mercredi 31 mai 2017

Kathy Griffin fired from CNN show

Between that and her losing The Squatty Potty endorsement it's been a tough couple days for Kathy.

via International Skeptics Forum

How soon before the conspiracies start on this bomb scare

A Malaysian Airlines flight (MH128) has had to divert back to Melbourne after someone tried to storm the cockpit claiming he had a bomb (It was a lithium cell power pack from a drill.) an investigation into the circumstances is now ongoing.

I am posting this here as there are going to be claims that this was a 'false flag' all over the internet and I'd like a single place to collect them as they are coming in.

via International Skeptics Forum

Is there a limit to technology?

Is there a limit to technology? Like I think society will eventually reach God levels. Basically a God will be born from technology. Like I kind of believe when I die, society will figure out the technology behind souls and revive me. I kind of want the real God to revive me though. I wouldn't be complaining if society revived me in a million years.

Once a God is born from technology, there would be no limit to technology.

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I wish to apologize

Mods, please don't remove this to another forum as this is where I committed my offense and I wish my apology to be just as public.

I have frequently cited several Twitter sources based on my assessment of their accuracy due to previous correct statements about events happening at the time.

Since that time, and after further study, I have come to the conclusion that while these sources may have some accurate information/insight, that their credibility is not as strong as my original assessment made them out to be.

I'll continue to follow them, but I'll try not to cite them as primary sources without at least noting whether or not I can find additional sources to support their claims.

Thank you.

via International Skeptics Forum

It is not rape, it is "spontaneous affection"

Two year suspended sentence for rape at Oktoberfest? I gather that drunkenness is a mitigating factor...

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Withdrawal from Paris Climate agreement

President Donald Trump is expected to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, two senior US officials familiar with his plans told CNN Wednesday.

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Mariage of underage girls to cover up a rape...

... does not happen only in muslim countries.

This can happen in other countries too :

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mardi 30 mai 2017

[Split Thread] Brilliant Light Power: LENR

There has been mention of fusion. The following is statement is what I am interested in! :D

Princeton Satellite Systems Fusion-Enabled Pluto Orbiter and Lander

Award Title: Fusion-Enabled Pluto Orbiter and Lander
Report Type: Phase I Final Report
Principal Investigator: Ms. Stephanie Thomas
Period of Performance: May 13, 2016 through May 12, 2017
[ . . . ]
Executive Summary
The Pluto orbiter mission proposed here is credible and exciting. The benefits to this and all outer-planet and interstellar-probe missions are difficult to overstate. The enabling technology, Direct Fusion Drive, is a unique fusion engine concept based on the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration (PFRC) fusion reactor under development at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.The truly game-changing levels of thrust and power in a modestly sized package could integrate with our current launch infrastructure while radically expanding the science capability of these missions.

During this Phase I effort, we made great strides in modeling the engine efficiency, thrust, and specific impulse and analyzing feasible trajectories. Based on 2D fluid modeling of the fusion reactor’s outer stratum, its scrape-off-layer (SOL), we estimate achieving 2.5 to 5 N of thrust for each megawatt of fusion power, reaching a specific impulse, Isp, of about 10,000 s. Supporting this model are particle-in-cell calculations of energy transfer from the fusion products to the SOL electrons. Subsequently, this energy is transferred to the ions as they expand through the magnetic nozzle and beyond.

Our point solution for the Pluto mission now delivers 1000 kg of payload to Pluto orbit in 3.75 years using 7.5 N constant thrust. This could potentially be achieved with a single 1 MW engine. The departure spiral from Earth orbit and insertion spiral to Pluto orbit require only a small portion of the total delta-V. Departing from low Earth orbit reduces mission cost while increasing available mission mass. The payload includes a lander, which utilizes a standard green
propellant engine for the landing sequence. The lander has about 4 square meters of solar panels mounted on a gimbal that allows it to track the orbiter, which beams 30 to 50 kW of power using a 1080 nm laser. Optical communication provides dramatically high data rates back to Earth.
[. . .]

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How to change someone's mind honestly?

Thoughout my life as a skeptic, and well, as a human really, I have tried to change someone's mind. For a lot of things, this is actually not too hard as people can be corrected about simple stuff.

For some things though, it seems virtually impossible as an idea can be wrapped in an ideology, or with their identity. It is these beliefs I have had huge trouble with as i'm not just trying to convince someone of one idea, but many intersecting ideas that they are trying to protect.

Often in these discussions I also end up realising that the other person has very little understanding of science, reason or even basic logic. Sometimes the person will admit they believe on faith or their emotions or that they would never change their mind.

So the question is, what are the best methods for changing someone's mind? At the same time I want to be honest with an open mind which has left me a little bit troubled. Listening to some podcasts like "You are not so smart", they seem to say is that you need to lower their defense, be a friend and appear to be someone who is just trying to grapple with some inconsistencies, while you slowly bring them around. This seems somewhat dishonest as I don't want to mislead anyone.

At the same time, there are other strategies, like not reinforcing incorrect beliefs as that leads to the backfire effect, replacing ideas with a true narrative, not just knocking ones down.

So what seems to work best?

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What do all these people's names have in common?


Every time I see a new five-letter last name pop up, getting a major news cycle, it seems a little weirder.

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Question about orbiting bodies

(and yes, I worded that title for parody threads :p)

In my layman's knowledge, in order for one object (say the moon) to orbit another object (say the earth), the orbiting body has to be of smaller mass in order to maintain a stable orbit. Otherwise, you'd end up with a situation like a 125 pound dog being led on a leash by a 3 year old.

What I'm there a theorem or formula that defines this? A scientific principle that says "in order for one object to orbit another, it's mass has to X times less than the orbiting body to maintain a stable orbit" (with other factors included)

If I had a magical dial that I could turn and magically increase the mass of the moon, as I turned it up, there should be a point where the moon's mass was great enough that a stable orbit around the earth was no longer possible, and it would either fly off on it's own or come crashing down to the earth. Is there a scientific formula that calculates this?

via International Skeptics Forum

Logitech Webcam / Quicktime Player incompatibility

I'm trying to record directly into the computer using two Logitech cameras I have. The problem is that for some reason, Quicktime is not recognizing the video from the camera. Only the audio. So that when I open Quicktime, and click on New Movie Recording, and then select the source, it doesn't display the webcam on the Camera section, but it does display the webcam on the Microphone section.

What's more ********** up is that on one of the many attempts I did, it finally did display the webcams on the Camera Section of the Quicktime display and I even managed to record a couple tests. But then later, I opened Quicktime again and now once again, it won't let me select the Webcam from the Camera section.

I have exhausted all the different combinations of connections. The first time I finally managed to display the Webcam's Camera was when I also had the Iphone connected to the other USB port. But later when I tried replicating the same connection, it still wouldn't display the Webcam on the Camera, as it did before.

In short, there seems to be no pattern at all, and I'm becoming extremely frustrated.

Has anyone dealt with this before and has any clue as to what may be happening?

via International Skeptics Forum

Orwell, the Holocaust, and the 26,000 bombs the US dropped on the ME in 2016

A conspiracy of silence -

Pardon my lousy summary of 1984, but briefly, the best known quote is 'He who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past'. And the story centers around Winston Smith who works in the ministry of truth which is responsible for continuously rewriting the past to suit the present needs of the ruling Party. Another quote is ...
'... and then the chosen lie would pass into the permanent records and become truth... Sometimes he talked to her of the Records Department and the impudent forgeries that he committed there. Such things did not appear to horrify her. She did not feel the abyss opening beneath her feet at the thought of lies becoming truths.'

All the while the armies of Oceania are range across the world and are involved in continuous wars to subjugate other nations.

Ninety-nine percent of the time the propaganda and thought programming by the party is sufficient to ensure the compliance of the Outer Party (13%) with the dictates of the Inner Party (2%). The proles (85%) are mindless and a Party slogan is 'Proles and animals are free', and not targets of mind control. However, in the few instances when a Party member deviates from the programming, harsher measure are employed, and he/she is arrested and subjected to forced reprogramming.

