lundi 30 novembre 2015

For Clinton, one glaring holdout among female Democratic senators


The tableau surrounding Hillary Clinton on Monday was impressive: 13 female Democratic senators endorsing the Democratic 2016 presidential front-runner en masse.

The evening fundraising event on Capitol Hill brought in a chunk of campaign cash ahead of an often difficult fundraising month in December. But it was also meant to underscore Clinton’s near-monopoly among Democratic lawmakers who have declared a preference, and her appeal as the first woman with a strong shot at becoming president.

But one particularly influential female Democratic senator didn’t join her colleagues: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — the anti-Wall Street crusader who was courted to run as the darling of very liberal Democrats — has not endorsed Clinton, nor has she promised she will...

To be fair, Warren has also not endorsed Senator Sanders, nor said that she would. Of course, Sanders wasn't holding a presser to show off all the progressive Senators who have endorsed him, so the fact that she has not yet endorsed him yet hasn't been an issue. I'm sure she will endorse whoever wins the convention nomination. Depending upon how that goes, I might as well.

via International Skeptics Forum

fuel air explosions in the buildings.

There were energetic metal fuel chips in the buildings, that would have triggered both thermite reactions and fuel air blasts.
They were paint chips with reduced Iron oxides.
Jones & Harrit debunked, in 2009, no one thought to test tto see if paint could be made more energetic by reducing the Iron oxide, it can.
I am reducing a second batch right now, it's simple and obvious, DA why didn't you guys and Gals in debunking land tell me about this?
Now Basile and Ziggi have to do an inert gas test which we know will never happen!
This is so amazing it is laughable!

via International Skeptics Forum

Paris Climate talks ...the technology

We certainly are at the beginning stages of a massive shift in the energy sources for industrial civilization.

My home province has pledged emissions 80% below 1990 by 2050 - now we have a natural leg up and we've already dumped coal entirely but it's still good to see thes big numbers.

This was a real surprise today


Solar power Keep it in the ground
India unveils global solar alliance of 120 countries at Paris climate summit
Narendra Modi announces a new alliance of nations and industry on large-scale expansion of solar energy use in the tropics and beyond

Monday 30 November 2015 16.24 GMT Last modified on Monday 30 November 2015 23.13 GMT

India’s prime minister has launched an international solar alliance of over 120 countries with the French president, François Hollande, at the Paris COP21 climate summit.

Narendra Modi told a press conference that as fossil fuels put the planet in peril, hopes for future prosperity in the developing world now rest on bold initiatives.

“Solar technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving,” he said. “The dream of universal access to clean energy is becoming more real. This will be the foundation of the new economy of the new century.”

Modi described the solar alliance as “the sunrise of new hope, not just for clean energy but for villages and homes still in darkness, for mornings and evening filled with a clear view of the glory of the sun”.

Earlier, France’s climate change ambassador, Laurence Tubiana, had called the group “a true game-changer”.

While signatory nations mostly hail from the tropics, several European countries are also on board with the initiative, including France.

I thought people could chime in on their own country's efforts and what they think of them being met.

via International Skeptics Forum

Are males the least sexist sex?

Let me just say I don't have a problem with any of the following, but you have to wonder.

Women's Institute
Women's only gyms
Women's "Spaces"
Women's only train carriages
Women's only hotels
Female only employers
Women's only Spas
Women's only holidays
Women's only parking bays
Women's only by industry
Women's only spas
Women's only hospital treatment
Women in business awards
Women in sport awards

I will obviously get grief, but it seems to me that something is slightly scewed

via International Skeptics Forum

Printing to PDF

Does anyone know of a good free way to produce PDFs from an arbitrary application in Windows? Specifically Revit in this case, but there are other applications.

We don't want to buy Acrobat for every single user when most applications can print direct to PDF natively, so we have been using CutePDF for some time with Revit. But CutePDF often produces relatively massive files, particularly when compared to those produced from the same input file by a different user who has got Acrobat. Windows 10 obviously has native PDF printing, but it doesn't seem to be able to produce large (A1) PDFs, and the file size is an issue here as well. Searching around for free solutions seems to bring up a lot of crap, which I suppose is fair enough.

And yes, I know that Linux and Mac can produce PDFs quite well, but that wouldn't answer the question.

via International Skeptics Forum

Why China will be the first to send humans to Mars

Just went to see "The Martian", and afterwards got into a discussion with some friends about the probability of sending humans to Mars.

I think it's going to happen. Not sure when, but it's going to happen. And I think that the Chinese will be the first to do it. The reason why is simple.

If America, or any other Western country sends people to Mars, they have to do so with a reasonable expectation of bringing them back to Earth alive. That means they not only have to get them to Mars, but have to get them back off of the planet, and then back to Earth. The amount of money, fuel, supplies, etc., is effectively doubled. And it will take much longer to develop our technology to the point where we could do that.

For the Chinese, they don't need to worry about that. They just need a one-way trip. Glorious Chinese martyrs, dying for a glorious cause. Send them to Mars, with enough equipment and supplies for them to live as long as possible, and start setting up a base for future arrivals. Then send another set, to continue doing the same thing. Continue this pattern until there is a base which is actually capable of supporting long-term survival on the planet. Then they'll start working out the issue of how to bring people back.

I don't think that enough of the American public would ever support sending Americans to die on Mars, knowing that it's a one-way trip, for such a plan to ever be a reality. Nor would any other Western nation.

But China? They'd be national heroes. Not only that, they'd have the huge bonus that they got to Mars before the U.S. And that any future U.S. missions would be largely dependent on the work done by the Chinese who arrived there first.

A one-way trip, with no expectation whatsoever of survival or return, is far, far easier and cheaper to plan, than a round-trip plan with at least a reasonable expectation of survival. China can do that. I don't think the U.S. can.

via International Skeptics Forum

dimanche 29 novembre 2015

My new site:

I just set up a message board for individuals to discuss new religious movements or "cults." If you're interested, register and say hi! The website is located at

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Arthur C. Clarke: Visionary Sci-fi writer or cynical misanthrope?

This came to me after seeing a preview for the SyFy channel "Childhood's End" 3-part mini series this December.

I've seen Kubrick's 2001, very well done. But I am disturbed by the themes and messages of the film and Clarke's other books. Readers of Childhood's end say that the Overlords are not the enemies of mankind, but its saviors/enablers to lead them to a utopia.

In 2001, the aliens give mankind more knowledge by the 'monolith' and therefore man advances.

So what is Clarke saying, that mankind is inept and incapable of saving itself, so wouldn't it be nice if aliens could come down and save us all?

I know there are other themes discussed, but this is really the "main" one I wanted to discuss. If anyone has contentions, please post them here. I am just sharing my thoughts, thanks.

via International Skeptics Forum

Welfare Shock - Australian Families on $300k get child care rebate cut


The real sting is for families earning more than $300,000, who face the new 50 per cent childcare rebate being reduced to 30 per cent.
Their child care rebate cut by 20%. Oh no.....

I think that the welfare net is generally well placed in Australia, but things like this (and superannuation tax breaks which disproportionally benefit the very rich) make my blood boil. The richest person in Australia can have 30% of their child care costs covered by the taxpayer. I heard some child care lobby group on the radio blast this reduction in welfare to the filthy rich, calling it a broken promise.

