September 30, 2007

New AT&T terms of service: We'll cut off your Internet connection for criticizing us

AT&T has brought down new Terms of Service for its network customers. From now on, AT&T can terminate your connection for conduct that "tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." So AT&T customers aren't allowed to write/podcast/vlog critical things about AT&T, its billing-practices, or its cooperation with illegal NSA wiretapping, on pain of having their connections disconnected.

Read more.

Private student loan bubble could burst

The near doubling in the cost of a college degree the past decade has produced an explosion in high-priced student loans that could haunt the U.S. economy for years.

While scholarship, grant money and government-backed student loans -- whose interest rates are capped -- have taken up some of the slack, many families and individual students have turned to private loans, which carry fees and interest rates that are often variable and up to 20 percent.

Many in the next generation of workers will be so debt-burdened they will have to delay home purchases, limit vacations, even eat out less to pay loans off on time.

Read more.

Some in Fairfax Public Housing Make Six Figures

One household getting help makes more than $216,000 a year; another, $184,000. Dozens of others -- making $60,000, $70,000, $90,000 -- exceed eligibility caps. And they do so with the tacit approval of county housing administrators, who do little to encourage occupants to move on when their fortunes improve.

These tenants live in housing intended for families at the bottom of the county's economic spectrum. They are in the federally subsidized public housing program, the Fairfax rental program and the county's senior housing program. The county's Department of Housing and Community Development will spend about $4.5 million this year running these programs.

Read more.

September 29, 2007

Congress Quietly Approves Billions More for Iraq War

The Senate agreed on Thursday to increase the federal debt limit by $850 billion -- from $8.965 trillion to $9.815 trillion -- and then proceeded to approve a stop-gap spending bill that gives the Bush White House at least $9 billion in new funding for its war in Iraq.

Additionally, the administration has been given emergency authority to tap further into a $70 billion "bridge fund" to provide new infusions of money for the occupation while the Congress works on appropriations bills for the Department of Defense and other agencies.

Translation: Under the guise of a stop-gap spending bill that is simply supposed to keep the government running until a long-delayed appropriations process is completed -- probably in November -- the Congress has just approved a massive increase in war funding.

The move was backed by every senator who cast a vote, save one.

Read more.

If you care about your rights, don't buy an iPhone

It's only in the cellphone business that anyone would tolerate such behavior. If a company tried this in any other industry, people would howl to the heavens. Imagine the outrage if Apple or Microsoft sold desktop PCs that allowed you to connect to the Internet only through Comcast -- and then, if you tried to use Earthlink instead, the company would shut down your machine. Or what if Ford allowed you to drive your new Explorer only to Wal-Mart to buy your groceries; if you went instead to Whole Foods, a company official would come by and slash your tires.

But Apple has now made it plain that anybody who buys the iPhone is not really buying it. What we're doing instead is more like renting it -- Apple remains your landlord, stern, controlling, and allowed to evict you at will. At whatever price -- $600, $400, $200 -- that's a very high cost to bear. If you care about your rights, don't buy an iPhone.

Read more.

Brain-eating amoeba kills six in U.S.

It seemed like a headache, nothing more. But when painkillers and a trip to the emergency room didn't fix Aaron Evans, the 14-year-old asked his dad if he was going to die.

"No, no," David Evans remembers saying.

"We didn't know. And here I am: I come home and I'm burying him," the grieving father said.

What was bothering Aaron was a killer amoeba that enters the body through the nose and travels to the brain where it feeds, destroying brain tissue.

Doctors said the teen probably picked up the microscopic amoeba, Naegleria fowleri (nuh-GLEER-ee-uh FOWL'-erh-eye), a week earlier while swimming in the balmy shallows of Lake Havasu near his home on the state's western border.

Learn more.

Clinton: $5,000 for Every U.S. Baby

"I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that downpayment on their first home," she said.

The New York senator did not offer any estimate of the total cost of such a program or how she would pay for it. Approximately 4 million babies are born each year in the United States.

So, that's $20 billion a year she wants to spend. Maybe if $12 billion a month was not continuing to be spent in the Iraq fiasco, then there would be a way to pay for this.

Now, if $5000 is deposited into an account paying 7% compounded monthly, then after 18 years the account will have $17,562.70. Hmmm, I'm thinking in 18 years that is not going to be near enough to pay for the cost of a higher education. In addition, it will barely make a dent in a down payment on house.

She's a freakin' nightmare.

Read more.

September 28, 2007

Bush, Clinton, Bush ... Clinton?

Forty percent of Americans have never lived when there wasn't a Bush or a Clinton in the White House. Anyone got a problem with that?

I do.

And now, if Hillary Clinton were to be elected and re-elected, the nation could go 28 years in a row with the same two families governing the country. Add the elder Bush's terms as vice president, and that would be 36 years straight with a Bush or Clinton in the White House.

Think about that.

Read more and don't vote for Hillary.

Public affection: How much is too much?

However, PDA can be an issue for couples, especially when the twosome has different thresholds for modesty. Here's the lowdown on how to be affectionate without offending your mate or the people around you:

Mmmm, hmmmm.

Read more.

The men planning America's next air war

I asked when the Bush administration's widely expected air war against Iran would begin. This was not a subject my hosts cared to discuss. Smiles vanished.

Read the rest.

President Ahmadinejad meets Jewish rabbis in New York

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Monday afternoon met with a group of Jewish rabbis who gave him a silver grail as a sign of friendship.


The rabbis carried a placard which read, "I am Jewish not a Zionist."


"You understand us and make a distinction between the violent behavior of Zionists and the religious beliefs of Jews," said the senior rabbi who called President Ahmadinejad "a pious man who is seeking to restore peace in the world and has humanitarian plans." Appreciating the rabbis for their gift, President Ahmadinejad said he was happy to visit them.

"All people in the world have now understood that Judaism is different from Zionism," said the president.

Read more.

Plan Uses Taxes to Fight Climate Change

Dealing with global warming will be painful, says one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress. To back up his claim he is proposing a recipe many people won't like _ a 50-cent gasoline tax, a carbon tax and scaling back tax breaks for some home owners.

It's all about making money.


Read more.

"Childrens do learn," Bush tells school kids

Bush made his latest grammatical slip-up at a made-for-TV event where he urged Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act, the centrepiece of his education policy, as he touted a new national report card on improved test scores.

Remember people, Bush represents the American people. No wonder the rest of the world view Americans as egotistical, arrogant, and ignorant.

One or two "slip-ups" is one thing, but when someone makes this many "slip-ups" can we really believe they are accidental?

Rede mour.

The evil that men do

Although Congress passed a temporary extension of the FISA law in August that carries it through to February, the administration is already back demanding the immediate passage of a permanent law that permits the government to snoop on all private communications.

They’ve also requested a few “improvements” to the law, including a retroactive waiver of liability for the big telecommunications companies that gave the government unfettered warrantless access to phone calls and e-mail communications in violation of existing law.

The other “improvements” that the White House wants, and our intelligence chiefs say they need, would broaden the already bloated power of the executive branch.

Read more.

Bush threatened nations that did not back Iraq war: report

US President George W. Bush threatened nations with retaliation if they did not vote for a UN resolution backing the Iraq war, according to a transcript published Wednesday of a conversation he had with former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar.

So who's the terrorist?

Read more.

Study ties certain cancers, divorce rate

People who develop cervical or testicular cancer may face another harsh reality: they are more likely to get divorced than those without the disease, a new study says.

Read more.

