Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rumi says....

The Ancient Poem That Will Put Your Life in Perspective | Good Sh*t | OZY


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

~Welcome to my home.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Calling and Data Roaming with Your Own Phone in Europe by Rick Steves

Calling and Data Roaming with Your Own Phone in Europe by Rick Steves

Using Your Own Phone in Europe

By Rick Steves

Many travelers enjoy the convenience of bringing their own mobile phone to Europe. Some people also prefer to bring a tablet or laptop for emailing or blogging, uploading or editing photos, reading, and watching videos in their down time. Using your mobile device abroad isn't hard, and with a little preparation, you can text, make calls, and access the Internet without breaking the bank.

How to Set Up (or Disable) International Service on Your Phone

Roaming with your own phone outside the US generally comes with extra charges, whether you are making voice calls, sending texts, or accessing data (going online over a cellular network rather than Wi-Fi, a.k.a., "data roaming"). If you plan to bring your own phone to Europe, start by assessing how you will to use it — whether you will be making a few or a lot of phone calls, sending and receiving text messages, and how freely and frequently you'll want to get online to check email, look up websites, access maps, get driving directions, or use other mobile apps.

You can pay as you go on your normal plan for all three services. But the costs can add up (on average, about $1.50/ minute for voice calls, 50 cents to send text messages, 5 cents to receive them, and $20 to download one megabyte of data).

Travelers who want to stay connected at a lower cost can sign up for an international service plan through their carrier. Most offer some sort of global calling plan that cuts the per-minute cost of phone calls and a flat-fee data plan that includes a certain amount of megabytes. Your normal plan may already include international coverage, as T-Mobile's does. It's a fairly painless process:

  1. Confirm that your phone will work in Europe. Nearly all newer phones work fine abroad (as do older phones purchased through AT&T and T-Mobile), but it's smart to check with your carrier if you're unsure.
  2. Research your provider's international rates. Plan pricing varies wildly by carrier. Call your provider or check their website for the latest pricing.
  3. Activate international service. A day or two before you leave, log on to your mobile phone account or call your provider to activate international roaming for voice, text, and/or data (whichever features you plan to use), and sign up for any international plans.
  4. Cancel international service when you get home. When you return from your vacation, cancel any add-on plans that you activated for your trip.

Getting Online in Europe

With any laptop, tablet, or smartphone, you can get online via a Wi-Fi signal, which is usually free. If you have a mobile phone (smartphone or basic) or a cellular-enabled computer, you can get online over a cellular network, but you'll usually have to pay for it.

The most cost-efficient way to get online is to log on to Wi-Fi hotspots during your trip. Even if you have an international data plan, you're better off saving most of your online tasks for Wi-Fi.

If you plan to use any new apps on your device — such as language translators, ebook readers, or transportation or mapping apps — it's smart to download or update them before your trip, when bandwidth isn't an issue.

Finding Wi-Fi in Europe

Most accommodations in Europe offer free Wi-Fi, but some — especially expensive hotels — charge a fee. In some hotels, Wi-Fi works great; in others, the signal is less reliable or doesn't work well (or at all) beyond the lobby (many European hotels are in old buildings with thick stone walls). Often it's good enough to shoot off an email, but too slow to stream movies or make a video call.

If Wi-Fi is important to you, ask about it when you book — and check that it'll be available in your room. As soon as I arrive at a hotel, I ask at the desk for the password and network name (in case several are in range), so I can log on right away.

When you're out and about, your best bet for finding free Wi-Fi is often at a café. They'll usually tell you their Wi-Fi password if you buy something. As in North America, most McDonald's and Starbucks in Europe offer free Wi-Fi.

You may also find Wi-Fi here and there throughout the day — for example at tourist offices, in city squares (for example, Marienplatz in Munich), within major museums (such as the Tate Modern in London), at public-transit hubs (such as many of London's train stations), and aboard some trains and buses (for instance, Austria's RailJet or on Portugal's long-distance buses). You may need to register or accept terms of service to get online, and some networks limit browsing time.

Tips for Using Data Roaming Smartly

Using data roaming on your cellular network is handy for times when you can't find Wi-Fi. But while convenient, data roaming is also potentially expensive, depending on your international plan rates. You'll want to be conscious of how much data you're using, since you're probably paying for a limited amount of bandwidth. Still, data roaming can be worth it when you're out and about, need to get online, and don't want to waste your valuable vacation time hunting for a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Budgeting your data is easy if you follow these tips:

Avoid using your cellular network for bandwidth-gobbling tasks. Skyping, downloading apps, and watching YouTube all eat up megabytes and can wait until you're on Wi-Fi. (You're on a Wi-Fi network when you see the symbol for Wi-Fi in the corner of your screen — it looks like a half-rainbow.) If you use a navigation app like Google Maps, there are ways to do so without using any cellular data. If you're lost and need to access a map and turn-by-turn directions, do so sparingly.

