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Brain May Flush out Toxins During Sleep; Sleep Clears Brain of Molecules Associated With Neurodegeneration: Study
USA Created: 20 Oct 2013
A good night's rest may literally clear the mind - Using mice, researchers showed for the first time that the space between brain cells may increase during sleep, allowing the brain to flush out toxins that build up during waking hours.

These results suggest a new role for sleep in health and disease. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the NIH.

"Sleep changes the cellular structure of the brain. It appears to be a completely different state," said Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., D.M.Sc., co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, and a leader of the study.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have wondered why people sleep and how it affects the brain. Only recently have scientists shown that sleep is important for storing memories. In this study, Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues unexpectedly found that sleep may be also be the period when the brain cleanses itself of toxic molecules.

Their results, published in Science, show that during sleep a plumbing system called the glymphatic system may open, letting fluid flow rapidly through the brain. Dr. Nedergaard's lab recently discovered the glymphatic system helps control the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

"It's as if Dr. Nedergaard and her colleagues have uncovered a network of hidden caves and these exciting results highlight the potential importance of the network in normal brain function," said Roderick Corriveau, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS.

Initially the researchers studied the system by injecting dye into the CSF of mice and watching it flow through their brains while simultaneously monitoring electrical brain activity. The dye flowed rapidly when the mice were unconscious, either asleep or anesthetized. In contrast, the dye barely flowed when the same mice were awake.

"We were surprised by how little flow there was into the brain when the mice were awake," said Dr. Nedergaard. "It suggested that the space between brain cells changed greatly between conscious and unconscious states."

To test this idea, the researchers used electrodes inserted into the brain to directly measure the space between brain cells. They found that the space inside the brains increased by 60 percent when the mice were asleep or anesthetized.

"These are some dramatic changes in extracellular space," said Charles Nicholson, Ph.D., a professor at New York University's Langone Medical Center and an expert in measuring the dynamics of brain fluid flow and how it influences nerve cell communication.

Certain brain cells, called glia, control flow through the glymphatic system by shrinking or swelling. Noradrenaline is an arousing hormone that is also known to control cell volume. Similar to using anesthesia, treating awake mice with drugs that block noradrenaline induced unconsciousness and increased brain fluid flow and the space between cells, further supporting the link between the glymphatic system and consciousness.

Previous studies suggest that toxic molecules involved in neurodegenerative disorders accumulate in the space between brain cells. In this study, the researchers tested whether the glymphatic system controls this by injecting mice with labeled beta-amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, and measuring how long it lasted in their brains when they were asleep or awake. Beta-amyloid disappeared faster in mice brains when the mice were asleep, suggesting sleep normally clears toxic molecules from the brain.

"These results may have broad implications for multiple neurological disorders," said Jim Koenig, Ph.D., a program director at NINDS. "This means the cells regulating the glymphatic system may be new targets for treating a range of disorders."

The results may also highlight the importance of sleep.

"We need sleep. It cleans up the brain," said Dr. Nedergaard.
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Source: Science Daily, 17 Oct 2013

Steady Rise in Thyroid Cancer Not Explained by Better Screening, Study Says
USA Created: 14 Oct 2013
Better detection alone doesn't explain the dramatic increase in thyroid cancer [in the neck] cases seen in the United States over the past three decades, a new study says.

Researchers who looked at records for more than 200 patients were unable to show that advances in screening are behind the jump in thyroid cancer cases as some specialists believe.

"The incidence of thyroid cancer is on the rise and has nearly tripled in the last 30 years," said lead researcher Dr. David Goldenberg, director of head and neck surgery at Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute.

"Some researchers have attributed this increase in incidence to improved sensitivity of diagnostic techniques," he said, referring to the discovery of small insignificant thyroid cancers via state-of-the-art imaging. "Others do not agree and say that there is a real rise in this disease."

Many thyroid cancers are discovered incidentally when a patient undergoes a diagnostic study for some other reason, such as trauma, neck pain or to detect clogged arteries in the neck, Goldenberg explained.

To try to determine whether the increase in thyroid cancer was due to better diagnosis or more actual cancer, Goldenberg's team compared incidentally discovered versus non-incidentally discovered thyroid cancers to see if the groups had different characteristics.

"We found that patients with incidentally discovered thyroid cancers were older, had more advanced disease and were more likely to be men," he said. "These findings imply that improved detection may not be the only cause for the increased incidence of thyroid cancer."