Grow a pair Australian government and get serious about middle- and upper-class welfare.

via International Skeptics Forum

This Is Not A Daycare, This Is a University

This Is Not A Daycare, This Is a University


“I’m not making this up,” he continued. “Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic! Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims! Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them ‘feel bad’ about themselves, is a ‘hater,’ a ‘bigot,’ an ‘oppressor,’ and a ‘victimizer.’”

Religious overtones notwithstanding. I think this guy may have a point...

via International Skeptics Forum

Conspiracy theories and schizophrenia

I was listening to a CBS Sunday Morning segment on a fellow who began manifesting symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia at early middle age and who dropped out of society, became homeless, and eventually died alone and unknown. Tragic tale...But I wondered if the tendency towards this particular manifestation of schizo-affective syndrome (as they are calling it now) might reflect a natural tendency in humans.

I listened to a lecture by E. O. Wilson some years back where he talked about brain structures in humans responding directly to ritual and ceremony, and that malfunctions of these areas led to syndromes like obsessive/compulsive behavior.

Might we have a tendency towards seeing shadowy forces at work against us? Look at the incidence of belief in conspiracy theories. Seems a very substantial segment of the population is willing to beleive that some nebulous "they" are doing something they shouldn't ...And messing with them on a personal level.
We are very sensitive about office gossip and cliques and such as they may be talking about us...

Is the severe malfunction of brain chemistry in schizophrenia (if that's what's going on) just affecting this tendency in particular in the case of paranoid?

via International Skeptics Forum

How does the Skeptic Community (tm) define what is a Conspiracy Theory?

Inspired by this comment elsewhere:

Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer (Post 9181983)
CT is thataway =======>

I understand that "conspiracy theories" is a vaguely recognizable genre in written communication. One that would be nice to label with warning signs and put where it rightfully belongs -- the trashbin, that is.

However, I don't feel comfortable with the culture of semi-automatically labelling stuff as "conspiracy theories (tm)" just because they doubt information published by the government of a Trusted Country (tm).

(We all have a list of Trusted Countries (tm). I hope these lists coincide.)

Doubting something is at the core of skepticism.

via International Skeptics Forum

samedi 28 novembre 2015

blood pressure medication

like many of us, a certain age, I have decided to so something about managing my high blood pressure.
I am aware that a big percentage of it is caused by my weight and stress levels.
however, at the moment they are both out of my control.
SO.... I have been taking perindo, ending up on the 8 mg size. that, however while improving, it has left something to be desired in the amount reduced.
so my nice gp has suggested we have a shot at the coversyl plus, which has an added diuretic.
I now pee just like my dogs! lol!
I have to say the difference in the reading is astounding. however I am having the side effects of light headedness, nausea,and clammy skin.
in the past the first tablet if them I have taken I have had side effects each time and I assume this will pass also.
it seems to come in waves and isn't related to standing up etc.

However, brag reading was 130/80
it's not been that low for decades.

two questions really... I assume this odd feeling will pass, after all it must be a shock to my system....and secondly how do diuretics work to make so much difference? Will I continue to pee like this, or will that also settle down?thanks experts...

via International Skeptics Forum

What is lucifarianism anyway

Is it mini Satanism like the wiki suggests or something else? I have met a few Satanists in my life and they were very closed mouth about it. Is anybody one here or know one in RL? Is it even safe to talk about it?

via International Skeptics Forum

Vladimir Putin is a Snake...

Vladimir Putin is a Snake...and i believe any attempt to take this guy on heads up is doomed to failure. I mean, you would have thought that having one of your planes shot out of the sky and then being critisized bay most all of NATA would have been enough to slow Vlad down a bit.....No!

Within 84 Hours of Vlad losing just a single plane and pilot, he has moved enough Surface-to-Air Firepower in the region to make Turkey permanantly suspend its overflights of Syria and forever give up hope of creating the Syrian Buffer Zone on which it had been so feverishly working. In addition, the US and its coalition has also stopped Syrian overflights and bombings - although they won't say why.

And there sits Vlad out in the desert with a crazy grin on his face and enough Surface-to-Air Firepower to kill all the Angels in Heaven.

The US and NATO need another!

via International Skeptics Forum

A plan to defeat ISIS

A plan to defeat ISIS

There is a way to defeat ISIS without using ground forces. First bomb Raqqa knocking out their electrical grid. After a few weeks, begin 463L master pallet airdrops containing food supplies, weapons and ammunition. A civil war will follow. Promise the Sunni rebels that a new Sunnistan will be created out of western Iraq and northeast Syria. ISIS will be defeated and a new era of peace in the Middle East will be established.

via International Skeptics Forum

Materialism - Devastator of Scientific Method!

Does materialism spell the end for scientific method? I've been pondering this question for some time. It looks like this...

* At least 99% of modern scientific research into the brain points directly to it being the sole source of consciousness. Pretty much every aspect of conscious experience has now been tracked to brain activity.

* Consciousness emerges from brain activity. It's what neural processing actually looks like, actually is.

* If the brain is the source, or foundation, for consciousness then there cannot actually be an observing self. Though it's a pervasive and convincing phenomena it can't be real, or we'd be back in dualism. If we tell a materialist that they're going to be painlessly and instantaneously killed, and replaced with an identical copy, in theory they should be OK with it. It seems like something is going to be lost - them - but materialist logic dictates that this cannot be so in reality.

* This seeming presence of an observing self is likely therefore some highly favoured illusion resulting from millions of years of selective pressure. It's useful primarily for evolutionarily favoured tasks - finding food, shelter, sex, and avoiding predators.

* If selfhood is merely a highly favoured illusion then what does this say about some of the cornerstones of scientific method, principles and techniques used to determine the truth about things? Surely perspective is finished. Objectivity must be in quite some trouble if there is in reality no subject. Separation - got to be an illusion. Distance - sounds dubious. These concepts, so much the bare bones of our daily existence, must just be artifacts of our hunter-gatherer past, not reflections of reality. Even empiricism, perhaps not blown away, but surely weakened now.

Materialism - could it spell the end of science?


via International Skeptics Forum

Alex Jones is on top of the Colorado Springs Shootings

I swear,Jones's writers have a detailed format they use for every shooting,and only change the names.

via International Skeptics Forum

Carson visiting Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

Ben Carson is visiting Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon . The press has not been invited along, so it's hard to say what he's doing there. Speculation, of course, is that he's trying to improve his foreign policy cred.

via International Skeptics Forum

proof that the pentagon wanted ISIS to emerge

Pentagon document that was leaked earlier this year dated from 2012.

via International Skeptics Forum

Help fight the homeopaths' SPAM-mob

I originally started a thread here about the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine - a group of UK veterinary surgeons who have got together to call for tighter controls over vets who practice homeopathy. We thought our aims were rational and reasonable.

Now there has been a development. An article about the campaign in the veterinary press included a straw poll of its own at the bottom of the page asking whether or not homeopathy should be blacklisted by the governing body, the RCVS.

Of course homeopaths have got wind of this and are rallying their vocal minority and spamming the list with 'no' votes.

If anyone feels as I do that veterinary professionals should not be putting animals at risk by practicing homeopathy, then please have a look at this article - and click the 'yes' link on the poll.

Thanks in advance,


via International Skeptics Forum

vendredi 27 novembre 2015

Who sees psychics?

