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What the Fake Syria Sniper Boy Video Tell Us About Media Experts Many mainstream media websites helped a fake video go viral this month. The video showing a young Syrian boy running through sniper fire to save a little girl, was exposed as a fake when the Norwegian producer Lars Klevberg made the fact public. One of the stated aims of the Norwegian film makers was to “see how the media would respond to a fake video.” This article examines how that experiment went.
The western press very quickly accepted the video as real and used it to support the US administration’s narrative on Syria. Many top US news sources began to spread the story. Even though the producer said he explicitly added big hints that the video was fake, like the children surviving multiple gun shots.
Propagating false stories on Syria, is nothing new for the western press. In the lead up to the conflict many stories were exposed as frauds, such as the Anti-government activist “Gay Girl in Damascus” which turned out to be a middle-aged American man in Scotland. Syrian Danny Abdul Dayem which was frequently interviewed by CNN was using fake gun fire and flames in his interviews.
The fake sniper video wasn’t enough to support US government narratives by itself, as the now deleted original upload didn’t suggest the identity of the snipers. So the west’s media suggested that it was Syrian military snipers that were targeting the children without any evidence. Journalists failed to mention how they reached the conclusion that an actor in Malta was shot by the Syrian military. It may be that the western press is quick to trust pro-rebel sources, as the video was uploaded by the pro-rebel Sham Times along with their own twist. (New Eastern Outlook)
Noam Chomsky | The Leading Terrorist State "It's official: The U.S. is the world's leading terrorist state, and proud of it."
That should have been the headline for the lead story in The New York Times on Oct. 15, which was more politely titled "CIA Study of Covert Aid Fueled Skepticism About Helping Syrian Rebels."
The article reports on a CIA review of recent U.S. covert operations to determine their effectiveness. The White House concluded that unfortunately successes were so rare that some rethinking of the policy was in order.
The article quoted President Barack Obama as saying that he had asked the CIA to conduct the review to find cases of "financing and supplying arms to an insurgency in a country that actually worked out well. And they couldn't come up with much." So Obama has some reluctance about continuing such efforts.
The first paragraph of the Times article cites three major examples of "covert aid": Angola, Nicaragua and Cuba. In fact, each case was a major terrorist operation conducted by the U.S.
Angola was invaded by South Africa, which, according to Washington, was defending itself from one of the world's "more notorious terrorist groups" - Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. That was 1988. (Truth-Out)
Mitch McConnell's Freighted Ties to a Shadowy Shipping Company After drugs were found aboard the Ping May, a vessel owned by his wife's family's company, Colombian authorities are investigating. - Before the Ping May, a rusty cargo vessel, could disembark from the port of Santa Marta en route to the Netherlands in late August, Colombian inspectors boarded the boat and made a discovery. Hidden in the ship’s chain locker, amidst its load of coal bound for Europe, were approximately 40 kilograms, or about ninety pounds, of cocaine. A Colombian Coast Guard official told The Nation that there is an ongoing investigation.
The seizure of the narcotics shipment in the Caribbean port occurred far away from Kentucky, the state in which Senator Mitch McConnell is now facing a career-defining election. But the Republican Senate minority leader has the closest of ties to the owner of the Ping May, the vessel containing the illicit materials: the Foremost Maritime Corporation, a firm founded and owned by McConnell’s in-laws, the Chao family. (The Nation)
Scientists find how magic mushrooms alter the mind Scientists studying the effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms have found the human brain displays a similar pattern of activity during dreams as it does during a mind-expanding drug trip.
Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can profoundly alter the way we experience the world, but little is known about what physically happens in the brain.
In a study published in the journal Human Brain Mapping, researchers examined the brain effects of psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, using data from brain scans of volunteers who had been injected with the drug.
"A good way to understand how the brain works is to perturb the system in a marked and novel way. Psychedelic drugs do precisely this and so are powerful tools for exploring what happens in the brain when consciousness is profoundly altered," said Dr Enzo Tagliazucchi, who led the study at Germany's Goethe University.
Magic mushrooms grow naturally around the world and have been widely used since ancient times for religious rites and also for recreation. (Reuters)
10 Ways to Protect Yourself From NLP Mind Control NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Programming is one of the world’s most prevalent methods of mind control, used by everyone from sales callers to politicians to media pundits, and it’s nasty to the core. Here’s ten ways to make sure nobody uses it on you… ever. - Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is a method for controlling people’s minds that was invented by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s, became popular in the psychoanalytic, occult and New Age worlds in the 1980s, and advertising, marketing and politics in the 1990s and 2000s. It’s become so interwoven with how people are communicated to and marketed at that its use is largely invisible. It’s also somewhat of a pernicious, devilish force in the world—nearly everybody in the business of influencing people has studied at least some of its techniques. Masters of it are notorious for having a Rasputin-like ability to trick people in incredible ways—most of all themselves.
After explaining a bit about what NLP is and where it came from, I’m going to break down 10 ways to inoculate yourself against its use. You’ll likely be spotting it left, right and center in the media with a few tips on what to look for. Full disclosure: During my 20s, I spent years studying New Age, magical and religious systems for changing consciousness. One of them was NLP. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum: I’ve had people ruthlessly use NLP to attempt to control me, and I’ve also trained in it and even used it in the advertising world. Despite early fascination, by 2008 or so I had largely come to the conclusion that it’s next to useless—a way of manipulating language that greatly overestimates its own effectiveness as a discipline, really doesn’t achieve much in the way of any kind of lasting change, and contains no real core of respect for people or even true understanding of how people work.
After throwing it to the wayside, however, I became convinced that understanding NLP is crucial simply so that people can resist its use. It’s kind of like the whole PUA thing that was popular in the mid-00s—a group of a few techniques that worked for a few unscrupulous people until the public figured out what was going on and rejected it, like the body identifying and rejecting foreign material.
What is NLP, and where did it come from? (Ultra Culture)
Annapolis police chief apologizes for citing hoax story in testimony against marijuana legalization Testifying against bills proposed to legalize and decriminalize marijuana in the state, Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop cited a hoax story that claimed 37 people had died the first day marijuana was legalized in Colorado.
