MastersConnection 2020
Issue 501 In This Issue November 12th, 2016

Editors Corner

Did you know that concrete can now be "self-healing"? A professor at the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, has invented bioconcrete -- that's concrete that heals itself using bacteria. Click here

Speaking of rock-like substances, are you aware that researchers have discovered a massive 'lake' beneath Bolivia's sleeping Cerro Uturuncu volcano? What does this have to do with rock-like substances? Well, the water in this 'lake' is apparently dissolved in partially-molten rock at temperatures close to 1,000°C. It is believed that this enormous lake bubbling under the hills of Bolivia could help scientists predict when the volcanoes will erupt. Click here

On a slightly different subject, have you heard that in Italy, some hotels offer a free hotel stay in exchange for goods & services from November 14 to 20? They call this period of time ‘Barter Week’. Click here

Also in this week's edition, we have a new blog post by Denise Hendrikx titled "How about agreeing to disagree?". And there's more, but I will leave the rest for you to discover and enjoy.
Have a wonderful week.

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The articles published in these MastersConnection2020 newsletters, or on or, only represent the views or opinions of the person or entity whose name appears as the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the MastersConnection2020 or any of its affiliates.
Bloggers Corner
How about agreeing to disagree?
By Denise Hendrikx

Often in life, people seem not to be able to see eye to eye, no matter the issue at hand. It seems to be one of the signs of the times we are currently living in, but, by all means, this should not mean that we should give in to these omni-prevalent tendencies. Today’s world is slowly but surely becoming more and more polarized. As a result, people’s opinions on whatever topic at hand, could not be further apart. Needless to say that conflicts will emerge in such a situation. Mostly, people find that conflicts need to be resolved in a peaceful manner. However, nowadays the world is anything but peaceful. When I state this, I mean to say that we can witness this on both a personal level as on a global level. Let us talk about the personal level first. Are individuals able to agree to disagree?

On a personal level

When friends quarrel or have a difference of opinion on a social or political viewpoint, this can lead to hurtful situations. However, having different opinions does not necessarily mean that the reason people became friends will get lost in space, as if the friendship never existed.

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In The News

Vandalized cars, smashed windows: Anti-Trump protest in Portland proclaimed ‘riot’ (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

At least 26 people have been arrested during anti-Trump protests in Portland, Oregon, police say, adding that officers deployed pepper spray as well as “rubber ball distraction devices” to disperse the rally.

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Calexit: California mulls becoming own nation in wake of Trump presidency
The Golden State could become the Golden Nation if an independence referendum gets passed. Emboldened by California’s strong economy and high population, the so-called “Calexit” could gain traction following the election of Donald Trump. California could become an independent country in 2019 when voters hit the polls again. The Yes California Independence Campaign believes that “being a US state is no longer serving California’s best interests” and thinks that California would be better suited making its own immigration laws. While many states, like Texas, have toyed with secession in the past, California’s potential Calexit has something unique: money. Iranian-American entrepreneur, Shervin Pishevar, executive chairman of Hyperloop One, has voiced his support for Calexit. On Tuesday, he tweeted that in the case of a Trump win he would be "announcing and funding a legitimate campaign for California to become its own nation.” Now Pishevar is willing to put his money where his mouth is. He has resigned from his position as a member of the Fulbright Scholarship board, citing an inability to work with Trump.

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Paris attacks: Counter-terrorism chief wants fingerprinting & iris scans for all at UK borders
Every person entering the United Kingdom should be forced to undergo “fool-proof” fingerprinting and iris scans, the country’s newly appointed counter-terrorism chief says, claiming the move will prevent terrorists from entering Britain. Speaking one year after the Paris attacks left 130 people dead and 368 injured, the UK’s new senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism policing, Neil Basu, said the atrocities were a “sit up and think” moment for those tasked with defending Britain. “Society needs to debate what’s required. But in law enforcement, I’d say if you want security, you need to improve your biometrics at the borders,” he said, as quoted by the Telegraph. “Everybody’s identity should be checked as they come through a border in a way that is fool-proof. Fingerprints, iris scans, the documents need to be tamper-proof,” Basu added. The counter-terrorism chief stressed that terrorist tactics are “very different now,” noting they are seeking to achieve the “maximum amount of terror, damage, and economic and physical and emotional carnage.” Basu went on to note that people can be smuggled into the country in the same way that illegal firearms are. “And if one of those happens to be a terrorist, that’s a big problem.”

