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Old 04-18-2012, 07:07 AM   #3351
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http://feeds.boingboing.net/~r/boing...ergy-does.html

Local, small-scale energy doesn't mean "every man for himself"


Today, most of our electricity is made by facilities that can power millions of homes at a time, and which are located a long way away from the people who use that power. For instance, the Kansas is currently embroiled in a long-drawn-out controversy over whether or not to build a new coal power plant in the far southwest corner of the state. If it gets built, that power plant will be 200 miles, in any direction, from the nearest town with a population greater than 30,000 people. But the power plant could produce enough electricity for hundreds of thousands of homes—an earlier version of the design could have powered millions.

It works that way because, like most things, it's both cheaper and more resource efficient to produce electricity in bulk, rather than a little bit at a time here and there. That Kansas coal plant is meant to produce electricity for seven different Western states. Not just Kansas.

For a number of reasons—but particularly because of the high, NIMBY-influenced costs of building the transmission lines that bridge the gap between these big power plants and the people who use them—we now have some opportunities to produce electricity at a smaller scale and still have it make sense. But what exactly does "small" mean? Depending on who you talk to, you'll get a different answer. And that answer has big implications for electric reliability and how our grid infrastructure operates.

At the Atlantic.com, you can find an excerpt from Before the Lights Go Out, my new book, that discusses this difference, and the benefits and detriments of shared systems vs. energy independence.
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When I talked to scientists and utility industry experts about decentralized generation, what they pictured was power production on the scale of Verdant Power's hydroelectric turbines beneath the East River or a gas-fired cogeneration plant that produced heat and electricity for a university campus. They thought of biofuels, and imagined a stationary central refinery, much smaller than the facilities that process oil into gasoline for the entire country but large enough to be industrialized. Electric capacities would be between 1 and 100 megawatts--enough to power hundreds or thousands of homes at a time. Economies of scale would still apply. The energy would still have to travel--whether by tanker truck or power line--to reach the people who wanted to use it.

Yet when I talk to my friends and family about decentralized generation, their minds immediately jump to something very different. To them, decentralized generation isn't only a somewhat smaller version of a system that already exists, like a scale model in a toy train set. Instead, they thought of decentralization as the creation of an entirely new, entirely separate system. They imagined a world where they didn't have to pay the electric company every month, because a one-time investment would allow them to make all of the electricity they needed with the help of the sun or the wind. No more rate hikes. No more ugly electric power lines threaded through their lives. That's what my friends and family were excited about. They wanted energy on site, something they could feel that they made by themselves. They loved the idea of the Madelia Model's traveling biofuel machine. Cogeneration plants bored them.

I think that this disconnect boils down to an issue of control. Scientists and utility experts have always been at the helm, guiding energy production. At least, they have been for as long as energy has been a scientific industry, for about a hundred years or so. When the rest of us turned energy production over to this small group, we got some benefits out of the deal.
Read the rest of the excerpt at The Atlantic.

Learn more about decentralized generation, and how the grid works, by reading my book Before the Lights Go Out.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:17 AM   #3352
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http://feeds.boingboing.net/~r/boing...show-conn.html

SOPATrack: an app to show connections between campaign donations and voting records
from Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Smita sez,

While there are many resources out there to help citizens learn more about how much money gov't officials are accepting from special interest groups, I wanted to call out SopaTrack as it is the first of its kind that enables people to easily and quickly look up how elected officials are voting on a particular issue, enabling voters to be more educated and aware as they hit the ballots. For this broader issue and problem, for the first time, there is an app for that

In a nutshell, SopaTrack highlights how elected officials are voting on specific issues -- with a focus on how often they vote for or against the money. With the recent fight against SOPA demonstrating how potent and motivated the digital community is in holding elected officials accountable, and with CISPA quickly creeping onto the national stage, SopaTrack demonstrates the next way of digital activism and grass-roots campaigning. Originally, SopaTrack was created to help provide facts around the then one-sided discussion around SOPA that was quickly turned around by alarmed citizens like Randy Meech.

The data for this comes from Maplight and Sunlight Labs.

Sopatrack - Check how Congress Votes with the Money
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:39 AM   #3353
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This Shocking Image Of A Suicide Bombing Won A Pulitzer Prize

http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/this-s...bing-won-a-pul

Powerful but horrific. This searing photo was taken by Massoud Hossaini, who just won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography . WARNING: Graphic images.



