February 29, 2008

More Americans turning to Web for news

Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe traditional journalism is out of touch, and nearly half are turning to the Internet to get their news, according to a new survey.

Read more.

Vermont latest to eye lower drinking age

More than two decades after the country established a uniform drinking age of 21, a nascent movement is afoot to allow 18- to 20-year-olds to legally buy alcohol under some circumstances.

Proponents say the higher age hasn't kept young people from consuming alcohol and has instead driven underage consumption underground, particularly on college campuses.

Read more.

Internet Pushes Polyamory to Its 'Tipping Point'

Polyamory is just the kind of thing you'd expect in an era of love without borders, where time and distance no longer prevent us from finding true mates, and when no one has to live alone with their kink, desire, fantasy or love style -- because someone, somewhere shares it.

Read more. Love many.

RIAA Keeps Settlement Money, Artists May Sue

When EMI, Universal Music and Warner music reached settlement agreements with the likes of Napster, KaZaA and Bolt, they collected hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation - money that was supposed to go to artists whose rights had been allegedly infringed upon when the networks were operating with unlicensed music.

Now, according to an article, the managers of some major artists are getting very impatient, as it appears the very people who were supposed to be compensated - the artists - haven’t received anything from the massive settlements. They say the cash - estimated to be as much as $400m - hasn’t filtered through to their clients and understandably they’re getting very impatient.


Proof that all of this DRM bullshit, and RIAA suing your grandmother bullshit, has nothing to do with helping the artists. The artists are slaves for the RIAA.

Read more.

February 28, 2008

Soon U.S. Citizens Must Ask for Government Permission to Fly or Travel

The Department of Homeland Security's Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) is moving forward to institute a rule that would
require all passengers to go through a government review process before
boarding any airplane that takes off or lands anywhere with in the
United States.

Read more, but don't fly anywhere.

You think you are free?

Unless we tear ourselves away
from our pretty toys and distractions just long enough to remove our
rose-coloured specs, freedom will be obsolete except as a slogan above the gate
of the Ministry of Truth.

Read more.

Government Concedes Vaccine-Autism Case in Federal Court - Now What?

After years of insisting there is no evidence to link vaccines with the
onset of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the US government has quietly
conceded a vaccine-autism case in the Court of Federal Claims.

Read more.

New High In U.S. Prison Numbers

More than one in 100 adults in the United States is in jail or prison,
an all-time high that is costing state governments nearly $50 billion a
year and the federal government $5 billion more, according to a report
released yesterday.

With more than 2.3 million people behind bars, the United States leads
the world in both the number and percentage of residents it
incarcerates, leaving far-more-populous China a distant second, according to a study by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States.

Read more.

The Obama Craze: Count Me Out

Recently, I started looking into Obama’s voting
record, and I’m afraid to say I’m not just uninspired: I’m downright
fearful. Here's why:

Read it all.

Air Force Blocks Access to Many Blogs

The Air Force is tightening restrictions on which blogs its troops can read, cutting off access to just about any independent site with the word "blog" in its web address. It's the latest move in a larger struggle within the military over the value -- and hazards -- of the sites. At least one senior Air Force official calls the squeeze so "utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream."

Read more, unless of course you're in the Air Force.

How Good People Turn Evil, From Stanford to Abu Ghraib

Zimbardo claims, however, that many images in his video -- which he obtained while serving as an expert witness for an Abu Ghraib defendant -- have never before been published.

Read more.

Disturbing New Photos From Abu Ghraib

As an expert witness in the defense of an Abu Ghraib guard who was court-martialed, psychologist Philip Zimbardo had access to many of the images of abuse that were taken by the guards themselves.

Check 'em out here.

China may scrap one-child policy, official says

China, worried about an ageing population, is studying scrapping its controversial one-child policy but will not do away with family-planning policies altogether, a senior official said on Thursday.

Read more.

February 27, 2008

Automated killer robots 'threat to humanity'

But up to now, a human hand has always been required to push the button or pull the trigger.

It we are not careful, he said, that could change.

Military leaders "are quite clear that they
want autonomous robots as soon as possible, because they are more
cost-effective and give a risk-free war," he said.