September 26, 2007

My Wife Faces Homeland Security

This Presidential Directive is all about choice, or so they say. One of those twisted, Orwellian “choices” that isn’t a choice. My wife’s choice is she can either sign over to the Federal Government the right to investigate every aspect of her life (including fingerprinting, credit check, medical records, character references, etc.) or she can “voluntarily” choose to not be allowed entry into the building wherein she works. The choice is hers. The rights that are being lost are those of every single American citizen.

Read more.

US Military Official: Blackwater "May Be Worse Than Abu Ghraib"

"This is a nightmare," said a senior U.S. military official. "We had guys who saw the aftermath, and it was very bad. This is going to hurt us badly. It may be worse than Abu Ghraib, and it comes at a time when we're trying to have an impact for the long term."


I appreciate the fact that outrage fatigue is inevitable when dealing with the Bush gang, but this is truly ridiculous. We have American taxpayers financing a private security army, whose members stand accused of slaughtering civilians. The Secretary of State believes no one should ask any questions about this, and those who do must be ignored. It's pure lunacy.

Read more.

Australia pushes further Web censorship

A bill introduced this week by Australia's Parliament would give the Australian federal police the power to control which sites can and cannot be viewed by Australian Web surfers.

Read more, unless you're from Australia.

Point, Click ... Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates

To security experts, though, the biggest concern over DCSNet isn't the cost: It's the possibility that push-button wiretapping opens new security holes in the telecommunications network.

Read more.

Scientists find new species in Vietnam

Scientists have discovered 11 new species of plants and animals in Vietnam, including a snake, two butterflies and five orchid varieties, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) said Wednesday.

Learn more.

Some SA Apartments Banning Tattoos

It's against the law for landlords to discriminate based on the color of a person's skin. But can they reject you because of what's on your skin?

Some San Antonio apartment complexes are refusing to rent to people with tattoos and body piercings.

Read more.

September 25, 2007

Bush quietly advising Hillary Clinton, top Democrats

President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president.

In an interview for the new book “The Evangelical President,” White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said Bush has “been urging candidates: ‘Don’t get yourself too locked in where you stand right now. If you end up sitting where I sit, things could change dramatically.’ ”

Bolten said Bush wants enough continuity in his Iraq policy that “even a Democratic president would be in a position to sustain a legitimate presence there.”

Read more.

Activist silenced for fear of surveillance

Flynn says the damage is done. She sees it in the attitudes of other activists. There's less desire. More trepidation.

"When you use scare tactics, you really are curbing our right to dissent against the government," she said. "The only thing this is serving to do is squash public dissent. By going after the organizers of a rally, you really are sending a message - 'Don't hold a rally.'"

And they said this could never happen here.

Read more.

September 24, 2007

As the Fall Season Arrives, TV Screens Get More Cluttered

That may be so, network executives say, but the extra content is here to stay. The snipes — not to be confused with bugs, those network logos that pop up in screen corners during shows — are important enough to the beleaguered television industry that the networks plan to tolerate the backlash.

Read more.

New Service Eavesdrops on Internet Calls

A startup has come up with a new way to make money from phone calls connected via the Internet: having software listen to the calls, then displaying ads on the callers' computer screens based on what's being talked about.

Read more.

September 23, 2007

Mexican lesson plans crossing the border

Oregon is counting on a new tool to educate Spanish-speaking students across state schools: Mexico's curriculum.

Already in place at three Oregon high schools, the programs aims to use textbooks, a detailed online Web site, DVDs and CDs provided for free by the Mexican government to teach math, science and even U.S. history to Spanish speakers in Oregon.

Read more.

Parallel universe proof boosts time travel hopes

Parallel universes really do exist, according to a mathematical discovery by Oxford scientists that sweeps away one of the key objections to the mind boggling and controversial idea.


But the many worlds idea offers an alternative view. Dr Deutsch showed mathematically that the bush-like branching structure created by the universe splitting into parallel versions of itself can explain the probabilistic nature of quantum outcomes. This work was attacked but it has now had rigorous confirmation by David Wallace and Simon Saunders, also at Oxford.

Learn more.

Christian right not losing the faith

Christian conservatives are weary. Their movement has lost iconic leaders, and some say the 2008 Republican presidential field is uninspiring. But they may have found hope in a trailer on the campus of Bell Shoals Baptist Church.

Read more.

Teacher: I was fired, said Bible isn't literal

A community college instructor in Red Oak claims he was fired after he told his students that the biblical story of Adam and Eve should not be literally interpreted.

Read more.

Extreme Makeover

What if you spent one year following every rule in the Bible? A. J. Jacobs did exactly that.


How much harder could it be to follow every rule in the Bible? Much, much harder, he soon discovered, as he found himself growing his beard, struggling not to curse and asking strangers for permission to stone them for adultery. Jacobs spent the year carrying around a stapled list of the more than 700 rules and prohibitions identified in the Good Book, and also consulted with religious leaders and spent time with the Amish, Hassidic Jews and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Read more.

Root and Branch

First the bright side. The anti-Darwin movement has racked up one astounding achievement. It has made a significant proportion of American parents care about what their children are taught in school.


According to a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted this year, more than half of Americans believe God created the first human beings less than 10,000 years ago. Why should they pay for schools that teach the opposite? These people have a definite and distinct idea in mind. Most of the other half of the population would be hard-pressed to say anything clear or coherent about the idea of evolution that they support, but they do want children to learn what biologists have found out about life on earth. Both sides want children to learn the truth, as best as it is known today.

Learn more.

Ron Paul is blowing up real good

The rambunctious GOP candidate wants to drag the U.S. out of Iraq, can the war on drugs, and overturn the Patriot Act. No wonder Republican power brokers want to boot him off the stage.

Read more.

September 22, 2007

Yes, it's a Hobbit. The debate that has divided science is solved at last (sort of)

Now scientists have analysed fossilised wrist bones that were part of the original discovery in 2003 but had not been looked at in detail. They say they prove the Hobbit really was a distinct and previously unknown type of human, and not just an abnormally small member of our own species.


The Hobbit was remarkable because of where it was found and when it was supposed to have lived. Its existence alongside modern humans 13,000 years ago is more than 15,000 years after the Neanderthals died out and more than 140,000 years after modern humans evolved in Africa.

"What we are beginning to realise is that our recent evolutionary history is much more diverse than we realised," said Matthew Tocheri of the Smithsonian Institution, lead author on the paper in Science that describes the wrist bone analysis. "It's a little shot to our over-inflated modern human egos."

Read more.

Cancer cure 'may be available in two years'

Cancer sufferers could be cured with injections of immune cells from other people within two years, scientists say.

Learn more.

Collecting of details on travelers documented

The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

Be watched here.

The 'Old' Consensus?

Did NASA scientist James Hansen, the global warming alarmist in chief, once believe we were headed for . . . an ice age? An old Washington Post story indicates he did.

On July 9, 1971, the Post published a story headlined "U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming." It told of a prediction by NASA and Columbia University scientist S.I. Rasool. The culprit: man's use of fossil fuels.

Read more.

Rude People, Not Tech, Cause Bad Manners

Yet New York University now offers a seminar called Facebook in the Flesh, reports the New Yorker. The idea is to help freshmen who already know dozens of their classmates online but who worry they don't know how to make new friends in person. That's the fear and the whimsy behind NYU assistant dean David Schachter's decision to hold the workshop, even though he says he's never been on Facebook and his advice to students parallels exactly what users already do online.

The mind boggles.


