vendredi 31 octobre 2014

Mississippi's Initiative 46

a ballot initiative for the following


Without transgressing the First Amendment, officially acknowledge Mississippi as a predominantly Christian and quintessentially Southern state in her population, character, culture, history, and heritage — and officially acknowledge the importance of the Holy Bible and prayer to the people of Mississippi!

Provide an English-only policy throughout government and public services in Mississippi!

(Besides saving some money, an added plus for all city, county, and state telephone lines will be:

No more pressing “1” for English.)

Always display the Mississippi flag in front of public buildings!

Enable the State Flag Salute, following the Pledge of Allegiance to the national flag!

(The State Flag Salute is: “I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God.”)

Make “Dixie” the official state song!

Let Ole Miss keep Colonel Reb and the names “Rebels” and “Ole Miss”!

Let MSU keep Bully the Bulldog and the cowbell!

Annually proclaim April to be “Confederate Heritage Month” in Mississippi, and secure the last Monday in April as the statewide holiday of “Confederate Memorial Day”!

In honor of the Mississippians who served under this military flag, allow the Confederate Battle Flag to be displayed on the state capitol grounds, directly behind the monument to Confederate women!

They grow em' stupid down there, don't they?

via International Skeptics Forum

Go to Starbucks, get Ebola.


The pastor of a New York church which sparked controversy after posting a billboard which claimed that "Jesus would stone homos" is back in the headlines.

Pastor James David Manning of the ATLAH Worldwide Missionary is now taking aim at Starbucks, claiming that the coffee giant is "ground zero for Ebola" because franchises, particularly in urban areas, are meeting places for "generally upscale sodomites" interested in "clandestine sexual activities," Towleroad is reporting.

"I am now on the Ebola watch, warning people to stay away from Starbucks," he says in a new "Manning Report" clip. Starbucks locations, he adds, attracts "a large number of sodomites and the [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] crowd that usually, and continue to, approach the idea of sex, intercourse and dating on a lower, less visible, less social scale because of the nature of what they want to do."

Manning's argument also takes shots at President Barack Obama, too: "Remember, I told you back in 2007 that Obama was a homo."


via International Skeptics Forum

Teachers, Are You an Alcoholic?

I've been teaching for 15 years in a very rough area. It took me awhile to admit I'm an alcoholic, but I am. What is also disturbing is how many of my co-workers talk about drinking (and even admit to being alcoholics too).

I wonder if it's endemic to teaching in general, or teaching in rough areas, or are a lot of people just alcoholics. If you work in the education field, please take my completely non-scientific poll.

via International Skeptics Forum

National Politics Should Die in a Fire

Screw the President (whoever he or she might be). Screw your Congressman. Hell, screw your governor and your state representative. Screw all those distant douchebags who count their constituents by the hundred-thousand, and sell their policy positions at $10,000 a plate.

Let's talk local! Let's talk city council districts! Let's talk about a democratic election where money counts for less, and your voice and your vote count for a hell of a lot more. Let's talk about politics close to home. Let's talk about politics where, if you cared enough about an issue, you personally could make a difference.

Let's talk city council. I'll go first.

Escondido City Council - District 2

I voted for Paul Masson. Is he Republican? Democrat? He doesn't say, and I don't care. What I do care about is this:

  • He's an incumbent, and I'm in an incumbent kinda mood this cycle.

  • The city's fiscal situation has improved in the past couple of years. As an incumbent, he's been part of the dynamic that made that happen. I can't point to any specific thing he did to make that happen, but I like the dynamic and I'd like to see him stay a part of it.

  • He's an Escondido native, and I think local roots counts for a lot in local politics.

  • He's against Proposition H - the Lakes Specific Plan. This is a land development proposal that would have a major--and I think negative--impact on my neighborhood. I'm against it, and I'm for a council member who's against it too. As a ballot measure, he won't be able to do much to stop it if it passes, but at least he didn't endorse it!

That last point is interesting because it highlights something I've been saying for a while about money in politics. Which is, basically, that we as a nation need to return to local politics. We need to stop investing so much of our political identity and effort in trying to govern each other at the national level. We need to stop making it So. Damn. Profitable. for special interests to spend millions of dollars lobbying some assclown in Washington, D.C. to sell us out.

Prop H is being pushed by a real estate developer out of LA. He's got deep pockets, and he's thrown a ton of money at this project, and at this election, trying to clear the way for his business plan. But the magic of local politics is that his money only goes so far. Even if he bought the Mayor and everyone on the City Council, that'd still be only a handful of voices. It'd still be only a handful of votes.

The owner of the coffee shop I patronize every morning is against Prop H, and her voice rings a lot louder in my district than the mayor's. The one-dollar "No on H" in her shop window counts for more in this election than a thousand dollars spent by the developer.

So let's talk local. What's your local race? What's the political contest that will affect your daily life the most? What's the political contest in which your voice, and your vote will actually matter--if you want it to?

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What would it take to convince you of Intelligent Design?

I'm curious. It appears nearly everyone here dismisses the concept of the universe and everything in it being produced by a superintelligent force, but my question is, what would it take to convince you? How could naturalism be falsified, in other words? Humourous and serious replies welcome.

Cpl Ferro

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Question about the Nazis

Why the hell did they take the name "Aryan", even though the Persians were never in Germany proper, and the fact that Cyrus the Great wasn't a racist ******* unlike Hitler?

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Serial Podcast

Of anyone is interested, This American Life has a new spinoff series called Serial. It is very interesting and apparently has been far more of a success than they ever imagined.

This first mini series is about a 17-year old who has been incarcerated for the last 15 years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. It appears maybe he didn't do it. Or maybe he did. IMO, regardless of guilt or innocence, he did not get a fair trial, that is for sure.

The link is here: Serial Podcast

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Excel Question

I have data populated in an excel spreadsheet with a blank line in between the data I need.

I have a vlookup formula


I want to populate that in those blank lines, so I need to copy the formula but skip every other line and I can't figure out how I can do this.

A google search left my brain exploded into a pile of goo on the floor.

Any excel gurus with a solution for me?

Thanks in advance!

via International Skeptics Forum

SpaceShip Two test flight crashes, one dead

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo has reportedly crashed during a test flight, apparently due to engine failure:

This has not been a good week for private space travel.

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9/11 questions

I will be happy to answer any and all actual questions regarding things about which you may be truly curious.

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Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two has crashed

"In flight anomaly" during a test flight, vehicle lost. Two pilots, one parachute seen, pilots not yet found.

more info

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Muslims posing as Christians, beheading people

In what might be their most diabolical plot yet. Muslims are now going into deep cover here in the states. Living their life as pasty skinned Christians. Then, after a lifetime of impersonating a Christian, they behead an acquaintance for practicing witchcraft after a youtube marathon on Bible verses.

