dimanche 30 novembre 2014

Swiss reject "Save Our Swiss Gold" referendum

Swiss voters yesterday voted 78% - 22% against a referendum proposal which (among other things) would have required the Central Bank to boost its gold holdings from from 7% of its assets to 20% and never sell them off thus allowing it to continue using its printing press unabated.


The vote is a blow to the movement to “Save Our Swiss Gold” that had the hopes of moving Switzerland back toward a gold standard which the country left in 1999. Since then, there has been no requirement for the country’s currency to be backed by gold and as a result central bank gold reserves have waned considerably.


via International Skeptics Forum http://ift.tt/12c7Mwy

relative sizes of 'nukes


I was reading about the Cold War the other day and they mentioned the Davey Crockett nuke that was a hand held and hand fired nuclear device deployed in Europe.

"The M-388 round used a version of the W54 warhead, a very small sub-kiloton fission device. The Mk-54 weighed about 51 lb (23 kg), with a yield equivalent to somewhere between 10 or 20 tons of TNT— very close to the minimum practical size and yield for a fission warhead."

"Mk-54 (Davy Crockett) — 10 or 20 ton yield, Davy Crockett Gun warhead

Mk-54 (SADM) — variable yield 10 ton to 1 kiloton, Special Atomic Demolition Munition device

W-54 — 250 ton yield, warhead for AIM-26 Falcon air to air missile"

What I'm wondering is the relative sizes of various nuke that we have in our arsenal. As an analogy, if the biggest one we could possibly build was the size of a gymnastics ball, what would the Hiroshima bomb be in comparison? the size of a beach ball? And would the Davey Crockett be the size of a baseball in comparison?

Also, what is the smallest nuke they could make? I seems the Davey Crockett would be the perfect weapon to use against Iran to destroy what they've got and also the psychological impact to Iran and to the rest of the world.


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The Obama girls

There has been a bit of a flap recently about the turkey pardon photo op last week.

A GOP representative staffer posted a critical attack on the way that the two girls were dressed.

she later issued a standard notpology


but the nut jobs have picked it up and are running with it.

what is with these people?

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285939&goto=newpost

Woman and Pig Kicked off Plane

(CNN) -- A woman was kicked off a US Airways flight after the pig she brought for "emotional support" became disruptive, an airline spokeswoman told CNN.

The passenger and her large pig were booted from the flight before it left Connecticut's Bradley International Airport on Wednesday, spokeswoman Laura Masvidal said.

"After the animal became disruptive, the passenger was asked to deplane," she said.

How disruptive? Fellow passengers told the Hartford Courant that the big brown pig stank up the cabin of the tiny DC-bound aircraft before defecating in the aisle.

If you're so emotionally fragile you need to lug a 50 pound pig around, don't get on a plane. Have a little consideration for your fellow passengers.

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285938&goto=newpost

6th Mass Extinction

The New Smithsonian Channel is airing a documentary tonight

called: "Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink"


It's death on an unimaginable scale, when a majority of Earth's species quickly die out. It's called "mass extinction," and it's happened at least five times before. Cataclysms, such as supervolcanoes or asteroids, are thought to cause these events, but some experts believe a manmade mass extinction could be next. Is our planet in trouble? And if so, is there anything we can do to stop the next catastrophic annihilation? Experts are traveling the world, performing groundbreaking scientific detective work to answer these very questions.

My question is should we be doing more to not just deal with our own immediate needs to adapt to the changes we are wreaking upon the natural environment, but also to help the natural world adapt and survive the changes which we are forcing?

There are a number of measures we could take such as nature corridors which are protected wildlife stretches connecting national and state forests and preserves facilitating the migration and transit of plant and animal species without isolating wildlife into increasingly shrinking "islands" surrounded by agricultural and human habitation zones.

So I guess there are two things that are the primary focus of this thread (1) Should we be doing more to address the extinction event we seem to be a major factor in causing, and (2) what type of measures should we be looking at to help the natural world adjust and adapt to the changes we are forcing upon the natural world?

BTW - I believe you can watch the entire first episode at the above link, but here is a short little 35 sec. preview - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrI2E...ZaDp-PVbqEch9g

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285930&goto=newpost

samedi 29 novembre 2014

Does your political persuasion shape your experience of the world?

Does your political persuasion shape your experience of the objective world (or perhaps the opposite)?



Partisan disagreement about the relationship between climate change and weather extremes has become pretty routine. But a study in Nature Climate Change puts it in a fascinating new light. The research suggests the climate issue may have become so politicized that our very perceptions of the weather are subtly slanted by political identities and cues.

The paper — by sociologists Aaron McCright of Michigan State University, Riley Dunlap of Oklahoma State and Chenyang Xiao of American University — examined people’s perceptions of the winter of 2012, which was anomalously warm (the fourth warmest on record for the contiguous U.S.). Comparing Gallup polling results from early March 2012 (just after the winter ended) with actual temperature data from the lower 48 U.S. states, the researchers analyzed people’s perceptions of the warmth of the winter they’d just lived through in light of the temperature anomalies that actually occurred.

In general, people accurately perceived that their weather had been pretty out of whack.

But then, things got a little strange. It was no surprise that temperatures predicted people’s perceptions of temperatures, but what was surprising is the other factors that also shaped their assessment of how warm it was. The researchers found that political party affiliation had an effect — “Democrats [were] more likely than Republicans to perceive local winter temperatures as warmer than usual,” the paper reports.


It’s important to underscore how weird this is: Your politics and climate beliefs should not — you would think — change your experience of weather itself. Yet these data suggest that whether people actually physically feel differently, or whether they remember and reconstruct their weather experiences differently, worldview is having a role. “It suggests to me that people have begun to filter their fundamental perceptions of what is going on at least partly through a partisan frame,” Dunlap said…

Full article at top link.

Here’s a link to the actual paper: “The impacts of temperature anomalies and political orientation on perceived winter warming” - http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journ...imate2443.html

I have to wonder how much this type of phenomena impacts the polarization (and vice versa) in our nation today? Not just with regard to climate change but with a variety of different polarized topics (e.g. gun control, abortion, etc.,). The first inclination among many on both sides of these issues is to say that the other side is “denying reality,” and that they are somehow disingenuous in their perceptions and positions.

My question is how do we ever find common/middle ground when each side literally seems to perceive the same objective facts in completely opposite ways?

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285916&goto=newpost

Democratic Front-runners to Hire a “New” Progressive Publicist?



The guy is a technician, I’m just not sure that his techniques are currently relevant. There are some things to be taken from his toolkit, but most of those have already been adopted and put into play. Should be interesting to see where this goes.

(BTW, IMO, Hillary is another liberal (closet conservative - to the Right of even Obama) trying to steer the Democratic party to the right rather than towards Progressivism, but this is based on her past, so I’ll give her a break and wait to see which direction she steers towards when she comes out…,but, she's not the woman the Democratic voters should run.)

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285915&goto=newpost

Wiki software experiences/suggestions

Wondering if anyone has installed/used these (ie other than editing something on wikipedia and such) and what they did or didn't like....

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285914&goto=newpost

Using a message board/forum for company "discussions?"

