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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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
sceptics vs. academics This is part of a long term project to try to understand why the “two sides” in the climate debate look at pretty much the same information and come to very different conclusions. Having met both sides, and tried to understand their motivation and outlook, I am thoroughly convinced that both approach the subject in what they think is the right way and both are horrified at the “antics” of the other. If I have said anything that can be taken as derogatory, that was not the intention. I am sorry but I have done my best to describe what I see.
[From early responses it is clear I need to define more precisely what I mean by sceptic and non-sceptic. Broadly, those supporting the IPCC conclusions that we are heading toward catastrophic warming would be on one side and those who are sceptical of this on the other. For a more precise definition of sceptic I would consider sceptics to be those who generally agree with the statement outlined in the: "The Sceptic View"]
I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE COMMENTS FROM BOTH "SIDES". (Scottish Sceptic)
Arrest in U.S. Shuts Down a Black Market for Narcotics Nearly everything about Silk Road was shrouded in secrecy.
It began in 2011 as an underground online marketplace for drug users, a site where endless varieties of marijuana — as well as LSD, ecstasy and prescription pills — could be bought from sellers across the world. It branched out to other illicit goods, including forged documents, and emerged as a black market version of eBay, where criminals could do business with more than 100,000 customers.
It worked on one basic principle: Everyone remained anonymous. Users could gain access to the network only through software meant to ensure anonymity. Credit cards and PayPal were not accepted. Bitcoins, a virtual currency, were, and even those transactions were scrambled. All that connected them in real life was a name, often fake, and the address to which the package would be sent.
And the mastermind behind Silk Road was cloaked in mystery, known as Dread Pirate Roberts, after a character in the movie “The Princess Bride.” But Silk Road went dark this week, and its owner was unmasked as Ross Ulbricht, 29, who is accused in a criminal complaint, among other things, of asking a man to kill a Silk Road vendor who had threatened to reveal the identities of others who used the site. (New York Times)
Climate sceptics more likely to be conspiracy theorists and free market advocates, study claims -- Research confirms previous findings which caused fury among sceptics of human-caused climate change Do you think the Apollo moon landings might have been faked or that Britain's Royal family maybe, just maybe, conspired to assassinate Princess Diana because they didn't like her very much?
How about that other conspiracy theory, where there really is this secret New World Order group with designs on global domination.
Maybe you're up for that other chestnut that has the US government knowing beforehand about the September 11 attacks but letting them happen anyway so as to have a good excuse to bomb Afghanistan?
If you answered yes to any of these conspiracy theories then a new study published today has found that you probably also think the science of human-caused climate change is some sort of hoax and you might think too that there's no good evidence for vaccinating children.
The study, titled The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science and published in the journal PLOS ONE, also finds another strong predictor for the dismissal of the science of human-caused climate change.
That is, if you're a conservative who believes the world runs best when businesses operate in a "free market" with little government interference, then the chances are you don't think human-caused climate change represents a significant risk to human civilisation. (London Guardian)
The Real Crisis Is Not The Government Shutdown The inability of the media and politicians to focus on the real issues never ceases to amaze.
The real crisis is not the “debt ceiling crisis.” The government shutdown is merely a result of the Republicans using the debt limit ceiling to attempt to block the implementation of Obamacare. If the shutdown persists and becomes a problem, Obama has enough power under the various “war on terror” rulings to declare a national emergency and raise the debt ceiling by executive order. An executive branch that has the power to inter citizens indefinitely and to murder them without due process of law, can certainly set aside a ceiling on debt that jeopardizes the government.
The real crisis is that jobs offshoring by US corporations has permanently lowered US tax revenues by shifting what would have been consumer income, US GDP, and tax base to China, India, and other countries where wages and the cost of living are relatively low. On the spending side, twelve years of wars have inflated annual expenditures. The consequence is a wide deficit gap between revenues and expenditures.
Under the present circumstances, the deficit is too large to be closed. The Federal Reserve covers the deficit by printing $1,000 billion annually with which to purchase Treasury debt and mortgage-backed financial instruments. The use of the printing press on such a large scale undermines the US dollar’s role as reserve currency, the basis for US power. Raising the debt limit simply allows the real crisis to continue. More money will be printed with which to purchase more new debt issues needed to close the gap between revenues and expenditures. (Paul Craig Roberts)
Tom Clancy's Powerful Foresight Into a Post-9/11 World -- The late author helped America anticipate for this era of war, but he also gave hope. In an appreciation of science fiction and its authors, Philip K. Dick once noted of the genre, "It's not just 'What if?' It's 'My God; what if?'" When I learned of the death of novelist Tom Clancy at age 66, those words immediately came to mind. To understand Clancy and his legacy, it's useful to remember a time when we didn't casually toss around terms like "SEAL Team Six" and "radiological bomb," and the only people who worried about the threat of "NBCs" were network-television execs.