This is happening people! Why won't Obama nuke ISIS? Benghazi!


In a grisly murder an Oklahoma college student with strong Christian beliefs nearly decapitates a young man because the victim practiced witchcraft.

Isaiah Zoar Marin, 21, is charged with first-degree murder for the killing of Jacob Andrew Crockett, 19. Marin is accused of using a “long knife or sword” to kill Crockett.

According to a court affidavit, the suspect, Marin, is described as a “religious zealot” and “heavy drug user.”

via International Skeptics Forum

Putin's complaint

Justin Raimondo over at takes a look at the cause of the whiny response of US pre$$titutes to V.V. Putin's Valdai speech.


Originally Posted by Justin Raimondo

[...] The editorialists and the neocon pundits are up in arms over the Valdai speech precisely because Putin is absolutely right about what he calls the "legal nihilism" of the US and its satellites. And of course they weren’t exactly pleased to hear the Russian leader’s denunciation of America’s "total control of the global mass media" which "has made it possible when desired to portray white as black and black as white."

Our Western "democrats" are bound to choke at this point, yelping about the alleged near-total control of the Russian media by Putin & Co. Yet this only underscores Putin’s point: the source of their anger is that anyone, anywhere on earth, deviates from the party line as dictated by Washington and its captive media, which speak with one voice when it comes to foreign affairs.

If we look at the international competition between nations in terms of ecology, it’s clear what is the problem. Like a population of rats that has suddenly been allowed to reproduce beyond its natural boundaries due to a lack of predators – say, bears – to balance them out, the Americans have gone swarming across the globe, undermining the natural ecological balance and taking out everything and everyone in their path. This is where our "victory" in the cold war has led us – into a position very much like that of the old Soviet Union before Stalin reduced Soviet ideology to a strictly defensive posture of "socialism in one country." We have switched roles with the Russians, who are now the status quo power, in opposition to our own role as a revisionist revolutionary power seeking to destroy what little stability the world has left.

Ah, irony – thy name is history.

via International Skeptics Forum

jeudi 30 octobre 2014

Dangerous guns

via International Skeptics Forum

Are We Ready for First Contact?

Some people think advanced aliens are already aware of us. These people are typically UFO enthusiasts, and not generally viewed as credible by mainstream science. There are some more credible people who still believe this. I remember in Discover Magazine, when I was still in grade school or high school, there was an article about whether the Mars asteroid belt is being used by advanced aliens to post listening and viewing devices.

In any event, my question is just hypothetical, whether you believe advanced aliens are already aware of us, or not. (That is a question for Fermi's Paradox, and another day.) My question is simply: Are we (i.e., human culture as a whole) ready for First Contact?

Thank you in advance to all who reply:).

via International Skeptics Forum

Site very slow again

Has anyone experienced this lately? I'm getting hung up trying to get previews of posts, and also in actual posting. This makes responses to arguments pretty hit-and-miss. I'll do a little cleanup on my end but this may need attention.

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Acceleration and escape velocity

Bear with me, this takes a bit of set up. At work we were discussing old movies and someone mentioned "The Mouse that Roared" and someone mentioned the sequel "Mouse on the Moon". I was thinking about that movie and I had actually read the book. The book gives an explanation of how the Fenwick rocket works in that it does not go very fast to start but it has a constant acceleration. This is how they explained away the need for special couches to handle the G's.

So my question is, would that actually work? Could you have an initial low velocity, low acceleration and as long as it's constant you could eventually get to the moon?

IANAP, I only took high school physics and that was many years ago, so be gentle.

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"Christian" goes nuts after not being thanked for opening door


YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF 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.

One of the all time great lines: "I'ma *********** Christian!"

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Is it possible to burn an audio mix CD onto a DVD and play it in a DVD player?

Pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin. :)

I usually make mix CDs to play in a DVD player hooked up to speakers in my basement when I run on the treadmill. I'm currently out of blank CDs but have a few blank DVD-RWs on hand. I also have some new music I want very much to play when I exercise this evening. (Inspiring music = a better workout! I take motivation where I can get it, sad sack that I am.)

Since the player is a DVD player, I figure there must be a way to do this. Perhaps converting Mp3 files to something else before burning them?

I just figured I'd try asking here. Every other time I've had a silly computer/music question someone has answered it and I've been able to solve my problem easily. *fingers crossed*

via International Skeptics Forum

'RUN TO THE RIGHT!' sez Cruz

Cruz: Hillary will win if another Romney-type runs

Nothing we haven't heard before. Romney, McCain and Dole weren't conservative enough, so we have to run a "true" conservative in 2016. If not "millions of people will stay home on Election Day." So I ask, yet again, to anyone listening, what evidence is there that any significant amount of people didn't vote in the last election because neither candidate was far enough to the right?

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Is that really what God would want?

Would an omnipotent, omniscient god really want to be worshiped? Would it really enjoy being praised? To me, this seems like a manifestation of human emotions and for some reason it irritates me to see people on their knees or raising their arms proclaiming "praise god" to something that they..... well, you know what I mean.

There are just all kinds of things wrong with this. What exactly are we praising him for? A perfect being always does a perfect job at everything. "Atta boy there, god. Great job on that sunset. Those dark clouds did cover it at the very end, but still great. Keep it up!"

It seems that god needs to be constantly assured by us that he is the best. Perhaps he has an inferiority complex or something.

via International Skeptics Forum

No link between tough penalties and drug use

BBC News: No link between tough penalties and drug use - report

"There is "no obvious" link between tough laws and levels of illegal drug use, a government report has found.

Liberal Democrat Home Office minister Norman Baker said the report, comparing the UK with other countries, should end "mindless rhetoric" on drugs policy.

He accused the Conservatives of "suppressing" the findings for months.

Tory MP Michael Ellis said the Lib Dems had "hijacked" it for political gain. The government says it has "no intention" of decriminalising drugs."

These are the two reports covered in the above:

Drugs: international comparators

New psychoactive substances in England: a review of the evidence

via International Skeptics Forum

UK - Another political attack on the disabled

It seems to me that the disabled (among other disadvantaged groups) have borne a disproportionate burden of "austerity". After a series of measure which make it more difficult to claim benefits it now seems that the government want to reduce Employment and Support Allowance sickness benefit for new claimants.

A bit part of the problem is that the government has protected large parts of expenditure from austerity. The NHS is one part and of course the "triple lock" on the state pension (that the pension will increase by the greatest of inflation, average earnings or 2.5%) has ensured that the social security bill will increase in real terms.

