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Old 01-07-2009, 11:56 AM   #1326
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http://commongroundmag.com/2009/01/pinchbeck0901.html

The Intention Economy
by Daniel Pinchbeck

While exploring shamanism and non-ordinary states, I discovered the power of intention. According to the artist Ian Lungold, who lectured brilliantly about the Mayan Calendar before his untimely death a few years ago, the Maya believe that your intention is as essential to your ability to navigate reality as your position in time and space. If you don’t know your intention, or if you are operating with the wrong intentions, you are always lost, and can only get more dissolute.

This idea becomes exquisitely clear during psychedelic journeys, when your state of mind gets intensified and projected kaleidoscopically all around you. As our contemporary world becomes more and more psychedelic, we are receiving harsh lessons in the power of intention on a vast scale. Over the last decades, the international financial elite manipulated the markets to create obscene rewards for themselves at the expense of poor and middle class people across the world. Using devious derivatives, cunning CDOS, and other trickery, they siphoned off ever-larger portions of the surplus value created by the producers of real goods and services, contriving a debt-based economy that had to fall apart. Their own greed — such a meager, dull intent — has now blown up in their faces, annihilating, in slow motion, the corrupt system built to serve them.

Opportunities such as this one don’t come along very often and should be seized once they appear. When the edifice of mainstream society suddenly collapses, as is happening now, it is a fantastic time for artists, visionaries, mad scientists and seers to step forward and present a well-defined alternative. What is required, in my opinion, is not some moderate proposal or incremental change, but a complete shift in values and goals, making a polar reversal of our society’s basic paradigm. If our consumer-based, materialism-driven model of society is dissolving, what can we offer in its place? Why not begin with the most elevated intentions? Why not offer the most imaginatively fabulous systemic redesign?

The fall of capitalism and the crisis of the biosphere could induce mass despair and misery, or they could impel the creative adaptation and conscious evolution of the human species. We could attain a new level of wisdom and build a compassionate global society in which resources are shared equitably while we devote ourselves to protecting threatened species and repairing damaged ecosystems. Considering the lightning-like pace of global communication and new social technologies, this change could happen with extraordinary speed.

To a very great extent, the possibilities we choose to realize in the future will be a result of our individual and collective intention. For instance, if we maintain a Puritanical belief that work is somehow good in and of itself, then we will keep striving to create a society of full employment, even if those jobs become “green collar.” A more radical viewpoint perceives most labor as something that could become essentially voluntary in the future. The proper use of technology could allow us to transition to a post-scarcity leisure society, where the global populace spends its time growing food, building community, making art, making love, learning new skills and deepening self-development through spiritual disciplines such as yoga, tantra, shamanism and meditation.

One common perspective is that the West and Islam are engaged in an intractable conflict of civilizations, where the hatred and terrorism can only get worse. Another viewpoint could envision the Judeo-Christian culture of the West finding common ground and reconciling with the esoteric core, the metaphysical purity, of the Islamic faith. It seems — to me anyway — that we could find solutions to all of the seemingly intractable problems of our time once we are ready to apply a different mindset to them. As Einstein and others have noted, we don’t solve problems through employing the type of thinking that created them, but rather dissolve them when we reach a different level of consciousness.

We became so mired in our all-too-human world that we lost touch with the other, elder forms of sentience all around us. Along with delegates to the UN, perhaps we could train cadres of diplomats to negotiate with the vegetal, fungal and microbial entities that sustain life on earth? The mycologist Paul Stamets proposes we create a symbiosis with mushrooms to detoxify eco-systems and improve human health. The herbalist Morgan Brent believes psychoactive flora like ayahuasca and peyote are “teacher plants,” sentient emissaries from super-intelligent nature, trying to help the human species find its niche in the greater community of life. When we pull back to study the hapless and shameful activity of our species across the earth, these ideas do not seem very farfetched.