Who sees psychics? These seekers of occult information are all ages and education. A variety of religious backgrounds. Some are curiosity seekers, but the majority felt the need to lift the veil shielding the unknown to find some deeply personal information. A love interest. A dearly departed loved one. A prediction about a job. Information about a serious sickness. Most are desperate for answers not given by doctors, counselors, or clergy. What are your views on psychics?

via International Skeptics Forum

I hung out with a guy who beat the odds in craps

I guess it was video craps but he spent months compiling numbers. Then started betting. I am not sure how he did it but he consistently make about 1 dollar an hour without ever losing. However, he did not play every roll. He eventually decided that he was beating the odds but the difference was so small it was not worth the effort.

via International Skeptics Forum

Records of terrorists phone calls ends on Sunday

Great. The moonbats win this one. Anyone reading who thinks their rights are violated by a computer program that might link their calls to a suspected terrorist? Please raise your hands or forever keep silent about your complicity. Have a drink too.

via International Skeptics Forum

Shooting at Planned Parenthood...

Situation is still developing, with at least one fatality so far.

RT is claiming the shooter has locked himself inside PP, so I hope that's wrong.

via International Skeptics Forum

Ridicule the Ridiculous

Marina Hyde wrote an excellent piece in The Guardian about holding demons up to ridicule, noting that it isn't really happening with ISIS/Al Qaeda/......

Southpark had their Mohammed episode and The Simpsons chipped in, but on TV, nothing of note since.

British TV in particular has a proud tradition of ridiculing the worst criminals of all time - the Nazis, plus pretty well every other person or group in all existence. If there were someone Monty Python didn't ridicule it was only because it wasn't a visible issue in the '70s and they are not alone in the annals of UKTV taking the piss.

Charlie Hebdo made some cartoons and got killed for their trouble, while the original Mohammed cartoonists' newspaper got bombed.

Is ridiculing them a sane answer, or should we all be too scared to take the piss out of a bunch of sad little boys? (albeit very well-armed, sad little boys) Or is it fuelling the fire?

Here's an example:

Allahu Snakbar!

via International Skeptics Forum

Google upsets creationists

A Google Doodle celebrating the anniversary of the discovery of "Lucy" has angered creationists and some people who think that evolutionary theory is somehow inherently racist. (Warning the stupidity of some of the complaints may cause burns)

via International Skeptics Forum

PETA stole dog and immediately euthanized her

I am making no comment about the amount that the lawsuit is for but just sad state of affairs

Carey and Woods went to the Zarates’ trailer park home in Accomack County in October 2014 and took the young girl’s 3-year-old Chihuahua, Maya, off the family’s porch, according to court documents.

Carey was a contract worker for PETA and had been the nonprofit’s human resources director. Woods is PETA’s senior communications administrator and had volunteered to go with Carey on her own time.

Maya was euthanized that day, but state law required her to be held for five days.

Some of the comments are pretty much part of what I am thinking. . . .They were caught because of security cameras but how often have they actually done this in reality. How often have they actually stolen people's animals.

via International Skeptics Forum

jeudi 26 novembre 2015

Best 2016 Scenario For The Democrats

To my mind:

Trump fails to get the GOP nomination and runs as an independant.

via International Skeptics Forum

California Ban "Redskins" Name In Public Schools

Apparently now the term is banned on school grounds in California.

On one hand I understand the reasoning, but on the other I am very uncomfortable with moves like this. Free speech and slippery slope and all that.

What do you guys/gals think?

via International Skeptics Forum

The Controversy of Adele's Rolling Stone Cover. Wait, what?

This article seems to think that Rolling Stone took a huge risk by using a non-glamorous photo of Adele:

Are we really that shallow of a race? For the record, I think the photo is very sexy. You go, girl!

Attached Images
File Type: jpg adelers.jpg (52.0 KB)

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Picture of light as particle and wave

While the circumstances of this experiment looks to my naive eye to be legit, I'm wondering if the interpretation of the results - a picture of light as both particle and wave - is.

Can anyone talk me down?

via International Skeptics Forum

mercredi 25 novembre 2015

Muslim woman forced off plan to Instanbul

Homeland security forced some Muslim woman flying to a war zone so they could ask her some questions. She then apparently missed her flight. She appears to be quite upset.

Looking at the questions they seem quite legal. I was pulled out in Chicago and asked those questions plus 1 that was not legal about photos. When I seemed impatient that I was going to miss my flight they x-rayed my very thin bag and threatened to interrogate me. This is pretty much standard procedure for Homeland Security even if you not flying into a war zone. I escaped by telling them I was mentally ill and thus safe to fly.

It is best to not be anything other than extremely pleasant with these people as they have no accountability whatsoever to anyone and you want to move on and get out of there. Being in a hurry is not a way to do it.

That being said, it seems like I am seated alongside intelligence operatives more often than not when flying alone. When I was younger I didn't even have to fly to get pounced on. pretty much been that way since I was 18. I have learned to live with it. Here's the article. It disappeared in a matter of hours.

Considering the number of Muslims flying to Istanbul, I doubt she was questioned because she was Muslim. Probably some other reasons about her that they have that they don't have to share. Either that or she doesn't fly much and just decided to fly into a war zone.

Here's another article with a slightly more broad base slant

On the plus side, if your nice to them they are going to get you the quickest plane out of there.

via International Skeptics Forum

What file types can get malware?

Saw this:

But recently I.T. gurus at work informed me that (for example) PDFs can be infected as well. I started wondering how incomplete this list might be (discounting the typo on XLS which I assume should be XLS and not having XLSX, and Open Office/Libre Office formats) what other type of files do you know to be vulnerable?

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Can the long term unemployed be trusted with jobs?

I am off to go clean the house before my wife gets home from working but will be back so feel free to give your opinion while I am away. Ok here's a quicky

Reason 1.

They might make the news in some hilarious way!

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The Judicial View of Male Rape Victims

There is, of course, the well-known example of George O'Dowd (aka Boy George) who served a whole four months in a case of male rape. Not that he was convicted of rape.

I'm ashamed to say this story is from NZ, where a guilty verdict in the case of raping a male with an object - a broom handle - so severely his injuries couldn't be immediately assessed, has brought a sentence of 9 months probation.

I am 100% certain that if the victim had been female, the sentence would have been jail for at least five years.

Do note the cute coincidence that actual penalty part of the attack brought a sentence of 80 hours community service, which is exactly the same as the sentence he got for traffic fines.

Ergo: in NZ law, your punishment for raping and injuring an unconscious bloke will get you no worse punishment than speeding.

via International Skeptics Forum

The Judicial View of Male Rape Victims

There is, of course, the well-known example of George O'Dowd (aka Boy George) who served a whole four months in a case of male rape. Not that he was convicted of rape.

I'm ashamed to say this story is from NZ, where a guilty verdict in the case of raping a male with an object - a broom handle - so severely his injuries couldn't be immediately assessed, has brought a sentence of 9 months probation.

I am 100% certain that if the victim had been female, the sentence would have been jail for at least five years.

Do note the cute coincidence that actual penalty part of the attack brought a sentence of 80 hours community service, which is exactly the same as the sentence he got for traffic fines.

Ergo: in NZ law, your punishment for raping and injuring an unconscious bloke will get you no worse punishment than speeding.

via International Skeptics Forum

Christians are running out of places to shop!

It's getting hard out there for True Christians™. Along with their comrades in arms Real Americans™ the consumerist frenzy of the shopping season of Christmas (just as Jesus would have liked it) has become a real struggle.

I mean just where can they shop?

Linda Harvey of Mission America, who spends so, so much time thinking about gay sex in the name of Jesus, has written a lament about this:

“The problem is — what stores? For any Christian who wants to spend hard-earned dollars with family-friendly, Christian-affirming retailers, restaurants and service providers, the list is growing shorter all the time.”

