June 30, 2007

Alarmist global warming claims melt under scientific scrutiny

Many of the assertions Gore makes in his movie, ''An Inconvenient Truth,'' have been refuted by science, both before and after he made them. Gore can show sincerity in his plea for scientific honesty by publicly acknowledging where science has rebutted his claims.

Learn more.

June 29, 2007

Obama says despite shortcomings of Bush administration, impeachment is not acceptable

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama laid out list of political shortcomings he sees in the Bush administration but said he opposes impeachment for either President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

Obama is not the right person to be President.

Read more.

Cheney, master of stealth, readies himself for the final act of 'imperial' vice-presidency

After more than six years of his rule, the US is waking up to the reality that it has been a Cheney-Bush affair in all but name and despite being written off on numerous occasions, the Vice-President's ability to influence events remains unrivalled. Although he is approaching the final months of his career and will never run for office again, more surprises may be in store as he seeks to complete his agenda.

Read more about Darth Cheney here.

Obesity linked to Alzheimer's as epidemic looms

The number of people with Alzheimer's disease is due to soar as a result of the obesity epidemic, it was revealed yesterday, as evidence grows that dementia, like heart attacks and strokes, has lifestyle causes.

Learn more.

Exercise Grows New Brain Cells

Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells, a new study on rats finds. The new cells could be the key to why working out relieves depression.

Learn more.

Jupiter changes its stripes

Jupiter's cloud patterns are undergoing dramatic changes, reveal new images by the Hubble Space Telescope. Similar transformations of the giant planet's clouds have been witnessed before, but never in such detail – and they have never been explained.

Learn, oh wait they don't know why...hmmm...ok, read more here.

How 20 girls were saved from circus slavery

According to Lt Col Philip Holmes (rtd), who founded the charity in memory of his first wife, about 500 Nepalese children, mostly girls, are slaves in Indian circuses.

The girls are usually sold for about £70.

"Probably the main factor is poverty," he said. "It has to be said there is also an element of greed, and some nasty parents are quick to off-load children from a previous marriage."

This is the world we humans have made.

Read the rest.

There's a reason voters don't give a damn

You can blame the pathetic numbers on any calculus of cultural, historical or sociological factors. But too many people simply believe the system's not responsive--or even worse, rigged.

Read the rest.

Potential cure for HIV discovered

IN a breakthrough that could potentially lead to a cure for HIV infection, scientists have discovered a way to remove the virus from infected cells.

Learn more.

Secret trials for terrorists, says US judge

A TOP-RANKING US judge has stunned a conference of Australian judges and barristers in Chicago by advocating secret trials for terrorists, more surveillance of Muslim populations across North America and an end to counter-terrorism efforts being "hog-tied" by the US constitution.

Judge Richard Posner, a supposedly liberal-leaning jurist regarded by many as a future US Supreme Court candidate, said traditional concepts of criminal justice were inadequate to deal with the terrorist threat and the US had "over-invested" in them.

We're in trouble if this guy is considered to be a US Supreme Court candidate and he has these views. How depressing.

Read the rest.

Is this the start of the robot revolution?

A NEW hi-tech hospital being built in Scotland will be the first in the UK to use a fleet of robots to take over from humans in tasks such as transporting heavy medical equipment and laundry.

I saw Terminator. ;-)

Read the rest.

Israeli president resigns but avoids jail time

President Moshe Katsav signed a plea bargain Thursday that will force him to resign but included no rape charges and entailed no jail time, Attorney General Meni Mazuz said.

Under the deal, Katsav — who had insisted he was innocent of wrongdoing and the victim of a slur campaign — will plead guilty to sexual harassment, indecent acts and harassing a witness, Mazuz said.

Read more.

Chimera embryos have right to life, say bishops

Human-animal hybrid embryos conceived in the laboratory - so-called “chimeras” - should be regarded as human and their mothers should be allowed to give birth to them, the Roman Catholic Church said yesterday.

Read more.

City May Seek Permit and Insurance for Many Kinds of Public Photography

Some tourists, amateur photographers, even would-be filmmakers hoping to make it big on YouTube could soon be forced to obtain a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance before taking pictures or filming on city property, including sidewalks.

New rules being considered by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.

Read more.

Robot Uprising: Death Comes to the Robotarium X

Yesterday we reported on the Robotarium X, Portugal's idyllic robot zoo, where the robots supposedly live together in harmony. However, things have taken a sinister turn. Nicole Martinell of Zoomata.com let us know that something was amiss.


...


"They are so small that the bigger ones can´t detect them and just run over. And by doing that sometimes they cut their tails, killing them in the sense that they can't move anymore." says Moura "This of course was curious and unexpected. In a way it simulates nature and evolution, as it shows that some bodies (phenotypes) and behaviors are better adapted to the environment than others."

It shows that in a closed community, there will always be a top dog, no matter how "accidental" its rise to the top. Here's Moura's reply in full.


Read the rest.

June 28, 2007

I'm Not Suprised

Well, according to What's My Blog Rated? The Fall of Humanity is rated

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
sex (11x) torture (5x) gays (3x) porn (2x) gay (1x)

Now, just like ratings for films, this rating is absolutely meaningless since everything is subjective.

However, I am kinda happy about it. ;-)

House members seek $4,400 pay raise

Despite low approval ratings and hard feelings from last year's elections, Democrats and Republicans in the House are reaching out for an approximately $4,400 pay raise that would increase their salaries to almost $170,000.

When do I get a raise?

And quite frankly, I don't believe you all deserve a raise and since I'm paying you...

Read the rest.

A World Without Humans

It’s a common fantasy to imagine that you’re the last person left alive on earth. But what if all human beings were suddenly whisked off the planet? That premise is the starting point for The World without Us, a new book by science writer Alan Weisman, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Arizona. In this extended thought experiment, Weisman does not specify exactly what finishes off Homo sapiens; instead he simply assumes the abrupt disappearance of our species and projects the sequence of events that would most likely occur in the years, decades and centuries afterward.

Read the rest.

Diet pill 'is as filling as a plate of pasta'

The pill contains an extremely absorbent powder that expands to more than 1,000 times its initial size when combined with water.

Read the rest.

Robot Uprising: Death Comes to the Robotarium X

Yesterday we reported on the Robotarium X, Portugal's idyllic robot zoo, where the robots supposedly live together in harmony. However, things have taken a sinister turn. Nicole Martinell of Zoomata.com let us know that something was amiss.

...

"They are so small that the bigger ones can´t detect them and just run over. And by doing that sometimes they cut their tails, killing them in the sense that they can't move anymore." says Moura "This of course was curious and unexpected. In a way it simulates nature and evolution, as it shows that some bodies (phenotypes) and behaviors are better adapted to the environment than others."

It shows that in a closed community, there will always be a top dog, no matter how "accidental" its rise to the top. Here's Moura's reply in full.

Read the rest.

Immigration bill fails again

The on-again-off-again Senate immigration bill has failed, and this time the blow is probably fatal.

Learn more.

Divided court rejects school diversity plans

A bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday issued what is likely to be a landmark opinion -- ruling that race cannot be a factor in the assignment of children to public schools.

Read more.

White House refuses to turn over subpoenaed papers

President Bush, moving toward a constitutional showdown with Congress, asserted executive privilege Thursday and rejected lawmakers' demands for documents that could shed light on the firings of federal prosecutors.

Actions speak louder than words.

Read the rest.

