October 31, 2007

Zogby Poll: 52% Support U.S. Military Strike Against Iran

A majority of likely voters – 52% – would support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, and 53% believe it is likely that the U.S. will be involved in a military strike against Iran before the next presidential election, a new Zogby America telephone poll shows.

Bullshit. I don't believe it.

Read more.

Mukasey Losing Democrats' Backing

Attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey told Senate Democrats yesterday that a kind of simulated drowning known as waterboarding is "repugnant to me," but he said he does not know whether the interrogation tactic violates U.S. laws against torture.

Amazing this is even being fucking debated.

Read more.

University to students: 'All whites are racist'

A mandatory University of Delaware program requires residence hall students to acknowledge that "all whites are racist" and offers them "treatment" for any incorrect attitudes regarding class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality they might hold upon entering the school, according to a civil rights group.

Read more.

Army tests James Bond style tank that is 'invisible'

In secret trials last week, the Army said it had made a vehicle completely disappear and predicted that an invisible tank would be ready for service by 2012.

The new technology uses cameras and projectors to beam images of the surrounding landscape onto a tank.

The result is that anyone looking in the direction of the vehicle only sees what is beyond it and not the tank itself.

A soldier, who was at the trials, said: "This technology is incredible. If I hadn't been present I wouldn't have believed it. I looked across the fields and just saw grass and trees - but in reality I was staring down the barrel of a tank gun."

How the technology works in a combat situation is very sensitive, but the MoD is believed to be testing a military jacket that works on the same principles.

Doesn't the future look wonderful?

Read more.

Vatican under fire as 4,000 face eviction

The protest could scarcely have come at a more embarrassing time for the Italian Roman Catholic hierarchy or its leader. Last month, Archbishop Bagnasco made a widely reported speech in which he deplored a shortage of low-cost housing. He said: "I am referring in particular to the tragedies of those such as pensioners or single-income families who are served with eviction orders and cannot find alternative [accommodation]."

The former Archbishop of Siena, Gaetano Bonicelli, who advises the bishops' conference on social policy, stressed the evictions were being carried out, not by the church directly, but by the property agents of organisations linked to it. However, he said, their conduct was "certainly not in line with the teaching of the popes on the right to housing".

Read more.

Christian Groups Claim Pro-Atheist 'Stealth Campaign' in Nicole Kidman Fantasy Film 'The Golden Compass'

A children’s fantasy film that stars Nicole Kidman and features a little girl on a quest to kill God has some Christian groups upset over what they believe is a ploy to promote atheism to kids.

The movie, “The Golden Compass,” is adapted from the first novel in a trilogy called “His Dark Materials” by English author Philip Pullman, an outspoken atheist. Critics fear that the film, due out in December, will encourage children to read the anti-Church series.

Read more.

Do-not-track lists to shield Net surfers

Most consumers are familiar with do-not-call lists, which are meant to keep telemarketers from phoning them.

Soon people will be able to sign up for do-not-track lists, which will help shield their Web surfing habits from the prying eyes of marketers.

Read more.

Trent Reznor: Take my music, please

As for the future, well, Reznor fully acknowledges that he--like everybody else in music--is unsure of how things will turn out. But he says he's sure of one thing: the old way of doing business is dead.

Read more.

October 30, 2007

When Does the Lesser Evil Become Just Evil?

Read Harmon's Orwellian masterpiece... and weep. The Dems are showing freaked-out Suburbia that they can wipe their ass with the Constitution just as well as any Republican, if it will just stop all that "violent radicalization." And the women in the men's club are proving they can be just as mean and asinine as any man.

Read more.

America’s Armageddonites

Utopian fantasies have long transfixed the human race. Yet today a much rarer fantasy has become popular in the United States. Millions of Americans, the richest people in history, have a death wish. They are the new “Armageddonites,” fundamentalist evangelicals who have moved from forecasting Armageddon to actually trying to bring it about.


The overwhelming power and warmongering of the Armageddonites has inspired some resistance from other fundamentalists, but they are a minority. Theologian Richard Fenn writes, “Silent complicity (by mainline churches) with apocalyptic rhetoric soon becomes collusion with plans for religiously inspired genocide.” Their death-wishing “religion” is actually anti-Christian and should be challenged openly by traditional Christians.

Read the rest.

Preteens Trading Fairy Wands for Fishnets

The Halloween costume trend is not only leading to tense mother-daughter standoffs, but it is also part of a far larger worry that young girls are becoming sexualized. Task forces of psychologists study the trend. Books and academic articles are being produced with such titles as the upcoming "So Sexy So Soon" and "From Barbie to Britney: The Sexualization of Childhood." And yet the costumes sell.

Read the rest.

October 29, 2007

The mystery of the missing $2.9 trillion

Like most people, economists love a mystery – especially if it involves not a missing person but a missing $2.9 trillion in United States debt.

That's $2.9 with 11 zeros after it.

Some words of explanation: Every quarter the Department of Commerce comes up with the US "International Investment Position." At the end of 2006, for instance, the US had a net negative position – by this measurement of international assets and liabilities – of $2.6 trillion. In other words, the country is by far the world's biggest debtor nation.

A quarter century ago, the US was the world's largest creditor nation.

Read more.

1 in 10 Schools Are 'Dropout Factories'

It's a nickname no principal could be proud of: "Dropout Factory," a high school where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year. That description fits more than one in 10 high schools across America.

Read more.

Religion doesn't confer right to discriminate

A statement from the administration (on 3685) indicates that his main issue with the bill is that it "is inconsistent with the right to the free exercise of religion as codified by Congress in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act." So, being a Christian means you get to deny people jobs based on what goes on in their pants when they're not at work?


The right wing justifies discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation while race and religion are protected. Smith wonders how those who see gender identity and sexual orientation as choices ("I think most scientists would disagree with them on that score," he says) deal with the choice of (or the conversion to) a certain faith? Why is that a protected choice?

Good point.

Read more.

Intelligent design: an unintelligent idea

Oh Ben, you poor, poor creature...

Stein appeared Monday on "The O'Reilly Factor" to trump the values of his upcoming movie, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed," which argues that secular science has unfairly ousted discourse regarding intelligent design. Stein believes the theory deserves fair treatment in schools and in science.

What the movie, due in February, won't tell you is the truth regarding intelligent design. The "theory" is so embarrassingly poorly argued and devoid of scientific merit that even the Rev. George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory - not exactly a bastion of anti-theistic vitriol the last time I checked - has denounced it as an unscientific idea that simply "pretends to be" science.


Intelligent design simply asserts that structures like the human eye and bacterial flagellum couldn't possibly have formed by random chance, so an intelligent designer is needed. Such statements demonstrate flagrant ignorance of evolution, whose driving force, natural selection, is the exact opposite of random chance. Worse yet, they take the form "we can't explain it, so maybe God did it" - a logical error known as the "God-of-the-gaps" fallacy.

But don't take my word for it. Stein himself admitted on O'Reilly's show that the theory is merely an attempt to "fill in some of (the) gaps" left by evolutionary theory.

I will never be able to watch Ferris Bueller's Day Off in the same way again.

Read more.

French muck: Is this the new penicillin?

Scientists have discovered a new and highly effective weapon against deadly superbugs like the MRSA sweeping through Britain's dirty hospital wards – green French muck.

The dramatic antibiotic success of agricur, a clay made from ancient volcanic ash found near the Massif Central, marks it out as a potential rival to penicillin, the wonder drug of the 20th century. In experiments, the clay killed up to 99 per cent of superbug colonies within 24 hours. Control samples of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) grew 45-fold in the same period.

Read more.