Personally although I think it's important that the elderly poor get enough money to live comfortably, it makes no sense for people like Daddy Don who have a generous superannuated pension to get an increasingly large state pension that he doesn't really need.

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Happy Halloween in advance..

Happy Halloween do everyone here and here is a nice picture with it:

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Ethics of software development deadlines

Consider the following hypothetical situation:

A publicly traded company decides to offer service X to the public. It takes the internal decision to have this service available to the public by the end of the next year. The deadline is decided by taking into account when it would be most profitable to implement service X. The CEO announces service X to the public and states that it will be available at the end of next year

A software development team is assembled, informed of the deadline and told to get under way. The team works extremely hard to get service X ready in time, but the deadline is just too tight. Nearing the deadline, management tells the team that they expect the team to pull out all the stops to get this done on time. If the CEO cannot announce service X at the shareholder meeting next month, the share price will take a hit.


This situation and similar situations play out every day across the software development industry. I believe this to be unethical for the following reasons:

The team had no input into the setting of the deadline.

The team did their best and in many cases will put in significant unpaid overtime.

If it looks like the team will miss the deadline, pressure is brought to bear by management to encourage more (usually unpaid) overtime.

If the team fails to deliver, the share price will fall, but everyone still gets paid, including the CEO. If the team does deliver, the CEO will inevitably be compensated handsomely for his stewardship of the company. The team will be lucky to see any sort of bonus.


Have you seen situations like this play out before?

Do you believe it's as common as I seem to think it is?

Do you believe it is unethical? Why?

What can we do about it?

via International Skeptics Forum

mercredi 29 octobre 2014

Bigtime Celebratory Gunfire in S.F right now

East of my location, it started within 30 seconds of the Giants WS win.

I wasn't here for the two earlier wins, but I've heard at least 50 rounds fired so far.

No close impacts so far that I've heard or felt, and I wish that S.F.P.D. catches some of these ********.

via International Skeptics Forum

Gun Control At Its Finest

Another law abiding gun owner.


Former baseball star Jose Canseco is in a Las Vegas hospital, as doctors try to save what they can of one of his fingers.

Don't these gun experts know you can't clean a loaded gun. :D


. . . he was sitting at a table in their home cleaning the gun when it went off. She says he didn’t know it was loaded — and the shot ripped through the middle finger on his left hand.

So he cocked it and pulled the trigger as the first step in the cleaning process. :eek:

via International Skeptics Forum

Should New Zealand Change its flag?

NZ PM John Key wants NZ to change its flag from the current dark blue one with the union flag in the corner to perhaps one with a silver fern on a black background.

It seems there will be two referendums; one in which a flag design can be chosen and one in which the winner gets to compete against the current flag.

So, tell us what you think. I will set up a poll here so you can vote. There are Kiwi options available too, but the poll is public to prevent cheating and also to reveal my lack of trust in anyone here.

via International Skeptics Forum

Serial Podcast

This American Life producer Sarah Koenig has created a monster. Maybe.

She's producing a podcast called Serial that takes apart the story of a 15-year-old murder conviction, one week at a time, over a planned twelve-week period. Koenig is investigating leads even as she writes and records each week & claims to be only "70%" certain how her story will end.

The question she starts with is, who is lying? There's one guy in prison today (Adnan Syed), apparently convicted on the strength of the testimony of another guy (Jay), who was never in jail. Both of them were teenagers when the crime was committed, and one or both of them are (or were) definitely lying. The evidence is oh-so-sketchy. The victim was an 18-year-old girl (Hae Min Lee), the former girlfriend of Adnan.

Episode #6 will be up tomorrow . . . it's interesting on a bunch of levels. One is the basic question of guilt or innocence. Another is the competence/integrity of the investigators. Another is the meta story that's developing around the work that Koenig is doing.

Among other things, a large group of commentators has sprung up over at Reddit, dissecting the podcast and expanding the information presented by quite a lot. So you have this new art/entertainment form being deconstructed in real time by an army of armchair detectives, with the possibility of an innocent man being granted a new trial. I think Koenig & Co may not have anticipated quite the frenzy that has developed.

You also have a blog being run by the woman (Rabia Chaudry) who pitched the story to Koenig in the hope that it would get public attention to Adnan, who is a friend of her family and whom she's certain is innocent.

Anybody else listening? Fair warning: it's addictive.

via International Skeptics Forum

The Pope declares evolution and the Big Bang real!

The current Pope has shown himself to be a quite rational, deep-thinking sort of person, whose views on science and the scientific process I admire. Recently he said:

“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand and able to do everything. But that is not so,” said the Pope.


“God is not a divine being or a magician, but the creator who brought everything to life,” Pope Francis said. “Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.


This antithesis [of creationism vs. evolution] is absurd because, on the one hand, there are so many scientific proofs in favour of evolution which appears to be a reality we can see and which enriches our knowledge of life and being as such. But on the other, the doctrine of evolution does not answer every query, especially the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And how did everything start which ultimately led to man? I believe this of the utmost importance.

One of many articles on this around the web:

What do you think? Does this change your views on Catholicism, the Pope or the Church in general?

via International Skeptics Forum

'Big Armed' Dinosaur Mystery Solved.

In the 1960's, two large dinosaur arms were unearthed. They type of creature they belonged to has been the subject of speculation ever since. Until now. Two almost complete skeletons have been found in Mongolia and the owner of the arms has turned out to be... unusual.

This is a fascinating beastie indeed. Most interesting (to me) is that there was evidence of the stomach contents suggesting a diet of plants and fish. The full study is published in 'Nature'. It's not often I want to read a paper from outside my own field, but I really want to read this one!

via International Skeptics Forum

Joan Quigley, the Reagans' Astrologer, Dies

Joan Quigley, Astrologer to a First Lady, Is Dead at 87 -

Skeptic » Insight » Woo in the White House by Donald Prothero

In her 1990 book What does Joan Say?, she claimed


I was responsible for timing all press conferences, most speeches, the State of the Union addresses, the takeoffs and landings of Air Force One. I picked the time of Ronald Reagan’s debate with Carter and the two debates with Walter Mondale; all extended trips abroad as well as the shorter trips and one-day excursions.

From the New York Times,


In his 1988 memoir, Donald T. Regan, a former chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan, revealed what he called the administration’s “most closely guarded secret.”

He said an astrologer had set the time for summit meetings, presidential debates, Reagan’s 1985 cancer surgery, State of the Union addresses and much more. Without an O.K. from the astrologer, he said, Air Force One did not take off.