“The first day of legalization, that’s when Colorado experienced 37 deaths that day from overdose on marijuana,” Pristoop testified at Tuesday’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing. “I remember the first day it was decriminalized there were 37 deaths.”
But Sen. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, who has proposed a bill that would legalize, regulate and tax the drug, immediately fact-checked Pristoop.
“Unless you have some other source for this, I’m afraid I’ve got to spoil the party here,” Raskin said. “Your assertion that 37 people died of a marijuana overdose in Colorado was a hoax on the DailyCurrant and the Comedy Central website.”
Indeed, Pristoop was apparently referring to a story by the satirical website DailyCurrant.com, which reportedly fooled some people with the headline ‘‘Marijuana overdoses kill 37 in Colorado on first day of legalization.” (Capital Gazette)
Conspiracy Theorists Aren't Really Skeptics: The fascinating psychology of people who know the real truth about JFK, UFOs, and 9/11 To believe that the U.S. government planned or deliberately allowed the 9/11 attacks, you’d have to posit that President Bush intentionally sacrificed 3,000 Americans. To believe that explosives, not planes, brought down the buildings, you’d have to imagine an operation large enough to plant the devices without anyone getting caught. To insist that the truth remains hidden, you’d have to assume that everyone who has reviewed the attacks and the events leading up to them—the CIA, the Justice Department, the Federal Aviation Administration, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, scientific organizations, peer-reviewed journals, news organizations, the airlines, and local law enforcement agencies in three states—was incompetent, deceived, or part of the cover-up.
And yet, as Slate’s Jeremy Stahl points out, millions of Americans hold these beliefs. In a Zogby poll taken six years ago, only 64 percent of U.S. adults agreed that the attacks “caught US intelligence and military forces off guard.” More than 30 percent chose a different conclusion: that “certain elements in the US government knew the attacks were coming but consciously let them proceed for various political, military, and economic motives,” or that these government elements “actively planned or assisted some aspects of the attacks.”
How can this be? How can so many people, in the name of skepticism, promote so many absurdities?
The answer is that people who suspect conspiracies aren’t really skeptics. Like the rest of us, they’re selective doubters. They favor a worldview, which they uncritically defend. But their worldview isn’t about God, values, freedom, or equality. It’s about the omnipotence of elites.
Conspiracy chatter was once dismissed as mental illness. But the prevalence of such belief, documented in surveys, has forced scholars to take it more seriously. Conspiracy theory psychology is becoming an empirical field with a broader mission: to understand why so many people embrace this way of interpreting history. As you’d expect, distrust turns out to be an important factor. But it’s not the kind of distrust that cultivates critical thinking. (Slate)
The Top 10 Marijuana Developments in 2013 This is my annual survey of the most significant marijuana policy developments in the United States.
This means it excludes foreign developments, such as Uruguay becoming the first nation to legalize marijuana. It also omits scientific developments, which I prefer to leave to other experts.
1. Public Opinion Polling: Public support for making marijuana legal reached a record high in 2013. A Pew Research Center poll released in April showed 52 percent support, and a Gallup poll in October showed 58 percent support. I believe the Pew poll is likely more accurate -- last year's Gallup poll found 48 percent support, and it's difficult to boost national support by 10 percent in just one year -- but it's now safe to say most Americans are fed up with marijuana prohibition.
2. Legalization in Colorado: Amazingly, the regulatory work carried out by the governor's marijuana task force, the state legislature, the Colorado Department of Revenue and many city governments went according to plan. In addition, 65 percent of Colorado voters passed a tax measure in November that was essentially the second part of the legalization initiative adopted in 2012. As a result, retail establishments are now legally selling marijuana to adults 21 and older, making world history.
3. Legalization in Washington State: While the voter-approved initiative in Washington isn't as good as the one in Colorado -- and the regulations and taxes appear to be a bit more burdensome -- the process worked. This spring or summer, Washington will become the second state in which retail establishments begin selling marijuana to adults.
4. Medical Marijuana in Illinois: After 10 years of lobbying in Springfield, the Illinois government legalized medical marijuana in August, making it the 20th state to do so. As a result, approximately 22 grow facilities and 60 retail establishments will crop up by the end of this year. (Huffington Post)
Weed: Been There. Done That. For a little while in my teenage years, my friends and I smoked marijuana. It was fun. I have some fond memories of us all being silly together. I think those moments of uninhibited frolic deepened our friendships.
But then we all sort of moved away from it. I don’t remember any big group decision that we should give up weed. It just sort of petered out, and, before long, we were scarcely using it.
We didn’t give it up for the obvious health reasons: that it is addictive in about one in six teenagers; that smoking and driving is a good way to get yourself killed; that young people who smoke go on to suffer I.Q. loss and perform worse on other cognitive tests.
I think we gave it up, first, because we each had had a few embarrassing incidents. Stoned people do stupid things (that’s basically the point). I smoked one day during lunch and then had to give a presentation in English class. I stumbled through it, incapable of putting together simple phrases, feeling like a total loser. It is still one of those embarrassing memories that pop up unbidden at 4 in the morning.
We gave it up, second, I think, because one member of our clique became a full-on stoner. He may have been the smartest of us, but something sad happened to him as he sunk deeper into pothead life. (New York Times)
Mile high milestone: Pot fears were unfounded Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown predicted bad things for New Year's Day and the world's debut of legal recreational marijuana sales, fearing a press photograph of wanton dope smoking would stream across news wires and forever tarnish Denver's image.
He even penned a column for his constituent newsletter with the headline "Cannabis Chaos."
"I have to change that," Brown said on Wednesday, sitting in a chair inside the Medicine Man Denver marijuana store in Montbello. "I'm going to call it 'Marijuana Milestone.' "
All concerns were alleviated Wednesday as people calmly lined up, bought their weed and giddily drove away. (Denver Post)
Bernie Sanders to NSA: Spying on Hill? Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a letter Friday to the director of the National Security Agency asking if the agency is spying or has ever spied on members of Congress.
