Peter Beaumont in Gaza City and Paul Lewis in Washington
Wednesday 23 April 2014
Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah and Hamas agreed to implement a unity pact, with the aim of forming a government within five weeks. Photograph: Majdi Mohammed/AP
The two main rival Palestinian factions have signed an accord designed to end seven years of sometimes violent division, paving the way for elections later in the year and the formation of a unity government within weeks.
The move, after a day of talks between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza that lasted until three in the morning, comes less than a week before the expiry of the deadline for US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 29 April and is certain to complicate US efforts to seek another nine-month extension to those talks.
Israel immediately responded by saying the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was moving to peace with Hamas instead of peace with Israel. "He has to choose," said the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. "Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace, so far he hasn't done so."
After the agreement was announced, Israel cancelled a planned session of peace negotiations with the Palestinians. It also launched an air strike on a site in the north of the Gaza Strip, wounding 12 people including children, which underscored the deep mutual suspicion and hostility that persists. Speaking in Ramallah in the West Bank, Abbas said in his view the pact with Hamas did not contradict the peace talks he was pursuing with Israel, adding that an independent state living peacefully alongside Israel remained his goal.
The agreement, signed in Gaza City on Wednesday by Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Hamas, and a senior Palestinian Liberation Organisation delegation dispatched by Abbas marks the latest attempt in three years of efforts to end the discord between the two factions.
A packed news conference in Gaza in a hall adjoining Haniyeh's home in Beach refugee camp cheered as he announced the deal to end the split between the two groups and between Gaza and the West Bank. "This is the good news we have to tell the people: the era of discord is ended," Haniyeh said.
Although there have been failed attempts to end the rift before, this agreement comes with both factions facing internal problems. Hamas has become ever more isolated internationally, particularly since the like-minded Muslim Brotherhood was ousted in Egypt last year. The new military-led authorities in Cairo have cracked down on the smuggling tunnels into Gaza.
Fatah and Abbas have been damaged by the failure of peace negotiations to deliver results amid continuing Israeli settlement building, all of which has pushed the issue of reconciliation up the agenda.
Despite talk before the announcement about the quick formation of a national unity government and a decree for elections, the wording of the agreement was less cut and dried – suggesting a possible timing for elections in at "least six months" after talks to try to form a new government by agreement.
The statement was also not clear whether Hamas figures would be represented in any new government – which could lead to a cut in EU and US funding. Sceptics, however, noted that similar agreements between the two sides – under Arab sponsorship – have been reached in the past but never implemented.
In Washington state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the US was troubled by the announcement, which "could seriously complicate" negotiations to extend peace negotiations. "This certainly is disappointing and raises concerns about our efforts to extend the negotiations," she said.
"It is hard to see how Israel can be expected to negotiate with a government that doesn't believe in its right to exist." She also indicated there could be broader implications for an array of US policies towards Palestine, including aid, should Hamas enter into government without abiding a set of principles, including recognition of Israel, agreement to previous agreements, and a commitment to non-violence, dictated by Washington.
Secretary of state John Kerry spoke on the phone with Netanyahu on Tuesday, while other senior US diplomats on the ground have spoken with Mahmoud Abbas.
The root of recent conflict between the two largest Palestinian movements follows the 2006 elections which Hamas won but the west, Israel and Abbas largely refused to recognise. Hamas asserted its control of Gaza in 2007 leaving Abbas in charge of only parts of the West Bank. Since then both sides have become entrenched in their territories, setting up respective governments and their own security forces, and arresting their rivals.
Key stumbling blocks in previous attempts at reconciliation have been focused on security forces and on the Palestinian Authority's security co-operation arrangements on the West Bank that have seen the authority arrest and jail members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
There was no mention in the announcement that security co-operation with Israel would change. Despite Netanyahu's comments, later in the day a senior Israeli official was more cautious about the implications of the Gaza deal saying Netanyahu office was consulting on it. prime minister's office is consulting tonight the meaning of it. It does not bode well but for the moment the policy is wait and see."
Antisemitic flyer 'by Donetsk People's Republic' in Ukraine a hoax
City's chief rabbi states pamphlet is fake, claiming it is meant to discredit pro-Russian protesters or Jewish community
Friday 18 April 2014 11.18 EDT
The barricades outside the Donetsk regional administration building are plastered with anti-fascist posters. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images
The barricades that mark the entrance to the "Donetsk People's Republic" are plastered with anti-fascist posters, including an American flag with a swastika in place of the stars. The pro-Russian protestors who have set up their own government in the occupied administration building see the new Kiev regime as dominated by intolerant Ukrainian nationalists, which is why it was more than a little ironic when an antisemitic flyer appeared on Wednesday ordering Jews to register with these new authorities.
US secretary of state John Kerry soon waded into the media storm over the piece of paper, describing it as "grotesque" and "beyond unacceptable". But on Friday the chairman of the Donetsk People's Republic and the city's chief rabbi both stated that the flyer was a fake meant to discredit the so-called republic or the Jewish community.