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Tarana Akbari, 12, screams in fear moments after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a crowd at the Abul Fazel Shrine in Kabul on December 06, 2011. 'When I could stand up, I saw that everybody was around me on the ground, really bloody. I was really, really scared,' said the Tarana, whose name means 'melody' in English. Out of 17 women and children from her family who went to a riverside shrine in Kabul that day to mark the Shiite holy day of Ashura, seven died including her seven-year-old brother Shoaib. More than 70 people lost their lives in all, and at least nine other members of Tarana's family were wounded. The blasts has prompted fears that Afghanistan could see the sort of sectarian violence that has pitched Shiite against Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Pakistan. The attack was the deadliest strike on the capital in three years. President Hamid Karzai said this was the first time insurgents had struck on such an important religious day. The Taliban condemned the attack, which some official viewed as sectarian. On the same day, a second bomber attacked in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Karzai said on December 11 that a total of 80 people were killed in both attacks

(Getty Images / Massoud Hossaini)
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:51 AM   #3354
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:00 AM   #3355
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:04 AM   #3356
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http://www.geniscarreras.com/philosophy.html
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:19 AM   #3357
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:31 AM   #3358
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-r...-big-business/

The Real GSA Scandal: Playing Politics With Big Business
by ralph
GSA VP Jeffrey Neely enjoying himself at the taxpayers' expense.

GSA VP Jeffrey Neely enjoying himself at the taxpayers' expense.

Elliott Rosenfeld writes in the Washington Post:

As more details about wasteful spending and outright fraudulent practices at the General Services Administration are emerging, it becomes clearer every day that there is a far deeper, government-wide contracting problem plaguing the nation.

News of the scandal broke two weeks ago, when GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned following the agency inspector general’s report claiming that more than $800,000 of federal spending on a GSA employee conference held in Las Vegas in 2010 was “excessive, wasteful, and in some cases, impermissible.”

Of particular concern to small-business advocates, the IG’s report found that the GSA allegedly awarded “a $58,000 contract to a large business in violation of small-business set-asides.”

This problem of large companies receiving federal contracts that are reserved by law for small businesses is a decades-old scandal of corrupt federal spending and undue corporate influence over politics. Overall, waste, fraud and abuse in federal small-business contracting programs (across all federal agencies) results in tens of billions of taxpayer dollars a year being illegally diverted to large companies, often some of the largest companies in the world.

Read More: Washington Post
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:33 AM   #3359
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/mutan...-bp-oil-spill/

Mutant Fish From The BP Oil Spill


Two years later, scientists say they have never seen anything like the creatures swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, Al Jazeera reports:

“I’ve never seen this,” he said, a statement Al Jazeera heard from every scientist, fisherman, and seafood processor we spoke with about the seafood deformities. Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.

“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. “It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known”.

The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:40 AM   #3360
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:41 AM   #3361
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hahaha
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:43 AM   #3362
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/black...-class-videos/



The April 2012 issue of Harper’s Magazine includes “The Warrior Class,” a feature by Charles Glass on the rise of private-security contractors since 9/11. The conclusion to the piece describes a series of videos shown to Glass by a source who had worked for the private-security company Blackwater (now Academi, formerly also Xe Services) in Iraq. Clips and photos from the videos are shown below, introduced by Glass’s descriptions:

The first [video], identified as “Baghdad, Iraq, May–­September 2005,” showed Blackwater convoys racing through town. Suddenly, the door of a Blackwater SUV opened and a rifle fired at passing traffic. “They opened the door,” my companion said. “You should never break the seal.”

http://harpers.org/archive/2012/04/hbc-90008515
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Old 04-20-2012, 06:48 AM   #3363
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/words...-an-obsession/

Words With Friends: Another Stupid Game – Or An Obsession?




The New York Times Magazine ran a fascinating cover story on April 4, 2012 written with wisdom, humor and insight by Sam Anderson.