But even more worrisome, he continued,
is the subtle progression from the semi-autonomous military robots
deployed today to fully independent killing machines.

"I have
worked in artificial intelligence for decades, and the idea of a robot
making decisions about human termination terrifies me," Sharkey said.

It's just a matter of time.

Read more.

For the Bible Tells Me So

And that’s the subject of The Bible Tells Me So, an enlightening, hard-to-watch documentary about how the religious right has used the Bible to screw over the gay community.


For the Bible Tells Me So (now in DVD) does not speak ill of religion; on the contrary, it uses the Bible — and an abundance of ministers and Biblical scholars — to attempt correct the record.


It’s the church, the movie argues, not the Bible and not God, who have created this discriminatory fervor against homosexuality; in fact, this aspect of Biblical literalism is fairly modern, originating in the 20th century.

But what does the church have to gain by it? This is a question that’s always bugged the hell out of me: What Christian agenda does anti-homosexual discrimination serve? Writer/director Daniel Karslake looks into the origins of homophobia for that answer: Homophobia, the documentary posits is, in essence, just another form of misogyny — it stems from a hatred of women. The church doesn’t want men sleeping with other men because it emasculates them, which flies in the face of our patriarchal society, which I suppose threatens church leaders’ right to have a meal on the table when they get home(?) So, instead, the church has created an environment of intolerance, which — in a decidedly non-Christian twist — has not only fostered violence against gays and lesbians, it legitimizes it — empowering cruelty and hostility (thanks Reverend Falwell! You fuck).

Read more.

Here's the trailer:

In Canada, Some Doctors Refuse to Do Paps

While attending a recent event honoring the twentieth anniversary of the all-important Morgentaler decision here in Canada, I came upon some disturbing news: doctors in Canada are denying pap smears to women citing religious objections. You read it right: doctors are using their personal morality to further restrict a women’s right to equal health care.

Read more.

The Truth About Autism: Scientists Reconsider What They Think They Know

The YouTube clip opens with a woman facing away from the camera, rocking back and forth, flapping her hands awkwardly, and emitting an eerie hum.


But then the words "A Translation" appear on a black screen, and for the next five minutes, 27-year-old Amanda Baggs — who is autistic and doesn't speak — describes in vivid and articulate terms what's going on inside her head as she carries out these seemingly bizarre actions. In a synthesized voice generated by a software application, she explains that touching, tasting, and smelling allow her to have a "constant conversation" with her surroundings. These forms of nonverbal stimuli constitute her "native language," Baggs explains, and are no better or worse than spoken language. Yet her failure to speak is seen as a deficit, she says, while other people's failure to learn her language is seen as natural and acceptable.

And you find yourself thinking: She might have a point.

Read more.

Eskimo village sues over global warming

A tiny Alaska village eroding into the Arctic Ocean sued two dozen oil, power and coal companies Tuesday, claiming that the large amounts of greenhouse gases they emit contribute to global warming that threatens the community's existence.

Read more.

Germany: Computer spying unconstitutional

Germany's highest court says that security services cannot use virus-like software or similar tactics to spy on the computer hard drives of suspected criminals and terrorists.

Read more.

Ohio school suspends boy over Mohawk

A kindergarten student with a freshly spiked Mohawk has been suspended from school.


Mohawks violate the school's policy on being properly groomed, school Principal Linda Geyer said. Also, the school district's dress code allows school officials to forbid anything that interferes with the conduct of education.

Read more.

Pet Sterilization Becomes Law in LA

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday signed one of the nation's toughest laws on pet sterilization, requiring most dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered by the time they are 4 months old.

The ordinance is aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating the thousands of euthanizations conducted in Los Angeles' animal shelters every year.

Read more.

February 26, 2008

Bank Of America Won't Let You Access Your Money

I think I'm getting somewhere but then a supervisor comes on and
explains to me that "Everyone in the United States that uses Bank of
America has a daily spending limit of 5000.00 no matter what."

Read more.

Current Account Balances

'Doomsday' seed vault opens in Arctic

A "doomsday" seed vault built to protect millions of food crops from climate change, wars and natural disasters opened Tuesday deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

Read more.