The hoax has nonetheless contributed to the tense, divisive atmosphere in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protests have ended in violence in recent weeks. A vicious information war has raged around the military operation Kiev is staging to try to take back buildings from pro-Russian demonstrators and militia, with Ukrainian media vilifying the protestors as "terrorists" and Russian media regularly calling the Kiev government a "fascist junta".
"I think it's someone trying to use the Jewish community in Donetsk as an instrument in this conflict. That's why we're upset," the chief rabbi, Pinchas Vishedski, told journalists on Friday.
According to Jewish community members at Donetsk's only synagogue, which was founded 110 years ago, three masked men walked up to worshippers standing on the street after a Passover service on Wednesday and tried to distribute the flyers. They wore no insignia and quickly left when asked to identify themselves.
The flyer asks all Jewish citizens aged 16 and older to register with the "Donetsk Republic commissar for nationality affairs" and pay a $50 fee, "given that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine support the Banderite junta in Kiev and are hostile to the Orthodox Donetsk Republic and its citizens."
"Those who refuse to register will be deprived of citizenship and forcibly expelled from the republic and their property will be confiscated," it read.
The order was allegedly issued by "people's governor" Denis Pushilin, who denied the Donetsk People's Republic had anything to do with the flyer at a press conference on Friday.
Prominent Jews in Ukraine have previously come out in support of the Euromaidan protests in Kiev that ousted president Viktor Yanukovich, although official Jewish leaders have stopped short of endorsing the Euromaidan movement. One of the three main leaders of the movement, Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the nationalist party Svoboda, infamously once said that a "Moscow-Jewish mafia" was ruling Ukraine.
When seen by the Guardian on Friday, several aspects of the document immediately called into question its legitimacy. Pushilin is officially the chairman of the temporary government and has avoided being labelled its governor or leader. Also, the Donetsk People's Republic stamp shown there is poor quality and a different size than normally used, and the order is not signed.
Nonetheless, it initially provoked a strong reaction among the local Jewish community, which numbers about 15,000 people, according to Vishedski.
"We were alarmed but now things have calmed down," said worshipper Ari Schwartz.
"For people of the older generation, seeing this paper immediately brought up associations with what happened in Nazi Germany. It worried them," said an assistant rabbi, Ieguda Kelerman.
Although Jews sometimes encounter "everyday antisemitism" in Donetsk, he added, the government has never adopted any discriminatory policies towards them. He said Jews in Donetsk include both supporters and opponents of the new Kiev government.
Vishedski said he reported the incident to law enforcement authorities and asked them for additional protection of the synagogue and Jewish school, and he plans to raise the issue with the Russian Orthodox leader, Patriarch Filaret.
"The rise of nationalism in this country is of course not comfortable for us," Vishedski said.
But he declined to comment on the new Kiev government or the pro-Russian building takeovers in Donetsk and nearby regions.
"Some Jewish citizens participated in Maidan, they have a right to do this because they are citizens and this is a democracy," he said, but maintained the community is not involved in politics.
Alexander Sheremyet, a protestor occupying the administration building, said the hoax was likely to have been staged by someone associated with the Kiev government to discredit the Donetsk People's Republic.
"I don't think it's someone who wants to make money. It's probably part of the information war," he said.
What Will You Do When You Can No Longer Buy Or Sell Without Submitting To Biometric Identification?
By Michael Snyder, on April 17th, 2014
In some areas of the world, payment systems that require palm scanning or face scanning are already being tested. We have entered an era where biometric security is being hailed as the “solution” to the antiquated security methods of the past. We are being promised that the constant problems that hackers are causing with our credit cards, bank accounts, ATM machines and Internet passwords will all go away once we switch over to biometric identification. And without a doubt, we have some massive security problems that need to be addressed. But do you really want a machine to read your face or your hand before you are able to buy anything, sell anything or log on to the Internet? Do you really want “the system” to be able to know where you are, what you are buying and what you are doing at virtually all times? Biometric security systems are being promoted as “cool” and “cutting edge”, but there is also potentially a very dark side to them that should not be ignored.
In this day and age, identity theft has become a giant problem. Being able to confirm that you are who you say that you are is a very big deal. To many, biometric security presents a very attractive solution to this problem. For example, the following is a brief excerpt from a recent Fox News article entitled “Biometric security can’t come soon enough for some people“…
In a world where nearly every ATM now uses an operating system without any technical support, where a bug can force every user of the Internet to change the password to every account they’ve ever owned overnight, where cyber-attacks and identity theft grow more menacing every day, the ability to use your voice, your finger, your face or some combination of the three to log into your e-mail, your social media feed or your checking account allows you to ensure it’s very difficult for someone else to pretend they’re you.
Almost everyone would like to make their identities more secure. Nobody actually wants their bank accounts compromised or their Internet passwords stolen. But there is a price to be paid for adopting biometric identification. Your face or your hand will be used to continually monitor and track everything that you do and everywhere that you go. Here is some more from that Fox News article…
Friday, we made Ryan King the most verified man in Brooklyn.
“Verified,” a fingerprint-recognition device chirped back at Ryan after he placed his finger on the reader.
“Verified,” a facial-recognition device said to Ryan after scanning his face.