Anderson’s basic premise is that the concept of gaming has changed. For decades, a special class of teen or young adult gamer would use specialized systems, to play complex multi-player, multi-level games that might last from a few hours to many days or even weeks. Now, however, anyone can play a quick game — what Anderson terms a “stupid game” — any time of the day or night right there on their smartphone that rests somewhere next to their body 24/7. And this, Anderson argues, has changed the world of gaming to

” . . . not just hard-core gamers, but their mothers, their mailmen and their college professors. Consumers who never would have put a quarter into an arcade or even set eyes on an Xbox 360 were now carrying a sophisticated game console with them, all the time, in their pockets or their purses.”

For decades I scrupulously avoided video games even when my four children delighted in playing them. I think that I once played Pong and perhaps Donkey Kong in a bar somewhere but that was under duress and the influence of a few beers. I have never played a video game that resides on a console although I have watched, fascinated, as young children seem to understand intuitively what actions to take to make the next level or win the game. Just last night I watched my friend’s 9-year-old son sit down at a game console in a restaurant as we were waiting to be seated and without even glancing at the instructions, he popped in two quarters and played.

I have, however, always enjoyed card games and board games, particularly those that required thought or cunning to win the game. I consider myself a pretty good Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit player and delighted in winning nearly every Monopoly game with my children (I used a unique strategy that I refuse to divulge as I plan to use it with my grandchildren!). My iPhones (I have owned four of them) have always come with a hefty game center in the App Store, which, as you might guess, I have avoided like the plague. Until someone pointed out Words With Friends!

Arghhhh! I shall mark that day on my calendar as the day that my life — and my brain — changed. And I am pretty sure that it changed for the worse.

As soon as I downloaded WWF I was hooked. Now I am playing a dozen games with multiple players (all of my opponents are personal friends, as I think it is a bit bizarre to play with people you don’t know, although it is a good way to meet new people). In his NYT article Sam Anderson relayed a similar situation with his wife:

“My wife, who had never been a serious gamer, got one and became addicted, almost immediately, to a form of off-brand digital Scrabble called Words With Friends. Before long she was playing 6 or 10 games at a time, against people all over the world. Sometimes I would lose her in the middle of a conversation: her phone would go brinnng or pwomp or dernalernadern-dern, and she would look away from me, midsentence, to see if her opponent had set her up for a triple word score.”

That is so true! Anderson’s wife sounds like me, and like everyone else that I play with. I am beginning to see patterns in my WWF friends (I call them that even though two are colleagues, one is my partner, one is a student in my lab and two are other people that I know very well). At first I said that I was going to “just play at night” after watching Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper but before The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Pretty soon I found myself pausing the news and jumping in and making a few plays, and then returning to the news. Then, I think I said “to heck with it” and left the news on and played WWF with the news as background. Now, who cares about the news. Who cares about anything. WWF RULES!

I confess that I am now addicted. But is it truly an addiction or is there more to it? I don’t feel like an addict. I am not shirking my responsibilities at home (I still cook every night although one night I had to grab a cooked chicken because I got into a vicious back-and-forth WWF game with someone — and I WON!) nor is my work suffering. I still teach, still write, but something is happening and I think that I know what it is. What I am feeling, I believe, is a compulsion. Somewhat like Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets,” I feel as though if I don’t do a certain behavior — i.e., play WWF — I will meet with some dire consequence. I am not washing my hands constantly or locking and unlocking my doors, nor am I avoiding cracks when I walk in the neighborhood. But I feel anxiety much as Jack did when I spot my smartphone. And the anxiety is “I wonder if so-and-so played a word and I better check and play one, too.”

As I sit and stare at my phone wondering about WWF, I am not feeling the discomfort that someone feels when he or she has a true psychological addiction. I am not even hoping that playing will bring me pleasure. What I am feeling is an intense NEED to play or rather to check in to see who has played. And when I do play I don’t feel that rush of dopamine, which feels like pleasure. What I feel is . . . nothing. But then my phone beckons to me and I slide to the last page of apps (I made myself put the WWF app on the last page to make it more difficult to get to. What a fool! It must take me all of a second to flick a few times and it literally pops out at me when I get to that page) and press my finger on the icon and, voila, my games appear!

So, what do I think is happening? I had some time to think about this the other day. I was at public radio studio, waiting to go on a noontime radio broadcast followed by a TV taping. Since I always arrive early I had lots of time and only my phone to keep me busy. I knew that I was going to talk about this on the air so I spent some time with my phone in front of me trying to analyze what might be going on in my brain. Wow! After just a few minutes of “thinking” I somehow found myself looking at a WWF screen of 12 ongoing games. How did I get there? Well, partially I think it was a habit and partially I think I was compelled to do so in a way that resided just below the surface of conscious activity. Sure sounds like a compulsion to me.

