vendredi 31 mars 2017

George Takei to challenge Nunes

Looks like if you're the pet of a destructive president, people come gunning for your seat.

And.... discuss

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The Wadi el-Jarf translation released

This document from the time of the building of the great pyramid was found in 2013.

Copy of the conclusion in two parts presented below:

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New Evidence: Dinosaurs may not fit the old hip related breakdown completely

Dinosaurs may not continue as either lizard or bird hipped based on recent findings. Heard about it today on Science Friday (stayed in car instead of going into restaurant until segment ended).......
More here:

Other sources for the real curious !!

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Ok, no torture instruments, no stakes, no stoning and the police does not join

but are there any other differences i miss?

Someone promotes a message some people dislike and a mob gathers, attacking and harassing them. Is there a fundamental difference to any religious mob?

It only seems to be in degree of violence.

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Samsung S8/S8+

Been playing with these all day, they are absolutely stunning and the size of the screen to the size of the phone really is something special. I thought the LG G6 was great but Samsung's just outdone them again.

Love that they have kept a physical home "button" and the iris unlock is seamless - I've not had it fail once (yet) when I'm looking anywhere on the phone.

Fingerprint sensor on the back is in a clumsy place but since you'll be unlocking with the iris scanner most of the time isn't too annoying - I suspect that the rumours are right i.e Samsung and Synaptics couldn't get the under screen sensor ready in time for a quarter two release so they've had to "quickly" add a fingerprint sensor.

The screens are as phenomenal as they appear in the ads - probably better as the ads of course aren't being displayed on screens as good as the phone has. Lucky to have quite a bit of HDR footage to look at and wow - it really is the next level of displays.

Not had time to do much with the camera it seems a bit quicker than my S7 Edge in focusing but will try it out more over the weekend.

Makes my S7 edge and iphone 7 look like relics from the arc!

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I have a different login page background picture now

On my Windows 10 computer, the login screen (which first appears when you turn it on) has changed pictures. It used to be some night time aqua greenish picture, but now is some mountain range thing.

I didn't change this myself, ever. Did anyone else have this change in the past few days?

Maybe they changed the default picture, but that would still be an odd and unnecessary thing to do.

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Bridge collapses in Atlanta

Thanks Trump!

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Physics question

I am aware of the fact that in terms of physics ‘energy healing’ is considered by many nothing more than fringe or pseudoscience. However, here and there I find some claims about new ‘subtle’ energy discoveries from certain individuals, which, for me, are hard to explain. One of them is a German chemist Klaus Volkamer who claims that he has material evidence of some kind of new energy that can be connected with energy healing. Some of his work is represented here:

Here is a critical examination of the previous paper:

Here is short review of his book:

In addition, he claims that he has succeeded in measuring that subtle energy. In his interviews, he claims that he has conducted an experiment in which one ‘gifted’ person concentrated on an item placed in a fine-weighting instrument and the apparatus measured a change of 30 micrograms. However, I could not find any published papers on that experiment. Therefore, I do not know protocols or other detail of the experiment. However, I am interested on alternative explanations for that measurement change because my knowledge of fine-measuring instruments and physics is not so good. Here are some further details taken from one critical site:
“Volkamer believes that there is an invisible ‘fine-material matter’ whose ‘mass’ is demonstrable with conventional precision scales with data connection for data recording and which also has an ‘energy’. The postulated ‘fine-material matter’ according to Volkamer, however, has not yet been scientifically acknowledged. A particular property assumed is their storage capacity. Thus, according to Volkamer, ‘bioactive information’ could be stored and re-expressed. To this ‘subtle energy’, he assigns certain ‘quanta’, with a ‘spatially extended field structure of extremely low density’. Volkamer's ‘quanta’ are supposed to be smaller by ten piles than well-known elementary particles, but at the same time, they are to be more massive and fill the entire space, including the vacuum or interstellar space. Volkamer also conducted experiments to prove his ‘fine matter’. For this purpose he used a fine scale with a resolution <5μg to prove that mass is not to be regarded as constant in time. Thus, for example, Volkamer believed that he had observed the telekinetic influence of a spiritual healer on a scale (see the right hand curve). The mind healer should concentrate on a ‘measure’ of a mass 4 meters away. As expected, a data record shows an apparent response of the scale, which Volkamer understood as a mass change of 30 micrograms. The eyes should play a special role, since the ‘life energy’ meant by this is transmitted.”
Source: (the site is on the German language so you need to use translator)
Would some of you be kind enough, look into his work, and give some insight. In addition, I would appreciate your opinions on fine weighting measurements described in this post, as I am not a physics expert.

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jeudi 30 mars 2017

NC Senate acts to repeal Restrictive Bathroom Law

After reading the article, it seems (to me) that neither side is happy with
the compromise.

Maybe they are caving to get the basketball back to NC? (big money)

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How Lulu Hurst's seemingly supernatural strength baffled 1880s America

An examination of the life and career of Lulu Hurst, whose vaudeville act of seemingly overpowering much larger and stronger men in feats of strength owed less to mysterious "magnetic energies" than to subtleties of physics and psychology.

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Paranormal/extraordinary coincidence - Two histoplasmosis survivors meet

On the 18 February 2017 I posted this as #147 in "Evidence we live in a simulation". (Should be "MIGHT POSSIBLY live" to be technically correct.)

This is a separate discussion because of the unusual medical nature of this claim.


This is the one I consider highly unusual for a number of reasons.

Event – Meet Histoplasmosis Survivor: I decided a needed to do something more drastic about my health. The anti-fungal pills seemed to be less effective, but to take more would damage my liver. I went to a Holistic Health Hydro for a week. The first night the doctor gave a talk about the benefits of fasting.

The next day in the hot pool I met a lady from the UK. I told her why I was there. I mentioned bat fungus. She said “You mean histoplasmosis”. She told me that in 2009 she went caving with her brother near the Cradle of Humankind where my son got systemic histoplasmosis. He told her that if she got flu-like symptoms she might have histoplasmosis.

The acute kind is common, mild and known as Ohio River Valley Fever. The internet literature says that the severe chronic and systemic kind is only seen in people with severely compromised immune systems. Doctors see it in the last stages of HIV just before death. The prognosis is death within 6 months to 2 years if not treated. It is something the doctors are not familiar with, and say it cannot happened to immune competent people such as myself and this person. It killed my late wife, and nearly killed my son until a caver told him about histoplasmosis. He is found he had to be strict with his diet.

She mentioned a list of problems she had following her flu-like symptoms. Diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, she fasted and the problem cleared up. Severe muscle pain and weakness - fasted and the problem cleared up. A month ago diagnosed with a tumor on her kidney. A CAT scan showed it was not but they were not sure. However the CAT scan showed lung problems. TB or lung cancer they said. She came to the Hydro to do a long fast to clear it up. We went over other symptoms.

I said I think you have histoplasmosis given your clinical history. Have the doctors look at it. And I told her about the tests, the problems with the tests.

Why is she not dead? Because she is a vegetarian, and she decided to fast to whenever the infection caused severe symptoms. I met a man just after I was diagnosed and his daughter could not get rid of systemic Candida until she went on a strict vegetarian diet for a year.

So if I want to clear up my symptoms, I need to become a vegetarian and have no sugar or alcohol. And fast for at least 3 days at a time. Hard.

What are the odds of such a meeting?

The discussion is about the lack of medical knowledge about systemic disseminated histoplasmosis in immuno-competent people because of its rarity, and about how under-diagnosed such an illness is.

For me who has it, has survived it, and meets another who has it, has survived it without medication, and who provided information that the medical profession could not, is like saying "God works in mysterious ways".

The odds are so high as to qualify for an event that borders on the paranormal.

But this is disputed by people without any knowledge of how rare this condition is. They simply shoot from the lip.

