samedi 28 février 2015

Cancer: what we do and don't KNOW

Just thought it might be good to have a general thread for info about this.....


Things known (beyond any reasonable doubt) to cause cancer, ie to significantly increase one's odds:

- smoking tobacco

- certain chemicals or other materials (eg asbestos, pollutants)

- excessive drinking

- excessive exposure to sunlight

Things claimed but unverified (if not outright disproven) to date:

- meats cooked/grilled at high temps

- fluoridated water

- artificial sweeteners


Proven effective to varying degrees:




Disproven as utter quackery:


Baking soda (ie eating lots to lower one's pH)


Coffee enemas

Laetrile (aka "Vitamin B17")


Sugar (ie eating less)8

Shark cartilage

Tea (various kinds)

Vitamin C "mega-dosing"

(others exist no doubt)

Neither proven nor disproven definitively:


Mistletoe extract (Iscador)

via International Skeptics Forum

What ISIS Really Wants

I read this article a few days ago. It is a long, in-depth analysis for why ISIS does the horrible, horrible things they do and the thought-processes behind it's apparently self-destructive Modus Operandi.

Posted without comment. Might be tl;dr for some though. Also, I have no idea what The Atlantic's reputation with this site is, nor this particular author.


What is the Islamic State?

Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

The group seized Mosul, Iraq, last June, and already rules an area larger than the United Kingdom. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been its leader since May 2010, but until last summer, his most recent known appearance on film was a grainy mug shot from a stay in U.S. captivity at Camp Bucca during the occupation of Iraq. Then, on July 5 of last year, he stepped into the pulpit of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, to deliver a Ramadan sermon as the first caliph in generations—upgrading his resolution from grainy to high-definition, and his position from hunted guerrilla to commander of all Muslims. The inflow of jihadists that followed, from around the world, was unprecedented in its pace and volume, and is continuing.

Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. Baghdadi has spoken on camera only once. But his address, and the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.

We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. The Islamic State supporters I spoke with still refer to Osama bin Laden as “Sheikh Osama,” a title of honor. But jihadism has evolved since al-Qaeda’s heyday, from about 1998 to 2003, and many jihadists disdain the group’s priorities and current leadership.

Bin Laden viewed his terrorism as a prologue to a caliphate he did not expect to see in his lifetime. His organization was flexible, operating as a geographically diffuse network of autonomous cells. The Islamic State, by contrast, requires territory to remain legitimate, and a top-down structure to rule it. (Its bureaucracy is divided into civil and military arms, and its territory into provinces.)

We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. Peter Bergen, who produced the first interview with bin Laden in 1997, titled his first book Holy War, Inc. in part to acknowledge bin Laden as a creature of the modern secular world. Bin Laden corporatized terror and franchised it out. He requested specific political concessions, such as the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. His foot soldiers navigated the modern world confidently. On Mohammad Atta’s last full day of life, he shopped at Walmart and ate dinner at Pizza Hut.

There is a temptation to rehearse this observation—that jihadists are modern secular people, with modern political concerns, wearing medieval religious disguise—and make it fit the Islamic State. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.

The most-articulate spokesmen for that position are the Islamic State’s officials and supporters themselves. They refer derisively to “moderns.” In conversation, they insist that they will not—cannot—waver from governing precepts that were embedded in Islam by the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers. They often speak in codes and allusions that sound odd or old-fashioned to non-Muslims, but refer to specific traditions and texts of early Islam.

To take one example: In September, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s chief spokesman, called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops.” To Western ears, the biblical-sounding punishments—the stoning and crop destruction—juxtaposed strangely with his more modern-sounding call to vehicular homicide. (As if to show that he could terrorize by imagery alone, Adnani also referred to Secretary of State John Kerry as an “uncircumcised geezer.”)

But Adnani was not merely talking trash. His speech was laced with theological and legal discussion, and his exhortation to attack crops directly echoed orders from Muhammad to leave well water and crops alone—unless the armies of Islam were in a defensive position, in which case Muslims in the lands of kuffar, or infidels, should be unmerciful, and poison away.

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do. But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal.

Continued in the link itself. This is a long one. Thoughts?

via International Skeptics Forum

IMF: Half of Gini coefficient increase in advanced economies due to deunionisation


While some inequality can increase efficiency by strengthening incentives to work and invest, recent research suggests that higher inequality is associated with lower and less sustainable growth in the medium run (Berg and Ostry, 2011; Berg, Ostry, and Zettelmeyer, 2012), even in advanced economies (OECD, 2014). Moreover, a rising concentration of income at the top of the distribution can reduce a population’s welfare if it allows top earners to manipulate the economic and political system in their favor (Stiglitz, 2012).

Traditional explanations for the rise of inequality in advanced economies are skill-biased technological change and globalization, which have increased the relative demand for skilled workers, benefiting top earners relative to average earners. But technology and globalization foster economic growth, and there is little policymakers can or are willing to do to reverse these trends. Moreover, while high-income countries have been similarly affected by technological change and globalization, inequality in these economies has risen at different speeds and magnitudes.

As a consequence, economic research has recently focused on the effects of institutional changes, with financial deregulation and the decline in top marginal personal income tax rates often cited as important contributors to the rise of inequality. By contrast, the role played by labor market institutions—such as the decline in the share of workers affiliated with trade unions and the fall in the minimum wage relative to the median income—has featured less prominently in recent debates. In a forthcoming paper, we look at this side of the equation.


Unemployment: Some economists argue that while stronger unions and a higher minimum wage reduce wage inequality, they may also increase unemployment by maintaining wages above “market-clearing” levels, leading to higher gross income inequality. But the empirical support for this hypothesis is not very strong, at least within the range of institutional arrangements observed in advanced economies (see Betcherman, 2012; Baker and others, 2004; Freeman, 2000; Howell and others, 2007; OECD, 2006). For instance, in an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development review of 17 studies, only 3 found a robust association between union density (or bargaining coverage) and higher overall unemployment.


While causality is difficult to establish, the decline in unionization appears to be a key contributor to the rise of top income shares. This finding holds even after accounting for shifts in political power, changes in social norms regarding inequality, sectoral employment shifts (such as deindustrialization and the growing role of the financial sector), and increases in education levels. The relationship between union density and the Gini of gross income is also negative but somewhat weaker. This could be because the Gini underestimates increases in inequality at the top of the income distribution.

We also find that deunionization is associated with less redistribution of income and that reductions in minimum wages increase overall inequality considerably.

On average, the decline in unionization explains about half of the 5 percentage point rise in the top 10 percent income share. Similarly, about half of the increase in the Gini of net income is driven by deunionization.


via International Skeptics Forum

Second Genuinely Awesome New Invention

To fix potholes just add chicken feathers!


While governments spend millions annually in largely futile attempts to repair our rotting roadways, David Ballas, a Grade 9 student at West Island College, believes he may have come up with a cost-effective solution by mixing chicken feathers with asphalt to form a nearly impermeable surface.


via International Skeptics Forum

Money in politics is bad, m'kay?

Yes, it is an old talking point. But it is still very relevant. This paper gives a nice summary of issues, but also looks at measuring the effect of donations on ideological extremism.


