mercredi 31 août 2016

No vamos a pagar por su pared, señor.

Looks like some negotiation will need to be entered into after all.

Mexican president contradicts Trump's account of border wall discussion

Enrique Peña Nieto says he made clear Mexico would not pay for a border wall despite Trump’s statement after the meeting that the two did not discuss it

via International Skeptics Forum

My Wife's Just Seen a Ghost

I've just woken up to a severe pain in my right arm. As I approached consciousness I heard my wife whisper, "Be quiet! Don't move! Someone's in the room! He's looking at our son!"

As I woke I realized the pain in my arm was my wife's nails and she was gripping my arm tightly. Still in a sleep daze I was told to go to the light switch and switch on the light.

There was nobody there!

I checked the time. It was about two thirty in the morning.

My wife told me she had seen a very large man standing at the foot of our bed, wearing a hat, and looking down into our son's cot (our son's a year and a half old). She then told me to check in the cupboards, which I did, and then check on the landing, which I did.

We then heard a noise coming from another room. Someone was moving around in the house.

I opened the door to the room in which we had heard someone moving around and both of my parents were startled - we are staying at their house and one of them had got up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. But they had used the bathroom connected to their bedroom and hadn't left the room.

My wife then wanted me to check all the other rooms on the first floor - which I did - and to take a pillow with me so that I could smother any intruder I found. Fortunately for him I never found him.

Now my wife insists she saw someone although it is highly unlikely given that whoever it was could not have left the room and got out of the house without going through the security gates that we have put up on the stairs to stop my son falling down. They are easy for an adult to open, of course, but they would have made a noise.

So what has just happened. My wife insists it was not sleep paralysis, although I think it was a waking dream of some kind. I am pretty sure it was neither of my elderly parents in the room nor a human intruder. My son is sound asleep.

Answers on a postcard!

via International Skeptics Forum

African Elephant Populations in Rapid Decline

African Elephant Population Declines By 30 Percent

That is between 2007 and 2014. In terms of absolute numbers, the population declined by 144,000 animals in just seven years. I don't know about you but to me, a 30% decline in just seven years seems very alarming.

And the reason appears to be none other than poaching:


Much of the decline in the elephant population is due to illegal poaching by people who sell elephant tusks on the Chinese market, as NPR has reported. Past estimates of how many elephants are illegally killed were based on models and incomplete carcass counts, as opposed to comparing population numbers. The new survey finds tens of thousands of elephants are being killed each year.
If we could somehow end that practice, maybe the populations could recover, but look what has happened to the rhinos: one whole species of rhinos is now effectively extinct. A very few individuals remain but they appear to be past the age where they might produce offspring.

BTW, there were previous threads about elephants here and here, but I decided it's better to just start a new one.

via International Skeptics Forum

Supreme Court Denies North Carolina Request To Enforce Voting Restrictions This Fall


The North Carolina voting restrictions struck down by a federal appeals court earlier this month will remain off the books for November's election, following a Supreme Court order on Wednesday.

The justices denied North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's request to halt enforcement of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down five voting restrictions while the state seeks Supreme Court review of the decision.

Among the provisions in the law that the appeals court has ordered the state not to enforce are limits on the type of photo ID required for voting; reductions to the amount of early voting in the state; and elimination of same-day registration, out-of-precinct provisional voting, and preregistration that allowed 16- and 17-year-olds to indicate an intent to register when they turned 18.

It was a 4-4 ruling. One guess as to which Justices voted which way. Good thing that piece of crap Antonin Scalia is dead!

via International Skeptics Forum

Chris Brown in standoff with cops...

And violence to a women is involved Why am I not surprised?

Watch,he will go to prison for a couple of months, then into one of those fancy rehab/Mental Health centers which are really fancy resorts, then be on the streets again, whereas most people would be doing hard time. Southern California Celeb Justice, ain't it great?

via International Skeptics Forum

Killed by a kiss

Julio Macias Gonzalez, who was 17, started convulsing during dinner with his family in Mexico City the day after spending the night with his girlfriend (24) and later died at the scene.
The cause of death? A blood clot caused by a 'hickey' or love bite. Physicians believe that suction from the hickey was so strong it caused a blood clot, which travelled to the boy's brain and triggered the stroke.

It's actually not the first time something like this has happened; in 2010 the New Zealand Medical Journal reported the case of a 44-year-old woman who also suffered a stroke (non-fatal) under similar circumstances.

It's a weird and dangerous world out there.

UK Independent
The New Zealand Medical Journal article

via International Skeptics Forum

The death of Thich Quang Duc. Paranormal event or not?

I am writing here as a follow up of a previous post regarding a Theravada monk called Thich Quang Duc who self immolated himself in protest to the Vietnam War.
Several witnesses claimed that the monk did not flinch while his body was burning and my question is if this can be seen as any proof of a paranormal event
I mean, there is no know way any of us can withstand such pain without shouting, if any one of you knows of any person who has been able to withstand such pain without flinching please let me know
This ability by itself would deserve being studied, it may help a lot people who are in pain in hospitals today

via International Skeptics Forum

mardi 30 août 2016

The Secret Life of Lobsters

Who knew ??

Reminds me a bit of Song of the Dodo - it's a good tale...well told with solid science and I'm better informed. Can't ask for much more than that. Highly recommended


What happened to the science reads stickY????:mad:

via International Skeptics Forum

What Type of Theist or Atheist are You?

This poll asks “What” not “Why”, so there is no requirement to explain your vote.

via International Skeptics Forum

Convicted of rape based on a dream

This case really steams me and it shows prosecutors unwilling to reconsider a case and in many cases dispose of evidence when they are not allowed to.

via International Skeptics Forum

The European Commission has nailed Apple/Ireland sweetheart deal?

Summary, The Guardian. $13B is due, subject to 'terms and conditions'

Well, paying 0.005% of profits of Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe in tax (2014) - all funneled through a non-existent Irish 'head office' - does seem a little extreme, when Ireland's standard corporation tax rate is 12.5%

Ireland, predictably, trotted out the usual mantra of "They paid all tax legally due", but the EC is saying the deal was illegal all along and back taxes are due.

I imagine there will be a 5-year legal battle and a much reduced bill.

via International Skeptics Forum

Former Models for Donald Trump's Agency Say They Violated Immigration Rules...

...and Worked Illegally

Not to mention Donald profited by cramming a bunch of them in an apartment and taking a ridiculous cut of their modeling fees for rent.


But the mogul's New York modeling agency, Trump Model Management, has profited from using foreign models who came to the United States on tourist visas that did not permit them to work here, according to three former Trump models, all noncitizens, who shared their stories with Mother Jones. Financial and immigration records included in a recent lawsuit filed by a fourth former Trump model show that she, too, worked for Trump's agency in the United States without a proper visa.


Two of the former Trump models said Trump's agency encouraged them to deceive customs officials about why they were visiting the United States and told them to lie on customs forms about where they intended to live. Anna said she received a specific instruction from a Trump agency representative: "If they ask you any questions, you're just here for meetings.


Models' apartments, as they're known in the industry, are dormitory-style quarters where agencies pack their talent into bunks, in some cases charging the models sky-high rent and pocketing a profit. According to the three former models, Trump Model Management housed its models in a two-floor, three-bedroom apartment in the East Village, near Tompkins Square Park. Mother Jones is withholding the address of the building, which is known in the neighborhood for its model tenants, to protect the privacy of the current residents.

When Blais lived in the apartment, she recalled, a Trump agency representative who served as a chaperone had a bedroom to herself on the ground floor of the building. A narrow flight of stairs led down to the basement, where the models lived in two small bedrooms that were crammed with bunk beds—two in one room, three in the other. An additional mattress was located in a common area near the stairs. At times, the apartment could be occupied by 11 or more people.


