754: Juloon

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 49m
September 6th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Richard Hillenbrand, Kyle Kinzel

Cover Artist: @NealCampbell


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Galveston Island
Almost destroyed in 1899
Again by Ike
Artistic benches on the seawall
Ray the beggar pooping blood
Neighbors towel fuse blown
High bacteria reported at Galveston West End beaches | abc13.com
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 14:38
If you're heading to the beach this weekend, you may want to avoid Galveston's West End.All the island's beaches west of Seven Mile Road tested positive for high bacteria levels.
Bacteria levels are lower along the seawall. The beaches there have low or moderate bacteria levels.Swimming is not recommended on the beaches with high bacteria levels. Most of the contamination comes from fecal matter. The pathogens can lead to infections such as cholera, and hepatitis.
For more information, visit the Texas Beach Watch website.
(Copyright (C)2015 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
Experience Texas Wine and Food at Tour de Vin 2015
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 22:47
Tour de Vin 2015 is right around the corner
Twin Liquors at Hancock Center hosted a sneak peek wine tasting event last week for the upcoming Tour de Vin, an annual festival from the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. Vendors and wineries gave a preview of some of the wines they'll be presenting during Tour de Vin at the Fair Market on September 17th. The pre-tasting event featured mostly California wines, but Tour de Vin will include several wines from Texas and around the world.
Wines that stood out at the pretasting that you'll see at the main event include the 2012 Catena malbec and the trebbiano from Duchman Family Winery. Both have a length that exceeds their price points.
New This Year: Contest and Wine AppTour de Vin pre-tasting event
This year, the Wine & Food Foundation will hold a ''Box or Bottle'' contest at Tour de Vin, and attendees will try to guess a wine's packaging based on taste.
Festival-goers will also have the option to install a wine list application on their smartphones made especially for the event. We've all tasted a wine at least once and thought, ''I have to remember this,'' only to forget the name the next day. This won't be the case after this year's Tour de Vin. The application will help festival-goers remember a wine and find where to find it at Austin stores and restaurants.
This year, the Wine & Food Foundation plans to have booths set up in a manner that not only highlights specific types of wines, but also organizes wines by occasion. For example, birthday wines or weeknight wines will be curated and placed together for tasting.
Texas Wineries to AttendDuchman Family Winery trebbiano and aglianico wines
Texas wineries that will be featured at Tour de Vin include Duchman Family Winery (Driftwood), Fall Creek (Driftwood), Messina Hof (Fredericksburg) and McPherson Cellars (Lubbock).
A representative from Duchman Family Winery attended the pre-tasting event and provided samples of their Trebbiano and Anglianico wines. Duchman has an affinity for Italian grapes and makes wines from Italian grape varieties grown right here in Texas.
Up and Coming Local Chefs to Prepare Exclusive BitesLocal chefs to offer bites during Tour de Vin 2015
Up and coming local chefs will prepare special hors d'oeuvres for Tour de Vin 2015. Chefs who will be preparing this year's vittles include Andrew Wisehart from Gardner and Contigo, Ek Timrerek from Kin & Comfort, Jacob Weaver from Juliet, Jodi Elliott from Bribery Bakery and Joe Anguiano from VOX Table.
Where to Buy TicketsTour de Vin will take place Thursday, September 17, 2015 at Fair Market on East 5th Street. Tickets are on sale online for $70 (members $55).
Beneficiaries of this year's event include Dell Children's Hospital, the Sustainable Food Center and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Viticulture & Fruit Lab for biological research that protects Texas grapes.
@natalien_n wants to know:
What is your favorite Texas wine?
***We always have unique content on the Austinot, and we love to give things away. You know, like CDs, event tickets and other cool stuff. We only send out our Best of the Austinot newsletter two times/month. It's where we give you a recap of our best articles and give stuff away. Interested? Subscribe to Best of the Austinot here!
The Zen TV Experiment [adam.nz]
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:49
Written by Adbusters in May 2002 and pinched from adbusters.org.How Many of You Know How to Watch Television?''How many of you know how to watch television?'' I asked my class one day. After a few bewildered and silent moments, slowly, one by one, everyone haltingly raised their hands. We soon acknowledged that we were all ''experts,'' as Harold Garfinkel would say, in the practice of ''watching television.''
The purpose of our un-TV experiment was to provoke us into seeing television as opposed to merely looking, and to stop the world as the first step to seeing. Here we engage in stopping the world by stopping the television.
For the experiment, students were asked to watch TV consciously. Insofar as this is sort of ''Zen and the art of TV watching,'' I said to them, ''I want you to watch TV with acute awareness, mindfulness and precision. This experiment is about observing television scientifically, with Beginner's Mind, rather than watching television passively with programmed mind. Ordinarily, if you are watching TV you can't also observe and experience the experience of watching TV. When we watch TV we rarely pay attention to the details of the event. In fact, we rarely pay attention.''
Count the Technical EventsIn this particular experimental odyssey, we are going to be exploring how we subject ourselves on a daily basis to the overwhelming sirens' song of TV entertainment (the great electronic cyclops) and, like Homer's Odysseus, we will need to strap ourselves to the mast''in this case, the mast of counting technical events. For 10 minutes simply count the technical events that occur while you are watching any show. This is a TET or Technical Events Test as Jerry Mander discusses it in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. What is a technical event? We've all seen TV cameras in banks and jewelry stores. A stationary video camera simply recording what's in front of it is what I will call ''pure TV.'' Anything other than pure TV is a technical event: the camera zooms up, that's a technical event; you are watching someone's profile talking and suddenly you are switched to another person responding, that's a technical event; a car is driving down the road and you also hear music playing, that's a technical event. Simply count the number of times there is a cut, zoom, superimposition, voice-over, appearance of words on the screen, fade in/out, etc.
Now proceed with these experiments:
Watch any TV show for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
Watch any news program for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
Watch television for one half hour without turning it on.
The time requirements in these experiments are extremely important. I would urge you, the reader, to undertake the experiment personally rather than merely going on to read the results.
Anger and Resistance: What's the Meaning of This?!In examining the results of this experiment, one of the first things that consistently comes up is students' anger and resentment at being made to do such a thing''an anger and resentment very different from what comes up, say, in regard to the reading load or the writing requirements of the course. This anger, I think, is quite good and useful''not per se, but insofar as students notice their anger and then inquire into and examine the sources of that anger. For, in studying society, we often unconsciously assume we are studying ''them''''but we are not. We are studying ourselves and we resist that, we dislike that. It makes us uncomfortable and it makes us angry. Socrates wasn't given a medal and a tickertape parade after all. As the Russian existentialist philosopher Shestov said, ''It is not man who pursues truth, but truth man.''
One expression of this anger that comes up repeatedly is ''I wasted 30 minutes of my time.'' Is it possible that this is a very valuable waste of time? Is it possible that ''wasting time'' is a very valuable thing to do in studying society? Pursuing this experience puts us smack in the middle of the infamous Protestant Ethic in a very direct and personal way. We are almost re-creating through verstehen Max Weber's deep intellectual perplexity and fascination with what he saw as Benjamin Franklin's codification of the Protestant Ethic: ''Remember that time is money.'' After some discussion it invariably turns out that all the students admit to having wasted a lot more than a half hour in front of the TV set. So why this anger about watching TV for 30 minutes without turning it on?
Labor in the Mode of RelaxationWhen you turn the TV on, in effect, you turn the world off. The TV is only two feet high or so, yet we are fooled into thinking we are watching life-sized things. How is it that everything on it appears real and life-like?
Technical events produce the illusion of being natural and realistic. They produce the feeling of being non-produced (a good cut is one you don't notice, as the editors say). In the same way, we are unaware that the practice of watching TV is a practice because we have never experienced it as a phenomenon in its own right. Doing the Technical Events Test forces us to notice that watching TV is a practice, an active, ongoing achievement that we accomplish ''for another first time through'' each time. We see what the texture of the experience of watching TV consists of. We are shocked into seeing what it is we've been doing all these years.
Counting the technical events brings about what Thomas Kuhn would call a ''paradigm shift.'' When you focus on the technical events you can't focus on the plot or storyline. You learn very quickly how difficult it is to divide your attention. Either you watch the program or you count the technical events. You are unable to do both at the same time. In terms of the phenomenology of perception, this is a little like the famous demonstration of either seeing-the-vase or seeing-two-profiles, but not seeing both simultaneously in any sustained manner.
In doing the TET, we notice the discrete segments of independent footage that are presented with a rapid-fire quality. As we watch, we, the ''passive'' viewers, apparently put together, synthesize and integrate the scenes: we link, we knit, we chain, we retain the past and anticipate the future. We methodically weave them all together into a coherent narrative. A high-speed filling-in-the-blanks and connecting-the-dots occurs. Our actively synthesizing mind, our labor, goes on while we sit back, relax and absorb. This high-speed integration of often wildly disconnected phenomena (angles, scenes, persons, music) is experienced in the mode of blank and passive absorption. It would seem that our minds are in high gear without our knowing. Mander addresses this pointedly:
This difference between internally generated and imposed imagery is at the heart of whether it is accurate to say that television relaxes the mind.
Relaxation implies renewal. One runs hard, then rests. While resting the muscles first experience calm and then, as new oxygen enters them, renewal.
When you are a watching, absorbing techno-guru, your mind may be in alpha, but it is certainly not ''empty mind.'' Images are pouring into it. Your mind is not quiet or calm or empty. It may be nearer to dead, or zombie-ized. It is occupied. No renewal can come from this condition. For renewal, the mind would have to be at rest, or once rested, it would have to be seeking new kinds of stimulation, new exercise. Television offers neither rest nor stimulation.
Television inhibits your ability to think, but it does not lead to freedom of mind, relaxation or renewal. It leads to a more exhausted mind. You may have time out from prior obsessive thought patterns, but that's as far as television goes. The mind is never empty, the mind is filled. What's worse, it is filled with someone else's obsessive thoughts and images.
TV and the Social Construction of RealityThe Technical Events Test dramatically reveals the functions of the political institution of television in (a) training us to shorten our attention span, (b) making ordinary life appear dull, (C) injecting a hypnotic quality into our ordinary awareness and (d) coercing us into its reality.
Television is the quintessential short-term medium. Like jugglers, television lives for the split second. Its relationship to viewers is measured in tiny fractions. Solemn hierarchies of men and women react to overnight program ratings with something approaching nervous breakdowns, because one percentage point can mean $30 million a year. The result of this manic concern is to design programming that will serve attention-getting rather than the humanistic substance that will stay with the viewer. The ratings race serves the advertisers, not the audience.
It is easier to shorten attention spans and increase distraction than to lengthen attention spans, increase concentration, and calm, quiet and still the mind. There is an old Zen analogy that the way to calm, clear and quiet the mind is similar to the way to clear a muddy pool''not by action, by doing, by stirring it up, but by stillness, by letting it be, by letting it settle itself. The function of TV is to create, maintain and constantly reinforce what''in the Zen tradition''is often called ''monkey-mind.'' The question to ask is: What is the good of a jumpy, volatile, scattered and hyper monkey-mind?
Hypnosis UnlimitedSince the emergence of long-term space flight in orbit above the earth, a new physiological phenomenon has arisen among our astronauts. They found that as a result of long-term weightlessness, some rather drastic physical changes began to occur in their bodies. They experienced a marked and dramatic reduction of muscle size. Even their hearts became markedly smaller. The astronauts also experienced a loss of co-ordination abilities '' such as the ability to focus on and follow moving objects with their eyes. All of this seems to be due to taking the human organism outside the experience of gravity. In order to preserve their earthbound physiology in conditions of weightlessness, astronauts need to do two to three hours of custom-designed exercises per day. Perhaps watching TV produces the equivalent mental condition of weightlessness for the human mind, together with the attending shrinkages and deteriorations. The normal, invisible, all-pervasive pressure of mental gravity, of our ordinary, active, inncessntly thinking mind is suspended when we turn on the television.
Coercing Us Into RealityOur culture and education conspire to condition us, to create a reliance on media to reinforce our actions, feelings and self-perceptions. When we seek media confirmation we acknowledge and assume that our personal experiences are not qualified as reality any longer. We lose the drive to pursue direct experience as well as the drive to participate in co-creating reality. We no longer do, we watch, and reality is someone else's creation. As Todd Gitlin has said, it's not until an event (institution, thought, principle, movement, etc.) crosses the media threshold that it takes on a solid reality for us. Stretched out across our world is the media membrane, over the threshold of which''and only over the threshold''lies legitimate, confirmed reality, and though we don't have to believe what the media tell us, we can't know what they don't tell us.
TV Without SoundJust as Charles Tart talks about us being caught up in a consensus trance, we can talk about a narrative trance, a narrative-consciousness. We have been programmed to become narrative subjects, subjected to the developmental narrative mode, intertwined with the storyline. In the TET we're suspending our narrative consciousness and hence de-stabilizing the narrative subject. We identify not with a character, nor with the omniscient author, but with the camera. During usual viewing, however, our eyes do not see what is actually there because our narrative-trained mind overrides our eyes. We don't see with our eyes, we see with our programming, and we are programmed to see stories. TV programs are made so that we don't notice the ''technical events,'' the details '' so that we don't pay attention. We are programmed to be unaware of the programming, the non-narrative structure and possibilities of that structure. To watch TV programs is to be lifeless and unresisting. This is the state that allows the commercials to take full effect and operate our minds for us.
The Nature of the NewsAs a usual daily routine, only the unusually tragic or triumphant is shown''not the ordinary routines and day-to-day reality of our lives. It is true that the news show has fewer technical events. There is a good reason for this. With fewer technical events the news show appears realistic relative to other shows in the TV environment. Further, it appears super-realistic relative to the commercial shows in this environment. As earlier, we witnessed the joining of technical events in a coherent narrative. Here, we witness the reduction of worldly events into a narrative.
The problem is not that TV presents us with entertaining subject matter, but that TV presents all subject matter as entertaining. This transcends TV and spills over into our post-TV life experiences. TV trains us to orient toward and tune in to the entertainment quality of any experience, event, person. We look for that which is entertaining about any phenomenon rather than qualities of depth, social significance, spiritual resonance, beauty, etc. In this sense TV doesn't imitate life, but social life now aspires to imitate TV.
Further, we become greedy. Not greedy in the traditional sense in reference to material wealth, rather, we experience a greed to be entertained. It's not just a need for entertainment, but a downright greed for entertainment, and it becomes a 24-hour obsession. In the absence of entertainment, we usually entertain ourselves with plans for future entertainment.
As one formula puts it, Media Power = Political Power Squared The TV has shown us that politicians can't be trusted but TV can. That is, according to Joshua Meyrowitz in No Sense of Place, implicit in showing us this about politicians is the message, ''We who are showing you this, the TV, can be trusted.'' We can trust TV, and the institution of TV, to reveal how politicians and the institution of politics can't be trusted.
Discoveries About SelfTV has become such a mechanical friend, such a substitute for social interaction, that one's solitude becomes acutely magnified, doubly experienced and doubly reinforced if one is deprived of its glowing, life-like presence (as if one wouldn't still be alone if it were on). If one is alone in one's room and turns on the TV, one actually doesn't feel alone anymore. It's as if companionship is experienced, as if communication is two-way. We have achieved a new level of isolation, solipsism and withdrawal. ''It's just an object when it's turned off,'' hundreds of students have bemoaned. When it is turned off it more clearly reveals itself as an object, as an appliance''rather than as a friend, a companion. It is shocking after all these years to discover this. Mander captures the phenomenology of the situation well:
Television is watched in darkened rooms '... it is a requirement of television viewing that the set be the brightest image in the environment or it cannot be seen well. To increase the effect, background sounds are dimmed out just as the light is. An effort is made to eliminate household noises. The point, of course, is to further the focus on the television set. Awareness of the outer environment gets in the way'... . Dimming out your own body is another part of the process. People choose a position for viewing that allows the maximum comfort and least motion '... thinking processes also dim. Overall, while we are watching television, our bodies are in a quieter condition over a longer period of time than in any other of life's nonsleeping experiences. This is true even for the eyes '... the eyes move less while watching television than in any other experience of daily life.