One expert who was not involved with the study said that the findings -- published online Oct. 10 in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery -- add to the evidence that thyroid cancer really is on the rise.

"This study suggests that there is an actual true increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer," said Dr. Douglas Frank, director of the center for head and neck surgical oncology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Although this rise is not supported directly by this study, he said, it is felt to be true generally and is supported by other current reports.

"The question has been answered," Frank said. "It is not just a matter of better detection. But it is unclear why there is an increase in true incidence."

For the most common type of thyroid cancer, the prognosis is generally excellent, he noted. "Younger patients do the best, but older patients still generally do well," Frank added. "But older patients -- generally those over age 50 -- with more advanced disease, with metastatic or large tumors, do not always do so well in terms of disease recurrence and ultimate survival, although they can still do quite well and survive."

For the study, Goldenberg's team compared the clinical and pathologic characteristics of 31 patients whose thyroid cancer was discovered when they had diagnostic imaging for reasons other than thyroid cancer with 207 patients who had scans specifically to diagnose thyroid cancer.

Men accounted for more than half of those whose cancer was discovered incidentally (54.8 percent) but only 13.5 percent of those screened specifically for thyroid cancer, the researchers found.

Average age at diagnosis was about 42 for those scanned for thyroid cancer and 56 for those diagnosed incidentally. The cancers found in an unrelated scan were more advanced, but no difference between the groups was noted in tumor size, amount of cancer inside the thyroid, or cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes or other organs.

But if better detection isn't behind the uptick in cases, what is?

Goldenberg has looked at exposure to radiation and radon as possible contributors.

"We recently published our work looking into the Three Mile Island vicinity as an etiological [causative] factor -- no association found," Goldenberg said. The Three Mile Island accident was a partial meltdown of a nuclear reactor in central Pennsylvania in 1979. "We recently completed a study looking at radon as a causative factor -- no association found," he said.

The researchers said they need to study whether other lifestyle and environmental factors are contributing to the increase in thyroid cancer.

More information

For more information on thyroid cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: David Goldenberg, M.D., professor, surgery and oncology, and director, head and neck surgery, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Hershey, Penn.; Douglas Frank, M.D., director, center for head and neck surgical oncology, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Oct. 10, 2013, JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, online

Last Updated: Oct. 10, 2013

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
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Source: HealthDay, Steven Reinberg, 10 Oct 2013

Beware Analog Meters with hidden transmitters
USA Created: 14 Oct 2013
The stealth meters: Analog meters with hidden transmitters.

Analog electrical meters sometimes transmit to the utility, just as a digital smart meter. Many people with these meters are unaware that they have a transmitter on their house, as these meters look like regular analog meters.

These “stealth meters” have been in use for well over a decade. New analog meters are probably no longer installed, but it is possible to upgrade some models by installing a transmitter.

There are meters available which transmit by wireless or by PLC, which both can cause health problems.

(..SNIP..)

Read the entire via the source link below...
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Source: EiWellSpring, 14 Oct 2013

Sleepless in the states: Nearly 9 million pop pills for shut-eye
USA Created: 12 Oct 2013
Desperate for rest in a frenzied world, at least 8,6 million Americans take prescription sleeping pills to catch some Zzzs, according to the first federal health study to focus on actual use.

Between 2005 and 2010, about 4 percent of U.S. adults aged 20 and older popped popular prescription drugs such as Lunesta and Ambien in the previous month, say government researchers who tracked 17,000 people to their homes and peered into their medicine cabinets.

About a quarter of those studied suffered sleep problems serious enough to report to their doctors, said Yinong Chong, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“They told us they had difficulty getting to sleep, or they were waking up and couldn’t get back to sleep,” said Chong, whose study is based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The report provides the latest evidence that a good night’s sleep is becoming more elusive. In 2008, market research from Thomson Reuters found that sleeping pill prescriptions had tripled among people younger than 45. The new study offers the first look at how many people are actually taking them, Chong said.

Overall, between 50 million and 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders or sleep deprivation, according to the Institute of Medicine, which advises public policy. Adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, but more than a third of adults get less, according to the CDC.

In the new report, sleeping pill use started climbing among people in their 40s and 50s, with at least 5 percent resorting to the drugs. It was highest among those with more education -- and among women, with 5 percent reporting taking the pills, compared with 3.1 percent of men, the authors found.