ABC to offer shows via video-on-demand

ABC said Monday it will release hit shows like "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" for free over video-on-demand cable services, with the hitch that viewers will have to sit through commercials without being able to fast-forward.

Please tell me this will fail.

Read more.

MySpace Sued Over 2006 Teen Suicide

The family of a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide following a sexual relationship with a 27-year-old man she met online is suing MySpace for allegedly facilitating communication between the two.

The lawsuit, filed in the 298th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas, accuses MySpace of negligence in a tragedy that began when then-14-year-old Kristin Helms, of Orange County, California, met the adult Kiley Bowers on the internet and began a sexual relationship over online chats and webcams.

Trying to blame someone.

Read more.

McCain: 'The war will be over soon'

Republican presidential candidate John McCain defended his belief that U.S. troops will need to stay in Iraq for decades Monday but said the unpopular war will soon end "for all intents and purposes."

Read more.

Materialistic society is 'damaging' children: poll

Children feel under pressure to own the latest designer clothes and computer games and most adults believe the "commercialisation of childhood" is damaging young people's well-being, a poll said Tuesday.

Read more.

Teens losing touch with common cultural and historical references

Big Brother. McCarthyism. The patience of Job.

Don't count on your typical teenager to nod knowingly the next time you drop a reference to any of these. A study out today finds that about half of 17-year-olds can't identify the books or historical events associated with them.

Read more.

Study casts doubt on anti-depressants

Prescribing anti-depressants to the vast majority of patients is futile, as the drugs have little or no impact at all, according to researchers.

Almost 50 clinical trials were reviewed by psychologists from the University of Hull who found that new-generation anti-depressants worked no better than a placebo – a dummy pill – for mildly depressed patients.

Read more.

February 22, 2008

Air-Powered Car Coming to U.S. in 2009 to 2010 at Sub-$18,000, Could Hit 1000-Mile Range

And while ZPM is also licensed to build MDI’s two-seater OneCAT economy
model (the one headed for India) and three-seat MiniCAT (like a
SmartForTwo without the gas), the New Paltz, N.Y., startup is aiming
bigger: Company officials want to make the first air-powered car to hit
U.S. roads a $17,800, 75-hp equivalent, six-seat modified version of
MDI’s CityCAT (pictured above) that, thanks to an even more radical
engine, is said to travel as far as 1000 miles at up to 96 mph with
each tiny fill-up.

Read more.

DNA study supports African origin of man

A new genetic analysis of people from around the world adds further confirmation to the African origin of humans. The study of genetic details from 938 individuals from 51 populations provides evidence of how people are related and different, researchers led by Richard M. Myers of Stanford University report in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

Read more.

Google to Store Patients' Health Records

Google Inc. will begin storing the medical records of a few thousand people as it tests a long-awaited health service that's likely to raise more concerns about the volume of sensitive information entrusted to the Internet search leader.

Read more.

Rule by fear or rule by law?

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."

It gets worse:

Also in 2007, the White House quietly issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51), to ensure "continuity of government" in the event of what the document vaguely calls a "catastrophic emergency." Should the president determine that such an emergency has occurred, he and he alone is empowered to do whatever he deems necessary to ensure "continuity of government." This could include everything from canceling elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack. Congress has yet to hold a single hearing on NSPD-51.

And worse:

A clue as to where Harman's commission might be aiming is the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law that labels those who "engage in sit-ins, civil disobedience, trespass, or any other crime in the name of animal rights" as terrorists. Other groups in the crosshairs could be anti-abortion protesters, anti-tax agitators, immigration activists, environmentalists, peace demonstrators, Second Amendment rights supporters ... the list goes on and on. According to author Naomi Wolf, the National Counterterrorism Center holds the names of roughly 775,000 "terror suspects" with the number increasing by 20,000 per month.

What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?

All this and more in the San Francisco Chronicle.

U.S. to turn up heat on tax protesters

The Justice Department, on the heels of a split verdict in its tax evasion prosecution of actor Wesley Snipes, is planning a crackdown on the so-called tax protester movement.

