vendredi 30 juin 2017

Is belief itself dangerous for your brain? (A rethink is in order)

Hi heathens, I am here "atheisting" on a daily basis.
Anyway, it appears belief is "toxic" to the brain because:

(1) Belief can include non science, while science cannot.

"..that flat earthers exist, (i.e. beliefs in supposedly flat earth) does not disregard gravitational theory, and that scientists believe, does not suddenly change the behaviours of equations in scientific descriptions."

The second quote comes directly from my shameless plug below:

online book on amazon (free for unlimited users)

Give me your thoughts heathens (theists feel free too)

Scientific data that shows that strong belief may be toxic:

via International Skeptics Forum

Light Clock Thought Experiment

In the classic Light Clock Thought Experiment the clock is shown standing perpendicular (at a right angle) to the plane of the clock’s travel. What however if the same clock was tilted forward at an angle (say 45 degrees) as shown in the image below?

The light “blip” (red line) reflected from the top mirror of position 1 strikes the bottom mirror of position 2 at a particular angle of incidence (AOI). The Law Of Reflection dictates that the blip is reflected from the mirror at an equal and opposite angle of relection (AOR) as indicated by the dotted line. For the blip to reach and be refected from the top mirror at position 3 however, it has to be refelected at a completely different angle (AO?).

Also the distance the blip travels from the top mirror of position 1 to the bottom mirror of position 2 is considerably shorter than the distance it travels from the bottom mirror of position 2 to the top mirror of position 3 (in the same time).

Seems this light clock would have to break both the Law of Reflection and the constant speed of c. How can this be so?

via International Skeptics Forum

It CAN Happen Here....

A blogger has recorded week-by-week all the Trump atrocities that historically have characterized the beginnings of an authoritarian takeover:

The idea, she said, came from her post-election reading about how authoritarian governments take hold — often with incremental changes that seem shocking at first but quickly become normalized. Each post begins with: “Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.”

via International Skeptics Forum

An armed society... a polite society.

Or, perhaps not. Driving dispute ends in someone being shot dead.

via International Skeptics Forum

The Difference Between Men and Women

- I see doom on every front.
- This is one of the fronts. Unless we can turn things around, political correctness is going to kill us. And unless we can stop deliberately looking the other way when it comes to the natural differences (especially in needs) between men and women, we're probably committing suicide...

via International Skeptics Forum

Alex Jones and Martian Slavery

Robert David Steele of the Earth Intelligence Network ( "The Truth at Any Cost Lowers All Other Costs", has appeared on the Alex Jones show to present his claim that for the past twenty years NASA has been kidnapping children and shipping them to a slave colony on Mars, using their labor and harvesting them for blood and bone marrow.

Well, until that last I wondered why didn't I get to go on this trip?


via International Skeptics Forum

Good history podcasts

I have two to recommend myself and if anyone knows some other good ones I'd like to hear about them.

The first one is Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. This has been a thing for years and there's only a handful of new episodes released each year. But that's because he really does his homework for each one and doesn't just wing it. Episodes can be up to several hours each. Each one is a pretty deep dive into a particular historical era or story.

The second one is a new podcast in its second season called Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell. The episodes are shorter and divided into seasons. It's currently 3 episodes into the second season and while I liked the first season I'm liking this one even more. The most recent episode is particularly good in my opinion. This is mostly focused on more recent American history. He definitely comes at it with a point of view and opinions and big ideas, it's not like he's trying to just be a neutral observer and chronicler of facts.

via International Skeptics Forum

jeudi 29 juin 2017

Is the Roman Catholic Church in Freefall?

Cardinal George Pell is taking leave of his Vatican duties after informing the Pope he plans to return to Australia to fight historical sexual assault charges in court and clear his name.

via International Skeptics Forum

Here we go again. . .

Rob Menard has recently been hyping his indoor grow systems and is telling everyone on Facebook that he's had a meeting with an un-named vegetarian restaurant chain interested in purchasing a great many units in order to grow vegetables for their restaurant chain.

After hyping the meeting Menard give his Facebook readers a report. The emphasis is mine:


Robert Menard: Well that went about as well as I hoped! Very cool folks, and although they liked my design it was not what they were looking for. They prefer an aeroponics misting system for the roots as opposed to a flood and drain system, they want the units fixed in place but still modular instead of mobile units, and they want to be able to go up at twice or three times the height of my design. They did like my design for someone who wants to maybe grow in their garage, but they have in mind a much higher production capacity than my design was aiming for.

So... they asked me to redesign my unit to meet their needs, include greater detail in the drawings so they can get it in front of an engineer and do a cost analysis, and give a better more detailed construction plan. If I can come in under about $3500 US for a 4'x 8' multi-tier modular plug and play units and still include the control system, I think they may offer me the contract to set up their urban farm, or, consider a partnership and creation of a new corporate entity to manufacture and sell these larger industrial sized units.

They liked it, they just want bigger. Either way, I see them in two weeks with the new plan, designed to their stated specs.
Those of you who are familiar with Rob's entrepreneurial efforts and inventions will recall his proposed vitamin supplement product, his pitched property stewardship company, which was to employ homeless people to renovate foreclosed properties, and the infamous Ninja Goat, an outdated motorized camera platform he proposed to sell to the film industry.

If you recall each effort was hyped on the internet or on Facebook showing the usual Menard excitement with the supposedly bold new idea. In each case a meeting with or a solid connection to the product's prospective users was hyped and reported on. In each case Menard said needed to make a few more adaptions to his invention or idea, but needed just a few more thousand dollars to get the project rolling.

I have to admit that this time I was hoping Bobby might, in his 50's, be on the way to making his way in the world. But I see the pattern. I think all Bobby wants are investors who will eventually be told that the project didn't happen and their money went up in smoke.

Think about it. The Facebook faithful are being told that a successful restaurant chain is calling serious meetings with guy who, by a simple Google search, can be discovered as a failed freeman guru on the run from the courts.

Oh, please!

via International Skeptics Forum

The potential ecomomic impact of climate change on the U.S.

I safely suspect this applies to other regions of the Earth.

via International Skeptics Forum

Bullying on the decline

via International Skeptics Forum

McEnroe says Serena would be ranked 700th

It seems to me that there's far too much of a brouhaha about this.

Part of the transcript is here

tl;dr - McEnroe thinks Serena is a fantastic athlete, but would be ranked pretty lowly on the men's tour.

I've never been a John McEnroe fan. Great player - absolutely. Total asshat on the court - definitely. I'm not giving him any freebies. I just can't see any sexism in his comments, and I think he's right not to apologise for them even though it appears that he's been forced to admit that he 'regrets' making them. Presumably that means he'd rather the uproar hadn't happened.
"It would have been better not to have said it. I didn't realise it would create something like this,"

Serena, for her part, added (on Twitter):
"Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based," she wrote.
"I've never played anyone ranked 'there' nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day sir."

I'll add that I believe she referred to "not having time to play someone ranked 'there'" as a result of the suggestion that McEnroe's assertion could probably be easily proved or disproved.

I feel like these are the kinds of instances where people feel that political correctness goes too far. Is it sexist to believe that at the highest levels of sport, there is a difference between men and women? In tennis particularly, women don't play the same length of match in Grand Slam tournaments. Surely that is begging for someone to draw negative comparisons. The differences between men and women in strength and stature is more pronounced than it is in endurance, imo**. I can't see that women would not be able to cope with best of 5 matches.

How do other people here feel about this kind of issue?

via International Skeptics Forum

Russia disses new British aircraft carrier

BBC News: Russia says new UK aircraft carrier 'a convenient target'

"Russia has dismissed the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier as "just a convenient, large maritime target".

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov was hitting back at the UK for criticism of Russia's ageing carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.

HMS Queen Elizabeth set sail on Monday from Rosyth dockyard in Scotland.

Later UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon called the Admiral Kuznetsov "old, dilapidated". The ship sailed through the English Channel last year.