Anyone do this or know of someone who did? It seems to me it could be a good way to have threaded discussions (esp with bigger companies) when other means either aren't feasible/practical or just not as efficient (eg face/face meetings, teleconferences, and/or email).

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285913&goto=newpost

EU thinks it can censor the Internet globally


In a new set of guidelines agreed upon in Brussels on Wednesday, the body representing the European Union’s 28 national privacy regulators said search engines should apply the bloc’s new right to be forgotten to all of their websites—in particular .com websites such as Google . com, to which Google Inc. hadn’t applied the new rule.


“The protection of the individual from the unauthorized circulation of personal data must apply everywhere,” the German regulators wrote.


If they want to censor European websites in the name of some new right they just made up whatever, I don't really give a crap. But where do they get off thinking that this censorship should extend globally?

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285912&goto=newpost

Reason young black males are perceived as older?

There are a lot of people in the news lately lamenting the fact that apparently, black adolescents are perceived as being older than their actual age would indicate. Allow me to cite some examples:

American Psychological Association: "Black Boys Viewed as Older, Less Innocent Than Whites, Research Finds"


"Black boys as young as 10 may not be viewed in the same light of childhood innocence as their white peers, but are instead more likely to be mistaken as older, be perceived as guilty and face police violence if accused of a crime, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Children in most societies are considered to be in a distinct group with characteristics such as innocence and the need for protection. Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent,” said author Phillip Atiba Goff, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles."


"The evidence shows that perceptions of the essential nature of children can be affected by race, and for black children, this can mean they lose the protection afforded by assumed childhood innocence well before they become adults,” said co-author Matthew Jackson, PhD, also of UCLA. “With the average age overestimation for black boys exceeding four-and-a-half years, in some cases, black children may be viewed as adults when they are just 13 years old.”

Vox: Police Thought 12-year-old Tamir Rice was 20 when they shot him. This isn't uncommon.

The Wire: People, Including Cops, See Black Kids as Less Innocent and Less Young than White Kids

I could keep linking but most of these stories are all just referring to that research from the APA earlier this year. There are stories at Daily Beast, Huffington, NPR, you name it.

All follow the same theme: harping on this perception of young black people as being older and more mature, possibly more threatening than their white peers.

Every single one I've read pegs white racism as the reason for this. I think there may be a more scientific explanation:

On average, blacks mature faster than whites. This includes reaching puberty and completing puberty earlier, among other milestones. Let's look at citations for that:

U.S. News & World Report: Boys Hit Puberty Sooner Now, Study Finds


"Specifically, investigators discovered that males are showing the first signs of sexual maturity six months to two years earlier, with blacks having a significant head start relative to whites and Hispanics.

The study does not pinpoint what exactly is driving the trend toward earlier puberty, nor does it identify an underlying mechanism that might explain any racial differences."



"In this country, African-American and Hispanic girls tend to reach puberty earlier than their white counterparts. There are varying explanations. Globally, patterns of early puberty appear to be influenced by everything from economic conditions to climate to genes."

Keep in mind, most people who don't favor a genetic explanation would tend to go to nutrition but this would be odd since we hear so often about African-Americans having much WORSE nutrition than whites.


"The results were broken down by race: African-American boys start hitting Stage 2 first, at about 9 years old, while non-Hispanic white and Hispanic boys begin developing around 10 years old."

And then there's the issue of testosterone. Let's look at a study from the National Institutes of Health:


"Mean testosterone levels in blacks were 19% higher than in whites, and free testosterone levels were 21% higher. Both these differences were statistically significant."

and as we all know, testosterone is a hormone which most people seem to agree is linked to growth, masculinization, aggression, bulk, puberty, sex drive, depth of voice, muscle mass, etc. There wouldn't be a steroid industry if it weren't. I can't claim expertise in this area, perhaps someone will tell me "no it's not settled that it's linked to those things!" but all of these things are observed in males as compared to females and males have considerably more testosterone.

So, is it possible that the perception of young black adolescents as older, more threatening, and less innocent than white adolescents of the same age is just a reflection of biological reality? We are animals, after all, and different selection pressure environments trigger different reactions in our genetic averages.

The group who stayed behind in our species' original habitat would seem to have logically changed the least. We are an odd species in how long our pregnancies are, and how long our offspring are helpless. On the other extreme are gazelles and such which need to be able to run from predators the day they're born, or very soon after.

Is it possible that slower maturation and lower testosterone levels were adaptations to cold weather environments, even ice age environments? Was there some advantageous trade off gained? If so, what was it?

National Institutes of Health: Does Gestation Vary by Ethnic Group?


"The median gestational age at delivery was 39 weeks in Blacks and Asians and 40 weeks in white Europeans. Black women with normal body mass index (BMI) (18.5-24.9 kg/m(2)) had increased odds of preterm delivery (odds ratio [OR] = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.15, 1.56, adjusted for deprivation and BMI) compared with white Europeans. The OR of preterm delivery was also increased in Asians compared with white Europeans (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.33, 1.56, adjusted for single unsupported status and smoking). Meconium stained amniotic fluid, which is a sign of fetal maturity, was statistically significantly more frequent in preterm Black and Asian infants and term Black infants compared with white European infants.


This research suggests that normal gestational length is shorter in Black and Asian women compared with white European women and that fetal maturation may occur earlier."

(Note, that study is from the UK and therefore "Asians" likely doesn't mean East Asians as it would in an American study)

I'll wrap this up but is it possible that white people actually selectively bred for more docility, lower testosterone, slower development? Many of you may be familiar with the study of domesticating Foxes which was done in Siberia. They were able to breed very effectively in a small number of generations for extreme levels of docility and friendliness toward humans in foxes, and most interestingly of all... those traits appeared to be coupled with differences in appearance (floppier ears, different colors, shaggier coats I believe) etc.

Is it possible that the studies we've all heard about where blacks are seen as more threatening even when images are flashed before someone for just a fraction of a second, and even to black participants... indicate that the vastly different selection environment of ice age Eurasia favored traits over the course of tens of thousands of years which were "bundled together" in a similar way to the foxes? In addition to concerns regarding Vitamin D, heat preservation, etc... could skin color changes reflect this?

Instead of societal racism against blacks, is it possible black physical traits are bundled to higher aggression/testosterone and we perceive this on a deep instinctive level without even realizing it? And that blacks themselves find whites less threatening? Could this help explain the fact that doll studies showed black girls preferred white dolls and that this was even the case in Africa with black girls who had no exposure to whites, or very minimal exposure? At the time, that doll study was sold as proving awful white racism in US society, and the results from Africa weren't mentioned much.

Is it possible the testosterone difference helps explain the incarceration gap, just as it does with males as compared to females? Males are much more likely to be imprisoned for violent offenses than females are, and likewise with blacks as compared to whites.

Does anyone honestly believe that black actors and singers (and just black people in general) almost always have deeper voices than whites because of some cultural construct where they're just raised to think they should speak that way? Of course, this is just on average but everything I'm saying is just speaking about the averages.

Think about the singing voices of Taylor Swift as compared to Beyonce Knowles, etc.

If deliberate breeding of animals for certain traits is something we've known for a very long time can easily be achieved in a few generations... and if we know for a rock solid fact, therefore, that things like docility/aggression, size, speed, balance of masculine to feminine traits... you name it, are all heavily under genetic control and can be bred for...