Concluding Remarks

Who do legislators represent while in office? This paper shows that senators are most representative of

campaign contributors. I illustrate this point by estimating the ideological positions of legislators, voters

and contributors on a unified ideological scale. I do this by linking roll call votes by senators in the

112th Congress with survey responses of voters in the CCES and of donors in an original survey of

campaign contributors. Results show that legislators’ ideologies most closely align with the preferences

of campaign contributors while senators ideal points are quite distant from the ideological preferences

of the average voter. The distance between voters and their senator is nearly as large as if voters were

randomly assigned to their senator, indicating that congruence between voters and their representatives

in Congress is quite weak.


(Bold is tl;dr summary)

In addition:


Another way of measuring polarization among senators is to calculate the percentage of voters,

co-partisans, and donors who are more extreme than the senator. To calculate this, I find the percentage

of donors that have ideal points to the left of Democratic senators or to the right of Republican senators.

Figure 7 shows that contributors consistently hold ideological positions that are more extreme than the

senator. The story is quite different among voters and even supporters. In nearly every case, 75 percent

of voters are less extreme than the senator, and in most cases a majority of supporters are less extreme

than the senator.

There is a certain school of thought that says money is just the equivalent of speech, and we have all sorts of PACs and special interests on both sides of the aisle spending money, so it all evens out in the end. This suggests this is not the case.

via International Skeptics Forum

Chinese Medical Teams in Africa to Fight Enbola

In my wandering around the 'net I found a number of articles that mentioned "Chinese Medical Teams in Africa to Fight Enbola".

Ha, I thought they must be there armed with their pharmacopeia of amusing 5000-year old quack cures based on chi and the basic TCM principles of disease and cures such as those defined at: which is to say:


The Causes of Disharmony (pathogenesis)

TCM divides the causes of disharmony into three main areas:

  1. Internal Causes which illnesses are caused by emotions. These include anger, sadness, worry, fear, joy, grief, pensiveness and shock (frighten) and are usually termed as the seven emotions. While these emotions are normal and healthy responses to the many situations we encounter in daily life, they can cause disease when they are intense or prolonged, or are not expressed or acknowledged over a long period of time.

  2. External Causes which are causes of disharmony that relate to climatic conditions. There are six of these conditions, usually known as the six pathogenic factors or the six outside evils. They are: wind, cold, damp, fire, dryness and summer heat. Different climatic conditions are appropriate during each season and we usually adapt to them as they come and go. However, extremes of weather such as a very cold winter or unseasoned weather such as a warm spell in winter make us more vulnerable to the effects of that climatic condition and consequently to becoming ill. Also, people whose underlying energy is weak are more vulnerable to the effects of climatic conditions than those who have a strong constitution.

  3. Miscellaneous Causes include work, exercise, diet, sexual activity and physical trauma. TCM thinks that these factors can have a profound influence on our bodies as well. For example, too much physical work can impair Qi, too much mental activity can damage the Spleen, someone who works outdoors is more liable to be at risk from the six outside evils, excessive sexual activity is considered to be damaging to the Kidney and injuries would make the injured body part more vulnerable to the outside evils.

I wondered how the Chinese Medical Teams were doing. Apparently they are doing just fine EXCEPT THEY ARE NOT USING TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE at all. :boggled:

They seem to be testing for things called viruses and giving intravenous fluids!



Chinese medical workers line up at the airport in Freetown, capital of Sierra Leone, Nov. 15, 2014. The second dispatch of Chinese laboratory team, including 73 medical experts from Chinese Center for Disease Control and Beijing 302 Military Hospital, arrived in Freetown on Saturday. They will continue running the mobile laboratory, which is used for testing Ebola Virus samples, and the Ebola holding center at the Sierra Leone-China Friendship Hospital, some 30 kilometres away from Freetown in the next two months. (Xinhua/Dai Xin)



"My first week in the hospital was not easy. I had lost hope because I had lost considerable weight, vomiting and could hardly work. The Chinese started to give me intravenous fluids as well as treatment for the high fever, this was also coupled with words of consolation that 'I would not die', that 'I would survive," she said.

Of course, I suppose, the "treatment for the high fever" could have included ground up rhino horn* but I would hazard a guess that it was more likely Acetylsalicylic Acid.




via International Skeptics Forum

Genuinely awesome new invention

It's not even very high-tech or anything, and doesn't require electricity to run, but it seems to be a huge improvement over the prior art:

Flow Hive Delivers Honey on Tap Without Stressing Out the Bees

There's a video that shows how the inside of this thing works. The video is well worth watching.

The main difference is that with a conventional beehive, you have to don protective gear, open it up, and take out the honeycomb. It probably involves applying smoke to the bees to sort of make them them dazed and confused and scraping them off the honeycomb. It's just a pain in the ass. With this one it's like just turning on a tap and out comes honey.

via International Skeptics Forum

Grand Forks, ND Officer involved shooting

I am posting this absolutely knowing that there is no real information available as of yet, but this struck extremely close to home. As in, REALLY close to home. Apparently a police officer shot someone at the local hospital, Altru.


According to the UND Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Chief of Police, around 12:45 this morning a UND Police department officer was involved in a shooting in the parking lot of Altru Hospital following a pursuit.

Officers from Grand Forks Police, Sherriff's Office and ND Highway Patrol were involved in the original pursuit.

Disregard the idiot speaking to the newspaper and her horrible grammar. Most people I know are just saying "please don't be a white guy shooting a black guy" already. It should be noted this isn't some skirmish in the oil fields, Grand Forks is 3-4 hours away from the oil fields on the Minnesota\North Dakota border.

via International Skeptics Forum

Putin's Biggest Critic Has Terrible Accident

Or was killed by Muslim extremists.

Of course, Muslim extremists hate people who hate Putin, with Mad Vlad having shown Muslims such compassion in Chechnya/Grozhny, so it's hardely surprising they're being considered.

Putin, determined to leave no stone unturned in the search for Boris Nemtsov, has taken personal command of the investigation.

When the choices are Muslims or people looking to destabilise Russia, you know Vlad is really trying hard.

via International Skeptics Forum

How Long Before...

Computer controlled tattoos?

Similar to a CNC machine, but with lasers constanly checking position, depth, etc..

Perfect art reproductions and such..

Or have I missed something?

via International Skeptics Forum

Is Warp Speed Possible?

By warp speed, I mean any kind of faster-than-light travel from one place to another. Creating a worm hole with negative energy, warping space around a ship, etc.

From the perspective of someone on Earth, will it ever be possible for a spaceship to travel to another star and back to Earth in, say, less than a year?

via International Skeptics Forum

North Carolina Legalizes Call Girls For Politicians

North Carolina Legalizes Call Girls For Politicians



North Carolina’s State Ethics Committee has just opened up a major problem for their state — they just made it legal for lobbying firms to purchase prostitutes to service politicians. The Committee’s determination that sex had no value and that sex between a lobbyist and politician was nothing to report or in any way questionable means that a major loophole has opened up for lobbying firms. Now lobbying firms can hire people with the explicit goal to seduce and fornicate with politicians in order to garner favor.

In other terms, lobbying firms can hire people who can offer sexual services for politicians, and they don’t even need to register.