A detailed financial statement provided by Blais shows that Trump's agency charged her as much as $1,600 a month for a bunk in a room she shared with five others. Kate said she paid about $1,200 a month—"highway robbery," she called it. For comparison, in the summer of 2004, an entire studio apartment nearby was advertised at $1,375 a month.

via International Skeptics Forum

Slow to heal insect bites

I often wear shorts when I help my very aged mother in her gardens. Sometimes we get bitten by insects. A tick bite is the worst one to get followed by mosquitoes. Then, on the other hand, there are other lesser known biting insects.

I have a sore on my leg that's been there for at least six weeks and the healing process has been very very slow. It started out as a very itchy bump with a scab over it. The scab fell off but the bump which is a very hard bump is still there. It no longer itches but now there's another scab over this bump.

Is retarded healing a defence mechanism of insects.

I came in the house and I felt an irritation on my arm and there was a very small gray spider trying to dig into my arm. I killed it easily but I did not know spiders this size were that aggressive. I actually believe the spider was trying to kill some skin in order to eat it.

via International Skeptics Forum

Clown troubles

Oh yes, you didn't want a gun before, but how about now?

"The deputy said other children told him that several clowns appeared in the woods and tried entice them into the woods by showing them large amounts of cash. The children said they think the clowns live in a house near a pond at the end of a trail in the woods.

The deputy walked the trail to a house near a pond in the woods behind the apartment. The deputy said there were no signs of suspicious activity and found no one dressed as a clown."

Remember when you said it was just me and my fertile imagination? Huh? Remember that?

via International Skeptics Forum

TTIP going to be euthanased?

Since several month one could have the feeling that the TTIP was terminaly ill.

Earlier this year France had already threatened to block the deal: Last week German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affair Sigmar Gabriel had publicly stated that in his view negotiation had failed (although Angela Merkel is a strong support of the agreement).

Now France announces they will formaly request that the EU Commission suspends the negotiations: (sorry I could not find an English source yet).

Should this happen it is very unlikely these negotiations could resume in the future...

via International Skeptics Forum

lundi 29 août 2016

Them, Themself as a singular pronoun

So what is the general consensus in 2016. Assume you are writing not just on an internet forum, but something for a client or for your company and it needs to be professional. I am currently editing a document and the term "user" comes up a lot, and I don't like "he or she", "himself or herself". I'd like to just us "them" and "themself" as pronouns for this user. What do you think?

via International Skeptics Forum

What specifically about math scares so many people?

Having see people who say they are hopeless at math I want to dig deeper and find out when their fear was triggered and what might be done about it. I'm interested if anyone has had to deal with their own issue, or has had a child or loved one who is struggling. One girl told me "I was good at math till they put the alphabet in." So using letters as variables is one area of confusion. There is also a lot of new vocabulary for many students - exponents, combining like terms, the distributive property, reciprocals, coefficients etc. That might make them shut down. I have wondered if the "x" in so many problems bothers students because they are used to seeing it as a multiplication sign.

I hope this doesn't turn into a gripe session about teachers. In Shanghai, with its high math scores, teachers spend 12 hours in the classroom. Most of their time outside the classroom is spent collaborating, extensively fine-tuning lessons to make them as clear as possible. In the U.S. it's up to 30 hours in the classroom. The people on this sub-forum are probably not math-phobic, but maybe they know someone who is. Where are people's blocks and what could teachers do differently to help the lower-end students to "get it"? The level I'm talking about is freshman algebra, but students in my environment also seem to get really thrown by fractions. There is neuroscience on this issue that I'll pursue. Meanwhile, has anyone you know had specific problems, and what if anything allowed the student to break through the "I'm bad at math" barrier?

via International Skeptics Forum

Strong signal' stirs interest in hunt for alien life

Very interesting.

A "strong signal" detected by a radio telescope in Russia that is scanning the heavens for signs of extraterrestrial life has stirred interest among the scientific community.

"No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study," said Paul Gilster, author of the Centauri Dreams website which covers peer-reviewed research on deep space exploration.
The signal is from the direction of a HD164595, a star about 95 light-years from Earth.
The star is known to have at least one planet, and may have more.
The observation is being made public now, but was actually detected last year by the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, Russia, he said.
Experts say it is far too early to know what the signal means or where, precisely,it came from.
"But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target," wrote Gilster.

Read more at:

via International Skeptics Forum

Mother uses 'whiteface' to address racism in Australia

This one is genuinely interesting, when the original story broke I never expected this to happen, but then I never expected Aboriginal senator Ben Wyatt to state that the decision by a local council in Perth Western Australia to ban Australia Day fireworks to focus on 'inclusive' events was a bad move


“The (relationship) between Aboriginal people and Aust Day is profound. Cancelling fireworks a facile response and likely to cause more division,”

Now onto the main issue. A Perth mother dressed her kid up in blackface so that he could look like his sporting hero, resulting in a torrent of abuse directed at her:

Now an Aboriginal woman has posted photographs of her daughter in Whiteface (To represent a Dr Seuss character) and what she is quoted as saying is very very interesting:


"Unfortunately now this little boy who has been shown by the dark skinned community that his admiration for a black man is unacceptable and has learnt racism,"

via International Skeptics Forum

Psychic Florence Sternfels

I am looking for information on the psychic Florence Sternfels (March 2, 1889 - April 1, 1965).

In the Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience: From Alien Abductions to Zone Therapy, it says on p. 282:


New Jersey's Florence Sternfels reportedly “read more people and solved more crimes than any medium who ever lived” (according to the American Psychical Institute), received many public police endorsements, and was said to correspond with England's Scotland Yard and Frances Surete.
Obviously the American Psychical Institute is not credible, I am just interested in any information on this person.

I found one newspaper article:

via International Skeptics Forum

Gene Wilder - Rest in peace

Enjoyed a lot of his work.

via International Skeptics Forum

I partly own a nuclear weapon

For the record. I think cluster bombs and landmines are the most disgusting form of warfare. How the US still does it astounds me.

But I part own a nuke so I could at least get a selfie with it


How to check if your KiwiSaver is invested in cluster bombs, land mines or nukes

It is easy*to check if your KiwiSaver fund is invested in companies suspected of making cluster bombs or land mines,*or maintaining nuclear missile bases.

The big KiwiSaver schemes publish annual disclosure statements for each of their funds, including a searchable data file of all the companies they invest in.

These are usually*published on their websites, and*provide a yearly opportunity for KiwiSavers to check on whether any of their money is invested in weapons makers, or companies which have involvement with nukes.

New Zealand's anti-nuke Act has not been updated since it was passed in 1987 in the aftermath of the Rainbow Warrior bombing.

It is easy*to check if your KiwiSaver fund is invested in companies suspected of making cluster bombs or land mines,*or maintaining nuclear missile bases.

The big KiwiSaver schemes publish annual disclosure statements for each of their funds, including a searchable data file of all the companies they invest in.

These are usually*published on their websites, and*provide a yearly opportunity for KiwiSavers to check on whether any of their money is invested in weapons makers, or companies which have involvement with nukes.

Searching the datafiles for the names of companies involved with industries you want to avoid is easy, and reveals that not much has changed since Stuff broke the cluster bomb, land mines and nukes story in August last year.

Then some large KiwiSaver funds were invested in two US companies excluded by the NZ Super Fund as suspected of being involved with weapons which two acts of Parliament prohibit Kiwis from investing in.

These were*United States*companies General Dynamics, excluded by the NZ Super Fund under the "cluster munitions" category, and Northrop Grumman, excluded under the "anti-personnel mines" category.

Both are still excluded by the NZ Super Fund on the same grounds.*The NZ Super Fund pays MSCI ESG Research to examine stockmarket-listed companies, and excluded stocks based on its reports.

