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07-15-2008, 02:25 PM

Dyes turn windows into powerful solar panels

Windows could be used as powerful solar panels thanks to a clever new technology that concentrates the sun's rays. The technique uses transparent dyes to capture, concentrate and redirect light along the surface of the glass to photovoltaic (PV) cells in the frame, which convert the light into electricity. The breakthrough means that there is a tenfold increase in power output compared to use of the PV cell alone.

The team, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), claims the technology could slash the cost of generating electricity from sunlight, making it more competitive with standard grid power. This is because the expensive PV cells only need to be installed at the sides of the panels, rather than across the whole surface.

07-17-2008, 08:43 AM
Indian Snake-Worship Cult Takes On World Bank (http://www.technoccult.com/archives/2008/07/16/indian-snake-worship-cult-takes-on-world-bank/)

July 16th, 2008 by Klintron

A strange new war has broken out in the remote Himalayan statelet of Nagapur, pitting ancient Serpent Deities against the global bureaucrats of the World Bank.

Not to be confused with Nagaland, Nagapur is a small “princely state” in the Himalayan foothills between Uttar Pradesh and Nepal. Its highest peaks get winter snow, its lowest plains join the heatchoked tiger-and-orchid jungles of the Terai, but all within a hundred-odd square miles.

Nagapur was mentioned in the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata as one of the “cities” of the Nagas or semi-divine were-snakes. Nagapur is still noted for its tantrik snake temples, some of them decorated in medieval Nepalese style with “obscene” carved wood sculpture. The former ruling family claimed descent from an ancestral cobra, the Sheesh Nang. […]

In the past few years however one clan of the family has achieved some degree of notoriety thanks to its connections with an emerging “Fourth World” resistance movement in Nagapur. Poor peasants and “tribals” who depend in part on the forest for economic sustenance have struggled against various “Green Revolution” agricultural policies, dams, and development projects, some launched by the Indian Government and others by Global institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. […]

In 1997 a great-grandson of the Begum was born and named Nagarjuna, and proclaimed Crown Prince. The infant’s horoscope was said to be unusually auspicious, and rumors began to spread amongst the adherents of the Naga Goddess. As Hindu-Moslem syncretists they came to believe that the young prince was both the Kalki Avatar (the savior incarnation of Vishnu) and the Mahdi or Hidden Imam revered by Nagapur’s Shiites and sufi mystics.

07-17-2008, 10:24 AM
Self-Assembling Tissues (http://www.technoccult.com/archives/2008/07/15/self-assembling-tissues/)

Tissue engineers are ambitious. If they had their way, a dialysis patient could receive a new kidney made in the lab from his own cells, instead of waiting for a donor organ that his immune system might reject. Likewise, a diabetic could, with grafts of lab-made pancreatic tissue, be given the ability to make insulin again. But tissue engineering has stalled in part because bioengineers haven’t been able to replicate the structural complexity of human tissues. Now researchers have taken an important first step toward building complex tissues from the bottom up by creating what they call living Legos. These building blocks, biofriendly gels of various shapes studded with cells, can self-assemble into complex structures resembling those found in tissues.

07-17-2008, 10:25 AM
Superstruct: a futurist ARG for building the future (http://www.technoccult.com/archives/2008/07/15/superstruct-a-futurist-arg-for-building-the-future/)

This fall, The Institute for the Future invites you to play Superstruct, the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game. It’s not just about envisioning the future—it’s about inventing the future. Everyone is welcome to join the game. Watch for the opening volley of threats and survival stories, September 2008.


This is a game of survival, and we need you to survive.

Super-threats are massively disrupting global society as we know it. There’s an entire generation of homeless people worldwide, as the number of climate refugees tops 250 million. Entrepreneurial chaos and “the axis of biofuel” wreak havoc in the alternative fuel industry. Carbon quotas plummet as food shortages mount. The existing structures of human civilization—from families and language to corporate society and technological infrastructures—just aren’t enough. We need a new set of superstructures to rise above, to take humans to the next stage.

You can help. Tell us your story. Strategize out loud. Superstruct now.

It’s your legacy to the human race.

07-17-2008, 10:33 AM
Odd Fish Find Contradicts Intelligent-Design Argument (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/07/080709-evolution-fish.html)

Anne Minard
for National Geographic News
July 9, 2008

The discovery of a missing link in the evolution of bizarre flatfishes—each of which has both eyes on the same side of its head—could give intelligent design advocates a sinking feeling.

CT scans of 50-million-year-old fossils have revealed an intermediate species between primitive flatfishes (with eyes on both sides of their heads) and the modern, lopsided versions, which include sole, flounder, and halibut.

So the change happened gradually, in a way consistent with evolution via natural selection—not suddenly, as researchers once had little choice but to believe, the authors of the new study say.

The longstanding gap in the flatfish fossil record has long been explained by a "hopeful monster"—scientific jargon for an unknown animal blessed with a severe but helpful mutation that was passed down to its descendants.

Intelligent Design?

Ever since a geneticist invoked the hopeful-monster explanation in the 1930s, it has been the conventional wisdom for the origin of modern flatfishes.

Intelligent design advocates have seized on the idea of instant flatfish rearrangement as evidence of God or another higher being intentionally creating new animal forms. (Also see: "Does 'Intelligent Design' Threaten the Definition of Science?" [April 27, 2005].)

Intelligent design advocates often cite the relative scarcity of transitional species in the fossil record as evidence of the intentional creation of species.

Lee James Best, Jr., for example, wrote in his 2003 book, God and Fallacy in the Theory of Evolution, that neither the flounder itself nor "unplanned environmental pressures" caused the change.

"As with aimless squeezing of wet clay, without a mold or other purposeful directed pressures," he wrote, "an intended end to a construction project would not occur."

The new discovery, however, is unlikely to change the minds of many creationists.

Zoologist Frank Sherwin, science editor for the Institute for Creation Research, called the findings "underwhelming."

"We do not deny that there is minor variation that occurs within created groups or kinds," he said, adding that he fails to see the new paper as evidence of a progression from one flatfish form to another.

"Fish have always been fish, all the way down to the lower Cambrian [roughly 542 to 488 million years ago]," he added.

"We have no problem with the variation within flatfish. What we're asking is, Show me how a fish came from a nonfish ancestor."

Part of the argument is that the asymmetrical eye configuration can easily be seen as intelligent, because it is advantageous to flatfish survival.

The feature allows flatfishes to use both of their eyes to look up when lying on the seafloor—part of a suite of adaptations that includes a "top" side camouflaged to fit the fishes' surroundings.

07-17-2008, 10:44 AM
Army Wants 'Psychologically Inspired' Robot Vision (http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/07/psychologically.html)

Machines and robots still have a hard time figuring out what they're seeing. Which is why the Army wants 'em to start sorting through images more like human beings.

The Army recently put out a call for a "psychologically inspired object recognition system... Such a system would be extremely beneficial for robotic control/intelligence and would allow for an exponential expansion of robotic capabilities and intelligence."

If it all works out as planned, the Army thinks the new robo-vision 'ware could be used in "robotic security systems, autonomous factory systems and robotic health care systems," as well.

"Recognizing and identifying an object from a video input turns out to be a very difficult problem. The problem stems from the fact that a single object can be viewed from an infinite number of ways," the Army sighs.

07-17-2008, 11:34 AM
Vanity Fair Editor Arrested for Infiltrating Elite Private Club (http://gawker.com/5025813/vanity-fair-editor-arrested-for-infiltrating-elite-private-club)

Vanity Fair writer Alex Shoumatoff got himself arrested for crashing Bohemian Grove, a private men's club in northern California for the upper echelon of the rich and powerful. He was there to spy on the three-week camp they hold every July, where said rich and powerful relax while living in tents in their private woods. (Nixon was a member, but called it "most faggy goddamn thing that you would ever imagine.") The backstory on the weird club, plus the reason for the trespassing and arrest?

Bohemian Grove has been arguing amongst themselves for the last few years about a plan to cut down and harvest some of the trees in their forest, ostensibly to prevent forest fires. Member John Hooper resigned in 2004 because of the plan (even though he owns his own forest, which also harvests trees.) Hooper asked Vanity Fair's Shoumatoff (they are former Harvard classmates) to write about the tree-cutting for Vanity Fair, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The connection between Hooper and Shoumatoff pissed off the pro-harvesting club members. They sent a letter to VF editor-in-chief Graydon Carter, but Shoumatoff didn't quit the story. In fact, he told the club's PR flacks to talk and quit hiding information. (Spy magazine infiltrated Bohemian Grove in 1989, when Carter was editor there.) An excerpt from that article, written by Philip Weiss:

"At this point some hamadryads (tree spirits) and another priest or two appeared at the base of the main owl shrine, a 40-foot-tall, moss-covered statue of stone and steel at the south end of the lake, and sang songs about Care. They told of how a man's heart is divided between "reality" and "fantasy," how it is necessary to escape to another world of fellowship among men. Vaguely homosexual undertones suffused this spectacle, as they do much of ritualized life in the Grove. The main priest wore a pink-and-green satin costume, while a hamadryad appeared before a redwood in a gold spangled bodysuit dripping with rhinestones. They spoke of "fairy unguents" that would free men to pursue warm fellowship, and I was reminded of something Herman Wouk wrote about the Grove: 'Men can decently love each other; they always have, bur women never quite understand.'"

Anyway, Shoumatoff was captured in the woods by a plumber moonlighting as a security guard on the night of July 13th. Update! We hear that he got into the club briefly before being thrown out, contrary to the SF Chroncle reports that he was caught while sneaking in.

07-17-2008, 01:12 PM

A New Explanation for Morgellons, the Disease that Makes Wires Grow Out of Your Skin

<img src="http://io9.com/assets/images/io9/2008/07/chemtrails_morgellons.jpg">

If you've been growing blue and red wires out of sores on your skin like hundreds of Morgellons disease sufferers have (pictured), then you may actually have a nano-fiber chemtrail infection. Or so says the "chemtrail activist" community, a group of amateur scientists who study the "fibers" that they claim are raining down out of chemtrails in the sky. For those unfamiliar with conspiracy-speak, chemtrails are clouds of chemical substances created by hush-hush government experiments that I'm sure we'll hear more about when Fringe hits the airwaves this fall. So how is this all related to Morgellons?

According to a recent article by chemtrail activist Carolyn Williams Palit:

Chemtrail activists collect evidence that the chemtrail spray contains not only germs but conductive metals, blood cells, carbon powders, sedatives, nano-particulates, crystalline substances, alumina particulates, barium powders, and a kind of polyethylene-silicon fiber . . . The chemtrail fibers are a kind of infant, “pre-Morgellons” fiber. The Morgellons fibers are more developed, but the fibers are related to the type of nanotechnology that assembles nanowires.

So you're breathing in fibers from secret experiments, and then those fibers are self-assembling in your body and growing out of your skin. Also, Palit, reminds us, scientists have said that nano-fibers can enter your bloodstream and go INTO YOUR BRAIN. I think you know what that means.

07-17-2008, 01:26 PM

Posted by ralph 5 days ago View profile
ARAH N. LYNCH writes in Time:

The Netherlands, with its permissive marijuana laws, may be known as the cannabis capital of the world. But a survey published this month in PLoS Medicine, a journal of the Public Library of Science, suggests that the Dutch don't actually experiment with pot as much as one would expect. Despite tougher drug policies in this country, Americans were twice as likely to have tried marijuana than the Dutch, according to the survey. In fact, Americans were more likely to have tried marijuana or cocaine than people in any of the 16 other countries, including France, Spain, South Africa, Mexico and Colombia, that the survey covered.

Researchers found that 42% of people surveyed in the United States had tried marijuana at least once, and 16% had tried cocaine. About 20% of residents surveyed in the Netherlands, by contrast, reported having tried pot; in Asian countries, such as Japan and China, marijuana use was virtually "non-existent," the study found. New Zealand was the only other country to claim roughly the same percentage of pot smokers as the U.S., but no other nation came close to the proportion of Americans who reported trying cocaine.

07-17-2008, 01:28 PM

Cops to IndyMac customers: Remain calm or face arrest

07-17-2008, 01:28 PM
Catholic Bishop says abuse victims are 'dwelling on old wounds' (http://www.livenews.com.au/Articles/2008/07/16/Stop_dwelling_on_the_old_wounds_Bishop_Fisher_tell s_sex_abuse_victims)

07-17-2008, 01:30 PM

Smarter video-game characters keep players guessing

* Story Highlights
* Video-game characters are becoming more self-aware and unpredictable
* "Star Wars" game and others debut at this week's E3 Media and Business Summit
* New technology creates animation on the fly, so each moment in a game is unique
* Designers expect future games to get still smarter and more complex

07-17-2008, 02:36 PM

Man claims to know source of 'Phoenix Lights' UFO sighting

An astrophysicist claims to know the true source of a strange grouping of lights that appeared in the Arizona night sky 11 years ago. Dr. James R. Bartzen said he has indisputable proof that the so-called "Phoenix Lights" were a product of secret man-made technology being shielded from the public.

He works at the Russian-American Institute of Space Science.

"There are no theories, there is only evidence," Bartzen told ABC15. "The government desires people to believe in space aliens so they don't have to reveal the technologies that both we and the Russians have."

Bartzen said he has been involved with the space agencies in both the U.S. and Russia for decades, and that his involvement led him to learn what these vehicles in the sky were, man-made spacecrafts.

07-17-2008, 02:39 PM
China's All-Seeing Eye
With the help of U.S. defense contractors, China is building the prototype for a high-tech police state. It is ready for export. (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/20797485/chinas_allseeing_eye)

07-18-2008, 10:01 AM
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07-18-2008, 01:45 PM

Tips for Meeting Your Future Self
At some point, time travel will be invented and your future self will come back to warn you about something. Be prepared by following these tips.

07-18-2008, 02:01 PM
http://www.thisisbournemouth.co.uk/display.var.2397909.0.gold_teeth_a_gift_from_god.p hp

07-21-2008, 12:01 PM
$250,000 later it is discovered that they really do no good... But may actually do the opposite of what those using it were trying to do...™


Among a fringe community of paranoids, aluminum helmets serve as the protective measure of choice against invasive radio signals. We investigate the efficacy of three aluminum helmet designs on a sample group of four individuals. Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use aand what the government doesn't want you to know!ccording to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC).

Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.

07-21-2008, 12:24 PM
$250,000 later it is discovered that they really do no good... But may actually do the opposite of what those using it were trying to do...™


Nice. Click on link #2 and it takes you to a website regarding the proper production of an aluminum foil beanie helmet, usage, maintainence. Also has an article calling into question the methodology in the study. Personally I live in an aluminum reinforcd bunker and receive all my meals by delivery so I don't have to worry.

07-21-2008, 12:54 PM
$250,000 later it is discovered that they really do no good... But may actually do the opposite of what those using it were trying to do...™


I've posted this so many times and people still don't correctly know that THEY want you to use tinfoil hats. :)

07-22-2008, 08:23 AM

I took this picture at a wildfire in Vail, OR in August of 2007. My engine boss and I walked up the hill to greet the fire as it crept down toward the farmer's corral that our engine was assigned to protect. We were feeling the heat as this large juniper tree torched at the bottom of the draw. We stood less than 100 feet downhill when I snapped this picture. The flames were at least 80 feet high. As soon as I took the pic, I saw on my little screen this horned beast of the Nagual realm. His hand is outstretched toward me. He has the head of an elk, and it looks like he has some kind of satchel over his shoulder. I haven't ever seen a figure in fire as clear as in this photo, and it hasn't been edited in any way.

--David M Konyndyk


07-22-2008, 03:19 PM

Peruvian government recognizes Ayahuasca as cultural heritage

Big WOW! Who whould have thought that any government would ever release statements like these: “the effects produced by its consumption are equivalent to entering the secrets of the spiritual world…” and, “knowledge of ayahuasca states is required for all members of Amazonian societies at some point in their lives, and is essential for assuming the role of privileged individuals…”

07-23-2008, 09:25 AM

Viacom is sending bogus copyright ownership claims and illegal posting notices to independent filmmakers posting their own movies on YouTube. These films contain not one iota of Viacom content. Take, for instance, this lovely short animation, "Juxtaposer," made by Joanna Davidovich for her senior project. It's completely her original creation. She has copyrighted it and says that she "only entered into distribution agreements that were nonexclusive." Yet, the media corporation saw fit to have YouTube tell Joanna, "Viacom has claimed some or all audio and visual content in your video."

07-23-2008, 09:27 AM

An exploration of human emotion, in six movements

We Feel Fine is a data collection site which aggregates newly posted blog entries with the phrase “I feel” and “I am feeling”, so you can research how people are feeling on a global scale. The results can be viewed by feeling, date, weather, location, age, etc. Thus one can learn how particular groups of people (Iraqis? teens in California? elderly Chinese?) feel, and how feelings around the world are shifting.

07-23-2008, 09:30 AM
The Economics of Happiness (http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/77/economics_of_happiness.html)

A growing number of economists are bravely asking: What factors make people happy?

In the last few years, a growing number of economists have been discovering happiness. It’s not that they are spending more time admiring flowers, helping old folks cross the road, dancing on the street or baking pies for neighbors. In fact, these happiness economists are working long hours in soul-numbing ways, torturing data with their latest econometric techniques to force deeply buried facts to the surface.

07-23-2008, 09:30 AM

Does the world need another indie band?

It's the height of the festival season, and across Britain Identikit groups of tight-trousered, floppy-haired boys with guitars are taking to the stage, to thrash out a homogenous jangle. Critics have dubbed their sound 'indie landfill'. Is it the death knell of a once-vibrant underground scene?

07-23-2008, 09:47 AM

Toy Company Developing Weapon that Fires Variable Speed Bullets for U.S. Military
July 23rd, 2008

Via: New Scientist:

A gun that fires variable speed bullets and which can be set to kill, wound or just inflict a bruise is being built by a US toy manufacturer. The weapon is based on technology used to propel toy rockets.

Lund and Company Invention, a toy design studio based near Chicago, makes toy rockets that are powered by burning hydrogen obtained by electrolysing water. Now the company is being funded by the US army to adapt the technology to fire bullets instead.

The US Army are interested in arming soldiers with weapons that can be switched between lethal and non-lethal modes. They asked Company Invention to make a rifle that can fire bullets at various speeds.

Sniper version

The new weapon, called the Variable Velocity Weapon System or VWS, lets the soldier to use the same rifle for crowd control and combat, by altering the muzzle velocity. It could be loaded with “rubber bullets” designed only to deliver blunt impacts on a person, full-speed lethal rounds or projectiles somewhere between the two.

Bruce Lund, the company’s CEO, says the gun works by mixing a liquid or gaseous fuel with air in a combustion chamber behind the bullet. This determines the explosive capability of the propellant and consequently the velocity of the bullet as it leaves the gun. “Projectile velocity varies from non-lethal at 10 metres, to lethal at 100 metres or more, as desired,” says Lund.

The company says that the weapon produces less heat and light than traditional guns. It can also be made lighter and could have a high power setting for long-range sniping.

Police already fire non-lethal projectiles from standard shotguns. These are known as “beanbag” rounds, bags of lead shot which will knock down a suspect at ranges of up to 10 metres. They are termed “non-lethal”, but can cause bruising or even broken ribs.
‘Handgun to Howitzer’

Lund says that the new weapon system will use different types of bullet for lethal and non-lethal use. Police forces already use separate shotguns for non-lethal loads – typically marking them with bright orange tape to prevent any confusion – so this shouldn’t be an issue.

The existing VWS design is a .50 calibre (12.7 mm) rifle weapon, but Lund says the technology can be scaled to any size, “handgun to Howitzer”.

Steve Wright, a security expert at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK warns of the potential risk of variable lethality.

“In a high-stress, high-personal-risk zone, there will be a real temptation for soldiers to turn the tuneable lethality switch up to ‘kill’ mode so that all doubt is removed.”

A demonstration version will be ready within six months, and the VWS could go into production within 18 months of approval, according to Lund and Company.

07-23-2008, 09:47 AM

Via Bloomberg:

Wachovia Corp., the U.S. bank that hired Treasury Undersecretary Robert Steel as chief executive officer two weeks ago, reported a record quarterly loss of $8.9 billion, slashed the dividend and announced 6,350 job cuts. The stock fell as much as 12 percent in early New York trading.

The second-quarter loss of $4.20 a share compared with net income of $2.3 billion, or $1.23, a year earlier, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said today in a statement. The loss included a $6.1 billion charge tied to declining asset values.

The writedown, job cuts and second dividend reduction in three months reflect Steel’s response to the worst housing market since the Great Depression, which cost former CEO Kennedy Thompson his job after eight years. Wachovia has dropped more than 75 percent in New York Stock Exchange composite trading since it spent $24 billion two years ago to buy Golden West Financial Corp. just as home prices were peaking.

07-23-2008, 09:57 AM
Music Went With Cave Art In Prehistoric Caves (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080704130439.htm)

ScienceDaily (July 5, 2008) — Thousands of years later, we can view stone-age art on cave walls, but we can't listen to the stone-age music that would have accompanied many of the pictures. In many sites, flutes made of bone are to be found nearby.

Iegor Reznikoff of the University of Paris reports that the most acoustically resonant place in a cave -- where sounds linger or reverberate the most -- was also often the place where the pictures were densest.

And when the most-resonant spot was located in a very narrow passageway too difficult for painting, red marks are often found, as if the resonance maximum had to be signified in some way. This correlation of paintings and music, Reznikoff says, provides "the best evidence for the ritualistic meanings of the paintings and of the use of the adorned caves."

Proceeding into the direction of the best resonance (or echo) that answers to vocal sounds, one is naturally lead to panels with pictures. At the very least, in the dark caves, where hand-held light sources fall off in effectiveness, singing (and listening for resonant reactions) proved to be the best sonar-like way of exploring the caves. A significant returning sound gave some hint of a usable hall ahead in the dark.

On the 5th and 6th of July, Reznikoff will conduct a tour of a prehistoric cave where he will show some examples of the sound-picture relationship. He will also lead a visit to the Basilica of Vezelay where he will illustrate the magnificent resonance. (Talk 4pAAa1, " Sound resonance in prehistoric times: A study of Paleolithic painted caves and rocks" was presented July 3, 2008.)

07-23-2008, 09:58 AM
How the Galapagos Islands Changed the World (http://www.livescience.com/history/080721-hs-galapagos.html)

07-23-2008, 10:00 AM

do certain people really have a field of influence on electrical equipment? While there are motion detecting light systems designed, for security reasons, to switch on when it senses movement, public street lights are only triggered when daylight reaches a sufficient brightness. That is of course unless they come in contact with these electrically influential individuals.

Working with the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), Hilary Evans has been studying this subject since the early 90s. His book, The SLI Effect, profiles several cases of SLI in an ongoing project known as SLIDE (SLI Data Exchange). SLIDE compiles these testimonies and explores various possibilities that could lie behind such a curious phenomenon.

“…History demonstrates that there can be widespread belief in a phenomenon which is nonetheless nothing more than an artifact derived from an erroneous interpretation of witness testimony. However, SLI has a basis in physical reality which is amenable to investigation: street lights are physical objects and the SLI effect, if it exists, must be ultimately a physical process. By its nature, SLI lends itself to methodical observation and controlled testing,” writes Evans.

Although there are many reports of SLI experiences, the circumstances of each case can vary widely. Some report switching off a single streetlight close by; others say they have influenced a row of streetlights; and a few possess the capacity to randomly affect only certain streetlights, making it difficult to discern a pattern in SLI. People who supposedly experience SLI, known as SLIders, suffer from a lack of validation from doubtful friends and family, until they witness repeated occurrences themselves. With no sufficient explanation for the phenomenon they experience, SLIders are left to imagine their own ideas behind the influence they seem to possess.

07-23-2008, 10:18 AM

Rare Mummy Found With Strange Artifacts, Tattoo in Peru

07-23-2008, 12:45 PM

Meditate on It

Could ancient campfire rituals have separated us from Neanderthals?

A couple hundred-thousand years ago—sometime after our hominid ancestors had controlled fire, but long before they were telling ghost stories—early humans huddled around campfires to meditate and partake in shamanistic rituals. Today, when we slow down for a yellow light, recognize a dollar sign or do anything, really, that involves working memory, we have these ancient brainstorming sessions to thank.

That's the somewhat controversial connection psychologist Matt J. Rossano is making. Ritualistic gatherings sharpened mental focus, he argues. Over time, this focus strengthened the mind's ability to connect symbols and meanings, eventually causing gene mutations that favored the enhanced memory we now possess.

"We have decent evidence that shamanistic rituals may go very deep into history, and that these rituals might have had positive psychological effects," says Rossano of Southeastern Louisiana University, whose theory appears in the February Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

07-23-2008, 12:48 PM

After a 40-year moratorium, credible research for treating illnesses and addictions with psychedelic compounds has made a miraculous comeback.

07-23-2008, 12:51 PM

Reality bites

Patients believe their lives are on TV: MDs

"...While Dr. Gold says they could have easily called their new disorder the EDtv Delusion or the Matrix Delusion -- both films that refer to an unreal existence-- three of the five patients he treated at the storied mental health hospital directly likened their plight to The Truman Show, the 1998 film about Truman Burbank, an affable suburbanite who slowly becomes aware that his every movement is broadcast 24/7 to voyeuristic viewers around the world.

The five patients Dr. Gold treated were white men between the ages of 25 and 34, the majority of whom held university degrees. "I realized that I was and am the centre, the focus of attention by millions and millions of people," explained one patient, an army veteran who came from an upper-middle-class upbringing.

"My family and everyone I knew were and are actors in a script, a charade whose entire purpose is to make me the focus of the world's attention."

The patient added that he planned to climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty, and if his true love were waiting for him, the puppeteer strings would be cut. If she failed to show up, he would jump to his death.

Another patient even had first-hand experience with reality TV: A 25-year-old New Englander with a bachelor's degree in film and communication studies worked as intern on a program where, he complained, cameras were secretly tracking him.

Thinking that he was also being filmed while at a polling station on Election Day in 2004, he felt that it was his duty to protest against the Bush administration by shouting that the President was "Judas." The outburst led to his admission to the Bellevue Center.

"Typically, the Truman Show Delusion is a combination of paranoia, grandiosity and ideas of reference, which means that patients believe they are receiving signals specifically meant for them from a newscast or something like that." said Dr. Gold, adding that since he started presenting these cases at conferences two years ago, colleagues have informed him of six more examples....."

07-23-2008, 02:32 PM

Reality bites

Patients believe their lives are on TV: MDs

"...While Dr. Gold says they could have easily called their new disorder the EDtv Delusion or the Matrix Delusion -- both films that refer to an unreal existence-- three of the five patients he treated at the storied mental health hospital directly likened their plight to The Truman Show, the 1998 film about Truman Burbank, an affable suburbanite who slowly becomes aware that his every movement is broadcast 24/7 to voyeuristic viewers around the world.

The five patients Dr. Gold treated were white men between the ages of 25 and 34, the majority of whom held university degrees. "I realized that I was and am the centre, the focus of attention by millions and millions of people," explained one patient, an army veteran who came from an upper-middle-class upbringing.

"My family and everyone I knew were and are actors in a script, a charade whose entire purpose is to make me the focus of the world's attention."

The patient added that he planned to climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty, and if his true love were waiting for him, the puppeteer strings would be cut. If she failed to show up, he would jump to his death.

Another patient even had first-hand experience with reality TV: A 25-year-old New Englander with a bachelor's degree in film and communication studies worked as intern on a program where, he complained, cameras were secretly tracking him.

Thinking that he was also being filmed while at a polling station on Election Day in 2004, he felt that it was his duty to protest against the Bush administration by shouting that the President was "Judas." The outburst led to his admission to the Bellevue Center.

"Typically, the Truman Show Delusion is a combination of paranoia, grandiosity and ideas of reference, which means that patients believe they are receiving signals specifically meant for them from a newscast or something like that." said Dr. Gold, adding that since he started presenting these cases at conferences two years ago, colleagues have informed him of six more examples....."

i laughed when i first heard about this one

07-23-2008, 02:35 PM
i laughed when i first heard about this one

I did too - but i understand the validity of it. I have been fascinated for sometime about how people are in the "cyber" world vs. the "real" world. I noticed it with alternate personalities in gaming rooms with my friends - then onto message boards, etc.

07-23-2008, 04:12 PM
I did too - but i understand the validity of it. I have been fascinated for sometime about how people are in the "cyber" world vs. the "real" world. I noticed it with alternate personalities in gaming rooms with my friends - then onto message boards, etc.

Talk about a narccissitic(sp?) personality disorder

07-23-2008, 04:35 PM
Talk about a narccissitic(sp?) personality disorder

Just a tad. ;p

07-24-2008, 12:17 PM
The Soros Media "Empire"
The Power of Philanthropy to Engineer Consent (http://www.swans.com/library/art14/barker02.html)

07-24-2008, 01:22 PM

A Course in Miracles has an interesting history and it all started when Dr. Helen Schucman, a non-religious Jew began working with Dr. William Thetford in 1958. It seems Dr. Thetford had ties with the CIA and was working on Project BLUEBIRD, which was later rolled over into the MK ULTRA Project. MK ULTRA was a program focused on mind control, it was created in the 1950s by the CIA with the goal to learn ways to manipulate people’s mental states, alter brain function and create Manchurian Candidates often through the use of drugs and hypnosis. Under the MK ULTRA umbrella there were over a hundred sub projects from the 1950s well into the 1970s and Thetford worked on Personality Theory, subproject 130. List of Subprojects

07-24-2008, 03:20 PM

Synthetic Pot as a Military Weapon? Meet the Man Who Ran the Secret Program

07-24-2008, 03:21 PM

World's Smallest Camera Plane Shows Off in Public

It has a 4-inch wingspan and weighs just over 3 grams. It looks like a dragonfly, and its flapping wings make it fly just like one. But it's a man-made aircraft which carries a tiny camera that transmits live video of what it sees — and it is intended to be merely the forerunner of much smaller aerial drones to come.

The DelFly Micro, which its developers say is the world's smallest camera-equipped aircraft, made its public debut today in a sports center at Delft in the Netherlands. The four-man research team from the Delft University of Technology that built the DelfFly Micro presented it to a media audience, conducting the first public demonstration flight of the tiny vehicle.