Then why in the world would anyone doubt that populations in vastly different selection environments for tens of thousands of years (40-60,000 is my understanding that blacks and whites were apart) would stumble onto some of those same "self-selected" patterns because of the needs of their social arrangements and the demands of the environment they were in?

Why should those sorts of genetic doors be openable only by farmers breeding livestock, and somehow magically impossible to access inadvertently in ourselves as we set up large scale agricultural societies, etc.? A lot of very drastic shifts in human life ways were happening in Eurasia and not happening in Sub-Saharan Africa, after all.

I just want someone here to tell me how on Earth this actually would NOT happen?

I'd like some people to tell me if they at least think there is potentially something to at least some of the things I've mentioned here?

Or you can just scream "racist!" at me if you prefer. That works too.

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285906&goto=newpost

My local newspaper misunderstands Atheism

There was article in today's Newsday on how similar and different Atheists and Theists are, Below are some excerpts:


"Atheists and Theists seem similar on that they both believe in a proof for or against the existence of god"

Not so, I simply reject the assertion a god exists due to the lack of evidence for it.


If too far is preventing junk like creationism from being taught in schools, so be it.


"The fundamental Atheist mistake is the belief that the absence of proof for god is a proof for god's absence."

The fundamental Theist mistake is the belief that the absence of proof for The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a proof for The Flying Spaghetti Monster's absence.

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285903&goto=newpost

Slavery in the UK on the increase

Slavery was abolished in England in 1883, and this has probably nothing to do with the six

Muslim Somalis covicted of the rape of children as young as 13 years old in Bristol, and who have probably contributed to the rise of slavery, and the abuse of children in the UK.


What is happening in the UK?

via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285902&goto=newpost

Sand dunes behaving badly

This story has a happy ending and the young boy was saved. But who knew there could be a network of tunnels in sand dunes


via International Skeptics Forum http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=285901&goto=newpost

vendredi 28 novembre 2014

Shia LaBeouf Claims He Was Raped


One woman who came with her boyfriend, who was outside the door when this happened, whipped my legs for ten minutes and then stripped my clothing and proceeded to rape me,” the actor claimed in the interview when asked if anything “unsettling” happened.

“There were hundreds of people in line when she walked out with disheveled hair and smudged lipstick. It was no good, not just for me but her man as well. On top of that my girl [Mia Goth] was in line to see me, because it was Valentine’s Day and I was living in the gallery for the duration of the event — we were separated for five days, no communication. So it really hurt her as well, as I guess the news of it travelled through the line,” he added. “When she came in she asked for an explanation, and I couldn’t speak, so we both sat with this unexplained trauma silently. It was painful.”


I mean . . . That's terrible Mister LaBeouf! Just terrible! :eye-poppi


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Ferguson: white man on oxygen attacked w/own oxygen tank, run over...

If he dies, there will be city-wide....heck nationwide...protests, right??



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Penal servitude in Venezuala - 35 die from overdose

Venezuala seems to have some issues with its prisons.

From the link:

Venezuela has one of the highest crime and homicide rates in Latin America, and the judicial system is struggling to cope with the caseload. The prison population has been increasing with many of those incarcerated waiting for trial. Most prisons in Venezuela are run by armed inmates, with the security forces having little or no control, says pressure group Venezuelan Prison Observatory.

Wow. The story is actually about a prison riot in which the inmates raided the infirmary, scoffed a lot of drugs and died.

Thirty-five prisoners in north-west Venezuela have died after overdosing on the contents of a jail infirmary they stormed, a congressman says. More than 100 others were being treated, 20 of whom were very ill, said lawmaker William Ojeda from the governing Socialist Party. After breaking into the facility, the prisoners are reported to have consumed a variety of medicines. They had been protesting about conditions in the jail. Mr Ojeda said the inmates at Uribana prison near the north-western city of Barquisimeto had ingested a combination of anti-seizure drugs, insulin, antibiotics and hypertension treatments.

I didn't know Venezuala was such a basket case. How did that happen?

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The resurrection

The Historical Jesus thread aside, if we grant there was a historical Jesus, and that the general outline of his life according to the deliverances of mainstream scholarship is factual (born at the end of 1st century bce or the beginning of the 1st century ce, ran a millenarrian peasant cult hailing from rural Galilee in the first half of the 1st centurt, was a prophet, had a reputation as a healer, got killed by Pilate, etc.), what can we say about the resurrection?

This is only a thread for those who accept all of this or can accept it tentatively for the sake of argument (since Jesus's nonexistence is far from proven). Please confine arguments for nonexistence to the appropriate thread.

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Cop shoots 13 year old with toy gun seven times and gets away with it.

Deputy Erik Gelhaus thought Andy Lopez was holding a real AK-47 — not a BB gun — when he fatally shot him seven times, Sonoma County's District Attorney ruled Monday.


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Obama Opens Petition to Stand Up For Net Neutraility


Can't be any plainer than that. Do it.

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Pot Biz Bucks

The times they are a changin

Nine Jobs that Legalized Marijuana Would Create


As with any emerging industry, there’s a growing demand for skilled labour related to the marijuana market. We’re just seeing the beginning with legalization in Washington and Colorado. Here are 9 careers that already exist in the two states, and are expected to grow in demand as legalization spreads.

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War looks like business?

If war sometimes looks like business, maybe this goes here.

Not my opinion but will inspire conversation.

US responsible for two-thirds of all military conflicts – Russia’s top brass


Russian top brass stressed their concern over the creation of terrorist organizations for serving the specific needs of certain states. A classic example is the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, created to combat the Soviet Union, but which ended as the Al-Qaeda terrorist network that bit back hard at the US.

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The Thomas E. Phipps cult.

There are a lot of ‘skeptics’ who claim ‘there is are internal contradictions in relativity’. In other words, they claim that the theory of relativity as presented by Einstein is ‘ollogical’. These fellows have developed a large following on the internet, though there criticism seldom make it in ‘mainstream’ scientific literature. Very few of their articles pass peer review by scientists. They explain this as discrimination due to a dogmatic following of ‘authorities’. They claim to be iconoclastics, busting the ‘idols’ of relativity. I am skeptical of these skeptics.

Chief among these skeptics is ‘Thomas E. Phipps, Jr.’. He is an extremely toxic scientist. He bad mouths traditional scientists every chance he gets. He claims that relativity is a con game. Physicists have been swindling the public and other scientists. He claims that there is no evidence for relativity. Further, there can be no way to validate relativity because it contains logical contradictions. He has ‘self published’ books where he ‘debunks’ practically all of modern physics. However, he fills it with some very personal attacks on Einstein and the present day physics community. Therefore, I would like to discuss some of these claims with other ‘skeptics’.

I would like to discuss one of his articles that have been posted free on the web. This way, anyone who hasn’t read any of his articles gets a chance to do so before discussing. Here is a link.


