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US: Iowa farmers use organic crops to get greater profits
24 February 2018 - Although still a small piece of Iowa farming, more and more growers are shifting to organic corn, soybeans, and other crops to improve their bottom line. The number of Iowa farms and acres certified as organic have each climbed about 5 percent last year over 2015, U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys show. Sales climbed 9 percent to $131.2 million. Altogether, the organics industry is closing in on $50 billion annually. (more)

US: Senators want to bolster research of organic agriculture
24 February 2018 - A pair of U.S. senators is introducing legislation designed to improve organic farming research. Democratic Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine say their legislation would reauthorize and incrementally increase funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. (more)

Superagers' youthful brains offer clues to keeping sharp (+AP video)
23 February 2018 - It's pretty extraordinary for people in their 80s and 90s to keep the same sharp memory as someone several decades younger, and now scientists are peeking into the brains of these 'superagers' to uncover their secret. (more)

US: First National Bank of Omaha won't renew NRA contract for Visa card
22 February 2018 - First National Bank of Omaha will not renew a contract with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to issue an NRA-branded Visa card, the bank said on Thursday (22 February). 'Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA,' said First National Bank of Omaha spokesman Kevin Langin. The bank declined further comment. (more)

US: North Dakota culinary students partner with local schools
22 February 2018 - Several culinary arts students from the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) worked with cafeteria staff at Breckenridge High School in Minnesota on a dish served to the high school's students recently. The culinary students and the high school's kitchen staff hosted the tasty training featuring a unique blend of roasted vegetables, packed with flavor and nutrients but free of salt. NDSCS culinary instructor Kyle Armitage said this was his first experience with the Chefs Move to Schools program. (more)

US: Teen worried about walking alone creates app for safety
19 February 2018 - Medha Gupta sometimes felt uneasy making the 20-minute walk from the corner where the school bus dropped her off to her home in Herndon, Virginia -- especially during the colder months, when it would get dark early. Her mother had a suggestion: Write an app. So she went to work. The result was Safe Travel, an app designed by Medha to help commuters feel more secure when traveling alone. (more)

US: Hot major on campus? At schools big and small, it's computer science
18 February 2018 - Leah Brumgard majors in studio art at Swarthmore College, Jeff Novak in math, and William Colgan in biology. But all three have a second major: Computer science. Computer science has become the second most popular major on the 1,620-student campus , behind economics. It's a far shift from as recently as 2010, when there were fewer than a dozen computer-science graduates. Across the country, the number of computer science majors at doctoral institutions has more than tripled in the last decade. It's much hotter than it was during the dot-com blitz in the late 1990s, according to the national Computing Research Association. (more)

Unilever lays bare palm oil supply chain in rare industry move
16 February 2018 - Consumer goods giant Unilever said on Friday (16 February) it had laid bare its entire palm oil supply chain, including all the suppliers and mills it sources from, to boost transparency in a rare industry move. Unilever said it was the first consumers goods company to publish such details, having disclosed the location of more than 1,400 mills and over 300 direct suppliers of the oil used in products from snacks and soaps to cosmetics and biofuels. Marc Engel, Unilever's chief supply chain officer, said the company hoped sharing the information would be the start of a new industry-wide movement towards supply chain transparency. (more)

US: Court upholds Arkansas' ban on Monsanto farm chemical
16 February 2018 - An Arkansas judge on Friday (16 February) dismissed a Monsanto Co lawsuit aiming to stop Arkansas from blocking the use of a controversial farm chemical the company makes, dealing a blow to its attempts to increase sales of genetically engineered seeds. Monsanto, which is being acquired by Bayer AG, filed the lawsuit last year in a bid to halt the state's ban on sprayings of the weed killer known as dicamba from the period spanning April 16 to October 31. (more)