Keep track of data usage. Upon arrival in Europe, it's smart to start tracking how much data you're using. On your device's menu, look for an item like "cellular data usage" or "mobile data" and reset the counter at the start of your trip so you can see how many megabytes you've consumed. Some carriers automatically send a text message warning if you approach or exceed your limit and will let you upgrade your package without penalty.

Limit automatic updates in your email and other apps. By default, many mobile apps are set to constantly check for a data connection and update information. You can cut your data use by switching off this feature in your various apps. Start with your email: Go to your device's email settings and change them from "auto-retrieve" to "manual," or from "push" to "fetch." This means that you will have to manually download (or "fetch") your messages when you're on Wi-Fi rather than having them automatically downloaded (or "pushed") to your device. If you receive an email with a large photo, video, or other file, wait until you're on Wi-Fi to view it.

Other apps — such as news, weather, social media, and sports tickers — also automatically update. On some devices, you can select which apps are allowed to update via the cellular network. It's smart to disable these features in most of your apps so that they'll only update when you're on Wi-Fi.

Disconnect from your cellular network altogether. Because there are still ways that you can accidentally burn through data, I like the additional safeguard of manually turning off data roaming or cellular data (either works) whenever I'm not using it — check under "cellular" or "network," or ask your service provider how to do it. Then, when you need to get online but can't find Wi-Fi, simply turn it on long enough for the task at hand, then turn it off again. Another way to ensure you're not accidentally using data roaming is to put your device in "airplane" or "flight" mode, and then turn your Wi-Fi back on when needed (this disables phone calls and texts, as well as data).

If you're traveling with an unlocked smartphone, you can buy a SIM card that also includes data; this can be cheaper than data roaming through your home provider.


Making a Homestead Evacuation Plan - The Organic Prepper

Making a Homestead Evacuation Plan - The Organic Prepper

Making a Homestead Evacuation Plan

by Daisy Luther

With wildfire season approaching in California, my thoughts are with my many friends there who have small farms. Even if you don't live in a wildfire zone, if you raise livestock, you need to have a homestead evacuation plan.  Any place can have a barn fire, a chemical spill, or other environmental emergencies.

I've written quite a lot about evacuations since my family and I were right on the verge of it during the King Fire. Fires can approach shockingly fast, and being ready before there is ever a hint of smoke in the air is the best way to get out quickly when the time is short.

But things change dramatically when you add a farm or homestead to the mix. Suddenly, you have more living creatures in your charge than you do space in the vehicle. You absolutely must have a plan in place before a disaster occurs, because if you wait for the evacuation order, you've waited too long.

Create a homestead evacuation plan.

Here are some of the things that I learned about homestead evacuation. Use this to create your own plan, because disasters can strike anywhere and we all have different resources, livestock, and circumstances.

Be aware of what's happening nearby.  When I lived in California, I haunted the local boards that discussed fires and other events. I had friends who were former firefighters and subscribed to phone notifications from the local sheriff's department. If there was a fire or mudslide nearby, I knew about it while it was still miles from me. That way, I could assess my plan and see if action needed to be taken immediately, or if I just needed to stay on top of the situation.

Figure out where you'll take your livestock. Often, local fairgrounds will open their facilities for farmers to bring evacuated livestock. Sometimes veterinarians and kennels will also accept evacuated animals. If you are in contact with other farmers, they may be able to make room for your animals. I belonged to a local homesteading group at the time, and we all made space for animals, trailers, and RVs if we could to help our friends during fire season.

Evacuate livestock early if you can. The last fire that was nearby was called the Trailhead Fire, and it consumed 5,646 acres over the course of 20 days. Toward the end, when it drew closer to our farm, I evacuated all our chickens to a friend's farm that was out of the danger zone. That gave me the peace of mind to know that if we had to evacuate for real, I only had to grab cats, dogs, and kid, which would have been far faster than chasing a bunch of panicked hens.

Have a way to transport your animals. You will either need a trailer, pens that can go into the back of a truck, or crates that can hold your livestock. You may need help from friends with trailers if you have a lot of animals. Have these things ready so that you aren't trying to figure out how to move the animals when a fire is approaching.

Have a plan for last-minute homestead evacuation. This is every farmer's nightmare because if the fire is approaching fast, you may not be able to load up all your animals in time.