From Donald Prothero,


It is truly frightening to think that the activities of the most powerful man on earth from 1981–1988 were dictated by an astrologer, and that we could have done terrible things or even gone to war on the advice of a woo-meister.

via International Skeptics Forum

Moderate hit for creationism.



‘God is not a magician’: Pope says Christians should believe in evolution and Big Bang

It should be noted as enticing as it may seem.

via International Skeptics Forum


Delete, Duplicate

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I am a non-believer. Am I going to hell?

Recently had a discussion with some individuals who are christians and they said that I am still going to heaven as long as I am a moral person. I said that the Bible says I am going to hell, and they said that's not correct. I looked up some verses and all I could find was the Bible saying I am "condemed" but it did not specify the details of said conemnation (I guess god thought it would be fun for us humans to interpret the details of whether or not we would spend eternity burning in hell).

So is there anything in the Bible that states specifically I am going to hell for believing that god is as made up as the easter bunny?

via International Skeptics Forum

"Shame" out the vote?

I was recently posted a card in the mail that somewhat bothers me. It was from a group called "Americans for Prosperity", marked with a logo saying "Louisiana Voter Audit 2014" and a title of "Voter History Report Card".

On the reverse, there is a small box with columns for the 2010, 2012, and the upcoming 2014 elections, underneath each the words "voted" or "didn't vote" as appropriate for my history. Next to this box is the following text:


Dear Registered Voter:


Why do so many people fail to vote? We've been talking about the problem for years, but it only seems to get worse.

This year, we're taking a different approach. We are reminding people that who votes is a matter of public record.

The chart to the right shows your name from the state list of registered voters, your voter history, as well as an empty box which we will fill in to show whether you vote in the Novembet 4th general election. We intend to mail you an updated chart when we have that information.

We will leave the box blank if you do not vote.

Please do your civic duty and be a voter on Tuesday November 4th.

Now, I am already aware of what years I did and what years I did not vote, because...well, I'm the person who did or didn't. So my voting history is not useful information in that regard. But, that doesn't appear to be the intention of the mailing anyway.

It likewise does not bother me at all that the fact of whether or not I cast a ballot in a given election is "public information" as long as my choices remain private.

So I'm left wondering what the intention of this mailing is supposed to be. Since whether or not I voted during the given years is not news to me, obviously I'm meant to feel something in response to being informed that whoever these people are and/or the public "knows" that information as well. But what am I supposed to be feeling?

The only thing I can come up with is that I'm intended to feel ashamed or humiliated if I didn't vote in an election and am now being "confronted" with that fact by this mailing. I do not actually feel ashamed at all, but I do feel personally insulted by the condescending tone of the letter, and the quasi-extortive "threat" that another "report card" will be sent to me after next month's election showing whether I voted in it. In my younger and more belligerent days, something like this would actually encourage me not to vote out of spite, to demonstrate to these people exactly how much I care about whether they or anyone else knows my "voting history" or not. Of course now I'm a bit more mature and won't let such a thing influence my decision.

I'm curious though, about what other people think about this group's "new approach" to "encourage" greater voter turnout. Obviously voting is important, and I'm all for and admire positive attempts to encourage greater voter participation through things like offering rides to polling places. But this strategy to me seems so wrong-headed and patronizing, I can't imagine what led them to think it might be a good idea.

via International Skeptics Forum

A woman's walk through New York

This woman went on a walk through Manhattan while wearing plain jeans and a plain black crew-neck t-shirt, following a man carrying a backpack with a hidden camera.

Featured is a short selection from the barrage of catcalls, rude comments, and stalky behavior she attracted for being a very plainly dressed but nevertheless female person walking down the street:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF 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.

Predictably, there have been rape threats posted in the video comments.

via International Skeptics Forum

PAS lawmaker in Malaysia proposes Qur'an theme park

(PAS is the Islamist opposition party in Malaysia)


Bachok MP Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said Putrajaya should consider investing the RM30 million set aside to establish an Al Quran printing centre in a theme park, which would serve the dual purpose of drawing tourists and spreading the teachings of Islam.

“In Malaysia, we already have Legoland, water theme parks like Sunway and Tambun. The time has come for us to bring the world’s population to Malaysia to learn the Al Quran in the form of an Al Quran Theme Park Malaysia,” he said in Parliament when debating the 2015 Budget.

“I propose that this Al Quran theme park be divided into 114 parts just like the surah in the Al Quran. It will become the largest tourism and Al Quran learning destination in the world,” the PAS lawmaker added.

Ever have one of those moments where you're not sure if you're reading a real article, or something from the Onion?

via International Skeptics Forum

Switzerland's child slaves

BBC News - Switzerland's shame: The children used as cheap farm labour

"Thousands of people in Switzerland who were forced into child labour are demanding compensation for their stolen childhoods. Since the 1850s hundreds of thousands of Swiss children were taken from their parents and sent to farms to work - a practice that continued well into the 20th Century."

Genuinely surprised not to have heard of this before, but clearly this is no great revelation, gived that there is even a Wikipedia page: Verdingkinder

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Cryogenic freezing of vacuum tubes (valves)

Hi all.

New house - nice, I like it.

Where are the toilets?

So I need to get new valves for my guitar amp and came across the practice of cryogenic treatment of valves, to do the as-usual "improvement" of the sound they make the amp produce.

The description of the process is thus:-


Harma Cryo / 5881-HARMA CRYO

Harma Deep Cryogenic Treated valves offers the immense warmth and smooth distortion characteristics only normally found in very expensive NOS valves such as Mullards. The process involves taking the vacuum tubes and freezing them down to -312 f and soaking these for a minimum of 12 hours. Then the temperature is held at this low level for 24 hours. The vacuum tubes are then slowly brought up to normal levels over the next 12 hours. Metals respond very well to deep cryogenic process. The reasons are as follows. During the cooling or solidification phase of the manufacturing process, molecules are trapped in a haphazard pattern. This is down to stress caused in the bending and welding of the anode plate material. This random placement causes obstacles for electrons and when encountered this interference can cause noise, slow down electron flow and sound deterioration affecting the quality of the sound of the vacuum tube. At very cold temperatures (below -312°F), the molecules will align in a more uniform, compact structure through the removal of kinetic energy. When the material is returned to ambient temperature, this new uniform, compact pattern is maintained, Thus changing the structure of the nickel permanently. This process makes a permanent change and the benefits do not deteriorate over time or upon return to operating temperature, it changes the whole way the vacuum tube performs. The biggest benefits I have found has been a dramatic improvement in dynamic range. Bass response has been clearer with reduction in microphonics and clear more transparent highs.