White House refuses to turn over subpoenaed papers

President Bush, moving toward a constitutional showdown with Congress, asserted executive privilege Thursday and rejected lawmakers' demands for documents that could shed light on the firings of federal prosecutors.

Actions speak louder than words.

Read the rest.

FTC on Net neutrality: No new laws needed

It took the FTC a mere 169 pages to arrive at that result in its new report on the topic, probably one of the most exhaustive treatments of Net neutrality to date. It concludes: "We recommend that policy makers proceed with caution in evaluating proposals to enact regulation in the area of broadband Internet access."

Read the rest.

Report: ‘Shadow Goverment’ Of Private Contractors Explodes Under Bush

But while private contractors — such as Halliburton and AshBritt — have been reaping huge profits, “billions of dollars of taxpayer money have been squandered.” Some highlights from the report:

– Halliburton has been the “fastest growing contractor.”

...

– Growth in federal contracting exceeds inflation rate.

...

– Noncompetitive contracts skyrocket.

Make sure to read the stuff in between.

Agency's Strangeloves altered mind of a girl aged 4

Of all the heinous acts committed by the CIA in the name of national security, these experiments, done on the agency's behalf by prominent psychiatrists on innocent victims - including children as young as four - may be the darkest.

...

The nature of the experiments, gathered from government documents and testimony in numerous lawsuits brought against the CIA, is shocking, from testing LSD on children to implanting electrodes in victims' brains to deliberately poisoning people with uranium.

And you can bet similar "experiments" are going on today.

Read more.

Bye-Bye, Landlines

Mobile phones are replacing landlines faster than ever these days, and T-Mobile is tapping into the trend.

Today, the company launched its HotSpot@Home service, which lets people use their mobile phones over a wireless Internet connection at home without using any of their minutes. T-Mobile developed a technology that hands off the calls between its wireless GSM network and an in-home Wi-Fi router. When outside the house, the phone acts like a normal cellphone.

Learn more.

Wear your chip or eat it

Just recently Kodak filed a patent for edible RFID chips. They’re designed for monitoring a patient’s gastric tract. The chips are covered in a harmless gelatin, which eventually dissolves. These RFID chips embed deep in the body and can be read by a scanner. After swallowing a tag a patient need only sit next to a radio source and receiver.

Eat your chips here.

US juries get verdict wrong in one of six cases: study

So much for US justice: juries get the verdict wrong in one out of six criminal cases and judges don't do much better, a new study has found.

And when they make those mistakes, both judges and juries are far more likely to send an innocent person to jail than to let a guilty person go free, according to an upcoming study out of Northwestern University.

Isn't that wonderful?

Read more.

Russia lays claim to the North Pole - and all its gas, oil, and diamonds

His audacious argument that an underwater Russian ridge is linked to the North Pole is likely to lead to an international outcry.

Some commentators have already observed it is further evidence of growing Russian assertiveness under its authoritarian president.

Read the rest.

June 27, 2007

An un-American story: Hate crimes and special victims

The Duke and Knoxville cases cast serious doubts on that premise. It is human nature to resent groups and individuals deemed more special than others.

Read the rest.

Planet of the slums: UN warns urban populations set to double

The shanty towns that choke the cities of Africa and Asia are experiencing unstoppable growth, expanding by more than a million people every week, according to the "state of the world's population" report.

The UN's findings echo recent predictions that 2008 will see a watershed in human history as the balance of the world's population tips from rural to urban. Many of the new urbanites will be poor and the shelters into which they move, or are born, will be slums.

...

In this new world the majority of theurban poor will be under 25, unemployed and vulnerable to fundamentalism, Christian and Islamic.

"The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades." ~ Timbuk 3

Read more about this lovely scenario brought to you by the UN.

Leaving No Tracks

Because of Cheney's intervention, the government reversed itself and let the water flow in time to save the 2002 growing season, declaring that there was no threat to the fish. What followed was the largest fish kill the West had ever seen, with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River.

Characteristically, Cheney left no tracks.


The Klamath case is one of many in which the vice president took on a decisive role to undercut long-standing environmental regulations for the benefit of business.

By combining unwavering ideological positions -- such as the priority of economic interests over protected fish -- with a deep practical knowledge of the federal bureaucracy, Cheney has made an indelible mark on the administration's approach to everything from air and water quality to the preservation of national parks and forests.

Read more about Cheney's actions benefiting business here.

Earth's inner heat keeps cities afloat

If it weren't for the hot rocks down below Earth's crust, most of North America would be below sea level, report researchers who say the significance of Earth's internal heat has been overlooked.

Without it, mile-high Denver would be 727 feet below sea level, the scientists calculate, and New York City, more than a quarter-mile below. Los Angeles would be almost three-quarters of a mile beneath the Pacific.

Hmmm.

Learn more.

Judge: No appeal bail in teen sex case

A man who had consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 is not eligible for bail while appealing his 10-year prison sentence, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling is likely to mean that 21-year-old Genarlow Wilson will remain behind bars for several more months at least.

The injustice continues.

Read the rest.

Scientists eye an enzyme as target in fighting autism

US researchers have reversed the symptoms of mental retardation and autism in mice by inhibiting an enzyme that affects the connections between brain cells, researchers said Wednesday.

Learn more.

White House, Cheney's office, subpoenaed

The probe, in its sixth month, began with an investigation into whether administration officials ordered the firings of eight federal prosecutors, for political reasons.

But with senators of both parties already concerned about the constitutionality of the administration's efforts to root out terrorism suspects in the United States, the committee shifted to the broader question of Gonzales' stewardship of Justice and, in particular, his willingness to permit the wiretapping program.

Read the rest.

Jailed for waving at my daughter

Mark was not a feckless, irresponsible father. He did not walk out of his children's lives. Rather, he was ordered out by the family courts, and when he objected - insisting it was his right to see them - he was dealt with in a scandalous way.

Mark Harris went to prison for his girls. He was jailed for waving to them after a court order demanded he sever all contact. It was the most shameful chapter in an extraordinary ten-year custody battle.

Oh this is just absolutely disgusting. Make sure to read the rest.

Job hunters post video resumes on Web

Job hunters are sending their videos to companies and recruiters and are posting the videos online in hopes of attracting a potential employer.

Hmmmm.

Learn more.

Executive Actions to Promote Religion Ruled Beyond Court Scrutiny

The Supreme Court in effect ruled that the Bush Administration may use taxpayer money to support religion without complaint by taxpayers. The decision makes the violation impervious to court review, since no one besides taxpayers could have standing to challenge the appropriations.

Read more.

Ron Paul's candidacy may be the biggest threat to America's status quo yet!

Don’t vote Ron Paul! Below are the reasons WHY NOT!

Read more.

Doctors back plan to store medical info under your skin

Devices the size of a grain of rice that are implanted with a needle could give emergency room doctors quick access to the records of chronically ill patients, the nation's largest doctors group said in a report.

The association adopted a policy Monday stating that the devices can improve the "safety and efficiency of patient care" by helping to identify patients and enabling secure access to clinical information.

Read about your future here.

UN: Half the World Soon to Be in Cities

Without proper planning, cities across the globe face the threat of overwhelming poverty, limited opportunities for youth, and religious extremism, U.N. Population Fund Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid told The Associated Press in London, where the report was released.

Live in the big city here.

FBI to restrict student freedoms

US university students will not be able to work late at the campus, travel abroad, show interest in their colleagues' work, have friends outside the United States, engage in independent research, or make extra money without the prior consent of the authorities, according to a set of guidelines given to administrators by the FBI.