According to her Macy’s, Target, Walmart, Amazon and JC Penney are no place fit for a True Christian to shop.

"That's okay" you say "I'll just go to Barnes & Noble, The Limited, Victoria's Secret, Staples and Foot Locker!"

Except that the American Family Association has them all blacklisted too. Supposedly they are all part of the war on Christmas. Speaking of which you'll have to cross out Dick's Sporting Goods, The Gap, Old Navy and TJ Maxx as well. According to the Liberty Council they are also not Christian or Christmas friendly.

Is this all too much to figure out? Can't wrap your brain around where a good Christian is supposed to shop? Just kick back with some Starbucks and.....oh......that's right.

via International Skeptics Forum

Researchers are teaching robots to say "no" to humans

Apparently, researchers are making some progress teaching robots to question orders from their masters.


In the video, the programmer tells the robot to walk off the edge of the table, and we see the robot say "But it is unsafe". The programmer has then to modify their command and say "It's ok, I will catch you" which will then make the robot accept the order and walk off the table.

I can see how this is intended for certain purposes, where say, we have a future where robots are working in things like construction. You have a bunch of robots building a tower, and someone commands a robot to do a certain task, and the robot says "But it is unsafe", thus, preventing what could have been an accident.

But I can't help thinking that it can also have the opposite effect. A robot may "think" a certain action is unsafe or not convenient, and deny obeying the command, when in reality, it has a necessary outcome. We're basically programming machines to think they know better than us what is it that we need, which is something I have always avoided and hated. There's nothing I hate more than my computer making decisions for me because it thinks it knows best. Most of the times, the computer is wrong.

I think machines, no matter how sophisticated, are still tools. We are the ones who use the tools, not the other way around. Programming machines to question our commands can end up in a very frustrating and even mortally dangerous situation. If the aiming goal is to teach machines morality, we should remember that morality is relative and depends on the context. If we humans haven't managed to reach an agreement on what's moral, what makes us think we can successfully program a robot to achieve an objective morality?

via International Skeptics Forum

Has anyone bought a Dell recently?

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UK - Spending Review

George Osborne has a politically important day today. He's suffered an embarrassing reverse in The Lords over tax credits (and from some of his own back benchers).

He needs to apply the austerity screws but the largest areas of expenditure, the NHS and pensions are protected which means that the cuts need to fall harder elsewhere. One measure trailed yesterday was taking money from local services to spend on the NHS, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Here's the coverage:

via International Skeptics Forum

Non-arbitrary frame of reference for acceleration?

The reason we can choose a frame of reference arbitrarily is that a physical system is not dependent on an absolute position, orientation or time.
According to Noether's Theorem, the invariance of a system under a change of position is equivalent to the momentum conservation law.
In the same way, invariance under a change in orientation is the angular momentum conservation law, and time invariance is the law of
conservation of energy.
In Newtonian Mechanics, momentum conservation is expressed as the action-reaction law; If for every force (change of momentum) there's an equal and opposite
reaction force, momentum is conserved.
For fictitious forces however, like the force that acts when the frame of reference itself is accelerating, there's no corresponding
reaction force; Hence there seems to be no conservation law in that case.
Does this not point in the direction of a non-arbitrary frame of reference for acceleration?
I've looked around on google, but I've always heard that this is an unsolved mystery in physics.

Any ideas?

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Moon doesn't appear to line up with Sun in sky

This has been bothering me for a long time, and I always get various answers from Google searches: Atmospheric refraction; “Dome Sky illusion”; and simple perspective. I don’t really believe any of them yet.

So, the question is why is can’t imaginarily bisect the lit portion of the moon and trace it directly in a straight line to the sun? It always seems to be way off. I’ve even tried to put a straightedge in my view of the bodies, and it still doesn’t line up.

What do the smart people here say?

via International Skeptics Forum

Beware, liberals are about to frame Christians!

I love Barbwire. It is like a channel right into the ID of right wingers.


And this is why society must now ask: Will leftists next create “Christian terrorist” groups?
Leftists organizing and funding people to engage in terrorism designed to frame Christians would be a logical next step. Doing so would advance both their agenda (the eventual criminalization of Christianity) and narrative (Christians are violent and evil).
Well of course. I mean whenever I hang out with other liberals all we do is talk about how we are going to criminalize Christianity. I mean what is there to not like about making belief systems illegal? That surely is what all of us really want when we talk about freedom of expression.


If you think such a thing unlikely to happen, remember that leftists already are attempting to frame their enemies with fake “hate crimes.” Leftists also celebrate murdering unborn babies, newly born babies, the elderly, the sick, and the disabled.
Oh, yeah, how could I forget about how much we hate the elderly, sick and disabled? I mean you walk into liberal centers in America and the discrimination against old people, sick people and disabled people is just rampant. In fact we hate those people so much we constantly try to help them get better access to doctors and medical care. Truly sick puppies we are.


And if the concept of leftists potentially creating and funding phony Christian terrorist groups still seems far-fetched, then remember that leftist educators, politicians, entertainers, and others have openly embraced leftist terrorists since the 1960s.
Yeah, I remember when Carson had Red Army Faction on his show. That did seem a bit over the top.

via International Skeptics Forum

mardi 24 novembre 2015

Obama sends a powerful message to ISIS!


President Obama declared Tuesday that next week’s climate change summit in Paris would be a “powerful rebuke” to terrorists, speaking alongside French President François Hollande at a joint news conference.

“Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the global climate conference,” Obama said during his prepared remarks, which focused mostly on the efforts to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be, when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children,” he added.

The two leaders met in Washington a week and a half after ISIS carried out multiple terrorist attacks in Paris, killing 130, and less than a week before Obama goes to the French capital to work with world leaders on an international pact to fight climate change.

Obama struck a similar tone Sunday at a news conference in Malaysia.

“I think it is absolutely vital for every country, every leader, to send a signal that the viciousness of a handful of killers does not stop the world from doing vital business, and that Paris ... is not going to be cowered by the violent, demented actions of a few,” Obama said about the upcoming climate conference.

Obama and other administration officials have been criticized for their insistence that climate change is a threat to national security on par with terrorism.

Obama and dozens of other international leaders will participate in an event at the conference Monday, but he will leave Tuesday, and the conference will continue until at least Dec. 11.

Hollande is scheduled to host Obama for dinner Monday night.

Hollande also said that holding the conference is a good sign in the fight against the Islamic State.

“I think there cannot be any better symbol or response but to hold the conference in Paris ... with some 150 heads of state and government,” Hollande said at the news conference.

France’s government has ramped up security for the conference in the wake of the attacks, including a ban on most activities related to the event, such as rallies and concerts.
That will teach the terrorists! A bunch of politicians talking about wind and solar energy! I predict ISIS will end its reign of terror and swear off beheadings on the spot!

via International Skeptics Forum

Chicago police officer charged with 1st degree murder

Just hours after Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald last year, Chicago police released dash-cam footage of the incident. Here is the video, via DNAinfo Chicago.

Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times over the course of 14 or 15 seconds, prosecutors said, less than 30 seconds after arriving at the scene. For 13 of those seconds, McDonald was already on the ground.

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Request for critique of text on sexual strategies

Hi, I would be grateful for any critiques you can offer of the following (I'd rather not say where it came from for now, and if you know, please don't say):


For many years, I was a research biologist. My studies in this area indicated that there are two extreme strategies for sex in the animal kingdom - with variations on the theme in between.