This is all because a lot of people apparently spend a lot of time conversing online rather than in the flesh. And in order to keep up with all these relationships, we're supposedly not being as attentive to the people around us as we should. Not our loved ones, mind you, but the people we encounter casually as we go about our lives: bank tellers, dog walkers, grocers.

Tell me again why I should spend less time with the people I love and more time with strangers?


But rudeness is a separate issue from connectivity. Mobile devices should not make us impolite.

Read more.

'God' Apparently Responds to Lawsuit

A legislator who filed a lawsuit against God has gotten something he might not have expected: a response. One of two court filings from "God" came Wednesday under otherworldly circumstances, according to John Friend, clerk of the Douglas County District Court in Omaha.

Read more.

Scientists: Velociraptor had feathers

A close study of a velociraptor forearm found in Mongolia shows the presence of quill knobs, bumps on the bone where the feathers anchor, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

Learn more.

Taxman wants to swipe money direct from bank accounts

You might think the taxman already has enough clout, but things could be about to get worse - a lot worse.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) wants to extend its powers so it would be able to raid bank and building society accounts for unpaid tax, without having to make its case before a judge and obtain a court order. Your home could also be at risk: HMRC could put a charge on your property if you didn't pay your tax, again without seeking sanction from a court.

HMRC believes the changes would give it the "right tools to tackle debt". Many experts think they go too far and would turn the taxman into judge, jury and executioner. Mike Warburton, senior tax partner at accountancy firm Grant Thornton, said: "It's a disgrace. If HMRC has a claim, then it should stand up in court. I would rather put my faith in the independent judiciary than the taxman. We are not yet living in a police state."

But we get closer every day.

Read more.

Wheelchair-Bound Woman Dies After Being Shocked With Taser 10 Times

"One, she's in a wheelchair. Two, she's schizophrenic. Three, they're using a Taser on a person that's in a wheelchair, and then four is that they tasered her 10 times for a period of like two minutes," Alexander said.

Read more.

Confessed Rapist Castrated to Avoid Life Sentence

A confessed rapist was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison, days after he voluntarily underwent castration as part of a plea deal to avoid a life sentence.

Read more.

Bush Declares Mandela Dead: This is the Best Conservatives Can Do

"I heard somebody say, Where's Mandela?' Well, Mandela's dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas," Bush, who has a reputation for verbal faux pas, said in a press conference in Washington on Thursday.

George Bush is what conservatives produce in their lust for power and lack of concern for who wields that power. They deserve him, but we sure don't.

Read more.

September 19, 2007

Microsoft Reveals Windows

"We're focused on giving the customer what they want, and want they want is to just go back to XP," said Microsoft Development Chief Greg Elston.

Elston said not only will the move improve customer satisfaction with Vista, but will allow the company to focus resources on the next operating system instead of the flailing Vista. "We can move people off of Vista development now, and move them to Windows 7 development," said Elston. "That should allow us to only delay Windows 7 by thirteen months past its scheduled date instead of the planned eighteen."

Read more.

Run away the ray-gun is coming : We test US army's new secret weapon

And, to be fair, the machine is not designed to vaporise, shred, atomise, dismember or otherwise cause permanent harm.

But it is a horrible device nonetheless, and you are forced to wonder what the world has come to when human ingenuity is pressed into service to make a thing like this.


One thing is certain: not just the Silent Guardian, but weapons such as the Taser, the electric stun-gun, are being rolled out by Britain's police forces as the new way of controlling people by using pain.

And, as the Raytheon chaps all insist, you always have the option to get out of the way (just as you have the option to comply with the police officer's demands and not get Tasered).

But there is a problem: mission creep. This is the Americanism which describes what happens when, over time, powers or techniques are used to ends not stated or even imagined when they were devised.


Perhaps the most alarming prospect is that such machines would make efficient torture instruments.

They are quick, clean, cheap, easy to use and, most importantly, leave no marks. What would happen if they fell into the hands of unscrupulous nations where torture is not unknown?


We use the word "medieval" as shorthand for brutality. The truth is that new technology makes racks look benign.

Humanity falls further.

Read the rest.

Tens of thousands of CCTV cameras, yet 80% of crime unsolved

A comparison of the number of cameras in each London borough with the proportion of crimes solved there found that police are no more likely to catch offenders in areas with hundreds of cameras than in those with hardly any.

In fact, four out of five of the boroughs with the most cameras have a record of solving crime that is below average.

Read more.

September 18, 2007

State Sen. Ernie Chambers Sues God

State Sen. Ernie Chambers is suing God. He said on Monday that it is to prove a point about frivolous lawsuits.


Chambers lawsuit, which was filed on Friday in Douglas County Court, seeks a permanent injunction ordering God to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats.

The lawsuit admits God goes by all sorts of alias, names, titles and designations and it also recognizes the fact that the defendant is omnipresent.

In the lawsuit, Chambers said he's tried to contact God numerous times.

Read more.

September 17, 2007

Cities Cracking Down on Saggy Pants

"The young people think it's fashionable. They don't think it's negative."

But for those who want to stop them see it as an indecent, sloppy trend that is a bad influence on children.


"Are they going to go after construction workers and plumbers, because their pants sag, too?" Murray asked. "They're stereotyping us."

The American Civil Liberties Union agrees.

Read more but keep your pants up in order to stay out of jail.

Microsoft suffers stunning EU antitrust defeat

Microsoft suffered a stunning defeat on Monday when a European Union court backed a European Commission ruling that the U.S. software giant illegally abused its market power to crush competitors.

Read more.

September 16, 2007

How law enforcement uses Google Earth

It's impossible to say just how many law enforcement agencies are actively using Google Earth, but one thing is certain: looking at Google's often detailed images is a lot cheaper than flying helicopters or planes, particularly in remote areas with cash-strapped police departments.

Read more.

The Biggest Ever BitTorrent Leak: MediaDefender Internal Emails Go Public

Media Defender, a notorious anti piracy gang working for the MPAA, RIAA and several independent media production companies, just launched their very own video upload service called “”. The sole purpose of the site is to trap people into uploading copyrighted material, and bust them for doing so.

Read more.

Just Google It

Google has just axed this site, for which I write, from its host of approved news providers. Google’s rationale is that OfficialWire is purveyor of hate speech. (I used to envision Google as some sort of jolly, benign, Disney-like cartoon character: harmless, productive, fair, white-hat-wearing. Obviously, a case of brilliant branding: the name, the logo, the concept slid into my consciousness like a whiff of freshly-baked apple pie.


There’s a lot more I could say, believe me. I could talk your ears off about the fact that we’re a failed species, that there was not “The” holocaust but, rather, that there have been myriad holocausts, and that they continue, unabated. And that the Jews weren’t singled out but, along with the Armenians, the Kurds, the Native Americans, the dead and the dying in Darfur, and the thousands of innocents my own countrymen have wiped out “collaterally” in Iraq, the Jews are just like the rest of us—likely to be slaughtered, en masse, at the drop of a hat.

Read more.

The party's over for American consumers

Over in Asia and Europe, stocks plunged on fears that Americans may no longer be able to find the second jobs and recklessly borrow the money needed to buy imported stuff. Economists now freely use the "recession" word following the report that American payrolls fell in August, the first monthly decline in four years.

American consumers, in other words, are all dried up. And the discussion has begun on what kind of baloney economy kept them lubricated for so long.

Read more.

Global warming? It's natural, say experts

Climate change is much more likely to be part of a cycle of warming and cooling that has happened regularly every 1,500 years for the last million years, they say.