© 2013 C. Roy Keys Inc. — http://redshift.vif.com

Apeiron, Vol. 20, No. 1, April 2013 3

‘A different resolution of the twin paradox’

Let me point out that he presents a straw man version of relativity. He presents false assumptions which he attributes to scientists that use relativity. The scientists do not make these assumptions, but he states with great certainty that they do. He does not cite actual articles where these assumptions are stated. Then he finds a logical contradiction based on this false theory of relativity which is his own false assumptions. Here is an example:

‘But the latter naïveté is fostered by the Lorentz transformation (LT) and its inverse, which imply symmetry of aging rates (symmetrical slow- running of clocks), a phenomenon never observed, and apparently contrary to experiment[1]. A typical one of these supposed resolutions[2] identifies acceleration as the agency of asymmetry, although the hallmark of SRT is its distinctive dependence on the unqualified motional symmetry implied by the relativity of motion; therefore seemingly not restricted to relative velocity but applicable to

all forms of relative motion, including the higher time derivatives of separation distance. In that case acceleration per se does not spoil the motional symmetry of the twins, and the “paradox” (actually a disagreement with experimental fact) persists. Note that the mere existence of any physical symmetry-breaker implies the descriptive invalidity of the mathematically symmetrical LT. ‘

False statements and truth.

False: ’the Lorentz transform and its inverse imply symmetry of aging rates (symmetrical slow - running clocks’

Truth: The Lorentz transform can be used to coma per aging rates in different inertial frames, not in non inertial frames. The original 1905 article where Einstein introduces relativity specifies a very specific type of reference frame. The reference frames in this article is restricted to reference frames connected to a stationary frame by a Lorentz transform. The stationary frame was defined in dynamic terms. So the clocks do not have to symmetrical age in any frame that is not derived from the stationary frame.’

‘If the LT is invalid, then SRT is invalid, since it offers nothing better. The Wikipedia assertion about the twin paradox that “it can be resolved within the standard framework” is consequently, to put it bluntly, no more than a tactic designed to protect the sacrosanct LT by stigmatizing any challenging of it as “naïve.” ‘

Note that he makes a false generalization. The Lorentz transform (LT) is valid between some frames but not valid between others. The Lorentz transform is valid between frames where linear momentum is conserved, as implied from the third law Of Newton.

Phipps lies by omission by not mentioning the Galilean transformation at this point. In a Newtonian universe, Principia is only valid in Galilean frame. This means that they are only valid in a frame which is connected to an ‘absolute space’ by a Galilean transformation. Principia was assumed to be valid in the absolute space.

Classical scientists, including Newton, knew full well that Newton’s Laws were invalid in an accelerating frame. Newton bypassed this limitation by saying that the simplest laws of mechanics were valid in the absolute space. If in any frame there are forces that violate the third law of mechanics, then it is not an absolute space.

So look at people on a merry go round. Here is a frame which can not be derived from the ground frame by a Galilean transformation. The Galilean transformation is invalid for people and devices attached to the merry go round. Newtons third law is violated for these people and devices, since the centripetal force is not associated with any one body. However, Newton’s Laws were still considered valid until the early twentieth century. ‘Principia' has no logical contradiction because the absolute space was defined by the dynamics. Phipps conveniently ignores this feature of Newtonian mechanics discussed very often by the ‘authorities’ in physics.

Phipps is not just disagreeing on a technical point. He accuses ‘the authorities’ of malfeasance.

‘Do relativists acknowledge their toyings with factual experience to be “lies”? No, that would be poor public relations. They speak of what is “calculated,” as if a calculated lie were a mitigated lie. Says Wikipedia: “The traveling twin reckons that there has been a jump discontinuity in the age of the Earth-based twin.” In any physical theory, what is calculated or reckoned is what is predicted.’

Note that he doesn’t merely claim scientists are making a mistake. He has made a proof made with false assumptions. Anyone who disagrees with these assumptions is a ‘liar’.

He also seems to twist words. Here is something he says.

‘It is important to note the exact wording of a valid relativity principle:

The form of the laws of nature is invariant under changes of inertial system.

This is an assertion of formal invariance, not of numerical invariance.’

The idea of a universal “time flow rate” that is preferred in nature is without logical support or physical substance. Hence the relativity principle in the above form is valid even if clock running rates vary with inertial system and with history of clock changes of action state, whether kinetic (motional) or potential (gravitational).’

Great. Here is is claiming that Eisntein is wrong because there is a ‘flow in time’. So where did Einstein, or anyone else, talk about a ‘flow of time’?

‘Age’ is a number, not a formal expression. This is why the muons can be different ‘ages’ in different inertial frames. Furthermore, the inertial frame is specified by the dynamics not the kinematics. The only physical way the instruments on the ground (ground frame) can be transformed into a frame where the muons are at rest (rest frame) is by applying a force. A Lorentz transform would not be enough.

Einstein never said that the Lorentz transform would always be enough. I challenge anyone to find any statement of his that the Lorentz transform is enough to determine the ‘age’ of anything at all. This is a fantasy restricted to Thomas E. Phipps, Jr.

Anyone else care to comment. Are you afraid of being called a liar?-)

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A design firm committed to using “cutting edge communication technology to empower the 21st century church” started a new project, “McMass,” in which it aims to reinvigorate the flock by opening McDonald’s franchises in churches.

Lux Dei Design, “a church branding agency,” is attempting to confront what it calls the “vacant church problem” — the fact that in addition to declining attendance for services, many churches are empty and entirely unused on days on which there are no services.

“We realized,” they wrote in a statement on the McMass website, “that a design approach — an entrepreneurial approach — had the potential to revolutionize how churches engage with the world. We want to see churches return to the center of everyday life, and the way to engage with our modern culture is through innovation.”


If this catches on, imagine the possibilities:

Burger King of Kings



Jack on a Cross

The Wafer Barrel

God's Jr's

the website


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Can I ask a gadget question here? And if so...

I was wondering if anyone happened to know what the mp3 player with the largest storage capacity available right now is? And that isn't buggy. I've tried to google the subject but come up with all kinds of conflicting answers, forum discussions clouded with tech-speak I can't understand, and horror stories of strange types of player I've never heard of randomly corrupting a bunch of the users' files.

My music collection is very dear to me (and rather large), and if I'm going to purchase one of these things I want it to be the largest and most reliable possible. Anyone know?

P.S. I am not opposed to Apple products. Seems necessary to add with these sorts of questions. :)

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New Video Footage Of Darrien Hunt, 22 Yr Old Killed By Police While Cosplaying

New video released by the Utah County Attorney's Office shows Darrien Hunt, a 22-year-old black man, apparently running for his life moments before two white police officers shot and killed him.

The shooting is one of several high-profile police shootings this year that have put a spotlight on racial disparities in law enforcement. In Ferguson, Missouri, a police officer killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in a shooting that led to nationwide protests. In Ohio, 22-year-old John Crawford and 12-year-old Tamir Rice were both killed because police mistook toy guns they were carrying for actual weapons. In all these cases, police officers were criticized for overreacting to people who appeared to present no significant threat.

At the time of his death, Hunt was dressed up as a Japanese samurai (what's called "cosplaying") and wielding a decorative sword. Police said he became violent and attacked them with the sword when they tried to take it away, but an autopsy found four of six gunshot wounds hit Hunt on his back.