In fact, the breakdown of our financial system has not altered the amount of tangible resources available on our planet. Rather than trying to re-jigger an unjust debt-based system that artificially maintains inequity and scarcity, we could make a new start. We could develop a different intention for what we are supposed to be doing together on this swiftly tilting planet, and institute new social and economic infrastructure to support that intent.

Daniel Pinchbeck is the author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (Broadway Books, 2002) and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (Tarcher/Penguin, 2006). His features have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Wired and many other publications.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:56 AM   #1327
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http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ad...ures/peru.html


Peru: Hell and Back—Video Exclusive
Deep in the Amazon jungle, writer Kira Salak tests ayahuasca, a shamanistic medicinal ritual, and finds a terrifying—but enlightening—world within.

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Old 01-07-2009, 11:58 AM   #1328
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http://www.livinginperu.com/news-812...t-barack-obama

Peru: Shamans hope the best for Barack Obama



A group of Peruvian shamans met at Lima's highest point on Sunday to perform a ceremony which they believe will help protect the spirits of world leaders in 2009.

The cleansing ritual was lead by shaman Juan Osco who took his group of shamans to the highest point of Lima, San Cristóbal, located in the district of Rimac.

The ceremony involved the flag of the United States of America, a picture of Barack Obama and his family and a group of shamans wishing the family and Obama’s 2009 presidency good luck.

Also on the list for cleansing were Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Bolivian President Evo Morales and Peruvian President Alan Garcia Perez. The shamans wished for Chavez, Fidel and Morales to rid themselves and their countries of bad spirits.

Oddly enough, also on the list was pop sensation Michael Jackson. Shamans dedicated a cleansing ceremony for the King of Pop wishing him good health and strength in the coming year.

To watch the video of the shamans performing their ceremony, click here.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:59 AM   #1329
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http://www.inauka.ru/blogs/article88287.html

STORY ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF EARTH FROM FOLKLORE OF THE EVEN PEOPLE OF BEREZOVKA



A myth “How human appeared on earth” about a maiden and an eight-legged reindeer was written down in Chubukulakh, Mid-Kolyma district of Yakutia, in 1978 by professor Vasily Afanasievich Robbeck according to a story told by Even Semyon Egorovich Dyachkov, born in 1919. The English translation is published by Yuri Klitsenko according to book V.A. Robbeck, E.K.Tarabukina, Folklore of the Even People of Berezovka. Samples of Masterpieces, Yakutsk, 2005.

A maiden, expelled from heaven, descends to the surface of the sea riding an eight-legged reindeer. On the reindeer's advice the maiden threw flocks of reindeer’s fur on water that turned in no time into wooden logs, out of which she made a raft. On strong request of the reindeer she sacrificed it and carved it, as it willed. At once the reindeer's skin turned into earth, skull and bones into mountains, hair into forests, lice into wild reindeer. When she broke its bones, the crackle turned into thunder, and death sigh - into wind. The reindeer's heart turned into a hero, lungs - into a boy and a girl.

The Evens told that before dry land appeared first humans had to float on the waters on rafts: "The Evens floated in the sea on a raft. One of them saw land on the bottom of the sea. At request of people Sun evaporated Sea… Earlier this earth was all water, without firm ground. One lad with his sister floated on a raft… Earlier the land was covered with ice. When it gradually got warmer, ice started melting, and heroes commenced floating on a raft. There appeared animals and fish… Diver (loon) brought from sea floor a hardly visible fleck of clay. God took this fleck of clay with his finger and put on the edge of the raft. In the morning the Even sees: his raft stands berthed to the bank of an island" (V.А.Robbeck, Kh.I.Dutkin, Myth about the origin of earth and human in the Even folklore. Epical art of Siberian and Far East peoples. Materials of All-Union folklorist conference, Yakutsk, 1978).

Wooden decorations of the Evenk shaman's tent include rafts floating along cosmic rivers, as well as monumental images of sacred kalirs – elks, reindeer and mammoths.