And the doom and gloom merchants, who point to the threat to the polar bear from the melting North Pole, are wrong, the authors say.

Read more.

Virtual voices may aid terrorists

In a decade's time, digitally created speech may be so realistic that it could fool people into thinking they are talking to a real person.

It's not "terrorists" using this technology that I'm worried about.

Learn more.

Big Brother is watching us all

The US and UK governments are developing increasingly sophisticated gadgets to keep individuals under their surveillance. When it comes to technology, the US is determined to stay ahead of the game.


Their goal is to invent a system whereby a facial image can be matched to your gait, your height, your weight and other elements, so a computer will be able to identify instantly who you are.

Learn more.

Bush setting America up for war with Iran

Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran's nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.

Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.

Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.

Read more.

September 15, 2007

Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” he says.

Read more.

September 13, 2007

Spying scandal tests Goodell's law-and-order image

What needs to happen, if indeed it is proved the Patriots incongruously cheated their way to an opening day victory against an inferior opponent? The Patriots should be put at some disadvantage during the regular season. Goodell should suspend Belichick two games -- ban him from the sidelines, the locker room and coaches' meetings -- and should not allow him to work on game plans, participate in practice or communicate with his team for two weeks.


Until then, Goodell must act. Failure to do so will prove him to be more union antagonist than impartial arbiter, the protector of football interests on all sides. If he lets Belichick off easily, Goodell will be less Law and Order Commissioner and more Company Man.

Bill, why put yourself in such a shitty situation? With the team that you have, why do you feel it necessary to cheat?

Read more.

Free TV channel aims for Internet content

All you need to launch your own television channel is a mobile phone with a camera, Finnish technology start-up Floobs said on Thursday.

Floobs plans to offer a free television channel for everyone, enabling people to run live shows or prerecorded material, for no charge, starting later this year.

The company opened a Finnish-language testing service this week and aims for a November launch of an English site, targeting groups and communities that do not get airtime on established television channels.

Read more.

Microsoft updates Windows without users' consent

It's surprising that these files can be changed without the user's knowledge. The Automatic Updates dialog box in the Control Panel can be set to prevent updates from being installed automatically. However, with Microsoft's latest stealth move, updates to the WU executables seem to be installed regardless of the settings — without notifying users.


For users who elect not to have updates installed automatically, the issue of consent is crucial. Microsoft has apparently decided, however, that it doesn't need permission to patch Windows Updates files, even if you've set your preferences to require it.

To make matters even stranger, a search on Microsoft's Web site reveals no information at all on the stealth updates. Let's say you wished to voluntarily download and install the new WU executable files when you were, for example, reinstalling a system. You'd be hard-pressed to find the updated files in order to download them. At this writing, you either get a stealth install or nothing.

Now isn't that interesting?

Read more.

9-11-2007- WHAT'S GOING ON?

Then last Wednesday, Congressman Paul Gillmor (R-OH) was found dead in his home. This was reported as a heart attack, until word leaked out that he had blunt trauma to the head and neck. Now we're being told he fell down the stairs. Gillmor was investigating a series of option trades that are suspicious- someone is betting billions of dollars that the market will fall 50% by September 21st. Even with the housing crisis, it would take a major catastrophe, like a "terrorist" attack, to precipitate such a plunge. As part of his job on the House Finance Committee, Gillmor was investigating this deal. Was he murdered because he was about to reveal something?


Read more.

Expensive and divisive: how America is losing patience with a failing system

But in clinics such as this, just across the Anacostia river from the great white dome of the Capitol, many of the ailments have an underlying cause: none of these people have access to adequate medical care.


Between the two extremes is where America's healthcare system has unravelled. A patchwork of employer benefits and government assistance for the very poor and elderly has produced distinct differences. Those with very good jobs and generous benefits packages enjoy extensive, often almost wasteful, health cover. Meanwhile, tens of millions regularly put their health on hold because they cannot afford basic treatment, prescriptions, or even a visit to the doctor.


The US spends about 16% of GDP on healthcare, a proportion expected to climb to 20% by 2015, according to the National Coalition on Health Care. At present spending levels of $1.6 trillion a year, which works out at $6,700 per capita, is double what is spent in countries such as France. And yet that still leaves some 47 million Americans entirely without health coverage, and tens of millions of others under-insured, according to latest census figures.


It also fails to guarantee a better service to those Americans with access to healthcare. The US ranks last or near the bottom on quality, access, efficiency, equity and healthy lives, according to a report in May 2007 from the Commonwealth Fund, which studies healthcare.

"The US healthcare system is considered a dysfunctional mess," writes Ezekial Emanuel, chairman of the department of clinical bioethics, in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Read more.

September 12, 2007

Gorillas now 'critically endangered'

The most common type of gorilla is now "critically endangered," one step away from global extinction, according to the 2007 Red List of Threatened Species released Wednesday by the World Conservation Union.

The Ebola virus is depleting Western Gorilla populations to a point where it might become impossible for them to recover.

Commercial hunting, civil unrest and habitat loss due to logging and forest clearance for palm oil plantations are compounding the problem, said the Swiss-based group known by its acronym IUCN.

Read more.

Pollution blamed for fall in Arctic baby boys

Twice as many girls as boys are being born across much of the Arctic because of pollution from industrialised countries, scientists have found. The study also found that in parts of Russia many newborn boys were sickly or underweight.

The Scandinavian scientists behind the study suspect the same to be the case in Greenland and Canada.

Read more.

Life Expectancy of Americans Hits 78

The life expectancy for Americans is nearly 78 years, the longest in U.S. history, according to new government figures from 2005 released Thursday.

That age, based on the latest data available, was still lower than the life span in more than three dozen other countries, however.

Read more.

Can this really save the planet?

Why is everyone so keen to believe that tiny actions can prevent climate change? We are given easy household tips by campaigners and the government that will help "save the climate". You know the kind of thing - recycle your plastic bags, turn your telly off standby, bring your own cup to work.


Yes, they are ugly, wasteful and deadly to turtles. But their contribution to climate change is miniscule. The average Brit uses 134 plastic bags a year, resulting in just two kilos of the typical 11 tonnes of carbon dioxide he or she will emit in a year. That is one five thousandth of their overall climate impact.

Read more.

No wonder men treat us as sex objects if we act like this

Walter is so self-evidently right that you wonder how this "debate" can still be taking place. The reason - and the problem - is that the feminist critique has consistently failed to account for women's own complicity in the genre.

The Nuts website, for example, features a page called Assess My Breasts, inviting men to study photos of naked breasts and rank them - which doesn't seem particularly respectful. But the thousands of images have been uploaded by ordinary women - "entirely voluntarily", for free, as the spokeswoman took pleasure pointing out. Without these willing armies of female volunteers, there would be no breasts for any readers of Nuts to assess - or any of the "Real Girls!" beloved of porn shoots, and no "High Street Honeys" for FHM porn scouts to find.


A recent American book, Pornified, chronicles countless cases of schoolchildren videoing themselves having sex - on the school bus, surprisingly often - and distributing the footage via their mobile phones. I had hoped this was a peculiarly American phenomenon, but at a London school where a teacher I know works, a pupil recently videoed a younger girl giving him a blowjob in the school toilets, then uploaded her performance straight on to YouTube.

I used to think that rumours about normal, well-adjusted teenage girls posting topless pictures in chat rooms for boys they had never even met were alarmist myths. But I spent some time around 12-year-olds this summer, and it turns out they are absolutely true. This week FHM was censured for publishing a photograph of a topless 14-year-old without her consent - but the real shock came in FHM's revelation that it receives more than 1,200 submissions of women topless or in lingerie every single week.

