Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Plagiarizing Nature & Cutting Out the Middle Man for Profit

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Take Note: I will periodically update this page with recent relevant News as it is released, please scroll to the bottom for these ongoing updates. 
Wow - Pharmaceuticals - where to begin. Well first off, I actually work for them indirectly. There is no end to the self-promotion by the Pharmaceutical giants proclaiming their great genius at inventing drugs to save mankind or the usual collection of fringe ideologically motivated defenders of this industry who insist that anybody against these  chemical manufacturing giants are Anti-science. Funny isn't it ?, this is the same failed cowardly tactic used by the powerful GMO industry & their defenders towards their critics. Don't like out products ?, then you must be anti-science. I'm sure people back in the 60s/70s who protested with "No Nukes" & the Nuclear industry in general were branded with  the same cowardly label. Seriously, look where the Nuke profession has brought to the natural world today. Fact is people are NOT anti-science when they protest something, they are simply just anti-corruption anti-profiteering science which bypasses responsible testing. There is no doubt that a great number of people out there take comfort in blindly assuming that scientific integrity is somehow assured; that there are safeguards along the way or if not, that mystic self-correcting nature of Science often chanted in the form of a religious affirmation in any debate will somehow kick in like some artificial immune system and remove the bad corrupting influence, thus preventing fraudulent research from harming patients. In our modern world, scientific misconduct has become a very serious and so widespread problem that it threatens the entire paradigm of science-based medicine (or for that matter science-based anything) unless changes are made inside these industries. Unfortunately self-correction is not the nature of such giant powerful business entities (unless they are exposed & forced to), hence little people around the globe protest and publicly express their mistrust of such monopoly run business models. The pharmaceutical industry (& Chemical industry in general) has lost it's scientific integrity, and without it, "science-based medicine" is just a term without substance. I know because I work behind the scenes with regards pharmaceutical data research collection by means of interviews with Doctors, Specialists, pharmaceutical researchers or other associated scientists and even some of the big Pharma Executives themselves depending on the subject and/or campaign I'm involved with at any one time. Over here in the Europe Union, there are laws created that demand the Pharmaceutical Industry conduct regular ongoing studies on all their drugs for various medical procedures, practices and reporting of any and all side effects related to their usage. Now, this doesn't mean that I am totally negative about pharmaceuticals as they can have their place and some benefits as to their real worth or value, but many times there is another side of the story. Most of these companies have never really invented anything from scratch, rather they have plagiarized what originally has existed for countless thousands of years out in Nature.

So where do I start ? Hmmmm, well presently there is another Flu scare going around the globe and if you want to save yourself you are informed that you need to accept your flu vaccine. If not, then you are demonized as an anti-science Luddite for not putting faith in the Ecclesiastical Hierarchical Scientific structure that says so. I could tell you the horror stories about the unquestioning faith of millions of native Swedes here who as a culture generally are  programmed from youth onward not to question authority when it comes to National Health agendas like Flu Shots. There was that 2009 Swine/Bird Flu hybrid strain said to have originated down in a Mexican Industrial livestock operation which was promoted as the next global pandemic by a British Researcher with a vested interest in a pharmaceutical company which was developing an unproven untested Flu miracle drug only to have over 800+ Scandinavian children acquire Narcolepsy as a vicious incurable side effect result. I could tell you about a good close friend of mine who works for a pharmaceutical company here in Göteborg Sweden for which taking vaccines goes without question and a colleague of his whose pregnant wife took this untested junk vaccine only to become paralyzed from the waist down even to this day. But what good would such negativity accomplish. Believers will line up anyway. BTW, Poland refused to believe the hype and rejected spending millions of dollars for this miracle vaccine and opted for regular cold weather flu season treatment and not one person died or received any severe side effects. This latest round of publicity while sounding scary because of the (last count) 149 deaths in USA over this flu strain, but what you are never told are the health and lifestyle choice conditions of those who died. Even if some were seemingly healthy, there is no guarantee. One of the biggest responses I get from Doctors and Research Specialists I interview is a little something called patient compliance & lifestyle changes. Whether we are talking about Type II Diabetes or Hepatitis B or whatever the subject of the data research collection campaign I am involved with, getting a patient to change lifestyle is near to impossible for most doctors. Interestingly, Docs are pushing this more, something they traditionally in times past never use to do, with the except of a few. Most of the response when they do advise patients about making lifestyle changes is anger & outrage from the patient. As one Doc told me, "A woman who smoked 50 cigarettes a day fired back at me with, 'You are the doctor, fix it. That's what I'm paying you for'." Okay, now that's out of the way, let's talk about plants.

