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Old 04-04-2012, 10:49 AM   #3326
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:55 AM   #3327
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New studies are showing that Chinese cities are slowly sinking as a result of rapid development and excess groundwater use. According to reports, as many as 50 cities across the country are affected by soil subsidence, including the country’s largest - Shanghai. Apparently, Shanghai has been slowly sinking for at least 90 years.

http://inhabitat.com/chinese-cities-...-rapid-growth/
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:00 AM   #3328
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http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap120402.html

Tungurahua Erupts
Image Credit & Copyright: Patrick Taschler

Explanation: Volcano Tungurahua sometimes erupts spectacularly. Pictured above, molten rock so hot it glows visibly pours down the sides of the 5,000-meter high Tungurahua, while a cloud of dark ash is seen being ejected toward the left. Wispy white clouds flow around the lava-lit peak, while a star-lit sky shines in the distance. The above image was captured in 2006 as ash fell around the adventurous photographer. Located in Ecuador, Tungurahua has become active roughly every 90 years for the last 1,300 years.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:20 PM   #3329
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http://www.sciencenews.org/view/gene..._well_as_space

Crystals may be possible in time as well as space
Theory proposes objects in their lowest energy state can loop in the fourth dimension forever

By Alexandra Witze
March 24th, 2012; Vol.181 #6 (p. 8)
Text Size

What sounds like the title of a bad fantasy movie — time crystals — could be the next big thing in theoretical physics.

In two new papers, Nobel Prize–winning physicist Frank Wilczek lays out the mathematics of how an object moving in its lowest energy state could experience a sort of structure in time. Such a “time crystal” would be the temporal equivalent of an everyday crystal, in which atoms occupy positions that repeat periodically in space.

The work, done partly with physicist Alfred Shapere of the University of Kentucky, appeared February 12 on arXiv.org.

“We don’t know whether such things do exist in nature, but the surprise is that they can exist,” says Maulik Parikh, a physicist at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Scientists don’t know how important time crystals may turn out to be, or whether they have any practical application at all. But Wilczek, of MIT, says the concept reminds him of the excitement he felt when he helped describe a new class of fundamental particles, called anyons, in the early 1980s. “I had very much the same kind of feeling as I’m having here,” he says, “that I had found a new logical possibility for how matter might behave that opened up a new world with many possible directions.”

Wilczek dreamed up time crystals after teaching a class about classifying crystals in three dimensions and wondering why that structure couldn’t extend to the fourth dimension — time.

To visualize a time crystal, think of Earth looping back to its same location in space every 365¼ days; the planet repeats itself periodically as it moves through time. But a true time crystal is made not of a planet but of an object in its lowest energy state, like an electron stripped of all possible energy.

This object could endlessly loop in time, just as electrons in a superconductor could theoretically flow through space for all eternity. “It’s doing what it wants to do, and what it wants to do is move,” says Wilczek.

In a sense the time crystal would be a perpetual motion machine: If scientists could build one in a lab, it would run forever. Yet it wouldn’t violate the second law of thermodynamics because the crystal would be in its lowest energy state; no useful energy could be extracted from it.

Wilczek is already dreaming of extending the time crystal concept into imaginary time, a theoretical concept of the fourth dimension that runs in a different direction than the one people experience.

“I don’t know if this will be of lasting value at all,” he says, “but I’m having fun.”

Editor's Note: Frank Wilczek is a member of the board of Society for Science and the Public, which publishes Science News.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:03 PM   #3330
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/nypd-...juana-arrests/

policeonbikes.nypd_.shutterstockIn short, New York City cops put 50,000 people behind bars last year for marijuana possession — even though the state decriminalized it in 1977 — and they refuse to stop. Via Raw Story:

Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders.

Under New York law, possession of 25g or less of marijuana [merely] brings a $100 fine. Only when the drugs are in public view are the police permitted to make an arrest for drug possession. One in three respondents said police had forced them to take the marijuana out of pockets or from under clothes and produce it into public view.

