samedi 31 mai 2014

Animal torture case from my home state

This happened about a week ago. I didn't see any existing threads about it, but it's been all over the local news ever since. Here's the original story:

As some of you know, I'm a cat lover myself. It sickens me that these children would attack a defenseless animal for fun. It's especially concerning because this is how a lot of serial killers get started, and there's the risk that if nothing is done, children like this will move on to human targets next.

Chance at Life Cat Rescue, the organization that tried but failed to save the cat's life, will be holding a candlelight vigil for Quattro on June 7th in front of the Paterson Police Department. However, the story does not end there. The leaders of the group have received death threats from people who have accused them of being racist by shoving the story in everyone's faces and vilifying the perpetrators. (Paterson is a predominantly black community.) As a result, a police escort will be needed to prevent anyone from making good on that threat.

The reason this accusation is idiotic is because none of the news stories ever mentioned the races of the children who attacked the cat. Nor did they mention the races of the older children who ran to the cat's rescue, and who are being heralded as the heroes of the story. Race is completely irrelevant. This is about animal cruelty, and preventing it from becoming human cruelty.

How do I know all this? I spoke to the people at Chance at Life in person earlier today, at one of their adoption drives. I've been interested in volunteering for an animal rescue organization or shelter, and they're located close to where I live. I recently lost my eldest cat, and am looking for an opportunity to do some good. I think Chance at Life and the two boys who came to the rescue of Quattro show that there is still some good left in the world.

via JREF Forum

Christian activists gather enough support to launch bill banning abortion

... in Russia.

Christian activists gather enough support to launch bill banning abortion

Russia Today


A group of Orthodox Christian activists claim that they have gathered 100,000 signatures under a petition seeking to completely ban abortions in Russia – a number enough to make it a valid legislative initiative. ...

Synopsis: Just what the headline says + several popular methods of contraception, too.

via JREF Forum

New National Monument-Tea partiers upset

The Organ mountains in New Mexico (one of my favorite places on earth) have been declared a National Monument, to the tune of nearly 1/2 million acres.

This is one of the few things Obama has done that I actually approve of. The comments from detractors and tea-party "Border Security" bull shippers are amusing, and show absolutely no familiarity with the terrain.

The range runs North-South, with a bit of an Eastern Spur.To the South is El Paso and the Rio Grande. To the West is the Rio Grande Valley, and I-25 (along with US-85) To the East is Fort Bliss and White Sands Missile Range.

You cannot cross the mountains between the Needles and the Rabbit Ears without ropes and gear (I lie, actually, you can, with great difficulty, make it through at least one pass that is about 10 feet wide, if you don't mind scrambling over rock faces and talus) You cannot drive over the mountains with even the most sophisticated rock-hopper.

When I was in college at NMSU, we climbed these mountains every weekend, and often during the week. We also ran the rescue team, and about once or twice a month had to go extricate some idiot who had gotten himself in over his head with improper or no equipment--and occasionally one of our own who's ability failed at the wrong time (I remember only 2 of those in 5 years, though)

Occasionally, in some steep and dark canyon, a US Army Helicopter would suddenly appear and check us out. They knew we were there--so I would be surprised if ANYone could get through without being noticed by WSMR...

Again, good job. I appreciate it.

via JREF Forum

Black Bike Week,Gov. Haley and more racism:

Daily Kos reports here: that South Carolina is tired of Bike Week. Well, Black Bike Week anyway - White Bike Week is still welcome happily, but those Blacks just are no longer welcome to Atlantic Beach (not officially at least. Racism is oh so darn quaint down South y'all!!!!!!!!!

via JREF Forum

SCam calls have reached denmark and they got my phonenumber....

Probably not news, but I just had a call from an unspecified computer call center. Cut the foreign (and english speaking) lady off at "Hello,Im calling from the computer management center about your computer..." by saying "Call me again and I'll call the police on you.".

Her response "Ok, you do that I'll call you again tomorrow at the same time".

First of all; Its saturday and 19.48 pm when I get the call. Second: Tomorrow is Sunday. Noone in Denmark, aside from grocery stores, does buisness on Sundays. Third: The only compagnies I can think off whom would contact me pr. telefon would be my ISP, and they speak danish, or ebay/Bullguard/Paypal/microsoft certification center, the later ones would use email.

Anyone got any good responses or places I can complain to ? Just in case these idiots didn't get the message?

via JREF Forum

US soldier swapped for Guantanamo detainees


Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American soldier held captive for nearly five years by militants during the Afghanistan war, has been released in an apparent swap for Guantanamo detainees, authorities said Saturday.

In exchange for Bergdahl's release, five detainees at Guantanamo Bay will be released to Qatar. The US has "appropriate assurances" that Qatar will be able to secure the detainees there. They are under a travel ban for a year.

I wonder how long the former detainees will remain put.


via JREF Forum

How did the eye evolve ?

the first step in vision is the detection of photons. In order to detect a photon, specialized cells use a molecule called 11-cis-retinal. When a photon of light interacts with this molecule, it changes its shape almost instantly. It is now called trans-retinal. This change in shape causes a change in shape of another molecule called rhodopsin. The new shape of rhodopsin is called metarhodopsin II. Metarhodopsin II now sticks to another protein called transducin forcing it to drop an attached molecule called GDP and pick up another molecule called GTP. The GTP-transducin-metarhodopsin II molecule now attaches to another protein called phosphodiesterase. When this happens, phosphodiesterase cleaves molecules called cGMPs. This cleavage of cGMPs reduces their relative numbers in the cell. This reduction in cGMP is sensed by an ion channel. This ion channel shuts off the ability of the sodium ion to enter the cell. This blockage of sodium entrance into the cell causes an imbalance of charge across the cell's membrane. This imbalance of charge sends an electrical current to the brain. The brain then interprets this signal and the result is called vision.


rhodopsin ==>> becomes metarhodopsin II + transducin , drops GDP + adds GTP

GTP-transducin-metarhodopsin II + phosphodiesterase

phosphodiesterase cleaves cGMPs == >> blockage of sodium entrance into the cell

imbalance of charge across the cell's membrane. This imbalance of charge sends an electrical current to the brain. The brain then interprets this signal and the result is called vision.

Many other proteins are now needed to convert the proteins and other molecules just mentioned back to their original forms so that they can detect another photon of light and signal the brain. If any one of these proteins or molecules is missing, even in the simplest eye system, vision will not occur

The question now of course is, how could such a system evolve gradually? All the pieces must be in place simultaneously. For example, what good would it be for an earthworm that has no eyes to suddenly evolve the protein 11-cis-retinal in a small group or "spot" of cells on its head? These cells now have the ability to detect photons, but so what? What benefit is that to the earthworm? Now, lets say that somehow these cells develop all the needed proteins to activate an electrical charge across their membranes in response to a photon of light striking them. So what?! What good is it for them to be able to establish an electrical gradient across their membranes if there is no nervous pathway to the worm's minute brain? Now, what if this pathway did happen to suddenly evolve and such a signal could be sent to the worm's brain. So what?! How is the worm going to know what to do with this signal? It will have to learn what this signal means. Learning and interpretation are very complicated processes involving a great many other proteins in other unique systems. Now the earthworm, in one lifetime, must evolve the ability to pass on this ability to interpret vision to its offspring. If it does not pass on this ability, the offspring must learn as well or vision offers no advantage to them. All of these wonderful processes need regulation. No function is beneficial unless it can be regulated (turned off and on). If the light sensitive cells cannot be turned off once they are turned on, vision does not occur. This regulatory ability is also very complicated involving a great many proteins and other molecules - all of which must be in place initially for vision to be beneficial.

via JREF Forum

Thinking 2.0

Eckhart Tolle has described a state of consciousness he calls "presence" that doesn't need thinking. For example:

Great Meditation --

I wonder if perhaps Tolle has got stuck on that level and that there is a higher form of thinking available for us humans. This can be called thinking 2.0 and is an evolutionary leap into a higher level of cognitive functioning.