Looking at the present western societies, we see that the propaganda apparatus is active 24/7 to condition us to comply with the demands of the governments, in particular to support the continuous operations of the US military and NATO as they attack countries in the middle east.

If we look at for subjects in history that is controlled by the state to the extent that force is employed when it is questioned or challenged, there is only one, and that is the Holocaust, with laws in many countries that subject persons who insist on challenging that aspect of history to severe prison sentences. What is the connection?

We can trace the motivation for the endless wars in the ME back to a document written in 1985, the Zinon plan,

And we can follow the steps that led to the Iraq wars and subsequent spreading of the wars, I'm not sure if a YouTube link is a 'hot link' so I'll just give the title ...

General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned - Seven Countries In Five Years

There are intermediate documents - 'A Clean Break - A New Strategy for Securing the Realm', the PNAC's 'Rebuilding Americas Defenses', and an analysis by 'The Israel Lobby' by Walt and Mearshemier.

And of course, none of this is written up in the NYT or covered on CBS news, this is all part of the conspiracy of silence.

But the most astounding aspect is the what is for all practical purposes the secret of the US bombing campaign in the ME that has been going on continuously for 25 years. For a time, until Obama, you could read on the online Air Force Magazine a Daily Report of the AF sorties in the ME broken down by category. The archive is still online but I'm in a hurry now and don't have time to look up a link. But, there was a report published on the number of bombs dropped by the US in 2016 alone,

So, we see the incredible power of the propaganda apparatus, the ability to turn reality upside down, and there is not a peep from the citizenry. We bomb the Muslims for 25 years, killing hundreds of thousands if not millions, ravaging entire countries and turning them into killing fields, and yet we are able to claim that the victims are 'terrorists' bent on destroying our way of life even as we go half way around the world to bomb them out of existence.

So, let's reveal the actual reason for the wars, that the propaganda apparatus protects at all costs - former senator Frizt Hollings summed it up succinctly - 'The war in Iraq is to secure Israel, and everybody knows it'. This is why Israel's history cannot be challenged.

Note to moderator: please note that the Holocaust is not denied in this post, it is mentioned as an essential link connecting Orwell's analysis and the current state of the world.

via International Skeptics Forum

How do you think everything will be organized in the afterlife?

We all have different beliefs about what happens after death. How do you think it will be organized?

I don't believe people will experience unbearable pain. So hell doesn't exist. It's hard for me to say what will the afterlife be like. I know it will be a loving place.

There will be sex for sure. What you think the afterlife will be like?

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‘liked’ a Facebook post - convicted of defamation

From the article:

"In the first case of its kind in Switzerland, the 45-year-old unnamed defendant from Zurich was found guilty after he ‘liked’ several posts on Facebook accusing Erwin Kessler, the president of an animal rights group, of racism and anti-Semitism.
Mr Kessler then brought a case against the defendant, arguing that by ‘liking' the posts the man spread their content by making them visible to a larger number of people, and that he acted with intent to harm and without any justifiable cause.

Zurich court judge Catherine Gerwig said at the trial on Monday said that ‘liking’ the posts was “spreading a value judgement”

She said that a 'like' is associated with a positive, meaning he clearly supported the posts' content. The court ruled that the defendant couldn’t prove that the statements about Mr Kessler were true or that he had "serious reasons" to believe them to be so."

I suppose it was inevitable that this would happen sooner or later. I wonder what the ramifications will be.

via International Skeptics Forum

Menard wants to be a freeman lawyer again.

Rob Menard has created a petition on change. org asking for a re-write of the Legal Profession Act.

Menard neglects telling potential signers that his petition is little more than a self-serving attempt to get himself back in the freeman lawyer business. On his Facebook page Bobby recently hyped his legal advice service and he has at least one "client" in the B.C. The petition lists Menard as living in Victoria, B.C.

In 2008 B.C. courts banned Rob from acting as a lawyer after he was caught lying to potential clients, among other things. One of Menard’s clients during this time claimed Rob sat drinking in a bar when he was supposed to be in court earning the fees he had been paid.

via International Skeptics Forum

Ascendant Germany/France?

With Trump's attacks on Germany and increasing American isolationism under an explicit "American First" doctrine, I've been really wondering if we will see an ascendant Germany (possibly closely allied with France) as a new leader on the world stage.

I don't see them getting into the kind of the military adventurism of the US but I can see them strengthening their economic position and tacking a course separate and independent from the US. This is not to say they don't do it already but with a Trump "America First" agenda they will be driven to act more independently and be much less influenced by US policy.

Henry Kissinger talked a lot about first France (under Louis XIV and Napolean) and then a unified Germany being a world power anchoring continental Europe in his book "World Order". I could see a potential future with more diverse power brokers in the US, China and Continental Europe acting more independent of each other if the US continues the "America First" path.

via International Skeptics Forum

Why Can't We Drain the Swamp?

Trigger Warning

This is a non-partisan piece. If you're here for the name calling, off with you. First person who says, "Because Libruls" or "Because Conservatives" or replaces party names with individual names will get a figurative custard pie in the face.

Why can't we? Because the RNC and DNC are the effective madames of a house of ill repute called the US Congress.

Wanna chair a major committee? Work the phone bank (on the public's dime while you're supposed to be attending to the business of Congress) and raise more than a million dollars for the party, and you get your committee. Won't or can't do it? Forget about Ways and Means... you're going to be on the Committee for Beautification of Interstate Highway Toll Plazas.

The below should be mandatory reading, not just for the many foreign onlookers who find the US system to be train-wreck fascinating, but to Americans, too. We're woefully ignorant of our own machinations.

You might want to secure eyeglasses or any dangling earrings before reading. You may find yourself shaking your head so much that you lose them. :rolleyes:

via International Skeptics Forum

lundi 29 mai 2017

Tiger kills zookeeper in 'freak accident'


Originally Posted by CNN
A tiger killed a zookeeper in an enclosure at Hamerton Zoo Park in the hamlet of Steeple Gidding, near Cambridge, United Kingdom, according to the Cambridgeshire Constabulary's Facebook page.

The zoo said in a Facebook post that the keeper's death on Monday "appears to have been a freak accident." A full investigation is underway, the zoo said.

This fatal accident was a freak.


The zoo and the police declined to comment on whether anyone had been injured during the incident, which happened about 11:15 a.m. (4:15 p.m. ET). Steeple Gidding is about 25 miles northwest of Cambridge.
Reported dead but possibly maybe not even injured. Stand by for more details.

via International Skeptics Forum

Taxi cab driver drugged and raped by three women.

For some reason I am unable to cut and paste. However, I just read an article about a case in South Africa. A male taxi cab driver stopped to give a ride to 3 women. For at least two days he was drugged and repeatedly raped by all of the women. He had injuries and he was traumatized. Police are searching for the women.

I volunteered at a Rape Crisis Center. In 3 years I only heard one man with a similar situation, but he was not held captive for more than a few hours. It makes me wonder how under- reported this crime is.

I apologize. It seems this may have already been a topic awhile back?

via International Skeptics Forum

Why Does a Rocket Nozzle Work?

Isn't the amount of energy leaving the back end of a rocket the same, whether there's a nozzle there or not? Why does a nozzle make a rocket go higher?

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House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly snubbed by 8th graders


When House Speaker Paul Ryan posed for a photo with the 8th graders of South Orange Middle School near the Capitol last week, about half opted out, according to the Village Green New Jersey news site.

LOL, get ********** you worthless piece of crap.

via International Skeptics Forum

Paris Mayor Accuses Black Feminist Event of White Exclusion

This is an interesting case, given what I know of France, it will be very interesting to see how it plays out. My own personal view is that the Mayor of Paris is right to make this stance.

I've seen too many comments from the 'alt-right' of the "If they want to bring back segregation, lets give it to them." kind in response to safe space stories, to think otherwise.