Now, before it is said that it is being misinterpreted, here is the actual letter from the Ethics Committee, titled “Sexual Favors or Sexual Acts as a Gift or ‘Thing of Value.'” In it, they declared that these relations have no monetary value, so do not need to be reported. In addition, they declared that if the person is not registered as a lobbyist, there was never any point of concern, even if the service was paid for by a third-party. In other words, lobbyists can hire people expressly for a politician to use in a carnal manner, even if the politician asks for or otherwise indicates their desire for such a service.


via International Skeptics Forum

A question about book formats.

Why do some books have two columns of text on each page?

via International Skeptics Forum

Abdullah Ocalan urges end to armed struggle between the Kurds and Turkey

I just read about this on the BBC. This could be big news...

via International Skeptics Forum

Threat to the UK and it's allies

Sir John Sawers, ex-MI6 chief, warns of Russia 'danger'

Russia has become a danger to Britain and the country must be prepared to take steps to defend itself and its allies, the former head of MI6 says.

How is the West to contain this threat?

Should the West go to war?

via International Skeptics Forum

Probably a stupid question to the US

Would it not just be easier to not arm up splinter groups like hussain and Bin Laden and fund them to later have to go to war against your own weapons?

via International Skeptics Forum

Oystein / Jay Howard debate on Harrit/Jones Paper - The Peanut Gallery

This thread is for comments on the debate taking place here:

Hopefully some people can summarise the main points if things start getting too technical.

Good luck to the debaters! :cheerleader2

(Mods, if this contravenes any rules, bin it. Reporting myself to make sure.)

via International Skeptics Forum

So how do you see "that dress"?

Yes, it's "that dress," and the question that's splitting friends and uniting enemies. It may consolidate the Ukraine ceasefire, or - more importantly - it may split Kanye and Kim (the lining there is silver).

We now know that the actual garment itself is blue and black, but the photograph that started it all does not look the same for everyone.

Buzzfeed did a poll, but only has the options of blue and black (currently 69%), or white and gold (currently 31%), thus omitting the blue and gold option.

So what do you see?

via International Skeptics Forum

A debate about Harrit et al between Jay Howard and Oystein

In another thread, Jay Howard brought up the 2009 Harrit et al "nanothermite" paper (Harrit NH et al: Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe. The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2, 7-31) in several posts, which I considered off-topic there.

Someone suggested a dedicated debate thread between Jay Howard and myself, which Jay indicated he'd be "all for".

So this is the "dedicated thread". I suggest that we try to focus quite strictly on the Harrit paper, augmented by additional studies done on red-gray chips, and I would kindly ask you all to reign in your fingers and let Jay and me have the floor. Perhaps, of you want to throw in your opinions and arguments, you try to do so in one of the existing threads about the topic.

I realize that I can't demand and enforce such restraint, and won't ask you again after this opening post.

I now invite Jay Howard to open the debate. Perhaps by repeating some of the claims he made in the other thread. I suggest we first try to find where we have common ground. Some things I agree with right out of the box:


Originally Posted by jay howard (Post 10501059)

Here is a list of facts that are not in dispute (as far as I know):

  • Red-gray chips found in WTC dust

  • Red portion composed of relatively uniform 100 nm iron oxide particles

  • Ignition occurs at about 430C


  • Elemental iron found AFTER IGNITION

  • Red-gray chips found in WTC dust - AGREED

  • Red portion composed of relatively uniform 100 nm iron oxide particles - AGREED

  • Ignition occurs at about 430C - AGREED


  • Elemental iron found AFTER IGNITION - AMBIGUOUS

The latter two I would not agree with without qualifications:

a) I don't see any data that indicates elemental Fe has been searched for, or that none was found. So I tend to disagree with this

b) The quantification of EDX-data is tricky. I'd agree to some reduced iron oxide (FeO or Fe3O4 instead of Fe2O3), and the possibility of traces of elemental Fe. The bigger problem however is that Harrit et al have failed to quantify the amount of reduced Fe after reaction. Basically, the bulk of Fe should be elemental. Claim is not made out.

via International Skeptics Forum

Ex-new age believers turned rationalists: Share your stories

I was inspired to create this post after reading this thread in its entirety:

I had it bookmarked on my web browser for months and finally got around to reading it. In brief, the topic was about a study postulating that New Age beliefs and practices focus too much on personal gratification and therefore are making its believers less happy. One user, thoth108 chimed in saying new age beliefs have made him happier and that they helped him tap into magical powers which he could not substantiate. Moreover, he accused skeptics of never believing the evidence he could show because skeptics would need to suspend their rational faculties in order to accept the paradigm that magic exists. In my opinion thoth108 exhibited key characteristics of New Age believers that I have encountered throughout my life: circular reasoning, feigning humility and open mindedness but in actuality giving off a sense of superiority to have discovered the truth of existence. There are no mysteries to them, all of the riddles of the universe have been solved yet when inconsistencies are pointed out you are deemed "not enlightened" enough to see. Thus they can never be wrong. It is a pernicious, anti-rationalist philosophy.

When asked to take the million dollar challenge, Thoth said he did not need the money. When asked to give the money to charity, Thoth declared that suffering is no big deal, it only helps us all learn after all, so it would be bad karma for him to intervene in the lives of others by giving the money to charity or helping those lacking food and shelter.

I'm sure I have offended some of you. My post is directed at anyone who was a believer in the new age cult (s) and practices and became a skeptic/rationalist. What was your journey like? How did it begin? How did you go from being an ardent believer in magic energies/cosmic journeys/interactions with 4th and 5th dimensional beings to a believer in the scientific method?

I'm very interested to know as I've heard the "I was a skeptic but became a believer after xyz" too many times. Thank you

via International Skeptics Forum

vendredi 27 février 2015

Help debunking friend's ghost story

I have an online friend who claims to have been an atheist/skeptic, but 'saw the light' and now is born again after having moved into a house he claims was haunted by spirits/ghosts. His story is pretty lengthy and i don't have permission (yet) to post it verbatim, but most of it is your standard poltergeist experiences (seeing things move, doors locking, loud unexplained noises etc). One of his anecdotes was a bit different, and since my knowledge of things electrical is pretty limited, was hoping someone here might have some thoughts on possible explanations (other than, 'he's lying' )

Basically, this incident was he was returning home in the family car when they noticed the tv was on in the house. The house was locked and fully protected by an advanced alarm system, making it impossible for anyone to enter or leave without their knowledge. He claims they would *always* turn off the tv before leaving the house, but not the cable box. As he approached the front door to investigate, the tv abruptly turned off. When he came in to investigate, it was still quite warm and the cable box had been turned off as well. He claims there had been no history before or after of this tv spontaneously turning on or off.

Any thoughts? Can televisions turn themselves on and off? Thx. :)

via International Skeptics Forum

Where is the holohoax discussion ?

I cannot find the holohoax denial forum?

Is discussion of the hoax still allowed?

How do I find it?

For those interested, the best intro to the subject is provided by 'The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, the Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry' by Northwestern prof Arthur Butz. This is a great book, every skeptic should read it.

via International Skeptics Forum

When does a race become its own species?

I was wondering about this recently as a total layman when it comes to biology: How exactly is this determined? For example, it seems to me that the external differences between say a tiger and lion are far smaller than those between a St Bernard and a Chihuaha, yet the last two both count as dogs.