The power of Tom Clancy is that he gave us a glimpse into a post-9/11 world from the relative comfort of the 1990s. He described the astonishing might of the world's militaries, and of the power that generals wield only for want of an enemy. He didn't just tell you about a fighter jet; he let you fly it. He didn't just quantify the destructive power of an atomic bomb; he blew up the Super Bowl. Restraint was never his specialty, and if it seemed like he was sharing details on par with number of bolts in an aircraft carrier, it's because you could almost see him having so much fun while he was writing. He was a geek with a restless imagination, and vast swaths of his prose are like an applied version of Jane's Defense Weekly. (The Atlantic)
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)
Comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions on mortality outcomes: metaepidemiological study Abstract
Objective To determine the comparative effectiveness of exercise versus drug interventions on mortality outcomes.
Design Metaepidemiological study.
Eligibility criteria Meta-analyses of randomised controlled trials with mortality outcomes comparing the effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions with each other or with control (placebo or usual care).
Data sources Medline and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, May 2013.
Main outcome measure Mortality.
Data synthesis We combined study level death outcomes from exercise and drug trials using random effects network meta-analysis.
Results We included 16 (four exercise and 12 drug) meta-analyses. Incorporating an additional three recent exercise trials, our review collectively included 305 randomised controlled trials with 339 274 participants. Across all four conditions with evidence on the effectiveness of exercise on mortality outcomes (secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation of stroke, treatment of heart failure, prevention of diabetes), 14 716 participants were randomised to physical activity interventions in 57 trials. No statistically detectable differences were evident between exercise and drug interventions in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and prediabetes. Physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatment among patients with stroke (odds ratios, exercise v anticoagulants 0.09, 95% credible intervals 0.01 to 0.70 and exercise v antiplatelets 0.10, 0.01 to 0.62). Diuretics were more effective than exercise in heart failure (exercise v diuretics 4.11, 1.17 to 24.76). Inconsistency between direct and indirect comparisons was not significant.
Conclusions Although limited in quantity, existing randomised trial evidence on exercise interventions suggests that exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes. (British Medical Journal)
Jesse Ventura with Piers Morgan : Government Shutdown to JFK Conspiracy [FULL Interview] Jesse Ventura joined Piers Morgan Tuesday night to react to the government shutting down, bashing both the Republicans and Democrats as "gangs" who have effectively legalized bribery in the American legislature. Ventura said the two-party system has to go and party unaffiliated candidates have to start getting elected.
Ventura asked if the government's shut down, "That should mean we shouldn't have to pay any taxes, right?" He called for another American revolution to push back against the "corrupt system" created by Democrats and Republicans in Washington.
He told Morgan the two-party system has legalized "bribery" for access, suggesting he's fed up enough to actually run for president in 2016. Ventura called both parties "gangs," and Morgan admitted he had to agree, adding that they're "overpaid, underworked children!"
As for Obamacare, Ventura didn't have much of an opinion on it, saying he believes in people's rights to health care, pointing out that the country would have more money for health care if it stopped going to war so much. (CNN)
NSA stores metadata of millions of web users for up to a year, secret files show
Vast amounts of data kept in repository codenamed Marina -- Data retained regardless of whether person is NSA target -- Material used to build 'pattern-of-life' profiles of individuals - The National Security Agency is storing the online metadata of millions of internet users for up to a year, regardless of whether or not they are persons of interest to the agency, top secret documents reveal.
Metadata provides a record of almost anything a user does online, from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords. This can be used to build a detailed picture of an individual's life.
The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that the NSA keeps only the content of messages and communications of people it is intentionally targeting – but internal documents reveal the agency retains vast amounts of metadata.
An introductory guide to digital network intelligence for NSA field agents, included in documents disclosed by former contractor Edward Snowden, describes the agency's metadata repository, codenamed Marina. Any computer metadata picked up by NSA collection systems is routed to the Marina database, the guide explains. Phone metadata is sent to a separate system.
• What is metadata? Find out with our interactive guide (London Guardian)
NSA Utah Data Center: frequently asked questions -- Intelligence » What happens there, why Utah and the Mormon query. With the opening of the National Security Agency’s Utah Data Center, The Tribune’s staff has compiled a list of common questions and their answers.
• Is someone at the Utah Data Center going to be reviewing my Internet and phone history?
