Monday, December 31, 2012

Regulating the Militia

Source: National Review

There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny. Consider the words of Supreme Court justice Joseph Story — who was, it bears noting, appointed to the Court by the guy who wrote the Constitution:

The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

“Usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers” —not Bambi, not burglars.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Man-made tornadoes may produce green energy

Source: Russia Today

A Canadian firm is developing the technology to use the tornadoes to produce electricity – and assures it would be safe.

FFRF sues IRS over preferential treatment of chirches

Source: Freedom From Religion Foundation

The IRS requires non-church tax-exempt non-profits to file “detailed, intrusive, and expensive annual reports to maintain tax-exempt status, but such reports are not required for churches and certain other affiliated religious organizations,” the complaint notes.

“Why should churches be exempt from basic financial reporting requirements? Equally important, why would churches not wish to be accountable?” asks Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “Having tax-exempt status is a great privilege, and in exchange for that privilege, all other groups must file a detailed report annually to the IRS and the public on how we spend donations.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pot farms take dirty toll

I guess most users aren't very interested in natural or organically grown weed and it's obviously taking quite a toll on the environment.

Source: Los Angeles Times

There is a litany of pollutants seeping into the watershed from pot farms: fertilizers, soil amendments, miticides, rodenticides, fungicides, plant hormones, diesel fuel, human waste.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gaps in F.B.I Data Undercut Background Checks For Guns

Source: New York Times

Nearly two decades after lawmakers began requiring background checks for gun buyers, significant gaps in the F.B.I.'s database of criminal and mental health records allow thousands of people to buy firearms every year who should be barred from doing so.

The database is incomplete because many states have not provided federal authorities with comprehensive records of people involuntarily committed or otherwise ruled mentally ill. Records are also spotty for several other categories of prohibited buyers, including those who have tested positive for illegal drugs or have a history of domestic violence.

The gaps exist because the system is voluntary; the Supreme Court ruled in 1997 that the federal government cannot force state officials to participate in the federal background check system. As a result, when a gun dealer asks the F.B.I. to check a buyer's history, the bureau sometimes allows the sale to proceed, even though the purchaser should have been prohibited from acquiring a weapon, because its database is missing the relevant records.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Three Habitable Zone Planets Discovered Around One Red Dwarf

Source: MIT Technology Review

Gliese 667 is a triple star system about 22 light years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpius. Two of these stars--Gliese 667 A and B--are Sun-like and orbit each other relatively closely.

The third is much more interesting.
Gliese 667C a red dwarf that is about a third of the mass of our Sun and only about 1 per cent as bright. It orbits the other two stars at a much greater distance: some 200 astronomical units or about 30 billion kilometres.

Today, Philip Gregory at the University of British Columbia in Canada says that Gliese 667Chas three planets sitting squarely in the middle of its habitable zone.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Many Americans see hint of Apocalypse in extreme weather

Revelation 6:12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.

Source: The Raw Story

A third of Americans believe the intensity of recent natural disasters is linked to the Apocalypse described in the New Testament, according to a poll released Thursday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kucinich Building Bipartisan Support for Drone Oversight

A House Resolution demands explanation of the Constitutional grounds for Obama's drone assassinations without due process of law.

Source: Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich

This resolution will likely come to a vote in the House tomorrow and was submitted by Dennis Kucinich and cosponsored by Ron Paul (R-TX), Rush Holt Jr. (D-NJ), Justin Amash (R-MI), James p. McGovern (D-MA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

“Thus far, the Administration has refused to release the memo or any documents, despite multiple requests from members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. Intelligence operations that have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight raise serious legal questions, particularly when such programs may constitute possible violations of international law or the Constitution of the United States,” said Kucinich.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Newly Released Drone Records Reveal Extensive Military Flights in US

Click through to EFF's article for a summary of their findings from the FOIA lawsuit. There is a link to a map of police, government agencies and colleges that have been granted licenses to operate drones over US air space.

Source EFF

EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States.
These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

... the Air Force presents some statistics on actual incidents and the potential for crashes in New Mexico in a document titled "Operational Risk Analysis of Predator/Reaper Flight Operations in a Corridor between Cannon AFB and Melrose Range (R-5104A)." This document notes that "8 incidents [involving Predators] occurred over a period of 79,177 flying hours." (p. 8). A risk analysis table from the report is below.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Extraterrestrials and Their Flickering Stars

What if ET is communicating with us by flickering his planet?

Source: TIME

"If we see ‘SOS, send water,’ in Morse code, that would be great.”

BP oil spill cleanup toxic to key species

Source: CBC News

Using oil-dispersing chemicals during the massive 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico likely did far more damage than good to a crucial aquatic animal, according to new research that wades into the hotly contested question of whether and when to use the chemicals following an oil spill.

The dispersant used by oil company BP, when mixed with crude oil, was found to be 52 times more toxic than oil alone to some microscopic plankton-like organisms called rotifers.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dollar's Decline Catches Up With U.S. Mint

This article ought to make you think about the value of our fiat currency.

Source: Dollar's Decline Catches Up With U.S. Mint

It costs the mint nearly 5 cents to make each penny while it costs more than 16 cents to make a nickel. A $1 coin typically costs about 30 cents for the U.S. Mint to produce.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world's food crisis?

Source: Guardian

...the work that Sundrop Farms, as they call themselves, are doing in South Australia, and just starting up in Qatar, is beyond the experimental stage. They appear to have pulled off the ultimate something-from-nothing agricultural feat – using the sun to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses as required, and thence cheaply grow high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables year-round in commercial quantities.

So far, the company has grown tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers by the tonne, but the same, proven technology is now almost ready to be extended to magic out, as if from thin air, unlimited quantities of many more crops – and even protein foods such as fish and chicken – but still using no fresh water and close to zero fossil fuels. Salty seawater, it hardly needs explaining, is free in every way and abundant – rather too abundant these days, as our ice caps melt away.

So well has Sundrop's 18-month project worked that investors and supermarket chains have lately been scurrying down to Port Augusta, making it hard to get a room in its few motels, or a table at the curry restaurant in the local pub. Academic agriculturalists, mainstream politicians and green activists are falling over each other to champion Sundrop. And the company's scientists, entrepreneurs and investors are about to start building an £8m, 20-acre greenhouse – 40 times bigger than the current one – which will produce 2.8m kg of tomatoes and 1.2m kg of peppers a year for supermarkets now clamouring for an exclusive contract.

It's an inspiring project, more important, it could be argued, than anything else going on in the world. Agriculture uses 60-80% of the planet's scarce fresh water, so food production that uses none at all is nothing short of miraculous.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rifle-Toting Terrorists Pose Great Threat to Power Grid

In this article, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff made some ridiculous statements that might slightly discredit his claims about the vulnerability of our power grid.

He said, "A coordinated physical attack is a very, very unsettling thing to me." An attacker "could get 200 yards away with a .22 rifle and take the whole thing out."

Mr. Wellinghoff might be interested to know that the maximum effective range of a .22 long rifle is 150 yards.

Wellinghoff also claimed that a utility could install metal sheeting to block the view of the transformers for a "couple hundred bucks" and "if you can't see through the fence, you can't figure out where to shoot anymore."

This guy has obviously never done any target practice at a junk yard or landfill.  Serious damage could be done by firing blindly through metal sheeting because it would only take one round to pierce the transformer casing  causing oil to leak out and rendering the transformer inoperative.

It would take AR400 steel plates 3/8" thick to stop the most common rifle rounds including .308, .30-06 and 7.62x54R. AR400 3/8" costs is at least $800 for a 4x8 sheet. So effective protection with steel would not be as cheap as Wellinghoff claims.

The best and cheapest solution would probably involve moving transformers to an underground basement.

Source: Bloomberg

An attack on the power grid by terrorists -- even ones armed with relatively simple weapons -- is among the greatest threats to the reliability of the nation's power system, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.

