Daily Archives: April 9, 2020

UCLA web app will enlist publics help in slowing the spread of COVID-19 – Newswise

Posted: April 9, 2020 at 6:59 pm

Leticia Ortiz |April 7, 2020

Newswise A team of UCLA researchers has launchedStop COVID-19 Together, a web-based app that will enable the public to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

Through the site, anybody can take a brief survey that covers basic demographics, whether they have symptoms and their possible exposure to COVID-19. The system aggregates users responses to help the UCLA team find ways to reduce the spread of the virus, and to try to protect the health system from being overloaded.

The key contributors to Stop COVID-19 Together are the members of the public who contribute data to the effort, which is designed to predict the spread of COVID-19 throughout the community and to assess the effectiveness of current measures in that community, including physical distancing, said Dr. Vladimir Manuel, a clinician, medical director of urgent care at UCLA Health and one of the projects leaders. We are extremely grateful to everyone who is contributing.

The app was created by UCLA experts from a range of fields, including engineering, data science, clinical medicine, epidemiology and public health. The project is an initiative of the AI in Medicine program at theUCLA Department of Computational Medicine, which is part of UCLA Health.

One of the most pressing challenges with the coronavirus pandemic is the lack of information, said Eran Halperin, a UCLA professor of computational medicine, computer science, human genetics and anesthesiology, and another leader of the project. We do not have a clear understanding of how many people are infected, where they are or how effective the measures that we are taking to slow the spread have been. And we dont know how much strain the virus will put on our local hospitals in the near and more distant future.

The system will build a map of possible hotspots where there may be a higher risk for accelerated spread of the disease. Identifying hotspots will be critical for helping hospitals and medical centers reduce the risk of becoming overloaded as the number of people with COVID-19 increases. The system will also inform the public where hotspots are located, and it is using artificial intelligence to predict where and when the disease will spread. That information could be useful to public officials letting them know, for example, how effective physical distancing is in slowing the spread.

Our system will use machine learning tools to answer these questions and make predictions that will help us as a society be more prepared to fight this disease, said Jeff Chiang, a data scientist on the team.

Follow #TeamLA and #stopcovid19together on social media.

UCLA web app will enlist publics help in slowing the spread of COVID-19 - Newswise

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Why does the new coronavirus kill some people and barely affect others? – Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

Posted: at 6:59 pm

GINA FERAZZI / LOS ANGELES TIMES Riverside County medical personnel administer a coronavirus test to a motorist at a drive-thru testing facility at Diamond Stadium in Lake Elsinore, California, on March 21. Those tested have symptoms or have had a risk of exposure.

SAN JOSE, Calif. Monica and Adrian Arima both were infected by COVID-19 at the same time on the same Nile River cruise, probably during a shared dinner buffet between the Egyptian cities of Aswan and Luxor. As they traveled home to Palo Alto, California, the couples early symptoms body aches and low-grade fever were identical.

But then, mysteriously, their experiences suddenly diverged. Monica spent 13 days at Stanford Hospital; Adrian was there for just three days. She needed extra oxygen and an experimental drug; he didnt.

Now, weeks later, she still has a cough. He is fully recovered, healthy enough to go food shopping and do other errands. Meanwhile, two of their traveling companions in their 70s and 80s tested positive but never suffered symptoms.

Their experience illustrates one of the many puzzling questions raised by the lethal new disease: Why is COVID-19 so inexplicably and dreadfully selective? The difference between life and death can depend on the patients health and age but not always.

To understand, scientists are scrutinizing patients medical histories, genomes and recoveries for any clues to explain this mystery.

Why are some people completely asymptomatic, some have mild disease, others have severe disease but recover and others have fatal disease? We are still trying to figure this out, said Dr. Brian Schwartz, vice chief for clinical affairs in UC San Franciscos Division of Infectious Diseases.

For most, not severe

It is a small subset of people that will go on to develop serious disease. Most will not, he said. We want to learn how to prevent people from developing serious disease and if they do, figure out how to treat it the right way.

Its well-known that death rates are higher among older people. Only 0.2% of people younger than 19 die. But for people between the ages of 60 and 69, the death rate is 3.6%. It jumps to 8% to 12.5% for those between ages 70 and 79, and 14.8% to 20% for those older than 80.

But theres more to it than that. Monica Arima is age 64; her husband, Adrian, is 70. But she has asthma and diabetes, while his underlying health is good.

Emerging U.S. data confirms trends seen in China and Italy: Rates of serious COVID-related symptoms are higher in those with other medical problems and risk factors, such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, chronic renal disease and smoking. In a U.S. Centers for Disease Control report released Tuesday, higher percentages of patients with underlying conditions were admitted to the hospital and to an ICU than patients without other health issues.

There may also be a genetic influence.

One of the things that weve learned from human genetics is that there are extremes at the human phenotype distribution, and pathogen susceptibility is no different, Stanford geneticist Carlos Bustamante told the journal Science. Stanford is part of a COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative, a Finnish effort to link genetic variants associated with COVID-19 susceptibility and severity.

There are going to be people who are particularly susceptible, and there are going to be those who are particularly resistant, he said.

At the cellular level

Biologically, whats going on?

One leading theory is focused on the doors of a cell that permit the virus to enter. We know that the virus enters the body through epithelial cells in the respiratory tract. To get inside the cell, the virus uses a door a receptor called ACE-2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2) on the cells surface.

Individual variations in this receptor could make it harder or easier for the virus to enter, cause infection and burrow deep into the lungs. In some of us, the cell door may open easily; in others, it may stay closed.

Or perhaps some people simply have more of these receptors on their cells. With more doors, the virus may enter more readily, so patients suffer worse infection and more serious disease, said Schwartz.

Theres an abundance of this ACE-2 receptor in cells in the lower lung, which may explain the high incidence of pneumonia and bronchitis in those with severe COVID-19 infection.

Once someone is infected, their immune systems response to that infection is likely the next big decider of their fate.

Doctors are discovering that nine or 10 days into the illness, theres a fork in the road. In most people, the immune system launches a carefully calibrated and effective response, so they recover. But in others, the immune response is too aggressive, triggering massive inflammation in whats called a cytokine storm. Immune cells are overproduced and flood into the lungs, making it hard to breathe and leading to often fatal acute respiratory distress syndrome. Those people develop sepsis, then acute kidney and heart damage. By day 20, they may be dead.

Why does the immune system misbehave? One reason may be age. As we get older, our immune response grows less accurate. It doesnt respond as effectively, and it is not as well-regulated. Genetics may also play a role.