  • Have trailers and trucks close to the livestock area for quick evacuation.
  • If you think you may need to evacuate, contain your livestock in the smallest area possible for ease of loading. For example, if your chickens normally free-range, keep them contained in a yard around their coop so you have a better chance of catching them. Close off the gates to the larger pastures and keep other livestock in the area closest to the trailers.
  • Practice loading up. This way, the animals get used to being loaded and are less likely to panic and fight you. Secondly, you know which animals are going to be the most uncooperative and you also have a feel for how long it takes to load them all.
  • Have blinders on hand. This may be nothing more than a piece of cloth or a fabric bag, but if your animals are panicking, it can be easier to lead them out if they can't see the threat. Most people think only of horses needing blinders but it can be far easier to lead goats and cows this way too.
  • Give every person a job. Even younger children may be able to help round up chickens or gather feed. Be sure that everyone knows what to do beforehand so that you can all work together quickly and efficiently.
  • Remember that if there is a threat like a nearby fire, animals are much more likely to panic due to fear. This means it will probably take longer to load them up.

Know what to do if you can't evacuate the livestock. If there is no time to load the livestock, at least turn them loose so they have a chance at escaping the flames. If your family is at risk of dying in the fire, you will have to evacuate and leave the animals behind. It's a horrible choice but could be necessary. Remember the Napa Valley fires last summer?  Some people had only moments to flee fast-moving infernos.

Have you ever been through a homestead evacuation?

Have you had the experience of evacuating a homestead? If so, please share your story and tips in the comments section below.

About the Author

Daisy Luther

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. Daisy is the publisher of The Cheapskate's Guide to the Galaxy, a monthly frugality newsletter, and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find Daisy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Fwd: Legal marijuana could soon be a bigger market than soda

Begin forwarded message:

From: Science Insider - Business Insider <>
Subject: Legal marijuana could soon be a bigger market than soda
Date: April 11, 2018 at 6:01:14 AM EDT


April 11, 2018   |   View Online »
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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Best Amsterdam Discount Cards 2018 >>> The Pros and Cons!

Adrienne L den Tex

Gonorrhea No Longer Treatable

NOT good.

Gonorrhea No Longer Treatable

By Dr. Mercola

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that infects an estimated 820,000 people in the U.S. annually, mostly those between the ages of 15 and 24.1 Worldwide, 78 million people are infected with gonorrhea every year.2 Caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium, gonorrhea is spread by through sexual contact, as well as from mother to baby during childbirth. This bacterial infection has long been easily treated with antibiotics, but gonorrhea is increasingly becoming resistant to available drug treatments.

As such, it's now being described as an urgent public health issue. Dr. Teodora Wi, medical officer of human reproduction at the World Health Organization (WHO) said, "The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them."3 Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea first emerged when I was in medical school in the late 1970s.

By the 1980s, the antibiotics penicillin and tetracycline were no longer effective against it. Next, gonorrhea resistant to fluoroquinolone antibiotics emerged, leaving only one class of antibiotic drugs, cephalosporins, left to treat it. Now, as you might suspect, gonorrhea is fast becoming resistant to cephalosporins — the last available antibiotics to treat it.

First Strain of Super-Resistant Gonorrhea Reported

In 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that about one-third of gonorrhea cases were resistant to at least one antibiotic. They updated treatment guidelines at that time to include a dose of the antibiotic ceftriaxone along with a second antibiotic. As of 2018, the CDC still recommends this dual therapy to treat gonorrhea, specifically a single 250-milligram (mg) dose of intramuscular ceftriaxone and 1 gram (g) of oral azithromycin.4

The two-pronged treatment initially appeared to be working, pushing resistance rates from 1.4 percent in 2011 to 0.4 percent in 2013. However, according to CDC data published in JAMA, "improvements in susceptibility may be short-lived."5,6 According to the CDC:7

"Gonorrhea has developed resistance to nearly all of the antibiotics used for its treatment. We are currently down to one last recommended and effective class of antibiotics, cephalosporins, to treat this common infection. This is an urgent public health threat because gonorrhea control in the United States largely relies on our ability to successfully treat the infection."

In the U.K., meanwhile, the first case of gonorrhea that's resistant to both ceftriaxone and azithromycin has been reported.8 The man was diagnosed in early 2018, and it's believed he contracted the infection via sexual activity with a person in Southeast Asia about a month prior.

Gwenda Hughes, consultant scientist and head of the sexually transmitted infection section at Public Health England (PHE), said in a statement, "[The infection] … is very resistant to the recommended first-line treatment … This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics."9

The patient is now being treated with an intravenous antibiotic called ertapenem, which is related to ceftriaxone. The infection appears to be responding to the new treatment but officials are planning to retest the patient in April to determine if it was successful. "We are following up this case to ensure that the infection was effectively treated with other options and the risk of any onward transmission is minimized," Hughes said.10

What Are the Health Risks of Gonorrhea?

Although gonorrhea often causes no symptoms, it can lead to a burning or painful sensation when urinating, white, green or yellow discharge from the penis, increased vaginal discharge, painful or swollen testicles in men and vaginal bleeding between periods in women. Rectal infections with gonorrhea may lead to anal discharge, itching, soreness and bleeding or painful bowel movements.