It is no wonder a lot of men now genuinely believe that women want to be treated as sex objects. Who could blame them when so many of us have internalised an exhibitionistic ideal of our own objectification?

Read the rest.

US troops who criticised Iraq war strategy killed in Baghdad

Two US soldiers who helped write a critique from the front saying America had "failed on every promise" in the war have been killed in Iraq, it was reported yesterday.

Read more.

US public shrinks from war's reality

Ordinary logic would have guided one to believe that the global bully has learned its lessons and will start negotiating with the regional bully, Iran. To the amazement of many, it seems as if the political space is there for the administration of President George W Bush to keep pounding the war drums. Reports indicate that massive firepower is ready to be launched against the Iranian regime, the Iranian state and its society as a whole. And the US public is hardly blinking.

Read more.

GOP's Ron Paul wants all troops home

Asked his policy on U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, the Texas congressman, now serving his 10th term, replies: "I would get them home as soon as possible."

And U.S. troops in Europe?

"I would get them home," Paul said in an interview Tuesday. "Having them stationed abroad doesn't serve our national interest, and that goes for forces in Japan and Korea.

"We should only send U.S. forces abroad when our security is directly threatened. Right now, nobody threatens our national security."

Such sentiments make Paul the odd man out in GOP debates. Other candidates have been seen smirking as he speaks.

Although described as a libertarian, the physician-politician is a throwback on stands that used to define "conservative" in America -- defense of individual liberties, a minimalist federal government and freedom from foreign entanglements.

Read more.

Senate panel okays $850 billion debt increase

The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday approved an $850 billion increase in U.S. borrowing authority to $9.815 trillion in order to avoid a default as the government nears its credit limit of $8.965 trillion.

People this can't continue. Why have limits if those limits are just going to be increased?

This financial reckless behavior disgusts me.

Read more.

Lack of play hurting children's mental health, experts warn

In a letter published Sunday in the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, 270 professionals blame "the marked deterioration in children's mental health" on an overprotective society and too much "sedentary entertainment."


In particular, outdoor, unstructured, and loosely supervised play is missing in children's lives, resulting in "an explosion in children's clinically diagnosable mental health problems," reads the letter.

Read more.

Just Flat Depressing

Sixty-five percent of Americans believe that the nation's founders intended the U.S. to be a Christian nation and 55% believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation, according to the “State of the First Amendment 2007” national survey released today by the First Amendment Center.

Of course I kept reading and came across these gems:

Just 56% believe that the freedom to worship as one chooses extends to all religious groups, regardless of how extreme — down 16 points from 72% in 2000.

58% of Americans would prevent protests during a funeral procession, even on public streets and sidewalks; and 74% would prevent public school students from wearing a T-shirt with a slogan that might offend others.

34% (lowest since the survey first was done in 1997) think the press “has too much freedom,” but 60% of Americans disagree with the statement that the press tries to report the news without bias, and 62% believe the making up of stories is a widespread problem in the news media — down only slightly from 2006.

25% said “the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees,” well below the 49% recorded in the 2002 survey that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, but up from 18% in 2006.

“Americans clearly have mixed views of what First Amendment freedoms are and to whom they should fully apply,” said Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center. “To me the results of this year’s survey endorse the idea of more and better education for young people — our nation’s future leaders — about our basic freedoms.”

The future doesn't look good for the U.S.

Read the depressing news here.

Thruster May Shorten Mars Trip

An amplified photon thruster that could potentially shorten the trip to Mars from six months to a week has reportedly attracted the attention of aerospace agencies and contractors.

A week. To Mars. That's pretty revolutionary.

Learn more.

Kiddie Porn Movie Rocks Toronto as 'Feel-Awful' Film of the Year

If Ball — who regularly toyed with conventions in his TV show [Six Feet Under] and in "American Beauty" — thought all this would somehow illuminate the tragedy of child abuse, he was wrong. Too much is shown and too many lines are crossed for "Nothing Is Private" ever to be released by a major studio or distribution company to theatres. If nothing else, the endless "ick" factor involving nearly every character is a permanent obstacle.


"Nothing Is Private" comes within a year of "Hounddog," the film in which a 12-year-old girl (Dakota Fanning) is raped on screen. Of course, in that case it was really a 12-year-old. But something has definitely happened -- a change has occurred in the mindset of filmmakers who no longer see anything wrong with these depictions. How wrong they are.

Read more.

CIA Director Hayden Warns of New al-Qaida Attacks

"Our analysts assess with high confidence that al-Qaida's central leadership is planning high-impact plots against the U.S. homeland."

Stay scared people!

Interesting this rhetoric always seems to increase around September 11th of every year.

Read more.

Earth Might Survive Sun’s Explosion

Astronomers are announcing that they have discovered a planet that seems to have survived the puffing up of its home star, suggesting there is some hope that Earth could survive the aging and swelling of the Sun.

Earth might not survive the human explosion.

Read more.

Challenge to Scientific Consensus on Global Warming: Analysis Finds Hundreds of Scientists Have Published Evidence Countering Man-Made Global Warming Fears

A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun's irradiance. "This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850," said Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery.

Other researchers found evidence that 3) sea levels are failing to rise importantly; 4) that our storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder with this warming as they did during previous global warmings; 5) that human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills twice as many people as heat; and 6) that corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.

Despite being published in such journals such as Science, Nature and Geophysical Review Letters, these scientists have gotten little media attention. "Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics," said Avery, "but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see."

Learn more.

September 11, 2007

Health care premiums rise 6.1 percent

The increasing cost of health insurance is putting coverage out of reach for many small to midsize companies and their workers, even though the rise in premiums this year was the lowest increase in eight years.

Since 2001, the cost of premiums has gone up 78 percent, far outpacing a 19 percent increase in wages and 17 percent jump in inflation, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care research group that annually tracks the cost of health insurance.

Think about that. 78%. In six years.

Read more.

Incomes lagging behind home values

The widening gap in all but a handful of the nation's 500 largest cities helped make the recent boom in housing prices unsustainable, according to analysts. The rising prices were fueled largely by low interest rates and risky borrowing, rather than increasing incomes.

"We had an artificial economy," said Brad Geisen, founder of, a Web site that lists foreclosure properties. "There was all this wealth created in real estate, and it wasn't really created."

Read more.

Red brains versus blue brains

If you've staked out a spot on either side of the "red" versus "blue" ideological divide, you probably already suspected this. But now, researchers say they have demonstrated actual neurological differences between the brains of liberals and conservatives.

Learn more.

Why doesn't the GOP want Ohio's voting machines tested?

By a 4-3 vote, Republicans on Ohio’s State Controlling Board blocked Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s proposed $1.8 million unbid contract for voting machine testing. Brunner had already set aside the $1.8 million for the test. Her specific request to the Controlling Board was a waiver for competitive bidding. Her office had hoped to complete all testing by November 30, 2007.

Now isn't that interesting?

Read more.

City puts bite in 'no barking' ordinance

Mount Dora already prohibits dogs from barking for five minutes at a time. But under the revised ordinance, even if dogs bark for less than five minutes, their owners can be cited by the city if the dog barks for three periods in 24 hours.

Such barking is considered a noise disturbance.

This is a city in Florida.

Read more.

Freshpersons, Welcome to Debt!