Finally, other preexisting illnesses seem to elevate our risk, although the precise mechanisms arent known.

There may be something about these illnesses that causes them to have an abundance of ACE-2 open doors on the cell surface, Schwartz speculated.

Or perhaps the viral infection worsens the underlying diseases.

Not just the lungs

While typically considered a threat to the lungs, the virus also presents a significant threat to heart health, according to recently published research.

Cardiovascular disease, for example, is an inflammatory condition; so is COVID-19, said cardiologist Dr. Michelle A. Albert of UC San Francisco and president of the Bay Area American Heart Associations board of directors.

New research shows that the inflammatory response of a cytokine storm can lead to heart failure.

The circulating cytokines released during a severe systemic inflammatory stress can lead to atherosclerotic plaque instability and rupture. And infections can trigger an increase in myocardial demand.

Against the backdrop of existing inflammation, it could set off a cascade that results in a worsened underlying biological system, she said.

Some cancer treatments including chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy and radiation can weaken the immune system, making a patient more vulnerable.

And if the airways of the lungs already are impaired by illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, asthma, emphysema or surgery, that person is much more susceptible to a pathogen that enters and infects the injured tissue.

People living with cystic fibrosis particularly need to be cautious because they already have compromised lung function and are susceptible to chronic infections, said Ashley Mahoney of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

That likely explains the different courses of illness experienced by singer songwriter John Prine and his wife, Fiona, both infected during a recent tour in Europe. Fiona has recovered. But Prine, a survivor of lung cancer surgery, is hospitalized and critically ill.

Also at risk is anyone who must take medication to suppress their immune systems, such as organ transplant recipients.

Viral infections are always hard on people with diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Thats because infection can cause the body to produce higher levels of certain hormones, such as adrenaline or cortisol, which counter the effects of insulin. Patients may develop a dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Patients come in all different kinds, said Monica Arima.

Some, like my husband, recover at home, without much help, she said. But I got knocked down.

Why does the new coronavirus kill some people and barely affect others? - Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

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‘Behavioral suppression’ needed to decrease coronavirus infections in Japan: experts – The Mainichi

Posted: at 6:59 pm

People walk along Harajuku's famous Takeshita Street in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, on March 28, 2020. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

Experts in Japan have been simulating how the spread of the novel coronavirus can be tamped down, but in areas where the national government has declared a state of emergency, people's behavior must be firmly restricted, which is a task that, realistically speaking, is extremely difficult.

Akihiro Sato, a professor of data science at Yokohama City University, analyzed the numbers of 15 prefectures, including the seven where the state of emergency was declared. Based on the number of newly infected people announced by local governments, and the proportion of people who recover after being infected and showing symptoms, Sato calculated the shift in the numbers of people who were infected. Setting behavior before the period in which newly infected people increased by a large margin at 100%, Sato calculated the target percentage at which people must refrain from direct contact with others in the following two weeks for no new infections to be detected in the long term.

The results showed that in the case of Tokyo, every individual would have to cut back on the time spent on public transportation and the people they meet by 98%. For example, if one person rides on trains and buses for a total of seven hours per week, and has direct contact with a total of 100 people through work and leisure activities, that person must cut back their time on public transport to 8.4 minutes and their contact to two people per week to prevent new infections from being detected in the long term.

Fukuoka Prefecture requires the greatest behavioral restrictions, at 99.8%. Professor Sato emphasized, "Similar to evacuating from floods and tsunami, the current infection requires behavior that avoids people."

Meanwhile, Jun Ohashi, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo who specializes in human genetics, took particular note of the behavior of those infected with the new coronavirus who have symptoms and those who do not. Based on global infection data, Ohashi postulated that one person infects, on average, 2.5 people. He then calculated that in a city of 100,000 people, when there is one person who tests positive for the virus, the number of newly infected people in a day will reach 15,700 people at its peak. However, if the person who tests positive for the virus reduces their contact frequency with others by 55% of their usual behavior, newly infected people would drop to 430 people per day.

"Unless everyone, including those who are asymptomatic and those who are not infected, suppress the frequency with which they come into contact with people, the number of people who are infected will continue to rise, possibly causing the collapse of the health care system," Ohashi said. "Until we come up with vaccines and therapeutic medications, a long-term vision is essential, and it is important to change the awareness of each and every individual.

Hiroshi Nishiura, a professor specializing in theoretical epidemiology at Hokkaido University, has also calculated that if person-to-person contact can be reduced by 80%, the number of newly infected people would decline.

(Japanese original by Ryo Watanabe and Ayumu Iwasaki, Science & Medical News Department)

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COVID-19: Few Clinical Trials are Done in Africa. This Needs to Change ASAP. – The Wire

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The World Health Organisation (WHO), in its quest to find efficacious therapies to treat COVID-19, plans to conduct a multi-arm, multi-country clinical trial. The trials have yet to begin, but ten countries have already signed up. Only one of them, South Africa, is on the African continent.

Of course, the WHO isnt the only organisation trying to find treatments or even a vaccine for COVID-19. The United States National Institutes of Health maintains an online platform that lists all registered, ongoing clinical trials globally. On March 26, a quick search of the platform using the term coronavirus revealed 157 ongoing trials; 87 of these involve either a drug or a vaccine, while the rest are behavioural studies. Only three are registered in Africa all of them in Egypt.

This low representation of African countries in clinical trials is not unusual. Poor visibility of existing sites, limited infrastructure and unpredictable clinical trial regulatory timelines are some of the key issues hindering investments in this area.

Africas virtual absence from the clinical trials map is a big problem. The continent displays an incredible amount of genetic diversity. If this diversity is not well represented in clinical trials, the trial findings cannot be generalised to large populations.

The same goes for the outcomes of the COVID-19 studies. They too may not be relevant for people in African countries unless conducted locally. This is because responses to drugs or vaccines are complicated and can be influenced by, among other things, human genetics: different people will respond differently to different drugs and vaccines.

More countries on the African continent must urgently get involved in clinical trials so that the data collected will accurately represent the continent at a genetic level.

Time is of the essence. The usual approach, of developing site or country specific protocols, wont work. Instead, African governments need to look at ways to harmonise the response towards COVID-19 across the continent. Now, more than ever, African countries need to work together.

Centres of excellence

Africa does have clinical trial infrastructure and capabilities. But the resources remain unevenly distributed. The vast majority are in Egypt and South Africa. Thats because these countries have invested more heavily in research and development than others on the continent.