The Vermont independent said he was "deeply concerned" about the NSA's collection of information on Americans and called reports that the agency listens in on foreign leaders "disturbing."
"I am writing today to ask you one very simple question," Sanders wrote in the letter addressed to NSA Director Keith Alexander. "Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other American elected officials? 'Spying' would include gathering metadata on calls made from official or personal phones, content from websites visited or emails sent, or collecting any other data from a third party not made available to the general public in the regular course of business." (Politico)
Do Stoned Dolphins Give 'Puff Puff Pass' A Whole New Meaning? The BBC will be airing a cool new underwater documentary on Thursday called Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, where carefully disguised cameras were used to film the daily lives of everyone’s favorite marine mammals. But the most interesting detail seems to have been leaked on Sunday: during the documentary, some of the dolphins reportedly used a pufferfish to get stoned.
“Even the brightest humans have succumbed to the lure of drugs and, it seems, dolphins are no different,” said The Sunday Times. The article goes on to describe how the team got footage of dolphins gently harassing a pufferfish, which led to the dolphins entering “a trance-like state after apparently getting “high” on the toxin.”
“After chewing the puffer and gently passing it round, they began acting most peculiarly, hanging around with their noses at the surface as if fascinated by their own reflection,” said Rob Pilley, zoologist and one of the producers of the documentary. “This was a case of young dolphins purposefully experimenting with something we know to be intoxicating.” And so it would seem that we can add drug use to the long list of dolphin bad behaviors, (a list which includes bullying, rape and murder, for the record; illicit drug use seems a minor offense in comparison).
It sounds too awesome to be true—which means it probably is.
I’m not convinced. Dolphins are curious and intelligent, so I have no doubt that they would investigate a strange animal like a puffer. They might see what happens, explore the texture, taste, or smell of this novel creature in their midst, as they do in this video: (Discover)
Just Two Words From Apple On The NSA's iPhone Hacking Show How The Tech Community Now Hates The NSA If Walmart or McDonald's began describing the Obama Administration as an unconstitutional threat to the privacy of its customers, it would be front page/holy-cow news.
But that's what is happening in Silicon Valley right now, with America's biggest tech companies.
The most interesting two words in Apple's official statement today on the news that the NSA can put spyware on 100% of Apple's products, including the iPhone, are these: "malicious hackers."
The company said it was unaware of the NSA's hacking program, called "DROPOUTJEEP," and that it was working to end the breach. But note that Apple's statement went out of its way to portray the U.S. government as a security threat:
We will continue to use our resources to stay ahead of malicious hackers and defend our customers from security attacks, regardless of who’s behind them. (Business Insider)
L.A. DUI Checkpoints: Now With More Saliva in Your Questionable Fourth Amendment Practices Bad news from the open-air prison we call America today out of L.A., where cops are going to start demanding saliva samples from citizens it stops at DUI checkpoints who it finds suspiciously suspicious.
Details from SoCal public radio station KPCC website:
Starting this weekend, law enforcement in Los Angeles will begin expanded use of saliva swab test kits on drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs.....
Susan Melkisethian / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-NDSusan Melkisethian / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND
The testing is already used at some LAPD DUI checkpoints and at three stations that have jails. A $520,000 grant awarded to the L.A. City Attorney’s Office will expand the regular use of the test next year...
Do you gotta give them your spit? No. Legally, just your blood. God bless America! (Reason)
Polar Bear Hunting on Rise Despite Species' Decline As the biennial meeting of the international Polar Bear Agreement begins in Moscow, Russia, new data points to an unsustainable rise in hunting that threatens the species. Despite the grim outlook for polar bears due to the growing threat of climate change, Canadian polar bear kills have risen at alarming rate, in excess of 10 percent over previous years.
"Canada's claims at this conference that polar bear hunting is not harming polar bear populations are disingenuous," said Teresa Telecky, director of wildlife at Humane Society International, referring to a recent report by Canada's Polar Bear Technical Committee. "Canada's own scientists are raising alarm about over-harvest not only in the past year but in the past three to five years. Canada and the other parties to the Polar Bear Agreement urgently need to address this problem."
Scientific experts at the meeting detailed the impact of sea-ice loss on polar bear survival, including loss of food source, loss of body condition, and fewer cubs surviving. Scientists continue to predict that two-thirds of polar bears will be lost by 2050. (Humane Society International)
Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots BigDog, Cheetah, WildCat and Atlas have joined Google’s growing robot menagerie.
Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.
It is the eighth robotics company that Google has acquired in the last half-year. Executives at the Internet giant are circumspect about what exactly they plan to do with their robot collection. But Boston Dynamics and its animal kingdom-themed machines bring significant cachet to Google’s robotic efforts, which are being led by Andy Rubin, the Google executive who spearheaded the development of Android, the world’s most widely used smartphone software. (New York Times)
Meet Carl Hart, the Scientist Debunking America's Myths About Drugs Dr. Carl Hart defies all preconceptions of the word "neuropsychopharmacologist." With thick dreadlocks that dangle well below his shoulders, a penchant for studded earrings, and a gold incisor that flashes when he grins, Hart, 47, was the only black man in America to receive a Ph.D in neuroscience in 1996 upon completing his doctorate at the University of Wyoming.
Though he continues to break Ivy League stereotypes as Columbia University's first tenured African-American science professor, Hart shakes the foundations of his field in a much more significant way than race: His research suggests that for the last three decades, law enforcement, politicians, and the media have been lying to Americans about the dangers of cocaine, methamphetamines, and other illegal drugs.
"I have been studying drugs for 22 years," Hart said in an interview with Columbia College Today. "I am here to tell you, drugs are not the bogeyman that people said they were."
Dispelling the myths surrounding drug abuse and addiction is precisely the goal of Hart's new book, High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society.
Hart's autobiography weaves personal memoir, Drug Science 101, and enlightened discussions of American racial politics into one engaging narrative. High Price is structured around Hart's own remarkable journey from an impoverished childhood on the streets of Miami's roughest neighborhoods to a professional career studying drugs in the ivory towers of academia. (Policy Mic)
House Republicans Push To Include Monsanto Protection Act In New Spending Bill House Republicans will include an extension of the so-called Monsanto Protection Act in the spending bill designed to avert a government shutdown, according to text of the legislation released Wednesday by House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.).
