Tag Archives: water

NASA Is Seeking Help In Potentially Finding Life On Jupiter’s Moon Europa (Video)

NASA is confident that underneath Jupiter’s moon Europa there could be more water than in our oceans here on Earth. So naturally, Europa has attracted a lot of attention, encouraging the curious to ask, “Could there be life on Europa?”.

Currently, NASA is aiming to send a new mission to Europa by 2025. The White House’s 2015 federal budget allocates $15 million towards making this Europa mission a reality.

Europa has recently become one of NASA’s main focuses because,  out of all the other planetary bodies in our solar system, it has arguably the greatest chance of harboring life.

From Space.com…

“Every 10 years, the U.S. National Research Council, a nonprofit organization that advises the government, issues a report that recommends a planetary exploration strategy for NASA and the National Science Foundation. The current report (which covers 2013 to 2022) ranks an exploration of Europa among the highest priority missions. According to the report, the future mission should focus on taking a closer look at the ocean that scientists suspect lies below the surface; characterizing its icy crust and looking for any subsurface liquid water; determining the surface composition and chemistry; examining surface features and identifying landing areas for future missions; and understanding the purpose of its magnetosphere — the magnetic field surrounding the celestial body. NASA officials said the instrument proposals should focus on at least one of these exploration goals. The announcement calls for instruments designed for a spacecraft that will orbit Europa or complete several flybys, since astronomers do not yet have enough data to pinpoint safe landing sites on the icy moon.”

The video below describes Europa in more detail.

NASA hopes that by providing monetary incentives to private parties, they will encourage competition and innovation, leading to affordable development processes for the instruments necessary for new missions like the upcoming one to Europa.

Two of the main challenges for teams developing instruments are overcoming Jupiter’s high levels of radiation and making sure that no organic material from Earth (like microorganisms, for example) is introduced to Europa’s potentially habitable surface.

The competition ends in April 2015. NASA will select the top 20 proposals, rewarding $25 million to each of the selected teams to further advance their designs for their instruments. NASA will also select eight winners whose instruments will be developed and actually used in NASA’s mission to Europa.

This competition is included in NASA’s budget to get to Europa, according to Space.com…

“NASA is in the process of designing a mission that will cost less than $1 billion and will still meet as many of the exploration goals as possible.”

Check out NASA’s full guidelines for Europa mission science instrument ideas here.

You can also learn more about how Europa works in this infographic from Space.com (click to enlarge):

Water Scarcity- The Invisible Threat to Humanity’s Future (Infographic)

Water is the most important necessity for life. However, it’s something that we take for granted in much of the developed world. Although 70% of the world is covered with water, only 3% is freshwater, and 2/3 of that is frozen and inaccessible.

Also, most people don’t realize just how much water we use for food- it takes an estimated 441 gallons of water to produce just one pound of boneless beef, and a large portion of our freshwater is used for agriculture.

Check out this great infographic from Seametrics about just how much water we’re using now and what the future looks like for our most important resource (click to see full size):

How A “Drinkable Book” Might Just Drastically Improve the Lives of Millions of People (Video)

Dr. Theresa Dankovich is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Virginia. Dankovich, whose specializes in chemistry, recently designed a new type of paper which is coated in silver nano-particles which not only filter the water but actually kill the bacteria of common (yet deadly) water-borne diseases like typhoid and cholera.

The paper has been proven to remove more than 99.99% of bacteria in the water, and it costs just pennies to produce, making it cheaper than any other filtration devices on the market.

The paper is printed with important information and tips about water health and safety and then bound into a book which not only educates people about water safety but actually provides them with the filters they need to purify their own water.

For more on the Drinkable Book and other creative solutions to the clean water crisis in underdeveloped countries, visit waterislife.com.

What’s In Your Drinking Water? Cocaine and Caffeine, If You’re British

A group of experts from the British Drinking Water Inspectorate recently carried out a series of tests to see what chemical compounds were in British drinking water. Even after intensive purification treatments, the scientists found traces of cocaine.

Specifically, the scientists found benzoylecgonine, which is the form that the compound takes after being metabolized in the body. It’s the same compound that is looked for in urine when testing a person for cocaine use.

Steve Rolles of the Transform think tank

Steve Rolles of the drug policy think tank Transform believes that this finding is reflective of Britain’s rapidly growing drug use. In an interview with the British Sunday Times recently, he said,

“We have the near highest level of cocaine use in western Europe. It has also been getting cheaper and cheaper at the same time as its use has been going up.”