I assume it is because they can theoretically breed, whereas a tiger and a lion tend to produce infertile mutants. But in that case: Is there something "special" about dogs? Or could we, if we set our mind to it, theoretically breed handbag sized tigers?

via International Skeptics Forum

8 are killed, gunman kills self

Outside of the tragedy of Leonard Nimoy passing away, it also appears that we have another gun-enabled rampage in Missouri:


Eight people were killed, including the alleged gunman, in multiple shootings Thursday night near Tyrone in Texas County.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said the suspect, 36-year-old Joseph Jesse Aldridge, apparently killed seven individuals and injured another at multiple residences before fleeing to Shannon County and killing himself. Authorities believe a ninth person died of natural causes before the shooting spree and may have motivated the gunman.

Always a horrible article, but it appears that his family was targeted for the most part, fueled by his mother's passing.

via International Skeptics Forum

Agnosticism is Atheism in Denial

To say it can't be known whether gods actually exist or not is to be an atheist. Atheism doesn't require knowledge of the non-existence of gods, it merely doesn't accept unsubstantiated theistic beliefs that claim gods actually exist. Theism doesn't require knowledge of the actual existence of gods, it merely accepts unsubstantiated beliefs that claim gods actually exist.

via International Skeptics Forum

West Memphis Three Discussion


Originally Posted by luchog (Post 10501067)

There's a small vocal constituent who still insists on their guilt. Part of it is the "police/judiciary can do no wrong" attitude we've seen prevalent here; and the "OMG devil worshippers!!!" ignorant crap all too common in the bible belt. The other part is the fact that Echols is mentally ill and prone to delusions; which in the US means that he's clearly an evil person and needs to die. (The way mental illness is stigmatized and treated in this country is barely short of barbaric.)

There will always be those who are completely immune to any evidence, however overwhelming, that contradicts their own personal prejudices.

They have a list of evidence just not very good evidence

via International Skeptics Forum

The taboo surrounding "boys" and gay sex

I was reading news on the Gurdians front page when i saw this article:

When i read this article i saw something that really bothers me and it's the inconsistent usage of adjectives that describe male youths (and often both females as well). This part really stood out:


Campaigners believe that the objections about benefiting paedophiles could be overcome by introducing two amendments to the relevant legislation to make clear that the men would have acted wholly lawfully under today’s law. The amendments would say that the sex took place between men aged over 16 and that they were both consenting adults.

In this case the part of "consenting adults" is utterly preposterous as 16 year olds are not legal adults, they are still minors according to present British law. I'm struck by the unwillingness people have to describe teenage/adolescent homosexual partners as "boys" and instead nearly always prefer to call them "men" or "young men" instead. Even if it's perfectly legal to have sex with, lets say, 16 year old male youths there's something icky and wrong with calling them boys. You might even want to call them "twinks" if you are in a gay crowd, even though that's supposed to mean those that are something like 20+ and try to look like they still are youthful teenagers.

Why is that?

via International Skeptics Forum

Compensating victims of eugenics programs.


Reynolds was among more than 7,000 Virginians involuntarily sterilized between 1924 and 1979 under the Virginia Eugenical Sterilization Act.

Reynolds was presumed to have epilepsy. As it turned out, he was exhibiting temporary symptoms from having been hit in the head with a rock.

The more I read and hear about the various eugenics programs in the USA the more it seems to have been a way for bigots to attack people they hated instead of improving the health of the population.


via International Skeptics Forum

RIP Leonard Nimoy

At least he did live long and prosper. :(

One of my favorites among the original cast.

via International Skeptics Forum

Finally SOME truth from the right

So Rick Perry says that the unemployment numbers are much worse then reported.

In other words ' A Republican FINALLY admits after 30 + years ;

*that trickle down economics doesn't work

*that giving Billions of dollars to the so called investor class does NOT work in creating jobs.

*and their whole economic agenda solely exists to funnel as much money to corporations and the top 1% as possible before completely destroying the country.

It's refreshing to see honesty from the right!

via International Skeptics Forum

The Quantum Cosmology Inverse Theory

The Quantum Cosmology Inverse Theory

Juan (Jay) Sadie


This theory postulates an inverse way to look at what is large and what is small. When we talk about quantum mechanics we automatically presume that things are smaller at this level. What this theory proposes is that as we drill down into the quantum level we are actually moving towards the infinitely large. As we get down to the atomic and sub-atomic levels things begin to get very strange. Particles pop in and out of existence. They seem to be in more than one place at the same time. They seem to interact by means of entanglement, more famously known as “spooky interaction at a distance”, so named by Albert Einstein. My theory explains why things are so strange “down there”. As we zoom into the sub-atomic levels and beyond we begin to approach the Inverse, a realm where space and time does not exist, and more importantly where the laws of nature or physics do not apply. This Inverse connects everything as we know it; atoms, molecules, matter, stars, galaxies, etc. The Inverse has no physical properties, no energy, nothing we can measure. It is however the originating point of all Universes. It has no beginning or end. It has always been and always will be. Time is of no consequence.

I. Introduction

The Big Bang Theory is widely accepted today by most scientists and scholars as the start of our Universe approximately 13.8 billion years ago. It is also widely accepted that the Big Bang originated from a Singularity or singular point in space, which is a difficult concept to grasp. We now also know that the Universe is expanding at an accelerated rate, attributed to the forces of Dark Energy driving the Universe apart. Not long ago it was thought that the expansion of the Universe was slowing down and due to gravitational forces would eventually collapse into itself, once again becoming a Singularity. There is also a lot of talk and speculation in modern times regarding the existence of multiple Universes, also known as the Multiverse. Another very interesting and mysterious phenomenon in our Universe is the existence of Black Holes. Much speculation and many theories have been put forward regarding Black Holes and what lies beyond them. My Quantum Cosmology Inverse Theory attempts to provide a plausible explanation of how our Universe was formed, why there may be other Universes, where all these Universes originate from, and what lies on the other side of Black Holes. It also addresses the possibility of other realms beyond the physical and the existence of an all-encompassing intelligence and/or information store. Due to the far-reaching speculations of this theory it can also be called the elusive “Theory of Everything”.

II. Think Different

Ironically, one of the biggest challenges scientists face is everything they have learned thus far. Knowledge is power, but can also act as an impediment if used to try and explain that which has not yet been discovered. Math and mathematical equations are powerful tools when trying to make sense of the Universe as we know it. The problem is that these concepts do not seem to hold true as we approach the quantum level. Mathematical logic starts falling apart. There is a reason for this. A distinct separation exists between the physical Universe as we know it and the infinite timeless Inverse. The Inverse is not around everything. It is “inside” everything. Thus the name Inverse, and not Outverse or Outerverse. Giving such a seemingly bizarre concept a name is purely for reference purposes. How do you even begin to describe or name something that cannot be seen, touched, felt or measured? To us it may seem as nothingness, but it is everything. Many scientists theorize that the Universe was created from nothing, or perhaps a small “ripple” in the fabric of space, or some refer to membranes.