One extreme is the philosophy of the rutting wildebeest. This is a winner-takes-all philosophy where the strongest male gets to service the females in the herd. The advantage of this strategy is that the genes for strength are the ones that get passed on to the next generation.
The other sexual philosophy in the animal kingdom is [mating for life]. ...
The strength of this approach to sex is that it allows a rapid build-up of numbers. It does so because almost every adult is engaged in sexual activity. This is advantageous when numbers need to increase quickly to take advantage of favourable conditions.
Thanks in anticipation.

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Support the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine

"Two new campaigns which call on the veterinary profession to unite against the practice of homeopathy have been launched this week.

Both campaigns raise concerns about the ethics of veterinary surgeons using irrational, unscientific and ineffective remedies to treat ill animals or in place of conventional vaccinations.

The Campaign For Rational Veterinary Medicine presents the case against homeopathy on a new microsite, and asks the profession to unite around a call for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to issue a public position statement that homeopathy is ineffective in animals, bringing it into line with the NHS, the findings of the British government's own review of homeopathy, and the BVA."

Veterinary homeopaths are under fire from the UK veterinary profession and calls are being made to the UK veterinary governing body, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), to come off the fence and declare its position on the ethics of homeopathy.

Coincidentally two campaigns have been launched at the same time, each with a petition to sign to indicate the strength of feeling on the subject.

One petition ( is open to everyone and calls for a ban on UK veterinary surgeons being able to practice homeopathy - please sign by clicking this link.

The second is the Campaign for Rational Veterinary Medicine - full details can be found by clicking this link. The CRVM calls for a position statement from RCVS declaring the use of homeopathy as unethical when used as a first-line treatment. A petition supporting this aim is open for any veterinary surgeons to sign and can be found by clicking this link (nb you will have to register with first -it's free!).

Please help support these campaigns and help us speak up for animals as patients who have no say in whatever treatment their owners decide to inflict on them.

Many thanks in advance,


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A History of Seances

Can anyone recommend a good academic history of Spiritualism and Seances. I am especially interested in their popularity in the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. thanks.

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What price entertainment?

Or how much did Nike pay Lord Coe for the games in Eugene?

The BBC states;
IAAF president Lord Coe is facing conflict of interest allegations after emails emerged suggesting he lobbied his predecessor over the hosting of the 2021 World Championships.
Eugene, USA, was given the event without a bidding process, despite interest from the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

The email, dated 30 January 2015, is from Craig Masback, director of business affairs for Nike's Global Sports Marketing, to Lananna and Robert Fasulo, both from Track Town USA.
Masback was chief executive for USA Track and Field (USATF) for more than 10 years before joining Nike in 2008.
The email, titled '2021' and in which Coe is referred to as "Seb", reads: "I spoke with Seb this morning. We covered several topics but I asked specifically about 2021.
"He made clear his support for 2021 in Eugene but made equally clear he had reached out to Diack specifically on this topic and got a clear statement from Diack that 'I am not going to take any action at the April meeting (in Beijing) to choose a 2021 site'."
Yet it was at that April meeting of the IAAF's council that Diack announced the surprise vote on giving the championships directly to Eugene.

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Moon Occults Aldebaran - Predawn Thanksgiving

The Full Moon will occult (cover) the first magnitude star Aldebaran in Taurus for observers in the northern half of North America during the predawn hours of Thanksgiving Thursday 2015 NOV 26.

Immersion will occur on the lunar bright limb and emersion on the dark limb of a Moon just beginning to wane during the hours after maximum fullness. The southern graze path will cross the USA from the Oregon-California border to South Carolina. That will include passage through the Salt Lake City and Denver areas. The nominally “northern” graze path will be across the North Pole in Siberia. Observers on a graze path will witness the star winking on and off as lunar hills and valleys pass by. Observers between the two graze paths will see a full occultation.

I’ve created a graze map, preview graphic with data ideally for observers at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, and a set of Besselian elements. They can be seen at

Photos and descriptions of the event would be welcome additions to this thread. If you would like specific occultation or graze predictions for your location, please reply to this post with your longitude, latitude, elevation and time zone.

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Is this another milestone in a racially motivated arms race?

Apparently, several protesters at a rally in Minneapolis were shot last night by reportedly masked white men who might have been harassing the protestors verbally.
Early reports indicate that the "counter-protestors" may have been being "escorted" away from the rally when shots rang out.
I suspect there will be a great deal of argument/counter argument surrounding this incident with shades of Trayyvon Martin if the men are caught and turn out to be who the initial reports indicate they are.

I wonder,
With the attention that the "Black Lives Matter" movement has been garnering since Michael Brown- and the agita that has been causing amongst many, will we be looking back at this incident next summer as a tipping point wherein the serious violence began?

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Just a littlestep closer.....


Blue Origin, the private space firm owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has just dropped a huge, unexpected gauntlet in the race to develop a reusable rocket. It just launched its New Shepard space vehicle (video, below) consisting of a BE-3 rocket and crew capsule to a suborbital height of around 100.5 kilometers (62 miles). The capsule then separated and touched down beneath a parachute, but more importantly, the BE-3 rocket also started its own descent. After the rockets fired at nearly 5,000 feet, it made a a controlled vertical landing at a gentle 4.4 mph.

Son of a bitch

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John Scalzi's take on the Republican candidates

Amusing and biting.


I rank Santorum slightly higher than Huckabee in my preferences, but that’s like ranking “puke on your shoe” slightly higher than “bloody puke on your shoe.” It’s still puke on your shoe.
Quote: also hasn’t escaped my notice that at every step of the way, the thing that most people apparently have to say about Cruz is “wow, what an *******.” I can’t help but think that’s kind of a telling fact. Even his fellow GOP senators think he’s a real prick and don’t want anything to do with him.

...the idea of Carson’s brain grinding horribly into neutral in the middle of a legitimate crisis fills me with an unholy terror.

But my thought is that when someone promises to run the country like they ran a company whose stock value declined by more than half and also ditched 30,000 workers while they were in charge, I should take them at their word, and run the other way.

Every time I think of Rand Paul, I imagine that on his bedside table is a copy of Atlas Shrugged, the pages of which are stiff and stuck together and smell vaguely of corn chips. Then I shudder for five whole minutes and try to think of something else.

I feel kind of sorry for Jeb Bush, because for years we’ve been told that he was the “smart” one, and his campaign has just been so flabby and disappointing and tired, and as for Jeb, if this is what passes for smart in the Bush family then we’re all just going to have to admit that our standards for smart when it comes to politicians, or at least Bushes, are too damn low
And a question for the audience:
"Leaving aside that everything that comes out of his mouth is at best meretricious claptrap that would shame even Newt Gingrich". Without looking, which candidate is being so described?
Ted Cruz

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Turkish fighter downs Russian strike aircraft on eve of Hollande mission

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane Near Border With Syria


Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border after it violated Turkish airspace on Tuesday, officials said.

The Russian jet was warned 10 times in five minutes before being shot down, according to the Turkish air force.

Syrian fighters in the ground and Turkish sources told NBC News that the Russian jet's pilots landed in an area north of Latakia, Syria.

Footage from Turkish Haberturk TV showed a warplane going down in flames in a woodland area with a long plume of smoke trailing behind it.
The SU-24 Fencer is the Soviet-era analogue to the NATO F-11F -- a high speed, low altitude, VWG strike aircraft.

"This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it."