Ordinary thinking is based on fear basically. Thinking 2.0 will be based on the peaceful state of presence.

via JREF Forum

Empress of Ireland 100th Anniversary


The Empress of Ireland disaster is what some call Canada’s forgotten tragedy, but 100 years later, people are remembering.

More than 1,000 people perished on this day exactly 100 years ago, in a tragic tale of two ships doomed on the Saint Lawrence River.

Read more:

I meant to post about this a few days ago, but my computer was in the shop. I've always thought it very sad that the Empress of Ireland is largely unknown outside of Canada, despite the fact that her sinking occurred in between the Titanic and the Lusitania, and the death toll was comparable.

In fact, the best book about the ship is entitled Forgotten Empress, by David Zeni.

Various theories have been advanced for the general lack of interest: Few passengers survived to keep alive the memories; few Americans were killed; the tragedy was overshadowed by World War I. Whatever the reasons, it's still a sad state of affairs, IMO.

via JREF Forum

Minus three times minus three equals????

I am almost afraid to ask this. First, I probably won't understand the explanation anyway. Second, the answer I have just brings a lot of quibbling thoughts to mind. Nevertheless, I'll try and hope there is a math genius here who can explain in very simple terms why:

-3 x -3 = 9. Why doesn't -3 x -3 = -9? A friend says she was taught that two negatives cancel each other out. In that case, why wouldn't two positives cancel each other out?

Can someone show me why -3 x -3 = 9? I shall be most grateful.


via JREF Forum

Books on the history of the Bible

I'm looking for a book (or books) about the history of the Bible. Recently I stumbled upon some info about Genesis being a copy of Enuma Elish and YHWH possibly being a war god of a pantheon of gods ( I have no idea how accurate this info is). This is something I'd like to learn more about.

Wikipedia seems to have a bit of good info. has some references that I will check out but if anyone has any other recommendations that would be great.

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Worthwhile Amnesty International Sudan Apostasy Petition

At least I hope you agree:

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How did the Syrian regime manage to turn it around?

About one and a half year ago, the collapse of the Syrian regime under heavy rebel pressure looked like it could happen any day. From what I know, many analysts back then believed it would be imminent.

Today the regime has turned it around. It has largely consolidated the western parts of the country, and is slowly making advances against towns held by rebels. The rebel groups also fight each other. The collapse of Bashar al-Assad's regime looks currently unlikely.

How could the regime turn it around? Isn't it sad that the likely end result of the long, bloody war is continued rule by the cruel dictator the people tried to overthrow?

via JREF Forum

Fraudulent faith healer jailed for 10 years

My question is: what was so different about this case that a prosecution was not only possible but successful? Why isn't every other self-proclaimed faith healer in court?


A woman who posed as a faith healer to con vulnerable victims out of almost £1m has been jailed for 10 years.

Juliette D'Souza masqueraded as a shaman for more than 12 years to convince 11 of her clients to hand over thousands of pounds to solve issues such as illness, redundancy, or problems conceiving a baby.

via JREF Forum

vendredi 30 mai 2014

Aliens on Space Shuttle?

Is this a POE or a satire site?

It looks like both a parody and a sincere site that's, well, ...

Unlike most of the joke sites, it seems to be way too determined.

For instance:

Needs sound effects, methinks?

via JREF Forum

"An open letter to privileged people who play devil’s advocate"

This article literally blew my mind. The ignorance from even the very first sentence. I found it all to be completely stupid, and more harmful than anything. People like this, these extremists are what kill most of these originally moral progressive movements.

Im merely posting this to see what you all feel. The jref always have amazing input, and before I go off on a rant on my friend who posted this article, I want to see what other people think.

via JREF Forum

Daily Mail plagiarizes Planetary Society Blog guest post

As reported on the Planetary Society blog the Daily (Fa..)Mail has appropriated a guest blog post and re-written it to include Aliens...!

via JREF Forum

Are Liberals Learning a Lesson from the VA Medical Scandal?

I'm just wondering if it's dawning on liberals that the growing VA medical care scandal strongly suggests that government-run medical care is not the best option.

And they certainly can't say that the awful care is due to a lack of funds. The VA's budget has risen by some 50% over the last 10 years, while its patient load has only gone up buy about a third. So no one can say the VA's atrocious care is the result of a lack of adequate funding.

Why do VA hospitals treat conditions that could be treated at regular hospitals? Why don't VA hospitals specialize in service-related conditions? Why doesn't the VA give more vets vouchers for private medical care? (The VA does provide vouchers, but they are very hard to get.)

via JREF Forum

Racial profiling at airports

Should we allow the TSA to use racial or ethnic profiling when deciding who to search more at airports?

via JREF Forum

Sterling has the last Laugh, Ballmer offers to buy Clippers for record $2B

When I heard the news on GMA this morning I had a good laugh. Why am I not surprised about this?

Why isn't there a thread on this? Isn't this really big news? Adam Silver punishes fellow jew Donald Sterling by throwing him out of the NBA and forcing him to sell the team and it's rumored that a black group might buy the team but now, the team is bought by, who woulda thunk it, another jew. Seems no one else is going to beat this bid, certainly not Magic or Oprah.

So what do we conclude about money, power and race from this? Did jews just show blacks who really has the power (and by extension, Donald Sterling is at least justified in his remarks about who pays whom) or is this just another interesting coincidence?

I have no axe to grind here, I just think this is really funny and I do mean haha funny.

So what do the skeptics conclude, nothing to see here, move along?

via JREF Forum

Sandy Hook memorial thief caught

because he emailed pictures of the memorial to a journalist but forgot to delete the metadata that recorded the location where the pictures were taken: in his home.

via JREF Forum

Enough to make one support the death penalty...

I didn't see a thread on this, but it made me sooo mad.

I'm glad that there are a lot of sane people in India protesting the actions of these... sub animal-kind (calling them animals is insulting to animals because even they don't do this sort of rabid and disgusting behaviour.)

Worse still is that two of the pack were supposed to be the very people that should have protected them from the bottom feeding scum.

Seems to me that this is the sort of stuff we need to be outraged over rather than a bit of photoshopping!

These sort of creatures need to be removed from society, permanently.

via JREF Forum

[Split From] New book on Pearl Harbor attack analysis

Does this new book tell us anything more about the theory that Roosevelt knew the attack would happen?

The theory is a code the Japanese were using was broken and what intelligence found out was the Japanese fleet was on the way.

The Admirals may have thought that such an attack would not happen, but as a precaution they had the aircraft carriers go out to sea.

via JREF Forum

"Design for living"?

A few posters have now suggested, half from real interest and half from perhaps understandable exasperation, that I post a lengthy assemblage of data that has accumulated on my hard disk and present the data as an OP for a new thread here. The phrase "Design for living" is the title of a Noel Coward comedy. But it might just as well apply to an odd historical pattern that I think I may have unearthed, and I am interested in getting a discussion rolling on just what that pattern may indicate. To me, this pattern indicates two or three distinct and alternate scenarios, so it's not possible right now to come down on "one final answer". Rather, I think it worthwhile to discuss each and every possible answer in depth, without fear or favor. I'm not wedded to any single answer, although I do consider one or two as marginally more plausible than some others. Still, I regard any and all possible answers as still on the table.