In September last year, Kelly issued an order to officers not to arrest people caught with small amounts of marijuana. But the number of those arrested increased after the order was made. In all, about 50,000 people were arrested in 2011 for marijuana possession.

Reasons police stopped people who they subsequently arrested for marijuana included “furtive movements,” “suspicious bulges,” “being in a high crime area” and “other.” Legal experts and criminal justice scholars have claimed that stop and frisks-and the drug arrests that often result from them-routinely lead to fourth amendment violations and serve as pipeline for the nation’s bloated prison system.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:59 AM   #3331
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http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygree...hone-wiretaps/



These Are The Prices AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Charge For Cellphone Wiretaps

Earlier this week the American Civil Liberties Union revealed a trove of documents it had obtained through Freedom of Information Requests to more than 200 police departments around the country. They show a pattern of police tracking cell phone locations and gathering other data like call logs without warrants, using devices that impersonate cell towers to intercept cellular signals, and encouraging officers to refrain from speaking about cell-tracking technology to the public, all detailed in a New York Times story.

But at least one document also details the day-to-day business of telecoms’ handing over of data to law enforcement, including a breakdown of every major carrier’s fees for every sort of data request from targeted wiretaps to so-called “tower dumps” that provide information on every user of certain cell tower. The guide, as provided by the Tucson, Arizona police department to the ACLU, is dated July 2009, and the fees it lists may be somewhat outdated. But representatives I reached by email at Verizon and AT&T both declined to detail any changes to the numbers.

Here are a few of the highlights from the fee data.

Wiretaps cost hundreds of dollars per target every month, generally paid at daily or monthly rates. To wiretap a customer’s phone, T-Mobile charges law enforcement a flat fee of $500 per target. Sprint’s wireless carrier Sprint Nextel requires police pay $400 per “market area” and per “technology” as well as a $10 per day fee, capped at $2,000. AT&T charges a $325 activation fee, plus $5 per day for data and $10 for audio. Verizon charges a $50 administrative fee plus $700 per month, per target.
Data requests for voicemail or text messages cost extra. AT&T demands $150 for access to a target’s voicemail, while Verizon charges $50 for access to text messages. Sprint offers the most detailed breakdown of fees for various kinds of data on a phone, asking $120 for pictures or video, $60 for email, $60 for voice mail and $30 for text messages.
All four telecom firms also offer so-called “tower dumps” that allow police to see the numbers of every user accessing a certain cell tower over a certain time at an hourly rate. AT&T charges $75 per tower per hour, with a minimum of two hours. Verizon charges between $30 and $60 per hour for each cell tower. T-Mobile demands $150 per cell tower per hour, and Sprint charges $50 per tower, seemingly without an hourly rate.
For location data, the carrier firms offer automated tools that let police track suspects in real time. Sprint charges $30 per month per target to use its L-Site program for location tracking. AT&T’s E911 tool costs $100 to activate and then $25 a day. T-Mobile charges a much pricier $100 per day.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:14 AM   #3332
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/why-d...ourt-justices/

http://www.salon.com/2012/04/03/just...ourt/singleton

Why Doesn’t The U.S. Just Start Electing Its Supreme Court Justices?


SCOTUSMichael Lind writes on Salon:

On Monday, we had another example of the Supreme Court’s ideological division: a 5-4 ruling, along partisan lines, giving police the right to conduct strip searches for any offense. This came on the heels of last week’s oral arguments before the Supreme Court about the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act, which led many observers to predict that the nation’s highest judicial body will strike down part or all of the controversial healthcare reform package.

But the hearings were instructive in other ways. They showed once again that political partisanship is closely correlated to a justice’s view of the law. And they proved that the Supreme Court once again is functioning, not as a court, but as a third house of the federal legislature.