According to the charity DrugScope, England has 170,000 crack cocaine-dependent addicts, and an estimated 700,000 British citizens aged 16-59 use cocaine at least once every year.

Click to enlarge

But cocaine wasn’t the only thing found in the water. The inspectors also found traces of the common painkiller acetaminophen and the epilepsy drug carbamazepine. There were also significantly higher levels of caffeine in the water.

Public Health England recently published a report which assessed the health risks associated with these recent findings. Their report concluded that the levels of cocaine in the water after it was treated were 4 times lower than before treatment, and that the dosage (~4 nanograms/liter) was unlikely to pose a serious threat to public health. The report stated,

“Estimated exposures for most of the detected compounds are at least thousands of times below doses seen to produce adverse effects in animals and hundreds of thousands below human therapeutic doses.”

Click to enlarge

However, little research has been done into whether or not constant, regular exposure to these pharmaceuticals, even in small doses, can cause cumulative effects over time.

Read more from The Independent here.

Unreal Footage of the Earth Opening and Closing During Japan’s Massive 2011 Earthquake

On March 11, 2011, a devastating 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck just off the coast of Japan, creating a tsunami which did vast amounts of damage to the island as it swept across the land.

At a park in Japan, an American tourist happened to have his phone out as the first earthquake shock waves traveled through the ground beneath him. He captured the first ever footage of the earth expanding and contracting with the waves of a quake.

He also captured the phenomenon of liquefaction, in which water held in loosely backed ground soil get pushed up to the surface by the extra pressure applied from the earthquake.

How soil liquefaction occurs during a quake (those are earthquake waves on the top half of the diagram)

Revolutionary Step? Bolivia Gives the Earth Comprehensive Legal Rights

The Law of Mother Earth is a bold move by the Bolivian government. At its source is the ancient “Pachamama” traditions of the native Andean people. This worldview is based on the belief that the earth is actually a living being (“Pachamama” translates to Mother Earth).

The Bolivian government says the law is a culmination of efforts to combat climate change, to live in harmony with the Earth and to prioritize “the greater good”.

The legislation gives the Earth the rights to,

“Life and regeneration; biodiversity and freedom from genetic modification; pure water; clean air; naturally balanced systems; restoration from the effects of human activity; and freedom from contamination.”

Bolivians rallying in support of the legislation (Source: http://www.cipamericas.org)

Furthermore, the law decrees that the Bolivian government is now legally bound to,

“Prioritize the well-being of its citizens and the natural world by developing policies that promote sustainability and control industry.”

The economy must operate within the natural limits of the environment, and the government must pursue renewable energy technologies as well as total energy and food sovereignty.

Indigenous Bolivians celebrate the winter solstice (Photo: David Mercado/Reuters)

It also gives citizens the right to sue individuals or groups (including the government and businesses) on behalf of the Earth if they belief Earth’s rights have been violated.

Here’s the full list of rights stated in the law:

  • The right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes.
  • The right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.
  • The right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration.
  • The right to pure water.
  • The right to clean air.
  • The right to balance, to be at equilibrium.
  • The right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution.
  • The right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities

Read more from CS GLobe here.

BP Doubles Its Initial Estimate On How Much Oil Spilled Into Lake Michigan Monday

Around 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, refinery workers at a BP refinery on Lake Michigan reported an oily sheen on the surface of the lake.

After reporting yesterday that only 18 barrels had spilled, BP today changed the number to 39, more than doubling the initial estimate. If you’re wondering, 39 barrels is the equal to 1,638 gallons of oil (42 gallons/barrel).

In July of 2013, the refinery underwent a $4 billion overhaul to increase the amount of heavy Canadian tar sands it processes.

Although the lake provides drinking water for 7 million residents in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, BP insists the spill will have no significant impact on water quality.

The EPA is conducting an investigation into whether or not BP violated the federal Clean Water Act but declined to comment on BP’s raised estimates.

Read more from the Chicago Tribune here.

Don’t Touch Your Phone for 10 Minutes, Provide a Day of Clean Drinking Water For a Child In Need

UNICEF recently teamed up with clothing designer Giorgio Armani for the latest campaign in the UNICEF Tap Project, which has been striving to increase access to clean water for children worldwide since 2007.

For this latest scheme, they have created a mobile website app (you don’t have to download anything) that can tell when your phone is not being used. For every 10 minutes you leave your phone alone, Armani will provide a day of clean drinking water to a child in need.

According to UNICEF, 768 million people lack access to safe, clean drinking water, 2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation and 1,400 children die every day from diseases linked directly to unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation.