Almost every household's living room is arranged around the television set. As a weight room is arranged for weight training, our living rooms are arranged for TV training. The furniture is purposely arranged for the transcendent practice of ''watching TV,'' rather than for the immanent, human practice of communication or interaction. The interior design of the average American living room with its lines of attention, hierarchy, and transcendent TV is very similar to the interior design of the average American church with its transcendent altar, lines of homage and gestures of genuflection.
TV and the Illusion of KnowingMarshall McLuhan says TV opens out onto an electronic global village. It would seem, rather, that it gives us only the illusion of being. It reinforces security by presenting danger, ignorance by presenting news, lethargy by presenting excitement, isolation by promising participation. The media confines reality to itself. And it limits knowledge by giving the illusion of knowledge. In the same way that the most effective way to deflect, diffuse and terminate a social movement is to announce that it has been achieved (the feminist movement must contend with this on an almost daily basis), the most effective way to deflect inquiry is to present it as fulfilled. TV acts in this guise as a thinking presentation device which offers non-experience as experience and not-knowingness as knowing.
In the words of Mat Maxwell, ''Television becomes the world for people'... . The world becomes television.'' The overall and cumulative effect of the media is to heighten our insensitivity to reality. Rather than breaking the chains of ignorance, political domination and illusion in our Platonic cave, something insidiously similar yet different is going on. Instead of actually turning away from the shadows to see the realities, instead of actually leaving the darkness of the cave and going up into the sunlight, we merely watch an image of ourselves doing this, we fantasize about doing it and think it's the same.
Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''754, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, footnote 6, page 3 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 (Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999), Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, pp. 9''10 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109''469, 120 Stat. 3501, enacted December 29, 2006, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 1754^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
Clip of the Day #NoAgendaShow Episode 752 #Blago #NoAgenda #itm @adamcurry @THErealDVORAK - YouTube
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 20:42
Hillary 2016
Hillary Clinton Lesbian Lovers Secret Emails Named - The National Enquirer
Sat, 05 Sep 2015 12:23
Hillary Clinton isn't just caught in a political scandal over her missing emails from her stint as secretary of state '' she's also terrified of personal revelations about a secret lesbian lifestyle!
Now a world-exclusive investigation by The National ENQUIRER reveals that some of the presidential candidate's famously ''deleted'' emails are packed full of lesbian references and her lovers' names.
''I don't think she's so concerned about emails referring to her as secretly gay,'' said a Clinton insider. ''That's been out for years '' her real fear is that the names of some of her lovers would be made public!''
The ENQUIRER learned the list of Hillary's lesbian lovers includes a beauty in her early 30s who has often traveled with Hillary; a popular TV and movie star; the daughter of a top government official; and a stunning model who got a career boost after allegedly sleeping with Hillary. Hillary made the huge mistake of mixing public and private messages while using her personalized email server '' before risking a massive scandal by refusing to make the documents public.
''That's clearly why she went to the extraordinary step of deleting everything,'' the high-ranking source told The ENQUIRER .
Hillary is particularly concerned about intimate emails to longtime aide Huma Abedin '' who married U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner in a ceremony that many ridiculed as a political arrangement. Anthony later resigned over extramarital sexting scandals, after porn star Sydney Leathers said that she believed he was in an open marriage.
''I think a lot of the time when we were speaking, Huma was probably with Hillary,'' she charged, at the time.
One exchange between the women had Hillary mistakenly responding to political correspondence with an email that seemed to be about decorating.
Added the insider: ''That makes you wonder if any sensitive information was sent to her romantic partners!''
The scandal unraveled in March, when Hillary revealed she deleted over 30,000 emails, insisting the messages were just ''things you typically find in inboxes.''
The Refugee ''Crisis'' Being Used for Every Possible Psyop You Can Think Of | American Everyman
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 14:16
by Scott Creighton
UPDATE:Steven Harper uses current refugee ''crisis'' to promote more war in Syria and Iraq.
At various campaign stops yesterday, Harper paid lip service to the tragic death of Aylan Kudri but mainly lambasted the Liberals and NDP for not supporting his war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Harper's position is consistent with that of Obama, Cameron, Hollande and other western leaders who have tried to rebrand a neo-colonial war of aggression against sovereign states as a ''humanitarian'' intervention
A little boy drowned and his body washed up on a beach in Turkey. The MSM in the US can't fathom showing photos of a blonde woman running away after being shot 6 times because it's ''too horrible'' and disrespectful to her family, but the bundle of pictures taken of the little boy supposedly lying dead in the sand is reprinted hourly across the media spectrum.
His name was Aylan Kurdi and he has literally become the poster child for the migrant refugee ''crisis'' that is currently occupying so much space on the airwaves right now in Western civilization.
But you have to ask yourself ''why?''
The Kurdi family are Kurdish. That's the first thing you have to know about this ''tragedy'' and though they are called Syrian refugees from the ''Syrian civil war'', they really aren't. They've been living in Turkey for 3 years in an apartment they pay rent for '... and what's happening in Syria is not a 'civil war'
A Kurdi family member in Canada says that the family's application for refugee status was rejected recently by the Canadian government because they did not fit the requirements as ''refugees'' That's because they weren't. They had been living well in Turkey over the past couple years as their Kurdish brothers did their level best to destabilize part of Syria in pursuit of Greater Kurdistan.
Unlike other refugees heading for Europe, the Kurdi family had lived in Turkey for three years before deciding to repatriate to Canada, where Abdullah's sister had for several years attempted '' and failed '' to sponsor their asylum claim.
Speaking to the Canadian media, Tima Kurdi, a hairdresser who has lived in Vancouver for the past 20 years, hit out at the failure of western states to provide legalised safe passage for refugees, claiming it was solely to blame for the drownings. She said the family's application had been rejected in June, a claim contradicted by the Canadian authorities, who said the application ''was returned as it was incomplete as it did not meet regulatory requirements for proof of refugee status recognition''. Guardian
Their application did not meet the requirements of refugee status because, quite simply, they were not refugees. They were Syrian Kurds living in Turkey who wished to see a speedy regime change take place in their former country of residence.
There are real refugees fleeing Syria. That's a fact. But they aren't leaving because of the non-existent 'civil war'. They are leaving because the United States under the left-cover of Barack Obama has been waging a proxy regime change operation using various terrorist groups from outside Syria, something detailed in Special Operations ''Unconventional Warfare'' plans for anyone who wishes to look it up.
But you can't talk about that obvious fact in America right now. You have to say these displaced people are the result of an internal 'civil war' and not our ongoing criminal policies in various Middle Eastern and African nations.
Left to walk the final stretch into Austria, rain-soaked migrants '' many of them refugees from Syria's civil war '' were whisked by train and shuttle bus first to Vienna and then by train to Munich and other cities in Germany'...
British finance minister George Osborne said Europe and Britain must offer asylum to those genuinely fleeing persecution, but must also boost aid, defeat people-smuggling gangs and tackle the Syrian conflict to ease the crisis. Reuters
Notice how this 'crisis', this 'dead' child, is being used to serve various agendas. In Canada, the corpse of a kid is being used to push for changes to their immigration policies while the grieving father is ''proud'' of his drowned children being used in this fashion.
She said she hopes Citizenship and Immigration Canada stops requiring a document missing from Mohammed's application because it's impossible for people to secure the necessary paperwork amid a crisis in Syria'...
Her grieving brother is proud of his kids for becoming a symbol of the dire situation facing Syrian refugees, and hopes to see leaders step in to end human smuggling, Kurdi said. NBC ''News''
Of course, you can't say the kids died because President Peace Prize unleashed Takfari terrorists and al Qaeda mercenaries in Syria in order to force a regime change in the country even though it's pretty obvious when you look at where these refugees (the REAL ones) are coming from.
The majority of people taking on the perilous journey are from countries undergoing strife in the Middle East and Africa '-- such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sudan and Senegal.The majority of migrants are from Syria, where a civil war has been raging for more than four years. The nation, along with Iraq, is also plagued by Islamic State militants, who have taken over large swathes of the two countries. USA Today
The refugees are being shipped into Germany and Austria like so much produce. The EU is talking about ways to figure out who gets how many migrants as they flee our destabilization campaigns and Obama's humanitarian drone strikes. They represent cheap labor of course and commodities like that have to be shared in a free market world.
Perhaps the most egregious example of yellow journalism on this subject comes, as it often does, from the New York Times which, remarkably, uses the plight of these displaced people to call for MORE aggression in the region.
THE image of a dead Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach has inspired a wave of Western soul-searching, with much talk about how ''the world'' failed 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, who drowned along with his mother and brother while trying to escape their country's civil war. (they had already ''escaped'' three years ago and again, it's not a 'civil war')
This reaction is understandable, but its policy implications are unclear. And since policy questions are where outrage ultimately cashes out, it makes sense to try to think through what it really means to say that we '' America, the West, the world '-- failed the Kurdi family, and helped consign them to their fate.
One thing it might mean is that the world's powers, the United States chief among them, had a responsibility to prevent the Syrian war from developing, and a responsibility to protect its victims once it did. (responsibility to protect. Where have I heard that?)
To a point, this seems plausible. The U.S. has very consciously accepted stewardship of global stability, and in Syria the Pax Americana has developed an ugly crack. And since our various Syrian forays '-- clandestine aid to rebels, airstrikes threatened and then held back, explicit aid to rebels '-- look like failures at the moment, we're partially implicated in the continuing catastrophe. New York Times
''(S)tewardship of global stability''? The US? Are you kidding?
Iraq was stable until we Shock and Awed it for a series of lies killing a million and displacing 4 times that amount. We devastated that country for no other reason than greed. Now we are bombing it again and unleashing more Salvador option death squads to quell a popular uprising against our neoliberal free market regime.
Afghanistan was stable. Hell, the Taliban had decimated their poppy industry. Now the country is pumping more heroin than ever and it's basically the Wild West over there.
Libya was a paradise compared to what it became briefly in the wake of Obama's ''humanitarian bombing'' campaign and now that they have a real elected government, we are busy trying to decimate it all over again.
In Sudan they literally cut the country in two so we could install a brutal puppet thug dictator in South Sudan (which is actually where the refugees from that country come from)
And Syria. Of course, Syria.
The New York Times article suggests that had those airstrikes not been held back, then all might be well and good in Syria by now. It would be another Libya of course, but, according to that author, the ''failure'' of not dropping more bombs has prolonged the phony 'civil war' and therefore increased the refugee crisis.
So let's sum this up so far. We have several agendas being tacked onto this particular ''crisis''
open borders in Europeshipping ''refugees'' from conflict zones to benefit various businesses across the Westernized world (slaves?)rewriting laws in Canadatackling the Syrian 'civil war'and we can add one other'... global warmingYes, 'global warming' is rearing it's ugly head in the refugee 'crisis' discourse. I kid you not.
Complete with a staged picture of a child smearing dry couscous on his face, this article touches on John Kerry's attempt to utilize the 'dead' kid on the beach of Turkey to push his global warming agenda.
The hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving in Europe or dying on the way to its shores could be a harbinger of things to come, researchers and policymakers warn, because a potentially greater driver of displacement looms on the horizon: climate change.
As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned at a recent State Department-led conference on climate change in the Arctic, the scenes of chaos and heartbreak in Europe will be repeated globally unless the world acts to mitigate climate change.
''Wait until you see what happens when there's an absence of water, an absence of food, or one tribe fighting against another for mere survival,'' Kerry said.
''Wait until you see what happens..'' . That coming from a man who is partially responsible for the current driver of displacement. Yes, he knows his government's policies and actions are what caused the crisis in the first place. So what does it tell you when he says just wait to see what comes next? Kind of a threat, isn't it?
Yeah, they never let a good crisis go to waste, do they?
Ultimately, the importing of the refugees across Europe will serve to destabilize their economies, driving down wages and putting a strain on their budgets. That of course will create yet another financial crisis in these countries and ultimately allow the banksters to push for more loans.
This will cause friction between indigenous populations and the new migrant work force (refugees), ultimately destabilizing the leftist ''social safety nets'' of these countries. Bankrupting them in fact.
And that of course serves the globalist's ultimate goal of pressing the reset button on all those socialist policies that were implemented after the defeat of the fascist threat in WWII.
Refugees pouring into various countries will also have the effect of helping to convince the local populations that they have to get behind the idea that their governments should support ''humanitarian bombing'' campaigns in countries far, far away.
Did this child actually die? I doubt it. Remember, he was ''found'' on a beach of a private resort and his father is now ''proud'' his death and the deaths of every member of his family are being ''used'' to promote various agendas'... like 'humanitarian bombing'' campaigns in Syria. Not really something that the Kurds would be opposed to. Especially displaced ones who might wish to return to Syria once it becomes Greater Kurdistan.
The timing also couldn't be better to put a humanitarian face on Obama's Hell Fire rockets raining down on various civilians in Syria and Iraq.
All in all, it's pretty obvious what this refugee ''crisis' is all about.
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Filed under: Afghanistan, Aylan Kurdi, CIA are the Real Terrorists, class warfare, Climate Change Movement, Color Revolution Turkey, destabilization Campaign Syria, destabilization campaign Turkey, destabilizing Turkey, Fake Libyan Revolution, Fake Syrian Revolution, Fascism, General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries, Global Free Market Wars, Global Warming Scam, Globalization, Greater Kurdistan, Iraq, Kurdistan, Murder of Moammar Gadhafi, Neoliberalizing Africa, Neoliberalizing Canada, Neoliberalizing France, Neoliberalizing Libya, Neoliberalizing Syria, Refugee "crisis", Scott Creighton, Team DLC Obama' Brand, The ISIS Crisis, Turkish Color Revolution?
Germany stats
- Germany-ruling classes and big parts of German society actually want
big wave of immigrants from Syria because Germany is facing demographic
collapse and because many of those Syrians are highly educated. I can't fathom
however how these classes reconcile that these people in huge majority are M*slim, I don't get it.
AND YOU CAN MENTION IT ON NO AGENDA: Steve Jobs' biological father was 100% pure
- the number "800,000 refugees in Germany this year" is one big fat lie and
invented by German propaganda so that Germany has higher moral ground.
In reality it's around 80,000.
1) Germany's asylum policy is most generous, quote:
Germany typically places newcomers in housing earmarked for asylum seekers. They are provided free meals, clothing, health care and household support, as well as monthly spending money averaging 143 euros ($160). After three months, they receive restricted work opportunities.
End quote. No other country is so generous.
2) Farage is right that Merkel is at fault - now millions more will come because Merkel de facto invited them.
3) Poland and Hungary etc are right to want only Catholic refugees, because M*slims are simply too dangerous long-term. Also: Poland might soon have millions of Ukrainian refugees on top of 0.4 million Ukrainians migrants already living and working in Poland - if conflict in Ukraine escalates as Russia is deploying now military forces to Syria and might also escalate in East Ukraine. However acceptance of Ukrainians in Poland is extremely high as they are catholic, slavic (Ukrainian and Slovak are most similar to Polish Slavic languages) although Ukrainians were against Poland with Nazis in World War 2.
4) fact is: USA caused this refugee situation by middle east wars and mishandling of them (this shithead Obama left Iraq in chaos and didn't act in Syria; also in 2016 employers in USA will fire people massively and reduce their working hours from full time to part time due to Obamacare and Obamacare rates will raise a lot too - he is probably the worst U.S president of all times; he also promised Poland to accept Poland in Visa Waiver and here also he lied)
5) fact is: millions of refugees are coming and in fact this is biggest migration in Europe since World War 2 (1945). This is huge scale and these are foreign culture and foreign hostile violent religion - unlike Jews around World War 2 that had similar culture and not violent religion.
6) side effect: latest polls show that majority brits will vote to leave EU in referendum next year. The refugee situation - where stupid EU wants to spread refugees to unwilling countries (like UK) or to 99% catholic countries (like Poland) will cause Brits to get rid of any doubts. Now it's manifest destiny: UK is leaving EU no matter waht. BTW: 15 & 16 October I am in Docklands, London.
Swedish minister raps Finland over refugees | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 03:46
Margot Wallstr¶mImage: Andrew Gombert / EPASpeaking with reporters before an informal meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstr¶m was unusually blunt in referring to neighbouring Finland and its current debate over accepting refugees.
''You should remember your own history,'' said Wallstr¶m. She pointed to the WWII era, when Finland fought two wars with the Soviet Union between 1939 to 1944, while Sweden remained neutral and largely unscathed.