The Monsanto measure was originally enacted into law in March by being slipped into the previous spending resolution, which is now set to expire.
Since its quiet passage, the Monsanto Protection Act has become a target of intense opposition. Monsanto is a global seed and herbicide company that specializes in genetically modified crops. The law effectively prevents judges from placing injunctions on genetically modified seeds even if they are deemed unsafe. Monsanto has argued that it is unfair to single out the company in the nickname for the law, which is officially known as the Farmer Assurance Provision, when other major agribusiness players also support it.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has waged a campaign against the measure and told HuffPost he plans to fight its reenactment.
"The proposed House continuing resolution includes an extension of the Monsanto Protection Act, a secret rider slipped into a must-pass spending bill earlier this year," Merkley said. "I will fight the House's efforts to extend this special interest loophole that nullifies court orders that are protecting farmers, the environment, and public health."
Colin O’Neil, a lobbyist for the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement, "It is extremely disappointing to see the damaging 'Monsanto Protection Act' policy rider extended in the House spending bill. Hundreds of thousands of Americans called their elected officials to voice their frustration and disappointment over the inclusion of the 'Monsanto Protection Act' this past spring. Its inclusion is a slap in the face to the American public and our justice system." (Huffington Post)
The internet mystery that has the world baffled For the past two years, a mysterious online organisation has been setting the world's finest code-breakers a series of seemingly unsolveable problems. But to what end? Welcome to the world of Cicada 3301 - One evening in January last year, Joel Eriksson, a 34-year-old computer analyst from Uppsala in Sweden, was trawling the web, looking for distraction, when he came across a message on an internet forum. The message was in stark white type, against a black background.
“Hello,” it said. “We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck.”
The message was signed: "3301”.
A self-confessed IT security "freak” and a skilled cryptographer, Eriksson’s interest was immediately piqued. This was – he knew – an example of digital steganography: the concealment of secret information within a digital file. Most often seen in conjunction with image files, a recipient who can work out the code – for example, to alter the colour of every 100th pixel – can retrieve an entirely different image from the randomised background "noise”. (London Telegraph)
Congress Just Held a Remarkable Two-Hour Hearing on Aliens In a refreshingly pro-science move, the House Science Committee set aside two hours yesterday to discuss the ongoing search for extraterrestrial life. The ensuing conversation was fascinating, but at times infuriating, with the experts discussing everything from alien biosignatures to the possibility that we're being watched.
The hearing, called "Astrobiology: The Search for Biosignatures in Our Solar System and Beyond," was set up to examine the burgeoning field of astrobiology and the search for biosignatures in our solar system and beyond. To that end, the U.S. House of Representatives brought together three experts, all PhDs: Mary Voytek, Senior Scientist for Astrobiology in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA headquarters; Sara Seager, Professor of Physics and of Planetary Science at M.I.T. (whose work we featured earlier this year); and Steven J. Dick, Baruch S. Blumberg Chair of Astrobiology, Library of Congress (who we've also talked about here at io9).
The Republican-dominated House Committee centered many of their questions on the issue of whether astrobiology could be an inspiration for young people to get involved in science and engineering. The witnesses were even asked how they got into astrobiology.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla) even asked the witnesses what they considered to be the greatest danger to life on Earth. Perhaps he was wondering if extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) might pose a threat. The panelists' answers included asteroids, overpopulation, and somewhat inexplicably, the quest for energy resources. Regrettably, this subject is outside their area of expertise, and their answers reflected as much. (io9)
McDonald’s Restaurants Shut Down in Macedonia All the McDonald’s fast-food restaurants in Macedonia have closed because the local company that operated the franchise has lost its licence for reasons which are as yet unknown. - The European head office of the world’s biggest chain of fast food and hamburger restaurants confirmed the countywide closure on Wednesday.
“After the termination of the agreement, [Macedonia’s] SJ Company no longer has the right to work with the McDonald’s franchise,” Agnes Vadnai, the head of communications at McDonald’s Europe, was quoted as saying by NOVA TV.
It is not yet known why the company lost the licence and whether McDonald’s intends to continue operating in Macedonia. (CBS)
NASA funding shuffle alarms planetary scientists -- Agency restructuring will postpone a major grants programme for one Scott Guzewich spent six years as a weather forecaster in the US Air Force before switching to his dream career as a planetary scientist. Guzewich now studies the Martian atmosphere as a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
But Guzewich’s dream job may be turning into a nightmare. On 3 December, NASA’s planetary science division announced a restructuring of how it funds its various research and analysis programmes. And what sounded like a bureaucratic shuffle touched a raw nerve among US planetary scientists, who already feel singled out in an era of shrinking budgets.
In particular, a newly formed research programme that will cover roughly half of all planetary science proposals will not be calling for new grant submissions in 2014. Researchers who draw the bulk of their salaries from grants will have no place to apply.
“Now I have to basically skip 2014 and submit in 2015,” says Guzewich. “If nothing gets funded in that call, then I guess it’s time for me to go to Walmart.”
Almost all US planetary scientists are funded, at least in part, by NASA’s US$1.2-billion planetary sciences division. Many older and more established researchers get money from individual missions such as the Mars Curiosity rover or the Cassini Saturn probe. Younger scientists, such as Guzewich, must rely more heavily on the roughly $250-million pot known as the research and analysis budget. This is the money designated to scientists exploring the data streaming back from planetary missions. According to a 2010 survey by the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, nearly half of US planetary scientists depend on this programme for more than half of their salaries. (Nature)
Google robots may pose challenge to Amazon drones Google has revealed it has taken over seven robotics companies in the past half a year and has begun hiring staff to develop its own product.
A spokesman confirmed the effort was being headed up by Andy Rubin, who was previously in charge of the Android operating system.
The spokesman was unwilling to discuss what kind of robot was being developed.
But the New York Times reports that at this stage Google does not plan to sell the resulting product to consumers.