We are so used to looking at things in an orderly and logical way. If there are multiple Universes and these Universes stem from the Inverse then surely these would “surround” the Inverse. Furthermore, if they are not scattered around the Inverse then surely they have to be inside the Inverse. This is where one has to think different. The Inverse is everywhere, and yet for us living in this Universe it must seem to be somewhere else. Something can only be somewhere when it has a reference point. However, you cannot point to the Inverse. It is everywhere in all Universes, or to be more precise, connected to everything in all Universes. Just for argument’s sake, let’s say you could “travel” to the Inverse you would be able to pop out anywhere in this or another Universe at any given point in time. This would make time travel possible, and also make possible traveling billions of light years in an instant.

III. Diagram

A popular saying is that “A picture paints a thousand words”. The diagram below is an attempt to schematically present the Inverse referred to in this paper. In the diagram it is drawn in the middle, surrounded by two other layers, the Metaverse and the Multiverse. Collectively these three “layers” make up the Omniverse, which can also be referred to as Everything.

Using names to describe these concepts are extremely difficult, as is trying to represent them in a diagram. From the diagram it may seem as though they are clearly marked by borders, and that there are three “layers”. Unfortunately it is impossible to “draw” concepts that are outside the scope of our 3-dimensional Universe. The schematic is purely an attempt to try and visually represent these concepts. It is important to note that these three “layers” are really entangled or intermingled. There are no clear-cut boundary conditions through which one can “step” to exit one layer and enter another layer. When studying the diagram please keep these limitations in mind.


( If the above image does not show please scroll down to Attached Thumbnails at the end of this post )

IV. Black Holes

The idea of a Black Hole was first discussed by John Michell as early as 1783 in a letter he wrote to Henry Cavendish of the Royal Society. In 1976 Pierre-Simon Laplace promoted the same idea, which he called “dark stars”. The first use of the term "Black Hole" was by journalist Ann Ewing in her article "'Black Holes' in Space", dated 18 January 1964. John Wheeler used the term "Black Hole" at a lecture in 1967, leading some to credit him with coining the phrase. After Wheeler's use of the term, it was quickly adopted in general use. There are many theories about exactly what Black Holes are. Two terms that are synonymous with the modern understanding of Black Holes are the Event Horizon and the Singularity. The Event Horizon is a boundary in spacetime through which matter and light can only pass towards the mass of the black hole. Nothing, not even light, can escape from inside the Event Horizon. In the next section I will discuss the most mysterious concept that is at the heart of understanding the cross-over from our, or any other Universe, into the Inverse.

V. The Singularity

How is it possible for the entire Universe to collapse into one single point, called the Singularity? It must be one of the most difficult concepts to grasp. Also how could the entire Universe have come into existence from a Singularity? This brings me to the one explanation that will make this concept understandable. Once you understand the Inverse it all starts to make sense. The Singularity is the cross-over point between our, and other, physical Universes into the Inverse. On the other side of the Singularity is the infinite Inverse. Refer to the diagram above to try and visualize the cross-over into the Inverse. Again, please bear in mind that it is not as clear-cut as it is represented in the diagram. There is a slow transition towards the Inverse. As you approach the Inverse the laws of physics start breaking down. Things start getting “strange” down there, or out there, or in there. It is hard to describe the “there”, because at that point it is not a place in the true sense of the word. It is a transition layer, for the lack of a better word, where the strangest concept to understand comes into play. There really is no single Singularity, but an infinite number of Singularities. Despite this sounding like an oxymoron, it only seems by visual observation that all the light and matter are sucked into the Singularity. In fact, each particle and wave collapses inwards into itself, until it enters the Inverse, at which point it is no longer part of spacetime as we know it. At this point it is one with the Inverse. Thus, what we perceive as the Singularity is not that at all. It is an optical illusion, again for the lack of a better term.

VI. The Big Bang Theory

Popular belief today is that our Universe came into existence approximately 13.8 billion years ago from a singular point (Singularity) and expanded rapidly at an unimaginable rate, far greater than the speed of light. Because of this seemingly big explosion scientists refer to it as the Big Bang.

I propose that the Universe did come into existence almost instantly by originating from an almost infinite number of singular points. The matter that came into existence in that short period of time makes up all the matter that exists in our Universe today. In the beginning this matter, or rather quantum particles, were in disarray and disorganized, resembling a soup of sub-atomic particles and energy. Tremendous forces were at work during the birth of our Universe, including Gravity and Dark Energy. Gravity, or more specifically the Strong Force, was responsible for sub-atomic particles like quarks, leptons, neutrinos, bosons, perhaps gravitons, and many others that are discovered each year, to “clump” together to form atoms (electrons, protons and neutrons) and light particles called photons. Some sub-atomic particles may have formed Dark Matter, which we think exists, but have no proof of yet. Dark Energy became the force that caused the continuous expansion of our Universe. It was there at the very beginning, and to this day is driving the Universe apart. The reason the expansion is accelerating is because the gravitational pull of celestial bodies are getting weaker as they move further and further apart. Because there is a lot more Dark Energy in the Universe than gravitational forces it stands to reason that the expansion will continue to accelerate.

The Universe did not spring forth from a single point in space, but rather from an astronomical number of single points in a vast area or region of spacetime. However large this region was, it was still a measurable area that instantly started expanding from the very second the Universe was born. From our vantage point today, and from what we can observe 13.8 billion years later, it seems that it all started from one single point, where I propose that it really started from one spherical region in space from an almost infinite number of points. How big that initial area was is open for speculation. Suffice to say that it was large enough to contain or fit all the matter, energy and light that exists in our Universe today, and that existed at the very beginning of our Universe’s time. It stands to reason that the Universe must have been extremely dense at the very beginning, with very little or no unoccupied space at that time.

An interesting idea to entertain is that Dark Energy and Dark Matter may be “seeping” in from the Inverse as our Universe is expanding, to fill in the gaps so to speak. We know that there is really no such thing as “empty” space. Every inch of our Universe is occupied by “something”. What that something is, is a mystery. Perhaps it is Dark Matter, or Dark Energy, or something that remains undiscovered. Whatever it is, it is highly likely that these particles, matter or energy originate from the Inverse.

VII. Multiple Universes

There has been much speculation about the existence of multiple Universes, or at least one other parallel Universe that co-exists with our Universe. A popular theory is that these Universes all occupy the same space and that they are separated by a “membrane”. The belief that these alternate Universes do exist is not as far-fetched as it may seem. The Quantum Cosmology Inverse Theory strongly suggests that not only are other Universes possible, but that these alternate Universes are infinite in number. As to the nature of each Universe, this is an open unanswered question that is open to speculation. This is where one’s imagination can truly be stretched to its limits. These Universes may all obey the same laws of nature and physics, or they may all be entirely different, or they may share some of the laws with slight deviations. It may be nature’s way of testing different scenarios or permutations to learn from them and to then create new “improved” Universes from the lessons learnt. There may be Universes that are so odd that we can’t even imagine how different or “weird” they are. As to whether there are copies or duplicates of each one of us in other Universes can also only be speculated about. Perhaps the existence of other versions of ourselves might help explain why we experience déjà vu. Perhaps when we dream we temporarily cross over to other Universes to see through the eyes of our other selves, despite the fact that some dreams are very odd or strange. But remember that other Universes may be very odd or strange, which would explain such dreams.