Millions of children lack clean water. How long could you go without something far less vital… like your phone?

Visit the homepage of the UNICEF Tap Project on your phone and get started!

When Water Flows Uphill- The Leidenfrost Effect (Video)

From Science Friday:

“In the Leidenfrost Effect, a water droplet will float on a layer of its own vapor if heated to a certain temperature. This common cooking phenomenon takes center stage in a series of playful experiments by physicists at England’s University of Bath, who discovered new and fun means to manipulate the movement of water.”

Flouride: The Greatest Case of Scientific Fraud in History (Guest Piece)

I recently had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a very intelligent young man named Will Ellis. Like us here at The Higher Learning, Will seeks to find the truth and share it with others through his website Factor4Freedom.com.

So naturally I was thrilled when he agreed to write this exclusive guest piece for The Higher Learning. Will is bold, yet thorough and concise, backing up everything will meticulous sourcing.

This piece convinced me that the issue of fluoride needs to become something that the public is aware of- only then will we be able to do anything about it. I highly suggest you check it out.

Flouride: The Greatest Case of Scientific Fraud in History

By Will Ellis

Have you ever wondered what our teeth would look like without fluoride in our toothpaste and water? Would we all, at worst, have rotten teeth and, at best, have a smile like Austin Powers? Did everyone throughout history just have awful teeth before water was fluoridated in the 1940s? 

The answers might surprise you.

To start off, yes, the rate of tooth decay in most countries has decreased since the 1940s. However, according to the World Health Organization, tooth decay rates have decreased in both fluoridated countries and non-fluoridated countries.

Click graph to see full size version.

This suggests that other factors could better explain why tooth decay rates have decreased over the years. In fact, most developed nations, including 97% of Western Europe, have either banned or discontinued the fluoridation of water and numerous studies have been done showing that tooth decay rates have still decreased or remained the same in those countries. Only a small number of these countries even fluoridate their salt!

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and China have all recognized that water fluoridation is not a safe and fair practice.

What’s wrong with fluoride?

The Health Effects

One of the most comprehensive websites showing studies related to the health effects of fluoride is FluorideAlert.org, which has compiled scientific evidence of fluoride being correlated with or causing arthritis, bone fracture, lower IQ, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, endocrine disruption, kidney disease, male fertility issues, calcification of the pineal gland, skeletal fluorosis and thyroid disease. 

This website, like most, is somewhat biased however, so let’s take a look at specific claims in scientific journals:

As of February 20th, 2014, fluoride has been officially classified as a developmental neurotoxin in the same category as arsenic, lead, methylmercury and other industrial chemicals, according to the March 2014 journal Lancet Neurology.

That journal highlighted a Harvard meta-analysis of studies on fluoride exposure and IQ:

“A meta-analysis of 27 cross-sectional studies of children exposed to fluoride in drinking water, mainly from China, suggests an average IQ decrement of about seven points in children exposed to raised fluoride concentrations. Confounding from other substances seemed unlikely in most of these studies.”

The majority of these 27 studies had water fluoride levels of less than four milligrams per liter, which falls under the allowable level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Criticism from Fluoridation Proponents 

The majority of these studies are done in countries like China, India and other countries in which other environmental factors could have affected the studies. Also, in many of these areas the natural fluoride levels are significantly higher than the fluoride levels in the United States.

This is a very valid point about the fluoride levels, but the journal article itself even says that it is very unlikely that there were confounding variables.

“The dose makes the poison” is a common argument made by fluoridation proponents because water is now fluoridated at 0.7ppm (part fluoride per million parts water) so there is no way people could consume enough fluoride to be affected negatively. However, very few studies have been done on the bio-accumulative effects of fluoride.

Accumulation of Fluoride

In 1977, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) stated that, for the average individual, retention of 2mg/day would result in crippling skeletal fluorosis after 40 years. In the same report, the NAS stated that approximately half of each day’s fluoride intake is retained. This is what makes it so dangerous.

Both sides agree to the fact that healthy kidneys can eliminate only about 50% of daily fluoride intake. The rest gets absorbed in calcified tissues, like bones and teeth. Considering the above-mentioned intake level, it is likely that some extent of skeletal fluorosis already affects a significant portion of the population.

Now let’s take into account the other sources of fluoride:

If you drink a beer, wine, soft drink, tea, consume lettuce, grapes, raisins, flour, brush with toothpaste, breathe polluted air, bathe in fluoridated water, etc., you are getting more than enough fluoride. It doesn’t evaporate. The epidemic of dental fluorosis in America proves this.