That may reflect the strain of modern life, with people, particularly women, trying to juggle the growing demands of work and family, only to find it takes a toll on their sleep patterns, said Dr. Roneil Malkani, an assistant professor of neurology at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“We know that insomnia is more prevalent among women than men,” he said. “I think that there are people who don’t get enough sleep because they have responsibilities and jobs and expectations.”

Just ask Chicago resident Yvonne Oby, 60, a manager at a legal firm who started taking Ambien CR in 2011 when sleep problems coincided with ramped-up work demands.
Ambien sleeping pills
JB Reed / Bloomberg News via Getty Images
Ambien, a top-selling prescription sleeping pill, is among the many prescription drugs used by Americans seeking a good night's sleep.

“We were in the beginning of doing a merger to become international,” recalled Oby, who found herself waking up at 1:30 a.m. -- and not being able to go back to sleep.

“I was at wit’s end. I would have a long, busy day ahead of me. I’m dealing with millions of dollars of billables,” she said.

Overall, the new study found that sleeping pill use increased with age, peaking at 7 percent in people older than 80, who often have chronic health problems that interfere with rest, Chong said. Researchers included use of hypnotic drugs and also antidepressants that have a sedative effect.

Use rose during the study period, climbing from 3.8 percent in 2005-06 to 4.5 percent in 2007-08 before dropping again. That uptick could reflect trouble sleeping during the worst part of the Great Recession, Chong said. The researchers are working on a larger study of trends over time and a study about how often people use sleep drugs, but the data aren't complete.

About 59 million sleeping pills were prescribed in the U.S. in 2012, up from about 56 million in 2008, according to IMS Health, which tracks drug data.

While the pills can provide solutions to sleep problems, experts such as Malkani caution that there are risks. The drugs are approved only for short-term use, even though some rely on them for months or years. A 2012 BMJ study found that people who took prescription sleeping pills were nearly five times as likely to die over 2½ years as those who didn’t.

Even when it’s not so dire, some people are allergic to the drugs, while others report bizarre behaviors, such as Ambien-fueled sleep-eating, sleep-driving, even sleep sex. In January, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautioned that women should take lower initial doses of Ambien, a brand name for zolpidem, because of the risk that next-day grogginess could interfere with driving and other activities.

Oby, the Chicago legal manager, said Ambien CR left her “in a stupor.” Worse, even when she didn’t take the drug for days, she could feel odd effects, such as the day she imagined her car was running at dangerously high speeds on the expressway.

“I was praying to God and crying, ‘Help me find the exit,’” she recalled. “It felt like I had no control.”

She stopped taking the controlled-release form of the drug on the advice of Dr. Hrayr Attarian of the Northwestern sleep disorders center. Instead, Oby now relies on tools of cognitive behavioral therapy -- a sleep log, exercises to help calm her mind -- plus a low-dose prescription of zolpidem, a drug called Intermezzo, which is formulated differently from Ambien and can help her sleep if she awakes in the middle of the night.

“I think that sleep therapy is a godsend,” she said.

Anyone who suffers from sleep problems -- whether it’s insomnia, not getting back to sleep or daytime sleepiness -- should seek medical help, Malkani said.

“I think that the awareness of the importance of sleep is still growing,” he said. “It’s important for people to get an adequate amount of sleep and to sleep well. It’s an investment for their function the next day.”
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Source: NBC News / Health, JoNel Aleccia, 29 Aug 2013

Autism and EMF? Plausibility of a pathophysiological link - Part I.
USA Created: 12 Oct 2013
Abstract: Although autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) are defined behaviorally, they also involve multileveled disturbances of underlying biology that find striking parallels in the physiological impacts of electromagnetic frequency and radiofrequency exposures (EMF/RFR).

Part I of this paper will review the critical contributions pathophysiology may make to the etiology, pathogenesis and ongoing generation of core features of ASCs. We will review pathophysiological damage to core cellular processes that are associated both with ASCs and with biological effects of EMF/RFR exposures that contribute to chronically disrupted homeostasis.

Many studies of people with ASCs have identified oxidative stress and evidence of free radical damage, cellular stress proteins, and deficiencies of antioxidants such as glutathione. Elevated intracellular calcium in ASCs may be due to genetics or may be downstream of inflammation or environmental exposures. Cell membrane lipids may be peroxidized, mitochondria may be dysfunctional, and various kinds of immune system disturbances are common. Brain oxidative stress and inflammation as well as measures consistent with blood-brain barrier and brain perfusion compromise have been documented.