The U.S. Constitution, like many state constitutions, really is two constitutions in one. There is the black-letter constitution, which consists of rules about which there is little or no dispute. Most of these have to do with qualifications for representatives, like Article I, Section 3, Clause 1, as amended: “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.” Not a whole lot of room for interpretation there …

Read More: Salon
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:56 AM   #3333
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-s...america-a-map/



Via Domus, a map of the United States, in the form of its 259 most crucial infrastructural sites as revealed by a 2010 WikiLeaks release:

We might say with only slight exaggeration that the United States exists in its current state of economic and military well-being due to a peripheral constellation of sites found all over the world.

These far-flung locations—such as rare-earth mines, telecommunications hubs and vaccine suppliers—are like geopolitical buttresses, as important for the internal operations of the United States as its own homeland security.

However, this overseas network is neither seamless nor even necessarily identifiable as such. Rather, it is aggressively and deliberately discontiguous, and rarely acknowledged in any detail.

That is what made the controversial release by WikiLeaks, in December 2010, of a long list of key infrastructural sites deemed vital to the national security of the United States so interesting…

[More on Domus]


http://www.domusweb.it/en/architectu...nfrastructure/
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:52 AM   #3334
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-h...the-president/

Noticed via OrgTheory (http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/2012/...are-popular/):




The finding is simple. War casualties, as a fraction of the population, positively correlate with how historians rate presidents. More death = better presidents. The regression model includes some controls, like economic growth. This is consistent with sociological research on state building, which has traditionally linked wars, bureaucratic growth, and tax collection.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:04 AM   #3335
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:11 AM   #3336
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http://www.neatorama.com/2012/04/12/...hail-in-texas/



Photo: Potter County Fire Department - via US National Weather Service Facebook Page

Everything is bigger in Texas, but this is ridiculous: 4 feet of hail blanketed an area north of Amarillo.

"That was 4 feet of ice" that was compacted by rain and floodwater across a wide area, [National Weather Service spokeswoman Krissy Scotten] added.

"It was actually the rain/water that caused the drifts," Scotten said. "Anytime you have hail accumulate 2 to 4 feet high and get over three inches of rain, no matter how it occurs, it's pretty incredible."

As for the darkish color, "we're very dusty around here" due to drought so the hail quickly darkened, Scotten said.


http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/20...e-a-storm?lite
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #3337
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Originally Posted by alkemical View Post
http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/nypd-...juana-arrests/

policeonbikes.nypd_.shutterstockIn short, New York City cops put 50,000 people behind bars last year for marijuana possession — even though the state decriminalized it in 1977 — and they refuse to stop. Via Raw Story:

Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders.

Under New York law, possession of 25g or less of marijuana [merely] brings a $100 fine. Only when the drugs are in public view are the police permitted to make an arrest for drug possession. One in three respondents said police had forced them to take the marijuana out of pockets or from under clothes and produce it into public view.

In September last year, Kelly issued an order to officers not to arrest people caught with small amounts of marijuana. But the number of those arrested increased after the order was made. In all, about 50,000 people were arrested in 2011 for marijuana possession.

Reasons police stopped people who they subsequently arrested for marijuana included “furtive movements,” “suspicious bulges,” “being in a high crime area” and “other.” Legal experts and criminal justice scholars have claimed that stop and frisks-and the drug arrests that often result from them-routinely lead to fourth amendment violations and serve as pipeline for the nation’s bloated prison system.
And now they'll get to strip search them.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:15 AM   #3338
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Looks like Michael Jackson. Some don't know this, but Jackson stole his entire act from Bob Fosse. Here's a dance routine Bob Fosse created and danced in the film The Little Prince done to the tune "Billie Jean":



The year was 1974, when MJ was 14 years old. No doubt he saw the movie.
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Old 04-14-2012, 09:39 AM   #3339
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http://www.rit.edu/news/release.php?id=47657

