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Cue the crickets: Berkeley researcher finds Cuba ‘sonic attack’ sound is actually insects chirping

When US embassy staff in Cuba became mysteriously ill after hearing loud piercing sounds, US officials blamed nefarious secret agents for launching “sonic attacks.” But a new Berkeley University study could have proven them wrong.

The incidents, which occurred between 2016 and 2018, saw dozens of US staff at the embassy experience a range of health issues such as nausea, headaches, and vertigo and lead to the removal of the majority of the embassy staff from the island. It also put a freeze on warming relations between Cuba with then-US secretary for State Rex Tillerson “convinced” the attacks were targeted. 

But now the theories that the notorious “Havana Syndrome” was the work of some Cold War-era conspiracy have apparently been contradicted by scientist Alexander Stubbs of the University of California, Berkeley, who this week published a study pinpointing the source of the mystery noise.

Presenting his findings to the Annual Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Stubbs suggests that the noises heard by staff were instead from the echoing call of an insect, the Indies short-tailed cricket.

Notably, the cricket noise theory had already been posited by Cuban scientists in late 2017. Reviewing US evidence and recording their own data, the Cuban team suggested that the noises may have stemmed from the chirp of the Jamaican field cricket, an insect common on the island.

However, this was dismissed by Washington as the short chirp of the Jamaican field cricket did not match the abrasive continuous drone recorded by US personnel in Cuba and released to the public by AP.

By comparing the US recording obtained by AP with the unique acoustic signature of hundreds of insects, Stubbs found several similar to the recording but no perfect match. That was until he realized that US staff probably made the recording indoors, altering the sound of the potential insect as it echoed off the walls.

Rerunning the analysis again after playing the insect calls through indoor speakers, Stubbs found a near-perfect match with the continuous call of the Indies cricket.

While the Indies cricket is not native to Cuba, further testing with bioacoustics experts at the University of Lincoln (UK) found that the frequency of the sound pulses heard at the embassy matched that of the Indies cricket’s sound production.

It remains to be seen whether the discovery will see US staff return to Havana in the near future.

Earlier in December, another study by a team of physicians from the University of Miami and the University of Pittsburgh found that those embassy employees who reported intense pain in their ears after exposure to the sounds were suffering genuine injuries and “not just hysteria.” However, they were unable to point to the origin of the noise.

Speaking to the New York Times, Stubbs said there was still plenty of debate over what physical damage the embassy may staff have suffered. “All I can say fairly definitively is that the AP-released recording is of a cricket, and we think we know what species it is.”



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Foiled New Year ‘Terror Attack’ in Venezuelan Oil Plant Leaves Two Dead

Oil Minister Quevedo claimed the attack forms part of a plan to sabotage the oil industry.

Merida, January 2, 2019 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Efforts to sabotage Venezuela’s oil industry were foiled over the New Year, authorities have reported, when an armed attack against the Yagua oil installations in Carabobo State was repelled by security forces.

The incident, which Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo described as a “terrorist attack,” occurred in the early hours of Monday December 31 at the gasoline filling plant. A police investigation is underway.

According to Quevedo, who is also president of the state-run oil company PDVSA, which owns the plant, two armed subjects tried to enter the plant and opened fire against the armed forces which protect it.

“The attempted sabotage was frustrated thanks to the security deployment which the Bolivarian National Armed Forces have in the facilities,” Quevedo told state TV network VTV. “The military men on service were attacked with firearms. The aggression was repelled and, regrettably, two citizens died. One has been identified and the other was undocumented,” he added.

La Yagua is strategically important as it supplies gasoline to large parts of the heavily populated central region of Venezuela, including the capital Caracas.

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Just imagine if these women tried this in Saudi Arabia.... 

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Chinese Firm Offers New Iranian Oilfield Deal Amid US Sanctions – Report


The offer is part of an existing contract between state-run Chinese energy giant Sinopec and the National Iranian Oil Company to operate the lucrative Yadavaran oilfield in the Islamic Republic's southwestern area.

The China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) has urged Tehran to agree to a $3-billion deal on the Yadavaran oilfield, an Iranian oilfield the two countries are already developing, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).  

The WSJ cited a source as saying that Sinopec notified the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) of its intention to acquire a share of the Yadavaran oilfield, in line with a US waiver allocated to China.