Part II of this paper will review how behaviors in ASCs may emerge from alterations of electrophysiological oscillatory synchronization, how EMF/RFR could contribute to these by de-tuning the organism, and policy implications of these vulnerabilities. Changes in brain and autonomic nervous system electrophysiological function and sensory processing predominate, seizures are common, and sleep disruption is close to universal. All of these phenomena also occur with EMF/RFR exposure that can add to system overload ('allostatic load') in ASCs by increasing risk, and worsening challenging biological problems and symptoms; conversely, reducing exposure might ameliorate symptoms of ASCs by reducing obstruction of physiological repair.

Various vital but vulnerable mechanisms such as calcium channels may be disrupted by environmental agents, various genes associated with autism or the interaction of both. With dramatic increases in reported ASCs that are coincident in time with the deployment of wireless technologies, we need aggressive investigation of potential ASC - EMF/RFR links.

The evidence is sufficient to warrant new public exposure standards benchmarked to low-intensity (non-thermal) exposure levels now known to be biologically disruptive, and strong, interim precautionary practices are advocated.
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Source: PubMed / Pathophysiology, Herbert MR, Sage C, 03 Oct 2013

A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute
USA Created: 10 Oct 2013
LOS ALTOS, California — The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here - So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.

But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.

This is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, one of around 160 Waldorf schools in the country that subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans.

The Waldorf method is nearly a century old, but its foothold here among the digerati puts into sharp relief an intensifying debate about the role of computers in education.

“I fundamentally reject the notion you need technology aids in grammar school,” said Alan Eagle, 50, whose daughter, Andie, is one of the 196 children at the Waldorf elementary school; his son William, 13, is at the nearby middle school. “The idea that an app on an iPad can better teach my kids to read or do arithmetic, that’s ridiculous.”

Mr. Eagle knows a bit about technology. He holds a computer science degree from Dartmouth and works in executive communications at Google, where he has written speeches for the chairman, Eric E. Schmidt. He uses an iPad and a smartphone. But he says his daughter, a fifth grader, “doesn’t know how to use Google,” and his son is just learning. (Starting in eighth grade, the school endorses the limited use of gadgets.)

Three-quarters of the students here have parents with a strong high-tech connection. Mr. Eagle, like other parents, sees no contradiction. Technology, he says, has its time and place: “If I worked at Miramax and made good, artsy, rated R movies, I wouldn’t want my kids to see them until they were 17.”

While other schools in the region brag about their wired classrooms, the Waldorf school embraces a simple, retro look — blackboards with colorful chalk, bookshelves with encyclopedias, wooden desks filled with workbooks and No. 2 pencils.

On a recent Tuesday, Andie Eagle and her fifth-grade classmates refreshed their knitting skills, crisscrossing wooden needles around balls of yarn, making fabric swatches. It’s an activity the school says helps develop problem-solving, patterning, math skills and coordination. The long-term goal: make socks.

Down the hall, a teacher drilled third-graders on multiplication by asking them to pretend to turn their bodies into lightning bolts. She asked them a math problem — four times five — and, in unison, they shouted “20” and zapped their fingers at the number on the blackboard. A roomful of human calculators.

In second grade, students standing in a circle learned language skills by repeating verses after the teacher, while simultaneously playing catch with bean bags. It’s an exercise aimed at synchronizing body and brain. Here, as in other classes, the day can start with a recitation or verse about God that reflects a nondenominational emphasis on the divine.

Andie’s teacher, Cathy Waheed, who is a former computer engineer, tries to make learning both irresistible and highly tactile. Last year she taught fractions by having the children cut up food — apples, quesadillas, cake — into quarters, halves and sixteenths.

“For three weeks, we ate our way through fractions,” she said. “When I made enough fractional pieces of cake to feed everyone, do you think I had their attention?”

Some education experts say that the push to equip classrooms with computers is unwarranted because studies do not clearly show that this leads to better test scores or other measurable gains.

Is learning through cake fractions and knitting any better? The Waldorf advocates make it tough to compare, partly because as private schools they administer no standardized tests in elementary grades. And they would be the first to admit that their early-grade students may not score well on such tests because, they say, they don’t drill them on a standardized math and reading curriculum.

When asked for evidence of the schools’ effectiveness, the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America points to research by an affiliated group showing that 94 percent of students graduating from Waldorf high schools in the United States between 1994 and 2004 attended college, with many heading to prestigious institutions like Oberlin, Berkeley and Vassar.