The KiwiSaver disclosure statements, dated the end of March 2015*showed ANZ's KiwiSaver growth fund and Westpac's KiwiSaver growth fund*had holdings in Northrop Grumman, and BNZ's growth fund had money invested in*General Dynamics.

Each investment made up only a small proportion of each of*the funds' total investments.

A search of the*latest ANZ growth fund annual disclosure statement shows*that at the end of March this year, it was still invested in Northrop Grumman.

Neither BNZ nor Westpac have published the complete list of investments in their growth funds on their websites this year.

The full list of Westpac fund holdings is available, however, on the newDisclose Register*run by the Companies Office. A search of the datafile shows that the end of March, Westpac's*growth fund had holdings in both Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

The ASB Balanced KiwiSaver fund held Northrop Grumman at the end of March this year.

While New Zealand laws prohibit investing in land mine and cluster bomb makers, it is not illegal to invest in companies that look after nuclear weapons bases, even though New Zealand went nuclear-free in 1987.

That appears to be because at that time it was not possible to invest in companies associated with nuclear weapons. Waves of privatisation in the United Kingdom*and US now mean private, stockmarket-listed*companies maintain*military bases where nuclear devices are stored.

New Zealand's nuclear-free laws have not been updated to reflect those changes.

Two big US companies Lockheed Martin and Fluor Corporation are both on the NZ Super Fund's exclusion list under the "nuclear explosive devices and nuclear base operators" category.

Some big KiwiSaver schemes had investments in them at the end of March, their latest annual disclosure statements show.

ANZ Balanced Fund, for example, was invested in both, and ASB Balanced was invested in Honeywell International. Again, both investments made up just a small proportion of their holdings.

via International Skeptics Forum

dimanche 28 août 2016

15 Anniversary 9-11 Documentaries.

It's that time of year again.

This time PBS has a new documentary on the Pentagon survivors:

The History Channel has two or three new docs:

Both sources are always good.:thumbsup:

via International Skeptics Forum

Do you believe there is some form of self-conscious life after death?

No explanation required.

I voted No.

via International Skeptics Forum

World's oldest man, age 145

I'm just posting this under General Skepticism as I think the likelihood of this being true is very close to zero. Nevertheless, there's a lot of news stories about it. Here is one:

World's oldest person discovered in Indonesia at the age of 145

Oh and it seems he's a smoker too. From the pictures of him my best layman's guess is he's in his 80s or 90s.

Trivia fact: If we go by the official list (I'm calling Wikipedia official for my purposes) of verified oldest people, there is only one living person left who was born in the 19th century. When she dies everyone alive will have been born in the 20th century or later. At the beginning of 2016 there were still two left, but it's down to one now.

ETA: one other trivia fact: of the top 100 verified oldest people, only 6 were men and the top 13 were (are) all women. Women really do live longer, although the fakers like this Indonesian guy, whose claims cannot be verified, tend to be men.

via International Skeptics Forum

Computer enters sleep mode by itself

My Windows 10 computer enters sleep mode spontaneously from time to time. When I hit a key to start it up again, most of the time it barely gets to the login screen (unlock, not fresh start) and immediately goes back down again.

I suspect there may be a voltage or short problem somewhere. Is there a utility that monitors this? Wouldn't Windows record that it went into an emergency sleep mode for whatever reason?

Where would that log be?

If I hit F11 or F2, the bios setup and boot menu, it will stay on indefinitely, even if I am trapped in one of these sleep->sleep->sleep-> loops.

If I make sure Ethernet and the display cables are seated properly, hold in the power button for 10s to force reboot, go into boot menu to pick Windows Boot Menu, and pray, about 95% of the time it comes back and runs without autosleep for a few hours to a day. (It isn't a 7.1 speaker short because I have completely disconnected the speakers and it still occurs.)

Any ideas?

via International Skeptics Forum


So, is this a signal, noise, lensing, or is there some other explanation?

An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules

The signal:

via International Skeptics Forum

Anyone see the "Star of Bethlehem" last night?

Venus and Jupiter were at their closest (to each other, as they appeared in our sky) last night for the first time in 2000 years. I read some speculation that this may have been the event considered the "Star of Bethlehem", since it occurred right around the time that legend began.

I'm rather surprised I did not hear any religious proselytizing regarding this. I mean, what a great time to try to con-vert people! Massive wildfires, extant flooding, earthquakes, nuclear threats, all within the last week. I for one would be happy if it were the Second Coming, as long as it's not the prep for Revelations.

Of course, I'd want substantial evidence that the guy posting on Facebook as "Jesus Christ" is the real deal...

btw, the view is almost as good the next few nights, just after sunset in the west.

via International Skeptics Forum

Bank of England chief economist - "I don't understand pensions"

Getting into property is a better bet, it seems. What hope do we mere mortals have? ;)

“I consider myself moderately financially literate – yet I confess to not being able to make the remotest sense of pensions,” he said. “Conversations with countless experts and independent financial advisers have confirmed for me only one thing – that they have no clue either.”

via International Skeptics Forum

"Truther scientists" get article published in EuroPhysics News magazine


---Steven Jones, Robert Korol, Anthony Szamboti and Ted Walter


NOTE FROM THE EDITORS This feature is somewhat different from our usual purely scientific articles, in that it contains some speculation. However, given the timing and the importance of the issue, we consider that this feature is sufficiently technical and interesting to merit publication for our readers. Obviously, the content of this article is the responsibility of the authors.

via International Skeptics Forum

Taking care of your teeth and losing them anyway

In a way I'm fortunant. I only had my wisdom teeth removed and for 68 years my brushing,flossing and whatever kept my remaining teeth in my head.

Then they started breaking. No decay they just started to break while I was eating foods such as spaghetti or hard bread of some fruits and vegetables.

I had several of these teeth capped and I thought my problem was over but I was wrong. Decay started appearing under the caps and the dentist was unable to save the tooth.

Off came the cap underneath which was a decayed disaster of a tooth. It had to be pulled and it can only be replaced with a very expensive implant.

Is this common? I know a woman who brushed her teeth after every meal, went to the dentist twice a year and lost every one of them anyway.

via International Skeptics Forum

UFO/ET/alien visitation talk has legs.

Declining 9/11 Truther activity is discussed in a thread topic here.

Dissimilarly, I notice

UFO/ET/alien visitation topics and speculations apparently remain popular with some.

What gives it legs?

via International Skeptics Forum

samedi 27 août 2016

Photojournalist's Ethical Question......

A quandary to think hard upon: I don't usually pose moral questions to my friends. But tonight I feel obligated:
Are you as moral as you think you are?
This test only has one question, but it's a very important one.
By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally.
The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will have to make a decision
Only you will know the results, so remember that your answer needs to be honest.
You are in Florida, Miami to be specific.
There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding.
This is a flood of biblical proportions.
You are a photojournalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster.
The situation is nearly hopeless.
You're trying to shoot career-making photos.
There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water.
Nature is unleashing all of its destructive fury.
Suddenly you see a man in the water.
He is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken down with the debris.
You move closer.
Somehow the man looks familiar.
You suddenly realize who it is.
It’s Donald Trump!
At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him under forever.
You can save the life of Donald Trump or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize winning photo, documenting the death of one of the world's most powerful men hell bent on the destruction of USA.
Here's the question, and please give an honest answer.
"Would you select high contrast color film,
or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?"

via International Skeptics Forum

Knightfall set burns! Conspiracy!

Wait, the set of a movie about the Knights Templar burns up?

Gotta be a conspiracy.:D

Umberto Eco, you left us too soon.:(

via International Skeptics Forum

I am writing a sitcom type play for work any writers here?


I am writing a sitcom style play about teen pregnancy that should run around a half hour. Basically the storyline is teen girl gets pregnant, boy dumps her, mom and dad get involved with other parents, friends get involved, the two reconcile and start living in their own apartment to prepare to raise a famil.