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Paranormal/extraordinary coincidence - Gasket fail

On the 16 February 2017 I posted this. #79 in "Evidence we live in a simulation". (Should be "MIGHT POSSIBLY live" to be technically correct.)


I was going to post some events on Wednesday.

But (coincidentally?) the hot water cylinder in the roof failed in a series of strange steps.

1. The water got very hot on Tuesday indicating a stuck thermostat.

2. I noticed some water leaking from cracks in the gutter. Without the corrosion I would not have noticed the water (our gutters run into tanks). I wondered if the water was expanding as it got hot and went out the over-pressure. It did not stop. I turned off the electricity supply to the water heater.

3. I checked the unit. Water was leaking from behind the thermostat. I pulled the thermostat out and tightened the Allan screw. The leak stopped.

4. Just then I noticed a larger leak starting, but coming from the below the element flange. The cylinder was in the initial stage of bursting.

5. I removed the flange and discovered that the rubber gasket had turned to a "jelly" and had failed. Hence the thermostat leak. I had installed this gasket 2 years ago. It should have lasted at least 15 years.

This is a lucky but unusual series of events. If the gutter was not corroded, I would not have noticed the leak. If the gasket had not failed, I would not have been at the geyser when the tank ruptured. We have a drip tray, but that does not stop a burst cylinder from spraying water all over the roof. Often there is considerable damage when that happens.

By seeing the cylinder leak when I did, it did not progress rapidly to massive failure. I called the manufacturer of the gasket. They are puzzled and will investigate after I send them the defective part. I tested the thermostat. It was not stuck.
This was challenged as being "mundane" by people who claim to be knowledgeable in engineering and manufacturing. I dispute their claims.

Because I do not wish to derail the thread, I am going to take each incident and defend it as "beyond extraordinary coincidence".

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Poll: how much have you saved?

How much have you saved?
Other than homes and cars, how much is in your savings, IRA accounts and other investments? If you own a second house or a golf course etc, add that.

I'm going to use dollars, but for this, we can use dollar=euro roughly.

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How much have you saved?


please delete

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Iowa GOP wants to give parents right to control adult unmarried daughters' bodies


An anti-abortion bill being offered by Republicans in Iowa would effectively ban all abortions and give parents rights over the bodies of unmarried adult daughters.


The bill states “injunctive relief to prevent a physician from performing abortions” may be obtained “by a parent or guardian of the woman if the woman is less than eighteen years of age or unmarried at the time the abortion was performed or attempted to be performed.”
Because women are the property of their parents until their husbands take over, and shouldn't be permitted to make these decisions on their own.

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Why are Trump supporters so afraid of terrorism?

Most of them live in rural areas nobody cares about and aren't worth a terrorist even attacking. While the big cities like NYC that are the prime terrorist targets are overwhelmingly liberal.

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Using TOBS to Get Relief from Chronic Pain

Refer to my former thread in this forum entitled "Can TOBS Defeat Radical Islamic Terrorists?" for the explanation of what TOBS (the Theory of Body Signals) is. Briefly, God communicates with us, his children, in many different ways. These include the scriptures, prophets, prayer, the Holy Ghost, etc.

I have discovered that God has another subtle method of letting us know his will. TOBS manifests as itches, muscular twitches, pains and cramps. See the former thread for a more complete discussion of this phenomenon as it relates to getting radical Islamists to stop justifying jihads.

Sometimes we are confused, uncertain, mistaken, or in error about spiritual truths, and God teaches us through the body signal system how to correct our mistakes.

An example: Sven has been in a quandary about how to discipline his unruly child. Whenever he loses patience and threatens to spank her, Sven gets a muscular twitch on his left arm. If Sven repeatedly swats his child in an impatient manner and develops a pattern of child abuse, he will get pains in his left shoulder blade, and possibly his left leg and other places. After a while he starts to justify his abuse, and the BS's get more and more painful and persistent.

So how does TOBS get Sven out of pain and back on track? There are no easy answers for him--Jesus said that he who offends a little one would be better off with a millstone tied around his neck and dropped into the sea. So Sven must repent of his abuse and endure the consequences of his actions. As he repents over time, the BS's will guide him and get his life turned around. Understanding how God's Justice, Mercy and grace work is fundamental to getting relief from chronic pain and ultimately forgiveness of our sins.

Any questions or comments?


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mercredi 29 mars 2017

Is the Mormon church the only religion that uses a movie in one of its rituals?

As some of you may know, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints makes use of a movie in its modern temples, as part of the "endowment" ceremony. Are there any other religions that integrate audiovisual technology into their rituals (beyond giving a priest/preacher a microphone)?

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The south, evangelicals and the Civil War

I just read something that made my skin crawl here


Thirty-eight percent of evangelicals [in South Carolina] told pollsters that they wished the South had won the Civil War
That's twice as much as non-evangelicals, but even there, think about it: 20% of those in South Carolina wish the south would have won the Civil War.

friggin traders.

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MA. State Rep. Tips Off Illegal Immigrants

A Massachusetts State Representative posted a controversial message on her Facebook page, warning illegal immigrants in Brockton to stay indoors and not answer the door for anyone they don’t know over the next couple of days. Representative Michelle DuBois posted the warning after hearing a rumor that ICE was planning a raid

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Dinosaur footprint find in W. Australia



The largest known dinosaur footprints have been discovered in Western Australia, including 1.7 metre prints left by gigantic herbivores.

Until now, the biggest known dinosaur footprint was a 106cm track discovered in the Mongolian desert and reported last year.

At the new site, along the Kimberley shoreline in a remote region of Western Australia, palaeontologists discovered a rich collection of dinosaur footprints in the sandstone rock, many of which are only visible at low tide. The prints, belonging to about 21 different types of dinosaur, are also thought to be the most diverse collection of prints in the world.
You need to visit the link to see the amazing photos. The scientists were notified of the footprints by aboriginals who fear the arrival of gas prospectors. Incredible story.

via International Skeptics Forum

International terrorism


Originally Posted by baron (Post 11773450)
The list as a whole was cherry picked because you decided to focus solely on the US, because your argument clearly fails when talking about issues further afield.

I picked the US because it was in discussion, and as I noted in my follow up Europe postings, actually no it doesn't, the vast majority of those attacks were because they were attacks against countries involved in military action against Muslims in the Middle East as well, were as "Because you are infidel" doesn't crop up once.


the Ohio State University attacks 2016 (ISIS propoganda driven)
ISIL claimed the following... the attacker responded to an ISIL call to attack coalition citizens


San Bernadino 2015 (no indication of political motive but a lot of talk of martyrdom, a blatantly non-political concept)
Actually mentioned in my post, the motivation is currently unknown, though it's suspected that the trigger was being forced to attend a Christmas party function.


Chattanooga 2015 (no clear motive but accounts of 'submitting to Allah' and doing Allah's will)
As you noted, no cleat motive, hence why it wasn't in the list. The choice of target, military, indicates that it was probably in response to military actions in the Middle East, but that has never been confirmed.


Curtis Culwell Center 2015 (to 'defend' the prophet against cartoons of his likeness, a clearly religious motive)
This seems to be the second most used reason, with 3 attacks in Europe over perceived attacks on the Prophet as well. It is a variation of Westerners attacking Islam so should be attacked back to stop them doing it.


Zale Thompson 2014 (mostly political but also a strong racist, anti-Western motive)
Again the motive is unclear, but he had a manifesto on his personal computer expressing his wish to attack government figures "here" if he couldn't fight them "there." This indicates it was about military action against Musliums in the Middle East.


And that's not to go back very far. Then, of course, there's the misrepresentations of the ones you did present, such as the Orlando nightclub shootings which were very likely to be the shooter's repressed homosexuality. And I don't have time for the rest.
Actually the misrepresentation is more likely to be that the Orlando killings were about homosexuality.