"We're getting your money to pay for our wars!"

Read more.

Experts fear debris isn't the only fallout from satellite shoot-down

"I don't see how other nations don't see this as an anti-satellite test," said Theresa Hitchens, the director of the Washington D.C.-based Center for Defense Information, a centrist national security policy institute. "They'll see it as the weaponization of space."

China, which last year came under harsh U.S. criticism for using a missile to destroy an aged weather satellite hundreds of miles in space, was the first to react.

Do as we say, not as we do!

Read more.

Arizona 'Virtual Fence' to Get Final OK

A 28-mile "virtual fence" that will use radars and surveillance cameras to try to catch people entering the country illegally has gotten final government approval.

Read more.

Police concerned about order to stop screening

Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

So, the SS's function is to make sure that every seat in the house gets filled?

Read more.

February 19, 2008

Tortured logic of terror trials will not be going away

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has just
been given a cudgel, gift-wrapped by the Bush administration, to thump
his Democratic rival.

For years the six suspected 9/11
conspirators have been in the custody of the CIA and military, held
without charge. Yet now, just as the 2008 presidential race heats up,
capital charges have been filed against the men, with a military trial
to follow.

How convenient that public attention will be
redirected to the actions of these alleged mass murderers over the
coming months, giving fear-mongering - one of the Republican winning
strategies - a boost at just the right moment.

Read more.

Fears of Internet predators unfounded, study finds

A lot of parental worries about Internet sex predators are unjustified, according to new research by a leading center that studies crimes against children.

Read more.

Mysterious Creatures Found in Antarctica

Scientists investigating the icy waters of Antarctica said Tuesday they have collected mysterious creatures including giant sea spiders and huge worms in the murky depths.

Read more.

February 18, 2008

Remains of giant frog discovered in Madagascar

A team of researchers, led by Stony Brook University palaeontologist David Krause, Ph.D., has discovered in Madagascar the remains of what may be the largest frog ever to exist. Moreover, the 16-inch, 10-pound ancient frog, scientifically named Beelzebufo, or devil frog, links a group of frogs that lived 65 to 70 million years ago to some types living today in South America.

Read more.

February 16, 2008

Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?

But now, Ms. Jacoby said, something different is happening:
anti-intellectualism (the attitude that “too much learning can be a
dangerous thing”) and anti-rationalism (“the idea that there is no such
things as evidence or fact, just opinion”) have fused in a particularly
insidious way.

Not only are citizens ignorant about essential scientific, civic and
cultural knowledge, she said, but they also don’t think it matters.


Read more.

Machines 'to match man by 2029'

Humanity is on the brink of advances that will see tiny
robots implanted in people's brains to make them more intelligent said
engineer Ray Kurzweil.

Read more.

February 15, 2008

Fossils of new meat-eating dinos found

The creatures lived at a time when land bridges connected Africa to India and even Antarctica, which was then a temperate home to dinosaurs. But Africa later became isolated and its dinosaurs followed unique evolutionary paths scientists have just begun to uncover.


Sereno's group found the new species during a 2000 expedition to the Niger desert. They found bones from about a dozen new species, and stumbled across one of the richest archaeological sites that's been found in the region.

"We have not released even half of all that we found there," Sereno said.

Well, that's cool.

Read more.

7 dead in N. Illinois U. hall shooting

Investigators and school officials did not immediately know why the man indiscriminately fired into the crowd with a shotgun and two handguns Thursday, wounding 15 people and sending panicked students fleeing for the exits before killing himself.

Read more.

Scalia says 'so-called torture' may not be unconstitutional

Scalia argued that "so-called torture" may not necessarily be prohibited by the US constitution, as he said the Eighth Amendment bar against "cruel and unusual punishment" was only intended to apply to criminal punishments:

Scalia just looks like a thug.

Apparently, he thinks like one too.

Read more.

U.S. says 82 youths have died in "choking game"

At least 82 U.S. youths have died since 1995 engaging in "the choking game" in which they try to experience a fleeting "high" by cutting off the oxygen supply to the brain, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.