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Trump - would bring back waterboarding and implement other torture techniques

This is to me absolutely unbelievable even knowing his track record. He is declaring that the USA would in fact become a rouge state if he was President and gets the "policies" he wants through the legislate.

"Even if it doesn't work they deserve it"

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lundi 23 novembre 2015

If you were to somehow use advanced neurosurgery to modify or change the brain ......

If you were to somehow use advanced neurosurgery to modify or change the brain one cell at a time, at what point am I dead?

Here is one example for clarity.

If you were to somehow use advanced neurosurgery to take 2 random people and switch their cells one at a time, until both people have the other person's cell, when have death occurred?

Assume the brain never reaches brain death.

I know the obvious answer is when you reach brain death for both answers. Besides brain death what is an alternative answer? There must be someway to be conscious and changes to occur that result in death. What is the answer?

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Yahoo decides to push itself into further irrelevance

Yahoo has started a new policy of denying Yahoo mail users access to their inboxes if they are running an ad blocker.

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Demonstrable, Actual, Practical Assault on Christians being Christian... a "Christian" Governor.

Matthew 25: 35-40
" For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you wgave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Texas Governor Greg Abbott orders Texas Humanitarian Non-profits to stop helping Syrian refugees:

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Christmas a "charade" says noted activist


. . . this year’s festivities are just a “charade” due to the spread of fighting across the Middle East:

“We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes — all decked out — while the world continues to wage war. It’s all a charade. The world has not understood the way of peace. The whole world is at war. A war can be justified, so to speak, with many, many reasons, but when all the world as it is today, at war, piecemeal though that war may be — a little here, a little there — there is no justification.”

‘The world has not understood the way of peace’. Christmas this year is just a "charade" says Pope Francis

The Pope is really down on Christmas this year. Speaking during Mass at the Basilica di Santa Maria in Rome, he said . . .

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Donald Trump Racist PIG?

Is Donald Trump a racist pig? I'm anti-Donald Trump of course and I think he should be eliminated by all means. I think he is going to get assassinated or end up paralyzed like George Wallace. I think it was wrong that the black activist was roughed up just for demonstrating his beliefs.

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What are the three most direct pieces of evidence against Jesus' resurrection?

After my last thread "Can one disprove Jesus' resurrection?" ended in a debate over whether it is possible to disprove things, I wish to ask a different question:

What are the three most direct pieces of evidence against Jesus' transfigured resurrection?

By the "transfigured" resurrection, I mean the belief that his body basically transformed so that he could go through walls or Ascend 40 days after the Resurrection, as opposed to undergoing simple resuscitation?

I am not looking for broad general principles, like whether God's own sacrifice as a human could or could not take away humans' guilt. Nor do I simply mean the fact that resurrections are extremely rare (and even in those cases it isn't clear if the person was totally dead). Are there certain facts that show that the Resurrection did not happen?

Then, after giving your reasons, mention what would be the best counterargument to support the resurrection.

I'll start.

(1) In Mark 16, it says of the resurrected Jesus:
  • 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature...
  • 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; ...
  • 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them
It doesn't seem like Christians have any better rate at being unharmed by poison.

Maybe Jesus was just talking about the time of the apostles to whom he was speaking, rather than setting a rule for all time.

Or maybe Christians have a marginally better survival rate at drinking poison, because of their faith and mentality. It could work like the "placebo" effect, where a person's body heals itself better because of its confidence. Thus, this healing or immunity is a sign that follows Christians, even though not most of them individually.


"There are a few churches that actually take Jesus at his word and handle poisonous rattlesnakes and drink small amounts of poison as a demonstration of faith. A surprising number actually survive the experience, even multiple times, while a few took the challenge and lost."
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Biblical Mysteries", By Donald P. Ryan
(2) In Mark 14 and Matthew 26, Jesus tells the Sanhedrin: "And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God's right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven."

As in Stephen's vision of Jesus in the clouds, this appears to refer to Jesus being seen by the Sanhedrin members in the clouds. But the canonical gospels don't record them seeing this.

The Sanhedrin members could have seen it later, but regarded it as a delusion. Or this could be a prediction about them seeing Jesus in the clouds in the afterlife.

3. In Revelations, Jesus appears to John and dictates seven well-written letters to seven churches to him, after which John has 18 chapters of extreme End Times visions.

Besides how rare such visions are in real life (a prolonged trance, perhaps?), how did John remember the letters' contents when he transcribed them? Was he sitting near a pen and wrote it down while it was dictated to him? Couldn't one find some kind of purely logical impossibility in this? If so, and if John intentionally composed Revelations, doesn't that mean that the apostles' visions of Jesus could have been made up too?

Counterargument: Yes, John could have been sitting with a pen and transcribed Jesus' dictation. Or a friend - in this case one "Procleus" - could have been near John and John told Procleus what visions he was having and what Jesus was telling him to write.

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Gender studies are a bunch of nonsense

according to this documentary:

It is a 40 minute film in which Gender studies professors are interviewed.
After that, their claims are presented to prominent scientists in other fields, then the Gender Studies people are asked to respond to criticisms this generated.

I'm sorry of my recap is insufficient, it has been a few months since I've watched it.

I recommend watching it as I think it will spark interesting debate on these forums and may be referenced in future discussions.

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D.C. Police Chief Lanier with a "surprising comment"

Heard this mentioned on yesterday's Meet The Press.


By Carleton Bryant - The Washington Times - Sunday, November 22, 2015

In a surprising comment, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier is encouraging ordinary citizens to subdue or even kill active gunmen if they can as the “best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

During an interview Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Chief Lanier was asked what should people do if they are in the vicinity of an active shooter like the ones who terrorized Paris on Nov. 13.

“Your options are run, hide, or fight,” the D.C. police chief said. “If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it’s the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

The District for decades had outlawed handguns until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ban in 2008. Since then, city leaders have enacted restrictive laws that are still being challenged in court by gun owners and pro-gun activists.

Chief Lanier, who has enthusiastically supported the city’s efforts to limit handgun ownership, admitted that her suggestion for the public in the midst of an active gunman does not reflect the longstanding advice offered by many police officials around the country.

“That’s kind of counterintuitive to what cops always tell people, right? We always tell people, ‘Don’t … don’t take action. Call 911. Don’t intervene in the robbery’ … We’ve never told people, ‘Take action.’ It’s a different … scenario,” Chief Lanier told CBS.

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Syrian war, terrorism and climate change

Earlier this week Bernie Sanders said there is a direct link between terrorism and climate change. This article has Prince Charles claiming a direct link between climate change and the war in Syria. In the past I’ve heard it said the genocide in Rwanda, and presumably other conflicts as well, are caused by climate change.

My personal opinion is not to just disagree, but to say that making claims like this takes the responsibility away from the people who perpetuate this violence and also discredits climate change science as well.

At the same time, I could be wrong. Maybe there is a direct link and I’m just not seeing it. I’d really love it of someone knowledgeable would spell it out, connect the dots, and make me change my mind, or at least show me that there is a compelling argument for it.

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[Split Thread] Religious advertising - is it deceptive?

It is not unsual for deceptive ads to be pulled.

Examine the Lord's Prayer--it is obvious fiction.

It is completely unacceptable that in the 21st century that religious ads should be allowed with KNOWN fiction.

Today, even ads for medication which have been proven to be effective MUST also clearly show or state any ADVERSE side effects that may be harmful to the user.

Religious ads about the Lord's Prayer must also clearly state that their claims have never been proven to be true.