Edwards plans big for presidency

Edwards, a former Democratic senator from North Carolina, says the federal government should underwrite universal pre-kindergarten, create matching savings accounts for low-income people, mandate a minimum wage of $9.50 and provide a million new Section 8 housing vouchers for the poor. He also pledged to start a government-funded public higher education program called "College for Everyone."

"It is central to what I want to do as president to do something about economic inequality. I do not believe it is okay for the United States of America to have 37 million people living in poverty," he said in a meeting with Monitor reporters and editors this week. "And I think we need, desperately need, a president who will say that to America and call on Americans to show their character."

Read more.

October 28, 2007

Human race will 'split into two different species'

The human race will one day split into two separate species, an attractive, intelligent ruling elite and an underclass of dim-witted, ugly goblin-like creatures, according to a top scientist.

Read more.


It now seems clear that the coal and oil industries are not going to allow the United States to curb global warming by making major investments in renewable sources of energy. These fossil fuel corporations simply have too much at stake to allow it.

Read more.

Much of U.S. Could See a Water Shortage

Across America, the picture is critically clear - the nation's freshwater supplies can no longer quench its thirst.

The government projects that at least 36 states will face water shortages within five years because of a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, waste and excess.


It's not just America's problem - it's global.

Future wars?

Read more.

October 27, 2007


In case you missed this:

On Tuesday, FEMA held what was called a "news briefing" on the California fires, but the questions asked did not come from reporters. They were asked instead by FEMA staffers.

Read more.

Priests Jailed for Protesting Fort Huachuca Torture Training

Outside the courthouse, before the judge ordered them to prison, the priests explained their actions: "The real crime here has always been the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca and the practice of torture around the world. We tried to deliver a letter asking that the teaching of torture be stopped and were arrested. We tried to put the evidence of torture on full and honest display in the courthouse and were denied. We were prepared to put on evidence about the widespread use of torture and human rights abuses committed during interrogations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo in Iraq and Afghanistan. This evidence was gathered by the military itself and by governmental and human rights investigations."

Read more.

Iran: The Road to Armageddon?

They are at it again. Remember when Milosovic was labelled “the butcher of Belgrade”, the new Hitler? Then Saddam Hussein was “the butcher of Bagdad” and, of course the most dangerous man since Hitler - with weapons of mass destruction which could be unleashed on the world “in forty five minutes”.


And here we go again. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (wait for “the tyrant of Tehran”) threatens the planet, is supplying weapons to Iraq's resistance, is destabilising the region and the paradise that is occupied Iraq. Whilst there are indeed plenty of Iranians or Iranian sympathisers in Iraq, they came in with the occupiers. Many in high places in Iraq's corrupt, militia driven, American puppet government, speak Farsi, not Arabic.

The increasingly hysterical claims regarding Iran, the latest threat to life as we know it, is being brought to you by the very same warmongers who wrought the duplicity that resulted in Iraq's murderous decimation, the hawks' nest which is the American Enterprise Institute and their friends.

Read more.

Democrats Plan a Shorter Workweek

The House majority leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, told fellow Democrats this week that the House would not be in session next year on Fridays, except in June for work on appropriations bills.

Explaining that decision to reporters, Mr. Hoyer said, “I do intend to have more time for members to work in their districts and to be close to their families.”

His comments drew snickers from Republicans, who are quite happy to share their view that the American people did not get much value for all the extra time lawmakers spent in Washington.

Read more, but I'm betting you're working more than four days a week.

October 26, 2007

German Playboy, 77, Sues for Sex

Aging German playboy Rolf Eden has rarely taken no for an answer. And he's not about to start. He has filed charges against a 19-year-old for refusing to sleep with him. The complaint? Ageism.


Despite a night on the town with Eden, which ended back at his place, she refused to have sex with him, saying the he was too old for her.

"That was shattering. No woman has ever said that to me before," Eden told the tabloid. "I was crushed." He has filed charges with the prosecutors' office, he said. "After all, there are laws against discrimination."

What? Dude, just because your fucking rich, it doesn't mean you get to fuck who you want. Bravo to the 19-year-old for saying "no."

Read the rest. There's too much funny shit to post.

Court says teen sex conviction 'cruel and unusual' punishment

The Supreme Court of Georgia ordered Friday that Genarlow Wilson be released from prison, ruling that his sentence for a teen sex conviction was cruel and unusual punishment.

It's about fucking time.

The decision was split 4-3.

4-3? WTF, people? What the hell are those "3" thinking?

Wilson had been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted in 2005 of having oral sex with a consenting 15-year-old girl when he was 17.

He already has served two years in prison.

Read more.

American kids, dumber than dirt

We are, as far as urban public education is concerned, essentially at rock bottom. We are now at a point where we are essentially churning out ignorant teens who are becoming ignorant adults and society as a whole will pay dearly, very soon, and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait.


Most affluent parents in America — and many more who aren't — now put their kids in private schools from day one, and the smart ones give their kids no TV and minimal junk food and no video games. (Of course, this in no way guarantees a smart, attuned kid, but compared to the odds of success in the public school system, it sure seems to help). This covers about, what, 3 percent of the populace?

As for the rest, well, the dystopian evidence seems overwhelming indeed, to the point where it might be no stretch at all to say the biggest threat facing America is perhaps not global warming, not perpetual warmongering, not garbage food or low-level radiation or way too much Lindsay Lohan, but a populace far too ignorant to know how to properly manage any of it, much less change it all for the better.

What, too fatalistic? Don't worry. Soon enough, no one will know what the word even means.

Read the rest.

Straitjacket Bush

Forget impeachment.

Liberals, put it behind you. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney shouldn't be treated like criminals who deserve punishment. They should be treated like psychotics who need treatment.

Because they've clearly gone mad. Exhibit A: We're in the middle of a disastrous war in Iraq, the military and political situation in Afghanistan is steadily worsening, and the administration's interrogation and detention tactics have inflamed anti-Americanism and fueled extremist movements around the globe. Sane people, confronting such a situation, do their best to tamp down tensions, rebuild shattered alliances, find common ground with hostile parties and give our military a little breathing space. But crazy people? They look around and decide it's a great time to start another war.

That would be with Iran, and you'd have to be deaf not to hear the war drums.

Read more.

Thirtysomethings who depend on the Bank of Mum and Dad

An amazing 95 per cent of parents reckon they will be supporting their offspring well into adulthood, according to a report by saving specialists the Children's Mutual.

Many parents are neglecting their pensions, raiding their savings and even remortgaging to give children a helping hand.

They are also giving up holidays and other major purchases which they had planned as an indulgence once their children left home.

Read more.

Poll: One-third believe in ghosts, UFOs

To put the roughly one-third who believe in ghosts and UFOs in perspective, it's about the same as, in recent AP-Ipsos polls, the 36% who said they are baseball fans; the 37% who said the U.S. made the right decision to invade Iraq; and the 31% who approve of the job President Bush is doing.

A smaller but still substantial 23% say they have actually seen a ghost or believe they have been in one's presence, with the most likely candidates for such visits including single people, Catholics and those who never attend religious services. By 31% to 18%, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter.

Read more.

School health centers didn't report underage sex

Maine law prohibits having sex with a person under age 14, regardless of the age of the other person involved, Anderson said.


"When it's somebody under age 14, it is a crime and it must be reported," Anderson said. "The health care provider has no discretion in the matter. It's up to the district attorney to decide."


Although Portland officials intend to comply with the law, exactly what the law requires remains unclear, Wood said. Having sex with a 13-year-old is clearly illegal, he said, but the law doesn't address the possibility of the other person involved being 13 years old, too.