I'm posting this up here under the Science tag, as I'd like to know more about the molecular realignment they talk about and if there's anything behind the claim of misalignment interfering with the path taken by electrons .

It would also be very interesting to learn about what effect the freezing treatment would have on the glass casing too, especially with a view to the claims made all over the internet that the glass itself has an effect on the final sound produced.

With my current knowledge and inherent skepticism, I see no reason to believe that the freezing process will make any change to the valve which results in a change I can hear as an end user and I have no intention of paying more for cryo-treated valves without clear evidence of the benefits.


via International Skeptics Forum

Most reliable, objective Canadian political news sources


I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I've been entirely apolitical when it comes to Canada where I live (southern Ontario) and have only really followed (some) US politics in the last year or so via some youtube channels like Secular Talk.

Anyway, I'd like to start contributing via voting and been informed about my vote. Does anyone have some preferences for objective, reliable news sources? It would have to be online, as well.

Thanks for any suggestions

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mardi 28 octobre 2014

NASA launch from Wallops VA explodes on launch

Supply mission to the ISS.

No people injured (that are known)

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Antares launch failure

Latest launch failed just 6 seconds into the flight. Quite apart from the loss of the ISS cargo, it will also hurt Planetary Resources. Their prototype satellite was a secondary cargo.

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AWARE II is in the works.

AWARE II by Sam Parnia and Templeton Foundation is in the works. However they will no longer use hidden images but a tablet according to this. It seems they learned that hidden targets cannot be seen by magic:


Research Summary

We propose a two year multicenter observational study of 900-1500 patients experiencing cardiac arrests. Cardiac arrest is defined as the cessation of heartbeat and respiration [the heart stops pumping blood causing sudden collapse and absence of breathing]. These patients need cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR] which is delivered as chest compressions from a rescuer or mechanical device with artificial breathing. These measures can avert death and allow potential for survival. A number of recent studies have indicated that 10% of cardiac arrest survivors report memories and thought processes from their period of resuscitation. A small proportion of survivors have also described the ability to “see” and “hear” details of their cardiac arrest. The significance and mechanisms that lead to these experiences are not fully understood – we do not know if they matter or why they happen. It is possible that patients who are able to recount these experiences may have better patient outcomes in terms of reduced brain damage, improved functional ability and better psychological adjustment to the event. We think that these patients may have had better blood flow to the brain during cardiac arrest, leading to consciousness and activity of the mind. Our target population is patients experiencing cardiac arrest in hospital [in the emergency department or hospital wards] or out of hospital [in whom resuscitation efforts are ongoing at ED arrival]. Emergency Department or Research staff will be alerted to cardiac arrest and will attend with portable brain oxygen monitoring devices and a tablet which will display visual images upwards above the patient as resuscitation is taking place. Measurements obtained during cardiac arrest will be used to compare data from all cardiac arrest patients independent of outcome [whether they live or die]. Survivors will then be followed up and with their consent will have in-depth, audio recorded interviews

Taken from:



Funder(s) Resuscitation Council UK

Templeton Foundation

Sponsor(s) Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust

Taken from:

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Is Music Finite?

There are only a finite number of notes reasonably distinguishable by the human ear.

Therefore, the set of all possible note combinations (of reasonable length) is finite.

Therefore, the set of all possible unique or original melodies is finite.

Such a set is further reduced if each song needs to be sufficiently distinguishable from all others (where “sufficiently distinguishable” might mean, “could not be successfully sued for plagiarism”).

Therefore, the day could come when all possible songs (as we now think of them) will have been written.

True or false?

(Full disclosure: I did not originate this argument, but have never seen it debated anywhere.)

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UK Energy Supply

he news today is that the margin between capacity and demand for electricity this winter is very low at around 4%. One big coal fired plant going off line or another incident at a nuclear plant and we'll have rolling brown or black-outs.

I lay the blame squarely at the electricity privatisation process which meant that unless suppliers had their pockets filled with gold, they wouldn't have any spare capacity and through the settlement process actively encourages very high marginal prices.

There's a lack of strategic capacity planning and the generators, used to sucking at the teat of subsidy, won't build new plant unless they're guaranteed an exceptionally generous return. The dream of hungry generators touting for business has instead turned into a cartel of large generators milking the U.K market for all its worth.

Now in addition to paying over the odds, we may not even have enough electricity this winter :(. Glad we've got a wood-burning stove in the living room and an old fashioned gravity-fed AGA to cook on.

Oh, and of course the "dash for gas" has left us heavily dependent on Russia.

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Why genetic engineering is pseuodoscience


When harm is localised, it can be used as part of the learning process to prevent the same set of circumstances occurring again. Global harm is different. “We should exert the precautionary principle here because we do not want to discover errors after considerable and irreversible environmental and health damage,” conclude Taleb and co.

Taleb & Co paper here

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Why do Muslim men

Why do many Muslim men hold their daughters in such low esteem, so much so they find it

easy to murder them. This is not an isolated case, but one that reflects the cultural and religious horrors which are part and parcel of everyday life in the UK.

How are we to stop this?

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Storyville documentary on James Randi

Just noticed this in next week's Radio Times:


Exposed: Magicians, Psychics and Frauds

Renowned magician James 'The Amazing' Randi has been wowing audiences with his jaw-dropping illusions, escapes and sleight of hand for over 50 years. When he began seeing his cherished art form co-opted by all manner of con artists, he made it his mission to expose the simple tricks charlatans have borrowed from magicians to swindle the masses.

This entertaining film chronicles Randi's best debunkings of faith healers, fortune tellers and psychics. It documents his rivalry with famed spoon-bender Uri Geller, whom Randi eventually foiled on a high-profile television appearance. Another target was evangelist Peter Popoff, whose tent-show miracles and audience mind-reading were exposed as chicanery when Randi revealed a recording of Popoff's wife feeding him information through a radio-transmitter earpiece.

In telling Randi's strange, funny and fascinating life story, the film shows how we are all vulnerable to deception - even, in a surprising twist, 'The Amazing' Randi himself.

It's on BBC4 on Sunday at 9 pm.

I'm not sure if this is something that's already been shown in the US, but I wasn't aware of any recent or upcoming documentaries on Randi.

The Storyville strand is usually pretty good, so I'm looking forward to seeing this.

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Political Dynasties in the U.S.

As the U.S. gears up to start our Presidential election process, and with mid-terms right around the corner, my ire is once again being stoked by the number of family members of current or former politicians who are leveraging that relationship to keep political power "in the family".

From the very top (wherein we have another Clinton quite possibly running against another Bush), down to local races (here in Philly, three city council members are the children of former mayors) candidates with familial ties to former office holders keep popping up to hold both elected and appointed positions of power.