Schaft Google has hired a team of Japanese engineers who make humanoid robots
Instead, the newspaper suggests, Google's robots could be paired with its self-driving car research to help automate the delivery of goods to people's doors.
It notes the company has recently begun a same-day grocery delivery service in San Francisco and San Jose, called Google Shopping Express. (BBC)
Rat Park Experiment was a study into drug addiction conducted in the late 1970s (and published in 1980) by Canadian psychologist Bruce K. Alexander and his colleagues at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.
Alexander's hypothesis was that drugs do not cause addiction, and that the apparent addiction to opiate drugs commonly observed in laboratory rats exposed to it is attributable to their living conditions, and not to any addictive property of the drug itself. He told the Canadian Senate in 2001 that prior experiments in which laboratory rats were kept isolated in cramped metal cages, tethered to a self-injection apparatus, show only that "severely distressed animals, like severely distressed people, will relieve their distress pharmacologically if they can."
To test his hypothesis, Alexander built Rat Park, an 8.8 m2 (95 sq ft) housing colony, 200 times the floor area of a standard laboratory cage. There were 16–20 rats of both sexes in residence, an abundance of food, balls and wheels for play, and enough space for mating and raising litters.:166 The results of the experiment appeared to support his hypothesis. Rats who had been forced to consume morphine hydrochloride for 57 consecutive days were brought to Rat Park and given a choice between plain tap water and water laced with morphine. For the most part, they chose the plain water. "Nothing that we tried," Alexander wrote, "... produced anything that looked like addiction in rats that were housed in a reasonably normal environment." Control groups of rats isolated in small cages consumed much more morphine in this and several subsequent experiments.
The two major science journals, Science and Nature, rejected Alexander, Coambs, and Hadaway's first paper, which appeared instead in Psychopharmacology, a respectable but much smaller journal in 1978. The paper's publication initially attracted no response. Within a few years, Simon Fraser University withdrew Rat Park's funding. (Wikipedia)
Waterboarding, prolonged stress positions, placed in a box and subjected to extreme noise: CIA's rendition of two terror suspects in Polish jail revealed Two terror suspects 'were transferred to a prison in Poland and tortured' -- Both men say they were brought to the country in December 2002 -- Allegations include being told their families would be sexually abused -- Poland has been accused of human rights abuses - Lawyers for two terror suspects currently being held by the U.S. in Guantanamo Bay have accused Poland of human rights abuses.
They say they fell victim to the CIA's program to kidnap terror suspects and transfer them to other countries as they allege that they were tortured in a remote Polish prison.
The case marks the first time Europe's role in the CIA's 'extraordinary rendition' of terror suspects has reached European Court of Human Rights.
Lawyers for two terror suspects currently being held by the U.S. in Guantanamo Bay accuse Poland of human rights abuses
Lawyers for two terror suspects currently being held by the U.S. in Guantanamo Bay accuse Poland of human rights abuses
One of the cases concerns 48-year-old Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who currently faces terror charges in the U.S. for allegedly orchestrating the al-Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in 2000, a bombing in the Yemeni port of Aden that killed 17 sailors and wounded 37. (UK Daily Mail)
Family to Receive $1.5M+ in First-Ever Vaccine-Autism Court Award The first court award in a vaccine-autism claim is a big one. CBS News has learned the family of Hannah Poling will receive more than $1.5 million dollars for her life care; lost earnings; and pain and suffering for the first year alone.
In addition to the first year, the family will receive more than $500,000 per year to pay for Hannah's care. Those familiar with the case believe the compensation could easily amount to $20 million over the child's lifetime.
Hannah was described as normal, happy and precocious in her first 18 months.
Then, in July 2000, she was vaccinated against nine diseases in one doctor's visit: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae. (CBS)
Officials warn of dangers associated with earwax marijuana -- One former user: 'The dabs can take you' Dubbed pot’s most powerful high, earwax marijuana – also known as “dabs,” “honey oil,” or “butter” – has become a growing problem in the Sacramento region, according to drug addiction specialists.
Earwax was a name given for its yellowish color and texture.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the drug in marijuana that induces a high. While pot contains roughly 20 percent THC, earwax – which is butane hash oil – can contain up to 80 percent of it, making it a lot more potent.
Hundreds of YouTube videos show people smoking the substance.
“It literally took me down. I didn’t fall, but I got to the ground pretty darn quickly,” said one 23-year-old former smoker. “Within a couple of minutes, the high started and you start to feel like you’re going out of your body.” (NBC)
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa The sun’s magnetic field will reverse polarity at some point in the coming weeks, sending ripples to the edge of interstellar space - The sun is set to “flip upside down” within weeks as its magnetic field reverses polarity in an event that will send ripple effects throughout the solar system.
Although it may sound like a catastrophic occurrence, there’s no need to run for cover. The sun switches its polarity, flipping its magnetic north and south, once every eleven years through an internal mechanism about which little is understood.
The swap could however cause intergalactic weather fronts such as geomagnetic storms, which can interfere with satellites and cause radio blackouts.
Nasa said in August that the change would happen in three to four months time, but it is impossible to give a more specific date. Scientist won’t know for around another three weeks whether the flip is complete. (The Independent)
Houston Anthropologist Reveals Irrefutable Proof That Recorded History Is Wrong Evidence Found Across the Globe of Highly Evolved Human Species from before the Ice Age, Demand Scientific Recognition of our Past that Depicts Societies of Advanced Technology and Culture
Houston anthropologist, Dr. Semir Osmanagich, founder of the Bosnian Archaeology Park, the most active archaeology site in the world, declares that irrefutable scientific evidence exists of ancient civilizations with advanced technology that leaves us no choice but to change our recorded history. An examination of the age of structures across the earth reveals conclusively that they were built by advanced civilizations from over 29,000 years ago.
“Acknowledging that we are witness to fundamental proof of advanced civilizations dating back over 29,000 years and an examination of their societal structures forces the World to reconsider its understanding of the development of civilization and history,” explains Dr. Semir Osmanagich. “Conclusive data at the Bosnian Pyramid site revealed in 2008 and confirmed this year by several independent labs who conducted radio carbon testing dates the site at 29,400 +/-400 years minimum.”