If left untreated (or if the disease progresses because it's resistant to treatment), gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can cause:

  • Scar tissue to form in the fallopian tubes
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Long-term pelvic and abdominal pain

In men, gonorrhea can lead to pain in the tubes attached to the testicles, which can lead to infertility. In addition, if gonorrhea spreads to your blood or joints it can be life-threatening, and it also increases your risk of contracting HIV. If you're pregnant and you pass gonorrhea to your baby during childbirth, it can lead to blindness, joint infection or a life-threatening blood infection in the baby.11

Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Is on the Rise

(There is a video on the site…)
From 2013 to 2014 cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea doubled, with rates reaching 0.8 percent. WHO recognizes drug-resistant gonorrhea as "an emergency," with several countries, including Australia, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the U.K. experiencing increasing infections. Further, in a study of 77 countries, WHO reported widespread resistance to ciprofloxacin, with 97 percent of countries reporting drug-resistant strains, and increasing resistance to azithromycin, with 81 percent of countries reporting resistance.

Further, 66 percent of countries had seen gonorrhea strains resistant to extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ESCs), oral cefixime or injectable ceftriaxone, the current last-resort treatments. According to WHO, "Currently, in most countries, ESCs are the only single antibiotic that remain effective for treating gonorrhea. But resistance to cefixime — and more rarely to ceftriaxone — has now been reported in more than 50 countries."12

What's more, WHO's Wi said, "These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg, since systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections are lacking in lower-income countries where gonorrhea is actually more common." Adding to the problem is that drugs in the pipeline to treat drug-resistant gonorrhea are few and far between. Only three new candidate drugs are in various stages of development. WHO continued:13

"The development of new antibiotics is not very attractive for commercial pharmaceutical companies. Treatments are taken only for short periods of time (unlike medicines for chronic diseases) and they become less effective as resistance develops, meaning that the supply of new drugs constantly needs to be replenished."

As a sexually transmitted disease, gonorrhea can be prevented via safe sex practices, such as being in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have gonorrhea, as well as using condoms.

"It is better to avoid getting or passing on gonorrhea in the first place and everyone can significantly reduce their risk by using condoms consistently and correctly with all new and casual partners," PHE's Hughes noted.14 Curbing the worldwide spread of antibiotic-resistant disease, however, is a much more complicated undertaking.

Many Types of Antibiotic-Resistant Disease Are Growing

Each year, more than 2 million Americans are sickened, and at least 23,000 are killed, by antibiotic-resistant superbugs.15 Bacteria are, in essence, hard-wired to adapt to threats such as antibiotics and, at such point in time when they adapt to resist all of them, infections that were once easily treated will undoubtedly return with renewed force.

We're seeing this increasingly in the U.S. Antibiotic overuse and inappropriate use bear a heavy responsibility for creating the superbug crisis we are facing today.

The pervasive misuse of antibiotics by the agriculture industry plays a significant role, as agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), in particular, are hotbeds for breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria because of the continuous feeding of low doses of antibiotics to the animals, which allows pathogens to survive, adapt and eventually thrive.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) ruled that antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health, worldwide, and the primary cause for this man-made epidemic is the widespread misuse of antibiotics.16 In the U.S., the CDC noted that without "immediate, nationwide improvements in infection control and antibiotic prescribing," drug-resistant infections will only continue to increase…17

Between 2000 and 2015, human consumption of antibiotics has risen by 65 percent, reaching 42 billion doses a year, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.18

The increase was driven by low- and middle-income countries and, if no policy changes are made, it's estimated that global antibiotic consumption will rise up to 200 percent higher by 2030, perpetuating the problem. Worldwide, 700,000 people die every year due to antibiotic-resistant disease, and it's estimated that more people will be affected by it than cancer by 2050.19

In addition to drug-resistant gonorrhea, which is classified as an urgent threat by the CDC, one of the most urgent antibiotic-resistant health threats is carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which are resistant to the class of antibiotics called carbapenems.20 Drug-resistant clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is another urgent threat that causes life-threatening diarrhea. C. difficile causes nearly half a million infections in the U.S. annually, along with 15,000 deaths.21

How to Protect Yourself From Drug-Resistant Disease

The stronger your immune defenses, the less chance a microbe — antibiotic-resistant or otherwise — will have of gaining a foothold in some part of your body. Below are some basic strategies for supercharging your immune system. In addition, in an era where we're facing the potential end of antibiotics as we know them, it's important for everyone to voice their opinion about the rampant overuse of antibiotics on CAFOs by supporting only those farms that aren't perpetuating the problem.

I encourage you to either buy your animal products direct from a trusted farm or look for the American Grassfed Association (AGA) logo, a grass fed standards and certification for American-grown grass fed meat and dairy.22

Optimize your diet. Avoid foods that tax your immune system such as synthetic trans fats, fried foods, processed foods, sugar and grains; reduce net carbohydrates (sugar, grains, fructose) and protein, replacing them with high-quality fats.