There are reasons why I've been previously reluctant to come roaring in like this with the full nine yards of this material: It is 12 whopping installments long(!), and the last two times I submitted it (quite a few years back), it triggered considerable acrimony, largely from the devout but also from some nonbelievers as well. I hope the same thing won't happen this time. As it is, this may qualify as the most imposing OP in web history. But only time will tell if it's also the most useless. Accordingly, here's installment #1.

The human brain, belief/(delusion?) & all that


For me, it all starts with reading. I have always been a compulsive and omniverous reader since before grade school. And I spend time comparing things a lot -- historical patterns, texts, social reformers, everything.

Personally, I don't ascribe to any one creed/religion, and I am, furthermore, skeptical of many a religion's claims, including those of the Judaic-Christian-Islamic orbit. I do, though, not rule out the possibility of some kind of extra-dimensional presence that certain especially acute sensibilities may have glimpsed in the past. The question is if that presence is only inside their own (deluded?) heads, or if they're responding to something that is external and therefore real. I don't pretend to be able to answer that question. But to be candid, I don't think anyone else today can really honestly answer that question yet either. Many a future research project into the mechanisms of the human brain will be needed far into this century and beyond, most probably, before we can fully understand its workings well enough to know when it is concocting a mere delusion and when it's responding to something external. Only when we understand the mechanisms of the brain faaaaaaaar better than we do today will we even begin to barely comprehend just what was going on inside the heads of some of those "acute sensibilities" of the past.

It's still interesting to see which gods, whether concocted or not (we simply don't know which), might -- theoretically -- emerge as the more useful, viable -- whatever -- when scrutinized through a 21st-century lens. Whatever the "god"/"presence" is that some visionaries of the past may have glimpsed, I don't think it likely that this "presence" has any kind of active power over events on Earth. If it has any influence at all, it's more likely to be some kind of modest consciousness-raising inside certain isolated acutely sensitive minds rather than any physical dominance over any external events. The latter notion is just too replete with too many internal contradictions.

That said, I'm going quite a bit overboard here -- no question -- with certain speculations on just how the kind of consciousness-raising that I describe might really operate. In this overview, which is strictly speculative on my part, of course, certain concepts relating to this "presence" may emerge as more viable than others. Naturally, few posters will have time to read this (it's a slap-dash compendium of some fairly random jottings that I've assembled here and there on my PC over the past ten years or so), but still it's time for a relatively serious retrospective like this one.

Here goes!

via JREF Forum

Cow slurry fetishist

This chap has a bizarre fetish - stripping off and rolling around in cow slurry on a farm:

Treatment will be rather difficult, I would think.

via JREF Forum

Cracked Published an Article by a Ghost Hunter

The ghost hunter denounces all the "crazy" psychics and mediums, but sings the praises of "legit" EVP. Pot, kettle? I don't know. I found the article's tone a bit cloying. What does everyone else think?

Honestly, I'm a little surprised Cracked published it at all. They normally err more on the debunking side of things.

via JREF Forum

Where life is so cheap.


Parveen, 25, and Iqbal eloped and were married January 7 in a court ceremony.

The marriage enraged her family, Iqbal said, and they demanded he pay them 100,000 rupees (about $1,000) to let the couple stay alive. Iqbal, a farmer in the village in Jurranwala, Punjab, didn't have the money.

The family had challenged Parveen's marriage to Iqbal in the courts, accusing him of abducting her.

If this reporting is accurate, it turns out that Iqbal is another one of those murdering SOB's.


(Iqbal) told CNN he killed his first wife so he could marry Parveen. "I wanted to send a proposal to Farzana, so I killed my wife," Mohammad Iqbal said Thursday in an interview with CNN.

Zulfiqar Hameed, district inspector general for the Punjab police, said Iqbal's son from the first marriage alerted police to the slaying six years ago. Iqbal was arrested but later released on bail because his son forgave him, Hameed said."


via JREF Forum

"A handful of cave-dwelling Arabs couldn't have pulled this off..."

That is basically what Tr00thers mean when they say that they don't believe (despite all the evidence) that Al-Qaeda carried out the 9/11 attacks. Hell, a lot of them think that Al-Qaeda was/is a CIA front, going back to OBL's (highly overrated and limited, FWIW) role in the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s!

Nevermind the fact that the men who committed 9/11-the hijackers, the operatives, and the leaders of Al-Qaeda, including bin Laden-were well acquainted with Western culture. Most of them were fairly well educated, too; and finally, bin Laden and his leadership certainly weren't spending most of their time in caves when they were in Afghanistan and later, Pakistan!

Apologies if this has been discussed before....

via JREF Forum

Term limits for Congress movement

Has anyone been following the latest attempt to have term limits enacted for Congress? The webpage is pretty shoddy at this time, but the Facebook page has some more well though out information.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. At first I was very much for it, but I heard a good argument against it that has me thinking. Namely that higher turnover in positions that are difficult to train for (writing laws for the country) isn't necessarily a good thing. I figured if the President can be switched out every 8 years, so could anyone in Congress, but I'm not sure that is a good comparison.

Obviously, directly tackling finance reforms and potentially anonymous unlimited donations would be better, but since that isn't happening (yet?), is this a good route to go? Would this even impact lobbying in the end like the backers of this hope?

via JREF Forum

Juliet D'Souza -London "shaman" gets 10 years in jail

This woman was operating as a "shaman" and healer in Hampstead, North London for over 10 years. It's quite a wealthy area and she managed to scam over £1 million (1.7m US) from people by pretending to be able to fix their job/relationship/whatever. She completely ruined the lives of several people.

Absolutely staggering how trusting people can be, no matter what social strata they are from. Part of her spiel was about going to Suriname to bury things under a tree in the rainforest (!)

Fortunately she will be weaving her magic from behind bars for the next 10 years.

via JREF Forum

I LOVE the challenge because

If it were true, it would be... nvm. :blush:

~ Trite

via JREF Forum

Complaint about math education and a question

As I have mentioned before, I have decided to finally get a degree. Currently taking some classes at our very nice community college. It's been an interesting, mostly good experience, as I work my towards associates in mathematics.

Having said that, last semester, I had by far and away the worst teacher I can remember. Even from grade school. I was taking a supplemental trigonometry class, in preparation for engineering calculus. The teacher was beyond awful. He talked slowly with no inflection, his example and problems were literally straight out of the book. He sucked the life out of everyone in the class. His guy was the most enthusiasm killing teacher ever. To survive, I actually skipped most of the classes and self studied. I was not the only one, on test days the class had 30+ students. Otherwise, it was less than ten.

No wonder people grow up hating math. All it takes it one of these teacher and you'll hate it for life.

One other complaint and question about math education. It's been mentioned before in the “Mathematician's Lament”. Learning without context.

There is the “Fundamental theorem of algebra” which tells you the max number of polynomial roots for a given equation. I have done many exercises determining the real vs complex roots. What ever teacher has utter failed to mention, including my favorite sites like “Khan Academy”. Why in the hell do we even care what the roots are? Search for “Fundamental theorem of algebra”, it's very hard to find a reason why we even care about roots. I'm sure it's very important in some domain. Can someone please

explain where it's useful?

via JREF Forum

Who pays for public transportation?

This might spark some debate on just how we approach problems such as paying for public transportation.

A big problem we have around here at the moment is that transportation has created a horrible loop for the poor. They lose their homes and cars because they lose their jobs. They get on government assistance but all that does is provide them with housing and food. Then jobs become available as factories and whatnot open up but they are all 10-20 miles away from their government subsidized housing and there is no public transportation.

And so we end up with the situation where we have factories that don't have enough workers in one area, and poor people looking for jobs someplace else and no means for them to connect.