An unknown number of youths, mostly boys, are taking part in the practice in which they strangle themselves with their hands or a noose or have someone else strangle them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report.

Read more.

February 12, 2008

Are your politics rooted in your genes?

This doesn't mean, these scientists say, genes dictate how we think; environment clearly plays a huge role. Nor does it mean there's a Republican gene or a Democrat gene. Scientists who espouse the genetics-politics connection say that probably hundreds of genes influence how we think and how we see the world.

Read more.

February 11, 2008

Ritual of Dealing With Demons Undergoes a Revival

Exorcism -- the church rite of expelling evil spirits from tortured souls -- is making a comeback in Catholic regions of Europe.


"This is a service which is sorely needed," said Jankowski, who holds a doctorate in spiritual theology. "The number of people who need help is intensifying right now."

Jankowski cited the case of a woman who asked for a divorce days after renewing her wedding vows as part of a marriage counseling program. What was suspicious, he said, was how the wife suddenly developed a passionate hatred for her husband.

"According to what I could perceive, the devil was present and acting in an obvious way," he said. "How else can you explain how a wife, in the space of a couple of weeks, could come to hate her own husband, a man who is a good person?"

Jankowski said that an archbishop granted him the authority last October to perform exorcisms and that he's been busy ever since. As for the afflicted wife? "We're still working with her," he said.

Hey, Jankowski. Shut up and leave that lady alone.

They were going to marriage counseling, so they already had trouble in their marriage. She didn't just "suddenly" wake up and develop a "passionate hatred for her husband." All that had been building over time. And how do you know her husband is a "good person"?

Read more if you must.

February 9, 2008

'Adultery' sisters to be stoned to death in Iran

The two sisters were found guilty of adultery - a capital crime in Iran - after the husband of one of the pair presented a video showing them in the company of other men while he was away.


The Etemad newspaper quoted Jabbar Solati, their lawyer, as saying that the sisters had initially been tried for "illegal relations" and had received 99 lashes. However, they were convicted of "adultery" in a second trial for the same incident.

The pair admitted they were in the video but argued there was no adultery as no scene on the video showed them engaged in a sexual act.

The world we live in.

Read more.

Violations of 'Islamic teachings' take deadly toll on Iraqi women

The images in the Basra police file are nauseating: Page after page of women killed in brutal fashion -- some strangled to death, their faces disfigured; others beheaded. All bear signs of torture.

The women are killed, police say, because they failed to wear a headscarf or because they ignored other "rules" that secretive fundamentalist groups want to enforce.


"There are many motives for these crimes and parties involved in killing women, by strangling, beheading, chopping off their hands, legs, heads."

"When I came to Basra a year ago," he says, "two women were killed in front of their kids. Their blood was flowing in front of their kids, they were crying. Another woman was killed in front of her 6-year-old son, another in front of her 11-year-old child, and yet another who was pregnant."

The killers enforcing their own version of Islamic justice are rarely caught, while women live in fear.


After the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Sawsan says, the situation was "the best." But now, she says, it's "the worst."

"We thought there would be freedom and democracy and women would have their rights. But all the things we were promised have not come true. There is only fear and horror."

Things are so much better in Iraq.

Read the rest.

Waterboarding is legal, White House says

The surprise assertion from the Bush administration reopened a debate that many in Washington had considered closed. Two laws passed by Congress in recent years -- as well as a Supreme Court ruling on the treatment of detainees -- were widely interpreted to have banned the CIA's use of the extreme interrogation method.

But in remarks that were greeted with disbelief by some members of Congress and human rights groups, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that waterboarding was a legal technique that could be employed again "under certain circumstances."

Read more.

Sen. Rockefeller Lets Slip the Spying Truth: Drift Nets To Be Legalized

Rockefeller makes clear that the impending changes to the law aren't about making it easier for the National Security Agency to listen in on a particular terrorism suspect's phone calls. Instead, the changes are about letting the nation's spooks secretly and unilaterally install filters inside America's phone and internet infrastructure.

Read more.