The 26-year-old Kuznetsov rarely goes anywhere without a naval tug, in case it breaks down."


via International Skeptics Forum


BBC News: Mum opened nappy to find son had been circumcised

"A mother has described the distress of discovering her baby son had been circumcised without her consent.

The woman, from Nottingham, said she opened her son's nappy to find him covered in blood - and was so distraught she had to leave the room.

She has battled for four years for authorities to take action.

Three people have now been arrested, including a 61-year-old man - thought to be a doctor - on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent."

via International Skeptics Forum

Responsible gun owner shoots book. And boyfriend.

BBC News: US woman shoots boyfriend in YouTube stunt

"A Minnesota woman has been charged over the fatal shooting of her boyfriend, in what authorities say was a social media stunt gone wrong.

Monalisa Perez, 19, was booked into county jail after shooting at Pedro Ruiz as he held a book to his chest, believing it would stop the bullet.

The couple's three-year-old child and nearly 30 onlookers watched as she fired the fatal bullet into his chest.

Ruiz's aunt said they did it to increase their social media following."

Sadly not a candidate for the Darwin Award, is the shooter is already pregnant weith hers and the bullet recipient's second child.

You couldn't make this stuff up....

via International Skeptics Forum

mercredi 28 juin 2017

IFO ....Identified Foreign Object

However is this possible??? :boggled:


'It felt like I had been stabbed,' says patient left with 33-cm metal plate inside after surgery
Sylvie Dubé says hospital staff told her it was normal to experience pain in other parts of body after surgery
By Davide Gentile, CBC News Posted: Jun 28, 2017 1:10 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 28, 2017 2:36 PM ET

Canadian hospitals need to step up :what:

via International Skeptics Forum

EPA Scientist Stands Up to the Trump EPA

E.P.A. Official Pressured Scientist on Congressional Testimony, Emails Show

Deborah Swackhamer, an environmental chemist who leads the E.P.A.’s Board of Scientific Counselors, was to testify on May 23 before the House Science Committee on the role of states in environmental policy when Ryan Jackson, the E.P.A.’s chief of staff, asked her to stick to the agency’s “talking points” on the dismissals of several members of the scientific board.

“I was stunned that he was pushing me to ‘correct’ something in my testimony,” said Dr. Swackhamer, a retired University of Minnesota professor. “I was factual, and he was not. I felt bullied.”

Dr. Swackhamer’s testimony came two weeks after the dismissals, which were met with fierce pushback from a scientific community that saw it as evidence that the Trump administration is seeking to weaken the role of academic science in environmental policy.
Some background:
EPA just gave notice to dozens of scientific advisory board members that their time is up

The Environmental Protection Agency has given notice to dozens of scientists that they will not be renewed in their roles in advising the agency, continuing a scientific shake-up that has already triggered resignations and charges from some researchers that the administration is politicizing the agency.
But Dr. Swackhamer had already submitted her written statement and refused to back down or whitewash her testimony.


Scientists have also expressed concern that Mr. Pruitt has staffed his senior offices with several former senior staff members of Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, a prominent denier of human-caused climate change. Mr. Jackson also came from Mr. Inhofe’s staff....

“The Board of Scientific Counselors had 68 members two months ago. It will have 11 come Sept. 1,” Dr. Swackhamer said. “They’ve essentially suspended scientific activities by ending these terms. We have no meetings scheduled, no bodies to do the work.”
People like Dr. Swackhamer give me hope.

via International Skeptics Forum

Cardinal to be charged with sex offences...

Cardinal George Pell is being charged with sex offences.:

..."He said he is looking forward to his day in court and will defend the charges vigorously.

"He has again strenuously denied all allegations."

Cardinal Pell is the third most senior Catholic at the Vatican, where he is responsible for the church's finances. He is likely to step aside from his Vatican post while he fights the charges.

Victoria's Deputy Police Commissioner, Shane Patton, confirmed in a brief press conference on Thursday morning that Cardinal Pell had been issued with multiple charges relating to historical sexual abuse allegations...
And now a song:

via International Skeptics Forum

Let's start the Pragmatist Party

What would our basic positions be? What would we negotiate?

To seed discussion... Abortion. I can see the perspective of people who think that abortion is murder. I don't agree, but I get where they're coming from. So... If they want to place limits on abortion... then they have to let gay and lesbian couples adopt children and they have to make contraception easily available. Seems like a reasonable starting point.

Anyone else want to play? Maybe if we get enough of a reasonable platform, we can go live with this before 2020!

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump to visit France on Bastille Day...

I think Macron set up a trap to basically make Trump look like an idiot and Macron look like a statesman...and boost Macron's standing in France. And Trump's ego made him walk right into it. Going be interesting.
Well Played Monsieur Le President, Well Played.

via International Skeptics Forum

Bernie Sanders' template for Democratic candidates

I hope the corporate Democrats open their eyes and not go the way of Ossoff or Rob Quist. For far too long they have become out of touch with the working class.

Bernie Sanders raised tens of millions of dollars in small donations alone. Amazing.

For some, I think the issue is the severe conditioning imposed by decades of Republican rule but Sanders himself was able to win over many Trump voters by his grassroots efforts alone, talking to them about their personal needs. The average voter doesn't care about Russia, not that he shouldn't, but practical things have to come first.

It's like acclimating a escapee from some police state regime to normal Western life. You gotta hit them where they feel it.

via International Skeptics Forum

Peterson case BBC coverage

This does not seem to be covered here. I do not know if the BBC podcasts will be available to all, but usually they are. This is a well presented review of a problematic case. I have not finished listening but thought I would share the link.

via International Skeptics Forum

How to break all Ten Commandments at once


A new monument in the US state of Arkansas listing the Ten Commandments has been destroyed less than 24 hours after it was unveiled.

The 6ft (1.8m) granite slab was erected in the grounds of the state capitol.

A suspect is reported to have driven his car into the structure early on Wednesday while filming on his mobile phone and posting footage on Facebook.

:dl: :bigclap

Of course, I would never condone using a cellphone whilst driving.

via International Skeptics Forum

One less confederate monument to vandalize...

The horribly offencive confederate monument in St. Louis' Forest Park (That most people, up until recently, didn't even know was there.) will be removed from Forest Park by Friday. The city decided to let the rightful owners move and store it rather than fight out the city's right to remove and store it in court.

via International Skeptics Forum

"Negative energy" and dowsing

I'm looking for examples of dowsing claimants blaming "negative energy" from doubters/skeptics nearby for their failures, and also claims from dowsers that that they were not responsible, either consciously or unconsciously, for the movement of their dowsing devices. Any help would be much appreciated.

via International Skeptics Forum

Orbit of supermassive black holes confirmed

via International Skeptics Forum

The dangers of religion

A flight in China was delayed for five hours after an elderly passenger threw coins into the aircraft’s engine for good luck.
"After investigation the involved passenger surnamed Qiu said she threw the coins to pray for safety. According to Qiu's neighbour, Qiu believes in Buddhism.

via International Skeptics Forum

mardi 27 juin 2017

One Inch Equation of Everything

Okay, so there I was reading 17 different flavours of stupid in Facebook comments, spawned by the discovery of something about a new phase of water or something. Yeah, my bad.

One of the comments related to something that turns out to be almost time-cubish, which I share thusly for y'all's education:

via International Skeptics Forum

NYT: How Donald Trump Misunderstood the FBI

I enjoyed reading this well written article from the New York Times. It describes the historically changed relationship between the Presidency and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. It is also as much about other Presidents who have butted up against the FBI as it is about Donald Trump.


Originally Posted by New York Times
Since Watergate, the bureau has come to view itself as an essential, and essentially independent, check on the president...

"I take the president at his word — that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,’’ James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, said in June, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee a month after his abrupt dismissal from his post by the president. Comey was referring to the account Trump gave in an NBC interview on May 11 — and Comey fought back on the rest of the story as Trump told it. Trump, he said, ‘‘chose to defame me and, more importantly, the F.B.I. by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the work force had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.’’