"However, according to federal law enforcement officials, the FBI suspects the witnesses claiming Mateen's homosexuality could be mistaken, and has doubts that Mateen was gay. Law enforcement sources said the FBI found no photographs, text messages, smartphone apps, pornography, or cell tower location data to suggest Mateen lived a gay life, closeted or otherwise."

"In the hours before the shooting, Mateen used several Facebook accounts to write posts vowing vengeance for American airstrikes in Iraq and Syria and to search for content related to terrorism. These posts, since deleted, were recovered and included in an open letter by Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seeking further information about Mateen's use of the site.

During the shooting, Mateen made a 9-1-1 call claiming, among others, it was an act of retaliation for the killing of ISIL militant Abu Waheeb in an airstrike the previous week."wp

Rather then proving your point, your own selection of incidents continues to back up my point by showing that Western intervention in the Middle East and perceived attacks on Islam are the primary cause of these attacks.

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GoFundMe set up to purchase congress members' internet data

The idea is that since congress has voted to repeal internet privacy laws and allow ISPs to collect and sell the data of US citizens, that citizens should band together and raise enough money to buy the data of the congress members who approved the resolution. Then publish it online, with one caveat:


No, we won't "doxx" people. We will not share information that will impact the safety & security of their families (such as personal addresses). However, all other details are fair game. It says so right in the resolution that they voted to approve.
I doubt it'll happen, but it's a fun protest, and it'd be interesting if they did raise enough money and the ISPs did co-operate.

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mardi 28 mars 2017

Getaway driver arrested for murder.

The getaway driver in a home invasion was arrested for felony murder. Her three accomplices were killed by a resident of the home they invaded.

Two of the three who broke in through a glass door in the back of the house were armed: one with a knife and one with brass knuckles,....

The suspected getaway driver, 21-year-old Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez, turned herself in hours after the shooting, Fox 25 reported. She was booked in the Wagoner County jail on three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of first-degree burglary.
The shooter has not been arrested, yet.


via International Skeptics Forum

My irritation with the use of the term "reform"

Although "reform" technically can apply to any rearrangement or modification, in the USA "reform" is often viewed as selectively applying to improvements. When we refer to a "reformed" criminal we are not usually referring to a criminal whose behavior and skills have made him/her a even worse blight on society.

I well remember when Reagan referred to his changes in tax policy as reforms, and I see the same approach now being employed by Trump. I fully understand their desire to couch their proposed changes in this fashion, but I am irritated by the eager willingness of the press to adopt this same terminology.

I recognize that certain political groups and individuals do view these changes as improvements, and I do not wish to debate this issue in this thread. But clearly other groups view these changes as very negative. Therefore I think that the press should use terms such as "change" or "alter" rather than mindlessly buy into and propagate the political spin implied by "reform."

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Has freedom of speech ever been gradually abolished?

Whenever discussions on incitement or hate crimes occur, someone always says that they are dangerous because they infringe on freedom of speech. Never mind that they are usually fairly modest extensions of traditional verbal assault laws.

However I have studied a fair amount of dictatorships, and in all cases I know of, freedom of speech was abolished in a sweeping move, by invoking martial law or issuing emergency decrees making criticizing the government treason or the like. Are there any examples of freedom of speech being abolished in a meaningful sense by gradual, increasing restrictions, culminating in e.g. the outlawing of political speech?

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People are stealing sand now.


In the dead of night we've come to film a mafia at work.

We know the dangers. We've been told our lives could be at risk.

But this is the vision we must have to expose an extensive network of underworld criminals, known as the "sand mafia", which is destroying beaches and riverbeds across India.

Foreign Correspondent travelled to the drought-stricken Bundelkhand region in central India to film them at work, stealing sand — a resource that's now so valuable it's been dubbed "India's gold".

Sand is vital for India's booming construction industry, which is tipped be in the top three in the world in less than a decade. It employs over 35 million people and is valued at well over $126 billion per annum.
I never would have guessed that sand would be that essential that you have to steal it. (The sand business isn't worth 126 billion per annum. That's the construction industry).

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lundi 27 mars 2017

Sleep disorders

My mother has been experiencing deep depression for a number of years. I may have made some progress getting her to see a psychotherapist but in the meantime, can you explain to me what is causing one of her worst sensations:

She conveys to me that every morning she wakes up in a state of extreme terror and anxiety, feeling like there are demons circling around her, and she feels paralytic, with the deepest sense of dread, misery and hopelessness.

Now I know what some of you may say: sleep paralysis right? Perhaps, but I don't know if it is as simple as that. I am convinced that there must be some link to her pattern of 'sleep' (more on that in a minute) and how she is feeling within herself on her day to day basis, which is acute loneliness, hopelessness, and all the other ess's which have something traumatic linked to them. I'd say she spends at least 95% of her day ruminating and catastrophising to an absurd extent. Getting some understanding of her sleep patterns, she tells me she goes to bed and spends the next 5 hours of so lying awake ruminating, worrying, sticking her mind on spin cycle and the rest. She then falls asleep at 5am and wakes up at 9am with the worst of the worst, the entire world bearing down on her and these imagined demons assaulting her very existence.

I remember a therapist of mine telling me briefly about how REM sleep has a lot to play in the anxiety we experience in the morning, and how we are most vulnerable at that time, especially if we slip into deep sleep at 5am or so.

Do you know anything about this? I thought that if at least I could make her understand why her body behaves like this through some cold science, it may soften to some extent her dramatic personification of what she experiences, and go some way towards putting a plan in place to diminish her suffering.

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Canadian Marijuana will be legal by July 1

Federal Government (in Canada) announces marijuana will be legal by July 1, 2018

More news on April 20 2017

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Are there too many regulations and if so, what are they?

Far too often conservatives and liberals talk over themselves, neither listening to the legitimate arguments from the other side. One of the most common complaints voiced by conservatives is that there is too much costly over-regulation that stifles growth.

While my experience is that people will complain about anything and everything, many of these complaints are justified. But as a liberal, I believe that there is much to gain in trying to reduce regulations. I'm wondering how we can do that.

Any ideas?

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Will Republicans be able to get tax "reform" through?

Before, I thought they would be for sure able to do it. After all, one thing that all Republicans can agree on is that taxes should be lower.

But now I'm not so sure. Trump and Ryan are very incompetent. And they have the extreme radical freedom caucus whackjobs to deal with. I'm thinking they will demand something that is way too radical for "moderate" Republicans and the bill will die. Like for example, they may demand that popular programs be reduced/eliminated to pay for the tax cuts. Or even that taxes on the poor/middle class be raised to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

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dimanche 26 mars 2017

The CIA is hacking your notes?

Apropos of nothing in particular.

I just ran an update for Notepad++ (v 7.3.3). The change log began with this;

Notepad++ 7.3.3 bug-fixs & enhancements:

1. Fix CIA Hacking Notepad++ issue (
I know that there's all sorts of points of attacks, but I never thought about the CIA getting into my system through my text editor. (Or even why they would want to.)

I'm glad the folks on the Notepad++ team are on top of this sort of stuff.

Lots of holes out there, I guess.

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‘rotor sails’ to cut global shipping’s fuel consumption

An article by Market News Business offers rotary sails to reduce oil tankers' fuel consumption. I am very weak on science and maths and ignorant about most things mechanical and electrical and I rely on specialists to tell me the truth. I remember over 25 years ago having a big discussion in my local pub about this exact issue, a fictional story I was reading showed a diagram of a ship that had these rotary sails fitted and it included a rough linkage system showing how the horizontal rotation could be converted to vertical rotation to drive propellers. A tool setter from a local factory explained to me it would never work. Mechanical efficiency would be lost, he said, in the conversion. The remaining power available would be too weak to turn the screws. And when you think about it, doesn't it remind you of the 1,200 K/hr hyperloop in its cranky resonance "rotary sails to drive oil tankers"? But, I could be completely wrong, maybe someone here who knows this kind of stuff will tell me it is actually feasible.