...

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to monitor their colleagues for signs of suspicious behaviour and report any concerns to the FBI or the military.

It's obvious that freedom reigns here in the good ole USA.

Learn to report to the FBI here.

June 26, 2007

The Bases Are Loaded

Will the U.S. ever leave Iraq? Official policy promises an eventual departure, while warning of the dire consequences of a "premature" withdrawal. But while Washington equivocates, facts on the ground tell another story. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, and author Chalmers Johnson, are discovering that military bases in Iraq are being consolidated from over a hundred to a handful of "megabases" with lavish amenities.

Which means we ain't ever leavin'.

Check out the video here.

The Scramble for Africa's Oil

The Pentagon is embarked on a massive effort to militarily secure African oil assets for the United States. Under cover of the so-called "war on terror," the U.S. is deepening its military ties to "friendly" African regimes, enhancing their capacity to deal with internal dissidents and external rivals.

Read the rest.

CDC: About 2M more Americans uninsured

The number of adults without health insurance jumped by 2 million from 2005 to 2006, according to a new federal report.

Uninsured Americans numbered 43.6 million last year, a 6 percent increase from 2005, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Almost all the increase was in the non-elderly adult population — a trend attributed to diminishing employer coverage and pricier private insurance.

Learn more.

N.Z. couple can't name their son '4real'

New Zealand authorities have blocked a couple's bid to officially name their new son "4real," saying numerals are not allowed.

More here.

Nevada College System Wants to Arm Faculty

The University of Nevada system is one step closer to letting professors, faculty and staff carry guns on campus.

It's a controversial plan that the Board of Regents agreed to on Thursday. Some students and staff are concerned it may not be the best idea.

Read more.

Girl provoked pedophile - judge

A PEDOPHILE who raped a 10-year-old girl will be free in just four months after a British judge said his victim had "dressed provocatively".

Huh?

Read the rest.

Africa united in rejecting US request for military HQ

The Pentagon's plan to create a US military command based in Africa have hit a wall of hostility from governments in the region reluctant to associate themselves with the Bush administration's "war on terror" and fearful of American intervention.

And rightly so.

Read the rest.

The Foreign Policy of Barack Obama

Barack Obama provides no alternative to Hillary Clinton, in terms of imperial-minded foreign policy. This is doubly regrettable since Clinton herself provides no substantive alternative to the neoconservative philosophy of the Bush administration.

As with Clinton and the other "respectable" contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Obama has consistently voted to fund the war and has opposed an immediate withdrawal of American troops. While state legislator Obama opposed an immediate war with Iraq in 2002-03, he did not do so on anti-imperial or noninterventionist grounds. He opposed the war at a time when the idea was relatively unpopular, especially among his Chicago constituents. He later backpedaled somewhat from his public opposition.

Read more.

Rise of man theory ‘out by 400,000 years’

Our earliest ancestors gave up hunter-gathering and took to a settled life up to 400,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to controversial research.

Read more.

U.S. losing its power over China

The United States may be about to do something really stupid, which is to launch a trade war with China.

Such a misguided step would do much damage to the world economy and reinforce the view, not only in China but in other emerging market countries, that the United States does not really want them to succeed. Moreover, China would be bound to retaliate.

What's driving the "blame China" crusade in the U.S. Congress is itsgrowing trade deficit with China.

Read the rest.

Iran bombers attack Our Boys

IRANIAN forces are being choppered over the Iraqi border to bomb Our Boys, intelligence chiefs say.

Come on now. This sounds like I'm reading Harry Potter.

Read the latest fear tactic here.

DON'T GET 'HUNG UP' ON BUYING AN IPHONE

The iPhone crams so many different features into its slightly bulky form that it can only excel at one, and compromise on the rest. After spending some time, albeit briefly, with the iPhone, it's clear to me that Internet and e-mail are the parts that suffered.

Read the rest.

Three Quarters Believe Global Warming A 'Natural Occurrence'

This goes against the views of the vast majority of scientists who believe the rise in the earth's temperatures is due to pollution.

The online study which polled nearly 4000 votes found that a staggering 71 percent of people think that the rise in air temperature happens naturally.

And 65 percent think that scientists' catastrophic predictions if pollution isn't curbed are 'far fetched'.

Warm up here.

The Dehydrated States of America

Like other regions across the southern United States, Arizona's water supply is dwindling while its population grows like wildfire.

Read the rest.

U.S. Net access not all that speedy

The USA trails other industrialized nations in high-speed Internet access and may never catch up unless quick action is taken by public-policymakers, a report commissioned by the Communications Workers of America warns.

The median U.S. download speed now is 1.97 megabits per second — a fraction of the 61 megabits per second enjoyed by consumers in Japan, says the report released Monday. Other speedy countries include South Korea (median 45 megabits), France (17 megabits) and Canada (7 megabits).

"We have pathetic speeds compared to the rest of the world," CWA President Larry Cohen says. "People don't pay attention to the fact that the country that started the commercial Internet is falling woefully behind."

How depressing.

Read the rest.

June 25, 2007

Iranian forces crossed Iraqi border: report

An unidentified intelligence source told the tabloid: "It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran -- but nobody has officially declared it."

Gotta love the "unidentified intelligence source" crap.

Read more.

41% Still Believe Saddam Involved With 9/11

It's question number six on the survey.

Read the survey here as there were some interesting things.

Germany bans Cruise film shoot

Germany has barred the makers of a movie about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler from filming at German military sites because its star Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, the Defence Ministry said on Monday.

Whatever.

Read the rest.

Dog Won't Hunt

I ran across this via Digg: 10 Ways to Avoid Speeding Tickets.Here's a summary:

...

Conspicuously missing from this list? Howabout this one: "don't drive faster than the speed limit allows".

Seems like a no brainer, but then again...

Read the rest.

Court allows issue ads near elections

The Supreme Court loosened restrictions Monday on corporate- and union-funded television ads that air close to elections, weakening a key provision of a landmark campaign finance law.

...

The decision could lead to a bigger role for corporations, unions and other interest groups in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections.

And that's just what we need.

Read more.

Scientists take a bead on ancient jewellery

Because, at 82,000 years old, these shell beads are the oldest ornaments or decorations ever found and they push our grasp on human mentality further back into the past than ever before.

Now that is interesting.

Learn more here.

IRAQ: Women Resist Return to Sectarian Laws

As Iraq struggles to define its future, there is one important group that has been largely left out of the process: women.

But they are refusing to be left behind. With little international support or media attention, a network of more than 150 women's organisations across Iraq is fighting to preserve their rights in the new constitutional revision process.

Read more.

Where are all the single women? The single men?

Actually, it's a map of where the excess single men (in blue) and excess single women (in red) are located.

Now what caused this?

Check out the map.

Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power

Shortly after the first accused terrorists reached the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Jan. 11, 2002, a delegation from CIA headquarters arrived in the Situation Room. The agency presented a delicate problem to White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, a man with next to no experience on the subject. Vice President Cheney's lawyer, who had a great deal of experience, sat nearby. The meeting marked "the first time that the issue of interrogations comes up" among top-ranking White House officials, recalled John C. Yoo, who represented the Justice Department. "The CIA guys said, 'We're going to have some real difficulties getting actionable intelligence from detainees'" if interrogators confined themselves to humane techniques allowed by the Geneva Conventions.