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Earth Watch

Massive 'lake' found beneath Bolivia's Cerro Uturuncu could help predict when the next volcano will blow
An enormous lake bubbling under the hills of Bolivia could help scientists predict when the volcanoes will erupt. Researchers discovered the pool of water dissolved in partially-molten rock at a depth of 15 km (9 miles) underneath the sleeping Cerro Uturuncu volcano. They believe that such enormous magma lakes could be hiding under other active volcanic regions, such as in New Zealand, with the mix of water and molten rock triggering eruptions. Scientists discovered the anomaly under Cerro Uturuncu, a dormant volcano on the Bolivian Altiplano. They estimate the huge reservoir could have a total volume of as much as 310,600 cubic miles (500,000 cubic km), containing a mass of water equivalent to Lake Superior in North America.  But this water is mixed with partially molten rock at temperatures close to 1,000°C (1,800°F). What’s more, measurements made at the Bolivian site indicate that there could be between 8 to 10 per cent water dissolved in the silicate rocks. An international team, led by researchers at the University of Bristol, recreated these hellish conditions at a laboratory in France, finding the mixture would be a better conductor of electricity.

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Economy Watch

Saudi Arabia admits owing billions of dollars to contractors over oil slump
The Saudi Arabian finance minister has admitted billions of dollars are owed to private construction firms and foreign workers following the fall in oil revenue. Workers have been struggling for months without pay. The kingdom has already paid off 70,000 redundant laborers, but tens of thousands remain stranded and unpaid. It has also suspended new contracts. The Council on Economic Affairs and Development (CEDA) does not expect all the workers to be paid off until the end of the year.“I don’t recall the exact amount now, but its billions of dollars,” said the new Finance Minister Mohammed Aljadaan, according to the Guardian. “The ministry is now every day seeking to make thousands of payment orders,” he added.According to the official Saudi news agency, “the sharp decline in oil revenues and the measures taken by the kingdom to reduce spending on a number of projects” is what led to the delays in payment. Saudi Arabia gets three-quarters of its revenue from oil. The 2014 slump in energy prices created a $98 billion budget deficit in 2015.

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Food Watch

Would YOU eat a 'Kalette'? Strange kale-Brussels sprout hybrid could take over our plates this Christmas
A new vegetable has been harvested in time for Christmas as a more appealing alternative to the Brussels sprout. The creations, called Kalettes, are nutty and sweet tasting and are a cross between kale and the traditional sprout. It is hoped the new green will be more popular than the classic Christmas vegetable which often proves unpopular among children and adults alike. Staples Vegetables near Boston in Lincolnshire, is behind the idea and hope they will prove popular over the coming festive months. 'We think this will be a really popular choice for Christmas dinners this year,' said Nigel Clare, commercial director at Staples Vegetables. 'The Kalettes are milder tasting than sprouts and so we think it is more friendly for the general public and kids alike.  Both Brussels sprouts and kale belong to the Brassica family of vegetables which also includes broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, turnip, radish and cress. Brassica vegetables are renowned for their ability to be cross-bred with one another, which occurs because they are all derivatives of a wild cabbage that existed 5,000 years ago.

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Weather Watch

Snowiest November day in 111 years, Stockholm
On November 9, 2016, Swedish capital Stockholm has broken its all-time snowfall record for any November day since measurements began in 1905. During the early morning hours of November 9, national weather agency SMHI recorded 21 cm (8.26 inches) of snow with another 15 to 20 cm during the day, SMHI meteorologist Elisabeth Saarnag said. On Thursday morning, November 10, the snow was 39 cm (15.35 inches) thick at SMHI's weather station in Stockholm. The previous record was set in 1985 when 29 cm (11.41 inches) of snow fell in one day. Unconfirmed reports mention 30 - 40 cm (15.74 inches) within 6 hours. Meteorologists say Stockholm was hit by a weather phenomenon known in Swedish as 'snökanoner' or 'snow cannons.' In English, this is called lake-effect snow and is a rapid deposit of snow caused when a cold air mass moves across an expanse of warmer water. Yesterday's early season snowfall created huge traffic problems as it caught many drivers unprepared. Many buses across the capital and beyond were canceled and drivers forced to leave their vehicles on the roads. According to police reports, some of the drivers were stuck in their vehicles for more than 10 hours.

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Deadly flash floods hit Johannesburg, South Africa
Heavy rain hit South Africa on November 9, 2016, causing devastating flash floods in country's capital Johannesburg, Gauteng province. Media reports on November 10 mention at least 6 people killed, dozens of vehicles swept away and houses damaged. At this time, there are still conflicting reports on the death toll. Further flooding is possible today, SA Weather Service warned. An intense rainstorm caused 'flash flood beyond the capacity of our storm water systems,' Mayor Herman Mashaba said in a statement today. The flash floods have caused chaos on the city's roads, with most of them cut off. According to police reports, the flooding was described as disastrous. There are also unconfirmed reports of a tornado. “A truck went into nine cars on the N3 and four people were killed. We’ve had to rescue hundreds of people from the water, we are hoping the waters will go down so that we can continue our efforts,” Joburg metro police department spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said. “People have had to climb out of their cars and stand on roofs because the water was at window level. This is a bad, bad situation,” she added.

