MastersConnection 2020
Issue 459 In This Issue December 19th, 2015

Editors Corner

Some of you may have noticed that our Classifieds and Forum pages are "Under Construction". Recently we updated some software that runs our site. The "Business Directory", "Transport & Lodging", "Classifieds", and "The Forum" pages were effected by this update. The Business Directory and Transport & Lodging pages are up, and we are working to bring the rest back up as quickly as we can. We will let you know as soon as they are back up, and thank you for your patience during this time.

And now, on with the newsletter... You may have heard about the car company Volkswagen, using high-tech methods to make their vehicles appear to pass emission tests when they actually shouldn't have. Now BMW and Mercedes have been accused of doing the same thing. Click here

Speaking of pollution, you may be aware that some of the Hawaiian islands are being used to grow genetically modified crops. Did you know that in Kauai, chemical companies spray 17 times more restricted-use insecticides per acre than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland? In Waimea, a small town built in south-west Kauai, there have apparently been at least nine babies born with a severe heart malformation in five years. That’s more than 10 times the national rate, according to analysis by local doctors. Click here

While we're on the subject of pollution, the air quality in China is so bad that apparently a Canadian start-up company, Vitality Air, is bottling air from the Canadian Rockies and selling it to people in China. Click here

That's about it from me for this week. Since Christmas is next week and a New Year starts the week after, it is possible there may be no newsletter until January 9th, but we will try to put out at least one newsletter during that time.
Have a wonderful Christmas, and a truly happy New Year!

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The Wacky, Messy Tale
Of the man who just wanted to make a dog poop lamp

Matthew Mazzotta was in Vermont, visiting his friend Guy Roberts. At some point, as you do, he and the friend got onto the subject of what the hell his friend was doing in Vermont.

“I’m working on a scalable methane digester with parts that clip together and scale up depending on how many cows you have,” said Guy. “It makes free energy.”

“That’s impossible,” said Mazzotta.

“No it’s not,” said Guy. “The little microbes in the manure breathe out methane. It’s naturally occurring.”

Both parts of this conversation are being acted out for me by Mazzotta, while we both sit at the studio he’s working out of during a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin County, Calif. It was a moment that set Mazzotta on a fateful course. “It wasn’t until further down the road that I realized that it had this environmental element to it — that if you burn methane it separates from the carbon dioxide and turns into water,” he said. “So basically it came down to free energy and it was good for the environment. I was shocked. It could not be so.”

Click here to read full article

Technology Watch

This smart car seems to have tattled on its driver
A Florida woman was reportedly arrested and placed into custody last week, after her car implicated her in at least one alleged hit-and-run incident. You read that right. According to reports from Chicago's ABC7 and ABC25 in West Palm Beach, Fla., a car driven by 57-year-old Cathy Bernstein automatically called 911 to report a crash. The call was part of a safety feature designed to help first responders locate people who may have lost consciousness in crashes. That seems to have given dispatchers all the information they needed to pinpoint the location of the vehicle — and find the alleged hit-and-run driver — without ever having to talk to a person. In fact, talking to a person didn't help at all: in an audio clip of a 911 call obtained by the Florida station, Bernstein denied to a skeptical dispatcher that there even been any accident at all. The report said the car that tattled on its owner was a Ford; Police in Port St. Lucie, Fla., did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Alan Hall, a spokesman for Ford, said that the company hadn't heard of 911 Assist being used like this before. But, he said, from reports he'd heard about the Florida incident, it seems that the emergency call feature "worked exactly like it was supposed to."

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Earth Watch

Polar Stratospheric Clouds

This week, sky watchers are reporting an outbreak of polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) around the Arctic Circle. Unlike normal grey-white clouds, which hug Earth's surface at altitudes of only 5 to 10 km, PSCs float through the stratosphere (25 km) and they are fantastically colorful.

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As Florida Keys flood, property worries seep in
Extreme high tides have turned streets into canal-like swamps in the Florida Keys, with armies of mosquitoes and the stench of stagnating water filling the air, and residents worried rising sea levels will put a damper on property values in the island chain. On Key Largo, a tropical isle famous for snorkeling and fishing, the floods began in late September. While people expected high tides due to the season and the influence of a super moon, they were taken by surprise when a handful of streets in the lowest-lying neighborhoods stayed inundated for nearly a month with 16-inches (40-centimeters) of saltwater. By early November, the roads finally dried up. But unusually heavy rains in December brought it all back again. "Like a sewer," said Narelle Prew, 49, who has lived for the past 20 years in her four-bedroom home on Adams Drive, a waterfront lane lined by boat docks. Residents have signed petitions, voiced anger at community meetings and demanded that local officials do something, whether by raising roads or improving drainage. Sometimes, they clash over whether the floods are, or are not, a result of man-made climate change. "We get vocal residents who show up and argue," said Dottie Moses, president of the Island of Key Largo Federation of Homeowners Association, who has never seen such high waters -- or high tempers -- in her 30 years of living here.