From that moment, well before previous accounts have suggested, Cheney turned his attention to the practical business of crushing a captive's will to resist. The vice president's office played a central role in shattering limits on coercion of prisoners in U.S. custody, commissioning and defending legal opinions that the Bush administration has since portrayed as the initiatives, months later, of lower-ranking officials.

...

But a more careful look at the results suggests that Cheney won far more than he lost. Many of the harsh measures he championed, and some of the broadest principles undergirding them, have survived intact but out of public view.

And why is the public quiet on this?

Read more.

Parents track kids from cradle to car

But as GPS, webcams and home-monitoring equipment have come down in price, today's parents are employing a high-tech arsenal to keep tabs on their kids.

And thus make them accustom to constant, round the clock monitoring.

Be watched here.

Terrorism Fears Surpass Global Warming in U.S.

Many adults in the United States believe political violence is more menacing than climate change, according to a poll by Opinion Dynamics released by Fox News. 52 per cent of respondents think global terrorism poses a more serious threat to the world than global warming.

Be scared here.

Untreatable TB threat 'apocalyptic scenario'

The World Health Organization is appealing for billions of dollars in funding to avert the apocalypse en route if a virtually untreatable form of tuberculosis that already infects 30,000 people a year is left unchecked.

Learn more.

Supreme Court limits student speech

The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech Monday, ruling against a high school student and his 14-foot-long "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner.

Schools may prohibit student expression that can be interpreted as advocating drug use, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court in a 5-4 ruling.


Learn to shut up and be quiet here.

Out of This World: 60 Years of Flying Saucers

"I don't worry much about convincing skeptics," Friedman says. "Those who are willing to look at the scientific evidence will be convinced."

Of course, aliens and UFOs were around long before "flying saucer" was coined. UFOs have been seen for centuries, regarded as spirits, angels, dragons, phantom airships and ghost aircraft.


A short recap of UFO history.

Behind the atheist upsurge

But one thing is certain: This reaction to the gross excesses of religious rhetoric, not to mention the crimes against humanity, committed today in the name of God by factions and members of virtually every faith community, was as predictable as tomorrow's sunrise. Each of the attackers of belief in God is venting, among other things, the growing disillusionment and yes, disgust, of the many millions around the world who are aware not just of the scandals rocking religious institutions but of the pious veneer hiding not-so-subtle attempts by religious literalists to thwart the progress of science and to belittle human reason itself.

What these atheist voices are expressing is a long-repressed anger at the oppression, ignorance and violence that religion has too often both encouraged and blessed.

Read the rest.

Math mutt inspires faith

In the center of the living room, a brown dog stared, as if in deep thought.

Stan Tuten held up a board and scribbled down a basic algebra problem:

If a=2, and b=3, what is axb-1?

...

The dog stared at the food, then tapped Tuten's palm five times.

...

To prove this wasn't a fluke, the couple and a friend tossed out more math than teachers during exam time. Micah consistently pawed the correct answers, appearing to solve such problems as square root division, finding the numerators and denominators of fractions, multiplying and dividing, even basic algebra.

"He can calculate problems given in English, Spanish, French and German," Cindy Tuten said.

Read the rest on the mathematical ability of this dog.

The false dichotomy of Science vs. Religion

One of the big questions of the day is whether capital “S” Science will win out against capital “R” Religion. To my mind this is a false debate: no self-respecting scientist would take religion on as a suitable opponent, and no religious person should posit their spiritual conception as factually accurate. Nevertheless they both do, and this immature conflict seems to be one that we can’t get beyond. In a more mature society, the opposition between Science and Religion, or Science and Art for that matter, would simply disappear.

...

Science can measure the world, but it can’t give it meaning: that’s what myth is for. Conversely, believing in the factual accuracy of any religious myth or secular fiction robs it of its true function, meaning and depth. True believers in religion actually denigrate their own culture by taking it too seriously, and scientists pick a false fight in their attacks on religious naivety. Religion will evaporate on its own under the heat of a decent education, but hostility towards faith misses the point.

Learn more.

U.S. struggles with breadth, depth of war injuries

This is what everyone should know about war.

More than 800 of them have lost an arm, a leg, fingers or toes. More than 100 are blind. Dozens need tubes and machines to keep them alive. Hundreds are disfigured by burns, and thousands have brain injuries and mangled minds.

These are America's war wounded, a toll that has received less attention than the 3,500 troops killed in Iraq. Depending on how you count them, they number between 35,000 and 53,000.

More of them are coming home, with injuries of a scope and magnitude the government did not predict and is now struggling to treat.

And this is all that war accomplishes.

Get maimed here.

No More Black Holes?

If new calculations are correct, the universe just got even stranger. Scientists at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, have constructed mathematical formulas that conclude black holes cannot exist. The findings--if correct--could revolutionize astrophysics and resolve a paradox that has perplexed physicists for 4 decades.

Learn more.

IS HATRED SANCTIONED BY THE TORAH?

The Torah I studied as a child was full of love, it taught us that we all came from the same Father and were all brothers. There seems to be a new interpretation to those Holy Words today as those that supposedly are the master teachers of it are telling quite a different story these days...

Read more.

Bush will use 9.11.2007 to extend surge, Rich says

The Bush administration has a well established pattern of using the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to hype an often fictional "threat to America" and sell the war in Iraq, writes the New York Times' Frank Rich in his Sunday column. Rich expects this year to be no different.

Read more.

Military experience rare among '08 candidates

Of the 18 announced Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, only Republicans John McCain and Duncan Hunter have served on the front lines. Three others served in noncombat roles and another two served in the reserves.

Voters aren't likely to care very much, experts say.

"And the wars go on with brainwashed pride. For the love of God and our human rights." ~ Guns 'n' Roses

Read more.

June 24, 2007

The fight for the world's food

Most people in Britain won't have noticed. On the supermarket shelves the signs are still subtle. But the onset of a major change will be sitting in front of many people this morning in their breakfast bowl. The price of cereals in this country has jumped by 12 per cent in the past year. And the cost of milk on the global market has leapt by nearly 60 per cent. In short we may be reaching the end of cheap food.

...

In the developed world this could mean a change of lifestyle. Elsewhere it could cost lives. Soaring food prices have already sparked riots in poor countries that depend on grain imports. More will follow. After decades of decline in the number of starving people worldwide the numbers are starting to rise. The UN lists 34 countries as needing food aid. Since feeding programmes tend to have fixed budgets, a doubling in the price of grain halves food aid.

Anger boiled over this week as Jean Ziegler, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, accused the US and EU of "total hypocrisy" for promoting ethanol production in order to reduce their dependence on imported oil. He said producing ethanol instead of food would condemn hundreds of thousands of people to death from hunger.

Well, that's just wonderful.

Learn more.

Scientists Now Know: We're Not From Here!

Using volumes of data from the Two-Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), a major project to survey the sky in infrared light led by the University of Massachusetts, the astronomers are answering questions that have baffled scientists for decades and proving that our own Milky Way is consuming one of its neighbors in a dramatic display of ongoing galactic cannibalism. The study published in the Astrophysical Journal, is the first to map the full extent of the Sagittarius galaxy and show in visually vivid detail how its debris wraps around and passes through our Milky Way. Sagittarius is 10,000 times smaller in mass than the Milky Way, so it is getting stretched out, torn apart and gobbled up by the bigger Milky Way.

...