Most of your diet should be fresh, whole foods, like organic vegetables and grass-pastured meats and dairy, and beneficial fats, such as raw, grass fed butter and fermented dairy from grass-pastured animals, cheese, egg yolks and avocados. A great portion of your immune system resides in your GI tract, which depends on a healthy, balanced gut flora.

One of the best ways to support this is by incorporating naturally fermented foods into your diet, working up to 4 to 6 ounces per day. One large serving of several ounces of fermented foods can supply you with around 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, which is about 10 percent of the population of your gut. You can take a high-quality probiotic supplement, but the actual fermented foods offer the greatest benefit. You may also want to consider a ketogenic diet.

Exercise regularly. Exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at locating and eliminating pathogens in your body. Make sure your fitness plan incorporates weight training, high-intensity interval exercises, stretching and core work, and get plenty of nonexercise movement daily (strive to sit for fewer than three hours a day).

Get plenty of restorative sleep. Sleep deprivation has the same effect on your immune system as physical stress or disease,23 which is why you may feel ill after a sleepless night.

Have good stress-busting outlets. High levels of stress hormones can diminish your immunity, so be sure you're implementing some sort of stress management. Meditation, prayer, yoga and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are all excellent strategies for managing stress, but you'll have to find what works best for you.

Optimize your vitamin D levels. Studies have shown that inadequate vitamin D can increase your risk for MRSA and other infections. Your best source of vitamin D is through exposing your skin to the sun.

Monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm they're in the therapeutic range, 60-80 ng/ml. If you can't get regular sunlight exposure, consider taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement. Just keep in mind that if you take high-dose vitamin D, you may also need to increase your intake of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K2 for proper balance.

Cellphone Radiation Linked to Brain and Heart Tumors

(There is a video on the site….)

By Dr. Mercola

In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cellphones as a Group 2B "possible carcinogen,"1 and the evidence supporting the theory that electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from and cancer2,3 just keeps growing and getting stronger.

In February, the findings of two government-funded animal studies4 were published. Curiously enough, the published interpretation of this $25 million research (conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), an interagency research program currently under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) significantly downplays the actual findings of the studies.

The NTP research includes two studies: one on mice and one on rats. Male rats were more likely to develop heart tumors, while female rats and newborns exposed to high levels of radiation during pregnancy and lactation were more likely to have low body weight. DNA damage and damage to heart tissue were also observed in both male and female rats, but not mice. Other types of tumors did occur in both types of animals, though, including brain, prostate, liver and pancreatic tumors.

According to the researchers, if these results can be confirmed, then cellphone radiation may indeed be a "weak" carcinogen. As you'll see below, that confirmation was delivered last month, in the form of published research by the Ramazzini Institute.

The animals in the NTP studies were exposed to cellphone radiation for nine hours a day for two years (basically the full life span of a rat). As noted by The New York Times,5 the heart tumors (malignant schwannomas) found in male rats are "similar to acoustic neuromas, a benign tumor in people involving the nerve that connects the ear to the brain, which some studies have linked to cellphone use."

The scientists also expressed surprise at the finding of DNA damage, as the conventional belief is that nonionizing radiofrequency radiation cannot harm DNA. "We don't feel like we understand enough about the results to be able to place a huge degree of confidence in the findings," John Bucher, Ph.D.,6 senior scientist at the NTP told reporters. Such statements fly in the face of warnings issued by NTP researchers two years ago.

NTP Whitewashed Its Conclusions

Partial results from these studies were initially released in 2016 because they were deemed too serious to hold back. After all, the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, let along billions of users worldwide, is at stake. At the time, Christopher Portier, Ph.D., retired head of the NTP who was involved in the launch of the study, insisted the findings showed clear causation. "I would call it a causative study, absolutely," he told Scientific American.7 "They controlled everything in the study."

David McCormick, Ph.D., director of the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute where the study was conducted, was equally clear, telling reporters,8 "What we are saying here is that based on the animal studies, there is a possible risk cellphone RF [radio frequency] is potentially carcinogenic in humans. These are uncommon lesions in rodents, so it is our conclusion that they are exposure related."

As noted by Microwave News,9 while some of the pathology data was updated since the initial release in 2016, the changes are minor. The interpretation, however, changed dramatically. Now, even though the findings are identical, the NTP insists it's "not a high-risk situation" and that the risk to human health is negligible.

Microwave News lists a number of possible political reasons for the sudden turnaround, including new NTP leadership, the current White House administration's disdain for science that threatens big business, and the overarching power of the major telecommunications players of today: Apple, Google and Microsoft. There's no doubt there are incredible amounts of money at stake.