In a number of Tungus myths the primeval elks and reindeer are identified with mammoths: "When rocks appeared from under water, wild reindeer gradually came out of water. They were called mammoths. Tracks of those wild reindeer (mammoths) turned into rivers. Where they stepped, lakes appeared. Place of their pasture turned into sea" (V.A.Robbeck, Descriptions of reindeer in Even myths. Folklore and Etnography of indigenous peoples of the North, Leningrad, 1986). “The great elk cow got from the sky to the sea. The elk became mammoth and remained in the sea” (G.M.Vasilevich, Evenk Concepts about the Universe, Studies in Siberian Shamanism, edited by Henry N. Michael, Toronto, 1963).
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:01 PM   #1330
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http://www.ellisctaylor.com/cjtemplartunnelsearch.html

IN SEARCH OF THE TUNNEL TO THE TEMPLARS' TREASURE
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:01 PM   #1331
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/...Kr2E832moPLBIF

Where Words Come From

I want to tell you something. Wait, wait, I'm searching for the right word to begin. I just can't remember it. Oh, there it is ...

We all fumble around for the right word, and once you get to a certain age, that fumbling often ends with, "Ah, another senior moment," and the secret worry that dementia is around the corner.

Researchers at Rice University in Houston have just discovered that there is a particular part of the brain that guides us when choosing words. On an MRI brain scan, the left temporal cortex and the LIGF, an area that encompasses Broca's area, which is known for speech production, light up when people are trying to choose between two words. The researchers were also able to pinpoint those two areas as the spots for word choice when testing subjects with brain damage.

Any research that informs us about language production is important because words are what make humans special.

No one knows when people began to speak, but anthropologists assume that talking came when we emerged as fully human, about 200,000 years ago. Of course, there was communication before that. All animals have ways to convey their feelings to others - dogs bark, birds sing, monkeys screech - but in most cases individuals are calling out their immediate situation. That communication is important because those calls can mean the difference between life and death.

But it gets interesting when animals have something else to say besides, "Help! That eagle is going to eat me." And it's not just humans who choose the right words.

Anthropologists have dragged recorded equipment into the field to figure out exactly what nonhuman primates say to each other. They recorded the animals in various social situations and then replayed the recordings to see the animals' reactions. It turns out that monkeys can identify calls from individual troop mates, that is, they "know" each others' voices, and they use this information selectively. And the grunts, calls, and screams of primates carry more information than the emotional reaction of fear or contentment. In other words, they have words, of a sort.

For example, rhesus monkey mothers can tell if their kids are really in trouble. When a juvenile is being attacked by a relative, it seems, they call out in a fake-y way and mothers ignore them. But if the kid is being attacked by a non-relative, someone who really might hurt them, the mother goes running. And the kid does this using "words" alone.

The words we primates choose are especially important in social interactions.

Anthropologist John Mitani of the University of Michigan analyzed the shape of the male chimpanzee's classic "pant-hoot," a call that starts out with a low "huh, huh, huh" and then builds to a scream. He compared this call from two sites in Tanzania and found that males modulate their voices to sound like each other, much as we take account of the accent of another country or culture when we move around. Sounding like each other, Mitani thinks, is important to male chimps because they are tightly bonded. Males hang out together, patrol the borders of a territory together and hunt together.

We don't know why exactly humans developed their word play beyond grunts and screams. But in doing so, we gained the ability to talk about more than predators and more than each other.

Unlike other primates, we can choose the right words to describe a dream, or talk about our goals. We can tell a story, or write a column, if only we can find the right words.

* Video - Jane Goodall's Wild Chimpanzees
* Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind
* Amazing Animal Abilities

Meredith F. Small is an anthropologist at Cornell University. She is also the author of "Our Babies, Ourselves; How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent" (link) and "The Culture of Our Discontent; Beyond the Medical Model of Mental Illness" (link).