PARIS (AP) — The mayor of Paris has strongly criticized and is threatening to cancel an upcoming festival for black feminists where four-fifths of the event space will be open exclusively to black women.

Rights groups have branded the event a step backward on race issues.

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump wants more money for healthcare

Trump in the past has praised Single Payer health insurance.

During the campaign he said the govt. would make sure all Americans are covered.

Now he is calling for the govt. to spend MORE on health insurance?

Has his trip to Europe convinced him that Medicare-for-All is the way to go?

via International Skeptics Forum

Commerce and Welfare Clauses, abused?

May Libertarians argue that the Interstate Commerce Clause and the General Welfare Clause of the US Constitution have been abused to allow for all sorts of regulations and programs that were not intended by our Founders.

This includes Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, pollution laws, anti-discrimination laws, etc.

What say you? Have we abused such Constitutional texts or are we using them appropriately?

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Ann Coulter calls for US/Russia "military alliance" against Western Europe

My first response was "WTF, Coulter?" Then I stopped and thought about it and realized very viscerally just how far gone the Right is in America. Scary scary gone...

via International Skeptics Forum

Italian General Election Thread

Okay, looks like the Italian general election is coming up soon:

Unlike Wilders or Le Pen, Grillo has an actual chance of winning the election, especially since Renzi looks like a washed-up has been after that Referendum debacle.

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Observer: NSA Chief orders "unprecedented" effort to document/preserve Trump evidence

On the heels of Admiral Rogers' statements to the NSA rank and file that the agency has "damning" SIGINT on Trump and associates, the NSA chief has ordered an all-out effort by the agency to not only find, but keep safe evidence of his collusion with Russia.

(posted about an hour ago)

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Help! I Need A Patient Physicist! (Warning - Long and Very Amateur)

Hey everybody!

I have a few broad (and very amateur) questions pertaining to contemporary theoretical/quantum physics research, and I'd much rather ask you guys on here than battle the woo-storm of trying to do a Google on something like this.

I had the opportunity recently to watch a documentary about M-Theory. I believe it was called "The 11th Dimension." I have no idea its original source - a somewhat woo-leaning friend put it on while we were extracting files from a laptop of mine that died awhile back. There were no real interruptions or distracting bouts of activity for the duration of our viewing. After the initial setup of that computer transfer process (also seemed like dark magic to me!), we just sat and watched it straight through. Transfer still wasn't completed by the time credits rolled, in fact. So I'm confident in saying I paid optimal attention and didn't miss portions.

Unfortunately, my legitimate scientific knowledge of the complicated subject matter employed here (quantum physics, general basis) is SO limited it actually feels like a handicap sometimes. Today is a fine example of such a time.

What I do know is that fibers of "quantum" themes pop up all over the place nowadays, however Hollywoodized, tertiary, meaningless, or plain BS-caked the context. Many, many people misapply concepts like subatomic uncertainty principle to the regular physical world, typically in order to bolster some starry alternative doctrine or another. I think I went past the phrase "quantum dentistry" somewhere recently - my brain just blocked out the circumstance, in total defensive mode, presumably to prevent me smashing something in frustration or triggering a coronary event in myself. But I know I saw it...

Even more common is the widespread misapplication of tortured "quantum" memes to psychological or sociological constructs. Every neo-hippy with a Terrence McKenna fetish steps up to [/i]"blow your mind" with the Truth, how "all your problems are just in your head man, nothing is real, just choose love instead of fear; it's that easy!" I don't have any patience with this kind of childish and solipsistic **** when it's stated overtly to me - I unhesitatingly shoot it down as the naive and unscientific conjecture it is. I'm equipped with that much base familiarity, at least. But if similarly distorted reasonings were implied a little more subtly, dressed up with enough tidbits of real science to pass my "Timecube-y" filter, and communicated by well-spoken people who aren't ranting into a webcam and don't seem visibly or actively delusional... well, I could probably be utterly fooled. Lulled into misunderstanding the brass tacks, contemplating incorrect paradigms, all the while thinking I learned something really cool. I hate the thought of such a senseless detour in my pilgrimage to understand my world better. But I objectively know, whether I like it or not, that minds uneducated in the discipline's consensuses but interested in its implications (ME, dammit) are prime candidates for being duped into thinking things are essentially "true" that aren't even close.

And just how "accepted" can an almost entirely theoretical premise be said to be, anyway? I have no idea; I'd like that to at least start changing. How bitter is the blood between proponents of different quantum models in the research field? Even if one sticks to the most "mainstream" data such a discipline can claim, there are at least 5 different complete world-proposals espoused in depth, most frequently by dudes too smart for me to ever even tell if they were suddenly being stupid. Which models have more widespread devotion, if any? And why?

I do have SOME footing to learn. I took a particle physics class in college (got a C- lol) within the last 5 years. Two years of AP classic physics prior to that in high school, most of which I grasped quite well. Touched on a little bit of particle intro around the end of senior year. I was like, holy smokes, this stuff is lunacy. Thank god I wasn't planning on being a physicist when I grow up.
I try to educate myself further by reading reputable material I encounter. (I don't mean A Brief History of Time, either, though I have read it. I mostly just try to understand germane pieces from reputable science journals the best I can.) No matter what, the math eventually starts to lose me. And all the non-math sources on "quantum" anything are usually glaring woo that even I can recognize without trouble.

Which brings me back to the documentary in question. Throughout, red flags leaped and peered out at me, even if I couldn't understand exactly why due to the complexity of the material. My mistrustful skeptic spidey sense kept rising into bursts of wild activity. But it wasn't constant, and none of the video's claims reached anything like the indisputable New Age crap levels one often encounters wherever subatomic particles are mentioned these days. Perhaps I'm desensitized from posting here so much; once you've sat through documentaries on lizard people organizing pedo rings and cryptocurrency energy weapons, even the wildest claims about an unfamiliar discipline might sound okay by compare, at least as long as the presenter keeps up some vestige of orthodoxy. Slip in a "lepton activity" or "Higgs Boson - spin 0" here, and a "foundational problems with loop quantum gravity" there, and I might just be sold. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

However, many basics covered in the film sounded either probably similar to the M-Theory stuff I've grazed in the past, or plausible in the context presented (inasmuch as a layperson could hope to determine that). I mean, maybe it did. I wouldn't know, though. I remembered "11 dimensions to make the math work" in M-Theory, so that much was probably within an accepted theoretical model. As for truly wrapping my mind around whatever the hell it means conceptually, forget that. The best I can do is think back to metaphysical "wisdom" I discovered during LSD trips in my early 20's. Something like that, except with really complicated math and a lot less jam rock and nudity. And no discernible comedown. Beyond that, I'm a brick trying to learn arithmetic.

So here are my primary resultant questions for anyone with even a reasonable basic knowledge of M-Theory, the underlying concepts on which it was built, theoretical physics, or anything in that vein. Please know that I'm not trying to get anyone to write me a personal essay or anything - perhaps just a book recommendation, one that could help strengthen my untrained brain's groundwork without delving into blatant tosh and metaphysical hyperbole? That would be great. I normally prefer to do my own bloody research, but this particular topic is a bull **** bug-lamp like no other, with a very wide sphere of pseudoscientific influence. Even experienced genius experts have been known to start spouting crazy interpretations now and again. I suppose that's the risk of spending too much time pondering the our world's "true", that insidious layer where everything runs on an entirely different and bizarre method of batty physics, riddled with confusing unknowns and gaps, and ultimately probably unprovable no matter how much one generation of researchers might discover. I could see existential ennui thriving. But I can't afford to be derailed into bad logic at this early stage, however understandable its presence may sometimes be.

1.) How "promising" (for lack of a better word) is M-Theory as a model? Is it generating a lot of legitimate study or interest in the field? Do most still like string theory better? Can any of you actually do the math out? Is it solid? Does the basic notion as a paradigm make a kind of sense? I'd kind of like to know that before I bother digging further!