Hubble Research Reveals ‘Wandering’ Black Hole


Research sheds light on galaxy evolution


A team of scientists from Rochester Institute of Technology, Florida Institute of Technology and the University of Sussex has discovered that the supermassive black hole at the center of the most massive local galaxy is on the move.
The discovery, made through observations of the Hubble Space Telescope data, will help scientists refine their understanding of how galaxies are made and how they evolve.
Messier 87 is a massive elliptical galaxy that, at 60 million light years from Earth, is one of our most impressive and closest galactic neighbors. It is known for its brilliant and dense nebulae of stars and a distinctive jet of sub-atomic particles that is propelled from its active center.
The team has found that the supermassive black hole thought to be at the center of M87 has been is displaced. The most likely cause is a previous merger between two older, less massive black holes, but the displacement may also be due to the propulsive energy of M87’s iconic jet.
“The M87 jet may have pushed the supermassive black hole away from the galaxy center,” says lead author Daniel Batcheldor, assistant professor of physics at Florida Institute of Technology and former research scientist at RIT.
The study of M87 is part of a wider Hubble Space Telescope project directed by Andrew Robinson, professor of physics at RIT. “What may well be the most interesting thing about this work is the possibility that what we found is a signpost of a black hole merger, which is of interest to people looking for gravitational waves and for people modeling these systems as a demonstration that black holes really do merge,” says Robinson. “The theoretical prediction is that when two black holes merge, the newly combined black hole receives a ‘kick’ due to the emission of gravitational waves, which can displace it from the center of the galaxy.”
David Merritt, professor of physics at RIT, adds: “Once kicked, a supermassive black hole can take millions or billions of years to return to rest, especially at the center of a large, diffuse galaxy such as M87. So searching for displacements is an effective way to constrain the merger history of galaxies.”
Many galaxies have similar properties to M87, so it is likely that supermassive black holes are commonly offset from their host galaxy centers. David Axon, head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex, says: “In current galaxy formation scenarios galaxies are thought to be assembled by a process of merging. We should therefore expect that binary black holes and post coalescence recoiling black holes, like that in M87, are very common in the cosmos.”
Earth’s own galaxy is predicted to merge with the Andromeda galaxy, which could then result in a similar wandering SMBH at the heart of the new galaxy–in about 3 billion years.
“The result of that merger will likely be an active elliptical galaxy, similar to M87,” says Eric Perlman, associate professor of physics and space sciences at Florida Institute of Technology. “Both our galaxy and Andromeda have supermassive black holes in their centers, so our result suggests that after the merger, the supermassive black holes may wander in the galaxy’s nucleus for billions of years.”
The research was presented at the American Astronomical Society Conference May 25 in Miami and will be published as “A Displaced Supermassive Black Hole in M87,” by D. Batcheldor, E. Perlman (Florida Institute of Technology); A. Robinson, D. Merritt (Rochester Institute of Technology) and D. Axon, University of Sussex, Astrophysical Journal Letters.
For more information, contact Andrew Robinson at 585-475-2726 or axrsps@rit.edu or Daniel Batcheldor at 321-674-7717 or dbatcheldor@fit.edu.
##
About RIT: Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized for academic leadership in computing, engineering, imaging technology, and fine and applied arts, in addition to unparalleled support services for students with hearing loss. Nearly 16,800 full- and part-time students are enrolled in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs at RIT, and its cooperative education program is one of the oldest and largest in the nation.
For two decades, U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIT among the nation’s leading comprehensive universities. RIT is featured in The Princeton Review’s 2010 edition of The Best 371 Colleges and in Barron’s Best Buys in Education. The Chronicle of Higher Education recognizes RIT as a “Great College to Work For.”
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:54 PM   #3340
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Originally Posted by alkemical View Post
http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-h...the-president/

Noticed via OrgTheory (http://orgtheory.wordpress.com/2012/...are-popular/):




The finding is simple. War casualties, as a fraction of the population, positively correlate with how historians rate presidents. More death = better presidents. The regression model includes some controls, like economic growth. This is consistent with sociological research on state building, which has traditionally linked wars, bureaucratic growth, and tax collection.
Bush did not kill enough people? Interesting food for thought.
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Old 04-14-2012, 02:56 PM   #3341
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http://www.neatorama.com/2012/03/30/...s-illustrated/



David McCandless of Information is Beautiful (he wrote the wonderful book The Visual Miscellaneum - I highly recommend it), came up with this clever visualization and examples of common logical fallacies.