Traditionally, clinical trials are conducted at centres of excellence, which are sites that have the appropriate infrastructure and human skills necessary to conduct good quality trials. These can be located at a single university or research organisation, or work can be split between a few locations. But setting up these centres requires significant time and financial investment. Most that I am aware of on the continent have developed over the years with heavy support from external partners or sponsors. In many cases, African governments have not been involved in these efforts.

Once such centres are set up, the hard work continues to maintain these centres and to ensure theyre able to attract clinical trial sponsors. They require continuous funding, the establishment of proper institutional governance and the creation of trusted, consistent networks.

Also read: COVID-19: What Are Serological Tests, and How Can They Help India?

Usually African scientists leading clinical trial sites can apply for funding to conduct a trial; if the site is well known the scientists may be approached by a sponsor such as a pharmaceutical company interested in conducting a trial.

Clearly this approach takes time and usually benefits well-known sites or triallists. So what alternatives are available in the face of an epidemic thats moving as fast as COVID-19?

How to change direction

Key stakeholders should work together to expedite the rollout of trials in different countries. This would include inter-country collaborations such as working with different governments and scientists in co-designing trials; and providing harmonised guidelines on patient management, sample collection and tracking and sharing results in real time.

African governments, meanwhile, should provide additional funding to clinical research institutions and clinical trial sites. This would allow the sites to pull resources together and rapidly enrol patients to answer various research questions.

Because of the uneven distribution of skills and resources the continent should also adopt a hub-and-spoke model in its efforts. This would involve countries that dont have much capacity being able to ship samples easily across borders for analysis in a centralised well-equipped laboratory, which then feeds back data to the country of sample origin.

Governments should also form a task force to quickly engage with key pharmaceutical companies with drug candidates for COVID-19. This team should establish the companies appetite for collaborations in conducting relevant trials on the continent.

Through all of this, it is necessary for stakeholders to identify and address key ethical issues that may arise. Ethics should not be compromised by haste.

Beyond COVID-19

Every countrys epidemic preparedness kit should contain funds set aside for clinical trials during epidemics or pandemics.

This would require governments on the continent to evaluate their role and level of investment in the general area of clinical trials. This will augment the quality and quantity of clinical trials in the face of the constant challenge of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases as well as a steady rise in non-communicable diseases.

On top of this, clinical trial centres, clinical research institutions and clinical triallists on the continent should strive to increase their visibility in the global space. This will make them easy to find in times of crisis, and enhance both south-south and north-south collaborations.

The African Academy of Sciences is currently building an online platform to facilitate this visibility and encourage greater collaboration.

Jenniffer Mabuka-Maroa isProgramme Manager, African Academy of Sciences.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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The secret call of the wild: how animals teach each other to survive – The Guardian

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Sam Williams Macaw Recovery Network in Costa Rica rewilds captivity-hatched fledgling scarlet and great green macaws. But introducing young birds into a complex forest world bereft of the cultural education normally provided by parents is slow and risky.

For 30 years or so scientists have referred to the diversity of life on Earth as biological diversity, or just biodiversity. They usually define biodiversity as operating at three levels: the diversity of genes within any particular species; the diversity of species in a given place; and the diversity of habitat types such as forests, coral reefs, and so on. But does that cover it? Not really. A fourth level has been almost entirely overlooked: cultural diversity.

Culture is knowledge and skills that flow socially from individual to individual and generation to generation. Its not in genes. Socially learned skills, traditions and dialects that answer the question of how we live here are crucial to helping many populations survive or recover. Crucially, culturally learned skills vary from place to place. In the human family many cultures, underappreciated, have been lost. Culture in the other-than-human world has been almost entirely missed.

We are just recognising that in many species, survival skills must be learned from elders who learned from their elders. Until now, culture has remained a largely hidden, unrecognised layer of wild lives. Yet for many species culture is both crucial and fragile. Long before a population declines to numbers low enough to seem threatened with extinction, their special cultural knowledge, earned and passed down over long generations, begins disappearing. Recovery of lost populations then becomes much more difficult than bringing in a few individuals and turning them loose.

Many young birds learn much by observing their parents, and parrots probably need to learn more than most. Survival of released individuals is severely undermined if there are no free-living elder role models. Trying to restore parrot populations by captive breeding is not as easy as training young or orphaned creatures to recognise what is food while theyre in the safety of a cage then simply opening the door. In a cage, Williams says, you cant train them to know where, when and how to find that food, or about trees with good nest sites. Parents would normally have done exactly that.

A generational break in cultural traditions hampered attempts to reintroduce thick-billed parrots to parts of south-west America, where theyd been wiped out. Conservation workers could not teach the captive-raised parrots to search for and find their traditional wild foods, skills they would have learned from parents.

Landscapes, always complex, are under accelerated change. Culture enables adaptation far faster than genes alone can navigate hairpin turns in time. In some places, pigeons and sparrows have learned to use motion-sensors to get inside enclosed shopping malls and forage for crumbs. Crows have in some locales learned to drop nuts on the road for cars to crack. In at least one area they do this at intersections, so they can safely walk out and collect their cracked prizes when the light turns red and the cars stop. Theyve developed answers to the new question: How can we survive here, in this never-before world?

Because the answers are local, and learned from elders, wild cultures can be lost faster than genetic diversity. When populations plummet, traditions that helped animals survive and adapt to a place begin to vanish.

In a scientific article on the vocabulary of larks living in north Africa and Spain titled, Erosion of animal cultures in fragmented landscapes, researchers reported that as human development shrinks habitats into patches, isolation is associated with impoverishment. They write: Song repertoires pass through a cultural bottleneck and significantly decline in variety.

Unfortunately, isolated larks are not an isolated case. Researchers studying South Americas orange-billed sparrow found that sparrow song complexity the number of syllables per song and song length deteriorated as humans continued whittling their forests into fragments. When a scientist replayed 24-year-old recordings of singing male white-crowned sparrows at the same location shed recorded them, they elicited half the responses they had when first recorded. The birds responses show that changes in the dialect lead to changes in listener preference, a bit analogous to pop music. And as with humans, preferences can affect whether a particular bird will be accepted as a mate. White-crowned sparrows singing a local dialect become fathers of more offspring than do singers of unfamiliar dialects, indicating females prefer a familiar tune.

Im not just talking about a few songs. Survival of numerous species depends on cultural adaptation. How many? Were just beginning to ask such questions. But the preliminary answers indicate surprising and widespread ways that animals survive by cultural learning. Regionally different vocalisations are sometimes called song traditions but the more commonly used word is dialects. More than a hundred studies have been published on dialects in birds. And its not just birds but a wide array of animals Including some fish.