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Another mass shooting at a nightclub

This time in Cincinnati, Ohio. Believed to be two shooters, but not Terrorism related. 1 dead, 14 wounded are the reports currently, though several of the wounded have life threatening injuries.

It just keeps happening.

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So when are Republicans going to throw Hillary in prison?

Oh, that's right, they never cared about that at all. They were just pandering to morons.

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samedi 25 mars 2017

Translations of Tanakh passages Judaism considers Messianic

I am creating a separate thread for this because of Zivan's request.

Isaiah 9:5-6 is often considered to be a Messianic prophecy in rabbinical and Christian tradition. The Judaica Press Tanakh translation of chapter 9 says:

1. The people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, light shone upon them.
5. For a child has been born to us, a son given to us, and the authority is upon his shoulder, and the wondrous adviser, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, called his name, the prince of peace.'

6. To him who increases the authority, and for peace without end, on David's throne and on his kingdom, to establish it and to support it with justice and with righteousness; from now and to eternity, the zeal of the Lord of Hosts shall accomplish this.
According to this translation, the Lord shall accomplish a child being born to the Israelites whom the Lord calls "the prince of peace", and David's throne will be estalblished and supported with righteousness forever. The passage doesn't use the word "The Messiah", but it is predicting a figure with powerful attributes, like establishing David's throne forever righteously, that the rabbis call "Messianic".

It is also notable that the word in purple is specially written with a closed "mem" that according to the rabbis points to the Messianic era.

The 1984 Jewish Publication Society translation says:

For a child has been born to us,
A son has been given us.
And authority has settled on his shoulders.
He has been named
“The Mighty God is planning grace;
The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler”—

In token of abundant authority
And of peace without limit
Upon David’s throne and kingdom,
That it may be firmly established
In justice and in equity
Now and evermore.

The zeal of the Lord of Hosts
Shall bring this to pass.

The Hebrew translation is

הכִּי יֶלֶד יֻלַּד לָנוּ בֵּן נִתַּן לָנוּ וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְׂרָה עַל שִׁכְמוֹ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ פֶּלֶא יוֹעֵץ אֵל גִּבּוֹר אֲבִי עַד שַׂר שָׁלוֹם:

ולְמַרְבֵּה (כתיב לְםַרְבֵּה) הַמִּשְׂרָה וּלְשָׁלוֹם אֵין קֵץ עַל כִּסֵּא דָוִד וְעַל מַמְלַכְתּוֹ לְהָכִין אֹתָהּ וּלְסַעֲדָהּ בְּמִשְׁפָּט וּבִצְדָקָה מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם קִנְאַת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת תַּעֲשֶׂה זֹּאת:

One of the translation issues is that ancient Hebrew did not have a separate verb form for the future tense than it did for the past tense.


The ancient language did not have strictly defined past, present, or future tenses, but merely perfective and imperfective aspects, with past, present, or future connotation depending on context. Later the perfective and imperfective aspects were explicitly refashioned as the past and future tenses respectively, with the participle standing in as the present tense.

The Hebrew language has the present and past tense but no future tense. In the Hebrew language, Joel 2: reads:
(Young's Literal Translation)
"And it hath come to pass afterwards, I do pour out My spirit on all flesh,

but we read,
(King James Version changing the tenses of the verbs)
"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh
Another translation issue is whether only one of the names above, like "prince of peace", are the child's names, or does the text give numerous names for the child.

Rabbi Aben Ezra commented:

There are some interpreters who say that “Wonderful, Everlasting Father” are Names of G-d and only “Prince of Peace” is the Name of the Child. But according to my view, the interpretation is right (which says): all are the Names of the child

The Targum explaining this verse, composed in 200 BC-200 AD, says:

The prophet said to the house of David, For unto us a Child is bom, unto us a Son is given, and He has taken the law upon Himself to keep it.(63) His name is called from eternity, Wonderful, The Mighty God, who liveth to eternity, The Messiah, whose peace shall be great upon us in His days.

The greatness of those who do the law shall be magnified, and to those, that preserve peace. There shall be no end to the throne of David, and of his kingdom, to establish it and to build it in judgment and in righteousness from henceforth, even for ever. By the Word of the Lord of hosts this shall be done.

The Counter-Christian Jewish writers at "Messiah Truth" write about Isaiah 9 that it applies to the Messianic era because of the "Mem" as I highlighted earlier in purple:


Can you please explain why there is a closed mem in the middle of the words "of the increase" in Isaiah 9?

Prof. Uri Yosef answers:
one of our great Sages, Rabbi David Kimhi (1160-1235 CE) explains it as follows. The closed "mem" instead of an open "mem" here at Isaiah 9:6, and the open "mem" instead of a closed "mem" at Nehemiah 2:13, have a "connection" that points to the messianic era according to the Hebrew Bible. As the walls of Jerusalem are "open" (i.e., breached) during the exile and will be will be "closed" (i.e., secured) as the time of Israel's redemption arrives, so will also "open" up, i.e., be revealed, the authority, which remains "closed" until the coming of the promised Jewish King/Messiah.

Rabbi Daniel answers:
Our Rabbis in Tractate Sanhedrin explain it this way.
That King Chizkiyahu [son of the wicked King Achaz] had created such a spiritual revival within Israel, destroying idolatry and re-educating Jewry to return to G-d and His Torah, that it was of Messianic proportions. ... Isaiah reveals to us that these were not just coincidences and Chizkiyahu could have indeed become the Messiah. His reign could have turned into the Messianic era. Alas, as Isaiah laments, G-d saw fit to... close that door. So to speak.

The *closed* mem reflects Isaiah's merging of all these ideas.
In verses praising G-d, praising His messianic salvation of Israel, virtually all that had taken place with Chizkiyahu and Sancheiriv, yet the closed mem says it did not happen then.
These verses will again describe the real Messiah's arrival
In The Concept of the Messiah in the Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity, Shirley Lucass explains that the destruction of the monarchy, the Assyrian conquest, and the Exile prevented the Jewish people from seeing Isaiah 9 as applying to Hezekiah's reign. She writes:

Isaiah 9:6-7 and 11:1-6 are also understood messianically within Targum Jonathan. ... A number of features came together during this period- the exile, the reforms of Josiah and the emergence of the Deuteronomists - all of which undermined the legitimacy of the monarchy, with its final demise occurring as a consequence of the Exile.
Jewish Virtual Library explains that "Stage I" of the development of the Messiah concept was the belief that "David's present position of power will... be inherited by an endless chain of succeeding links in his dynasty". It sees Isaiah 9 as part of Stage II:

Stage II began with the collapse of David's empire after the death of Solomon. There arose the doctrine, or hope, that the House of David would again reign over Israel as well as Judah and again exercise dominion over neighboring nations. This hope was expressed... in so many words in prophecies like Amos 9:11–12; Isaiah 11:10; Hosea 3:5 (the phrase – a Judahite interpolation – "and (the Israelites will seek) their king David"); Ezekiel 37:15ff., especially verses 24ff. (and see *Isaiah A, Panel 3, Field A, on Isa. 9:1–6 [2–7]).

Stage III. Isaiah's shifting of the emphasis from the perpetuity of the dynasty to the qualities of the future king: the foundation of his throne will be justice, he will be distinguished by his zeal for justice, and, finally, he will be charismatically endowed for sensing the rights and wrongs of a case and for executing justice. (See [eg] the passage in *Isaiah just cited on Isa. 9:1–6 [2–7],

On another thread, Zivan, who knows Hebrew, wrote to me:

Originally Posted by Zivan (Post 11771403)
The hebrew is in the past tense. It is not a prophecy, so it is off topic for this thread. If you would like to start a thread on translation or tanakh in general, I will answer your questions there.