The radiocarbon dating tests of 29,200 years +/- 400 years was done by Radiocarbon Lab from Kiew, Ukraine, on organic material found at the Bosnian Pyramid site. Physicist Dr. Anna Pazdur of Poland’s Silesian University first announced the news at a Press Conference in Sarajevo in August of 2008. Professor of Classical Archaeology from the University of Alexandria Dr. Mona Haggag called this discovery “writing new pages in European and World history.” The C14 date of 29,000 years at the Bosnian Archaeological Park was obtained from a piece of organic material retrieved from a clay layer inside the outer casing to the pyramid. It follows a sample date obtained during the 2012 dig season on material located above the concrete at 24,800 years, meaning this structure has a construction profile stretching back almost 30,000 years. (Before It's News)
West Coast Evacuation Due To Fukishima Radiation Possible Nuclear Engineer Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, confirmed that ocean currents are carrying the radioactive water to the West Coast.
"There are several hundred tons of radioactive water that are pouring into the ocean at the site every day," Makhijani said.
According to a study published in the Journal Deep Sea Research 1, it will begin arriving this March. But Makhijani says there's no need to panic. The radiation will be diluted, and levels found on the West Coast are very low and not considered dangerous so far. But the question is, will we really know? (ABC)
Portland's Pot Vote Could Make It A Gateway City For Maine It's been a big year in the marijuana legalization movement. Not only did Colorado and Washington voters make marijuana legal last November, but this week Coloradans approved a ballot measure to tax marijuana sales.
Also this week, Michigan voters in three cities removed penalties for possession. And in Portland, Maine, voters passed by an overwhelming margin an ordinance to legalize possession of up to 2.5 ounces.
At a victory party at a Portland pub Tuesday night, activists lit up a foot-long joint and passed it around in celebration — until they were asked to put it out. Smoking pot in public is still illegal, and marijuana remains outlawed at the state and federal levels.
That's why Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck says not much will change as a result of the city's vote.
"State law pre-empts an ordinance of this sort, a local ordinance of any sort," he says.
The other reason Sauschuck says it won't change much is because Maine is one of 13 states that has already decriminalized marijuana possession. It's just a civil offense, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. (National Public Radio)
For First Time, Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana -- Support surged 10 percentage points in past year, to 58% For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans (58%) say the drug should be legalized. This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization.
Americans' Views on Legalizing Marijuana
Public support for legalization more than doubled in the 1970s, growing to 28%. It then plateaued during the 1980s and 1990s before inching steadily higher since 2000, reaching 50% in 2011.
A sizable percentage of Americans (38%) this year admitted to having tried the drug, which may be a contributing factor to greater acceptance.
Success at the ballot box in the past year in Colorado and Washington may have increased Americans' tolerance for marijuana legalization. Support for legalization has jumped 10 percentage points since last November and the legal momentum shows no sign of abating. Last week, California's second-highest elected official, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said that pot should be legal in the Golden State, and advocates of legalization are poised to introduce a statewide referendum in 2014 to legalize the drug.
The Obama administration has also been flexible on the matter. Despite maintaining the government's firm opposition to legalizing marijuana under federal law, in late August Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced the Justice Department would not challenge the legality of Colorado's and Washington's successful referendums, provided that those states maintain strict rules regarding the drug's sale and distribution.
The movement to legalize marijuana mirrors the relatively recent success of the movement to legalize gay marriage, which voters have also approved now in 14 states. Public support for gay marriage, which Americans also overwhelmingly opposed in the past, has increased dramatically, reaching majority support in the last two years. (Gallup)
D.C. mayor backs decriminalizing marijuana, replacing criminal charges with civil fines D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) on Wednesday offered his first unequivocal support for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, adding momentum to a legislative proposal that has the support of a supermajority on the D.C. Council and could make the District one of the nation’s most lenient jurisdictions on marijuana possession.
Under a measure proposed by council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in the District would no longer be punishable by six months in jail and a penalty of $1,000.
Instead, those caught with amounts of the drug deemed for personal use would risk only a civil charge and a ticket of $100 — the equivalent of parking in a no-parking area in the District at rush hour.
Wells, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor, and civil liberties groups have urged passage of the measure. They say the District’s marijuana laws have disproportionately affected African Americans and have saddled some residents with criminal records, making it hard for them to find gainful employment. (Washington Post)
Colorado accepts first applications for recreational-marijuana stores Colorado marked a new marijuana milestone Tuesday when it became the first state to begin taking applications from people wanting to open legal recreational-marijuana stores.
The first applicants arrived at the Marijuana Enforcement Division's offices south of downtown Denver shortly before 9 a.m., carrying heavy boxes and bulging binders. Just after 9, Andy Williams, the owner of the Medicine Man medical-marijuana dispensary, stepped into an office conference room to become one of the first to submit an application.
"We're excited," he said. "Some folks are afraid to be first, but we welcome it." (Denver Post)
Scientists Showcase the Wonders of the World at Burning Man Festival -- Scientists haul their wares to Burning Man Ever since Lake Lahontan dried up thousands of years ago, the Black Rock Desert in Nevada has been a forbidding habitat. The flat terrain is covered with a white alkaline powder, and dust storms are frequent. That has not deterred revelers at the annual Burning Man festival, however. This year they have come bearing water fleas, tardigrades and other creatures that would have been more at home in the Pleistocene lake.
“Ohhhhh, there's one!” Mariya Levina, wearing a lab coat over a bikini top and shorts, her pink hair pulled back in a ponytail, is peering into one of four microscopes arranged on a folding table. She is looking at a trumpet-shaped protozoan, Stentor, as it lurches to a halt on the slide.
The mobile science exhibit, known as the MicroZoo, is the brainchild of bioengineer Tristan Ursell, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University. He aims to reconnect visitors, for whom science classes may be a distant (or even unpleasant) memory, with the wonder of biology. “There's a whole world just out of view,” Ursell says. “I want people to think about that.” (Scientific American)
Horrifying New Drugs! Does New Zealand's New Synthetic Drug Law Offer a Safer Way Forward? Time magazine warns "The World's Most Horrifying Drug May Have Claimed Its First U.S. Victim." The horror of this "new" drug, "krokodil," is that it "eats the skin" of those who use it.