''We then took in more than 70,000 war children from Finland for safety,'' she noted.
Wallstr¶m also pointed out that during the war years many people left Sweden as well, mainly heading to Canada and the United States in hope of better jobs.
Soini tight-lippedThe nationalist Finns Party, which joined the government for the first time three months ago, has fought hard to limit the number of refugees to be taken in by Finland. The country has one of western Europe's smallest foreign-background populations '' some 5.5 percent of the population compared with about 15 percent in Sweden.
Arriving at the Luxembourg meeting, Finns chair and Foreign Minister Timo Soini declined to comment to Yle about his views on proposed refugee quotas, which are to be discussed on Saturday.
He did comment that it is ''intolerable that the EU does not follow its own rules, the Dublin Convention,'' which specifies that the first member state through which an asylum seeker first enters the EU is responsible for processing his or her claim.
Asked what should be done now in regard to the refugee crisis, he replied simply:
''Follow the rules.''
PM Sipil¤ pledges Oulu home to refugees | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 03:46
Prime Minister Juha Sipil¤, who says Finns should open their homes to asylum-seekers.Image: YlePrime Minister Juha Sipil¤ has promised to accommodate asylum-seekers coming to Finland in his little-used home in Kempele, near Oulu, saying he wants to encourage all Finns to help with the refugee crisis.
Sipil¤ travels to Oulu today Saturday to discuss the lack of crisis accommodations there and to finalise the handing over of his Kempele home to house refugees. The Prime Minister has also appealed to churches and volunteer organisations to help with the growing need for accommodations.
Sipil¤ cites a "lack of solidarity" as a Europe-wide problem in sharing the responsibility of aiding asylum-seekers fleeing from crisis zones.
"I hope this becomes some kind of people's movement that will inspire many to shoulder part of the burden in this refugee housing crisis," Sipil¤ says. "What we need now is a show of compassion."
News 5.9.Finland's current government is considering several different options in its search to implement large-scale savings. The overarching goal is to improve Finland's global competitiveness without causing an increase to employer costs. The nation's leading daily, Helsingin Sanomat, reports on Saturday that the coalition is seriously mulling the prospect of shortening the holiday entitlements of state workers, among other options.
News 5.9.Prime Minister Juha Sipil¤'s offer to volunteer his family home in northwest Finland to temporarily house asylum seekers has gained considerable attention in international media outlets. His pledge, made Saturday morning on Finnish television, was front page news in Sweden and Norway.
News 5.9.Evangelical Lutheran Archbishop Kari M¤kinen said on Saturday's Yle morning show that turning away asylum-seekers based on religion or nationality is "irresponsible". M¤kinen said that Finland should take on more refugees than the minimum mandated share, using church camping facilities as housing.
News 5.9.Prime Minister Juha Sipil¤ says he is prepared to open his little-used house to asylum-seekers in need of accommodation. In Oulu, as elsewhere, housing for refugees is spread thin.
At a Berlin church, Muslim refugees converting in droves | The Times of Israel
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 13:58
BERLIN (AP) '-- Mohammed Ali Zonoobi bends his head as the priest pours holy water over his black hair. ''Will you break away from Satan and his evil deeds?'' pastor Gottfried Martens asks the Iranian refugee. ''Will you break away from Islam?''
''Yes,'' Zonoobi fervently replies. Spreading his hands in blessing, Martens then baptizes the man ''in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.''
Mohammed is now Martin '-- no longer Muslim, but Christian.
Zonoobi, a carpenter from the Iranian city of Shiraz, arrived in Germany with his wife and two children five months ago. He is one of hundreds of mostly Iranian and Afghan asylum seekers who have converted to Christianity at the evangelical Trinity Church in a leafy Berlin neighborhood.
Like Zonoobi, most say true belief prompted their embrace of Christianity. But there's no overlooking the fact that the decision will also greatly boost their chances of winning asylum by allowing them to claim they would face persecution if sent home.
Martens recognizes that some convert in order to improve their chances of staying in Germany '-- but for the pastor motivation is unimportant. Many, he said, are so taken by the Christian message that it changes their lives. And he estimates that only about 10 percent of converts do not return to church after christening.
''I know there are '-- again and again '-- people coming here because they have some kind of hope regarding their asylum,'' Martens said. ''I am inviting them to join us because I know that whoever comes here will not be left unchanged.''
Being Christian alone does not help an applicant, and Chancellor Angela Merkel went out of her way this week to reiterate that Islam ''belongs in Germany.'' But in Afghanistan and Iran, for example, conversion to Christianity by a Muslim could be punished by death or imprisonment, and it is therefore unlikely that Germany would deport converted Iranian and Afghan refugees back home.
An Iranian asylum-seeker sings Christian songs in the Trinity Church in Berlin, Germany, Aug. 13, 2015. (AP/Gero Breloer)
None will openly admit to converting in order to help their asylum chances. To do so could result in rejection of their asylum bid and deportation as Christian converts. Several candidates for baptism at Martens' church would not give their names out of fear of repercussions for their families back home.
Most said their decision was based on belief, but one young Iranian woman said she was convinced most people had joined the church only to improve their chances for asylum.
Congregation member Vesam Heydari initially applied for asylum in Norway and converted there in 2009. But his case was rejected because the Norwegian authorities did not believe he would be persecuted as a Christian in Iran, so he moved to Germany to seek refugee status here '-- and is awaiting a decision. He criticized many of the other Iranian church members, saying they were making it much harder for ''real, persecuted Christians'' like himself to get approved for asylum.
''The majority of Iranians here are not converting out of belief,'' Heydari said. ''They only want to stay in Germany.''
Meanwhile, as other churches across Germany struggle with dwindling numbers of believers, Martens has seen his congregation swell from 150 just two years to more than 600 parishioners now '-- with a seemingly unending flow of new refugees finding the way to his congregation. Some come from cities as far away as Rostock on the Baltic Sea, having found out by word-of-mouth that Martens not only baptizes Muslims after a three-month ''crash course'' in Christianity, but also helps them with asylum pleas.
Other Christian communities across Germany, among them Lutheran churches in Hannover and the Rhineland, have also reported growing numbers of Iranians converting to Christendom. There are no exact numbers on how many Muslims have converted in Germany in recent years '-- and they are a tiny minority compared to the country's overall 4 million Muslims. But at least for Berlin, Martens describes the number of conversions as nothing short of a ''miracle.'' And he says he has at least another 80 people '-- mostly refugees from Iran and a few Afghans '-- waiting to be baptized.
Germany is witnessing an unprecedented surge of asylum-seekers this year, with the number of migrants expected to reach 800,000 this year, a fourfold increase on last year.
Pastor Gottfried Martens prays with people from Iran during a baptism service in the Trinity Church in Berlin, Aug. 30, 2015. (AP/Markus Schreiber)
Many of the new arrivals come from Muslim countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan. While refugees from civil-war-torn Syria will almost definitely be receiving asylum status, the situation is more complicated for asylum seekers from Iran or Afghanistan, which are seen as more stable. In recent years, roughly 40-50 percent from those two countries have been allowed to stay in the country, with many of those getting only temporary permission to remain.
Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees said it does not comment on the reasons individual applicants give when they apply for asylum, or on how many people receive refugee status in Germany based on religious persecution.
Zonoobi, who dressed all in white for his baptism on Sunday, said he had attended secret religious services in Iran ever since friends introduced him to the Bible at age 18. He decided to flee to Germany after several Christian friends were arrested for practicing their religion.
For Zonoobi and his wife Afsaneh '-- who since her baptism goes by the name of Katarina '-- the christening marks a new beginning.
''Now we are free and can be ourselves,'' she said. ''Most important, I am so happy that our children will have a good future here and can get a good education in Germany.''
Putin: Assad Would "Accept" Snap Elections To Avoid "Total Chaos"
Fri, 04 Sep 2015 15:44
Overnight, we brought you the latest on the ''friggin mess'' (to quote the Pentagon) that is Syria, where Bashar al-Assad is desperately clinging to power while his depleted army fights a three-front war against a dizzying array of ''freedom fighters'', jihadists, former CIA strategic assets, current CIA strategic assets, the Kurds, and god only knows who else.
The Assad regime is (literally) surrounded by hostile states who are angling for his ouster and if you had any lingering doubts about why it is that everyone wants Syria's strongman gone, look no further than this map:
Note the purple line which traces the proposed Qatar-Turkey natural gas pipeline and note that all of the countries highlighted in red are part of a new coalition hastily put together after Turkey finally (in exchange for NATO's acquiescence on Erdogan's politically-motivated war with the PKK) agreed to allow the US to fly combat missions against ISIS targets from Incirlik. Now note which country along the purple line is not highlighted in red. That's because Bashar al-Assad didn't support the pipeline and now we're seeing what happens when you're a Mid-East strongman and you decide not to support something the US and Saudi Arabia want to get done.
Of course if that pipeline gets built, it means Gazprom's leverage over Europe is over and that's bad news for Vladimir Putin and for Vladimir Putin's personal money vault which is why Russia has so far stood behind Assad and also explains why now, the Russian military is operating in Syria alongside regime forces.
But make no mistake, the Kremlin isn't naive enough to miss the writing on the wall. Restoring the Assad of yesteryear likely isn't an option here unless the Russians intend to take this all the way and engage in open combat with the US and its regional allies. Instead, it looks like Russia will do the following: send in the military using the very same excuse that everyone else has used (i.e. fighting ISIS, which at this point has been reduced to the scapegoat everyone uses whenever they want to do something that's otherwise absurd) while hoping against hope that some manner of political compromise can be found that keeps Assad in power. On that latter point, we go to Bloomberg:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to early parliamentary elections and to share some power with his opponents, a concession that may facilitate a broader international coalition against Islamic State, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
Russia would consider participating in the coalition and the Russian president has already discussed the issue with U.S. President Barack Obama, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, Putin told reporters in Vladivostok on Friday. Russia has been pushing for a wider campaign against Islamic State that would include Assad, something the U.S. and Europe have opposed.
''There is a general understanding that joint efforts in the fight against terrorism should go hand by hand with the political process in Syria,'' Putin said. Assad ''agrees to this,'' and has also agreed to early parliamentary elections and to include ''healthy opposition'' in the government, said Putin, a key ally of the Syrian president. Four Syrian lawmakers couldn't be immediately reached for comment.
Putin's comments came after reports this week that Russia is ramping up its involvement in Syria. Russian troops are fighting with Assad's forces and images of what appeared to be Russian planes and drones in the skies over Syria have been published, the U.K.'s The Telegraph newspaper reported on Sept. 2. Russia's Defence Ministry has denied any direct military intervention.
Putin's comments indicate he's not ready to accept U.S. and European demands for Assad's departure at this stage, said Irina Zvyagelskaya, a senior fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow. Even so, Russia isn't committed to preserving his rule indefinitely, she said.
''It's a signal that we won't stick to Assad at all costs, but we consider the most important thing is to preserve Syria as a state,'' Zvyagelskaya said. ''Otherwise you risk total chaos.''
Now obviously, the idea that somehow Syria is going to be able to organize and carry out any kind of elections amid the violence is beyond ridiculous or, as Sami Nader, head of the Beirut-based Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs politely puts it, "how can you organize a fair election in a country that's shattered by war, with no security, fair electoral law or freedoms?''
Well, you can't, which is why there will be no political solution here and Putin will eventually (and it now looks like "eventually" means "sooner rather than later") have to decide whether to draw a line in the sand (perhaps literally) and tell anyone and everyone including ISIS, al-Nusra, the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar that Assad is staying in power and that's that.
In the end, the more likely scenario is, as we've always predicted, that the Assad regime falls and (very) shortly thereafter, US marines storm in to "liberate" Damascus at which point a puppet government will be installed - a puppet government which will coincidentally see the utility in allowing the Qatar-Turkey pipeline to be run through Syria.
Trying to follow what is going on in Syria and why? This comic will get you there in 5 minutes.
Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:57
That warning has become a global alert. Since the uprising against Assad in March 2011, over 240,000 people have been killed, 4 million Syrians have fled their country, and over 7 million have been displaced.
The headlines are full of the heartbreaking stories of these refugees '-- including young children '-- who have died trying to reach safety in other countries. The story of these refugees is deeply tied to the effects of climate change.
"We are experiencing a surprising uptick in global insecurity ... partially due to our inability to manage climate stress." That's how Columbia University professor Marc Levy (who also does studies for the U.S. government) summed it up.
What's happening in Syria and across Europe is part of a larger story that affects us all.
Turkey says Dutch journalist detained 'for her own safety'
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 15:20
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NYT Claims U.S. Abides by Cluster Bomb Treaty: The Exact Opposite of Reality
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 07:22
The New York Times today has a truly bizarre article regarding the U.S. and cluster bombs. The advocacy group Cluster Munition Coalition just issued its annual report finding that cluster bombs had been used in five countries this year: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and Sudan. This is what The Paper of Record, in its report by Rick Gladstone, said this morning about the international reaction to that report (emphasis added):
The use of these weapons was criticized by all 117 countries that have joined the treaty, which took effect five years ago. Their use was also criticized by a number of others, including the United States, that have not yet joined the treaty but have abided by its provisions.
As Americans, we should feel proud that our government, though refusing to sign the cluster ban treaty, has nonetheless ''abided by its provisions'' '-- if not for the fact that this claim is totally false. The U.S. has long been and remains one of the world's most aggressive suppliers of cluster munitions, and has used those banned weapons itself in devastating ways.
In December 2009 '-- just weeks after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize '-- President Obama ordered a cruise missile strike on al-Majala in southern Yemen. That strike ''killed 35 women and children.'' Among the munitions used in that strike were cluster bombs, including ones designed to scatter 166 ''bomblets.''
Although the U.S. at first refused to confirm responsibility, a Yemeni journalist, Abdulelah Haider Shaye, visited the scene and found irrefutable proof that it was done by the U.S., a finding subsequently confirmed by Amnesty International as well as a cable released by WikiLeaks. As a result of Shaye's reporting of U.S. responsibility, President Obama demanded that the Yemeni journalist be imprisoned and the Yemeni puppet regime complied; Amnesty's Philip Luther said at the time that ''there are strong indications that the charges against [Shaye] are trumped up and that he has been jailed solely for daring to speak out about U.S. collaboration in a cluster munitions attack which took place in Yemen.'' So not only did Obama use cluster bombs against Yemeni civilians, but he then forced the imprisonment for years of the Yemeni journalist who reported it.
Five years later, Yemen is again being pummeled by cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch extensively documented last week that the ''Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces appear to have used cluster munition rockets in at least seven attacks in Yemen's northwestern Hajja governorate, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.'' You'll never guess where those cluster bombs came from: ''Based on examination of remnants, Human Rights Watch identified the weapons used in all seven attacks as United States-made, ground-launched M26 cluster munition rockets.''
As Iona Craig reported for The Intercept this week from Yemen, ''The American government has also supplied intelligence, in-flight refueling of fighter jets, and weapons [for the ''Saudi-led'' attack], including, according to rights organizations, banned U.S. cluster munitions.'' Indeed, citing the Human Rights Watch findings, the New York Times itself reported in May that ''the Saudi-led military coalition fighting a rebel group in Yemen has in the past few weeks used cluster munitions supplied by the United States.'' The same article noted:
Both Saudi and American military forces have deployed cluster munitions in Yemen before the most recent conflict, according to human rights groups. In 2009, Saudi warplanes dropped cluster bombs during attacks on the Houthis in Saada, their home province.
The same year, United States naval forces fired one or more cruise missiles containing cluster munitions at a suspected Qaeda training camp in southern Yemen.
Reporting from Yemen for Rolling Stone in May, Matthieu Aikins described the ample evidence that U.S.-supplied cluster bombs are being used indiscriminately against civilians. Last month, Mother Jones' Bryan Schatz wrote an excellent summary of all the ways the U.S. has been central to the horrific Saudi slaughter of Yemeni civilians, including the supplying of cluster munitions.