Cod particularly, said Steve Simpson of the University of Exeter, have very elaborate calls compared with many fish. You can easily hear differences in recorded calls of American and European Atlantic cod. This species is highly vocal with traditional breeding grounds established over hundreds or even thousands of years. Many fish follow elders to feeding, resting and breeding areas. In experiments, introduced outsiders who learned such preferred locales by following elders continued to use these traditional routes after all the original fish from whom they learned were gone.

Cultural survival skills erode as habitats shrink. Maintaining genetic diversity is not enough. Weve become accustomed to a perilous satisfaction with precariously minimal populations that not only risk genetic viability of populations but almost guarantee losing local cultural knowledge by which populations have lived and survived.

In all free-living parrots that have been studied, nestlings develop individually unique calls, learned from their parents. Researchers have described this as an intriguing parallel with human parents naming infants. Indeed, these vocal identities help individuals distinguish neighbours, mates, sexes and individuals; the same functions that human names serve.

Williams tells me that when he studied Amazon parrots, he could hear differences between them saying, essentially, Lets go, Im here, where are you? and Darling, I just brought breakfast. Researchers who develop really good ears for parrot vocalisation and use technology to study recordings show that parrot noise is more organised and meaningful than it sounds to beginners like me. In a study of budgerigars, for instance, birds who were unfamiliar with each other were placed together. Groups of unfamiliar females took a few weeks for their calls to converge and sound similar. Males copied the calls of females. Black-capped chickadees flock members calls converge, so they can distinguish members of their own flock from those of other flocks. The fact that this happens, and that it takes weeks, suggests that free-living groups must normally be stable, that groups have their own identity, and that the members identify with their group.

Group identity, we see repeatedly, is not exclusively human. Sperm whales learn and announce their group identity. Young fruit bats learn the dialects of the crowds theyre in. Ravens know whos in, whos out. Too many animals to list know what group, troop, family or pack they belong with. In Brazil, some dolphins drive fish toward fishermens nets for a share of the catch. Other dolphins dont. The ones who do, sound different from the ones who dont. Various dolphin groups who specialise in a food-getting technique wont socialise with other groups who use different techniques. And orca whales, the most socially complex non-humans, have layered societies of pods, clans and communities, with community members all knowing the members of all their constituent pods, but each community scrupulously avoiding contact with members of another community. All this social organisation is learned from elders.

Elders appear important for social learning of migratory routes. Various storks, vultures, eagles and hawks all depend on following the cues of elders to locate strategic migration flyways or important stopover sites. These could be called their migration cultures. Famously, conservationists have raised young cranes, geese and swans to follow microlight aircraft as a surrogate parent on first migrations. Without such enculturation, they would not have known where to go. The young birds absorbed knowledge of routes, then used them in later seasons on their own self-guided migrations. Four thousand species of birds migrate, so Andrew Whiten of the University of St Andrews in Scotland speculates that following experienced birds may be an underappreciated but very significant realm of cultural transmission.

When you look at free-living animals, you dont usually see culture. Culture makes itself visible when it gets disrupted. Then we see that the road back to reestablishing cultures the answers to the questions of how we live in this place is difficult, often fatal.

Young mammals too moose, bison, deer, antelope, wild sheep, ibex and many others learn crucial migration routes and destinations from elder keepers of traditional knowledge. Conservationists have recently reintroduced large mammals in a few areas where theyve been wiped out, but because animals released into unfamiliar landscapes dont know where food is, where dangers lurk, or where to go in changing seasons, many translocations have failed.

Williams describes his procedure with the macaws as very much a slow release. First his team trains the birds to use a feeder. With that safety net, they can explore the forest, gain local knowledge, begin dispersing and using wild foods.

Some rescue programmes declare success if a released animal survives one year. A year is meaningless for a bird like a macaw that doesnt mature until its eight years old, says Williams.

I ask what theyre doing for those eight long years.

Social learning, Williams replies immediately. Working out whos who, how to interact, like kids in school.

To gain access to the future, to mate and to raise young, the birds Williams is releasing must enter into the culture of their kind. But from whom will they learn, if no one is out there? At the very least they must be socially oriented to one another. Ex-pets are the worst candidates for release; they dont interact appropriately with other macaws, and they want to hang around near humans.

To assess the social abilities of 13 scarlet macaws who were scheduled for release, Williams and his crew documented how much time they spent close to another bird, how often they initiated aggression, things like that. When the bird scoring lowest for social skills was released, he flew out the door and was never seen again. The next-to-lowest didnt adapt to the free-living life and had to be retrieved. The third-lowest social scorer remained at liberty but stayed alone a lot. The rest did well.

All of the above adds up to this: a species isnt just one big jar of jellybeans of the same colour. Its different smaller jars with differing hues in different places. From region to region, genetics can vary. And cultural traditions can differ. Different populations might use different tools, different migration routes, different ways of calling, courting and being understood. All populations have their answers to the question of how to live where they live.

Sometimes a group will be foraging in a tree, Williams says. A pair will fly overhead on a straight path. Someone will make a contact call, and the flying birds will loop around and land with the callers. They seem to have their friends. Bottom line, said Williams, there is much going on in the social and cultural lives of his macaws and other species, much that they understand but we dont. We have a lot of questions. The answers must lurk, somewhere, in their minds.

As land, weather and climate change, some aspects of cultural knowledge will be the tickets necessary for boarding the future. Others will die out. Across the range of chimpanzees, cultures vary greatly, as do habitats. All populations but one use stick tools. Some use simple probes, others fashion multi-stick toolsets. Only one population makes pointed daggers for hunting small nocturnal primates called bush-babies hiding in tree holes. Only the westernmost chimpanzees crack nuts with stones.

As researchers have noted, distinctive tool-using traditions at particular sites are defining features of unique chimpanzee cultures. Whiten wrote: Chimpanzee communities resemble human cultures in possessing suites of local traditions that uniquely identify them A complex social inheritance system that complements the genetic picture.

Some chimpanzee populations have learned to track the progress of dozens of specific trees ripening in their dense forests. Others live in open semi-savannah. Some are more aggressively male-dominated, some populations more egalitarian. Some almost never see people; some live in sight of human settlements and have learned to crop-raid at night. For a long, long time chimpanzees have been works in progress. Weve learned, writes Craig Stanford, not to speak of The Chimpanzee. Chimpanzees vary and chimpanzee culture is variable at every level.

Its not just the loss of populations of chimps that worries me, Cat Hobaiter emphasised when I spent several weeks with her studying chimpanzees in Uganda. I find terrifying the possibility of losing each populations unique culture. Thats permanent.