"There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid" FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff said today at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington. "I don't think we have the level of physical security we need."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Economic IQ test: If the national debt doesn't matter, then taxes aren't needed at all

Source Natural News

If debt doesn't matter, then taxes aren't needed at all

Under the current system of unlimited spending, unlimited money creation and unlimited debt that "doesn't matter" according to the bureaucrats in Washington, there is absolutely no reason why any so-called "revenue" needs to be collected from the working class population whatsoever. "Revenue" only matters if debt matters, and we've been told by everybody in Washington (except Ron Paul) that debt doesn't matter.

Logically, then, we need no income tax at all. The President could simply announce the elimination of all federal taxes and the closure of the IRS, then have the Fed print up the money it needs. No more income taxes... ever! Imagine the savings in paperwork reduction alone...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Maker of Airport Body Scanners Suspected of Falsifying Software Tests

The Department of Homeland Security acted outside of its regulatory authority and with profound disregard for the statutory and constitutional rights of air travelers when it implemented body scanners without first making a public notice and accepting public comment.

The DHS still has not complied with the orders of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which ruled that DHS had violated the Administrative Procedures Act by implementing body scanners as a primary screening method without first undertaking public notice and comment rulemaking and ordered the agency to "promptly" undertake the proper rulemaking procedures and allow the public to comment on the body scanner program.

Now we are learning that test results for the Rapiscan naked body scanners may have been falsified.

Source: Wired's Threat Level

A company that supplies controversial passenger-screening machines for U.S. airports is under suspicion for possibly manipulating tests on privacy software designed to prevent the machines from producing graphic body images.

The Transportation Security Administration sent a letter Nov. 9 to the parent company of Rapiscan, the maker of backscatter machines, requesting information about the testing of the software to determine if there was malfeasance.

Jindal: End 'dumbed-down conservatism'

Source: POLITICO

“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments —enough of that,” Bobby Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Did Paula Broadwell reveal secret CIA prison?

Bengazi-gate just gets weirder and weirder.

Source: Klein Online

Did Paula Broadwell, reveal a secret CIA detention center in Benghazi during a public speech she gave last month?

Broadwell, a former counterterror operative, co-authored a bestselling biography of David Petraeus. She discussed the book during a keynote speech on Oct. 26 at a University of Denver alumni symposium. The speech is available in full on YouTube.

During a question and answer session, Broadwell was asked about the September 11 attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

She stated: “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually had taken a couple of Libya militia members prisoner. And they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”

The existence of a U.S. prison or CIA detention center in Benghazi would be a new development in the debate surrounding the attacks there. The information does not appear to be publicly known.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Climate change: taking a toll on coffee?

Source: Los Angeles Times

Writing in the journal PLoS One on Wednesday, research botanist Aaron Davis of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London and colleagues reported that climate warming could drive wild varieties of Coffea arabica to extinction by 2080.

“Our modeling shows a profoundly negative trend for the future distribution of indigenous Arabica coffee under the influence of accelerated global climate change,” the study authors wrote.

Arabica is the prized plant that produces 70% of the more than $15 billion worth of coffee sold around the world each year. Mostly it is cultivated on farms, which grow varieties descended from a small number of plants that were carried out of Ethiopia in the 1600s and 1700s, Davis told National Geographic this week

Thursday, November 8, 2012

CIA Allegedly Using Drug Money to Overthrow Ecuador President Rafael Correa

Source: Infowars

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is using drug money to fund Rafael Correa’s opposition in the coming 2013 Ecuadorian elections, intelligence sources have revealed to Chilean independent media. The accusations do not stand alone. In October, former UK diplomat Craig Murray said that the CIA had tripled its budget to destabilize the government of Ecuador.

The allegations were made public by President Rafael Correa on November 3rd on national television, just days after his official visit to Chile to meet with President Sebastian Piñera.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One-quarter of EMTs don't get flu vaccine

Source: UPI

... "It's a concern that so many EMTs who are educated in healthcare do not believe that the public health message regarding influenza vaccine safety and efficacy is reliable," study co-investigator Kate Wright, an associate professor and director of Heartland Centers at Saint Louis University, said in a statement.

In addition, 25 percent of the 265 St. Louis EMTs said they do not believe that influenza is a serious disease that can cause death.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What the Bible Says About Rape

Source: Alternet

... The Bible is loaded with divinely sanctioned rape babies. The Bible both depicts and scriptsa world in which women have no choice about who they are given to. Daughters can be given in marriage or sold outright, slaves can be sent by their mistresses to bear proxy babies, virgin war captives can be claimed as wives, widows can be forced to submit to humping by their brothers-in-law until they produce sons. Presumably any of these women can be laid at any time, at a man’s discretion, much as is the case in parts of Afghanistan or analogous Iron Age tribal cultures today. In such a world, a significant portion of babies conceived will be the product of non-consensual sex. In other words, rape. ...

A Vote for a Third Party Candidate Is NOT a Wasted Vote

Most voters have a simple process for selecting who to vote for. In most cases, voters choose to vote for the Republican or Democrat that scares them the least. Most voters are either terrified that Obama will win a second term in the White House or that Romney will be inaugurated in January. So essentially voters let fear dictate who they will vote for.

Most voters are also smart enough to realize that it's not in their best interest to vote for the Republican or the Democrat. Democrats and Republicans have brought our nation to the fiscal cliff. Republicans and Democrats have supported many wars that we should never have started. Democrats and Republicans have allowed the Federal Reserve to significantly devalue the dollar over the past century resulting in the virtual robbery of a huge percentage of our savings.

I think you know that you should stop voting for the lessor of two evils. I think you know that you should choose the candidate that best reflects your views. Have you seriously considered the Green Party candidate Jill Stein or the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson? If you plan to vote for Romney, then there's a good chance that Johnson more closely reflects your views than Romney. If you plan to vote for Obama, then there's a good chance that Stein or even Johnson more closely reflects your views than Obama.

Vote for the Third Party candidate who would serve your best interest! You probably don't because you don't want to "waste your vote". Stop and think about that logic for a second. You have chosen to let you fear drive you to vote against your interest so that you can help ensure that the election is not won by the candidate you hate most. I can totally understand this logic if you live in one of the tightly contested states. But, I can't understand this logic if you live in one of the states that are solidly blue or solidly red in this election.

Electoral College votes that are solidly Obama/Biden: California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington
Electoral College votes that are solidly Romney/Ryan: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wyoming

If you live in one of the states that are solidly Obama or Romney, then your vote for Obama or Romney will statistically have virtually no impact on the election. Your single vote will be recorded in the popular vote for Obama or Romney, but your vote has no other tangible value or affect in this election. If you live in one of these states and you vote for a Third Party candidate, then your vote will send a much clearer message.

Your single vote could help Johnson or Stein win just 5% of the popular vote, which would enable a Third Party candidate to receive federal funding for the next election. Your single vote for Stein or Johnson could help improve a Third Party candidate's ballot access in the next election. Your single vote for Johnson or Stein could also help send a clearer message to the Republicans and Democrats, "I do not approve of what the two-party system has done to my country."

There's a great article on Washington's Blog discussing the views of several popular figures on this topic.

Liberals and Conservatives Agree: Vote Third Party

Preface: Many Americans are waking up to the fact that the Republican and Democratic candidates are incredibly similar.

Many people are starting to realize that Obama and Romney are virtually indistinguishable on war, jobs, freedoms and favoring fatcats instead of the little guy.

Many of us want a third party candidate to win … but are afraid of “wasting our vote”.

Leading conservatives and liberals say that we should vote for a third party candidate.

Read more at Washington's Blog"

Friday, November 2, 2012

NASA- International Space Station 10th Anniversary

Source: NASA

Now the largest spacecraft ever built, the orbital assembly of the space station began with the launch from Kazakhstan of its first bus-sized component, Zarya, on Nov. 20, 1998. The launch began an international construction project of unprecedented complexity and sophistication.

A Message from The Greatest Generation (NSFW)

A Message from The Greatest Generation (NSFW)

Source:MoveOn.org

Credit is due to this Caroline May article at The Daily Caller

Credit is also due to Infowars.com and to Alex Jones for mentioning it on his podcast and radio show

WARNING: Adult Language - Not Safe For Work, Not recommended for children under 13

Bengazi timeline challenges Fox News story

Source: The Washington Post

The Fox News report paints the CIA as a cautious and incompetent organization that hesitated and withdrew when U.S. citizens and assets were under fire. Officialdom depicts the effort as an all-out scramble to deliver as much help as quickly as possible.