Team member Bart Remes said he and his colleagues Christophe De Wagter, Guido de Croon and Rick Ruijsink first flew the DelFly Micro on May 5. It represents the third generation of DelFly micro air vehicles (MAVs) developed by the team, coming after the much larger DelFly I that first flew in 2005 and the second-generation DelFly II that flew for the first time in 2006.

The team's primary goal in developing the DelFly family of MAVs has been to investigate the aerodynamics of ornithopters — aircraft that fly by flapping their wings like a bird or insect. The airflows round the thin PET films that make up the MAVs' wings "are so difficult (to model), no computer can simulate them," said Remes. "We can’t do it with calculations, so we can only do measurements."

In the course of its research the team measured the movements of smoke particles over the wings of the 11-inch-span, 16-gram DelFly II, and incorporated force sensors into its wings to determine how much lift the wings generated at different flapping frequencies.

07-24-2008, 05:00 PM
[url]The five patients Dr. Gold treated were white men between the ages of 25 and 34, the majority of whom held university degrees. "I realized that I was and am the centre, the focus of attention by millions and millions of people," explained one patient, an army veteran who came from an upper-middle-class upbringing.

"My family and everyone I knew were and are actors in a script, a charade whose entire purpose is to make me the focus of the world's attention."

This guy is dead and just doesn't know it yet. The show cannot be all about him, cuz it's all about me. My cat said so.


07-24-2008, 10:51 PM
This guy is dead and just doesn't know it yet. The show cannot be all about him, cuz it's all about me. My cat said so.


My cats name is maceo....... lol

There's a painter i like...Joe Coleman: "When i die, the world ends" -

07-28-2008, 12:46 AM
Worms Do Calculus to Find Food

Sun Jul 27, 10:21 AM ET <!-- end storyhdr -->

Like humans with a nose for the best restaurants, roundworms also use their senses of taste and smell to navigate. And now, researchers may have found how a worm's brain does this: It performs calculus.

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Worms calculate how much the strength of different tastes is changing - equivalent to the process of taking a derivative in calculus - to figure out if they are on their way toward food or should change direction and look elsewhere, says University of Oregon biologist Shawn Lockery, who thinks humans and other animals do the same thing.
This research could one day benefit some of the more than 200,000 Americans who detect a foul smell or taste that is actually pleasant or have a weakened or depleted ability to appreciate the scent of a lilac or savor the flavor (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=11qd9e7a1/*http://www.livescience.com/health/060829_bad_tongue.html) of a juicy burger.
"The more we know about how taste and smell function - not just at the level of primary sensory neurons, but downstream in the brain - the better prepared we will be to understand when the system is broken," Lockery says.
With the aid of salt and chili peppers, Lockery reached the calculating-worms conclusion by studying two anatomically identical neurons from the worm's brain that collectively regulate behavior. These two neurons function like "on" and "off" gates in a computer in response to changes in salt concentration levels. This dubiously delicious discovery, detailed in the July 3 issue of the journal Nature, hints at the method for smelling (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=11oh1jc90/*http://www.livescience.com/health/060522_mm_smell.html) and tasting that is thought to be common among a wide variety of species, including humans.
Like human visual systems that respond to the presence and absence of light, Lockery and colleagues found that when the left neuron fires as salt concentrations increase, the roundworm continues crawling in the same direction. The right neuron responds when salt concentrations decrease, and the worm turns in search of a saltier location.
Lockery said this is similar to a game of hot-and-cold with a child. But there is one key difference: the worm doesn't need an observer to say if it's getting closer to or farther from the target - the worm calculates the change by itself.
Observing the worm responding to changes in concentration suggested an experiment to see if the worm's brain computes derivatives. The mathematical concept of a derivative indicates the rate at which something, such as salt concentration, changes at a given point in time and space. So Lockery tried to verify that these neurons recognize changes in salt concentration and then tell the worm where food is and where it is not.
To do so, he artificially activated each neuron with capsaicin (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=124rgv10j/*http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/060725_elephant_pepper.html), the spicy component in chili peppers, which worms naturally cannot detect. Worms with capsaicin applied to the left neuron crawled forward. When the worm's brain indicated that the current motion leads to increasing salt concentrations, it continues moving in its original direction. But when the worm's right neuron is activated by capsaicin, it is duped into thinking the salt levels are decreasing. So the worm changes direction, hoping to find salt elsewhere.
"We found a new way to do calculus with neurons," Lockery told LiveScience (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=10tt1qlaf/*http://www.livescience.com/).
Previous studies have identified "on" and "off" cells in the brains of other chemosensory animals such as fruit flies, cockroaches, frogs, lobsters and rats. Given the strong similarities between the olfactory regions of the brains in rats and other mammals, Lockery says that humans should also be included in this list. So his work suggests that this circuit may be a universal derivative for smelling and tasting.
In response to the lingering mystery of why worms go toward salts in search of food, Lockery offers an untested theory that the decaying carcasses of invertebrates, like snails and earthworms, provide a common source of bacteria (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=1160fr1dq/*http://www.livescience.com/bacteria/). Since animals are very salty inside, he thinks there could be a link between salt and bacteria in the wild.

Top 10 Animal Senses Humans Don't Have (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=11t7eqioq/*http://www.livescience.com/animals/top10_animal_senses.html)
Sexual Orientation Hard-Wired in Worms' Brains (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=11o44fdug/*http://www.livescience.com/health/071025-worm-sex.html)
Human Brain Has Origin in Lowly Worm (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=11qba9gm5/*http://www.livescience.com/health/070421_worm_brain.html)
Original Story: Worms Do Calculus to Find Food (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/wormsdocalculustofindfood/28373698/SIG=11s8m2ism/*http://www.livescience.com/animals/080723-what-to-eat.html)

07-28-2008, 09:29 AM
Cool article LABF.... Thanks man....

Off topic - but here is my new phone:


08-05-2008, 09:20 AM
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08-05-2008, 09:28 AM

Inside the Grieving Brain

Memories of the person they missed prolonged their grief, giving them pleasure as well as pain.

"...In a paper in the journal Neuroimage, O'Connor and her colleagues describe using an fMRI machine to probe the neurological basis for complicated grief among a small sample of women who had lost a close relative to breast cancer. Ordinary grief is apparent on a brain scan: show a bereaved daughter a picture of her mother, and areas of the brain that process emotional pain are activated. The women with complicated grief showed that pattern, but something else as well: activity in the nucleus accumbens, a brain region associated with pleasure, rewards and addiction. "When the women came out of the scanner, the complicated-grief group rated themselves as feeling more negative than the others," O'Connor said. "But they also said things like, 'Oh, it was so nice to see my mom again.' These are the ones who pore over picture albums, talk about the person all the time, almost as if she was still here." The women in that situation were unconsciously prolonging their grief, she concluded, because memories of the person they missed gave them pleasure—as well as pain...."

08-05-2008, 09:30 AM

ON the afternoon of Nov. 7, 2006, pilots and airport employees at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago saw a disc-like object hovering over the tarmac for several minutes. Because nothing was tracked on radar, the Federal Aviation Administration did not investigate. Yet radar is not a reliable detector of all aircraft. Stealth planes are designed to be invisible to radar, and many radar systems filter out signals not matching the normal characteristics of aircraft. Did it really make sense to entirely ignore the observations of several witnesses?

A healthy skepticism about extraterrestrial space travelers leads people to disregard U.F.O. sightings without a moment’s thought. But in the United States, this translates into overdependence on radar data and indifference to all kinds of unidentified aircraft — a weakness that could be exploited by terrorists or anyone seeking to engage in espionage against the United States.

08-05-2008, 09:36 AM

Greek legends
Exploring three cities of the ancient world where myths are set in stone

08-05-2008, 09:53 AM

Instant-Messagers Really Are About Six Degrees from Kevin Bacon
Big Microsoft Study Supports Small World Theory

By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 2, 2008; A01

Turns out, it is a small world.

The "small world theory," embodied in the old saw that there are just "six degrees of separation" between any two strangers on Earth, has been largely corroborated by a massive study of electronic communication.

With records of 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people from around the world, researchers have concluded that any two people on average are distanced by just 6.6 degrees of separation, meaning that they could be linked by a string of seven or fewer acquaintances.

The database covered all of the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006, or roughly half the world's instant-messaging traffic at that time, researchers said.

"To me, it was pretty shocking. What we're seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity," said Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft researcher who conducted the study with colleague Jure Leskovec. "People have had this suspicion that we are really close. But we are showing on a very large scale that this idea goes beyond folklore."

In recent years, the massive databases yielded by cell phone records have been exploited by researchers to better understand human movements and social networks. Stripped of text messages and personally identifiable information, the records indicate users' location and patterns of contact.

The Microsoft research focused on the popular concept that has inspired games such as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and a well-known play by John Guare. A "degree of separation" is a measure of social distance between people. You are one degree away from everyone you know, two degrees away from everyone they know, and so on.

But proof of the theory has been thin.

Its origins lie in the work done in the '60s by Stanley Milgram and Jeffrey Travers. In an oft-cited 1969 work, they put the figure at 6.2, though they never referred to it as "degrees of separation."

Their finding was based on asking 296 people in Nebraska and Boston to send a letter through acquaintances to a Boston stockbroker.

The subjects were told to send the letter to an acquaintance who could best advance the letter to the target, but most failed: Only 64 of the original 296 letters reached the stockbroker. Of those letter chains that were complete, the average number of degrees of separation was 6.2. The high failure rate, and the possibility that the incomplete chains reflected much more distant relationships, led some to question the results. Also, all of the subjects were in the United States. What would happen if the test was expanded to the planet?

The idea was taken up again, this time on a global scale, by Columbia University researchers in a 2003 report of an e-mail experiment. More than 24,163 volunteers agreed to try to send an e-mail through acquaintances to one of 18 target persons in 13 countries. Only 384 of those 24,163 letter chains were completed. Of those completed chains, the average number of steps was 4, and using statistical techniques, the researchers estimated that the average length in all of the chains was between five and seven steps. Still, it was an estimate.

The Microsoft Messenger project, which was presented at a technical conference in Beijing in April, went further.

"To our knowledge, this is the first time a planetary-scale social network has been available to validate the well-known '6 degrees of separation' finding by Travers and Milgram," the researchers said.

For the purposes of their experiment, two people were considered to be acquaintances if they had sent one another a text message. The researchers looked at the minimum chain lengths it would take to connect 180 billion different pairs of users in the database. They found that the average length was 6.6 steps and that 78 percent of the pairs could be connected in seven hops or less.

Some pairs, however, were separated by as many as 29 hops.

"Via the lens provided on the world by Messenger, we find that there are about '7 degrees of separation' among people,'' they wrote.

Microsoft Messenger use is most intense in North America, Europe and Japan, and in the coastal regions of the rest of the world. While the study sample is huge, there is little way of knowing whether Microsoft Messenger users are as socially connected as the rest of humanity.

Why does it matter that people from around the world are closely tied together? Researchers said that the knowledge might have applications for political organizations, charity efforts, natural disaster relief and missing-person searches.

"They could create large meshes of people who could be mobilized with the touch of a return key," Horvitz said.

It also means that, strictly speaking, six degrees of separation might be just a bit off. It's closer to seven, at least in their study.

"For a piece of folklore, it wasn't bad," said Duncan J. Watts, one of the Columbia researchers, now at Yahoo Research. "It was off only in its detail."

08-05-2008, 09:55 AM

Researchers may have found cosmic Rosetta stone

WASHINGTON - Star light, star bright. The first star grew fast, but began slight. The first cosmological object formed in the universe was a tiny protostar with a mass of about 1 percent of our sun, according to U.S. and Japanese researchers who spent years developing a complex computer simulation of what it was like after the Big Bang that formed the universe.

08-05-2008, 09:56 AM
The single hair that could FINALLY prove the Yeti really exists (http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1039150/The-single-hair-FINALLY-prove-Yeti-really-exists.html)

He is 8ft tall and has a roar that could start an avalanche.

Despite this, the yeti has always managed to remain abominably elusive.

But yesterday, claims that the legendary beast really does exist took a giant step forward.

Scientists have used microscopes to analyse of strands of hair found caught on some rocks in jungle near the India-Bangladesh border.

08-05-2008, 10:17 AM

Foot found on Lake Huron beach in U.S.
Discovery prompts Michigan police to seek help from RCMP in B.C. where five feet found in last year

08-05-2008, 10:19 AM

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project sends the photo below. It’s from a series of L.A. Times photos from a federal raid on a medical marijuana clinic in California. I wouldn’t draw too many conclusions from it. But it is a little disconcerting.

MORE: I’m not implying Blackwater is doing actual federal drug policing in the U.S. (though they’re doing plenty of drug war mercenary work overseas). As far as I know, that wouldn’t be legal. But given what the group is doing overseas, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with them training drug agents for work here at home, either.

UPDATE: Well now that’s interesting. The L.A. Times has pulled the photo from its website.

<img src="http://www.theagitator.com/wp-content/uploads/41360065.jpg">

08-05-2008, 10:23 AM

A New Explanation for Morgellons, the Disease that Makes Wires Grow Out of Your Skin

If you've been growing blue and red wires out of sores on your skin like hundreds of Morgellons disease sufferers have (pictured), then you may actually have a nano-fiber chemtrail infection. Or so says the "chemtrail activist" community, a group of amateur scientists who study the "fibers" that they claim are raining down out of chemtrails in the sky. For those unfamiliar with conspiracy-speak, chemtrails are clouds of chemical substances created by hush-hush government experiments that I'm sure we'll hear more about when Fringe hits the airwaves this fall. So how is this all related to Morgellons?

According to a recent article by chemtrail activist Carolyn Williams Palit:

Chemtrail activists collect evidence that the chemtrail spray contains not only germs but conductive metals, blood cells, carbon powders, sedatives, nano-particulates, crystalline substances, alumina particulates, barium powders, and a kind of polyethylene-silicon fiber . . . The chemtrail fibers are a kind of infant, “pre-Morgellons” fiber. The Morgellons fibers are more developed, but the fibers are related to the type of nanotechnology that assembles nanowires.

So you're breathing in fibers from secret experiments, and then those fibers are self-assembling in your body and growing out of your skin. Also, Palit, reminds us, scientists have said that nano-fibers can enter your bloodstream and go INTO YOUR BRAIN. I think you know what that means.

08-05-2008, 10:26 AM
The single hair that could FINALLY prove the Yeti really exists (http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1039150/The-single-hair-FINALLY-prove-Yeti-really-exists.html)

He is 8ft tall and has a roar that could start an avalanche.

Despite this, the yeti has always managed to remain abominably elusive.

But yesterday, claims that the legendary beast really does exist took a giant step forward.

Scientists have used microscopes to analyse of strands of hair found caught on some rocks in jungle near the India-Bangladesh border.


'Yeti hairs' examined

08-05-2008, 10:27 AM

The Science of Sniffing Out Liars

08-05-2008, 10:30 AM

Gremlins on the Attack

This brought to mind an old story that the late Charles Berlitz wrote about in his book “Charles Berlitz’s World of Strange Phenomena” on page 209 in the short article “A Massacre in Flight” Mr. Berlitz describes a story with an eerie similarity.

“Something terrifying happened in the air one day in the late summer of 1939-and to this day the incident is shrouded in secrecy.

All that is known is that a military transport plane left the Marine naval Air Force Base in San Diego at 3:30 one afternoon. It and its thirteen man crew were making a routine flight to Honolulu. Three hours later, as the plane was over the Pacific Ocean, a frantic distress signal was sounded. Then the radio signal died.

A little later the plane limped back to base and made an emergency landing. Ground crew members rushed to the craft and when they boarded, they were horrified to see twelve dead men. The only survivor was the copilot, who, though badly injured, had stayed alive long enough to bring the plane back. A few minutes he was dead, too.

All of the bodies had large, gaping wounds. Even weirder, the pilot and copilot had emptied their .45 Colt automatic pistols at something. The empty shells were found lying on the floor of the cockpit. A foul, sulfuric odor pervaded the interior of the craft.

The exterior of the airplane was badly damaged, looking as it had been struck by missiles…The incident was successfully hushed up and did not come to light for fifteen years, when investigator Robert Coe Gardner learned of it from someone who was there. They mystery of what the crew encountered in midair that afternoon in 1939 has never been solved.”

08-05-2008, 10:33 AM

Stalking the Octopus
For 20 years Kenn Thomas of Steamshovel Press has been tracking the oily tentacles of world conspiracy — and shaking readers out of their reality tunnels

08-05-2008, 12:39 PM

Could water really have a memory?


Interesting is how this guys work might give a different POV or an inclination into this "water memory" thing:




"Water Theories
First hour guest Dr. Masaru Emoto and his English interpreter joined George in the L.A. studio to discuss some of Dr. Emoto's surprising theories about water.

According to Emoto, water is 'alive' and can be affected by positive and negative energy (vibrations). Good words and music cause water molecules to assemble into hexagonal-shaped crystals, Emoto explained, while bad vibrations cause water to form ugly, mal-formed shapes. Emoto also noted that there is a discernable difference in taste between good and bad water: good water has a sweet flavor, bad water is bitter. "

See also:




08-05-2008, 12:46 PM

'Bizarre!' Frog Tunes Ears to Specific Frequencies

By Clara Moskowitz, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 22 July 2008 04:30 pm ET

An unusual Chinese frog can tune its ears to different sound frequencies, making it the only known animal that can actively dial up something like its local radio stations.

The species, called Odorrana tormota or concave-eared torrent frog, lives near the noisy Yellow Mountain hot springs in central China, and communicates by chirping audible and ultrasonic calls.

A new study found that the frogs have selective hearing, enabling them to listen to the high frequency range when the low frequency background noise of rushing water is too intense for them to pick out the calls of potential mates or rivals.

The frogs do this by opening and closing canals in their eardrums called Eustachian tubes to adjust the range their ears are sensitive to. When the researchers shined a light underneath the frog's chin, they could tell the animal's tubes were open when the light was visible through the eardrum. When the Eustachian tubes closed, circles of light glowing out through the ears disappeared (see video).

"We said, 'Whoa! This is bizarre!'" said University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researcher Albert Feng. "In all textbooks on sound communication and hearing in frogs, it is plainly stated that the Eustachian tubes are permanently open!"

The discovery, described in this week's issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may help researchers design better hearing aids for humans that can hone in on important frequency ranges.

08-05-2008, 02:53 PM
This one i found interesting:


Defining Female Chauvinism
Ariel Levy got it wrong. In the feminist author’s 2005 book, Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, Levy posits that female chauvinism entails a celebration of sex at the expense of one’s dignity. She sites soft-core porn offerings, such as Girls Gone Wild, as evidence of the feminist movement’s inadvertent effects and bemoans the fact that women are now empowering themselves through sexual exploitation. While I could pen reams of criticism on the ill effects of so called “raunch culture”, I must find fault with Levy’s definition of female chauvinism. In my estimation, female chauvinism is what feminism has become.

08-06-2008, 03:18 PM

Released: July 23, 2008

Middlebury Institute/Zogby Poll: One in Five Americans Believe States Have the Right to Secede

Survey finds 18% would support a secessionist effort in their state

UTICA, New York -One in five American adults - 22% - believe that any state or region has the right to "peaceably secede from the United States and become an independent republic," a new Middlebury Institute/Zogby International telephone poll shows.

I believe any state or region has the right to peaceably secede and become an independent republic:





Not sure


The level of support for the right of secession was consistent in every region in the country, though the percentage was slightly higher in the South (26%) and the East (24%). The figures were also consistent for every age group, but backing was strongest among younger adults, as 40% among those age 18 to 24 and 24% among those age 25 to 34 agreed states and regions have secession rights.

Broken down by race, the highest percentage agreeing with the right to secede was among Hispanics (43%) and African-Americans (40%). Among white respondents, 17% said states or regions should have the right to peaceably secede.

I would support a secessionist effort in my state:





Not sure


Politically, liberal thinkers were much more likely to favor the right to secession for states and regions, as 32% of mainline liberals agreed with the concept. Among the very liberal the support was only slightly less enthusiastic - 28% said they favored such a right. Meanwhile, just 17% of mainline conservatives thought it should exist as an option for states or regions of the nation.

Asked whether they would support a secessionist movement in their own state, 18% said they would, with those in the South most likely to say they would back such an effort. In the South, 24% said they would support such an effort, while 15% in the West and Midwest said the same. Here, too, younger adults were more likely than older adults to be supportive - 35% of those under age 30 would support secession in their state, compared to just 17% of those over age 65. Among African Americans, 33% said they would support secession, compared to just 15% of white adults. The more education a respondent had, the less likely they were to support secession - as 38% of those with less than a high school diploma would support it, compared to just 10% of those with a college degree.

To gauge the extent to which support for secession comes from a sense that the nation's current system is not working, a separate question was asked about agreement that "the United States' system is broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two-party politics and elections." Nearly half of respondents agreed with this statement, with 27% who somewhat agree and 18% who strongly agree.

I believe the United States' system is broken and cannot be fixed by traditional two-party politics and elections:





Not sure


The telephone poll, conducted by Zogby International, included 1,209 American adult respondents. It was conducted July 9-13, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 2.9 per cent.

The sponsor of the poll was the Middlebury Institute, a think tank for "the study of separatism, secession, and self-determination," based in Cold Spring, NY. Their website address is: MiddleburyInstitute.org.

For content, contact: Kirkpatrick Sale, Director, Middlebury Institute, at 845-265-3158 or Director@MiddleburyInstitute.org

For methodology, contact: Fritz Wenzel, 315-624-0200 ext. 229 or 419-205-0287 or fritz@zogby.com

For a detailed methodological statement on this survey, please visit:


08-06-2008, 03:22 PM

A new book by the author Ron Suskind claims that the White House ordered the CIA to forge a back-dated, handwritten letter from the head of Iraqi intelligence to Saddam Hussein.

Suskind writes in “The Way of the World,” to be published Tuesday, that the alleged forgery – adamantly denied by the White House – was designed to portray a false link between Hussein’s regime and al Qaeda as a justification for the Iraq war.

08-06-2008, 03:26 PM

Crimes and Misdemeanors
By Emily Bazelon, Kara Hadge, Dahlia Lithwick, and Chris Wilson
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008, at 6:55 AM ET

Each scandal is represented by a colored circle that encompasses the people who are implicated. As it's easy to see, many of the players here are mixed up in two, three, or more of the alleged crimes. Hence all the overlapping circles (Venn-diagram heaven!).

The best way to make sense of this legal tangle is to mouse over the title of an individual scandal, which will highlight everyone implicated. For example, the wiretapping bubble ensnares George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, David Addington, John Ashcroft, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales. At the same time, Ashcroft and Gonzales fall into the overlapping circle for monkey business related to DoJ hiring. Mouse over a person's name for information on how each person is involved. Mouse over the title of each circle for specifics about the particular scandal.

And if all else fails, fall back on this golden rule of wrongdoing in the White House: All roads lead to Gonzales.

Mouse over the scandals, and click on the scandal titles and the names in the diagram for more detailed information.

08-11-2008, 09:30 AM

Knights Templar to Vatican: Give us back our assets

The Knights Templar are demanding that the Vatican give them back their good name and, possibly, billions in assets into the bargain, 700 years after the order was brutally suppressed by a joint venture between the Pope and the King of France.

If the Holy See doesn’t comply, the warrior knights, renowned for liberating the Holy Land, will deploy that most fearsome of weapons: a laborious court case through the creaking Spanish legal system.

The Daily Telegraph reports that The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ has launched a court case in Spain, demanding Pope Benedict “recognise” the seizure of assets worth €100bn. The Spanish-based group of Templars apparently says in a statement: "We are not trying to cause the economic collapse of the Roman Catholic Church, but to illustrate to the court the magnitude of the plot against our Order." This might come as a surprise to those who believe that the order of warrior monks – also credited with possessing the Holy Grail and laying the foundation of the European banking system - was smashed in 1307 by Pope Clement V and Philip IV of France.

At the time, the order was accused of a multitude of crimes, including two medieval biggies - sodomy and heresy.

However, recently discovered Vatican papers showed that the order had never been declared heretics, burnings at the stake for the leadership not withstanding.

Rather, it appeared that the order’s suppression was more a piece of realpolitik on the pope’s part to pacify Philip, who was somewhat irked by the prospect of the powerful order increasing its continental activities after Jerusalem fell to the Turks.

Despite the order’s brutal apparent suppression, its legacy has been claimed by numerous successor organisations, and besmirched by popular authors ad nauseum.

One of the successors, Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani, is apparently recognised by Unesco.

We contacted the UK branch, otherwise known as the The Grand Priory of Knights Templar in England and Wales, to see if they could throw any light on the matter but they have yet to get back to us.

The Grand Priory’s website says the modern organisation is about humanitarian and charity work. There is no mention of the Holy Grail, though it does support the maintenance of the Holy Places.

And if you’re looking for esoteric rites or secret higher knowledge, you’re likely to be disappointed. The website says: “Please don’t expect to be enlightened with some supposed ‘secret’ knowledge, because nothing exists.”

Of course, any conspiracy theorist will tell you that’s exactly what you’d expect them to say. ®

08-11-2008, 09:31 AM

2600 editor [Emmanuel Goldstein], has decided to publish The Best of 2600. It features some of the best essays on lockpicking, phone phreaking, social engineering, and other topics that the hacker quarterly had to offer.

Founded in 1984, 2600 was one of the major catalysts that got the modern hacker scene going. They published controversial articles on topics like red boxing and spawned monthly meetings. This firsthand account of the development of hacker culture will be released in July at The Last HOPE in New York.

08-11-2008, 03:18 PM

Eight iPhone owners have joined an elite clan: Their Apple gadget is running a program that cost nearly $1,000.

When the iPhone first hit the market in June 2007, those who paid the $499 entry price — and signed the two-year AT&T contract — owned a status symbol. A year later, we have the iPhone 3G, Apple's speedier, sleeker and, most important, less expensive smart phone, which introduced a section for downloading third-party applications. Now that the phone is affordable enough for a wider audience, a new status symbol has emerged: a seemingly useless application called I Am Rich.

Its function is exactly what the name implies: to alert people that you have money in the bank. I Am Rich was available for purchase from the phone's App Store for, get this, $999.99 — the highest amount a developer can charge through the digital retailer, said Armin Heinrich, the program's developer. Once downloaded, it doesn't do much — a red icon sits on the iPhone home screen like any other application, with the subtext "I Am Rich." Once activated, it treats the user to a large, glowing gem (pictured below). That's about it. For a thousand dollars.


08-13-2008, 08:22 AM
Mystery Surrounds Leavenworth's Underground City (http://www.kctv5.com/news/17126244/detail.html)

Some Leavenworth residents have been unknowingly walking around above an underground city, and no one seems to know who created it or why. Windows, doors and narrow paths beneath a title company at South Fourth and Delaware streets lead to storefronts stretching several city blocks and perhaps beyond. There are also several vaults around town. Some of have them been used for breweries.

"They were stores of some type. We just don't know what they were selling, who was running them," said Jennifer Lemons, who works at the title company. Some speculate the underground town was created in the 1800s and could have been used during slavery or for fugitives.

"We know that it was pretty secretive, whatever it was that was down here, because not too many people know anything about it," Lemons said. Katy Ryan is the editor for LV Magazine and has been researching the mysteries below.

"You know, you just think of the underground as such a dark, spooky place, but to think that this could have maybe been some kind of vibrant economic center is just kind of baffling really," Ryan said.

Construction workers are in the middle of a streetscape project, and some worry the history will be erased.

"I think it would just be kind of tragic if no one knew what it was or if no one cared," Lemons said.

Some people who've lived in Leavenworth their entire lives don't know anything about the underground city, and those who do don't know the historical significance.

08-13-2008, 08:32 AM

Originally published in UFO Magazine/UK in 2003 as:
Non-Manmade Crop Circles
As a “Vacuum Domain" Phenomenon
An Aspect of the Physics Involved?

Updated August 7, 2008 as:
Of Crop Circles, Firebirds, and 'Vacuum Domain' Physics

By Kris Sherwood

With additional research contributed by Ed Sherwood


This is interesting

08-13-2008, 08:35 AM

Meta-materials Mimic Ice And Illuminate Why Water-ice Doesn't Fully Conform To Third Law Of Thermodynamics

The Third Law of Thermodynamics is on the minds of John Cumings, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, and his research group as they examine the crystal lattice structure of ice and seek to define exactly what happens when it freezes.

"Developing an accurate model of ice would help architects, civil engineers, and environmental engineers understand what happens to structures and systems exposed to freezing conditions," Cumings said. "It could also help us understand and better predict the movement of glaciers."

Understanding the freezing process is not as straightforward as it may seem. The team had to develop a type of pseudo-ice, rather than using real ice, in order to do it.

Despite being one of the most abundant materials on Earth, water, particularly how it freezes, is not completely understood. Most people learn that as temperatures fall, water molecules move more slowly, and that at temperatures below 32º F/0º C, they lock into position, creating a solid—ice. What's going on at a molecular level, says Cumings, is far more complicated and problematic. For one thing, it seems to be in conflict with a fundamental law of physics.

The Third Law of Thermodynamics states that as the temperature of a pure substance moves toward absolute zero (the mathematically lowest temperature possible) its entropy, or the disorderly behavior of its molecules, also approaches zero. The molecules should line up in an orderly fashion.

Ice seems to be the exception to that rule. While the oxygen atoms in ice freeze into an ordered crystalline structure, its hydrogen atoms do not.

"The hydrogen atoms stop moving," Cumings explains, "but they just stop where they happen to lie, in different configurations throughout the crystal with no correlation between them, and no single one lowers the energy enough to take over and reduce the entropy to zero."

So is the Third Law truly a law, or more of a guideline?

"It's a big fundamental question," says Cumings. "If there's an exception, it's a rule of thumb."

Materials that violated the Third Law as originally written were found in the 1930s, mainly non-crystalline substances such as glasses and polymers. The Third Law was rewritten to say that all pure crystalline materials' entropy moves toward zero as their temperatures move toward absolute zero. Ice is crystalline—but it seems only its oxygen atoms obey the Law. Over extremely long periods of time and at extremely low temperatures, however, ice may fully order itself, but this is something scientists have yet to prove.