Why, some of them are my favorite techniques to obfuscate people I love, and since they still love me, these must be the greatest things ever.
Take a look and see if your cherished logical fallacies are featured: Link - via Metafilter

http://www.informationisbeautiful.ne...cal-fallacies/
Good stuff! I think Orangemane is a kind of logic puzzle. It makes sense only when it's lying to you.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:55 AM   #3342
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Bush did not kill enough people? Interesting food for thought.
It's an interesting dynamic when looking at things.
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Old 04-16-2012, 06:56 AM   #3343
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Good stuff! I think Orangemane is a kind of logic puzzle. It makes sense only when it's lying to you.
You can't "listen" to the OM's words. But if you watch it, it shows you the truth.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:44 AM   #3344
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WTF:

http://www.usatoday.com/money/indust...ing/54224068/1



Prom spending rises to average $1,078 this year, survey says


Quote:
This year, families with teens are expected to spend an average of $1,078 on prom, up from $807 last year, according to data from a survey released today by Visa that includes results based on a thousand telephone interviews conducted at the end of last month.
Quote:

"This is social-arms-race spending. It's extreme," says Jason Alderman, director of Visa's financial education programs.

Spending has been driven to never-before-seen levels as teens are influenced by everything from celebrities and reality TV to the prevalence of social media, experts say.

Linda Korman, advertising director for Seventeen Prom and Teen Prom, says teen girls view prom as their "red-carpet moment" and are "heavily influenced" by celebrities who walk actual red carpets in designer gowns.

"It's a rite of passage, and there's a legacy of how you look at your prom," she says. "Girls want to dress to impress."

Maria Sanchez-Ferry of Las Vegas spent $400 on a sequined teal dress from a bridal store for her 17-year-old daughter, Reyna Sanchez, and another $120 on alterations. The prom is at the end of the month, and while she says the event is turning into the most costly of all the high school dances Reyna, a senior, has attended, she doesn't mind spending more.

Quote:
Girls' sources of style and inspiration have evolved with greater access to information through fashion blogs and other websites that put an emphasis on individuality, Levy says. "There's a general sense of people wanting to be differentiated," she says. "Going to a national chain and getting the same dress that 18 other girls have is not a chance for me to differentiate myself or express my individuality, which is such an important part of my social experience today."

Splurging on an expensive dress or getting your hair and nails done isn't just about personal expression; it's about getting attention, Yarrow says.

"The bar is higher for what it takes to get attention, and therefore, (teens) really need to have something exclusive, original, unique to them in order to get attention to from other people," Yarrow says, and that often comes with a higher price tag.

The "peer pressure to one up each other over and over," as Alderman says, seems to be affecting less affluent families the most. Parents in one of the lowest income brackets from the Visa survey reported planning to spend the most on prom. Those who make between $20,000 and $29,999 a year will spend more than $2,600, twice the national average, while families in high income brackets plan to spend between $700 and $1,000.

"Appearance is everything, and for prom, appearance really matters," Levy says. "You'll probably see people spending a little beyond their means to make the right impression. It's like your Cinderella night, so you pull out all the stops."
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:50 AM   #3345
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http://www.buzzfeed.com/briandavies/...son-on-th-5wx4
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:55 AM   #3346
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Old 04-16-2012, 10:57 AM   #3347
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/how-t...ol-the-masses/

“Believe me, you don’t want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. And yet, it’s exactly what is happening…” Naomi Wolf writes in the Guardian:

In a five-four ruling this week, the supreme court decided that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. This horror show ruling joins two recent horror show laws: the NDAA, which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time, and HR 347, the “trespass bill”, which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection. These criminalizations of being human follow, of course, the mini-uprising of the Occupy movement.