Am I the only American deeply troubled by this?

Google returns very little when I put in keywords like " banning political dynasties" to search for like-minded individuals ( although it does seem to be a topic of concern in the Phillipines ), and on the rare occasions when I discuss politics in my day-to-day, it seems that I am the only person who is even a little bit bothered by the prospect of endlessly choosing from members of the Clinton, Bush, Romney etc.. Families.


Should political power be withheld from relatives of those who have (have had) it out to a few generations? I submit that it should.

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Can you tell the owner of this web page?

This particular webpage doesn't matter, just an example of the exact same companies and privacy level I was thinking of using. Obviously, let's assume there's no Gmail address given on it and no owner's name on the page itself.

I know that a determined snoop can find out anything, but how hard would it be to find the owner's name at a whois level? A minute's work? An hour's? A day? And if it didn't have its own domain name, does that make it harder or easier?

Example without domain name:

Example with:

Edited to add: I mean the actual owner, not the privacy company, and let's assume the actual owner doesn't write you back if you write them through the privacy company.

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3D printing: somewhat overhyped?

My interest in 3D-printing at the moment is two-fold.

I give a class at University which explores new and upcoming technologies within the field of IT (Information Technology), specifically focusing on managerial and business implications. One of the technologies discussed with the students was 3D-printing.

Secondly my wife is studying Industrial Design. For one of her current projects she had the option to either build a prototype from scratch or to have it 3d-printed.

From both of these experiences, I believe the claims that 3D-printing will revolutionize our lives (especially manufacturing) is somewhat over-hyped.

3D-printing is an amazing technology but there are a number of critical hurdles that it needs to overcome for it to lead to the "Next Industrial Revolution."

Essentially the claim I am skeptical of is that home users will not purchase any products any more but rather print them, themselves.

The hurdles I see are as follows:

  • Cost

  • Time

  • Creativity

Cost: Buying a 3D-printer is still very expensive. A decent quality "home" 3D-printer costs approximately R20 000 (~$2000). This printer is still limited in size (140mm X 140mm X 140 mm) and will not be able to produce everything you require. The cost of the plastic is also not trivial. One example is apprixmately R300 (!$30) per kg. While it is possible to do a lot of a kg of printing plastic economies of scale dictate that large manufacturers will nearly always be cheaper.

Having your printing done by a 3rd party is also expensive. For a single object of approximately (190mm X 75mm X 75mm) the cheapest quote my wife could obtain was R900 (~$90). This was for a laptop speaker she had to design. We were able to buy a cheap set (for her to cannibalize) for less than R100 (~$10).

Time: The object that my wife wanted to print (mentioned above) would have taken 19 hours to print. Obviously the time taken depends on quality and resolution, but it is still significant. It is almost faster to purchase the product you want an Amazon and have it shipped to you than wait for it to be printed.

Creativity: The average home owner does not have the time or inclination to create a complicated CAD (Computer Aided Design) model of the product they want printed. It is much easier for them to buy an already designed product.

They could of course download for free or purchase existing designs, but those design have most likely also been converted to actual products which they could instead purchase.

3D printing is an exciting technology which does have a lot of applications (e.g. prototyping for designers, customised medical uses etc.) but in terms of starting a desktop industrial revolution I seriously doubt it.

Comments or thoughts?

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Ford of Toronto

So, the brother of Rob Ford failed to take over as Mayor of Toronto, but, despite being treated for cancer, Rob Ford still won a Council seat. Given his record of drug use the place where he was elected seems somehow appropriate:

'However, he did win election to a council seat in the Etobicoke district.'

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lundi 27 octobre 2014

Australian Public Service Announcement About Schools

This has a nice summery feel to it which is appropriate because Australians have the seasons the wrong way round.

Nice tune as well. Have a listen:

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ISIS attack in Connecticut thwarted

Yes, it has really happened and fortunately the terrorist was arrested. Do not expect too much coverage of this incident in the liberal mainstream press, because the attacker was thwarted by an armed citizen.

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"The Principle" - anti-Copernican movie

The Principle is now playing at a theater in Chicago, but it may soon be playing elsewhere also.

Executive Producer Robert Sungenis:


Destined to become one of the most controversial films of our time, The Principle brings before the public eye surprising results from recent large-scale surveys of our universe – surveys which disclose unexpected evidence of a preferred direction in the cosmos, aligned with our supposedly insignificant Earth.

(Galileo Was Wrong: The Principle at "Galileo Was Wrong, The Church was Right", which advocates geocentrism)

Peter Woit speculated about the film some months back in The Principle | Not Even Wrong:


As near as I can tell from all this, without having yet seen the full film, it appears that what probably happened is the following. Sungenis decided that the anthropic principle business in cosmology supported his views, so he went and got physicists like Kaku, Krauss and Tegmark to say silly things on camera, then edited this to suit his case. Maybe the trailer is misleading, and these people actually make a cogent case against Sungenis’s nonsense and for solid science, we’ll see…

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Guess whose religious freedoms are being trampled

Poor Ken Ham. The mean, intolerant state of Kentucky is persecuting him by not forking over millions of dollars so he can build his Creationist theme park. Why does the state of Kentucky hate Real Christians? They want to force him to follow non-discriminatory hiring practices if the park is to be funded with taxpayer money, but he says that's a violation of his religious freedom. By the way, you have to be a very specific kind of Christian to qualify. The pope probably wouldn't pass muster as I believe he once expressed mild support for the theory of evolution and an age of the earth older than 6,000 years.

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Probable science fraud yields los of WELL paid job

Derek reports (again) today on the perils of the internet for people who try to fraudulate results and publish same. Lovely example of why you had better be careful doctoring/manipulating your photos of results!!!

Here 'tis:

pubpeer is cool I like that it exists. Derek is cool, I like that he passes this stuff on to those of us without his sources. Had he not actually frauded and got a great job out of it - which he lost when it was found out - I might even feel sorry for ol' Fazlul. But I don't.

AND, that is loss not los in the title!!! AAAAAAgh!!!

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Any paleoclimate experts here? A question on air pressure.

My Google-fu has not helped me answer this question;

During a glaciation event, does air pressure increase slightly?

Since we have more volume taken up by ice than is taken up by water, one would expect the depth of the atmosphere to be increased slightly, but is that visible in the record?

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Barkley Speaks His Mind

I've always liked Barkley. Now even more so:

"During a radio interview, the media personality said that he believed successful African-Americans are targeted by "brainwashed" and "uneducated" members of their community. "For some reason, we're brainwashed to think if you're not a thug or an idiot, you're not black enough," he said. "If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent and don't break the law, you're not a good black person. ... As a black person, we all go through it when you're successful."