How do I plan to break this compulsion? I have started giving myself “WWF Time” where I grant myself the option to play for 15 minutes and no more and then put my phone away, out of sight, and do something else for 45 minutes. I set a timer (on my phone, of course) and when it rings I play and when it rings again I stop. Not sure if it will work as I have only been doing this for a week but I am finding that the 45 minutes is going by pretty quickly now compared to the crawling seconds and minutes that appeared to barely move the first few times I waited for my WWF Time.

Do you feel compelled by your technology? Do certain games or activities that you do on the phone beckon to you? This is one of the main points of my new book, iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us, where I devote two chapters to obsessions and compulsions surrounding technology. Let me know what you think.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:27 AM   #3364
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http://demonocracy.info/infographics..._exposure.html

Derivatives: The Unregulated Global Casino for Banks
SHORT STORY: Pick something of value, make bets on the future value of something", add contract & you have a derivative. Banks make massive profits on derivatives, and when the bubble bursts chances are the tax payer will end up with the bill. This visualizes the total coverage for derivatives (notional). Similar to insurance company's total coverage for all cars.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:39 AM   #3365
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http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Quant...sness-20120418

Quantum Physics and Consciousness

Quote:
A few weeks ago popular science news outlets ran a story about scientists claiming to crack the “brain memory code” (e.g. here and here). The article about this story was published in PLoS Computational Biology on the 8th of March 2012. Scientists have known for quite a while that calcium signaling plays an important role in long-term potentiation, a fancy way for saying the generation of memories. This study suggests that the calcium-calmodulin dependent kinase II (CaMKII) plays a role and it does so by interacting with microtubules. What are microtubules and what do they have to do with memory you may ask?
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:43 AM   #3366
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http://www.realitysandwich.com/how_spiritual_person_act

How is a "Spiritual Person" Supposed to Act?

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Finally, spiritual misconceptions can obstruct spiritual progress. First, yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as spiritual progress. Like anything else, as you practice, you get better at it -- and not just in terms of brute skills, but in terms of observable changes to the mind, and maybe even the brain. In my experience, that progress is a lot like making progress at the gym. If you do the work, it happens at its own pace. You can't rush it, but you needn't supervise it either. From what I understand, meditation increases the neural activity in the pre-frontal cortex, leading to more connections and more "strength" for that self-regulating part of the brain. That results from doing the work, not hoping for certain results.

As a result, you may be doing just fine, even if you don't (yet) feel different, and even if you haven't bought any Yanni CDs. "What's wrong?" you might ask, "I'm doing all this work, but I still get pissed off at my mom!" Well, sure, welcome to being human. Maybe, over time, you'll notice that your anger lasts for less time, that you're less immediately reactive, that you pick fewer fights (or take the bait less often). But that may be all you can hope for. Meanwhile, the practice is doing its work, if you just stay with it in some form or another.

For what I'll call karmic reasons, I'm sincerely appreciative of the many delights in the world, and as Lou Reed said, "for me to miss one, would seem to be groundless." I'm also mindful that spirituality that doesn't include some form of serious social/political engagement is, at least for me, empty. So I get involved in things that will necessarily invite some anger (politics) and lust (food and sex), even though these are problematic on several spiritual paths, including my own. This karma -- by which I mean the social constructions of my particular Western subculture, which seem as much a part of 'me' as anything -- may well be holding me back from further advancement. But it's the karma that there is. And each time I re-ask whether it wouldn't be better to give up the fleshpots for the cloister, I hear a clear, humanistic No in response.

Let's set ourselves free of this idolatry of the spiritual life. The spiritual path has far too many manifestations for us to be reductive about it, and far too many directions for us to subsume them all into one. Just setting these clichés aside may be a significant step toward freedom.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:54 AM   #3367
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http://www.neatorama.com/2012/04/19/...-a-police-car/



Bad: Stealing gas
Worse: Stealing gas from a police car
Neatorama-worthy: Stealing gas from a police car, and posting a photo of the crime in progress on Facebook!