Idea # 2 involved the legal system and a court case but I think it would be a stretch for the two parties to reconcile after such a battle. However, I think that would be the more compelling story if more far fetched, so I think I will go with that.

I am planning on getting this written in a couple weeks with it running in about 2-3 weeks after that. The idea being to make the dialog so simple that the lines will be easy to master.

I plan on writing 8 pages of it today with a total of 40 pages.

Part of my job is to come up with ideas and then to implement them. This is what I am going to keep busy with for the next couple of weeks.

Any advice positive or negative?

via International Skeptics Forum

Topless Day

I always love "rebels" getting radical about something few people care about.

via International Skeptics Forum

Clinton/Trump on the Prosperity and Peace "Fed Reserve Note"

So a friend of mine found this thing in a parking garage.

As you can see, Clinton and Trump are on one side and some sort of beast(?) is on the reverse. A great deal of effort was spent creating this thing. It has micro-printing less tha 1 mm tall so it was not just run off a copy machine.

Some of the symbolism is obvious (e.g. Nazi eagle holding UN logo) but other symbolism escapes me (e.g. Pairs of letters on the back: PS, JR, SA, AR, LP, WB, and others. Also IS312RD).

Attached Images
File Type: jpg image.jpg (102.6 KB)

via International Skeptics Forum

Beneath Mount Yamantau

Whats goin on under Mount Yamantau?

Views vary.

What's the word on the street?

Is it scary?

Is it spooky? (clandestine)

via International Skeptics Forum

Great! More Aussie Spider Species of Nope

Damn university students. If the bush wasn't already full of nope, some student discovers what could be 10 additional species of Trapdoor Spider in Queensland.

Fangs of up to 1cm length (4/10 of an inch) mentioned for some of them... Yay.

Apparently you shouldn't make them angry.

via International Skeptics Forum

Logical Arguments Against The Existence of Demons

Can you guys help me with this? I'm a a recovering ex-Christian and had the idea of "demon" hammered into my head over and over again since I was young. Now, it's something that's hard for me to shake and I still have a demon-phobia.

You guys giving me logical arguments against the existence of demons would really help me out.

Here are the arguments and questions I already built against their existence:
(Please add on or create your own arguments)

1. God almost certainly doesn't exist so why would demons exist?

2. Why would demons, an ethereal being, live on Earth when there are billions-trillions of other planets that look cooler which they could chill on?

3. Why do demons play hide and seek with humanity?

4. Why would demons speak a human language? (LOL)

5. Sleep paralysis explains demons at night.

6. Muslims don't believe they exist and call them djinn. (I don't believe djinn so why would I believe demons exist?)

7. Most other cultures don't believe they exist.

8. Fallen angels don't exist.

9. They are invisible and somehow some people see them...(WTF I call BS)

10. If they did exist, they would be conscious. How can something be conscious, see, process information, think, act, and make decisions without a physical neurological brain?

11. Demons are a creation of the denominations of Christianity.

via International Skeptics Forum

vendredi 26 août 2016

Jimmy Kimmel's Picklegate


via International Skeptics Forum

Maine Gov. Paul LePage's confusing remarks on racial profiling

Quoting from this article:


Earlier this week, he said he keeps a binder with mugshots of all the drug dealers arrested in Maine, and he claimed that 90 percent of the people in that binder were black or Hispanic.


On Friday, LePage first denied that Maine police officers were racially profiling people ...


“Look, a bad guy is a bad guy, I don’t care what color it is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red, don’t you?” he said. “You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority right now coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin. I can’t help that. I just can’t help it. Those are the facts.”
So, from the context, I'd take "war" to be the "War on Drugs", "enemies" to be "drug dealers" and "shoot" to be "arrest". But using that metaphorical framework, his remarks about "uniforms" would be racial profiling... which he claims the police don't do.

via International Skeptics Forum

What happened to all the TRUITHERS?

Looking at this forum and others have noticed that the truthers who used to
plague us with their insanity have totally disappeared

I Mean like totally gone......

What happened...?? Did they suddenly see the light and leave mommy's
basement (or get thrown out....) . Did they get a real job and <gulp> get a
real live girlfriend (not a blow up doll...) ???

Any opinions ??

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New Poem from me...opinions?

Too obvious, too obscure?

August Sunday Afternoon

Just touches of yellow
and the odd crumble to powder underfoot

and across the table
hair with equal touches of white

Lines etched in her face
drawn out from concentration on an object
and the paper beneath her hands

or cut in
from the petty relentless tortures of her imperfect mind

but soon the quiet will come
in its shroud of white

-The Sparrow

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Price-Gouging Pharma

First, we had the revolting case of Martin Shkreli raising a cancer drug price by 5000%, now we have Epipen having raised its price from $50 to $300 in the space of 9 years - when the cost of manufacture has increased by maybe 10%.

I love the completely coincidental fact that both the price of Epipen and the CEO's salary have risen by about 600% in exactly the same time frame.

Worse, as Skreli himself stated - everyone's doing it!

I know from heavy publicity in NZ that the cancer wonder drug Herceptin is so expensive it can't be funded from the public purse. It's not the only one, with Rich Lister Doug Myers keeping himself alive on drugs not available to people who can't buy it for themselves.

Drug patents are a beautiful thing.

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Going to a psychic medium party

Good afternoon. I've been invited to attend a party where a "psychic medium healer" will be offering private readings. The medium, so i've been told is a studen of Edgar Casey's A.R.E. The person hosting this party is a very good friend who loves the more spiritual and mystical things in life. She is convinced this medium is the real deal because she has told her things that she could not have possibly known. Even things that my friend didn't know until much later when she made a connection. While I have no intention of paying for a private reading, I may go just to see the way the medium mingles with the crowd and hear her monologue.
My friend is a counselor and a Psychology major but is big time into holistic and homeopathic stuff. I will not disturb this party as it would be rude. She is aware I'm a non believer. I think I will be lending her my copies of Why People Believe Wierd Things, Demon Haunted World , and Flim Flam. Oh doubt it will make a difference but you never know.
I know I have seen people post about Casey's research center on here but I can't use the search function from my Kindle.
Should be a fun evening.

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The other parties

It strikes me that Hilary and Donald are both equally terrible candidates.

What other options are open to American voters ?

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Bombs over Mars

Bombs over Mars to be heard at Space Conference.

This guy's theory involves atmospheric detonations and krypton and xenon hanging in the Martian atmosphere. He said it is 2.5X the amount found in earth's atmosphere, after many A-Bomb detonations on our planet.


....there are two radioactive scars on Mars. And another piece of evidence we’ve now found is that large amounts of a type of glass called trinitite. It was first formed at the Trinity nuclear test site in New Mexico, which was the first atomic bomb to go off.

John E. Brandenburg, Ph.D., plasma physicist from Morningstar Applied
Physics LLC, will be among NASA managers and astronauts along with Boeing,
Northrop Grumman and other aerospace managers to present a technical paper
for the AIAA 2016 Space Conference in Long Beach, Calif. about accumulating
data and hypothesis there were hydrogen bomb explosions over Cydonia
Mensae and Galaxias Chaos in the Martian northern hemisphere eons ago.


“Well, the fact that the paper got accepted at this conference is quite significant. It means that the scientific community is paying attention to this and has decided that I have raised valid scientific questions. And by saying your paper's accepted means, ‘Come to our conference and tell us more about this.’

So I believe there is a shift in opinion in the scientific community that this is an issue which should be talked about despite the fact that talking about anything involving intelligent activity on Mars was kind of forbidden before. But times have changed. I believe people are now ready to talk about this.