All indications are no. First, we’ll give you the obligatory NSA refrain that it does not spy on Americans. Regardless, the Utah Data Center is a storage facility. Your digital footprint, or part of it, may reside there, but any analysis of whether your search engine queries for rifles or the latest BYU football news represents a national security threat will be done at other federal facilities by personnel who can remotely access the information stored in Bluffdale. The Utah Data Center is expected to have only 200 employees; not enough to sort through the records of the average American.
• How is the NSA going to sort all those records?
That remains to be seen. If the NSA has the name of a potential terrorist, technology is sufficient to find that person’s digital history. The trick is identifying terror suspects based on what they do online or on the phone before they commit a crime or associate with terror suspects and that is where the NSA is waiting for technology and mathematics to catch up. Private contractors have said the NSA has purchased Cray XC30 supercomputers. Industry officials say those machines can run up to 1 million Intel Xenon core processors simultaneously, enabling speeds of up to 100 petaflops. One petaflop is about one thousand trillion calculations per second. But it doesn’t matter how fast you can calculate if you don’t have the right algorithm. The NSA, other government agencies and private-sector scientists are racing to build new data-mining algorithms, drawing on a blend of mathematics, machine learning, artificial intelligence and database theory. In March, President Barack Obama announced a $200 million research initiative across seven federal agencies to advance techniques for data mining. This issue hits on one debate about the NSA and its intelligence-gathering. Critics have said the agency is collecting more data than it can manage and far, far more than can ever be useful. (Salt Lake Tribune)
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)
MIT scientist ridicules IPCC climate change report, calls findings 'hilarious incoherence' Not all experts agree with the latest United Nations report on global warming, some are even amused by its findings.
A climate scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has come out blasting the report for blaming humans for a global warming trend that appears to have cooled in recent decades – and then glossing over the warming slowdown.
‘I think that the latest IPCC report has truly sunk to level of hilarious incoherence,’ Dr. Richard Lindzen told Climate Depot – a site known for questioning the theory of global warming.
Dr Linzen’s amusement from the lack of correlation between predictions and actual conditions.
‘They are proclaiming increased confidence in their models as the discrepancies between their models and observations increase,’ Dr Linzen continued.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserted in the report that it is 95 per cent sure humans’ use of fossil fuels is the cause of global warming.
The report also provided what Dr Linzen felt was a shoddy explanation for the lack of warming over the past 17 years. (UK Daily Mail)
Why the IPCC climate change report is flawed The following was written on Thursday, Sept. 26, as a post on Facebook, before the release of the IPCC report on Friday. It was edited and re-posted here on Sunday, Sept. 29.
Tomorrow you will likely hear about a new global warming report released from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It will claim that scientists are more certain than ever (95 per cent certainty) that humans are causing the Earth to warm.
The report will argue that the situation is becoming more and more dire and that failure to act will lead to a “point of no return” where the temperature train will race out of control and Earth’s ice caps will completely melt, and that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and droughts will all become more frequent.
I hope you take the time to look at some of the facts and do your own research on the matter. (Global Research)
N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens - Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.
The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor.
The policy shift was intended to help the agency “discover and track” connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011. The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners.
The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners.
N.S.A. officials declined to say how many Americans have been caught up in the effort, including people involved in no wrongdoing. The documents do not describe what has resulted from the scrutiny, which links phone numbers and e-mails in a “contact chain” tied directly or indirectly to a person or organization overseas that is of foreign intelligence interest. (New York Times)
Shhh...the NSA's new data center may be open already Don't look for balloons or a big "Grand Opening" sign outside the National Security Agency's new Utah Data Center.
The facility is expected this fall to quietly begin sucking in massive amounts of information for the intelligence community and storing it in the cavernous buildings in Bluffdale, Utah, according to NSA officials — and it could be open now even as the agency faces scrutiny over efforts to collect data on Americans domestically.
NSA officials declined to say whether the center is already online, but the secret agency isn't known for celebrating the opening of classified buildings.
"We turn each machine on as it is installed, and the facility is ready for that installation to begin," NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said recently in an interview.
The data center, one of several large computer facilities run by the agency, is one of six major hubs for the NSA and will not only serve as backup storage but also be networked into the government's intelligence gathering so analysts from other sites can access it in real time. (Salt Lake Tribune)
The IPCC and geoengineering The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) just released by the IPCC’s Working Group 1 (pdf) ends with a para on geoengineering (p21), and this fact is receiving some play in media coverage. Not everyone is writing about it, and very few are putting it high up the story, but it’s there, and as various people have pointed out, last time WG1 reported, in 2007, it wasn’t.
Here’s the para is in full. I’ve annotated it to highlight changes made to the authors’ final draft, prepared after all the review stages of the document and thus forming the text that the governments attending the Stockholm plenary started from: (Heliophage)
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