Trump, Comey said, had asked his F.B.I. director for his loyalty — and that seemed to shock Comey the most. The F.B.I.’s stated mission is ‘‘to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States’’ — not to protect the president. Trump seemed to believe Comey was dutybound to do his bidding and stop investigating the recently fired national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. ‘‘The statue of Justice has a blindfold on because you’re not supposed to be peeking out to see whether your patron is pleased or not with what you’re doing,’’ Comey said. ‘‘It should be about the facts and the law.’’

Trump might have been less confused about how Comey saw his job if he had ever visited the F.B.I. director in his office. On his desk, under glass, Comey famously kept a copy of a 1963 order authorizing Hoover to conduct round-the-clock F.B.I. surveillance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was signed by the young attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy, after Hoover convinced John F. Kennedy and his brother that King had Communists in his organization — a reminder of the abuses of power that had emanated from the desk where Comey sat...

via International Skeptics Forum

How do you cope with a truly stupid manager?

I worked for six years for a company that's now defunct. The owners sold the business and the new owners destroyed the company and it closed its doors forever.

I got off track. My manager or as she called herself "your boss" was not intelligent. She said and did things so asinine that I often wondered how she got the job in the first place and why was she able to keep it.

Here's an example. She told me to close our post office box account and when I did she asked me a week later to check and see if the old box had any of the companys mail in it. I told her I had turned in the key and she asked me in a loud angry voice "why did you turn the key in?"

The answer- of course, was you close the account you have to turn the key into the post office so that someone else can use the box.

On another occassion one of her smoking buddys accused me of not properly making a UPS label even though I was doing it right. The smoke buddy told my manger and my manager said she would do it. She screwed it up so bad the driver left in disgust. Two idiots not knowing what they were talking about.

Most people would quit but I was not in a financial shape so that I could leave.

What would you guys have done?

via International Skeptics Forum

Conservatives lifting austerity for state funded benefits?

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come:

An 8% raise won't bring benefits to where they would have been if they been raised in line with inflation over the "austerity" years but it will be a start.

via International Skeptics Forum

lundi 26 juin 2017

Cakes are going to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced today that they will take up the case of a Colorado baker next term. The baker, who makes custom cakes for weddings, refused to make a cake for a same sex marriage. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission determined that the baker was in violation of the Colorado civil rights laws, which bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The baker's case is that the cake is an artwork, and therefore an act of expression. You cannot be compelled against your will to participate in an expressive act that violates your religious beliefs. In similar cases it has also been argued that creating something for use in a ceremony is equivalent to participating in the ceremony, so compelling someone to do something for the ceremony would be to compel someone to participate in a ceremony that violates their religious beliefs. I don't know if the baker's lawyer's used that line of reasoning, or whether they stuck with the freedom of expression angle. (I haven't read the appeal's court briefs or opinions.)

The question before the court will be at what point commercial activity becomes protected speech. The baker has to convince the court that his interest to avoid being compelled to participate in expression that is against his will is not overridden by state law which is written to protect people from discrimination.

I don't know where the court will stand on this issue. There are a lot of factors at work here. The specific case at work here is less significant than a general principle. If they rule in favor of the baker, people might claim that cooking a meal or even setting a table setting is an act of expression, and they can't be compelled to take part. This would effectively eliminate the protections that the civil rights laws are meant to protect. On the other hand, if they rule against the baker, the great fear among the religious right is that preachers or clergy might be compelled to participate in same sex marriages, the theory being that since they accept a fee for their services, they are effectively a business, and cannot turn away people because of their sexual orientation. Similar cases have actually already occurred in some cases, so the fear is not groundless.

Regardless of which way the court rules, the implications will be far greater than just this baker.

For those on the left side of this case, there was a great sigh of relief when, after announcing that they would take this case, Justice Kennedy did not announce his resignation. Kennedy could once again provide the swing vote, but a Trump appointed replacement could be assumed to vote in favor of the baker.

via International Skeptics Forum

2016 Australian Census Results

The results of the 2016 Census have been released and there are some interesting results.

In the Religion section, for example, 30% of people reported having "No religion", up from 13% in 1991.

Summary here, with links to detailed statistics.

via International Skeptics Forum

[Continuation] Trump "[health] insurance for everybody," Replacing the ACA Part II

Mod Info The previous thread was getting slow and generating duplicates, so here is a continuation. As is usual the split point was arbitrary and participants can copy and paste from the previous thread to address points raised therein.
Posted By:Agatha


Originally Posted by Stacko (Post 11895486)
The Times has outlined the winners of the wealthcare bill.

I don't understand the GOP's intense desire to pass this bill since the voters they added to win in November are going to be harmed the most by it.

You're kidding, right? Their goal is to reduce taxes. They are against the basic idea of providing government services, and they will cut as much as they can wherever they can. Ryan wants to cut Medicare and Social Security, which have long been considered practically sacrosanct.

And if poor whites get hurt, they will blame blacks, immigrants, "welfare," "foreign aid," etc., never Trump or the Repubs.

via International Skeptics Forum

The science of electric shocks.

I was talking to an electrician today, who told me a hair-raising tale about a badly wired building and receiving an electric shock. He said he was blown off his ladder half way across the room by the shock. He estimated he ended up 10 feet away.

So, how did that happen? What was the actual force that propelled him?

Am I right to think of those frog legs attached to a wire, twitching when a current was applied? In other words, rather than be "blown" across the room, was he actually induced to involuntarily jump across the room?

As for details, we're talking domestic 240 volts AC. I assume from the description that the breakers/ trips were either primitive, or non-existent (fuses, maybe?). He was a little unlucky, in that he had turned off the house mains, but the circuit that was left live was a spur from the back of a neighbour's socket on the party wall.......highly illegal.

Oh, and he's fine.

via International Skeptics Forum

Is Genesis History?

Just learned that this movie, IS GENESIS HISTORY? has been released on DVD. I did a google search for the movie and was surprised to find such a small number of negative reviews and posts. I have not seen it, but it appears to be totally young earth creationist propaganda.

The few negative reviews and comments that I have seen are mostly of the name-calling variety with little or no actual rebuttal.

The movie can be downloaded here.

via International Skeptics Forum

Atheist Experience, believers and why they believe.

I don't know how many of you have ever seen the Atheist Experience but I highly recommend catching an episode or two. Past episodes are available on YouTube.

It's an Atheist hosted call in show where the viewers call in with their reasons for believing in God or the supernatural. Theists of every kind call, including Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, and most every version of Christians as well. Other supernatural phenomenons such as aliens is also discussed but mostly, it is about theism.

What I love about the show is regardless of the individual's personal religion their arguments for their beliefs are indistinguishable from one another. Every single one is built on the cornerstone of faith which is assuming that all that follows is true despite the evidence.

Never mind the obvious contradiction that they all can't be true.

via International Skeptics Forum

Turkey bans teaching of evolution in Schools

Turkey has banned teaching of evolution as 'controversial' in high schools, the minister of education says it should be reserved for university courses.

This is odd since most schools of Islam believe that evolution is compatible with Islam and many argue the Quran even references it. Creationism ideas are usually taken from christian fundamentalists no from an Islamic tradition.

The only other country to ban teaching of evolution is Saudi Arabia (nuff said).

This is disappoint, if the government of Turkey feel free to ban evolution almost certainly other issues will be censored. They have recently sacked many teachers so the remaining teachers are likely to be cowed. Many journalists have been sacked and papers closed, so there may not be much internal opposition.

via International Skeptics Forum

dimanche 25 juin 2017

Any Green Party supporters here?

Cynthia McKinney was the person nominated for president by the Green Party in 2008. This person:

:jaw-dropp :covereyes

via International Skeptics Forum

samedi 24 juin 2017

Is the "Left to Right" political spectrum an accurate way to look at politics?

Short version; see title.

To expand somewhat. In common parlance it is common to place people's political opinions on a spectrum from the Left (here in the States usually representing Liberalism and the Democratic Party) and the Right (here in the States usually representing Conservatism and the Republican Party).