US: EVgo, Chargepoint annual reports show growth in electric-car charging
15 February 2018 - Usage of public charging stations rises every year in the U.S. Recent summaries of 2017 activity by two large charging networks, ChargePoint and EVgo, show healthy growth in use of their stations as they add more sites and customers. Adding more than 1,000 new charging locations each month, ChargePoint entered 2018 with more than 45,000 charging locations . . . Similarly, EVgo CEO Cathy Zoi called 2017 'an extremely successful year' for the network in a press release. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
Short Summaries of Top Stories


Developing Enlightened Buildings and Communities: Maharishi Vastu Architecture conference announced
22 February 2018 - 'Developing Enlightened Buildings and Communities - How Vedic Architecture, community design, and green building influence health, happiness, and lifestyle' is the title of a conference to be held 26-27 March in Washington, DC. This event will bring together real estate professionals from all over the world to explore the most cutting-edge ideas in real estate development and their impact on communities and inhabitants. The conference will integrate Maharishi Vastu - the ancient architectural and community planning science, also known as Vedic Architecture, holistic architecture in harmony with natural law - with the newest, hottest lifestyle trends, including sustainability, community-building, and wellness. (more)

Strength in Stillness: Bob Roth talks about his new book, the rise of meditation in our culture, and the future of TM
20 February 2018 - Strength is one of the many important benefits of practising the Transcendental Meditation technique, said Bob Roth in a recent interview about his new book, Strength in Stillness. 'But the strength that comes from TM is not based on something external, but rather something internal - the field of silence, or stillness, that lies within everyone. The subtitle, The Power of Transcendental Meditation, is how to access that inner stillness.' A TM teacher for 45 years, Roth is CEO of the David Lynch Foundation. (more)

February is American Heart Month: Transcendental Meditation reduces cardiovascular disease factors
18 February 2018 - This month, TM for Women is highlighting the effectiveness of the Transcendental Meditation technique in promoting heart health. Measures to reduce the risk factors for heart disease are recommended by the American Heart Association, which states that 80 per cent of cardiac events may be prevented with lifestyle changes. Research shows that the TM programme reduces tobacco use, stress, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. Learning the TM technique is a simple step with a wide range of health benefits that result from regular twice-daily practice. TM for Women encourages women everywhere to let Heart Health Month be the impetus to supporting your future well-being. (more)

Maharishi Vastu Architecture website features new photo albums of homes around the world
16 February 2018 - Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look inside a Maharishi Vastu home? A new photo album page on the Maharishi Vedic Architecture website lets you do just that. The page contains albums of Maharishi Vastu homes from around the world. (more)

Short film by Maharishi University of Management alum competes at Sundance Film Festival
14 February 2018 - As a business and digital media major at Maharishi University of Management, Andrew Runkle got swept up in the world of filmmaking early on and never looked back. He is now a successful video producer, with a short film that was screened in competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Recently he produced several big-brand commercials that featured celebrity athletes, including Michael Jordan. 'I get a lot of fulfilment from seeing a project realize from start to finish - being able to bring something to life and see that come to fruition in a relatively short amount of time,' he said. (more)

Tonight: Live webcast - David Lynch, Bob Roth: 'A Conversation on Meditation, Creativity, and Life'
12 February 2018 - It's 2018, and who among us doesn't feel stressed and exhausted? Join David Lynch and Bob Roth this Monday evening, 12 Feb - on a live webcast from the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles - as they discuss the Transcendental Meditation technique, why it works, how it differs from mindfulness and other forms of meditation, and its broader applications in our complex society. Bob Roth is Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, founded by filmmaker David Lynch, which offers Transcendental Meditation to at-risk groups including veterans with PTSD, and women and children survivors of abuse. Roth is author of the new book, Strength in Stillness. (more)