Ancient Chinese Medicine
There is something most people need to understand about much of the history of modern pharmaceuticals which are presently flooding the global markets with their synthetic wares and that is that many of the original seemingly magic healing and/or symptom correcting chemical compounds originally came from plants found in the natural world. Long before our modern terminologies were invented, like the disciplinary practice we call Science, there were those from past civilizations who for whatever motivation or reason actually used what is now coined the 'scientific method' for discovery. In attempts to discover the healing properties of plants, I have to believe there was most likely a whole lot of trail and error, with some patients paying the ultimate cost with their lives. Nevertheless over centuries of time, you have to figure some did get their discoveries correct. (BTW, many of the world's flavourite Liqueurs enjoyed today were originally medical herbal Elixirs for the Royalty of Europe) Many of these herbal remedies for example were even long registered in the American Pharmacological Directory or perhaps better known by the term The US directory of Pharmacopoeia,  (literally, "drug-making"), in its modern technical sense, was a book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society. Many well known plants were long listed through the 1800s into the early 20th century until such references to them became unscientific in the modern usage sense. The change seems to have come through the growth of power by large commercial interests. The plants were discounted as being of little worth or value as modern Pharmaceuticals and the University educated Scientists who slave for them found ways to synthesize these same natural chemical compounds in the Lab. Doing so allowed for patenting a product. You see, the main historical problem for the pharmaceutical business model is something called Patents and being able to milk those precious royalties for all their worth before the Patent's expiration date. Once that happens, every crude bathtub operation around the globe climbs on board to manufacture their own version of the junk, some with dire consequences. The historical problem is you could never Patent a plant, as no one could legally own something anyone could obtain seeds for, plant and use themselves. It would be virtually impossible to police. Of course that was before GMOs came along. The modern Biotech Industry has solved that legal problem through specific genetic manipulation. This really exposes the true reason for GMOs. Seriously, GMOs were and are a strictly business decision and has nothing to do with the producing better product than what nature accomplishes when replicated properly. However, as stated previously, Big Pharma has attempted to pursue a course of synthesizing these same Nature constructed chemical compounds in Labs which do offer them a more direct route towards acquiring those precious Patents and the lucrative profits they provide. Plus, there are no expensive labor intensive farming to be involved with and no middle men commodities brokers to deal with nor any wealth sharing legal and/or ethical obligations. 
image: Frederick Cenci 
Now to be perfectly honest and fair, while I personally like a more natural approach to healthcare by means of the original herbal remedies, many times I can also become skeptical of some in the Green industry as well. Why you ask ? How often we have seen or read an article in some popular Organics magazine or some other natural healthcare website exposing the imperfections of the Pharmaceutical industry along with pictures of pills and money illustrating the greedy motives behind the evil Drug Biz and yet at the same time that site trying to shove down my throat their own natural brand of organic wares for me to purchase with ads all over the page. Often times these natural tablets are just as expensive as the synthetic chemical drugs they are attempting to demonize. So the greed game doesn't really work to convince me either. But let me get back to plants for which this post is really about. Over a century ago, mankind derived much of it's medicines from herbal sources found out in the wild. Also many of these plants were actually listed in the Pharmaceutical guides or registries as I've stated before. Gradually these were removed as Patents for chemical synthetics replaced these. It also helped the pharma biz model to demonize and label as pseudo-science anyone and anything which didn't measure up to the supposedly more enlightened standards created by these industry giants. Chemical Industry strategy for combating anyone promoting or using natural herbal solutions are dealt with by the usual name calling by using such derogatory terms as Shamanism or witch doctors and labeling folks wanting a more natural approach as anti-science. Again as stated before, this is nothing more than an effective damage control smoke screen to protect a powerful business model by demonizing people who clearly are NOT anti-science.
Photo by Michael L Charters 
Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)
Garner Valley, California
For me personally, one of the main things that got me interested in Southwestern Native plants & Botany in general in the first place was the knowledge and ways the Native Americans utilized them. Clearly for 1000s of years these people no doubt went through and experienced a lot of trail and error until they got it right. Now what triggers my post here is something I read lately about plants in the Artemisia family. I've written about Artemisia cana & tridentata (Silver Sagebrush) before on this blog. I'm fascinated by it's function and importance in the wild and also the early usage of this incredible plant by early human residents. There are many uses for various Artemisia, like Artemisia absinthium from which well known products such as it's use for flavouring in some spirits and wines, including bitters, vermouth and pelinkovac. A common name for the plants of this family are also known as Wormwood. But another variety of Artemisia came to my attention recently and that is Artemisia annua. The article was making claim to this plant's ability to Kill 98% Of Cancer Cells In Just 16 Hours. Now I'm not going to focus on these claims of killing cancer. Such claims are a dime a dozen and yet they may even have some merit. However, I did find one viable usage which even the big Pharmaceuticals are taking note of. This is the ability of this plant to produce an important and effective anti-malarial compound. The compound is called artemisinin.
Photographer: Emmet J. Judziewicz 
One of the companies I have done work for here in Europe in my employment is the French based Sanofi. On 11 April of 2013, the Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi officially launched a new production facility in Garessio, Italy, to make artemisinin – the precursor to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), the most effective drugs against the deadliest malaria parasite. This fascinated me even more since my wife who just last Friday came back from a three week stay in Ghana West Africa was required by law to take anti-malarial drugs prior to, during and after her visit there. Of course there were other drugs required to take such as those for yellow fever and other possible encounters with diseases from the tropics. Oddly enough the positive effects on this natural compound have been well known for some time. Another friend from India and colleague who is a micro-biologist at Salgrenska Hospital here in Göteborg Sweden said he knew very well the health benefits of Artemisia annua. While such news is good, there are also some negatives. Unfortunately, Sanofi is utilizing a genetically modified yeast for the synthesizing of the Artemisinin. That in itself is a possible negative in itself, but it's the other side effect of Drug manufacturing which will hurt numerous people and that is the little farmers who make a living  growing the plant itself. 

Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

A farmer harvests sweet wormwood trees in Youyang, rural Chongqing, China, 2006. (see article link below)
"In the constant fight between microbes and people, attempts to rein in the malarial parasite have just taken an interesting turn. On Thursday the founder of Amyris Biotech triumphantly announced production of 70m doses of the anti-malarial compound artemisinin. This sounds like good news for poor people but may be a step backwards – the start of a new hi-tech assault on farmers."
"There is no doubt that artemisinin is important. Artemisinin combination therapies are the World Health Organisation's drug of choice for battling malaria – which caused an estimated 660,000 deaths in 2010 – and other artemisinin-based approaches also exist."
"Yet the good news stops there. Until this week, artemisinin for drugs was sourced entirely from the delicate leaves of artemesia annua (sweet wormwood) following sustained efforts to develop artemesia growing as doubly beneficial: a source of livelihood for African and Asian farmers, and a public health good. What makes Amyris's breakthrough significant is that its version has never been near a wormwood shrub. It comes from an industrial vat of bioengineered yeast."
"Making this possible is a controversial technology called synthetic biology (synbio). This artificially builds DNA strands in labs, using those strands to re-engineer microbes to behave as tiny factories. Ordinary yeast might ferment sugar into alcohol. Instead, this re-engineered yeast turns sugar into a precursor of artemisinin. This technical breakthrough, nine years in the making, was enabled by $53.3m (£34.6m) from the Gates Foundation. It is held up as the poster child for the brave new world of synbio."
And yet 
"Vat-grown artemisinin is highly attractive to large pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi Aventis (pdf). They will now avoid the complexity of sourcing from thousands of farmers and 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) in Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, India, Vietnam and China. As for artemesia farmers, this announcement is an assault on their livelihoods."
"Speaking at a conference in Cambridge this week, the key synthetic biologist behind the project, Jay Keasling, said "moves are afoot to replace the entire world supply" of the compound. Asked whether this means that all natural artemesia production will be replaced, he said: "Early on, it was not about replacing the agricultural form … and now I think it's nearly inevitable that it will shift over." Keasling proffered that artemesia farmers might switch to growing wheat and potatoes instead."
"Keasling argues that putting artemesia growers out of business accompanies a laudable public health move: some growers sell to producers of questionable artemisinin monotherapies, which in turn may give rise to artemisinin resistance. If a single source from a vat replaces the diverse botanical supply, it would be easy to control the market and eradicate monotherapies. Farmers are unfortunate collateral damaged."
"Keasling's remarks are an astonishing late admission of what experts and civil society groups have feared all along. In 2007, the Netherlands Tropical Institute warned that just the prospect of synthesised artemisinin could destabilise prices and dissuade farmers from planting. Keasling and his partners rejected such concerns with assurances that there would be no discernible impact on farmers. Later, they argued that synbio production would only be used to "supplement" production when botanical supply was flagging."
"Now it turns out that artemesia farmers are dismissed as entirely expendable. The rejoinder of "let them plant potatoes" seems dismissive of farmer knowledge: farmers understand markets well and those now growing artemisia annua do so because it helps them bring in income. As for the argument that synbio is necessary to eradicate malaria, the botanical approach was already producing more than enough artemisinin to address malaria." 
(you get the idea, more in link below in references)
I feel sad for the Artemisinin farmers in China and Vietnam and other poorer countries who not only have to contend with this take over competition by giant corporate power houses who are for the most part disconnected from the humanity end, but even those commodity broker middle men who control the market they are tied to and dependent upon. Jay Keasling admitted that a gradual introduction of synthetic Artesiminin would be necessary at the beginning to avoid driving conventional producers out of business at least as he puts it, “until we have enough installed capacity to take over the entire world supply”. How pathetic is that ?