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jeudi 25 août 2016

Russian/Soviet Aircraft graveyards? (Google Earth question)

This is a sort of "just curoius" post:

In the U.S., we have the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which has a whole bunch of retired military aircraft, thousands of them. Many are strategic bombers with the wings removed and set alongside the aircraft in a way that makes it clear that the aircraft will never fly again. This was done in accordance with U.S./Soviet arms control agreements - the removal of the wings had to be easily visible to Soviet satellites.

In addition, there are a whole bunch of other scrapped military aircraft there, things that were scrapped due to obsolescence or old age or funding cuts, not related to arms control agreements. I think there are a few other U.S. military aircraft graveyards as well as some graveyards of civilian jetliners like the ones around Victorville and Lancaster in California.

So my question is: Are there Soviet/Russian counterparts? Areas stocked full of old Soviet aircraft strategic bombers or otherwise? I would guess they would be in the deserts of former Soviet nations in central Asia. Does anybody here know?

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[Split Thread] Clinton is Done: Economic Liberalism


Originally Posted by caveman1917 (Post 11456987)
No thank you.

Is it because there's the word "liberal" in it? I ask because I think you're a liberal too:


Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. Whereas classical liberalism emphasises the role of liberty, social liberalism stresses the importance of equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality and international cooperation.
Don't people on the left and right generally agree on all of this?

Mod InfoA long derail in the Hillary Clinton thread regarding economic liberalism has been moved here. Please use this thread for that discussion. The Clinton thread should be used for arguments about exactly how the poll-leading Democratic nominee is done.
Posted By:Loss Leader

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Brief video (2:49)... Claims water somehow has memory

I think it would be interesting if true as this guy apparently claims...

Using eyedroppers, participants put some water droplets in a line on a flat surface.

Person A's droplets look identical to each other.

Same goes for person B, C, D, etc

However each person's droplets are unique ie they do not resemble any other person's droplets.

Water has Memory

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HAARP Open House; CT'ists welcome to see for themselves.

And here's everybody's chance to see for themselves. The current owners of the HAARP facilities - the University of Alaska Fairbanks - is holding an open house for the public to come view the facilities.


"We hope that people will be able to see the actual science of it," said Sue Mitchell, spokesperson for UAF's Geophysical Institute, which operates the facility. "We hope to show people that it is not capable of mind control and not capable of weather control and all the other things it's been accused of."

But there's more! :eek:


Other features include an unmanned aircraft "petting zoo" and various interactive displays about space weather and other subjects, Mitchell said. There will also be an opportunity for visitors to tour UAF permafrost and seismic stations that are not part of HAARP but within walking distance, she said.

Refreshments will be served, and the event is open for all ages, according to the Geophysical Institute.
Ooo, I've always wanted to pet a drone. Can I pet a drone?? ;):D

Ok, fine, realistically no one's expecting the true die-hard conspiracy indulgers to change their minds. They've got an easy out in the excuse that the military no longer runs it. But still, the point is that it'll be open for any to see. And really, who cares about the die hard conspiracy peddlers? This is obviously more for Joe Public than anyone else.

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Energy storage idea

How about using surplus electricity to carry out large scale electrolysis of water, storing it as hydrogen then burning the hydrogen at peak times to generate electricity?

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Baltimore to ban grades lower than 50%?

The latest nonsense on education courtesy of FauxNews claims that the Baltimore school system has re-orientated from Equality of Opportunity (Everyone has a chance to learn) to Equality of Outcome (Everybody passes):


The school system also now recommends that teachers do not factor homework into overall grades or give students marks below 50%.


“The power of the zero is extremely powerful and frankly hurtful to a student," Roberts said. "If a child gets a zero on an assignment, it's that much harder for the child to come out of.”

I'm not based in the US so if anyone can nip this claim in the bud (With evidence.) feel free.

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Motivational Speeches for Student to Boost the Skills

Motivational Speeches for Student to Boost the Skills
A person without goals is like a ship equipped with everything except the rudder. The Goal Setting program reiterates the significance of this skill, and also offers a ready methodology for setting goals as well as achieving them.

Rahul Kapoor's personal journey of rising from the dust to become the recipient of Outstanding Young Persons of India Award in 2010, stands testimony that this program is designed with real-life practical success technologies. Over the last 15 years Rahul has worked with the world's best sportsmen, actors, journalists, business and spiritual leaders. In his many interactions with them he has tried to see the commonalities that made them all so successful. This program is an outcome of such findings.
Everyone has heard to succeed, you need a plan. Why then some of us take the time to identify our goals and make a plan for reaching them? This simple, effective and powerful training system will help you in setting goals in a scientific manner, enable you to create realistic action plans and also assist you in converting them into reality.

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mercredi 24 août 2016

40 years for anti-gay boiling water attack

Martin Blackwell of Georgia was convicted today of 2 counts of aggravated assault and 8 counts of aggravated battery for the incident. He'd gone to his girlfriend's home to find her son and his boyfriend sleeping together in the same bed. He threw boiling water on them, causing extensive & severe burns that required multiple surgeries.

He should probably count himself lucky, he could have gotten as much as 80 years, and they didn't add any hate crime charges. He might get out within his lifetime.


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Students protest CC gun law by violating the open-carry dildo rule.

Some language NSFW
Students, alumni and spectators eagerly snatched up more than 4,500 donated dildos Tuesday evening at the University of Texas at Austin, preparing to assuage their frustration over a new state law allowing handguns to be carried on public university campuses.

Cocks Not Glocks, a protest group formed last fall, is urging students and others to openly carry the sex toys around campus, offering a multicolored counterpoint to the concealed weapons that holders of handgun licenses can now legally carry inside UT classrooms and most buildings.
Although university officials could have written a few thousand citations, they decided that it was a free speech issue and not worthy of citations.

I know another gun thread is a waste.
And Yes.
I know another stupid students perform stupid protest threads are common as well, I did it for a selfish reason. I wanted to write open-carry dildo rule in a title.

Great name for a band, though.

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Former JREFer kicked out of Trump rally!

Former member here, Robert Morrow, who was elected the Republican Party Chair of Travis County, Texas, was "removed" from the grounds at a Trump rally. Morrow, whose views on, um, unique in some ways, wore a jester cap and had a large "TRUMP IS A CHILD RAPIST" sign.

those of us that remember when he was a member her may recall his obsession with politics and sex and the Clintons. No conspiracy was too wild for him to embrace if it was about a Clinton (or Obama) and sex....

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Mass Lesbian Farm Infiltration Is Obama’s Best Scheme Yet

Only posting the first paragraph

Barack Obama is nearing the finish line of a presidency filled with accomplishments ranging from death panels to FEMA camps to the importation of Sharia law. Year eight is a natural time for Obama to unveil the most deviously brilliant plot of them all: mass lesbian infiltration of the agriculture sector. The Department of Agriculture has cleverly designed this scheme as an innocuous outreach summit to LGBT Americans living in rural areas. But Rush Limbaugh has exposed the administration’s true intentions, which are nothing less than a full-scale assault on the last bastion of red-state America.

Does not appear to be a Poe
Second source

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Charles Blow Blows Up

This is kind of a remarkable exchange. Count all of the Rule 0, Rule 11, and Rule 12 breaches in there. Remember, my friends, Charles Blow is a columnist for the New York Times. Is he really any better than Sean Hannity on Fox News? I've posted a little bit of the transcript for those who don't want to watch the uncomfortable video.


BRUCE LEVELL: But here is my question since we're on the topic -- since we're on the topic of African-American subject -- that's what we're on, name one [racist] statement that you've heard Donald Trump say about African-Americans. Name one.

DON LEMON: Yes, I've got a short amount of time. Go ahead, Charles.

CHARLES BLOW: No, first of all, I don't know I totally listen to the phrase.

LEVELL: No, no, sir. Exactly.