Advice to Moms: 'Add Transcendental Meditation to your family's routine - life will become easier, softer, more stable, and sweeter'
11 February 2018 - 'Moms cannot afford to ignore their own needs while taking care of children, work and home. Most kids are sensitive to their mother's stress and reportedly experience higher stress themselves as a result,' writes Janet Hoffman, National Director of Transcendental Meditation for Women Professionals in the USA. She recommends something 'helpful to motherhood, child-rearing, patience, endurance, [and] stress reduction: Learn Transcendental Meditation.' Published scientific research has verified TM benefits that are 'strengthening for a parent, such as decreased anxiety, fatigue, depression, insomnia and hypertension along with increased stamina, resilience, and happiness.' From pregnancy through their children's teen years, when mothers 'add Transcendental Meditation to your family's routine, life will become easier, softer, more stable, and sweeter'. (more)

A scientific portrait of Transcendental Consciousness
9 February 2018 - Scientific research in the 1970s found that the pattern of physiological changes during Transcendental Meditation was different from waking, dreaming, and sleep - indicating that Transcendental Consciousness, the state experienced during TM practice, is a major fourth state of consciousness. Of particular interest, writes Dr David Orme-Johnson, one of the researchers, was increased alpha1 EEG during TM, which indicates a mind-body state of restful alertness. Subsequent research found that the alpha1 frequency during TM is coherent between all brain areas, which is correlated with a vast array of brain diversity underlying thought, behaviour, and feelings - creativity, intelligence, moral reasoning, and lower anxiety. (more)

Maharishi University of Management MBA student pursues sustainable investing
7 February 2018 - With a bachelor's degree in business from University of Toronto, Daniel Sharma chose Maharishi University of Management's MBA programme because of its focus on sustainability. He's motivated by long-term financial success which is not only dominated by profit but also by consideration of the environment and the stakeholders of the business. 'What I like about MUM is that they focus not only on your education, but on your well-being as an individual,' Daniel said. 'I find Transcendental Meditation very helpful, especially after a tiring day when you are looking at the screen all day - and it's like throwing away the stress from your body.' (more)

Residents of Maharishi Vastu homes report less stress, better health, more success
5 February 2018 - The February newsletter of Maharishi Vastu Architecture reports on a recent, comprehensive survey of several hundred people worldwide who live in dwellings built according to Maharishi Vastu architecture. A high percentage of residents reported improvements from living in these homes, on five measures: improved quality of life, less stress, improved mental health, greater overall success, and that their children were happier. The survey results illustrate the principles and goals of Maharishi Vastu architecture, that living in these homes creates an influence of good health, happiness, family harmony, and growth to enlightenment. (more)


Flops
Short Summaries of Top Stories


Global microwave foods market to reach $136.3 billion by 2023
23 February 2018 - According to a new report published by Allied Market Research, titled, Microwavable Foods Market by Product and Packaging Technology: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2017-23, the global microwavable foods market was valued at $100.98 billion in 2016, and is projected to reach $136.305 billion by 2023 . . . Microwavable foods are convenience food that require minimal preparation time and are cooked using the conventional microwave oven. Increased participation of women in workforce and changes in family dynamics have increased the dependency on readymade microwavable foods. Other factors ... (more)

Consumer products' air quality impact 'underestimated'
16 February 2018 - US research has found that chemicals in everyday household products are now a key contributor to city air pollution, rivalling some vehicle emissions. The study, led from Colorado University, focussed on so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are contained in petroleum-based products such as cleaning fluids and paints, and when they get into the air can form particles that affect health. The scientists say the sources of non-vehicle VOCs have been underestimated. (more)

How to disrupt an election: Fake IDs, fraud, and Facebook
16 February 2018 - A year before Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy, two Russian operatives landed in the United States to lay groundwork for an intelligence operation targeting the legitimacy of the 2016 election. What began as a Cold War-like attack by an old adversary would mix old-fashioned political agitation with 21st century social media tools that ultimately roiled the election and shook America's political landscape. (more)