The U.S. has long been supplying cluster bombs to the Saudis. In August 2013, Foreign Policy noted a Defense Department press release proudly announcing that ''the U.S. military [is] selling $640 million worth of American-made cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, despite the near-universal revulsion at such weapons.'' As the headline of a superb May 2014 Vice article succinctly put it: ''U.S. Cluster Bombs Keep Killing Civilians in Yemen''; the on-the-scene reporters, Ben Anderson and Peter Salisbury, provided extensive video and first-hand witness evidence to prove the truth of that statement.The U.S. use and supply of cluster bombs is long and ugly. In 2006, Israel used American-made cluster munitions to kill hundreds of civilians in Lebanon; Hezbollah reportedly fired them into Northern Israel. The NYT's Gladstone himself, in a 2014 article, actually noted the massive Israeli usage, though omitted that the weapons came from the U.S.'s re-supplying of the Israeli stockpile (emphasis added):
Israel's military was widely criticized at home and abroad for its heavy cluster-bomb use in Lebanon, dropping around 1,800 of them, containing more than 1.2 million bomblets, particularly in the final days of the 34-day conflict with Hezbollah. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted a commander of the Israel Defense Forces as saying, ''What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs.''
In that article, designed to warn of the increasing usage of cluster bombs in Syria, Gladstone cryptically noted that ''only three other countries have suffered cluster bomb casualties that exceed Syria's: Laos at 4,837, Vietnam at 2,080, and Iraq at 2,989.'' Gladstone coyly doesn't say, but guess who dropped most of those?
In 2011, The Daily Beast's Lionel Beehner was shocked by Hillary Clinton's audacity in condemning Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi for using cluster bombs. He noted that the U.S. is ''one of the world's largest manufacturers of cluster bombs''; is ''one of the few states, along with Libya, not to sign the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions''; that ''American manufacturers love cluster bombs''; and that just ''last year, the U.S. Air Force reportedly spent billions of dollars to purchase a batch of 4,600 cluster bombs from Textron, a New England-based arms manufacturer that also supplies munitions to Turkey, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.''
In 2009 and 2010, the Obama administration promulgated guidelines ostensibly to make their usage safer, including banning their sale starting in 2018 unless they have a dud rate of less than 1 percent (unexploded bombs pose massive risk to civilians, particularly children). But as Schatz detailed in a separate article in June, ''Activists have reported finding more duds than allowed under the one-percent failure rate rule.'' Ample evidence demonstrates these failures. Moreover, as Schatz reports:
The recent HRW reports also call [Textron's] CBU-105's performance into question. ''What we're seeing in Yemen is that they're having trouble meeting this one percent criteria,'' says [HRW's Steve] Goose. ''We have a photo with one of the canisters sitting on the ground with four skeets just sitting there. They never deployed.''
All of this makes the New York Times' cluster bomb exoneration of the U.S. today nothing short of inexcusable. Under the treaty which The Paper of Record today claimed the U.S. honors, ''States Parties may not stockpile cluster munitions, and must also destroy their existing stocks within eight years of joining.'' The very first article of the Treaty states (emphasis added):
Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: (a) Use cluster munitions; (b) Develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, cluster munitions; (c) Assist, encourage or induce anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.
The U.S. does not occasionally violate one of those provisions. It continually violates all of them, systematically and as a matter of policy doing exactly that which the treaty expressly bans. For the NYT to tell its readers that the U.S. '-- one of the leading cluster bomb states on the planet '-- is actually one of the countries that ''have not yet joined the treaty but have abided by its provisions'' is nationalistic propaganda of the most extreme kind.
The Angry Arab News Service Human Rights Watch identified the weapons used in all seven attacks as United States-made, ground-launched M26 cluster munition rockets
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 07:21
"The U.S. has long been and remains one of the world's most aggressive suppliers of cluster munitions, and has used those banned weapons itself in devastating ways. In December 2009 '-- just weeks after he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize '-- President Obama ordered a cruise missile strike on al-Majala in southern Yemen. That strike ''killed 35 women and children.'' Among the munitions used in that strike were cluster bombs, including ones designed to scatter 166 ''bomblets.'' "Five years later, Yemen is again being pummeled by cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch extensively documented last week that the ''Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces appear to have used cluster munition rockets in at least seven attacks in Yemen's northwestern Hajja governorate, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.'' You'll never guess where those cluster bombs came from: ''Based on examination of remnants, Human Rights Watch identified the weapons used in all seven attacks as United States-made, ground-launched M26 cluster munition rockets.'' " (thanks Amir)
Trump says Iran deal forces U.S. to defend Iran if it's attacked by Israel | PolitiFact Virginia
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 04:18
Trump made his Iran claim on the John Fredericks Show. (AP photo)
Donald Trump says the Iran nuclear deal would force the United States to defend Iran if it were attacked by Israel.
He denounced the deal as "horrendous" during a Sept. 3 radio interview on "The John Fredericks Show," a Hampton Roads-based broadcast that's aired through much of Virginia.
Trump added: "If Israel attacks Iran, I think -- of course this wouldn't happen, it wouldn't happen with me, with Obama you never know -- but we're supposed to be on Iran's side if this happens. OK? And nobody knows this and even talks about that point but, basically, we're supposed to protect them."
The Republican front-runner for the White House made similar comments a day earlier during a CNN interview.
"You know, there is something in the Iran deal that people I don't think really understand or know about," he said. "And nobody is able it to explain it, that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense."
Trump's comments come on the heels of events that all but guarantee the U.S. will participate with other nations in a deal in which Iran will curb its short-term nuclear ambitions in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., announced her support for the accord on Sept. 2, making her the 34th senator to do so. That means opponents will be unable to muster the two-thirds vote necessary to override President Barack Obama's pledged veto of a congressional vote to defeat the deal.
We asked Trump's campaign for backup on the candidate's statements and didn't hear back. But the claim is familiar to PolitiFact; it also has been made by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and debated in Israel. Let's zero in.
The Iran deal
At the heart of the claim is Article 10, Annex III, of the accord which states:
"E3/EU+3 parties, and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices."
That includes the following:
' "Co-operation in the form of training courses and workshops to strengthen Iran's ability to prevent, protect and respond to nuclear security threats to nuclear facilities and systems as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems;
' "Co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran's ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems."
This article has been criticized in the Israeli media.
"One of the clauses in the nuclear deal reached between world powers and Iran last week guarantees that the world powers will assist Iran in thwarting attempts to undermine its nuclear program," Israel Hayom, a newsletter, said July 20.
But experts told PolitiFact Florida in late July that such interpretations are, at best, exaggerated. The aim of the provision, they said, is to protect nuclear materials from theft (say, if terrorists tried to steal Iranian assets) or from sabotage (with the intent of causing a hazardous-materials threat to health).
For years, in both Republican and Democratic administrations, the United States has pushed countries around the world to improve security for their nuclear material and facilities, said Matthew Bunn, a professor at Harvard and an expert on nuclear theft and terrorism. This agreement furthers that goal, he said.
"It has nothing to do with helping Iran protect its nuclear facilities from a military attack" of the kind that Israel or Egypt might carry out, Bunn said. "It's about protecting against thieves and terrorists who might want to steal nuclear material or sabotage a nuclear facility."
Bunn added that by its plain language, the provision does not obligate any of the signatories, including the United States, to do anything in particular. Rather, it says the signatories are "prepared" to cooperate with Iran on these topics, with lots of wiggle room for all sides.
"My guess is that very little cooperation in these areas will take place," Bunn said. Russia and China might be willing to do some training, but nothing would force the United States to do so.
If the United States did participate, there's even some historical precedent for intelligence gains from this sort of activity, Bunn said. He said American cooperation with Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union dramatically reduced the risk that nuclear material would be stolen and gave the U.S. insights into the Russian nuclear complex.
Meanwhile, the agreement allows -- but doesn't mandate -- training for Iran in protecting against threats such as cyber-sabotage. Some see this as ironic because of reports that Obama secretly ordered the Stuxnet computer virus to be launched against Iran to derail its nuclear program. But it's hard to believe that the U.S. would share its secrets in this realm, and the agreement doesn't force them to do so.
"Do you seriously think that any training we might offer Iran would help them ward off another Stuxnet?" Bunn said. "This is really silly. There are good arguments on both sides about this agreement, but this isn't one of them."
Richard Brennan, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corp. and a career Army officer, agreed that the deal doesn't prevent the U.S. from attacking Iran using cyber or other means or require the U.S. to develop measures to counter a future cyber attack.
"The intent (of the provision) is to make certain that Iran is capable to protect nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands and help it prevent sabotage," he said.
The administration has been clear about how it interprets this provision. Rubio quizzed Secretary of State John Kerry on this portion of the deal during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing July 23. The exchange occurred one day after Rubio told Fox News that the accord would force the U.S. to defend Iran if Israel or "any other country tries to undermine" Iran's nuclear facilities.
Here is an excerpt:
Rubio: "If Israel conducts an airstrike against a physical facility, does this deal, the way I read it, does it require us to help Iran protect and respond to that threat?"
Kerry: "No."
Rubio: "If Israel conducts a cyber attack against the Iranian nuclear program, are we obligated to help them defend themselves against the Israeli cyberattack?"
Kerry: "No, I assure you, that we will be coordinating very, very closely with Israel as we do on every aspect of Israel's security."
Our ruling
Trump said that under the Iran deal: "If Israel attacks Iran '... we are supposed to be on Iran's side."
The claim rests on an interpretation of a provision that the U.S. and other partners are prepared, "as appropriate," to cooperate with training to strengthen Iran's ability to protect against and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage.
But the White House has made it clear that its interpretation of the provision is that it is targeted at terrorists and saboteurs, not Israel or other U.S. allies. If you're still in doubt, consider that nothing in the provision compels the U.S. to offer any assistance to Iran in the event of a threat to its nuclear program.
So we rate Trump's statement False.
Big Pharma
In new study, 100 percent of participants taking HIV prevention pill Truvada remained infection-free - The Washington Post
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 07:28
As far as emotions go, AIDS researchers tend to be a staid bunch who look skeptically at every new finding. But the results of a study released this week on an HIV prevention drug have many cheering.
The study conducted at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco involved more than 600 high-risk individuals, most of whom were men who have sex with men. These individuals were healthy at the time of enrollment and were put on a daily regimen of a blue pill called Truvada as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
Lead author Jonathan Volk, a physician and epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center, described the study as "the first to extend the understanding of the use of PrEP in a real-world setting and suggests that the treatment may prevent new HIV infections even in a high-risk setting."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 92 percent when taken consistently but is much less effective when taken inconsistently. In one key study, called PROUD that included men who have sex with men in Britain, the risk was reduced by 86 percent.
In this study, 100 percent of the participants remained HIV-free. That's right, not a single person in the study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, became infected while on the drug during the study period that included 2.5 years of observation.
"Tremendously good news," University of California-San Francisco researchers Kimberly A. Koester and Robert M. Grant (one of Time's most influential people of 2012 for his work in AIDS) said of the results in a commentary accompanying the publication of the study.
Not long after the Food and Drug Administration first approved the drug for preventive HIV use in 2012, the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation derided it as a "party drug" and warned that high-risk individuals would use it instead of condoms -- raising the risk of transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases. #Truvadawhore went viral. But as more studies have come out showing how well it appears to protect against HIV, many of those critics appear to be turning around.
Koester and Grant emphasized that despite the promising findings in the Kaiser study many questions still remain, a number of them practical in nature.
"What proportion of the population vulnerable to HIV will take a pill a day to prevent it? How will costs of the medication and clinic visits be paid for?" they asked. "Assuming people are willing to use PrEP and can access PrEP, will they take the medication as directed? Will uptake and use be higher or lower among those at higher risk? Will people place themselves at higher risk or HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as a consequence of using PrEP?"
The pair said it wasn't clear from the study if the reported rate of sexually transmitted infections in the study is an increase or not and that further investigation is needed. They recommended that Truvada be combined with a parallel plan to prevent other STIs which may include the use of condoms, more frequent testing and discussions with prospective partners.
There are several dozen other ongoing clinical trials worldwide using Truvada in different populations. In South Africa, for instance, National Institutes of Health-funded researchers are looking at its use in heterosexual adolescent men and women ages 15 to 19 and in Australia the government is looking at people in relationships with HIV-negative partners. The issues they are hoping to find out more about include the factors that can influence an individual's compliance with taking the pills regularly, how effective the pill can be when it's not taken regularly but before and after sex, and how to integrate education about Truvada into regular clinic services.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that another study on Truvada found that the drug prevented infection in about 86 percent of participants. The study, called PROUD, lowered their risk by 86 percent.
This post has been updated.
Read more:
In awesome feat of engineering, paralyzed man takes steps with robotic exoskeleton (Story + video)
Picture of mother dual breastfeeding her son, friend's son goes viral. Why some feminists believe 'cross-nursing' should be the future.
Scientists: Why running makes you so happy
It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment '-- even the death of a partner
Ariana Eunjung Cha is a national reporter. She has previously served as the Post's bureau chief in Shanghai and San Francisco, and as a correspondent in Baghdad.
Fluoride Statement
Fri, 04 Sep 2015 18:33
Understanding and appreciating the historical reasons for advocating fluoridation, the undersigned professionals now recognize valid concerns about its safety and about its impact on the environment. This Statement serves as a vehicle for expressing these concerns. However, itis not a position statement on fluoridation, nor doesit commit the undersigned to any point of view other than what is stated clearlyin this document. A brief summary of recent events, reports, and research underlying our concerns, as well as a list of references, are supplementary to thisdocument. (Link to footnotes in this article.)
I. Environmental Concerns
Silicofluorides: unrefined industrial waste
91% of Americans ingesting artificially fluoridated water are consuming silicofluorides1. This is a class of fluoridation chemicals that includes hydrofluosilicic acid and its salt form, sodium fluorosilicate. These chemicals are collected from the pollution scrubbers of the phosphate fertilizerindustry. The scrubber liquors contain contaminants such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, and radioactive particles2, are legally regulated as toxic waste, and are prohibited from direct dispersal into the environment. Upon being sold (unrefined) to municipalities as fluoridating agents, these same substances are then considered a "product", allowing them to be dispensed through fluoridated municipal water systems to the very same ecosystems to which they could not be released directly. Sodium fluoride, used in the remaining municipalities, is also an industrial waste product that contains hazardous contaminants.
Scarcity of environmental impact studies
Thisis of deep concern to us. Studies that do exist indicate damage to salmon and to plant ecosystems.3aIt is significant that Canada's water quality guideline to protect freshwater life is 0.12 ppm (parts per million).3b
99.97% of fluoridated water is released directly into the environment at around 1ppm
This wateris NOT used for drinking or cooking.4
II. Health ConcernsAbsence of safety studies on silicofluorides
When asked by the U.S. House Committee on Science for chronic toxicity test data on sodium fluorosilicate and hydrofluorosilicic acid, Charles Fox of the EPA answered on June 23, 1999, "EPA was not able to identify chronic toxicity data on these chemicals".5Further, EPA's National Risk Management Research Laboratory stated, on April 25, 2002, that the chemistry of silicofluorides is "not well understood" and studies are needed.
EPA health goals ignored
The EPA defines the Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for toxic elements in drinking water thus: "the level below which there are no known or anticipated effects to health." The MCLG for arsenic, lead, and radioactive particles, all contaminants of the scrubber liquors used for fluoridation, is 0.0 ppb (zero parts per billion). Therefore, any addition of fluorine-bearing substances to drinking water that include these contaminants is contrary to the intent of EPA's established health goals.
Increased blood lead levels in children
Two recent studies with a combined sampling of over 400,000 children found significantly increased levels of lead in children's blood when silicofluorides from the phosphate fertilizer industry were used as the fluoridating agent.6This shows that thereis a significant differencein health effects even between different fluoridation compounds.