Ramazzini Institute Duplicates NTP Findings

Whatever the reason, it's quite clear the NTP is now downplaying findings that a mere two years ago were considered of significant importance for public health. The whitewash was made even more obvious with the March 7 online publication of a lifetime exposure study10 by the highly respected Ramazzini Institute in Italy, which like the NTP shows a clear link between cellphone radiation and Schwann cell tumors (schwannomas).11,12,13

But, contrary to the NTP, Ramazzini researchers are now urging the IARC to re-evaluate its carcinogenicity classification for cellphones. According to Fiorella Belpoggi, director of research at the Ramazzini Institute and the study's lead author, RF radiation from cellphones should probably be classified as a "probable" human carcinogen rather than a "possible" carcinogen. In an interview with Microwave News, Belpoggi said:14

"The [Ramazzini Institute] findings on far field exposure to RFR [radio frequency radiation] are consistent with and reinforce the results of the NTP study on near field exposure, as both reported an increase in the incidence of tumors of the brain and heart in RFR-exposed Sprague-Dawley rats … The two laboratories worked independently at many thousands of kilometers' distance, using the same strain of rats, and found the same results. It cannot be by chance.

Both findings are also consistent with the epidemiological evidence, where an increased incidence of tumors of the same cells (Schwann cells) of the acoustic nerve had been associated with the use of mobile phones.

We and NTP have evidenced the hazard of RFR exposure, as regards the risk we have to consider that about seven billion of people are exposed on the planet, and even if the risk is to be considered low, due to the large number of exposed individuals, we could expect thousands of people affected by serious diseases like cancer of the peripheral nerves and brain."

Indeed, a recent analysis15,16 reveals the incidence of glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest type of brain tumor, more than doubled in the U.K. between 1995 and 2015. According to the authors, the dramatic increase is likely due to "widespread environmental or lifestyle factors," which would include cellphone usage. Véronique Terrasse, spokesperson for the IARC, has stated the organization will look into it once the NTP has delivered its final report,17 which may take several months.

NTP and Ramazzini Show Effects Are Reproducible

The NTP-funded studies found rats exposed to RF radiation began developing glial cell hyperplasias — indicative of precancerous lesions — around week 58; heart schwannomas were detected around week 70. Ramazzini's study confirms and reinforces these results, showing RF radiation increased both brain and heart tumors in exposed rats. This, despite the fact that Ramazzini used much lower power levels.

While NTP used RF levels comparable to what's emitted by 2G and 3G cellphones (near-field exposure), Ramazzini simulated exposure to cellphone towers (far-field exposure). In all, the Ramazzini Institute exposed 2,448 rats to 1.8 GHz GSM radiation at electric field strengths of 5, 25 and 50 volts per meter18 for 19 hours a day, starting at birth until the rats died either from age or illness.

To facilitate comparison, the researchers converted their measurements to watts per kilogram of body weight (W/kg), which is what the NTP used. Overall, the radiation dose administered in the Ramazzini study was up to 1,000 times lower than the NTP's — yet the results were strikingly similar. As in the NTP studies, exposed male rats developed statistically higher rates of heart schwannomas than unexposed rats.

They also found some evidence, although weaker, that RF exposure increased rates of glial tumors in the brains of female rats. As noted by Ronald Melnick, Ph.D., a former senior NIH toxicologist who led the design of the NTP study and current senior science adviser to the Environmental Health Trust:19

"All of the exposures used in the Ramazzini study were below the U.S. FCC limits… In other words, a person can legally be exposed to this level of radiation. Yet cancers occurred in these animals at these legally permitted levels. The Ramazzini findings are consistent with the NTP study demonstrating these effects are a reproducible finding. Governments need to strengthen regulations to protect the public from these harmful non-thermal exposures."

The NTP's conclusion that there's no cause for concern is also challenged by an independent review panel, which concluded its review of the two NTP studies March 28. According to this panel of experts, there's "clear evidence" linking RF radiation with heart schwannomas and "some evidence" linking it to brain gliomas. It remains to be seen whether the NTP will accept or reject the panel's conclusions in its final report.

Why Evidence of Rodent Schwannomas Could Spell Trouble for Human Health

As explained by Louis Slesin, Ph.D., editor and publisher of Microwave News, the increased incidence of schwannomas in rodents exposed to RF is no mere coincidence, and is of great concern for public health:20

"Schwann cells play a key role in the functioning of the peripheral nervous system. They make the myelin sheath, which insulates nerve fibers and helps speed the conduction of electrical impulses. There are Schwann cells just about everywhere there are peripheral nerve fibers. They are present in most organs of the body — whether mice, rats or humans. Schwann cell tumors are called schwannomas.