Of course, that figure may not be surprising, given that these are students from families that value education highly enough to seek out a selective private school, and usually have the means to pay for it. And it is difficult to separate the effects of the low-tech instructional methods from other factors. For example, parents of students at the Los Altos school say it attracts great teachers who go through extensive training in the Waldorf approach, creating a strong sense of mission that can be lacking in other schools.

Absent clear evidence, the debate comes down to subjectivity, parental choice and a difference of opinion over a single world: engagement. Advocates for equipping schools with technology say computers can hold students’ attention and, in fact, that young people who have been weaned on electronic devices will not tune in without them.

Ann Flynn, director of education technology for the National School Boards Association, which represents school boards nationwide, said computers were essential. “If schools have access to the tools and can afford them, but are not using the tools, they are cheating our children,” Ms. Flynn said.

Paul Thomas, a former teacher and an associate professor of education at Furman University, who has written 12 books about public educational methods, disagreed, saying that “a spare approach to technology in the classroom will always benefit learning.”

“Teaching is a human experience,” he said. “Technology is a distraction when we need literacy, numeracy and critical thinking.”

And Waldorf parents argue that real engagement comes from great teachers with interesting lesson plans.

“Engagement is about human contact, the contact with the teacher, the contact with their peers,” said Pierre Laurent, 50, who works at a high-tech start-up and formerly worked at Intel and Microsoft. He has three children in Waldorf schools, which so impressed the family that his wife, Monica, joined one as a teacher in 2006.

And where advocates for stocking classrooms with technology say children need computer time to compete in the modern world, Waldorf parents counter: what’s the rush, given how easy it is to pick up those skills?

“It’s supereasy. It’s like learning to use toothpaste,” Mr. Eagle said. “At Google and all these places, we make technology as brain-dead easy to use as possible. There’s no reason why kids can’t figure it out when they get older.”

There are also plenty of high-tech parents at a Waldorf school in San Francisco and just north of it at the Greenwood School in Mill Valley, which doesn’t have Waldorf accreditation but is inspired by its principles.

California has some 40 Waldorf schools, giving it a disproportionate share — perhaps because the movement is growing roots here, said Lucy Wurtz, who, along with her husband, Brad, helped found the Waldorf high school in Los Altos in 2007. Mr. Wurtz is chief executive of Power Assure, which helps computer data centers reduce their energy load.

The Waldorf experience does not come cheap: annual tuition at the Silicon Valley schools is $17,750 for kindergarten through eighth grade and $24,400 for high school, though Ms. Wurtz said financial assistance was available. She says the typical Waldorf parent, who has a range of elite private and public schools to choose from, tends to be liberal and highly educated, with strong views about education; they also have a knowledge that when they are ready to teach their children about technology they have ample access and expertise at home.

The students, meanwhile, say they don’t pine for technology, nor have they gone completely cold turkey. Andie Eagle and her fifth-grade classmates say they occasionally watch movies. One girl, whose father works as an Apple engineer, says he sometimes asks her to test games he is debugging. One boy plays with flight-simulator programs on weekends.

The students say they can become frustrated when their parents and relatives get so wrapped up in phones and other devices. Aurad Kamkar, 11, said he recently went to visit cousins and found himself sitting around with five of them playing with their gadgets, not paying attention to him or each other. He started waving his arms at them: “I said: ‘Hello guys, I’m here.’ ”

Finn Heilig, 10, whose father works at Google, says he liked learning with pen and paper — rather than on a computer — because he could monitor his progress over the years.

“You can look back and see how sloppy your handwriting was in first grade. You can’t do that with computers ’cause all the letters are the same,” Finn said. “Besides, if you learn to write on paper, you can still write if water spills on the computer or the power goes out.”
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Source: New York Times, MATT RICHTEL, 22 Oct 2011

Project Censored: Wireless Technology a Looming Health Crisis
USA Created: 8 Oct 2013
As a multitude of hazardous wireless technologies are deployed in homes, schools, and workplaces, government officials and industry representatives continue to insist on their safety despite growing evidence to the contrary.
Extensive deployment of “smart grid” technology hastens this looming health crisis.

By now many residents in the United States and Canada have smart meters—which transfer detailed information on residents’ electrical usage back to the utility every few minutes—installed on their dwellings. Each meter has an electronic cellular transmitter that uses powerful bursts of electromagnetic radio frequency (RF) radiation to communicate with nearby meters, which together form an interlocking network. Such information can easily be used to determine individual patterns of behavior based on power consumption.