As reported in this series yesterday, the mainstream media have largely declined to follow Fox’s reporting, leaving it on something of a limb. A reckoning is coming. Stay tuned to this series.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NSA Analyst Proves GOP Is Stealing Elections

It's very interesting how little election irregularities have been discussed by the mainstream media in the U.S. and how few candidates have challenged the legitimacy of the vote.

Source: UK Progressive

Retired NSA analyst Michael Duniho has worked for nearly seven years trying to understand voting anomalies in his home state of Arizona and Pima County. This publication has written extensively about apparent vote machine manipulation in a 2006 RTA Bond issue election that is still being fought in the courts. Said Duniho, “It is really easy to cheat using computers to count votes, because you can’t see what is going on in the machine.”

When Duniho applied a mathematical model to actual voting results in the largest voting precincts, he saw that only the large precincts suddenly trended towards Mitt Romney in the Arizona primary – and indeed all Republicans in every election since 2008 – by a factor of 8%-10%. The Republican candidate in every race saw an 8-10%. gain in his totals whilst the Democrat lost 8-10%. This is a swing of up to 20 point, enough to win an election unless a candidate was losing very badly.

How Will the Fed React to Sandy?

Source: CNBC

In the period after the disaster, the return of productivity to its pre-disaster level permits firms to increase output, which lifts households’ income and enables them to increase their investment in physical capital. That process continues for a number of periods as the capital stock is slowly reconstructed. In the longer term, the protracted rebuilding of the capital stock is associated with below-trend output and persistent, above-trend paths for employment, investment, and inflation.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

American bombing of Iraq left legacy of deformed babies: Siddiqui - thestar.com

These studies should be required reading for anyone who still wonders why the Arab and Muslim world remains so angry at America and its allies.

Most U.S. Drones Openly Broadcast Secret Video Feeds

Source: Wired's Danger Room

Four years after discovering that militants were tapping into drone video feeds, the U.S. military still hasn’t secured the transmissions of more than half of its fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, Danger Room has learned. The majority of the aircraft still broadcast their classified video streams “in the clear” — without encryption. With a minimal amount of equipment and know-how, militants can see what America’s drones see.

Romney embraces executive authority

Source: Washington Times

Facing off in last week’s foreign policy debate, Mitt Romney nodded in agreement with much of what President Obama has done with his powers as chief executive — including a full-on embrace of the president’s claim to sole authority to expand drone strikes to kill terrorist suspects.

The Republican presidential nominee has reserved the right to deploy U.S. military power to world hot spots, as Mr. Obama did in Libya, and to greenlight unilateral action against Iran. To the dismay of civil liberties activists, he has shifted his position on indefinite detention, agreeing with the president that U.S. citizens deemed “enemy combatants” are not entitled to habeas corpus.

While regularly complaining about Mr. Obama’s use of unilateral authority, such as his appointment of policy “czars” and issuing waivers to let states opt out of federal welfare law rules, Mr. Romney has made clear he takes issue not so much with the president’s powers themselves, but with how those powers have been used during the past four years.

Monday, October 29, 2012

26 Nuclear Plants In Predicted Path Of Hurricane Sandy

Source Fairwinds Energy Education Podcast Here is a summary of two important topics discussed in the October 28, 2012 podcast by Fairewinds Energy Education:

    Hurricane Sandy poses a threat to 26 nuclear reactor sites
  • the Nuclear Plants can withstand relatively high winds
  • storm surge will not likely do much damage to the nuclear power plants themselves
  • but some plants will likely suffer loss of off-site power (as happened at Fukushima)
  • at that point, the plant will automatically "scram", control rods will go into the cooling pool real quickly and the nuclear chain reaction will stop
  • when the power transmission lines are lost, the nuclear power plant needs to reduce power production quickly
  • with loss of off-site power, diesel generators must turn on in order to provide the power needed to cool the fue pools
  • some plants have 2 diesel generators and some plants have 3 diesel generators
  • as the Nuclear plant operates, it requires off-site power to operate the pumps
  • when a nuclear power plant shuts down, as much as 5% of the decay heat remains
  • diesel generators are required to keep the plant cool
  • we have to hope that those diesel generators operate when needed, because that is the last line of defense against meltdown
  • when a plant "scrams" that's a sudden shutdown and a severe jolt to the system
  • it would be better if operators shutdown the plant ahead of time
  • there are 26 nuclear power plants in the area where Hurricane Sandy is likely to hit
  • nuclear reactors are not designed to cool the spent fuel pools from the diesel generators
  • so, the design of most nuclear plants requires that off-site power be restored quickly in order to keep the spent fuel pools cool
  • if the spent fuel pools heat up, tremendous humidity is generated
  • the fuel pool building structures are not designed to
  • a fuel pool takes time to reach boiling point
  • some of the 26 reactor sites have recently refueled, so they have hot fuel rods in their fuel pools and could reach boiling point within a couple of days
  • it is likely that off-site power will be lost at quite a few of the 26 sites
  • the chance of a diesel generator failing is less than 1 in 100
  • so a plant with two generators has a 1 in 10,000 chance of both diesel generators failing

    The Fukushima reactors and fuel pools are still dangerous
  • there was a very important report from Japan regarding the radiation in the Pacific Ocean
  • Bentic organisms that live on the bottom of the ocean floor are not seeing a decline in the amount of radiation
  • so the message is that the fish in Japan are still contaminated
  • the other, more important conclusion is that radiation must still be leaking into the ocean
  • TEPCO is building a wall into the ocean 100 feet deep to prevent leakage into the idea, but that will not be completed until 2014
  • the fuel pool will not be completed until 2015
  • this is the worst nuclear leak into the ocean in history and continues to leak into the ocean
  • assuming that there is no further damage from earthquakes or storms, water management will eventually become a problem
  • a football field sized waste water storage area is rapidly filling up

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Obama impeachment for use of offensive military force without an act of Congress

Source World Net Daily

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under Article I, Section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Nuclear Regulatory Commission watches reactors in Frankenstorm's path

There are seven nuclear plants that are potentially at risk and the NRC is monitoring the Frankenstorm conditions closely.

Source: Bloomberg

Nuclear plants in the projected path of Hurricane Sandy include North Anna and Surry in Virginia, Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, Hope Creek and Salem in New Jersey, Indian Point in New York and Millstone in Connecticut. The NRC is considering enhancing inspector coverage of these reactors.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Texas threatens to arrest international monitors sent to watch US election

Source: Russia Today

A handful of international election monitors have touched down in the US to swing by polling places next month when voters cast ballots for the president, but officials in the state of Texas have issued them a warning: you’re not welcome.

State Attorney General Greg Abbott has sent a scathing letter to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, threatening to arrest any of the election auditors that have been dispatched to America to ensure that voters won’t be disenfranchised, discriminated against or intimidated when they take to the polls on November 6.

Economist: Obama and Romney afraid of offending the big banks

Source: The Raw Story

Nobel award-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said Wednesday that President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had failed to mention the housing market recovery because both were afraid of upsetting big banks, who are major campaign contributors.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

U.S. Military Dependent Detained and Put on 'No Fly List' by Customs Enforcement in Hawaii is Now Free to Fly

Wade Hicks Jr. was hitching a ride on a military transport to see his active duty wife in Japan and ended up being stranded in Hawaii because the government put him on a "No Fly List". Hicks has a security clearance, concealed carry permit, and recently passed an FBI background check when he purchased a firearm. No explanation was provided and Hicks can only speculate that maybe he was placed on the list because of his vocal opposition to government policies and the fact that he is a 9/11 "truther".

Source: Hawaii Reporter

Half way through his journey from San Francisco to Japan aboard a military flight, during what was supposed to be a brief stop over on Oahu, a senior U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement agent, accompanied by two heavily armed military guards, informed Hicks he was on the "No Fly List." The agent told Hicks he would have to find other means of transportation off our remote Pacific island, which was 2,500 miles from where he started.