The NTP found schwannomas in many other organs, in addition to the heart, of rats chronically exposed to cellphone radiation. These included a variety of glands (pituitary, salivary and thymus), the trigeminal nerve and the eye … The NTP also saw schwannomas in the uterus, ovary and vagina of female rats. The brain has no Schwann cells —the brain is part of the central nervous system. There, glial cells play a similar function. In fact, Schwann cells are a type of glial cell …

Tumors of the glial cells are called gliomas. The NTP also saw an increase in glioma among the male rats exposed to GSM and CDMA radiation. Higher rates of glioma have been reported in a number of epidemiological studies of cellphone users. The other tumor linked to cellphone radiation in human studies is acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the auditory nerve … formally called a vestibular schwannoma.

While schwannomas and gliomas are commonly noncancerous tumors, they can develop into malignant schwannomas or glioblastomas … The implication is that instead of searching for consistency in RF's ability to cause cancer in specific organs, the emphasis should now be on specific cell types — beginning with Schwann cells in the periphery and glial cells in the brain."

Mitochondrial Damage Is an Even More Pressing Concern

I believe it would be a serious mistake to consider cellphones safe simply because we're not seeing a dramatic uptick in brain (and/or heart) tumors. Remember, cellphone radiation has already been acknowledged to be a carcinogen, and most all carcinogens, like cigarette smoking, take decades to increase cancer risk. Cellphones are indeed the cigarettes of the 21st century and we won't see the epidemic of cancer for another decade or two.

The NTP's research also reveal DNA and cellular damage. The researchers claim there's no explanation for this, but that's far from true. A number of scientists and EMF specialists have presented evidence for a number of different mechanisms of harm. Among them:

Allan Frey, Office of Naval Research,21 showed cellphone radiation weakens cell membranes and your blood-brain barrier. Some of his experiments demonstrated that dye injected into animals was able to penetrate into the brain when exposed to pulsed digital signals from microwaves.

Today, these findings are particularly notable since cellphones are held close to the brain. The take-home message is that radiation from your cellphone weakens your blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins in your blood to enter your brain, and into the cells of your entire body.

Martin Pall, Ph.D., has published research22,23,24,25 showing that low−frequency microwave radiation activates voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs)26 — channels in the outer membrane of your cells. Once activated, the VGCCs open up, allowing an abnormal influx of calcium ions into the cell, which activates nitric oxide (NO). NO is the only molecule in your body produced at high enough concentrations to outcompete other molecules for superoxide and is a precursor for peroxynitrite.27

These potent oxidant stressors are thought to be a root cause for many of today's chronic diseases.28 Peroxynitrites modify tyrosine molecules in proteins to create a new substance, nitrotyrosine and nitration of structural protein.29 Changes from nitration are visible in human biopsy of atherosclerosis, myocardial ischemia, inflammatory bowel disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and septic lung disease.30

Significant oxidative stress from peroxynitrites may also result in single-strand breaks of DNA.31 This pathway of oxidative destruction — triggered by low-frequency radiation emitted from mobile devices — may partially explain the unprecedented growth rate of chronic disease since 1990,32 and is a far greater concern than brain tumors.

According to Pall's theory, the physical locations where VGCCs are the densest are indicative of the diseases you might expect from chronic excessive exposure to EMFs. As it turns out, the highest density of VGCCs are found in your nervous system, the pacemaker in your heart and in male testes. As a result, EMFs are likely to contribute to neurological and neuropsychiatric problems, heart and reproductive problems.

Paul Héroux, Ph.D., professor of toxicology and health effects of electromagnetism at the faculty of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, stresses the impact EMFs have on the water in your body. The mechanism of action he proposes involves the enzyme ATP synthase, which passes currents of protons through a water channel.

ATP synthase basically generates energy in the form ATP from ADP, using this flow of protons. Magnetic fields can change the transparency of the water channel to protons, thereby reducing the current. As a result, you get less ATP, which can have system wide consequences, from promoting chronic disease and infertility to lowering intelligence.

Will Findings Affect 5G Rollout?

We're now facing the rollout of high-speed wireless 5G technology across the U.S. How might the NTP and Ramazzini findings affect this transition? According to Melnick,33 "It should most likely lead to a reduction in exposure limits." He also hopes the findings will compel public officials and telecommunications companies to not promote the use of 5G devices for children.

In a recent investigative report for The Nation, Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie reveals "the disinformation campaign — and massive radiation increase — behind the 5G rollout."34 The evidence for harm goes back more than two decades. By early 1999, findings from more than 50 studies were already raising "'serious questions' about cellphone safety." This evidence was shared in a closed-door meeting of CTIA's35 board of directors, which is the trade association for the wireless industry.

Epidemiologist George Carlo, hired by CTIA in 1993 to defuse concerns about cellphone radiation, was unable to give the industry the clear evidence of safety it desired. Instead he found the converse. Among this evidence was findings of "correlation between brain tumors occurring on the right side of the head and the use of the phone on the right side of the head."