2.) Assuming there's some validity in there somewhere, how does the following characterization strike you? At one point around the midpoint of the documentary, the talking heads started discussing what difficulty most people have conceptualizing 11 dimensions on top of the 3, sorta 4, that are regularly understood and perceived. From there, they started proclaiming some of these dimensions could be right "next to us," but out of reach so to speak. They began illustrating a model of the universe as a membrane, essentially populated by different "planes," functionally akin to sealed wormholes. Seemingly inaccessible with regard to each other.

O...kay. I realize it's nearly impossible to explain any portion of this stuff to laypeople without dumbing it down significantly or using simplified analogies to start. However, none of these 3 (alleged) experts ever made it clear one way or the other if they were employing loose illustrative devices or speaking as literally as subatomic weirdness allows. They just said stuff like, "The universe is - think of a great big membrane, punctuated by essentially closed wormholes - the proposed higher dimensions. All kind of layered over each other, but without direct perceptual interaction of any kind, except for the vibrating strings that comprise everything." And so on.

Uhhh... could be! From where I stand, it's all essentially turtles the whole way down. Even if I "got" the math someday, I imagine the philosophical implications would remain pretty alien for awhile. So I have no idea how to judge these statements. With regard to any other discipline, I'd have long since affixed my red CHARLATAN stamp to the entire matter, devoid of uncertainty. But this is the HOME field we're talking now, and I'm way out of my element. Maybe I'm just having What the Bleep?! flashbacks. That one left me pretty gun shy. I may not really get this stuff in any truly useful way, but neither did I just tumble off the turnip truck. When purportedly scientific documentaries start offering shades of stuff I've heard espoused to death by river stoners, I get concerned. Concerned that I'm either misunderstanding fundamentals or consulting a dubious source. Likely both. That's not going to help me get any smarter on the subject.

3.) This springs directly from the film's subsequent discussions of their proposed "membrane peppered with closed wormhole" model of the 11 dimensions. If this mind-melting depiction is on the right track, they said, it could mean that some of these other dimensions are not just "right beside us," but also absorbing most of the true force of "our" dimension's gravity somehow! Yes, that is apparently what at least a couple people consider a promising hypothesis. I just couldn't get past it, though. Maybe it was an unsimplifiable conceptual paradigm, poorly reduced for simpler folks, and it just translated stupidly to me because it isn't meant to be simplified in such a fashion. I could certainly accept that explanation. But as worded, the whole segment was just horrible. It made no sense. One second they were talking about impenetrable wormholes to other dimensions, the next they're excitedly suggesting that gravity is weak as fundamental forces go because these inaccessible higher planes "absorb" the bulk of its force? And leave no mathematical indicator whatsoever? Is that reasonable? I honestly can't tell.

This portion made no mention of higher dimensions' affect or lack thereof on any other fundamental force. I'm not sure if that would be relevant or not, though. Gravity is still a bit mysterious in many ways, I realize that too. Does that mystery leave room for its possibly being multi-dimensional and filtered down in our perceivable reality, though? You tell me. I simply can't make head nor tail of any of it, as is.

4.) One more regarding the "closed wormhole" illustration - I found myself wondering something pretty distracting, as they went along talking about where and of what unknown nature M-Theory's inaccessible superfluous dimensions might be. At times, it almost sounded like they were crossing over into descriptors more akin to "parallel multiverse" framework, another profoundly abused concept in pop/spirit "science." Are those types of separate "worlds" considered theoretically similar to the "extra" dimensions demanded by string and M-Theory by experts who study them? Or was this maybe an attempt by documentarians to jazz up a boring, math-sodden mind-**** in order to hawk it to a wider contemporary audience? Shoehorning vague vocabulary that reminds people of Dr. Who (long live Rose Tyler!), Sliders and The Matrix would certainly be a good way to go. That's just basic marketing at its core - something I actually do understand pretty well. So I could see either or both being the case here. All I know for sure is I currently have the hell confused straight out of me.

And finally, in summation - if indeed theoretical "parallel worlds" and "extra dimensions" are considered principally similar or even related by those most influential and knowledgeable in relevant fields, WHY are the six or seven other dimensions so incomprehensibly mysterious and unreachable? What's the working theory? Even if the "square the square of the square of the square" type math starts getting geometrically absurd (and it does), I don't understand why non-physical has to equal imperceptible, a "magical" other. Apparently I'm very comfortably occupying three regular dimensions right now, and arguably perceiving a fourth almost constantly. (Perhaps "occupying" it too then - but probably semantics. I digress.) I've heard it said the fifth would be something like the tesserect travel provincially outlined in the wonderful A Wrinkle in Time, but less mystical and more potentially matter-destroying. Any supportable truth to that premise? And if so, isn't something like that still a form of perception? Or isn't it? Goddammit, I have't been this brain-busted since I got stuck in my first Cartesian circle, several bong hits after an early PHIL 101 lecture. Only it's not fun and dazzling this time around. It's actually infuriating.

Wow, sorry so long. I was chilling in the park yesterday (day off) enjoying spotty public WiFi in veritable solitude, and I just started typing this out as a word document because it's been on my mind. Slowly, it grew into a behemoth. I'm pretty prone to that in writing when I have the time. But if anyone cares to give it even just a thorough skim and point me toward a good, current, somewhat comprehensible and reasonably "mainstream" text on the matter, I will owe you a real solid. And I'll slink on back to SI&CE where I belong, taking my whole horde of commas along with me.

Okay, now I have to be at work in 3 hours. I'm so glad I'm kind of a crazy person - it really passes the time!

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dimanche 28 mai 2017

Trump's Travelouge Summary (aka The Ugly American Abroad: Presidential Edition)

* 2 additional security breaches
* 1 mental breakdown
* shoved the PM of Montenegro
* cost us Germany as an ally by calling them "bad/evil"
* was epically trolled by Pope and new French President
* got his hand slapped away repeatedly in public by Melania
* flipped off the Italian PM

Have I missed anything?

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19th Century Poets

I sometimes wonder how the old 19th century poets would have liked this thread we have for adding a single line for Limericks. I'll bet it would be wild to read the back and forth between, say, Longfellow and Whitman..I mean to say we have a wonderfull tool for writing in a cooperative manner.

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The Anne Frank Hoax ?

According to the standard narrative Anne Frank arrived in Belsen in late 1944 and died there of tyhpus in 1945 a few weeks before the camp was liberated by the British. But, that has changed a bit recently from one made up date to another ...
So, we can correctly infer that there is no actual evidence that she died at Belsen at all.

And there is evidence that she did not die at Belsen. When the British liberated the camp the cameras were rolling and they made a documentary from the footage. Not surprisingly the documentary was shelved for 50 years but it can now be seen here ...

The reason the documentary was shelved is that they wanted to use some of the footage as evidence of the holohoax, but the vid was taken after the war and showed prisoners that had died of tyhpus as the vid documents, not gassed Jews, so they presented the footage in newsreels as being Jews gassed by the Nazis, and hid the documentary.

This is a screenshot from the documentary ...

The girl on the front row 2nd from the left looks like Anne Frank, shown here

There is a little more to the story - At Belsen, the camp where Anne Frank ended up, there was a special barracks for Jewish children that was overseen by luba Tryszynska, a Polish Jewess who took it upon herself to see to the well being of the Jewish children in the camp after losing her own child. She appears in the back row of the photo above. She was assisted and the barracks was known as the Kinderbarracks. It housed up to 100 children, with around fifty being Jewish Dutch children from Amsterdam. After the war Luba, the Jewish children under her care at Belsen were transported to Amsterdam, the children became known as the 'Diamond children' as their parents were largely in the diamond trade. And article by one of the non-Dutch children in the Kinderbarac indicates that the Luba for unknown reasons, took special attention to the care of the Dutch children.

A book was written about Luba, 'Angel of Belsen', and it lists all the diamond children, so, if the girl in the photo is not Anne Frank it is very likely she is one of the children listed in the book. The diamond children have remained in touch and in 1995 they had a reunion in LA with Luba.