Diversity in cultural pools perhaps more crucially than in gene pools will make species survival more likely. If pressures cause regional populations to blink out, a species odds of persisting dim.

Williams goal is to re-establish macaws where they range no longer, in hopes that they, and their forests, will recover. (Most of the central American forests that macaws need have been felled and burned, largely so fast-food burger chains can sell cheap beef.) It often takes a couple of generations for human immigrant families to learn how to function effectively in their new culture; it may take two or three generations before an introduced population of macaws succeeds. In other words, macaws are born to be wild. But becoming wild requires an education.

So whats at stake is not just numbers. Whats at stake is: ways of knowing how to be in the world. Culture isnt just a boutique concern. Cultural knowledge is what allows many populations to survive. Keeping the knowledge of how to live in a habitat can be almost as important to the persistence of a species as keeping the habitat; both are needed. Cultural diversity itself is a source of resilience and adaptability to change. And change is accelerating.

This is an edited extract from Becoming Wild: How Animals Learn to be Animals by Carl Safina, which published in the UK by Oneworld on 9 April and in the US by Henry Holt and Co on 14 April

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15 Important Pros and Cons of Ethical Egoism ConnectUS

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Ethical egoism is the acceptance of society for people to pursue their own self-interests. No one has an obligation to promote what anyone else tries to do because their personal views are the only thing that matters. That makes this theory prescriptive and normative in its application because it becomes concerned about how people behave.

It is essential to remember that the ethical version of egoism is different than the psychological form of it. The latter theory suggests that every action we take is ultimately with our self-interest in mind. That makes it more of a descriptive approach because that is a basic fact of human nature.

The argument for ethical egoism because famous in the poem The Fable of the Bees by Bernard Mandeville and The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Both works describe an environment where people who single-mindedly pursue personal gratification benefit society as a whole. The reason for this outcome is that individuals are more motivated to work hard when personal benefits come from the outcome.

1. Ethical egoism encourages self-awareness.If you can know yourself and what you need, then it is easier to stay productive in modern society. The benefits of having this trait in ones life include a higher level of emotional intelligence, greater listening and empathy skills, along with improved critical thinking. This combination of factors allows for better decisions to be made, which leads to stronger communication and better relationships.

Self-awareness enhances leadership capabilities so that your capacity for accomplishments becomes higher. You can have internal and external versions of this benefit, which involves how we see ourselves and how others see us.

2. There are more opportunities for personal improvement.If you focus on a path involving ethical egoism, then your self-interests become the top priority. Instead of striving to push others forward, youre working toward making yourself better in some way. There are six approaches that you can try with this advantage that can take your work to the next level, ranging from simple breathing exercises to delegating the work you hate to do to other people.

Everyone experiences this positive attribute of ethical egoism from a young age. You might be tempted to steal a candy bar from the store, but the external factor of getting into trouble with your parents or the police makes you decide to pursue greater needs instead. It is an approach that makes you think about your overall wellbeing first.

3. Everyone would have an opportunity to provide for themselves.Ethical egoism is an approach that says what you think or feel are the best motivators to keep you productive. Youre effectively the salesperson of your own life, earning what you believe is your full potential every day. It eliminates the idea of a safety net because the only person you can depend upon is yourself, but then society restructures itself so that every individual has opportunities to pursue their definition of success.

That doesnt mean we would eliminate poverty and hunger immediately by taking an approach that includes ethical egoism. Some people would choose to live a vagabond lifestyle where they would have few responsibilities placed on them. It does give each person a chance to take control of their lives so that they can do what they feel is right for themselves.

4. Ethical egoism allows people to implement self-care routines.When you start putting yourself first, then the first word in your vocabulary becomes no. That makes it a lot easier for you to begin working toward the goals you have in life because others are not directing your footsteps. When you eliminate the control of others, then it becomes easier to prioritize your to-do list each take. Knowing what tasks are the most essential to complete helps you to achieve a goal faster.

Ethical egoism promotes consistency in the facets of this advantage by encouraging people to build new habits. When you make a decision, then you stick to it. Youre conditioning others to accept you for who you are without judging them for being who they are.

5. No one can manipulate you when practicing ethical egoism.You become entirely immune to the idea of having someone take advantage of you when society practices ethical egoism. The people who use others to advance their personal agendas will no longer have the option to make others do favors for them that push their journey forward. Everyone will be taking that approach, so you stay in control of your circumstances at all times.

This advantage also means that others will no longer have the option to guilt you into taking actions that you dont want to do. Youre spending more time on the things in life that you enjoy doing.

6. It eliminates the autopilot approach that people take in life.Many people go through life without a cognitive awareness of their choices or themselves. This approach to life puts you on autopilot because youre allowing the routine to take control instead of your desires. If you have ever zoned out during your commute to or from work, then youve experienced this effect. Those routines can encompass years of your life without a specific direction beyond paying your bills or making enough money.

Ethical egoism pushes you toward a higher level of success. The people who find themselves stuck on autopilot tend to feel miserable and disengaged. Self-awareness is the cure that can clear your mind of the fog, making you feel like youve woken up from a long nightmare. Since society trains us on what our routines should be, a shift to ethical egoism could cause everyone to stop living in their routines.

7. Productivity would rise in society when ethical egoism is in control.When Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations in the 18th century, he suggested that when individuals pursue gratification of their insatiable desires single-mindedly, then they unintentionally benefit society as a whole. It is as if they are led by an invisible hand, as he put it in his work. The idea is that people are usually the best judges of what is in their own best interest. Individuals have more motivation to work hard to benefit themselves than to achieve any other goal.

That means productivity levels rise because everyone has a focus on what their daily needs will be. When everyone is looking out for themselves, then the general good becomes achievable because most people are not going to let themselves be run over by others.

1. It is an approach that would create a self-centered society.One of the principal tenets of ethical egoism is that no one else looks after your personal needs except you. That means everyone, including people in families, is pursuing a reflection of their self-interest. Marriages wouldnt be warm or compassionate places they would become a means to an end. Relationships with children would become the same way.

The idea that communication would improve to create stronger relationships is plausible, but ethical egoism always focuses on self-interest. If those bonds that people form no longer help to push someone forward, then society would say in this structure that you can abandon those people without a second thought.

2. There would be a loss of empathy in society with ethical egoism.Implementing a society focused on ethical egoism would cause us to lose sight of our current culture of empathy. The benefits of understanding how others think or feel are numerous, and its absence is one of the hallmarks of psychopathy. We need this trait to establish friendships, have satisfaction in our intimate relationships, and see reductions of aggression in society. Increases in empathy reduce incidents of domestic violence.