Wiki: photo - US Botanic Gardens - 2012
It's a pity that such profiteering is still the main player which drive economies for a privileged few. But that is our world and how it is defined. Colonialism and Imperialism are officially gone and removed, but the industrial country's M.O. of exploiting these poorer nations with their abundant rich resources still continues. But closer to home in the west, there are still some long known traditional herbal native plants that still have potential. Ever here of Valerian ? (See link to cancer.org below) There was an interesting link to Valerian and it's potential use as an herbal remedy for anxiety and sleeplessness. While there are some positives research, some results have been inconsistent and, in many cases, the study methods have been flawed. More research is needed to make definite conclusions about its effectiveness. But it is interesting that the herb doesn't work for everyone as the research revealed. What you won't hear about is that this is the same result or effect with all synthetic drugs. Everyone has a differing genetic makeup and results will differ, hence the data collection I work with. I had one Doc who apparently switched drugs with one patient 8 times. Not because he found something better each of those eight times, but because he didn't know what a newer drug would do, hence he used "Dice Theory". "Let's see what this will do", not giving a second thought to harmful side effects. The obligation of any and all Doctors is to keep constantly updated with the latest findings, but I find not all do. Many have no clue as to possible side effects and yet there are a handful that do. One of the biggest problems are sales reps from Drug companies, in fact this generally is one of my questions to the Docs. Let's face it, for all the promotion of caring about fellow man, it's still a big profit producing business and always will be despite the sugar coating. 