Utilities sell smart grid technology to the public as a way to “empower” individual energy consumers, allowing them to access information on their energy usage so that they may eventually save money by programming “smart” (i.e., wireless-enabled) home appliances and equipment to run when electrical rates are lowest. In other words, a broader plan behind smart grid technology involves a tiered rate system for electricity consumption that will be set by the utility, to which customers will have no choice but to conform.

Censored #14

Wireless Technology a Looming Health Crisis

James F. Tracy, “Looming Health Crisis: Wireless Technology and the Toxification of America,” Global Research, July 8, 2012, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=31816.

Student Researcher: Lyndsey Casey (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips (Sonoma State University)
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Source: Project Censored, Lyndsey Casey, 08 Oct 2013

Selling Secrets of Phone Users to Advertisers
USA Created: 6 Oct 2013
Now, smartphones know everything — where people go, what they search for, what they buy, what they do for fun and when they go to bed. That is why advertisers, and tech companies like Google and Facebook, are finding new, sophisticated ways to track people on their phones and reach them with individualized, hypertargeted ads. And they are doing it without cookies, those tiny bits of code that follow users around the Internet, because cookies don’t work on mobile devices.

Privacy advocates fear that consumers do not realize just how much of their private information is on their phones and how much is made vulnerable simply by downloading and using apps, searching the mobile Web or even just going about daily life with a phone in your pocket. And this new focus on tracking users through their devices and online habits comes against the backdrop of a spirited public debate on privacy and government surveillance.

On Wednesday, the National Security Agency confirmed it had collected data from cellphone towers in 2010 and 2011 to locate Americans’ cellphones, though it said it never used the information.

“People don’t understand tracking, whether it’s on the browser or mobile device, and don’t have any visibility into the practices going on,” said Jennifer King, who studies privacy at the University of California, Berkeley and has advised the Federal Trade Commission on mobile tracking. “Even as a tech professional, it’s often hard to disentangle what’s happening.”

Drawbridge is one of several start-ups that have figured out how to follow people without cookies, and to determine that a cellphone, work computer, home computer and tablet belong to the same person, even if the devices are in no way connected. Before, logging onto a new device presented advertisers with a clean slate.

“We’re observing your behaviors and connecting your profile to mobile devices,” said Eric Rosenblum, chief operating officer at Drawbridge. But don’t call it tracking. “Tracking is a dirty word,” he said.

Drawbridge, founded by a former Google data scientist, says it has matched 1.5 billion devices this way, allowing it to deliver mobile ads based on Web sites the person has visited on a computer. If you research a Hawaiian vacation on your work desktop, you could see a Hawaii ad that night on your personal cellphone.

For advertisers, intimate knowledge of users has long been the promise of mobile phones. But only now are numerous mobile advertising services that most people have never heard of — like Drawbridge, Flurry, Velti and SessionM — exploiting that knowledge, largely based on monitoring the apps we use and the places we go. This makes it ever harder for mobile users to escape the gaze of private companies, whether insurance firms or shoemakers.

Ultimately, the tech giants, whose principal business is selling advertising, stand to gain. Advertisers using the new mobile tracking methods include Ford Motor, American Express, Fidelity, Expedia, Quiznos and Groupon.

“In the old days of ad targeting, we give them a list of sites and we’d say, ‘Women 25 to 45,’ “ said David Katz, the former general manager of mobile at Groupon and now at Fanatics, the sports merchandise online retailer. “In the new age, we basically say, ‘Go get us users.’ “

In those old days — just last year — digital advertisers relied mostly on cookies. But cookies do not attach to apps, which is why they do not work well on mobile phones and tablets. Cookies generally do work on mobile browsers, but do not follow people from a phone browser to a computer browser. The iPhone’s mobile Safari browser blocks third-party cookies altogether.

Even on PCs, cookies have lost much of their usefulness to advertisers, largely because of cookie blockers.

Responding to this problem, the Interactive Advertising Bureau started a group to explore the future of the cookie and alternatives, calling current online advertising “a lose-lose-lose situation for advertisers, consumers, publishers and platforms.” Most recently, Google began considering creating an anonymous identifier tied to its Chrome browser that could help target ads based on user Web browsing history.

For many advertisers, cookies are becoming irrelevant anyway because they want to reach people on their mobile devices.

Yet advertising on phones has its limits.