"I think (Anderson) has raised a legitimate point," Wood said. "I'm just not sure that consensual sexual activity (between two 13-year-olds) constitutes abuse."

If Anderson's office received a report of two 13-year-olds having sex, she said, each minor would be considered a victim and a perpetrator and the case likely wouldn't be prosecuted.


Read more.

The Home Video Prince Doesn't Want You to See

A bouncing YouTube baby has be-bopped his way right into the legal cross-hairs of the pop star Prince, sparking a lawsuit that could test the boundaries of U.S. copyright law.

Holden Lenz, 18 months old, is the pajama-clad star of a 29-second home movie shot by his mother in the family's rural Pennsylvania kitchen and posted last February on the popular video site YouTube.

In the video, the child is seen bouncing and swaying for the camera, as, faintly, the Prince hit "Let's Go Crazy" plays on a CD player in the background.

Not a good PR move, Prince. You're not losing any fucking money by your music being used in this way. You're not being slandered in any way by videos such as these. In fact, you should be honored that your music is even playing in the background; that someone thought your music was good enough to have as background music to their lives. Your actions make many of us pause and consider not buying any more of your music.

Read more.

October 25, 2007

Audiences reject Iraq war — at the box office

It doesn't matter how many Oscar winners are in front of or behind the camera — audiences are proving to be conscientious objectors when it comes to this fall's surge of antiwar and anti-Bush films.

Both "In the Valley of Elah" and, more recently, "Rendition" drew minuscule crowds upon their release, which doesn't bode well for the ongoing stream of films critical of the Iraq war and the Bush administration's wider war on terror.

Read more.

Man from ministry bans Potter

But last month, students found that their favorite series had "disapparated" from the school library, after St. Joseph's pastor, the Rev. Ron Barker, removed the books, declaring that the themes of witchcraft and sorcery were inappropriate for a Catholic school.


Read more.

Brain regions responsible for optimism located

Chances are, such optimistic thoughts are coming from two places in the brain that play an important role in enabling people to, as the old song says, accentuate the positive, New York University scientists said on Wednesday.

Pinpointing the brain regions involved in optimism and positive thinking about the future, the researchers said, may also have shed light on what might be going wrong in people with depression.

Read more, but don't get your hopes up.

Porn Record-Keeping Law Ruled Unconstitutional

A federal appeals court has struck down a 1988 law requiring adult entertainment producers to keep records on their models and performers, complicating the Justice Department's anti-child porn efforts, and diminishing a legal cloud hovering over websites hosting amateur, user-produced porn.


"This statute not only regulates a person's right to take sexually explicit photographs, but it also requires that person to identify him or herself as the photographer as well as identify the individual depicted," wrote Judge Cornelia Kennedy in the majority opinion of the three-judge panel. "While the individual depicted is shown in the photograph, that person still has a First Amendment right to not provide his or her name and therefore retain a certain level of anonymity."

The Justice Department argued that regulating all photographs of sexually explicit conduct was justified by its legitimate interest in "eradicating" child pornography.


The statute requires record keeping when "sexually explicit conduct" is depicted. Such conduct is defined to include images of "sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex." Also included are images of bestiality, masturbation, sadistic or masochistic abuse and "lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person."

Under the law, the producer of such images must inspect an individual's government-issued photo I.D., and keep a copy, along with records of where the images were published, including any websites.

Read more.

Downward, Christian soldier

The point here, however, is the general's comments about the need he feels to tell his squaddies that an afterlife awaits them if they die in battle, and (here I paraphrase) that Jesus is with them amidst the explosions and whistling bullets as they fight. Well: we must suppose that he really believes this BS, because if it were a case of bolstering the courage of his troops with falsehoods (as they are) that he knew to be such, it would be as dishonest and dishonourable a thing as one could imagine. Instead of which, it is something else: as follows.

Read more.

So, are you and the Internet a thing?

A new poll shows that nearly 1 in 4 Americans say the Internet could be a stand-in for a significant other for a period of time. Among singles, the percentage was even higher: 31 percent. (One wonders how popular such responses as "reading a good book" or "playing with my cats" were to the question of substitutes.)


The survey also found that there are people willing to have a device implanted in their brain--safely, of course--so they'd have ready access to the Internet. About 11 percent of respondents said so. But more men (17 percent) than women (7 percent) did. (Just think, you could impress many a date and your trivia team would win every week. Although when the suitably impressed person becomes a steady thing, the Internet might get jealous.)

But the kicker...

To help keep track of children's whereabouts, nearly 1 in 5 respondents said they would be willing to have a chip implanted in a child 13 or younger.

WTF people?

Read more.


Forty-eight percent of Americans say they're more stressed now than they were five years ago, and the same percent report regularly lying awake at night because of stress, according to a new study by the American Psychological Association.


So what is it we're worrying about while we stare at the ceiling all night? Primarily two things: money and work, the main woes for nearly 75 percent of Americans. That's way up from 59 percent of us stressed out over those two things a year ago.

Read more, but don't get too stressed out about it.

October 24, 2007

$2.4 trillion on wars projected over next decade

Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost as much as $2.4 trillion through the next decade, according to a new analysis Wednesday that the White House brushed off as "speculation."

The analysis, by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, provides the most comprehensive and far-reaching estimate to date, taking into account costs previously not counted and assuming large number of forces would remain in the regions.

According to CBO, the U.S. has spent about $600 billion to date on both wars, including $39 billion in diplomatic operations and foreign aid.

Read more.

October 23, 2007

America's war without end

These days, terrorism seems to be whatever the Bush administration says it is.


Justifying these whopping increases, Mr Bush repeats a favourite mantra, that "America is safer but not yet safe", implying that absolute safety is attainable at some point in the future. In a speech this week, his vice-president, Dick Cheney, was franker: he said the US was engaged in an ideological struggle amounting to war without end.

Read more.

Catholic condom ban helping AIDS spread in Latam: U.N.

The rapid spread in Latin America of the virus that causes AIDS is made worse by the Roman Catholic Church's stand against using condoms, a U.N. official said on Monday.

Read more.

Does Senate FISA bill immunize FBI 'black-bag jobs'?

A hotel manager who lets FBI agents into a guest's room to copy a laptop's hard drive in secret would not be liable. An apartment manager who gives Homeland Security the key to a tenant's unit to place a key logger in a PC would not be liable. A private security firm that divulges a customer's alarm code would not be liable. A university that agrees to forward a student's e-mail messages to the Defense Department would not be liable. An antivirus company that helps the NSA implant spyware in an unsuspecting customer's computer would not be liable.

No court order is required. And if an eventual lawsuit accuses the hotel manager or antivirus firm of unlawful activities, it'll be thrown out of court as long as the attorney general or the director of national intelligence can provide a "certification." The "certification" is, of course, secret--all a judge may say publicly is that the rules were followed, and then dismiss the case.

And we let them get away with doing this shit.

Read more.

In Britain, law has long arms, eagle eyes

The closed-circuit television camera lurking just down the street from the fast-food restaurant bellows menacingly at the first sign of danger to the flora, or a cast-off cigarette butt or fast-food wrapper, for that matter. "Pick it up," commands a booming voice from . . . where, exactly?

The CCTV cameras in Gloucester and several other British towns now come equipped with speakers, meaning Big Brother is not only watching, he's telling you what to do.


For all the increased anti-terrorism security measures in the U.S., there is probably no society on Earth more watched than Britain.


The DNA profile of every person arrested -- even those briefly detained for, say, loitering, and released without charge -- is on file in what is believed to be, per capita, the largest such database in the world, with 3.9 million samples. It includes the genetic markings of an estimated 40% of Britain's black male population.