So, if the girl in the photo is not Anne Frank it should be easy to determine who she is. I emailed the Anne Frank center in Amsterdam, and they replied that they knew nothing of the Belsen photo and could not identify the girl. Also, to my knowledge, none of the diamond children have commented on Anne Frank at all.

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The Anne Frank Hoax ?

Duplicate deleted

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Is The Earth Spinning or Stationary?

Is The Earth Spinning or Stationary?

There are only two legs to the heliocentric globe theory, namely the spin and it's shape. I would like to focus on the first. We can display all evidence/arguments for spin and all evidence/arguments for a stationary Earth and see where the chips fall.

I used to believe the Earth was a spinning globe. I still like to consider myself a rational person who is persuaded by facts and logic over opinion and sentiment. I am not a flat earther, I am not completely convinced yet that it's true however I will make arguments in its defense. To begin...

As a result of the planets axial rotation, Earth's atmosphere is also said to be in constant motion and it has been calculated to be moving at 1000mph at the equator in an eastwardly direction.

According to NASA in a document entitled "Rotational Motion and Rocket Launches", they say (on page no. 3)

"In order to launch a rocket you have to get it going pretty fast. Rocket fuel is expensive. Therefore rockets always launch towards the East. Why?

Answer: So that the rocket can get a speed boost from the earths rotation"

According to QUORA the speed boost is quantified

"The best place to launch a rocket to orbit is anywhere on the equator. That's because if you're on the equator and you're launching the rocket eastwards, Earth's rotation will give you about 400m/s of speed in advance"

The atmosphere is made of air, air is matter and matter in motion produces a force. It makes sense that NASA would exploit this rotational force to achieve escape velocity, this is evidence that this rotational force actually exists in physical reality.

Yet, despite this fact, we do not feel this atmospheric motion with our senses evolved to detect air movement. Neither can
can we detect this atmospheric motion with our instruments designed to detect air movement. Indeed, if the atmosphere of Earth was in fact stationary how else could we prove that if not by our inability to sense any motion or measure any movement?

There also appears to be a contradiction. How come we don't feel or measure any rotational force but NASA's rockets do?

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Burden of Proof

One key tool to effective critical thinking, it seems (as someone who’s somewhat new to this game, I mean to self-consciously/deliberately critical thinking), is being able to identify the “null hypothesis”, and to be able to decide which way the burden of proof lies.

How exactly do you decide what this zero-position should be? Occam’s Razor and all that, sure, but … okay, let me recount a discussion I had just the other day, “IRL”, the content of it I mean :

When you see the sun go round you every day (not today, but say a thousand years ago), and you are to reason out from scratch which actually circles which : then I suppose the position you must start from is that what seems to be happening is indeed happening. To prove the counter-intuitive, you need proof. You need to actively prove that the earth goes round the sun, by showing (in the absence of more sophisticated tools) that the sun-centric model explains other elementary astronomical observations better than an earth-centric model. Am I right so far?

So then it would seem that in some cases it is not a question of which scenario is more “parsimonious”, but which scenario is more intuitive, more in agreement with plain common sense. (Invoking many gods will always be less parsimonious than invoking one god, and invoking one god will always be less parsimonious than invoking no gods : but you can’t be so miserly, so unthinkingly parsimonious, that you fail to explain anything at all!) As with the sun-going-round-the-earth question, I mean, back in times when we did not have tools and observations that made the right answer obvious.

Have I got that right? (Not a rhetorical question ; I could be wrong, in which case I’d like to know where exactly I’ve got it wrong.)

If I’m right thus far, then if we take this to that old old question of whether there is God, back in a far more primitive time when we knew so much less than we do now, in fact when we knew almost nothing other than what we could see and hear and touch and smell directly : back then, the intuitive, common-sense interpretation of life around us must surely be polytheistic, with storm-spirits and sun-or-day-gods and moon-and-night-sprites and water-and-flood-gods and disease-spirits and so on, perhaps all of them marshaled by some sort of uber-god. What we know today of all this (almost certainly no gods at all, and most certainly no storm-godlings, etc) is something we would need to actively prove (in those primitive times), since it would be so counter-intuitive.

Which, of course, is exactly what we (humanity) have actually done, down these long ages. Polytheism made the most sense to begin with ; then we reasoned (kind of, using the word “reasoned” very very broadly!) our way to monotheism ; and finally to atheism. (Atheists there have been even in olden times, documented atheists even millennia back, but I think -- simply think, nothing “researched” or corroborated, but I hope think not incorrectly -- that widespread and unqualified atheism is a fairly recent phenomenon.)

What I’m wondering and asking, I guess, is this : we always say that no-God is the default position, that the presence of God is the position that needs to be proved. That’s true enough today, given what we know of ourselves and the world : but was/is that always true? Would a near-perfect skeptic, a near-perfect critical thinker, someone equipped with all the tools of critical thinking and logic but with the actual observations and actual knowledge of a few centuries back (or if that’s too advanced, then certainly a few millennia back), be justified in taking the God(s)-does(do)-exist position as his null hypothesis, and actively need to prove the absence of god(s)?


TLDR : The atheist keeps on saying (quite correctly) that no-god-or-gods is the default position, and the burden of proof lies on those who choose to invoke a god (or gods). But is that always true? Specifically, when the only answer forthcoming to everyday non-esoteric questions (e.g., what is thunder, what is lightning, how do floods happen, how do diseases and death happen?) is supernatural, and the only alternative, non-supernatural answer is a non-answer (the I-have-no-clue-at-all answer) : is it still correct then to hold that atheism is the default position? Or does the burden of proof shift to the other side then?

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The Living God

Brothers, sisters, children and human beings

We have a nice introduction in “A God of Love”. So it seems fit now to go into what materialized. Not from those with other agendas but from those that were interested. There is a Living God. I am that too. Nobody can say I am not alive and I am not here. You want to see a living God . . .well take a look at me. That is just what a God of Love does. He take those that want too out of their human existence and place them into His existence because His existence is obviously a higher one. He is a higher species with a better quality of Life.
And the way He does it is by Love. There is only one way that is true Love . . . by guiding your very own children to find your very own grown-up life. A child has everything of the parents already inside of him and is growing up to be exactly the same as the parent. But a child needs to be a child first. The parents need to guide the child in his abilities to find the grown-up life. No species can live the life of that particular species without having been small first and having parents to guide him into their live.
So the True God who created the whole of earthly life for us to understand what it is about... is saying . . .I am a Father. And obviously by saying it, it cannot be anything else that He has created and what the creation know about the concept of “Father”. But strangely enough; even those that read His letter to us struggle to understand this. That is for one obvious reason. Up to now there was a lack. There was the lack of mothers. Because God is one there is none. You can only become a mother through the growing process. Obviously a grown-up is not a child anymore and ready to be a companion. In this instance a companion for God. It has to be the wife of God because that is what love is about. And it has to be the wife of God as He is still the head in that situation of marriage. And now family life can exist by which children will mature much faster. So we will see an increase in grown-up children of God in the future. That is an increase in gods. That will bring about a whole change to earthly existence. This is something to look forward too as present earthly existence is not of great excellence. Human life is on the verge of distinction and this is by their doing. They tried to be gods in themselves. They were never born in that capacity and also they were never “guided” into it by Love. They missed the one great factor: family life - which is a life of Love. Without this there is no room for a well developed existence. This is what the world has witnessed up to now: God’s children struggling to be gods. They had a huge disadvantage. This will soon be corrected.
Love Johan

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[Continuation] Signs of the End Times - Part the Third

Here is the END to the END.

Gen_6:13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh is coming before Me, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Behold, I am about to bring ruin upon them along with the land.

Mod InfoThread continued from here.

You may, of course, respond to any posts from that thread here.
Posted By:zooterkin

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samedi 27 mai 2017

Child sex dolls. Why is there a market for this?