RIAA Plans to Cut Artist Royalties

The rather loathed RIAA, most recently infamous for pressuring Congress to pass the PRO-IP Act, has now turned its unwanted attention upon the very people the group ostensibly exists to protect. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The RIAA is now pressing to lower the royalty payments made to musicians and artists for music tracks sold via digital distribution. Though the actual artists who make the music are presently entitled to just 13% of wholesale, the RIAA thinks they should receive only 9%.

Read more.

Georgians want access to Tenn. water

But behind the amusement is a serious issue that has bedeviled the Southeast: access to water. If the border is redrawn, the new state line would fall across Nickajack Reservoir. That would allow parched Georgians to tap into the waters of the dammed Tennessee River.

Read more.

February 6, 2008

Afghan Senate withdraws demand for death sentence

In a dramatic volte-face, the Afghan Senate has withdrawn its confirmation of a death sentence on Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the student convicted of blasphemy for downloading a report on women's rights from the internet.

So, without the bad publicity, would there have been an "about face"?

I doubt it.

Read more.

Sentenced to death: Afghan who dared to read about women's rights

A young man, a student of journalism, is sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading a report from the internet. The sentence is then upheld by the country's rulers. This is Afghanistan – not in Taliban times but six years after "liberation" and under the democratic rule of the West's ally Hamid Karzai.

The fate of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh has led to domestic and international protests, and deepening concern about erosion of civil liberties in Afghanistan. He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.

Things are so much better there now then they were before.

Read more.

Kids who kill offer little warning

Slayings of relatives by teenagers "are usually spontaneous sorts of things," Schlesinger said. "With the brooding, depressive male adult, it's not spontaneous, it's much more thought through, with obsessive rumination prior to it. With a teenager, it's almost always impulsive, spontaneous, and there happens to be a loaded gun around."

Read more.

Marriage: It's Only Going to Get Worse

If your spouse already bugs you now, the future is bleak. New research suggests couples view one another as even more irritating and demanding the longer they are together.

Read more.

Fat People Cheaper to Treat, Study Says

Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn't save money, researchers reported Monday. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars.


The researchers found that from age 20 to 56, obese people racked up the most expensive health costs. But because both the smokers and the obese people died sooner than the healthy group, it cost less to treat them in the long run.

So, soon we'll hear "get fat, smoke more, die young".

Read more.

With tech, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide

While Orwell was correct in foreseeing evaporating individual privacy, the enemy of privacy is not necessarily government. Indeed, we may only have ourselves to blame for the destruction of privacy that we hold so dear.


Thus, whenever something catches someone's attention, even if that something is someone else's intimate moment, it can be captured on the spot by way of video or photos. From there, it is practically no effort to post the video or photos on the Internet for worldwide viewing.

While we enjoy the many features provided on our handheld devices, is this the direction we want to be heading in terms of the annihilation of privacy? I think not.


To buy the argument that all private conduct must take place behind closed doors is to force everyone underground in their private dealings with others. Should we live in a world where the expectation is that we can and will be filmed for worldwide viewing at any possible moment? No!

Read more.

Religious minorities face Real ID crackdown

More than two decades after the Quaring case, approximately a dozen states now offer religious exceptions when issuing driver's licenses. But because of a federal law called the Real ID Act that takes effect on May 11, residents of those states who have pictureless licenses could expect problems flying on commercial airliners and entering federal buildings, including some Social Security and Veterans Affairs offices.

Read more.

February 5, 2008

U.S. Troops Asked If They Would Shoot American Citizens

Scott writes that his company hired a soldier who had recently returned from Iraq, who told him that U.S. troops were being quizzed on whether or not they would be prepared to shoot their own friends and family members during a national state of emergency in America.

Read more.

New Weapon Against Terror: A Flashlight?

It looks like a normal
flashlight, but Homeland Security has paid close to a million dollars
for it. It can stop you right in your tracks.

Law enforcement is already calling it "controversial."

point of this device is to disorient you, so we modified the video when
we showed it on air. If you wish to see the unmodified footage of the
device in action, you can
click here -- but be warned, you may find the experience uncomfortable.

Read more.

New Way to Kill Viruses: Shake Them to Death

Scientists may one day be able to destroy viruses in the same way that opera singers presumably shatter wine glasses. New research mathematically determined the frequencies at which simple viruses could be shaken to death.