I ask again, why would anyone still live in the UK?

Read more.

Unveiled: radical prescription for our health crisis

Obesity, alcohol abuse, smoking: Britain is among the most unhealthy countries in Europe. Now a pioneering NHS adviser is proposing a revolutionary cure for our ills.


Among his suggestions are a proposal for a smoking permit, which smokers would have to produce when buying cigarettes, an "exercise hour" to be provided by all large companies for their employees and a ban on salt in processed food.

Read more.

U.S. cannot account for billion-dollar Iraq contract

The State Department does not know specifically what it received for a billion-dollar contract with security firm DynCorp International to provide training services for Iraqi police, a U.S. watchdog agency said on Tuesday.

You read that correctly.

Read more.

October 22, 2007

NSA cooperation: OK for e-mail, IM companies?

A new Senate bill would protect not only telephone companies from lawsuits claiming illegal cooperation with the National Security Agency. It would retroactively immunize e-mail providers, search engines, Internet service providers and instant-messaging services too.

Read more.

Iran bomb would take '3-8 years' to build

"I cannot judge their intentions, but supposing that Iran does intend to acquire a nuclear bomb, it would need between another three and eight years to succeed," Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told France's Le Monde newspaper.


"I want to get people away from the idea that Iran will be a threat from tomorrow, and that we are faced right now with the issue of whether Iran should be bombed or allowed to have the bomb," he said.

"We are not at all in that situation. Iraq is a glaring example of how, in many cases, the use of force exacerbates the problem rather than solving it."

Read more.

The U.S. government routinely conducts experiments on weather modification

Yet, there is reason to believe that various government institutions are carrying out numerous legal and illegal weather experiments without informing the public.

Read more.

Continent-size toxic stew of plastic trash fouling swath of Pacific Ocean

The enormous stew of trash - which consists of 80 percent plastics and weighs some 3.5 million tons, say oceanographers - floats where few people ever travel, in a no-man's land between San Francisco and Hawaii.

Read more.

NASA won't disclose air safety survey

Anxious to avoid upsetting air travelers, NASA is withholding results from an unprecedented national survey of pilots that found safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than the government previously recognized.


Just last week, NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the survey to purge all related data from its computers.

Read more.

"Commonsense" and Our Two Never-Ending Wars

Now, if I told you that almost 50% of the Unites States tax receipts went to military spending, would you think me a liar? Well I would be, because it’s more than 50%. Ask yourself why, when we have a friendly nation to our north and a friendly nation to our south and an ocean to our east and one to the west, and a missile system and an Air force that could knock out an invading navy without a problem, then why are we spending half of our budget on military expenditures?

Would it upset you to know that China, the #2 country for military expenditures only spends 6% of its budget on the military? Russia, #3, is the same. Iran, the big boogie man of the Middle East that we are so worried about according to Dick Cheney, is #27 with a whopping $4.9 Billion Dollar budget with 1% of their budget spent on the military. It’s estimated that the United States will spend 52% of its budget, and 481.4 Billion dollars on defense this year, and that’s not counting the money for the war in Iraq which so far we have spent $130 Billion Dollars on this year and another $190 Billion that the President has requested. Isn’t this a little bit of overkill?

The United States spends a little over 6% of its budget for education, and 5.6% for health. I guess if you don’t care about health and education, than the figures shouldn’t leave you breathless. I figure that if the US cut its military budget by 1/2 to where we only spent about $250 Billion dollars, we could increase the health and education budgets by 100% and still have a little over $200 Billion dollars left over.

Read the rest.

Whose Values?

The “Values Voters Summit” kicked off last week in Washington. But whose values were they talking about? Bashing gay people? Denying the basic humanity of immigrants. In what twisted world are those values to be proud of?

For too long, the Right wing has peddled us-versus-them values, pitting all of us against each other to distract us from the real problems. The problem in our society, we’re told, is the gay folks or the Muslims or the immigrants. The solution is to wall ourselves up, launch endless wars, abolish Affirmative Action.

This story, of course, is meant to distract us from the real problems in our society: that we’re bleeding good jobs on all sides of our borders because multinational corporations just want to pay the lowest wages to seek the biggest profits; that few American families can afford the skyrocketing costs of health care and college tuition; that we’re spending more on the military and prisons than public education and social services… The list goes on. How can the Family Research Council think it’s talking about values when these issues are not front-and-center in the discussion?

I agree.

Read more.

Gene-block birth control 'on way'

A contraceptive drug that avoids the side effects of hormonal birth control is on the horizon, say scientists.

An American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference was told a technique called "RNA interference" could stop sperm entering the egg.

Read more.

Acquittal in assault stirs anger

The judge said that without the woman's testimony, he could not be sure that she hadn't consented to the attack.

Even though the attack was witnessed by a police officer? I kept reading.

And in a comment that has riled victims' advocates and prosecutors, Harris added, "You have very rare cases; sadomasochists sometimes like to get beat up."

Where did it say that the woman was into S&M?

Read more.

Pope decries 'religious' violence

Pope Benedict XVI has urged world religious leaders not to allow God's name to be used to justify violence.

"Religions must never become vehicles for hatred," the Pope told the leaders attending a peace summit in Naples.

Read more.

In millions of Windows, the perfect Storm is gathering

At the moment, nobody knows who's behind this. Is it a Russian mafia operation? An al-Qaeda scheme? The really creepy thing is that, to date, the controllers of Storm have used it for such relatively trivial purposes. The suspicion has to be that they are biding their time, waiting for the moment when, say, 100 million naive Windows users have clicked on an infected link and unwittingly added their machines to the botnet.

Only then will we know what a perfect storm in cyberspace is like.

Read more.

From Casinos to Counterterrorism

The casino industry, like the national security industry, is seeking information to answer a fundamental question: Who are you?

Read more.

October 21, 2007

7-year-old suspended over stick-figure drawing

A New Jersey second-grader's drawing of a stick figure shooting a gun has earned him a one-day school suspension.

Seven-year-old Kyle Walker's mom told an The Press newspaper of Atlantic City that her son was suspended for violating the district's zero-tolerance policy on guns. She said her son told her he'd drawn a water pistol.

Kyle gave the picture to another child on the school bus, and that child's parents complained about it to school officials.

No comment.

Read more.

Tracking your tots schooling through microchips in their uniforms

Students at a secondary school in South Yorkshire are being tracked by microchips sewn in their uniforms as part of a trial.

The radio frequency identification system monitors pupils' movements, and automatically logs their attendance on the teacher's computer. It can also alert teachers if a student is likely to misbehave.

Really, why does anyone continue to live in the UK?

Read more.

U.S. air strikes in Baghdad kill toddlers: TV footage

U.S. air strikes in a Shi'ite stronghold of Baghdad on Sunday killed at least two toddlers, Reuters television footage showed.

Killed with your approval.

Read more.

How close were we to a third world war?

PERHAPS YOU were watching a late-night film or dancing the hours away in some packed nightclub. Maybe you were already tucked up snugly in bed. Wherever you were, it's pretty much a dead certainty you were oblivious at the time to the dramatic events that were unfolding in the skies over Syria on September 6 - events so startling, so secret and dangerous in their implications they could have come straight from the pages of an international best-selling thriller.

But this was not fiction. Indeed, what took place in the small hours of that Thursday morning - still the subject of immense speculation - was a terrifying reminder of the dangerous times we live in, and how much more volatile the Middle East could yet become.

This is the world we've created. We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Read more.

Cheney calls Iran an obstacle to peace

Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday described Iran as an obstacle to peace in the Middle East and said the world could not stand by and allow it to develop a nuclear weapon.

Go away, dick...I mean Dick.