Hicks was stunned when he was ordered by the federal government not to board a commercial or military flight,and he began desperately looking for a way to travel back home via boat or private plane. Not wanting to borrow $40,000 to take a chartered flight home,or spend weeks traveling back to the Mainland by boat, he contacted local veterans' organizations,Hawaii's governor and legislators, his congressmen and the media for help.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Too Many Mitts - Salt Lake Tribune Endorses Obama

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem-solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.

Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Liberation / Marijuana Conspiracy That Could Swing The Election

This really is turning out to be a fascinating election season.  I'm paraphrasing a bit, but The Liberals over at Alternet seem to be a little worried that one of Obama's broken promises from the last election might loose him this election. The theory goes that those who prefer decriminalizing marijuana may sway their votes away from Obama towards Gary Johnson. You see, despite promising not to, Obama has allowed the DOJ and DEA to raid and prosecute legally operating medical marijuana dispensaries across the country. Since Colorado is among the fastest growing legal medical marijuana markets and a tightly contested swing state, Gary Johnson might benefit from the voter sentiment in favor of the "regulate is like alcohol" ballot initiative.  I think might be a bit of a stretch, but if you believe the polls, a few percentage points could statistically make or break Obama's re-election.

Source: Alternet

Here in the center of the Intermountain West, we have polls showing a nail-bitingly close race between the Democratic and Republican nominees for president. We have a chief election official, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who has tried both to engage in mass voter purges and to block the mailing of ballots to eligible voters , all while openly saying a “good election” is one in which “Republicans win.”

On the ballot, we also have a headline-grabbing ballot initiative about marijuana legalization and a popular former two-term governor of a neighboring state, Gary Johnson, running a Libertarian Party presidential candidacy.

Arrest In Plot To Blow Up Federal Reserve Bank

Once again, the FBI appears to have aided a would-be terrorist in plotting a terrorist attack, providing fake explosives and then carrying out the fake attack so that charges could be filed. This man is reported to have initially wanted to kill a high-ranking government official, but the FBI encouraged him to attempt a bombing on the Fed building in New York instead.

Source: New York Times

A 21-year-old Bangladeshi man has been charged with conspiring to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The entire plot played out under the surveillance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York Police Department as part of an elaborate sting operation, according to court papers.

The man,Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, who arrived in the United States in January on a student visa,tried to make contacts and recruit people to form a terrorist cell to help him carry out an attack,according to a criminal complaint in the case. But one of these recruits was an F.B.I. informer, who later introduced him to an undercover F.B.I. agent who helped him with the plot.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Powerful Federal Appeals Court Considers Marijuana's Medical Benefits

This appeal could have a significant impact on the Drug War and upon those who are incarcerated for Marijuana possession. A huge percentage of law enforcement dollars are spent on the fight against Marijuana and it's abose. If the medical benefits of Cannabis are acknowledged by the Federal government then Cannabanoids would all have to be reclassified as Schedule II or III and the DEA would have more difficulty with justification of many of their enforcement activities including their raids upon legally operating dispensaries.

Source: ThinkProgress

The classification of marijuana as a drug with no medical value appears increasingly at odds with the opinions of many doctors who attest to the medical benefits of the drug,and of patients,who take advantage of dispensaries in the 17 states where they are now legal. A 1970 House report initially recommended that Congress classify marijuana as Schedule I on the grounds that uncertainty remained about the effects of the drug,and suggested the classification “at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.”

A number of highly addictive and potent drugs,such as cocaine,opium poppy,morphine and codeine,are listed as Schedule II,designated for those drugs that have a high potential for abuse and dependence,but which have “a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.” And the synthetic version of THC,known as dronabinol,is listed as Schedule III,even though THC is the ingredient in cannabis that causes psychoactive effects.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Does managed coastal realignment create saltmarshes with 'equivalent biological characteristics' to natural reference sites?

Source: Journal of Applied Ecology - Wiley Online Library

Keywords: Atriplex portulacoides ; dyke breach; habitat creation; managed retreat; redox potential; salt-marsh restoration; succession

Summary

1. Coastal saltmarshes provide distinctive biodiversity and important ecosystem services, including coastal defence, supporting fisheries and nutrient cycling. However, c. 50% of the world's coastal marshes are degraded or have been lost, with losses continuing. In both Europe and North America, there is a legal requirement to create habitats to substitute for losses. How well do created habitats replicate natural salt marshes?

2. We compared plant communities and environmental characteristics of 18 deliberately realigned (managed realignment, MR - between 1 and 14 years old), 17 accidentally realigned (AR, 25–131 years old) sites with those on 34 natural reference saltmarshes in the UK.

3. Halophytic species colonized individual realignment sites rapidly, attaining species richness similar to nearby reference marshes after 1 year. Nevertheless, the community composition of MR sites was significantly different from reference sites, with early-successional species remaining dominant, even on the high marsh.

4. The dominance of pioneer species on the low and mid-marsh may be because, at the same elevation, sediments were less oxygenated than on reference sites. Sediments were well oxygenated on the high marsh, but were often drier than on natural marshes.

5. Overall community composition of AR marshes was not significantly different to reference marshes, but the characteristic perennials Limonium vulgare, Triglochin maritima, Plantago maritima and Armeria maritima remained relatively rare. In contrast, the shrub Atriplex portulacoides was more abundant, and its growth form may inhibit or delay colonization by other species.

6. Synthesis and applications. Marshes created by managed realignment do not satisfy the requirements of the EU Habitats Directive. Adherence to the Directive might be improved by additional management interventions, such as manipulation of topographic heterogeneity or planting of mid- and upper-marsh species. However, given the inherent variation in natural saltmarshes and projected environmental change, policies that require exact equivalence at individual sites may be unachievable. More realistic goals might require minimum levels of a range of ecosystem functions on a broader scale, across catchments or regions.

World's biggest geoengineering experiment 'violates' UN rules

Source: The Guardian

Russ George, a controversial American businessman dumped around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the Pacific Ocean as part of a geoengineering scheme off the west coast of Canada in July, a Guardian investigation can reveal.

Lawyers, environmentalists and civil society groups are calling it a "blatant violation" of two international moratoria and the news is likely to spark outrage at a United Nations environmental summit taking place in India this week.

Satellite images appear to confirm the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed – a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilisation that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.

Scientists are debating whether iron fertilisation can lock carbon into the deep ocean over the long term, and have raised concerns that it can irreparably harm ocean ecosystems, produce toxic tides and lifeless waters, and worsen ocean acidification and global warming.

Silvia Ribeiro of the international technology watchdog ETC Group which first discovered the existence of the scheme said, "It is now more urgent than ever that governments unequivocally ban such open-air geoengineering experiments. They are a dangerous distraction providing governments and industry with an excuse to avoid reducing fossil fuel emissions."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Copywriters take legality of second-hand sales to Supreme Court

Source: Russia Today

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons will center on whether or not an individual can buy copyrighted material outside the United States, then resell it inside the US. The first-sale doctrine, established 1908, permits individuals to sell copyrighted products to others. According to the doctrine, the copyright holder only has control over the first sale. But for products manufactured abroad – which include almost all popular electronics, including those Chinese-made gadgets consumers are so used to swapping annually – this law is being challenged.

The trial, which begins October 29, follows a Thai student at Cornell University's choice to buy his textbooks abroad. Noticing that the books, required for class, were cheaper in Thailand, Supap Kirtsaeng had his relatives gather and mail them to him. Eventually, the graduate student began selling those books online at a profit.

Felix Baumgartner will attempt to survive freefall from 120,000 feet

Watch Live: http://www.redbullstratos.com/live/

Chuck Yeager achieved Mach 1 in the experimental X-1 plane on this day in 1947. Today, Felix Baumgartner plans to ascend to at least 120,000 feet in a stratospheric balloon and make a freefall jump rushing toward earth at supersonic speeds before parachuting to the ground. His attempt to survive extreme atmospheric limits holds the potential to provide valuable medical and scientific research data for future pioneers. This jump procedure may someday be repeated in a space exploration or space tourism emergency. So the data collected today could help save lives.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Asteroid Dust May Help Combat Global Warming

Source: LiveScience

The idea would be to place an asteroid at Lagrange point L1, a site where the gravitational pull of the sun and the Earth cancel out. This point is about four times the distance from the Earth to the moon.