Ryan works at the American headquarters for FingerTec, a Malaysian company replacing PINs, usernames, and typed passwords with fingers and faces we don’t need to memorize.
“You can’t copy someone’s fingerprint unless you chop it off,” Ryan said, “which wouldn’t work because it has to be attached to a hand.”
For now, biometric security is not being forced on people. If you want to avoid it, you can.
But eventually, once it has been adopted on a widespread basis, banks and government agencies will start requiring it.
And it is easy to imagine a day when none of us will any longer be able to buy or sell anything without submitting to biometric identification. In fact, an “alternative payment method” involving hand scanning is already being tested in southern Sweden…
Hand scanning has become an alternative payment method for people in a city in southern Sweden, researchers at Lund University said Monday.
Vein scanning terminals have been installed in 15 shops and restaurants in Lund thanks to an engineering student who came up with the idea two years ago while waiting in line to pay.
Some 1,600 people have signed up already for the system, which its creator says is not only faster but also safer than traditional payment methods.
“Every individual’s vein pattern is completely unique, so there really is no way of committing fraud with this system,” researcher Fredrik Leifland said in a statement.
“You always need your hand scanned for a payment to go through.”
But before biometric identification is widely used for payment systems, we will probably see it implemented in a whole bunch of other ways first. For instance, biometric scanners are already being used in dining halls on college campuses all across America…
Hand geometry readers have been fairly common on campus for years but more recent deployments are leveraging fingerprint and even iris biometrics to link students with transactions. Physical access is the hallmark biometric application but the technology has been gaining popularity in food service and other sectors to expedite transactions.
The social stigma attached to biometrics is also being lifted, as students are becoming more comfortable with the technology, says Brian Adoff, executive vice president at NuVision. The inclusion of a fingerprint scanner on the latest iPhone is just one indication that the younger generation is comfortable with biometrics.
“Administrators have a greater fear of the technology than students,” says Bob Lemley, director of software development at the CBORD Group. “Students are growing up with the technology so they don’t think about it as much as the older generations.”
Georgia Southern University can attest to that fact. The school deployed iris biometrics at its dining hall and only two students out of 5,400 refused to enroll, says Richard Wynn, director of the university’s Eagle Card Program.
Young people tend to be less alarmed by this technology, and so that is where it is being pushed. If you can believe it, biometric scanners are even going to be used at Six Flags amusement park this summer…
A new scanning system at Six Flags sounds like it’s from the future, but the biometric scanner aims to make faster entrances for season pass holders.
When guests arrive at the front gate for the first time of the season, they will present their voucher and a scanner processes an image of their fingerprint, assigning a unique set of numbers that are used to validate the pass holder’s card each visit.
The first visit should take only about 20 seconds to set up the card, as opposed to the additional time of taking a photo and getting it printed on the card, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Gotway.
This kind of reminds me of the new “MagicBands” at Disney parks that I have written about previously. You have probably seen the television commercials featuring them by now. Disney seems to think that parents and kids will have no problems wearing RFID tracking devices that allow them to buy stuff and monitor wherever they go.
Our world is becoming stranger with each passing day.
Incredibly, biometric identification is even being used in Africa to keep track of who is being vaccinated…
In fact, some biometric solutions are helping solve vaccine delivery issues in Africa which has been hampered by ineffective tracking and reporting. Today, a biometric vaccination registry helps to ensure that millions of young children receive the vaccine that is needed to save their lives. And by knowing “who” has been vaccinated, these precious life-saving drugs are not wasted by over-vaccinating some and missing others entirely.
This technology is going to keep spreading, and it is going to become harder and harder to avoid it.
And it is easy to imagine what a tyrannical government could do with this kind of technology. If it wanted to, it could use it to literally track the movements and behavior of everyone.
We are already starting to see the establishment of massive biometric databases. One of these is the FBI’s facial recognition database that is a part of their “Next Generation Identification” program. It is being projected that the FBI will have compiled 52 million of our “face images” by the year 2015. Given enough time, eventually I am sure that they would have all of our faces in their computers.
And one day, this kind of technology will likely be so pervasive that you won’t be able to open a bank account, get a credit card or even buy anything without having either your hand or your face scanned first.
When that day arrives, what will you do?
That is something to think about.
About the author: Michael T. Snyder is a former Washington D.C. attorney who now publishes The Truth.
(Many believe it will be much sooner then what is suggested in this video. Ed)
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money
In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Sunday 20 April 2014
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money
In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Saudi Arabia is giving $3bn – yes, £2bn, and now let’s have done with exchange rates – to the Pakistani government of Nawaz Sharif. But what is it for? Pakistani journalists have been told not to ask this question. Then, when they persisted, they were told that Saudi generosity towards their fellow Sunni Muslim brothers emerged from the “personal links” between the Prime Minister and the monarchy in Riyadh. Saudi notables have been arriving in Islamabad. Sharif and his army chief of staff have travelled to the Kingdom. Then Islamabad started talking about a “transitional government” for Syria – even though Pakistan had hitherto supported President Bashar al-Assad – because, as journalist Najam Seti wrote from Lahore, “we know only too well that in matters of diplomatic relations there is no such thing as a gift, still less one of this size”.