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Intense hailstorm hits Adelaide, South Australia
An intense thunderstorm accompanied with large hail hit Adelaide, South Australia on November 11, 2016. At the time of the event, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reported four thunderstorms tracking southeasterly across Adelaide, the Barossa, and the Fleurieu Peninsula. The weather system brought heavy rainfall, strong winds, and golf-size hail to the affected regions. According to Mark Anolak, senior forecaster, several stations recorded between 5 and 10 mm (0.2 and 0.4 inches) of precipitation in a period of only ten minutes.  “Larger hail has fallen, particularly through the north-eastern areas of the Adelaide metropolitan area. I don’t now how often we see hailstones this big in Adelaide,” he said. Torrential downpours have caused localized flash flooding. Affected areas include Adelaide, Whyalla, Renmark, Mount Gambier, Leigh Creek, and Moomba. About 1 000 properties across parts of Adelaide, the Mid North, and Yorke Peninsula reported power loss. Before the storm system swept the region, temperatures up to 31 °C (87.8 °F) were reported in Adelaide.

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Technology Watch

The 'living concrete' that can heal itself
It's the world's most popular building material, and ever since the Romans built the pantheon from it some 2,000 years ago, we've been trying to find ways to make concrete more durable. No matter how carefully it is mixed or reinforced, all concrete eventually cracks, and under some conditions, those cracks can lead to collapse. "The problem with cracks in concrete is leakage," explains professor Henk Jonkers, of Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands. "If you have cracks, water comes through -- in your basements, in a parking garage. Secondly, if this water gets to the steel reinforcements -- in concrete we have all these steel rebars -- if they corrode, the structure collapses." But Jonkers has come up with an entirely new way of giving concrete a longer life. "We have invented bioconcrete -- that's concrete that heals itself using bacteria," he says. The bioconcrete is mixed just like regular concrete, but with an extra ingredient -- the "healing agent." It remains intact during mixing, only dissolving and becoming active if the concrete cracks and water gets in.

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The HIV test that plugs into your laptop: USB stick could help diagnose the disease in 30 minutes
UK scientists have developed a new type of HIV test which can plug into your computer, like a USB memory stick. Researchers claim the device can detect the virus in a drop of blood, generating a signal which can be read by a laptop or handheld device. The disposable technology could help patients to monitor their own treatment and produces an accurate result in just 30 minutes. Developed by a team Imperial College London and diagnostics firm DNA Electronics, its makers say the USB test could be used to help patients in remote regions manage the condition more effectively. Like current diagnostic tests, it detects the amount of virus in the patient’s blood. But unlike standard HIV tests, the USB chip can produce a result in minutes rather than days. ‘HIV treatment has dramatically improved over the last 20 years - to the point that many diagnosed with the infection now have a normal life expectancy,’ said Dr Graham Cooke, a clinician scientist at Imperial and senior author of the research, published today in the journal Scientific Reports. He added: ‘Monitoring viral load is crucial to the success of HIV treatment.

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Something Worth Knowing

Italy’s ‘Barter Week’ provides free hotel stay for goods & services
Thousands of Italian bed and breakfasts (B&B) are offering visitors to barter their skills and services such as music lessons or olive harvesting for free hotel stays. The initiative is called Barter Week and gives those who may not normally afford it a chance to travel. Barter Week has been held annually since 2009 and runs from November 14 to 20. It was started by an Italian B&B booking website after it has discovered that one of its B&Bs used barter instead of normal payments for its business. Prospective guests can browse a wish list of B&Bs and contact them to negotiate a stay. They are also encouraged to take the initiative and suggest their own offers which the hotels may respond to. The wish lists have a huge range of proposals as payment for a hotel stay. Some owners of B&Bs ask for language lessons, website translations, and musical performances. Others seek help with practical tasks such as gardening, laundry or olive picking. A lot of hosts allow travelers free nights in exchange for quality local produce from their country. English tea, a gramophone, homemade soap, yoga class, old bird cages, sushi making lessons are all among the hoteliers requests.

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On The Lighter Side

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Gallery 2016 Finalists

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Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

Every Weekend in November: Monty Python's SPAMALOT!!
The show performs Friday and Saturday nights November 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th, 25th & 26th at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees November 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th at 2pm. (November 19th is a special sold out performance).
Regular Ticket price: $24.50 Discounted Tickets for Seniors, Military, and Students: $15.00

November 13th @ 5:30pm: Kickoff - Sea-Hawks VS Patriots
Stay around after SPAMALOT and Watch the Sea-Hawks on The Triad's NEW SCREEN!! FREE (donations accepted).

Every Tuesday in November @ 7pm: Miracles & Inspirations presented by Scott Mowry
Nov. 8th, 15th, 22nd, & 29th - is Scott Mowry translating todays news stories. Cost is $10.

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