Is American strip-searching benign? The man who had brought the initial suit, Albert Florence, described having been told to “turn around. Squat and cough. Spread your cheeks.” He said he felt humiliated: “It made me feel like less of a man.”

In surreal reasoning, justice Anthony Kennedy explained that this ruling is necessary because the 9/11 bomber could have been stopped for speeding. How would strip searching him have prevented the attack? Did justice Kennedy imagine that plans to blow up the twin towers had been concealed in a body cavity? In still more bizarre non-logic, his and the other justices’ decision rests on concerns about weapons and contraband in prison systems. But people under arrest — that is, who are not yet convicted — haven’t been introduced into a prison population.

Read More: Guardian
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:01 AM   #3348
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/epa-c...santo-coverup/

Alexis Baden-Mayer writes on the Organic Consumers Association:

2,4-D and the dioxin pollution it creates are too dangerous to allow, period, but in the hands of bad actors like Monsanto and Dow Chemical the dangers increase exponentially. What’s the Environmental Protection Agency doing? Helping coverup the chemical companies’ crimes!

In February, Monsanto agreed to pay up to $93 million in a class-action lawsuit brought by the residents of Nitro, West Virginia, for dioxin exposure from accidents and pollution at an herbicide plant that operated in their town from 1929 to 2004.

That may seem like justice, but it is actually the result of Monsanto’s extraordinary efforts to hide the truth, evade criminal prosecution and avoid legal responsibility. A brief criminal fraud investigation conducted (and quickly aborted) by the EPA revealed that Monsanto used a disaster at their Nitro, WV, plant to manufacture “evidence” that dioxin exposure produced a skin condition called chloracne, but was not responsible for neurological health effects or cancers such as Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

These conclusions were repeatedly utilized by EPA and the Veterans Administration to deny help to citizens exposed to dioxin, if these persons did not exhibit chloracne. The EPA knew the truth about Monsanto’s dioxin crimes, but it decided to hide it. Why?…

Read More: Organic Consumers Association

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Old 04-16-2012, 01:57 PM   #3349
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/04/the-s...erry-sandusky/

The Strange CIA Connection with Penn State Pedophile Jerry Sandusky


Luke O’Brien writes on Deadspin:

We’ve written about Ray Gricar before. He’s the former Centre County district attorney who declined to prosecute Jerry Sandusky in 1998, despite a psychologist’s warning that Sandusky showed a “likely pedophile’s pattern” of behavior. On April 15, 2005, Gricar mysteriously disappeared from central Pennsylvania and, seemingly, from this earthly realm. Gone. No trail. Just an empty car with a cell phone inside.

Three months later, fishermen discovered Gricar’s government-issued laptop in the Susquehanna River. Police later found his hard drive on a riverbank, damaged so badly that no data could be recovered. They also learned about the Internet searches run on the DA’s home computer before his disappearance: “how to wreck a hard drive,” “how to fry a hard drive,” and “water damage to a notebook computer.”

Cases like this often don’t get solved. Rather, conspiracy theories pop up, some more wackadoodle than others. And when news about Sandusky’s alleged crimes broke last year, the tinfoil-hat crowd really rolled out the Reynolds Wrap. There was never any evidence to connect Gricar’s disappearance to his Sandusky investigation. But so what? We figured his disappearance was bizarre enough that it warranted a FOIA request with the FBI. The documents we got back deal with an “URGENT” 1986 background check the FBI did on Gricar, when he was appointed by the local U.S. attorney to try federal cases. The documents don’t reveal anything about the investigation into Gricar’s disappearance, likely because the investigation is ongoing, but they do contain material that will raise eyebrows under all those tinfoil hats.

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Old 04-16-2012, 02:03 PM   #3350
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