Ah, so someone proposes a bus system! That gets the people currently on government assistance to jobs that eventually should have them back on their feet. But who pays for it?

And that is where we are currently stuck. No one with money wants to pay any more taxes to help the poor who they regard as parasites. The poor, of course, have no money. The companies themselves say they won't kick in because something...job creators...something...communism...blah blah blah.

So, what do you all think? Got a solution?

via JREF Forum

Was Joey Barton rude about UKIP/ugly women/women?

Joey Barton, an English soccer player with a controversial past, last night likened UKIP (recently successful anti-immigration political party) on a political question and answer show to the least ugly girl out of four (the others being the three main parties of British politics). You can see the clip here


Describing UKIP as the "best of a bad bunch", he added: "So if I am somewhere and there were four really ugly girls, I'm thinking, 'Well, she's not the worst', because that is all you are, that is all you are to us."

Ms Bours, a former actress in West End musicals who is now an MEP for the North West of England, accused Mr Barton of "ignorance" and having his "brains in his feet".

An audience member later confronted him about his remark. saying: "I was with you in some of the things you said (but) I think the analogy you made of four ugly girls, that's going to be on Twitter tonight and tomorrow, you'll be buried for it."

Mr Barton replied: "I do apologise - I couldn't think of a better one, this is the first time I have ever done it.

"As Louise rightly pointed out my brains are in my feet, which is an equally offensive statement. Maybe I was a little bit nervous, I apologise."

I am not entirely sure whether an apology was necessary. Perhaps someone might explain.

via JREF Forum

It appears that Bazant was right. No crush-up.

Well, whaddaya know.! The expert was right.


World Trade Center Tower 1 Litigation Animations

The first few seconds are an overlay of their animation with a video, taken from the same viewpoint. Clever.

Starting at about 3:20, they show just the FEA model.

Significant things to notice:

1. The core collapses first.!

2. The core has dropped 3 to 4 stories before the external walls start to fail.

3. The external wall buckles over about 8 floors span, 93rd to 101st floor

4. After the 8 story buckle, the crush zone shifts to the BOTTOM of that buckle zone, the 93rd floor.

5. There is no crush up from the 93rd floor to the top of the building during the collapse shown. It is all crush down.

Yes, I know that this is an FEA model. But it is a physics-based model & the best model that I've seen of this critical phase. I am very inclined to believe these models.

And the animation - to the extent that one wishes to accept it - shows several interesting phenomenon that were hotly debated topics here. But that previously had no evidence in the videos to support one side or the other.


There is a second Animation for WTC2 here:

1. Looking at the outrigger girders at the top, it appears that the core fails first here as well.

2. External wall failure follows core & starts on 3 floors of E wall, but very quickly encompasses about 11 floors of S & E walls.

3. Walls buckle inward over about 3 floors from both top & bottom of failed 11 floors.


Trés cool.

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jeudi 29 mai 2014

Quick question about how to generate a starfield

I'm looking at how to generate a randomly generated starfield in c#, but I'm looking for one that's more procedural than randomly placing stars.

I thought about dividing the starfield into grids and placing a star in them, then running a second pass to move any stars that are too close within the grid.

via JREF Forum

Ex-CIA Pilot gives Sworn statement that no planes hit WTC

via JREF Forum

Science in the News: Shields Up!

Given the pressures of the 24/7/365 news cycle, often things jump straight from work-in-progress reports on, say, EurekAlert! straight to their wildest conclusions (and confusions) on the news.

So when I hear one of the following, I make these conclusions:

"Correlation found in a large data set!" - Good for you, it might be worth pursuing. Now weigh the personal cost of getting funding vs your degree of certainty. I feel for you!

"Visual artifacts found in large astronomical data set!" - Wait a decade, we need more algorithms! Meanwhile, no jumping, peanut gallery. Go play on YouTube; they have ancient aliens, we don't.

"Mathematical simulation reveals marvelousness!" - Of the plausible (good theory, predictions) I think, "Cool, on standby for for experimental confirmation." Of the fanciful, I think about the clichéd caveat wrt garbage and computing inputs/outputs.

"Unambiguous, six-sigma measurement done!" - Oooh, either deja vu all over again (cold fusion), or fun stuff! Anyone else?

"Lotsa six sigma confirmations, buzz in the field!" - I love science! Time to start jumping.


Please contradict if I am overreacting in any of these cases.

via JREF Forum

A Troublesome Inheritance (the latest fashionable denunciation fodder)

A Troublesome Inheritance by Nicholas Wade.

I just finished reading it. In my opinion he fails to make his cockamamie case.

So what is his cockamamie case? You'd never know from reading the fashionable denunciations.

The book has three main points.

1) He is not a racist, really really really.

2) Reasonable but irrelevant refutation of extreme all-behavior-is-socially-constructed-ism.

3) His cockamamie case which he fails to make.

The cockamamie case is that the industrial revolution was able to happen due to behavioral genetic traits evolutionarily preadaptated by the natural selection of an agrarian society.

He cites various studies, but the whole thing suffers from excessive just-so-story-ism and extreme defensiveness.

Yes I know I have not just disproved anything.

via JREF Forum

Water purifier claim

Has anyone heard of this water purifier?

It is said to be:


THE WORLD'S BEST WATER PURIFIER (332 FDA Approved Tests) BECAUSE WE REPURIFY WATER 100'S OF TIMES/GALLON (NOT ONCE!!). LISTEN TO THE HISTORY OF THIS DISCOVERY: [redacted toll-free telephone number] WATCH A WATER ENERGY VIDEO (click "OUR MACHINES" above) adding ONLY 20 DROPS OF THIS WATER TO ORDINARY LOW ENERGY WATER or only 10 drops (COPD testimonials)! Add a few drops to YOUR OWN ENERGY DRINK and your ENERGY will SOAR like the Video!!

The website contains walls of text, which I will let you read for yourself. However, included is this:


... Diabetics lose their legs because they don't tell you the truth about our water and the increase in Blood Flow (Blood is 94% water) which Regulators let us use because it can be MEASURED noninvasively on the SKIN using Doppler Ultrasound. Also, we supply FREE WATER for testing as a result of the Hydrogen Bond Angle change from 104 degrees in ordinary water to 114 degrees in our water and we tell them how to measure the change!! The results using a tunneling electron microscope is ALWAYS THE SAME measured by the world's top scientists and the ones that work for us....

Two models are offered, one for $1,700 and the other for $2,800.

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Cynicism Linked to Dementia

Looks like we may all be screwed!

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Seattle Police Want The Right To Beat Suspects

A whole lot of Seattle Police officers have filed a civil rights complaint with the city. Apparently, they are upset that their right to beat suspects and shoot civilians is being taken away. This is the police department that, just a couple years ago, the Department of Justice officially found was the most violent and corrupt in the nation.



More than 100 Seattle police officers have filed a federal civil rights complaint, arguing that federally imposed use-of-force policies are violating their Constitutional rights.

The complaint filed Wednesday names four officers and references 122 others. It says the new use-of-force policies "unreasonably restrict and burden Plaintiff's right to use force reasonably required, to protect themselves and others, from apparent harm and danger, in violation of the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution."

The set of rules were agreed to by the Seattle Police Department and Department of Justice following a finding by the DOJ that Seattle police officers had resorted to force far too quickly and routinely used excessive force.

Bloody ridiculous, considering how out of control the department has been.

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Bildeberg 2014

Infowars Massiv warming up for this.

The recent successes of far right parties giving them all a bit of a stiffy, since the EU is part of how the global elite will bring us all to One World Government.

Here is our place to discuss.