There is no evidence any actual character called the Lord ever said such a prayer or asked anyone at anytime to say it.

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Toys R Us drops gender specific toy presentation or something

There are guys films and girl films, man's magazines and womens' magazines.

But your genitalia and hormones are totally a social construct and that has been scientifically proven through the medium of deep discussions within the best gender studies classes the Western education system has to offer.

Thankfully, sexist marketers will no longer force their arrogance upon us by lazily dividing their target groups by gender, because now:

'Boys' and 'Girls' categories ditched by Toys R Us


A leading toy shop has stopped dividing its goods into those suitable for boys or girls, after a campaign by parents who complained it was sexist.
Toys R Us has updated its website so shoppers no longer find products split into boys and girls categories.
The change is a victory for campaigners who have called for toy shops to stop telling girls what sort of toys they are expected to play with.
I predict that my next visit to Toys R Us will result in my three girls suddenly wanting toy bulldozers and Nerf guns.

via International Skeptics Forum

Does anyone know if Google (Gmail) reads spam reports

I'm curious to know if anyone has ever had contact with Gmail staff regarding spam reports. I don't get too much spam anymore but I try to trace and report it regularly, although not to any Nigerian ISP who will only sell your email to a spammer client.

However most "Nigerian" spammers use gmail addresses for their communication with the idiots who bite, and obviously the spam would be useless if those accounts were shut down, so I also report those to gmail.

But gmail never acknowledges receipt and if I check on reported email addresses sometime later I usually find that they are still active, meaning that gmail (Google) doesn't give a damn.

How can one put pressure to act responsibly on a monolithic organization like that?

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Decryption & weapons. What should be used against ISIS?

The question of the thread is what tech should we use and what should we not use in the fight against ISIS?

While the debate over what role decryption played in the ISIS Paris attackers, ISIS in general have been increasingly using decryption to carry out communication with terrorist cells worldwide.

This Is ISIS’s New Favorite App for Secret Messages

A day after claiming responsibility for the attack, ISIS posted a message on one of its websites—which had been moved to the so-called Dark Web—encouraging its followers to download the app, called Telegram, which also allows users to set their message to self-destruct after a certain period of time...

As for decryption, I don't think banning one app would likely help that much. Another one would just take its place, and a back door for all decryption would be create enormous increases in data theft.

Maybe there are certain features like the self destruct feature that is ideally suited for terrorists or criminals (or people cheating on their spouses). I guess I wouldn't be against limiting decryption apps, but I am not sure what type of Pandora's Box that would open.

As for what tech I do think should be used...:D

ISIS has caused thousands of unnecessary deaths, and reducing their ability to carry out strikes in Syria, Iraq, and abroad through Coalition strikes is a morally just action to take. However, the main problem now is reducing civilian casualties, and the financial cost of strikes.

The first tech I think we should use is:
Rail Guns.
[open source pictures]

Place a few of these in Turkey, Jordan, and possibly Kurdistan, and you could have constant fire on targets for much cheaper than the current strikes. With a range of around 250 miles, this would put a lot of ISIS territory under severe pressure. The technology has been proven, but not deployed yet. This is a perfect chance for a field test.

The second tech is:
Unmaned surveillance mini blimps with self guided bullets
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.

Combine the Persistent Surveillance system blimp with an ample supply of recently released DARPA EXACTO self guided bullets.

The coalition would have much more accurate information for air strikes, and the ability to potentially take out dozens and possibly hundreds of specific targets in a day.

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dimanche 22 novembre 2015

Patterns in how scientists lie about their data


Stanford researchers uncover patterns in how scientists lie about their data

When scientists falsify data, they try to cover it up by writing differently in their published works. A pair of Stanford researchers have devised a way of identifying these written clues.


Stanford communication scholars have devised an 'obfuscation index' that can help catch falsified scientific research before it is published.

Even the best poker players have "tells" that give away when they're bluffing with a weak hand. Scientists who commit fraud have similar, but even more subtle, tells, and a pair of Stanford researchers have cracked the writing patterns of scientists who attempt to pass along falsified data.
This could be a very useful tool for skeptics. Should I start crowdfunding to develop an app? ;)

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Free Ottawa yoga class scrapped over 'cultural issues'


Student leaders have pulled the mat out from 60 University of Ottawa students, ending a free on-campus yoga class over fears the teachings could be seen as a form of "cultural appropriation."

I don't remember any of this being a problem in the 60s and 70s when Yoga started to become a 'thing'. The instructor had the best comment:


But Scharf, a yoga teacher with the downtown Rama Lotus Centre, said the concept does not apply in this case, arguing the complaint that killed the program came instead from a "social justice warrior" with "fainting heart ideologies" in search of a cause celebre.

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Refugees getting stuck in Greece

Predictably, Balkan countries are closing their borders to refugees/immigrants heading north from Greece.

"Concerns are mounting in Greece that the country could have to deal with thousands of trapped migrants and refugees, after border crossings to Balkan countries to the north were abruptly closed.

Macedonia’s decision to prohibit entry to anyone not perceived to be from wartorn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq has fuelled fears that the EU’s weakest member may be left picking up the pieces.

“The nightmare scenario has started to develop where Greece is turned from a transit country to a holding country due to the domino effect of European nations closing their borders,” "

The Guardian

Thousands (up to 7,000, according to some reports) were arriving in Lesbos alone per day a little while back, though the weather is turning now which will deter people presumably.

What to do?

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Didn't Pay Your Taxes? You Could Lose Your Passport


A rule designed to save the U.S. almost $400 million over the next decade.

Pretty soon, you might literally be grounded if you don’t pay your taxes.

This December, Congress will implement a law giving the U.S. government the power to revoke passports of those who don’t pay their taxes. According to the Wall Street Journal, the law would also allow the government, through the U.S. State Department, to prevent tax delinquents from getting a new passport.

The rule, expected to take effect in January, is nestled in a highway funding bill (H.R. 22). It targets people who owe $50,000 or more in unpaid taxes, including penalties and interest. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the move would save the government $398 million over the next decade, according to the Journal report.

Americans traveling for humanitarian reasons will be able to ask for an exception if they’re tax delinquent, and the rule does not apply to people who are on an IRS payment plan or contesting a tax case in court.

The proposed regulation has angered some groups, particularly citizens living abroad, who may not receive the IRS’s mail, since the system isn’t set up to deal with expats very well. For those people, critics contend, their passports are their livelihood, and revoking them could have disastrous consequences.

via International Skeptics Forum

Racist 9/11 Moment of Recognition Voted Down

"On Tuesday, November 10, the Minnesota Student Association (MSA)–the undergraduate student government at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN)– rejected a resolution for a moment of recognition on future anniversaries of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks."


"At-large MSA representative and Director of Diversity and Inclusion David Algadi voiced severe criticism of the resolution. He also made sure to emphasize 9/11’s status as a national tragedy in his response.

The passing of this resolution might make a space that is unsafe for students on campus even more unsafe,” said Algadi, “Islamophobia and racism fueled through that are alive and well.”

Algadi added that holding a moment of recognition over a tragedy committed by non-white perpetrators could increase racist attitudes on campus, asking, “When will we start having moments of silence for all of the times white folks have done something terrible?

This could have come straight out of The Onion.

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Trump Claims He Witnessed "Thousands" Cheering 9-11 Attacks In New Jersey

Poor Donald. He is being widely held to task for supporting a tracking registry of American Muslims. The day after voicing support for the notion he claimed that it was a reporter's idea, not his, but he seems to support it anyway. And at a rally in Alabama he offered his reasons:
"I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down, and I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down,” he said.