Welcome to Fleece U., where our mission is to take feckless teenagers such as yourselves and turn them into full-fledged citizens of our economy, meaning, of course, debtors.

Read the rest.

September 10, 2007

US surge has failed - Iraqi poll

About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military "surge" of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.

Read more.

Heart attacks drop by 17 per cent after smoking is banned

Further dramatic evidence emerged last night to show that banning smoking in public reduces the rate of heart attacks.

Hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped by 17 per cent in the year after the legislation was introduced in Scotland.

If the pattern is repeated throughout the UK, there would be almost 40,000 fewer heart attacks a year.

Pattern? It was one year.

Read more.

Facial scans could reveal genetic disorders

The technique was discredited in the 20th century, but now a computer system has been developed which will allow doctors to diagnose genetic disorders by looking at a child's face.

It analyses the shape of the eyes, nose, mouth and ears to pinpoint the genetic condition a child might be suffering from.

Read more.

September 9, 2007

Stripper poles: New feminism?

College fraternities, long known as bastions of grace and decorum, are these days featuring yet one more accoutrement of scholastic refinement - the stripper pole.

The most important campus development since the keg, the stripper pole shines like a luminous totem festooning the halls of the American academy. It's erected for a single, glorious purpose:

To get drunken chicks to do slutty stuff.


Post-feminists argue that the pole is empowering. If a young woman chooses to use it, they say, she is telling the world that she is in charge of her sexuality.

She is not, as some might believe, engaging in cheap exhibitionism for the benefit of the salivating frat boys feeding her cup after cup of "punch."


There was a time when feminism was about women being smart and assertive, and building inner strength.

Somewhere along the line, though, it morphed into slut culture. Girls tell themselves they're in charge. But they're still just strutting it for the boys.

Welcome to Skank 101, freshmen. Open your books to Chapter One, "Pole Vixen." Note how the women in the diagram are dangling, half-dressed and off-balance.

That's how we like them in America.

Read more.

Chip implants linked to animal tumors

But neither the company nor the regulators publicly mentioned this: A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had "induced" malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.

Of course they didn't mention that.

Learn more.

Laws target teen drivers' cell phone use

Supporters say teen-specific regulations — which generally amend existing laws that apply to everyone, or add provisions to graduated licensing laws for young motorists — reduce driver distraction and save lives. Opponents say they're another example of government meddling into citizens' private behavior — and teaching students proper driving skills is a parent's duty, not the state's.

Read more, but make sure you're not behind the wheel.

Jesus is not returning

According to The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, “An overwhelming percentage of Christians (79 percent) say they believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ.”

That statistic isn’t surprising when one considers that most Christians also believe in the devil, resurrection, angels, heaven, hell and other fairy tales. Irrational beliefs can be benign or directly harmful. For example, the silly assertion that Jesus was born of a virgin probably doesn’t negatively influence opinions on important matters and policies. The widespread belief in the “second coming,” however, can have significant public consequences.

Voters convinced the return of Jesus is imminent may find themselves rather unconcerned with solving problems requiring long-term perspective and commitment.


An Associated Press poll, conducted in late 2006, found that 25 percent of Americans (and nearly half of white evangelical Christians) believed there was a good chance that Jesus would return in 2007.

Translation: Tens of millions of Americans expect Jesus any day now.

For these people, issues like energy independence, the federal budget deficit, sustainable environmental practices or global climate change aren’t a big priority. Instead, their attention is focused on religious “moral issues,” like protecting marriage from homosexuals or arranging burials for embryonic stem cells.


That simply didn’t happen. Jesus was wrong. This creates quite a problem for Bible believers, which they solve in their normal way. Passages fitting their particular brand of Christianity are to be taken literally, whereas passages that disagree, make no sense, or are obviously incorrect need to be somehow “interpreted.”

Read the rest.

Onward, Secular Soldiers

Seven years of Bush shoving born-again Christianity down everyone's throat have sickened and disgusted a lot of us members of the reality-based community. We look with dismay at a country where pharmacists refuse to fill birth-control prescriptions, where teaching evolution is controversial and where more than a hundred million taxpayer dollars go to the religious scam known as abstinence education. We always suspected that the televangelists and right-wing family-man politicians were protesting too much, and--thank you, Ted Haggard, David Vitter, Larry Craig!--now the whole country can see we were right. It's one thing to show respect for religious belief in the context of social tolerance in a pluralistic society--freedom of speech, separation of church and state, live and let live--but when Christians make faith a matter of public policy, it becomes hard to explain why nonbelievers should be deferential. If I wanted to live in a theocracy, I would move to Tehran.

Read more.

One in four mammals under threat

'It's a natural process: species are born, they evolve and they die out,' said Mark Wright, science adviser to WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund. 'What's different now [is] for every million species we'd expect one to die out per year; but we're ranging between 100 and 1,000 times faster than that.'

Learn more.

Destruction in black America is self-inflicted

DEBATING capital punishment at an Ivy League university a few years ago, I was confronted with the claim that since death sentences are more often meted out in cases where the victim is white, the death penalty must be racially biased. It's a spurious argument, I replied. Whites commit fewer than half of all murders in the United States, yet more whites than blacks are sentenced to death and more whites than blacks are executed each year. If there is racial bias in the system, it clearly isn't in favor of whites.


Yet many Americans, like the woman at my debate, still seem to view racial questions through an antediluvian haze. To them, white bigotry remains a clear and present danger, and the reason so many black Americans die before their time.

But the data aren't in dispute. Though outrage over "racism" is ever fashionable, African-Americans have long had far less to fear from the violence of racist whites than from the mayhem of the black underclass.

Read more.

McDonald's employee who over salted burger jailed

A McDonald's employee spent a night in jail and is facing criminal charges because a police officer's burger was too salty, so salty that he says it made him sick.

Jesus Christ our world.

Read more if you must.

September 7, 2007

Fred Thompson: Dissent makes US 'weak,' carries 'heavy price'

In his first interview since declaring his presidential candidacy, Fred Thompson repeatedly warned against the perils of a "weak and divided" nation, raised the specter of unspecified terrorists with suitcase bombs, and expressed a willingness to employ nuclear weapons against Iran.

Why is Fred Thompson even a "choice"?

Read more.

Osama Bin Distractin

The day after the first national poll showed that 70 million Americans support a new 9/11 investigation, and 55% of Americans disapprove of the way in which the media has covered questions surrounding 9/11, what does the mainstream media do?

Read more, but don't get distracted.

Bush knew Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction

On Sept. 18, 2002, CIA director George Tenet briefed President Bush in the Oval Office on top-secret intelligence that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction, according to two former senior CIA officers. Bush dismissed as worthless this information from the Iraqi foreign minister, a member of Saddam's inner circle, although it turned out to be accurate in every detail. Tenet never brought it up again.

Read more.

New Tool Mines Wikipedia Trustworthiness

Because anyone can edit Wikipedia, the Web encyclopedia's reliability varies wildly. Now a computer science professor hopes to give users a better baloney detector: software that flags questionable lines in Wikipedia entries.

Read more.

Southwest fashion police set no-fly zone

Ebbert, a Mesa College student and Hooters waitress, was allowed to stay on the plane, but only after she put up a fight and, she says, was lectured on how to dress properly.

I don't know about you, but one of my big gripes with the airlines is that they just don't take the time to dispense fashion advice any more.

Southwest explained its treatment of Ebbert in a letter to her mother, saying it could remove any passenger “whose clothing is lewd, obscene or patently offensive” to ensure the comfort of children and “adults with heightened sensitivities.”