Each Universe is a spacetime manifestation that originates from the Inverse. What causes a Universe to manifest is a mystery. There may be many reasons and explanations. Perhaps it is a ripple, glitch, spike or a mere accident. But then again, it could be a carefully orchestrated event by the collective knowledge or intelligence of the Inverse. All we know for sure is that for whatever reason at the very least our Universe came into existence at some point in time, approximately 13.8 billion years ago.

VIII. The Metaverse

Metaphysical means without material form or substance. In the context of this paper Metaverse represents the mysterious possible “place” or “state” where the soul exists while not in a physical body. It is a highly speculative subject and religious in its very nature. It is not the goal of this paper to discuss religion and whether the soul, ghosts, angels, purgatory, heaven or hell exists. For the sake of allowing for such a possibility it is necessary to at least address this issue. Let’s for argument’s sake postulate that such a “place” or “state” exists, and then try to fit it into the model of the Omniverse. On the diagram above it represents a “layer” between the Inverse and the Multiverse. It may seem as though it separates these two concepts, but it is neither here nor there. To draw the Metaverse is impossible. It does not have a shape or borders. The Metaverse in the diagram is an abstract representation. The concept of time may very well not apply to the Metaverse. Dimensions as we know them might also not apply here. Because of the aforementioned two attributes the Metaverse seems to have a lot more in common with the Inverse than the Multiverse. One can then argue that perhaps it is part of the Inverse.

IX. Quantum Mechanics

The key to understanding the Quantum Cosmology Inverse Theory is to delve into the strange world of Quantum Mechanics. This is arguably the most complex and controversial theory ever developed by scientists. To this day there are many interpretations and disagreements regarding this subject matter, such as the quantum field theory, string theory, speculative quantum gravity theory, and many others. The purpose of this paper is not to try and determine which one of the many quantum theories has the most merit, but rather to point out the strange behavior of atomic and sub-atomic particles at the quantum level. Scientists generally agree that things do not seem to make sense down there. Experiments have shown that until a measurement is made, many particles can act as though they are in more than one place at once. You can never be certain of both the location and the speed of a particle at the same time. Schrodinger's cat is a famous thought experiment illustrating the seemingly paradoxical nature of quantum theory and how observation makes such a difference, almost forcing the universe to choose a particular path. At small enough scale something called quantum foam exists, where spacetime is a seething mass. Sometimes particles can pop into existence, borrowing energy from the universe, and then they disappear again almost straight away. Quantum Tunnelling seems to allow a particle to burrow through a barrier that it should not be able to get out of, due to the relative energies involved. These listed are just a few of the strange behaviors exhibited by particles at the quantum level.

As scientists “discover” new sub-atomic particles, consisting of smaller particles, one cannot help but wonder at which point we will discover the smallest possible particle, the one building block of all particles. Is there even such a particle? If we someday discover this tiniest of particles, how do we know for sure that it does not consist of even smaller particles? How do you observe anything at this level? We are talking levels smaller than light or waves itself. In order to observe at this level we need something like light or a wave to bounce back so we can interpret the existence of such a particle, which inherently poses a dilemma.

I am proposing, however, that there is no such thing as the smallest building block of particles. There is a cross-over between the Inverse and our, and other Universes. Think of it as the Inverse “bleeding” into our Universe. The lowest building blocks of particles are very “spooky”. They seem to pop in and out of existence. What is even stranger is that they are “shared” by many sub-atomic particles. One of these “spooky” particles may be shared by millions, billions, trillions, or countless sub-atomic particles, which could explain entanglement.

There is a zone between our physical Universe and the Inverse where things are extremely “fuzzy”. Things are neither here nor there. The one moment it is there, and then it is not there. It is at this level where time and space itself starts breaking down. In the Inverse there is no concept of time nor space. In our Universe time and space does exist. There has to be a faded transition between the two realms. Rather than being a hard border line, it is rather a strange fuzzy transitional layer where time and space starts breaking down, or starts coming into existence, depending on perspective. Having said that, we, in our current form, will never be able to enter the Inverse. The only way to do so would be for each sub-atomic particle in our bodies to implode inwards towards the Inverse until nothing of our physical bodies remain. Once “inside” the Inverse you won’t be able to re-materialize because space and time does not exist there. You will also become one with the Inverse, losing the concept of self-awareness or existing as a single being.

At some point, deep down, all the particles in our Universe are connected to the Inverse. This could truly be called the Singularity, the one place where the entire Universe comes together. Having said that, it is not really a single point, because at this level it is tied to the infinite Inverse, and space and time has already collapsed.

The Inverse has created a perfect barricade between itself and the infinite number of Universes. The only way back into the Inverse is a complete collapse of a Universe. From the Inverse springs a Universe, until it is finally re-united with its off-spring billions of years later, becoming one again. And as far as the Inverse is concerned no time has passed at all.

X. Conclusion

In the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men” colonel Nathan Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson, utters these famous words: “You can't handle the truth!” This can also be said of Quantum Science. We are creatures of habit that learn from our parents, from society, and from experience. We learn from observation and interacting with others. When dealing with things that cannot be proven or seen it becomes very difficult to wrap one’s mind around strange and unfamiliar concepts. We naturally want to make sense of our world. In the absence of scientific evidence scientists naturally reach for the next best thing, i.e. mathematical equations. In many instances it is the only thing that can be referenced in order to be taken seriously in the scientific world. Sometimes even fudge factors or cosmological constants are used to make equations stick. Even Einstein fell prey to this. He introduced an expansionist variable whose sole purpose was to cancel out the cumulative effects of gravitation. He later called this, "the biggest blunder of my life." The point is that not everything in the Universe has to make mathematical sense. In fact, as we enter the realm of Quantum Mechanics we can no longer rely on that which defines our spacetime continuum. It is at this point we have to truly start thinking outside the box and let go of the familiar. The ultimate truth will be hard to handle, especially to intelligent self-aware entities living in this or other Universes. We want to compare everything out there to what is known to us. To know the ultimate truth may be too much for us to grasp. The human mind may not be ready to know the truth. The human mind today may not be evolved enough to handle the truth, or to comprehend it. We can only attempt to do so by planting our feet firmly on the ground, while reaching for the unknown. It is almost like we need a lifeline or tether while we reach into the deepest secrets of the Omniverse.

To conclude this paper I wish to address those age old questions: Why are we here? Why does the Universe exist? What is the meaning of it all? Although I cannot prove it by any means I strongly suspect that our Universe, and each one of our lives, are truly intermingled with Everything for a specific vital purpose. It is hard to grasp, but in order for the Omniverse to exist it has to be created somehow, despite the fact that it has always existed and always will exist. It is like an infinite loop that forms an endless circle, consisting of every tiny particle, entity and Universe. A circle has no beginning or end. It loops around. There is no future or past. The future has already happened, and the past still has to happen, and vice versa. And yet, everything is happening at once! An infinite number of Universes are existing right now, and have already “collapsed” back into the Inverse. Time is only linear in spacetime. The concept of yesterday, today and tomorrow does not exist, except in a physical Universe. We just happen to be aware of it right now, in our brief, but necessary moment in time.