So I decided to create this thread.
  • My first question is how would Zivan translate this?
  • My second question is what does he believe that the closed Mem signifies in the text?
  • The third question is what he thinks about the Jewish writers' comments about the text that I quoted above.

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Can We Please Stop Waffling?

This is something that has bothered me for a while but if there's just one thing that bugs the hell out of me about my fellow skeptics and the broader scientific community is how much they waffle on about how science doesn't deal with proof and that things can't be proven only disproved.

Is there a logical reasoning for such waffling? If not, can we please dispense with it and agree to a certain amount of pragmatism? And even if there is a logical reason for it, wouldn't it make more sense to adopt a more pragmatic assertion that this thing or that thing has been proven when there isn't a better alternative?

Please discus.

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Prosecutors propose joint trials for inauguration day protesters

From Buzzfeed:


Prosecutors on Wednesday proposed formally dividing the defendants into at least four categories for future trials, based on the type of conduct they were accused of, the seriousness of the alleged offenses, and the available evidence that could apply to groups of people.

Christopher Mutimer, a defense lawyer representing one of the defendants, told BuzzFeed News by email on Wednesday that he would oppose efforts by the government to hold joint trials.

“These cases should be tried individually in a manner that protects each individual defendant’s constitutional rights,” Mutimer said. “Not in groupings that make the trials most convenient for the government. Grouping individuals for trial creates a danger of wrongful convictions based on guilt by association.”
Gotta say that I agree with the defense attorney.

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Just bought a Chromebook, and I'm loving it

I got the Acer Chromebook 14. It is light, thin, good looking (all aluminum body), has a great battery life, a full HD screen, 4GB of RAM, a quad core Celeron processor, and 32 GB of storage. Plus it came with 100GB of Google Drive storage and 4 months of Google Play Music for free. And I only paid $200 for it (refurbished).

It fits my needs very well (basic web surfing, watching streaming videos, and light word processing). Plus I already used most of Google's services. I recommend that anyone who has similar needs buy one.

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Cool artificial intelligence accomplishments (by videos)

I have composed a collection of intriguing artificial intelligence accomplishments, in terms of videos --->here<---. (otherwise see it via the official link under 'signatures of awe and wonder' in my signature)

You can post in this thread, any item you think I may have missed.

An example:

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vendredi 24 mars 2017

State bills victim in guardrail death...

If a defective guardrail kills your kid, Tennessee will bill you for the damage.

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I miss Soviet Propaganda

I remember as a freshman in college I used got to the university library to read out-of-town news papers. Our library even had a subscription to Pravda and Tass: and I loved reading those papers.

Gawd...Pravda and Tass were such rags - and such bad propaganda - that it occurred to me that the liberal media was poeing the USSR government with this bad print: which nobody with half-a-mind could seriously. And when the USSR fell, I was right, people reported that no one (with a mind, that is) took Pravda or Tass seriously and that these papers were more destructive to the USSR than they were helpful.

Yeah...I smile smile when I think about how the journos that wrote for Tass and Pravda helped blacken the image of the USSR.

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Famous young science whiz now a schizophrenic

Science whiz who became Intel's youngest intern has schizophrenia

Quote: once named him one of the "10 Smartest Kids in the World."

This year, at age 20, Joey Hudy's mind betrayed him.

He had graduated from Arizona State University and moved to Hong Kong, his parents told TV station Fox 10, when he began experiencing paranoia and psychosis. He believed the Chinese government was following him and that his apartment was bugged...

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American is a great place to die in


In rich countries, death rates are supposed to decline. But in the past decade and a half, middle-aged white Americans have actually been dying faster. Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton first pointed out this disturbing trend in a 2015 study that highlighted three “diseases of despair”: drugs, drinking and suicide.

On Thursday, the pair released a deeper analysis that clears up one of the biggest misconceptions about their earlier research.

The problem of dying whites can’t only be blamed on rising rates of drug overdoses, suicides and chronic alcoholism, they say. More and more, middle-aged white Americans are dying for all kinds of reasons — and the underlying issue may have less to do with opioids and more to do with how society has left behind the working class.


The alarming fact isn't just that middle-aged whites are dying faster, but also that mortality rates have been dramatically declining in nearly every other rich country. The United States is getting left behind.

In the last 15 years, a chasm opened up between middle aged whites in America and citizens of European countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom. While white death rates in America rose slightly, death rates in those other countries continued to plummet. In comparison to what happened in Europe, the situation for American whites starts looks much more dire — and it's a bigger problem than opioids or suicides can explain. It's not just about what went wrong in America, but what stopped going right.

Fifteen years ago, middle-aged whites in the United States were neck and neck with their German counterparts. Now, middle-aged white Americans are 45 percent more likely to die than middle-aged Germans.

As this chart from the latest paper shows, the gap in mortality between white middle-aged Americans and middle-aged Germans is about 125 deaths per 100,000 people now. Every year, of 100,000 Germans between the ages of 45 and 54, about 285 die. In the United States, it's more than 410.

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Goals accomplished by Trump, good or bad

The question came up in another thread, what has Trump actually accomplished?

-defunded EPA
-Most likely Keystone XL

You can add as things get signed.

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Drug 'reverses' ageing in animal tests

Story via BBC:

Would you take these if approved?

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John Boehner must be really glad he retire about now

Paul Ryan is an idiot for taking the speaker position. I'm thinking that after the healthcare bill fails, he will be forced out of it and his political career will be dead.

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I'm a litte glad Trump is president instead some other Republican

Because of his extreme incompetency, he can't get crap done.

Best negotiator in the world? It seems likely that his total trash healthcare bill won't even pass the House. And even if it does, it is much less likely to pass the Senate. Doesn't that prove that Obama was a better negotiator than he is? LOL.

His travel ban has been been thrown out by the courts largely because of his own worlds.

Anyway, in many ways it is better to have an incompetent GOP president than a competent one.

That said, I will still laugh if he dies from a heart attack or something from all the stress.

Screw Trump and every single person that voted for him. I literally hate all of them.

And yes, I stopped posting here for a while because I was shook from the election.

I lost a bet to Skeptic Tank for my avatar. I believe it was for two months. Since I stopped posting after that, I think it is fair that I keep it for another two months from now.

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Two black holes merge kick third out of ball park


Astronomers have uncovered a supermassive black hole that has been propelled out of the center of a distant galaxy by what could be the awesome power of gravitational waves.

Though there have been several other suspected, similarly booted black holes elsewhere, none has been confirmed so far. Astronomers think this object, detected by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, is a very strong case. Weighing more than 1 billion suns, the rogue black hole is the most massive black hole ever detected to have been kicked out of its central home.
Researchers estimate that it took the equivalent energy of 100 million supernovas exploding simultaneously to jettison the black hole. The most plausible explanation for this propulsive energy is that the monster object was given a kick by gravitational waves unleashed by the merger of two hefty black holes at the center of the host galaxy.


Beyond my pay grade to help much here, but I thought it an interesting proposition. 100 million supernovae? And that is only one tiny neck of thye woods.

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jeudi 23 mars 2017

If Trump Admin Is Guilty: Hypothetical Scenarios

For the purposes of this thread, the assumption is that there is enough evidence to confirm Trump and some key people from his campaign/administration colluded with Russia to the extent that he should be impeached.

Given that assumption, how likely are any of the following scenarios, and what would happen if that scenario should happen.

1. Republicans refuse to impeach Trump and try to let him and his administration continue.

2. Congress narrowly impeaches Trump but he refuses to step down and peacefully transfer power (to whomever, Pence, Ryan, etc).