Creating an accurate model of ice to study has been difficult. The study of ice's crystal lattice requires precise maintenance of temperatures below that of liquid nitrogen (-321 °F/-196 °C), and also a lot of time: no one knows how long it takes for ice to ultimately reach an ordered state—or if it does at all. Experiments have shown that if potassium hydroxide is added to water, it will crystallize in an ordered way—but researchers don't know why, and the addition shouldn't be necessary due to the Third Law's assertion that pure substances should be ordered as they freeze.

To overcome these problems, scientists have designed meta-materials, which attempt to mimic the behavior of ice, but are created out of completely different substances. A previous material, spin ice, was designed from rare earth elements and had a molecular structure resembling ice, with magnetic atoms (spins) representing the position of hydrogen atoms. However, it did not always behave like ice.

*cont'd on site

08-13-2008, 09:09 AM

High-flying kites tethered to generators could supply as much as 100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 100,000 homes, according to researchers from the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands.

08-13-2008, 09:10 AM

Flexible nanoantenna arrays capture abundant solar energy
Nanotechnology / Physics
Researchers have devised an inexpensive way to produce plastic sheets containing billions of nanoantennas that collect heat energy generated by the sun and other sources. The technology, developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory, is the first step toward a solar energy collector that could be mass-produced on flexible materials.

08-13-2008, 09:12 AM

Did iron cyclones give Earth a wonky core?

08-13-2008, 09:16 AM

Material bends, stretches and conducts electricity?

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - In the latest twist on electronics, Japanese scientists said on Thursday they have developed a rubbery material that conducts electricity, a finding that could be used to make devices that bend and stretch.

The material, described by Tsuyoshi Sekitani of the University of Tokyo in the journal Science, could be used on curved surfaces or even in moving parts, they said.

Sekitani's team developed their material using carbon nanotubes, a long stretch of carbon molecules that can conduct electricity.

They mixed these into rubbery polymer to form the basic material. Next, they attached a grid of tiny transistors to the material and then put it to the test.

They stretched the sheet of material to nearly double its original size and it snapped back into place, without disrupting the transistors or ruining the material's conductive properties.

The elastic conductor would allow electronic circuits to be mounted in places that would have been impossible up to now, including "arbitrary curved surfaces and movable parts, such as the joints of a robot's arm," Sekitani and colleagues wrote.

Earlier this week, a U.S. team reported developing an elastic mesh material that allowed them to use standard electronics materials to build an electronic eye camera based on the shape and layout of the human eye.

That device could be the basis for the development of an artificial eye implant.

John Rogers of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who wrote about the eye camera in the journal Nature, said the development of materials that can be shaped and molded to curved surfaces will allow for a whole new class of electronics devices that can be used to better interact with the human body, such as brain monitoring devices.

(Editing by Maggie Fox)

08-13-2008, 09:20 AM

Compressor-free refrigerator may loom in the future
Physics / Physics
Refrigerators and other cooling devices may one day lose their compressors and coils of piping and become solid state, according to Penn State researchers who are investigating electrically induced heat effects of some ferroelectric polymers.

08-13-2008, 09:45 AM

Scientists Stop the Ageing Process
August 12th, 2008 by TiamatsVision

“Scientists have stopped the ageing process in an entire organ for the first time, a study released today says. Published in today’s online edition of Nature Medicine, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York City also say the older organs function as well as they did when the host animal was younger.

The researchers, led by Associate Professor Ana Maria Cuervo, blocked the ageing process in mice livers by stopping the build-up of harmful proteins inside the organ’s cells. As people age their cells become less efficient at getting rid of damaged protein resulting in a build-up of toxic material that is especially pronounced in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. The researchers say the findings suggest that therapies for boosting protein clearance might help stave off some of the declines in function that accompanies old age.”

08-18-2008, 12:22 PM

Landmines releasing brain-altering chemicals, scanners reading soldiers' minds and devices boosting eyesight and hearing could all one figure in arsenals, suggests the study.

Sophisticated drugs, designed for dementia patients but also allowing troops to stay awake and alert for several days are expected to be developed, according to the report. It is thought that some US soldiers are already taking drugs prescribed for narcolepsy in an attempt to combat fatigue.

As well as those physically and mentally boosting one's own troops, substances could also be developed to deplete an opponents' forces, it says.

"How can we disrupt the enemy's motivation to fight?" It asks. "Is there a way to make the enemy obey our commands?" Research shows that "drugs can be utilized to achieve abnormal, diseased, or disordered psychology" among one's enemy, it concludes.

Research is particularly encouraging in the area of functional neuroimaging, or understanding the relationships between brain activity and actions, the report says, raising hopes that scanners able to read the intentions or memories of soldiers could soon be developed.

Some military chiefs and law enforcement officials hope that a new generation of polygraphs, or lie detectors, which spot lie-telling by observing changes in brain activity, can be built.

"Pharmacological landmines," which release drugs to incapacitate soldiers upon their contact with them, could also be developed, according to the report's authors.

The report, which was commissioned by the Defense Intelligence Agency, contained the work of scientists asked to examine how better understanding of how the human mind works was likely to affect the development of technology.

It finds that "great progress has been made" in neuroscience over the last decade, and that continuing advances offered the prospect of a dramatic impact on military equipment and the way in which wars are fought.

It also explains that the concept of torture could be transformed in the future. "It is possible that some day there could be a technique developed to extract information from a prisoner that does not have any lasting side effects," it states. One technique being developed involves the delivery of electrical pulses into a suspect's brain and delay their ability to lie by interfering with its neurons.

Research into "distributed human-machine systems", including robots and military hardware controlled by an operator's mind, is another particular area for optimism among researchers, according to the report. It says significant progress has already been made and that prospects for use of the field are "limited only by the creative imagination."

Jonathan Moreno, a bioethicist and the author of 'Mind Wars: Brain Research and National Defense', said "It's too early to know which, if any, of these technologies is going to be practical. But it's important for us to get ahead of the curve. Soldiers are always on the cutting edge of new technologies."

08-18-2008, 12:27 PM

A Memory-Erasing Chemical That Can Change Your Behavior

Memory is one of the main reasons why drug addicts who have gone sober suddenly find themselves jumping off the wagon. Environmental cues like visiting a place where you were high can make you remember the drug and weaken your resistance to taking it again. But now researchers have discovered a way to selectively erase "drug-associated memories" and make it easier for you to just say no to the needle, pill, or pipe. It all has to do with interrupting the brain's process of "reconsolidation," or memory retrieval.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge cut down on the drug-seeking behavior of cocaine-addicted rats by giving them a chemical that blocked NMDA-type receptors in the brain. First, they gave the rats a bunch of coke while flashing a light. Later, when they flashed the same light, they inspired the rats to look really frantically for drugs and engage in behaviors that had gotten them coke before. And yet when the scientists administered a chemical that blocked the rats' NMDA receptors, the rats who saw the flashing light didn't start trying to get drugs.

NMDA receptors are associated with learning and memory. Researchers speculate that interfering with them affects with memory retrieval, blocking or changing the memories significantly. According to the Society for Neuroscience:

Several NMDA receptor inhibitors are already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including the cough suppressant dextramethorphan and the Alzheimer's disease drug memantine.

"This is an example of hypothesis-driven basic research that can be readily translated to the treatment of cocaine addiction in humans," said Yavin Shaham, PhD, at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an expert uninvolved in the study.

So drug addicts may be given the real-life equivalent of the memory-erasing technique we saw in The Manchurian Candidate. What I want to know is what exactly it feels like to have your memories tampered with so much that you no longer recall wanting to do a drug you've been addicted to. Do you literally forget taking the drug? Or do you just forget that it felt good?

08-18-2008, 12:48 PM
WOW - check this out - this is cool - magic sand:


The first sequence shows the properties of Magic Sand. When it is dry, Magic Sand is free flowing and cannot form a structure that holds its shape. When Magic Sand is poured into water, it has a silvery sheen and doesn't become wet. It can be molded into structures that hold their shape under water. When the water is poured off, the Magic Sand is dry.

08-18-2008, 02:04 PM

08-18-2008, 02:08 PM

08-18-2008, 02:09 PM

08-19-2008, 12:53 PM

We've got our wires crossed: The bizarre stories of people whose brains have rewired themselves

The human brain is the most complex organ in the body and contains 20 billion cells, responsible for everything from dreaming and movement to appetite and emotions.

It consists mainly of grey matter - the brain cells or neurons where information is processed.

It also contains white matter - the nerve fibres which, like electric cables, send out chemical messengers and relay information between the cells.

In fact, the brain contains more nerve fibres than there are wires in the entire international telephone network and sometimes the brain's 'wires' can become crossed, as a result of injury, illness or genetics.

Scientists used to think a brain injury resulted in permanent damage to the brain's functions, but new research suggests this is not necessarily the case.

'When one area of our brain is damaged we now know from scans that the functions of that area are distributed elsewhere,' says Dr Keith Muir, a senior lecturer in neuroscience at Glasgow University.

'That is why after a stroke people sometimes lose the use of their hand or leg then regain it because another area of the brain eventually takes up the job of movement.'

In fact, says Dr Muir, rather than talking about different areas of the brain it is better to think of it as having numerous different systems which link up and work together.

When the brain is injured, the systems learn to link up differently - sometimes with surprising results.

Some people are actually born with this kind of altered wiring. At birth we all have far more brain cells than we need and as we develop there's a period of so-called 'pruning' - when only the connections and brain cells needed and used survive.

In some cases it's thought that this process goes awry - perhaps because of a faulty gene - resulting in cross wiring or extra connections.

Here, we talk to people whose brains have been 'scrambled' as a result of illness or birth.

But far from being a hindrance, some of them believe it is actually beneficial.

(see source for full story)

08-19-2008, 12:54 PM

Is there life on Jupiter's moon Europa ?

With average temperatures of minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, an almost nonexistent atmosphere and a complex web of cracks in a layer of ice encompassing the entire surface, the environment on Jupiter’s moon Europa is about as alien as they come. So are the enormous forces behind the surface display, namely an ocean beneath the ice nine times deeper than Earth’s deepest ocean trench and gravitational affects from a planet 318 times the mass of Earth. For nearly a decade, it has been Simon Kattenhorn’s passion to understand the amazing surface features on Europa and how they are formed. And supported by new grants from NASA, his research may provide clues to one of Mankind’s biggest questions—is there life outside of Earth? Kattenhorn—an associate professor of geology at the University of Idaho—delights in dissecting the beautiful and complex web of cracks, faults and ridges on the surface of Jupiter’s fourth largest moon. The first of his two recent grants totaling $358,000 will allow him to study the most recent geological features on the highest resolution photos NASA has to offer of Europa. These subtle cracks will reveal if there is any current geological activity on the distant moon, which would also be the best place to look for signs of life. “In order to really get at the issue, ‘Is there life out there?’, we have to know the best place to look,” said Kattenhorn, who is also currently authoring a chapter for a book on the moon. “And in the case of Europa, the best place to look is where cracks on its icy surface are active today.

” But finding signs for current geological activity is no easy task. Kattenhorn can tell a lot about fractures because they form very specific patterns that allow him to unravel their relative ages. His goal in this project is to find the youngest fractures and compare them to the tidal forces that Europa would be experiencing today to see if the features and recent forces match up.

08-19-2008, 12:55 PM
http://www.disinfo.com/content/story.php?title=Sleepwalker-McCain-Will-Lock-Up-Pot-Smokers-But-Regularly-Uses-Powerful-Sleeping-Pills http://abcnews.go.com
Posted by AmericanDrugWar 2 days ago View profile
Obama not only admits to having tried marijuana, he freely admits to having inhaled saying, "that was the whole point." McCain has solemnly vowed to lock up even medicinal pot smokers but regularly uses powerful sleeping pills known to have hazardous side effects.

Patriot or hypocrite? You decide.

08-19-2008, 12:56 PM


08-19-2008, 12:57 PM

The History Of Xenu, As Explained By L. Ron Hubbard In 8 Minutes

08-20-2008, 09:13 AM

The Denver Police's Detention Camp Setup for DNC Protestors and Mass Arrests
Avatar http://www.youtube.com
Posted by ralph 3 days ago View profile
ColoradoChange writes: Denver officials weren't planning to reveal details about where activists would be detained in the event of mass arrests during the Democratic National Convention until after the event had started, but those plans were quickly dashed this week when CBS 4News reporter Rick Sallinger not only revealed that protesters would be locked up in a city-owned warehouse, but he also obtained clear video footage inside the facility, a building that includes barbed wire-topped cages and signs warning of stun-gun use.

08-20-2008, 09:14 AM

Most Companies in US Avoid Federal Income Taxes

Report Says Most Corporations Pay No Federal Income Taxes; Lawmakers Blame Loopholes

08-20-2008, 09:46 AM

Rigid Hierarchy: Failure by Design

I could harly put it better than Hagbard Celine, and this whole post has been all plagarism anyway:

Every citizen in every authoritarian society already has such a “radio” built into his or her brain. This radio is the little voice that asks, each time a desire is formed, “Is it safe? Will my wife (my husband/my boss/my church/my community) approve? Will people ridicule and mock me? Will the police come and arrest me?” This little voice the Freudians call “The Superego,” with Freud himself vividly characterized as “the ego’s harsh master.” With a more functional approach, Peris, Hefferline and Goodman, in Gestalt Therapy, describe this process as “a set of conditioned verbal habits.”

This set, which is fairly uniform throughout any authoritarian society, determines the actions which will, and will not, occur there. Let us consider humanity a biogram {the basic DNA blueprint of the human organism and its potentials) united with a logogram (this set of “conditioned verbal habits"). The biogram has not changed in several hundred thousand years; the logogram is different in each society. When the logogram reinforces the biogram, we have a libertarian society, such as still can be found among some American Indian tribes. Like Confucianism before it became authoritarian and rigidified, American Indian ethics is based on speaking from the heart and acting from the heart—’that is, from the biogram. No authoritarian society can tolerate this. All authority is based on conditioning men and women to act from the logogram, since the logogram is a set created by those in authority.

Every authoritarian logogram divides society, as it divides the individual, into alienated halves. Those at the bottom suffer what I shall call the burden of nescience. The natural sensory activity of the biogram— what the person sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, and, above all, what the organism as a whole, or as a potential whole, wants —is always irrelevant and immaterial. The authoritarian logogram, not the field of sensed experience, determines what is relevant and material. This is as true of a highly paid advertising copywriter as it is of an engine lathe operator. The person acts, not on personal experience and the evaluations of the nervous system, but on the orders from above. Thus, personal experience and personal judgment being nonoperational, these functions become also less “real.” They exist, if at all, only in that fantasy land which Freud called the Unconscious. Since nobody has found a way to prove that the Freudian Unconscious really exists, it can be doubted that personal experience and personal judgment exist; it is an act of faith to assume they do. The organism has become, as Marx said, “a tool, a machine, a robot.”

Those at the top of the authoritarian pyramid, however, suffer an equal and opposite burden of omniscience. All that is forbidden to the servile class— the web of perception, evaluation and participation in the sensed universe— is demanded of the members of the master class. They must attempt to do the seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling and decision-making for the whole society.

But a man with a gun is told only that which people assume will not provoke him to pull the trigger. Since all authority and government are based on force, the master class, with its burden of omniscience, faces the servile class, with its burden of nescience, precisely as a highwayman faces his victim. Communication is possible only between equals. The master class never abstracts enough information from the servile class to know what is actually going on in the world where the actual productivity of society occurs.

Furthermore, the logogram of any authoritarian society remains fairly inflexible as time passes, but everything else in the universe constantly changes. The result can only be progressive disorientation among the rulers. The end is debacle. The schizophrenia of authoritarianism exists both in the individual and in the whole society.

I call this the Snafu Principle.
No Easy Answers

You might be wondering why an organization committed to the liberation of the human species would be seriously discussing the mass manipulation of human consciousness. That’s because we’re committed to the liberation of the human species wether they want it or not, because for the most part, they don’t. If the capacity exists for this kind of martial art, then we’re not going to pretend it’s not there. We’re especially not going to leave that tool in the hands of monsters because of “our principles”. We are humans of Earth, all that is human is our birthright, from fire to atom bombs, from Mozart to NASCAR.

What if it turned out you had total power over your life and your world? Would you want it? Here at the BIPT, we have teachers but no Gods. Human power is strictly a human responsibility.

08-20-2008, 11:10 AM

Military wants to study mind-reading

# Story Highlights
# Army gives scientists $4 million grant to study ways to read people's thoughts
# The goal is to translate the thoughts of soldiers who suffered brain injuries
# Concerns include mind-reading technology could be used to interrogate the enemy
# Scientists say technology cannot be used without subjects' "active cooperation"

08-20-2008, 11:12 AM

Quantum "Uncollapse" Muddies Definition Of Reality

Quantum theory says that quantum particles have wave-like properties and can exist in many places at once. Why the objects we see around us every day — in what physicists call the classical world — don't behave this way despite being made of these very same quantum particles is a deep and fundamental question in modern physics.

Measuring (observing) a quantum object supposedly forces it to collapse from a waveform into one position. This collapse, according to quantum mechanics dogma, is what makes objects "real," but new verification of "collapse reversal" suggests that we can no longer assume that measurements alone create reality. It was back in 2006 that physicist Andrew Jordan, at the University of Rochester, together with Alexander Korotkov, at the University of California, Riverside, first mooted the possibility of collapse reversal.

Until then, it was believed that the instant a quantum object was measured it would "collapse" from being in all the locations it could be, to just one location like a classical object. But Jordan proposed that it would be possible to weakly measure the particle continuously, partially collapsing the quantum state, and then "unmeasure" it, causing the particle to revert back to its original quantum form, before it collapsed. Jordan's hypothesis suggests that the line between the quantum and classical worlds is not as sharply defined as had been long thought, but that it is rather a gray area that takes time to cross.

Now, in Nature News, Postdoctoral Fellow Nadav Katz explains how his team put the idea to the test and found that, indeed, it is possible to take a "weak" measurement of a quantum particle, triggering a partial collapse. Katz then "undid the damage," altering certain properties of the particle and performing the same weak measurement again. The particle was returned to its original quantum state just as if no measurement had ever been taken.

Katz contends being able to reverse the collapse "tells us that we really can't assume that measurements create reality because it is possible to erase the effects of a measurement and start again."

08-20-2008, 11:17 AM

Do subatomic particles have free will?

If we have free will, so do subatomic particles, mathematicians claim to prove.

08-20-2008, 11:57 AM

Slipping through cell walls, nanotubes deliver high-potency punch to cancer tumors in mice

Now researchers at Stanford University have addressed that problem using single-walled carbon nanotubes as delivery vehicles. The new method has enabled the researchers to get a higher proportion of a given dose of medication into the tumor cells than is possible with the "free" drug—that is, the one not bound to nanotubes—thus reducing the amount of medication that they need to inject into a subject to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.

"That means you will also have less drug reaching the normal tissue," said Hongjie Dai, professor of chemistry and senior author of a paper, which will be published in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer Research. So not only is the medication more effective against the tumor, ounce for ounce, but it greatly reduces the side effects of the medication.

Graduate student Zhuang Liu is first author of the paper.

Dai and his colleagues worked with paclitaxel, a widely used cancer chemotherapy drug, which they employed against tumors cells of a type of breast cancer that were implanted under the skin of mice. They found that they were able to get up to 10 times as much medication into the tumor cells via the nanotubes as when the standard formulation of the drug, called Taxol®, was injected into the mice.

The tumor cells were allowed to proliferate for about two weeks prior to being treated. After 22 days of treatment, tumors in the mice treated with the paclitaxel-bearing nanotubes were on average less than half the size of those in mice treated with Taxol.

Critical to achieving those results were the size and surface structure of the nanotubes, which governed how they interacted with the walls of the blood vessels through which they circulated after being injected. Though a leaky vessel—nautical or anatomical—is rarely a good thing, in this instance the relatively leaky walls of blood vessels in the tumor tissue provided the opening that the nanotubes needed to slip into the tumor cells.

"The results are actually highly dependent on the surface chemistry," Dai said. "In other words, you don't get this result just by attaching drugs to any nanotubes."

08-20-2008, 11:58 AM

Exclusive: A robot with a biological brain

University of Reading scientists have developed a robot controlled by a biological brain formed from cultured neurons. And this is a world’s premiere. Other research teams have tried to control robots with ‘brains,’ but there was always a computer in the loop. This new project is the first one to examine ‘how memories manifest themselves in the brain, and how a brain stores specific pieces of data.’ As life expectancy is increasing in most countries, this new research could provide insights into how the brain works and help aging people. In fact, the main goal of this project is to understand better the development of diseases and disorders which affect the brain such as Alzheimer or Parkinson diseases. It’s interesting to note that this project is being led by Professor Kevin Warwick, who became famous in 1998 when a silicon chip was implanted in his arm to allow a computer to monitor him in order to assess the latest technology for use with the disabled. But read more…

08-20-2008, 11:59 AM

The man with the answer to life, the universe and (nearly) everything
British scientist Peter Higgs dreamt up a theory explaining the tiny particles that make up everything, including you, decades ago. At last he's set to be proved right.

08-20-2008, 12:54 PM

While a Magician Works, the Mind Does the Tricks


A decent backyard magic show is often an exercise in deliberate chaos. Cards whipped through the air. Glasses crashing to the ground. Gasps, hand-waving, loud abracadabras. Something’s bound to catch fire, too, if the performer is ambitious enough — or needs cover.

“Back in the early days, I always had a little smoke and fire, not only for misdirection but to emphasize that something magic had just happened,” said The Great Raguzi, a magician based in Southern California who has performed professionally for more than 35 years, in venues around the world. “But as the magic and magician mature, you see that you don’t need the bigger props.”

Eye-grabbing distractions — to mask a palmed card or coin, say — are only the crudest ways to exploit brain processes that allow for more subtle manipulations, good magicians learn.

In a paper published last week in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, a team of brain scientists and prominent magicians described how magic tricks, both simple and spectacular, take advantage of glitches in how the brain constructs a model of the outside world from moment to moment, or what we think of as objective reality.

For the magicians, including The Great Tomsoni (John Thompson), Mac King, James Randi, and Teller of Penn and Teller, the collaboration provided scientific validation, as well as a few new ideas.

For the scientists, Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik of the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, it raised hope that magic could accelerate research into perception. “Here’s this art form going back perhaps to ancient Egypt, and basically the neuroscience community had been unaware” of its direct application to the study of perception, Dr. Martinez-Conde said.

“It’s a marvelous paper,” Michael Bach, a vision scientist at Freiburg University in Germany who was not involved in the work, said in an e-mail message. Magicians alter what the brain perceives by manipulating how it interprets scenes, Dr. Bach said, “and a distant goal of cognitive psychology would be to numerically predict this.”

One theory of perception, for instance, holds that the brain builds representations of the world, moment to moment, using the senses to provide clues that are fleshed out into a mental picture based on experience and context. The brain uses neural tricks to do this: approximating, cutting corners, instantaneously and subconsciously choosing what to “see” and what to let pass, neuroscientists say. Magic exposes the inseams, the neural stitching in the perceptual curtain.

Some simple magical illusions are due to relatively straightforward biological limitations. Consider spoon bending. Any 7-year-old can fool her younger brother by holding the neck of a spoon and rapidly tilting it back and forth, like a mini teeter-totter gone haywire. The spoon appears curved, because of cells in the visual cortex called end-stopped neurons, which perceive both motion and the boundaries of objects, the authors write. The end-stopped neurons respond differently from other motion-sensing cells, and this slight differential warps the estimation of where the edges of the spoon are.

The visual cortex is attentive to sudden changes in the environment, both when something new appears and when something disappears, Dr. Martinez-Conde said. A sudden disappearance causes what neuroscientists call an after-discharge: a ghostly image of the object lingers for a moment.

This illusion is behind a spectacular trick by the Great Tomsoni. The magician has an assistant appear on stage in a white dress and tells the audience he will magically change the color of her dress to red. He first does this by shining a red light on her, an obvious ploy that he turns into a joke. Then the red light flicks off, the house lights go on and the now the woman is unmistakably dressed in red. The secret: In the split-second after the red light goes off, the red image lingers in the audience’s brains for about 100 milliseconds, covering the image of the woman. It’s just enough time for the woman’s white dress to be stripped away, revealing a red one underneath.

In a conference last summer, hosted by Dr. Martinez and Dr. Macknik, a Las Vegas pickpocket performer and co-author named Apollo Robbins took advantage of a similar effect on the sensory nerves on the wrist. He had a man in the audience come up on stage and, while bantering with him, swiped the man’s wallet, watch and several other things. Just before slipping off the timepiece, Mr. Robbins clutched the man’s wrist while doing a coin trick — thereby lowering the sensory threshold on the wrist. The paper, with links to video of Mr. Robbins’ performance, is at http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nrn2473.html.

“That was really neat, and new to me,” said Dr. Bach, who was in the audience. The grasp, he said, left “a sort of somatosensory afterimage, so that the loss of the watch stays subthreshold” in the victim. The visual cortex resolves clearly only what is at the center of vision; the periphery is blurred, and this is likely one reason that the eyes are always in motion, to gather snapshots to construct a wider, coherent picture.

A similar process holds for cognition. The brain focuses conscious attention on one thing at a time, at the expense of others, regardless of where the eyes are pointing. In imaging studies, neuroscientists have found evidence that the brain suppresses activity in surrounding visual areas when concentrating on a specific task. Thus preoccupied, the brain may not consciously register actions witnessed by the eyes.

Magicians exploit this property in a variety of ways. Jokes, stagecraft and drama can hold and direct thoughts and attention away from sleights of hand and other moves, performers say.

But small, apparently trivial movements can also mask maneuvers that produce breathtaking effects. In a telephone interview, Teller explained how a magician might get rid of a card palmed in his right hand, by quickly searching his pockets for a pencil. “I pat both pockets, find a pencil, reach out and hand it to someone, and the whole act becomes incidental; if the audience is made to read intention — getting the pencil, in this case — then that action disappears, and no one remembers you put your hand in your pocket,” the magician said. “You don’t really see it, because it’s not a figure anymore, it has become part of the background.”

The magician’s skill is in framing relevant maneuvers as trivial. When it’s done poorly, Teller said, “the actions immediately become suspicious, and you instantly click that something’s wrong.”

David Blaine, a New York magician and performance artist, said he started doing magic at age 4 and quickly learned that he did not need any drama or special effects. “A strong and effective way to distract somebody is to directly engage the person,” with eye contact or other interaction, Mr. Blaine said. “That can act on the subconscious like a subtle form of hypnosis.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with a dove, a plume of smoke or a burst of fire. As long as it doesn’t break magic’s unwritten code: First, do no harm. Frightening neighborhood parents, however, is allowed.

08-20-2008, 12:55 PM

Ancient tree helps birds survive

An ancient species of tree is helping Britain's birds survive the effects of climate change, scientists have found.

Frequent early spring weather means blue tits and great tits have been laying eggs ahead of schedule, making it difficult for them to find food.

However ecologists say birds have been feeding on gall wasps, which make their homes in Turkey oak trees, rather than the usual young caterpillars.

The discovery was made during a study by the University of Edinburgh.

'Modern problem'

It had been feared that the Turkey oak, reintroduced to Britain three centuries ago after an absence of thousands of years, may pose a threat to native plants and animals.

The species was native to northern Europe before the previous ice age, about 120,000 years ago.

But now it appears to be providing the country's birds with a food source.

Dr Graham Stone of the university said: "The reintroduction of Turkey oak and the re-invasion of gall wasps into northern Europe may simply represent restoration of a previous natural situation.

"As the Turkey oak re-asserts itself in its ancient home, it is helping to alleviate some of the effects of the very modern problem of climate change."

Story from BBC NEWS:

08-20-2008, 12:55 PM

Pong, Mario Brothers and Evolutionary Biology
Written by: Mike Harwood

New video game tackles astrobiology.

Remember the good ol’ days of maneuvering a joystick to get a frog across the street? Think about the challenge of racing a heroic yellow circle to eat glowing white dots. The evolution of electronic gaming has come a long way and now Maxis Software is tackling the subject of evolution itself . . . via video game.

According to Reuters, the mastermind behind the Sims franchise, Will Wright, has developed a new cross-media game. The new game, Spore, allows players to create their own alien species, starting from single-celled organisms and eventually to intelligent beings bent on interstellar domination.

Wright and his team consulted with scientists in areas of physics, chemistry, biology, sociology and astronomy in order to determine what content would be most useful to the average gamer. A great deal of research went into this project, which was developed for over four years.

Spore is described as a god-game/life-simulation/strategy genre. While other users contribute to the content of the Spore universe and players can communicate online, it is not considered a true “real-time” game.

For instance, if a player decided he wanted to do something fun, like destroy a neighboring planet, the player who originally created that planet would not have to start from scratch. Therefore, Wright describes it as a single-player game with user created copies.

Spore will make its official North American debut September 7 on computer-based platforms.

Finally, the average person can enjoy all the fun astrobiology has to offer.

08-20-2008, 01:02 PM

Like the Little Satans We Are


08-20-2008, 01:04 PM

Big Brother Sees All in the Technological Fishbowl
How much do technologies that affect privacy also influence freedom?

By John Rennie

Once upon a time an ethicist had a brilliant idea for a prison. Today we all live in it.

Starting in 1785, English philosopher Jeremy Bentham spent decades (and much of his own fortune) advocating for the construction of a facility he called the Panopticon—the “all-seeing place.” Inside its walls, convicted prisoners would be exposed to perpetual view from a central tower by an unseen jailer, who could supervise their behavior, health and menial labor. Bentham insisted that the Panopticon would be safer and more affordable than other prisons—but not because the prisoners were always being watched. Rather the true genius of the idea lay in what made it, in his words, “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind.” Because the prisoners would not be able to see whether a guard was in the Panopticon’s tower, it could often be unmanned and they would never know. Out of fear and uncertainty, the prisoners would in effect stand watch over themselves.

The British government never approved final construction of a Panopticon, despite Bentham’s fervent lobbying (at one point he promised to serve as the guard at no wages). Instead, ironically, over recent decades London itself has become one of the most intensively monitored metropolises in the world, with more than 10,000 public security cameras and a far greater number of private ones installed by landlords, shopkeepers and homeowners.