Michael Baker, 20, was swiping the gas last month from a Jenkins Police Department squad car, he made sure to flip the bird as his girlfriend snapped a picture.

While the siphoning photo has been removed from his Facebook page, Baker yesterday updated his 380 friends on his legal problems. “just got out of jail,” he wrote in one post, adding later that “yea lol i went too jail over facebook.” Responding to a friend who had not seen the image before it was yanked, Baker assured, “yea lol u would just have to seen it it was funny as hell tho.”

See the photo in its full uncropped glory over at The Smoking Gun: Link

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documen...phoning-764512
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:59 AM   #3368
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-n...ve-liberalism/

The New (Conservative) Liberalism


Charles Davis, on liberalism in America, and how it fails to provide systemic solutions to the problems faced in an increasingly conservative world. Via Al Jazeera:

Once upon a time — say, three years ago — your average Democrat appeared to care about issues of war and peace. When the man dropping the bombs spoke with an affected Texas twang, the moral and fiscal costs of empire were the subject of numerous protests and earnest panel discussions, the issue not just a banal matter of policy upon which reasonable people could disagree, but a matter of the nation’s very soul.

Then the guy in the White House changed.

Now, if the Democratic rank and file haven’t necessarily learned to love the bomb – though many certainly have — they have at least learned to stop worrying about it. Barack Obama may have dramatically expanded the war in Afghanistan, launched twice as many drone strikes in Pakistan as his predecessor and dropped women-and-children killing cluster bombs in Yemen, but peruse a liberal magazine or blog and you’re more likely to find a strongly worded denunciation of Rush Limbaugh than the president. War isn’t over, but one could be forgiven for thinking that it is.

Given the lamentable state of liberal affairs, Drift, a new book from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, is refreshing. Most left-of-centre pundits long ago relegated the issue of killing poor foreigners in unjustifiable wars of aggression to the status of a niche concern, somewhere between Mitt Romney’s family dog and the search results for “Santorum” in terms of national importance. So in that sense, it’s nice to see a prominent progressive at least trying to grapple with the evils of militarism and rise of the US empire. It’s just a shame the book isn’t very good…

Read more here
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:54 AM   #3369
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http://www.sovereignman.com/wp-conte...S_Revenues.png
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:27 AM   #3370
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-n...ve-liberalism/

The New (Conservative) Liberalism


Charles Davis, on liberalism in America, and how it fails to provide systemic solutions to the problems faced in an increasingly conservative world. Via Al Jazeera:

Once upon a time — say, three years ago — your average Democrat appeared to care about issues of war and peace. When the man dropping the bombs spoke with an affected Texas twang, the moral and fiscal costs of empire were the subject of numerous protests and earnest panel discussions, the issue not just a banal matter of policy upon which reasonable people could disagree, but a matter of the nation’s very soul.

Then the guy in the White House changed.

Now, if the Democratic rank and file haven’t necessarily learned to love the bomb – though many certainly have — they have at least learned to stop worrying about it. Barack Obama may have dramatically expanded the war in Afghanistan, launched twice as many drone strikes in Pakistan as his predecessor and dropped women-and-children killing cluster bombs in Yemen, but peruse a liberal magazine or blog and you’re more likely to find a strongly worded denunciation of Rush Limbaugh than the president. War isn’t over, but one could be forgiven for thinking that it is.

Given the lamentable state of liberal affairs, Drift, a new book from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, is refreshing. Most left-of-centre pundits long ago relegated the issue of killing poor foreigners in unjustifiable wars of aggression to the status of a niche concern, somewhere between Mitt Romney’s family dog and the search results for “Santorum” in terms of national importance. So in that sense, it’s nice to see a prominent progressive at least trying to grapple with the evils of militarism and rise of the US empire. It’s just a shame the book isn’t very good…

Read more here
Chris Hedges wrote a book with a similar theme - "The Death of Liberal Class." The book started out well, but it got so depressing that I couldn't get more than 2/3 of the way through it. I still love some of his articles, but I can only take some of that stuff in small doses.
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Old 04-21-2012, 10:44 AM   #3371
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:00 AM   #3372
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http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/a...d-by-the-devil

Quote:
A perceived demonic possession in Saskatoon has caught the Catholic Church there off guard since it has no one trained to perform an exorcism.