"lewd, obscene or patently offensive"? Who the fuck makes those decisions? Those terms are extremely relative.

Check out the pic for yourself. Her outfit looks fine. I guess I won't be flying Southwest.

American girls' suicide rates spike

The suicide rate among preteen and young teen girls spiked dramatically in a disturbing shift that federal health officials say they can't fully explain.

For all young people between ages 10 to 24, the suicide rate rose 8 percent from 2003 to 2004 — the biggest single-year bump in 15 years — in what one official called "a dramatic and huge increase."

Read more.

Don't Dismiss Online Relationships as Fantasy

The common thread among these stories is that people get deeply involved in online relationships and make decisions about their real lives. Calling any of these online relationships "fantasy" dismisses the impact they have on the people involved and on those closest to them.


For all that I have broadened my horizons since the first Sex Drive column more than four years ago, I have yet to encounter anything that challenges my core belief: Relationships are real wherever they form.

Read more.

ADHD preschoolers helped by structure, consistency

New research suggests simple techniques that give more structure to a prescooler's day can offer a nondrug alternative to help the tiniest sufferers of ADHD.

Learn more.

Police prowl internet as vice moves off street

Craigslist, the utilitarian and highly-trafficked website that long ago captured the online market for classified advertising in the United States and around the world, has now replaced red-light districts as the new battleground between prostitutes who are trying to reel in new punters – and undercover cops whose job it is to stop them.

Read more.

How long before the State decides which of us is allowed to breed?

A senior judge, Lord Justice Sedley, has made the extraordinary suggestion that DNA samples from every citizen in the United Kingdom and visitor to our shores should be stored in a database.


What, ask Judge Sedley and friends, would the innocent have to lose by having such information kept by Big Brother?


Throughout the 20th century, there were other states in the world - Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, Hitler's Germany - which thought it was all right to treat their citizens like slaves and automatons.


It is surely fundamental to any law of liberty that if we have not done anything wrong, we should not be compelled to reveal our identity, to offer samples of blood, urine or DNA to the authorities merely because they want it.


How long before such a database actually exists, and we begin to receive letters: "Dear Sir/Madam/Hybrid - it has been drawn to our attention that your DNA reveals..." and Big Brother would take upon himself the right to say that we should not breed, because we had some supposedly undesirable inherited characteristic?

Judge Sedley and Lord Winston would probably say that this was a science fiction fantasy. I think it is all too likely that, once they possessed all the DNA evidence about all of us, the evermore intrusive government, which already thinks it is responsible for what we eat, smoke and drink, would tell us whether we could or could not breed.

Read the rest.

Judge Strikes Down Parts Of Patriot Act

A federal judge struck down parts of the revised USA Patriot Act as unconstitutional Thursday, saying courts must be allowed to supervise cases where the government orders Internet providers to turn over records without telling customers.

Read more.

We ban smoking yet allow our children to be poisoned with food additives

Well, what a surprise. An authoritative new report published in medical journal The Lancet has confirmed that artificial colouring in children's foods can cause physical and mental damage, leading to hyperactivity, poor behaviour and allergic reactions.

Read more, but don't eat anything.

Shock: kids smarter than chimps

IN another case of researchers reporting the bleeding obvious, European scientists have found that children are smarter than chimpanzees.

Money went into this "research"? I can tell you that from just observing my one-year old.

Read more, but you won't learn much, here.

Shutting down big downloaders

The rapid growth of online videos, music and games has created a new Internet sin: using it too much.

Comcast has punished some transgressors by cutting off their Internet service, arguing that excessive downloaders hog Internet capacity and slow down the network for other customers. The company declines to reveal its download limits.

You download "too much" but we're not gonna tell you what the limit is? What kind of bullshit is that?

Read more, but don't download it if you're on Comcast. In fact, consider changing to a different ISP.

Germany considers increased spying on Muslims

After thwarting what might have become a "massive" attack on American installations, German authorities will review ways to fight homegrown terrorists, including a proposal to allow Internet spying on all German converts to Islam.

Because only "bad" people are Muslims?

Read more.

Drivers risk two years in jail for using their mobile phones

Motorists who use a hand-held mobile phone or fiddle with a satellite-navigation system while driving could be jailed for up to two years.

Prosecutors have said they could be charged with dangerous driving in a dramatically tougher approach to such offences.

Those caught fiddling with an MP3 music player or texting on a mobile at the wheel could also face the charge.

Tell me again, why would want to live in the U.K.?

Read more.

Edwards Proposing Anti-Terrorism Agency

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is proposing an international organization to fight terrorism through shared intelligence - cooperation that he says will combat the dangers facing the United States where President Bush has failed.

Read more if you must.

September 4, 2007

Richardson: God wants Iowa first

God's will is for Iowa to have the first-in-the-nation caucus, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson told a crowd here Monday.

Christ on a cross this guy.

Read more.

The ‘Atheism’ of Mother Teresa

She became poor to serve the materially poor — did she similarly share the sufferings of the spiritually poor?

Read more.

Scientology faces criminal charges

A Belgian prosecutor on Tuesday recommended that the U.S.-based Church of Scientology stand trial for fraud and extortion, following a 10-year investigation that concluded the group should be labeled a criminal organization.

Read more.


During one preboarding search, a TSA agent told her “You’re on the list” and Wolf learned it is not a list of suspected terrorists but of journalists, academics, activists, and politicians “who have criticized the White House.”

And we let them get away with doing this shit.

Read more.

The iPod is growing up

You don't need a sophisticated operating system to play songs and TV shows, so at that point, the iPod stops being just a gadget. So, then, what exactly is it? Like the iPhone, it becomes something in between a gadget and a PC, which has been treacherous ground for the PC industry.

Learn more.

Human Family Tree Now a Tangled, Messy Bush

For anthropology students 30 years ago, learning human evolution was a breeze.


But in the late 1970s, we entered a golden age of human fossil discoveries that has repeatedly punched holes in the naive idea that our evolution would be that clear, clean, and straight.

Like most animals, humans have a checkered past, and our family album is now full of side branches and dead ends. And it's populated with creatures, such as the little people (Homo floresiensis) of Flores Island in Indonesia, that we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams.

The straight line has blossomed into a spreading, rather uncontrolled bush and we don’t like it. We want our history to be nice and neat, but the fossils keep messing us up.


The big news, then, is that these very different fossils are being hung on the human family tree on separate branches but at the same height. And once again, we have to reconsider the path of human evolution.

But should we be all that surprised?

Learn more.

September 3, 2007

Study: Men men go for good looks

From the Thank You, Captain Obvious file:

Science is confirming what most women know: When given the choice for a mate, men go for good looks.

And guys won't be surprised to learn that women are much choosier about partners than they are.


So, it turns out, the women's attractiveness influenced the choices of the men and the women.

Learn more.

Study: Humans' DNA not quite so similar

People are less alike than scientists had thought when it comes to the billions of building blocks that make up each individual's DNA, according to a new analysis.

"Instead of 99.9 percent identical, maybe we're only 99 percent (alike)," said J. Craig Venter, an author of the study — and the person whose DNA was analyzed for it.

Learn more.

Women may need different heart treatment

Women with heart problems may need to be treated differently than men, doctors said Monday.

Why did this revelation take so long?

Read more.

Human-animal embryo study wins approval

Researchers want to create hybrid embryos by merging human cells with animal eggs, in the hope they will be able to extract valuable embryonic stem cells from them.

Learn more.