Research also suggested that cellphone radiation was capable of causing "functional genetic damage." Carlo urged the telecom industry to "do the right thing: Give consumers 'the information they need to make an informed judgment about how much of this unknown risk they wish to assume,' especially since some in the industry had 'repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for all consumers including children.'"

Safety Has Taken a Backseat to Profit

The reason nothing ever came of Carlos' investigation is because the CTIA refused to accept the findings and publicly discredited him for doing the work he'd been paid to do in the first place. In 1999, wireless technologies were nowhere near as ubiquitous as they are today. Now, the stakes are higher than ever, and there can be little doubt that profit is still weighing heavier than science.

"This Nation investigation reveals that the wireless industry not only made the same moral choices that the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries did; it also borrowed from the same public-relations playbook those industries pioneered.

The playbook's key insight is that an industry doesn't have to win the scientific argument about safety; it only has to keep the argument going. That amounts to a win for the industry, because the apparent lack of certainty helps to reassure customers, even as it fends off government regulations and lawsuits that might pinch profits," Hertsgaard and Dowie write.36

"Funding friendly research has perhaps been the most important component of this strategy, because it conveys the impression that the scientific community truly is divided … The wireless industry has obstructed a full and fair understanding of the current science, aided by government agencies that have prioritized commercial interests over human health and news organizations that have failed to inform the public about what the scientific community really thinks."

5G Will Dramatically Increase Radiation Exposure

The transition to 5G will dramatically increase RF-EMF radiation exposure as it will require the installation of small antennas every 250 feet or so to ensure connectivity. Some estimates suggest millions of new antenna sites will have to be erected in the U.S. alone.

In September last year, more than 180 doctors and scientists from 35 countries signed a petition37 to enact a moratorium on the rollout of 5G due to potential health risks, noting that "RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment." The petition also points out that:

"5G technology is effective only over short distance. It is poorly transmitted through solid material. Many new antennas will be required and full-scale implementation will result in antennas in every 10 to 12 houses in urban areas, thus massively increasing mandatory exposure …

More than 230 scientists from 41 countries have expressed their "serious concerns" regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices already before the additional 5G roll-out …

Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plants and animals."

Protect Yourself From Excessive EMF

There's no doubt in my mind that RF-EMF exposure is a significant health hazard that needs to be addressed if you're concerned about your health, and the roll-out of 5G would certainly make remedial action all the more difficult. Late last year, California governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill to establish statewide standards for 5G networks.38

Senate Bill 649 sought to restrict the ability of local government to block antenna placement, which led to opposition from local officials across the state. Brown decided to let local leaders have control over 5G infrastructure. In time, we'll likely see similar legislation in other states, so keep your eyes and ears open, and be sure to get involved whenever an opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, here are several suggestions that will help reduce your RF-EMF exposure:

Connect your desktop computer to the internet via a wired Ethernet connection and be sure to put your desktop in airplane mode. Also avoid wireless keyboards, trackballs, mice, game systems, printers and portable house phones. Opt for the wired versions.

If you must use Wi-Fi, shut it off when not in use, especially at night when you are sleeping. Ideally, work toward hardwiring your house so you can eliminate Wi-Fi altogether. If you have a notebook without any Ethernet ports, a USB Ethernet adapter will allow you to connect to the internet with a wired connection.

Shut off the electricity to your bedroom at night. This typically works to reduce electrical fields from the wires in your wall unless there is an adjoining room next to your bedroom. If that is the case you will need to use a meter to determine if you also need to turn off power in the adjacent room.

Use a battery-powered alarm clock, ideally one without any light. I use a talking clock for the visually impaired.39

If you still use a microwave oven, consider replacing it with a steam convection oven, which will heat your food as quickly and far more safely.

Avoid using "smart" appliances and thermostats that depend on wireless signaling. This would include all new "smart" TVs. They are called smart because they emit a Wi-Fi signal and, unlike your computer, you cannot shut the Wi-Fi signal off. Consider using a large computer monitor as your TV instead, as they don't emit Wi-Fi.

Refuse smart meters as long as you can, or add a shield to an existing smart meter, some of which have been shown to reduce radiation by 98 to 99 percent.40

Consider moving your baby's bed into your room instead of using a wireless baby monitor. Alternatively, use a hard-wired monitor.

Replace CFL bulbs with incandescent bulbs. Ideally remove all fluorescent lights from your house. Not only do they emit unhealthy light, but more importantly, they will actually transfer current to your body just being close to the bulbs.

Avoid carrying your cellphone on your body unless in airplane mode and never sleep with it in your bedroom unless it is in airplane mode. Even in airplane mode it can emit signals, which is why I put my phone in a Faraday bag.41

When using your cellphone, use the speaker phone and hold the phone at least 3 feet away from you. Seek to radically decrease your time on the cellphone. I typically use my cellphone less than 30 minutes a month, and mostly when traveling. Instead, use VoIP software phones that you can use while connected to the internet via a wired connection.