It is clear from the material above the paleo-conservative, isolationist right-wing roots of this worldview - but I think many of my conspiracy enthusiast acquaintances up here in Canada just perceive the anti-elite stance and neglect to see this (after all, there's no difference between right and left, all of that is a tool of elite control).

Been a while since I've seen any NAU type warnings but that's the type of thing Canadian types have dwelt on in years past in material of this ilk.

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Child Care, especially after hours

My fiancee and I are planning on attending TAM this year (her first, my... fifth? sixth?) and we are planning on bringing our 5 year old son with us. I understand there will be child-care during the talks, but what about later? Obviously, we don't want to be away all night partying (we'll do that another time), but is there anyone that is bringing a reasonably responsible teen who may want to earn a few bucks watching our very active 5 year old for a couple hours on either Friday or Saturday night? For that matter, is there any responsible adult who might want to trade some time (we'll take yours for a few hours if you reciprocate) so we can get out and enjoy a show somewhere?

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated, and no, we're not hiring one of the for-hire nannies. They're waaaaayyyy too expensive unless a few people want to split the fee.

Thanks in advance

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Females students yearbook photos altered

It seems high school administrators decided that some of the girls took yearbook photos that made them look like tramps. So they did what any good administrator would do and photoshopped some more appropriate attire on them.

I can understand touching up the girls with the bra strap showing. But to do it without the students permission is an outrage.

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What type of bias is it?

The picture of money will bring money in someone's life.

The picture of happy people will bring happiness in someone's life.

Eating animal kidneys will bring healhty kidneys to someone.

What type of bias is it?

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Cognitive relativism


Cognitive relativism consists of two claims:

(1) The truth-value of any statement is always relative to some particular standpoint;

(2) No standpoint is metaphysically privileged over all others.

Now if you accept this, then you might also understand that the standpoint, that no standpoint is metaphysically privileged over all others, is itself not metaphysically privileged over all others.

In other words, what everything is, is nothing but thoughts about thoughts.

So my question to you is, how do you understand cognitive relativism?

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Win 7 Install Question.

Forgive my ignorance, but the last time I upgraded my PC OS was Win XP to Vista (still running it now). My question is this - I'm running Vista 64 bit, and want to install Win 7 64 bit - will I need to format my drive, or can I just 'overlay' the Win 7 installation, and will it install leaving all my files (games, programs, etc) intact, while removing all the Vista files?

Thanks for any help, in advance!

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mercredi 28 mai 2014

Sandra Fluke running for office

State senator. Who knows where it could lead though. State senator was Obama's first elected office.


One of eight candidates in the most contested of any of the 20 state senate primary races in California, the 33-year-old lawyer is campaigning for environmental protection, affordable education and the repeal of part of the tax-limiting Proposition 13 law. Like her opponents in the Los Angeles-area district, which hugs the coast and stretches inland to Hollywood, she’s an abortion-rights advocate.

Three of the other contenders are current or former elected office-holders and all but one, a lawyer who declined to state an affiliation when he registered, are Democrats, as Fluke is. Going into the last week of the contest, Fluke had the second-largest campaign war chest with $439,000, according to Secretary of State data, compared with the $544,000 raised by Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth. Fluke’s campaign counts two endorsements among the 11 local Democratic Party clubs that have picked a favorite.

“Sandra Fluke really upends the race,” said Marta Evry, a Democratic activist in the beachside neighborhood of Venice who hasn’t decided for whom she’ll vote. “She has really high name recognition that other candidates don’t.”

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Questionable Criminal Cases

I wanted to discuss come cases which are more questionable.

Wanted this also separate from the AK/RS thread

Want to start with Murder of Derek William Reginald Haysom and Nancy Astor Langhorne (Benedict) Haysom.

Jens Söring was convicted but when tested in 2009, 42 items of evidence from the crime scene were tested and none had his DNA.

As well, the vehicle he was suppose to use had no blood in it.

Thoughts on this case?

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TrueCrypt found dead under suspicious circumstances.

This is the redirected site when you try to go to the website. Some say it is a hacker's prank because of the oddness of it (relating to Microsoft's releases, redirecting to a sourceforge page, etc.). Others point to the keys which say it is legit. Some say there may have been a feud amongst the devs. Others say this is them pulling a Lavabit because the law tried to subvert TrueCrypt.

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The Most Interesting Climate Policy Debate You Haven't Heard Of

The Most Interesting Climate Policy Debate You Haven't Heard Of


It occurred last June between two groups of conservatives.

On the do-nothing side were well-known climate-science deniers, James Taylor of Heartland and David Kreutzer of Heritage Foundation. On the other side was R Street senior fellow Andrew Moylan along with former 6-term GOP congressman Bob Inglis (SC). Inglis leads the Energy and Enterprise Initiative (E&EI), an organization dedicated to finding a conservative approach to climate change built around a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Here is the interesting part. The debate was in front of a largely conservative audience, and yet:

At the conclusion of the debate, a straw poll was taken and approximately 80% of the audience indicated they favored taxing carbon emissions in return for a dollar-for-dollar tax swap on something else (FICA taxes, corporate income taxes, etc.).

You can watch the entire debate at the E&EI website.

It is very interesting that, at the least, when conservatives discuss among themselves, such issues, they seem to be able to come to the same rational, well-considered policy courses that many progressives arrive at.

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Georgia City Sued Over Law Requiring Prescription To Buy Sex Toys


A man and woman in Georgia have filed a lawsuit against the city of Sandy Springs, GA, attempting to challenge a city ordinance that requires a consumer get a prescription from a doctor in order to purchase sex toys.

According to city ordinance 38-120, the sale and purchase of “obscene material” — which includes “any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs” — is forbidden in Sandy Springs, with the exception that the sale or purchase may be okay if it is “done for a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial, or law enforcement purpose.”

In the suit filed last month in a U.S. District Court in Atlanta, two consumers each make their case for wanting to purchase the devices without having to bring a note from the doctor.

The law, which dates from 2007, also applies to the rental of devices designed to stimulate human genitals.



I am tempted to go to Georgia to test the limits of the law before the suit reaches the courts. I'd love to say "I am a lobbyist and I need to purchase this vibrator for legislative purposes," just to see what would happen.

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Macbook problem

Yes, Macbook not Macbook pro.

for reasons I won't go into here, I was the proud owner of a 2007 Macbook. Recently, this died completely when I opened it up for what I figured would be a small amount of interior maintenance so I was left without one. I found a very cheap one on ebay described as "Used" and bought it. It arrived and was pretty much exactly as described; a working macbook with very minor cosmetic damage. Delighted I put my old hard drive into it and off I went...for a week.

The past couple of days a quiet buzzing noise has been emanating from my fan, getting louder on the occasions the fan cycles up to faster speeds. At first it was only occasional, but has today become almost constant. I figured it was just a bit of dust or similar clogging the fan, but having looked into it in more depth it seems it is possibly this, or possibly the fan bearings working loose. Which is very bad.

I contacted the seller of the macbook and he apologised profusely and offered to give me a full refund if I return the possibly damaged laptop to him, which is fine and I am considering it. However:

1. I want a working version of this thing. I just want the problem fixed and not a refund because that would leave me without enough spare money to really look at buying anything functioning as a replacement again and at the same time leaving me without a laptop.

2. I may have a working spare from the OLD macbook which I didn't throw away for this reason. I've found the closest Apple licensed repair place and have contacted them asking for a potential price for the work, but will have to wait until tomorrow for a reply.

3. I don't actually WANT another form of laptop. Stupid as it sounds, I'm very happy with this old thing, were it not immediately joining it's fellow on the junk heap.