Now the word in Pakistan is that its government has agreed to supply Saudi Arabia with an arsenal of anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, which will be passed on – despite the usual end-user certificates claiming these weapons will be used only on Saudi soil – to the Salafist rebels in Syria fighting to overthrow the secular, Ba’athist (and yes, ruthless) regime of Bashar al-Assad. The Americans, in other words, will no longer use their rat-run of weapons from Libya to the Syrian insurgents because they no longer see it as in their interest to change the Assad government. Iraq, with its Shia majority, and Qatar – which now loathes and fears Saudi Arabia more than it detests Assad – can no longer be counted on to hold the Shias at bay. So even Bahrain must be enlisted in the Saudi-Salafist cause; his Royal Highness the King of Bahrain needs more Pakistani mercenaries in his army; so Bahrain, too – according to Najam Sethi – is preparing to invest in Pakistan.
But this is merely a reflection of a far larger movie, a Cinemascope picture with a cast of billions – I’m talking about dollars – which is now consuming the Middle East. It’s a story that doesn’t find favour with the mountebank “experts” on the cable channels nor with their White House/Pentagon scriptwriters, nor indeed with our own beloved Home Secretary who still believes that British Muslims will be “radicalised” if they fight in Syria. Sorry, m’deario, but they were already radicalised. THAT’S WHY THEY WENT TO SYRIA.
But the Taliban is no more going to take over Afghanistan than al-Qa’ida is going to rule Syria or Iraq, nor the Muslim Brotherhood Egypt. “Islamism” is not about to turn our beloved Arab and Muslim Middle Eastern world into a caliphate. That’s for The New York Times to believe.
Let’s just take a look across the region. Corruption in Afghanistan is not just legendary. This is a place where governance, law, electoral rules, tribal ritual and military affairs function only with massive bribes. It rivals North Korea in financial dishonesty (according to Transparency International). Remember the Kabul banking scandal that milked $980m (£584m) from the people (from which only $180m – £107m – was ever recovered)?
The Americans funded the Afghan warlords and then the NGOs spread their cash around the country and now, with the US withdrawal imminent – along with that of America’s NATO mercenaries – the Afghan gang bosses are not especially worried about the Taliban. Nor are they particularly concerned about women’s rights. But they are fearful that the dollars will stop flowing. A militia leader with three villas, 10 4x4s and 200 bodyguards has to find money to pay them when the Americans go home. So they will have to turn to drugs, money laundering and weapons smuggling on a massive scale. Pakistan, of course, is there to help.
In Iraq, mafiosi already run the Shia port of Basra and almost the entire oil output of the south of the country. “Institutionalised kleptocracy” was a minister’s definition of al-Maliki’s government; just take a look at my colleague Patrick Cockburn’s excoriating account of Iraqi corruption last year. In Syria, the rebels’ fiefdom is run by money mobs. That’s why every hostage has a price, every “Free Syrian Army” retreat – and the word “retreat” must also be placed in quotation marks – must be paid for, by the Syrian government or by the Russians or, most frequently, by the Iranians. The Syrian “civil war” is funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, by Libya and by Moscow and Tehran and, when it suits them, by the Americans. We’re so caught up in battlefield losses and war crimes and sarin and barrel bombs that we lose sight of the fact that the Syrian bloodbath – much like the Lebanese bloodbath of 1976-1990 – is underwritten by vast amounts of cash from foreign donors.
Just look at Egypt. The story we are supposed to swallow is that a benevolent if slightly despotic army has saved the country from an Islamist takeover. Just how President Mohamed Morsi – whose grasp of practical governance was about as hopeless as that of your average Egyptian general – was going to turn Egypt into a caliphate was anyone’s guess. Of course, our worthless political leaders – Tony Blair in the lead, naturally – are playing the “Islamist” line for the networks. Egypt was on the path to a medieval Muslim dictatorship, only rescued at the last minute by the defence minister-turned presidential candidate General al-Sisi’s belief in a “transitional government to democracy”.
Yes, the “transitional” road to democracy is all the rage these days. But the real counter-revolution in Egypt was not the overthrow of the pathetic Morsi, but what followed: the army’s re-establishment of its massive financial benefits, its shopping malls and real estates and banking, which bring in billions of dollars for the country’s military elite – and whose business dealings are now constitutionally safe from the prying eyes of any democratically-elected Egyptian government, “transitional” or otherwise. And if al-Sisi is elected the next President of Egypt – O Blessed Thought – woe betide anyone who suggests that the army, which is still the recipient of billions from the US, should clean up its multi-million dollar conglomerates.
All this is to say that the Middle East we must confront in the future – and it will be of our making as surely as the mass slaughter of its people have been primarily our responsibility – will not be a set of vicious caliphates, of Iraqistan or Syriastan or Egyptstan. No, there is one international, all-purpose name which we will be able to bestow upon almost all the states of the region, united as they have never been since the demise of the Ottoman Empire.
We will understand its masters all too well. We shall support them. We shall love them. Our Tony will understand them – Catholicism, after all, has its own history of corruption and the Vatican, as we have learned, has its own gangsters. Our enemy is not – Cameron and Hague, please take note – terror, terror, terror. It is money, money, money. Dirty money.