We are from another galaxy in the process of joining with the Milky Way. The Milky Way is actually not our parent galaxy. The mystery of why the Milky Way has always been sideways in the night sky has never been answered -- until now.

I thought the weather was different here.

Read more.

Nanospheres leave cancer no place to hide

GOLD-coated glass "nanoshells" can reveal the location of tumours and then destroy them minutes later in a burst of heat.

Using these particles to detect and destroy tumours could speed up cancer treatment and reduce the use of potentially toxic drugs. It could also make treatment cheaper, says Andre Gobin of Rice University in Houston, Texas, who helped to create the particles.

Learn more.

BROWN TO LIFT PROTEST RESTRICTIONS

Gordon Brown is to hold out an olive branch to opponents of the Iraq war by reinstating the right to demonstrate and march outside the Houses of Parliament, it has been claimed.

We'll see.

Learn more.

Bush claims oversight exemption too

An executive order that Bush issued in March 2003 — amending an existing order — requires all government agencies that are part of the executive branch to submit to oversight. Although it doesn't specifically say so, Bush's order was not meant to apply to the vice president's office or the president's office, a White House spokesman said.

And we let them continue to get away with such shit.

Read more.

IRS lists and refutes 'all of the anti-tax arguments'

He produced the New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated, 2003 edition, which lays out the history of Amendment XVI. The amendment, it states, "was proposed by the Sixty-first Congress on July 12, 1909, and was declared ratified on February 25, 1913."

It goes on to list the states that ratified the amendment and the dates they did so. The first was Alabama, on Aug. 10, 1909.

Get taxed here.

Addiction experts say video games not an addiction

They said more study is needed before excessive use of video and online games -- a problem that affects about 10 percent of players -- could be considered a mental illness.

"There is nothing here to suggest that this is a complex physiological disease state akin to alcoholism or other substance abuse disorders, and it doesn't get to have the word addiction attached to it," said Dr. Stuart Gitlow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Read more.

June 23, 2007

The Purple Brain: America's New Reefer Madness

More than 70 years in the making, the long-awaited sequel to the notorious 1936 film, Reefer Madness has arrived. It's called The Purple Brain, and just like its unintentionally campy predecessor, its purpose is to frighten Americans about marijuana.

Get stoned here.

What Vacation Days?

Despite being one of the richest nations, America denies its workers mandated paid vacations and sick days.

...

Americans now work more every year, on average, than workers in any other industrialized country (except for a virtual tie with New Zealand). With women working longer hours each year, the average annual work time for a married couple is growing steadily, and family time—including the crucial bonding experience of vacations—has suffered. Full-time workers in much of Europe typically take seven to eight weeks of vacation and holidays each year—that’s double the American average for full-time workers. Overall, the average private sector worker in the United States gets about nine paid vacation days and six paid holidays each year. Low-paid, part-time or small-business workers typically get far fewer, sometimes none. The same holds for paid sick leave: 72 percent of the highest-paid quarter of private sector workers get paid sick days compared to only 21 percent of workers in the lowest-paid quarter.

Why do workers in other rich countries have more paid time off? Mainly because laws demand employers provide it. The European Union requires its members to set a minimum standard of four weeks paid vacation (covering part-time workers as well). Finland and France require six weeks paid vacation, plus additional paid holidays. Most countries require workers to take the time off and employers to give them vacation at convenient times. Some governments even require employers to pay bonuses so workers can afford to do more than sit at home on vacation. On top of that, unions in Europe and other rich industrialized countries—whose contracts cover up to 90 percent of the workforce—typically negotiate additional time off. Meanwhile, the standard workweek is slightly shorter in many European countries, and workers retire earlier with better public pensions.

But the U.S. is the greatest country in the world?

Continue working your life away to make some one else richer but read about you could have here.

Their men in Washington: Undercover with D.C.'s lobbyists for hire

How is it that regimes widely acknowledged to be the world’s most oppressive nevertheless continually win favors in Washington? In part, it is because they often have something highly desired by the United States that can be leveraged to their advantage, be it natural resources, vast markets for trade and investment, or general geostrategic importance. But even the best-endowed regimes need help navigating the shoals of Washington, and it is their great fortune that, for the right price, countless lobbyists are willing to steer even the foulest of ships.

Because everyone has a price.

Learn more.

Congress set to issue virtual taxation report in August

For months, the community of virtual world publishers, players and economists has been holding its breath, waiting for the U.S. Congress to issue its report on the potential taxation of virtual goods.

Well, we don't have to wait much longer.

The taxman cometh.

CIA to reveal decades of misdeeds

The US Central Intelligence Agency is to declassify hundreds of documents detailing some of the agency's worst illegal abuses from the 1950s to 1970s.

The papers, to be released next week, will detail assassination plots, domestic spying and wiretapping, kidnapping and human experiments.


And I don't believe for a second that shit like this isn't going on today.

Read more.

SiCKO Is Boffo

When tapes of the Nixon-Ehrlichman conversation and Nixon’s subsequent public statement are played halfway through Michael Moore’s new movie SiCKO, it is one of the film’s more revealing moments. By this point in the film, Moore has already demonstrated that health insurance companies and HMOs are parasitic villains that routinely deny necessary medical care to make more bucks–even when their money-grubbing leads to the death of patients. Looking for the original sin that led to the present mess, Moore zeroes in on this Nixonian moment, which encapsulates the film’s premise that the United States health care system is defined by a fundamental conflict: profit versus care, and–no surprise–profit beats care.

And we allow this to continue.

I kept reading:

Moore’s meta-message is, It doesn’t have to be this way. He visits Canada, England, and France and compares their health care delivery systems to America’s. He plays this for loads of yucks. In a British hospital, he goes looking for the place where a patient has to pay his or her bill. He cannot find such a check-out counter. Then–a-ha!–he finds a cashier. But–here comes the punch line–this is where the hospital hands out cash to patients who need a few pounds to cover the cost of their transportation home. Yes, in a British hospital you can leave with more money than you came in with.

What about those put-upon doctors who must work under the heavy yoke of Britain’s National Health Service? He interviews a young doctor who drives a new Audi and lives in a posh million-dollar flat. The British system, the doc says, is fine for doctors–unless you want to live in a $3 million flat and own three or four cars. As for drugs, every prescription in England costs the equivalent of ten bucks–no matter what drug or how much of it. An American who blew out his shoulder trying to walk across the famous intersection at Abbey Road on his hands tells Moore that he obtained great hospital care for no money.

Ditto Canada. Ditto France. Doing his I-can’t-believe-it act, Moore grills Americans and locals in each country who relate stories of receiving quality care for no payments. A Canadian doctor, with a straight face, says that he has “never told anyone we couldn’t put a finger back on” because of a patient’s inability to pay. In the land of surrender-monkeys, Moore discovers that government-paid doctors–Sacre bleu!–make house calls, and new parents are visited by federally-paid daycare providers. And get this: a fellow who completes chemo in France gets three months of paid leave to recuperate (on a beach in the south of France, no less). No wonder, the United States ranks 37th in the world when it comes to the health of its citizens, just edging out Slovenia.

37th.

That should piss you off.

Learn more here.

White House contempt

House Judiciary Committee Democrats warned yesterday they would pursue a contempt of Congress motion if the White House fails respond to subpoenas for testimony and documents related to the firings of U.S. attorneys last year.

The deadline for a response is Thursday, June 28. If the White House does not comply, it opens the possibility of a constitutional showdown between the two branches. In an ironic twist, the Department of Justice (DoJ) would be called on to enforce the contempt motion.