Ingestion of fluoride linked to many health effects
Contrary to assertions that the health effects of fluoride ingestion already have been scientifically proven to be safe and that there is no credible scientific concern, over the last fifteen years the ingestion of fluoride has been linked in scientific peer-reviewed literature to neurotoxicity7, bone pathology8, reproductive effects9, interference with the pineal gland10, gene mutations11, thyroid pathology12, and the increasing incidence and severity of dental fluorosis13. This has caused professionals who once championed the uses of fluoride in preventing tooth decay, to reverse their position and call for a halt in further exposures.14It is of significance that 14 Nobel Prize winning scientists, including the 2000 Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Arvid Carlsson, have expressed reservations on, or outright opposition to, fluoridation.15
FDA has never approved systemic use of fluoride
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2000 stated to the U.S. House Committee on Science they have never provided any specific approval for safety or effectiveness for any fluoride substance intended to be ingested for the purpose of reducing tooth decay.16
Total fluoride exposure of growing concern
Total fluoride exposure from all sources, including food, water, and air, is of growing concern within the scientific community.17As evidenced in the U.S. Public Health Service ATSDR 1993 report which was referenced in correspondence between the U.S. House Committee on Science and Charles Fox of the U.S. EPA, large subsets of the population, including the elderly, children, and pregnant women, may be unusually susceptible to the toxic effects of fluoride.18
Centers for Disease Control concession
The CDC now concedes that the systemic value of ingesting fluoride is minimal, as fluoride's oral health benefits are predominantly topical19, and that there has been a generalized increase in dental fluorosis20.
III. In Consideration ofthe concerns raised above, we urge fluoridated cities, states with mandatory fluoridation, health care professionals, and public health authorities, to review ALL current information available, and use this information to re-evaluate current practices.
IV. Congressional Investigation is AppropriateThis Statement of Concern (same substance, slightly different content and form), along with a significant list of signatures, was unveiled at the May 6, 2003 EPA Science Forum session on fluoridation in support of the National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 280 (EPA union of professionals) renewed call for a Congressionalinvestigation. No authorities from government agencies or non-governmental organizations responded to widespread EPAinvitations over a six-week period, to attend this session to explain/defend the practice of fluoridation. In view of this fact, and also that some serious questions of propriety have been posed but not addressed, about the formulation of the EPA's drinking water standards for fluoride21, as well as the downgrading of cancer bioassay data by the EPA in 199022,it now seems especially valid to ask Congress to hold hearings that will compel promoters to answer many unanswered questions.
It is appropriate that the U.S. Congress undertake an in-depthinvestigation of this public policy thatis endorsed by major U.S. government agencies, but has never been adequately reviewed in its long history. Considering that thereis an absence of research on silicofluorides, and that the latest scientific research on toxicity of fluorides has never been included in any government policy-making, and considering the many unanswered questions and concerns, we join the USEPA Union of professional employees in calling for a full-scale Congressional investigation into the public policy of fluoridation.
Please complete form and fax or mail back; contact information at bottom of page.
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60,000 antelopes died in 4 days - and no one knows why | Fox News
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 04:28
By Tia Ghose
Published September 04, 2015In May 2015, nearly half of all the saigas, a critically endangered antelope that roams the steppe of Kazakhstan, died off. Exactly why is still a mystery. (Credit: Albert Salemgareyev)
It started in late May.
When geoecologist Steffen Zuther and his colleagues arrived in central Kazakhstan to monitor the calving of one herd of saigas, a critically endangered, steppe-dwelling antelope, veterinarians in the area had already reported dead animals on the ground.
"But since there happened to be die-offs of limited extent during the last years, at first we were not really alarmed," Zuther, the international coordinator of the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative, told Live Science.
But within four days, the entire herd '-- 60,000 saiga '-- had died. As veterinarians and conservationists tried to stem the die-off, they also got word of similar population crashes in other herds across Kazakhstan. By early June, the mass dying was over. [See Images of the Saiga Mass Die-Off]
Now, the researchers have found clues as to how more than half of the country's herd, counted at 257,000 as of 2014, died so rapidly. Bacteria clearly played a role in the saigas' demise. But exactly how these normally harmless microbes could take such a toll is still a mystery, Zuther said.
"The extent of this die-off, and the speed it had, by spreading throughout the whole calving herd and killing all the animals, this has not been observed for any other species," Zuther said. "It's really unheard of."
Crucial steppe players
Saigas play a critical role in the ecosystem of the arid grassland steppe, where the cold winters prevent fallen plant material from decomposing; the grazing of the dog-size, Gonzo-nosed antelopes helps to break down that organic matter, recycling nutrients in the ecosystem and preventing wildfires fueled by too much leaf litter on the ground. The animals also provide tasty meals for the predators of the steppe, Zuther said. [Images: Ancient Beasts of the Arctic]
"Where you find saiga, we recognize also that the other species are much more abundant," Zuther told Live Science.
Saigas, which are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, live in a few herds in Kazakhstan, one small herd in Russia and a herd in Mongolia. The herds congregate with other herds during the cold winters, as well as when they migrate to other parts of Kazakhstan, during the fall and spring. The herds split up to calve their young during the late spring and early summer. The die-off started during the calving period.
Die-offs of saigas, including one that felled 12,000 of the stately creatures last year, have occurred frequently in recent years. But the large expanse of the country affected by last year's die-off meant veterinarians couldn't get to the animals until long after their deaths. The delay hindered any determination of a cause of death, and researchers eventually speculated that an abundance of greenery caused digestion problems, which led to bacterial overgrowth in the animals' guts.
Detailed analysis
This time, field workers were already on the ground, so they were able to take detailed samples of the saigas' environment '-- the rocks the animals walked on and the soil they crossed '-- as well as the water the animals drank and the vegetation they ate in the months and weeks leading up to the die-off. The scientists also took samples of the ticks and other insects that feed on saiga, hoping to find some triggering cause.
The researchers additionally conducted high-quality necropsies of the animals, and even observed the behavior of some of the animals as they died. The females, which cluster together to calve their young, were hit the hardest. They died first, followed by their calves, which were still too young to eat any vegetation. That sequence suggested that whatever was killing off the animals was being transmitted through the mothers' milk, Zuther said.
Tissue samples revealed that toxins, produced by Pasteurella and possibly Clostridia bacteria, caused extensive bleeding in most of the animals' organs. But Pasteurella is found normally in the bodies of ruminants like the saigas, and it usually doesn't cause harm unless the animals have weakened immune systems.
Genetic analysis so far has only deepened the mystery, as the bacteria found were the garden-variety, disease-causing type.
"There is nothing so special about it. The question is why it developed so rapidly and spread to all the animals," Zuther said.
Mystery endures
A similar mass die-off of 400,000 saigas occurred in 1988, and veterinarians reported similar symptoms. But because that die-off occurred during Soviet times, researchers simply listed Pasteurellosis, the disease caused by Pasteurella, as the cause and performed no other investigation, Zuther added.
So far, the only possible environmental cause was that there was a cold, hard winter followed by a wet spring, with lots of lush vegetation and standing water on the ground that could enable bacteria to spread more easily, Zuther said. That by itself doesn't seem so unusual, though, he said.
Another possibility is that such flash crashes are inevitable responses to some natural variations in the environment, he said. Zuther said he and his colleagues plan to continue their search for a cause of the die-off.
Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
NA-Tech News
How Podcasts Have Changed in Ten Years: By the Numbers '-- Medium
Sat, 05 Sep 2015 20:25
WE'VE ALL HEARD that a podcasting boom is underway. Since January 2013, the number of podcasts listed on iTunes US has doubled (see Activity below). Part of the allure for content producers is that podcasting is a wild frontier in the new media landscape, waiting to be shaped and settled. Some have questioned if podcasting is the new blogging, referring to a similar boom during the early and mid-2000's, but that remains to be seen.
I've noticed since starting a podcast of my own that research on the field is scant. Most of the research I've read has focused on listener behavior, which is fine for marketers, but other questions about the medium have gone unanswered. I decided to address a few.
What iTunes categories have the most podcasts?How many podcasts are launched per month?How many podcasts are active?How long is a typical podcast episode? How often is a typical podcast updated?How many podcasts have explicit content?How many podcasts are not in English?How many ratings or reviews does a typical podcast receive?I was also curious if these varied by category, e.g. ''Are episodes in some categories longer than others?'' or ''Which categories have more explicit content?'' Here was my approach.
MethodologyPodcasting is a young and decentralized medium. Thus far, Apple has been its most influential actor, having celebrated ten years of podcasts on its iTunes service in June 2015. During that span, Apple established many of the frontier's early boundaries, like branding the medium with its generic trademark: iPod and ''casting.
''ITunes 12 logo'' by Apple Inc. Licensed under Public Domain via CommonsDespite its dominance, iTunes does not house all of the world's podcasts. Some podcasters avoid iTunes or do not configure their shows for it. Apple also separates its iTunes Store by country, so many international podcasts are absent from the US Store. Still, iTunes US was the best place to begin a sketch of the medium because its podcast directory was the largest at the time.
Because Apple has not published a dataset on iTunes, I had to construct my own. I started by copying the names of all podcasts on the iTunes US directory as of June 2015. I divided them by iTunes' categories and counted the names in each category. From there, I randomly selected a sample of 100 each from the twenty-five categories with the most names, which I combined for a total sample of 2,500.
I gathered details on all 2,500 podcasts in the sample by searching for them in iTunes 12. I scanned the profiles of each for values of interest between June 2005 and June 2015: activity status; start date (and end date, if applicable); months active; items per month; Explicit status; English or non-English descriptors; median episode times; and number of ratings. Many of these were calculated using spreadsheet formulas.
Here's what I came up with. The data are available for categories, for cumulative podcasts, activity, and launches, and for language, explicitness, and minutes per episode. Charts were assembled in Excel and Photoshop.
ResultsCATEGORIES: What iTunes categories have the most podcasts?The top three categories by quantity: Christianity, Music, and Comedy.
In June 2015, the directory for iTunes US listed over 271,000 podcasts. There was a catch: roughly a quarter of these were listed under multiple categories. For example, the most abused category was Podcasting, where about 11,500 of the 15,000 listings did not list Podcasting as the primary category'Š'--'Šthey were duplicated from other categories.
After adjusting for duplicates, I calculated that the true number of podcasts on iTunes US as of June 2015 was around 206,000. I also measured the twenty categories on iTunes US with the most podcasts.
The categories with the fewest podcasts were: Aviation (150); Hinduism (260); and Regional, a subcategory of Governments & Organizations (320).
ACTIVITY: How many podcasts are active?About 40 percent. Over 60,000 per month were active as of 2015.
Most podcasts are short-lived. Many go dormant after their hosts complete goals or lose interest. Others are part of larger collections, like audiobooks based on classical texts, and are left alone once they are listed.
Between June 2005 and June 2015, a typical podcast ran for six months and twelve episodes, at two episodes per month, before going inactive.
For this research, active podcasts were measured as those with at least one new item between January and June of 2015. I estimated the number of podcasts fitting this criterion on iTunes US at about 40 percent of the total, or roughly 84,000 of the 206,000 podcasts. The chart below shows that, as of June 2015, about 60,000 podcasts were active per month.
The categories with the most podcasts active in 2015 by total:
Christianity: 23,200 active podcastsMusic: 13,100 active podcastsComedy: 7,300 active podcastsTV & Film: 6,400 active podcastsNews & Politics: 6,300 active podcastsThe categories with the most podcasts active in 2015 by percentage:
News & Politics: 61% of podcasts in the category were activeChristianity: 59% activeProfessional (Sports & Recreation): 53% activePhilosophy: 52% activeComedy: 51% activeThe least active categories by percentage were Podcasting (23% active), K-12 (25% active), Literature, and Visual Arts (tied at 29% active).
LAUNCHES: How many podcasts are launched per month?In 2015, podcasters added about 5,000 new podcasts to iTunes US per month.
The chart below shows a surge in new podcasts beginning in late 2013. Due to erratic results, I found a trendline to be informative. (The upward trendline does not guarantee that the launch rate will continue to increase.)
One indicator of a podcasting boom was that nearly a third (30%) of all podcasts listed on iTunes US were launched between June 2014 and June 2015. The categories with the most launches during that 12-month period:
News & Politics: 3,700Professional (Sports & Recreation): 3,100Christianity: 3,000Self-Help: 2,800(tie) Management & Marketing, Philosophy: 2,600TIME & RELEASE RATE: How long is a typical podcast episode? How often is a typical podcast updated?As of 2015, a typical podcast published two 40-minutes episodes per month.
The median number of minutes in a typical podcast episode has increased, from 25 minutes in June 2007 to 40 minutes in June 2015. See below.
The categories with the longest median times per episode:
Video Games: 52 minutesPhilosophy: 51 minutes(tie) Music, Spirituality: 50 minutesProfessional (Sports and Recreation): 48 minutesThe categories with the shortest median times per episode were K-12 (10 minutes), Podcasting, and Business News (tied at 15 minutes).
A preliminary analysis suggested that the median release rate increased from less than two episodes per month in 2007 to the semi-monthly rate, and it may still be increasing.
EXPLICITNESS: How many podcasts have explicit content?As of 2015, about four in 25 podcasts were tagged Explicit at least half of the time.
When listing their podcasts on iTunes, podcasters can tag their episodes as either Clean or Explicit. Assuming the podcasts in the sample were tagged correctly, the percentage with over half of their episodes tagged Explicit almost doubled, from 8.4 percent in June 2007 to 16.6 percent in June 2015.
The most explicit categories by percentage:
Comedy: 56% explicitVideo Games: 39% explicitHobbies: 28% explicitPhilosophy: 26% explicitPerforming Arts: 25% explicitFive out of the 25 categories had no explicit podcasts in their samples: Business News, Christianity, K-12, Kids & Family, and Self-Help. That's not to say explicit podcasts don't exist in these categories, but they appear to represent less than one percent of the podcasts in each.
LANGUAGE: How many podcasts are not in English?As of 2015, roughly one in five podcasts on iTunes US were not in English.
The United States is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. So are the podcasts on iTunes US, at least linguistically. Non-English podcasts gained about ten percent on English podcasts between 2007 and 2015; by June 2015, non-English podcasts comprised 22 percent of the sample.
The categories with the most non-English podcasts by percentage:
(tie) History, Philosophy: 36% non-EnglishNews & Politics: 33% non-English(tie) Places & Travel, Podcasting: 32% non-EnglishThe categories with the fewest non-English podcasts by percentage were Performing Arts (9% non-English), Comedy, and Self-Help (tied at 11% non-English).
USER RATINGS: How many ratings does a typical podcast receive?Most receive none. Among those that do, seven was par for the course.
On iTunes US, users can sign in with their Apple accounts and leave ratings for podcasts. They also have the option to leave written reviews.
The median for ratings was a goose egg, as only 24 percent of podcasts in the sample had at least one rating. Among those, the median was seven.
Alda: A Manifesto and Gentle Introduction :: Dave Yarwood
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 15:19
date:September 5, 2015
Alda's ambition is to be a powerful and flexible music programming language that can be used to create music in a variety of genres by typing some code into a text editor and running a program that compiles the code and turns it into sound. I've put a lot of thought into making the syntax as intuitive and beginner-friendly as possible. In fact, one of the goals of Alda is to be simple for someone with little-to-no programming experience to pick up and start using. Alda's tagline, a music programming language for musicians, conveys its goal of being useful to non-programmers.
But while its syntax aims to be as simple as possible, Alda will also be extensive in scope, offering composers a canvas with creative possibilities as close to unlimited as it can muster. I'm about to ramble a little about the inspiring creative potential that audio programming languages can bring to the table; it is my hope that Alda will embody much of this potential.
At the time of writing, Alda can be used to create MIDI scores, using any instrument available in the General MIDI sound set. In the near future, Alda's scope will be expanded to include sounds synthesized from basic waveforms, samples loaded from sound files, and perhaps other forms of synthesis. I'm envisioning a world where programmers and non-programmers alike can create all sorts of music, from classical to chiptune to experimental soundscapes, using only a text editor and the Alda executable.
In this blog post, I will walk you through the steps of setting up Alda and writing some basic scores.
But first, a little history.
I can trace the origins of Alda back to 2004. At the time, I was studying Music Composition at UNC and exploring ways to make electronic music. I mucked around in FruityLoops a bit without much success. Eventually, I stumbled upon an entire world of music programming. My gateway drug was MML, which was (and perhaps still is) the most legit way for chiptune musicians to make NES music. After reading through Nullsleep's excellent MML tutorial and learning how to make some rudimentary NES music, I started to become more involved in making music with human beings and took a hiatus from MML. But the seed had been planted for a lifelong obsession with the idea of programming music.
MML ended up becoming a major influence on Alda. I really enjoyed the workflow of creating NES music by writing code in a text editor. But what I wanted was a more general-purpose music programming language. I wanted to take MML's approach to generating NES music and extend it to other realms of digital music creation: additive/subtractive synthesis, electroacoustic music, and even classical music.