For the name of this brave new world will be Mafiastan.
Syria army set to break militant siege on Aleppo
Syrian army soldiers (file photo)
Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:2PM GMT
The Syrian army has started an operation to break foreign-backed Takfiri militants’ siege on the northern city of Aleppo.
According to reports on Monday, the army regained control over an area extending from what used to be Syria’s economic capital to the town of Khanasir in the Aleppo province.
A convoy of trucks carrying food supplies and fuel arrived in the city through the road crossing Khanasir.
Foreign-sponsored militants attacked the road several times in the past to hamper the aid efforts. They, however, were repelled by government forces.
Efforts aimed at breaking the siege of Aleppo came as the army has made major gains across the country.
On Sunday, the Syrian forces also foiled an infiltration attempt by the militants in al-Lairamon and al-Zahraa areas in Aleppo.
On April 15, Syrian forces drove out militants from the towns of Assal al-Ward, Housh Arab and Jab'adin, one day after government forces retook full control of the towns of Ma’loula and al-Sarkha.
Last week, Syrian troops recaptured eastern heights overlooking Rankous plain, cutting off the militants’ supply routes between the area and the Lebanese side of the border.
Syria has been gripped by unrelenting militancy since March 2011. The Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- are said to be supporting the militants operating inside Syria.
More than 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions of others displaced due to the ongoing violence.
Fukushima Didn’t Just Suffer 3 Meltdowns … It Also Suffered Melt-THROUGHS and Melt-OUTS
April 25, 2014
We reported in May 2011 that authorities knew – within days or weeks - that all 3 active Fukushima nuclear reactors had melted down, but covered up that fact for months.
The next month, we reported that Fukushima’s reactors had actually suffered something much worse: nuclear melt-throughs, where the nuclear fuel melted through the containment vessels and into the ground. At the time, this was described as:
The worst possibility in a nuclear accident.
But now, it turns out that some of the Fukushima reactors have suffered even a more extreme type of damage: melt-OUTS.
By way of background, we’ve noted periodically that scientists have no idea where the cores of the nuclear reactors are.
And that highly radioactive black “dirt” has been found all over Japan.
It turns out that the highly radioactive black substances are likely remnants of the core.
The Journals Environmental Science & Technology and Journal of Environmental Radioactivity both found (hat tip EneNews) that the highly radioactive black substances match fuel from the core of the Fukushima reactors.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission agrees.
Indeed, “hot particles” with extremely high levels of radiation - 7 billion, 40 billion, and even 40 billionbillion Bq/kg – have been found all over the Fukushima region, and hundreds of miles away … in Tokyo.
Let’s put this in perspective. The Atlantic notes:
Japanese regulations required nuclear waste with 100 or more bq/kg of Cesium to be monitored and disposed of in specialized containers.
The new government limit for material headed for landfills is 8000 bq/kg, 80 times the pre-Fukushima limit.
So the hottest hot particle found so far is 5 million billion times greater than the current government limits of what can be put in a landfill.
In other words, the core of at least one of the Fukushima reactors has finally been found … scattered all over Japan.
(How did material from the cores get dispersed so far? Remember, there was a huge explosion at reactor number 1, and an even bigger explosion at reactor number 3.)
Nothing like this has ever before happened before.
Report: Ebola Suspected In Europe: “Broken Through All Containment Efforts”
Mac Slavo SHTFPlan.com April 21, 2014
Though officials at the World Health Organization are feverishly working to stop the spread of the Ebola virus in what is now seven African nations, their efforts may be for naught. In Guinea, a hot spot for the deadly contagion, government health officials have said that the outbreak is nearly under control. Yet, Reuters reports that the government “planned to stop publicly releasing the death toll to avoid causing unnecessary panic.”
But panic may be in order.
Despite the best efforts of emergency health workers it appears that virus may have crossed out of Africa into Europe.
The outbreak of Ebola Virus in seven west African countries has broken through all containment efforts and is spreading like wildfire. According to Christian Relief groups working in Guinea and Liberia, the number of confirmed infections jumped 15% in just the last 24 hours. In addition, 40 illegal alien migrant workers from the outbreak area, who came ashore in Pisa, Italy, are showing signs of Ebola infection and are being isolated in Pisa Italy because of fever and “conjunctivitis” (bloody around the eyes). According to the World Health Organization, this strain of Ebola is entirely new and although it is close to the Zaire strain, it is different, thus accounting for false-negative test results . . . . . for weeks!
Those false-negative results meant people who were actually infected with Ebola, were returned to their families and neighborhoods to recover from what they believed was the Flu or a case of food poisoning, only to spread the Ebola further.
The result has been a complete loss of containment of this Ebola outbreak.
With the likely arrival of Ebola in Pisa, Italy, the European continent is now at severe risk.
Italian officials deny the reports, but alternative media in the country suggests this is the reason for a complete lock down of a hospital in Pisa, where it is believed to have infected some 40 individuals. Other reports trickling in from various sources like social media indicate the virus may have also appeared about 50 miles from Pisa in Tuscany, Italy.