Attached Images

File Type: jpg TheOmniverse.jpg (132.5 KB)

via International Skeptics Forum

Secular humanist hacked to death in Bangladesh

Of course, hacking someone to death clinches the argument, doesn't it.

This sort of behaviour shows yet again just how desperate the religious are. They cannot defend their nonsense with evidence and rational discussion so they are reduced to barbarism.

via International Skeptics Forum

jeudi 26 février 2015

ISIS destroys archeological treasures in Iraq

This is really sad. The video below shows the destruction of scores of ancient archeological artifacts in Mosul.

For those who prefer not to watch videos, here's an article about it:


Islamic State militants ransacked Mosul’s central museum, destroying priceless artefacts that are thousands of years old, in the group’s latest rampage which threatens to upend millennia of coexistence in the Middle East.

The destruction of statues and artefacts that date from the Assyrian and Akkadian empires, revealed in a video published by Isis on Thursday, drew ire from the international community and condemnation by activists and minorities that have been attacked by the group.

“The birthplace of human civilisation … is being destroyed”, said Kino Gabriel, one of the leaders of the Syriac Military Council – a Christian militia – in a telephone interview with the Guardian from Hassakeh in north-eastern Syria. The destruction took place in Mosul, the Iraqi city that has been under the control of Isis since June when jihadi fighters advanced rapidly across the country’s north.

“In front of something like this, we are speechless,” said Gabriel. “Murder of people and destruction is not enough, so even our civilisation and the culture of our people is being destroyed.”

via International Skeptics Forum

ISIS destroys archeological treasures in Iraq

This is really sad. The video below shows the destruction of scores of ancient archeological artifacts in Mosul.

For those who prefer not to watch videos, here's an article about it:


Islamic State militants ransacked Mosul’s central museum, destroying priceless artefacts that are thousands of years old, in the group’s latest rampage which threatens to upend millennia of coexistence in the Middle East.

The destruction of statues and artefacts that date from the Assyrian and Akkadian empires, revealed in a video published by Isis on Thursday, drew ire from the international community and condemnation by activists and minorities that have been attacked by the group.

“The birthplace of human civilisation … is being destroyed”, said Kino Gabriel, one of the leaders of the Syriac Military Council – a Christian militia – in a telephone interview with the Guardian from Hassakeh in north-eastern Syria. The destruction took place in Mosul, the Iraqi city that has been under the control of Isis since June when jihadi fighters advanced rapidly across the country’s north.

“In front of something like this, we are speechless,” said Gabriel. “Murder of people and destruction is not enough, so even our civilisation and the culture of our people is being destroyed.”

via International Skeptics Forum

Largest Quasar/BlackHole ever found - 12billion years old - 12 billion times Sun mass

This is pretty cool:

↔ It shines 429 trillion times brighter than The Sun.

↔ It is 12 billion times the mass of The Sun.(Which is 3 times the size of the supper massive black hole that our galaxy, The Milky Way, revolves around.)

↔ It is from 12 billion years ago when The Universe was very young. (They believe that back then accretion discs could be much more lively because The Universe was more dense.*)

↔ It is the 40th "large" quasar found so far. ("Large" meaning a redshift greater than z=6.)


Astronomers have discovered the largest and most luminous black hole ever seen — an ancient monster with a mass about 12 billion times that of the sun — that dates back to when the universe was less than 1 billion years old.

It remains a mystery how black holes could have grown so huge in such a relatively brief time after the dawn of the universe, researchers say.

Supermassive black holes are thought to lurk in the hearts of most, if not all, large galaxies. The largest black holes found so far in the nearby universe have masses more than 10 billion times that of the sun. In comparison, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way is thought to have a mass only 4 million to 5 million times that of the sun.

Why some super massive black holes are bright & produce quasars:


Although not even light can escape the powerful gravitational pulls of black holes — hence, their name — black holes are often bright. That's because they're surrounded by features known as accretion disks, which are made up of gas and dust that heat up and give off light as it swirl into the black holes. Astronomers suspect that quasars, the brightest objects in the universe, contain supermassive black holes that release extraordinarily large amounts of light as they rip apart stars.



For instance, a recent study suggested that because the early universe was much smaller than it is today, gas was often denser, obscuring a substantial amount of the radiation given off by accretion disks and thus helping matter fall into black holes.

Main source:

via International Skeptics Forum

Feb 26, 1993 - First bombing of WTC

Today, Feb 23, 1993, is the 22th anniversary of the WTC bombing

Private intelligence service STRATFOR has posted an account of the bombing

via International Skeptics Forum

Antivaxers threaten to leave Facebook in droves


On February 19, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, posted a short book review on his personal Facebook page.

The book is “On Immunity” by Eula Bliss. Zuckerberg, clearly in favour of vaccination, highly recommended reading the book to his fans and friends, encouraging people to read it and to “join the discussion”.

However, many social media users saw right through this seemingly innocent post, and have decided that this is a message from Zuckerberg in that he wishes to swiftly remove vaccine refusers from social networking site Facebook. Multitudes of operating anti vaccine pages across Facebook have lit up, with many people openly commenting on how they will leave the site if pages, or even accounts are removed, calling the small review of a book censorship.

Staphanie Skype, from Australia is so worried about Facebook clamping down, she is inviting people to follow her Facebook page and email her.

See more at:


via International Skeptics Forum

Walker to take on ISIS

So according to him, he is ready for the big time to tackle isis because he was able to "defeat" the unions.

I have to admit that right to work is one of the few things i tend to agree with the gop. As a business owner i have lost several clients with whom i had as much as a decade relationship because of union blackmail. So Im no fan of unions. But what on earth makes this moron think that unions and isis are anything at all alike.?

via International Skeptics Forum

FCC backs net neutrality

Surprised there isn't a link about the decision:

via International Skeptics Forum

FCC backs net neutrality

Surprised there isn't a link about the decision:

via International Skeptics Forum

Gemini space program book?

I have read a lot of books about the US space program through Apollo, but I don't think I've ever seen an in-depth book solely devoted to the Gemini program.

Does anyone know of such a book?

via International Skeptics Forum

The ultra-orthodox and sexuality.

I listened recently to two separate segments on PRI's "The World". The first dealt with a woman who essentially worked as a sex therapist to the Hassidic community in New York. It's a strange affair. It seems that in this closed society, there is little or no mention of sex....Ever. As a result, young folks, especially women, come to marriage without knowing even the most basic aspects of human reproduction.

So when they come to the therapist (who's also Hassidic) they discuss basic anatomy, the mechanics of the human body, etc, etc.... And then discuss which ways they might take steps to make things more pleasant in the bedroom.

Then..... The client takes these suggestions back to her rabbi who looks over the list and tells the women what it is they may do and may not do....

And tonight, they had a segment on the male side:

It seems that like some other religions, "spilling the seed" by whatever means is a serious no-no. So, no masturbation, and all sorts of extreme measures to avoid the occasion of "stimulation". No autoerotica in this community...

In the event that one needs to provide a sperm sample, or wishes to provide sperm for future use.... The acceptable method is "electrical stimulation" while the fellow is under anaesthesia.

This reminded me of my Catholic youth; where they had serious discussions about such things... Rather than the sinful "off to the bathroom with an old copy of Playboy".... A "needle biopsy" was preferred.