Surveillance is everywhere. A 1998 survey counted almost 2,400 public and private cameras in Manhattan, and that number has surely skyrocketed since then as the cost of video has fallen. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to cities in grants for cameras to fight terrorism. The available evidence that all this monitoring actually improves security, at least against street crime, is at best thin, however.

Video surveillance is only the tip of the iceberg. As the articles in this special issue describe, the rise of assorted technologies has multiplied manyfold the opportunities for us to share data about ourselves—or for others to spy on us.

In his book The Transparent Society, David Brin argues that the modern conception of privacy is historically transient and made obsolete by new technology; rather than trying futilely to keep secrets, he thinks we should concentrate on preventing abuses of them by insisting that everyone, including governments, be an equally open book. How well that strategy can work in practice is debatable. But there is no question that society is, however unwarily, embracing much of the new openness. Millions now post their lives on Facebook and MySpace for all to see. Companies successfully entreat customers to divulge personal information in return for services. In 1948 George Orwell portrayed an all-knowing Big Brother as a totalitarian nightmare. Sixty years later Big Brother is reality TV entertainment.

Those developments are not altogether bad. What should concern us most is not whether the changing state of privacy is making us more or less safe or happy. It is whether, as Bentham predicted, it subjects us to a new “power of mind over mind.” Does uncertainty about whether someone is observing us, exploiting our secrets or even stealing our identity cause us to preemptively sacrifice our freedom to be and act as we would wish? When privacy dis­appears, do we first respond by hiding from ourselves?

Note: This story was originally published with the title, "Here in the Fishbowl".

08-20-2008, 02:13 PM

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Iraq: Introducing DisneyIraq: The Unhappiest Place on Earth

by Scott Thill, AlterNet
August 15th, 2008

"I'm a businessman. I'm not here because I think you're nice people. I think there's money to be made," explained Llewellyn Werner in his pitch for a vast recreational complex to be built in, of all places, Baghdad. "I also have this wonderful sense that we're doing the right thing -- we're going to employ thousands of Iraqis. But mostly everything here is for profit."

It has come to this. We're not even pretending anymore. As the years, memories and excuses have fallen away like dead skin, America's invasion of Iraq has revealed itself for what it truly is: a consumerist pipe dream. The Great American Mall of the Middle East. Disneyland in the desert.

And since we're already giving away billions in duffel bags, why not throw another billion or two down the money pit? Where there's funding, there is fire. And in the case of the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience (BZEE), there may also be firefights. If you can ignore the bullets, IEDs, power outages and, well, the entire occupation, you might just have yourself a good time.

"In Southern California, there's drive-bys and everything else," reasoned Ride and Show Engineering Executive Vice President John March, whose company has been contracted to develop the site, which is adjacent to the Green Zone and fast-tracked by the Pentagon. "So there's danger everywhere. I think the key thing is this will be tremendous for Baghdad," he explained to Fox News chatterhead Bill Hemmer.

If by "tremendous" he means a huge target, then March, who refused to participate in this article, is dead right. It is also financially tremendous for C3, the hedge fund holding company that Werner oversees: Already given a green light from the Pentagon and an endorsement from Gen. David Petraeus, Werner secured a 50-year lease on what used to be acreage containing Baghdad's looted and left-for-dead zoo for "an undisclosed sum," according to the UK's Times Online. He is quickly building everything from a skate park, museum, concert arena and rides to future diversions. So far, Werner has collared $500 million from his elusive investors, who are practically impossible to find (a rarity in the Internet age) and secured joint partnerships across Iraq for a variety of projects. The million-dollar skate park is scheduled to open this month, and further hotel and housing developments will follow, especially since Werner has exclusive rights to them.

And although they may be managed by Iraqis, their profits belong to America. Just like most of country's oil reserves.

"Even the idea of bringing U.S.-style escapism entertainment to the hell of Baghdad is absurd," explains author and journalist Dahr Jamail, who, unlike the majority of his peers, has actually ventured outside the Green Zone without being embedded in a military detail. "Just watch how much of this infrastructure even gets built."

That's just the beginning of the problems, explains journalist Sharon Weinberger, who covers the Pentagon and other disaster capitalist complexes for Wired's Danger Room. (Full disclosure: I cover music for Wired's Listening Post.) The BZEE may get built after all, but who's to say it'll be left standing when the smoke clears?

"Even if they do pull this off, then the park's immediate survival, like any private business, is going to depend on stability and the ability of the Iraqi government to control violence and ensure public safety," Weinberger says. "If the situation in Baghdad deteriorates, I think the idea that the park will somehow be spared violence is, sadly, naive at best."

What seems most naive, however, is the idea that any American business venture launched in the miasma of Iraq's reconstruction is dealing in good faith. From Halliburton to Bechtel and on to Blackwater and beyond, the place has been an epicenter of fraud and corruption, and that's just the so-called private sector. Our collective public enterprise has been as daunting a failure: So far, the war has cost hundreds of billions in dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives. By the time it's all over, those numbers could skyrocket, and the last thing anyone is going to want is a Los Angeles hedge fund looking to stash its money in a private-public partnership that serves no real purpose.

Even though Werner landed the acreage with the blessing of Iraqi politicians and officials, it was not them who shut down the nation's state-owned factories after the invasion. That was L. Paul Bremer, a U.S. official in charge of the pillage. In other words, if America and its business partners want the BZEE bad enough, they will get it. No questions asked.

And it is leading to further criticism that American economic interests are living in Disneyland, rather than looking to build one in the most dangerous metropolis in the entire Middle East.

"The Bush junta has already attempted to impose a neo-liberal economic Disneyland upon the Iraqi people," Jamail asserts, "but they have flatly rejected the neurosis of its brand-conscious, failed capitalism. The two geographies meet nowhere in my imagination, nor in reality. The not-so-Green Zone is barely inured from the death, destruction and suffering which surrounds it. The point is that no gated community is safe from mortars and rockets. I believe we are looking at the next evolution of the gated community, albeit grossly failed."

With one caveat: Failure is merely the end of this economic stratagem, not its beginning. It has all the earmarks of a successful scam, from its suspicious fast-tracking all the way down to its undisclosed sums changing hands over territories that once belonged to someone else and may indeed be taken back by force shortly after the ink on the contracts dries. It is enough for some economic players to merely get something this compromised off the ground; success is a mere side effect to the financial interchange, which will have already taken place and been pocketed once the BZEE is judged an unmitigated disaster. Just like the invasion itself.

Milo Minderbinder would be proud. It's like his chocolate-covered cotton, only vastly more lethal.

"I think I'd file this under 'zoo allegory,'" Weinberger concludes. "People are fascinated by the effects of wars on zoos. Think of Emir Kusturica's 1995 movie, 'Underground,' or Marjan, the one-eyed lion of the Kabul zoo. Right now, people are following this as a 'News of the Weird' story, but I hope you or someone revisits it in a few years. If the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience is thriving and Iraqis are visiting, then it will be a wonderful testament to the country's progress. If, however, it's an empty space, then it will be a testament to a larger self-delusion."

08-20-2008, 02:15 PM

Country, the City Version: Farms in the Sky Gain New Interest


08-20-2008, 02:15 PM

Warp Drive Engine Would Travel Faster Than Light

July 28, 2008 -- It is possible to travel faster than light. You just wouldn't travel faster than light.

Seems strange, but by manipulating extra dimensions with astronomical amounts of energy, two Baylor University physicists have outlined how a faster-than-light engine, or warp drive, could be created that would bend but not break the laws of physics.

"We think we can create an effective warp drive, based on general relatively and string theory," said Gerald Cleaver, coauthor of the paper that recently appeared on the preprint server ArXiv.org

The warp engine is based on a design first proposed in1994 by Michael Alcubierre. The Alcubierre drive, as it's known, involves expanding the fabric of space behind a ship into a bubble and shrinking space-time in front of the ship. The ship would rest in between the expanding and shrinking space-time, essentially surfing down the side of the bubble.

The tricky part is that the ship wouldn't actually move; space itself would move underneath the stationary spacecraft. A beam of light next to the ship would still zoom away, same as it always does, but a beam of light far from the ship would be left behind.

That means that the ship would arrive at its destination faster than a beam of light traveling the same distance, but without violating Einstein's relativity, which says that it would take an infinite amount of energy to accelerate an object with mass to the speed of light, since the ship itself isn't actually moving.

The fabric of space has moved faster than light before, says Cleaver, right after the Big Bang, when the universe expanded faster than the speed of light.

"We're recreating the inflationary period of the universe behind the ship," said Cleaver.

While the theory rests on relatively firm ground, the next question is how do you expand space behind the ship and contract it in front of the ship?

Cleaver and Richard Obousy, the other coauthor, propose manipulating the 11th dimension, a special theoretical construct of m-theory (the offspring of string theory), to create the bubble the ship would surf down.

(cont'd on site)

For more curious reading:



08-20-2008, 02:28 PM

Military AI Could Rule the Internet

As if it wasn't bad enough for the military to muck about with mind control, they're also bent on creating an online, self-teaching artificial intelligence.

Hasn't anyone in the Pentagon watched The Terminator?

Of the various possible types of AI, the "most revolutionary would be an intelligent machine that uses the Internet to train," write the authors of a military-commissioned National Research Council report on emerging cognitive neuroscience. With so much information online and constantly updated, "If a system that reasoned like a human being could be achieved, there would be no limit to augmenting its capabilities."

Skynet, anyone? What self-respecting, self-sufficient AI wouldn't see CO2-spewing humans as a threat to its existence?

Okay, I'm being hyperbolic. But there is something vaguely creepy about the idea of greater-than-human artificial intelligence unleashed on the Internet by the military. Fortunately, as the authors note, "Many efforts, large and small, to reach this goal have not yet succeeded" -- perhaps because natural intelligence is still such a mystery to us.

Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies [National Academies Press]

08-20-2008, 02:30 PM

A Blueprint to Regenerate Limbs

Probing the salamander genome reveals clues to its remarkable ability to regrow damaged limbs and organs.

08-20-2008, 02:31 PM


Confidence game
How impostors like Clark Rockefeller capture our trust instantly - and why we're so eager to give it to them.

By Drake Bennett | August 17, 2008

Lots of people trusted Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. At least two women married him - though they each knew him by a different name. The members of elite social clubs in San Marino, Calif.; Greenwich, Conn.; and here in Boston embraced him and vouched for him. A series of investment firms offered him jobs as a stockbroker and bond salesman, even a vice president, despite his lack of credentials, experience, and, as quickly became clear, his at best rudimentary knowledge of finance. And over the last decade or so, neighbors and acquaintances have believed that he was Clark Rockefeller, a retiring, somewhat aloof man who implied, but never came out and said, that he was an heir to the Standard Oil fortune.

As he sits in a Boston jail cell, and police try to unravel the tangled trail he's left since coming to the United States from Germany 30 years ago, the question the rest of us are left with is how he got away with it for as long as he did. How could the people he befriended - and, in at least two cases, married - believe his fantastical stories?

The answer is that you probably would, too. Human beings are social animals, and our first instinct is to trust others. Con men, of course, have long known this - their craft consists largely of playing on this predilection, and turning it to their advantage.

But recently, behavioral scientists have also begun to unravel the inner workings of trust. Their aim is to decode the subtle signals that we send out and pick up, the cues that, often without our knowledge, shape

our sense of someone's reliability. Researchers have discovered that surprisingly small factors - where we meet someone, whether their posture mimics ours, even the slope of their eyebrows or the thickness of their chin - can matter as much or more than what they say about themselves. We size up someone's trustworthiness within milliseconds of meeting them, and while we can revise our first impression, there are powerful psychological tendencies that often prevent us from doing so - tendencies that apply even more strongly if we've grown close.

"Trust is the baseline," says Susan Fiske, a social psychologist at Princeton University. "Trustworthiness is the very first thing that we decide about a person, and once we've decided, we do all kinds of elaborate gymnastics to believe in people."

According to researchers, the subtler aspects of body language or physiognomy are difficult, if not impossible, to manipulate. But what has become public about Gerhartsreiter's methods - his preppy clothes, penchant for approaching people at country clubs and society events, and modest hints at a storied lineage - matches up with a body of research that suggests just how powerful signals of common identity and status can be, and how they can override our better judgment.

And they illustrate how, though we live in an era of worry over faceless Internet predators and Web identity thieves, we can be at our most vulnerable face-to-face.

Why trust exists in the first place has been something of a puzzle for scholars of human behavior. Evolutionary biologists (and economists) have traditionally assumed that people are self-interested, concerned only with maximizing their own well-being and passing on their genes to succeeding generations. That model doesn't leave much room for trust - why would we assume that someone would act on our behalf rather than simply his own?

Yet human society would not function without trust. We loan things to friends, we take to the road assuming our fellow drivers are not suicidal, we get on airplanes piloted by people we've never seen before, and, when asked to sign something, we rarely read the fine print. If people stopped to double-check the background and references of everyone they had an interaction with, social life would slow to a standstill.

Reconciling trust with selfishness has been a challenge for at least a generation of social scientists. One of the most influential formulations was laid out in a short paper by a Harvard biology graduate student named Robert L. Trivers in 1971. Trivers hypothesized that the sort of advanced cooperation that allowed people to build pyramids, fight in phalanxes, and hold quadrennial elections had emerged out of what he called "reciprocal altruism," a basic "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" instinct. The evident benefits of cooperation had ensured that a package of human emotions evolved to encourage it. Trust was one of them, but so was guilt, which discouraged us from cheating in collaborative situations, and moral outrage, which galvanized the community to punish anyone who did cheat.

In recent decades, a whole body of research has grown out of work such as Trivers's. Much of the literature looks at trust games, stripped-down situations like the Prisoner's Dilemma in which participants are given a choice of cooperating or acting selfishly, with stark rewards and punishments set to encourage them to do one or the other. Over repeated iterations of such games, one of the most common strategies among participants - and one of the most effective - is a basic tit-for-tat: start out assuming a partner will cooperate, but if they don't, punish them by refusing to cooperate as well.

"The default is trust until there's a reason not to," says Robyn Dawes, a psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University.

The art of the con is based on a variation of this idea: that trust is more reflexive than skepticism. And research has suggested that, once people form an initial impression of someone or something, they seem to have a hard time convincing themselves that what they once believed is actually untrue - Daniel Gilbert, a psychology professor at Harvard, calls this "unbelieving the unbelievable."

Indeed, what's notable from the facts that have emerged about Gerhartsreiter is how much he was able to get away with despite playing his roles, in certain ways, rather poorly. People who knew him in his various incarnations have remarked on how his perpetually unwashed clothes and junky cars didn't match up with the story he told about himself. He struck others as plainly ignorant about mores and business matters that someone of his background would know, and he seemed at times to go out of his way to antagonize co-workers and neighbors.

Trust games don't really explain how this congenital gullibility works. To do that, researchers need to observe the actual social world - a place where there is often too little time and too little information coming from too many different places to form a reasoned judgment.

When deciding who to trust, the research suggests, people use shortcuts. For example, they look at faces. According to recent work by Nikolaas Oosterhof and Alexander Todorov of Princeton's psychology department, we form our first opinions of someone's trustworthiness through a quick physiognomic snapshot. By studying people's reactions to a range of artificially-generated faces, Oosterhof and Todorov were able to identify a set of features that seemed to engender trust. Working from those findings, they were able to create a continuum: faces with high inner eyebrows and pronounced cheekbones struck people as trustworthy, faces with low inner eyebrows and shallow cheekbones untrustworthy.

In a paper published in June, they suggested that our unconscious bias is a byproduct of more adaptive instincts: the features that make a face strike us as trustworthy, if exaggerated, make a face look happy - with arching inner eyebrows and upturned mouths - and an exaggerated "untrustworthy" face looks angry - with a furrowed brow and frown. In this argument, people with "trustworthy" faces simply have, by the luck of the genetic draw, faces that look a little more cheerful to us.

Just as in other cognitive shorthands, we make these judgments quickly and unconsciously - and as a result, Oosterhof and Todorov point out, we can severely and immediately misjudge people. In reality, of course, cheekbone shape and eyebrow arc have no relationship with honesty.

Another set of cues, and a particularly powerful one, is body language. Mimicry, in particular, seems to put us at our ease. Recent work by Tanya Chartrand, a psychology professor at Duke, and work by Jeremy Bailenson and Nick Yee, media scholars at Stanford, have shown that if a person, or even a computer-animated figure, mimics our movements while talking to us, we will find our interlocutor significantly more persuasive and honest.

Alex Pentland, an organizational scientist at the MIT Media Lab, has set out to quantify the effect of this separate, non-linguistic language, outfitting groups of people with sensors he calls "sociometers" that can track which direction each of them is facing, who they're near, the pitch and cadence of their voice. Along with mimicry, he is measuring qualities like how energetic a subject is while in conversation, how much their speech pattern matches that of the person they're talking to, and what he calls "consistency," the evenness of speech and movements.

What he has found is that how we say something can matter more than what we actually say. In one study, he had entrepreneurs wearing sociometers pitch their companies to a group of business executives. He found that he could predict, based just on sociometer data, which ideas the executives would like.

These subtle cues, Pentland emphasizes, are difficult to fake - he calls them "honest signals." But Bailenson and Yee's work suggests that the cues don't have to be subtle to work: most of their subjects didn't notice that they were being mimicked, even as they were proceeding to bond with the digital figure on the screen in front of them.

To earn someone's trust, in other words, even rather blatant aping can do the trick. One of the landmark studies on influence was done in 1965 by the Ohio State psychologist Timothy Brock. In it, shoppers at a paint store were approached by a research assistant who offered them advice on what type of paint to choose. He told half of the shoppers he approached that he had recently bought the same amount of paint that they were looking to buy, he told the other half he had bought a different amount.

By and large, the first group took his advice, and the second did not. Something as trivial as buying the same-sized bucket of paint, Brock argued, can forge a bond with a total stranger.

Of course, Gerhartsreiter himself may have been mimicking his fellow members in the Algonquin Club or the Inner Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich not because he wanted to con them but because he actually wanted to be them. In certain ways, he didn't seem to be much of a con man at all.

The country's first celebrity con man was a Bostonian named Tom Bell who was kicked out of Harvard in the 1730s for stealing some chocolate. Over the next couple of decades he took on a variety of guises. He posed as a member of the Hutchinsons, one of the leading families in Massachusetts. He convinced the inhabitants of Princeton that he was a famous revivalist preacher. He showed up in New York City claiming to be the rich survivor of a shipwreck. And he made his way down to Barbados, where he claimed to be the son of the governor of Massachusetts.

Stephen C. Bullock, a history professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute who has studied and written on Bell, believes he may even have conned Benjamin Franklin. In 1739 Franklin put an ad in his paper, the Pennsylvania Gazette, reporting that a man using one of Bell's aliases had gained his trust with his refined manners and extensive knowledge of Greek and Latin, then made off with a fine ruffled shirt and an embroidered handkerchief.

In a sense Gerhartsreiter is the opposite of Bell. Rather than using his elite background to cheat people, he cheated people to acquire the elite background. That is not to say Gerhartsreiter was harmless - he is, after all, a person of interest in an unsolved disappearance in California - but fooling people seems to have been not merely a means but an end.

Con men have a term, "taking off the touch," for the point in the con when they take the mark's money. Gerhartsreiter doesn't seem to have had much plan for taking off the touch. When he finally did steal something, it was his daughter, and it's hard to imagine that was for financial reasons. His divorce settlement had given him enough to live on. But that, apparently, was not all he needed.

Drake Bennett is the staff writer for Ideas. E-mail drbennett@globe.com.

08-22-2008, 09:35 AM

Teens dealt charges over Joker cards
Threats were written on playing cards, which were then stashed at New River Valley business sites.

Two Pembroke teenagers have been charged in connection with a series of playing cards that were defaced with threatening writing and left at stores in Christiansburg and Pearisburg -- a gesture police said the teens admitted had been inspired by this summer's Batman movie, "The Dark Knight."

Justin Colby Dirico and Bryan Eugene Stafford, both 18, admitted to leaving cards that bore handwritten messages inside the Pearisburg Wal-Mart, according to police Chief J.C. Martin.

Martin would not say how they identified the suspects but said the teens admitted Tuesday during police interviews they were responsible for the cards, which they patterned after elements of "The Dark Knight." Both were charged with conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

08-22-2008, 09:37 AM

Fliers without ID placed on TSA list

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration has collected records on thousands of passengers who went to airport checkpoints without identification, adding them to a database of people who violated security laws or were questioned for suspicious behavior.

The TSA began storing the information in late June, tracking many people who said they had forgotten their driver's license or passport at home. The database has 16,500 records of such people and is open to law enforcement agencies, according to the TSA.

Asked about the program, TSA chief Kip Hawley told USA TODAY in an interview Tuesday that the information helps track potential terrorists who may be "probing the system" by trying to get though checkpoints at various airports.

Later Tuesday, Hawley called the newspaper to say the agency is changing its policy effective today and will stop keeping records of people who don't have ID if a screener can determine their identity. Hawley said he had been considering the change for a month. The names of people who did not have identification will soon be expunged, he said.

Civil liberties advocates have been fearful that the database includes passengers who have done nothing wrong yet may face extra scrutiny at airports or questioning by authorities investigating possible terrorism. "This information comes back to haunt people," said Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union.

(cont'd on source page)

08-22-2008, 09:47 AM

Mexican cartels running pot farms in U.S. national forest

* Story Highlights
* Drug czar stands in pot garden: "These aren't Cheech and Chong plants"
* Authorities say Mexican drug cartels send illegals to grow marijuana in forest
* $1 billion worth of marijuana plants destroyed in Sequoia National Forest, cops say
* "They're willing to kill anybody who gets in their way," drug czar says

From Dan Simon
"American Morning" Correspondent

SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST, California (CNN) -- Beyond the towering trees that have stood here for thousands of years, an intense drug war is being waged.

Illegal immigrants connected to Mexico's drug cartels are growing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of marijuana in the heart of one of America's national treasures, authorities say. It's a booming business that, federal officials say, feeds Mexico's most violent drug traffickers.

"These aren't Cheech and Chong plants," said John Walters, director of the National Drug Control Policy. "People who farm now are not doing this for laughs, despite the fact Hollywood still thinks that. They're doing it to make a lot of money."

Walters spoke from a "marijuana garden" tucked deep into the Sequoia National Forest, a two- to four-hour hike from the nearest road, far removed from the giant sequoias the region is best known for. VideoWatch Hollywood needs to chill out, get serious about pot »

Ten thousand marijuana plants, some 5 feet tall, dotted the mountainside's steep terrain amid thick brush, often near streams. This garden's street value is an estimated $40 million, authorities said.

Walters clutched three plants he said were worth $12,000 on the streets.

"This is about serious criminal organizations," Walters said. "They're willing to kill anybody who gets in their way. They're taking money back to those who kill prosecutors, judges and law enforcement." PhotoSee photos of pot farm sweep in heart of U.S. national treasure »

Over the past eight days, a federal, state and county law enforcement initiative called Operation LOCCUST has eradicated 420,000 marijuana plants here worth more than $1 billion on the street. By comparison, authorities eradicated 330,000 plants over the six-month growing season last month, said Lt. Mike Boudreaux of the Tulare County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities have arrested 38 people and seized 29 automatic weapons, high-powered rifles and other guns, Boudreaux said.

For years, Mexican drug cartels have used the remote forest to conduct and conceal their business. But the pot production has intensified because it has become harder and harder to smuggle marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border, Walters said.

"They come into our own national parks and risk the lives of sheriffs and others," Walters said. VideoWatch Mexican pot farms in U.S. forest »

Sequoia National Forest is more than 350 miles from the border, named in honor of its 38 groves of giant sequoia trees dating back thousands of years. The forest covers 1.2 million acres in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Some of the workers have established residency in the United States, Boudreaux said. Most are in the country illegally, he said, many brought for the sole purpose of growing pot, maintaining production and protecting the camp.

"They're using family or very trusted family friends. They don't just use anybody," he said.

Authorities arrested nine people in one bust recently, all of them brothers or cousins ranging in age from 20 to 27, Boudreaux said.

Boudreaux described a sophisticated web in which workers and supplies are delivered to the camps by separate groups of people who don't know all the details about the marijuana operation.

"You're recruited in for that purpose as long as you're trusted. ... Each person has his function."

Once at the national forest, the growers carry with them everything they need: tents, food, guns, fertilizer, irrigation hose and marijuana seeds. Armed men keep watch over the gardens day and night during planting season, officials say.

They dam mountain creeks to create pools and then siphon the water into miles of gravity-fed hoses that lead to smaller tubing to irrigate the plants. Nearly all of the marijuana plants have individual drip lines.

"The people that are growing this are good at what they do," said Boudreaux.

The battle is being waged by a coalition of local, state and federal agencies. They rip up and remove the intricate irrigation systems, eradicate the plants and develop intelligence on the workers.

"The goal is not just to eradicate the plants but to go after the organizations," Walters said.

What's different this year from years past, officials say, is that they're working to destroy the entire infrastructure of the marijuana grown in this region, from the irrigation systems to capturing the growers to ripping up the plants. And they're trying to get at the heart of the cartels.

Walters said they have a "unique relationship" with Mexican law enforcement to go after organized crime -- that they will take names of those arrested here and try to work back to the crime families.

"In the past, all we've been able to do is what we call 'whack and stack,' " said Bill Wittman, sheriff of Tulare County.

Wittman says he has had "well over 200 people in the field every day" eradicating the plants and removing the irrigation systems as part of the operation.

"We're not just pulling the plants, we're targeting mid-level and upper-management of these trafficking organizations," Boudreaux said.

How do they find the gardens in such remote areas? They use aerial surveillance, human intelligence and other means. "Often times, we have people who will lead us to these gardens," Boudreaux said.

Allen Ishida, a member of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, said the illegal activity is alarming.

"I want to state that the guys growing the marijuana are not the guys I went to college with," he said. "These are organized drug cartels out of Mexico."

Boudreaux says authorities are furious that cartels are operating in a U.S. forest.

"It's something that's troubling for many of us in law enforcement," he said. "You have illegal criminal activity in the mountain regions not only destroying the natural beauty of the landscape but as well as the potential for this product to reach the children of this community."

CNN's Wayne Drash contributed to this report from Atlanta.

08-22-2008, 09:48 AM

Indicted Federal Informant Allegedly Strong-Armed Hacker Into Caper That Drew 9-Year Sentence

Four years after pleading guilty to an abortive scheme to steal customer credit card numbers from the Lowe's hardware chain, hacker Brian Salcedo learned from prison last week that a co-conspirator who pressured him to go through with the hack attack was working for the feds at the time.

08-22-2008, 09:48 AM

Woman creates method for building solar cells in pizza ovens
August 21st, 2008 by Klintron

She has developed a simple, cheap way of producing solar cells in a pizza oven that could eventually bring power and light to the 2 billion people in the world who lack electricity. […]

Ms Kuepper realised a new approach would be needed if affordable cells were to be made on site in poorer countries: “What started off as a brainstorming session has resulted in the iJET cell concept that uses low-cost and low-temperature processes, such as ink-jet printing and pizza ovens, to manufacture solar cells.”

While it could take five years to commercialise the patented technology, providing renewable energy to homes in some of the least developed countries would enable people to “read at night, keep informed about the world through radio and television and refrigerate life-saving vaccines”. And it would also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

09-02-2008, 07:36 AM

Zodiac Killer's Identity And Weapon Uncovered?
Local Man: Zodiac Killer Was My Stepfather
Update On Evidence Investigated By FBI
Kris Pickel
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ― The Zodiac Killer murdered several people, terrorizing the Bay Area and taunting police in the 60's and 70's. The FBI confirmed to CBS13 on Thursday that they are now running laboratory tests on some items that may link a suspect to the killer.

The evidence was given to the FBI by a Pollock Pines man who also claims he recently found the disguise worn by the Zodiac Killer during one of his attacks.

"The identity of the Zodiac Killer is Jack Tarrance. He's my stepfather," said Dennis Kaufman.

Eight years of Dennis Kaufman's life has been consumed with attempting to prove the only father he's known since he was five-years-old is none other than the Zodiac Killer.

"This is a handwriting comparison I did," Kaufman said, showing handwriting samples of what he claims to be his stepfather's and the Zodiac Killer's. He claims the samples are too similar to be coincidence.

"The composite is a dead ringer," Kaufman said, showing composite sketch of the killer next to his stepfather's -- a resemblance that is undeniable between pictures of Jack Tarrance and descriptions of the zodiac.

Kaufman also claims his stepfather, in a taped phone conversation, indirectly admitted being the zodiac killer.

Jack Tarrance died in 2006. Kaufman said that while going through Tarrance's belongings, he made some disturbing finds. One piece of evidence he plans to turn over to the FBI is a knife still covered with what could possibly be dried blood.

"It could be a knife he barbecued with or a knife he murdered someone with," Kaufman said.

Jack also left behind rolls of undeveloped film which will also be turned over to the FBI. On the one roll Kaufman did develop, there were gruesome images.

"[It] appeared to be people who were murdered," he explained.

Just recently, Kaufman remembered his stepfather asking him several times about an old PA system, which led him to take it apart.

"When I first opened it up that did affect me. My heart skipped a couple of beats when I saw it," he said.

The material folded and tucked inside, Kaufman believes, may unmask the zodiac killer.

"It was a black hood with a zodiac on it," Kaufman said.

It's similar to the hood worn during the vicious 1968 Lake Berryessa attack, which could be key evidence connecting his stepfather to the killings. He also believes there are dozens of additional victims which were never linked to the Zodiac, including Kaufman's own mother, who he claims was suffocated.

"She sat there and told me Jack was trying to kill her and I didn't listen. I can only imagine how she felt. Imagine how scary that would be. That is what kept me going this whole time," he said.

The FBI confirmed they are running DNA tests on items that Kaufman gave them.

Kaufman said there are letters sent to him by his stepfather, and authorities are trying to get DNA profile of Jack Tarrance to compare to the Zodiac Killer. The FBI told CBS13 they could get those results back any day.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

09-02-2008, 07:37 AM

Posted by SpaceNeedle 1 day 13 hours ago View profile
Check out the first two minutes of this clip of Mythbusters Adam Savage telling the folks at the HOPE hacker conference about how the Discovery Channel was bullied by big credit card companies out of airing a program about how crappy the security in RFID tags is:

(I can't get to the video @ work)

09-02-2008, 12:28 PM

09-04-2008, 01:22 PM

Sweden's own version of the Loch Ness monster, the Storsjoe or Great Lake monster, has been caught on film by surveillance videos, an association that installed the cameras said Friday. The legend of the Swedish beast has swirled for nearly four centuries, with some 200 sightings reported in the lake in central Sweden.