Alarmingly, a story that appeared about the outbreak on national news wires was reportedly removed by the Italian government for “national security reasons,” suggesting that there is more to the reports than Italian officials are willing to express to the public at this time.
Though they have denied that the Pisa hospital was locked down due to Ebola, they seem to be bracing for the possibility of a severe epidemic in Rome and Milan.
(Google Translation via Italy’s Vnews24)
And ‘mystery about forty hypothetical cases of Ebola registered in our country. The virus is particularly common on the African continent – the cases “official” were recorded in Senegal, Mali and Ghana - may have arrived in Italy “thank you” to the massive exodus of immigrants to our shores. A first “bell” d ‘alarm was launched by Lampedusa. According to a report appeared in the network (and immediately removed for reasons of “national security”), in fact, April 16 would be recorded on an epidemic ‘island, never confirmed nor refuted by our Ministry of Health.
A new ”SOS” about the spread of the virus’ Ebola in the Bel Paese is, this time, from Tuscany. Means of dissemination of the news shock is always the network: blogs, social networks, websites dedicated highlighted the “Curious Case of St. Flushing,” reception center site in Pisa, closed to the public due to the presence, all ‘inside of it, forty non-EU nationals which are to some strange symptoms. Capuzzi Sandra, Councillor for Social Policies of the Municipality of Pisa, he would have dismissed the alarmism of his countrymen, by classifying the health status of the refugees in the structure in these terms: “They have just a little bit fever, caused by stressful travel conditions under which the children were subjected. “
Fear, meanwhile, remains. The forty possible carriers of the virus’ Ebola have been subjected to all the tests required in high-risk situations. The Italian population, however, does not feel the climate of reassurance that high institutional positions and subjected try to transmit information through various channels, official and unofficial. The tension increases, although the Ministry of Health said that, in the unlikely event of an outbreak, Rome and Milan would be ready to face the ‘epidemic.
According to Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief group actively working with hospitals and health officials in Guinea and Liberia, what makes Ebola so dangerous is that it can be transmitted through human contact and may take weeks before symptoms appear:
The initial Ebola outbreak in Guinea is believed to have started when hunters came in contact with infected fruit bats. The Ebola virus is spread between humans through direct contact. Once infected, it can take up to 21 days for symptoms to appear, which include high fever, headaches, and fatigue. At that point, the infected person is contagious.
With details lacking and health officials opting to keep reports of infections from the public, it is impossible to know exactly how far the virus has spread.
As noted above, this new strain was not identified immediately, thus blood tests of people showing possible symptoms may have shown false-negatives even though those individuals may have been carrying the virus. Once returned to the general population and assuming they did not contract the virus, it is certainly possible that it was then transmitted to others.
If Ebola has taken hold in Italy, then we can expect more reported cases all over the continent in coming weeks, with the real possibility that the virus could make its way to U.S. shores via hundreds of international flights arriving on a daily basis.
It’s understandable that government officials do not want to overreact and cause panic, especially insofar as global air travel is concerned, because doing so would lead to a lock down of airports worldwide.
The panic would be unprecedented.
As noted by Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition, even if the public became aware that a pandemic was in progress, many would remain in denial about such a prospect and would remain oblivious to the long-term repercussions. She notes that the effects of a pandemic could be swift and drastic, leading to societal upheaval :
Understanding that our lives will change drastically if the population is faced with a pandemic and being prepared for this can help you make better choices toward the well being of your family. Some changes could be:
Shut downs of business commerce
Breakdown of our basic infrastructure: communications, mass
transportation, supply chains
Payroll service interruptions
Staffing shortages in hospitals and medical clinics
Interruptions in public facilities – Schools, workplaces may close,
and public gatherings such as sporting events or worship services may
Government mandated voluntary or involuntary home quarantine.
(Source: Pandemic Preparedness)
Given the continued spread of the virus to numerous countries in Africa, and now possibly Europe, we urge readers to remain vigilant and have, at the very least, their basic essentials in place.
This virus is incurable and is believed to have a mortality rate of up to 85% of those infected.
If it is spreading outside of Africa, then it is only a matter of time – perhaps several weeks – before it becomes apparent in developing nations.
These posted probabilities are in no way authoritative, and should be considered a “best guess” only.
Probabilities of unchecked infection at this point, based upon a method of travel, times and frequencies of airline flights to various cities, also including certain assumed volumes of “mixed maritime” traffic between north Africa and southern Europe - the Probability that Ebola will strike is:
63% in Italy within 8 days 44% in Spain within 15 days 77% in Riyadh/Saudi within 21 days 40% in Libya within 25 days 29% in the US within 28 days 37% in Egypt within 33 days
By the time we get to 35 days, it can be in 25 countries on 4 continents.
In the United States, the CDC has issued a travel alert to airlines and set up emergency quarantine stations at domestic airports, though there are no specific guidelines in place at this time according to BD Live:
The US is well prepared to handle infected patients on its soil with 20 CDC quarantine stations in place at US airports that are designed to deal with anyone who has symptoms of a wide range of infectious illnesses, including Ebola, according to spokeswoman Christine Pearson. Despite the outbreak, there are no special requests or guidelines to airlines about Ebola, though the CDC has issued a travel alert, she said.