The police officers involved won't face any criminal charges. Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman found the officers who shot him, Saratoga Springs Corporal Matthew Schauerhamer and Officer Nicholas, to be "justified in their use of deadly force against Mr. Hunt. Their belief that deadly force was necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury was reasonable."

The county attorney's justification directly references the low legal bar police have to meet to justify a shooting. Officers don't have to prove a shooting victim was an actual threat. Instead, cops only have to show that they had an "objectively reasonable belief" that their lives or the lives of others were in danger.

Some critics argue this low legal standard is the root cause of so many seemingly unnecessary police shootings — and the problem in some ways appears to be getting worse. A recent report from the Salt Lake Tribune found Utah police officers have killed more civilians than gang members, drug dealers, or child abusers have over the past five years.

What does race have to do with the Ferguson protests?

The shooting of Michael Brown, like so many similar incidents between police and unarmed black men, renewed conversations about racism in the American justice system and, more specifically to Ferguson, deep-rooted racial disparities in local government and law enforcement.

To the majority-black community in Ferguson, Brown's death was seen as something that could happen to them or their own sons. Darnell Hunt, an expert on race relations and civil unrest, compared the situation to the shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012: "Not only was this something that affected people across the country, but other people realized that the fate of Trayvon was possibly the fate of their own sons."

The statistics bear out the racial disparities in law enforcement. Black teens are 21 times more likely to be killed by cops than white teens, according to the available, limited FBI data.


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.

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The Real Sheldon

As a technical person by training and occupation I have known a number of guys who fit the character of Sheldon in "Big Bang Theory". I knew an engineer who told his date that she danced like a "well oiled machine". For some reason she didn't think that was much of a compliment. Jim Parsons plays the part very well but there would be some point where he would earn big bucks and ladies would gladly overlook his zany ways. Ross from Friends brought a lot of the same stuff by his stubborn ways re civilian matters. "But I am a Doctor!!!" , or " we were on a break!!" Those crack me up. Likewise Frazier who reminds people he graduated from Harvard Medical and Oxford. Sadly, there is a decided art to art. My wife once said about my Engineer boss " he takes the dance out of dancing".

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Neutrining: The greatest parody of health woo

Spotted this parody of various types of quantum health woo, and found it too delicious not to share:


There’s a new health breakthrough related to barefooting that I thought I should report on. It not only can make you feel much better and lead a healthier life, it manages to verify, and then magnify qi.

I’ve always been pretty suspicious about qi (sometimes spelled chi). While it has a lot of support and a long Chinese history (in fact, China was named after chi), as far as I could tell, whatever effects it had were just too weak to be properly verified.

Well, it’s been figured out what qi is: the human body, and human brain, is a specialized quantum antenna that channels and absorbs neutrinos. While neutrinos normally interact quite weakly, our nervous systems are able to enhance that and capture the energy and chromodynamic properties of the neutrinos.


The author is a believer in going barefoot, but also a great foe of 'earthing woo', 'Ionic footbaths' and other such nonsense.

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Ukip mistakes Westminster Cathedral for mosque



Nigel Farage’s local Ukip branch has rebuked the BBC for its ingrained liberal bias in holding a straw poll on the party leader in front of a London mosque. The mosque in question was Westminster Cathedral.

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The Projective Plane


I was wondering if anyone can help on this one - I'm reading up about Plucker the 19th century mathematician who looked at how to classify curves. One of his fundamental formula was:

through a given point are n(n-1) tangents to a curve. Where n is the order of the curve (e.g y^3 - x^2 = 0 is order 3)

Here he is looking at algebraic curves, and is working in the projective plane. This would mean for a cubic there are 6 tangents to any point, which I'm having a hard time imagining.

Say we have the curve y - x^3 = 0. Well if we put it in homogenous co-ordinates we get yz^2 -x^3 = 0. Does this really have 6 tangents to any point? Any way of plotting this?

Or is there any way of plotting curves in the projective plane (say into a disk model) that would help understanding?

Anyone know about this?

Thanks :)

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jeudi 27 novembre 2014

Responsible banana owner arrested for menacing.

A man in Fruitvalle Co was arrested after menacing Deputy Bunch with a banana.


MESA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Nathan Channing said it was just monkey business. But Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies said the incident was ripe with danger.

Channing, 27, was arrested Sunday for allegedly pointing a banana at sheriff’s deputies. He was booked on two counts of felony menacing charges.



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Can anyone tell me who coined "neologism"?

Can anyone tell me who coined "neologism"?


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Shields up! Star Trek-like shield found.

Lucky earthlings.

Star Trek-like invisible shield found thousands of miles above Earth

A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has discovered an invisible shield some 7,200 miles above Earth that blocks so-called "killer electrons," which whip around the planet at near-light speed and have been known to threaten astronauts, fry satellites and degrade space systems during intense solar storms.

"It's almost like theses electrons are running into a glass wall in space," said Baker, the study's lead author. "Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on Star Trek that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons. It's an extremely puzzling phenomenon."

Read more at: http://ift.tt/1ruZpHR

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Mathematical ability-critical measure of human intellect?


“Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best, he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear his shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

This popular quote has always stuck in my craw. :hit:

My own personal position is, I have enough math education and knowlege to understand complex graphical representations of data, discern patterns and structures within sets of numerical data, and understand statistics concepts and their abuses and manipulations. In high school, I excelled at the logical proofs taught in Geometry, but lost interest and flunked out of algebra 2. For me, the bottom line is, I don't like fiddling with numbers, find it hard to stay motivated for any length of time. :o

There are vast realms of human ability that don't require mathematics at all. I'm curious to hear how widely Mr. Heinlein's above sentiment exists among scientifically-minded people in mathematics-heavy fields, versus areas where math isn't part of the daily routine.

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Sentencing decisions please

You know the format by now. No googling. If you already know the outcomes, please use spoilers if you want to discuss the sentences.

Case A

Two greedy RBS bankers used their jobs to run £3million property fraud. Andrew Ratnage, 50, and his boss Raymond Pask, 54, guilty of scam

Pair set up fake companies and used relatives' names to get mortgages

Bankers borrowed £3m and bought five homes in London, Kent and Essex

All the cash came from their own bank NatWest, which is owned by RBS.

The scam also boosted their bonuses to more than £50,000-a-year - on one occasion taking it to £78,000 for Ratnage.

The mortgage applications were submitted to their own bank without the pair ever revealing who was behind them and they also decided to forge documents to inflate the value of homes.

Once their own bank, which is majority-owned by the taxpayer, lent them the cash they were able to buy two properties in fashionable Stoke Newington in north-east London and another yards from the sea in Whitstable, Kent.

Two more were also bought in east London and Essex.

At one stage Pask was living in a house worth more than £1million and sitting on a £1.2million pension pot.

Case B

Couple swindled up to £1million from the NHS [National Health Service] to fund their luxury lifestyle of globetrotting and flashy cars

Couple supplied equipment and services to the NHS at inflated prices

They pocketed £300,000, but the value of the fraud was around £1million

Used profits to buy holiday homes in Cyprus, Dubai and the Lake District

They also bought a brand new Jaguar convertible and a Mercedes.

Leigh worked for the NHS in purchasing and was responsible for buying mostly computers and other office equipment for various NHS departments. His partner Hancox also worked for the NHS.