Although this news item refers to Australia, I'm sure that this is a world wide phenomenon. You can now order life like child dolls online that are anatomically correct (and presumably can have sex with them).

It makes me wonder how many sick perverts there are that this would be a profitable market.


An "evil" trend of importing lifelike sex dolls into Australia is on the rise, with depraved shoppers ordering anatomically correct silicone “robots” to resemble girls as young as five.

A simple online search finds the child dolls, which include sexual functions, are easy to order for as little as $500.

Customers are able to chose features like hair and eye colour, and type of clothing – even specify what sort of school uniform they would like.

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Sex Robots

I was curious what feminists had to say about them, so here's an article on it:


Sex robots offer men the perfect solution to the feminist movement: If you won’t comply, we’ll create women who do.

There are a lot of articles and video pieces coming out on this lately because apparently the technology has advanced to the point where it is a real threat. It isn't that the dolls can have sex with you. That isn't the deep threat. Porn and prostitutes already exist.

The deep threat is that they are nice to you. They are becoming companions.

Feminists have made themselves so repugnant that dolls can replace them. So I have a prediction. As these dolls become more and more lifelike, and less and less expensive, the nascent anti-feminist movement among females is going to accelerate.

You are going to start seeing articles in women's magazines on how to make men happy. Real mysterious, complicated stuff like making him a sandwich. Welcoming him home from work and saying "thank you" instead of lecturing him on ten thousand years of patriarchal abuse.

The lead article in Cosmopolitan: "How to steal him from his doll".

You used to hear things from women like "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach". You don't hear about a man's heart now. By feminist doctrine, men don't have a heart worth winning.

So what would a feminist doll for men look like? It would have built-in tasers. You get home from work, out comes the taser. You ask for a sandwich, you get tasered. Sex? An even more powerful taser. It emits a relentless stream of malicious attacks against men, and if you try to shut it off - you get the taser.

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"Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning"

As beach season begins, Slate has reprinted its 2013 article about how to recognize real-life drowning. It's not like the movies.

There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.

Share it with anybody who might benefit.

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Schapelle Corby

Now Schapelle Corby is back home, it may be a good time to reflect on her story.
Before I am accused of being an obsessive innocenter, I think we should look at some patterns.
She steadfastly maintains innocence.
There appear to be major irregularities with her bags and boogie board that are ridiculous for a knowing smuggler.

I started reading her book in a secondhand bookstore, I should have bought it because it was pretty well written. It is uncommon for guilty people to engage in these projects.

Any ideas?
I am ready for LK to attack here :).

ETA I see two books on kindle available with one click, including above I mentioned, search word Schapelle.

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JFK Conspiracy Theories V: Five for Fighting

Mod Info The previous thread was becoming a little slow, so I have split to a new thread for part 5. Please remember your Membership Agreements when you submit your posts.

As is usual, the split point is arbitrary and participants are free to c&p from previous iterations of this thread in order to address points raised therein.
Posted By:Agatha


Originally Posted by OKBob (Post 11856366)
Maybe it becomes as tedious for the CTs to be here as it sometimes is for skeptics to read their endless fringe resets and Gish gallops. And I can't say that I ever saw a JFK CT on any of the JREF/ISF threads really absorb and grow from any of the criticisms that are lavished here. As I write this, Robert Harris, an alumnus of ISF, is on the alt.assassination forum challenging discussants to offer evidence that his theory (yes, the Z285 shot) is false. How many lectures did he receive on this forum about not demanding that his opponent prove a negative?

I watched the video he present on the education forum, probably the same as here, and I can see no reaction at Z285 that would indicate a shot. Another claim with merit, all in the eye of a CT.

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Zbigniew Brzezinski (1928-2017)

Damn you, 2017. Yes, this is not a hoax, it seems. Apparently, Zbigniew Brzezinski has died.

Famous for being one of the more hawkish members of the Carter administration.

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What do you think of circumcision?

I'm circumcised. I like being circumcised because it looks better. If I have a child, he will be circumcised.

What do you think of circumcision?

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vendredi 26 mai 2017

Antifa Bike Lock Attacker Identified and Arrested College Professor

And the best part is guess what he teaches: Ethics!


Background: A former Diablo Valley College professor was arrested Wednesday in connection with the use of a bike lock in the beating of three people during a rally for President Donald Trump last month, police said Thursday.

Eric Clanton remained in custody in lieu of $200,000 bail at Berkeley Jail on Thursday and is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Friday at Oakland’s Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse. He was arrested on three counts of suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon that isn’t a firearm and assault causing great bodily injury.

In a statement Thursday, police acknowledged that video of the incident, captured by onlookers and posted on social media, helped them identify Clanton as the suspect behind “several violent assaults” that happened April 15 during the demonstration at Civic Center Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
What really happened is that 4chan crowd-sourced the identification and came up with the assailant's name (about a month before the arrest). The attacks were vicious and cowardly, and at least one--the one of the guy in the red shirt-definitely could have been fatal.

NSFW--language and violence.
(Attack comes near very beginning of clip. Note in particular that the reach advantage the ulock gives him means he can attack from behind other antifa members, and then quickly disappear.)

Note as well that antifa stands for anti-fascist.

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Cleaning events, Mars Rover

Some process or someone is cleaning the Mars Rover- Opportunity.

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What is a True Christian?

From my observations there seems considerable diversity in the definition of Christians.

On the surface one only has to consider the enormous number of different sects I suppose, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are that separate in fundamental belief. At the risk of sounding cynical I think the reason for many offshoots of Christianity is purely for financial gain. Religion is a great money spinner and if you can market a product with your own label, even if identical to others, you may cash in.

I will list what I see as some essential beliefs for True Christians:

- God is the God of Abraham.
- Jesus is the son of God.
- The only way to salvation is via Jesus.
- The Bible is the inspired word of God. (Some may believe some or all is literal truth and some allegorical.)
- God created everything. (The means and time frame may vary.)
- Us humans are the central focus of God's creation and in some way we are made in His image.

Anyone care to add to this or question my list?

What defines a True Christian?

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Wonder Women "Ladies Only" Screening Brouhaha...

Warners, as a publicity gimmick, did a Women;s only screening of the up coming "Wonder Woman " movie,and got a expected reaction from the usual supects:

This is getting big coverage from all the networks.
And I have to salute Warner's Marketing.They knew damn well with would happen, and knew the kind of free publicity and coverage this would get. They just got the kind of free publicity they would have to pay ten of millions of dollars for. Well played, Warners, Well Played. You played the dumb suckers perfectly. But then bigots are not knows for their intelligence.

And, if it matters, Lynda Carter loved the movie with an enthusiasitic Tweet.

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Armed police do nothing as old lady tortured to death by anti-semite

It appears that there is a problem in France, to quote :

A 65-yr old Jewish lady MD, during her sleep, is attacked and atrociously tortured for more than one hour.* She lives in a modest apartment in the 11th arrondissement of Paris, rue Vaucouleurs. The murderer, *who reached her apartment through the balcony, attacks with*incredible violence, resulting in about twenty fractures all over her face and body.

He then throws her, dying, out of the window, from the 3rd floor. During all this time, the police (3 men with weapons, present in the building just outside the apartment door) do nothing. The neighbours (several dozen) can hear the victim’s yells: *they do nothing either. The French media are alerted. They make no queries and do not report the murder.

As the article says, not the first case like this, and again being treated as a non issue by French authorities and media.

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The reason I so like science.

No matter how good our imagination is, reality always seems to be both more complex and way more interesting.
Is there any planet we ever even got close to the truth in our imaginations?

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jeudi 25 mai 2017

Can Queen Elizabeth retire without abdicating?

The 91-year-old queen visited hospitals yesterday to try to cheer up injured survivors of the Manchester bombing. She is universally admired and respected for the way she's conducted herself all her life, including 65+ years as queen. Various royal scandals and silliness over the decades have never touched her. Could a time come when she says "I'm goin' to the beach. Ta-ta?" I realize she could abdicate the throne, something Prince Charles has probably been urging to do since he was about 30. But could she withdraw from public life without abdicating? Would the public accept a queen who only made a handful of public appearances a year? She's entitled to a break without having to give up everything.