* Original Story: Where Words Come From

LiveScience.com chronicles the daily advances and innovations made in science and technology. We take on the misconceptions that often pop up around scientific discoveries and deliver short, provocative explanations with a certain wit and style. Check out our science videos, Trivia & Quizzes and Top 10s. Join our community to debate hot-button issues like stem cells, climate change and evolution. You can also sign up for free newsletters, register for RSS feeds and get cool gadgets at the LiveScience Store.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:02 PM   #1332
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7810846.stm

Isaac Newton is, as most will agree, the greatest physicist of all time.

At the very least, he is the undisputed father of modern optics,­ or so we are told at school where our textbooks abound with his famous experiments with lenses and prisms, his study of the nature of light and its reflection, and the refraction and decomposition of light into the colours of the rainbow.

Yet, the truth is rather greyer; and I feel it important to point out that, certainly in the field of optics, Newton himself stood on the shoulders of a giant who lived 700 years earlier.

For, without doubt, another great physicist, who is worthy of ranking up alongside Newton, is a scientist born in AD 965 in what is now Iraq who went by the name of al-Hassan Ibn al-Haytham.

Most people in the West will never have even heard of him.

As a physicist myself, I am quite in awe of this man's contribution to my field, but I was fortunate enough to have recently been given the opportunity to dig a little into his life and work through my recent filming of a three-part BBC Four series on medieval Islamic scientists.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:03 PM   #1333
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/41...over-cure.html


New treatment for blood poisoning could prove instant hangover cure
A bloodstream 'cleaner' which could save thousands of lives a year by quickly disabling poisons has been invented by British scientists, and and may even provide an instant hangover cure.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:03 PM   #1334
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7803619.stm

An extract from grape seeds can destroy cancer cells, US research suggests.

In lab experiments, scientists found that the extract stimulated leukaemia cells to commit suicide.

Within 24 hours, 76% of leukaemia cells exposed to the extract were killed off, while healthy cells were unharmed, Clinical Cancer Research reports.

The study raises the possibility of new cancer treatments, but scientists said it was too early to recommend that people eat grapes to ward off cancer.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:20 PM   #1335
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/03/he...ml?ref=science

A New Cigarette Hazard: ‘Third-Hand Smoke’

Parents who smoke often open a window or turn on a fan to clear the air for their children, but experts now have identified a related threat to children’s health that isn’t as easy to get rid of: third-hand smoke.

That’s the term being used to describe the invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, not to mention cushions and carpeting, that lingers long after second-hand smoke has cleared from a room. The residue includes heavy metals, carcinogens and even radioactive materials that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:20 PM   #1336
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http://www.alphagalileo.org/index.cf...leaseid=534993

In an important breakthrough in deciphering dolphin language, researchers in Great Britain and the United States have imaged the first high definition imprints that dolphin sounds make in water.

The key to this technique is the CymaScope, a new instrument that reveals detailed structures within sounds, allowing their architecture to be studied pictorially. Using high definition audio recordings of dolphins, the research team, headed by English acoustics engineer, John Stuart Reid, and Florida-based dolphin researcher, Jack Kassewitz, has been able to image, for the first time, the imprint that a dolphin sound makes in water. The resulting "CymaGlyphs," as they have been named, are reproducible patterns that are expected to form the basis of a lexicon of dolphin language, each pattern representing a dolphin 'picture word.'

Certain sounds made by dolphins have long been suspected to represent language but the complexity of the sounds has made their analysis difficult. Previous techniques, using the spectrograph, display cetacean (dolphins, whales and porpoises) sounds only as graphs of frequency and amplitude. The CymaScope captures actual sound vibrations imprinted in the dolphin's natural environment-water, revealing the intricate visual details of dolphin sounds for the first time.

Within the field of cetacean research, theory states that dolphins have evolved the ability to translate dimensional information from their echolocation sonic beam. The CymaScope has the ability to visualize dimensional structure within sound. CymaGlyph patterns may resemble what the creatures perceive from their own returning sound beams and from the sound beams of other dolphins.