3. Congress impeaches Trump, and he steps down, but in tweets and a press conference claims it's all lies and a setup by the media and liberals because they lost the election and he should still be POTUS. His fake news swallowing, conspiracy believing, supporters across the US believe him fully and take up arms.

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Trumpcare bill is CRAP

Based on recent concessions to Conservative Republicans today, Trumpcare includes the following:

-No requirement that insurers cover hospitalization.

-No requirement that insurers cover mental health treatment.

-No requirement that insurers cover emergency care.

Without these mandates, what good is it? What kind of health insurance doesn't cover such things?

This is now a crap bill that totally sucks.

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Putin at it again!

Gunman in Ukraine kills Putin foe in attack denounced as ‘state terrorism’

I bet the guys over at Fort Russ won't see any reason to connect this with Putin.

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mercredi 22 mars 2017

A Mike Pence presidency, what would it look like?

I'm thinking pretty much like Trump's minus the embarrassing tweets.

Dismantling the federal government... Check.

Tax cuts... Check.

I freely admit I could be wrong but the guy just seems to be waiting for the (semi) inevitable resignation or impeachment.

Any thoughts?

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Medical: How many have early repolarization?

Hello everyone,
At my last annual physical my doctor had me have an ECG, we do these every ten years or so because I don't know why. (I think it is my strong family history of heart disease)

Apparently I have cardiac 'early replorization' , which effects about 13% of the population. The rub is that tehyw ant me to take a stress test because there is a very low incidence of arrhythmia associated with the condition (70/100,000).

I am not to concerned as of now, I am just curious, how many here at the ISF have been diagnosed with early repolarization and are living with BER (benign early repolarization) ?

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Possible terrorist incident outside Westminster

People allegedly run over, one or more shot, explosion, outside Parliament and on Westminster Bridge.

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Pedantics and Anti-intellectualism.

I'm gonna run a little test here. Read the following:

Bob: A turtle is a mammal.
Ted: No it isn't Bob, a turtle lays eggs. Mammals give birth to live young.

When reading that was your first instinct to run into the conversation and remind Ted that members of the monotrome order (echidnas and the platypus) lay eggs and are mammals?

If so please stop.

Pedantics really has become it's own subcategory of anti-intellectualism in argumentatives, an almost fetishized obsessive need to take the side that is 99% correct to task for the 1% they got wrong (and even "got wrong" is too strong a term for simply not being more linguistically precise then the discussion requires) while ignoring the 100% the other side got wrong and I'm rapidly losing patience for it and the subtext is always the same "If you're not 100% correct it's somehow wrong to tell other side they are incorrect even if their incorrectness is on a scale far beyond yours."

A long time ago I lost all patience with the "Every discussion must be fair and balanced! All strong opinions must be equally wrong!" crowd and this is the newest version of it. I just accepted a long time ago that there is a not insignificant number of people out there that are just... set off when they see a discussion where one side is obviously arguing from a much stronger intellectual position, I don't know I guess I've always got the impression they see it as bullying or something, and for some unfathomable to me reason just can't not run into the discussion to nitpick something the "winning" side is doing to give a coded cooing reassurance to the other side and I'm really tired of it.

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Large fine for Thames Water

Thames Water (a UK water utility) has been fined a significant sum for pumping raw sewage into the Thames:


Thames Water has been fined a record £20m after pumping nearly 1.5 billion litres of untreated sewage into the River Thames.

The company admitted water pollution and other offences at sewage facilities in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

That' still a lot cheaper per litre than paying to have the septic tank emptied. Maybe I should just pump mine into the local watercourse and pay the fine ;)

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Dylan Roof Makes Me Sad

He's guilty. Sentenced to die.

The New York Times released a two hour interview with FBI agents shown at trial. Roof confesses, more or less calmly. The first hour or so the FBI agents are ticking off all the evidence boxes and making sure they get him to say everything they needed at trial.

But then, around an hour and ten minutes, it sounds like the agents get generally curious about his state of mind and the logic behind the crime. I hear in their questions my questions and amazement at the banality, the seeming lack of animus, the ho-hum everydayishness - from a guy who killed nine people.

It really makes me sad knowing there are probably many many more Dylann Roofs out there. Unsophisticated, hollow, pointless.

Here's the link. Is there anything to learn from it at all?

ETA: I'd ask the mods to fix the spelling of his name in the thread title, but screw it, he's not worth the trouble.

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mardi 21 mars 2017

Flat Earth Discussion

Currently there is a thread on Ask Reddit about why people believe in the flat earth hypothesis.
As I said in a comment in the thread, it would be nice to get a discussion going because it has from a scientific stand-point a certain psychological value to it.

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Air Travel in TrumpWorld

So now, as a UK citizen, who works for a US company, but living in the UAE, I will now no longer be permitted to carry any electronic device bigger than a typical smart phone if I fly from my usual airports on my national carriers. No laptop, no tablet, cameras, etc. So now when I travel to my company HQ, I cannot take my work laptop with me because we are not supposed to let it out of our control.

I'd already changed my plans this year to vacation in the country but now may just also cancel all business trips.

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Shaquille O'Neal - The Earth is flat

"It’s true. The Earth is flat. The Earth is flat. Yeah, it is. Yes, it is. Listen, there are three ways to manipulate the mind — what you read, what you see and what you hear."


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For The Man from international SKEPTICS forum

For The Man from international SKEPTICS forum

Video for you

I hope, you make a video where you tell me what happening for expanding space when space metric coordinate getting bigger.

I already know. You can explain that!


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Martin McGuinness dead

Someone who saw many of his dreams realised through a combination of terrorism and politics. Some no doubt view him as a Mandela figure. As an English person brought up during "the troubles" (and listening to the UK news) I have a different view.

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lundi 20 mars 2017

Countdown to Comey's Firing....

FBI Director James Comey's testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, which pretty much said that the Don was living in lala land about the phone tapping and that they were investigating his election and campaign for Russian influence, how long do you think Comey has got left in the job?

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The Copper Wall Experiment

Hi there,
while reading about Energy healing I have find about the Copper Wall Experiment conducted by Dr. Elmer Green.
In the experiment he tried to find evidence of 'subtle human energy' by monitoring energy healers in a copper wall isolated room. In short, test subject would be placed in a room sealed with copper walls. Then they measured voltage of walls while test subject were sending 'energy'. It seems that some of the energy healers had some success by producing voltage surges which were much higher than average human electricity fluctuations, while 'normal' people couldn't produce the effect. You can find some of the info by Googling (I can't post links).
I couldn't find any independent verification of this experiment so all of this sounds to me like bunk. However, I would appreciate if somenone who has some technical knowledge about electricity, copper walls conductivity, human electricity to explain this stuff in more detail.

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Who will win the 2017 French presidential election?

Five weeks before the first round, this year's French presidential election promises to be like none before it.

For the first time in the history of the 5th republic, it may well be that the two main political blocks will both be thrown out during the first round.
Current polling indeed has far right Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron as qualified for the the second round.
And, again according to current polling, Macron is expected to win the second round.

However, this election has known a number of surprising developments so far, who knows what can still happen in the coming five weeks.

Who do you expect to win this election?

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What really happend 2004 christmas 26.

What really happend 2004 christmas 26.

I think that energypulse from magnetar had a pilotwave which was here one day before very strong energypulse 27 christmas 2004.


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dimanche 19 mars 2017

Score one for the Anarchists

"A female employee of the International Monetary Fund suffered injuries to her face and arms on Thursday when a letter bomb mailed from Greece and addressed to the world lender's European representative blew up as she opened it, officials said.

The letter, which had arrived by mail, exploded as it was opened by a secretary at the institution's office in an upscale part of Paris.

The secretary, whose hearing was also affected, was receiving treatment but her injuries were not life-threatening, Paris police chief Michel Cadot told reporters. The blast caused little damage to the office."