So I guess my question is...anyone got any other ideas? Anyone got a spare fan I can have just in case, or is close enough to me to do this job on the cheap even? I would do it myself, but my previous experience in accidentally severing an internal cable (among other things) has left me rather less enthusiastic about doing anything more intensive than replacing the HDD on this laptop, so I'm kind of up a creek here.

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Fiction skeptic books?

I have a friend that enjoyed reading Josephine Tey's "Daughter of Time".

This person needs more skepticism, and he's not interested in non fiction... but he did actually learn a lot from the mystery novel.

Any suggestions for a good list of FICTION books that help pass on the skeptic message?

It would be great to have a list, plenty of non fictions lists out there, what about fiction?

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What should be in a religion curriculum?

I think the following:

- Overview of what the current world religions believe (the big sects among them).

- Overview of some past religious beliefs (like Norse mythology) as well as some formely widely believed but now very small religions (like Zorastrianism).

- An overview of famous doubters of religion throughout history (like Lucretius, Omar Khayyam and Thomas Paine).

- An overview of how different religions describe their origins.

- An overview of how secular scholarship describes those religions' origins.

- Various psychological and anthropological theories about why humans are religious.

Would you add something more or remove something from my list?

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Edward Snowden Triple Agent

Disclaimer: The following scenario may very well be more of Hollywood fiction than a realistic conspiracy theory.

Edward Snowden as a triple agent, simultaneously mantling the following roles:

1. Ordinary spy working for CIA and NSA.

"WASHINGTON — Edward J. Snowden says he was not merely a “low-level analyst” writing computer code for American spies, as President Obama and other administration officials have portrayed him. Instead, he says, he was a trained spy who worked under assumed names overseas for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency." --

2. Double spy working for the CIA to undermine the competing NSA.

3. Triple spy working for the NSA who knows what mischief the CIA is up to.

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Bigfootin': Role-Playing, Playground Pretend, or Worse?

Thought I'd start this out to avoid derailing other threads.

So, what do youse people think?

I guess I'll add that role-playing is NAWAC-ing off while playground-pretend is having all them happy footies dancin' on the lawn.

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Thunderbird thinks this is junk

Perhaps someone who uses Thunderbird can tell me this. The question has come up often but this is the first time I've really needed to know.

I received a well-known spam this morning. One of those that says postman tried to deliver a package and I should print out a label. I'm sure others have seen such and, thank goodness I knew better. My question:

Thunderbird attached its usual note: "Thunderbird thinks this is junk." I always think there is something I am supposed to do to confirm but I don't know what. When the note and insignia are there, there is no "Junk" button, only a "Not junk" button.

Perhaps I am supposed to just delete it without doing anything? Will that tell Thunderbird that it is indeed junk? Thank you.

I just hope that is all it is - no more than spam. Perhaps my antivirus program will catch it otherwise.

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UK - racial prejudice back up to 1980s levels

As reported by the BBC:

According to a study carried out by NatCen, approximately one third of people in Britain describe themselves as racially prejudiced. Whether this is just a "natural" response to economic difficulties (blame recent arrivals, Goodness Gracious Me just did an excellent sketch based on the classic "I look down on him" where a native Brit, a naturalised Indian and a recent arrival reprised the sentiment), a response to the muck-raking by UKIP and the BNP, a reaction to a rise in fundimentalist Islam or a combination of factors is not clear to me.

Of course this is all about self reporting and self identification so it could just be that people are just more aware of their own biases and that "true" racism isn't as bad as it was 30 years ago.

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mardi 27 mai 2014

Self-Driving Cars: Pros, Cons, and Predicitions

ETA: I don't know why the link isn't embedding, but if Google can't make the Internet work, then it casts suspicions on their self-driving car. It's probably user-error on my part.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the JREF. The JREF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.

If twenty years ago you told people they could browse the Internet from their cell, they'd say "I don't have a cellular phone, and what's the Internet?"

Yesterday, I sat waiting on a light that was forever red. There was hardly any traffic, and all I wanted to do was make a left-turn. If everything was interconnected, they could rig light systems so that cars traveling down the main rode would slow down, giving me just enough time to turn while the oncoming vehicles simply slow down. No stop and go, which is good for the car and the environment. How's that for efficiency? Indeed, we wouldn't even need traffic lights.

Does anyone have any objections to self-driving cars? I think the sooner they become mandatory, the better. It might lead to more utilitarian vehicles: acceleration, top speed, outer body probably become less important. Functional design means cars are not as big or heavy (but who knows, maybe people outfit their "rides" with barbecues and big screen tvs).


I'd guess that people would be more likely to rent cars. Unless you live in Bumble-****, Idaho, it's inefficient for us to drive to work, leave it parked for eight hours, then drive back. A fleet of vehicles frees up space, and if they're professionally owned, then they're probably also better maintained.

People would get where they want faster, and there'd be fewer accidents. I remember once reading an article that said when it comes to lane closures, people like to get over before the last possible moment because it's dickish to wait. But you get the best results when you go at the end. It also said that traffic conditions on one choke point in Boston(?) was such that if you reduced the number of cars by only 1%, flow improves 18%.


Self-driving cars might reduce crime by making it more difficult to rob places, and escape. Joy-ride car theft would go down.

You could do other things while in your car, though most people will probably just text and take selfies.

Alleviates traffic from rubbernecking.

The costs of goods and services would decline since we move people out of transportation.

Eliminate parking space queens.

Empowers the disabled and elderly.

Potential Cons:

Big Brother.

Stalking pretty blonde girls in Santa Barbara (it becomes more difficult).

Renegades. People who nevertheless insist on driving their own cars.

Accidents. They'll still happen. When people lose the sense of control, or even the illusion of control, it makes the episode all the more terrifying.


Lazy young men will have to find another way to raise their social status.

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Two May 25th deaths of some import this year: Herb, Jeffries and Bunny Yeager

Sunday two days back, the Bronze Buckaroo, Herb Jeffries and one of the photographers famous for helping make a number of models including Bettie Page and herself famous, Bunny Yeager, died . For the interested, both have obits in the NYTimes and other sources. Two more who will be missed but remembered by their fans. Of whom I am one!!!

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Truthers find a supportive FDNY guy . . .Well, sort of

Well, the truthers are in a reverie about having found what they think is a legitimate NY firefighter named Rudy Dent who was at Ground Zero on 9/11 and is on their side.

But instead of providing an eyewitness account of explosives going off or fire commanders pretending the building was unstable, he spouts the same tired old claims about free fall and footprints that anyone can spout. The only thing he specifically claims to have witnessed is WTC 7 falling in its footprint, which didn't even happen. He's just repeating what he read or what someone told him.

But it gets better. It appears Rudy is a frothing, Jew-hating, Hitler-admiring nutjob, if this site is genuine:

I can't tell if the site is the real deal or not. But I also found that Rudy "liked" a David Duke video and subscribed to a Holocaust denial forum. Also, on a YouTube video called "All Wars Are Bankers Wars," he left the comment, "The web is full of Rothschild Zionist trolls..."

A credible source? I think not.

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mysterious green glow

Last night for the first time in my life I saw with my own eyes an atmospheric phenomenon that was so amazing I finally understand the UFO guys.

I seriously had to take three deep breaths, relax, and concentrate hard, so that I could even think skeptically.

Here is what I saw. A very bright green light that filled the sky. At first it looked like the green glow you sometimes see in severe weather when a tornado is around. Seen that many times. But this was at midnight no moon no stars due to clouds. Also after scanning a bit I found instead of emanating from outside the atmosphere and down into it like what happens in a darkened daytime sky still lit by the sun, this appeared instead to emanate from a relatively small spot inside the atmosphere in the north west many miles away. Like an extra super bright ball lightning that lasted for minutes instead of seconds.:jaw-dropp

I don't know the name for this phenomenon and I was too stunned to think of taking a pic. But I would be curious if anyone has seen anything like what I am describing and knows the name of the phenomenon.

