MastersConnection 2020
Issue 495 In This Issue September 24th, 2016

Editors Corner

Have you ever wondered why tomatoes grown out-of-season don't taste as good as ones grown in-season? Researchers have found that this can be due to the tomato plants not getting enough UV light, like when they're grown in a greenhouse. Click here

While we're on the subject of nature, are you aware that bumble bees may soon be an endangered species? Apparently the rusty patched bumble bee's population has decreased by over 90 percent in the last 20 years. Click here

Did you know that some fish, much like birds, sing at dawn and dusk? Researchers "recorded vocal fish in the coastal waters off Port Headland in Western Australia ... and identified seven distinct fish choruses". Click here

That's it from me for this week. Don't forget, we also post a new article on our website every day. Enjoy this newsletter and 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.
Nature Watch

Will bumble bees go the way of the dodo? Endangered status proposed
The rusty patched bumble bee could become a thing of the past. Bee die-offs have attracted attention, but the ramifications are now beginning to sting. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing adding the pollinator to the endangered species list. The Bombus affinis, known as the rusty patched bumble bee, was once a prized pollinator, but next it may be the first bumble bee in the continental US to be on the endangered species list, a real buzzkill. In the past 20 years, the rusty patched bumble bee’s population has decreased over 90 percent due to disease, pesticide, climate change and habitat loss, Reuters reported. Bumble bees are a big deal for a few reasons. For starters, agriculture is dependent on them for pollinating about a third of crops in the US which gives bumble bees an annual economic value of $3.5 billion, according to Reuters. Additionally, they are what is known as an indicator species, which means that the health and population is a reflection of environmental conditions in their region’s ecosystem, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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In The News

Florida company responsible for 215m gallons radioactive water leak admits delay informing public
A sinkhole the size of 300 Olympic swimming pools at a Florida fertilizer plant has leaked radioactive wastewater into the state’s aquifer. It took the company more than three weeks to alert the public. Fixing the leak will cost $20 to $50 million. The retention pond which dissolved into the 45-foot wide sinkhole contained hazardous waste, including phosphogypsum, a radioactive byproduct resulting from the production of phosphate fertilizer. The 215 million gallons of waste contained uranium, radium and radon gas. Samples from the groundwater in the Tampa area have so far showed no contamination, according to Mosaic, a phosphate fertilizer facility. But residents with private wells are worried. The company, with headquarters in Minnesota, said that once monitoring equipment at the Mulberry, Florida site showed a major water loss at the wastewater retention pond on August 28, they notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the US Environmental Protection Agency and Polk County. It took the company until September 15 to notify area residents, however.

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Bahamas files: New leak exposes offshore 'tax haven' dealings of politicians, companies
Five months after the Panama Papers exposed the offshore dealings of government leaders and influential people, a new leak of 1.3 million files has revealed the names of individuals associated with companies registered in the Bahamas, a notorious tax haven. The files – received by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – contains the names of politicians and other individuals linked to more than 175,000 Bahamian companies, trusts, and foundations registered in the Bahamas between 1990 and 2016. Among the individual names in the publicly searchable database are politicians, entrepreneurs, financiers and fraudsters, all of whom have taken advantage of the Bahamas' unique positioning as a global tax haven. The benefits of having a registered address in the Bahamas are plentiful, including the absence of taxes on company profits, capital gains, income and inheritance. Anonymity also plays a role – because although the Bahamas claims to be a transparent jurisdiction with a public register of companies, information shared from the government is limited, the Guardian reported.

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Earth Watch

Greenland Ice Sheet Melting 7% Faster Than Previously Thought
You might know the feeling—after months of encouraging news from your bathroom scale, you discover the device is broken. The outlook on your weight-loss goal is worse than you realized. Scientists just went through something similar, except instead of a scale, it was a system of satellites, and instead of your winter weight, it was the Greenland ice sheet. Researchers have been tracking Greenland's ice sheet melt by measuring the shrinking mass of the island via satellite. It now seems there was an error in measurement. A new study published in the journal Science Advances finds the ice is melting 7 percent faster than previously thought. Scientists use satellites to map Earth's gravity field, gathering information about the distribution of mass around the globe. Earth doesn't exert gravity equally in all directions. Where there is more mass, satellites detect a stronger gravitational pull. Using satellite data, scientists can measure various geophysical phenomena, including the melt of the Greenland ice sheet. As ice dissolves, the island loses mass and exerts a weaker gravitational pull—at least that's the idea. In practice, it's a little more complicated. Satellites can only detect a change in mass. They can't determine how much of that mass is ice, how much is land and how much is mantle ebbing and flowing beneath the Earths' crust.

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History Watch

Lost text of charred Old Testament scroll revealed by 3D ‘unwrapping’ (PHOTO)
Scientists have digitally unravelled the mystery contents of an ancient Hebrew scroll almost entirely destroyed in a fire more than 1,400 years ago. Since 1970 the En-Gedi scroll, discovered in a holy ark by archeologists studying a destroyed synagogue, has lain in Israel Antiquities Authority storage. The charred animal skin was rendered unreadable due to its disintegrating pages. However, through a collaboration between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of Kentucky, the text has now been unlocked through computer aided “virtual unwrapping” and a technique known as x-ray microtomography. Radiocarbon dating of the artifact suggests it dates back to the 3rd or 4th century AD, although some historians suspect it could be older. The Hebrew script has been found to be the oldest example of a Pentateuchal scroll outside of the 3rd-century BC Dead Sea Scrolls, and details of its restoration have been published in the Advancement of Science journal. “Each fragment’s main structure, completely burned and crushed, had turned into chunks of charcoal that continued to disintegrate every time they were touched. Without viable restoration and conservation protocol, physical intervention was unthinkable,” the journal article states.