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Here Comes Honey Boo Boo cancelled by TLC

In what sounds like it's going to become a large news story below the 49th parallel, the popular TLC TV show, Here Come Honey Boo Boo has been cancelled over allegations that "Mama" June Shannon is dating a convicted child molester.

"Mama" has denied that she is (dating a convicted child molester, that is):

(But, as yet, she has not said she will sue any one -- and we are still all invited "TO DROP BY AT CHRISTMAS IN MCINTYRE, GA".) :eek:

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Who is the JREF?

The organization that is JREF,who makes up the organization aside from Randi? :)

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food police

Jail time for chickens even AFTER right to farm legislation is passed. The food police have become so strong, that even elected government officials fighting for common sense are forced out of office or face charges too! Beyond ridiculous.

Tawas City Hall Controversy

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Listening To The Candidates

The local NPR affiliate, KWMU, has been interviewing the candidates for the local county executive. The two primary candidates, the Republican and Democrat respectively, gave good interviews that stated their positions well. The Republican fellow, Stream, will no doubt be greatly handicapped by his party-line voting record in the state legislature....He's very right wing.

We also heard from the "Constitution" party candidate... Who surprisingly did not come across as a fringe lunatic but also had nothing to say..... "I would try to......I would get together with....I would work with...."

Not a word about an actual plan or program.

Today, we were treated to the local Libertarian candidate. This reinforced my contention that Libertarians live in a slightly different universe than the rest of us.

Basically wants government out of everything, everything to be handled by local communities. Even major disasters and such. Right....

Got really far afield (and the interviewer got rather testy...) with Social Security. Envisioned outfits like Catholic Charities administering programs to take care of people in their old age.....

That'll work.

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Let's introduce a new term in the DSM: 'atheïstofobia'

I think it's time for a new term: 'atheïstofobia'.

It can be defined as a term for prejudice against or hatred towards people who don't believe in a certain god or gods.

Maybe we can implement such term in the law.

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Claim: Shinichi Suzuki 'the biggest fraud in music history'


Over the past five decades, millions of children - starting as young as three - have learnt to play the violin all using the same system.

But now the Japanese music teacher behind the Suzuki method has been unmasked as a liar and a fraud.

According to his critics, Dr Shinichi Suzuki invented his early life story and used false claims - such as being a friend of Albert Einstein and learning to play with one of Berlin's greatest teachers - to peddle a method of teaching the violin and other musical instruments that netted him a fortune.

They were the good old days, when you could get away with that sort of thing.

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Neil Degrasse Tyson on atheism and agnosticism

Awhile ago I came across this interview with NDT where he claims he's not an atheist, but an agnostic. His reason for avoiding the atheist label (while he is an atheist by definition...) appears to stem from wanting to not be grouped with the anti-theists and gnostic atheists.

This didn't sit well with me at all because I think it makes atheists look bad and backs up the common theist position that atheists say "god does not exists (gnostic atheism). I feel like he's trying to weasel into a middle ground and I wonder what the rest of you think the consequences are for this position.

I think it MIGHT make it easier for him to reach more people through his science advocacy, but I also think it spreads the common misconception that atheists claim knowledge on the non-existence of a god.

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dimanche 26 octobre 2014

GOP Congressman clueless about Surgeon General

Earth calling Chaffetz, we don't have a Surgeon General at the moment. See congresman, it's like this, there are enough votes to seat Obama's nominee to the post but the NRA doesn't like the nomination so they won't allow a vote. Odd that you don't even know that there is no surgeon general.

Hopefully that answers your question.


Originally Posted by HuffPo

Republican Congressman Is Unaware There Is No Surgeon General To Head Ebola Response

“Why not have the surgeon general head this up?" asked in a Wednesday appearance on Fox News. "I think that’s a very legitimate question. At least you have somebody who has a medical background whose been confirmed by the United States Senate.”

“It begs the question, what does the surgeon general do?" he added. "Why aren’t we empowering that person?”

President Barack Obama nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as the nation's top doctor in late 2013, but his nomination has stalled in the Senate ever since. The reason? The National Rifle Association has been pressuring Republicans and conservative Democrats to oppose him over his positions on gun control. Murthy has advocated for an assault weapons ban, and in 2012, he tweeted that gun violence is "a health care issue." That didn't sit well with the NRA's chief

The problem is that Obama does not understand politics. It's the job of a politician to cater to lobbyists. Right or left wing, they bought and paid for their legislators and they have a right to get value for their investment.

Government of the people, by the people and for the people sounds good but in reality it is just a platitude. Besides, whatever is best for special interests like the NRA is in the best interest of the nation.

It's unfortunate that our founding fathers didn't set up an oligarchy and we would have to listen to politicians lies to us. We could then let the lawyers who work for special interests write their laws transparently instead of pretending that the laws are written for us. I suppose a pretense of democracy keeps the pitch forks at home.

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How accurate are YouGov polls in the US ? re: Obama's presidential eligibility

according to a YouGov/Economist poll in May 2014, 31% of the nation and 55% of Republicans believe that B. Obama is not legally eligible to be president.

I know there are some crazies in this country, but I cannot believe that more than half of Republicans believe B. Obama is not eligible for the presidency.

Page 20 of the document

Broad summation here

Surely many of those responses must have been based on the idea of ******* with a UK-based polling company.


I stumbled across the poll because it is used as a citation in the RationalWiki entry on the crazification factor

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Jian Ghomeshi fired by CBC

In what sounds like it's going to become a large news story here in the great white north, popular radio host Jian Ghomeshi has been fired.


Late Sunday afternoon, Ghomeshi posted a lengthy message on his Facebook page in which he claimed that he was terminated by the broadcaster “because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.”

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10 most livable countries i. The world

And you guessed it, the US is in the ho hum middle.

Below Germany and several other socialist, non free, uhc countries in the EU.

And imho this is still very much skewed in the US's favor in that it only compared raw numbers but not softer measurements like -

Average work week

Average amount of paid AND take vacations. Among many others.

Having just returned from Italy and Germany. The major thing i noticed is the level of stress overall vs in the US. And how much younger, more vibrant people looked and acted.

I know of course that the right wing money mongers will point to the fact that even the article states that the us offers more opportunity. But as usual this only applies to the top 10%. While the average citizen isnt living in that world.

Let the right wing excuses commence on why its so much better that the majority work harder get paid less and suffer more stress, have less free time and pay more for the privilege.

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Are we headed for a new Little Ice Age?

Anyone read the full paper?

Are we drifting into another Maunder Minimum?