“The time it takes to travel from rural Guinea to anywhere in the US is more than enough time to incubate the virus and be symptomatic,”Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow Laurie Garrett said in New York.
If in the next month we see Ebola popping up in North America then we may have a serious problem on our hands.
This is a developing report and is in no way conclusive. Official statements from the WHO, CDC and European governments have yet to confirm Ebola’s crossover into Europe or the United States. Updates will be provided as details become available.
Pollution so bad in China that residents flock to to inhale mountain air from bags
Friday, April 18, 2014 by: PF Louis
NaturalNews) Air pollution is not just unsightly or inconvenient; it can be lethal. As a matter of fact, the WHO (World Health Organization) has reported that 7 million deaths are attributed to air pollution annually, with 40% of those coming from China. Of course, air pollution exists to lesser degrees here too. But at least we don't have to resort to buying canned mountain air that's promoted in China.
You have a right to be skittish about buying foods or supplements from China. The heavy metal air pollution from China's recent industrial efforts to catch up to already industrialized nations throughout the world have produced heavy metal residues that not only pollute the air; the soil has also captured its share of mercury and cadmium.
Japan recently officially complained about high mercury levels on Mt. Fuji that they claimed had arrived via trade winds blowing eastward through China (http://www.naturalnews.com).
In China, it's not just outdoor air that's polluted. Many impoverished non-urban dwellers use coal-burning stoves for cooking and heating (http://www.naturalnews.com).
Thus their indoor air is as polluted as or worse than outdoor air, and it's constant. At least in outdoor areas there are some days that pollution is less intense.
Bags or cans of mountain air and face masks
China's Henan Province is located in east central China with a population of over 95.5 million after a relatively recent population explosion. Zhengzhou is Henan's capital city, and it's among the top ten polluted cities in the Henan Province.
Zhengzhou residents were treated to freely whiffing mountain air from nearby Laojun Mountain via air bags provided by a Henan travel agency. The purpose of this air bag publicity stunt was to attract tourists' attention toward visiting resorts at Laojun Mountain, 120 miles from the city.
Zhengzhou residents lined up to get a whiff of mountain air by breathing from the air bags with airline-type hoses and oxygen masks attached.
But this concept was started in 2012 in China when tycoon entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao began selling cans of fresh air from Jinggang Mountain in Jiangxi Province, some ethnic minority areas and Taiwan. Each sold for 5 to 6 yuan each, around 90 cents in U.S. dollars. Although Chen is a high-rolling independent entrepreneur, his motive was to draw attention to the problems of air pollution in China.
Chen confirmed his philanthropic motive by pledging to contribute the earned proceeds to the Chinese military to defend the Diaoyu Islands. "One only has to open the can, directly 'drink' it or put the nose close to the can to breath deeply," said Chen. Canned air products were usually purchased by curiosity seekers and environmentalists.
Not all Chinese were impressed. Some questioned where the air was really from, since there was no way to confirm its source other than taking Chen's word. Others said they'd rather take a walk in the countryside. But at less than a dollar per can, buying one out of curiosity to benefit a philanthropic cause seems like no big deal.
Other than countryside walks, visiting mountain resorts or just buying canned air, many Chinese wind up wearing masks on bad pollution days, which are usually sufficiently announced. Dr. Richard Saint Cyr of Beijing United Family Healthcare says that most masks are ineffective. If one's glasses fog up while wearing a mask, it leaks too much.
Unattractive masks with an N95 rating filter out 95% of airborne particulates. He recommends wearing the nicer-looking mask over N95-rated masks or portable respirators for the fashion-conscious.
Sources for this article include:
World’s oldest pyramid found in Crimea
Science / Technology - 31 August 2012 17:57
SIMFEROPIL/ AQMESCIT (QHA) - A Ukrainian scientist discovered the oldest pyramid in the world. Most interestingly, it was found in the most beautiful corner of the country, in Crimea.
As the ICTV channel reported, the finding was revealed by accident, when during his test alternative methods of finding water Ukrainian scientist Vitalii Goh discovered underground unknown object, which proved to be a giant pyramid of 45 meters in height and a length of about 72 meters. Goh said that the pyramid was built during the time of the dinosaurs.
“Crimean pyramid” has a truncated top, like a Mayan pyramid, but its appearance is more like an Egyptian. It is hollow inside, and a mummy of unknown creature is buried under the foundation.
“Under the foundation is a small body in the form of a mummy long 1.3-1.4 meters with a crown on his head.”
“There is a resonance chamber of so-called Sphinx. The pyramids were built in the era of the dinosaurs,” says the scientist in an interview with ICTV.
It remains unknown who build the pyramid.
The unique building is the oldest on the planet, says Vitalii Goh.
Has Apple maps found the Loch Ness Monster?