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Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

September 24th @ 7pm: Saturday Night Movie - "Vaxxed" followed by discussion about the movie. Showing again by overwhelming request! Starts at 7pm for $8-pay at the door.

September 25th @ 1:05pm: WATCH the Sea-Hawks take on the 49ers
Doors open 30 min prior. FREE (donations welcome).

September 27th @ 7pm: Current Events not on mainstream media - Nibiru Updates
Doors open 6:30pm, Show at 7pm for $10. Pay at the door.

September 30th @ 7pm: Friday Night Documentary - Telos: The Mystical City, Fact or Fiction?
Cost is $8. Pay at the door.

October 1st @ 7pm: Musical Recital - Featuring the students of Sonia Pena Studios
Doors open at 6:30pm. Adults $5, 12 and under $3. Pay at the door.

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Currency Watch

US Fed acknowledges worries over stock market bubble
The US Federal Reserve is concerned about a new “bubble” on the market, similar to the one that caused the financial crisis of 2008, said Fed Chair Janet Yellen. “Of course we are worried that bubbles will form in the economy, and we routinely monitor asset valuations, while nobody can know for sure what type of valuation represents a bubble,” said Yellen at the news conference after the meeting of the regulator. However, the Fed decided against raising interest rates despite the concern, holding the rate between 0.25 percent and 0.5 percent. Three officials voted against the decision – the biggest dissent since December 2014. “We’re generally pleased with the progress of the economy, and the decision not to raise rates today and to wait for some further evidence is largely based on the judgment that we’re not seeing evidence that the economy is overheating,” said Yellen. The Fed’s decision does not reflect a lack of confidence in the economy, according to Yellen. “Conditions in the labor market have strengthened and we expect that to continue, and while inflation remains low we expect it to rise to our two percent objective over time,” she said, stressing that the majority saw economic progress, but it was not a strong enough case to hike.

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Deutsche Bank Woes Sparks Concern Among German Lawmakers

Deutsche Bank AG’s finances, weakened by low profitability and mounting legal costs, are raising concern among German politicians after the U.S. sought $14 billion to settle claims related to the sale of mortgage-backed securities. At a closed session of Social Democratic finance lawmakers this week, Deutsche Bank’s woes came up alongside a debate over Basel financial rules, according to two people familiar with the matter.

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Technology Watch

Whatever you do, do not use Google Allo: Snowden
Google Allo, the new “smart” chat app launched on Wednesday, is ‘dangerous’ and should be avoided, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden. The ex-NSA contractor posted a series of Tweets to warn everyone away from the chat app, which he says will “record every message you ever send and make it available to police upon request”. Allo, designed to unseat chat pack leader WhatsApp, promises to deliver quick conversations with features like; “Smart Reply” that can guess your answers and respond to messages with just the tap of a button, and “Google Assistant”, which answers your questions and helps you search for things directly in your chat. How does Allo plan on predicting your every word and witty emoji, you ask? “The more you use it, the more it improves over time,” which basically means they’ll collect and store as much of your data as possible and then use artificial intelligence to guess your replies. However, the efficiency of time-saving typing may end up costing customers their already compromised privacy. When Google first announced the introduction of Allo earlier this year they, too, had planned end-to-end-encryption in “Incognito Mode” and assured they would only store messages transiently, rather than indefinitely.

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Green & quiet: Germany gets world’s 1st zero-emission hydrogen-powered train

The first CO2-emission-free train powered by hydrogen, dubbed ‘hydrail,’ has been unveiled at the Berlin InnoTrans trade show and is due to start operating next year. The ‘Coradia iLint’ train developed by French company Alstom was presented to the public on Tuesday. “Alstom is proud to present a breakthrough innovation in clean transportation,” the company’s chairman and CEO, Henri Poupart-Lafarge, said in a statement.

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Something Worth Knowing

UV Light Adds Flavor To Out-Of-Season Greenhouse Tomatoes
For various reasons, fruits and vegetables grown out-of-season don't taste as good as ones grown in-season. Food aficionados are known especially to turn their nose up at greenhouse tomatoes.  A team of researchers led by Michael Dzakovich from Purdue University wanted to determine if it was possible to enhance the flavor of these tomatoes. Because of less sunlight and the UV-blocking properties of glass, they hypothesized that tomatoes grown out-of-season in greenhouses did not receive adequate ultraviolet light. UV light (specifically UV-B radiation), which stresses plants, triggers metabolic reactions that may alter the flavor and nutritional value of fruit. To test their hypothesis, the authors grew tomatoes in a greenhouse with or without UV light supplementation. (Tomatoes without UV light served as the "control" group.) They also grew "outdoor" tomatoes in the summertime. Then, they asked a panel of volunteers to taste and rate the tomatoes on a scale from 1 to 9 on qualities such as aroma, sweetness, and overall experience.

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On The Lighter Side

Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds
The ocean might seem like a quiet place, but listen carefully and you might just hear the sounds of the fish choir. Most of this underwater music comes from soloist fish, repeating the same calls over and over. But when the calls of different fish overlap, they form a chorus. Robert McCauley and colleagues at Curtin University in Perth, Australia, recorded vocal fish in the coastal waters off Port Headland in Western Australia over an 18-month period, and identified seven distinct fish choruses, happening at dawn and at dusk. You can listen to three of them here: Audio Player The low “foghorn” call is made by the Black Jewfish (Protonibea diacanthus) while the grunting call that researcher Miles Parsons compares to the “buzzer in the Operation board game” comes from a species of Terapontid. The third chorus is a quieter batfish that makes a “ba-ba-ba” call. “I’ve been listening to fish squawks, burble and pops for nearly 30 years now, and they still amaze me with their variety,” says McCauley, who led the research.

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