July 2019

Cuba

Fidel Castro’s Cuba has been in the crosshairs of US regime change efforts since the Cuban Revolution in 1958.

After the US-supported failed Bay of Pigs military operation in 1959, the CIA partnered with the Mafia, who had a dominant presence in Havana, to assassinate Castro. The plots were revealed in the mid-1970s by the Church Committee. These ran the gamut from snipers to an exploding cigar.

Following the revolution, Castro and his associates formed an effective police state. Cubans demanding political and civil liberties were denounced as enemies of the state.

Nicaragua

The Central American nation of Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America, followed by Haiti. Forty-three percent  of the population live in rural areas and 68 percent survive on a little over $1 per day. 46.2 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the Borgen Project.

The oil industry's risky future

Over the next two decades, the need for petroleum-based motor fuels – now half or more of the oil industry’s market – will shrink faster than the Antarctic’s ice sheet. The oil industry has acknowledged this looming reality but, as a whole isn’t terribly concerned.

But why not? There’s a lot for oil producers to worry about:

Nuclear fusion

Many of the world’s top scientists see nuclear fusion as the clean, affordable, nearly inexhaustible future source of energy which has the best chance of neutralizing the looming devastation of climate change.

“If any research project ever met the definition of high-risk, high-reward, this would be the one,” says Yet-Ming Chiang, Professor of Science and Engineering at MIT.

Brain loss, brain gain…

Alzheimer’s disease kills more people in the U.S. than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. It’s now the number one killer in England and Wales. There’s a new case in the world every three seconds.

And while there are no treatments that can reverse or even stop its progression, recent research has shown that certain protocols, mostly lifestyle related, can improve symptoms, slow down the rate of neurological decline, and help prevent the disease from taking over in the first place.

The human heart in 3d

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have 3D-printed a complete, small-scale human heart, complete with inner chambers and its own blood vessels and circulatory system.

Just as impressive, the heart matches the biochemical and immune system properties of the person who donated the cells the heart was made from. That means that, if the heart were implanted in the cells’ donor, the body would recognize it and not reject it as alien.

Drinking the bottle along with the water

People in North America ingest at least 100,000 tiny pieces of plastic every year, according to a report by a coalition of research biologists in British Columbia. The pieces may be as long as a fifth of an inch – about five millimeters – and thin enough to be virtually invisible.

The report is the first that attempts to quantify the amount of plastic routinely entering our bodies.

Harvesting metals from the deep ocean floor

The treasures that litter the world’s seabeds aren’t in pirates’ chests; they’re in fist-sized lumps of ore that are rich in minerals and metals such as cobalt, a key component in electronic devices, as well as copper, molybdenum, nickel, and others.

But a lack of workable technology, coupled with the relative abundance of these minerals topside, has kept those treasure-laden nodules down deep.