Are we as a society making political discussions more difficult because of that?

*Notes. I'm going to be using current United States terms as they are used "person on the street" level. I'm aware that in other countries these terms vary and that I'm not necessarily following the "technical" definition of some of these terms.

Some issues I see.

1. The tendency to lump Left/Liberal/Democratic Party and Right/Conservtive/Republican Party into singular entities which isn't at all accurate.

2. A base tendency to force us into Us V Them thinking and all the inane B.S. political argumentatives that comes with that.

3. The tendency to see political victories as winner take all, first past the post things.

via International Skeptics Forum

Coal executive sues John Oliver for making him sad

In case you missed it last week on Last Week Tonight (trying saying that five times fast) John Oliver dove into the coal industry. And he noted, right at the start, that one evil coal baron named Bob Murray had actually sent them a Cease & Desist letter.

Naturally this wasn't going to deter Oliver who then dedicated most of the last part of the episode into exposing how Murray is hated by his own employees and probably has gotten many of them killed. Also there is a talking squirrel.

Oliver made a point to only cite official government reports through the entire thing but did that stop Murray from going through on his threat of suing? Nope.

In the complaint it actually says this: "Nothing has ever stressed him more than this vicious and untruthful attack.”

Keep in mind that Murray had a mine collapse. Six miners were trapped and three rescuers died trying to get to them. This all stretched out over days. But not even that stressed him out as much as Oliver talking about him on TV.

via International Skeptics Forum

Matt Rouge on Why Skeptics will never accept the existence of psi

On Michael Prescott's blog one of his friends Matt Rouge wrote a piece "Why Skeptics will never accept the existence of psi".


What I find interesting is that Skeptics will say that they have never experienced psi or anything paranormal in their entire lives, nor do they know anyone who has had such an experience. This is the furthest thing from my own world.

My guess is that, when most Skeptics imagine a psychic reading, they see a flaky if not creepy psychic sitting in a dimly lit den of fraud, receiving money with greedy fingers, then proceeding to cold- and hot-read the victim and pump him or her full of generalities, superfluities, and, of course, lies and false hope.

In contrast, I am a psychic with many psychic friends. I’ve given readings and gotten more than a few big hits. I’ve received readings and have witnessed more than a few big hits. To us, it’s nothing unusual, odd, or spooky. We trade psychic advice on virtually a daily basis, in fact. No special setting or mood is required; in fact, I give and receive most readings over Facebook these days. Further, I make no money off of psi at all (I give readings for free on a frequent basis, actually). About half of my psychic friends do charge for readings or other psi abilities, but they do a lot of pro bono as well, and absolutely no one is getting rich from these services. I can also observe that my psychic friends are extremely normal and down-to-earth, and none of them fits the stereotype of the New Age flake (OK, we mostly don’t fit that stereotype!). I can assert without equivocation that I have never heard a friend refer to doing anything psychic in a fraudulent or less than sincere way.

In short, psi works for us consistently and on certain occasions amazingly. What incentive would we have to make it a part of our lives if it didn’t? I’m not naïve: Skeptics could certainly cite a range of potential psychological and sociological causes for such experiences. Those outside of our world are free to observe and judge for themselves. But my point is that psi isn’t just about the extreme and the strange. It can be an ordinary and consistently present part of one’s life.

Further, as the comments on Michael’s recent and excellent posts on Leslie Flint demonstrate, we who believe don’t believe everything (pace the Skeptics who enjoy portraying as credulous idiots. Crazy, too.). Yet, on the whole, I find reports of exceptional individual cases of psi to jibe with my own experience, and I think they are strong evidence for psi.

In conclusion

Based on my reading of psi laboratory research and exceptional cases of psi, as well as my own experience, I am 100% certain that psi is real and materialism is completely disproved and an obsolete worldview. Skeptics, however, will never be convinced.

If I am correct, that puts the unstoppable force of the truth of psi against the immovable object of the Skeptics’ belief system. What will be the end result of such an interaction?

I am going to go with a prediction that I have heard elsewhere and found convincing: Individual people and society as a whole will be convinced of the existence of the paranormal once someone is using it to make money. I don’t mean for readings but in the form of a process, product, or service that consistently works and that people want. At that point, the Skeptics will be forced to move, since money talks, and you-know-what walks. My guess is that 100 years will not pass without this happening, and it will probably happen much sooner than that.
Michael Prescott apparently bans most skeptics from commenting on his blog. Anyone want to take a stab at refuting Matt Rouge's claims about skeptics?

For those who do not know who Michael Prescott is, he is an author of crime fiction but also known for his credulous acceptance of paranormal and pseudoscience topics.

Prescott believes in ectoplasm, demonic possession, "earthbound spirits" and reincarnation and has a history of defending fraudulent spiritualist mediums such as Eusapia Palladino.

via International Skeptics Forum

Happy 70th UFO Anniversary!

Happy UFO Anniversary Day! This is the 70th anniversary of Kenneth Arnold's sighting of nine Unidentified Flying Objects flying in a line near Mt. Rainier in Washington State, US.

He described them as looking something like shiny saucers, and some journalists called them "flying saucers". The US Air Force got into investigating them because some of them might have been secret Russian airplanes. The USAF's initial secrecy about it ended up provoking coverup conspiracy theories, but it was the USAF that invented the term Unidentified Flying Object or UFO as an alternative for "flying saucer".

via International Skeptics Forum

vendredi 23 juin 2017

What happens to your family when you become a priest?

I am thinking of becoming a Catholic Priest. Problem is the wife, I assume you can have a kid and be a Priest? Anybody can help me out with this dilemma?

via International Skeptics Forum

Seven year old charged for peeing on steaks.

I hope this kid learns a lesson from this.

He destroyed someone property, pure and simple.........

via International Skeptics Forum

Off-duty St. Louis officer injured by friendly fire after police chase of stolen car

It's time to play America's favorite game show! "Is there any situation in which it's not OK for a police offer to shoot a black man?"


But police now say the off-duty officer was shot by a fellow cop who did not recognize him as an officer, in a separate encounter away from the initial crash.

According to a department summary of the incident released later Thursday, two officers who encountered the armed off-duty officer ordered him to the ground. He complied. When they recognized the off-duty officer, they told him he could stand up and walk toward them.

Another officer just arriving at the scene saw the off-duty officer get up and, not knowing he was an officer, fired his weapon once at the man. He hit the off-duty officer in the arm, the department said.

via International Skeptics Forum

American Revolution - Justified? (Poll)

So, inspired by Capeldodger’s musings on the American Revolution in the US Politics forum… I thought we’d have a little poll:
(To see how common is the view of colonials being (i) treated equally to Englishmen and (ii) that the colonists freeloaded their way until they had a chance to secede safely)

- Was the revolution justified, or was it driven by self interested parties who were already being treated equitably?
- Are you American, British, Other (to see how that skews perspectives)?

via International Skeptics Forum

Road Rage in the Southland

Rider kicks at passenger vehicle:


They were in a dedicated commute lane. Why the rider was on the drivers side of the passenger vehicle isn't clear. CHP is looking for the rider.

via International Skeptics Forum

DNA discovery reveals genetic history of ancient Egyptians

DNA discovery reveals genetic history of ancient Egyptians


Publishing its findings in Nature Communications, the study concluded that preserved remains found in Abusir-el Meleq, Middle Egypt, were closest genetic relatives of Neolithic and Bronze Age populations from the Near East, Anatolia and Eastern Mediterranean Europeans.

Modern Egyptians, by comparison, share much more DNA with sub-Saharan populations.

The team's findings do come with one obvious caveat: "All our genetic data (was) obtained from a single site in Middle Egypt and may not be representative for all of ancient Egypt," the paper concedes.
I am a bit surprised, I thought that Ancient Egypt would have had more inter-mixing with sub-Saharan populations from Nubia. I thought that modern Egyptians would have less sub-Saharan ancestry than ancient Egyptians, due to modern Egyptians being descendants of the Arab conquest of the region.

via International Skeptics Forum

Leave Nancy Alone!