"On Thursday at 12:21 pm, we filmed the movements of a live being. And it was not a pike, nor a perch, we're sure of that," Gunnar Nilsson, the head of a shopkeepers' association in Svenstavik, told AFP. The association, together with the Jaemtland province and local municipality of Berg, installed six surveillance cameras in the lake in June, including two underwater devices.

The project, which has so far cost some 400,000 kronor (43,000 euros, 62,500 dollars), is aimed at resolving the mystery of the Swedish Nessie. The first sighting dates back to 1635 and the most recent to July 2007, with most speaking of a long, serpent-like beast with humps, a small cat or dog-like head, and ears or fins pressed against the neck.

The association employs one person full-time to review the recorded video footage each day.

In the images filmed Thursday and posted on a website dedicated to the Storsjoe monster (www.storsjoodjuret.nu), a long serpent-like being is seen swimming in the murky waters.

"A highly-advanced system on one of the cameras detected heat produced by the cells," indicating that it was a live being, Nilsson said.

"It's very exciting and quite spectacular," he said.

He readily admitted however that the project was also "aimed at improving business around the lake."

"The monster has helped us," he added.

Some 20 more cameras are due to be installed soon, including one at a depth of 30 metres (100 feet) to catch any movements under the winter ice.

Copyright: AFP

09-05-2008, 05:43 AM

Tobacco Could Hold the Key to Revolutionary Gene Therapy
September 4th, 2008 by Klintron

After centuries of giving humanity little more than nicotine and death, the tobacco plant may be the wellspring of a revolution in gene therapy.

Scientists are using a modified tobacco virus to deliver delicate gene therapies into the heart of diseased cells, with the potential to treat most cancers, viruses and genetic disorders.

The tobacco mosaic virus, which plagues the plant but is harmless to humans, is hollowed out and filled with “small interfering RNA” molecules, or siRNA, which some scientists consider to be the most significant development in medicine since the discovery of vaccines.

09-05-2008, 05:49 AM
Bus beheading similar to Windigo phenomenon (http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Features/2008/08/11/pf-6413481.html)
September 4th, 2008 by Klintron

Up until a few days before the killing, Li held a part- time job delivering newspapers in Edmonton. He was well thought-of by his boss and considered a nice guy, if a bit quiet and shy.

On July 20 — just 10 days before the killing — Li delivered copies of the Sun that contained an extensive interview with Carlson about his research into the Windigo, a terrifying creature in native mythology that has a ravenous appetite for human flesh. It could take possession of people and turn them into cannibalistic monsters.

The two-page feature talked about how, in the late 1800s and into the 20th century, Windigo “encounters” haunted communities across northern Alberta and resulted in dozens of gruesome deaths.

We know of parasites, such as toxoplasmosis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxoplasmosis), that can alter a hosts behavior. Could there be such a thing as a “Windigo

09-05-2008, 06:25 AM
Computer trained on the internet?

Considering it's training will be 99% porn, that thing would be able to **** like a champion.


09-05-2008, 07:24 AM

Zen Training Speeds The Mind's Return After Distraction, Brain Scans Reveal

ScienceDaily (Sep. 3, 2008) — Experienced Zen meditators can clear their minds of distractions more quickly than novices, according to a new brain imaging study.

After being interrupted by a word-recognition task, experienced meditators' brains returned faster to their pre-interruption condition, researchers at Emory University School of Medicine found.

Giuseppe Pagnoni, PhD, Emory assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and co-workers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine changes in blood flow in the brain when people meditating were interrupted by stimuli designed to mimic the appearance of spontaneous thoughts.

The study compared 12 people from the Atlanta area with more than three years of daily practice in Zen meditation with 12 others who had never practiced meditation.

While having their brains scanned, the subjects were asked to focus on their breathing. Every once in a while, they had to distinguish a real word from a nonsense word presented at random intervals on a computer screen and, having done that, promptly "let go" of the just processed stimulus by refocusing on their breath.

The authors found that differences in brain activity between experienced meditators and novices after interruption could be seen in a set of areas often referred to as the "default mode network." Previous studies have linked the default mode network with the occurrence of spontaneous thoughts and mind-wandering during wakeful rest.

After interruption, experienced meditators were able to bring activity in most regions of the default network back to baseline faster than non-meditators. This effect was especially prominent in the angular gyrus, a region important for processing language.

"This suggests that the regular practice of meditation may enhance the capacity to limit the influence of distracting thoughts. This skill could be important in conditions such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder and major depression, characterized by excessive rumination or an abnormal production of task-unrelated thoughts," Pagnoni says.

Emory University (2008, September 3). Zen Training Speeds The Mind's Return After Distraction, Brain Scans Reveal. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 5, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2008/09/080902221741.htm

09-05-2008, 07:25 AM

Are scientists about to explain dark matter?

09-05-2008, 08:16 AM

What Happens to Religion When It Is Biologized?

09-05-2008, 08:27 AM

Iceland's Ragnarokkin' New Opera House Designed To Be Elf-Friendly

09-05-2008, 08:32 AM

Culture of surveillance may contribute to delusional condition

09-05-2008, 08:42 AM
Brazilian jungle yields remains of surprisingly urban civilization of 1,500 years ago (http://www.latimes.com/news/science/wire/sns-ap-sci-ancient-settlements,1,926081.story)

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Roads and canals connected walled cities and villages. The communities were laid out around central plazas. Nearby, smaller settlements focused on agriculture and fish farming.

The place: the now-overgrown jungles of Brazil.

The time: centuries before Europeans landed in the Americas.

Once, about 1,500 years ago, an essentially urban culture existed in what is now jungle settled by scattered tribes, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

They weren't as sophisticated as well-known cultures like the Maya to the north, but their culture was more complex than anthropologists had thought.

The find "requires a rethinking of what early urbanism may have been like, in diverse and variant forms," said Michael J. Heckenberger of the University of Florida, lead author of the study.

Heckenberger and colleagues first reported evidence of the culture — which he calls Xingu after the local river — in 2003 and now have unearthed details of the ancient communities.

The researchers found evidence of 28 prehistoric residential sites. Initial colonization began about 1,500 years ago, and the villages they studied were dated to between 750 and 450 years ago. The local population declined sharply after Europeans arrived.

Villages were distinguished by surrounding ditches, with berms on the inside made from material dug from the ditch and topped with a wooden palisade wall, Heckenberger reported.

Each village had a central plaza, the team reports. Larger communities could cover 150 acres and included gates and secondary plazas.

And each settlement had a formal road connected to the central plaza and oriented northeast to southwest, the direction of the summer solstice.

Populations were estimated at 800 to 1,000 in the towns, with satellite farming villages bringing the total to about 2,500 in each of several village clusters.


On the Net:

Science: http://www.sciencemag.org

09-05-2008, 08:47 AM

Sleuths think Jack the Ripper could be buried in Bribane

09-05-2008, 08:50 AM

Diabetes researchers convert pancreas cells to produce insulin
The Harvard study may ultimately shift treatment options away from stem cells for a variety of diseases.

09-05-2008, 08:51 AM

The advantage of using two eyes to see the world around us has long been associated solely with our capacity to see in 3-D. Now, a new study from a scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has uncovered a truly eye-opening advantage to binocular vision: our ability to see through things.

Most animals — fish, insects, reptiles, birds, rabbits, and horses, for example — exist in non-cluttered environments like fields or plains, and they have eyes located on either side of their head. These sideways-facing eyes allow an animal to see in front of and behind itself, an ability also known as panoramic vision.

Humans and other large mammals — primates and large carnivores like tigers, for example — exist in cluttered environments like forests or jungles, and their eyes have evolved to point in the same direction. While animals with forward-facing eyes lose the ability to see what's behind them, they gain X-ray vision, according to Mark Changizi, assistant professor of cognitive science at Rensselaer, who says eyes facing the same direction have been selected for maximizing our ability to see in leafy environments like forests.

All animals have a binocular region — parts of the world that both eyes can see simultaneously — which allows for X-ray vision and grows as eyes become more forward facing.

Demonstrating our X-ray ability is fairly simple: hold a pen vertically and look at something far beyond it. If you first close one eye, and then the other, you'll see that in each case the pen blocks your view. If you open both eyes, however, you can see through the pen to the world behind it.

To demonstrate how our eyes allow us to see through clutter, hold up all of your fingers in random directions, and note how much of the world you can see beyond them when only one eye is open compared to both. You miss out on a lot with only one eye open, but can see nearly everything behind the clutter with both.

"Our binocular region is a kind of 'spotlight' shining through the clutter, allowing us to visually sweep out a cluttered region to recognize the objects beyond it," says Changizi, who is principal investigator on the project. "As long as the separation between our eyes is wider than the width of the objects causing clutter — as is the case with our fingers, or would be the case with the leaves in the forest — then we can tend to see through it."

To identify which animals have this impressive power, Changizi studied 319 species across 17 mammalian orders and discovered that eye position depends on two variables: the clutter, or lack thereof in an animal's environment, and the animal's body size relative to the objects creating the clutter.

Changizi discovered that animals in non-cluttered environments — which he described as either "non-leafy surroundings, or surroundings where the cluttering objects are bigger in size than the separation between the animal's eyes" (think a tiny mouse trying to see through 6-inch wide leaves in the forest) — tended to have sideways-facing eyes.

"Animals outside of leafy environments do not have to deal with clutter no matter how big or small they are, so there is never any X-ray advantage to forward-facing eyes for them," says Changizi. "Because binocular vision does not help them see any better than monocular vision, they are able to survey a much greater region with sideways-facing eyes."

However, in cluttered environments — which Changizi defined as leafy surroundings where the cluttering objects are smaller than the separation between an animal's eyes — animals tend to have a wide field of binocular vision, and thus forward-facing eyes, in order to see past leaf walls.

"This X-ray vision makes it possible for animals with forward-facing eyes to visually survey a much greater region around themselves than sideways-facing eyes would allow," says Changizi. "Additionally, the larger the animal in a cluttered environment, the more forward facing its eyes will be to allow for the greatest X-ray vision possible, in order to aid in hunting, running from predators, and maneuvering through dense forest or jungle."

Changizi says human eyes have evolved to be forward facing, but that we now live in a non-cluttered environment where we might actually benefit more from sideways-facing eyes.

"In today's world, humans have more in common visually with tiny mice in a forest than with a large animal in the jungle. We aren't faced with a great deal of small clutter, and the things that do clutter our visual field — cars and skyscrapers — are much wider than the separation between our eyes, so we can't use our X-ray power to see through them," Changizi says. "If we froze ourselves today and woke up a million years from now, it's possible that it might be difficult for us to look the new human population in the eyes, because by then they might be facing sideways."

Changizi's research was completed in collaboration with Shinsuke Shimojo at the California Institute of Technology, and is published online in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

Source: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

09-07-2008, 10:52 PM
What a rep friendly idea for a thread!

09-08-2008, 12:15 PM

Physicists investigate how time moves forward
By Lisa Zyga, Physics / Physics
As humans, we have a very intuitive concept of time, and of the differences between the past, present, and future. But, as scientists Edward Feng of the University of California, Berkeley, and Gavin Crooks of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory point out, science does not provide a clear definition of time.

09-08-2008, 12:20 PM
The Economics of Happiness (http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/77/economics_of_happiness.html)

A growing number of economists are bravely asking: What factors make people happy?

In the last few years, a growing number of economists have been discovering happiness. It’s not that they are spending more time admiring flowers, helping old folks cross the road, dancing on the street or baking pies for neighbors. In fact, these happiness economists are working long hours in soul-numbing ways, torturing data with their latest econometric techniques to force deeply buried facts to the surface.


Truth and Happiness
Truth and happiness are two of the highest ideals among people. Ideals are those intangible principles that we seek with passion. Some people hold no ideals, but they are barely alive, as they have no passion. These men and women do not seek truth or happiness and therefore rarely find either. However, conflicts will arise when people are passionate about different ideals and prioritize those ideals differently. When truth and happiness collide, people typically freak out, and for good reason. Discerning between history and a fictional story is a skill that children must acquire in order to mature into rational adults. Santa Claus can tell us a lot about how we learn to choose and compromise these ideals.


The Keys to Happiness, and Why We Don't Use Them


The science of happiness

09-12-2008, 01:25 PM

Freedom is a Two-edged Sword
Jack Parsons (Frater Belarion)

09-16-2008, 06:03 AM

Google search finds seafaring solution

Google may take its battle for global domination to the high seas with the launch of its own “computer navy”.

The company is considering deploying the supercomputers necessary to operate its internet search engines on barges anchored up to seven miles (11km) offshore.

The “water-based data centres” would use wave energy to power and cool their computers, reducing Google’s costs. Their offshore status would also mean the company would no longer have to pay property taxes on its data centres, which are sited across the world, including in Britain.

09-16-2008, 06:08 AM

(Originally published in Arthur. No. 4/May 2003)

Magic Is Afoot

Celebrated comics author ALAN MOORE gives Jay Babcock a historical-theoretical-autobiographical earful about the connection between the Arts and the Occult

09-16-2008, 06:11 AM

Home-brewed biodiesel may be ready to move from your neighbor’s garage to prime time. No longer is the practice limited to a few mechanically inclined hippies with old converted electric water heaters. Now anyone can order up their own bio-brew kit online.

“We are testing some products now to make sure they work at the level of quality our customers expect,” said Go Green Home Stores spokesman Dennis Healy. “We’re really looking forward to having these products in our store.”

And Go Green’s interest in mass-marketing a processor comes on the heels of a decision earlier this year by Northern Tool, the Sears of professional-grade tools, to put biodiesel processors for home brewers in its catalog, for $3,000 to $13,500.

The Collective Biodiesel Project estimates that home brewers, who filter used vegetable oil from restaurants and then mix it with lye and methanol to create their own biodiesel, produced 450 million gallons of fuel last year. Some brewers say they got tired of waiting for alternatives to petroleum to come from big biz and set out to change their own habits.

09-16-2008, 06:45 AM

U.N. Agency Eyes Curbs on Internet Anonymity
September 14th, 2008

The NSA and the Chinese government are working together, through the U.N., to draft plans for systems that would enable all Internet sessions to be authoritatively traced back to their origins.

Man, if this one doesn’t get your tinfoil in a knot, nothing will.

If you want to know what anonymous on the Internet actually means, under the present surveillance regime, here’s an essay that I wrote on the subject.

Via: Cnet:

A United Nations agency is quietly drafting technical standards, proposed by the Chinese government, to define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous.

The U.S. National Security Agency is also participating in the “IP Traceback” drafting group, named Q6/17, which is meeting next week in Geneva to work on the traceback proposal. Members of Q6/17 have declined to release key documents, and meetings are closed to the public.

The potential for eroding Internet users’ right to remain anonymous, which is protected by law in the United States and recognized in international law by groups such as the Council of Europe, has alarmed some technologists and privacy advocates. Also affected may be services such as the Tor anonymizing network.

“What’s distressing is that it doesn’t appear that there’s been any real consideration of how this type of capability could be misused,” said Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. “That’s really a human rights concern.”

Nearly everyone agrees that there are, at least in some circumstances, legitimate security reasons to uncover the source of Internet communications. The most common justification for tracebacks is to counter distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks.

But implementation details are important, and governments participating in the process — organized by the International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. agency — may have their own agendas. A document submitted by China this spring and obtained by CNET News said the “IP traceback mechanism is required to be adapted to various network environments, such as different addressing (IPv4 and IPv6), different access methods (wire and wireless) and different access technologies (ADSL, cable, Ethernet) and etc.” It adds: “To ensure traceability, essential information of the originator should be logged.”

The Chinese author of the document, Huirong Tian, did not respond to repeated interview requests. Neither did Jiayong Chen of China’s state-owned ZTE Corporation, the vice chairman of the Q6/17’s parent group who suggested in an April 2007 meeting that it address IP traceback.

A second, apparently leaked ITU document offers surveillance and monitoring justifications that seem well-suited to repressive regimes:

A political opponent to a government publishes articles putting the government in an unfavorable light. The government, having a law against any opposition, tries to identify the source of the negative articles but the articles having been published via a proxy server, is unable to do so protecting the anonymity of the author.

09-16-2008, 06:46 AM

Lotus Concept Car Body Made Out of Hemp
September 13th, 2008

Don’t get me wrong, this is the most absurd clean, green hype piece that you’re likely to read today. It’ll be a big hit with the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf crowd in Santa Monica… However, I found it very fascinating that the body of the vehicle is made out of hemp.

We all know about hemp paper, hemp rope, hemp textiles, hemp building materials… But hemp as a replacement material for metal car body panels?

Yep. Well, according to Lotus, anyway.

I thought, “Gee, maybe someone will make a bike frame out of hemp some day.” Here are some that are made out of bamboo with hemp fiber lugs. How much? If you have to ask…

Via: Transport 2.0:

Sustainable hemp technical fabrics have been used as the primary constituent in the high quality “A” class composite body panels and spoiler. The renewable hemp has exceptional material properties that make for a very strong fibre. Historically hemp has been used in the manufacture of rope, illustrating the great strength of the material.

The hemp fibres have also been used in the manufacture of the lightweight Lotus designed seats. An additional benefit of using hemp is that it is a natural resource that requires relatively low energy to manufacture and absorbs CO2 whilst growing as a plant through natural photosynthesis. This hemp material is used with a polyester resin to form a hybrid composite, however it is hoped that a fully recyclable composite resin will be viable in the short-term future.

09-16-2008, 06:49 AM

Keep an eye on the Sphinx
While the SCA secretary-general was being interviewed for "Guardian's Spotlight" in July 2008, pigeons were seen pecking away at the eyes and ear cavities of the Sphinx and their droppings were splattered on the stone. Jill Kamil discusses this new danger

If more pigeons are attracted to the area, their droppings will cause more and more damage. The monument has undergone numerous restorations over the millennia, beginning with one conducted in about 1400 BC by the prince who later became Pharaoh Tuthmose IV, who dreamt that the Sphinx asked him to clear the sand around it in return for the crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. It was cleared, and he was crowned Pharaoh, but wind- blown sand soon buried the monument to its neck -- its nose, incidentally, had been missing for at least 400 years by the time Napoleon arrived in Egypt in 1798 with the band of French savants who took measurements of the head.

09-16-2008, 06:49 AM

Ripper 'claimed earlier victims'

Jack the Ripper may have killed his first victim 25 years earlier than previously thought, a retired murder detective has claimed in a new book.

It is thought that Jack the Ripper killed and mutilated at least five prostitutes in the East End between August and November 1888.

But Trevor Marriott says he may have struck in 1863 and 1872.

Mr Marriott will be presenting his findings at the Docklands Museum which is hosting an exhibition on the killer.

Bodies unattended

The body of 28-year-old prostitute Emma Jackson was found in a brothel in St Giles, central London, in April 1863.

She had five wounds to the throat and had not been robbed. The case was never solved.
The organs were not removed by the killer at the crime scenes but by person or persons unknown for medical research
Trevor Marriott

Mr Marriott also uncovered a second case he believes may have been committed by the Ripper.

Nine years after the Jackson murder, on Christmas Day 1872, Harriet Buswell was found with her throat slit at her lodgings in nearby Great Coram Street, after returning home the previous evening with a male guest.

Both cases remain unsolved.

In his book, The Evil Within, Mr Marriott claims that Jack the Ripper did not remove internal organs from two of his victims.

Traditionally, the serial killer is alleged to have removed organs from the bodies of his victims, including his second "official" victim Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddowes, his fourth, with a degree of medical precision.

But Mr Marriott said: "The organs were not removed by the killer at the crime scenes but by person or persons unknown for medical research at some point between the bodies being removed from the crime scenes and the post mortems taking place some 12 hours later.

"In both these cases the bodies had been left alone and unattended outside makeshift mortuaries."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/09/05 23:10:36 GMT


09-16-2008, 06:52 AM

Scientists Interested In Large Footprint DiscoveryAnimals & Cryptozoology
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2008 (CDT) by Thoth
Fossil Imprint Is 11 Inches Wide, 15 inches Long.A retired Cookeville builder has discovered a mysterious set of large footprints on his property. Harold Jackson is an amateur archaeologist who enjoys collecting arrowheads and other Native American artifacts. But the most extraordinary find of his life came on his property near the Caney Fork River.

For months he stepped on a rock near his house that caught his eye. Finally, he brought the unusual rock home and cleaned it up. After all of the mud was removed, a remarkable discovery was revealed.

"I don't know anything about archaeology or anything, but if you look at it, it's a footprint. No animal footprint looks like that. Now, if it's a Native American, an Indian, then he was a big Indian," said Jackson. "(The print) is about 11 inches wide and about 15 inches long." Jackson said the fossilized print clearly shows the heel and all five toes.

"It's got to be thousands of years old," said Jackson.

About half-a-dozen scientists said they want to look at the print, including Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, a famous Bigfoot professor at Idaho State University. Meldrum collects Bigfoot prints from all over the world.

Jackson said the print has made him a believer in Bigfoot.

"It was just hard for me to believe. But listen, after I found this print, there's a Bigfoot out there somewhere. I don't know what kind of Bigfoot it is, but there's a Bigfoot out there somewhere," said Jackson.

Channel 4 has yet to reach Meldrum or Tennessee state archaeologist Nick Fielder to comment on the artifact.

Jackson said there is another similar-sized large fossilized foot imprint on his property but has been unable to extract it from the rock.

Copyright: WSMV Nashville

09-16-2008, 06:53 AM

ScienceDaily (Sep. 4, 2008) — Two fetuses found in the tomb of Tutankhamen may have been twins and were very likely to have been the children of the teenage Pharaoh, according to the anatomist who first studied the mummified remains of the young King in the 1960s.

09-16-2008, 06:54 AM

Study: Zen Meditation Really Does Clear the Mind

09-16-2008, 06:55 AM
http://www.dailytech.com/Sun+Makes+History+First+Spotless+Month+in+a+Centur y/article12823.htm

Sun Makes History: First Spotless Month in a Century

09-16-2008, 06:55 AM

Deep inside an underwater cave in Mexico, archaeologists may have discovered the oldest human skeleton ever found in the Americas. Dubbed Eva de Naharon, or Eve of Naharon, the female skeleton has been dated at 13,600 years old. If that age is accurate, the skeleton—along with three others found in underwater caves along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula—could provide new clues to how the Americas were first populated.

The remains have been excavated over the past four years near the town of Tulum, about 80 miles southwest of Cancún, by a team of scientists led by Arturo González, director of the Desert Museum in Saltillo, Mexico.

"We don't now how [the people whose remains were found in the caves] arrived and whether they came from the Atlantic, the jungle, or inside the continent," González said. "But we believe these finds are the oldest yet to be found in the Americas and may influence our theories of how the first people arrived."

In addition to possibly altering the time line of human settlement in the Americas, the remains may cause experts to rethink where the first Americans came from, González added.

Clues from the skeletons' skulls hint that the people may not be of northern Asian descent, which would contradict the dominant theory of New World settlement. That theory holds that ancient humans first came to North America from northern Asia via a now submerged land bridge across the Bering Sea.

"The shape of the skulls has led us to believe that Eva and the others have more of an affinity with people from South Asia than North Asia," González explained.

Concepción Jiménez, director of physical anthropology at Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, has viewed the finds and says they may be Mexico's oldest and most important human remains to date.

"Eva de Naharon has the paleo-indian characteristics that make the date seem very plausible," Jiménez said.

09-16-2008, 06:57 AM

Space 'firefly' resembles no known object

* 00:06 16 September 2008
* NewScientist.com news service
* Maggie McKee

Printable versionEmail to a friendRSS FeedSyndicate

The object responsible for the mysterious brightening (right, from observations made in May 2006) is ordinarily too dim to detect (left) (Image: Barbary et al.)
The object responsible for the mysterious brightening (right, from observations made in May 2006) is ordinarily too dim to detect (left) (Image: Barbary et al.)
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* Barbary et al. abstract

An object that brightened intensely and then faded back into obscurity over a period of about seven months is unlike anything astronomers have seen before, a new study reports.

The object, called SCP 06F6, was first spotted in the constellation Bootes in February 2006 in a search for supernovae by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Nothing had been seen at its location before it started to brighten, and nothing was spotted after it dimmed. That suggests it is normally too faint to observe and that it brightened by at least 120 times during its firefly-like episode.

Stars are known to brighten dramatically when they explode as supernovae. But supernovae reach their maximum brightness after about 20 days, and this object took a leisurely 100 days to hit its peak.

The object's spectrum is also bizarre. It does not match that of anything seen in the mammoth Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which has mapped more than a quarter of the sky.

<img src="http://space.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn14738/dn14738-1_250.jpg">

The object responsible for the mysterious brightening (right, from observations made in May 2006) is ordinarily too dim to detect (left) (Image: Barbary et al.)

09-16-2008, 07:00 AM


* Miscellany

TIPS FROM A CON MAN | August 17th 2008
Over lunch with Simon Lovell, a fascinating former card shark, Allison Schrager learns all sorts of things about how swindlers operate ...

09-16-2008, 07:01 AM

LAIR OF THE BEASTS: In Search of the Death-Worm

By: Nick Redfern
Date: Saturday, September 13, 2008

As someone who spends pretty much his entire life chasing, investigating, and writing about mysterious beasts and diabolical monsters, I have to admit that I have come across some extremely wild and far-out stories in my time – and that’s putting it mildly!

But, the one strange creature that fascinates and intrigues me perhaps more than any other, is the aptly- and intriguingly-named Mongolian Death-Worm.

Now you might very reasonably ask: what on Earth can be so deadly about a mere worm? Well, I’ll tell you. And it has absolutely nothing at all to do with the sort of worm you might find in your back-yard.

Rumored to inhabit the sands of Mongolia’s harsh Gobi Desert, this particular worm is said to be a lean, mean, killing-machine of electrifying proportions. And I do mean that quite literally.

Local legend among the tribal folk that inhabit the region tells of a fearsome, writhing, worm-like beast – five-feet in length and bright red in color, no less – that has the ability to kill its prey by spitting a mouthful of sulfuric acid in their direction. Nice!

(cont'd on site)

09-16-2008, 07:05 AM
I imagine down the line Shaq's footprints will lend more evidence towards Bigfoot.

I'm torn on bigfoot. I think it's possible that they do/did exist. Lack of a body/carcass/etc is the only thing missing - i'm not saying there aren't hoaxes - but the world is often stranger than it seems often times...

Then this guy:


Has done work on Giants - it's interesting...

09-16-2008, 07:08 AM
Not sure if you put it up on here, but have you been discussing that particle accellerator and the god particle they're expecting to find (but Hawking bet against)?

I've been following it, but not discussing it. I think those looking for such a particle are thinking too small about it.

09-16-2008, 07:24 AM

As Barriers Disappear, Some Gender Gaps Widen

09-16-2008, 07:34 AM

Does al-Qaeda exist?
Not in the way that we think, say some terrorism experts.
by Brendan O'Neill

'Al-Qaeda bombing foiled' says the front page of today's UK Sun, reporting the arrest yesterday of 24-year-old student Sajid Badat in Gloucester, England, on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity. Other reports have referred to Badat as 'having links with al-Qaeda' and being a potential 'suicide bomber' (1).

Also this week, media reports claim that al-Qaeda may have developed 'car-bomb capability' in the USA, and that al-Qaeda has compiled a 'kidnappers' manual' and is plotting to snatch American troops from Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. Every day since the 9/11 attacks of 2001 there have been media reports about al-Qaeda - its leaders, members, capabilities, bank accounts, reach and threat. What is this al-Qaeda? Does such a group even exist?

Some terrorism experts doubt it. Adam Dolnik and Kimberly McCloud reckon it's time we 'defused the widespread image of al-Qaeda as a ubiquitous, super-organised terror network and call it as it is: a loose collection of groups and individuals that doesn't even refer to itself as al-Qaeda'. Dolnik and McCloud - who first started studying terrorism at the prestigious Monterey Institute of International Studies in California - claim it was Western officials who imposed the name 'al-Qaeda' on to disparate radical Islamic groups and who blew Osama bin Laden's power and reach 'out of proportion'. Both are concerned about the threat of terror, but argue that we should 'debunk the myth of al-Qaeda' (2).

09-16-2008, 07:37 AM

Angel Dust Inspired a new Schizophrenia Drug

hen scientists learned that PCP, also known as angel dust, can cause every single symptom of schizophrenia, they wondered if chemicals that have the opposite effect could fight mental disorders. That insight led to them to discover a new class of antipsychotic medications.

To understand how the recreational drug plays tricks on the mind, neuroscientists gave it to lab rats. Those researchers could counteract the strange behavior of their furry assistants by stimulating brain proteins called glutamate receptors. Big drug companies, including Eli Lilly, took note of that discovery and started searching for molecules that can push the same psychological buttons in humans.

In the Sep 15 issue of Chemical and Engineering News, Carmen Drahl told that story, along with the tales of three other experimental medications that could turn the tide against schizophrenia. Each compound operates in a completely different way, and all of them have been tested on human volunteers.

That is really big news because doctors have been stuck using the same class of pills -- dopamine blockers -- since the 1950's.

Drahl got the scoop on the new treatments during a special seminar about schizophrenia, which took place last month during the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia.

LY404039 was discovered by Eli Lilly and works by activating glutamate receptors. It is furthest along in the approval process. Unlike other schizophrenia drugs, it does not cause excessive weight gain.
DCCCyB was developed by Merck, and it does the job by blocking glycine transporters
PF-2545920 was tested by Pfizer, and it gums up a phosphodiesterase enzyme.
TC-5619 was invented at Targacept and it excites nicotine receptors with far more precision than the finest cigarettes. Schizophrenics tend to medicate themselves by smoking, and new drug may offer them a similar kind of relief without the serious health risks that come from tobacco products.

If these drugs are approved by the FDA, the social implications could be profound: A great deal of homelessness is caused by psychological problems. Perhaps some of these new substances will allow people with serious mental illness to become functional and live somewhat normal lives.