The researchers suggest outfitting a near-Earth asteroid with a "mass driver," a device consisting of electromagnets that would hurl asteroid-derived matter away from the giant rock. The mass driver could serve both as a rocket to push the asteroid to the L1 point and as an engine to spew out sun-shielding dust.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Modern Wheat is a Perfect Chronic Poison Doctor Says

Source: CBS News

Modern wheat is a "perfect, chronic poison," according to Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist who has published a book all about the world's most popular grain.

Davis said that the wheat we eat these days isn't the wheat your grandma had: "It's an 18-inch tall plant created by genetic research in the '60s and '70s," he said on "CBS This Morning." "This thing has many new features nobody told you about, such as there's a new protein in this thing called gliadin. It's not gluten. I'm not addressing people with gluten sensitivities and celiac disease. I'm talking about everybody else because everybody else is susceptible to the gliadin protein that is an opiate. This thing binds into the opiate receptors in your brain and in most people stimulates appetite, such that we consume 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year."

Asked if the farming industry could change back to the grain it formerly produced, Davis said it could, but it would not be economically feasible because it yields less per acre.

Self-declared prince of sovereign principality of Sealand dies aged 91

Source: The Guardian

Paddy Roy Bates, who occupied an abandoned fort in the North Sea and declared it the sovereign Principality of Sealand with himself as its prince, has died aged 91, his son said on Wednesday.

Michael Bates said his father died on Tuesday at a care home in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's.

In the 1960s, inspired by the "pirate radio" movement, Bates set up Radio Essex on an offshore fort. When that was closed down, he moved in 1966 to Fort Roughs, a disused second world war platform in international waters about seven miles off the coast.

When The Music Stops - How America's Cities May Explode In Violence

As our economic future becomes increasingly bleak, the threat of widespread food riots becomes increasingly real. This essay describes failures of SNAP and the EBT cards as a likely catalyst for such riots.

Source: Western Rifle Shooters Association

In my scenario, the initial riots begin spontaneously across affected urban areas, as SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) and other government welfare recipients learn that their EBT cards no longer function. This sudden revelation will cause widespread anger, which will quickly lead to the flash-mob looting of local supermarkets and other businesses. The media will initially portray these “food riots” as at least partly justifiable. Sadly, millions of Americans have been made largely, or even entirely, dependent on government wealth transfer payments to put food on their tables.

A new social contract has been created, where bread and circuses buy a measure of peace in our minority-populated urban zones. In the era of ubiquitous big-screen cable television, the internet and smart phones, the circus part of the equation is never in doubt as long as the electricity flows. But the bread is highly problematic. Food must be delivered the old-fashioned way: physically. Any disruption in the normal functioning of the EBT system will lead to food riots with a speed that is astonishing. This will inevitably happen when our unsustainable, debt-fueled binge party finally stops, and the music is over. Now that the delivery of free or heavily subsidized food is perceived by tens of millions of Americans to be a basic human right, the cutoff of “their” food money will cause an immediate explosion of rage. When the hunger begins to bite, supermarkets, shops and restaurants will be looted, and initially the media will not condemn the looting. Unfortunately, this initial violence will only be the start of a dangerous escalation.

Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones barred from Canada

Unlike the US, Canada tends to suppress "free speech" when that speech is deemed hateful and potentially harmful.

Source: Russia Today

The US pastor who hosted “International Burn a Quran Day” had his anti-Islam signs seized and was denied entry in Canada on Thursday.

Florida Pastor Terry Jones, 60, announced two years ago that he would burn 200 Korans on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Although he did not burn the holy Islamic books that day, he burned copies of the Koran in March 2011 and in front of his church in April 2012.

On Thursday Terry, together with fellow pastor Wayne Sapp and his wife Stephanie Sapp, had planned to attend Freedom Showdown, an inter-faith debate outside of the Ontario Legislature. Jones had been invited to speak on the lawn concerning the topic, “Islam is not compatible with Western society.” The event was in response to the controversial YouTube video, “Innocence of Muslims,” which sparked protests throughout the world.

Darden Restaurants tests increasing part-time employment to avoid Obamacare costs

There are many unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act, but perhaps one of the worst is the likely shift in the availability of full-time jobs as employers try to control the increase of their labor costs. Publicly traded companies have a fiduciary duty to maximize profits and that will likely motivate them to reduce the number of full-time workers to avoid the requirement to pay for employee healthcare.

Source: The Huffington Post

The owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants is putting more workers on part-time status in a test aimed at limiting costs from President Barack Obama's health care law.

Darden Restaurants Inc. declined to give details but said the test is only in four markets across the country. The move entails boosting the number of workers on part-time status, meaning they work less than 30 hours a week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The real reason why the Pioneer spacecrafts appear to be slowing down

Scientists have been trying to understand why the Pioneer 10 and 11 space probes appear to be decelerating and a new theory could have a profound impact on calculations of space travel across our galaxy and eventually the universe.

Source: io9

The Pioneer spacecrafts aren't slowing down — they're moving exactly as the physical laws would predict. But because space is expanding, and because the Pioneer probes are so faraway,we've been getting the false sense that they're slowing down. Physicists,it now appears, haven't been plugging in all the relevant variables into their calculations.

What Is Happening to Muslims Will Happen to the Rest of Us

Source: Chris Hedges' Columns - Truthdig

Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and the four others, all held in British jails, will soon join hundreds of other Muslims tried in Article III federal courts in the United States over the last decade. Fair trials are unlikely. A disturbing pattern of gross infringements on basic civil liberties, put in place in the name of national security, has poisoned our legal system. These infringements include intrusive surveillance, vague material support charges, the use of prolonged pretrial solitary confinement, classified evidence that the accused cannot review, and the use of political activities, normally protected under the First Amendment, to demonstrate mind-set and intent. Muslims caught up in the Article III courts are denied the opportunity to confront their accusers and to have their religious and political associations protected, and they rarely find a judge courageous enough to protect their rights. These violations of fundamental civil liberties will not, in the end, be reserved exclusively for Muslims once the corporate state feels under siege. What is happening to them will happen to the rest of us.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

DHS to start testing drones over US for 'public safety"

DHS pilots will fly drones after as little as one day of training and this is intended to increase public safety?

Source: Russia Today

The Department of Homeland Security will be testing a variety of drones in US air space and their solicitation request requires that all drones be equipped with Electro-Optical/Infra-Red sensors, as well as the technology to sniff out certain chemicals from thousands of feet from above. The UAV must also have an integrated laser designator, can be hand-launched by a single person and must be able to be remotely managed by a pilot with only one day of training.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Living With Death By Drone

Source: LA Times

People in the United States imagine that drones fly to a target,launch their deadly missiles with surgical precision and return to a U.S. base hundreds or thousands of miles away. But drones are a constant presence in the skies above the North Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan,with as many as six hovering over villages at any one time. People hear them day and night. They are an inescapable presence,the looming specter of death from above.

And that presence is steadily destroying a community twice the size of Rhode Island. Parents are afraid to send their children to school. Women are afraid to meet in markets. Families are afraid to gather at funerals for people wrongly killed in earlier strikes. Drivers are afraid to deliver food from other parts of the country.

With Foreign Policy Speech, Romney Runs for Obama's Second Term

Source: Wired - Danger Room

At the Virginia Military Institute, Romney will portray Obama as well-intentioned but naive when confronting the world. “We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds,” Romney will say, according to the advance text provided by his team. That means putting Iran “on notice” that it can’t have a nuke; ensuring the Syrian rebels get weapons to overthrow Assad (sort of, more on that in a second); signing free trade deals; and, crucially, coaxing the Middle Eastern upheaval in a pro-American direction. And for perhaps the first time in his campaign, Romney has a huge opportunity to make this case, as the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi stands as perhaps the greatest intelligence and security failure of the Obama administration.