Reid said that the technique has similarities to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. "Jean-Francois Champollion and Thomas Young used the Rosetta Stone to discover key elements of the primer that allowed the Egyptian language to be deciphered. The CymaGlyphs produced on the CymaScope can be likened to the hieroglyphs of the Rosetta Stone. Now that dolphin chirps, click-trains and whistles can be converted into CymaGlyphs, we have an important tool for deciphering their meaning."

Kassewitz, of the Florida-based dolphin communication research project SpeakDolphin.com said, "There is strong evidence that dolphins are able to 'see' with sound, much like humans use ultrasound to see an unborn child in the mother's womb. The CymaScope provides our first glimpse into what the dolphins might be 'seeing' with their sounds."

The team has recognized that sound does not travel in waves, as is popularly believed, but in expanding holographic bubbles and beams. The holographic aspect stems from the physics theory that even a single molecule of air or water carries all the information that describes the qualities and intensity of a given sound. At frequencies audible to humans (20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz) the sound-bubble form dominates; above 20,000 Hertz the shape of sound becomes increasingly beam shaped, similar to a lighthouse beam in appearance.

Reid explained their novel sound imaging technique: "Whenever sound bubbles or beams interact with a membrane, the sound vibrations imprint onto its surface and form a CymaGlyph, a repeatable pattern of energy. The CymaScope employs the surface tension of water as a membrane because water reacts quickly and is able to reveal intricate architectures within the sound form. These fine details can be captured on camera."
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:22 PM   #1337
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/01/ga...=1&ref=science

Beloved Pets Everlasting?



IT TAKES TWO MissyToo, left, and Mira, clones from the same dog, share a love of chicken, which they wait for here.

THE most difficult thing about the cloned puppies is not telling them apart, but explaining why they don’t look exactly alike. This was the problem Lou Hawthorne faced on a recent afternoon hike with Mira and MissyToo, two dogs whose embryos were created from the preserved, recycled and repurposed nuclear DNA of the original Missy, a border collie-husky mix who died in 2002.

To be sure, they have a very strong resemblance to each other and to Missy. It’s just that sometimes, as soon as people hear that the dogs are clones, the questions start coming:

“Why is one dog’s fur curlier?”

“Why aren’t the dogs the same size?”

“Why is one of them darker?”

“Why does this one have a floppy ear?”
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:23 PM   #1338
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http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/l...cle5439805.ece

Scientists discover true love

SCIENTISTS have discovered true love. Brain scans have proved that a small number of couples can respond with as much passion after 20 years as most people exhibit only in the first flush of love.

The findings overturn the conventional view that love and sexual desire peak at the start of a relationship and then decline as the years pass.

A team from Stony Brook University in New York scanned the brains of couples who had been together for 20 years and compared them with those of new lovers. They found that about one in 10 of the mature couples exhibited the same chemical reactions when shown photographs of their loved ones as people commonly do in the early stages of a relationship.

Previous research suggested that the first stages of romantic love, a rollercoaster ride of mood swings and obsessions that psychologists call limerence, start to fade within 15 months. After 10 years the chemical tide has ebbed away.

The scans of some of the long-term couples, however, revealed that elements of limerence mature, enabling them to enjoy what a new report calls “intensive companionship and sexual liveliness”.

The researchers nicknamed the couples “swans” because they have similar mental “love maps” to animals that mate for life such as swans, voles and grey foxes.

The reactions of the swans to pictures of their beloved were identified on MRI brain scans as a burst of pleasure-producing dopamine more commonly seen in couples who are gripped in the first flush of lust.

“The findings go against the traditional view of romance – that it drops off sharply in the first decade – but we are sure it’s real,” said Arthur Aron, a psychologist at Stony Brook.