Read more.

Government money short to help poor pay heating bills

About 30 million low-income American households who will need help paying heating bills this winter from a U.S. government program will be left in the cold because of a lack of funding for the program.

But we're spending over $12Billion a month on war!! Yeah!! Bring it on!! Give those poor people blankets!

Read more.

Parents of fat children to be given a warning

Parents of 5-year-olds are to be sent official warning letters if their child is found to be obese, as part of a national programme to weigh children in schools.

Read more, but don't live in the nanny sta....I mean, the UK.

Scientists a step closer to steering hurricanes

Scientists have made a breakthrough in man's desire to control the forces of nature – unveiling plans to weaken hurricanes and steer them off course, to prevent tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina.

Read more.

With Democrats Like These ...

The question really is whether Congress should toss out chunks of the Constitution because Mr. Bush finds them inconvenient and some Democrats are afraid to look soft on terrorism.


That Internet age flaw has a relatively simple fix. But the White House seized the opportunity to ram through the far broader bill, which could authorize warrantless surveillance of Americans’ homes, offices and phone records; permit surveillance of Americans abroad without probable cause; and sharply limit the power of the court that controls electronic spying.


This provision is not primarily about protecting patriotic businessmen, as Mr. Bush claims. It’s about ensuring that Mr. Bush and his aides never have to go to court to explain how many laws they’ve broken. It is a collusion between lawmakers and the White House that means that no one is ever held accountable.

And you should be pissed off about it.

Read more.

A question of belief

The US may be one of the most religious countries in the West but is it undergoing a period of doubt, asks Tim Egan.

Read the rest.

Poll: Half say they would never vote for Hillary for president

While she is winning wide support in nationwide samples among Democrats in the race for their party’s presidential nomination, half of likely voters nationwide said they would never vote for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.

Read more.

October 20, 2007

Director De Palma disturbed over Iraq film edit

De Palma's film, "Redacted," is based on the true story of a group of U.S. soldiers who raped and killed a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdered members of her family. It has stunned audiences for its shocking images and rattled American conservative commentators before its U.S. opening next month.


The film's distributor, Magnolia Pictures, ordered the faces of dead Iraqis shown in a montage of photographs at the end of the film be blacked out.

Read more.

Report says buildup in Iraq gained little

Despite hopes that the U.S. military "surge" in Iraq would encourage economic and political headway and sap the strength of the insurgency, very little lasting progress has been achieved, according to a new U.S. report.

Read more

WWIII – Bring It On

So, if Bush is to be believed, he's recently told Putin that he is willing to start World War III, not because Iran allegedly has nukes with which to allegedly attack Israel, or not because Iran has the capability of making the material to make nukes with which to allegedly attack Israel, or not even because Iran allegedly wants to make nukes with which to allegedly attack Israel. Now all it takes to start WWIII is some Iranians knowing how to make a nuke.

Read more.

Something is Rotten in Sweden

It may seem odd, but reflects the current sentiment in the Western world: insulting Muslims is a matter of freedom of speech, while defamation of Jewish symbols is never tolerated.

Read more.

Iraq whistleblower Dr Kelly WAS murdered to silence him, says MP

Campaigning politician Norman Baker believes Dr Kelly, who exposed the Government's "sexed-up" Iraq dossier, was killed to stop him making further revelations about the lies that took Britain to war.

Read more.

Georgia Seeks Water Disaster Declaration

Georgia officials warn that Lake Lanier, a 38,000-acre reservoir that supplies more than 3 million residents with water, is less than three months from depletion. Smaller reservoirs are dropping even lower.

Read more.

Living paycheck to paycheck gets harder

Across the nation, Americans are increasingly unable to stretch their dollars to the next payday as they juggle higher rent, food and energy bills. It's starting to affect middle-income working families as well as the poor, and has reached the point of affecting day-to-day calculations of merchants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 7-Eleven Inc. and Family Dollar Stores Inc.


And while overall wage growth is a solid 4.1 percent over the past 12 months, economists say the increases are mostly for the top earners.

Read more.

Proposed Law Could Be a Cold Shower for YouPorn

That could mean every adult who wants to upload a naughty picture to a social network would have to submit a photo ID and state their full name, date of birth and other personal information. The network would have to maintain that record for as long as the picture exists -- likely in perpetuity throughout the universe -- and ensure the record is available without question to The Authorities for 20 hours a week, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Porn studios already have a hard time complying with all the ins and outs of recordkeeping laws. And while adult social networking sites do seem to try to keep illegal material off their servers, I think it would be impossible for a social networking site to comply with the proposed changes.

What if users submit false information -- who gets punished? Who verifies IDs? A studio production assistant can check performer IDs in person; would social networks have to open offices all over the country to verify prospective members in person? Good luck with that one.


But if the proposed changes come to pass, I hope we'll see a much overdue surge of patriotism and protest. After all, this isn't the administration blatantly tucking the Bill of Rights into the back of a storage closet -- our personal sex lives are at stake!

Read the rest.

Atheists aren't a bad lot

This has complicated the issue considerably because now everyone knows a few atheists who are not lying, thieving, murderous wretches. They work. They pay taxes. They have kids and don't beat them or sell them for medical experiments. How can this be?

An answer comes from the godless science of evolutionary psychology. "People have gut feelings that give them emphatic moral convictions," writes Harvard cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, "and they struggle to rationalize the convictions after the fact." Those "gut feelings" are not the result of what we learned in Sunday school. "They arise from the neurobiological and evolutionary design of the organs we call moral emotions."


So it's no surprise to learn that atheists can be perfectly decent people. They are human, after all.

This has led believers to a subtler attack. "People who don't believe in God can be good," writes Reginald Bibby, a theist and University of Lethbridge sociologist. "But people who believe in God are more likely to value being good, enhancing the chances that they will be good."

Read more.

Comcast really does block BitTorrent traffic after all

Thanks to tests reported Friday by the Associated Press, however, it's clear that Comcast is actively interfering with peer-to-peer networks even if relatively small files are being transferred.

Read more.

US 'to build 14 permanent bases in Iraq'

A Finnish lawmaker has revealed that the US is planning to stay in Iraq by building as many as fourteen permanent bases in the country.

You only thought we were leaving.

Read more.

Getting married saps your testosterone

The finding provides a social and evolutionary explanation for the decrease in testosterone, rather than an age-related one.

Read more.

Clinton bucks the trend and rakes in cash from the US weapons industry

The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street's favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.

And that action speaks volumes.

Read more.

US defends its harsh treatment of an American citizen

US officials did not violate any clearly established constitutional rights when they held a US citizen in isolated military detention without charge for nearly four years and subjected him to harsh interrogation techniques.

That's the legal position staked out by Justice Department lawyers who are urging a federal judge in Charleston, S.C., to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of Jose Padilla against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and nine other current or former US officials. Mr. Padilla was held in military custody from 2002 to 2006 as a suspected Al Qaeda operative and enemy combatant.

The 55-page motion, filed this week, offers the first detailed defense of the government's aggressive treatment of Padilla during his three years and seven months in military custody. Padilla's suit says he endured isolation, stress positions, extreme cold, sleep deprivation, and reportedly was subjected to five months of severe sensory deprivation, including near total isolation from human contact.


Government lawyers made no reference to Padilla's diagnosed psychological problems. They told US District Judge Henry Floyd that such a lawsuit, if allowed to progress, would interfere with military decisionmaking, aid the enemy, and make the US more vulnerable to terrorist attack.


Read more.

Chinese growth 'to overtake US'

For the first time in modern history, China will next year contribute more to global economic growth than the United States.