BLOW: No, no, first of all, be quiet. The way I was being quiet when you were talking. Right? That's how this works.

LEMON: Go ahead, Charles. We're about to run out of time.

BLOW: So, here's the deal.

LEVELL: Name one.

BLOW: Here's the deal.

LEVELL: No, no, name one.

LEMON: Bruce, it's his turn.

LEVELL: You want to talk about race

BLOW: you talk to him.

LEMON: Bruce, let him.

BLOW: Because I won't do that.

LEMON: OK. If he doesn't want to answer your question you don't have to do that.

BLOW: OK. I won't do that. All right.

LEMON: Go ahead, Charles.

LEVELL: Because he can't. That's why. Thank you.

LEMON: Charles, Charles.

BLOW: Who is this person? And why is he on TV?

<snip much, much more>

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mardi 23 août 2016

Shallow major 6.2 earthquake hits central Italy

Only 6 mile down

3 dead so far

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Pam Hupp arrested for murder

Pam Hupp, infamous player in the Russ Faria/Betsy Faria case, has been arrested for murder. Though it may come as a surprise to some to hear that the arrest has nothing to do with Betsy Faria.

In this instance she's been charged with shooting a Mr. Gumpenberger in her home. From the article, something very interesting was written:

"St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy Lohmar stated at a news conference Tuesday that the investigation revealed that Hupp had sought out Gumpenberger and brought him back to her home on the day of the shooting. Gumpenberger had $900 and a handwritten note in his pockets at the time of his death. The note listed instructions to kidnap Hupp, get "Russ' money," and then kill Hupp. Investigators believe Hupp placed those items on Gumpenberger after his death."

Remember that mysterious note investigators found on Betsy's computer that Pam knew about? The one that said Betsy feared her husband. In Russ Faria's retrial his defense was allowed to use her that time as an alternate suspect I believe. Now if one suspects her of the Betsy murder, and one suspects she wrote that note...well, it's looking like an M.O. now isn't it.

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Indonesia marks Independence Day by sinking illegal ships

Indonesia marks Independence Day by sinking illegal ships

from article:


NATUNA ISLANDS, Indonesia — Indonesia marked its Independence Day on Wednesday by sinking 60 foreign ships seized for fishing illegally in the country’s waters.

Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the ships were sunk at eight locations across the Indonesian archipelago.

Pudjiastuti has organized the destruction of more than 200 illegal fishing boats since 2014. The government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has taken a hardline stance against illegal fishing, partly driven by the need for Indonesia to show its neighbours, including China, that it is in control of its vast territory of 17,000 islands.
The article did not state whether or not the crew of the ships survived.

If any of the crew died, I believe that would be murder.

Why did this not get more publicity?

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So you decided to disclose presence of ET visitors...Now what?

OK, disclose....Now what?

May this thread pivot from that other thread: To disclose, or not

Pivot point:



Posted by Malbec View Post

Your best sources are.....


Originally Posted by Bubba View Post

OK Thanks.

Care to weigh in on the disclose or not disclose question in the OP?


Originally Posted by Malbec (Post 11455022)
I was trying to suggest to you that the first two mentioned persons in my post will give you reasoned answers , as separately might Doctor Steven Greer --- ever a sane voice in an arena full of very disturbed individuals .In direct response to your question , my view is that the outcome of the Antarctic battles will determine what next steps can be realistically considered .The "hugeness " of full disclosure is almost beyond full appreciation .To admit to free energy and anti gravitic propulsion changes all of the planet and every inhabitant forever . It also means that governmental duplicity and the arrogance of government agencies like NASA will be clear to all . Social revolution will occur and blood will flow . It is important not to think that Disclosure is just about officially admitting UFO details and follow up work that has been hidden since at least the 1930's. Frankly , that aspect in isolation , is almost a mere detail .Regardless, the forces that have controlled matters have to be removed permanently: and whilst the Rothschild or Khazerian Empire may be tottering badly , this power elite will attempt to drag everything and everybody down with it rather than give up might , wealth and power .So let's wait for the imminent Black Swan Financial event and then see which power group emerges and what they are prepared to admit to and how they propose to deal with the human population .


...forward to this exploration...(surely the above suffices as springboard material.)

However, rather than primarily addressing that, how about a more generalized approach in this thread please as follows...

How would you best handle this disclosure challenge in a good way, to minimize the bad and maximize the good?

What issues around disclosure do you see?

This is still fantasy or sci-fi ie a Hypothetical exercise.

There is still time BTW to back away from disclosing...Your call.

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Accept the Hypothetical!

On a bright sunny day in the middle of the night, you come home from work and find the office building surrounded by a cordon of police who are letting no one through. The aliens explain that an inert hoax explosive device has been found on the first floor and could detonate at any moment. Your dog is trapped on the upper floor, with the tornado bearing down. No one would see you or try to stop you if you entered the house. The flooding damage only appears to be minor. There is only one dose of the vaccine left, your gun has one bullet, and the trolley cannot be stopped. Do you rescue the cat?

Please don't waste time attacking the scenario. Accept the hypothetical at face value and answer the question.

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lundi 22 août 2016

Dakota Access Pipeline

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At last . True purpose of the nonsense Zika hoax is clarified

Discriminating readers who immediately saw all the signs of yet another False Flag when the the non science supported story of Zika was concocted , have been waiting to see where this hoax would lead . Now the picture is focussing . With every ignorant news organization across America now pushing Americans to cover their skin with DEET chemicals as a defense against Zika mosquitoes, there's something every American needs to know: DEET is one chemical component of a binary chemical weapon system currently being carpet bombed onto U.S. civilian populations.

So in this article, I'm going to lay out the science for you that proves all this, citing published scientific studies, government research papers, historical accounts of military actions and molecular citations from the world's most authoritative sources on chemistry.( Keep pace, those of you who can manage more than one paragraph per sitting . This is the article author talking and giving you the intel , not Malbec , who is just your returning angelic messenger . Links are below ) . So , continuing and using the author's script ,------------- as far as my own science background goes, I am the lab science director of CWC Labs, an internationally accredited, ISO-17025 accredited forensic food analysis laboratory. I personally run mass spec (LC/MS-TOF) systems with a special focus on pesticides, herbicides and chemical toxicology. In fact, I have just completed a science paper on the world's first LC/MS-TOF accurate quantitation and anti-counterfeit analysis method for cannabidiols in hemp extracts, and that paper is going to be published later this year at a science expo event. I'm also the author of the #1 bestselling science book Food Forensics.

In other words, let there be no doubt whatsoever that I know what I'm talking about when it comes to the science I'm about to describe here. Nearly everyone who attacks this story, you will find, has no qualifications to even understand the science.

Learn more:

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Good voice to text for Andrioid phone.

I just caved and got a "smart phone" .

It's a LG k8 v and I'm looking for a decent, easy to learn and free voice to text app.

Any recommendations?

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Knife swallowing....

No, not the circus act.

Fellow (a police officer, BTW) had to be hospitalized to remove some 40 open pocketknives that he had swallowed over 2 months.
Needless to say, he began to experience internal bleeding:

I've heard of weird cases of "pica", compulsive swallowing of metallic objects, buttons, paperclips, and the like.....Years ago I read of a 40-pound mass of same being removed from one such sufferer.

But open knives? Not tasty, my friends, not tasty.

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Deaf Mute shot by Dumb cop

Nice training.

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(why?) secret government created the entire UFO issue



by Hans: one of the those possibilities the possibility that no one is visiting us?

by Bubba View Post
Of course.

Lets collaborate on a thread for that


Originally Posted by Hans (Post 11454006)
Oh, how would you implied a secret government in that thread?

ACTUALLY why don't you do a thread on how the secret government created the entire UFO issue because - well - they are just

a) There is no secret government.

b) Why would they do that anyway?