If people pursue their self-interests more than they support each other, then society would become violent. Our loss of empathy would lead to more errors, worse health outcomes, and people would feel less satisfied because each effort would become more difficult to complete.

3. It would lead to a breakdown in workplace relationships.Ethical egoism suggests that employee relationships would become problematic in a society with this structure because the business would only serve its purpose as a means to an end. The relationships formed throughout a career are focusing on what others can do for you instead of being a mutually beneficial place where a rising tide lifts all boats. Everyone would forgo what others could accomplish because their benefits are always the top priority in this structure.

4. Ethical egoism eliminates the concept of objectivity from society.If each person in society were to follow the theory of ethical egoism, then there would no longer be objectivity. No one would care about what anyone else thought with regards to their actions or pursuits. The only drive toward thoughts, feelings, and decisions would be self-interest.

That doesnt mean altruism would disappear entirely. People would still help others if there was a beneficial reason to do so, such as helping a charity because it promotes a higher level of fame. The issue here is that caring for others would often become the action of last resort instead of being a top priority.

5. It would only work if everyone was practicing this theory.Ethical egoism is a theory that only works when everyone practices it. Since people will not associate with someone for long if your words or actions are a reflection of only caring for yourself, the need to be loved by others would eventually cause this approach to malfunction. If the first priority of everyone is to profit from someone else without regard to their status in life, then those effects will eventually fail. There is nothing wrong with the approach of wanting to live life on your own terms, but the idea is to treat others in the same way that you want to be treated.

6. There are no solutions offered when conflicts of interest arise.Ethical egoism doesnt provide a solution when issues arise that involve a conflict of interest. Since most ethical issues involve this sort of problem, the approach at a societal level could cause productivity to grind to a halt. Imagine that a sewage treatment facility wants to dump raw waste into the local river. The people who live downstream from the facility would naturally object to that behavior. This approach would cause both parties to actively pursue what they want.

Ethical egoism doesnt suggest any sort of compromise to the situation. It does not encourage you to arrive at a place of common-sense resolution. You are going to win or lose because there is nothing in between those options

7. Ethical egoism goes against the principle of impartiality.The basic assumption made by most moral philosophers is that we shouldnt discriminate against people for arbitrary reasons. That means a persons gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, or race shouldnt become part of the discussion because our diversity is what makes us stronger. Ethical egoism suggests that we shouldnt even try to be tolerant because it is more important to distinguish between ourselves and everyone else. Then we focus on offering preferential treatment internally or to our external factors.

Immanuel Kant argued over 200 years ago that the fundamental principle of morality is that we shouldnt make exceptions of ourselves. Thats what ethical egoism wants us to do. We shouldnt perform actions if we can honestly wish that everyone would behave in the same way under similar circumstances.

8. It isnt always in a persons best interest to pursue their own self-interest.Game theory uses the prisoners dilemma as an example of why ethical egoism is problematic. If you are in a hypothetical situation where a crime was committed and the police ask you to confess, the terms of the deal say that you get 6 months and your friend gets 10 years in prison. If your friend confesses and you do not, then the opposite result occurs. When both people confess, then you get five years, but if no one confesses, then you both get two years.

Regardless of what your friend does, the best thing to do is to confess because youll get a lighter sentence. Ethical egoism says both should pursue rational self-interest, but then the outcome is not the best possible one. It is an idea that shows how sacrificing your own interests for the good of others somethings denies the fundamental value of your own life.


The pros and cons of ethical egoism lead us to a place where morality becomes an individualized definition instead of a societal constraint. If killing someone was the action to take to improve ones status in society, then a refusal to commit violence would become the definition of an immoral act.

Thats why this approach, although theoretically a way to increase production and satisfaction, would ultimately create a place where no one would feel safe. It would be a chaotic environment where everyone focused on what their needs were first at the expense of everyone else.

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Caleb’s Concepts: Why Everything is just a matter of Opinion – The Appalachian Online

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Next time you fail your math test, tell your teacher to give you an A. Why? Because you failed because of their opinion. While clearly a joke, this point questions what makes something right or wrong.

Right and wrong depend entirely on someones worldview. For example, nonreligious people do not believe in a supernatural world, while religious people believe in a higher power to explain things. These perspectives shape their life outlook giving the appearance of an immovable object meets an unstoppable force.

There will never be a right answer to these worldviews because only the person who holds them can change them. During a mental health workshop I took as a student athlete, I learned that the best way to foster change is through having people recognize the issue.

We can tell people the right course of action, but if they do not recognize it themselves, they will never change. Ever try debating a relative with an opposing political opinion? Did you convince them?

Look at who people think is the winner of a political debate. It will always be the candidate they will vote for anyways. Psychologists call this thinking error confirmation bias because people accept new information that supports their worldview and reject other information. This means that value judgements, such as right and wrong, are references to how we perceive outside events.

This is why there is still a debate about the existence of God. For two people may be exposed to the same event, yet will come to different interpretations of that event. The believer will apply their belief in God as a cause for the situation, while the nonbeliever will not.

Since humans have internal bias, then all human inventions will have a degree of it, including science. Yet, scientists argue that the scientific method prevents human bias from bleeding into science. I would ask these scientists how the scientific method allowed wonky ideas like Social Darwinism to take place.

During the late 19th century, many scientists used the teachings of Charles Darwin regarding human evolution to form a human hierarchy based on race, gender, intellectual abilities and wealth. These scientists followed the scientific method which led to the sterilization of 8,000 people in North Carolina alone. Interestingly enough, Charles Darwin hailed from a long line of fervent abolitionists, and many speculate his commitment to proving human evolution by chance was influenced by his hatred of slavery, Adrian Desmond and James Moore say. According to their biography, Darwin was outraged when he saw the suffering inflicted by slavery and was motivated to prove that all humans came from one common ancestor.

Yet, peoples personal opinions about human evolution impacted methods free of human bias. Despite horrible things being done in sciences name, it has made the world a better place. Why? Because good people found different interpretations of existing information. The world will be a better place when everyone comes together and shares similar opinions about the right course of action.

Dont believe me? You dont have to. After all, it is just my opinion.

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World War 3: Is World War 3 happening? Has WW3 been …

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World War 3 fears ignited yesterday after a US-led airstrike killed Irans most decorated military leader Qassem Soleimani. The strike, which took place in Baghdad as the general left the capital citys airport in an escort, has prompted a severe reaction from Irans leadership, who promised swift revenge against US aggressors.