The source added that Sinopec offered the new deal in late December 2018, when Washington allowed Beijing to keep buying as much as 360,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day thanks to the waiver. The first investment in Yadavaran, worth about $2 billion, was made by Sinopec in 2016.

If implemented, the new deal may double production at Yadavaran to more than 200,000 barrels a day within just six months.

Yadavaran remains one of the world's biggest undeveloped oilfields, with reserves standing at about 31 billion barrels of light and heavy crude oil.

After leaving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and restoring its energy sanctions against Iran in November 2018, the US gave temporary waivers to eight major clients of Iranian oil: China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey.


The waivers are due to expire after a period of 180 days, thought Washington is reportedly mulling the extension.

The US exit from the JCPOA was announced by President Donald Trump on 8 May, when he also vowed to reinstate economic sanctions against Tehran and all those companies that continue to cooperate with the Islamic Republic. The first round of restrictions were implemented by Washington in August, while the second package of sanctions came into effect on 5 November.

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Australia's Heat Wave Is Taking A Toll On People, Animals, Infrastructure And Land


It's summertime in Australia, and the country is in the throes of a record-breaking heat wave that has brought suffering to humans, animals and land.

Temperatures in the south have soared past 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

Australia's State Emergency Service declared the heat wave a threat to public safety, as an increasing number of Australians have called ambulances and gone to hospitals in Adelaide for heat-associated illnesses.........

About 90 feral horses were some of the latest casualties there, the Central Land Council said in a statement Thursday. The horses had gathered to drink water from Deep Hole reservoir, a community group said on Facebook. But because of soaring temperatures, the water had dried up. ........

"What we don't see so predominantly is the koala which fall out of the tree one by one by one," Hanna says.

The heat also became a national security risk. In December, inmates at Alice Springs Correctional Centre rioted in protest of the blistering heat in their cells,........




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This was admitted in 2018 but I only learned about it from the newest episode "What On Earth" on the Science Channel.

Quote from the WOE series....President Bashar Assad is so evil, he make Hannibal Lecter look like Mary Poppins,


No Longer a Secret: How Israel Destroyed Syria's Nuclear Reactor


Operation Outside the Box





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Haiti protests: Police clash with demonstrators demanding president quits over corruption claims


Reports suggest up to four dead after several days of unrest in cities across Caribbean nation




Abby MartinVerified account @AbbyMartin 19h19 hours ago


In the most impoverished country in the Western hemisphere, Haitians have been protesting for days demanding the ouster of their president,

oddly absent from Western media hyperfocused on Venezuela


-uuuuuuuhh............No OIL?

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Pakistan Returns Captured Pilot To India In ‘Gesture Of Peace’

Abhinandan Varthaman was accompanied to the Pakistan-India border by the International Committee of the Red Cross.


"....The handover came against the backdrop of blistering cross-border attacks across the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir that continued for a fourth straight day, even as the two nuclear-armed neighbors sought to defuse their most serious confrontation in two decades.

Tens of thousands of Indian and Pakistani soldiers face off along the Kashmir boundary known as the Line of Control, in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

Tensions have been running high since Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan on Tuesday carrying out what India called a pre-emptive strike against militants blamed for a Feb. 14 suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian troops. Pakistan retaliated, shooting down two Indian aircraft Wednesday and capturing the pilot........


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Very saddening. There is so much violence in the world today. :( 

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Watching "Live PD", not making this up...the officer's name is Clint Cabbage.



Think this is his childhood photo



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Fracking causes global warming, that's a new one. :lol:



FYI... Fracking causes man made earthquakes. Wonder what percentage of the oil that's converted to gasoline which was pumped by your all's mommy to drive you there?



Lets see what happens if your parents deny you all a car at 17 because of pollution / global warming.  Yeah be crying like a 3 year old wanting to be breastfed.


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Social Democratic Nations Rank Happiest in Global Index (Again).

US Ranking Falls (Again).

Out-sized corporate power and wealth inequality were named as reasons for Americans' chronic unhappiness in the UN's annual report.......

......The top ten countries were largely Nordic nations with strong social welfare systems and an emphasis on equality.

"It's not about Finnish DNA. It's the way life is lived in those countries." —John F. Helliwell, economistFinland was followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands, all of which were highly ranked last year as well.

Among the top 20 countries, all but the U.S. has some form of universal healthcare for its citizens.

The study noted that some of the highest-ranking nations ensured that immigrants have a high quality of life as well as native residents...




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