Why would anyone use drugs with all their risks, let alone an untested new drug or a drug that reportedly "eats their skin?" Because the reasons that people use drugs are important to them. People use drugs to get high for various reasons (i.e. to feel good, to forget their troubles, to seek the "truth" or the "divine," for excitement or adventure, or to relieve boredom).They use drugs to ward off "dope sickness" (i.e. prevent withdrawal symptoms). They use drugs to enhance their performance of some task (such as studying, flying an airplane or driving a truck for many hours, or hitting homeruns). And people use drugs to fit in socially (to feel relaxed with strangers or to accommodate peer pressure). However, federal, state and international law recognize "medical use" as the sole legitimate reason one can use a drug (other than tobacco, alcohol and caffeine). These non-medical reasons are compellingly important to the tens of millions of Americans who use drugs knowing that their drug use is against the law and harshly punished. Laws and treaties that limit the legal manufacture of drugs only for medical purposes results in all non-medical drug use being more dangerous because it is unprotected by government or market-based regulation and inspection. Now New Zealand is changing that approach.
The dangerous drug du jour, "krokodil," is a version of desomorphine being made informally in Russia. It is a fast acting narcotic derived from codeine which is extracted from opium poppy. Desomorphine is reported to be 8 to 10 times more potent than morphine. (Huffington Post)
Teen LSD Party In Mill Valley Turns Into Marin County Blood Ritual An all-night, LSD-fueled party in Mill Valley, California went wildly out of control early Sunday morning, requiring law enforcement officers from no less than five nearby towns to bring everyone back down to earth.
Things started to turn south around 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, when paramedics received a call that a boy had started suffering from seizures after taking acid. EMTs from the Southern Marin Fire District arrived at the scene to find a 16-year-old boy covered in blood and using "superhuman strength" to block their entrance. The boy became increasingly violent until the paramedics called for backup, bringing in everyone from the Marin County Sheriff's Department to Mill Valley and Tiburon police. A second call for help brought in additional officers from around the area. (SFist)
Your New Nobel Laureate in Chemistry is a Burner Go figure. The most recent winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry is a Burner.
Congratulations to Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work back in the 1970's "for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems." According to the Stanford News, "Levitt's work focuses on theoretical, computer-aided analysis of protein, DNA and RNA molecules responsible for life at its most fundamental level. Delineating the precise molecular structures of biological molecules is a necessary first step in understanding how they work and in designing drugs to alter their function." (Burning Blog)
New Orleans Film Festival 2013, Day 3: 'Whole Gritty City' shines light on NOLA marching bands There's not an award for the New Orleans-iest movie shown at the New Orleans Film Festival, but if there were, "The Whole Gritty City" would certainly be a contender -- if not a shoo-in -- to win it.
Directed by Richard Barber and Andre Lambertson, it's an impassioned documentary look at the often-unsung heroes of Mardi Gras parades and halftime shows the city over: the local high school marching bands.
Those bands are, of course, vitally important to continuing New Orleans' legendary musical traditions, passing on a love of music from generation to generation. But, as Barber and Lambertson expertly show, they're far more than just music makers. Using emotion and humor -- and, of course, toe-tapping performances -- "The Whole Gritty City" isn't simply a lecture on why marching bands are important to us, the spectator. Rather, it ups the stakes by showing how the bands, and the tireless work of their big-hearted bandleaders, are so immeasurably important to the kids who form the rank and file. (The Times-Picayune)
Rolling Stone Italia Just Offended the Entire EDM Culture, and We’re Wondering Why I had to transcribe this video before reacting to it: “What the hell are you doing? Electronic noises you’re trying to pass off as music. Is this your drug now? This is what gives you a buzz when you’re up at the mixer, right? DJs. Criminals with a license to shoot shit into our eardrums. Low quality MP3 pushers. Third class whores that give it away to the first bidder. You feel like superstars, huh? The owners of our night time. Heroes of the stage. No audience will ever chant your name. They’ll never know your songs by heart. Because you are an anonymity The day will come when your vocoders explode and your CDs catch fire.”
This goes on, and ends with Rolling Stone‘s logo and Italian mantra, “la bibbia del rock & roll.” Either this was a misguided shot, or someone thought it would be a good idea to spice things up and drum up some press for a struggling magazine. I can’t fathom though how any publication would fund someone to create a visual slam piece offending an entire culture, then get the thumbs up from editorial to release it. This video was the vision of director Federico Brugia, who’s previous work includes advertisements for Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. The budget for this nightmare must have been outrageous. It’s also been published for nearly a week, and would have undoubtedly been pulled if it wasn’t given a nod. We also see it posted on the Italian Rolling Stone website. (Do Androids Dance)
180 years accurate CO2 air gas analysis by chemical methods (short version)
This is an unofficial extract of E-G Beck's comprehensive draft paper and is for discussion not citing, Dipl. Biol. Ernst-Georg Beck, Merian-Schule Freiburg, 8/2006 - It could be shown that between 1800 to 1961 more than 320 technical papers exist on the subject of air gas analysis containing verified data on atmospheric CO2
concentrations. Callendar( engineer), Keeling (chemist) and IPCC do not evaluate these chemical methods though being standard in analytical chemistry, discredited these techniques and data and rejected most as faulty and highly inaccurate because not helpful proving their hypothesis of fuel burning induced rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In using their concept of unpolluted background level they had examined about 10% of available literature and considered <1% (Müntz, Reiset, Buch) as accurate. (see references) But history of air gas analysis was not like this (see references). From 1857 with Pettenkofer process as a standard accuracy of 3% was enough to develop all modern knowledge of medicine, biology and physiology (photosynthesis, respiration end energy metabolism) which are taught today worldwide as a content of all text books of the mentioned faculties. (Ernst-Georg Beck)
Florida Cop Buys $100 in Groceries for Woman Caught Shoplifting Food A struggling Florida mom who was caught trying to shoplift hundreds of dollars of groceries ended up with food and a ride home from a kind-hearted police officer, instead of a ride to the stationhouse.