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Another Tea Partier Concerned With Taxes and Spending

I'm kidding, of course.


Originally Posted by J. Todd Kincannon


I missed the grief when he used his dead kid as earned political media.

RT @/WalterHerzoo

You just called a grieving father a f***bag?

Tea Party Activist Offends With Tweets About Shooting Victims

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Issues in Bias

For the practitioner of skepticism, one core activity is weeding your mental garden. I find all sorts of unsavory crap growing there whenever I skimp on my maintenance duties.

So, I am starting this thread to rail against my own deficiencies, and invite others to do the same. Let's be mutually civil, while we fess up to things we know still hold us back, or help each other identify sources of bias we may not have thought about controlling for previously.

To those (few) still believing in their own infallibility, I suggest you keep your perfection to yourself. Everyone else is invited.


I'll keep it light for starters.

Anecdotally, I perceive a rough relation between what one might call ethical blindness and self-interest (well, tell me something I don't know).

For example, from the point of view of society, I observe the following apparent effects:

(1) Slavery was not seen as unethical until society had a mechanized alternative to agricultural labor.

(2) Women's rights were not fully given legitimacy until enough home automation was in place to replace physical labor.

(3) Animal welfare and rights did not play a significant role until we stopped using animals for work and war.

(Today, I see a regression wrt (1). That is, now that labor is in great excess, increasingly the lower classes are subjected to more statements implying they are inferior, useless, lesser, and so on. I find conversations with the super-rich, somewhat present in my life for reasons I must keep private, are stellar opportunities to observe analogues of (1) in action.)

So, one question I ask myself is, where in my own thinking might this sort of perverse logic still be in place?

In my case, I realize I still mentally reserve a few tasks for the missus, and am a bit sneaky in my laziness. There is a bit of work in that area I still need to do (doesn't help that my wife is a chef, and my cooking is near toxic.)

I have more on bias than just the above, but first I would like to see if anyone else would like to do some gardening.

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nailgun suicide

Check this out! Mainstream media is reporting this as "suicide"... does anyone believe that someone can (or would) commit suicide by driving several nails into his torso and head? One source claims one final nail driven into the back of his skull...

DENVER POST: "the result of self-inflicted wounds from a nail gun"

DAILY MAIL: "has committed suicide by shooting himself multiple times with a nail gun"


What do you fellow forum members think? Conspiracy? Badass suicide?

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Artificial Meat Problems

I've been following the artificial-meat issue with interest. It offers ways of eating meatlike foods without eating lots of animal fat and ways of requiring less farmland and other such resources.

A common form is vegetarian "gardenburgers", like Gardein, made from soybeans, wheat, peas, etc. Makers of such foods are getting better: Beyond Meat: Fake chicken that tastes so real it will freak you out.

There's also a vat-grown fungus fake meat, Quorn. It's the soil fungus Fusarium venenatum grown in a vat with glucose and various minerals. Its growers then harvest its mycelium, its "body", a mass of strands, and process it further.

But the most notable sort is animal tissue grown in Petri dishes and the like, in-vitro meat: BBC News - World's first lab-grown burger is eaten in London

I think that it has some severe problems, like nutrition and growth factors. That experimental in vitro meat was grown with fetal bovine serum, which has plenty of both. However, that's rather massively cheating.

In-vitro meat requires a full complement of molecular building blocks: amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids, ... that's why various species' blood serum is often used in lab work (Cell cultureWP , Growth mediumWP ). One needs complete organism flesh or something similar. Nutritional requirements are rather similar across the animal kingdom, to the extent that I could discover research on this question, like The Quantitative Nutritional Requirements of Drosophila Melanogaster.

Muscle tissue also needs growth factors to make it grow, though those could be made by inserting the appropriate genes into bacteria, sort of like how human insulin is nowadays often made.

There's the further problem that much of meat's flavor comes from blood and fat, and one has to somehow get those flavors into it.

Returning to keeping vat meat well-fed, one would have to mash up algae to get low on the food chain. Or else lithotrophic bacteria like methanogens.

Some fungi are much easier to nourish, because they can make nearly all of their biological molecules, approaching what plants and lithotrophic bacteria can do. The Quorn company uses hydrolyzed cornstarch to nourish its vat fungi, but cellulose digestion could be a good alternative, and that technology is approaching commercial viability.

So growing animal flesh as vat meat is much more difficult than what many people seem to think.

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lundi 26 mai 2014

CIA SNAFU: let's name names - including our top guy in Afghanistan

Sorry if a duplicate, didn't see - yikes

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45 Years Ago Today (approx)

All We are Saying is Give Peace a Chance.

In my random wandering around the 'net I caught this retrospective piece from the Montreal Gazette:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the JREF. The JREF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.

Too bad it didn't work out. :(

(Turns out I'm only one degree removed from the event -- thanks Dave Patrick. :cool:)

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Haunted house in Conyers Georgia

There is a reputed haunted house in Conyers where I live. On halloween tours people are taken on tours through the turn of the century building.

I know a woman who used ot moonlight there when the house was used as a restaurant had a panic attac when she saw the "ghost". She is not alone as many other people have claimed to see a spook.

Ok I of course don't believe in ghosts. I believe in her case she was overworked and she saw something that wasn't there. stress will do this to some people. Other witnesses may be lying.

Perhaps its proximity to the railroad contributes to some of the things heard at this house.


I have been there several times and I've never seen anything.

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Next generation psychic mediums on Dr. Phil Show, May 27, 2014

May 27, 2014 (Tuesday)

Dr Phil Show

3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT

"Family Dramas, Mysteries and Facing the Unknown "

Dr. Phil taps into the spiritual world with help from the next generation of psychic mediums, Thomas John and Bill Philipps. When did they first realize they had psychic abilities? And, what messages will they have for guests, viewers, audience members and Dr. Phil staff? Then, recovering addict Kathie says her daughter, Whitney, refuses to forgive her for her past mistakes, and she wants to make amends. Whitney says her mother abandoned the family after Kathie’s mother passed away in 2002, leaving Whitney to fight for — and win — custody of her younger sister. Emotions run high when Kathie and Whitney face each other for the first time in two years on Dr. Phil’s stage. How does Kathie explain her past decisions? And, the women sit down for private readings with Thomas and Bill — what message does Kathie’s mother have from the other side? Can Whitney and Kathie repair their fractured bond? Plus, numerologist Glynis McCants runs the numbers on some of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities. And, Glynis and Thomas visit soon-to-be newlyweds — are they spiritually compatible?

–I get the feeling Dr. Phil is pandering to a segment of society, many who may be in a fragile condition, that could lead to harm for some viewers/believers. I feel Dr. Phil should consider the negative consequences of iatrogenesisWP and do the responsible thing and not air this show with purported "next generation of psychic mediums." Despicable.

Ernie Marsh

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Cloth moth problem

I need help good folks of the forum. Op's feel free to move the thread to a more suitable place if required.

I've got an infestation of clothe moths. They are everywhere. I think it's because we didn't have much of a winter this year all it did was rain so I wasn't able to have a few days where I turned the heating off and opened the windows on freezing cold days to get rid of things like this.

I've got pheromone traps out and they are catching quite a few. I (well let's face it, my girlfriend has made me) have been vacuuming a lot more and shifting the large cabinets around and I even find their eggs under the cabinets - how they manage to lift 100kg to lay eggs is unknown. A few weeks later I move the cabinets again and there are still more of the little bleeders. I'm being eaten out of house and home.