And isn't contempt of Congress an impeachable offense? (If so, then add it to the ever growing list.)

Read the rest.

Worst Fears Realized In S. Africa TB Scare

Of the 45 samples, 10 were resistant to all six TB drugs they tested for.

"I got a cold shiver, with such fear in my heart," Moll said. "I thought, 'This is airborne. Could I be infected? Could my staff be infected?' To go into a new realm of XDR-TB, which is basically untreatable, was almost unthinkable," he said, using the acronym for Extremely Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis.

Moll's worst fears eventually were realized: Four of the hospital nurses died in those first few months. From that point on, the hospital began identifying more and more patients — and in almost all cases, the patients with XDR-TB were dead before the lab results were back. Most die within 16 days of being identified as a possible XDR-TB case. The mortality rate of XDR-TB is 84 percent.

...

"Ultimately we need prevention, as the current treatment regime just isn't the way to go," Moll said. "The bulk of the patients just die so quickly."

Read the rest.

Only one in six of UK's richest men is paying any income tax

The super-rich are using loopholes to avoid paying £2billion a year in income tax, official figures have revealed.

Only one in six of those earning more than £10million a year is paying tax on their earnings - with the rest using loopholes to dodge the burden.

The revelation will fuel anger over the private equity tycoons who are making vast fortunes while the gap between rich and poor widens.

You think?

Get pissed off here.

Cheney: Neither Here Nor There?

The House Oversight Committee is demanding that Vice President Cheney explain himself. Is his office part of the executive branch? Part of the legislative branch? Or is Cheney suggesting that as far as federal rules are concerned, his office essentially doesn't exist?

Yeah, Dick, which is it?

The issue at hand is Cheney's insistence that his office is exempt from an executive order issued by President Bush in 2003 requiring all federal agencies or "any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information" to report annually on its activities regarding the classification, safeguarding and declassification of national security information.

Learn more.

Can Non-Stick Chemical Spark Allergies?

A CONTROVERSIAL chemical used in Teflon non-stick coatings could be making people more prone to allergies, a study suggests.

Learn more here.

Bush's Mafia Whacks the Republic

In years to come, historians may look back on U.S. press coverage of George W. Bush’s presidency and wonder why there was not a single front-page story announcing one of the most monumental events of mankind’s modern era – the death of the American Republic and the elimination of the “unalienable rights” pledged to “posterity” by the Founders.

Read more.

'Mile-wide UFO' spotted by British airline pilot

One of the largest UFOs ever seen has been observed by the crew and passengers of an airliner over the Channel Islands.

...

Continuing his approach to Guernsey, Bowyer then spied a "second identical object further to the west".

He said: "It was exactly the same but looked smaller because it was further away. It was closer to Guernsey. I can't explain it. This was clearly visual for about nine minutes.

"I'm certainly not saying that it was something of another world. All I'm saying is that I have never seen anything like it before in all my years of flying."

Read more.

'Sicko' leaves top Democrats ill at ease

Rejecting Moore's prescription on healthcare could alienate liberal activists, who will play a big role in choosing the party's next standard-bearer. However, his proposal — wiping out private health insurance and replacing it with a massive federal program — could be political poison with the larger electorate.

...

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards of South Carolina all have staked out positions sharply at odds with Moore's approach. But none of them is eager to have that fact dragged into the spotlight.

Read the rest.

June 22, 2007

A jab to halt Alzheimer's could be available within a few years

Early tests showed the vaccine is highly effective at breaking up the sticky protein that clogs the brain in Alzheimer's, destroying vital connections between brain cells.

When the jab was given to mice suffering from a disease similar to Alzheimer's, 80 per cent of the patches of amyloid protein were broken up.

Wait for your shot here.

Boycotting DePaul

If Finkelstein's tenure bid was always controversial because of the intervention of Dershowitz and other pro-Israel ideologues, the rejection of Larudee was a shock. Her application had been unanimously approved at every previous level of the tenure process, and she was preparing to take over as chair of the university's International Studies program.

Larudee's supporters among faculty say the only reason they can think of for the decision is that she spoke out in defense of Finkelstein--and her brother is also involved in working for justice for Palestine.

Read the rest.

USA Liability $516,348 per U.S. household

Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

Um, that's not good.

Read the rest.

Cheney Power Grab: Says White House Rules Don't Apply to Him

Vice President Dick Cheney has asserted his office is not a part of the executive branch of the U.S. government, and therefore not bound by a presidential order governing the protection of classified information by government agencies, according to a new letter from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to Cheney.

Unbelievable.

And we continue to let him get away with such shit.

Learn about the "Fourth" Branch of the U.S. Government right here.

June 21, 2007

Gas at $6 per gallon? Get ready.

Get ready for Congress to solve the energy problem just as it has previously solved the illegal immigration problem. A bill being debated in the Senate this week is described by some of its supporters as “far from perfect” but “a good start.”

...

“A review of S. 1419, including the just-completed section on tax changes, reveals that the bill could increase the price of regular unleaded gasoline from $3.14 per gallon (the early May national average) to $6.40 in 2016 — a 104 percent increase,” write Heritage Foundation researchers William W. Beach and Shanea Watkins.

Learn more.

Who runs American Foreign Policy?

The second you mention the word "ISRAEL" - the nation "ISRAEL," the concept "ISRAEL," many in the American press become defensive.

We're not allowed to be critical of the state of israel.

Check out the video here.

The next step in self-checkout

The handheld scanner lets customers keep a running tally as they work their way through the aisles, allowing them to spend more time shopping and less time waiting to check out.


Today, personal scanners are more common in Europe, but their use is growing in the United States as grocers introduce high-tech tools that promise to make shopping more convenient and seem less like a chore.



Start scanning here.

Put student loans in federal hands

The government can do much more to make borrowing for college tuition a benefit, not a burden.

And this is not good:

The deal is the largest indication of how commercial banks and private equity firms will be able to dictate who goes to college. Banks advertise the advantages of consolidating existing student loans, much as they do for home loans and credit cards. But this line is merely attractive bait used to capture market share now, in return for higher fees and interest rates later.

Similarly, private equity firms won't have affordable education as their top priority. It's just not profitable. Instead, they will determine how to squeeze the most out of students and parents, which is far more lucrative.

Read more.

Why Americans Keep Getting Fatter

The USDA grossly underfunds the healthiest foods while pouring billions into a farm bill that supports many of the foods its dietary recommendations warn against.

Now isn't that interesting?

Try to lose weight here.

Israel targets US lad mag market

Israel has decided to reach out to young US men by publishing images of semi-clad female former soldiers in US men's magazine, Maxim.

The pictures are part of a public relations drive to improve the image of the country within the US.

Pathetic.

Read the rest.

Gag Order

This is just disturbing.

Yet a Nebraska district judge, Jeffre Cheuvront, suddenly finds himself in a war of words with attorneys on both sides of a sexual assault trial. More worrisome, he appears to be at war with language itself, and his paradoxical answer is to ban it: Last fall, Cheuvront granted a motion by defense attorneys barring the use of the words rape, sexual assault, victim, assailant, and sexual assault kit from the trial of Pamir Safi—accused of raping Tory Bowen in October 2004.

Read the rest.

A 'Broken People' in Booming India

India may be booming, but not for those who occupy the lowest rung of society here. The Dalits, once known as untouchables, continue to live in grinding poverty and suffer discrimination in education, jobs and health care. For them, status and often occupation are still predetermined in the womb.