I was a classically trained musician long before I was a competent programmer. My music education led to a particular interest in composing music in a variety of styles. Growing up around computers, I discovered an ever-expanding class of GUI applications designed to help musicians compose music. I wrote guitar tablature with Guitar Pro, and for traditional music notation I have tried, at various times in my life, Cakewalk, Noteworthy Composer, Finale, Sibelius, and MuseScore, among others.
When I was studying music composition, I got a lot of mileage out of Sibelius, in particular. I used Sibelius extensively to transcribe pieces of music as I composed them. It allowed me to have a digital record of my compositions, and it was essential (practically a requirement) as a way to print out individual instrument parts to distribute to the musicians who performed my pieces.
Music notation applications like Sibelius are clearly a very important tool for people who are serious about composing music. However, as a programmer and as a composer, I feel that there are a couple of fundamental problems with GUI music notation software:
It's distracting. When pre-digital age composers used to write music, they would sit at a piano and write it out by hand on staff paper. All of the notation techniques, the layout of their scores, everything, came directly from their minds and through their pens. When you notate music using a GUI application, you have menus upon menus in front of you from which to select whatever elements of music notation you wish to use in your score. This is distracting in two ways:
It's not always easy to find what you're looking for. By the time you find it, you may have lost your train of thought.
Having all of these music elements in front of you is visually distracting. When I used Sibelius, I would sometimes end up distracting myself for long stretches of time as I perused all of the different music notation elements it was possible to place, or browsed through all the project templates available.
In contrast to working with these complex GUI applications, I have found that programming pieces of music in a text editor is a pleasantly distraction-free experience.
It's limiting. I think for a composer to have an ideal environment in which to compose, he needs to get back to the basics. He needs a blank canvas and a way to notate music. And because this is the 21st century, his scores need a way to be interpreted by a computer and turned into audio. It would also be nice if his scores could be easily converted to and from the standard notation format that human musicians are trained to read.
The GUI programs available today do an excellent job of handling these 21st century requirements, but they do so by taking a shortcut '' they skip the ''blank canvas'' part. Of course, when you create a new score in Sibelius (for example), you do have what looks like some empty lines of staff paper, but in fact, this blank staff paper carries a very different connotation than does a physical page of manuscript paper. You can't just grab a pencil and start writing whatever your heart desires. There are a number of hidden restraints that the GUI application forces upon you.
This is an inherent shortcoming of any GUI music notation editor; in order to be able to represent your musical score visually in a sane and comprehensible way, it has to impose some restrictions. Audio programming languages must also impose restrictions (in the same sense that any piece of software does), but because they are not tied to visually representing your score and maintaining a user-friendly GUI interface, they are able to get away with imposing substantially less restrictions on the composer. As a composer myself, I find this fascinating and inspiring.
Note: As Alda is currently still under development, you will need to follow the process below in order to run it. Hopefully the process is pretty intuitive, but please feel free to e-mail me if you run into any issues. In the future, the process will be much simpler, e.g. downloading and running a standalone executable program.
To get started with Alda, you will need two things:
The Clojure build tool Boot. If you are running Mac OS X and you have Homebrew installed, you can install Boot by running brew install boot-clj. Otherwise, see here for more details about installing Boot.
The alda executable file, which you can install by copying and pasting the following command into your terminal:
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/alda-lang/alda/master/bin/alda -o /usr/local/bin/alda && chmod +x /usr/local/bin/aldaYou should now be able to use a handful of built-in commands that start with alda. You can parse and/or play Alda code from a file or a string of Alda code provided as a command-line argument. Or, you can build a score incrementally by using the Alda REPL (Read-Evaluate-Play Loop).
We will use the Alda REPL at first, to experiment a little with Alda syntax. To start the REPL, type:
Note: Alda uses a soundfont called FluidR3 to make MIDI sound a lot nicer. This is a one-time 125 MB download that will kick off the first time you run the above command. This may take a few minutes or longer, depending on your network connection. To pass the time while you wait, you may want to watch somemusicvideos on YouTube or something.
If you're feeling impatient and you'd like to skip this step and use the Java Virtual Machine's built-in MIDI synthesizer (which sounds terrible) instead, you can type alda repl --stock.
Once FluidR3 has downloaded and the REPL is ready, you should see something like this:
You can type snippets of Alda code into the REPL, press Enter, and hear the results instantly.
As I mentioned, MML ended up being a primary influence on Alda, along with LilyPond. The great thing about both MML and LilyPond is the simplicity of their syntax. I would describe the syntax of both languages as being similar to Markdown; essentially, what you see is what you get.
NotesLet's start with a simple example. Let's translate this measure of sheet music into Alda code:
Here we have four quarter notes: C, D, E and F. The Alda version of this is:
Try typing this into the REPL and pressing Enter'... nothing happens. Why? Well, we haven't told Alda what instrument we want to play these notes. Let's go with a piano:
Now you should hear a piano playing those four notes. You will also notice that the prompt has changed from > to p>. p is short for piano, and it signifies that the piano is the only currently active instrument. Until you change instruments, any notes that you enter into the REPL will continue to be played by the piano.
OctavesLet's add some more notes.
You should hear the piano continuing upwards in the C major scale. An interesting thing to note here is the >. This is Alda syntax for ''go up to the next octave.'' An octave, in scientific pitch notation, starts on a C and goes up to a B. Once you go above that B, the notes start over from C and you are in a new octave. In Alda, each instrument starts in octave 4, and remains in that octave until you tell it to change octaves. You can do that in one of two ways: you can use to go down or up by one octave; or, you can jump to a specific octave using o followed by a number. For example:
o0 c > c > c > c > c > c > c > c > c > cAccidentalsSharps and flats can be added to a note by appending + or -.
You can even have double flats/sharps:
As a matter of fact, a note in Alda can have any combination of flats/sharps. It usually isn't useful to use more than 2 sharps or flats (tops), but there's nothing stopping you from doing things like this:
The above is a really obtuse and unnecessary way to represent an E (a.k.a. a C-sharp-sharp-sharp-sharp-flat-sharp-flat-sharp-flat-sharp) in Alda.
Note lengthsBy default, notes in Alda are quarter notes. You can set the length of a note by adding a number after it. The number represents the note type, e.g. 4 for a quarter note, 8 for an eighth, 16 for a sixteenth, etc. When you specify a note length, this becomes the ''new default'' for all subsequent notes.
o4 c4 c8 c c16 c c c c32 c c c c c c c | c1You may have noticed the pipe | character before the last note in the example above. This represents a bar line separating two measures of music. Bar lines are optional in Alda; they are ignored by the compiler, and serve no purpose apart from making your score more readable.
RestsRests in Alda work just like notes; they're kind of like notes that you can't hear. A rest is represented as the letter r.
Dotted notesYou can use dotted notes, too. Simply add one or more .s onto the end of a note length.
trombone: o2 c4.. d16 e-8 r c rTiesYou can add note durations together using a tie, which in Alda is represented as a tilde ~.
ChordsWhen you play multiple notes at the same time on a single instrument, that's a chord! In Alda, a chord is multiple notes separated by slashes /.
Notice that, just like with a sequence of consecutive notes, specifying a note length on one note of a chord will make that the default note length for all subsequent notes.
A convenient feature of Alda is that the notes in a chord do not need to be the same length. This can be convenient when writing pieces of music that feature melodies weaving in and out of chords:
o4 c1/e/g/>c4 < />eAlso note that it is possible to change octaves mid-chord using . This makes it convenient to describe chords from the bottom up or top down.
VoicesAnother way to represent notes played at the same time in Alda is with voices. The same example we just wrote with chords could also be written like this using a combination of chords and voices:
V1: o5 c4 < >To exit the Alda REPL, type bye and press Enter.
So far, we have been feeding Alda some code, line by line, and hearing the result each time. This is a good way to test the waters and see how small pieces of code sound before you commit to them. When you're ready to set some music down in stone, it's time to write a score.
In Alda, a score is just a text file. You can use any text editor you'd like to create this text file. By convention, the file's name should end in .alda. Create a blank text file in whatever directory you're currently in in your terminal, and name it test.alda.
Type the following into test.alda:
bassoon: o2 d8 e (quant 30) f+ g (quant 99) a2Then, run alda play --file test.alda. You should hear a nimble bassoon melody.
AttributesYou may have noticed that I snuck in a new syntax here. I was going to get to that, I promise! (quant XX) (where XX is a number from 0-99) essentially changes the length of a note, without changing its duration. The number argument represents the percentage of the note's full length that is heard. Notice, when you play back the bassoon melody above, how the F# and G notes (quantized at 30%) are short and staccato, whereas the final A note (quantized at 99%) is long and legato.
quant (short for quantization) is one example of an attribute that you can set within an Alda score. volume is another example; it lets you set the volume of the notes to come. Like most attributes, volume (which can be abbreviated as vol) is also expressed as a number between 0 and 100. You can set multiple attributes at once by separating them with commas.
Try editing test.alda to look like this:
bassoon: o2 d8 e (quant 30, vol 65) f+ g (quant 99) a2Run alda play --file test.alda again to hear the difference in volume between the first two and last three notes.
As an aside: you may have noticed there is a little bit of a wait every time you run an alda command. This is an unfortunate side effect of Alda being a Clojure project; Clojure has a notoriously slow start-up time. You might prefer to use the Alda REPL to experiment '' once the REPL is started up, you will hear the results of each line of code instantly.
It's also worth noting that in the near future, Alda will be available as an ahead-of-time-compiled, standalone executable, which should speed things up a bit.
Multiple instrumentsFinally, we come to the meat of writing a score: writing for multiple instruments.
An Alda score can contain any number of instrument parts, which are all played simultaneously when the score is performed. Try this out in your test.alda file:
trumpet: o4 c8 d e f g a b > c4.trombone: o3 e8 f g a b > c d e4.The key thing to notice here is that we have written out individual parts for two instruments, a trumpet and a trombone '' one after the other '' and when you play the score, you will hear both instruments playing at the same time, in harmony.
You can also write out the parts a little at a time, like this:
trumpet: o4 c8 d e f g trombone: o3 e8 f g a b trumpet: a b > c4.trombone: > c d e4.Notice that this example sounds exactly the same as the last example. This demonstrates another important thing about writing scores in Alda: when you switch to another instrument part, the instrument part you were working on still exists, in sort of a ''paused'' state, ready to pick it back up where you left off once you switch back to that instrument.
Global attributesRecall that you can change things like an instrument's volume by setting attributes.tempo is another thing you can change by setting an attribute. Let's try it:
trumpet: (tempo 200) o4 c8 d e f g a b > c4.trombone: o3 e8 f g a b > c d e4.Wait a minute'... did you hear that? The trumpet took off at 200 bpm like we told it to, but the trombone remained steady at the default tempo, 120 bpm! This is actually not a bug, but a feature. In Alda, tempo (along with every other attribute) is set on a per-instrument basis, making it entirely possible for two instruments to be playing at two totally different tempos.
Global attributes are written just like regular attributes, but with an exclamation point on the end. Try this on for size:
trumpet: (tempo! 200) o4 c8 d e f g a b > c4.trombone: o3 e8 f g a b > c d e4.tempo! sets the tempo for all instruments, at the specific time in the score where you place it. Try playing around with this bit of Alda code, moving the (tempo! 200) to different places in the score. Try out some different tempos other than 200 bpm.
MarkersWe've already gone over a lot, but I'd like to show you how to do just one more thing in Alda '' it's an important one because it helps you keep your instruments synchronized in perfect time.
The concept behind markers is assigning a name to a moment in time. A name can contain letters, numbers, apostrophes, dashes, pluses, and parentheses, and the first two characters must be letters. The following are all examples of valid marker names:
chorusvoiceInlast-noteverse(2)bass+drumsUsing markers is a two-step process. Place a marker by sticking a % before the name, and then jump to it by sticking a @ before the name. To demonstrate, let's go back to our trumpet and trombone example. Let's have a tuba come in right on the last note. We can do that by placing a marker in either the trumpet or trombone part, right before the last note, and then jump to that marker in the tuba part that we'll create:
trumpet: o4 c8 d e f g a b > %last-note c4.~2trombone: o3 e8 f g a b > c d e4.~2tuba: @last-note o2 c4.~2So, that's Alda in a nutshell. Please don't hesitate to e-mail me if you have any questions about how to do something in Alda. Or, better yet, if you're a Clojure programmer and you like open-source software, consider contributing! Pull requests are warmly accepted.
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Low-flying helicopter researching Bay Area radiation - SFGate
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 12:44
Kevin Schultz|on September 2, 2015
A large, two-engine helicopter has been buzzing over the Bay Area this week at speeds up to 80 mph and at elevations as low as 300 feet.
The flyovers are part of a research project to measure and record naturally occurring background radiation levels throughout the area '-- and use those levels as a baseline to identify any new sources of radiation as a matter of public safety.
The work is being done by researchers at the Department of Homeland Security and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who have equipped the copter with gamma radiation-sensing technology. The helicopter is flying across a gridded route spanning San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and Pacifica.
''It's important for our national safety to have better technology to detect even weak sources of radiation on the ground,'' said Kai Vetter, a UC Berkeley professor of nuclear engineering who is participating in the research.
The chopper flew over San Francisco on Tuesday and Berkeley on Wednesday.
Residents and UC students in Berkeley took to their phones to complain or question City Hall about the copter's presence and to find out why it was flying so close to the ground.
''I heard the deep rumble over the loud music playing in my car as I saw it come up from behind in my rear view going down Shattuck Avenue,'' said Berkeley resident Gavin Wolfe, who eventually took to Twitter to share news of the helicopter.
Berkeley city officials said they received calls, even though they sent out a release to notify residents in advance.
''Obviously, you start wondering what's going on when you see a helicopter flying so low around the city,'' said Jennifer Coats, Berkeley police spokeswoman.
San Francisco city officials also knew in advance that the flyovers were going to take place.
''I knew about this before,'' said Albie Esparza, San Francisco police spokesman. ''So I proactively sent information to the Department of Emergency Management.
''They only fly over for about two hours. That's a very minimal amount of time.''
Still, Kristin Hogan, a spokeswoman for San Francisco's Department of Emergency Management, said a handful of residents called to report or ask about the helicopter during Tuesday's flyovers.
''Most were just general inquiries,'' she said. ''Being in San Francisco, most of the public is used to helicopters. We really didn't get any calls from people who were too worried.''
The chopper is scheduled to fly over the Presidio and Pacifica on Thursday and over Twin Peaks and Noe Valley on Friday.
The helicopter made similar sweeps over the Bay Area in 2012 and has collected flyover data in other cities such as Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.
Read Full Article Vetter said there are two main reasons for this week's flyovers.
''One is to evaluate and demonstrate this new technology,'' he said.
The Bay Area's diverse geological features '-- such as the mix of cityscapes, mountains and shorelines '-- helps to fine-tune the radiation-tracking technology, he said.
''The second,'' Vetter said, ''is to map the background radiations.''
He said that levels may have changed since 2012 and that this week's flyovers provide an opportunity to find out. In fact, he said, changes in levels have been detected, but all of those differences involve natural sources of radiation.
The technology could identify amounts of radiation from other sources '-- for example, from a nuclear power plant meltdown. A former version of this technology recorded some of the first readings in Japan from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
This initiative, the Aerial Radiological Survey, has been going on for three years. The Bay Area's flyovers should finish by Friday.
The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment.
Kevin Schultz is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: KSchultz@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @KevinEdSchultz
The 2015 MTV Video Music Awards : Dance, Puppets, Dance - The Vigilant Citizen
Sat, 05 Sep 2015 20:49
The 2015 VMAs were a typical awards show : Music industry puppets doing what they are told to do by their masters. The host of the show, Miley Cyrus, is the ultimate product of the industry: a hyper-sexualized Kitten slave with no control over her behavior, image or her thoughts.
If you are a regular reader of Vigilant Citizen, you know that I've been writing about award shows for years. I always feel compelled to analyze them because they so openly reveal the powers that controls popular culture and their true intent. Six years ago, I wrote an important article on the 2009 VMAs that was one of the most blatant displays of the occult elite ever seen. Do you remember who the stars were of the 2009 VMAs? Kanye West and Taylor Swift. Do you know who the stars were of the 2015 VMAs? Kanye West and Taylor Swift. Six years later, the puppet show still uses the same puppets to ''entertain'' us. The VMAs are indeed not for the claustrophobic. Year after year, the show unites the same faces in a closed space to act out whatever ritual the elite wants the masses to witness this particular year. The 2015 VMAs were no different, and, in some ways, took things to a disgusting new low.