Read more.

February 4, 2008

Double dipping? 'Seinfeld' was right

Last year the food microbiologist's undergraduate students examined the effects of double dipping using volunteers, wheat crackers and several sample dips. They found that three to six double dips transferred about 10,000 bacteria from an eater's mouth to the remaining dip sample.


"I like to say it's like kissing everybody at the party — if you're double dipping, you're putting some of your bacteria in that dip," Dawson said.

But 'kissing everybody at the party' is fun!

Read more.

Quarter of Brits think Churchill was myth: poll

Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority [58%] reckon Sherlock Holmes was real.

How sad.

Read more.

Want Better Music? Don't Stiff the Songwriters

On the other side of the argument, record labels and webcasters -- who squared off during last year's battle over performance royalties -- have teamed up this time around, saying songwriters and publishers are making too much money and stunting the music industry's growth.


Record labels also think songwriters and publishers are getting too much of the pie.


Why should you care? Because music is bad enough already. Cutting songwriters out of the equation not only means that manufactured bands that rely on them will sound worse. It also means bands that do their own songwriting will have a tougher time surviving.

Read more.

Lonely people more likely to believe in God

All three groups were also asked to rate their belief in ghosts, angels, the devil, miracles, curses, and God, and again, those in the loneliness group reported stronger belief in these supernatural agents.

Read more.

Math + religion = Trouble

The New York Times reported recently that mathematicians believe in God at a rate 2 1/2 times that of biologists, quoting a survey of the National Academy of Sciences. Admittedly, that's not saying much: Only 14.6 per cent of mathematicians embraced the God hypothesis, versus 5.5 per cent of biologists (versus some 80 per cent of Canadians who believe in a supreme being).


Even as Paulos works to refute the classical arguments for God's existence, he does something too few of his mindset do: Chide non-believers for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"It's repellent for atheists or agnostics," he admonishes, "to personally and aggressively question others' faith or pejoratively label it as benighted flapdoodle or something worse. Those who do are rightfully seen as arrogant and overbearing."

That doesn't prevent him from doffing the gloves.


His arguments notwithstanding, Paulos concedes that there's "no way to conclusively disprove the existence of God."

The reason, he notes, is a consequence of basic logic, but not one "from which theists can take much heart."

As for the problem of good and evil, he defers to fellow atheist, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg: "With or without religion, good people will do good, and evil people will do evil. But for good people to do evil, that takes religion."

Another book to read.

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Clinton Won't Commet to Renew Constitution

Illinois Senator Barack Obama has finally signed the American Freedom Pledge, joining his fellow Democratic presidential candidates in encouraging the restoration of basic Constitutional principles after the battering they have taken during the Bush-Cheney era.

All the Democrats, that is, except New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

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Putting clocks forward has ‘enormous impact’ on health

According to researchers, the one-hour time jump that takes place in the spring - when clocks are put forward one hour- can result in people's natural circadian rhythms being disturbed for nearly a fifth of the year.

And they argued this could be having an "enormous" impact on health by interfering with the body's "seasonal" defences to viruses.

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Sperm cells created from female embryo

Sperm cells have been created from a female human embryo in a remarkable breakthrough that suggests it may be possible for lesbian couples to have their own biological children.

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Navy Tests Incredible Sci-Fi Weapon

The U.S. Navy yesterday test fired an incredibly powerful new big gun designed to replace conventional weaponry aboard ships. Sci-fi fans will recognize its awesome power and futuristic technology.

The big gun uses electromagnetic energy instead of explosive chemical propellants to fire a projectile farther and faster. The railgun, as it is called, will ultimately fire a projectile more than 230 miles (370 kilometers) with a muzzle velocity seven times the speed of sound (Mach 7) and a velocity of Mach 5 at impact.

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February 1, 2008

Bush asserts authority to bypass defense act

President Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill.

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Pope says some science shatters human dignity

Pope Benedict said on Thursday that embryonic stem cell research, artificial insemination and the prospect of human cloning had "shattered" human dignity.


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