For more than seven years, Leigh used a company called Action Direct Technology Ltd - of which his partner Hancox was the owner, sole shareholder and company director - to buy overpriced goods and defraud his employer the NHS.

The pair also used Bibi's IT Solutions Ltd and Wiscom Technology Ltd as a front to disguise their ongoing fraud between January 2001 and October 2008.

Sgt Laura Walters, of GMP, said: 'This couple were involved in an well-orchestrated and meticulously planned conspiracy to defraud the NHS out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

'This was not a get-rich-quick scheme - this was a sustained criminal enterprise stretching over seven years. Seven years is a long time to see the error of your ways but these individuals showed no remorse for their actions.

'In fact, we believe the very reason they switched companies later on was to cover up what they had done should there ever be an investigation. We also seized hundreds of email exchanges which showed they went to great lengths to cover their tracks by cooking the books to give them an air of authenticity.

'It is also clear they used the proceeds of their criminal activity to live a lavish lifestyle - the couple had a holiday home in the Lake District and they also invested in property in the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus.

'I also want to stress this is by no means a victimless crime. It is the NHS they scammed out of thousands of pounds - money which the NHS badly needs for the treatment of people with genuine illness. Every penny they plundered is money that was diverted away from someone in desperate need of medical treatment.

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"Syrian Electronic Army" Thanksgiving hack.

When I clicked a link in the OP of this thread...


I saw the message described here- http://ift.tt/11yfzUk

Seems it has hit numerous news sites.

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The Depravity Standard

I recently participated in a survey for The Depravity Standard, a research project by The Forensic Institute; and though I'd share it.

It is ostensibly an attempt to create an evidence-based standard to inform criminal prosecution and sentencing, in preference to the emotionally-laden and vague standards currently in common use.


From what I can see, the project is legit. The Forensic Institute was created by Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist; and describes itself as the first to use peer-reviewed oversight in forensic science.

Anyone have any criticisms of the institute or study? As far as I can tell, it looks pretty solid.

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DNA survives re-entry with functionality.



The genetic material DNA can survive a flight through space and re-entry into Earth's atmosphere -- and still pass on genetic information. A team of scientists from UZH obtained these astonishing results during an experiment on the TEXUS-49 research rocket mission.

Applied to the outer shell of the payload section of a rocket using pipettes, small, double-stranded DNA molecules flew into space from Earth and back again. After the launch, space flight, re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and landing, the so-called plasmid DNA molecules were still found on all the application points on the rocket from the TEXUS-49 mission. And this was not the only surprise: For the most part, the DNA salvaged was even still able to transfer genetic information to bacterial and connective tissue cells. "This study provides experimental evidence that the DNA's genetic information is essentially capable of surviving the extreme conditions of space and the re-entry into Earth's dense atmosphere," says study head Professor Oliver Ullrich from the University of Zurich's Institute of Anatomy.


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Four Reasons Why Republicans Will Raise Taxes Next Year

Reason One: In reassuring the markets that inflation will remain tame

the Federal Reserve stopped Quantitative Easing and the purchasing

of various securities on the open market. Borrowers will see rates rise

from one and a half percent to a possible five and a half percent.

Meaning the Federal Government, who borrows most of the twenty

trillion dollar national debt on a short-term basis, must pay an additional

two hundred billion dollars for each one percentage point rise in interest

rates, for a total of eight hundred billion dollars in new debt payments

every year. Borrow more from somewhere else, maybe not.

Reason Two: When the economy crashed in 2008 foreign purchases of treasury

bonds and note rose almost immediately from one hundred billion dollars to

seven hundred billion dollars. But in the last two years those purchases have

dropped back down to the hundred billion dollar range while federal spending

remains the same due to the brilliant idea of the Sequester. Now economies

across the globe from Europe to China are headed downward. Clearly selling

those dollar denominated assets to keep their economies from collapsing seems

the order of the day, meaning another six hundred billion dollars a year in rising

taxes if they withdraw at the rate they formally invested.

Reason Three: When Obama entered office in 2008 the budget was just

under four trillion, and it has remained there all these years while inflation

slowly chews away at it. By 2016, it will take another trillion dollars more in

taxes just to restore the lost purchasing power of those dollars, not including

the needs of an increasing population. Maybe the Republicans can resist the

temptation to spend more, but another eight years and half the budget will

have inflated away — that’s a lot of pressure.

Reason Four: They fought bitterly over thirty billion dollars in spending cuts

over the past two years, with threats of shutting down the government. But

now they have won the election and control Congress. Surely it’s time for them

to spend money on things they want to spend money on. Why else would they

say, “We will not shut down the government.” And addressing their concerns

over the national debt at the same time, they might raise taxes to reduce it.

Let’s say six hundred billion in new spending every year.

Assuming all these things come to pass, we could see top tax income rates

rise above seventy percent. On the other hand, Republicans might resist

temptation and pressure, foreign economies recover, and the Federal Reserve

pushes the markets into a panic over QE4. But what sort of crazy, twisted,

messed-up world would that be? Hm…

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Google vs NSA , PRISM and New Tech War

I'll mostly be referring to Google, but that is mostly for brevity's sake. Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Yahoo were also involved.

The narrative that the NSA somehow got the major US internet companies to give them complete “backdoor” access to their servers is simply not true. The notion that all of them would allow this to happen is just nuts. For what possible reason? Money? I think that Larry Page has enough (net worth $30B). Does the NSA have the legal power to force company to do this? Nope.

Anyway, after this PRISM BS leaked last year, all the companies named vehemently denied that the allegations. Anyway, this is what Larry Page said the very next day.


Dear Google users—

You may be aware of press reports alleging that Internet companies have joined a secret U.S. government program called PRISM to give the National Security Agency direct access to our servers. As Google’s CEO and Chief Legal Officer, we wanted you to have the facts.

First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.

Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users’ data are false, period. Until this week’s reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon received—an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of users’ call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist. Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.

Finally, this episode confirms what we have long believed—there needs to be a more transparent approach. Google has worked hard, within the confines of the current laws, to be open about the data requests we receive. We post this information on our Transparency Report whenever possible. We were the first company to do this. And, of course, we understand that the U.S. and other governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety—including sometimes by using surveillance. But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish.


So he thinks the whole episode wouldn’t have happened if there was more transparency. He’s right, nobody would have thought that PRISM was such a huge deal if they knew what it was. Anyway, Google got the government to relent on releasing paperwork showing how many on the accounts are being turned over. This is how Google describes “PRISM”:


What does a FISA request compel Google to disclose?

Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the government may apply for court orders from the FISA Court to, among other actions, require U.S. companies to hand over users’ personal information and the content of their communications.

The FISA Amendments Act, passed in 2008, authorizes the government to require U.S. companies to provide information and the content of communications associated with the accounts of non-U.S. citizens or non-lawful permanent residents who are located outside the United States.

If Google were to receive a FISA request, what would it do?

Google’s general approach to government requests for information is the same: Before complying with a government request, we make sure it follows the law and Google's policies. And if we believe a request is overly broad, we seek to narrow it.


So Google gives the NSA as many as 28,000 user accounts. That Is a tiny percentage of Google users.