If so, might climate change go into reverse? (Albeit briefly).

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No Dancing!

An almost comical bit of news from my neck of the woods (or, what would be me neck of the woods, if any trees grew around here):

Dancing at Monster Mash party stopped by police over disputed event permit


The “Monster Mash” was an event organized by the Heart of Dixie event group that advertised unlimited access to the bumper boats, go-karts, mini golf and a dance party. The event was to run from 9 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday.

Sometime between 9:30-10 p.m., around five-six St. George Police officers arrived on scene instructing that no dancing was to take place, said Brett Crockett, owner of Fiesta Fun Center.

While Crockett supplied the venue and extra amenities and security for the Monster Mash, he didn’t have a hand in securing a disputed permit allowing dancing.

“There was no beef with the music,” Crockett said, “It was just the mere fact of no dancing allowed.”

Karlee Jarvis, a security supervisor for the Heart of Dixie, said a special events permit had been obtained that allowed dancing as a part of it.

Both Jarvis and Crockett said Jared Keddington, with the promoter of the event, showed the officers their permit. Despite this, however, Jarvis said, they did as the police instructed and didn’t hold the dance party portion of the Monster Mash. Crockett said the announcement was even made over the center’s speakers that there was to be absolutely no dancing that evening.

Where is Kevin Bacon when you need him?

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Amother psychic solves murder thread

Apparently the psychic pinpointed the place(and told police) where the body was eventually found by police years later.Opinions?

A bit more interesting than just the standard "a railway line near water" fare.

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Bigfoot: If it exists, here's where to find it


The Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization (GCBRO) is convinced that not only is there a Bigfoot, but there are in fact bigfeet scattered across the countryside, even as many as 30,000 creatures (a number they admit is a "wild guess") from the Pacific Northwest and across the South from Texas to Georgia.

The specimens in the Northwest are believed to be of the Sasquatch variety, mainly loners that avoid humans, while their cousins in the South, Bigfoot, are believed to be more aggressive and don't necessarily shy away from human contact. The GCBRO's controversial goal is to kill an adult male Bigfoot for scientific study.

The efforts of the GCBRO will be featured in a special called "Killing Bigfoot", airing onDestination America on October 24th. I recently spoke with Jim Landsdale, co-founder of the GCBRO, who made a point of telling me that Bigfoot hunts are not just guys firing shotguns and drinking beer. The hunts are quite regimented, "military style," with emphasis on gun safety. They are also careful to stay off private property or secure permission from the landowner ahead of time. Hunts can last anywhere from a week to 20 days, exploring paths and following tracks day and night.

I love the distinction made between "Sasquatch" and "Bigfoot" as if there was any kind of serious, careful scientific rigor here.

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Hillary: Businesses and Corporations Don't Create Jobs

You didn't build that, take two:

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I'm gob-smacked. How does she think jobs are created? By the government?

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Swimsuit model has opinion, clearly must die

So, the setup. As you all know a few days ago there was a shooting in Canada. It kind of made the news and everything. During the coverage of this event swimsuit model and part time sports radio host Chrissy Teigen wrote the tweet I wish I had thought of.


active shooting in Canada, or as we call it in america, wednesday.

It was a great little poke at how here in America we were faced with the decision to just accept lots of massacres or give up our guns and we made the eminently sensible decision to be pro massacre. So now we just have to learn and deal with the constant mass shootings as the price we pay to keep our precious pop pop toys around.

But would the massacre I mean gun lovers of the internet let Chrissy point out this obvious truth without retaliation? Of course not. Being the backwards social troglodytes that they clearly are they immediately decided that the only possible proper response was to show the uppity pretty woman that having an opinion that our society is too violent obviously means she must be met with threats of violence.

Then, not to be left out of this nice little hatred and idiocy bukkake Fox News jumped into the shallow end of the pool of ignorance ejaculate and promptly hit their head. Host Andr....nah we won't pretend that this hostoid is worthy of an actual name. Anyways this thing made the following remarks.

“Chrissy Teigen is known for, obviously, her lovely bottom, and her food Instagram pictures. She should stick to that.

This is the problem when models start to talk. They play into that dumb model stereotype. Because it’s too soon for her to weigh in. And also, conflate gun control, and crime in America with a global war against radical Islamic jihadism.

She clearly doesn’t know about the radical Islamic threat to the nation, she hasn’t educated herself. When she does stuff like this, you’ve just got to shake your head.”

Yeah, Chrissy, don't you know that being a pretty woman automatically means you aren't allowed to make incisive social commentary? Don't you know that we need to accept having massacres by disturbed Christians lest some Muslim boogeyman massacre us instead? And what about Ebola, Chrissy? Don't you know that we also need to just learn to deal with kingergartners being mass slaughtered to keep that Ebola away! Wait....they didn't say the last bit?

Oh well. Just you wait.

via International Skeptics Forum

Quantum phenomena in biological processes

There's an interesting article in today's Observer by Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden about recent research which suggests that some biological processes incorporate quantum phenomena such as tunnelling and entanglement.


Schrödinger pointed out that many of life’s properties, such as heredity, depend on molecules made of comparatively few particles – certainly too few to benefit from the order-from-disorder rules of thermodynamics. But life was clearly orderly. Where did this orderliness come from? Schrödinger suggested that life was based on a novel physical principle whereby its macroscopic order is a reflection of quantum-level order, rather than the molecular disorder that characterises the inanimate world. He called this new principle “order from order”. But was he right?

Up until a decade or so ago, most biologists would have said no. But as 21st-century biology probes the dynamics of ever-smaller systems – even individual atoms and molecules inside living cells – the signs of quantum mechanical behaviour in the building blocks of life are becoming increasingly apparent. Recent research indicates that some of life’s most fundamental processes do indeed depend on weirdness welling up from the quantum undercurrent of reality. Here are a few of the most exciting examples.

The examples they give are enzymes, photosynthesis and birds which use magnetic fields to navigate. The article concludes:


All these quantum effects have come as a big surprise to most scientists who believed that the quantum laws only applied in the microscopic world. All delicate quantum behaviour was thought to be washed away very quickly in bigger objects, such as living cells, containing the turbulent motion of trillions of randomly moving particles. So how does life manage its quantum trickery? Recent research suggests that rather than avoiding molecular storms, life embraces them, rather like the captain of a ship who harnesses turbulent gusts and squalls to maintain his ship upright and on course.

Just as Schrödinger predicted, life seems to be balanced on the boundary between the sensible everyday world of the large and the weird and wonderful quantum world, a discovery that is opening up an exciting new field of 21st-century science.

Fascinating stuff.

via International Skeptics Forum