The Sacrifice of Reason

It is essential to realize that such impossibly stupid misuses of human life have always been explicitly religious. They are the product of what certain human beings think they know about invisible gods and goddesses, and of what they manifestly do not know about biology, meteorology, medicine, physics, and a dozen other specific sciences that have more than a little to say about the events in the world that concern them.


Of course, Catholics have done some very strenuous and unconvincing theology in this area, in an effort to make sense of how they can really eat the body of Jesus, not mere crackers enrobed in metaphor, and really drink his blood without, in fact, being a cult of crazy cannibals. Suffice it to say, however, that a world view in which “propitiatory sacrifices on behalf of the living and the dead” figure prominently is rather difficult to defend in the year 2007. But this has not stopped otherwise intelligent and well-intentioned people from defending it.

And now we learn that even Mother Teresa, the most celebrated exponent of this dogmatism in a century, had her doubts about the whole story—the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the existence of heaven, and even the existence of God:

Read the rest.

Free of faith's false promise

Being cognizant that death awaits, religionists believe that life has a purpose, and that purpose is directed by God. The Presbyterians call this phenomenon predestination. This is a uniqueness I find difficult to accept, either in a God-given or evolutionistic sense. Accepting that man has a predetermined destination would mean being persuaded that the Earth's thousands upon thousands of living creatures are equally born for a purpose.

Believers confront me with what if. "What if you do come before God and face his judgment?" My response, "What if there is no afterlife?" It's ironic that so many believers associate what if in terms of death, but not life. What if one gives up the fullness of life while pondering on death? Life is not a dress rehearsal.


Remove the emotional crutch of religion, and humans will free themselves of the innumerable dogmas that hinder honest evaluation of such subjects as abortion, politics or homosexuality. One no longer has to live a life of hypocrisy; feigning piety one hour a week and true to secularism the remaining hours.

A young seminary student solemnly suggested that in my heart, somewhere down in its deep recesses, I'm truly aware of God's existence.

I replied that my heart doesn't know a thing; it's merely a muscle. It's my brain, that piece of gray matter that gives me the ability to separate rationality from irrationality, that tells me just because billions believe in a supreme being, merely believing does not make it truth. Or, as Thoreau philosophized, "If, in my mind, I am correct in my thinking, then even if the rest of the world disagrees with me, I am not a minority, but a majority of one."

Read the rest.

Even Thinking about God Boosts Positive Social Behaviour Says New Study

In a study to be published in the September issue of Psychological Science journal, researchers investigated how thinking about God and notions of a higher power influenced positive social behaviour, specifically cooperation with others and generosity to strangers.

UBC PhD graduate Azim Shariff and UBC Assoc. Prof. Ara Norenzayan found that priming people with 'god concepts' - by activating subconscious thoughts through word games - promoted altruism. In addition, the researchers found that this effect was consistent in behaviour whether people declared themselves believers or not. The researchers also found that secular notions of civic responsibility promote cooperation and generosity.

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At Rapleaf, your personals are public

In the cozy Facebook social network, it's easy to have a sense of privacy among friends and business acquaintances.

But sites like Rapleaf will quickly jar you awake: Everything you say or do on a social network could be fair game to sell to marketers.

Anything for a buck.

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Police Move To Make Anti-Bush Protests Illegal

Police overseeing the ultra-security state forced on the people of Sydney - so President Bush doesn't have to see potentially offensive hand-painted signs or hear protesters singing critical songs while holed up in his harbour-view hotel - have launched a legal challenge to effectively make anti-Bush protests illegal while the president is in town.

Our world.

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Pastor had instructional sex with daughters

A FUNDAMENTALIST church pastor had sex with two of his teenage daughters to educate them on how to be good wives, a South Australian court has heard.

The 54-year-old man, who cannot be named, was today sentenced in the SA District Court to eight and a half years jail after pleading guilty to seven counts each of incest and unlawful sexual intercourse.


The man told the court the sex was not about fulfilling his desires but about teaching his daughters how to behave for their husbands when they eventually married, as dictated in scripture.


Oh no wait, maybe Jesus will be your cell mate. I'm sure he'll introduce you to "God."

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Paul Grabs Attention of Alienated Voters

The iconoclastic "Dr. Paul" is a libertarian advocate of minimalist government, a foe of the Federal Reserve and anything else not explicitly allowed by the Constitution, and perhaps the most antiwar candidate in the race. Thanks to the unprecedented number of early debates, he has been able to share the stage with his better-funded Republican establishment rivals.

But it is the Internet that has amplified his message and introduced Mr. Paul to voters alienated from both parties. His rise, though modest, is testament as well to the power of his noninterventionist message, even in a party led by President Bush.

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Bush: is the president imploding?

You certainly wouldn't think there was a crisis. There's no sense that the Bush administration has plunged into a shambles of epic and probably unprecedented proportions, either: Dick Cheney has gone fishing, Congress is out for the summer, and much of Georgetown has fled the August mugginess of Washington for the beaches of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard or the Hamptons. President George W Bush himself, 61 last month, is about to break a record previously held by Ronald Reagan: before the end of this month, according to my calculations, he will have surpassed the old Gipper's record of having taken 436 days' holiday while in office.

Indeed, this past week, Air Force One touched down at Waco airport in Texas - I swear this is true - for the 66th time since Bush took office, so he could relax at his 1,583-acre "ranch" (there's not so much as a hint of any livestock to be seen or heard there) nearby. Nor should we forget - how could we? - that, barring anything extraordinary happening, the 43rd US president still has almost 17 months left in the White House.

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Sour Americans hungry for change as election approaches

According to opinion polls and interviews with political experts and voters, the U.S. population is more liberal than at any time in a generation, hungering to end the Iraq war, turn inward and use the federal government to solve problems at home.

Still, polling indicates, some want to turn farther right, demanding that the country fence off its Southern border, expel illegal immigrants and rein in a federal government grown fat under a Republican government they now dismiss as incompetent.

The surveys point to one thing almost all Americans tend to agree on: They're deeply unhappy with the way things are going in the United States and eager to move on. There's virtually no appetite to extend the Bush era, as there was at the end of Ronald Reagan's presidency in 1988 or Bill Clinton's in 2000.

Some things change.

Some things never change.

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Pentagon Justice

There were certainly officers at Abu Ghraib overseeing interrogations of prisoners. There were other senior officers who drew up or approved methods -- such as the use of dogs to terrorize detainees -- that violated the Geneva Conventions and U.S. military codes. And there were civilian political appointees in the Pentagon, including then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who demanded more aggressive steps to collect intelligence from prisoners. Some have confessed to wrongdoing, such as Col. Thomas M. Pappas, who oversaw interrogations at Abu Ghraib. Some have dodged accountability, like Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, a former commander of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib who at one point invoked his right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying under oath. All have been excused from criminal charges, even while the low-ranking personnel who tortured Iraqi detainees -- in some cases under orders -- serve prison sentences.

The Pentagon's moves to protect guilty commanders while targeting their subordinates have been blatant.

And we let them get away with it.

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Heart patients to get valves grown from their cells

Cardiac patients will soon be able to 'grow their own' heart valves and have them transplanted within weeks of seeing a doctor.

I don't think I can express how fantastic this is.

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Scientists urge gene banks to combat species extinction

One breed of livestock is becoming extinct every month and genetic stockpiles are needed to preserve a wide variety of species, according to a report issued Monday by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

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Math: Gift from God or Work of Man?

But is the usefulness of mathematics really so mysterious? There is a quite compelling alternative explanation why mathematics is so useful.

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