Iran has realised its threats of retaliation against the US by firing 22 missiles at two military bases shared by the country and coalition personnel.

The attack, which the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has since taken responsibility for, is not thought to have killed anyone.

Officials continue to search the affected buildings, and Donald Trump seemed unperturbed by the attack.

Taking to Twitter yesterday he said: "All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq.

"Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now.

"So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well-equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I

"will be making a statement tomorrow morning."

In the wake of the US drone strike, World War 3 is trending on Twitter, with millions worried the assassination could spark a chain of events ending in full-scale combat.

General Soleimanis death was as a decisive blow for Iran, which lost both its top military strategist and one of its most influential political figures.

The general led the Quds unit of the Iranian revolutionary guard, a shadowy military intelligence outfit responsible for extending Irans influence aboard.

READ MORE:WW3: What are the chances of World War 3 happening? Has WW3 started?

Back home in Iran, he was considered second only to the countrys Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and people saw him as a viable candidate to become the next Iranian President.

Iran has reacted with severity to the loss of the treasured military leader, promising swift revenge on the US.

The countrys President, Hassan Rouhani, vowed Iran would continue to resist American expansionism and take revenge on the dead generals behalf.

The Pentagon branded the attack self-defence, claiming General Soleimani was plotting an attack on American soil.

According to analysts, the drone strike all but forces Iran to retaliate, but revenge will likely come on a smaller scale.

Counter-attacks will likely aim to damage the US via its presence in the Middle East and discourage any future insurrections against Iran.

However, they will likely fall short of all-out war, adding another notch to the tit-for-tat exchange ongoing between the country over the past four years.

American goals are equally opaque, with statements suggesting US attacks are wholly preventative, but senior officials hinting at more comprehensive objectives against the country in the Middle East.

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A future clash between Iran and the US threatens to draw in other world powers, and allies of both countries have already weighed in following Soleimanis assassination.

Russia, a strategic ally of Iran, condemned yesterdays strike amid Tehrans pledge for revenge.

Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the strike was an illegal power move.

However, Russia stopped short of pledging military backing to a future Iranian retaliation, as Mr Lavrov called for dialogue between the feuding countries.

Donald Trump insisted the airstrike would stop another war.

Speaking yesterday, the President said: What the United States did yesterday should have been done long ago. A lot of lives would have been saved.

Just recently, Soleimani led the brutal repression of protesters in Iran, where more than 1,000 innocent civilians were tortured and killed by their own government.

We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war.

Donald Trump has since confirmed the US is ready to retaliate against any Iranian attack, stating in a Twitter post there were 52 sites the US may target in future.

He added the sites would be hit very fast and very hard.

He wrote: Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime including recently hundreds of Iranian protestors.

He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations.

Iran has been nothing but problems for many years.

Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD.

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US Army issues statement after fake "draft for Iran war …

Posted: at 6:54 pm

This handout picture released by the US Army shows U.S. Army Paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, deploy from Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina on January 1, 2020.


Fake news had a field day amid last week's dramatic escalation in U.S.-Iran tensions, even managing to convince several Americans that the U.S. was reinstating the draft for an impending war with Iran.

"United States Official Army Draft, we tried contacting you through the mail several times and have had no response," the text messages read, which were sent out in the days after the U.S. launched a drone strike in Baghdad that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

"You've been marked eligible and must come to the nearest recruitment branch in Jacksonville, Florida for immediate departure to Iran."

"We're aware that this number is not disconnected, you'll be fined and sent to jail for minimum 6 years if no reply," the text concluded.

The message was signed off "U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion" and offers a name and location to which the recipient is directed to report.

It's not known how many people received messages, but it was apparently enough that the U.S. Army had to make an official statement after recruiting offices in the U.S. were hit with a barrage of panicked phone calls.

"U.S. Army Recruiting Command has received multiple calls and emails about these fake text messages and wants to ensure Americans understand these texts are false and were not initiated by this command or the U.S. Army," a statement on the Army's website read.

A similar version of the message that was circulated read: "You've been marked eligible and must come to the nearest branch in New Jersey Area for immediate departure to Iran."

The U.S. disbanded the draft in 1973, and the country's military the third-largest in the world after China and India with just over 1.2 million active personnel has been an all-volunteer force since.

The demographic of who the messages were sent to appears random from adults to kids as young as 14, according U.S. Army Recruiting Command media relations chief who spoke to NPR.

The Army statement added, "Registering for the Selective Service does not enlist a person into the military. Army recruiting operations are proceeding as normal."

Heavy online traffic brought down parts of the Selective Services System website on Jan. 3 and it posted a notice on its website that read, "Due to the spread of misinformation, our website is experiencing high volumes of traffic at this time. If you are registering or attempting to verify registration, please check back later today as we are working to resolve this issue."

The Selective Service System (SSS) is an independent U.S. government agency that holds information on Americans eligible for conscription, and all males between the ages of 18 to 26 are required by law to register their information with it. Because the draft is no longer in place, its relevance is minimal, and compliance is patchy.

Fears of greater conflict in the Middle East shook global markets after the Trump administration's Jan. 3 strike on Soleimani, who had headed Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds Force and led Iranian expansion through proxy forces around the region. "WW3" was trending on Twitter. Trump has since announced that Iran "appears to be standing down" after an Iranian retaliatory strike resulted in no casualties, but Iran's Revolutionary Guards are publicly threatening further revenge.

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WW3? Top 10 Nostradamus Predictions for 2019

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Top 10 Nostradamus Predictions for 2019

Michel de Nostredame, aka Nostradamus, wrote his first set of predictions in the form of quatrains in 1555, yet books of his writings are still popular today. Theres a reason for their popularity: interpreters have shown that its possible to match Nostradamuss predictions with key historical figures and events.

The Nostradamus predictions for 2019 are dire, including economic collapse, what might become World War 3 (WW3), and the end of taxes.

The Nostradamus WW3 predictions have gained traction because so many people feel helpless. They sense that the world is beyond their control and they feel that difficult times are ahead.

Visionaries like Nostradamus have foreseen cataclysms and turbulent times. Nostradamus also confirms centuries-old expectations of a final battle between good and evil. The period we are living in has certainly given us many signs of this upcoming battle. The Nostradamus WW3 predictions fit nicely within this framework.

Nostradamus didnt start to compile his visions until later in life in the middle of the 16th century, but he had started to experience visions at a very early age. According to reports, he would look into a bowl full of water and receive visions of the future.

Nostradamus has been credited with predicting events as diverse as the 1871 Great Fire of Chicago, the rise of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, and the rise of President Donald Trump in 2016. Possibly for 2019, he has predicted the start of a cataclysmic war.

