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SMART CAPSULE READS YOUR GUT

Credit: Nanolab, Tufts University

The human microbiome – the ecosystem of bacteria that lives in your gut – has been shown to affect everything from asthma to depression to anxiety disorders. 

Knowing those bugs’ state of health is becoming key to diagnosing and treating a range of illnesses. Currently, physicians do that by analyzing a poop sample. But that only reveals the condition of bacteria in the colon, not farther upstream where entire nations of different bacteria live.

EV POWER BREAKTHROUGH?

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A retired British naval engineer claims to have solved a decades-old battery problem with an invention that quadruples the range of today’s best electric vehicles.

Aluminum-air batteries have been on the drawing board for decades: a piece of aluminum is immersed in an electrolyte and generates current simply by having one end exposed to air. But the aluminum has to be pure – costly and time-consuming to produce – and the electrolyte that works is so corrosive that the aluminum doesn’t last long. The batteries were never practical.

AMERICAN WAISTLAND

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As we’ve been reporting, Americans are fattening up, ditching their morning bowl of cereal for junk food… or what the “marketers” label “high-protein items” that they gobble down at fast food joints. 

Kellogg, the giant manufacturer of such familiar cereals as Frosted Flakes, Special K, and Rice Krispies, reported that cereal sales in North America dropped 4.8 percent in the third quarter.

But the good news is their “snack sales,” such as Pringles, increased 5.2 percent, which bumped up their stocks by 3 percent.

ELECTRIC CARS STALLING

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A few weeks ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notified Tesla informing them of plans to study suspected defects in its electric cars manufactured between 2012 and 2019.

The company has been challenged by the negative publicity of three of its lithium-ion battery cars spontaneously bursting into flames last August.

BIG DATA WATCHING

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Forget “Big Brother.”

Orwell didn’t come close.

They know who you are, where you are, what you look like, what you’re thinking, what you want, and what you’ll pay for. 

In one of the many latest twists, Facebook, Netflix, and Google track your viewing habits to deliver more targeted ads to your brain.

They’re in the selling business, and they’re selling you to advertisers.

Wherever you go, whatever platform you’re on, they’re there.

THE BUSINESS OF AMERICA IS WAR

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Last week, the Pentagon signed the largest contract yet for America’s most expensive weapon, the Lockheed Martin F-35. 

Despite being rated by critics as one of the “5 Worst Fighter Jets Ever Made,” and suffering huge cost overruns, the Pentagon will take $34 billion of taxpayer money to buy some 500 stealth F-35 jets.

Playing middle man for the military-industrial complex, the Pentagon agreed to also broker deals to sell some of the jets to other countries. 

BOLIVIA: MORE OF THE SAME, DIFFERENT LEADER

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As reported in last week’s Trends Journal, millions of Bolivians were infuriated after President Evo Morales initiated a blackout of the vote count in a very close election and then claimed victory.  

Last Thursday, a sizeable part of the country was slowed down by large demonstrations, including strikes and blockades.  

A letter addressed to President Morales and military leaders was released by almost 3,000 officers from the Bolivian Army, Air Force, and Navy asserting that they will “never take up arms against the people.”

CHILE: POWER HUNGRY VS. THE HUNGRY

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Last week, over a million Chilean citizens filled the streets of the capital city of Santiago protesting low wages, high living costs, and government corruption.

While many participating in current protests across the globe are young, in Chile, the street rallies also include many elderly citizens, angry over a failing pension system that promised them comfortable retirements.  

The system, set up decades ago, has proven too expensive to pay into, leaving millions of older workers unable to retire and not making enough in old age to keep up with rising living costs.

TRUCE IN YEMEN?

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As street protests continue to increase around the globe, Yemen finally may be experiencing a halt to the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

After weeks of talks, the ongoing, devastating civil war that cost millions their lives and which has caused widespread starvation and destruction, may be coming to an end. 

Last Saturday, the Yemeni government and leaders of the separatist movement signed an agreement to end the conflict.