Republicans love her. When it comes to maintaining and increasing the Republican ranks in the House, she does their work for them. Please, Dems, please don't remove her from her leadership role. If you do, you might disappoint the President.

via International Skeptics Forum

Revised Poll: View of Rural vs Urban people

Based on complaint, I am revising this poll. Simplifying, giving significantly less variety in the ways that people can answer. So here's round two. Let's see how it goes.

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump says he won't hire poor people for top cabinet posts!

Interviewer: Would you hire a poor person to work in your cabinet?
Trump: Their poor, and don't want any loosers working top positions in my cabinet.

The article, loaded with irony, is political dynamite. I am copying it to my hard drive. It is short and worth a reread some day.

via International Skeptics Forum

State of Washington VS. John Douglas Grange

Here is a case with all the transcripts from the website. His support crew have asked IA to help, here is the website they provide.

Ampulla de Vater for example might help unravel this with her appetite for full trial transcripts.

Provisionally of course I think he is innocent, just to surprise.

via International Skeptics Forum

London Terrorist Charged

The man who carried out the latest terrorist attack in London has been charged:

Man charged over Finsbury Park attack -

There was some confusion about the death but seems it is now being treated as murder.

via International Skeptics Forum

jeudi 22 juin 2017

N.H. fetal homicide bill unintentionally gives*pregnant women impunity to murder*

It's a bold proposal to be sure, but let's not dismiss it out of hand.


State lawmakers are scrambling to fix a fetal homicide bill that critics say has serious unintended consequences, including letting pregnant women kill people with impunity.

“The bill as drafted allows for physician-assisted suicide and allows a pregnant woman to commit homicide without consequences,” said Republican Rep. JR Hoell, who is urging Gov. Chris Sununu to veto the bill. “Although that was never the intent, that is the clear reading of the language.”

State House leaders are now planning to clarify the bill, put it back up for a vote and send a revision to Sununu.

“We’re going to fix it,” said Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican. “Everybody agrees the intent was never to allow this kind of circumstance.”

via International Skeptics Forum

Now he is tilting at windmills

And he never lets facts stand in the way of his opinions.

Trump Criticizes Wind Power in Iowa


Trump has a longstanding grudge against wind power, stretching back to before his days in politics. As a developer, he fought plans to install a wind farm off the coast of one of his golf courses in Aberdeen, Scotland, which he argued would destroy the aesthetic value of his property. In 2012, he sent a letter to the then-head of the Scottish government where he called wind turbines “monsters” and described the wind farm project as “insanity.”

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump's Solar Wall

I thought this would already be a topic, but I'm curious if there are any thoughts on Trump's Solar Wall.

Personally I think it's idiotic for technical and practical reasons.

via International Skeptics Forum

New evidence for a planetary mass.

via International Skeptics Forum

Burger killed by cream


A well-known lifestyle blogger in France has been killed by an exploding whipped cream dispenser.

Rebecca Burger's death was announced on Facebook in what her family called a "domestic accident".

A warning against the faulty dispensers was posted to her Instagram account, saying it had "exploded and struck Rebecca's chest, causing her death".

via International Skeptics Forum

Home Depot and Menards lawsuit

How some people sleep at night, I'll never know. What a great way to raise everyone's prices. Nobody who's ever done anything with lumber can actually believe they are somehow being wronged here.

It's not like they measure any different from every other lumber supplier in the country, and so it's creating a hardship in completing projects due to incompatibility.

I should add that the lawsuit is due to the fact that a "4 x 4" actually measure 3.5" x 3.5"; which is within industry standards. a 2 x 4 is actually 1.5" x 3.5". Suing for $5 million I think.

via International Skeptics Forum

mercredi 21 juin 2017

Clean coal flops

"Clean coal" plant turns out to be just syngas. It makes H2 that you burn but makes equal amounts of CO2 to store.??.

Plan appears scrapped. It will burn natural gas instead:

Syngas explained

via International Skeptics Forum

Wife narcs out cheating cop drug dealers

"A Broward County elementary school teacher who tried to get revenge against her husband by tipping off drug dealers that they were under investigation should spend the next eight years in federal prison because the consequences of her actions were so serious, prosecutors say."

Hubby gets to cheat and get rid of his wife!:jaw-dropp

via International Skeptics Forum

My work Google account disabled and I am worrying

I work in education - for a group that runs charter schools in different cities. I am a substitute teacher/instructional aide. I have not worked much this past semester because my mom had a fall in December and much of my time has been spent selling my house, moving and establishing a care-giving routine for my mother, who I now live with.

Now I'm in a position to work at least part-time in my new city. When I tried to email the corporate recruiter on my workplace gmail account, I found out that my account has been disabled. I can still long in as an employee of the chain, so I don't think I've been fired. Last time I checked the principal where I used to work was giving me a good recommendation.

I can't reach anyone at work about this until at least next week. I'm feeling very paranoid, trying to think what terms or policies I might have violated. I even worry that my employer can use the account to spy on me when I'm using other applications on my personal laptop - i.e., my Earthlink email account. Is this even possible? Any of you work in IT or human resources?

via International Skeptics Forum

stroke question

Without all of the boring details, a few nights ago I had a stroke. When I was in the hospital, I forgot to ask the ER doctor about something. Now, when trying to look it up on the web, I can't find the answer. However, I admit that I am having difficulty with even simple tasks.

My question. Once someone has had a stroke, what are the odds of having another one soon after?

Yes, I am a bit anxious. It was such an unexpected and horrible event, I hope it is never repeated. They put me on a different medication for blood pressure and I am optimistic. Even when I was feeling alright, it took several hours to get my BP under 214 over 112.

Thank you.

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump's jealousy of Obama

I've seen it written in several articles arguing the case that Trump is obsessed with Obama and intensely jealous of him. That this is the reason he ran for President.

Do you think there is any truth in this?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Who was fooled by a faked video: Putin, Stone, both?

In a segment of a teaser for Oliver Stone's documentary film on-with Putin, Vladimir shows to Oliver, with his smartphone, and comments, a video purportedly showing the glorious VKS (Russian Aerospace Forces) doing a great job against "militants" in Syria:

at 0:08 in this Youtube version: [yt]qE4V6exYh2M[/yt]
and at 0:34 in this Russian TV1 version (with an interesting subtitled comment from Putin, translating to Stone, "Pilot says that he's going to make another attempt", indicating that language in the video is Russian).

That short segment sparked internet sleuths to investigate, and the results of their work are quite entertaining:

Nick on Twitter was apparently the first to find that the video Putin showed to Stone was identical to one posted on Youtube in 2016, where the soundtrack of the original video, which was a footage from American AH-64 Apache helicopters in Afghanistan in 2009, had been replaced by Russian language military pilot talk, and falsely presented as being from Russian Mi-28N in Syria!
Side by side comparison of both videos doesn't leave any room to doubt.
The original 2009 footage, as posted in 2012 under the title "2 Apaches Engage Taliban Platoon" on
The Youtube faked video, where soundtrack of the original 'AH-64 in Afghanistan' footage was replaced by one in Russian, and entitled as been from Mi-28N in Syria:

Then others found the original Russian language soundtrack inserted in the faked one, which proved to be from Ukrainian pilots attacking Kremlin-backed separatists in Donetsk airport (Donbas) in 2014 :D :

Some comments posted since yesterday on the Youtube page of the faked video are worth reading, even if -like I did- through Google Translate.

via International Skeptics Forum

mardi 20 juin 2017

Georgia 6th Congressional District Election

The polls have closed and not all of the precincts have yet reported, but contrary to most pre-polling data, the Republican will beat the Democrat by a mile. She will win well beyond the 0.2% RCP final average. It is not even going to be close. This has gone down in history as the single most expensive Congressional district election in history. It was often seen as a referendum on the Trump presidency.
Trump is winning some more.

via International Skeptics Forum

Christie Does Not Care About 15% Approval Rating...