But more often than not, Romney accepts the policy framework that Obama created. On Iran, he’ll propose “new sanctions” and to “tighten the sanctions we currently have,” which is the cornerstone of Obama’s Iran policy (along with cyberattacks). On Afghanistan, he “will pursue a real and successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014,” which is the cornerstone of Obama’s Afghanistan policy. On Libya, Romney will “support the Libyan people’s efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them,” which is the cornerstone of Obama’s Libya policy. Perhaps most surprisingly, Romney will recommit to negotiating peace between Israel and Palestine, which was a cornerstone of Obama’s Mideast policy before it crumbled into dust.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

US Government and Private Sector Invest in Light Rail Systems

Many are upset about the expansion of rail systems across the country because the cost may not be covered by passenger fares. I personally fail to understand why investment in public transportation has to be offset by the income of the rail systems. It seems to me that expansion of rail systems improves our national transportation infrastructure and creates jobs. I'm curious how many of the naysayers would prefer that interstates and dams and bridges had never been built.

Source: Infowars

A report published by Thomas A. Garrett, a senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Missouri describes the necessity of light-rail systems throughout the continental US as a sound economic development. Garrett explains that: “the idea that rail transit can promote economic development with the cooperation of city officials and private developers is known as transit-oriented development (TOD). Although TOD is one goal of any public transportation system, officials see light rail as a particularly amenable tool for spurring economic development.”

Using the false reality of job creation, citizen preferences of trains over personal cars, mitigation of air pollution and alleviating traffic congestion are justifications that coerce the general public to support the construction of light-rail systems in their communities. The truth is that these expensive endeavors create solvency of citizens and state governments to the construction and operating costs of light-rail systems.

Florida GOP Fires Romney Consultant's Voter Registration Firm for Fraud

You know how the Republicans are passing all of these laws to fight nonexistent voter fraud? Guess what. They're paying consultants to commit voter registration fraud. The only question is who knew? Does Romney have any complicity in these crimes?

Source: The BRAD BLOG

The Republican Party of Florida's top recipient of 2012 expenditures, a firm by the name of Strategic Allied Consulting, was just fired on Tuesday night, after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by the group to the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections.

According to the FL Election Code, the alteration of a "voter registration application...without the other person's knowledge and consent" is a third degree felony, punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

Similarly, the willful submission of "any false voter registration information" is also a third degree felony. (Though don't tell fading GOP superstar Ann Coulter that, since she submitted fraudulent information on her own voter registration form --- in Palm Beach County, FL, coincidentally --- back in 2005, before knowingly voting at the wrong precinct illegally, as we have covered in great detail here over the years. See BradBlog.com/CoulterFraud for full documentation.)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Obama's Shaky Libya Narrative

Source: The Daily Beast

In the days following the killing of the U.S. ambassador and two ex-Navy SEALs, President Obama and top State Department officials portrayed the attack as a spontaneous reaction to an Internet video depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad as a lascivious brute. The protests, White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week, were “in response to a video—a film—that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.”

Two U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the intelligence community is currently analyzing an intercept between a Libyan politician whose sympathies are with al Qaeda and the Libyan militia known as the February 17 Brigade—which had been charged with providing local security to the consulate. In the intercept, the Libyan politician apparently asks an officer in the brigade to have his men stand down for a pending attack—another piece of evidence implying the violence was planned in advance.

“I think this is a case of an administration saying what they wished to be true before waiting for all the facts to come in,” says one senior retired CIA official.

On the other hand, a U.S. intelligence official stressed that it was still early days for the investigation. “It is important to accept that with events like this it takes time to figure out what happened and determine which data points are relevant and accurate,” this intelligence official said. “That process is happening right now.”

U.S. Distrust in Media Hits New High

Source: Gallup

Americans are clearly down on the news media this election year, with a record-high six in 10 expressing little or no trust in the mass media's ability to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. This likely reflects the continuation of the trend seen in recent years, combined with the increased negativity toward the media that election years tend to bring. This is particularly consequential at a time when Americans need to rely on the media to learn about the platforms and perspectives of the two candidates vying to lead the country for the next four years.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Richard Branson determined to start a population on Mars

Source: CBS

"In my lifetime, I'm determined to being a part of starting a population on Mars. I think it is absolutely realistic. It will happen." --Richard Branson

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jesus had a wife? Bible scholars question Harvard finding

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Four words in a 1.5-by-3-inch (3.8-by-7.6-centimeter) fragment of papyrus provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, King said. Those words, written in a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, translate to "Jesus said to them, my wife," King said in a statement.

King said that in the dialogue the disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy and Jesus says "she can be my disciple."

Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried even though there was no reliable historical evidence to support that, King said. The new gospel, she said, "tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage."

"From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry," she said, "but it was over a century after Jesus's death before they began appealing to Jesus's marital status to support their positions."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rawlemon's Spherical Solar Energy-Generating Globes Can Even Harvest Energy from Moonlight

Source: Inhabitat

The solar energy designers at Rawlemon have created a spherical, sun-tracking glass globe that is able to concentrate sunlight (and moonlight) up to 10,000 times. The company claims that its ß.torics system is 35% more efficient than traditional dual-axis photovoltaic designs, and the fully rotational, weatherproof sphere is even capable of harvesting electricity from moonlight.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Imminent Iran nuclear threat? A timeline of warnings since 1979

Source: Christian Science Monitor

In 1992, Israeli parliamentarian Benjamin Netanyahu told his colleagues that Iran is 3 to 5 years from being able to produce a nuclear weapon –and that the threat had to be "uprooted by an international front headed by the US."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Online rights groups fear backlash amid video protests

Source: The Raw Story

A decision by YouTube parent Google to deny access to the video in Libya and Egypt even though the film’s hateful message isn’t aimed at a particular person was seen by some as a compassionate step onto a slippery slope.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

U.S. judge rule protects reporters, activists in their Middle East work

Source: Reuters

A federal judge made permanent on Wednesday her order blocking enforcement of section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act that authorizes military detention for people deemed to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban or "associated forces."

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan had ruled in May in favor of non-profit groups and reporters whose work relates to conflicts in the Middle East and who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December.

"This court does not disagree with the principle that the president has primacy in foreign affairs," the judge said, but that she was not convinced by government arguments.

"The government has not stated that such conduct - which, by analogy, covers any writing, journalistic and associational activities that involve al Qaeda, the Taliban or whomever is deemed "associated forces" - does not fall within § 1021(b)(2)."

How Buzz Aldrin's communion on the moon was hushed up

Source: The Guardian

After the Apollo 8 crew had read out the Genesis creation account in orbit, Madalyn Murry O'Hair wanted a ban on NASA astronauts practising religion on earth, in space or "around and about the moon" while on duty. She believed it violated the constitutional separation between church and state.

In Magnificent Desolation, Buzz Aldrin explains how astronaut Deke Slayton, who ran the Apollo 11 flight crew operations, told him to tone down his lunar communiqué. "Go ahead and have communion, but keep your comments more general," he advised. Looking back Aldrin writes that the communion was his way of thanking God for the success of the mission. Yet, later he hinted that he could have been more inclusive:

"Perhaps, if I had it to do over again, I would not choose to celebrate communion. Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind – be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics, or atheists."

O'Hair's case against Nasa eventually fizzled out, but it dramatically changed the tone of the Apollo 11 landing. Aldrin had originally intended a much more pioneering Christopher Columbus-style ceremony on the moon. That was never to be.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Obama Finally Talks Drone War, But It's Almost Impossible to Believe Him

Source: Wired Danger Room

CNN’s Jessica Yellin managed to get Obama to open up, just a little, about his criteria for approving drone attacks. His comments may have been the president’s most extensive so far on robot warfare. They were also total baloney, outside experts say.

As the Bureau of Investigative Journalism notes, Obama told CNN that a terror suspect had to pass five tests before the administration would allow him to be taken out by a drone. “Drones are one tool that we use, and our criteria for using them is very tight and very strict,” the president said.

1 “It has to be a target that is authorised by our laws.”

2 “It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative.”

3 “It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.”

4 “We’ve got to make sure that in whatever operations we conduct, we are very careful about avoiding civilian casualties.”