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One Scary Star

So, a friend of mine an I were discussing planetary systems, new and interesting astrological findings when he said, "if ever we see a star, just plop out of existence, we should be scared that another civilization has mastered solar collection."

A couple of years later, I stumbled across this Ted Talk-

This star's output indicates something VERY strange is happening there...

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What if: Colin Powell in 2000

Let's say Colin Powell decides to run as a Republican in 2000 (And convinces his wife to support him*), and wins in a landslide against Gore.

What would his presidency be like?

*he claims that the only reason he didn't run was because his wife threatened to leave him.

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The Valley of the Wood Apes, part 2

So these wood apes? Not a thing.

ABP - brilliant insight about drying out the birches! Love that deep wintergreen aroma of cut birch. I also love teaching greenhorns about chewing on birch twigs for that flavor.

Mod InfoThread continued from here. You may, of course, respond to any of the posts from that thread here.
Posted By:zooterkin

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Trump is an ass.

It's hardly a secret. Trump is not just a horrible President, but a horrible human being. Basic common courtesy is simply not a trait he possesses. Yesterday, it was Spicer and the Pope. Today, he literally push aside the leader of another nation to get to the front.

Watch it.

I thought we should maintain a thread of not his illegal actions or his policy decisions but his childish, selfish or churlish actions. Figure this thread should continue to the end of his Presidency.

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The very idea of Trump-Russia collusion a provocation?

Two rather trustworthy authors on Russia said this about the dossier.

Maybe I'm just uninformed about recent developments (these articles are from January), but this could go the way of the faked Clinton evidence and Comey fiasco and there is a disturbing possibility that this entire case is a misdirection!


The recently released report that asserts that Russian president Vladimir Putin has been “cultivating assisting and supporting Trump” for years and that the Russians have compromising information (kompromat) on him is, I believe, a deliberate Russian provocation. Trump has denounced the report as “fake news” and has even cited Russian denials of the report in his defense. His opponents suggest that the report is credible and are demanding an investigation of the allegations.

In both cases, however, the report is accepted as the product of a private investigation that may or may not have been honest rather than what I believe it to be — a carefully constructed attempt to disrupt American political life for years to come.
From Forbes


This story makes no sense. In 2011, when the courtship purportedly begins, Trump was a TV personality and beauty pageant impresario. Neither in the U.S. or Russia would anyone of authority anticipate that Trump would one day become the presidential candidate of a major U.S. political party, making him the target of Russian intelligence.

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Trump criticises NATO members for not paying their way.

Trump at NATO today, in a speech in front of the other member leaders, was critical of the states which have not paid 2% of GDP as agreed. Indeed only 5 make that commitment;

United States, 3.61%.
Greece, 2.38%.
Britain, 2.21%.
Estonia, 2.16%.
Poland, 2%.
France, 1.78%.
Turkey, 1.56%.
Norway, 1.54%.
Lithuania, 1.49%.
Romania, 1.48%.
Latvia, 1.45%.
Portugal, 1.38%.
Bulgaria, 1.35%.
Croatia, 1.23%.
Albania, 1.21%.
Germany, 1.19%.
Denmark, 1.17%.
Netherlands, 1.17%.
Slovakia, 1.16%.
Italy, 1.11%.
Czech Republic, 1.04%.
Hungary, 1.01%.
Canada, 0.99%.
Slovenia, 0.94%.
Spain, 0.91%.
Belgium, 0.85%.
Luxembourg, 0.44%.

He went on to point out that the USA spends more on defence than the rest put together. Well, sorry, but that is the USA's decision to spend so much.

I think there is a problem which Trump does not get. Defence, or attack?

Much of the USA's spending is is not really about defence at all, it is about the ability to go anywhere in the world and attack. Only the UK, Italy and France also have that ability because of their nuclear option, their bases around the world and/or aircraft carriers. Then, it is nothing like teh ability the USA has.

The rest are only geared up to defend and are so small that the most likely aggressor, Russia, is always going to win a one on one.

No wonder the President of Luxembourg make a comment behind his hand which made others leaders smirk. What could Luxembourg realistically add to the defence of Europe, let alone anything else?

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Gianforte charges with assault of journalist

US politics has become an engrossing trainwreck. This a sideshow to the clown act under the big top.
Republican candidate charged with assault after 'body-slamming' Guardian reporter
Audio of Greg Gianforte attacking Ben Jacobs corroborated by Fox News journalists in the room, who described candidate ‘slamming him to the ground’

A stunned Fox News team have corroborated Jacob's story.

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US Intelligence Services Leak Like Crazy

As you may be aware, there has been a terrorist attack in Manchester. You may be less aware of the fact that there is a diplomatic spat developing on the back of it.

There's a routine sharing of information between intelligence services but that the country whose intelligence service gathered the information retains control over how and whether that information is released.

US newspapers, notably the New York Times have had details of the Manchester bombing which were not made available to the UK press and far more importantly, the publishing of which may severely compromise the investigation by the UK police.

The leaks must have come from US intelligence services.

The US ambassador was approached by the Greater Manchester Chief Constable mayor when the first leaks became known and assured the Chief Constable mayor that the leaks would stop. Further revelations in the NYT, including pictures of parts of the device show that the leaks have continued.

Not only does the US President have a cavalier approach to managing intelligence provided by allies, it seems that the US intelligence services also cannot be trusted with allies' intelligence.

If this kind of thing continues, allies will become increasingly unwilling to share intelligence with the US because it might fall into the hands of the press or an unfriendly power.

The Greater Manchester Police have reportedly already stopped :mad:

Get your act together USA !

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mercredi 24 mai 2017

Impeach Trump?

Can Trump be impeached for colluding with the Russians, or Wikileaks, or hackers?

What High Crime or Misdemeanor would that be?

I want trump impeached as much as anyone else, but is collussion with a foreign power or with hackers, an actual crime?

I'm not sure it is.


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Montana Special Election has an Election Eve Twist

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Make America Great Again

I somehow previously posted this in Conspiracies. I think it properly belongs here.

Trump's slogan during the campaign was Make America Great Again. I am curious about how this is coming along. Any signs of renewed greatness yet? I would not expect it to happen quickly but something must certainly be showing signs of progress by now. I am not sure how this greatness should be evaluated but here are some ideas:

- Are many more people employed?
- Are crime rates dropping?
- Is the economy noticeably improved? People with more $ to spend?
- How about relationships with other countries? Are they more friendly and/or cooperative? Trade agreements being honored? Settled your differences with Russia? North Korea? Mexico? Canada?
- Is the federal government more efficient? Are your various levels of government acting more for their constituents and less for their own interests? Good strong federal cabinet working to improve the lives of all citizens?
- Are Americans enjoying the benefits of more accessible and efficient health care?
- Any progress in resolving your immigration issues?
- Any new wars started, or old wars successfully concluded?
- Do you all love your president? Has he vowed to stop grabbing pussies? Do women feel comfortable being alone with him?
- Are the people generally feeling good about their lives?
- Is "racial" equality more prevalent and evident?
- Are LGBTQ persons more (or less) welcome? Experiencing less (or more) discrimination?
- Are crimes involving guns and other violence reduced?
- Military managing to increase and upgrade their arsenal to keep up with the rest of the world? No longer fearing the might of other countries? Navy managing to keep track of the sailing direction of their armadas?

Any other signs that you are becoming great again? Surely there must be some evidence by now. Or is it just too soon to tell?

I guess that Americans have managed to survive 8 years of having a black guy as president, and were able to avoid being led by a woman. Maybe being led by a gang of old conservative white guys again is one small positive step in the direction of your former greatness.

via International Skeptics Forum

A Dubious Russian Document Influenced the FBI’s Handling of the Clinton Probe

Even after the FBI determined it was unreliable, they continued to use it as justification for how they were handling the case.