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PTSD and cops

Many republican legislatures treat on the Job acquired PTSD as malingering and fire those cops.

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dimanche 21 août 2016

Giant Coral Reef in Protected Area Shows New Signs of Life

Good news!

Giant Coral Reef in Protected Area Shows New Signs of Life


In 2003, researchers declared Coral Castles dead.

On the floor of a remote island lagoon halfway between Hawaii and Fiji, the giant reef site had been devastated by unusually warm water. Its remains looked like a pile of drab dinner plates tossed into the sea. Research dives in 2009 and 2012 had shown little improvement in the coral colonies.

Then in 2015, a team of marine biologists was stunned and overjoyed to find Coral Castles, genus Acropora, once again teeming with life. But the rebound came with a big question: Could the enormous and presumably still fragile coral survive what would be the hottest year on record?

This month, the Massachusetts-based research team finished a new exploration of the reefs in the secluded Phoenix Islands, a tiny Pacific archipelago, and were thrilled by what they saw. When they splashed out of an inflatable dinghy to examine Coral Castles closely, they were greeted with a vista of bright greens and purples — unmistakable signs of life.

“Everything looked just magnificent,” said Jan Witting, the expedition’s chief scientist and a researcher at Sea Education Association, based in Woods Hole, Mass.
Maybe coral reefs are not quite so doomed after all? Also, lot of pretty pictures at the link.

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The best Trump's campaign is faked or trying to lose because of _____ conspiracy

There have been a number of conspiracies out there that Donald Trump is running a fake campaign to:
  • Help Hillary win by running a purposefully self destructive campaign. Possibly to help her win against such a weak opponent when she would have had a much harder time against a serious candidate. This includes both the sub category conspiracies that Trump was directly hired by the DNC, and that he created the hoax campaign on his own volition. Article [1], [2], [3], and more if you look, including threads here, and here.
  • Get public attention for a new reality TV show, or even his own TV station. article [1]
  • Immensely damage the GOP both by denying them the White House and poisoning the well for downwater GOP'ers. (same article as #3 of the first conspiracy), as well as this NYT article.
  • Aliens! The Clinton's used influence with some guy named John Podesta to something, something, something..... Trump and Aliens!! Aliens even hung out with him at the Iowa state fair, and might be using Trump to distract from the real wall we need, a SPACE wall to keep out aliens. I think they mean a real space wall, and not the CO2 gas wall we have been creating to block out the sun, kill the planet, and really stick it to those aliens. Article [1], and [2]

The conspiracy theory that Trump is trying to lose is related to the fake hoax campaign conspiracies, but is generally based on a fair amount of factual evidence without as many conclusions on why he is doing it. Most articles insinuate that Trump got in way over his head and:
  • Didn't understand or want to understand the issues facing or Country.
  • Based his entire campaign on a WHOLE bunch of lies, and didn't want to get caught as a con man and actually having to deliver what he didn't even fully understand himself.
  • Trump unconsciously trying to lose while half heartedly trying to win.
  • Trump being moderately to severely mentally unstable, and unable to control himself even if it means losing.
  • Trump being sociopathic, and unable to objectively correct his own mistakes.
  • Trump choosing to be himself and all of the ugly racist and idiotic reality that goes along with it, even if that means losing rather than pretend to be something that he is not.

Articles about purposefully losing are much more plentiful. Probably the best one I have seen is this one GOP Operatives Aren’t So Sure That Trump Even Wants To Win, and many more including [1], and [2],

I haven't seen any real serious evidence for the hoax campaign for Trump, and I don't think that Trump is fully actively trying to lose.

However, Trump has based his campaign on a lot of smoke and mirrors without anything to show for it.

Trump has said a lot of "Believe me," "It will be the BEST," "It will be Great," "Trust me on This," but nothing concrete to show for it. When Trump did give what was supposed to be a major economic and foreign policy speech to reset his campaign, it was a complete unmitigated DISASTER. A massive increase in costs, an overall increase in costs for the middle class and major decrease for the super wealthy, no real ideas on fighting terrorism, a reduction in cooperation with our allies, and a long list of 'I don't know the details and probably never will.'

It was Trump's largest 'The Emperor Has No Clothes Moment.'

At this point, Trump is not going to drop out, and he wants to find anything he can to blame for his massive loss other than himself. Even with his terrible minority support from his many outright racist statements, he has hired one of the leading radical right members of the White Supremacist movement from Breitbart news, and has just about fully cemented his loss.

It was Trump's choice to go down in flames like this. I highly doubt it was his advisors who told him to claim that Obama and Hillary were the founders of ISIS, or the dozens of other crazy self destructive acts.

As far as the conspiracies go, I find it amusing to think about a purposeful attempt to destroy the GOP. That Trump is completely opposite from what he is showing himself to be, and he is in fact thoughtful, kind, generous, and genuinely cares about the American people. In order to damage the GOP for decades to come, he flooded their party with the absolute worst racist, ignorant, and hateful people this country has to offer. Like these ones:

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Genetic engineering: where will we draw the line?

Before I start, if you think it belongs somewhere else, feel free to move or merge it. Way I figure it, it's not exactly science and technology, since it's not about the actual science aspects, and it's not current events, because it ain't quite happening yet. I'm just navel gazing, so I guess it's philosophy.

I'm just throwing ideas at the walls to see what sticks, basically. Kinda like sorting my laundry ;)

So, anyway, we're already at the point where we have a pretty good idea what genetic combinations are bad (e.g., the trisomy of chromosome 21 in Down Syndrome, since we had that talk, or the X chromosome deffect in Haemophilia) and can decide to abort a pregnancy if it doesn't have the genetic combination we want.

We're also at the point where at least in other mamals we can add whatever genes we want from other organisms, and make a goat that makes spider silk or a cat that glows in the dark. The logical conclusion of doing that to a human embryo isn't even something visionary: it's been a SF trope ever since we first knew WTH a gene is. Star Trek had it in the SIXTIES, and it wasn't the first time it popped up.

So, how far are we willing to go with it?

Before you answer that, my contention is that when it happens, it won't be the perfect augments from Star Trek or the "chromes" from Almost Human. We're not quite at the point of just picking ALL alleles, and predicting how they'll ALL work together. It'll be just one or two things that the parents want, and both the kid and society are left to deal with the actual effects and side-effects of it.

And as someone who's been at the crap end of being worked like a slave so mommy can brag with my results, let me also say that many parents will swear that they only want the kid to be happy, but they really DON'T. They want something the parents can be proud of, and the sooner that gratification the better.

E.g., we had a talk even on this board about some Chinese "tiger mom" being even proud of not letting her daughter even go to sleep or to the bathroom until she gets some piano tune exactly right. Never mind that the chance of that kid landing a job as a pianist are slim, and the wage if they do ain't exactly stellar.

So what happens when someone genetically engineers the perfect instrument player, at whatever expense it takes in other categories, and it turns out that it's not even something that's available as a career for that kid? If nothing else, because a million other "tiger moms" had the same idea, and there's only so much demand for perfect piano or violin players?

What happens when Bubba blows his savings on a kid that's the perfect athlete -- even at the expense of not being very fast, or having the money to go to college after that expense -- but so did ten million other Bubbas? There aren't nearly enough football teams for all of them.

And will we even allow them into sports at all? I mean, if we don't allow someone who took steroids to build extra muscles, do we allow someone who's been genetically engineered to grow lots of muscle mass?

Well, throw your own ideas in. I probably didn't think about all aspects.

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To disclose, or not

Just fleshing out a hypothetical little disclosure question. Thinking who better to ask than you...

So far the question goes like this, maybe great minds will see fit to improve the question if deemed appropriate.


Why would you disclose, or why would you not disclose ET visitors?