The 2015 VMAs were about mind control slaves, alter personas, hypersexualization, degradation, strange political propaganda, and, most importantly, gigantic fake butts. It is about everything the industry has turned into: a bunch of broken people being manipulated to break the masses as a whole. Hosting this entire mess is the figurehead of Beta Kitten programming, Miley Cyrus, who, throughout the show, aimed to prove that she is an empty shell, an artificial alter persona that has been reduced to talking only about either sex or drugs. And, when she is not talking, her act is about degradation mixed with a hefty dose of Illuminati symbolism.
Opening SequenceThe opening sequence of the VMAs was a near-psychadelic animated montage that clearly exhibited what these award shows are truly about: No, it is not about the music. The VMAs are about the rituals we are made to witness '' all pre-programmed by the higher ups of the music industry.
The opening sequence of the VMAs featured some of the symbolic and ritualistic events that happened throughout the years, including the initiatory kiss between industry slave Britney Spears and the grand priestess of the music industry Madonna. The movement of ''fluids'' from one skull to another aptly portray the occult transfer of energy during that ceremony.
Continuing in the Beta Kitten tradition, Miley Cyrus is seen literally riding a kitten with a pair of cherries over her head. To emphasize her dissociative MK slave status, he head pops off and a bunch of crap (that makes up her alter persona) comes out of her body.
That opening sequence sets the table for what was to come: A Illuminati MK slave extravaganza.
Miley Cyrus: Beta Kitten SlaveAs stated above, the VMAs were mostly about Miley Cyrus and her Beta Kitten slave status. It is as if her handlers wanted to show to the world to what degrading lows they can force her to go.
At the start of the show, Miley says this:
''I am totally stoked to have my entire family here tonight.''
The camera then cuts to her father Billy Ray Cyrus who has to sit there and watch his daughter do a bunch of really degrading stuff. Here older brother and younger sister were there too.
Only a few years ago, in 2011, Billy Ray was speaking out against Miley's handlers and even added that his family was ''under attack by Satan'' (read my full article about it here). Billy Ray stated:
''I've done some stupid crap '' I do stupid crap. We all do. But it's different when you sit back and you see it happening to your little girl,'' he explained. ''I feel like I got to try. It's my daughter''
''And,'' Billy Ray added, ''some of these handlers are perhaps more interested in handling Miley's money than her safety and her career,'' something that leaves him ''scared for her.''
Billy Ray went on to discuss how fame ultimately cut short the lives of Jackson, Cobain and Anna-Nicole Smith, which has made him all the more eager to help his daughter navigate through life in the spotlight.
When he looks back on Miley's rapid rise to fame through ''Hannah Montana,'' on which they both starred, he said he sees how ''the business was driving a wedge between us.''
''It destroyed my family. I'll tell you right now '' the damn show destroyed my family,'' Billy Ray declared, before admitting he wishes they never agreed to do the Disney Channel show.
''I'd take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just be everybody okay, safe and sound and happy and normal, would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah,'' he said. ''I'd erase it all in a second if I could.''
And for those who believe Billy Ray's concern is really about whether his daughter will continue to be a cash cow, he offered to set the record straight.
''I've never made a dime off of Miley,'' he insisted. ''You got a lot of people have made percentages off of her. I'm proud to say to this day I've never made one commissioned dollar, or dime, off of my daughter.''
Billy Ray didn't place all the blame on those currently in Miley's life. There are also evil forces at work, he claimed.
''Somewhere along this journey, both mine and Miley's faith has been shaken,'' he said. ''That saddens me the most.''
His family, Billy Ray argued, is now being ruined by Satan.
''No doubt,'' he insisted. ''There's no doubt about it
'' NY Daily News, Billy Ray Cyrus in GQ: My family is under attack by Satan, I'm 'scared for' daughter Miley
A few years later, Billy Ray went from accusing the ''evil forces'' of the industry of manipulating Miley and even fearing they she might end up like other industry slaves (namely Michael Jackson and Anna Nicole Smith), to sitting at the VMAs and cheering for his MK slave daughter. I guess he got subdued.
Knowing that Miley's entire family was in the audience made watching the VMAs even more difficult.
Shortly after seeing her father in the audience, Miley comes out dressed like this. What father wouldn't want to see that.
Like everything else in the VMAs, this cringe-inducing scenario was not random. The sick, twisted industry was openly showing what it is doing to Billy Ray's child and, on a larger level, all of the nation's children. By putting onstage Miley Cyrus, the wholesome Disney girl who grew up before our eyes, and turning her into Beta slave '' while her father is watching '' is the industry telling us : ''This is what we are doing to the youth, and there is nothing you can do about it''.
Before the VMAs even started, Miley posted a pic on Instagram about hosting the VMAs. She's totally naked and strategically hiding one eye. A great way of telling us that she'll be the ultimate Beta Kitten slave for the VMAs.
Speaking of Instagram, a humorous skit during the VMAs was about two men in suits dictating to Miley what she should post on her Instagram account. Considering the fact that Miley keeps posting Illuminati mind control pictures on her account (see my Symbolic Pics of the Month articles), I wouldn't doubt that there are actual men in suits telling her what to post to her millions of followers.
During the skit, one of the men shows Miley one of her selfies '' she has one eye strategically hidden. Her persona is 100% about being an industry slave.
Throughout the show, Miley constantly emphasizes the fact that she is completely uninhibited and that there is no limit to what she can do, which is the prime characteristic of a Beta Kitten slave. For no particular reason, she says:
''You know me, I'll do anything. It doesn't get much crazier than me.''
Instead of actually hosting an awards show, the VMAs was more about portraying the Beta Kitten status of Miley.
In another skit, Miley gets asked what's the nastiest thing she's done.
Miley tells a long story that is nearly entirely censored where she appears to be describing disturbingly weird sex with a bunch of people. In the end, she apparently ends up licking the floor. In other words, Beta Kitten stuff.
Later we see Miley nearly naked while wearing glasses that remind us how MK slaves are completely blinded to what is happening to them. She is holding a pastry laced with drugs given to her by some guy. In other words, she has zero control on her mind, body and soul.
Later during the show, we see Cyrus naked behind a curtain. She is given a mic because she needs to present something The camera then cuts away because her boob is out. We then hear Miley says ''My tit is out? Sorry.''
Why was Miley naked at this specific point and time? Why was she given a mic? Why was she even on camera? Why can't she have a little dignity for a couple of minutes? Because she is the Beta Kitten of the night.
The Nicki Minaj BeefThen, of course, there was the odd scrap with Nicki Minaj that caused some pointless discussions the next day. First, at the risk of shocking you, yes, this was clearly scripted. It was about one Beta Kitten (Nicki) going at another one (Miley). Let's relive this great moment in American history.
First Nicki gets an award for her video ''Anaconda'', which is basically a Beta Kitten theme song. When she gets on stage, the screen behind her displays Nicki riding a kitten.
If you re-listen to her little acceptance speech, you'll notice something weird. She starts off speaking very gangsta-like, saying stuff like:
''Where my girls getting money at?''.
Then, as if a switch was turned on, she takes on California Valley Girl accent and says with a little voice:
''Thanks you guys, this is sooo epic. This might sound sooo random but do you know who I'd like to thank? My pastoooor.''
Nicki then switches again, becomes ghetto, again and calls Miley a bitch and so forth. In short, Nicki basically switched personalities like MK slaves do. This is one big Illuminati mind control show.
When then see Miley looking irritated about what just happened. The two eyes on her breast confirms that this is an MK setup.
Miley then says that, even though she did not win an award at the VMAs, she nevertheless had an impact on them. We then see the pinnacle moment of her career appear behind her.
According to Miley, the impact she had on the VMA was when she became America's #1 Sex Kitten.
MTV is really trying to make this moment ''iconic''. We see it appear at several occasions during the show.
The VMAs ended with a horrifying performance from Miley that features one of the worst songs I ever heard in my life.
Gender FluidIn my article entitled The Agenda Behind Bruce Jenner's Transformation, I described how the confusion of genders is an important part of mass media agenda in 2015. Whether you agree with it or not, nobody can deny that there was a clear mass media push for everything transgender this year. Miley Cyrus' final performance is further proof of this.
The performance was presented by unknown people who are apparently transsexuals. One of them says ''We do this because of the sticky young impressionable minds that are watching us right now''. Yup.
Miley then proceeds to perform surrounded with countless Illuminati All-Seeing Eyes on and around her.
Her song ends with her saying:
Why they put the d*ck in the p*ssy? F*ck you.
Miley, who is basically the only female on stage (although she claims she is ''gender fluid''), ''blows her load'' on the audience. It is all about reversing genders and their natural functions.
At the very end of the show, we see a harsh reminder of Miley Cyrus' status as an MK slave.
Miley announces that her new album is available online. The name of that album? ''Miley Cyrus and her Dead Petz''.
That's a rather dark name, especially considering the fact that Miley was reportedly very distraught when her dog died last year. In mind control it is a common technique to cause trauma and dissociation to a slave by giving them a pet to care for and then to kill it.
In short, everything about Miley Cyrus' hosting gig was about promoting and exploiting the Beta Kitten persona she is forced to embody.
Other PuppetsBelieve it or not, there were other people at VMAs, and they also brought their share of Illuminati Agenda to the table.
During the pre-show, Amber Rose and her friends wore clothes with some pejorative terms on them '' apparently to ''raise awareness''.
That's some typical, hypocritical, reverse-psychology type stuff the elite loves to do. Doesn't walking around with a label on you automatically reduce you to that label? According to her outfit, Amber Rose has an issue with the word bitch. Maybe she should re-read the title of her own book.
The book should be titled ''How to be a Hypocrite''.
All of the presenters who walked on stage had a gigantic eye behind them, a clear reminder that they are all owned by the industry. Here, Britney Spears, a veteran Beta slave, made a very robotic appearance.
After his performance, Justin Bieber was seen crying for several seconds.
As I stated in my last article on Bieber, he is basically a male Beta slave and his entire career is about shame, humiliation and being a broken person. I am not sure if his crying staged or not, but the camera did stay on him for a few long seconds instead of just cutting away to something else like it usually does. While Bieber was sobbing on stage, Miley takes off her jacket, swings her hips and tells him:
''Hey Justin, call me when you're legal''.
In other words, she treated him like an underage sex toy '... like his handlers most likely did. Another very cring-inducing moment involving two industry slaves.
But the cherry on this MTV Sunday? Kanye West talking very slowly, for a long, long time, making little to no sense, to finally reveal that he wants to be the President of the USA.
The industry broke Kanye. And since he's Mr. Kardashian, he barely makes sense anymore.
While one can wonder why he did not simply thank people for his award instead of going on endless rant, he said one sentence that sums up the reason behind these award shows.
''This arena, its going to be totally different setup tomorrow. This stage will be gone. After that night, the stage is gone, but the effect it had on people remains.''
In ConclusionThe 2015 VMAs were, once again, a celebration of everything ''the industry'' is about. And the industry is not about music, creativity or artistry. It is about the industry showcasing its twisted control over its puppets to the world. More importantly, it is about saturating the airwaves with the antics of people nobody truly cares about in order to make sure that true, revolutionary artists, with the potential to truly change the world, can never get much-needed television time.
In short, the 2015 VMAs, and the ''music'' it promotes, are about transferring the sad, twisted and toxic culture of the entertainment industry directly into the minds of the youth. It is about doing everything possible to turn young people into the monster that is Miley Cyrus, while their parents watch, powerless, like Billy Ray in the VMAs audience. While Billy Ray has apparently lost his daughter to her handlers, none of us need to see the same fate happen to us or our children. In fact, it can all end by simply pressing a button: TV Off.
The Perfect Penis Size Varies Depending On What You're Using It For
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 04:27
Men and women alike tend to talk about it a lot, but do we actually know what the ideal penis size really is? New research -- yes, legitimate research -- just found out.
A new study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, found that heterosexual women prefer a penis only slightly larger than average which is around 6 inches long and 5 inches around (erect, that is). However, the ideal penis is somewhat different depending on if he's experienced during a long-term relationship or a one night stand.
The study, with a rather small sample size, included 75 women between the ages of 18 and 65 years old who are attracted to men. Each woman filled out a questionnaire which asked about their sexual history, with inquiries into the number of sexual partners a woman had and if penis size has ever played a role in a past breakup. The questionnaire also included information about "current sexual functioning" such as orgasm rates and current relationship status.
To give participants a visual of how different sized penises look side by side, researchers from UCLA and the University of New Mexico generously created 3D-printed phalluses for the women to choose from. After creating a matrix of 100 possible penis sizes, researchers narrowed the options down to 33 phallus choices because "such a large choice set could overwhelm participants." Fair, 33 penises is more than enough.
The 3D phalluses were printed in blue plastic in order to "minimize racial skin-color cues.'' The models didn't include veins, testicles or other realistic details. Researchers noted that these characteristics were not included because "women generally rate male nudes as less attractive than heterosexual men rate female nudes, so making the penis model more realistic might have provoked negative responses." (In other words: Balls and veiny penises aren't everyone's favorite thing to look at.)
According to this small sample, women >>do >>prefer a larger penis for a one-night stand but not by a lot. When it comes to a one-night stand, women reported that they prefer a penis that is 6.4 inches long with a circumference around 5 inches. For a long-term partner, however, women prefer a penis that is 6.3 inches long and about 4.8 inches around.
''Novelty itself contributes to pleasure, so seeking a more novel-sized penis may be consistent with a goal to pursue pleasure primarily in one-time partners," researchers suggested in the study. "Given that women typically experience more pleasurable and orgasmic sex in longer-term relationships, they might prefer a larger penis for short-term sex partly so the increased physical sensation compensates for the reduced psychological connection."
In long-term relationships men tend to be more aware of their partner's body and pleasure points, which may be a reason why women prefer a slightly smaller penis in long-term relationships.
So good news boys: ''Since context matters, men should be thinking 'fit' rather than 'fat' with respect to their penis size,'' sexual psychologist Dr. Nicole Prause, one of the researchers in the study, told The Daily Beast. ''In other words, women may prefer different sizes for different reasons at different times, so chances are very good any guy is someone's ideal for the relationship type they are seeking.''
Conclusion: Penis size is not as important when you know what you're doing with said penis.
>>>>>>>>>>Head over to PLOS One to read more about the study.
>>>>Also on HuffPost:
VIDEO-Watch: Hillary Just Shot Herself In The Foot With These 6 Words About Her Email Server
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 13:05
Clinton responded with an answer that does not evoke confidence in someone seeking the highest office in the land...
Hillary Clinton took another pass at trying to answer the questions surrounding her use of a private email server as secretary of state, but once again came up short.
During an interview which aired on Friday, MSNBC's Andrew Mitchell gave her an open-ended opportunity to address the issue squarely, but the presidential candidate responded with less than satisfying answers.
Mitchell first asked, ''Did anyone in your inner-circle say this is not a good idea, let's not do this?'' regarding the use of a private server. Clinton responded with an answer that does not evoke confidence in someone seeking the highest office in the land. ''You know, I was not thinking a lot [emphasis added] when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn't really stop and think, 'What kind of email system will there be?'''
Mitchell followed up asking if her decision-making regarding the matter raises questions about her judgment. Clinton replied by pointing to the hard work she did as secretary of state, which she believes the emails revealed. She also seemed to shift blame to the American public for not being able to understand or be satisfied with the answers she has given thus far.
''I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions,'' she said. ''But there are answers to all of these questions, and I will continue to provide those answers, and those answers have been confirmed and affirmed by the State Department and by other government officials.''
As reported by Western Journalism, what has been ''confirmed and affirmed'' by the State Department, is that Clinton did not tell the truth regarding turning over all her work-related emails to the agency. This revelation came following Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal's testimony for the Select Committee on Benghazi in June, prior to which he turned over numerous emails between himself and the secretary, some of which the State Department had not received.
Clinton also told Mitchell that, ''the facts I have put forth [regarding her email server], have remained the same,'' which is not true. After the scandal broke in March, Clinton said: ''I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.'' The presidential candidate reiterated: ''I'm certainly well-aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.''