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This company is bottling air in Canada and selling it to China
After recently being duped by a non-existent climate change realtor, my guard against fake businesses is permanently up. So when I heard about a company selling bottled air, I assumed it was a conceptual art project, a commentary on the state of global air quality. But, no. It’s real. (At least, I’m pretty sure it is — Donald “I Will Build A Great Wall” Trump is leading the polls. Who even knows what’s real anymore.) Vitality Air, a Canadian start-up, markets two products: The first, Premium Oxygen, is a canister of 97 percent pure oxygen, and it’s not that weird. People have been selling “pure” oxygen for years, both in travel containers and at oxygen bars. Proponents of “oxygen therapy” say it reduces stress, boosts energy, and increases concentration. It’s also, according to Vitality Air, good for hangovers. “Using shots of oxygen from start to finish during your night of hard partying prevents the hangover before it even happens,” reads their website. Talk about a wingman. Teresa Brown, a distributor of Premium Oxygen, told me she discovered the product while suffering from altitude sickness in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

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GMO Watch

Pesticides in paradise: Hawaii's spike in birth defects puts focus on GM crops
Pediatrician Carla Nelson remembers catching sight of the unusually pale newborn, then hearing an abnormal heartbeat through the stethoscope and thinking that something was terribly wrong. The baby was born minutes before with a severe heart malformation that would require complex surgery. What worried her as she waited for the ambulance plane to take the infant from Waimea, on the island of Kauai, to the main children’s hospital in Honolulu, on another Hawaiian island, was that it was the fourth one she had seen in three years. In all of Waimea, there have been at least nine in five years, she says, shaking her head. That’s more than 10 times the national rate, according to analysis by local doctors. Nelson, a Californian, and other local doctors find themselves in the eye of a storm swirling for the past three years around the Hawaiian archipelago over whether a major cash crop on four of the six main islands, corn that’s been genetically modified to resist pesticides, is a source of prosperity, as the companies claim – or of birth defects and illnesses, as the doctors and many others suspect.

Click here to read full article

In The News

US military carried out anthrax & bubonic plague tests in S. Korea – probe
The US military has conducted 16 clandestine tests with samples of anthrax and one experiment with bubonic plague since 2009, a joint US-South Korean investigation has revealed. Samples were tested at a US military base, but also in South Korea’s capital, Seoul. The results of the investigation, led by a joint US-South Korean group, contradict previous statements by the Pentagon that anthrax was tested only once at an American military base outside Seoul. It’s been revealed the United States Forces Korea (USFK) imported and tested anthrax samples 15 times at Yongsan Garrison, in the center of Seoul, between 2009 and 2014. This is in addition to the only exercise admitted by the US in May 2015. Back then, USFK command said it used anthrax samples only once, claiming they were “accidentally” shipped to the US Osan airbase outside Seoul, exposing 22 lab personnel to the deadly agent. None of the workers exposed was eventually infected.

Click here to read full article

BMW and Mercedes accused of cheating on emissions tests
Volkswagen might not be the only car company in hot water. The same researchers who discovered that the auto manufacturer had been cheating on emissions tests are now accusing Mercedes and BMW of the same thing.

Vice reports: A team of scientists led by chemist Axel Friedrich presented the results of a new emissions analysis earlier this week in Berlin. The data apparently demonstrates that Mercedes and BMW also manipulated vehicle emissions values in order to meet legal limits, just as Volkswagen admitted doing. The Mercedes C-Class is supposedly affected. The researchers, who are associated with an environmental group, say the C200 CDI diesel model apparently had more than double the legal limit of nitrogen oxide, or NOx, during test drives. … The inspections, which were done in Switzerland, also reportedly showed abnormalities with a BMW 320d and a VW Passat 2.0 TDI. According to a report from German state television ZDF (link in German) these diesel engines produced higher NOx emissions than official testing had previously shown.

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On The Lighter Side

World’s First Drone Light Painting

Flowers that Look Like Something Else

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Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

NEW: Our Triad Patron Passes are now available for purchase. Get discounts all year long. Give as gifts for loved ones or buy for yourself. Visit our website and go to the Patron Pass page for details. On-line purchase available soon. Need more info? Email us at

Now through December 29th: The Triad Art Gallery presents Les Femme d’art Locale art exhibit
Gallery hours Wed – Sun 12pm to 4pm and during Triad evening events. Visit our website for a sneak peek and further details under the Gallery page.

December 19th @ 7pm: SING-ALONG with The Yelm Chamber Orchestra and Choir
Featuring beautiful music and our favorite Christmas songs sung by the very talented choir. $5 per family. No need to RSVP just load up the car and come on over.

December 20th @ 1:05pm: SEA-HAWKS ON GIANT SCREEN
Join us before the Christmas Show for snacks and some 12th man spirit. No charge to attend however small donations appreciated.

December 20th @ 7pm: THEATRICAL PRODUCTION – “A Christmas Carousel” is The Triad Theater's Christmas show presented by the Theatrical Troupe Standing Room Only. Doors open at 6:30. Cost for adults $10 and children are $5. A joyous comic tribute to the world of famous Holiday films, directed by Nancy Tribush Hillman.

December 22nd @ 7pm: MIRACLES and INSPIRATIONS with Scott Mowry
Hot issues not heard on mainstream media. No matter how grizzly the news, you’ll feel good about it. $10

December 23rd @ 7pm: A White Christmas SING ALONG with Melody Rae as your host
Tired of pulling out your wallet for gift shopping? Put it away tonight and bring the whole family on us. That’s right – FREE!

December 24th @ 4pm: The holiday classic film A CHRISTMAS STORY - "Don't shoot your eye out Dude."
$5 per family. However, if you’re short on cash treat your family to the show and we will pick up the tab. Merry Christmas!

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