That secretary, who was clearly a fascist and had it coming, will not soon forget her punishment meted out by the brave antifa forces!


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British historical TV dramas be racist

BBC News: Historical dramas 'limit UK black actors'

"Actress Thandie Newton has said she "can't work" in the UK because there are no roles for black and minority ethnic actors in historical dramas.

London-born Newton said the number of costume dramas had led to "slim pickings for people of colour".

Her criticism comes after British Film Institute research found that 59% of UK films since 2006 had no black actors in any role.

Newton's next UK TV role will see her appear in BBC One's Line of Duty.

Speaking to the Sunday Times Magazine, the mother-of-three said: "I love being here, but I can't work, because I can't do Downton Abbey, can't be in Victoria, can't be in Call The Midwife - well, I could, but I don't want to play someone who's being racially abused." "

Currently around 87% of the UK population is white, but even as recently as 2001 it was over 92%. Go back to the years of what would count as "historical," and it was even higher. It's a bit of a no-brainer that in programmes like Downton there could be few if any non-white faces, although while I stopped watching Midwife a few series back, being set in London's East End they were far from rare.

All that notwithstanding, I'm tempted to question Newton's perception, given that she been working predominantly in the US for so long. British TV drama is absolutely awash with non-white actors, but the vast majority of it doesn't get shown in the US.

I'm also very dubious about the BFI's 59% claim, and it seems it comes from this Guardian article, which actually states that it is films that have "no named black characters" which is obviously somewhat different from "no black actors in any role."

This bit also prompts reference back to the actual demographics:

"The BFI study, which will form part of a comprehensive examination of UK films from 1911 to the present day, found that only four black British actors featured in a list of the 100 most prolific actors in British films. The figures showed little improvement in diverse casting over the past decade, even in years in which more films were released. "

Even in 2011 only 3% of the UK population was black, so 4% representation amongst
"100 most prolific actors in British films" doesn't actually jar.

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U.S. outsources intelligence...

I knew Snowden was a contractor. But I had no idea how much of the intelligence world is run by private contractors:

As I first reported in 2007, some 70 cents of every intelligence dollar is allocated to the private sector. And the relentless pace of mergers and acquisitions in the spies-for-hire business has left five corporations in control of about 80 percent of the 45,000 contractors employed in U.S. intelligence.

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20cm spider in Western Europe that hisses.

I think I'm asking this in the right forum.

This is something that apparently happened in the 80's at my aunt & uncle's house. They claim up until today that they had a big black spider from 20 cm in their living room that started to hiss at my uncle when he tried to chase it out of their house.

Personally neither me nor my parents believe that story. Plus, back in the 80's, they lived right next to us, so my mother or father must've heard something if this was true (like my aunt yelling).

And, I'm pretty sure that those spiders can only be found in the amazon woods.

So, I told my mother that I would ask if spiders like that exist in this part of the world and whether they would hiss on that skepticforum that I visit.

So, in case the questions weren't clear yet:

1. hissing spiders, do they exist?
2. spiders from 20 cm in western europe, is this possible?

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samedi 18 mars 2017

Pretty messed up - Britain's youngest mother. 11 due.

This is all kinds of wrong


Police are investigating the case of a pregnant 11-year-old girl who is due to become Britain’s youngest mother.

The father of the baby is believed to be another minor just a few years older than the mother-to-be, police have said.

Nothing from parents I can see

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Dearborn, Michigan now under Shawarma Law

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Venus Soon Visible in Both Morning & Evening on Same Date

Venus will soon be ending its apparition in the western sky as the Evening Star and pass between Earth and Sun in what’s called inferior conjunction. In 2004 and 2012 this resulted in rare transits of Venus across the face of the Sun. Later this month the contrary situation will occur.

Venus will conjunct the Sun in right ascension on 2017 MAR 23 at 03:42 UT (22 at 22:42 CDT), with a declination 9° further north than the Sun. For a few days around this time it may be possible for observers north of the tropics to witness Venus as both a Morning Star and an Evening Star on the same date. It will appear as a slim 1% illuminated crescent in a telescope, but should still appear as bright as Jupiter to the naked eye. Of course being viewed in twilight makes this tricky.

I’ve created a chart that illustrates the relative positions of Venus and the Sun during the days surrounding this unusual inferior conjunction. It can be viewed at

Photos and descriptions of Venus during its upcoming inferior conjunction would be welcome additions to this thread.

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Build a wall? Not so fast there, cowboy!

Maybe some of them landowners don't want to sell:

Trump border wall: Texans receiving letters about their land


Yvette Salinas, a Texan whose ailing mother owns a small parcel of land with her siblings near the Rio Grande was informed by the “Declaration of Taking” letter sent by DOJ that her 1.2 acres was worth $2,900, according to a story in the Texas Observer. She told the Observer that the family’s 16 acres has been in her family for five generations. The government’s letter asks recipients to sign in order to receive compensation, acknowledge that they “do not have an interest” in the case or do not intend to make a claim. It doesn’t really say what landowners should do if, like Salinas, they don’t want to sell their land.

Salinas called the letter “scary” and said “you feel you have to sign.” Her family is consulting a lawyer about its next steps. If other border landowners have the same reluctance to sell as Salinas, the government may have a long battle ahead to secure all the land necessary for the wall, given that the federal government doesn’t own most of it. The nearly 2,000-mile southern border is composed of federal, state, tribal and private lands. There are 632 miles of federal or tribal land -- 33 percent -- and the other 67 percent, most of which is in Texas, is private or state-owned, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The Washington Post points out that the president would need Congress to pass a bill to acquire the tribal lands for his wall.
Landowners who don't want to sell could potentially tie up The Wall in courts for several years. By the time ownership is cleared, Trump might not be president anymore.

This thing's never going to get built. I hope.

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Why is the sea salty?

I know it's a common question, but the answers I've found by a bit of googling don't really answer it.

I fully grasp that weathering takes solutes to the sea where relative concentrating of them occurs, but I seem to have missed the part that explains why the mineral richness of sea-water is dominated by sodium and chloride specifically.

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vendredi 17 mars 2017

Hawkish posturing on North Korea


“Let me be very clear: The policy of strategic patience has ended,” Tillerson said at a news conference in Seoul with Yun Byung-se, the South Korean foreign minister. He was referring to the Obama administration policy of trying to wait North Korea out, hoping that sanctions would prove so crippling that Pyongyang would have no choice but to return to denuclearization negotiations.

“We’re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic measures. All options are on the table,” Tillerson said. While the United States does not want military conflict, threats “would be met with an appropriate response,” he added.

What to make of this? What exactly does the abandonment of "strategic patience" entail? I get the displeasure with North Korea receiving aid and then continuing their programmes anyway, but does Trump & co really expect them to abandon the one bit of leverage they have? It's not easy to gauge how North Korea will react to this. My guess is that they will call it as a bluff, continue their research and continue to use it for leverage, because the prospect of them actually launching a nuclear strike on the U.S., even given ICBM technology, is incredibly unlikely; yet it will provide still more leverage.

The Trump administration will at some point then either back down and look toothless and weak, or start a nuclear war with humongous death tolls. The only thing these antics do is increase tension, in my opinion. I just can't see any good coming out of them


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Looking for information on the later years of Howard Menger

I know that he retired in Vero Beach, FL and made contradictory statements about being handled by the government. Beyond that...

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Living Man Hosts Own Memorial Service

This was in our local news today. I've often wondered about attending my own funeral, in the flesh.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Those who knew Bob Eleveld opening The Grand Rapids Press this week were greeted with a bit of a shock. According to our …

This signature is intended to irritate people.