Spending too much time in dimly lit rooms may damage your brain's ability learn
8 February 2018 - If you spend too much time in dimly lit rooms, you may be altering your brain's structure and damaging your ability to remember and learn, according to the findings of an intriguing new study. The research, conducted by scientists from Michigan State University, is the first to show that changes in environmental light can lead to structural differences in the brain. It is estimated that both Brits and Americans spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors on average. The researchers say a lack of bright light led to reductions in a substance which helps maintain healthy connections in the hippocampus and other regions of the brain. (more)

U.S. child mortality rates remain higher than in other wealthy nations
8 February 2018 - Even though infant and child mortality rates in wealthy nations have been steadily declining for decades, American children are still more likely to die than kids in other affluent countries, a U.S. study suggests. Back in the early 1960s, infant and child mortality rates were similar for the U.S. and 19 other countries with comparable levels of economic development. ... By the first decade of this century, the risk of death for infants was 76 percent higher in the U.S., and for children aged 1 to 19 the risk of death was 57 percent higher. Persistently high poverty rates, poor educational outcomes, and a relatively weak social safety net have contributed to the U.S. having worse infant and child mortality rates than any of these other nations, researchers write in Health Affairs. (more)

US: Common drug for PTSD doesn't stem nightmares, sleep problems in veterans
7 February 2018 - The blood pressure drug prazosin, widely prescribed to relieve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has failed to show it can reduce distressing dreams or improve sleep quality in a trial of 304 military veterans at 13 Veterans Affairs medical centers. After 10 weeks of therapy with the generic drug ... recipients had no significant reduction in recurrent nightmares or easier sleep compared to veterans receiving placebo. Experts in PTSD familiar with the research have been shocked by the findings . . . An estimated 5 percent to 10 percent of the U.S. population has PTSD, with much higher rates among veterans and active-duty soldiers. (more)

Up to one in 10 U.S. children may have fetal alcohol disorders
6 February 2018 - As many as one in 10 U.S. children may have fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, far more than previously thought, a new study of first graders suggests. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is an umbrella term for a range of physical, psychological, behavioral, and cognitive problems that can develop in children whose mothers drink during pregnancy. The most severe form, fetal alcohol syndrome, can cause stunted growth, learning disabilities, bone and joint deformities, heart defects, and hyperactivity. (more)

Count marks sharp drop in monarch butterflies wintering in California
3 February 2018 - The number of monarchs wintering in California has dropped to a five-year low, despite more volunteers counting more sites in search of the orange-and-black insect that is arguably the most admired of North American butterflies, a report said on Friday (2 February). The latest tally of 200,000 monarchs in forested groves in California's central coast has dropped from the 1.2 million counted two decades ago, indicating the number of butterflies found west of the Rocky Mountains, or the so-called western population, continues to sharply decline ... (more)

US: Drought deepens dramatically in Southern California
1 February 2018 - California is rapidly plunging back into drought, with severe conditions now existing in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties -- home to one-fourth of the state's population, a national drought monitor said Thursday (1 February). The weekly report ... also shows 44 percent of the state is now considered to be in a moderate drought. It's a dramatic jump from just last week, when the figure was 13 percent. ... In Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the lack of rain and dry vegetation were perfect fuel for a December wildfire that grew to become the largest recorded in state history. (more)

US review shows pesticides harm threatened salmon, whales
12 January 2018 - Federal scientists have determined that a family of widely used pesticides poses a threat to dozens of endangered and threatened species, including Pacific salmon, Atlantic sturgeon, and Puget Sound orcas. The National Marine Fisheries Service issued its new biological opinion on three organophosphate pesticides -- chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion -- after a yearslong court fight by environmental groups. At the urging of pesticide manufacturers, the Trump administration had sought a two-year delay of a court-ordered deadline to issue the findings by the end of 2017, but it was unsuccessful. ... the use of chlorpyrifos on fruits and vegetables after peer-reviewed academic studies found that even tiny levels of exposure could hinder the development of children's brains. (more)

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