Again, humans have come such a long way to become so civilized.

While some Indians had been hopeful that urbanization and growth would crumble ideas about caste, observers say tradition and prejudice have ultimately prevailed.

Read the rest.

Archaeologist sparks hunt for Holy Grail

An archaeologist has sparked a Da Vinci Code-style hunt for the Holy Grail after claiming ancient records show it is buried under a 6th century church in Rome.

Search for the cup here.

IRAN: WOMAN 'TO BE STONED' TODAY

Makrameh Ebrahimi on Thursday will be stoned to death in a square in front of the cemetery of Takestan, in Ghazvin province some 100 km from Tehran, for having had a child out of wedlock 11 years ago, women's rights groups in Iran said. The Islamic Republic denies issuing stoning death sentences and carrying them out. Thursday's is the first death sentence by stoning to be publicly announced and rights groups say the population has been invited to participate and throw stones.

Humans have come such a long way to become so civilized.

Get stoned here.

Tape holds in pacifier; infant dies

The infant's mother taped a pacifier to his mouth before a nap and bound him in pajamas to calm him, the parents tell police.

...

"The only thing I can think of is I taped the pacifier to keep it from falling out. I didn't know it would hurt him, or I wouldn't have done that," police said Desmond told them.

It's tape you idiot!

Read the rest.

Liberals seek to Take Back health care and education

I hate these fucking labels: liberal, conservative, etc. All they do is divide the masses.

After hearing from the leading Democratic candidates this week, liberal voters say they want a president who will give every American health care, limit outsourcing and make it easier for poor children and minorities to get a good education.

Now, how could anyone NOT want those things for their country? Well, if you're a conservative then you do not want those things, but if you're a liberal then you do? Bullshit, everyone wants those things. It's the solutions to those situations that keep the masses divided.

Stay divided here.

"Da Vinci Code" under investigation in Italy

More than a year after its premiere, "The Da Vinci Code" is being investigated by Italian state attorneys on the grounds that it is "obscene" from a religious perspective.

It's a movie people. And, in case you didn't know, it was a book first.

Read the rest.

Limits on sex abuse suits set for debate

On one side of the debate are those eager to give victims of child sexual abuse barred by the current statute of limitations their day in court. Some mental health experts have said victims can bury the abuse memories to survive, a theory that has opened a legal door to the possibility that abuse may not be reported until years after the statute of limitations has expired.

On the other side are those who worry lawsuits involving decades-old allegations could financially ruin churches, youth groups and other child care agencies. They are jarred by the scope of the scandal that has emerged in the Catholic Church since 2002 and, closer to home, by a recent $41 million federal jury verdict against a priest accused of sexually abusing an Archmere Academy student.

So it's really about money? That's the counter argument?

Pathetic.

While I agree that lawsuits coming many, many years down the road are somewhat questionable, the argument for setting a time limit for them can not be based on money. There has to be a better counter argument.

Read the rest.

Obama says religion has place in politics

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama insisted Saturday that religious faith can play a central role in politics, but only if it's used to tackle moral issues and not to divide the nation.

Those moral issues, the U.S. senator from Illinois said, include fighting poverty, expanding health insurance access and ending the war in Iraq.

"Doing the Lord's work is a thread that runs through our politics since the very beginning," Obama said in a speech to United Church of Christ's Iowa conference."

And it puts the lie to the notion that separation of church and state in America means somehow that faith should have no role in public life," Obama said.

No comment.

Enjoy the Lord with your politics here.

The next step in self-checkout

The handheld scanner lets customers keep a running tally as they work their way through the aisles, allowing them to spend more time shopping and less time waiting to check out.

Today, personal scanners are more common in Europe, but their use is growing in the United States as grocers introduce high-tech tools that promise to make shopping more convenient and seem less like a chore.

Start scanning here.

12 U.S. troops killed over last 48 hours in Iraq

With the deaths, 3,545 U.S. military personnel have died in the Iraq war -- 68 of them in the month of June.

The number continues to rise.

Read more.

Internet radio to go silent on June 26?

In protest of the elevated royalty fees Webcasters are poised to begin owing to the record industry next month, Internet radio operators are planning to stage a "day of silence."

Read more.

Freedom, not climate, is at risk

The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

Read the rest.

Bush Pledges More Free Money to Israel

Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today’s population, that is more than $5,700 for every man, woman and child in Israel, yet Israel is listed as one of the top twenty wealthiest nations.

Sure would be nice if our own government could hand every man woman and child in the United States $5,700.

Read more.

Officials: Military knew children were present but considered risk worth it

According to several officials, and contrary to previous statements, the U.S. military knew there were children at the compound but considered the target of such high value it was worth the risk of potential collateral damage.

Seven children were murdered with those bombs.

Read the rest.

Bush and Rumsfeld 'knew about Abu Ghraib'

As for the Secretary's congressional appearance, he claimed: "Rumsfeld is very perceptive and has a mind like a steel trap. There's no way he's suffering from CRS - Can't Remember Shit. He's trying to acquit himself."

Read more.

Company’s march toward student loan monopoly scary

Most well-read Americans are aware at this point that corruption is rampant in the U.S. student loan system.

Some university officials receiving kickbacks from student loan companies have been steering their students toward these lenders. Some financial aid administrators were holding stock in these companies and going on expenses-paid luxury vacations to exotic locations offered by lenders.

Even U.S. Department of Education officials have held stock in the very same companies they were supposed to be overseeing.

This is alarming, to be sure. However, the real story is the astonishing lack of consumer protections and the Draconian collection tools given to the industry by Congress that make these loans so wildly profitable. They have led to the financial demise of millions of Americans.

Get ripped off here.

Missing: Large lake in southern Chile

A lake in southern Chile has mysteriously disappeared, prompting speculation the ground has simply opened up and swallowed it whole.

Read more.

Ron Paul, the Right Man With the Right Message at the Right Time

If you've never heard of Ron Paul, you probably have by now. This defender of American sovereignty and the Constitution is injecting his ideas into the Republican Presidential campaign and debates. The mainstream media have tried to ignore him, there have been threats to exclude him from the debates, and some have called him a nut. Nothing seems able to stop the Ron Paul revolution. His momentum is not manufactured and he has the most room to grow out of all the candidates. His appeal crosses all party lines and his message of non-intervention is such a contrast to the warmongering neo-cons. People are responding to his pledge for liberty and are sick of the government's lies and propaganda.

Ron Paul is a veteran, a physician, and is in his 10th term as a Congressman. He currently represents the 14th district of Texas. He is a libertarian constitutionalist and ran for president as a Libertarian candidate in 1988. By using the Republican party as a vehicle in becoming president, he is being included in debates and is getting more exposure than any third party candidate would receive (unless they are a Ross Perot with tons of cash). He is conservative by nature and has never voted to raise taxes or for any congressional pay increases. He has been likened to the founding fathers. This is a man of integrity and principle who is not swayed by lobbyists, and does not accept money from any political action committees. His grass-roots support and appeal is not only coming from disillusioned Republicans, but those tired of the Democrats dog and pony show. Many believe that he is the only Republican candidate who can defeat Hillary Clinton by drawing away the anti-war vote from the Democrats and from the center. He is one of the few politicians who hasn't been compromised and who votes according to the Constitution.

Learn more.

'This Is Not Right'

This past weekend she and several other chaperones took 37 middle school students to a Heritage Festival band competition in California. The trip included two days at Disneyland.