A mysterious shadowy form spotted using Apple's satellite map app has Nessie believers convinced that the sea monster has been found
The shadowy form which measures around 100ft has been studied for six months by experts at the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club Photo: Peter Jolly
By Zachary Davies Boren
10:20AM BST 19 Apr 2014
Since its inception in the sixth century, the legend of the Loch Ness Monster has endured unreliable sightings, doctored photos and faked footprints, but a mysterious satellite image has given fresh hope to believers of the elusive Scottish sea creature.
The image, taken by an Apple map satellite, depicts a shadowy form of around 100 feet in length with something akin to flippers in the water of the Loch Ness.
"We've been looking at it for a long time trying to work out exactly what it is," Gary Campbell, president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, told the Daily Mail.
"It looks like a boat wake, but the boat is missing. We've shown it to boat experts and they don't know what it is."
After studying the image for six months, and with apparently no other obvious explanation, the Club has concluded that shadow is probably the Loch Ness Monster.
"Whatever this is, it is under water and heading south, so unless there have been secret submarine trials going on in the loch, the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie," Campbell said.
One of the spotters, 26-year old Andrew Dixon from Darlington, said: "It was a total fluke that I found it. I was looking at satellite images of my town and then just thought I'd have a look at Loch Ness.
The first thing that came into my head when I saw it was, 'That's the Loch Ness Monster'."
This supposed sighting is the first reported in 18 months, the longest that Nessie has been missing since 1925. All three sightings of the monster in 2013 were found to be fake – one was a duck, one was a wave and one wasn’t even taken at Loch Ness.
Bar attack turned college dropout Jason Padgett into a maths genius
APRIL 20, 2014 10:39PM
WHEN Jason Padgett pours cream into his morning coffee, this is what he sees:
“I watch the cream stirred into the brew. The perfect spiral is an important shape to me. It’s a fractal. Suddenly, it’s not just my morning cup of joe, it’s geometry speaking to me.”
Mr Padgett’s world is bursting with mathematical patterns. He is one of a few people in the world who can draw approximations of fractals, the repeating geometric patterns that are building blocks of everything in the known universe, by hand. Tree leaves outside his window are evidence of Pythagoras’s theorem. The arc that light makes when it bounces off his car proves the power of pi.
He sees the parts that make up the whole. And his world is never boring, never without amazement. Even his dreams are made up of geometry.
“I can barely remember a time,” the 43-year-old says, “when I saw the world the way most everyone else does.”
Flashback 12 years: Mr Padgett had dropped out of Tacoma (Washington State) Community College, and was a self-described “goof” with zero interest in academics, let alone math. The only time he dealt in numbers was to track the hours until his shift ended at his father’s furniture store, tally up his bar tab, and count bicep curls at the gym.
With his mullet, leather vest opened to a bare chest, and skin-tight pants, he was more like a high-school student stuck in the 1980s — even though it was 2002, and he was a 31-year-old with a daughter.
He would race his buddies in a freshly painted red Camaro. His life was one adrenalin rush after another: cliff-jumping, skydiving, bar-hopping. He was the “life of the party.” The guy who would funnel a beer before going out and would slip a bottle of southern Comfort in his jacket pocket to avoid paying $6 for mixed drinks.
“I thought it would go on that way forever,” Mr Padgett says.
Party time came to end the night of Friday, September 13, 2002, at a karaoke bar near his home. There, two men attacked him from behind, punching him in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious.
He fell to the ground as the two men punched and kicked him, stopping only when he handed over his worthless jacket.
He was rushed to the hospital, where a CAT scan revealed a bruised kidney. He was released that same night.
The next morning, while running the water in the bathroom, he noticed “lines emanating out perpendicularly from the flow. At first, I was startled, and worried for myself, but it was so beautiful that I just stood in my slippers and stared.”
When he extended his hand out in front of him, it was like “watching a slow-motion film,” as if every slight movement was in stop-motion animation.
Days went by, but the visuals remained.
Mr Padgett, who had scored relatively high on IQ tests in elementary school but reached only pre-algebra in high school, soon became “obsessed with every shape in my house, from rectangles of the windows to the curvature of a spoon.”
When he looked at numbers, colourful shapes superimposed over them.
He stopped going to work and began to read anything he could get his hands on about math and physics. He developed a fascination with fractals and pi.
The doctors called what happened to him a “profound concussion.” Little did they know just how profound it was.
Mr Padgett is one of only 40 people in the world with “acquired savant syndrome,” a condition in which prodigious talents in math, art or music emerge in previously normal individuals following a brain injury or disease.
Acquired savants like Mr Padgett raise remarkable questions about the rest of us average folk: Do we all have inner Einsteins just waiting for the right bop on the head to be set free? Do we possess inner greatness?
“I believe I am living proof that these powers lie dormant in all of us,” Mr Padgett writes in his memoir, Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), out Tuesday.
This Terrified Diver Prepares To Die As A Predator Approaches, When Suddenly...
We often forget animals are unique individuals, much like humans! Species we classify as vicious and predatory are also capable of nurturing, compassion, empathy and love. While leopard seals are notorious for preying on penguins, they also are extremely protective of their young and nurture them until their able to fend for themselves, just like the seal in this story tried to do with National Geographic’s photographer!
next week...keep on believing.
God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply,
and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the
fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living
thing that moveth upon the earth.”