Wiki: Photo from Sue in AZ
Then there is a native southwestern shrub closer to my homeland area. In the herbal Botanical world they call it "Chaparral", but that is actually a plant community. It's common name is Creosote Bush or Larrea tridentata. It is a common sight along the desert highways of the southwest, but most folks probably never pay it no mind. The wonderful refreshing smell after a summer monsoon thundershower is from the biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which emit from this plant and it is these same compounds for which a tincture with alcohol or a tea is made. The usage by the early natives was for a blood purifier. At one time the United States FDA with approval of the AMA had a ban on using Larrea tridentata S saying that it was toxic and dangerous. Yes, the alkaloids this plant manufactures can be toxic in a high dose concentrated form, but so can any drug if a medical doctor doesn't know what he is doing. Sure enough in the correct safe dosage (you really need to know what you are doing) it can have a toxin removal effect from the body. Many have claimed that it cures cancer, but like drugs, nothing cures cancer. It's ridding your system of toxins and your immune system brought back online that fights the cancer cells. Of course most modern science-based conventional medicine opts for a procedure of poisoning and irradiating cancer cells as opposed to boosting a person's immune system function to battle the mutated abnormal cells. Dr Richard Schulze of American Botanicals actually did this on what I call throw away patients. You know the type I'm referring to, after Hospitals or Clinics exhaust a cancer patient's medical benefits and other insurances of all of it's funding, they are told that there is nothing else can be done. So Hospice is the next journey. The news of his success with these patients and their life threatening diseases spread. His clinical success became an embarrassment to the medical community, and his patients were thriving instead of dying became embarrassing living testimonials to the failure of much of the conventional science-based modern medicine. He was arrested and his clinic was boarded up back in 1994. They came into his clinic with SWAT with automatic weapons where nothing more than sick patients were staying. He was arrested and condition of not remaining in prison was to never open a clinic in the USA ever again. Using Chaparral (Larrea tridentata) was the loophole the FDA used for the shut down his clinic. I really don't want to go on more here with this subject as his work is a post all to it's own. But maybe later at a future date as I used to travel and listen to his weekend long lectures. 

Dr Richard Schulze
It should be noted that all drugs have side effects. It should also be admitted that so do most all natural herbal compounds, for example some plant chemical compounds can cause a type of anemia and lack of ability for one's blood to clot if injury happens like in an accident, you could be in serious trouble. A truly educated herbalist would know these things as a conventional doctor should know their drug prescription business. This is why you need to do your homework no matter which direction you choose. You also need to do homework on doctors you choose. Having interviewed hundreds, there are only handfuls I'd trust to work on me. Learn more about the natural herbal remedies, but also learn to weed out the often time bizarre crack pots that go too far into the New Agey direction. Mainly, please understand that the scientific genius that claims to invent miracle wonders has done nothing remarkable than provide a less than perfect cheap imitation to what was originally found in nature to begin with. I'll post something later for all the outdoorsy hiking sunshine types, especially with regards combating skin cancer and the herbal compounds that deal wonderfully with ridding you of that problem. 

As a concluding note, I'd like to say that the Chaparral Plant Community is probably one of the most misunderstood and untouched resources for possible uses of plant biogenic chemical compounds around. While the chanting by activists to "Save the Rainforests" is certainly a noble one because of the potential for pharmaceutical resources as many have claimed, Chaparral has possibly as equal or maybe more potential and closer to home. Well that is if you life in SoCal. *smile* 

(Very Important Update February 18, 2014)
The headline reads: "Colorado pot aids kids with seizures, worries Doctors" Link: Yahoo News: Medical Marijuana & Kids, a New Frontier