09-16-2008, 07:43 AM

Large Hadron Collider claims its first victim (plus have ritual suicides opened the Stargate?)

Looks like the world didn't end for all of us because of the Large Hadron Collider but it did for one poor girl:

A 17-year-old girl committed suicide in Madhya Pradesh's Rajgarh district fearing the end of the world in the most ambitious scientific experiment in Geneva to fathom the mysteries of creation, the police said Wednesday.

Chhaya, resident of Rajgarh district's Sarangpur town, consumed tablets of sulphas (an insecticide) Tuesday after watching news on TV channels about the Geneva experiment in which the world's largest collider will recreate conditions of the earliest universe.

One odd touch:

India has presented CERN with a huge bronze statue of Nataraja, Lord Shiva performing his dance of creation and destruction.


This is very much like the boy who thought he caused 911 and the man who believes he is responsible for global warming. What's worse is that it doesn't make any sense - if the world died slowly there would be plenty of time to kill yourself before the end and if it all happened in the blink of an eye there would be no suffering (unless you think you'd be trapped just beyond the event horizon with your agony prolonged until the end of the universe, I suppose). Of course, sense is rarely a factor in such sad events.

Sense also seems to be rather lacking in the other, wilder story to emerge from the LHC going live. However, you'll have to read that below the fold.

Ritual suicides open the Stargate

The site WhatDoesitMean.com always manages to put a wild spin on the news, usually using some current event as a launchpad to a story which feels like it has crossed the line into fiction, usually using secret sources that are impossible to verify. As one might expect the LHC is no exception, so hold on to your hats (and turn your critical thinking motor up to 11):

A most strange FSB report is making its rounds in the Kremlin today that says over 20 US Soldiers from the United States Army’s 716th Military Police Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, tasked with providing security for the ancient Iraqi city of Babylon, and based in the Iraqi city of Hilla, have committed ‘mass suicide’ after their attempt to ‘link’ what is described as an ancient ‘stargate’ to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, and which is about to begin one of the most controversial science experiments in human history, and as we can read.


To the mass suicide of these US Soldiers we can also read as reported by Iran’s Press TV News Service:

“Iraqi security sources have revealed that 21 US troops had committed suicide inside a former Iraqi air force base 27 days ago, Fars News Agency reported on Monday.

According to the sources, the 21 troops were treated in a hospital but only five soldiers have survived and they are in a critical condition. Security officials said they used potent narcotics to kill themselves. "The bodies of the US troops became misshapen[in] such a way that they looked like 5000-year mummies," said a witness.”

It should be noted that Russian Intelligence Analysts have long reported on these Western Nations attempts to reestablish ‘contact’ with their ancient gods, and as we had previously reported on in our April 16, 2006 report, “Mysterious ‘Ritual’ Performed By United States Military Forces In Babylon Raises Concerns Of Muslim And Russian Orthodox Religious Leaders”, in which we had detailed the most true history of these peoples, and also issued a warning to them.


Oh boy. It then goes on to discuss feathered serpents, Easter, mystic eggs and some other stuff that only seemed tangentially connected but you'll have tor read that for yourself. If you dare!!! Or if you can be bothered. Me? I think I'll wait until the DVD comes out.

09-16-2008, 07:53 AM

Fractals: they’re famously found in nature and artists have created some incredible renderings as well. Fractals are purely a wonder - too irregular for Euclidean geometry; iterative and recursive and seemingly infinite. They turn up in food and germs, plants and animals, mountains and water and sky. Here are seventeen stunning examples:

09-17-2008, 12:27 PM

A controversial new X-ray technology is being tested that could stop potential terrorists from blowing up a car bomb at one of the nation's airports, homeland security officials say.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is running a test at a North Carolina ferry terminal of a 21-foot-high arch-like machine that shoots low-intensity X-rays at cars as they pass through. The photos show whether explosives or drugs might be in the car.

The technology, called backscatter X-ray, is in use at several airports to screen passengers. Privacy advocates have denounced scanning people as invasive because the X-rays can see through clothes.

Melissa Ngo, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who focuses on privacy issues, says using the technology for cars could pave the way for "Big Brother" government spying.

"If this technology ends up being deployed widely, it seems to be another step toward a society where you need to accept surveillance in every part of your life," Ngo says.

TSA Assistant Administrator John Sammon said motorist privacy won't be invaded because taking X-rays of cars "is a fairly non-intrusive way of being able to inspect vehicles that are coming in" to an airport. At many airports, cars are currently stopped at random and searched by authorities.

09-17-2008, 12:28 PM

Satanists Stab Victims 666 Times, Then Eat Them
Avatar http://www.thesun.co.uk
Posted by majestic 1 day 7 hours ago View profile
Four teenagers were horrifically slain by Satanists — stabbed 666 times each and then eaten. The gang of Devil worshippers butchered their victims and roasted them on a bonfire before devouring their flesh.

Horrified cops found body parts dumped in a pit beside an upside-down cross, a symbol used in Satanic worship. The victims all suffered 666 knife wounds — the number associated with the Beast, or Antichrist, and featured in horror films such as The Omen.

The pals, three girls and a boy aged 16 or 17, were all Goths. They were lured one by one to a cottage and forced to get drunk before being butchered. Hair from them was found in the embers of a fire the gang lit under a tree.

Police believe the teenagers were cooked in the flames before their flesh

09-17-2008, 12:31 PM

Could inner zombie be controlling your brain?
Evidence suggests self-aware part of our brains isn't always in charge

09-17-2008, 12:33 PM

Pope condemns 'pagan' love of money, power
Benedict leads more than 250,000 Catholics in outdoor Mass in Paris

PARIS - Pope Benedict XVI condemned unbridled “pagan” passion for power, possessions and money as a modern-day plague Saturday as he led more than a quarter of a million Catholics in an outdoor Mass in Paris.

Benedict was making his first visit as pontiff to the French capital, renowned for its luxury goods, fashion sense and cultural riches.

“Has not our modern world created its own idols?” Benedict said in his homily, and wondered aloud whether people have “imitated, perhaps inadvertently, the pagans of antiquity?”


Hey pope - where's the damn collection plate? Or do you want us to ask about "god's banker" and the ties to some of the most corrupt people in the world?

09-17-2008, 12:34 PM

How Fractals Can Explain What's Wrong with Wall Street
The geometry that describes the shape of coastlines and the patterns of galaxies also elucidates how stock prices soar and plummet

By Benoit B. Mandelbrot

09-17-2008, 12:38 PM
'Robin Hood' bank manager stole £7m from rich clients and gave it to needy customers (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1056746/Robin-Hood-bank-manager-stole-7m-rich-clients-gave-needy-customers.html)

A bank manager behaved like a real-life Robin Hood by taking millions of pounds from rich clients and giving it to needy customers.

Benedict Hancock, a 39-year-old father of two, channelled more than £7million into the accounts of companies in trouble.

Astonishingly, the unassuming Royal Bank of Scotland senior relationship manager did so for 'an entirely altruistic motive', Blackfriars Crown Court has heard.

09-24-2008, 08:04 AM

an interesting read and POV on "possesions".

09-24-2008, 10:39 AM
Maybe soon... I had some **** happen - not girl **** this time - lol - car **** though.

09-26-2008, 09:10 AM

Mysterious New 'Dark Flow' Discovered in Space

As if the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy weren't vexing enough, another baffling cosmic puzzle has been discovered.

Patches of matter in the universe seem to be moving at very high speeds and in a uniform direction that can't be explained by any of the known gravitational forces in the observable universe. Astronomers are calling the phenomenon "dark flow."

The stuff that's pulling this matter must be outside the observable universe, researchers conclude.

When scientists talk about the observable universe, they don't just mean as far out as the eye, or even the most powerful telescope, can see. In fact there's a fundamental limit to how much of the universe we could ever observe, no matter how advanced our visual instruments. The universe is thought to have formed about 13.7 billion years ago. So even if light started travelling toward us immediately after the Big Bang, the farthest it could ever get is 13.7 billion light-years in distance. There may be parts of the universe that are farther away (we can't know how big the whole universe is), but we can't see farther than light could travel over the entire age of the universe.

Mysterious motions

Scientists discovered the flow by studying some of the largest structures in the cosmos: giant clusters of galaxies. These clusters are conglomerations of about a thousand galaxies, as well as very hot gas which emits X-rays. By observing the interaction of the X-rays with the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which is leftover radiation from the Big Bang, scientists can study the movement of clusters.

The X-rays scatter photons in the CMB, shifting its temperature in an effect known as the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (SZ) effect. This effect had not been observed as a result of galaxy clusters before, but a team of researchers led by Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., found it when they studied a huge catalogue of 700 clusters, reaching out up to 6 billion light-years, or half the universe away. They compared this catalogue to the map of the CMB taken by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite.

They discovered that the clusters were moving nearly 2 million mph (3.2 million kph) toward a region in the sky between the constellations of Centaurus and Vela. This motion is different from the outward expansion of the universe (which is accelerated by the force called dark energy).

"We found a very significant velocity, and furthermore, this velocity does not decrease with distance, as far as we can measure," Kashlinsky told SPACE.com. "The matter in the observable universe just cannot produce the flow we measure."

Inflationary bubble

The scientists deduced that whatever is driving the movements of the clusters must lie beyond the known universe.

A theory called inflation posits that the universe we see is just a small bubble of space-time that got rapidly expanded after the Big Bang. There could be other parts of the cosmos beyond this bubble that we cannot see.

In these regions, space-time might be very different, and likely doesn't contain stars and galaxies (which only formed because of the particular density pattern of mass in our bubble). It could include giant, massive structures much larger than anything in our own observable universe. These structures are what researchers suspect are tugging on the galaxy clusters, causing the dark flow.

"The structures responsible for this motion have been pushed so far away by inflation, I would guesstimate they may be hundreds of billions of light years away, that we cannot see even with the deepest telescopes because the light emitted there could not have reached us in the age of the universe," Kashlinsky said in a telephone interview. "Most likely to create such a coherent flow they would have to be some very strange structures, maybe some warped space time. But this is just pure speculation."

Surprising find

Though inflation theory forecasts many odd facets of the distant universe, not many scientists predicted the dark flow.

"It was greatly surprising to us and I suspect to everyone else," Kashlinsky said. "For some particular models of inflation you would expect these kinds of structures, and there were some suggestions in the literature that were not taken seriously I think until now."

The discovery could help scientists probe what happened to the universe before inflation, and what's going on in those inaccessible realms we cannot see.

The researchers detail their findings in the Oct. 20 issue of the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

09-26-2008, 09:14 AM

In a promising result for gene therapy, researchers have dramatically improved the vision of several patients with a rare, inherited eye condition called Leber congenital amaurosis. The early study was intended to simply test the safety of the treatment, but the patients displayed such significant improvement that researchers decided to publicize the results.

Gene therapy works on a simple principle - to replace a malfunctioning gene, and restore function to a part of the body affected by a genetic disorder. In practice, however, it has proved very difficult to find ways to introduce the new gene copies in the correct tissues, and experiments in animals have had mixed results [BBC News].

In the new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [subscription required], researchers selected three patients who possessed defective versions of the RPE65 gene, which normally produces an enzyme that maintains a protective layer of cells underlying light- and color-detecting photoreceptor cells. Cideciyan’s team used a virus to introduce healthy versions of the gene into their patients’ eyes, stimulating enzyme production allowing the remaining photoreceptors to function normally. Improvement began in just over a week, and remained after 90 days — the study’s endpoint [Wired News].

While only 3,000 people in the United States have Leber congenital amaurosis, researchers say that gene therapy could be used to treat other inherited eye conditions, including some forms of macular degeneration. Says ophthalmologist Stephen Rose: “We may be able to prevent blindness in children and restore functional vision in adults who have been blind for many years” [WebMD].

Earlier safety studies of the technique hinted at the impressive results to come; read about them in the Discoblog post, “Can Gene Therapy Cure the Blind?”

09-26-2008, 09:40 AM
This one is absolutely awesome, dude. Keep up the good work of finding all this!

I love...possibility - you know. I'd rather read news like this than all the other garbage.

09-29-2008, 07:56 AM

SANTA CRUZ -- Police raided a Westside house Friday morning where they suspected people were producing opiates and arrested a UC Santa Cruz doctoral candidate who said he used dried poppy pods to flavor home-brewed beer a month ago.

"All I did was make a poppy beer," said Chad Renzelman, 28, who was arrested at his Bay Street home Friday. "I spent all morning in jail for brewing beer. I had no idea what I was doing was illegal."

But police reported that Renzelman, who studies chemistry, allegedly had used a chemical process to extract opium from poppy plant pods, then converted the opium to morphine.

Morphine is the active opiate in heroin.

Police reported finding a pressurized canister of homemade beer laced with morphine in Renzelman's garage, as well as lab equipment contaminated with opium alkaloids and other hazardous chemicals.

Renzelman said in a phone interview Friday that he bought the dried poppy pods on eBay and used them more than a month ago to make beer. He and some friends have a "home-brew co-op" and brew beer together on the weekends.

"Then we just have it always for us to drink," he said.

Other recent brews have included a chocolate mint stout and a mango blonde ale. The poppy beer has since been consumed, he said.

"We make a different beer every week. Poppy beer just happened to be one of them," he said. "It was a little

stronger. It had a kick to it but it wasn't anything horrible."

Police suspected the poppies were used in the beer production, but that's still illegal, Capt. Steve Clark said.

Police got a search warrant after informants tipped them off to suspected poppy processing at the house, Clark said. Renzelman said he thinks officers found the poppy stems he put in the trash last month.

"I guess they've just been brewing on this for a while," he said.

Friday afternoon, lab investigators from the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, chemists from the state Department of Justice and officials from county Environmental Health were called to survey Renzelman's backyard because police suspected he was dumping hazardous poppy waste there.

Renzelman said they were wearing hazmat suits and digging through his compost pile, where he disposes of the spent grain from his beer-making.

Police reported that the hazardous material was cleaned up and there was no danger to surrounding homes.

Renzelman was not growing plants.

However, just having poppy plants in a flower bed is technically a violation, though officers usually just seize the plants without making any arrests.

"It's pretty common for people to grow poppy flowers around the city because they're pretty," Clark said.

Renzelman was arrested on suspicion of possessing and manufacturing a controlled substance.

If convicted, Renzelman faces up to seven years in prison.
Contact Jennifer Squires at 429-2449 or jsquires@santacruzsentinel.com.

09-29-2008, 08:08 AM

Posted by EasyRider 7 days ago View profile
Gavin Fyhrie on Cracked.com:

JFK? You've heard about him. Caesar? Got his own salad. History is stuffed with famous warriors and mad geniuses who are just waiting to be played by Russel Crowe, or at least, Ben Affleck. This article isn't about them. This is about the little guys who wandered onto History's highway and managed to do something that changed the world for the better, and in a huge way.

The Security Guard Who Brought Down a President

There you are, getting ready for work, brushing your teeth, staring at the mirror, wondering if anyone is going to notice that zit, and then this thought pops into your head: "Today, I'm going to accidentally bring down the American government."

Never happened to you? Security guard Frank Wills had no early warning either. With a hefty paycheck of $80 a week, Wills might have had good reason to believe he was well out of History's high beams. In 1972, while patrolling the offices where the Democratic National Headquarters was, he noticed that little strips of tape was holding a few doors open. He tore them off. Coming back later, he saw that the tape had been replaced and, he called the police.

09-29-2008, 08:13 AM

State Rep. proposes voluntary sterilization for poor

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Blood pressure is rising in the public debate over a plan by one Louisiana representative offering what some might call a bizarre way to fight poverty.

Representative John LaBruzzo of Metairie wants to pay poor people to get sterilized and reward rich people for having children. His proposal is already fueling heated debate.

"How can these people qualify for food stamps with $40,000 cars that I can't afford and I'm paying taxes?" LaBruzzo asks. Since hurricanes Gustav and Ike, LaBruzzo says his constituents have been calling him, angry about people they say rely on the government for handouts. "We need to deal with this before it explodes," he says

So, he is toying with his own solution. He has come up with the idea of voluntary sterilization for the poor. As a reward, they would get $1,000 from the state government. "If we don't break generational welfare trend, lot of people feel taken advantage of, then another problem on our hands." LaBruzzo is also thinking about proposing tax incentives for people not on welfare to encourage them to have children. "So many people on the other side of the political spectrum are pro-choice. Well, let's give these people the ability to choose."

09-29-2008, 08:19 AM

Portable Backyard Nuclear Reactors Ready to be Installed by 2013

<img src="http://www.treehugger.com/hyperion-power-generation-080925.jpg">

09-29-2008, 08:29 AM
Have you come across this site before?


We seem to have a lot of similar tastes in articles so you might like that place. It's a batch of articles on historical stuff that isn't really known or talked about. The writing is very good and often adds a little spice of humor. The latest article discusses a plan in the early 20th century to damn the Mediterranean to increase European land mass and to displace the African natives with Europeans (via land bridge from Sicily, now connected to Italy by land because of the damn, to Tripoli). It had a lot of major support at one time but obviously failed. Now you never even hear about it. That's the kind of articles they write.

09-29-2008, 08:38 AM
Have you come across this site before?


We seem to have a lot of similar tastes in articles so you might like that place. It's a batch of articles on historical stuff that isn't really known or talked about. The writing is very good and often adds a little spice of humor. The latest article discusses a plan in the early 20th century to damn the Mediterranean to increase European land mass and to displace the African natives with Europeans (via land bridge from Sicily, now connected to Italy by land because of the damn, to Tripoli). It had a lot of major support at one time but obviously failed. Now you never even hear about it. That's the kind of articles they write.

Yep, i used to go there a lot before - i think my bookmarks got jacked when i tried to be to cute with them during a restore sometime ago.

Thanks though for the re-link-link.

09-29-2008, 08:57 AM

Early Development

The SS E-IV (Entwicklungsstelle 4), a development unit of the SS occult “Order of the Black Sun” was tasked with researching alternative energies to make the Third Reich independent of scarce fuel oil for war production. Their work included developing alternative energies and fuels.

This group developed by 1939 a revolutionary electro-magnetic-gravitic engine which improved Hans Coler’s free energy machine into an energy Konverter coupled to a Van De Graaf band generator and Marconi vortex dynamo (a spherical tank of mercury) to create powerful rotating electromagnetic fields that affected gravity and reduced mass. It was designated the Thule Triebwerk (Thrustwork, a.ka. Tachyonator-7 drive) and was to be installed into a Thule designed disc.

09-29-2008, 09:03 AM
It's almost sad that those science teams they put together were divided up between the US and Russia. They really came up with some crazy ass stuff. I wonder if anything would have come of it all if they had been allowed to keep working.

09-29-2008, 09:09 AM
It's almost sad that those science teams they put together were divided up between the US and Russia. They really came up with some crazy ass stuff. I wonder if anything would have come of it all if they had been allowed to keep working.

Maybe...they did.... ;)

I'm interested in the Nazi-lore of technology and the escape of individuals. Understand i'm not a sympathizer - but actually interested in some of this stuff. it's amazing how...ritualized the Nazi empire was. I mean, they were very esoteric in their order and structure, etc.

Now about the nazi UFO's - here's some other interesting tidbits to throw:


Secret Agent 666 - Aleister
Crowley, British Intelligence
And The Occult


Who is Lam?:

It is interesting to note that since Crowley's time, in occult terms at least, Lam is considered a class of entity rather than an individual being. When one invokes Lam, they are invoking an entity of that type, rather than a specific being. For occultists operating along O.T.O. lines, the idea is to invoke these Lam entities through Magickal Portals (intentionally created rents in time and space) into physical manifestation on planet earth. Why this is desirable is not always so clearly stated. (It often appears that within Crowleyian circles the working rule is often: "If Crowley did it, I want to do it, too.")

Michael Bertiaux, a Lam contactee and invoker of note, viewed Lam as the "subterranean burgeoning of Lucifer-Gnosis." Considering that Gnosis means an intuitive knowing, this would mean that knowing Lam is to know a welling-up from the unconscious of an inner knowing of Lucifer. (The Occult being the occult, it is important to bear in mind that occultists at least may not necessarily see Lucifer as the devil, but rather as a "light bringer" who fell to earth.)

Bertiaux goes on to say that Lam is the natural mode of human evolution in the present Aeon - indicating that to him and his followers this Lucifer-Gnosis is the appropriate path of human spiritual growth at this time.

Cowley termed the intentional cultivation of spiritual growth the "Great Work." And the Great work for Crowley, "...involved precisely the establishment of contact with non-human intelligences." Intelligences such as Lam. Using the language of Crowley's time, certain non-human intelligences such as Lam were what we today would term "extraterrestrial."

09-29-2008, 09:10 AM

Mysteries in the Mountains

A real-life Twilight Zone may exist in Southeastern Arizona near the Mexican border.

09-29-2008, 09:20 AM

While almost everybody knows how Einstein revolutionized physics with his theories of relativity, many people may not know that the great scientist had a domestic side, too. Well, sort of - in 1930, Einstein and his former student Leo Szilard designed a refrigerator that required no electricity and had no moving parts. However, as refrigerator technology became more efficient, Einstein's design was nearly forgotten.

09-29-2008, 09:21 AM

The trip from London to Havant on the south coast of England is like travelling through time. I sit in an air-conditioned train, on tracks first laid 150 years ago, passing roads that were known to the Romans. At one point, I pick out a canal boat, queues of cars and the trail from a high-flying jet - the evolution of mechanised travel in a single glance.

But evolution has a habit of springing surprises. Waiting at my destination is a man who would put an end to mechanised travel. Roger Shawyer has developed an engine with no moving parts that he believes can replace rockets and make trains, planes and automobiles obsolete. "The end of wings and wheels" is how he puts it. It's a bold claim. (Too bold? See the later feedback here and here)

Of course, any crackpot can rough out plans for a warp drive. What they never show you is evidence that it works. Shawyer is different. He has built a working prototype to test his ideas, and as a respected spacecraft engineer he has persuaded the British government to fund his work. Now organisations from other parts of the world, including the US air force and the Chinese government, are beating a path to his tiny company.

<img src="http://technology.newscientist.com/data/images/archive/2568/25681401.jpg">

09-30-2008, 12:35 PM

Against Intuition

Experimental philosophers emerge from the shadows, but skeptics still ask: Is this philosophy?

09-30-2008, 12:36 PM

Earth's Poles Are Shifting to New Coordinates
Lava flows underneath the planet's crust show reasons for polar shift

09-30-2008, 12:47 PM

Earth's Poles Are Shifting to New Coordinates
Lava flows underneath the planet's crust show reasons for polar shift

That could certainly cause a 'climate change'

09-30-2008, 12:48 PM

Earth's Poles Are Shifting to New Coordinates
Lava flows underneath the planet's crust show reasons for polar shift

That would sure blow a hole in the hollow earth theory, huh? ;)

09-30-2008, 12:49 PM
That could certainly cause a 'climate change'

I've been thinking about this for some time....

I've been reading about how the sun might change....If the sun changes, how will the world evolve - people/plants/animals/etc? I sort of subscribe to the Microorganism idea of earth......

If the "light" changes (wavelength), what sort of impact will that have on our brains. (You know how your brain is alpha, beta, etc) -

09-30-2008, 12:50 PM
That would sure blow a hole in the hollow earth theory, huh? ;)

Not unless those a-holes are up to this.... :rofl:

09-30-2008, 01:04 PM

Crop Circles: Messages From the TimeWave?

As 2012 approaches, the expectation of a global paradigm shift grows. Modern anomalous phenomena like UFOs and crop circles are seen as precursors of this change, which is said to be forecast not only in the end of the Mayan calendar, but also in Terence McKenna’s TimeWave Zero – the end of time itself.

09-30-2008, 01:10 PM

Exit Tax for U.S. Expatriates Becomes Law
New rules impose tax on expatriates and withholding requirements on trustees

Giving up a U.S. passport can carry a steep price tag. A new law passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President will subject certain individuals, who expatriate or give up their green cards, to immediate tax on the inherent gain on all of their worldwide assets and a tax on future gifts or bequests made to a U.S. citizen or resident.

As more and more people vote with their feet, the U.S. Congress repeatedly threatened to enact legislation aimed at U.S. citizens who expatriate. Congress finally made good on those threats by unanimously passing the Heroes Earning Assistance and Relief Tax (HEART) Act (the ‘Act'), which provides tax relief for active duty military personnel and reservists.

The new tax regime applies to certain individuals who relinquish their US citizenship and certain long-term U.S. residents (i.e., green card holders) who terminate their U.S. residence (hereafter referred to as ‘expatriates'). The so-called ‘mark-to-market' tax will apply to the net unrealized gain on the expatriate's worldwide assets as if such property were sold (the ‘deemed sale') for its fair market value on the day before the expatriation date. Any net gain on this deemed sale in excess of US$600,000 will be taxable.

In addition, trustees of non-grantor trusts must withhold and pay over to the IRS 30 percent of the portion of any distribution (whether direct or indirect) that would have been taxable to the expatriate had he not expatriated. Failure to withhold the tax could subject the trustee to direct liability for the unpaid U.S. tax.

The Act became law on 18 June, 2008.
Individuals Covered

The Act applies to any expatriate if that individual (i) has a net worth of US$2 million or more; (ii) has an average net U.S. income tax liability of greater than US$139,000 for the five year period prior to expatriation; or (iii) fails to certify that he has complied with all U.S. federal tax obligations for the preceding five years (the ‘covered expatriate').

The Act contains two exceptions, which are broader than those contained in current law. An individual is not a ‘covered expatriate' if he certifies compliance with US federal tax obligations as specified in item (iii) above, and: (i) he was at birth a citizen of the U.S. and another country, provided that (a) as of the expatriation he continues to be a citizen of, and a tax resident of, such other country, and (b) he has been a resident of the U.S. for no more than 10 of the 15 taxable years ending with the taxable year of expatriation; or (ii) he relinquished U.S. citizenship before reaching the age of 18 ½, provided that he was a resident of the U.S. for not more than 10 taxable years before relinquishment.

Bronco Bob
09-30-2008, 10:50 PM
That could certainly cause a 'climate change'

Actually that's just the magnetic pole that is shifting. The orbital
pole, which creates the summers and winters, is staying in the
same place. The magnetic poles flip periodically, and have been
doing this for millions of years. What this means is that if
you have a compass the needle will point south instead of north.
Also during this time there is no magnetosphere to block deadly
cosmic rays. So there will be a huge increase in cancer
and other deadly effects. Climate change and Wall Street
will be the least of our worries if that happens.

Bronco Bob
09-30-2008, 10:54 PM
That would sure blow a hole in the hollow earth theory, huh? ;)

Again, it's the magnetic poles that are shifting. Does nothing to
affect the hollow earth theory, because the rotational pole
isn't changing. The rotational poles will still be the north
and south poles. It's just that the north magnetic pole
will become the south magnetic pole, and vis versa.

10-01-2008, 06:24 AM

€500,000 scam of a Spanish Robin Hood
· Man claims he fooled 39 banks into giving loans
· Cash passed to social activists, fugitive says

He calls himself Robin Bank and acts as the self-appointed avenger of downtrodden loan defaulters and all poor victims of the global financial meltdown.

Like his hero Robin Hood, Spanish outlaw Enric Duran steals from the rich and gives, if not to the poor, at least to the activist groups who are sworn enemies of the banking system.

Yesterday Duran circulated 200,000 copies of a single-issue free newspaper called Crisis to show how he had spent the past two years fooling banks into lending him nearly half a million euros (about £395,000).

He said he had given it all away to social activists or spent it on the newspaper. He is refusing to pay the money back and daring the banks to get him sent to jail.

"If we include interest on arrears the present amount of debt is over €500,000, which I will not pay," he said.

As Duran, 32, went into hiding, copies of the newspaper were being handed out by friends and relatives to commuters at dozens of metro and railway stations in his home city of Barcelona.

Friends said he had fled the country earlier this week.

10-03-2008, 01:19 PM

A script written by the BBC and the government to be broadcast in the event of a nuclear attack has been published.

The script, written in the 1970s and released by the National Archives, included instructions to "stay calm and stay in your own homes".

It said communications had been disrupted, and the number of casualties and extent of damage were not known.

Other papers reveal debates about how to ensure the person reading the script was authoritative and comforting.

The script was discussed from 1973 to 1975, during the Cold War.

10-03-2008, 01:20 PM

Plant Tweak Could Let Toxic Soil Feed Millions

Thanks to a genetic breakthrough, a large portion of Earth's now-inhospitable soil could be used to grow crops -- potentially alleviating one of the most pressing problems facing the planet's rapidly growing population.

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside made plants tolerant of poisonous aluminum by tweaking a single gene. This may allow crops to thrive in the 40 to 50 percent of Earth's soils currently rendered toxic by the metal.

"Aluminum toxicity is a very limiting factor, especially in developing countries, in South America and Africa and Indonesia," said biochemist Paul Larsen. "It's not like these areas are devoid of plant life, but they're not crop plants. Among agriculturally important plants, there aren't mechanisms for aluminum tolerance."

The planet is rapidly running out of room to grow food, and scientists say that the world's booming population -- expected to swell by half in the next 50 years -- will outstrip food production. There's no more room for farms in the developed world; demand for cropland is fueling deforestation in the rain forests of Latin America and Africa; and the limits of the Green Revolution, which increased global food production through the use of pesticides and industrial farming techniques, have been reached. Another revolution, say agronomists, is needed.

10-03-2008, 01:21 PM

Wednesday, October 1. 2008
Was Sheldrake's stabber a victim of mind control?

Rupert Sheldrake was stabbed by Kazuki Hirano in early April this year and thins have started rolling in preparation for the trial and more information is coming out about the case and it is certainly weird.

The 34-year-old ex-laborer from Yokohama, Japan, has been jailed since April 2 for allegedly stabbing Rupert Sheldrake, a British biologist famous for his experiments in mental telepathy.

In telephone conversations, letters and two interviews at the Santa Fe County jail, Hirano has insisted he is a "guinea pig" in Sheldrake's mind-control experiments using "remote mental telepathy."


Hirano said he became convinced his thoughts were being controlled four or five years ago when he began to feel hypnotized while he was homeless in the Camden Town district of London. He said a man named "Doctor Tony" in London's Stockwell district told him Sheldrake was conducting experiments in mind control on the homeless. Hirano said he didn't believe this at first but came to accept it after reading about Sheldrake on the Internet. He said he now believes the American military is developing remote mental telepathy to combat terrorism.