During the stay she made sandwiches for the kids and was careful to pack the knives she used to prepare those sandwiches in her checked luggage. She says she even alerted security screeners that the knives were in her checked bags and they told her that was OK.

But Beaman says she couldn't find a third knife. It was a 5 1/2 inch bread knife with a rounded tip and a serrated edge. She thought she might have lost or misplaced it during the trip.

On the trip home, screeners with the Transportation Security Administration at Los Angeles International Airport found it deep in the outside pocket of a carry-on cooler. Beaman apologized and told them it was a mistake.

"You've committed a felony," Beaman says a security screener announced. "And you're considered a terrorist."

Beaman says she was told her name would go on a terrorist watch-list and that she would have to pay a $500 fine.

Pathetic.

Read more.

US drivers 'get raw deal in hot weather'

As the temperature rises, petrol expands and the amount of energy in each gallon drops. Since petrol in the US is priced at a 60F (15.5C) standard, and the pumps do not adjust for temperature changes, drivers get less bang for their buck in summer.

Consumer groups say the temperature rise could cost motorists up to 9 cents (4½p) a gallon at the pump. Overall, that means American drivers paying a total of more than $1.5 billion (£750 million) extra in hot weather, says a Congress sub-committee that has addressed the issue.

Learn more.

Read the sunspots

Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder.

...

Our finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change.

Learn more.

June 20, 2007

Users rage against China's 'Great Firewall'

The blocking of Flickr is the latest casualty of China's ongoing battle to control its sprawling Internet. Wikipedia and a raft of other popular Web sites, discussion boards and blogs have already fallen victim to the country's censors.


China employs a complex system of filters and an army of tens of thousands of human monitors to survey the country's 140 million Internet users' surfing habits and surgically clip sensitive content from in front of their eyes.



Read more.

Lawyers in a how-to video: as in how to avoid hiring an American

Watch this video and keep it in mind the next time you hear a high-tech industry titan such as Bill Gates complain that he simply cannot find qualified American employees and therefore the country needs more H-1B visas: You'll see a panel discussion that looks like a sit-down with "the families" on The Sopranos, only instead of talking about organized crime these lawyers are discussing the ins and outs of helping employers side-step immigration law.

Watch the video here.

Documentary: Law gives military access to student data

It began as a class assignment for Alexia Welch and Sarah Ybarra: Make a five-minute video news story about advertising in public schools.


But the Lawrence, Kan., teenagers' project snowballed into a 25-minute documentary on how the federal No Child Left Behind law to improve education promotes military recruitment, infringes on students' privacy and encourages school officials to look the other way.



Learn more.

Documentary: Law gives military access to student data

It began as a class assignment for Alexia Welch and Sarah Ybarra: Make a five-minute video news story about advertising in public schools.

But the Lawrence, Kan., teenagers' project snowballed into a 25-minute documentary on how the federal No Child Left Behind law to improve education promotes military recruitment, infringes on students' privacy and encourages school officials to look the other way.

Learn more.

Genarlow Wilson's Tragic Sentencing for Consensual Oral Sex

Yet, immediately after the judge's ruling, Georgia's attorney general, Thurbert E. Baker, filed a notice saying that his office would appeal the decision, leaving Wilson stuck in jail. Baker's actions have not only robbed Wilson of his long overdue freedom, they epitomize the insanity of a justice system that seems hell-bent on criminalizing young black men.

...

No one, from his teen "victim" to the jurors at his trial, wanted Wilson to go to jail, but at every turn the Georgia justice system and Georgia's legislature failed him -- first convicting him under an archaic law; then passing a law to include oral sex in the minor's exemption but not writing the law so it would apply retroactively; and finally refusing to bring a second bill up for a vote that would have retroactively applied the oral sex exemption and allowed for Wilson's release. It's hard to believe that race is not a factor in this case.

It sure looks like that way. There is absolutely no reason why this man should still be locked up.

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How Big Pharma Learned To Seduce You

It all began 10 years ago with a preternaturally green field and blue sky. Details were vague: We were told to ask our doctor. But never fear, Claritin was here. And soon that drug was not alone. Our airwaves slowly filled with more commercials of cloudless skies and the people who enjoyed them -- happy people who swung on rope tires and performed slow motion somersaults. Over those first early years, the active people's afflictions gradually multiplied. They suffered hair loss and got herpes. The guy couldn't always perform up to par. Through it all though, the people seemed to genuinely like holding hands, and they aged really well. Their seven-day forecasts were never short of spectacular.

Those first few antinasal drop ads have since exploded into a $4.5 billion-a-year industry, encompassing almost every imaginable ailment: depression, arthritis, cholesterol, PMS, HPV, restless legs, irritable bowels, toenail fungus and what, as the ads told it, seems to be an insomnia epidemic.

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Revealed: Bush's Presidential Signing Statements Have Been Used to Nullify Laws

A Government Accountability Office report confirms that Bush's use of presidential signing statements have the effect of nullifying the law in question in about 30 percent of cases.

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The Bushites have outsourced our government to their pals

THE SPRAWLING $43 BILLION HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT (HSD) is known chiefly for being the agency in charge of America's color-coded terrorist-threat alarm system ("Good morning, Americans. Today is Yellow. Be vigilant. Report all suspicious people.") It's boogeyman nonsense, of course, doing absolutely nothing to make our country safe. But such falderal helps those in charge obscure HSD's real mission: to serve as a giant federal cookie jar for corporate America.

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Web cam to eye test-takers

The dilemma is one reason many online programs do little testing at all. But some new technology that places a camera inside students' homes may be the way of the future — as long as students don't find it too creepy.

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The world will end in 2060, according to Newton

Luckily for modern scientists in awe of his achievements, Newton based this figure on religion rather than reasoning.

In a letter from 1704 which has gone on show in Jerusalem's Hebrew University, Newton uses the Bible's Book of Daniel to calculate the date for the Apocalypse.

...

But he confidently stated in the letter that the Bible proved the world would end in 2060, adding: "It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner."

Jesus.

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Researchers Light Up for Nicotine, the Wonder Drug

Smoking may be bad for you, but researchers and biotech companies are quietly developing pharmaceuticals that are decidedly good for brains, bowels, blood vessels and even immune systems -- and they're inspired by tobacco's deadly active ingredient: nicotine.

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Users rage against China's 'Great Firewall'

The blocking of Flickr is the latest casualty of China's ongoing battle to control its sprawling Internet. Wikipedia and a raft of other popular Web sites, discussion boards and blogs have already fallen victim to the country's censors.

China employs a complex system of filters and an army of tens of thousands of human monitors to survey the country's 140 million Internet users' surfing habits and surgically clip sensitive content from in front of their eyes.

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The Measure of a Life, in Dollars and Cents

What's an Iraqi life worth? How about an Iraqi car?

For the U.S. military in Iraq, it may be roughly the same.

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"Da Vinci Code" under investigation in Italy

More than a year after its premiere, "The Da Vinci Code" is being investigated by Italian state attorneys on the grounds that it is "obscene" from a religious perspective.

Jesus.

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What is the NSA doing for Microsoft’s Windows Vista?

The article states that “The security measures introduced in Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system have the National Security Agency to thank (or blame).” It then briefly provides a few sparse bits of information about the role of the NSA in the design of Vista. What seems clear is that the NSA did have a role.

That leaves, for us, one obvious question: Why?


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