Here are some of the relevant quotes by the experts which illustrates the attempt at damage control and a preview of the coming offense in the protection of a monopolized business model in big Pharma industry which Docs get commissioned for pimping their wares.
"Doctors warn there is no proof that Charlotte's Web is effective, or even safe."
 "We don't have any peer-reviewed, published literature to support it," Dr. Larry Wolk, the state health department's chief medical officer, said of Charlotte's Web.
Most people seriously understand what is going on here. This makes inroads into an industry which jealously guards it's business model and it's precious synthesizing chemical patents. Until they find answers as to how to synthesize their own copyright property , they will fight tooth and nail for squash any natural means of medicating the public. I'm sure their scientists are creating genetically engineered organisms to rapidly synthesize their own chemical junk to push on the public with FDA blessings. The self-righteous bogus outrage of expressions like "we have no proof" and "don't have any peer-reviewed literature to support the claims" rings hollow. How much more proof does anyone need than the kids vast improvement and recovery ? Is there some vast conspiracy with these kids to fool the adults about their condition ? Hardly. Count on far more vicious attacks as more and more successes come from naturally grown and raised plants and their extracted compounds prove their worth and throw a glaring light on the failure of the present expensive chemical synthesized junk being pushed off on families now who otherwise have no hope. Like the Chinese and Vietnamese Farmers growing Artemisia annua (Sweet Wormwood), the Stanley Brothers and other growers in Colorado need to be watching their backs as powerful filthy rich Corporate entities with a vested interest in their precious monopoly business model will be covertly working behind the scenes and assaulting from the front with personal attacks to put them out of commission permanently.
Update April 15, 2014: From the World Agroforestry website:
Rising demand for herbal medicine can increase cultivation of medicinal trees 
 NAIROBI, Kenya (14 April 2014) -----Formalizing trade in herbal medicinal products has the potential to increase the demand for on-farm grown raw material and raise the level of cultivation of medicinal tree species in smallholder farms.
A study carried out by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Kenya shows that trade in herbal medicinal products is rising in the urban areas and formalization in terms of better hygienic packaging and labeling of the products is likely to increase cultivation of these tree species.
The study published in the scientific journal, Forests Trees and Livelihoods, says that In Kenya, the majority of traditional medicines are sold as wild plant parts, but in urban areas, demand for traditional medicines is rising and this is leading to increased formalization of the market, with traditional medicines now found in powders, liquids and creams. 
 The selling point and benefits ?
“Cultivation would not only provide a sustainable supply of medicinal products but also increase the incomes of poor smallholder farmers while addressing current problems of over-harvesting and resource degradation which have reduced the abundance of wild materials.” 
Those who preferred farm-sourced material said this was because of expected higher quality from good crop husbandry, increasing scarcity in the wild, and for some, a deliberate choice to conserve wild resources.
“While these types of formal enterprise are fairly recent in Kenya, we found that they are all experiencing annual growth and demanding more uniform raw materials which cultivation can provide,” says Muriuki
Now this is the way it will always start out with benefits to both the consumers and indigenous peoples being finally able to make a respectable living. That is until other global business (Pharmaceutical Giants) entities get wind of the change to their bottom lines, no matter how minuscule. Arguments will be made that they can synthesize the naturally occurring substances far cheaper than the Farmer can produce and if that doesn't work, a smear campaign through bogus research or smear campaign articles making fun of people who want a more natural approach to medical care as being nothing more than New Age anti-science Luddites will one day be forthcoming. And then there is always that great fall back that the genius behind those who run science can improve upon Nature which as we all have been informed in the past, is a bad designer anyway. Seriously, we are told to just ask any Engineer. It will be propagandized that science can design, build a bigger and better machine. Don't believe me ? This is what you get when science is abused, misused and practiced out of line with that Utopian dogma of what it's supposed to be. It's anything but self-correcting and to believe otherwise is to actually take up a religious position. It's been going on that way for the past 100+ years now:
 A Paradigm Shift (revolutionary science) or More of the Same ?
 Science: the religion that must not be questioned
More Interesting Reference Reading
Sanofi launches malaria drug production 
Synthetic anti-malarial compound is bad news for artemisia farmers
Medicinal Plants of the Southwest
Synthetic biology’s malaria promises could backfire 
Why Synthetic Artemisinin Is Still a Bad Idea - A Response to Rob Carlson 

Something not known by most folks is how our bodies actually metabolize drugs. Here is an article explain just how our organs filter these chemical compounds. In fact, in my interviews with researchers, we are looking for side effects with regards toxins accumulating in organs. As a side note I have asked docs about the toxicity of gmos like Monsantos BT Toxins. They said they are watching accumulation effects of the toxin buildup in organs and potential health side effects yet to be realized. Like cigarettes, no one dies during the first few years of smoking, but years of repeated use are what cause eventual organ failure. Same with BT Toxins. While some may have a rare immediate allergic reaction, , just like to can and do with natural foods like peanuts, most won't show effects for years to come. No amount of such years of testing has been done by GMO companies since profits are demanded by investors yesterday. Here is the article:
Metabolism of Pharmaceutical Drugs and Xenobiotics 
American Cancer Society: "Valerian"

No doubt with the new laws passed legalizing Cannabis for use in the medical sense which I have even previously ( written about ), you can bet Pharmaceuticals gave it the blessing to pursue their own version of synthesizing and genetically modifying their own patented version to push on the public. BTW, I found an older article on famous scientists who were known drug users during their research years. Much like the music era of the 1960s/70s, too bad people have to rely on such artificial means to be creative and damaging their health at the same time.
Meet The Science And Tech Geniuses Who Got High And Solved Amazing Problems  
For my further personal views on where science has taken the wrong direction as a result of the people who run and now control it, please read my post called:
A Paradigm Shift (revolutionary science) or More of the Same ?

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