I can't find any evidence of any public cheering in New Jersey on 9-11, just outpouring of support for the victims. But maybe the Donald was hanging around some radical Islam rallies with many thousands in attendance in Jersey City that day, and the police discounting the story weren't aware of the rallies. It's that or he was hallucinating. Or possibly lying to make some political point. He doubled down on the lie on the George Stephanopoulos show today.

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Another Skyscraper Fire, No collapse


A fire on the 50th floor of Chicago's iconic Hancock building Saturday afternoon injured five people, and sent flames and smoke billowing into the air.

The Chicago Fire Department said the two-alarm fire was on the 50th floor on the east side of the building, and that five people suffered minor injuries, mostly smoke-related. Two patients were in good condition and three were in stable condition, the fire department said.
You all know, this one's going to come up at some point. I'm just getting this done with... even though the fire was nothing near the magnitude of the ones it'll be compared to.

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Outrage over Muslim as TV Christmas host in Sweden

NOTE: I've tried to find an English language source for this, but been unable to. I'll try to describe the issue as well as I can in the OP instead.

Popular TV personality Gina Dirawi has been announced as the person fronting the traditional Christmas programming on Dec 24 on Swedish TV. Dirawi has previously hosted large TV events such as the Eurovision qualifiers, as well as her own talk show. Putting Dirawi as host on Christmas has sparked outrage among the anti-Islam Swedish right, as Dirawi comes from a Muslim background.

Most of the criticism appear to be coming from the far right party Sverige Demokraterna and their hang-arounds online. They speak in terms of an attack on the Christian Sweden.

The programming Dirawi will be presenting includes cartoons about sharing as well as an hour of Donald Duck.

My opinion is that Sweden is a secular nation, and that the Christmas programming is non-religious. Thus it should not matter what the faith of the host is.

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UK cinemas ban religious ad


The Church of England has said it is "disappointed and bewildered" by the refusal of leading UK cinemas to show an advert featuring the Lord's Prayer.

The Church called the decision "plain silly" and warned it could have a "chilling" effect on free speech.

It had hoped the 60-second film would be screened UK-wide before Christmas ahead of the new Star Wars film.

The agency that handles adverts for the cinemas said it could offend those of "differing faiths and no faith".

The advert features the Christian prayer being recited or sung by a variety of people.

They include refugees, a grieving son, weightlifters at a gym, a sheep farmer, a gospel choir and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.

In a statement, DCM said it had a policy of not accepting political or religious advertising content in its cinemas.

It said that "some advertisements - unintentionally or otherwise - could cause offence to those of differing political persuasions, as well as to those of differing faiths and indeed of no faith," and that "in this regard, DCM treats all political or religious beliefs equally".
Not sure about this. I would certainly be annoyed by having to sit through the Lord's Prayer at a cinema, but then I find all ads annoying.

I wonder how the CoE would feel about ads that promoted Islam, Scientology or atheism being shown in cinemas?

ETA: Having thought about it a little more, I'm definitely on the side of the cinemas. With a TV ad you can mute it or change channel or just switch it off, but in a cinema you are literally a captive audience. Not acceptable.

via International Skeptics Forum

Jesus Had Two Dads and He Turned Out Just Fine



Members of the St. Columbia-Brigid Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, NY suffered a serious crisis of faith after their pastor posted a “shocking” message on the church’s sign last week.

“Jesus had two dads,” it read, “and he turned out just fine.”


The Diocese of Buffalo then released a statement clearing the air: “The pastor of SS. Columba-Brigid Parish told me that the ‘2 Dads’ were meant to refer to a child who has both a father and stepfather,” it read. “There are several children in his parish who have both a father and stepfather. However, given the potential for the meaning of this message to be misunderstood and even perceived in a heretical way, it was immediately removed.”

Peace in Buffalo has been restored.
As a first-rate critic of the Catholic Church, this tickles me pink!

via International Skeptics Forum

samedi 21 novembre 2015

Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests

Not sure which forum this belongs in. This is from 2 years ago but I don't see any discussion of it in all this Syria/ISIS discussions. It would seem to be a key issue.

Sigh. When will it end?

Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern

via International Skeptics Forum

How To Prepare For Terror Threats!

Thankfully, the good folk in the U.K. have devised a clever set of tips to help you stay alive during a terror attack!


In the event of a weapons or firearm attack, UK authorities offered specific advice: [Run and hide!]

  • Escape if you can
  • Consider the safest options
  • Is there a safe route? RUN. If not, HIDE
  • Can you get there without exposing yourself to greater danger?
  • Insist others leave with you
  • Leave belongings behind
  • If you can't RUN, HIDE
  • If you can see the attacker, they may be able to see you
  • Find cover from gunfire such as substantial brickwork or heavy reinforced walls
  • Be aware of your exits
  • Try not to get trapped
  • Be quiet, silence your phone
  • Lock and barricade yourself in
  • Move away from the door

I wonder who got paid to come up with that list. Surely they aren't getting paid nearly enough.

For myself, I carry a copy of the Quran everywhere I go. In the event of a terror attack (which I am almost certain to find myself in the middle of any day now) I plan on yelling Allahu Akbar and waving my book in the air!

Any other tips from our knowledgeable ISFers?

via International Skeptics Forum

It's like the Candian Jade Helm!

Foreign armed forces invited to invade Canada, clearly in an attempt to impose marshal* law on us poor Canucks!

I'm claiming the MDC if there's an actual CT out there about this!

*Yes, I know.

via International Skeptics Forum

Why won't "gay rights activists" defend pederasty and sexual equality?

When one reads polemics by "gay rights activists" one common statement that comes up is "consenting adults". This phrase, especially common among Americans, neglects a huge source of legal discrimination that gay and bisexual couples have been subject to namely when one or more of the people involved in same-sex relationships have not been an adult.

When homosexual intercourse was legalized in countries such as Sweden, Germany, Britain and others this happened in a piecemeal manner. When it became legal to have gay sex in general the legislators added new offenses that effectively put the "age of consent" for gay sex higher than for the heterosexual intercourse. For example, the "age of consent" was put at 18 in Sweden (the legislative committee had suggested 21) and not the age of 15, which was the comparable age limit for heterosexual intercourse.

The arguments for doing this was, among others, to "protect" the risk that they themselves would be made gay as opposed to developing a "healthy" and "normal" sexuality. The reasons for not extending the same "protection from gay sex" to teenage girls and was basically that lesbians were of little concern and could be ignored.

Over time such laws were generally repelled. In Sweden it took from 1944, when gay sex ceased to a crime, to 1978 when the "age-of-consent" for sex was equalized at 15 irrespective of the sex of the underage party or their partner. By contrast the equivalent dates in the UK were 1967 and 2001 (at which gay group sex was also legalized). Despite this there are many countries that have yet to formally repel said such laws, even in the EU. This doesn't mean that said laws are actually enforced, but it still effectively endorses discrimination (and can still potentially result in problems with law-enforcement even if they are never formally charged in court).

Thus one have to ask: why are so many "gay rights activists" unwilling rhetorically advocate against such laws even-though they were more or less completely grounded in homophobic bigotry? In a thread in the US politics section on this forum people made sure that "gay rights" only applied to adults. Pederasts, males who are sexually attracted towards adolescent males, are thus rightly excluded any protection from discriminatory laws as their "victims" would be "children" and not "adults".

via International Skeptics Forum