In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received a purported Russian intelligence document describing a tacit understanding between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server.

The Russian document mentioned a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter — a conversation that if made public would cast doubt on the inquiry’s integrity.

Current and former officials have said that document played a significant role in the July decision by then-FBI Director James B. Comey to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election.

But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable.

via International Skeptics Forum

New Penn State Abuse Problem: An Elephant named Beulah

This is a petition opened at Change. org :

On March 25th, a Penn State organization brought a six ton, 45 year old captive elephant named Beulah to our campus. As an animal sciences major at Penn State, it is outrageous that our school would use thousands of dollars of our tuition to promote the abuse and exploitation of wild animals in captivity.
The company who provided the elephant, R.W. Commerford & Sons, has a long history of citations from the USDA for failure to provide animals with proper vet care, failure to provide proper feeding, and failure to maintain a suitable home for the animals.
This poor elephant was shipped to Penn State on truck for a five hour trip each way. She was then forced to stand for several hours in a confined area. (Elephants typically walk up to 30 miles per day in the wild.) Despite needing over 60 gallons of water per day, she had no access water and was fed an unnatural diet consisting of doughnuts and marshmallows. She was poked with sharp bullhooks to force her closer to gawking spectators.
This is not the first time Penn State has sponsored such abuse. These animals are brought here for no educational or other beneficial reason; they are brought here solely for entertainment purposes. If these animals get loose or out of control, the results can be devastating to both people and property. This will likely result in having the animal shot and killed.
Beulah deserves better than this. President Barron, Penn State is better than this. We are calling on the university to change their policies to ban animals from being brought to campus for entertainment purposes.

Feel free to go there and sign or otherwise, I signed earlier today.

via International Skeptics Forum

The Trump Budget: Can we all agree that Trickle-Down Economics is stupid?

Trump has (in absentia) proposed

“A New Foundation for American Greatness"

A budget that would not only drastically cut support for the poor and sick, but also transfer massive amounts of wealth to the richest while at the same time reduce funding for the future by cutting research.

The budget assumes that cutting taxes for the wealthy will dramatically stimulate growth, thereby creating more revenue (see Laffer curve) and "raising all boats with the tide".

But from all empirical data and just plain common sense we know that this cannot work.

So is there anyone who thinks that this budget, if adopted, would do anything but cause serious damage to the US, both economically and socially?

via International Skeptics Forum

Border Adjustment Tax

This thread may die from lack of interest, but this thing is currently being debated in congress so I thought maybe we should have a thread about it.

One thing that is very curious about this to me, given Trump's rhetoric about slapping punitive taxes on companies that move jobs to other countries, is why doesn't he support this? Isn't this exactly what he was calling for?

But, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and some other Republicans in congress have criticized the idea:

Central pillar of House tax reform plan draws friendly fire


The fault lines widened Tuesday over a major pillar of the tax overhaul being pushed by House Republican leaders, with the proposal drawing stronger criticism from the Trump administration and getting a cool reception by some GOP members of the House tax-writing committee whose chairman is a staunch advocate.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin took the unusual step of openly criticizing the provision, which is being pushed by Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders.

“One of the problems with the border adjustment tax is that it doesn’t create a level playing field,” Mnuchin said at the Peter G. Peterson Fiscal Policy Summit, using the plan’s technical name. “It has very different impacts on different companies. It has the potential to pass on significant costs to the consumer. It has the potential of moving the currencies. We want to make sure we’re creating a level playing field.”

Those same points were debated across town, as the House Ways and Means Committee held its first hearing on the issue.

Several Republican members of the committee expressed qualms or outright opposition to border adjustment, including Rep. Erik Paulsen, a moderate from the suburbs of Minneapolis who had previously backed the proposal.

"I cannot support the border adjustability provisions as introduced," he said. "I really want to urge this committee to listen, to be educated and to address" criticism of the plan "as we move forward with reform."

Paulsen had come under heavy pressure to oppose the plan from retailing giant Target, a major employer in his district and a big contributor to his reelection campaigns. The corporation's chairman, Brian Cornell, testified against the proposal at the hearing.

Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady defended the proposal, saying it would boost economic growth – and with it, wages – while also acknowledging criticisms of the plan.
So companies like Target that sell a lot of imported goods hate the idea. The article also mentions that Archer Daniels Midland supports the idea. They get over half of their revenue from exporting agricultural commodities. This would presumably help their bottom line.

This is, essentially, a tariff on imported goods, is it not? It is also a tax break for exports, I think. So why does Trump oppose this? That is what I can't figure out (unless his populist rhetoric about a 'big border tax' to protect US jobs is just a lie).

Then, regardless of whether or not Trump supports it, is it a good idea? Will it protect US jobs? Would it help to balance America's trade deficit? Incentivize companies to make things in America, or not send jobs to Mexico or other countries?

via International Skeptics Forum

mardi 23 mai 2017

Obama's Team secretly disclosed illegal NSA searches

Where the hell is the media on this?

via International Skeptics Forum

starbug strikes again - Samsung S8 iris recognition hacked

With a rather illustrous history of sidelining biometrical systems, a German hacker known as starbug now tricked the iris recognition system of the Samsung S8 smartphone with rather primitive methods (see video).

Must be a relieve for everyone having to fear Russian hackers or US border police longing for their eyeballs. And for those who object to making stuff like that public: If there's a bad guy as smart and determined as the good guy starbug is, he's at least about to find out exploits like that.

via International Skeptics Forum

All Of A Sudden

Embedded YouTube videos no longer open for me. I just get a black screen.

What did I do?

via International Skeptics Forum

Twit Tweets about Duck Ramp, Twitter Quacks Up

He's really laid an egg with this one! The peeps responding to him are not amused. Be sure to check out replies to his other tweets as well.

via International Skeptics Forum

Should we tax robots?

It's clear in the coming years if we are not there already that increased automation will destroy more jobs and opportunities than it creates leading to more unemployment and making permanent the socioeconomic strata.

Some ideas to deal with these problems include taxing robots and universal basic income. What should the government do? Implement these solutions, nothing, or something else?

via International Skeptics Forum

Health Care is Easy...

Seriously, I have figured it out. It took me a year in grad school, but if you want, I'll help you set up a 501(c)(3) that operates as a non-profit health care savings cooperative, for your hospital district.

The model I developed for my district requires enlistees to pay a marketplace average premium price for their particular demographic, for one year. This subscription price is intended to create a fund large enough to sustain catastrophic loss. Private insurance premium prices current include- care or claims, administrative overhead, legal services, taxes, advertising, as well as profit. Government services can do the same more efficiently, because it can eliminate some of these cost drivers.

If your board members are required to volunteer, you can eliminate ALL of those problems...

After paying one year's marketplace premiums, subscribers become full-members, who's monthly premium is based on the actual health care services and medications consumed by the group the previous year.

The present re-imbersement model hospitals deal with from Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance sources is..."inconsistent"... Hospitals actually have to do a lot of outright guessing when it comes to setting their prices, because they get repaid for the same procedure, at a different rate, depending on who is paying for the services, NOT what care the patient actually receives... As a non-profit, your organization can serve a single hospital, and negotiate/offer to pay 100% of all actual services consumed, at not only their actual price...because the hospital itself can get a tax deduction at the end of the year for donations made to non-profits!

Within your bylaws, you should include another requirements for members like 2 yearly check-ups and annual physical. This is intended to accomplish two things- early detection & create data. The data is really important as a long term cost reducer, as the ability to predict who will arrive at the hospital is the single piece of criteria missing most often.

When government and the marketplace fails, people ban together to form social groups, and the tax code both allows and encourages these actions. If you want to pay the lowest premium cost, while helping your hospital better prepare to serve your needs, create a non-profit health care savings cooperative.

Anyone here a fan of Alexis de Tocqueville?

via International Skeptics Forum