Hirano said he quit his "labor job" in Yokohama earlier this year and traveled to Santa Fe to attend the 10th International Conference on Science and Consciousness at La Fonda to ask Sheldrake and others there how to block mental telepathy.

"I'm asking him how to stop telepathy remote," he said. "He is kind of lying to me, and he is laughing and kind of smiling like he looks at me stupid and then walks away."

Hirano said others at the conference advised him to try Tai Chi and other Chinese practices that are "spiritual but not very scientific." He said he suspects no one will tell him how to block mental telepathy because they are making money from the experiments.

The degree to which his mind is controlled varies in intensity, Hirano said. When pressed on whether he still thought mental telepathy was being used on him, he said "probably."

Asked if he stabbed Sheldrake, Hirano avoided a straight answer — apparently aware that he should not admit guilt — but insisted he wasn't thinking about stabbing anyone when he carried a hunting knife into the conference.

So what are the options?


The fairly obvious one is that, despite his protestations, he is delusional. This is clearly a decision that has to be left to the professionals to decide but is clearly something we have seen before, where people incorporate real-life (or even fictional) aspects into their fantasy.

However, I do wonder how you'd tell the difference between an actual delusion and a wild (but true) conspiracy. It is worth bearing in mind, that the prison shrink has concluded that he isn't schizophrenic, although that isn't admissible in court.

So the trial is set to take place and it will be interesting to see what comes out of that:

A plea bargain that would have freed him from jail and allowed him to be deported to Japan was withdrawn Sept. 12 after Sheldrake told the court in a telephone call from London he is afraid if Hirano is released without psychiatric treatment, he will continue to stalk him. Some have compared the case to the 1980 murder of musician John Lennon by his obsessed fan, Mark David Chapman.


State District Judge Michael Vigil ordered Hirano undergo a 60-day psychiatric diagnostic evaluation in Los Lunas. Vigil also set jury selection in a trial on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon for Oct. 21, with opening arguments to begin in late October or early November.

10-03-2008, 01:23 PM

Renowned marine archaeologist Frank Goddio has unearthed (unwatered?) a controversial object which may link early Christianity to magickal pagan traditions. His team has found a bowl in the waters off Alexandria that is engraved with what they believe "could be the world's first known reference to Christ":

The full engraving on the bowl reads, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, "by Christ the magician" or, "the magician by Christ." "It could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ, in that he was once the primary exponent of white magic," Goddio, co-founder of the Oxford Center of Maritime Archaeology, said.

...Both Goddio and Egyptologist David Fabre, a member of the European Institute of Submarine Archaeology, think a "magus" could have practiced fortune telling rituals using the bowl. The Book of Matthew refers to "wisemen," or Magi, believed to have been prevalent in the ancient world.

According to Fabre, the bowl is also very similar to one depicted in two early Egyptian earthenware statuettes that are thought to show a soothsaying ritual.

"It has been known in Mesopotamia probably since the 3rd millennium B.C.," Fabre said. "The soothsayer interprets the forms taken by the oil poured into a cup of water in an interpretation guided by manuals." He added that the individual, or "medium," then goes into a hallucinatory trance when studying the oil in the cup.

The finding is rather speculative at this point though, with the article quoting other scholars with completely different interpretations.

Bronco Bob
10-03-2008, 06:11 PM

Plant Tweak Could Let Toxic Soil Feed Millions

Thanks to a genetic breakthrough, a large portion of Earth's now-inhospitable soil could be used to grow crops -- potentially alleviating one of the most pressing problems facing the planet's rapidly growing population.

Scientists at the University of California, Riverside made plants tolerant of poisonous aluminum by tweaking a single gene. This may allow crops to thrive in the 40 to 50 percent of Earth's soils currently rendered toxic by the metal.

"Aluminum toxicity is a very limiting factor, especially in developing countries, in South America and Africa and Indonesia," said biochemist Paul Larsen. "It's not like these areas are devoid of plant life, but they're not crop plants. Among agriculturally important plants, there aren't mechanisms for aluminum tolerance."

The planet is rapidly running out of room to grow food, and scientists say that the world's booming population -- expected to swell by half in the next 50 years -- will outstrip food production. There's no more room for farms in the developed world; demand for cropland is fueling deforestation in the rain forests of Latin America and Africa; and the limits of the Green Revolution, which increased global food production through the use of pesticides and industrial farming techniques, have been reached. Another revolution, say agronomists, is needed.

GMOs are the work of the devil. Or so I have been told.

10-06-2008, 05:58 AM
GMOs are the work of the devil. Or so I have been told.

I'm torn on the issue....

10-06-2008, 06:19 AM
I think it's a last resort kind of development. We have other ways to increase crop production and production area. From what I've heard/read some crops show a very good production with no till farming. A layer of cut grass/hay is placed over the field and protects the seeds. It limits exposer, erosion, and doesn't require the same quantity of pesticides/fertilizers. With some crops it increases production without all the side effects. It doesn't apply to all crops of course but some of the staple crops look promising. Hopefully we'll see a large scale implementation on it somewhere to see how it works.

There's also the buildings for crop growing that I think was mentioned in this thread once. It only makes sense. It can increase crop growing area indefinitely. The only limits are how high and wide you build it. I'm definitely in favor of that idea before we go modifying crops to allow people to cut down more forests.

10-06-2008, 06:23 AM
I think it's a last resort kind of development. We have other ways to increase crop production and production area. From what I've heard/read some crops show a very good production with no till farming. A layer of cut grass/hay is placed over the field and protects the seeds. It limits exposer, erosion, and doesn't require the same quantity of pesticides/fertilizers. With some crops it increases production without all the side effects. It doesn't apply to all crops of course but some of the staple crops look promising. Hopefully we'll see a large scale implementation on it somewhere to see how it works.

There's also the buildings for crop growing that I think was mentioned in this thread once. It only makes sense. It can increase crop growing area indefinitely. The only limits are how high and wide you build it. I'm definitely in favor of that idea before we go modifying crops to allow people to cut down more forests.

I know what you mean, the part of me that opposes GM foods - just i dunno - "doesn't like it". LOL

No more, no less. I just like letting nature do her job.

10-06-2008, 07:45 AM

“Jim Denevan makes freehand drawings in sand. At low tide on wide beaches Jim searches the shore for a wave tossed stick. After finding a good stick and composing himself in the near and far environment Jim draws– laboring up to 7 hours and walking as many as 30 miles. The resulting sand drawing is made entirely freehand w/ no measuring aids whatsoever. From the ground, these drawn environments are experienced as places. Places to explore and be, and to see relation and distance. For a time these tangible specific places exist in the indeterminate environment of ocean shore. From high above the marks are seen as isolated phenomena, much like clouds, rivers or buildings. Soon after Jim’s motions and marks are completed water moves over and through, leaving nothing.

In 2005 Jim Denevan had his museum debut the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California. Also in 2005 Jim Denevan’s work was shown at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California. In the summer of 2007, Jim had a show at PS1/MOMA in New York City. Jim’s work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Elle, GQ, The Surfers Journal, and Outside, as well as in many other national and international publications.”

10-06-2008, 07:46 AM

“Don’t believe the multitasking hype, scientists say. New research shows that we humans aren’t as good as we think we are at doing several things at once. But it also highlights a human skill that gave us an evolutionary edge. As technology allows people to do more tasks at the same time, the myth that we can multitask has never been stronger. But researchers say it’s still a myth — and they have the data to prove it.

Humans, they say, don’t do lots of things simultaneously. Instead, we switch our attention from task to task extremely quickly. A case example, researchers say, is a group of people who focus not on a BlackBerry but on a blueberry — as in pancakes.

Diner Cook: A Task Master:

To make it as a short-order cook, you must be able to keep a half-dozen orders in your head while cracking eggs, flipping pancakes, working the counter, and refilling coffee cups. And at a restaurant like the Tastee Diner, in Bethesda, Md., the orders come in verbally, not on a ticket. Chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled with sausage, order of french fries, rye toast — they’re small tasks. On a busy day, though, they add up to a tough job for Shawn Swinson. “My first month here, I was ready to walk out the door,” he said. Asked what it feels like when he’s in the middle of rush hour, Swinson said, “Like you’re in an insane asylum. It’s almost unbearable.”

“It’s singularly the most difficult job in this type of operation,” Long said. “Four cooks. Five waitresses. Bus staff. Host. Getting them in and out.” Speed and accuracy are at a premium — especially when the customers are multitasking, too. Lunchtime is the worst, Long said. “People may have an errand to run. Maybe go to the bank and pick up dry cleaning, and eat. All within an hour, whatever time they have.” It’s all part of life these days. We answer e-mails while yapping on the phone. We schedule appointments while driving and listening to the radio. And it seems as if we’re focusing on all these tasks simultaneously, as if we’ve become true masters of doing 10 things at once. But, brain researchers say, that’s not really the case.”

10-06-2008, 07:57 AM

The 'thinking cap' that could unlock your inner genius and boost creativity

<img src="http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/09/30/article-1064431-02D7D07C00000578-992_468x372.jpg">

10-06-2008, 08:02 AM

'Illusions driving market havoc'

The mind naturally creates illusions and superstitions at times of stress - and this could be adding to the global financial crisis, say scientists.


Loss of control may leave us looking for four-leaf clovers

In a series of six experiments, Whitson and Galinsky attempted to directly correlate lack of control with illusory perceptions. In the first two, they were able to establish that participants will seek patterns to compensate for unmanageable conditions. To simulate lack-of-control circumstances, they gave volunteers random feedback that was unrelated to their responses. Participants lacking control saw more nonexistent images in pictures and scored higher on the Personal Need for Structure Scale than those who were not treated to random feedback.

Superstitions and good luck rituals may also result from the human need for control. Whitson and Galinsky presented participants three scenarios that each contained two unconnected events, like "knocking on wood before an important meeting and getting one's idea approved." Participants who were asked to remember uncontrolled situations from the past saw more connection between the unrelated events and thought that good luck actions were important in the future.

10-06-2008, 08:04 AM
New surveillance program will turn military satellites on US (http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081005-new-surveillance-program-will-turn-military-satellites-on-us.html)

By Julian Sanchez | Published: October 05, 2008 - 07:15PM CT

An appropriations bill signed by President Bush last week allows the controversial National Applications Office to begin operating a stringently limited version of a program that would turn military spy satellites on the US, sharing imagery with other federal, state, and local government agencies. The government's own watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office, has warned in an unpublished report that the more expansive program in the offing lacks adequate safeguards to protect privacy and civil liberties.

For now, the law restricts the NAO to "activities substantially similar" to those carried out by the Civil Applications Committee, an interagency coordinating body formed in 1976 to give civilian agencies access to military satellites for scientific and disaster preparedness purposes, such as "monitoring volcanic activity, environmental and geological changes, hurricanes, and floods." But as a draft charter for the Office makes clear, officials at the Department of Homeland Security hope to branch out from these traditional applications, providing assistance and information to domestic law enforcement agencies.

That doesn't sit well with some members of Congess, who in a sharply worded letter earlier this year expressed concerns that the NAO "raises major issues under the Posse Comitatus Act" barring the military from performing law enforcement duties, and worried the program could be used to "gather domestic intelligence outside the rigorous protections of the law—and, ultimately, to share this intelligence with local law enforcement outside of constitutional parameters."

10-06-2008, 01:03 PM

Pentagon documents on embedded media

By Russ Kick at 24 July, 2008, 7:18 pm

On a subpage of their Freedom of Info Act website, the Defense Department today has posted 127 pages of documents concerning embedded media. The file may be downloaded here:

10-06-2008, 01:06 PM

Flashback: CFR “Gamed” Economic Implosion in 2000

Kurt Nimmo - October 3, 2008

Back in 2000, before “everything changed,” the Council on Foreign Relations held a conference entitled “The Next Financial Crisis: Warning Signs, Damage Control and Impact” at its posh headquarters on Manhattan. “For two days, several speakers told a high-powered audience of 250 people, comprised largely of bankers, investors, corporation officials, and policymakers, mostly from the United States, but also from Europe, of the possibility that the U.S. stock market, and potentially the world financial system, would melt down,” Richard Freeman wrote in the July 28, 2000, issue of the Executive Intelligence Review.

At the time, the corporate media was heralding the alleged robust nature of the U.S. economy under Clinton, even as the so-called Dotcom bubble was deflating. Obviously, the CFR knew something very few other people knew or even vaguely gleamed — the global elite were in the preparatory stages of imploding the economy.

The CFR’s eight hour “war-game simulation of the simultaneous breakdown of major financial markets around the world” foresaw what we are now experiencing up close and personal. The CFR’s game closely paralleled what is going on now. Freeman writes…

Full story

10-07-2008, 07:52 AM

Political season hits its peak
Polarizing films play big at box office

10-07-2008, 07:54 AM

Time for another tea party

Why are Americans passively accepting the greatest tax rip-off of all time?

In 1773 a mob of American colonists famously dumped crates of tea belonging to the British East India Company into Boston harbor. It was a direct action by citizens against the tax regime of the British government, and just one of several incidents that ultimately led to the Revolutionary War.

More than two-hundred years later Americans still notoriously abominate taxes. They hate taxes so much that they deny themselves a privilege taken for granted by every other civilized nation on earth, namely, universal healthcare.

So how can they just sit quietly by as the greatest tax rip-off of all time is inflicted on them?

The $700,000,000,000 bailout package approved by the senate yesterday will place a tax burden of several thousand dollars on every man, woman, and child in the U.S. and that’s on top of the huge debt they already bear. It is a burden that exceeds by an order of magnitude the burden that the British tried to place on the American colonists after the Seven Year’s War. More significantly, it is the result not of justifiable expenditure, but of corruption at the highest levels.

Yet all is quiet. No protests in the streets, no angry mobs, no latter-day Boston Tea Partiers tarring and feathering the crooked politicians and bankers who made it all possible.

Exactly what do you have to do to people in the twenty-first century to provoke direct action?


10-07-2008, 09:12 AM
Exactly what do you have to do to people in the twenty-first century to provoke direct action?

Take away their TV and air conditioning.

10-07-2008, 09:52 AM
Take away their TV and air conditioning.

no ****....

10-07-2008, 10:03 AM

Meat Must Be Rationed To Four Portions A Week
Avatar http://www.guardian.co.uk
Posted by majestic 6 days ago View profile
People will have to be rationed to four modest portions of meat and one litre of milk a week if the world is to avoid run-away climate change, a major new report warns.

The report, by the Food Climate Research Network, based at the University of Surrey, also says total food consumption should be reduced, especially "low nutritional value" treats such as alcohol, sweets and chocolates.

It urges people to return to habits their mothers or grandmothers would have been familiar with: buying locally in-season products, cooking in bulk and in pots with lids or pressure cookers, avoiding waste and walking to the shops - alongside more modern tips such as using the microwave and internet shopping.

The report goes much further than any previous advice after mounting concern about the impact of the livestock industry on greenhouse gases and rising food prices. It follows a four-year study of the impact of food on climate change and is thought to be the most thorough study of its kind.

Tara Garnett, the report's author, warned that campaigns encouraging people to change their habits voluntarily were doomed to fail and urged the government to use caps on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon pricing to ensure changes were made. "Food is important to us in a great many cultural and symbolic ways, and our food choices are affected by cost, time, habit and other influences," the report says. "Study upon study has shown that awareness-raising campaigns alone are unlikely to work, particularly when it comes to more difficult changes."

10-07-2008, 11:50 AM
Awareness contracts to focus,
They say it's not hocus pocus,
To them it is just a thought.
Through invisible incantation,
Matter dances to mentation,
The conscious rewrites the Points.
But quickly they lose their way,
Emotion and thought carry them astray,
While the birds scream Attention! Attention!
They take note but never remember,
"Stay strong and never surrender!"
The fools never realise "I am."

Though their words sound the same,
Each speaks from a different plane,
They talk through entities.
Symbolic in nature,
But disloyal to creator,
They have a life of their own.
Gaze them at length,
And territory looses strength,
The entity is only the vessel.
Choosing menu not meal,
They all stand and squeal.
Fighting for map over chest.

Aware and yet sleeping,
No wonder they're weeping,
They believe they are one and the same.
Yet many possess them,
Command and digest them!,
'Til all awareness is gone.
They plot under clouds,
Still "owner" stands proud,
Fragmented, he is a legion.
Hi-jacked he does not see,
He believes them to be "me,"
Truly, a thief is at work.

Through all this toil and pain,
Pray tell; where is the gain?
A bucket of rotten fruit!
Seek yoga not blame,
They all say the same!
Change is always the start.
So come, transformation,
From mere mentation,
To the quality of a Willed Art.
They stand struck by awe,
The Law is for All,
In lust, the magicians rejoice!

10-07-2008, 12:48 PM

A plane forced to land in Iran after it accidentally entered Iranian airspace was a Hungarian aid plane, and not a U.S. aircraft as originally reported Tuesday by a state news agency, FOX News confirmed.

The semi-official Fars news agency in Iran reported Tuesday that a U.S. Military plane with American personnel on board was forced to land there.

But the U.S. Defense Department told FOX News that there was no evidence that the Iranian reports were true and was looking into the incident.

"We're looking into the various and conflicting reports coming from the Iranian "news" agencies, but do not have any information at this time that would lead us to believe they are correct," National Security spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

"The Iran news agency is sending mixed signals," White House press secretary Dana Perino added. "There was no U.S. aircraft involved."

Iran also denied the reports.

The aircraft was a Hungarian aid plane with no Americans on board, a senior Iranian official told FOX News' Amy Kellogg in Tehran, adding that the incident took place on Sept. 30.



George Bush considered provoking a war with Saddam Hussein's regime by flying a United States spyplane over Iraq bearing UN colours, enticing the Iraqis to take a shot at it, according to a leaked memo of a meeting between the US President and Tony Blair.

The two leaders were worried by the lack of hard evidence that Saddam Hussein had broken UN resolutions, though privately they were convinced that he had. According to the memorandum, Mr Bush said: "The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach."

He added: "It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated." The memo damningly suggests the decision to invade Iraq had already been made when Mr Blair and the US President met in Washington on 31 January 2003 ­ when the British Government was still working on obtaining a second UN resolution to legitimise the conflict.


I'm just asking everyone be very careful about what we "hear"

10-07-2008, 12:53 PM
http://steelguru.com/news/index/2008/10/05/NjU0MTU=/Solar_paint_on_steel_could_generate_renewable_ener gy_-_Report.html

Solar paint on steel could generate renewable energy - Report

It is reported that, in three years, buildings covered in steel sheets could be generating large amounts of solar electricity, thanks to a new photovoltaic paint that is being developed in a commercial partnership between UK university researchers and the steel industry.

As per report, these new solar cells also have the advantage of being able to absorb across the visible spectrum. That makes them more efficient at capturing low radiation light than conventional solar cells, and so well suited to the British climate with its many cloudy days.

The photovoltaic paint is made up of a layer of dye and a layer of electrolytes and can be applied as a liquid paste. Altogether, the sheets of steel get four coats of solar paint namely an undercoat, a layer of dye-sensitized solar cells, a layer of electrolyte or titanium dioxide as white paint pigment and, finally, a protective film. The paste is applied to steel sheets when they are passed through the rollers during the manufacturing process. The four layers of the solar cell system are built up one after the other in rapid succession.

Light hits the dye sensitized solar cells, exciting the molecules that act as a light absorber or sensitizer. The excited molecules release an electron into the nanocrystalline titanium dioxide layer, which acts as an electron collector and a circuit. The electrons finally move back into the dye, attracted by positively charged iodide particles in a liquid electrolyte. The solar electricity that the area covered with paint generates is collected and provides power for whatever application it is connected to.

A laboratory built to develop the new solar technology that replicates plant's photosynthesis is due to start work on October 30th 2008 in Shotton, North Wales.

Mr Steve Fisher spokesperson of the Corus Group, that is believed to be pouring tens of millions of euros into the venture, said that "If the solar cell paint can be successfully brought to the market, it could spell big changes when it comes to the future production of electricity."

Mr Stephen Fisher said that Corus was developing the photovoltaic paint as part of its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He added that "Although typical CO2 emissions per tonne of steel are now around 50% lower than they were 40 years ago, the steel industry is still a significant contributor to global CO2 emissions. We invest significant amounts every year reducing the environmental impact of our processes and work hard to ensure we continuously improve our performance beyond mere compliance."

10-07-2008, 01:07 PM

FCC Launches Inquiry Over Iraq War Coverage

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators have launched an inquiry into whether broadcast networks and military analysts violated federal sponsorship identification rules as a result of an effort by the Pentagon to increase favorable news coverage of the Iraq war.

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission sent letters to people mentioned in an April New York Times investigation of military analysts who received private briefings by senior Pentagon and White House officials and taken on tours of Iraq in exchange for more favorable commentary on the status of the war.

An FCC spokesman confirmed the agency's enforcement bureau recently sent letters asking for more information from the analysts. He declined to comment on the number of letters sent or provide other information about the inquiry, citing agency rules that bar FCC officials from commenting on open investigations.

The letters were sent five months after a May 6 letter from Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.), which asked the agency to investigate whether the analysts and the broadcast networks that employed them may have violated federal sponsorship identification rules.

The FCC's letters were first disclosed by U.S. News & World Report. A spokeswoman for Mr. Dingell said he never received a response to the May letter and wasn't aware that the FCC had launched an inquiry into the issue.

The FCC's rules prohibit broadcasters and employees who prepare shows from accepting money, goods or services in exchange for on-air promotion without disclosing that arrangement to viewers or listeners.

Radio broadcasters have mostly run afoul of the FCC's payola rules over the years, but last October, the agency proposed combined fines of $76,000 to two broadcast companies for not telling viewers that columnist Armstrong Williams had received money from the Department of Education in exchange for promoting the No Child Left Behind Act on his shows and other programs.

10-08-2008, 09:46 AM

'Broken Symmetry' of Particles Yields Physics Nobel (Update4)

By Frances Schwartzkopff

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- An American and two Japanese physicists shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics for showing how subatomic particles that are supposed to act similarly sometimes don't, leading to a better explanation of how the universe was formed and helping to identify new particles.

The winners were American Yoichiro Nambu, 87, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Chicago's Enrico Fermi Institute; Makoto Kobayashi, 64, who works at the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization in Tsukuba, Japan; and Toshihide Maskawa, 68, of Kyoto University.

The three scientists helped define the concept of ``broken symmetry,'' influencing the standard model used by physicists to describe interactions between the tiniest particles in the universe, the Stockholm-based Nobel Foundation said. Kobayashi and Maskawa helped explain the origin of broken symmetry, while Nambu discovered how it works, the foundation said.

``The standard model relies on this mechanism,'' said Ties Behnke, a senior scientist at the Deutsches Elektronen- Synchrotron, a research center in Hamburg, in a telephone interview. ``Without it, the model couldn't explain our observations.''

A piece of matter may be like a set table in which each particle, in choosing a direction to spin, is represented by a dinner guest who must choose whether to use a bread plate to the left or the right. Spontaneous broken symmetry occurs when one guest uses the dishes only to one side, and the rest of the guests follow suit, Behnke said.

Forming the Universe

The theory helps to explain how the universe was formed, the Nobel Foundation said. The Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter that canceled each other out under the fundamental law of symmetry. Instead, the tiniest building blocks of the universe somehow bucked the laws, leading to the creation of more matter than antimatter.

Nambu, in 1960, was the first to apply the theory of spontaneous broken symmetry, already used to describe how magnetism works, to elementary particles.

He successfully explained why particles known as quarks can't float freely outside of protons and, in the process, proved the validity of applying the idea to the field. His mathematical theories now permeate the so-called standard model of quarks and leptons, the building blocks of atoms, and the forces that govern them.

Nambu's Work

Nambu's ``work was the basis for a series of developments that led to the construction of the standard model,'' said Sheldon Glashow, a Boston University professor who won the 1979 Nobel for physics. ``It really contributed to our understanding of physics in many domains.''

Nambu came to the U.S. from Japan in 1952, to the Institute for Advanced Study, the Princeton, New Jersey, research center where Albert Einstein had been a faculty member until his death in 1955. Nambu joined the University of Chicago as a research associate in 1956 and has been a professor emeritus since 1991. He became a U.S. citizen in 1970.

``It was a surprise, I didn't expect it,'' Nambu said today during a press briefing. ``My wife didn't believe it for 30 minutes.''

Kobayashi and Maskawa studied other subatomic deviations from the law of symmetry, applying the theory to the Big Bang and correctly predicting in 1972 that an undiscovered, third family of quarks existed.

Matter and Anti-Matter

``This work explains there is a small flaw in the symmetry between matter and anti-matter, that they're not perfect mirror images of each other,'' said Andy Parker, a professor of high energy physics at Cambridge University, in a telephone interview. ``The world could have been made entirely of antimatter if the symmetry had been the other way. This tells us that there is a real difference.''

Using the world's biggest magnetic loop, physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research aim to identify that difference, Parker said. The project is among four experiments that scientists will conduct using the Large Hadron Collider. The 27-kilometer long (16 mile) magnetic loop will seek to generate conditions similar to what happened one thousandth of a millionth of a second after the start of time.

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen was the first to receive the Nobel Prize for physics, in 1901, after discovering X-rays. Last year's prize went to Albert Fert of France and Peter Gruenberg of Germany for their independent discovery of giant magnetoresistance, a technology that has made it possible to miniaturize hard disks for computers and music players.

Prize for Medicine

France's Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier and German virologist Harald zur Hausen yesterday received the Nobel Prize for medicine for identifying viruses that cause AIDS and cervical cancer.

The Nobel Foundation awards the prizes each year for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, peace and literature, to as many as three people in each category. Each prize comes this year with an award of 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million.)

Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895, stipulating in his will that most of his estate be invested and the proceeds awarded annually to people who have ``conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.'' Nobel died in 1896, and the foundation granted the first awards in 1901.

To contact the reporter on this story: Frances Schwartzkopff in Copenhagen at fschwartzkop@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: October 7, 2008 15:56 EDT

10-08-2008, 09:48 AM
Engineers long have known that great ideas can be lifted from Mother Nature, but a new paper* by researchers at Yale University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) takes it to a cellular level. Applying modern engineering design tools to one of the basic units of life, they argue that artificial cells could be built that not only replicate the electrical behavior of electric eel cells but in fact improve on them. Artificial versions of the eel’s electricity generating cells could be developed as a power source for medical implants and other tiny devices, they say.

The paper, according to NIST engineer David LaVan, is an example of the relatively new field of systems biology. “Do we understand how a cell produces electricity well enough to design one—and to optimize that design?” he asks.

Electric eels channel the output of thousands of specialized cells called electrocytes to generate electric potentials of up to 600 volts, according to biologists. The mechanism is similar to nerve cells. The arrival of a chemical signal triggers the opening of highly selective channels in a cell membrane causing sodium ions to flow in and potassium ions to flow out. The ion swap increases the voltage across the membrane, which causes even more channels to open. Past a certain point the process becomes self-perpetuating, resulting in an electric pulse traveling through the cell. The channels then close and alternate paths open to “pump” the ions back to their initial concentrations during a “resting” state.

In all, according LaVan, there are at least seven different types of channels, each with several possible variables to tweak, such as their density in the membrane. Nerve cells, which move information rather than energy, can fire rapidly but with relatively little power. Electrocytes have a slower cycle, but deliver more power for longer periods. LaVan and partner Jian Xu developed a complex numerical model to represent the conversion of ion concentrations to electrical impulses and tested it against previously published data on electrocytes and nerve cells to verify its accuracy. Then they considered how to optimize the system to maximize power output by changing the overall mix of channel types.

Their calculations show that substantial improvements are possible. One design for an artificial cell generates more than 40 percent more energy in a single pulse than a natural electrocyte. Another would produce peak power outputs over 28 percent higher. In principle, say the authors, stacked layers of artificial cells in a cube slightly over 4 mm on a side are capable of producing continuous power output of about 300 microwatts to drive small implant devices. The individual components of such artificial cells—including a pair of artificial membranes separated by an insulated partition and ion channels that could be created by engineering proteins—already have been demonstrated by other researchers. Like the natural counterpart, the cell’s energy source would be adenosine triphosphate (ATP), synthesized from the body’s sugars and fats using tailored bacteria or mitochondria.


10-08-2008, 09:50 AM

Glowing Creature-Strange Lights Reported In Pennsylvania

From Researcher Stan Gordon

On October 4, 2008, two hunters in Elk County, Pennsylvania, encountered something strange which they are still trying to find an explanation for. The two men entered the woods at about 4:45 a.m. It had been raining, and it was very dark. For lighting they had only a "hat light" and a mini mag light.

As the fellows walked further into the wooded area, they heard the sound of a coyote howl and the two men stopped. A short time later, they heard coyotes howling from various locations all around the woods. It appeared to be three different packs of the animals. The men had hunted quite often. The one witness told me that he had never heard so many coyotes howling like that before. At times, it was hard for the two men to communicate with each other.

Suddenly about 150-200 yards ahead on the other side of a field, they noticed two very dim glowing lights. The lights were about the size of a baseball and about two feet apart, and estimated to be about 15 feet above the ground. They glowed, "like the indiglo color of a watch." The two men thought the lights were odd, but considered that maybe there were some hunters ahead. The men shut off their lights. As they walked forward, in the distance toward where they saw the first glowing lights, they now observed what looked like a flashlight beam flashing back and forth between the tree line.

They did not think this was odd, since it was archery season, and there was the possibility that other hunters were in the area. Within minutes of seeing the single light beam, about 10 individual white beams of light suddenly appeared. These light beams which "flashed around," seemed to originate from one point, and were not moving around as if being carried by someone. The beams appeared to be about 10 feet above the ground, and projected parallel with the ground, and extended straight out from the originating location.

The other hunter asked out loud, "how many are there?" It seemed odd to the two hunters that these lights did not seem to be trying to find a path through the woods. The men were confused as to what they were seeing. Their attention was then drawn to a glowing figure, moving from the area of the beams of light. "It seemed as though one light beam led it to the field." The glowing human-like form moved about 20 feet out into a grass field. The grass in the area was about six inches tall. The other beams of light suddenly went out.