Furthermore, most dentists recommend a pea-sized amount of toothpaste but most people use much more than that. If you swallow more than the amount recommended for brushing with, the label on the tube of toothpaste says that you should “contact a poison control center”. Toothpastes without fluoride in them do not have this warning label.

Also, the amount of fluoride in one pea-sized amount of toothpaste is equal to the amount in 8 ounces of water. Odds are, if you are conscious about health, you drink more than 8 ounces a day. Most fluoridated water contains about 0.7-1.0 ppm (although we do not know since the dose is not controlled well). That means that in 1 liter of water, you would find about 1 mg of fluoride.

So what does this all mean?

  1. The dose of 0.7ppm fluoride in water is not really accurate because it can be much higher or lower in different areas of the country. There is no way to accurately control the dosage.
  2. Fluoride accumulates in the body.
  3. There are many more common sources of fluoride exposure besides water, which means we are being exposed to more fluoride than most authorities are giving credit for.
  4. There is a good chance that the accumulation of fluoride in the bodies of people who drink fluoridated water will lead to negative health effects.

The Fluoride in Our Water Isn’t Natural

Most of the water we drink does not even have naturally occurring fluoride in it. Hexafluorosilicic acid is a common source for water fluoridation. Why? Because it’s cheaper for the phosphate fertilizer industry to dump it into our water supplies than it is to neutralize and get rid of it. 

This form of fluoride is not pure, but recovered in crude form by scrubbing the gaseous emissions from the treatment of phosphate ores with sulphuric acid. These ores contain variable amounts of hazardous elements including lead, arsenic, beryllium, vanadium, cadmium, and mercury, therefore any amount of it is doing harm to us as well as to all living things, including coral reefs.

Arizona Fluoride Debate 2012

This public debate is the most unbiased accumulation of knowledge on the subject so if you are skeptical I highly recommend watching it. Below are my final thoughts on the topic and the history and politics behind fluoridation:

We do not NEED fluoride for healthy teeth. Yes, it makes it easier to prevent cavities if you are unhealthy and eat a high-sugar diet, but if you simply changed the way you ate you would never need fluoride in your toothpaste or in your water to have healthy teeth.

We have a right to not have forced medication. Fluoride is considered medication and it is not considered a nutrient. 97% of Europe has a choice of whether or not they want fluoride for a reason. Thousands of scientists with Ph.D’s, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists, are opposed to fluoridation for a reason.

Numerous cases have shown that science unsupportive of fluoridation is being suppressed. Scientists such as Dr. Phyllis Mullenix and EPA scientist Dr. William Marcus have been fired for trying to either publish approved, peer-reviewed research highlighting the dangers of fluoride exposure or for whistle-blowing.

If you really care about truth, then do your own research and decide for yourself.

A Shady History

In 1928 Edward Bernays wrote the book Propaganda, which argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy. Bernays helped the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) and other special interest groups to convince the American public that water fluoridation was safe and beneficial to human health by using the American Dental Association in a highly successful media campaign.

As veteran journalist John Pilger writes:

Bernays, described as the father of the media age, was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. “Propaganda,” he wrote, “got to be a bad word because of the Germans . . . so what I did was to try and find other words [such as] Public Relations.” Bernays used Freud’s theories about control of the subconscious to promote a “mass culture” designed to promote fear of official enemies and servility to consumerism. It was Bernays who, on behalf of the tobacco industry, campaigned for American women to take up smoking as an act of feminist liberation, calling cigarettes “torches of freedom”; and it was his notion of disinformation that was deployed in overthrowing governments, such as Guatemala’s democracy in 1954.

Prior to 1950, the ADA, the USPHS, and the American Medical Association (AMA) were all strongly opposed to the human consumption of fluoride in any form or concentration. In 1950, the USPHS did an obvious flip flop and began to strongly recommend the artificial fluoridation of public drinking water.

Andrew W. Mellon co-founded/financially-backed ALCOA and later founded the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research in 1913. In 1921 he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury, with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) under his control.

Medical information was made available to public health agencies only upon approval of the industrial provider of the research grant. Agreements between ALCOA and institutions of higher learning clearly specified that,

“Confidential information obtained from the Donor shall not be published without permission of said Donor.” 8

Another conflict of interest is shown with University of Pittsburgh biochemist and research fellow at the Mellon Institute, Dr. Gerald Cox, who worked for two organizations. One, the leading aluminum company (ALCOA), faced with litigation for disposing of fluoride waste into waterways; and two, the Sugar Institute of New York, whose aim was to stop recognition of sugar as a cause of dental disease.