Previous research had laid out the “fracture points” in relationships as 12-15 months, three years and the infamous seven-year itch.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:23 PM   #1339
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http://www.alphagalileo.org/index.cf...98&ez_search=1

European researchers can now attach hyperlinks to pictures you take using your mobile phone. It offers the prospect of new ways to discover, engage and navigate your surroundings.

You wake up in a strange city with no recollection of how you got there and no information about where you are. Demonstrating nerves of steel, you calmly pick up your mobile phone and take a picture of the streetscape.

Quickly, the picture comes alive with hyperlinks, offering the names of the buildings, monuments and streetscape features that appear in the photograph. The hyperlinks lead to information about the history, services and context of all the features in the photograph. You have just hyperlinked your reality.

That scenario might be a little far-fetched, but the technology exists and is no figment of some fevered imagination. This is not a gee-whiz gadget invented by Q for the next James Bond movie; this is a working technology just developed by European researchers. It could be coming to a phone near you, and soon.

This, as the marketing types say, is a game changer. It develops a completely new interface paradigm that meshes web-technology with the real world. It is big and fresh like Apple’s game-changing multi-touch interface for the iPhone. But it goes much further and has implications that are much more profound.

The MOBVIS platform completely rewrites the rules for navigation, exploration and interaction with your physical environment. It identifies the buildings from a photograph you take in an urban environment and then places icons on points of interest.

Technology that pays attention

Then you simply click on the icon, using a cursor or, more frequently, a touch-screen phone, and the MOBVIS system will provide information on the history, art, architecture or even the menu, if it is a restaurant, of the building in question.

MOBVIS stands for mobile attentive interfaces in urban scenarios and it is the brainchild of the EU-funded MOBVIS project, a team of engineers and scientists who have successfully demonstrated the technology working in a real environment, with real users unconnected to the project.

The project’s work is all the more remarkable because image recognition technology has long been pregnant with promise, but seemed to suffer from an unending labour.

Now MOBVIS has not only developed image recognition; it has also developed compelling applications for the technology; and it has done so in the most striking and visible manner by adapting it to the world’s most ubiquitous technology: the mobile phone.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:25 PM   #1340
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/us...mant.html?_r=1

Activist Unmasks Himself as Federal Informant in G.O.P. Convention Case

When the scheduled federal trial begins this month for two Texas men who were arrested during the Republican National Convention on charges of making and possessing Molotov cocktails, one of the major witnesses against them will be a community activist who acted as a government informant.

Brandon Darby, an organizer from Austin, Tex., made the news public himself, announcing in an open letter posted on Dec. 30 on Indymedia.org that he had worked as an informant, most recently at last year’s Republican convention in St. Paul.

“The simple truth is that I have chosen to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” wrote Mr. Darby, who gained prominence as a member of Common Ground Relief, a group that helped victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

He added, “I strongly stand behind my choices in this matter.”

Mr. Darby’s revelations caused shock and indignation in the activist community, with people in various groups and causes accusing him of betrayal.

“The emerging truth about Darby’s malicious involvement in our communities is heart-breaking and utterly ground-shattering,” said the Austin Informant Working Group, a collection of activists from the city who worked with Mr. Darby. “Through the history of our struggles for a better world, infiltrators and informants have acted as tools for the forces of misery in disrupting and derailing our movements.”

Mr. Darby’s letter answered lingering questions in the case of the two Texas men, David McKay and Bradley Crowder, both also from Austin. They are scheduled to go on trial in Minnesota on Jan. 26, and if convicted on all counts, each faces a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Neither the United States attorney’s office in Minnesota nor the F.B.I. would comment on Mr. Darby’s announcement.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #1341
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I'm not really sure if this is THE GUY in this anthrax deal:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/us/04anthrax.html?em

Portrait Emerges of Anthrax Suspect’s Troubled Life

Nearly seven years and many millions of dollars later, after an investigation that included both path-breaking science and costly bungling, the F.B.I. concluded that Dr. Haigwood had been right: the anthrax killer had been at the investigators’ side all along. Prosecutors said they believed they had the evidence to prove that Dr. Ivins alone carried out the attacks, but their assertions immediately met with skepticism among some scientists, lawmakers and co-workers of Dr. Ivins.