But Why Should He Care? His political career is Dead, Over, Has Thrown Off This Mortal Coil etc. The guy is so toxic that even the Trump administration is keeping him at arms length and not letting him near an appointment .

via International Skeptics Forum

Is the inability to not forget bad things a psychiatric disorder?

My 94 year old mother just told me that I was repeating a story that she had heard from me several times before. I was complaining about being fired from a job and I considered the termination unjustified. An unpleasant out of the clear blue sky event. I also was in the process of describing a girl who had been shabbily treated in a similar fashion.

The events happened in 1997 and after this much time has passed she siad I should have been able to get over it.

Shes right of course but is this normal? I already go to a psychiatrist for anxity.

via International Skeptics Forum

Power makes you crazy...


Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University, .... studies brains. And when he put the heads of the powerful and the not-so-powerful under a transcranial-magnetic-stimulation machine, he found that power, in fact, impairs a specific neural process, “mirroring,” that may be a cornerstone of empathy. Which gives a neurological basis to what Keltner has termed the “power paradox”: Once we have power, we lose some of the capacities we needed to gain it in the first place.


While people usually gain power through traits and actions that advance the interests of others, such as empathy, collaboration, openness, fairness, and sharing; when they start to feel powerful or enjoy a position of privilege, those qualities begin to fade. The powerful are more likely than other people to engage in rude, selfish, and unethical behavior. The 19th-century historian and politician Lord Acton got it right: Power does tend to corrupt.

via International Skeptics Forum

What beliefs do you hold of people who live in rural areas?

Question: What beliefs do you hold of people who live in rural areas?

Choose any that apply.

via International Skeptics Forum

Is Air Conditioning causing the modern obesity epidemic?

I apologize ahead of time, as I cannot provide a link (haven't found it so far) but I had heard a study on the radio where rats were fed a little too much food, and some were kept cool and others in warmer temperatures.

The thought was obviously the cooler ones would gain weight more slowly, having to burn off more calories to stay warm. Yet the opposite happened. The cold rats gained weight significantly faster than the warm ones.

Autopsying the rats, the cold rats had grown larger intestines (I don't recall if it was longer or wider or what, if they even said) and thus presumably absorbed significantly more energy from the food.

The point was there are studies showing animals will eat more in colder weather, but this showed the weight was packed on with the exact same amount of food eaten due to more intense digestion.

Now there are lots of countries surpassing the US as we speak in obesity, these are all hotter weather climates like Mexico and the Middle East, where more and more people are having the cash to buy air conditioning these past decades.

It couldn't be the only thing, with more sedentary lifestyles, cheaper high-calorie, ready-to-eat food, and so on. It just seemed quite interesting because if it is accurate and applies to humans, too, it could be the lion's share of that weight gain.

via International Skeptics Forum

House Republicans gut Dodd-Frank; nobody notices.

At least not here.

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[Continuation] Proof of Immortality, VI


Originally Posted by Jabba (Post 11891545)
- Sackett wasn't being serious, so I have to take on someone else.
- I just can't deal with all you guys at once -- I need one spokesperson for your side.
- Also, I need to deal with one sub-issue at a time, so unless you tell me which sub-issue in your post you want me to deal with first, I'll pick the one I'd most like to deal with myself.
- If no one volunteers (Godless Dave, Hans, Agatha, SOdhner, Argumemnon, LL, js, jond, whomever?), or is nominated, I'll answer to Jay.

JayUtah's posts are always well thought out, and very much deserving of a response. As are many other people's posts. You are on a discussion forum, the nature of which is not 1 on 1 but rather discussion from a wide range of people with a wide range of opinions. You know this, of course, but insist that you are somehow special and deserving of special consideration. 1: you're not. 2: you were granted that wish with Loss Leader, and we all know how well that went for you. So, no: I refuse to participate in your games, and will continue to respond as I see fit, and as long as I adhere to the forum rules, you're just going to have to live with that.

Mod InfoContinued from here. By now, ya'll know the drill.
Posted By:kmortis

via International Skeptics Forum

A little app that does "rank" quantizing?

I could really use a little app (or something) for Mac that does a kind of "quantizing" (or averaging, smoothing) that I can't do with Little Miss Scale Oven.

I want the user to be able to input two lists of pitches in cents (701.95, for ex.). The lists have the same number of items. They can be large lists (say, up to 256 pitches) as long as the pair is matched.

The first list (any in-order set of pitches in cents) would called something like "list of pitches to be changed".

The second list would be any in-order set of pitches in cents of the same number of items as the first. It would be called "target list" or something.

The program would rank (simply by quantity) the items in each list. (I suppose that since the lists are already ordered, the program can simply go by the order.) The items ranked 1, or 7, in "list of pitches to be changed" would always and only be altered by moving it some ways toward the respective items ranked 1 or 7 in "target list". This is different from how quantizing usually works in several ways.

There would be a box to fill in a % of how much of the way to the target the first list moves.

Because "proximity" quantize is already available in LMSO, there's no reason to do that. This little app would do what LMSO doesn't currently do.

So, input, two matching lists of numbers. Next the user chooses "how much" shift of the first list according to the second, and hits "go", or something.

I have no idea if this is easily do-able with some other calculator, and I'm not good with spread-sheets, etc.

Anybody interested in coding this? Should I ask my usual coder (who I pay) former active member 69dodge?


"list of pitches to be changed"

0., 36., 72., 96., 120., 156., 180., 204., 228., 276., 288., 312., 348., 372., 396., 432., 444., 480., 504., 528., 576., 600., 624., 660., 684., 696., 744., 768., 780., 828., 852., 864., 912., 936., 948., 996., 1020., 1032., 1068., 1104., 1116., 1152., 1188.

"target list"

0., 27.264, 65.337, 84.467, 111.731, 138.573, 165.004, 203.91, 231.174, 247.741, 289.21, 297.513, 347.408, 359.472, 386.314, 417.508, 435.084, 464.428, 498.045, 536.951, 551.318, 582.512, 617.488, 648.682, 663.049, 701.955, 735.572, 764.916, 782.492, 813.686, 840.528, 852.592, 902.487, 933.129, 952.259, 968.826, 996.09, 1034.996, 1061.427, 1088.269, 1115.533, 1134.663, 1172.736

"% move first list to target":

75. Underlining purely to make it seem like an active box.

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump-Russia "collusion" - The most successful disinfo operation of the decade

The competent organs of Russia, the FSB, is probably pulling the strings on on this whole Trump-Russia story.

While Russian interference in the 2016 elections had been known by the CIA, FBI (according to Comey's testimony) and other agencies for a while before it was revealed to the general public,
the "Trump dossier", which jump-started an investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, added a whole new dimension to the story.

As Russia commentators have said, the story reeks of typical KGB-style disinfo:

The Orbis report makes as if it knows all the ins-and-outs and comings-and-goings within Putin’s impenetrable Kremlin. It reports information from anonymous “trusted compatriots,” “knowledgeable sources,” “former intelligence officers,” and “ministry of foreign affairs officials.” The report gives a fly-on-the-wall account of just about every conceivable event associated with Donald Trump’s Russian connections. It claims to know more than is knowable as it recounts sordid tales of prostitutes, “golden showers,” bribes, squabbles in Putin’s inner circle, and who controls the dossiers of kompromat (compromising information).

As someone who has worked for more than a decade with the microfilm collection of Soviet documents in the Hoover Institution Archives, I can say that the dossier itself was compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports, in particular the practice of capitalizing all names for easy reference. The report includes Putin’s inner circle – Peskov, Ivanov, Sechin, Lavrov. The anonymous author claims to have “trusted compatriots” who knew the roles that each Kremlin insider, including Putin himself, played in the Trump election saga and were prepared to tell him.