For example, advertisers have so far had no way to know whether an ad seen on a phone resulted in a visit to a Web site on a computer. They also have been unable to connect user profiles across devices or even on the same device, as users jump from the mobile Web to apps.

Without sophisticated tracking, “running mobile advertising is like throwing money out the window. It’s worse than buying TV advertisements,” said Ravi Kamran, founder and chief executive of Trademob, a mobile app marketing and tracking service.

This is why a service that connects multiple devices with one user is so compelling to marketers.

Drawbridge, which was founded by Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, formerly at AdMob, the Google mobile ad network, has partnerships with various online publishers and ad exchanges. These send partners a notification every time a user visits a Web site or mobile app, which is considered an opportunity to show an ad. Drawbridge watches the notifications for behavioral patterns and uses statistical modeling to determine the probability that several devices have the same owner and to assign that person an anonymous identifier.

So if someone regularly checks a news app on a phone in bed each morning, browses the same news site from a laptop in the kitchen, visits from that laptop at an office an hour later and returns that night on a tablet in the same home, Drawbridge concludes that those devices belong to the same person. And if that person shopped for airplane tickets at work, Drawbridge could show that person an airline ad on the tablet that evening.

Ms. Sivaramakrishnan said its pinpointing was so accurate that it could show spouses different, personalized ads on a tablet they share. Before, she said, “ad targeting was about devices, not users, but it’s more important to understand who the user is.”

Similarly, if you use apps for Google Chrome, Facebook or Amazon on your cellphone, those companies can track what you search for, buy or post across your devices when you are logged in.

Other companies, like Flurry, get to know people by the apps they use.

Flurry embeds its software in 350,000 apps on 1.2 billion devices to help app developers track things like usage. Its tracking software appears on the phone automatically when people download those apps. Flurry recently introduced a real-time ad marketplace to send advertisers an anonymized profile of users the moment they open an app.

Profiles are as detailed as wealthy bookworms who own small businesses or new mothers who travel for business and like to garden. The company has even more specific data about users that it does not yet use because of privacy concerns, said Rahul Bafna, senior director of Flurry.

Wireless carriers know even more about us from our home ZIP codes, like how much time we spend on mobile apps and which sites we visit on mobile browsers. Verizon announced in December that its customers could authorize it to share that information with advertisers in exchange for coupons. AT&T announced this summer that it would start selling aggregated customer data to marketers, while offering a way to opt out.

Neither state nor federal law prohibits the collection or sharing of data by third parties. In California, app developers are required to post a privacy policy and to clearly state what personal information they collect and how they share it. Still, that leaves much mystery for ordinary mobile users.
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Source: New York Times, CLAIRE CAIN MILLER and SOMINI SENGUPTA, 05 Oct 2013

VISION?? Want to feel the small hairs on your back stand on end? Then see the video below and picture the future!
USA Created: 28 Sep 2013
IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. IEEE and its members inspire a global community through IEEE's highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities.
IEEE, pronounced "Eye-triple-E," stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The association is chartered under this name and it is the full legal name.
http://www.ieee.org/about/index.html

Smart Cities
Explanation:
https://ieeetv.ieee.org/player/html/viewer?dl=#smart-cities-explained
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Source: Iris Atzmon/Agnes Ingvarsdottir

EMF Radiation Targeting: Please watch the video.
USA Created: 21 Sep 2013
I'm a documentary filmmaker and have come across quite a lot of extraordinary information in my research - certainly enough information that gives weight to this testimony of Barrie Trower and ex-Royal Navy Scientist who reveals a great deal about government experimentation with Electromagnetic Frequency Radiation involving the Canadian, U.S. and UK governments (and more) and thousands of unwitting subjects :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09mpvscHiKI

I urge you to share this with your readers so that people may understand the vast implications here. This not only covers specific targeting but how it's being used to sell products etc and all at the expense of our health (lives) and well being. Our governments are not 'careless' - not at the highest levels anyway - they are very deliberately using this method to accomplish many insidious goals and the more we understand about this, the more effectively we'll be able to address it (i.e. this explains why govt petitions are incredibly ineffective - the govt IS the perpetrator of these offenses).

My sincere thanks for your willingness to publish facts about this grave issue. Please feel free to contact me directly as I have a great deal of research on this subject.
Regards,
Rebecca Hayden
http://whatsgoingon-us.com/
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Rebecca Hayden/Agnes Ingvarsdottir

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