It's no wonder we humans tend to be so hung up sexually.

via International Skeptics Forum

Denisovans and human evolution

I think that the latest ideas as to human evolution, and the recent discoveries that Neanderthals, Denisovans and as-yet unknown hominids contributed to the DNA of at least certain modern humans, are fascinating. I have read about some of this, but it appears to be complex and I would very much enjoy reading more information and theories from other posters. Thus this thread.

via International Skeptics Forum

Missouri State Auditor Commits Suicide

via International Skeptics Forum

is this video a good representation of quantumphysics?

i found an interesting video of Eugene Khutoryansky on Youtube about quantummechanics.

My question is: is this video a good representation of te theory of quantummechanics and entanglement? What's wrong about it?

(don't give other sources, just say what's wrong about it and what's right).

Because many people watch this video.

Thank you.

via International Skeptics Forum

So,life after death IS proven?

Hello All,

For awhile I was absent from the forum but now I am back.

So,scientist Robert Lanza claims that quantum physics prove there IS life after death and uses the famous double slit experiment to make his point:

What do you guys think?

via International Skeptics Forum



Turning to the economy, Clinton heaped praise on the entrepreneurial ethos of Silicon Valley, but she also warned about the “real human cost to some of these amazing innovations.”

“Just as technology can boost productivity and create jobs, it has the potential to put many people out of jobs,” she said. “And I know from my travels how many Americans can feel the ground shifting under their feet. The old jobs and careers are either gone or unrecognizable … and the result is anxiety and dislocation.”

What does she imagine is the solution to innovation & change ?

Is allowing some other nation to innovate production & jobs & trade away a better idea to Hillary ?

via International Skeptics Forum



Turning to the economy, Clinton heaped praise on the entrepreneurial ethos of Silicon Valley, but she also warned about the “real human cost to some of these amazing innovations.”

“Just as technology can boost productivity and create jobs, it has the potential to put many people out of jobs,” she said. “And I know from my travels how many Americans can feel the ground shifting under their feet. The old jobs and careers are either gone or unrecognizable … and the result is anxiety and dislocation.”

What does she imagine is the solution to innovation & change ?

Is allowing some other nation to innovate production & jobs & trade away a better idea to Hillary ?

via International Skeptics Forum

Im TOTALLY Dissapointed in JREF

You sorry lot couldn't muster up enough hate to make the list! :)

of the anti American war on Christianity. Didn't even qualify as the little brother

of ISIL.

You all are just going to have to step up the HATE.

via International Skeptics Forum

UK TV licence

BBC News: No long-term future for BBC licence fee, MPs say

"The TV licence does not have a long-term future and is likely to be replaced by a new levy within the next 15 years, a group of MPs has said.

The fee is "becoming harder and harder to justify" given changes in the media, according to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The MPs suggested every household could pay a new compulsory levy instead.

The BBC said it agreed the licence fee needed to be modernised.

The select committee's proposals were made in a new report about the future of the BBC."


The two most surprising things to come out of this are the suggestion that the licence should be amend to encompass catch-up services, but also that

a new household levy would be imposed on, "all households, regardless of whether they watch TV, or how they watch."

It's long been the principle that if you don't watch TV, then you don't pay. In recent years, though, catch up services have allowed delayed viewing without requiring a licence, a loophole that no doubt disgruntles those who do pay.

It's also surprising that while subscription is mooted as a possibility (despite the immense cost implications), the BBC carry advertising isn't. This is probably down to a tacit acceptance that there simply isn't enough advertising revenue to sustain the BBC channels in addition to the commercial ones.

via International Skeptics Forum

"Jihadi John" named

BBC News: IS militant 'Jihadi John' named as Mohammed Emwazi from London

"The masked Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John", who has been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of Western hostages, has been named.

The BBC understands he is Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man in his mid-20s from west London, who was known to UK security services.

They chose not to disclose his name earlier for operational reasons.

Emwazi first appeared in a video last August, when he apparently killed the American journalist James Foley.

He was later thought to have been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of US journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter."

via International Skeptics Forum

2 of the Bali 9

This case is interesting, because the political pressure is increasing.

Dead men walking recently, but can political and humanitarian pressure change the course of the fate of two men?

There is no error in the trial, so this thread may be in the wrong place, but it feels right here to me.

via International Skeptics Forum

A wave of debauchery is about to strike . . .

in South Korea. :jaw-dropp

South Korea Overturns Ban on Adultery


A South Korean court has struck down a controversial, decades-old law that bans extra-marital sex.

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled by a vote of seven to two against the adultery ban, which was enacted in 1953.

. . .

The adultery ban initially was seen as an attempt to promote gender equality, since married women had few other rights. But the law became increasingly unpopular as South Korean culture rapidly modernized in recent decades.

. . .

In a dissenting opinion issued Thursday, justice Ahn Chang-Ho said the law helped protect family values, and warned the move would spark a "wave of debauchery."

Following the ruling, shares surged to the daily limit of 15 percent for South Korea's biggest condom maker, Unidus Corp.

via International Skeptics Forum

mercredi 25 février 2015

Heatstroke baby-in-car vs frozen baby-in-car

In the summer it always seems like there are too many stories about parents who forget their babies in their cars and they end up dead of heatstroke after hours of sweltering in a hot car. With temperatures in the northern part of the country hovering in the single digits this winter, we have had a couple of cases of tots wandering out of homes, but where are the frozen babies forgotten in cars? Is this more likely to happen in the summer? If so, why? Are there stories we're missing?

via International Skeptics Forum

Oh no communism is taking over the world!

This was found on facebook. It originated from some far right wing corner of the web.

So much communism! All over Africa. Even Somalia. And Saudi Arabia.

But not Canada or anywhere in Scandinavia. Hmmm

Attached Images

File Type: jpg communist countries.jpg (69.7 KB)

via International Skeptics Forum

Skinny models. When is enough enough

Danish magazine is being very heavily attacked over their most recent cover. Corpse or model? Is the question raised in the headline. I cant say I can see any justification for a photo shoot like this.

via International Skeptics Forum

Is Russia really this broke

Apparently they are leaning on Nepal to pay back a debt of a little over 1 million dollars that is decades old. Is Russia really that screwed or is this just another move in Putin's shell game.

via International Skeptics Forum

Republican Official Fatally Shoots Herself While Adjusting Bra Gun Holster


It’s now official: a local elected Michigan Republican was accidentally killed while trying to adjust the gun in her bra holster. Though Christina Bond fatally shot herself in the eye on New Year’s Day, it wasn’t until Wednesday that a public safety investigation was able to confirm the details surrounding her death.

Bond, age 55, was a veteran of the U.S. Navy, and more recently, a Republican precinct delegate for Saint Joseph Charter Precinct 1.

According to St. Joseph public safety director Mark Clapp, who spoke with the Kalamazoo Gazette, Bond “was having trouble adjusting her bra holster, couldn't get it to fit the way she wanted it to. She was looking down at it and accidentally discharged the weapon.”

:eye-poppi :eye-poppi :eye-poppi :eye-poppi :eye-poppi :eye-poppi :eye-poppi :eek:

via International Skeptics Forum