The landmark moment was predicted yesterday by the International Monetary Fund and is the latest illustration of the fast-growing Asian country's importance to the world economy.

While China's economy is still far smaller than America's, it has overtaken the UK as the world's fourth biggest economy. With the IMF projecting 10pc growth this year, the country will pump more new money into the global system next year than the US, which is expected to grow by just 1.9pc.

Read more.

Why, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, Government Surveillance Threatens Your Freedom

"I've got nothing to hide, so electronic surveillance doesn't bother me. To the contrary, I'm delighted that the Bush Administration is monitoring calls and electronic traffic on a massive scale, because catching terrorists is far more important that worrying about the government's listening to my phone calls, or reading my emails." So the argument goes. It is a powerful one that has seduced too many people.

Millions of Americans buy this logic, and in accepting it, believe they are doing the right thing for themselves, their family, and their friends, neighbors, community and country. They are sadly wrong. If you accept this argument, you have been badly fooled.

Read more.

Neo-Cons Push for Hillary’s Nomination

It would not shift the political center of gravity, nor upset the current power structure where conservatives have flourished. In his October 12 column for the Washington Post, neo-conservative Charles Krauthammer lauded Hillary Clinton’s candidacy – calling her the “Great Navigator.” Never mind the rhetoric that she currently gives to win the primary, he said, for Hillary’s “liberalism is redeemed by her ambition; her ideology subordinate to her political needs.” While many liberals currently support Clinton, the right understands that – in a year where Democrats will probably win the Presidency – Hillary is the best that they can hope for.

Same smell, different shit.

Don't vote for Hillary.

Academic Freedom is at Risk in America

"Academic colleagues, get used to it," warned the pro-Israel activist Martin Kramer in March 2004. "Yes, you are being watched. Those obscure articles in campus newspapers are now available on the Internet, and they will be harvested. Your syllabi, which you've also posted, will be scrutinized. Your Web sites will be visited late at night."


This attack, intended to shield Israel from criticism, not only threatens academic privileges on college campuses, it jeopardizes our capacity to evaluate our foreign policy. With a potentially catastrophic clash with Iran on the horizon and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict spiraling out of control, Americans urgently need to be able to think clearly about our commitments and intentions in the Middle East. And yet we are being prevented from doing so by a longstanding campaign of intimidation that has terminated careers, stymied debate and shut down dialogue.

Read more.

The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know

In the years after 9/11, Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann worked at the highest levels of the Bush administration as Middle East policy experts for the National Security Council. Mann conducted secret negotiations with Iran. Leverett traveled with Colin Powell and advised Condoleezza Rice. They each played crucial roles in formulating policy for the region leading up to the war in Iraq. But when they left the White House, they left with a growing sense of alarm -- not only was the Bush administration headed straight for war with Iran, it had been set on this course for years. That was what people didn't realize. It was just like Iraq, when the White House was so eager for war it couldn't wait for the UN inspectors to leave. The steps have been many and steady and all in the same direction. And now things are getting much worse. We are getting closer and closer to the tripline, they say.

Read more.

October 17, 2007

The fish that can survive for months in a tree

It's one of the golden rules of the natural world – birds live in trees, fish live in water.

The trouble is, no one bothered to tell the mangrove killifish.

Scientists have discovered that it spends several months of every year out of the water and living inside trees.

Hidden away inside rotten branches and trunks, the remarkable creatures temporarily alter their biological makeup so they can breathe air.

Biologists studying the killifish say they astonished it can cope for so long out of its natural habitat.

Learn more.

Nuclear-armed Iran risks 'World War III,' Bush says

President George W. Bush said Wednesday that he thought Russia still wanted to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But stepping up his own rhetoric, the president warned that for Tehran to possess such a weapon raised the risk of a "World War III."

Madmen run the world.

Read more.

Sex, Nazi, burrito and Viagra: Who Googles what?

Internet users in Egypt, India and Turkey are the world's most frequent searchers for Web sites using the keyword "sex" on Google search engines, according to statistics provided by Google Inc.


The top searchers for other keywords were as follows (in order from first to third place):

Check 'em out.

Oakland Restricts Smoking In Outdoor Areas

The Oakland City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that makes it illegal to smoke in outdoor dining areas, ATM lines, parks and bus stops.

Smoking will also be banned in child care centers and municipal golf courses.

Read more.

Study Seeks DNA Clues on Homosexuality

While initial results aren't expected until next year — and won't provide a final answer — skeptics are already attacking the methods and disputing the presumed results.


Dr. Alan Sanders of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Research Institute, the lead researcher of the new study, said he suspects there isn't one so-called "gay gene."

It is more likely there are several genes that interact with nongenetic factors, including psychological and social influences, to determine sexual orientation, said Sanders, a psychiatrist.

Still, he said, "If there's one gene that makes a sizable contribution, we have a pretty good chance" of finding it.


Many gays fear that if gay genes are identified, it could result in discrimination, prenatal testing and even abortions to eliminate homosexuals, said Joel Ginsberg of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

However, he added, "If we confirm that sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic, we are much more likely to get the courts to rule against discrimination."

Read more.

Man jailed in anti-gay row

A CAMPAIGNER against gay rights was locked in a police cell for eight hours after he refused to be served by a homosexual librarian.


Now he has been banned from his local library after telling a gay employee he wanted to be served by a different member of staff because he was opposed to same-sex `marriage'.

What a fucking idiot.

Read more.

Student Loses Battle Over Long Locks

The Leakey School Board on Monday night voted unanimously against allowing a high school senior to keep his long hair.

Ben Jamin Daly, 18, says he is growing his long locks because his religion, Rastafarianism, prohibits him from cutting it.

First off, his hair isn't long. Second, I don't think the religion card needed to be played because it's fucking hair, people! Why must so many fucking people believe they have the right to oppress others? And don't comment to me about "dress codes". They are outdated and tyrannical.

Read more.

'Coral triangle' brewing with diverse sea life

Scientists exploring a deep ocean basin in search of species isolated for millions of years found marine life believed to be previously undiscovered, including a tentacled orange worm and an unusual black jellyfish.

Learn more.

Blogs as reliable as mainstream media - ACCC

CONSUMERS who get their news from the internet are likely to trust a blog for reliability as much as a mainstream media site, the competition watchdog said today.

Read more.

Brain-computer interface for controlling Second Life avatars

Researchers from the Biomedical Engineering Laboratory at Keio University in Japan have developed a brain-computer interface that enables users to control the movements of Second Life avatars without moving a muscle.

Read more.

Cheney and Obama are distant cousins: Mrs. Cheney

Mrs. Cheney told MSNBC on Tuesday that it was "an amazing American story that one ancestor ... could be responsible down the family line for lives that have taken such different and varied paths."

Read more.

Swearing at work boosts team spirt, morale: research

Regular swearing at work can help boost team spirit among staff, allowing them to express better their feelings as well as develop social relationships, according to a study by researchers.

Can you believe that shit?

Read more.

October 16, 2007

CDC: Drug-resistant staph deaths may surpass AIDS toll

More than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly infections each year from a drug-resistant staph "superbug," the government reported Tuesday in its first overall estimate of invasive disease caused by the germ.

Read more.

Clinton would use violence against Tehran

Hillary Clinton today moved to secure her position as the most hawkish Democrat in the 2008 presidential race, saying she would consider the use of force to compel Iran to abandon its nuclear programme.

And that's just another reason why she should not be President.

Any country that does not have nuclear weapons is at the mercy of those countries that do. So, unfortunately, it's in the best interest of countries to have a nuclear program.

Read more.