The source of Nostradamuss visions and his ability to predict the future with accuracy remain mysterious and should be taken with a few helpings of salt.

In particular, a Nostradamus predictions list for 2019 should take into consideration events before and after. A better way to consider Nostradamus is to look at the next four or five years.

That said, beyond the individual Nostradamus future predictions for 2019, there is a common theme. Its that negative energy will intensify and accelerate with unprecedented intensity and speed.

One of the signs is that society has become ever more inequitable, fueling negative energy. This intensification of spiritual evil could provoke the destabilization of the world.

According to Nostradamuss vision for 2019, the culmination will be a series of natural disasters and a third world war. While the natural phenomena might be hard to confirm, we have already seen credible threats of war.

Since the Cold Wareffectively ended in 1991, the world has forgotten the fear that the possibility of World War 3 used to generate.

That said, World War 3 news has become current again. Thats because certain countries have resumed a level of tension not seen since about 30 years ago. And instead of diffusing the tension, senators and congressional representatives in Washington have been fueling it.

1. Great eruption of Mount Vesuvius: Nostradamus has predicted a great volcanic eruption. The volcano in question is Mount Vesuvius in Italy, and Nostradamus has forecast that it will shake the earth every five minutes, killing at least 6,000 people.

2. Worst earthquake in recent history: Judging by the fact that earthquakes in recent years have left tens of thousands of people dead (e.g. China, Japan, Haiti, Italy, etc.), Nostradamus must be referring to a cataclysmic disaster for the ages. But whats more interesting to Americans is that this earthquake shall concern particularly the western area of the United States. Its power shall be felt in lands throughout the globe.

3. Global warming: Nostradamus had predicted a climate catastrophe to suddenly burn the Earth over years, if not months. The visionary warned that the King will rob the forests (uncontrolled deforestation?) and that the sky will open and the fields will burn up from the heat.

4. World War 3: This is the big one. Frankly, Nostradamus might have gotten this one spot-on if the U.S., Russia, and other countries dont stop their warmongering.

As Nostradamus put it, A war will start between the two great world powers and it will last for a period of 27 years. A moment of great violence will coincide with the appearance of a comet in the sky. A nuclear terrorism and natural catastrophes will destroy our planet until a giant planet shall approach the earth.

Nostradamus predicted that this event will be pivotal for mankind. These are the quatrains that sound most threatening, and that interpreters of Nostradamus have been warning us about:

Naval battle night will be overcome,Fire in the ships to the West ruin:New trick, the great ship colored,Anger to the vanquished, and victory in a drizzle.

(Source: Nostradamus: Century IX, Internet Sacred Text Archive, last accessed March 6, 2019.)

The war might start at night, according to some interpretations. (Source: Nostradamus and the sequence of events leading to world war 3, Prophet666, February 6, 2012.)

Nostradamuss quatrains describe a level of destruction more gruesome than anything he had predicted earlier. It also fits with the suggestions of an Antichrist arising and of Trump fighting people who come from the eastISIS, for examplein the Mediterranean.

5. Economic collapse: Not surprisingly, natural catastrophes and wars wont be good for the economy. Thus, Nostradamus has foreseen total economic collapse. To this effect, Nostradamus warned that the rich would die many times over.

6. End of taxes in the West: Nostradamus may have another point here. President Trump has already cut taxes for Americans. Meanwhile, many of the populist parties rising in Europe have advocated lowering taxes as a prescription to increase economic growth.

Nostradamus predicted that a mass revolt will end the practice of taxation once and for all. Before you write a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) advising the agency of its imminent demise, remember that Nostradamus specified that it will happen only after a massive revolt.

Nostradamus wrote that people will simply refuse to pay the King any more taxes and that people will celebrate in a country where they have been taxing without mercy. That could stand in for any developed country today. It may even suggest a massive tax revolt in the West in general.

Nostradamus also suggests that the tax revolt might be part of an overall revolt against monarchies in countries that still have such institutions. That could include the United Kingdom, Spain, Norway, Sweden, or Denmarkwhere taxes are indeed very high.

7. Humans will live to be over 200: The advancements of medicine will raise humans life expectancy up to at least 200 years of age, wrote Nostradamus. This prediction has been gradually materializing. Life expectancy in developed countries has increased to an average of more than 80 years.

According to a recent estimate, there are approximately 450,000 centenarians (a person who lives to or beyond the age of 100 years) worldwide. (Source: How Many People Live to 100 Across the Globe? The Centenarian, January 14, 2019.)

Furthermore, Nostradamus predicted, An 80-year-old man will look just like a 50-year old. These days, plastic surgery has made it possible (for those who can afford it) to look decades younger than their calendar age. Its logical to expect such trends to evolve.

8. Right to parenthood: Those who want to have children will require a license or a permit. They wont be able to act as they please, wrote Nostradamus. This prediction makes sense in the context of the fears that many rational economists already entertain. China had already experimented with this policy, officially limiting families to no more than one child.

But theres more. Some governments and social sciences have been pushing the world toward Nostradamuss prediction. (Source: Population Matters, Population Matters, last accessed March 6, 2019.)

9. Language differences will disappear: Nostradamus wrote that because of a new motor, the world will return to being as it was during the days of the Tower of Babel. Students of Nostradamus believe that the new language motor will be used as we use computers today. Nostradamus says this is one of the signs that many of the worlds nations will cease to exist.

10. Humans will speak to animals: Nostradamus predicted that pigs will befriend humans. Some suggest that this was a prediction of scientific advancement, in that genetic mutations will enable humans to communicate verbally with their animal companions.

Consider these predictions with caution, but many of these warningswith a few amendments could certainly apply to the current world. Even for the skeptics, among whom I include myself, there are some ominous-sounding Nostradamus predictions to generate concern.

This one is especially noteworthy:

Songs, chants, and refrains of the slavish mob,Whilst the Princes and King are captive in prison,Shall be received in the future as oracles divineBy headless idiots deprived of judgment.

(Source: Oracles of Nostradamus, French Revolution, Internet Sacred Text Archive, last accessed March 6, 2019.)

Remember, Nostradamus was writing this in the mid-1500s. Yet there he was, describing an event eerily like what happened in his country in 1789, over 200 years later: the French Revolution. Thats when the French people had enough of their aristocratic rulers and revolted.

The peasants (the slavish mob cited above) took control of Paris and forced their demands on the royals and the nobility. The aristocrats (princes and king) were removed from power and locked up in the Bastille (prison) and beheaded by the guillotine (headless idiots).

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