5 “That while there is a legal justification for us to try and stop [American citizens] from carrying out plots … they are subject to the protections of the Constitution and due process.”

...

“What I found most striking was his claim that legitimate targets are a ‘threat that is serious and not speculative,’ and engaged in ‘some operational plot against the United States,’ That is simply not true,” emails the Council on Foreign Relations’ Micah Zenko, who has tracked the drone war as closely as any outside analyst. “The claim that the 3,000+ people killed in roughly 375 nonbattlefield targeted killings were all engaged in actual operational plots against the U.S. defies any understanding of the scope of what America has been doing for the past ten years.”

Friday, September 7, 2012

U.S. Attack on Iran Would Take Hundreds of Planes, Ships, and Missiles

Souece Wired's Danger Room

* “Israel does not have the capability to carry out preventive strikes that could do more than delay Iran’s efforts for a year or two.” Despite the increasingly sharp rhetoric coming out of Jerusalem, the idea of Israel launching a unilateral attack is almost as bad as allowing Tehran to continue its nuclear work unchallenged. It would invite wave after wave of Iranian counterattacks — by missile, terrorist, and a boat — jeopardizing countries throughout the region. It would wreak havoc with the world’s oil supply. And that’s if Israel even manages to pull the mission off — something Cordesman very much doubts.

* The U.S. might be able to delay the nuclear program for up to 10 years. But to do so, it’ll be an enormous undertaking. The initial air strike alone will “require a large force allocation [including] the main bomber force, the suppression of enemy air defense system[s], escort aircraft for the protection of the bombers, electronic warfare for detection and jamming purposes, fighter sweep and combat air patrol to counter any air retaliation by Iran.”

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Congressional Reps Question Feds Over Botched Domain Seizures

Source: Techdirt

Bipartisan Congressional Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Jason Chaffetz and Jared Polis have teamed up to send a letter raising a number of questions about the "Operation in Our Sites" initiative, to both Attorney General Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano.

The letter focuses on the seizure of a web domain belonging to rapper Dajaz1, and points out their concern with the program, and how it appears to violate free speech rights, ignore due process and destroy legitimate businesses.

The letter goes on to ask a series of important questions for both DHS and DOJ, especially regarding the utter failure of both departments in the Dajaz1 situation.

1. What is the process for determining which sites to target? Who is involved in that process? What specific steps do DOJ and ICE take to ensure that affidavits and other material are thoroughly reviewed for accuracy prior to seizing a domain?

2. To what extent are government agents required to evaluate whether the potentially infringing material to which target sites link -- or which they host themselves -- are non-infringing fair uses, impliedly licensed, and/or de minimis uses?

3. Do government agents consider whether a site complies with the DMCA safe harbors? If so, how does this affect the determination to target a site?

4. How many sites have attempted to retrieve their domains, via any process, judicial or informal, and what is the status of those cases?

5. Have you made any changes to your domain seizure policies or their implementation as a result of the issues arising from the Dajaz1 seizure or any other seizure? If so, what were those changes?

6. What specific steps has the DOJ and ICE taken to ensure that domain name seizure cases proceed without unnecessary delays, and that website owners seeking to restore their domain names have swift access to the officials and documents necessary to resolve their cases?

7. How many more seizures do you anticipate occurring in the next six months and year?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

5 National Parks That Could Be Threatened Under The Romney Energy Plan

Source: Alternet

Mitt Romney recently released his energy plan , which focuses extensively on turning energy development on federal public lands over to the states. If states are determined to aggressively push fossil energy development, giving oversight of mining and drilling to them could put some of our special places at risk.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

US Preparing for Post-Israel Middle East?

A recent study may have given the Republicans more reason to talk about their support for Israel. It will be interesting to see how this study influences the message of the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Convention.

Source: Foreign Policy Journal

An 82-page paper entitled “Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East” concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Israel. The authors conclude that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree,the wider international community.

The study was commissioned by the US Intelligence Community comprising 16 American intelligence agencies with an annual budget in excess of $ 70 billion. The IC includes the Departments of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Defense Intelligence Agency, Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasure, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency commissioned the study.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Cheapest Generation

Source: The Atlantic

Half of a typical family's budget goes to housing (mortgage payment) and transportation (car payments) today. But that trend is changing amongst the youngest generation. It’s highly possible that a perfect storm of economic and demographic factors—from high gas prices, to re-urbanization, to stagnating wages, to new technologies enabling a different kind of consumption—has fundamentally changed the game for Millennials. The largest generation in American history might never spend as lavishly as its parents did—nor on the same things. Since the end of World War II, new cars and suburban houses have powered the world’s largest economy and propelled our most impressive recoveries. Millennials may have lost interest in both.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Human workers, Managed by an Algorithm

I'm fascinated by recent developments in a growing trend known as "crowdsourciing". Many companies have decided to outsource certain aspects of their businesses to various groups of people. Many are offering some sort of incentive to those who provide them a valuable service.

For example: have you ever done a google search in an effort to solve a technical problem and found the solution to your problem in a discussion forum? Those discussion forums are popping up all over the web. Companies are actually replacing a portion of their tech support workforce with message boards that connect customers with each other in an attempt to get customers the answers they need from other customers who have likely experienced the same problem. In many cases, those good Samaritans who help others receive no compensation, but they assist others out of the kindness of their hearts. In some cases, one can receive discounts or increased access as a reward for helping others.

Now this concept is developing into a new alternative workforce involving mostly unskilled workers being paid a small wage for performing repetitive and mundane tasks. I can imagine a future when there are more "crowdsource" workers than traditional workers. I can also imagine that this trend could explode if/when unemployment rises to unprecedented levels.

This is also an excellent way to enable increasing numbers of alternative workers to earn an income by working whenever and wherever they want to.

Human Workers, Managed by an Algorithm - Technology Review

Software developed by a startup called MobileWorks represents the latest trend in crowdsourcing: organizing foreign workers on a mass scale to do routine jobs that computers aren't yet good at, like checking spreadsheets or reading receipts.

By assigning such tasks to people in emerging economies, MobileWorks hopes to get good work for low price.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

From Jesus’ socialism to capitalistic Christianity

Gregory Paul's latest opinion piece demonstrates the glaring contradiction between the Christian doctrines and Libertarian "free market" principals upon which the core values of the Tea Party are based.

Source: Washington Post

Many conservative Christians,mostly Protestant but also a number of Catholics,have come to believe and proudly proclaim that the creator of the universe favors free wheeling,deregulated,union busting,minimal taxes especially for wealthy investors,plutocrat-boosting capitalism as the ideal earthly scheme for his human creations. And many of these Christian capitalists are ardent followers of Ayn Rand,who was one of -and many of whose followers are -- the most hard-line anti-Christian atheist/s you can get. Meanwhile many Christians who support the capitalist policies associated with social Darwinistic strenuously denounce Darwin’s evolutionary science because it supposedly leads to,well,social Darwinism!

To understand why the pro-capitalist stance of many modern religious conservatives is at odds with Christian doctrine we need to start with the Gospels.

Jesus is no free marketeer. Improving one’s earthly financial circumstances is not nearly as critical as preparing for the end times that will arrive at any minute. He does offer substantial encouragement for the poor,and warns the wealthy that they are in grave danger of blowing their prospects of reaching paradise,as per the metaphor of a rich person entering heaven being as difficult as a camel passing through the eye of the needle (a narrow passageway designed to hinder intruders).

But to understand just how non-capitalistic Christianity is supposed to be we turn to the first chapter after the gospels,Acts,which describes the events of the early church. Chapters 2 and 4 state that all “<b>the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods,they gave to anyone as he had need… No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own,but they shared everything they had…. There were no needy persons among them. From time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them,brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.</b>”

Now folks,that’s outright socialism of the type described millennia later by Marx - who likely got the general idea from the gospels.

The pro-capitalist Christians who are aware of these passages wave them away even though it is the only explicit description of Christian economics in the Bible.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Water shortages hit US power supply

Source: New Scientist

As the United States' extended heat wave and drought threaten to raise global food prices, energy production is also feeling the pressure. Across the nation, power plants are becoming overheated and shutting down or running at lower capacity; drilling operations struggle to get the water they need, and crops that would become biofuel are withering.