One witness described the being as similar to "a silhouette of a person just glowing, completely glowing." The man said the best way to describe what they saw was if someone took glow in the dark paint, and rubbed it on a person's body. The being was estimated to be about three feet tall, the head may have been a little larger than a human, and the upper part of the body seemed to lean forward.

The arms appeared to hang straight down, and were longer than that of a human. The legs were hard to see, as the glow was blocking out the shape. The color of the glow was described as a light green, lime color. The being seemed to be moving at twice the speed of the two men, who were walking fast. It actually gave the impression that it was gliding, and no sound was heard.

The one man recalled that he was becoming quite shook up during the incident, and he began to whistle out loud. Moments later, the being, which had been moving steadily, just"stopped on a dime." It remained motionless for about 30 seconds. It then moved about 20 feet into the field, "then suddenly just vanished." It disappeared in front of their eyes, and was not seen again. Within about two minutes after the being disappeared, all of the coyotes in the area suddenly stopped howling. The entire incident lasted a total of about five minutes.

As one witness told me, "I know what I saw. I just don't know what it was." The men went back to the location later that day and looked around for any traces where they had seen the lights and the mysterious being, but nothing was found. The men tried to rationalize what they had experienced, and would be interested to know if anyone has seen anything similar in that area.

This incident occurred amongst a series of other UFO reports, which have been ongoing across Pennsylvania in recent weeks and months. Actually, UFO activity has been active all year across the state. My PA UFO Hotline, as well as the National UFO Reporting Center, and the PA MUFON, have all been receiving sighting reports. While there have been numerous observations reported in the eastern part of the state, there has also been UFO activity in the southwestern areas as well. Among the recent UFO sightings which I have been investigating are the following.

About 2 a.m. on the morning of August 12, 2008, a witness who lives in a rural area between Greensburg and Youngwood, PA, in Westmoreland County, observed a bright light shining in a window. Upon looking outside, the witness observed what was described as two huge double headlights side by side. The lights, which had a yellow cast to them, were just across the road in front of another house, and very low above the ground. At first the observer thought that it must have been a helicopter, but there was no sound, and no rotor blades were apparent. After several minutes, the lights rose very slowly, and moved off into the sky over the trees.

There were a number of independent UFO reports from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, reported during the early morning hours of September 5, 2008. About 12:30 a.m., near New Stanton, a witness observed some oddities in the sky. In the distance, what looked like a fire in the sky above a tree line was observed. (Another similar report came in later from another area.) The luminous display soon disappeared, and a strange object was soon observed in the western sky. This object was round and glowed white, with flashing blue and red lights at the bottom area. The object suddenly vanished, as though someone turned off a power switch.

A second object soon appeared toward the south. This object was moving and was larger in size than the first, and somewhat football shaped. This object moved rather fast, and appeared to drop close to the ground in the distance. With binoculars, the glowing white object, appeared to be perfectly round, with glowing red rectangular lights that did not flash, and were evenly spaced around the outside perimeter.

At almost the same time, another report was received from a man who was driving near South Park, outside of Pittsburgh. The driver suddenly observed two brilliant lights which were equally spaced, which he noticed as they came into view above his windshield. The lights came from the back of his car, and had moved towards the front. Within seconds, a second set of similar lights came into view. These lights were about three feet in diameter and did not blink.

The driver indicated that the layout of the lights would mimic the proportions generally of a standard piece of typing paper with a large light at each corner. The lights seemed to be attached to an object, which was estimated to be about 20 feet wide, and 50 feet long. The object was no more than 100 feet above the ground and was completely silent. The object made a sharp bank and accelerated into the sky above some trees.

At about 2:50 a.m. that same morning near Jeannette, a large orange ball of light was observed moving slowly across the clear sky. The light was estimated to be about a 1,000 feet up, moving east to west, and seemed to be almost floating. It suddenly vanished from sight as though someone shut off a switch.

I am looking into a number of other recent UFO reports. If you have any information on these cases, or if you have seen anything strange in Pennsylvania, please get in contact with me.

Stan Gordon
PA UFO Hotline: 724-838-7768
e-mail address: paufo@comcast.net

10-09-2008, 07:18 AM

The Art of Android Jones (http://www.androidjones.com/index.html)

10-09-2008, 08:53 AM

LSD cured my headache

Cluster headaches cause such severe pain that some sufferers are driven to suicide. Now one man believes he's found a surprising cure

10-09-2008, 09:04 AM

Mahatma Gandhi's birthday seems like a good time to remind some of you about tabla master ALOKE DUTTA's performance in DENVER on OCTOBER 18. Aloke and KATALYST will be doing their thing at THE MERCURY CAFE (2199 California Street, Denver, CO.), with the all-ages show starting at 9 PM. For more information, contact Dave at katalystmusic3@yahoo.com.

10-09-2008, 09:47 AM
Engineers long have known that great ideas can be lifted from Mother Nature, but a new paper* by researchers at Yale University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) takes it to a cellular level. Applying modern engineering design tools to one of the basic units of life, they argue that artificial cells could be built that not only replicate the electrical behavior of electric eel cells but in fact improve on them. Artificial versions of the eel’s electricity generating cells could be developed as a power source for medical implants and other tiny devices, they say.

The paper, according to NIST engineer David LaVan, is an example of the relatively new field of systems biology. “Do we understand how a cell produces electricity well enough to design one—and to optimize that design?” he asks.

Electric eels channel the output of thousands of specialized cells called electrocytes to generate electric potentials of up to 600 volts, according to biologists. The mechanism is similar to nerve cells. The arrival of a chemical signal triggers the opening of highly selective channels in a cell membrane causing sodium ions to flow in and potassium ions to flow out. The ion swap increases the voltage across the membrane, which causes even more channels to open. Past a certain point the process becomes self-perpetuating, resulting in an electric pulse traveling through the cell. The channels then close and alternate paths open to “pump” the ions back to their initial concentrations during a “resting” state.

In all, according LaVan, there are at least seven different types of channels, each with several possible variables to tweak, such as their density in the membrane. Nerve cells, which move information rather than energy, can fire rapidly but with relatively little power. Electrocytes have a slower cycle, but deliver more power for longer periods. LaVan and partner Jian Xu developed a complex numerical model to represent the conversion of ion concentrations to electrical impulses and tested it against previously published data on electrocytes and nerve cells to verify its accuracy. Then they considered how to optimize the system to maximize power output by changing the overall mix of channel types.

Their calculations show that substantial improvements are possible. One design for an artificial cell generates more than 40 percent more energy in a single pulse than a natural electrocyte. Another would produce peak power outputs over 28 percent higher. In principle, say the authors, stacked layers of artificial cells in a cube slightly over 4 mm on a side are capable of producing continuous power output of about 300 microwatts to drive small implant devices. The individual components of such artificial cells—including a pair of artificial membranes separated by an insulated partition and ion channels that could be created by engineering proteins—already have been demonstrated by other researchers. Like the natural counterpart, the cell’s energy source would be adenosine triphosphate (ATP), synthesized from the body’s sugars and fats using tailored bacteria or mitochondria.


Wow, I have no idea what they are saying most of the time but that's crazy. Cells in your body powering your implant...I'd still want a battery backup.

10-09-2008, 09:54 AM
Wow, I have no idea what they are saying most of the time but that's crazy. Cells in your body powering your implant...I'd still want a battery backup.

lol - I hit snooze on my alarm implant!

10-09-2008, 12:07 PM
Evey: All this riot and uproar, V... is this Anarchy? Is this the Land of Do-As-You-Please?
V: No. This is only the land of take-what-you-want. Anarchy means "without leaders", not "without order". With anarchy comes an age or ordnung, of true order, which is to say voluntary order... this age of ordung will begin when the mad and incoherent cycle of verwirrung that these bulletins reveal has run its course... This is not anarchy, Eve. This is chaos.

10-09-2008, 12:10 PM
V for Vendetta? I don't remember that part.

From the book... :)

10-09-2008, 12:24 PM
Wasn't it a comic book...?

yes... I'm not really a fan of comics... but i do like alan and grant's work.

10-10-2008, 07:22 AM
Geckos have long inspired scientists and super-hero fans alike with their ability to scamper up vertical walls and cling to ceilings with a single toe. In recent years, people have attempted to create materials that match those spectacular abilities, in the hope of creating new advanced adhesives, or even car braking systems.

Now US chemists claim to have made one based on nanotubes that it is 10 times stickier than some gecko feet. Even more impressively, like a real gecko foot, it can also be easily unstuck with a tug in the right direction.

Gecko's superhero toes are covered in microscopic hairs, known as setae, with even smaller branches at the tips, called spatulae.

These ensure that a gecko's foot has a large surface area in contact with any surface, maximising the weak but ever-present attraction between adjacent molecules known as the van der Waals force.
Glass gripper

Chemists led by Liming Dai of University of Dayton, Ohio and Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia Institute of Technology, made their artificial setae by growing nested carbon nanotubes on a silicon wafer.

They controlled the growth process to make a forest of vertical nanotube trunks turning into a canopy of tangled ends on top. The curly entangled mess acts like natural spatulae – when pressed against a surface, they have a large contact area and hence a strong hold.

The new material was tested for stickiness on surfaces ranging from Teflon to sandpaper. Attached to a glass surface, a 4mm2 piece of the material can support over 1600 grams when pulled roughly parallel to the surface (see video, right).

That is around 10 times better than some species of gecko and three times better than the best artificial competitor.

But removing a pad of the material is simple, unlike some rival materials. Pulling it perpendicular to a surface means only the tips of the nanotubes remain in contact with the surface, and the setae will easily loosen their grip. A weight of 160 grams on the tiny sample is enough to do that.
New glue?

Kellar Autumn from the Lewis and Clark College, Oregon, was the first to suggest that the gecko's stickiness was down to geometry rather than the chemistry of its feet (see Gecko's gravity-defying trick explained). "The ability of this material to support large shear loads and to detach easily is very encouraging," he told New Scientist.

He points out, though, that although a person can easily stick the material to a surface, it requires much more force to apply than real gecko setae. A 4 millimetre2 piece of the new material needs about 2 kilograms of force to stick, compared to the few grams required by a real gecko or some synthetic rivals.

Liming thinks his material should still be able to replace glue and other forms of adhesion. For example, because nanotubes are excellent conductors, the carbon setae could replace solder in electronics. The material could also be valuable in the vacuum of space, where traditional adhesives dry out quickly, he says.

As for superhero suits, Liming says: "We will exploit this possibility, if there is a serious need."

Economics is likely to play a deciding role too – carbon nanotubes are not cheap to produce. But the price has already declined more than a thousand fold over the last few years as fabrication processes have improved. Liming says dropping prices will eventually make it possible to produce his material in rolls rather than one-off sections.

Journal reference: Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1159503)


10-10-2008, 07:23 AM

Pyramids Makeover

The last of the Seven Ancient Wonders gets a twenty-first century facelift, but pleasing everyone proves to be a difficult task
The site of the 5,000-year-old Giza Pyramids is now up to speed with the twenty-first century, complete with cameras, lasers and control rooms. Last month, part of a multi-phase plan to renovate the site of the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World was completed, a modern makeover cooked up by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) to make the Giza Plateau more tourist-friendly.

The first phase, costing roughly LE 60 million, includes an 18-kilometer-long steel fence equipped with 199 closed circuit TV cameras, infrared motion sensors and elaborate control rooms placed alongside the fence. In addition to the reinforced boundaries, the plan dedicated one of three entrances, the one near the Mena House Oberoi Resort, as the primary security entrance, kitted out with x-ray machines and metal detectors.

While the modernizing of the most ancient site in the world — one that was previously an uncontrolled sandbox of pandemonium — has tourists and international media impressed, it has left local peddlers and bazaar sellers locked out and worried about their livelihood.

According to Sabri Abd El Eziz, assistant to SCA Secretary General Zahi Hawass, the plan was put in motion about seven years ago. After finishing site management for all the areas in Upper Egypt — including Abu Simbel, Luxor, Philae and Kom Ombo — the SCA’s plan for 2008-2009 was to focus on the pyramids. “There are roughly 6,000 to 10,000 visitors daily at the Pyramids and though we accommodate them easily, there was a need for a [facelift],” says Abd El Eziz.

A principal reason for the developments was that the SCA, although part of the Ministry of Culture, needs to find ways to be self-sufficient. “The SCA doesn’t take money from the government; we depend on entrance fees and exhibitions both locally and abroad, as well as royalties,” says Abd El Eziz. With the previously lax control over the Pyramids area, income from entrance fees was approximately LE 300,000 daily. “After the fence and the setting-up of a proper entrance, income is now around LE 800,000 [] and that’s money that we use for maintaining museums and restoring antiquities.”

10-10-2008, 07:24 AM

Scientists: DNA testing proves Virginia shark's pup a 'virgin birth'; 2nd case ever confirmed
By STEVE SZKOTAK, Associated Press Writer
3:30 AM PDT, October 10, 2008
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Scientists have confirmed the second case of a "virgin birth" in a shark.

In a study reported Friday in the Journal of Fish Biology, scientists said DNA testing proved that a pup carried by a female Atlantic blacktip shark in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center contained no genetic material from a male.

The first documented case of asexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis, among sharks involved a pup born to a hammerhead at an Omaha, Neb., zoo.

"This first case was no fluke," Demian Chapman, a shark scientist and lead author of the second study, said in a statement. "It is quite possible that this is something female sharks of many species can do on occasion."

The aquarium sharks that reproduced without mates each carried only one pup, while some shark species can produce litters numbering in the dozen or more. The scientists cautioned that the rare asexual births should not be viewed as a possible solution to declining global shark populations.

10-10-2008, 07:24 AM

The ultra-thin solar cells that could generate power through windows

By Claire Bates
Last updated at 11:11 AM on 06th October 2008

* Comments (1)
* Add to My Stories

Solar cells that are transparent enough to be used to tint windows on buildings or cars, have been developed by U.S researchers.

Conventional solar cells are bulky and rigid but lightweight cells are usually far less efficient. However, a new method of making the silicon-based devices could create thin, flexible cells without any trade-offs.

Brittle wafers of silicon are sliced into ultra-thin pieces and carefully 'printed' onto a malleable surface. The cells are so flexible they can be rolled around a pencil.

10-10-2008, 07:31 AM
The shark thing sorta freaks me out - something about the way birds are dying, bees, and now reptiles/amphibians/fish are freaking out -

10-10-2008, 07:33 AM
No need to worry.

Mom's just trying to fix herself.

Oh i'm not worried yo - i know how to swim... ;)

10-10-2008, 07:43 AM

See ya at AZ bay then.


You might get beach front property where you're at too ;)

10-10-2008, 07:48 AM
Ahso - i don't own anything other than myself and my subaru - and well....pheaa...lol

10-10-2008, 07:50 AM

The Mystery of the Missing Opium
October 10th, 2008

Ask MI6 where it is.

Via: BBC:

It’s a mystery that has got British law enforcement officials and others across the planet scratching their heads. Put bluntly, enough heroin to supply the world’s demand for years has simply disappeared.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) describes the situation as “a time bomb for public health and global security”.

This week’s Map of the Week comes courtesy of the UNODC. It shows their latest estimate of opium production in Afghanistan - another bumper year.

A crop of 7,700 tonnes will produce around 1,100 tonnes of heroin - it basically works on a 7:1 ratio.The mystery is that the global demand for heroin is less than half that. In other words, Afghanistan only needs to produce 3,500 tonnes to satisfy every known heroin user on the planet.

Look at the graph, though.

For the past three years, production has been running at almost twice the level of global demand. The numbers just don’t add up.

Research Credit: EB, MT, others, sorry lots of email

10-10-2008, 07:52 AM

This movie is in production right now. I just ran across the site at americanthemovie.com and dug up this information at IMDB:

Matt Harlock has been writing/directing film for 10 years through his own production company halflife films. His current film project is ‘American: The Bill Hicks Story’, a new feature length documentary for the BBC and DVD release that Matt developed with Paul Thomas after establishing contact with the Hick’s estate over four years ago by organising tribute nights to the late comedian in London.

This is not the same as the possible film about Bill Hicks, with Russell Crowe. Either way, something tells me we’ll be hearing a lot more about Bill Hicks next year.


10-10-2008, 07:55 AM


10-10-2008, 07:58 AM

When two protons collide in an accelerator, they are transformed into muons and other particles. One Russian physicist offers this analogy: it's like two Soviet Fiats colliding to produce a bus and a Mercedes Benz 600. That's the thing about high-energy physics: the total is different than the sum of its parts.

So it was in 1978 that when the proton beam entered Anatoli Bugorski's skull it measured about 200,000 rads, and when it exited, having collided with the inside of his head, it weighed in at about 300,000 rads. Bugorski, a 36-year-old researcher at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino, was checking a piece of accelerator equipment that had malfunctioned - as had, apparently, the several safety mechanisms. Leaning over the piece of equipment, Bugorski stuck his head in the space through which the beam passes on its way from one part of the accelerator tube to the next and saw a flash brighter than a thousand suns. He felt no pain.

From what we know about radiation, about 500 to 600 rads is enough to kill a person (though we don't know of anyone else who has been exposed to radiation in the form of a proton beam moving at about the speed of sound). The left side of his face swollen beyond recognition, Bugorski was taken to a clinic in Moscow so that doctors could observe his death over the following two to three weeks.

Over the next few days, skin on the back of his head and on his face just next to his left nostril peeled away to reveal the path the beam had burned through the skin, the skull, and the brain tissue. The inside of his head continued to burn away: all the nerves on the left were gone in two years, paralyzing that side of his face. Still, not only did Bugorski not die, but he remained a normally functioning human being, capable even of continuing in science. For the first dozen years, the only real evidence that something had gone neurologically awry were occasional petit mal seizures; over the last few years Bugorski has also had six grand mals. The dividing line of his life goes down the middle of his face: the right side has aged, while the left froze 19 years ago. When he concentrates, he wrinkles only half his forehead.

Because virtually everything connected with nuclear energy was kept secret in the Soviet Union, for more than a decade Bugorski observed an unspoken ban on talking about his accident. About twice a year he went to the Moscow radiation clinic to be examined and to commune with other members of the brotherhood of nuclear-accident victims. "Like former inmates, we are always aware of one another," he says. "There aren't that many of us, and we know one another's life stories. Generally, these are sad tales."

10-10-2008, 08:14 AM
"UFO behaviour is more akin to magic than to physics as we know it... the modern UFOnauts and the demons of past days are probably identical." -Dr. Pierre Guerin (http://thegallowaychronicles.blogspot.com/2008/10/lam-on-run.html)

10-10-2008, 11:24 AM

When two protons collide in an accelerator, they are transformed into muons and other particles. One Russian physicist offers this analogy: it's like two Soviet Fiats colliding to produce a bus and a Mercedes Benz 600. That's the thing about high-energy physics: the total is different than the sum of its parts.

So it was in 1978 that when the proton beam entered Anatoli Bugorski's skull it measured about 200,000 rads, and when it exited, having collided with the inside of his head, it weighed in at about 300,000 rads. Bugorski, a 36-year-old researcher at the Institute for High Energy Physics in Protvino, was checking a piece of accelerator equipment that had malfunctioned - as had, apparently, the several safety mechanisms. Leaning over the piece of equipment, Bugorski stuck his head in the space through which the beam passes on its way from one part of the accelerator tube to the next and saw a flash brighter than a thousand suns. He felt no pain.

From what we know about radiation, about 500 to 600 rads is enough to kill a person (though we don't know of anyone else who has been exposed to radiation in the form of a proton beam moving at about the speed of sound). The left side of his face swollen beyond recognition, Bugorski was taken to a clinic in Moscow so that doctors could observe his death over the following two to three weeks.

Over the next few days, skin on the back of his head and on his face just next to his left nostril peeled away to reveal the path the beam had burned through the skin, the skull, and the brain tissue. The inside of his head continued to burn away: all the nerves on the left were gone in two years, paralyzing that side of his face. Still, not only did Bugorski not die, but he remained a normally functioning human being, capable even of continuing in science. For the first dozen years, the only real evidence that something had gone neurologically awry were occasional petit mal seizures; over the last few years Bugorski has also had six grand mals. The dividing line of his life goes down the middle of his face: the right side has aged, while the left froze 19 years ago. When he concentrates, he wrinkles only half his forehead.

Because virtually everything connected with nuclear energy was kept secret in the Soviet Union, for more than a decade Bugorski observed an unspoken ban on talking about his accident. About twice a year he went to the Moscow radiation clinic to be examined and to commune with other members of the brotherhood of nuclear-accident victims. "Like former inmates, we are always aware of one another," he says. "There aren't that many of us, and we know one another's life stories. Generally, these are sad tales."

Very interesting - it was a concentrated beam which only affected his head. Neurons are among the most resistant cells in our body to radiation - mainly because they aren't dividing. Bone marrow and the gastrointestinal tract are the first to go in most radiation poisonings leading to overwhelming infection and death.

10-14-2008, 08:25 AM

10-14-2008, 10:14 AM
here i am always with you
treading down to your heart
where the sun rose and set
simple beauty given
she showed her glory
in the midnight silver
she rose again in gold
i watched her change
song and tune
thoughts falling like footsteps
leaves raining upon a walked path hidden
to where a staff was given
Raise up! She sang in birds
Listen! She she said in the stream
you've been blank, waiting
for new illumnination.
Take these gifts
understand your defined drawing lines,
symbols, minterets, and alphabets

10-14-2008, 10:16 AM

10-14-2008, 10:19 AM
http://www.brainsturbator.com/site/comments/our_fractal_universe_a_sneak_peek_at_the_new_cosmo logy/

Our Fractal Universe: A Sneak Peek at the New Cosmology

Our Fractal Universe: A Sneak Peek at the New Cosmology

Buddhabrot Mandelbrot VisualizationWe talk about the third dimension a lot, but most humans don’t live in it. Abbot’s Flatland was not so much a metaphor as an operational description of the sensory world most people inhabit: a continuous, unbroken plane that, despite surface variations and wrinkles, remains a flat stage for our two dimensional lives. This is inevitable, since humans cannot hover or fly without technology assistance, and few of us can jump higher than three feet off the ground.

And let’s be serious, here—what is a dimension? Have anyone ever even proved they existed? Sure, you can draw a Cartesian XYZ grid on paper, but you can also draw a unicorn vomiting angels. I’ve been digging through the concept of time for a month, and it’s a concept nobody can really define, despite the fact we all experience it. I’ve come to realize there’s very little humans can say for sure about space, either. The more we learn, the less we know. Everything you were taught in school is currently falling apart—so let’s take a look at a theory that will likely be replacing all this Big Bang horse****: the Universe is fractal and infinite at every level of scale.

Rethinking Occam’s Razor

“Each time we formulate a hypothesis, we take the simplest one possible. But what obligates the Universe to be simple?”

--James Peebles

I seriously question the assumption that the simplest explanation is usually the best. I find it truly bizarre that after the past century of scientific discovery, which has shown every single aspect of our Universe to be stranger and more complex than we ever thought possible, people still discuss the concept of Occam’s Razor with a straight face. Of course, most people having that discussion don’t even know Occam’s Razor, since the literal translation goes like this:

“...entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.”

Before I dismiss the concept, I want to bring up one of the more interesting cognitive biases that humans are afflicted with: The Conjunction Fallacy. As puts it in his excellent paper, “Cognitive Biases Affecting Assessment of Global Risk”:

According to probability theory, adding additional detail onto a story must render the story less probable. Yet human psychology seems to follow the rule that adding an additional detail can make the story more plausible.

Of course, once you really dig into the field of cognitive bias, you’re left with the disturbing realization that our brain is just a hall of mirrors run by a monkey. It can be hard to get work done under those circumstances, so the less said about it, the better.

*That was from sept 21st - today i see this in the news:


Galaxy map hints at fractal universe

* 00:00 25 June 2008
* NewScientist.com news service
* Amanda Gefter

s the matter in the universe arranged in a fractal pattern? A new study of nearly a million galaxies suggests it is – though there are no well-accepted theories to explain why that would be so.

Cosmologists trying to reconstruct the entire history of the universe have precious few clues from which to work. One key clue is the distribution of matter throughout space, which has been sculpted for nearly 14 billion years by the competing forces of gravity and cosmic expansion. If there is a pattern in the sky, it encodes the secrets of the universe.

A lot is at stake, and the matter distribution has become a source of impassioned debate between those who say the distribution is smooth and homogeneous and those who say it is hierarchically structured and clumpy, like a fractal.

Nearly all physicists agree that on relatively small scales the distribution is fractal-like: hundreds of billions of stars group together to form galaxies, galaxies clump together to form clusters, and clusters amass into superclusters.

The point of contention, however, is what happens at even larger scales. According to most physicists, this Russian doll-style clustering comes to an end and the universe, on large scales, becomes homogeneous.


Both stories are cont'd on their sites - so check it out


FractoGene IP portfolio

A fractal geometrical generalization of the "gene" concept of the 100-year old "genetics":
The new Chapter of Dr. Pellionisz' contribution to the Algorithmic Approach to Neuro- and Genome Biology.

Protein sythesis is not achieved by a masterstroke of "gene" information.
It is an iterative process with recursive access to DNA information:


Ultraconserved Sequences: The Core Code of DNA? (http://www.technoccult.com/archives/2008/10/13/ultraconserved-sequences-the-core-code-of-dna/)

Funny thing about DNA science: when huge breakthroughs get proclaimed, they generally only lead to more questions and collapse into hype upon any serious scrutiny. Likewise, when baffling new mysteries are announced, they tend to point the way towards a fuller understanding of the DNA cipher. Case in point — this weekend’s headline, Mysterious DNA Found to Survive Eons of Evolution.

The precise term is “ultraconserved sequences,” and as one observer on the RI forum eloquently summarized it, “this mutation-free DNA has shared eveolutionary benefits through out the entire class Mammilia without producing a visible or identifiable shared characteristic.” More meat from the article itself:

…about 500 regions of our DNA have apparently remained intact throughout the history of mammalian evolution, or the past 80 million to 100 million years, basically free of mutations. The researchers call these mystery snippets “ultraconserved regions,” and found that they are about 300 times less likely than other regions of the genome to be lost during the course of mammalian evolution. “These regions seem to be under intense purifying selection — almost no mutations take hold permanently,” said researcher Gill Bejerano.

Technoccult readers might also be interested in the lucid heresy of Dr. Andras J. Pellionisz, author of the Fractogene website. This new discovery connects quite perfectly with the Pellionisz theory that genes aren’t a sequential list of instructions but rather a fractal and iterative template for organic growth. I would also highly recommend the work of Chris King, who’s been making the same assertion about the fabric of the entire universe. He recently published a dense but readable 7 page summary of his work, Why the Universe is Fractal, that’s worth printing out and chewing over.

10-14-2008, 10:20 AM

Mysterious DNA Found to Survive Eons of Evolution

10-14-2008, 10:22 AM

10-14-2008, 10:23 AM

<img src="http://www.technoccult.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/mound_bayou.jpg">

I’ve been collecting a history of Temporary Autonomous Zones. I’m grateful to Hakim Bey for the conceptual phrase, but his history was more romantic than tactically useful…and after all, he is something of a pedo. So in honor of the TAZ going down right now in PDX — YOU KNOW ABOUT ESOZONE, YES?? — I’ll be sharing some of the best stories this weekend.

One of my favorite corners of Southern History was an all-black community hidden in Northern Mississippi. The story of Mound Bayou stretches across centuries and winds through everything from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement. Sadly, Mound Bayou exists almost nowhere online. The Wikipedia is shallow filler, and most of the online histories are short and sloppy.

Isaiah Montgomery and Ben Green founded Mound Bayou in 1887, but the story begins with Montgomery’s father, Ben, who was a slave on the David Bend plantation. For most folks alive today, our images of a plantation are based on Roots, but things were very different at Davis Bend. It was owned by Joeseph Davis (the brother of Confederate president Jefferson Davis) and he was heavily inspired by the “socialist utopianism” of an obscure thinker named Robert Owen.

As a side note, Technoccult readers might be interested to know that “Owen insisted he could communicate with great minds of the past by means of electricity.” The precise details are lost to history, but it should be noted Owens was unusually blunt after death, telling Spritualist mediums who summoned him “Oh! How you have misunderstood the laws which connect spirit with spirit…you will never understand these things…”

David Bend was an experiment in education and empowerment, and yes, I do realize how absurd that sounds when I’m still talking about white people owning slaves. Rather than draconian dormitory conditions, though, Joeseph Davis encouraged his slaves to educate themselves and even own businesses. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Davis sold his land holdings to Ben Montgomery, who had run the plantation store. The price was $300,000 in gold, and with that David Bend became one of the first autonomous black communities in the South.

The Owen-inspired focus on learning and skills carried into Mound Bayou, especially when Booker T. Washington got involved later on. This isn’t just a look into the past, though: I think that Mound Bayou has a signifigant lesson to offer us here in 2008. During the many “exodus” movements which happened throughout the history of both Davis Bend and Mound Bayou, the Montgomery family was adamant about building a strong foundation instead of leaving for the mere promise of something better. Most importantly, the education they focused on was agricultural tech and self-sufficiency techniques:

Through outlets like the town’s newspaper, The Demonstrator (1900), Mound Bayou promoted education as an essential path to community survival, in particular vocational education in scientific agriculture through the Mound Bayou Normal and Industrial Institute.

Here in 2008, John Robb, one of my favorite Big Thinkers and the author of Brave New War, has been doing an amazing series of short, potent articles revolving around global systems collapse and the concept of the Resilient Community. Although fairy tales like Gabriele D’Annunzio taking over Fiume are beautiful, they’re not realistic or sustainable solutions. Mound Bayou is a model that lasted, and it was based on smart design and hard work, not poetry and wine.

10-14-2008, 10:28 AM


Cybercrime Supersite 'DarkMarket' Was FBI Sting, Documents Confirm

"While criminals thought it was based in Eastern Europe, the internet's top English-speaking cybercrime forum was secretly run by the FBI from this building on the banks of the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh."

10-14-2008, 12:01 PM


Ancient Peru pyramid spotted by satellite
New remote-sensing technology reveals huge structure beneath surface

10-14-2008, 12:03 PM

Liquid Mirror Telescopes on the Moon