With the F.B.I. preparing to close the case, The New York Times has taken the deepest look so far at the investigation, speaking to dozens of Dr. Ivins’s colleagues and friends, reading hundreds of his e-mail messages, interviewing former bureau investigators and anthrax experts, reviewing court records, and obtaining, for the first time, police reports on his suicide in July, including a lengthy recorded interview with his wife.

That examination found that unless new evidence were to surface, the enormous public investment in the case would appear to have yielded nothing more persuasive than a strong hunch, based on a pattern of damning circumstances, that Dr. Ivins was the perpetrator.
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:27 PM   #1342
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/op...ml?ref=opinion

The End of the Financial World as We Know It
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:30 PM   #1343
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http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/jan09/7127

Loser: Hot or Not? By Erico Guizzo
First Published January 2009
BlackLight Power says it's developing a revolutionary energy source—and it won't let the laws of physics stand in its way

Imagine that you could make hydrogen atoms do something that quantum mechanics says they can’t: slip into an energy state below the ground state, the collapse releasing 100 times as much energy as you’d get by just burning the hydrogen. If you could harness the heat to produce power, using hydrogen from water as fuel, you’d consume no oil, create no fumes, and solve the problems of energy and global warming forever.

Of course, first you’d have to overturn a century’s worth of physical theory, prove your point experimentally, and demonstrate its feasibility in a prototype power-producing system. Yet this is precisely what a company called BlackLight Power says it has done. The company, based near Princeton, N.J., has raised US $60 million, equipped massive labs, hired two dozen employees, gotten some high-profile executives to serve on its board, and attracted a devoted following of fans to online discussion boards.

Last year BlackLight announced that it had a prototype reactor capable of putting out 50 kilowatts of thermal power using a tiny amount of hydrogen. The company said that the device releases energy in one short burst and that it’s working to make the reaction continuous. It also said it planned to scale up for pilot operation sometime this year, estimating that its technology could produce electricity for under 2 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s on a par with nuclear and coal power plants and considerably better than gas and petroleum plants.

Is this real, or just fodder for a science-fiction TV show?

Ask experts in atomic physics and you’ll hear that a new form of hydrogen is just fantasy.

“This is scientific nonsense—there is no state of hydrogen lower than the ground state,” says Wolfgang Ketterle, an MIT scientist and a Nobel Prize laureate in physics. “Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and it’s had time enough to find its ground state.”

Anthony Leggett, a professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also a Nobel laureate, says that quantum mechanics is “consistent with just about everything we know about atomic physics, so the onus is firmly on anyone who wants to discard it to prove his case.” He adds, “I don’t see that [BlackLight] has got anywhere near doing this.”

But turn to Randell Mills, the founder, chairman, chief executive, and president of BlackLight Power, and he’ll tell you that this lower-energy hydrogen, which he calls hydrino, is very real indeed.

“We produce hydrino on demand,” he tells IEEE Spectrum, adding that his team has isolated and characterized hydrino’s properties using spectroscopy and has even created hydrino-rich materials it can provide for analysis.

Mills is unfazed by the criticism, having faced down the physics establishment since he first put forward his hydrino theory some 20 years ago. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he veered into physics after taking some courses at MIT in the late 1980s. His theory has been evolving since then. Not only does it explicitly reject quantum mechanics as it is currently understood, it also attempts to explain physics and chemistry “from the scale of quarks to cosmos,” as Mills puts it. Unlike quantum theory’s statistical approach, his theory is completely deterministic.

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Old 01-07-2009, 12:32 PM   #1344
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7811730.stm

Huge undersea 'wall' discovered

A giant rock formation resembling a city wall has been discovered under the Taiwan Strait.