Suppose you have responsibility and power to choose.

You have determined that earth is being visited by intelligent beings in IFOs. (Identified Flying Objects). You know they are identified as not from Earth.

Your resources have confirmed these ET craft can 'impossibly' fly straight up and into outer space at 20K+ mph

You also know.......

......they perform 'impossibly' ...violating known physics

......they can go poof (blink in and out of sight, motionless and on the fly)

......making right angle turns at 20K mph.

......they also pace your air force pilots at their speed

...... no contact or communication has been made.

That should be enough for this exercise, it?

Why would you want to disclose, or to not disclose these visitors from off planet?

Why disclose or conceal visitors? Its your call.

Please answer or refine/improve the question if you prefer.

Call it a sci-fi project if you wish.

The place would be planet earth. The timeline would be our known history. Everything is the same, except it is your responsibility to reveal or conceal the visitors' existence.


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Mythological figure/god fighting game

Let's say you were part of the development team for a new fighting game and your task was to populate it with interesting figures from myth, including gods. Who would you choose?

My first choice, I think, would be the Monkey King:


Sun Wukong possesses immense strength; he is able to lift his 13,500 jīn (7,960 kilograms (17,550 lb)) staff with ease. He is also extremely fast, able to travel 108,000 li (21,675 kilometres (13,468 mi)) in one somersault. (Note that this is more than half way around the world.) Sun knows 72 transformations, which allow him to transform into various animals and objects; however, he is troubled in transforming into other forms, due to the accompanying incomplete transformation of his tail. Sun Wukong is a skilled fighter, capable of holding his own against the best warriors of heaven. Each of his hairs possess magical properties, capable of being transformed into clones of the Monkey King himself, and/or into various weapons, animals, and other objects. He knows spells to command wind, part water, conjure protective circles against demons, and freeze humans, demons, and gods alike.
Some interesting special moves there.

Who else could be a contender?

via International Skeptics Forum

"Weeklong Cruise For Conspiracy Theorists"

Popular Mechanics article:

I Went on a Weeklong Cruise For Conspiracy Theorists. It Ended Poorly.

Quite interesting about the mindset, also a bit sad.

One conspiracy theorist who lost her father in the Holocaust broke down after another claimed it was a hoax.

via International Skeptics Forum

Mormon Swords

I just had a little blurb article show up on my Google News feed about a Mormon religious scholar lecturing about the swords mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

Seems those ancient meso-Americans that JC appeared to had a variety of steel swords and other weapons.

Unfortunately, no such artifacts have ever been known, nor any metalworking at all other than copper.

We know the Aztec had those obsidian-edged macuahuitl, and various Amerind tribes had hardwood war-clubs that had sort-of sharpened edges, but no steel.

So the good scholar, rather than assuming that perhaps the Book Of Mormon was simply wrong, decided that the technology to make steel was "lost".
Funny how that would work. In order to make steel, you need a lot of stuff... Mining operations, smelting facilities, forging facilities, all the tools that go along with all that....

Lost as well, no doubt.

via International Skeptics Forum

samedi 20 août 2016

Favorite Athletes by Political Party

I'm trying to find a pattern...


I spent, like, 10 minutes trying to resize the image. Can a kindly moderator help out?

via International Skeptics Forum

Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds

No way does that have anything to do with the Republican trash that run the state. :rolleyes: They are the pro life party! :rolleyes:


The rate of Texas women who died from complications related to pregnancy doubled from 2010 to 2014, a new study has found, for an estimated maternal mortality rate that is unmatched in any other state and the rest of the developed world.

The finding comes from a report, appearing in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, that the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose to 23.8 in 2014 from 18.8 in 2000 – or about 27%.


In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state. The remaining clinics managed to provide services – such as low-cost or free birth control, cancer screenings and well-woman exams – to only half as many women as before.

via International Skeptics Forum

Justice Department: Bail Unconstitutional for Poor Folks

No surprise, bleeding heart liberals will probably cheer this:


Holding defendants in jail because they can't afford to make bail is unconstitutional, the Justice Department said in a court filing late Thursday — the first time the government has taken such a position before a federal appeals court.

It's the latest step by the Obama administration in encouraging state courts to move away from imposing fixed cash bail amounts and jailing those who can't pay.
Oddly enough, I tend to agree with them on the case at hand:


The filing came in the case of Maurice Walker of Calhoun, Georgia. He was kept in jail for six nights after police arrested him for the misdemeanor offense of being a pedestrian under the influence. He was told he could not get out of jail unless he paid the fixed bail amount of $160.
In this case, it's such a minor offense and the bail is so ridiculously low that it's hard to argue that the threat of its forfeiture would be sufficient to ensure Walker's appearance in court.

But making that a rule is tricky, and the proposal by the Justice Department is logically flawed:


"Fixed bail schedules that allow for the pretrial release of only those who can play, without accounting for the ability to pay," the government said, "unlawfully discriminate based on indigence."
I was not aware that the indigent are a protected class. Second, consider two defendants charged with more serious crimes, requiring heftier bail. Do we let the indigent defendant out on his own recognizance, but not the middle-class one? This defies the whole rationale for bail; a middle class defendant has more ties to the community and is less able to bolt than a homeless person who only needs to cadge enough funds to afford a bus ticket.

via International Skeptics Forum

Is RationalWiki a crackpot site?

After some renewed discussion on the Ukrainian conflict in the politics section I decided to look at some relevant articles on RationalWiki. I noticed that the article on the MH-17 crash was still peddling a long-debunked CT claim regarding the flight ceiling of the Su-25 aircraft, so I corrected it. An, ahem, interesting experience ensued.

The claim in the RationalWiki article is that the Su-25 is limited to a flight ceiling of 7km. The only source provided for this is a pop-science article, which in turn references the Sukhoi website's page on the Su-25K (the K is an old export version with reduced flight characteristics). It even goes so far as to claim that an Su-25 flying at over 7km would defy the laws of physics.

References regarding the non-K versions of the Su-25 do clearly state a correct 10km flight ceiling, including export agencies in former Soviet states such as Bulgaria and Ukraine itself, as well as enthusiast websites. One can of course also find this in the main reference work on the Su-25, Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot by Alexander Mladenov (see the table on page 27). The most damning piece of evidence would be a flight video recorded by an Su-25 pilot and uploaded to youtube here which, at time point 5m33, clearly shows the altimeter showing an altitude of 8.7km and rising. This would, by the claims in the RationalWiki article, be direct evidence of defying the laws of phyics!

A sysop then immediately reverted the article back to its previous state using an ad hominem appeal (ie "your claim is wrong because you appear serious"). I reverted it back, pointing out that whether I appear serious or not has no bearing on the correctness of my claims and that he was employing an ad-hom. He then reverted it back, claiming that his previous argument regarding me appearing serious wasn't an ad-hom, with some more ad-hom appeals added to it and locked the article.

This shows several things one tends to see with conspiracy loons:

1. Making claims without evidence.

2. Refusing to engage with contradictory evidence.

3. The use of ad hominems in lieu of rational argument.

4. Especially, here, the claim that one must be "Pro-Putin" to dispute the claimed flight ceiling of an aircraft. This reminds of the retort CTers use in saying "you're just pro-government" when presented with evidence which contradicts their claims. Rational people would understand that one's political preferences have no bearing on the flight characteristics of an aircraft. The "Pro-Putin" is of course also a simple lie, but at that point I wasn't expecting anything better anyway.

Given these observations, is this what one can expect in general from RationalWiki - ie plain crackpottery? And if this is just an exception regarding one individual loon, this begs the question: why do loons get sysop powers there? Using an analogy with a scientific journal: it's one thing for a crackpot to have been able to slip a paper through, it's quite another thing for them to actually be on the editorial board.

via International Skeptics Forum