In China, like the United States, the culture of consumerism has gripped the younger generations hard.
So hard, in fact, that a class of “invisible poor” exists in the country, who seem glamorous on the outside – with designer suits, expensive habits, and posh apartments – yet often live paycheck-to-paycheck on a low income. They are poor partly because of their obsession with the good life, as represented by the high-end goods whose advertisements bombard them during every waking hour.
For 25-year-old Wang Shangkun in Anhui province, the allure of such goods – in this case, an iPhone and an iPad – proved devastating and has left the young man not only dependent on a dialysis machine but also bed-ridden for the rest of his life.
In 2011, a then-17-year-old Wang sold one of his kidneys to black market organ harvesters for the equivalent of less than $3,300 (or 22,000 Yuan) so that he could afford the latest Apple products. He later purchased an iPad 2 and an iPhone 4.
According to China Network Television, Wang had long dreamed of buying the tablet to impress his friends but his family, who lived in one of the poorest provinces in the country, was unable to afford it.
Human organ harvesters eventually contacted Wang in a chat room and offered him cash for his kidney.
“Why do I need a second kidney? One is enough,” Wang said at the time.
Without telling any of his family, Wang secretly traveled from Anhui province to the south of Hunan province, where his right kidney was removed in an operation and given to an unknown recipient.
Upon returning home with his brand new gadgets, his suspicious mother forced him to confess.
But Wang’s real trouble began when his health began sharply deteriorating due to the unsanitary conditions of his surgical procedure and the lack of postoperative care that followed. In a matter of months, an infection of Wang’s remaining kidney led to outright organ failure, forcing Wang to give up school.
Eight years later, Wang is in such a severe state that he’s likely to live the remainder of his life confined to his bed, requiring dialysis every day to clear his blood of toxins as a result of his kidney failure.
If not for the social benefits provided by the Chinese government, his family would likely not be able to afford his health care needs.
Nine people were arrested in connection with the illicit organ sale, including five surgeons. A leader of the gang had made arrangements to hire a surgeon who worked at the nearby military hospital.
While China banned the human organ trade in 2007, the country’s developing market economy has widened the social gap between the extreme rich and the poor while an enormous gap still exists between organ donors and those requiring a transplant.
Video Showing UFOs Swarming Navy Warship is Real, Pentagon Confirms
Late last month, reports emerged that a number of U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers sailing off the coast near Los Angeles encountered a swarm of strange unidentified flying objects or drones in 2019. While Navy investigators looked into the strange incident, no explanation has since been given.
However, new footage has been leaked to documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell that shows the strange flying objects swarming above one of the ships, and the Pentagon has confirmed that the videos are authentic.
“I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel,” a Department of Defense spokesperson told Futurism.
In the brief footage, which appears to have been recorded with night vision cameras, triangular or pyramid-shaped objects can be seen hovering above the deck of a Navy destroyer.
According to Corbell, the Pentagon has gone to great lengths to disavow any connection to the swarming UAVs.
“This was taken on deployment from the USS Russell,” Corbell told Mystery Wire. “It shows what they described as vehicles. And they made a great distinction. They made sure in this classified briefing, they made a great distinction that this is not something that we own either a black project, this is not something of a foreign military, that these were behaving in ways that we did not expect.“
“And that they were you know shaped non aerodynamically,” he added. “Like pyramids, these are flying pyramids!”
The video, as well as a number of photos from the incident, have all been gathered by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, a group tasked with investigating encounters between the different service branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and a number of unidentified flying objects.
While officials have been baffled by the unknown flying objects, in recent years the Pentagon has been more vocal about past encounters, which they describe as having been frequent. Officials have also discouraged the use of the acronym “UFOs,” instead opting to describe them as unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs.
Prince Philip Joke About Reincarnating as Deadly Virus to ‘Solve Overpopulation’ Resurfaces
The Friday announcement of the death of Prince Philip elicited a range of reactions on social media, with some users eulogizing the late royal while others used the occasion to heap mockery upon the British monarchy.
However, others also shared an old quote from the Prince Philip where he bizarrely suggested that after he died, his wish would be that he is reincarnated as a deadly virus in order to help solve the so-called problem of overpopulation.
The decidedly anti-social quote was taken from a 2009 article published by The Guardian that listed out a number of controversial and generally distasteful quotes from the Queen’s husband on various subjects.
The full quote read: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.”
Tweeting a screenshot of the quote, user Riya said: “WHAT THE F*CK.”
While others replied to the misanthropic quote with a reference to the ongoing pandemic:
The Daily Express notes that the quote originates from a joking comment about deadly viruses that the prince made in a 1988 interview with Deutsche Press-Agentur. The quote was also widely shared during the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip, royal consort to Queen Elizabeth II, on Friday morning.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the announcement read. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists
The waters surrounding the equator are one of the most biodiverse areas in the globe, with the tropical area rich in marine life including rare sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, and other creatures.
However, rampant rises in temperate have led to a mass exodus of marine species from the sensitive region – with grave implications for life on earth.
While ecologists have long seen the thriving biodiversity of equatorial species holding constant in the past few centuries, a new study by Australian researchers published in The Conversation has found that warming global temperatures are now hitting the equator hard, potentially leading to an unprecedented mass extinction event.
The researchers from the Universities of Auckland, Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast found that as waters surrounding the equator continue to heat up, the ecosystem is being disrupted and forcing species to flee toward the cooler water of the South and North Pole.
The massive changes in marine ecosystems that this entails will have a grave impact not only on ocean life – essentially becoming invasive species in their new homes – but also on the human livelihoods that depend on it.
“When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine species died,” the researchers wrote.
To see where marine life is headed, the researchers tracked the distribution of about 49,000 different species to see what their trajectory was. The global distribution of ocean life typically resembles a bell curve, with far fewer species near the poles and more near the equator.
However, the vast alteration of the curve is already in motion as creatures flee to the poles, according to a study they published in the journal PNAS.
These changes augur major disruptions to global ecosystem as marine life scrambles in a chaotic fight for food, space, and resources – with a mass die-off and extinction of creatures likely resulting.
The research underscores the dire need for human societies to control rampant climate change before the biodiversity and ecological health of the planet is pushed past the point of no return.
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