"Mom" and "Dad" banned in California Schools

""Mom and Dad" as well as "husband and wife" have been banned from California schools under a bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who with his signature also ordered public schools to allow boys to use girls restrooms and locker rooms, and vice versa, if they choose."


The bills include SB777, which bans anything in public schools that could be interpreted as "negative" toward homosexuality, bisexuality and other "alternative lifestyle choices." There are no similar protections for students with traditional or conservative lifestyles and beliefs, however.

Read more.


This is horrendous, but something we've known for a while. It's just nice to see a list like this to show to those that would deny it. Remember, this is only pedophiles. Larry Craig isn't even on this list nor are the countless cases of "anti-gay" closet-cases in the Republican Party. Guns, God and Gays? Sounds like a description of the party rather than just a set of wedge issues now.

Read more.

New face of vandalism?

A 6-year-old Park Slope girl is facing a $300 fine from the city for doing what city kids have been doing for decades: drawing a pretty picture with common sidewalk chalk.

Obviously not all of Natalie Shea’s 10th Street neighbors thought her blue chalk splotch was her best work — a neighbor called 311 to report the “graffiti,” and the Department of Sanitation quickly sent a standard letter to Natalie’s mom, Jen Pepperman.

Can somebody stop these bureaucrats before they Kafka again?


Read more.

Africans are less intelligent than Westerners, says DNA pioneer

The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission, successor to the Commission for Racial Equality, saidit was studying Dr Watson's remarks "in full". Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really". He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

Read more.

What could we do with $700 billion?

I spent my life in the military, worked with some of the finest men and women in uniform and benefited from the best military technology in the history of the world. But I understand that our national security involves far more than unrealistic defense spending. I also know firsthand how a military bureaucracy will demand more and more resources at the expense of other priorities.

There will always be a fancier fighter plane or a sleeker ship. But how many more hundreds of billions of dollars will it take before we step back and say, "Enough"?

Read more.

RIAA accused of ‘Failure to Warn’

"I explained to them what I believe is right, that the principle is that stealing music is stealing music. Frankly, right is right and wrong is wrong, particularly when a parent is talking to a child. A bright line around moral responsibility is very important. I can assure you they no longer do that."


[The above quote is] from Warner Music boss Edgar Bronfman jr who admits his seven children have shared music online.

So, will they, too, be publicly hounded and humiliated by Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG’s RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)’?

Not a chance. They’ve been punished. But all they had to suffer was a ludicrous lecture on ‘bright shining lines’.


“In what has to be one of the most outrageous verdicts ever recorded in America, without a shred of hard evidence, judge Michael J. Davis virtually instructed the jury to find Jamie Thomas guilty of copyright infringement, saying she must pay close to a quarter of a million dollars,” p2pnet said recently, and the case continues to generate headlines around the world.

But she, Michelle and Bobby are fighting back and as they do so, the members of the multi-billion-dollar organised music cartel, Vivendi Universal (France), Sony BMG (Japan and Germany), EMI (Britain), and Warner Music (US), are slowly but steadily haemorrhaging what little credibility they had in their claims that they’re being “devastated” (the word they use) by file sharers.

Read more.

NZ women most promiscuous: survey

New Zealand women have the most sexual partners in the world, according to a global sex survey reported on Saturday.

They have an average of 20.4 sexual partners, according to a survey by condom-maker Durex - well above the global average of 7.3.

Time to visit New Zealand!

Read more.

Girls Forced To Leave Football Game Over Painted Bodies

Two girls at a Florida high school were booted from a football game for painting their bodies to show school spirit, even though boys with painted bodies were allowed to stay.

Pathetic. There is nothing wrong with the way they look.

Check out the picture.

October 15, 2007

Dying DRM Means More Freedom for Music Fans

Tech pundits and music columnists have predicted for years that digital rights management would die, record labels would crumble and artists would sell music directly to fans.

Read more.

A Nation of Christians Is Not a Christian Nation

The only acknowledgment of God in the original Constitution is a utilitarian one: the document is dated “in the year of our Lord 1787.” Even the religion clause of the First Amendment is framed dryly and without reference to any particular faith.

Read more.

Athiests put less value on love than believers: study

A new Canadian survey has found that believers are more likely than atheists to place a higher value on love, patience and friendship, in findings the researcher says could be a warning that Canadians need a religious basis to retain civility in society.

No comment.

Read more.

Priest 'only pretending to be gay'

A Vatican official suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man said in an interview published Sunday that he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work.

Jesus Christ.

He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about "those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity."

Vatican teaching holds that homosexual activity is a sin.


Read the rest of this crap.

Ron Paul Stings Hillary Clinton on Iraq War, Warns of Draft

Sounding like a candidate that can win his party’s nomination, Paul said, “She voted for the war now she says she can’t get the troops out until 2013 and she won’t rule out a military first strike against Iran.”


Paul warned “there’s a lot of behind the scene agitation for reviving the draft”. Ron Paul then hammered Selective Service, “Selective Service is the government saying it owns a group of people”. His harshest words, “The military draft of young people is a sign of a totalitarian government” Paul said.

Read more.

Freedom is Sexy

American Tears

In Boulder, two days ago, a rosy-cheeked thirtysomething mother of two small children, in soft yoga velours, started to tear up when she said to me: "I want to take action but I am so scared. I look at my kids and I am scared. How do you deal with fear? Is it safer for them if I act or stay quiet? I don't want to get on a list." In D.C., before that, a beefy, handsome civil servant, a government department head -- probably a Republican -- confides in a lowered voice that he is scared to sign the new ID requirement for all government employees, that exposes all his most personal information to the State -- but he is scared not to sign it: "If I don't, I lose my job, my house. It's like the German National ID card," he said quietly. This morning in Denver I talked for almost an hour to a brave, much-decorated high-level military man who is not only on the watch list for his criticism of the administration -- his family is now on the list. His elderly mother is on the list. His teenage son is on the list. He has flown many dangerous combat missions over the course of his military career, but his voice cracks when he talks about the possibility that he is exposing his children to harassment.


It is clear from this inundation of personal stories of abuse and retribution against ordinary Americans that a network of criminal behavior and intention is catching up more and more mainstream citizens in its grasp. It is clear that this is not democracy as usual -- or even the corruption of democracy as usual. It is clear that we will need more drastic action than emails to Congress.


It is clear yet that violent retribution, torture or maybe worse, seems to go right up this chain of command? Is it clear yet that these people are capable of anything? Is it obvious yet that criminals are at the helm of the nation and need to be not only ousted but held accountable for their crimes?

Is it treason yet?

You should be pissed off.

A Ron Paul Supporter's Open Reply to Mr. Wastler's Open Letter to the Ron Paul Faithful

I read your explanation for taking down the Ron Paul poll and I must say I was taken aback.


The evidence presented by Ron Paul’s fundraising, the volunteerism of his supporters, the people on the street when you talk to them, the signs spontaneously going up, the videos online, the meetup groups, the songs, all these things are evidence of a grassroots movement the likes of which haven’t been seen in this country since 1776. You, sir, as the general manager of CNBC.com should not be worried about the results of a poll so much as you should be making sure that everyone has fair access to that poll. You should not be in the business of suggesting to me what to think so much as you should be in the business of presenting the results and letting me decide for myself what to think. I can make up my own mind, thank you very much.

Read the rest.

October 13, 2007

Dragonfly or Insect Spy? Scientists at Work on Robobugs.

No agency admits to having deployed insect-size spy drones. But a number of U.S. government and private entities acknowledge they are trying. Some federally funded teams are even growing live insects with computer chips in them, with the goal of mounting spyware on their bodies and controlling their flight muscles remotely.

Read more.