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Elisa Lam Documentary and Theories

I saw a link on Facebook to a Kickstarter for a documentary into the death of Elisa Lam (the girl that was found dead in the water tank atop the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles). For anyone unfamiliar, the death was eventually ruled accidental with people assuming Lam's mental health battles took a turn for the worst, resulting in her scaling the fire escape to the roof, somehow climbing to the top entry point of the water tower, jumping in and subsequently drowning with no way of escape. I still believe one of the hotel staff murdered her since the water tower lid was closed (she couldn't have closed it herself) and it hasn't been sufficiently clarified how Lam could make it to the top of the water tank without a ladder. Of course, Elisa Lam death conspiracies followed with some getting quite outlandish (the linked article describes some of the crazier theories like "invisible assassins" and dimensional portals(?)) but I can understand people being somewhat unhappy with the uneven results of the investigation. Curious about some of the other opinions here regarding this case.

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Trump's 2018 Federal Budget Proposal

If we're cutting funding to arts, science, diplomacy, the environment, education, etc., What are we preparing to fight other countries to protect?

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COLD Showers: What does the Science Say?

Have any of you switched over to taking cold showers? If so, what improvements have you seen in your life?

Now in 2017, you would be hard pressed to find any positive self-help or "life hack' advice not advocating for taking cold showers. Many swear by them, call them life changing - with claims of increasing blood circulation and triggering the "Fight or flight" that can cure depression or anxiety.

In fact I remember reading in Paul M. Barrett's book, Glock: The Rise of America's Gun that Gaston Glock was brutally assaulted in his mid-to late 70s by a hitman and was able to show strength and resilience because of all of the years swimming in ice cold lakes:


...At the car park, Ewert guided Glock to the third underground level, where they found themselves alone. Ewert pointed out the snazzy roadster, and Glock approached on foot to take a closer look.

Suddenly, a tall man stepped out of the shadows, lunging at Glock. The Austrian raised his arms defensively. The attacker, his face obscured by a stocking mask, swung a large rubber mallet of the sort normally used to install bathroom tile. With a vicious overhand motion, he struck Glock on the top and side of the head.

Rather than intervene to help Glock, Ewert turned and ran for the stairwell. “I am a coward,” he would explain later.

Glock, meanwhile, was fighting for his life. The gun maker, who usually carried a pistol, lacked one on this day. With no other option, Glock fought with his hands. He swung his large fist into his attacker’s eye and mouth. Though seventy, the industrialist put up a stout defense. His frequent swims in the frigid lake near his villa in Velden had helped him maintain a younger man’s stamina. Glock drew blood and knocked out several of his attacker’s teeth. Despite the hammer blows to his skull, he gained the advantage.

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UK - Theresa May wants a more united Britain

Perhaps Theresa May is starting to feel a little pressure w.r.t. Brexit, maybe she's just trying to distract people from the government's embarrassing U-turn over National Insurance contributions or maybe she is just as passionately attached to the Union :rolleyes:.... but Theresa May will make a speech today in Wales calling for Britain to be more united.

Ignoring for the moment that it's government policies which have sowed most of the seeds of discord recently be they austerity, calling for devolved powers to come back to Westminster post-Brexit of showing a seeming lack of regard for people outside the M25, I think it's rich to call for this when embroiled in a spat with the leader of the SNP. Nicola Strugeon must be doing something right because my right wing friends and acquaintances are peppering Facebook with all kinds of anti-Sturgeon "jokes" and insults ;).

Anyway, here's a link to the story and a couple of choice quotes:


In her speech on Friday, she will also say she wants to see a fairer society and a stronger economy across the UK.
.....and her way of doing this will be distancing ourselves from our largest trading partner and dismantling human rights legislaton ?


She will also promise to take account of competing demands from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as the negotiations begin on leaving the EU, saying: "We are four nations but at heart we are one people."
No she won't, she'll do what's best for her white, elderly, middle-class, English base

Meanwhile the leader of the Conservatives is doing his bit to preserve the union :rolleyes:


Meanwhile, the Conservative's leader in Wales, Andrew RT Davies, has accused Labour and Plaid Cymru of "wallowing in self-pity".

He said the situation had got worse since the referendum vote with First Minister Carwyn Jones and Plaid leader Leanne Wood being in "complete denial" over Brexit.

"They cannot get their head around it because they do not want it to happen," the South Wales Central AM said.

Mr Davies said they acted as if "everyone is picking on Wales" when the nation had a great future in store.
Well Mr Davis, if you or your party could even give some clue about how things will be better then maybe people might start to listen but you have nothing. Instead we have David Davis turning promises regarding EU trade post-Brexit into aspirations, Ford closing the Bridgend engine plant and a squeeze on regional development funds :rolleyes:

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Best movies about British history?

What are the best movies on British history?

These are movies that I may be able to recommend to university students taking a course on British culture as an elective subject.

I understand that movies such as Braveheart and maybe The Patriot are very inaccurate, but I am looking for movies of two particular kinds:

Those about British history in general (including the British Empire), and perhaps biopics of the kings and queens.

Here are a few possibilities:

Elizabeth (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Madness of King George
The King's Speech

The Man Who Would be King (fiction, yes, but enjoyable)
Wind That Shakes the Barley (for Ireland)

Do you recommend any others, or would you warn off any of my choices so far?

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jeudi 16 mars 2017

Does acupuncture work?


Acupuncture therapy was provided for 16 sessions over 8 weeks. Boston Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Questionnaire assessed pain and paraesthesia symptoms at baseline, following therapy and at 3-month follow-up. Nerve conduction studies assessing median nerve sensory latency and brain imaging data were acquired at baseline and following therapy. Functional magnetic resonance imaging assessed somatotopy in the primary somatosensory cortex using vibrotactile stimulation over three digits (2, 3 and 5). While all three acupuncture interventions reduced symptom severity, verum (local and distal) acupuncture was superior to sham in producing improvements in neurophysiological outcomes, both local to the wrist (i.e. median sensory nerve conduction latency) and in the brain (i.e. digit 2/3 cortical separation distance).
I know some of you people can tear apart a good research paper better than me. So please prove the previous statement correct by do so on this article.

The only issues I can come up with are
1. It was a small study. Could have had the result by chance.
2. Did the people giving the treatment know which group the subjects were in? If so this could influence the result.
3. Sham acupuncture did improve the condition.

None of these prove the study is no good. But can you do better?

Edit. If you want to see a news report of the above then read this

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mercredi 15 mars 2017

The Powers That Are/The Powers That Once Were

Have the cranks never mentioned something like TPTA or TPTOW? Since CTers keep ******** their pants about TPTB...

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mardi 14 mars 2017

MSNBC Releasing Trump's tax returns

uploading images

$38m in taxes on $150m in income in 2005.

Nice try Liberals.

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Was Hitler an (proto)NWO conspriracy theorist?

Hitler's belief in the "International Jew"'s plans for world domination and the destruction of nations and national identity does sound similar to the modern populist right's NWO theories. Both of which involve Bankers and Bolsheviks.

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Suspicious email

In my line of work I get many enquiries for products related to the photo and video trade. They are usually genuine enquiries from local customers, and often lead to sales

However, this morning I received and email that has deflected the needle on my suspicion meter. Here is that email, my reply and their reply



I will like to know if you carry this item in stock or if you can special order them for me.

Sony DVCAM TAPE PDV-184N Non-Chip ............. 250 QTY

I will arrange for the pick up of the order from your location.

And also let me know which credit card type you accept between Visa/MC...

Will be expecting the quotation,so i can proceed with the payment details.




No, I don't stock these, and they are hard to find in New Zealand. I suggest you try



Can you special order the tapes for me while i commission you with $600 for the service rendered.

Thanks await to read from you.


The language seems off, and this is a very unusual product to be asking for, especially for 250 of them. They seem to have ignored the fact that I said I cannot supply these items.

Does this seem suspicious to anyone else here or am I just being paranoid? If this is some sort of scam, I can't see what the upside is for the scammer

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