When Miami-Dade Police Officer Vicki Thomas, 55, was dispatched to look into a shoplifting case at a Publix grocery store, a store manager led her to Jessica Robles.
"She was crying. I said, 'Okay, what did she take?' And he pointed to a grocery cart that was full of groceries," Thomas told ABCNews.com. "I've been on [the job] 23 years, and I went, wow."
"She just filled up the grocery cart and she just walked out, which shocked me and I asked her, 'Why?'" Thomas recalled. "She said, 'My children were hungry.' And that immediately impacted me." (ABC)
FDA Warning Parents About Drug Websites It’s been a busy week for Federal Drug Agents. First they warned us about a new and deadly drug circulating among young people.
Now they want parents to know about drug web sites.
Federal agents are sure young people know about these drug use web sites like this here. They want parents to check them out so they use the information to arm themselves to protect their children.
The feds say the drugs are legal.
Type in the words drug use and experience on Google and one of the first web sites to pop up is Erowid.
It gives people information: on how to use drugs and reactions to different illegal substances, for example is it better to snort Ecstasy or use it orally. (FOX)
Mexico Bans GMO Corn Effective Immediately A Mexico judge has placed an indefinite ban on genetically engineered corn.
Effective immediately, companies like Monsanto and DuPont/Pioneer will no longer be allowed to plant or sell their corn within the country’s borders.
According to Environmental Food and Justice, Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J. of the Twelfth Federal District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City wrote that the genetically engineered corn posed ”the risk of imminent harm to the environment.” (Eco Living)
Will Legal Pot Cost More Than Black-Market Pot? -- High marijuana taxes could derail legalization in Washington and Colorado. When Congress banned marijuana in 1937, it did so in the guise of taxation, imposing a prohibitive levy on cannabis and created criminal penalties for those who failed to pay it. Marijuana taxes also played a prominent role in what may be the beginning of the end for pot prohibition: the legalization measures that voters in Colorado and Washington approved last fall.
Supporters of Washington's I-502 and Colorado’s Amendment 64 emphasized the revenue that the government could reap by recognizing cannabis production and distribution as a legitimate business. The tricky part, as officials in both states will soon discover, is balancing the desire for tax revenue against the desire to eliminate the black market created by prohibition. Or as UCLA drug policy expert Mark Kleiman, an adviser to Washington’s marijuana regulators, puts it: “What if we gave a pot legalization and nobody came?”
The dilemma is especially clear in Washington, where I-502 specified a 25 percent excise tax at three levels: sales between producers and processors, between processors and retailers, and between retailers and consumers. That’s in addition to the standard state sales tax of 8.75 percent.
According to calculations by BOTEC, Kleiman’s consulting firm, these taxes will make the retail cost of cannabis 58 percent higher than it would otherwise be, accounting for 37 percent of the price paid by consumers. One BOTEC projection, based on a production cost of $2 per gram, indicates the after-tax retail price will be $17 per gram, or $482 per ounce. Another projection, based on a production cost of $3 per gram, puts the retail price at $25.50 per gram, or $723 per ounce. (Forbes)
The Kissing Sailor, or "The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture" Most of us are familiar with this picture. Captured in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945, it has become one of the most iconic photographs of American history, symbolizing the jubilation and exuberance felt throughout the country at the end of World War II.
For a long time, the identity of the pair remained a mystery. It certainly looks passionate and romantic enough, with many speculating that they were a couple – a sailor and a nurse, celebrating and sharing their joy. This year, however, historians have finally confirmed that the woman is Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental nurse at the time, and George Mendonsa, a sailor.
Have a look at some articles about it. Do you get the feeling that something is not quite right?
A few facts have come to light. Far from being a kiss between a loving couple, we learn that George and Greta were perfect strangers. We learn that George was drunk, and that Greta had no idea of his presence, until she was in his arms, with his lips on hers.
The articles even give us Greta’s own words:
“It wasn’t my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and grabbed!”
“I did not see him approaching, and before I knew it, I was in this vice grip. [sic]“
“You don’t forget this guy grabbing you.”
“That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”
It seems pretty clear, then, that what George had committed would be considered sexual assault by modern standards. Yet, in an amazing feat of willful blindness, none of the articles comment on this, even as they reproduce Greta’s words for us. Without a single acknowledgement of the problematic nature of the photo that her comments reveal, they continue to talk about the picture in a whimsical, reverent manner, “still mesmerized by his timeless kiss.” George’s actions are romanticized and glorified; it is almost as if Greta had never spoken. (Crates and Ribbons)
Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government Dan M. Kahan, Yale University, Law School; Harvard University, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics -- Ellen Peters, Ohio State University, Psychology Department; Decision Research; University of Oregon -- Erica Cantrell Dawson, Cornell University -- Paul Slovic, Decision Research; University of Oregon, Department of Psychology -
Why does public conflict over societal risks persist in the face of compelling and widely accessible scientific evidence? We conducted an experiment to probe two alternative answers: the “Science Comprehension Thesis” (SCT), which identifies defects in the public’s knowledge and reasoning capacities as the source of such controversies; and the “Identity-protective Cognition Thesis” (ICT) which treats cultural conflict as disabling the faculties that members of the public use to make sense of decision-relevant science. In our experiment, we presented subjects with a difficult problem that turned on their ability to draw valid causal inferences from empirical data. As expected, subjects highest in Numeracy — a measure of the ability and disposition to make use of quantitative information — did substantially better than less numerate ones when the data were presented as results from a study of a new skin-rash treatment. Also as expected, subjects’ responses became politically polarized — and even less accurate — when the same data were presented as results from the study of a gun-control ban. But contrary to the prediction of SCT, such polarization did not abate among subjects highest in Numeracy; instead, it increased. This outcome supported ICT, which predicted that more Numerate subjects would use their quantitative-reasoning capacity selectively to conform their interpretation of the data to the result most consistent with their political outlooks. We discuss the theoretical and practical significance of these findings. (Social Science Research Network)
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