From David Satter, a former journalist who worked in Russia and C-Span regular:

The investigation was carried out by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer and a director of the London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, and draws on a wealth of high-level anonymous Russian sources who, for some reason, are eager to share secret information. There is a cottage industry of former intelligence operatives who make their livings selling information from supposedly well-placed sources to politicians and businessmen. The question in such relationships is who is being used. In this case, the indications are that Steele was being used by the Russians.

Reading the Steele report, I was struck by the way his sources employed the standard techniques of Russian propaganda and manipulation.

The fact that disapproval of Trump was so high from the beginning I think made it easy to spread this incredibly baseless conspiracy theory around.

Just imagine how powerful it would be for conservatives to rub it in the faces of the overzealous opposition and House Democrats after we find no such collusion.
Pushing too hard may be dangerous. The media is really trying to pursue this angle and it may fail tremendously.

via International Skeptics Forum

Guns kill 1300 US children every year

I am a bit surprised that no one has posted this.

I am not sure if this is US politics or current affairs. Mods can move if appropriate.

As a non-US citizen I will not comment on the politics, but this is a significant child health issue. These are 1,300 preventable deaths a year. Roughly the equivalent of 9/11 deaths every 2 years but all children.

via International Skeptics Forum

lundi 19 juin 2017

US Citizen Otto Warmbier, returned from North Korea, has died

The sad news on the US student, Otto Warmbier, returned home to his family, is that he has died. He was jailed in North Korea for a prank and sent back to the USA in a coma, after 15 months of his sentence, with brain trauma.


Otto Warmbier, 22, returned to the US last Tuesday, but it emerged he had been in a coma for a year.
North Korea said botulism led to the coma, but a team of US doctors who assessed him dispute this account.
Mr Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.
He had suffered severe brain damage, and was medically evacuated from North Korea on 13 June to a hospital in his home city of Cincinnati. Ohio. It is unclear how he fell ill.

What sanctions can be taken, if any?

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$2,500 a year?

In another thread, Skeptic Ginger said this:

"First, if you think Obama said people's insurance premiums would go down $2500/yr, you weren't listening."

I was listening, and hoping he knew something I didn't - saving money on premiums sounded nice.

I'll just put this out there...

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General Holocaust denial discussion Part III

The power of mind control, when practiced by the govt., the media, and academia, is an amazing thing to behold. So, while the US military is dropping 26000 bombs per year on defenseless Muslims half way around the world, this slightly amazing English youtuber, with 300,000 subscribers, a well-spoken and intelligent fellow, argues that we should correctly refer to Muslims as savages ...

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Age limit for cell phones? Parents against underage Smartphones

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dimanche 18 juin 2017

Replace ipod with Android

I've continued to carry around an ipod with manual syncs to an itunes system for all sorts of reasons. But with some computer changes, I'm trying to move off it to an android phone.

podcasts aren't too bad. I like most of what AntennaPod does, so that's satisfactory.

On the music side, I'd like to find something that can do a function similar to smartplaylists on the ipod. Specifically, I'd like to be able to ask it to shuffle songs not played in the month.

I have MediaMonkey, and I love the features it seems to have for syncing (I can set up lists on Windows and push to android), but it doesn't seem to have smart playlists on the android side. BubbleUPNP I use for other purposes, but doesn't have smart playlists and searching songs is poor.

Any recommendations for a more featureful audio player? I don't see any way I can get my hard buttons I had on the ipod without some hardware hacking. But if I can get a better player, that might be enough.

via International Skeptics Forum

New Watergate revelations

I'm surprised there isn't a thread on this already (if there is, I can't find it)

Just goes to show what a bunch of criminals the Republicans really were under Tricky Dicky, and how much they attacked democracy

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Macron wins Absolute Majority.....

And now the fun begins.
What Macron has to avoid is becoming panicked, when, as seems inevitable, the left opposition takes to the streets. Trying to cower the government with that tactic goes back to the French Revolution...and worked until Napoleon's "Whiff of Grapeshot",

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Another van attack in London

Not far from where I live.

Just what we don't need.

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Iran launches missiles into eastern Syria

Iran launches missiles into eastern Syria

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Poll Shows Cultural Divide Between Rural And Urban

America’s cultural divide runs deep. While rural and urban Americans share some economic challenges, they frequently diverge on questions of culture and values. On few issues are they more at odds than immigration.


Originally Posted by The Washington Post
The political divide between rural and urban America is more cultural than it is economic, rooted in rural residents’ deep misgivings about the nation’s rapidly changing demographics, their sense that Christianity is under siege and their perception that the federal government caters most to the needs of people in big cities, according to a wide-ranging poll that examines cultural attitudes across the United States.

The Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey of nearly 1,700 Americans — including more than 1,000 adults living in rural areas and small towns — finds deep-seated kinship in rural America, coupled with a stark sense of estrangement from people who live in urban areas. Nearly 7 in 10 rural residents say their values differ from people who live in big cities, including about 4 in 10 who say their values are “very different.”...

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Traditional Hawaiian canoe completes voyage around the world.

In a constant stream of doom and gloom, it's just great to see some good and interesting news. A Traditional Hawaiian Hokule'a vessel, crewed by indigenous Hawaiians, has just returned to Hawaii after a 3 year trip around the world, navigating using only the traditional stars, wind, and ocean swells.

Well done them. That cheers me somewhat this morning.


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samedi 17 juin 2017

Elderly Man Shouts at TV

Donald Trump has reportedly been yelling at TV sets in the White House as he becomes "increasingly angry" about an investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US presidential election.
The US leader thinks he is the victim of a conspiracy aimed at discrediting his leadership and ending his time in the White House, according to the Associated Press.
Confidants and advisers close to Mr Trump said his fury was mounting at the probe and he had been yelling at TV sets about its press coverage.

via International Skeptics Forum

Have you drawn a weapon?

I recently had to do so. It was a taser. My boyos were unharmed and the dickweed walking his unrestrained ******** got away.

And yes we're talking dogs here.

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Best way to lose faith is to read the Bible

I was raised in the church. I went to Sunday School and services every Sunday. I went to Vacation Bible School in the summer and Bible camp as a teenager. I was involved in church activities all the way through college. But in all that time I doubt I had read more than a few chapters/books from start to finish. What i had read was almost all from the New Testament and even more specifically the Gospels.

I felt that I had been cheating my faith. After all, I had read War and Peace and many other big books. Shouldn't I commit myself to reading all of God's holy word? So I did. And the more I read, the more I hated it and the more I started to disbelieve. By the time I finished it I was an atheist.

I have heard other atheists tell similar stories. The Old Testament is so horrible and disgusting that I wouldn't want to have anything to do with God even if he did exist. I'm convinced that the best way to get people to turn away from this religion is for them to just read about Jephthah and Saul and Exodus.

Does this sound familiar? Am I wrong?

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Help with creating a German language book title

Hi I was wondering if a native speaker of German could help me on this matter. In a book I'm writing I need to create a German language title for a book that doesn't exist.

The title is: Reconstructed views of the main structures located within the ruins of Saphkary.

Context of the imaginary title, published in East Germany in 1961 showing reconstructed view of building in ruins found in the Empty Quarter on the borders of Saudi Arabia and Oman. Written by Joachim Herrmann Biehl and Gyula Laszlo Rakosi.

An automated translation provides:

Rekonstruierte Ansichten der Hauptstrukturen, die innerhalb der Ruinen von Saphkary gelegen sind

Is this remotely correct?

Thanks for you help

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vendredi 16 juin 2017

Woman convicted of inciting suicide....

Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be a thread about this. A young woman who was a high school girl at the time has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter for tweeting to another student that she knew was suicidal and was actually committing suicide at that moment that he should go ahead and do it, even when he expressed second thoughts. Sounds to me like a just verdict, but apparently it's a legal first.

via International Skeptics Forum

US Navy Destroyer Crashes Into Merchant Ship Off the Japanese Coast


Originally Posted by Sputnik
US Navy ship [USS Fitzgerald] collided with a trade vessel [Phillipine ACX Crystal] in the early morning hours on June 17. The number of injured sailors has yet to be determined, according to the US Pacific Fleet Commander. [...] Following the incident, US sailors had to call for help from the Japanese coast guard. Japanese tug boats are en route to assist and are currently pulling the ship to safety, as she could not carry on under her own power, a US Defense Department official said. In the video, however, it appears the Fitzgerald is moving along, perhaps more slowly than usual. [...] The collision occurred about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

Can you please pay attention to the fact that there's an outside world, Yankistanis? ;)

via International Skeptics Forum

The state of Oregon adds "Non-Binary" option to Driver's License

I must say that I strongly despise anybody who questions non-binary people's right to exist. You'd have to be a damn stupid idiot to be anti-gender minority, especially if you are pro-gay in the first place. Use inductive reasoning. What are these morons thinking? "Obviously blacks are equal to whites, obviously females are just as intelligent as males, obviously being gay is ok, but I think there just might be something to this hatred of trans and non-binary people!". So gullible. These yahoos are no better than the people who used to (and still do) say "PENIS GOES INTO THE VAGINA, PEOPLE! COME ON, THIS IS SCIENCE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HERE! HOMOSEXUALITY IS UNNATURAL!". Oregon totally has the right idea.

via International Skeptics Forum

Dennis Rodman Embraces Dear Leader....

Memo to North Korea:

Could you keep Rodman over there, please?

via International Skeptics Forum

James Randi and JREF

So..Working for myself at home, slow day so internet browsing. Ended up on the JREF site for the first time in years and it appears to have come to a complete standstill around 2015.

I looked on this site and there doesn't appear to be anything concerning JREF after the same time.

I think it would be a shame if it had died off and so am asking - does anyone have up to date knowledge.

via International Skeptics Forum

J'accuse faussement

BBC News: Elizabeth Banks apologises for Steven Spielberg diversity comments

"Actress Elizabeth Banks has apologised to Steven Spielberg after she wrongly "called him out" in public for never directing a film with a female lead.

The star made the comments at a Women in Film awards ceremony on Wednesday.

Actress Shari Belafonte called out from the audience Spielberg had directed the 1985 film The Color Purple, starring Whoopi Goldberg. But after another audience member yelled it was wrong, Banks believed she was still correct."


via International Skeptics Forum

Help me find an app :)

Hello all

I'm looking for an app where people could check whether they've done a task or not. The point is that everyone could tick a box next to the day for each given day when they do the task or leave it empty if they didn't. Participation would be voluntary and work on an honor system, there is no need for fancy security or privacy or anything like that. Tick the box next to your name if you did the task, leave it empty if you didn't, simple as that.

It would be easy to do with Excel, but I need a system that can be simultaneously used and edited by over 100 people if necessary, so putting an Excel file into Dropbox and using that is too cumbersome. I would also like it to be free or at at least inexpensive (<50€/$).

Google had something like that called Google attendance or something like that, but I can't find it any more.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Did I describe what I need adequately? :o

Thanks! :)


via International Skeptics Forum

Noreen Renier: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas from a Grieving Family

I received my July/August 2017 issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine today. It offers a lengthy article written by Gary Posner , M.D. He is both the founder of the Tampa Bay Skeptics, and also a CSI Scientific and Technical Consultant. Titled Psychic Detective Noreen Renier: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas from a Grieving Family, it evaluates newly obtained recording sessions made of Noreen Renier with the Halifax Regional Police.

I’ve known Gary for more than 30 years. In reading the magazine today I believe it carefully reviews the obfuscation and protracted wild goose chases often encountered with psychic detectives. It’s well worth reading by both skeptics and paranormal believers. It may shock many with its concise ability to evaluate the credibility of Noreen Renier using her own words and premonitions.

On this site I invite any response Noreen Renier might wish to provide to the public. She has previously responded on this site and should be given a fair and polite opportunity to do so again. As a current Orlando resident, her website has long opened to a page headlined A New Technique for Obtaining Clues from Unsolved Crimes.

Perhaps she can clarify why her results for accurate clues are showcased as quite opposite based on her own voice recordings in this truly stunning article. Her sign-in on this site has previously been "NJR" for Noreen Jean Renier.

via International Skeptics Forum

jeudi 15 juin 2017

Corbyn wants to seize rich people's homes

Jeremy Corbyn has called for the empty homes of rich people in Kensington to be seized for Grenfell Tower residents who have been made homeless by the fire.

via International Skeptics Forum

Why I hate America

I'm a liberal. I admit it. Heck I'm proud of it. In fact those online poll things often say I'm actually a socialist...and Dean from Supernatural. Which is so bogus since I'm clearly Sam!

So of course when I see that far right wing blog Charismanews has posted a list of all the things I hate about America...well I can't but help read it. Surely it will be refreshing to see all the things I hate spelled out in list form.

Well I was sure in for a surprise. Turns out I hate things like "success" and "cheeseburgers" which I could have sworn I liked. In fact it turns out I hate "The American People" as a whole which surely also I was unaware of.

Actually here it is and I color coded it. Bold for things I actually like, highlights for things I think are largely good but with some need for fixing and a strike through for the things I actually hate. I hope the mods will allow this since I'm commenting on the whole of the thing.

  1. The U.S. Constitution
  2. Liberty
  3. Freedom
  4. Success
  5. Big Trucks
  6. Capitalism
  7. Free Markets
  8. Wealthy People
  9. Economic Prosperity
  10. The Rule of Law
  11. Traditional Values
  12. The American Flag
  13. The Founding Fathers
  14. Guns
  15. Limited Government
  16. Religious Freedom
  17. Homeschooling
  18. Private Schools
  19. Christian Schools
  20. Entrepreneurs
  21. Ronald Reagan
  22. Donald Trump
  23. Mike Pence
  24. Country Music
  25. Rush Limbaugh
  26. The Tea Party
  27. Lower Taxes
  28. Old-Fashioned Light Bulbs
  29. Jesus
  30. The Bible
  31. The Christian Faith
  32. The Drudge Report
  33. John Wayne
  34. Alex Jones
  35. NASCAR
  36. Tupperware
  37. Big Cheeseburgers
  38. Football
  39. Clint Eastwood
  40. The Army
  41. The Navy
  42. The Marines
  43. The Air Force
  44. Ron Paul
  45. Rand Paul
  46. Marriage
  47. Family
  48. Babies
  49. Wal-Mart
  50. Flag Pins
  51. Steakhouses
  52. Chuck Norris
  53. Bottled Water
  54. George Washington
  55. The 1st Amendment
  56. The 2nd Amendment
  57. The 10th Amendment
  58. The Pledge of Allegiance
  59. McDonald’s
  60. Coca-Cola
  61. Fried Food
  62. Muscle Cars
  63. Charlie Daniels
  64. Dolly Parton
  65. Duck Dynasty
  66. Johnny Cash
  67. Sarah Palin
  68. Cheesesteaks
  69. Sean Hannity
  70. Rodeos
  71. Cadillacs
  72. Barbie Dolls
  73. Ted Cruz
  74. Fiscal Sanity
  75. Charlton Heston
  76. Israel
  77. Benjamin Netanyahu
  78. Miners
  79. Loggers
  80. The Coal Industry
  81. National Sovereignty
  82. National Borders
  83. Uncle Sam
  84. The Washington Redskins
  85. Small Businesses
  86. Self-Employment
  87. Harley-Davidson Motorcycles
  88. Military Veterans
  89. The Phrase “Islamic Terror”
  90. Big Families
  91. The Bible Belt
  92. The Creation Museum
  93. The 10 Commandments
  94. Anyone That Is Pro-Life
  95. Anyone Who Disagrees With Them
  96. Hard Work
  97. Patriotism
  98. Winning
  99. The Truth
  100. The American People

By the way I'm a bit confused about the inclusion of Israel and Netanyhu.

Fellow liberals, how did the list reflect your hatreds?

via International Skeptics Forum