Boot camp defendants not guilty

Six jurors cleared the seven former Bay County juvenile boot camp drill instructors and a camp nurse not responsible for the 14-year-old boy's death. They were seen on a video kicking, kneeing and punching the boy, but the defense proved he died from a benign blood disorder, sickle-cell trait, not by the guards' actions.

The case has been racially charged since five of the defendants were white, two black and one Asian.

Read more.

Income-Inequality Gap Widens

The wealthiest 1% of Americans earned 21.2% of all income in 2005, according to new data from the Internal Revenue Service.

Read more.

Pets Hurled Off Bridge in Puerto Rico

Animal control workers seized dozens of dogs and cats from housing projects in the town of Barceloneta and hurled them from a bridge to their deaths, authorities and witnesses said Friday. Mayor Sol Luis Fontanez blamed a contractor hired to take the animals to a shelter.

Humans are the lowest form of life on this fucking planet.

Read more.

October 10, 2007

Blogs target jihadis online

Ordinary Americans are tracking down U.S. Web sites used by al Qaeda and jihadi sympathizers and then using the Internet to persuade the service providers to snuff out the sites.

Read more.

'Storm worm' exploits YouTube

Spammers are exploiting YouTube's "invite your friends" function to send spam containing a variant of the "Storm worm."

Read more.

RIAA Eyes Next Possible Targets: CD Burners, Radio Listeners

Pariser believes in a very broad definition of stealing that is echoed by many supporters in the RIAA. She believes that users who buy songs are entitled to one, and only one copy. Burning CDs is just another name for stealing, in her mind. "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'."

Such logic has been a driving force behind efforts to "rights manage" music including the current DRM found on Apple's iTunes files and Microsoft's DRM, which is also widespread.

While it seems unlikely that the RIAA would be able to effectively identify "burners", such litigation remains a legal possibility for the RIAA and major music labels, in the minds of their lawyers.

I dream for the day when there are no music labels and no RIAA.

Read more.

We'll Sue You If You Don't Takedown Your Opinion Of Our Game!

Left Behind Games, makers of (somewhat controversial) religiously themed real-time strategy games based apparently isn't happy that its video games were reviewed negatively across the blogworld. So, they did what any video game company would do: they improved their game. Oh... no, they didn't. As pointed out by reader Grey, they simply pulled out the lawyers and threatened to sue a bunch of bloggers for posting "false and misleading" content about the games. Of course, opinions can't be either false or misleading, so they'll have quite a case on their hands. In the meantime, perhaps this was merely an attempt at a reverse "Streisand Effect" as the attempt to take down those negative reviews is simply getting a lot more attention on those negative reviews. Whether or not that leads to sales is another story...

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This isn't an article... it's not even going to be much of a comment... it's just the hard, sad truth as I see it right now.


These people don't need any more money. They don't need anymore power. They already have everything they could possibly need. Why are they continuing to foment wars?

And since they KNOW there are NO more countries, who or what are they going to declare war on.


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October 9, 2007

Barbie Teaches Credit Cards 101: "You Never Run Out Of Money!"

Fashion Fever Shopping Boutique, the correctly named Barbie toy, features a built-in credit card swiper and a life-size credit card for young children to use when buying outfits for their dolls. According to the Amazon website, "Once the balance hits zero, it will reset so you can continue to shop."


Who's brilliant fucking idea was this?

Check out the commercial below.

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Blood pressure and weight predict heart failure

Higher blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) in mid-life appear to increase the risk of heart failure in later life, according to findings published in the medical journal Hypertension.

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Pill helps alcoholics taper off drinking

A migraine pill seems to help alcoholics taper off their drinking without detox treatment, researchers report, offering a potential option for a hard-to-treat problem.

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First Radiohead...now Nine Inch Nails bids adieu to music label

Two well-known bands taking to the Internet to sell their own albums is not yet a trend, but it certainly must be a cause for concern in the halls of the four major music companies. The question raised by the defections is whether well-established performers need big music conglomerates in the digital age.

It costs relatively little to distribute songs over the Web. So why can't bands do it themselves from their own Web sites?


One thing is for sure: the numbers of performers dissatisfied with the current music-industry business model is not abating.

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House may ban Net taxes for another four years

Under mounting pressure from their Republican colleagues, the Democrats on a U.S. House of Representatives panel have finally scheduled a vote on a bill that would extend by four years a soon-to-expire federal ban on Internet access taxes.

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Democrats Seem Ready to Extend Wiretap Powers

Two months after insisting that they would roll back broad eavesdropping powers won by the Bush administration, Democrats in Congress appear ready to make concessions that could extend some crucial powers given to the National Security Agency.

Administration officials say they are confident they will win approval of the broadened authority that they secured temporarily in August as Congress rushed toward recess. Some Democratic officials concede that they may not come up with enough votes to stop approval.

And we let them get away with doing this shit.

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What If Cold Fusion Is Real?

It was the most notorious scientific experiment in recent memory - in 1989, the two men who claimed to have discovered the energy of the future were condemned as imposters and exiled by their peers. Can it possibly make sense to reopen the cold fusion investigation? A surprising number of researchers already have.

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Boot camp boy died under 'routine' control

Charles Helms, a former army drill instructor, and six other guards at Bay County boot camp, Florida, are charged with aggravated manslaughter in connection with the death of Martin Lee Anderson in January last year.

A 30-minute surveillance video shows them hitting, kneeing and dragging the limp boy in the exercise yard as Kristin Schmidt, a nurse from the now-closed camp, looked on. The child died the following day. Ms Schmidt has also been charged.

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The appendix does have a use - re-booting the gut

The US scientists found that the appendix acted as a "good safe house" for bacteria essential for healthy digestion, in effect re-booting the digestive system after the host has contracted diseases such as amoebic dysentery or cholera, which kill off helpful germs and purge the gut.

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Following Honeybee Disappearance, Bumblebees Begin Vanishing Act

He fears that the species — Franklin's bumblebee — has gone extinct before anyone could even propose it for the endangered species list. To make matters worse, two other bumblebee species — one on the East coast, one on the West — have gone from common to rare.

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Warning over vodka snorting fad

Some drinkers are snorting vodka through the nose to get drunk more quickly in a fad that alcohol health workers say could be dangerous.


Officials have warned the activity can lead to long-term health damage.

Bar staff said some people were "in tears" after trying the trend, while others reacted so quickly they were seen falling to the floor as a result of snorting the alcohol.

The things humans do.

Chimps choose more rationally than humans

German researchers have demonstrated chimpanzees make choices that protect their self-interest more consistently than do humans.

Hence, chimps did not vote for Bush.

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October 8, 2007

Orwell in 2007

In “1984,” the Party barrages citizens with psychological stimuli designed to overwhelm the mind. The giant telescreen in every room monitors behavior. People are continuously reminded of government’s surveillance, especially by omnipresent signs reading, “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” Individuals are encouraged to spy on each other, even children on their parents, and report any instance of disloyalty to the Party — i.e., government.

“1984″ is happening in 2007.

Signs along interstate highways urge citizens, “Report Suspicious Behavior.” Cameras mounted at strategic locations monitor our everyday movement (just as in the novel). Red, orange and yellow are no longer just bright, pretty colors: They now represent levels of national security alerts. Intelligence agencies now define “chatter” as “terrorist speak.”

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Blessed be cheerleaders for they will be vilified

League executives sent a memo recently to its 32 teams, warning them to control their cheerleaders. There's growing concern that some home teams are using these ladies for a competitive advantage, telling them to warm up in front of the opponents, hoping their beauty will steer players away from their pregame preparation.

If the NFL were any more paranoid, commissioner Roger Goodell would need to dead bolt his sock drawer.


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