Larry Page did not tell a single lie. No backdoor access built into Google servers, no data given to any government unless the law required it, no data given in mass amounts.

NSA lawyer actually agrees that Larry Page was telling the the truth the whole time even though the retard that wrote the story thought it it was proof Google lied.


When asked at a hearing on Wednesday whether tech companies knew about and assisted with PRISM's data collection, Rajesh De, the NSA's general counsel, said "Yes."

"PRISM is just an internal government term that as a result of the leaks, became a public term," De said.

"So [tech companies] know that their data is being obtained?" James Dempsey, a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, asked in a follow-up question.

"They would have received legal process in order to assist the government." De said.

In fact, as public resentment of government spying grew, executives' language became even more emotionally charged. The chief executives of Facebook and Microsoft exchanged jabs at the NSA, saying that "the government blew it" and that the "Constitution itself is suffering." Google CEO Larry Page began an open letter to Google users with the line "What the ...?"

That claim counters statements issued by tech companies, who one by one denied cooperating in PRISM in the months that followed leaks from former

NSA contractor Edward Snowden.


OK, I know she knows exactly what Larry Page said because she links the same open letter I quoted above. There is nothing contradictory about what he said Larry Page said the day after the leak happened and what this NSA lawyer says. Larry Page said that Google provides data for the government when they legally required, like for PRISM requests. If the argument is that nobody had ever heard of PRISM, well they were telling the truth. They didn't ever hear the term as it was an internal one used in the NSA until the lift.

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Happy Tanksgiving!

Sherman and Valentine are outside playing with their Tiger and Panther. Stuart is in the sand box, teasing the Leopard. Mr. Abrams from next door is talking to a Priest about that horrible Mr. Grant's drinking problem. I'm watching Bob Burns play his bazooka on Youtube, with the headphones on because my wife is watching "Faust" on the TV.

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Should David Bain get compensation?

Justice Minister Amy Adams says she is "one of the few people in New Zealand" who does not have a personal view on David Bain's guilt or innocence, and she will bring a fresh set of eyes to his long fight for compensation.


This strange case has New Zealanders split 50/50 whether it is a quintuple homicide or a qadruple murder suicide.

Clever sceptics will help solve this with online material.

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First Folio found French library

A nice find with handwritten production notes:

A rare and valuable Shakespeare First Folio, regarded as the most important book in English literature, has been discovered in a small French town.

The book had lain undisturbed in a library in Saint-Omer, near Calais in northern France, for 200 years.

It was discovered by librarians planning an exhibition on the historic links between the region and England.

"The work has several pages missing, including the title page," librarian Remy Cordonnier told the press.

The loss of the first page and introductory material may have led to the book being catalogued as an unexceptional old edition, he added.

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mercredi 26 novembre 2014

Canadian First Nations financial reporting



Some disturbing revelations have come about concerning band leaders paying themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars to lead bands with rather small memberships.

Frankly I am in favour of transparency in the way my tax dollars are being spent. If band leaders feel put upon or that the govt just wants to divide First Nations, too bad. Spend wisely and don't cheat your own people and there will not be a divide.

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How the heck did Homo sapiens survive?

I find there are many caveats about declaring when "modern man" came into being. For the purposes of this thread I'll go with what I consider a conservative estimate of 40,000 years. I'm talking about anatomically modern humans with a full complement of human intelligence.

I cannot figure out how the species lasted for the 30,000 years (or so) before mankind settled into agricultural communities and found some strength in technology and numbers. Was it the species' ingenuity that did it? The power to make fire? Before "civilization" kicked in circa 12,000 years or so ago - how did man live, with no fur, no fangs, no claws? What evolutionary advantage did this species have? I can see a lot of disadvantages, but maybe they turned out to be assets - such as the need to take care of young who could not walk for a year or two. It's tempting to believe that mankind's greatest weakness was also its greatest strength - that lack of natural advantages forced humans to organize, cooperate, hunt more efficiency, etc.

But how did we not freeze to death or starve to death in the interim? We had spread far beyond the tropics, where there might have been reliable food and weather. It's a puzzle to me and maybe someone at ISF has some answers.

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Does racism still exist in the US?

In light of the Ferguson mess, I've been quietly watching Facebook discussions. Between that and the Ferguson threads here, I'm curious:

Do people think that racism still exists in the US and, if so, to whom is directed against and is it a significant problem?

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NASA Orion Blog

Depending on how you feel about the Orion project at NASA, you may be interested to follow along with recent developments on their blog:


The latest test launch is still on schedule for Dec. 4th. Lots of good info in the link above if you are interested in that project. I'm eagerly awaiting the next launch!

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The War on Facebook

BBC News: Newspaper headlines: 'The war on Facebook'

"Just one big story for Wednesday's papers - the report by the House of Common's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) saying that the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby by two fanatics in Woolwich might have been avoided.

In particular, the ISC was critical of Facebook, saying the social media site should have brought extremist posts by one of the killers to the attention of the security services.

The Daily Mail says the "social network's staff failed to tell MI5 about the 'graphic and emotive' posts from Michael Adebowale, made just six months before the atrocity took place.

"In a damning indictment of US-based tech firms, it said the same mistakes could have been made by websites run by Google, Yahoo, Apple, Twitter or Microsoft, which have become a 'haven' for terrorists.""

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Gen. Franco might still be dead, but Idi Amin is not.

Big Daddy Supports the President

Hello my American friends!,

Recently I have been getting many questions about your President, Mr. Barak Obama, most of them not very nice. What are you thinkings? Why are you not liking this good man?

After all he has African father (even if father is sleazy Kenyan), and he is one smart guy,too. Look at his choice of Vice President, Mr. Joe Biden. No chance of palace coup there I telling you! Vice President Mr. Joe Biden not able to spell coup d’etat, let alone plot one.

Come to think of it, no chance for assassination, either. Nobody in right mind would kill Good Mr. President Obama knowing Mr. Joe Biden next in line. That man might think Big Red Button is for room service, next time needs cup of coffee whole planet blow up.

If only I had thought of having moron Vice President, instead of sneaky Colonels who get skivvies in a bunch over little invasion of neighboring country (who knew they would fight back?) or occasional genocide. But enough about me.

Americans seem to get PO’d that Good President Obama not keeping promises, but what politician does that anyway? Whole point of exercise is to convince gullible voters that you need to be next engineer on Gravy Train. There’s a reason Truth in Advertising laws not apply to politicians. What promises he breaks anyway?

Transparency in government? Anyone who believe that one deserves half Kenyan President.

Close down Guantanamo Bay? Get real. Those guys left in Gitmo so fanatic and straight laced they make even Cheap Saudi B******s look like drunken televangelist at Mustang Ranch with bag of crack in one hand and somebody else’s credit card in the other.

So what if Good President Obama likes Socialism? Worked pretty well for me until sneaky Colonels decide to have Palace coup over small misunderstanding. If I had been better Socialist might have nipped that in the bud with good old fashioned Stalinist purge and still be sitting in Presidential Palace instead of crummy motel owned by Cheap Saudi B******s.