The Saskatoon Archdiocese is investigating after a priest was called to a home in late March where a 41-year-old man had carved the word Hell on his chest and was talking in the third person, saying, “He belongs to me. Get out of here.”

Church officials told CBC the priest did his best to calm the man down, including blessing him, before the man was taken to Royal University Hospital for a voluntary assessment.

Bishop Don Bolen told CBC it was not clear if the Saskatoon man was possessed or experiencing a mental breakdown.
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:07 AM   #3373
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/01/natio...-and-adderall/

Shortage of ritalin & adderall here

but here:

http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/is-th...-ritalin-went/

According to an op-ed entitled “Why Are We Drugging Our Soldiers?” in the New York Times by Richard A. Friedman, “the number of Ritalin and Adderall prescriptions written for active-duty service members increased by nearly 1,000 percent in five years.” Might this explain, in part at least, the shortages of Ritalin and Adderall that have plagued students nationwide?

Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been a large and steady rise in the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among our troops. One recent study of 289,000 Americans who served in those countries found that the rates of the disorder jumped to 22 percent in 2008 from just 0.2 percent in 2002.

Given the duration of these wars and the length and frequency of deployments, when compared with other wars, perhaps such high rates of PTSD are not so surprising. Prolonged exposure to a perilous and uncertain combat environment might make trauma common.
Adderall 10mg
But there is another factor that might be playing a role in the increasing rates of the disorder, one that has escaped attention: the military’s use of stimulant medications, like Ritalin and Adderall, in our troops.

There has been a significant increase in the use of stimulant medication. Documents that I obtained in late 2010 through the Freedom of Information Act, and have recently analyzed, show that annual spending on stimulants jumped to $39 million in 2010 from $7.5 million in 2001 — more than a fivefold increase. Additional data provided by Tricare Management Activity, the arm of the Department of Defense that manages health care services for the military, reveals that the number of Ritalin and Adderall prescriptions written for active-duty service members increased by nearly 1,000 percent in five years, to 32,000 from 3,000.

Stimulants are widely used in the civilian population to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder because they increase focus and attention. Short of an unlikely epidemic of that disorder among our soldiers, the military almost certainly uses the stimulants to help fatigued and sleep-deprived troops stay alert and awake. (A spokesman for Tricare attributed the sharp rise to “the increased recognition and diagnosis of A.D.H.D. by medical providers.” However, while there is greater recognition of the disorder, the diagnoses are concentrated in children and adolescents.)…

[continues in the New York Times]
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:39 AM   #3374
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Solar poles to become quadrupolar in May
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Magnetic field polarity at the solar poles will reverse and become quadrupolar in May, meaning positive fields will emerge in the North and South poles and negative fields will emerge on the equator, according to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and other institutes.

When a similar phenomenon occurred about 300 years ago, the Earth’s average temperature fell slightly.

A research team led by Saku Tsuneta, a professor at the observatory, analyzed solar magnetic fields data using Hinode, an observational satellite, and confirmed that the polarity of the magnetic field at the North Pole began to reverse in July last year.

The researchers also found the magnetic field at the South Pole, which was expected to reverse along with the North Pole, maintained a positive polarity, ensuring the formation of a quadrupole magnetic field.

The cause behind the shifts in polar fields is not understood. However, it is known that the shifts coincide with the increase and decrease in the number of sunspots over an about 11-year cycle.

The current sunspot cycle has stretched for close to 13 years. A similar situation occurred in the 17th to 18th century, when the average temperature of the Northern Hemisphere decreased by 0.6 C. The research team believes the quadrupolar pattern also emerged at that time.



http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features...0420005829.htm



http://earthsky.org/tonight/high-tid...-2012-on-may-5

According to U.S. clocks, May 5, 2012 features the closest and largest full moon of this year. Calendars say May 6, by the way, for this same close full moon as seen from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. We astronomers call this sort of close full moon a perigee full moon. The word perigee describes the moon’s closest point to Earth for a given month. But last year, when the closest and largest full moon occurred on March 19, 2011, many used a term we’d never heard: supermoon. We’ll probably hear that term again at this 2012 close full moon. What does it mean exactly? And how special is it?
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:40 AM   #3375
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http://www.neatorama.com/2012/04/21/...-eating-stars/

Black Holes Grow by Eating Stars
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