The 220m stretch of basalt rock was found by biodiversity researcher Jeng Ming-hsiou.

He said it was likely to have been formed by a volcanic eruption up to 1,800 years ago.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asi...ic/7811730.stm
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:32 PM   #1345
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http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...c-1225802.html

New powers for police to hack your PC (UK)

Civil liberties groups raise alarm over extension of surveillance without warrant
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:33 PM   #1346
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http://www.sciencenews.org/view/gene...nergy_universe

New window on the high-energy universe
New telescope finds that the high-energy share of gamma-ray bursts arrive at Earth significantly later than the low-energy portion
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:34 PM   #1347
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http://www.popularmechanics.com/scie...h/4297513.html

Can a Kind of Ancient Charcoal Put the Brakes on Global Warming?
Biochar was first created and used thousands of years ago to help plants grow. Researchers have found that this charcoal-like substance traps carbon and is a renewable source of fuel. Nine countries are pouring research dollars into the charcoal-like substance to see if it can sequester carbon, improve the soil and produce biofuels all at once—on an economically competitive scale. Could this ancient fertilizer really put a dent on global warming?
By Jeremy Jacquot
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:35 PM   #1348
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http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i18/18b00601.htm

The Nature-Nurture Debate, Redux

Genetic research finally makes its way into the thinking of sociologists

If sociologists ignore genes, will other academics — and the wider world — ignore sociology?

Some in the discipline are telling their peers just that. With study after study finding that all sorts of personal characteristics are heritable — along with behaviors shaped by those characteristics — a see-no-gene perspective is obsolete.

Nor, these scholars argue, is it reasonable to concede that genes play some role but then to loftily assert that geneticists and the media overstate that role and to go on conducting studies as if genes did not exist. How, exactly, do genes shape human lives, interact with environmental forces, or get overpowered by those forces? "We do ourselves a disservice if we don't engage in those arguments," says Jason Schnittker, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. "If we stay on the ropes, people from a different perspective, with a more extreme view, will be making them."
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:36 PM   #1349
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http://www.newcriterion.com/articles...elativism-3981

Introduction: The dictatorship of relativism

by Roger Kimball

An introduction our symposium "The Dictatorship of Relativism: Who Will Stand Up for Western Values Now?”
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:38 PM   #1350
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http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/723/full

Timing is Everything

Time is the stuff of music: music manipulates our experience of time; it plays with the rhythm of experience; it stretches and complicates our relationship to the passing of time. If the world of physics is a space-time continuum, music is a pitch-time continuum. We use spatial metaphors to express our experience of frequency - notes are higher and lower, something expressed formally in staff notation, and deeply inscribed in our experience of music as performers and listeners. A large interval between two notes is a gulf to be stretched over. The quintessential musical form, melody, as it moves up and down in pitch space, over time, is a sort of quasi-miraculous bridging of the gap between the abandoned past, the ungraspable present and the as-yet-to-be-achieved, utterly unreal future. We grasp it and, as we do so, time is attended to and made palpable and affective.

It's no coincidence that the great age of music as metaphysics - Schopenhauer above all - coincided with the construction of larger and more complex forms in classical music. These brought a specialised form of rationality, musical rationality, to the subjective experience of time, through both the eked out, endless melody of Wagner, and the great symphonic structures of Bruckner and Mahler. Nineteenth-century music's ambitions for itself were in many ways as cosmic as the Pythagorean vision of an art form in tune with the construction of the universe itself, the music of the spheres. It wanted to mirror the ebb and flow of being itself.

While this all seems impossibly grandiose in a postmodern age, classical music still has the capacity to generate visions of the sublime. Here is Daniel Barenboim, recently quoted in the International Herald Tribune: "Since every note produced by a human being has a human quality, there is a feeling of death with the end of each one, and through that experience there is a transcendence of all the emotions that these notes can have in their short lives; in a way, one is in direct contact with timelessness."
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