So, using Google, I've seen:

spray lavender around (I suppose it'll make the smell nice, can't see it killing them);

keep vacuuming - I'm doing that;

split conkers (horse chestnut seeds) and leave them lying around;

camphor moth balls in your wardrobe - reputedly will kill them (I don't want to walk around smelling like an old granny and I can't find any in the usual hardware shops round here);

Put all your clothes into a chest freezer for a week - I don't have one

The flat is rented so unfortunately I am stuck with carpets.

Anyone have any ideas? Today I've resorted to air spraying permethrin (fly and wasp killer) which I don't want to do because it means I am probably getting some too.

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Dietary supplements.

I've been having joint pain, and stiffness lately, so I bought something called osteo bi flex. I've been taking it for about two weeks. It doesn't make much of a difference in my pain, but I do feel a bit more limber. Joint pain is just the example I'm using, because it's been a problem for me lately. It got me to thinking, what are in these supplements and do they work? Dietary supplements are different than homeopathic remedies, because dietary supplements actually have active ingredients in them. They have vitamins in them, but there are some other ingredients that I can't make any sense of, like this "joint shield" that osteo bi flex has listed as one of the ingredients." It's combination of different ingredients that I can't make any sense of like " 5-LOXIN" Any opinions, facts, or insights?

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Atheists and their fallen friends and loved ones

I keep flowers on my stepfather and grandmothers grave. I recently placed an America Flag on the grave of a good friend.

I know they can't feel anything but it makes me feel good to do these things.

Anyone with similar sentiments?

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Should we get a thread ready for inevitable UC Santa Barbara conspiracy claims?

Got a sinking feeling after Sandy Hook that each new school shooting will be fodder for the same conspiracy matrix to interpret as a hoax with crisis actors and all the rest.

For those who think this is just the province of those paranoid about guns (the common refrain being that the Sandy Hook hoax was perpetrated to pass a gun control agenda in congress), up here in Canada where people don't fetishize firearms the Conspiracy Massiv has glommed onto the Sandy Hook conspiracy more as a matter of media control and "distraction", which I think increases the propensity of these theories to spread around the Tinfoil Universe.

So, which grieving father didn't grieve the way someone expected him to?

Which media outlet(s) misreported an early fact?

There must be SOMETHING pointing to the conspiracy, just give me a moment or three to look real hard and find it!

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dimanche 25 mai 2014

Religious But Not Spiritual is better than Spiritual But Not Religious?

I read BBC news regularly and came across this article and found it interesting and thought it may be a good discussion.

Article link:

First, I'd like to take a moment to state that this thread will not be for belittling religions, nor will it be a discussion about the inaccuracy of religious theologies.

This is a social reflection discussion, and not a debate over the accuracy or validity of religious theologies.

When I read this article, it struck me as someone just taking the opposite view just to do so; perhaps I'm wrong.

I disagree with the author quite a bit and think their argument for religion without spirituality is one which begs people to include themselves in a poor way of communing with others.

Basically, for those that do not wish to read the article in full, this argument is a twist on a very common stance: that religion offers a sense of community.

To quote the summary at the end of the article:
"If you're an atheist, I can heartily recommend involvement in religion. It offers a sense of belonging and it offers tradition, which can be reassuring and comforting. It offers discipline, teaching us that there is something outside ourselves to which we should bend our personal will. If we do it right, religion helps us lead better lives, with a commitment to justice and social action. Sociological research shows that involvement in organised religion is good for our health and well being."

This author takes the argument to the extreme end and suggests that the sense of community and tradition is the main point of religion; the primary function.

They see the inverse of Religious But Not Spiritual, Spiritual But Not Religious, as a "problem [of] western societies", arising from individualist "self-centered...People [who] want a reassuring set of beliefs that makes them feel better about their own life, rather than being challenged to help others or make the world a better place."

I think this is a rather simplified view and probably not very balanced in critique.

Firstly, it has been heavily argued repeatedly by the like of Sam Harris et. al. that no one needs religion for a sense of community and tradition; these are things which can and have been accomplished plentifully without religion.

Indeed, if, as the author craves, the motive for community is that what "we need today is more connection with each other", then sectarian religion is probably the antonym of global, or even local, community.

Further beyond this, at least in the United States, it doesn't appear to me that there is a growing interest in a unified culture, but instead an interest in unified diversity.

Almost every month brings about another demographic plea for social independence and recognition; to be as they are without negligence of their distinction, nor forced inclusion into some wider cultural ideal.

Secondly, I don't think their notion that Spiritual But Not Religious is a social movement of "self-centered" people who are a problem of western societies is entirely valid.

This strikes me like stating that Mixed Martial Arts is a self-centered approach to combat training that is a detriment to society and that one should stick to traditional Martial Art school forms even if one doesn't believe in fighting - just for the community, because we need community now more than ever.

I don't think that it follows that because an individual rejects organized religion, but in some way follows their own set of rituals and practices or just beliefs (supernatural or reverential philosophy), that such an individual is anti-communal.

For example, the author cites (in their view) popular movements, practices and ritual types among Spiritual But Not Religious and in so doing lists activities such as Yoga and Transcendental Meditation.

Neither of those activities are commonly anti-communal, and usually rely quite regularly upon doing the activities with a community and someone who acts as a guide to those who have not learned as much on the subject as they have.

At the end of the article, the author requests that we "Take a moment to reflect on your place in the universe and your obligations towards others."

That is a rather regular part of Transcendental Meditation, and in many iterations can be found included into various Yoga practice groups.

At least in these two methods, the reflection would be coupled with mental or physical training, whereas the author's offer of just showing up and not being an earnest believer in a religion one attends leaves us with nothing more than sitting still, unguided, and hopefully reflecting upon humanity instead of thinking about the game that will be on when we get home (or whatever else floats through the mind instead of some focused meditative point).

This article reads more like someone who is comfortable in their way of interacting with and rationalizing their religious adherence when faced with something which challenged their mind. In a phrase, an excuse.

But in concept outside of the author, I also find little value in this idea.

Why would we ever want people to attend school but not value the information therein; just for community?

Why would we want soldiers who are soldiers just to belong, but do not believe in their cause?

Why would we want a car without an engine, just so we can sit together?

In fact, that really does suffice as a comparison.

This does rather strike me as someone how sits in a car without an engine, liking the idea of community from people sitting in cars, looking at environmentalist's on bicycles and declaring that their means is self-interested and non-communal and that they should return to sitting in cars; that cars are good because you don't have to have an engine that pollutes the air - you can just sit in a car for communion.

In the end, I fail to see how this argument salvages religion more than it highlights a husk of religion.

I think I would rather encourage people to personally tailor their beliefs, practices and rituals to better suit their gains than encourage people to abandon all and sit as shells who don't believe anything they are experiencing or hearing, just for the experience of community.

And, this brings the last point up.

What community is this?

If those around believe in some religious theology for which you do not agree or share, then what is the community based upon in the case of religion?

A baseball team gets together to play baseball, but if you are a member of that team who only shows up to sit in the dugout, what community are you a part of on that team?

Even if you do play the game; if you are just going through the motions and don't actually care if you win...again, what community are you a part of on that team?

In the end, I don't think this notion is actually healthy at all.

It sounds more like a slowly rotting self than a fruiting from community.

I suppose this comes down to a question: is community a good thing when you fundamentally disagree with everyone in the community?

To me, that answer is no; that is not healthy, and humans over history in such environment tend to speak out or rise up in attempt to change the community - or they leave (or are pushed out or killed by the community).

None of these indicate a healthy life, however, so I don't think I can agree with the author much at all; despite their attempts to make religion sound inciting, they end up accomplishing the opposite for me.

via JREF Forum