You should give him a break, Americans! Poor guy has enough problems already with no sons to install in lucrative government position, only scrawny daughters who giggle too much, and wife with “deer in the headlights” eyes. You have woman with those eyes, better make sure Machete of State is locked in closet before playing game of “where’s my cigar?”, or next job could be in Vienna Boys Choir.

You think not so? Look at that Pelosi woman. She crazier than squirrel monkey on a meth binge. Only thing worse than Vice President Mr. Joe Biden sitting in Oval Office would be her getting pass codes to “football“. Probably wouldn’t even wait for coffee break, just trample over Air Force Captain and jam button down in mad frenzy until the lights go out.

So give that man a break, I telling you! And think about this:

Election just around the corner, still plenty of brain dead voters who haven’t given up on idea of government that gives them free bennies just for having good fortune to be born in USA (or good luck to make it across fence before Border Patrol show up), and Mrs. Ex-President Clinton already foaming at mouth for opportunity to place well marbled hind quarters on Presidential seat.

If only you could change your laws, I could be next President of US of A, and all this would cease to be a problem!

White House might need a bigger refrigerator, though.

Be seeing you!

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Medical trial registration campaign.

In another thread someone asked how Francis Collins was doing at NIH.

I get regular newsletters from "Sense about Science" regarding the campaign to have all medical trial protocols and results openly published.


This one may be of interest to posters across the pond.

__________________________________________________ _____________

"Last month, many of you supported the WHO’s plan to call for the results of all clinical trials to be reported. Now we all need to support proposals from the US Government to improve clinical trial transparency there.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have announced proposals to expand requirements to register clinical trials and report results, and to make that a condition of research funding. This is a significant and potentially transformative step in the battle for clinical trial transparency.

Francis Collins, Director of NIH, said, “We owe it to every participant and the public at large to support the maximal use of this knowledge for the greatest benefit to human health.” Read more about the proposals and comments from Ben Goldacre and other AllTrials supporters here.

We have to make sure HHS and NIH don’t water down these strong proposals.

  1. Tell HHS that you support it expanding the law so that more trials have to be registered and reported.

  2. Email clinicaltrials.disseminationpolicy@mail.nih.gov to tell NIH that you support it requiring all the trials it funds to be registered and to report results.

Both consultations run until 19th February 2015 and are open to everyone, not just US citizens. We are working on our responses now and will share them with you soon.



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The Pope on the EU

Is it me, or does this seems a little hypocritical?

www dot bbc dot co dot uk /news/world-europe-30195632

The pope is complaining about the EU being "elderly and haggard" and "weariness and ageing"

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How exactly do you get a "healthy" diet, anyways?


There seem to be a gazillion conflicting claims about what constitutes such a diet, and each one comes with its own testimonials and "research studies" and flocks of people on the internet claiming how it helped them so well to get over health problem X to "back it up". What do you need to properly sift through all the BS and find the truth behind this question?

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Major African retailer opens Omni-Channel ECommerce

This thread is mostly just to boast.

The last 12 months of my life has been spent feverishly developing back-end systems to support the roll out of 2 new ECommerce sites.

TFG is a major South African and African retailer, comprising 17 brands. Last year, we kicked off a massive project to integrate Oracle's ATG and Endeca with custom built stock, product, order and communication management systems.

The sites that are currently live are here and here.

Some news articles are surfacing as well (public launch today)

CNBC Africa interview: http://ift.tt/1ztAWRH


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mardi 25 novembre 2014

9/11 was predicted in comic books, films, etc

There is a film coming out that is making a claim I have not seen in a long time, namely that 'they' leaked 9/11 before the event via comic books, films, novels, album covers, etc.

The trailer can be viewed below:


A long list of other examples was posted at the Screw Loose Change blog back in 2007:


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Appropriating Foreign Mythology for Fiction

I'm a fan of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians and have also started reading said author's Kane Chronicles and Heroes of Olympus series. Even before then I started reading about Coyote, the trickster icon of Navajo (and other western tribal) mythology, and found the concept of him interesting enough that I wanted to write a story about him.

However, in the interest of not being just another white guy taking something from Native Americans, I feel like I'm gonna have to do a lot of research on Native American mythology and culture.

So in the meantime, I ask: what does it take to make using other cultures' stories as inspiration for your own okay? Is just doing your homework enough, or is there more to it?

What is the "right" way to write a story on something unique to a culture that isn't your own?

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Nice work if you can get it



Police have launched one of the biggest criminal probes into the House of Lords after Lord Hanningfield was caught “clocking in for cash” by the Mirror.

Our investigation found he was ripping off the expenses system by claiming £300 per day for just minutes in Parliament.

If you can earn £300 a day for a few minutes work, why not I say?

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S.S. Ventnor found off N.Z. coast

Feud over 1902 "corpse ship"


WELLINGTON, New Zealand - The S.S. Ventnor sank 112 years ago off the northern New Zealand coast, bearing unusual cargo: the exhumed bodies of 499 Chinese miners, some in wooden coffins and others in sealed zinc caskets.

They had tried their luck in New Zealand's gold rush, and had paid in advance to ensure their bodies would go back to China, no matter what. A wreck believed to be the ship was discovered in 2012, raising the possibility that someday, the remains might go home.

Now the question is: Should they?

The real question is: What happened to the S.S. Atlantic Avenue and S.S. Marvin Gardens?

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Sally Morgan

So... I have just got back from seeing Sally Morgan at Wolverhampton Civic Centre. I went with two people who I think broadly believed in her ability to commune with the dead.

I have to say, some of the preconceptions I had were altered by the show.

I did not expect to receive a message from a dead relative, or to see proof of anyone else doing so, but I did hold a basic position that what she was doing was providing comfort to people struggling with loss or doubt, that her "messages" would be benign and supportive, and that she was doing nobody any harm.

That was not how I felt watching the show. To me it seemed exploitative and demeaning to the people who received the "messages". A few people were reduced to tears, but most were just left perplexed as she reeled off generic references that made no connection. Which is the second problem... as theatre it did not work at all.

I saw no real evidence of fakery, but then again I saw no real evidence of anything other than the lady standing at the front of the stage reeling out names and then missed connections. Only 3 or 4 of the 20 or so people who picked themselves out seemed to in any way believe what they had heard, and if every case I think this was because their sense of grief was raw,

If I was doing a show like this, there are a number of things I would think of... planting people in the audience to have "home run" hits with, scanning the "love letters" people put in the box before the show to glean info to exploit later on, having members of staff mill around before the show to pick up pieces of info that people were hoping to get and feed it to me. I mean, none of those are complex or clever. Thats surely what anyone would do with a captive audience of people desperate to want to believe.

And I didnt see anything like that.

She didnt make one connection that seemed to me to be more than a lucky guess or just utterly generic (someone who committed suicide might have been a loner, someone who died after their fourth stroke felt ill for a while, etc etc...)

A few people leapt to join the dots she threw in the air (my grandmother was called Nettie and she lived at number 26 and her father was called Joe and he smoked!) - but most people just couldnt pick anything out from what she was saying.


All in all, I was disappointed (as it was not a good piece of theatre in any sense) and I feel far more disapproving of it all. I dont think what she does would help anyone come to terms with loss in any sense, it is just making a mockery of their grief.

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