While analysts say the US should survive this year without major blackouts, more frequent droughts and increased population size will continue to strain power generation in the future.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

25 Cutting Edge Firms Funded By The CIA

Self-explanatory.

Read it at Business Insider.

This is pure conspiracy theory gold!

On a personal note, my employer NetApp has a business partnership with Cloudera. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I may have benefited in a small way from the CIA's investments.

America will have to pay the bill for eurozone crisis

Source: Russia Today

Hans-Werner Sinn told RT's Oksana Boyko that since the American insurance companies have insured sovereign debt of Southern Europe with CDS (Credit Default Swap) contracts, once they default – the Americans would have to pay the insurance indemnification payment.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Study predicts imminent irreversible planetary collapse

This report leads me to believe that we are very likely going to face an extinction level event in our lifetime. If you read between the lines of the scientists' prescription it sounds as though survival of humanity on Earth would require a significant catastrophe such as pandemic or collapse of society as we know it. Either that, or most nations must immediately focus significant resources on interplanetary colonization efforts. I can't imagine many other ways to drastically lower our population quickly.

Source: Simon Fraser University

Human activity drives today’s global-scale forcing mechanisms more than ever before. As a result, the rate of climate change we are seeing now exceeds the rate that occurred during the extreme planetary state change that tipped Earth from being in a glacial to an interglacial state 12,000 years ago. You have to go back to the end of the cataclysmic falling star, which ended the age of dinosaurs, to find a previous precedent.

The exponentially increasing extinction of Earth’s current species, dominance of previously rare life forms and occurrence of extreme climate fluctuations parallel critical transitions that coincided with the last major planetary transition.

When these sorts of perturbations are mirrored in toy ecosystem models, they tip these systems quickly and irreversibly.

The authors recommend governments undertake five actions immediately if we are to have any hope of delaying or minimizing a planetary-state-shift. Arne Mooers, an SFU biodiversity professor and a co-author of this study, summarizes them as follows.

“Society globally has to collectively decide that we need to drastically lower our population very quickly. More of us need to move to optimal areas at higher density and let parts of the planet recover. Folks like us have to be forced to be materially poorer, at least in the short term. We also need to invest a lot more in creating technologies to produce and distribute food without eating up more land and wild species. It’s a very tall order.”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Racial Profiling at Boston Logan Airport

Source: New York Times

In interviews and internal complaints,officers from the Transportation Security Administration's "behavior detection" program at Logan International Airport in Boston asserted that passengers who fit certain profiles - Hispanics traveling to Miami,for instance,or blacks wearing baseball caps backward -are much more likely to be stopped,searched and questioned for "suspicious" behavior.

"They just pull aside anyone who they don't like the way they look - if they are black and have expensive clothes or jewelry,or if they are Hispanic," said one white officer,who along with four others spoke with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

NRC puts nuclear licensing decisions on hold

Sourc: Businessweek

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is putting a hold on requests for new reactor construction and license renewals after a recent federal court ruling questioned the agency's plans for storing radioactive waste.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

USDA Looks to Approve Monsanto's Drought-Tolerant Corn

Source: New York Times

USDA noted that many corn varieties on the market match Monsanto's strain in their water use.

"The reduced yield [trait] does not exceed the natural variation observed in regionally-adapted varieties of conventional corn," the report says, adding that "Equally comparable varieties produced through conventional breeding techniques are readily available in irrigated corn production regions."

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Strict US immigration policies contribute to high unemployment

Source: Russia Today

Some 720,000 foreign students are currently studying in the US, but this privilege comes at a cost. International students at the university level pay tuition rates around three times higher than in-state students. And after paying tens of thousands of dollars to US colleges, many of these students are forced to return to their native countries, taking their talents and skills with them.

It’s called ‘reverse brain drain,’ and it’s a hotly debated subject, especially since some of the most successful global entrepreneurs hail from countries outside the United States.

“We found out recently that about half of the top 50 venture-funded companies had at least one immigrant founder. So if you keep such people out, you have less job creation and less innovation in the US,” Executive Director of the National Foundation for American Policy Stuart Anderson

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Russia to revive army bases in three oceans - English pravda.ru

It is no secret that in recent years, the U.S. created a buffer zone around Russia, involving in this process not only the countries of Central Europe, but also the Baltic states, Ukraine and the Caucasus. The only response to this could be an asymmetric expansion of the Russian military presence abroad, particularly in Cuba. In Cuba, there are convenient bays for our reconnaissance and warships, a network of the so-called "jump airfields." With the full consent of the Cuban leadership, on May 11 of this year, our country has not only resumed work in the electronic center of Lourdes, but also placed the latest mobile strategic nuclear missiles "Oak" on the island. They did not want to do it the amicable way, now let them deal with this," Putin said.

Startup dumps Facebook: 80% of ad clicks came from bots

On-line music start-up, Limited Run believes they've discovered a Facebook advertising scam.

Source Russia Today

“80% of the clicks we were paying for were from bots,” the company said in a post on its Facebook page. “That’s correct. Bots were loading pages and driving up our advertising costs. So we tried contacting Facebook about this. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t reply. Do we know who the bots belong to? No. Are we accusing Facebook of using bots to drive up advertising revenue. No. Is it strange? Yes.”

The company, formerly known as Limited Pressing, also claimed that the social media giant would not allow it to change the name of its Facebook page unless it committed to buy $2,000 of monthly advertising. “Facebook was holding our name hostage,” the post said.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Algorithmic trading gone wild, Knight Capital shares fell 24%

Business Insider

Word quickly spread through the trading community that the issues were centered around Knight Capital, a market maker.

Shares of Knight Capital, the market maker, immediately got slammed. They're down 24%!. People think the technical issues are originating from them.

Knight just released a statement about the issues to Business Insider, here it is:

"An initial review by Knight indicates that a technology issue occurred in the company’s market-making unit related to the routing of shares of approximately 150 stocks to the NYSE. Knight notified its market-making clients this morning to route listed orders away. The company’s OTC securities and trading in its other businesses are not affected. The company continues to review internally."

The NYSE has just issued a statement to Business Insider, here it is (emphasis added):

"The NYSE and NYSE MKT are currently reviewing irregular trading identified by our people and systems in 148 (140 NYSE/8 MKT) symbols between 09:30:00 a.m. and 10:15:00 a.m. ET today. The NYSE and NYSE MKT will provide updates with respect to these reviews. At this time, we believe NYSE systems and circuit breakers operated normally during this period, and we are working with all market participants on the issue."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rainwater collection case leads to jail sentence, fine

This poor guy will be spending 30 days in prison for collecting rainwater that fell on his property! This is a subtle reminder to check your state and local laws before collecting rainwater, because it's illegal in a few states, many counties, and many other jurisdictions.

Source: Mail Tribune

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Working Assault Rifle Made With a 3-D Printer

Source: Popular Science

A working replica of an AK-47 has been produced with a 3-D Makerbot printer and the design is available for download. You too can produce your own assault rifles at home for about $30.

Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ - Published in Federal Gov't Journal - PR Newswire - The Sacramento Bee

Harvard University researchers' review of fluoride/brain studies concludes "our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children's neurodevelopment."

Dark money political groups target voters based on their Internet habits

It drives me crazy that this article was posted with "2014" randomly inserted throughout, but it's fascinating!  Take the Citizens United ruling, add millions of dollars of anonymous donations. Now, give a bunch of that money to the nerds and ask them to specifically target specific ads to Internet browsers based on which sites have been visited. What a powerful tool!

Source: The Raw Story

Online advertising companies have amassed vast quantities of information on what individual people read, watch, and do on the Internet. They collect this data using small files called cookies, which allows them to track Internet users as they move from site to site.

These anonymous profiles of information are used to customize advertisements2014like sending casino ads to someone who just bought a plane ticket to Vegas.

But these profiles are also increasingly used by political groups, which can decide which people to target with a message2014and which people to avoid2014based on the kinds of articles they read and the kinds of sites they visit.