If fluoride could be seen as a nutrient, rather than as a poison, and if cavities could be avoided without restricting sugar consumption, both sponsors would be happy.

Cox’s idea would turn the burden of an undesirable waste into corporate profit.

Lastly, in 1947, ALCOA attorney, Oscar Ewing, had been appointed director of the U.S. Federal Security Agency, which directed the USPHS. There is a clear conflict of interest here. Following Ewing’s national PHS fluoridation promotion, and lobbying from Frank Bull’s Wisconsin dental group, on “June 1, 1950, the PHS announced, ‘Communities desiring to fluoridate their communal water supplies should be strongly encouraged to do so.’ This endorsement was followed five months later by the American Dental Association, and others.”

For these reasons, among many others, I agree with former EPA scientist Robert Carlton, Ph. D, when he said,

“Fluoridation is the greatest case of scientific -fraud of this century.”

BONUS: Is Fluoride Severing Our Spiritual Connection?

Fluoride is also clinically proven to calcify the pineal gland. This gland was once called “the seat of the soul” by Rene Descartes, and evidence has led some scientists to believe that it may also produce dimethyltriptamine (DMT) aka the “Spirit Molecule,” which is a naturally occurring hallucinogen found in all life forms. DMT was found in the pineal gland of rodents (Strassman, 2013) and studies show that meditation increases melatonin production significantly more than rest, meaning that it likely activates the pineal gland.

It is proven that this build-up of fluoride and calcium in the pineal gland is correlated with aging, which makes sense: as people get older they tend to sleep less and we know that the pineal gland produces melatonin. If the pineal gland is proven to produce DMT, it would explain why many experienced meditators report having spiritual experiences.



“The fifty-year-old fluoridation hypothesis has not been confirmed. Despite this, millions of people are still medicated with fluoride by government decree, on the assumption that this process has been proved to be entirely safe, and very efficacious in reducing dental caries. In fact, the scientific basis of fluoridation is very unsatisfactory. It is promoted, in the main, by emotion-based ‘endorsements’ rather than by scientifically-acceptable evidence.” PubMed PMID: 3059145

Junco, L.I. et al, “Renal Failure and Fluorosis”, Fluorine & Dental Health, JAMA 222:783 – 785, 1972)

(National Academy of Sciences: Toxicological Risk of Fluoride in Drinking Water, 2006)

National Academy of Science Review: Fluoride in Drinking Water (2006)




  1. RESOLUTIONS, # 11, Fluoridation of the Public Water Supplies, AJPH, 40:1587, 12/50
  2. Dental Health of the Nations Children Furthered by the Actions of the House of Delegates, JADA, 41:722,12/50
  3. Fluoridation of Drinking Water Harmless: Statement by American Medical Association, JADA, 43:733, 12/51
  4. Proceedings, Forth Annual Conference of State Dental Directors with The Public Health Service and The Children’s Bureau, June 6-8, 1951, Department of Health, Education and Welfare call number RK 21.C55, 1951
  5. Wollan, M., Controlling the Potential Hazards of Government-Sponsored Technology, The George Washington Law Review, 36:5:1105, 07/68
  6. COX, GERALD J.; MATUSCHAK, MARGARET C.; DIXON, SARA F.; DODDS, MARY L.; WALKER, W. E. // Journal of Dental Research;Dec1939, Vol. 18 Issue 6, p. 481
  7. Murray N. Rothbard Fluoridation Revisited. The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, January 1993
  8. Contract Agreement Between Aluminum Co. of America and U. of Cincinnati, signed by N. P. Auburn, Vice-President and Dean of Administration (April 30, 1947). Testimony McCarthy vs. The Cincinnati Inquirer, l956.
  9. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article23017.htm 
  10. https://www.alcoa.com/usa/en/alcoa_usa/history.asp

Spiritual Connections

  1. Barker SA, Borjigin J, Lomnicka I, Strassman R (Jul 2013). “LC/MS/MS analysis of the endogenous dimethyltryptamine hallucinogens, their precursors, and major metabolites in rat pineal gland microdialysate.”. Biomed Chromatogr. doi:10.1002/bmc.2981. PMID 23881860
  2. Effects of Long Meditation on plasma melatonin: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14976457
  3. Acute increases in night-time plasma melatonin levels following a period of meditation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10876066

Author Bio:

“Will Ellis is the founder of Factor4Freedom.com, a blog on Self-Mastery and Credible Spirituality, and he is a truth seeker on a mission to help the world realize what actually makes us feel happy and alive.”