After the State Department began to find emails with classified information in them (currently numbering well over one hundred), Clinton changed her tune stating she had not sent or received any emails that were marked classified at the time.
Clinton further stated that ''now the State Department has everything that they could have,'' apparently referencing that the private server has been turned over to the FBI in addition to the 55,000 pages of emails her legal team selected submitted to the agency in the spring of this year. However, Clinton, much like her spokesman in an interview on CNN on Thursday, failed to mention that the State Department could have had many more answers had she not chosen to wipe her server after the Select Committee on Benghazi opened its investigation and sought all relevant emails surrounding the 2012 attack.
Clinton's spokesman Brian Fallon went so far as to tell CNN's Brianna Keilar, ''I don't know what wiped means'' after she clarified his claim that the campaign had turned over the server to the FBI. ''The wiped server. The wiped server, right, Brian?'' she said.
Adding further fuel to fire of potential wrongdoing, Bryan Pagliano, a former Clinton aide responsible for helping set up up her server has indicated, through his attorney, that he will plead the Fifth in response to summons for him to testify before the Select Committee on Benghazi and the Senate Judiciary and Homeland Security Committees, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
h/t: Breitbart
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VIDEO-EPIC Donald J. Trump Campaign Video - UlstermanBooks.com
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 07:24
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VIDEO-Europe faces a ''moment of truth'' over migrants | euronews, Europe
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 07:01
The European Commission has confirmed plans for bigger refugee relocation quotas.
It follows a visit to the Greek island of Kos by the First Vice President Frans Timmermans and the EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulous.
They discussed plans to create a so-called ''hot-spot'' to enable quick identification, an assessment of people's needs and humanitarian assistance.
''Kos is a the forefront, but Kos can't be left alone with this problem, it is a global challenge that requires European solutions, that requires European solidarity. Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing a moment of truth in European history,'' Timmermans told reporters.
Greece, Italy and Hungary, the three countries most affected, will be especially keen to hear next week of enhanced relocation proposals from the EC Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Greece has asked the EU for about 700 million euros to build infrastructure to shelter refugees and migrants arriving daily on its shores from conflict areas, such as Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan.
Aid agencies estimate that every day some 2,000 people cross over to Greek islands
VIDEO-Japan: Naraha lifts Fukushima evacuation order | euronews, world news
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 07:00
People have been returning to the Japanese town of Naraha after it officially lifted an evacuation order imposed following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The government says radiation has fallen to levels deemed safe.
But most residents remain cautious amid ongoing health concerns. Only around 100 households returned home during a trial period.
VIDEO-Willkommen in M¼nchen migrants arrive in Germany | euronews, world news
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 06:56
The first trainloads of migrants travelling from Hungary via Austria have arrived in the German city of Munich.
They are the first of thousands of mainly Syrian nationals who were stranded in Hungary before being allowed to leave on buses for Austria.
Cheers rang out from the many Germans who had gathered at the station to greet them and hand out sweets and refreshments.
The Bavarian authorities have been preparing for their arrival.
Emilia M¼ller is the Minister for Social Affairs:''Everything has been arranged in an orderly and structured manner. The regional government, humanitarian organisations and the police are working together, it's a joint operation. We are taking care of everything, we all have to stand together, this is a task for all Germany and the responsibility of all Germans.''
Germany is expecting around 10,000 people to arrive with Chancellor Angela setting no limit of the number of people who can seek asylum.
Werner Kraus is from Munich police: ''The initial care is administered here at the station they will be provided with food, drinks and medical checks. They will then be taken to the shelters where they will be registered and where they will stay for the moment.''
Arabic-speaking translators are on hand to assist in the registration process.
The scenes in Munich are in stark contrast to the chaos and aggression seen in Hungary.
VIDEO-Montel on CNN: 'Black Lives Matter' Needs to End Anti-Police Rhetoric | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 06:45
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
Montel Williams targeted 'Black Lives Matter' activists on the 2 September 2015 edition of CNN Tonight, especially in the wake of the anti-police "pigs in a blanket; fry like bacon!" chant that its protesters recently used in Minnesota: "The rhetoric is being ratcheted up way too high in 'Black Lives Matter.' And we ought to ratchet it back down, and come up with solutions." Williams later criticized the left-leaning movement for not paying enough attention to black-on-black murders: "I would love to see this whole movement turn to 'Black Lives Matter' '' hell, yeah! '' in my neighborhood to me!"
VIDEO-Tom Vilsack: Government Looking for 'Creative Ways' To Feed Public School Students 'All Three Meals' | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 06:30
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Vilsack: Gov't Looking for 'Creative Ways' to Feed Public School Students 'All Three Meals' Year RoundSee More at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/vilsack-govt-looking-creative-ways-feed-public-school-students-all-three
VIDEO-US State Dept fails to explain Washington's decision to extend sanctions on Russia - YouTube
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 06:11
VIDEO-Watch as Hillary Clinton Spokesman Makes Hard to Believe Claim When Relentlessly Grilled on Email Scandal | Video | TheBlaze.com
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 05:24
Hillary Clinton's press secretary, Brian Fallon, was relentlessly grilled on CNN Thursday about the private email scandal that has consumed much the Democratic candidate's presidential campaign.
One of the more notable moments of the interview came when Fallon claimed twice he didn't know what ''wiped'' meant after CNN's Brianna Keilar referenced the server that Clinton ''wiped'' clean before turning it over to the FBI.
Fallon asserted that the FBI now has the email server and ''very well may seek to perform any kind of operation on it.''
''The wiped server, right, Brian?'' Keilar asked.
''I don't know what 'wiped' means,'' Fallon replied. ''The emails were deleted.''
The CNN anchor continued to press and ultimately got Fallon to admit that the files turned over on thumb drives to the FBI were not actual data files with the accompanying metadata, but rather PDF files.
''I'm not sure what point you're making,'' Fallon said. ''They are PDFs, that's right.''
''I'm just saying that there's more information and a judge just said Cheryl Mills shouldn't delete emails like that. Honestly, I just wanted to pin you down on some stuff that I haven't been able to get,'' Keilar replied.
Fallon later repeated, ''I don't know what wiped means.'' He added, ''the emails were deleted off of the server, that's true.''
(H/T: Weekly Standard)
VIDEO-Trump: Nuclear deal forces US to defend Iran against Israel | TheHill
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 04:20
Donald Trump says the nuclear deal with Iran will force the United States to defend Tehran in a war, even against Israel.
''You know, there's something in the Iran deal that people I don't think really understand or know about, and nobody's able to explain it, that if somebody attacks Iran, we have to come to their defense,'' Trump said on ''CNN Tonight'' on Tuesday.
''And I'm saying, does that include Israel?'' the business mogul continued. ''And most people say yes, they don't have an exclusion for Israel.
''So if Israel attacks Iran, according to that deal, I believe the way it reads '... that we have to fight with Iran against Israel,'' he continued.The GOP presidential front-runner called the deal ''unsignable'' and said he would have been a tougher negotiator.
''I like the idea of a deal, but they should have doubled up the sanctions for another couple of months, and they would have come to the table and they would have been begging to make a good deal,'' Trump said.
The deal, negotiated between Iran and six world powers, puts restrictions on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions.
Republicans are bringing a resolution of disapproval when Congress returns. The deal, though, is expected to survive. President Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that blocks the deal and has enough votes in the Senate to sustain his veto.
VIDEO-U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Jason Luke Amerine testifies at Senate hearing - YouTube
Sun, 06 Sep 2015 04:02
VIDEO-SUPER FOOD-fujiKale - Home
Sat, 05 Sep 2015 21:20
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VIDEO-WDBJ Shooting Location - YouTube
Sat, 05 Sep 2015 21:17
VIDEO-Don't Use These Lame Acronyms If You Don't Want to Get Nabbed by the Feds - Bloomberg Business
Sat, 05 Sep 2015 21:04
Criminals always slip up. They leave behind fingerprints. Hair. A cigarette butt.
A telltale acronym.
TYOP (tell you on phone), TOL (talk offline) and LDL (let's discuss live) are red flags for prosecutors combing through the e-mail transcripts of Wall Street traders suspected of illegal activity. No need for a crime lab. A simple search -- Control-F on the computer keyboard -- has become one of investigators' favorite weapons to uncover possible lawbreaking, according to defense attorneys and current and former prosecutors who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.
Just taking a conversation offline can be enough for a presumption of shady activity''Taking a conversation offline provides evidence of intent because if you're trying to cover your tracks, you probably know what you're doing is wrong,'' said Eugene Ingoglia, a partner at Morvillo LLP and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Phrases such as ''call my cell'' and ''let's go off e-mail'' remain popular among the people who plot insider trades or the rigging of some of the world's biggest markets. New expressions and acronyms pop up all the time, and authorities say they build lists of favored terms.
Evasion techniques can get creative. Raj Rajaratnam, the fund manager convicted in 2011 of insider trading, would write ''fon'' instead of ''phone.'' Prosecutors said they suspected the intentional misspelling was meant to distract the all-seeing electronic Javert of Control-F.
Investigators for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department get so many e-mails they can't possibly review them all without using Control-F, said Reed Brodsky, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP who prosecuted Rajaratnam when he was with the U.S. Southern District.
''They use terms to find evidence of whether someone is trying to hide their activities because evidence of a cover-up is frequently more potent than the evidence of the alleged crime,'' Brodsky said.
Simply highlighting suggestive phrases isn't enough, of course. In many instances, traders have an honest need to talk about complicated deals in person or over the phone. And homing in on a suggestion to go off e-mail is usually only the start. Authorities then have to go through hours of records in what one prosecutor called a thoroughly laborious process to gather evidence that a crime was committed.
Sometimes, though, just taking a conversation offline can be enough for a presumption of shady activity. In 2010, U.S. senators obtained internal e-mails from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in which bankers used the term LDL for ''let's discuss live'' when sensitive topics arose. The revelations came during a push to ban the practice of federally insured banks trading for their own accounts. They contributed to the inclusion of the Volcker Rule, which limits how banks wager their money, in the Dodd-Frank Act later that year.
For more, read this QuickTake:Insider Trading
VIDEO-Angelina Jolie slams U.N., says Syrian refugee crisis is 'sickening'
Fri, 04 Sep 2015 18:48
What's This?
Actress Angelina Jolie speaks at the United Nations on the issue of the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria on April 24, 2015, in New York, NY.Image: Anthony Behar/Associated Press
By Megan Specia2015-04-24 21:06:23 UTC
Angelina Jolie slammed the U.N. for failing Syrian refugees during a briefing to the Security Council on Friday.
"We cannot look at Syria, and the evil that has arisen from the ashes of indecision, and think this is not the lowest point in the world's inability to protect and defend the innocent," Jolie, a U.N. special envoy for refugees, told the council.
Jolie has travelled to the region 11 times since Syria's civil war began in 2011. Close to 4 million Syrians have fled the country and are living as refugees in the region and abroad.
"Nearly 4 million Syrian refugees are victims of a conflict they have no part in, yet they are stigmatized, unwanted, and regarded as a burden," Jolie added.
Jolie spoke of the reality faced by those on the ground in Syria, saying that while international humanitarian law prohibits torture, starvation and the targeting of schools and hospitals, "these crimes are happening every day" in the country.
"The Security Council has powers to address these threats to international peace and security but those powers lie unused," Jolie said. "The UN has adopted the responsibility to protect concept '-- saying that when a state cannot protect its people the international community will not stand by, but we are standing by in Syria."
She also weighed in on the ongoing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, compounded in part because of thousands of Syrian refugees making the risky journey to escape violence in their home country and seek asylum in Europe. In 2014, Syrian citizens comprised the majority of the migrants making the dangerous crossing across the central Mediterranean, according to the EU border agency program Frontex.
"It is sickening to see thousands of refugees drowning on the doorstep of the world's wealthiest content," said Jolie. "No one risks the lives of their children in this way except out of utter desperation."
She said the world was obligated to provide asylum for those fleeing the violence. Strict quotes on those seeking asylum in many European nations has driven some refugees to seek alternative routes to the continent.
"If we cannot end the conflict we have an inescapable moral duty to help refugees and provide legal avenues to safety."
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Topics: Angelina Jolie, Middle East, un security council, World
VIDEO-Paying income tax in America is Voluntary - YouTube
Fri, 04 Sep 2015 14:05
VIDEO-VOCAL FRYYYYY-Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 review | The Verge
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 21:45
Last year's tech in this year's tablet
Things are getting awkward in tablet land. On the consumer side, we've run out of ideas; maybe we use them to watch video, ''babysit'' our kids, or travel with them when it's too annoying to carry a laptop. On the business front, computer makers have been desperate to make tablets work, to the point where they're creating half-laptop, hingey hybrid things '-- some with styluses.
Which puts tablet makers in a tough spot when it comes to upgrade cycles, because people aren't buying new tablets nearly as often as they buy new smartphones. And yet, people have come to expect some of the impressive features that come with new smartphones.
That's exactly the case with Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2, which is an upgrade from last year's Galaxy Tab S and is now the company's newest flagship tablet.
The question, then, is whether or not the Tab S2 can play the role. It's fast, it's powerful, it's svelte, it's good-looking. Samsung has addressed some of the issues that consumers had with the previous Tab S, most notably that it was slow, and it had an aspect ratio that was ideal only for movie-watching. But there are still elements of the tablet that show little improvement from last year's technology.
I should talk about the tablet's build first, since that is one area where it stands out. Tablets are like TV sitcom stars, slimming down almost inexplicably from season to season, and the Galaxy Tab S2 is ridiculously thin. In fact, at 5.6mm thin, Samsung says the Tab S2 is the world's thinnest tablet, edging out both the iPad Air 2 and the Dell Venue 8 7000. And it's light enough to forget I was even carrying it in my bag.
The Tab S2 comes in two different sizes, a larger 9.7-inch tab and an 8-inch one. (Like iPad Mini, the 8-inch Tab S2 was just a little too wide for me to hold comfortably with one hand, but that, of course, will depend on your hand size.) The plastic back of the tablet, while prone to smudges, is wonderfully unembellished, and a metal frame accentuates its fancy feel.
The world's thinnest tabletIts Super AMOLED display technically has lower pixel density than the display on last year's Galaxy Tab S, with a resolution of 2048 x 1536. But the display on the S2 is still rich and vibrant, the difference indiscernible to the average eye. It now has a 4:3 aspect ratio, a welcome change from the 16:10 "cinematic" aspect ratio on last year's Tab S, which was excellent for movie-watching and not much else. This time around it's better for everyday stuff, like reading.
At the low end of pricing, there's the 8-inch, WiFi-only Tab S2, which comes with 32 gigabytes of internal storage for $399. The 9.7-inch, WiFi-only 32GB tab will run you $499. The LTE-equipped models, which are available through AT&T, Sprint, US Cellular, and T-Mobile, vary in price but get as high as $650; both tabs are expandable to 128GB with a microSD card. This puts this Tab firmly in at the high end of tablet pricing, which is what you would expect from a flagship, but there are some decidedly non-flagship elements to think about.
First, it does have an upgraded Samsung Exynos processor (the 5433 quad-core), and for the most part I've multitasked and played graphics-heavy games on it without issue. But it's the same processor found in last year's Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, not the latest and greatest. Again, with expectations now being set by aggressive smartphone cycles, it's hard to accept a top-flight tablet with old internals.
Many of the features feel like old news
It's also shipping with an outdated version of Android '-- Lollipop 5.0.2 '-- though Samsung assures me it should be upgradable to 5.1.1., and that details on the next-gen Android OS will be available "soon." It has Samsung's Touchwiz UI, which is fairly clean but still includes some Samsung-specific apps, like Milk Music.
Many of the Tab's other features will look or feel like old news to you if you've been using newer Samsung mobile devices. There's a fast-working fingerprint scanner built into the home button. You can multitask by running, say, a YouTube video next to a completely different app. And a proprietary feature called SideSync that casts the interface of your Samsung mobile phone onto your tablet, so you can, for example, send a text message directly from the home screen of your tablet.
Samsung is also touting a feature called Quick Connect, which, in theory, would let you throw video from the Tab S2 onto your TV '-- and vice versa. But to pull video from your TV, you have to have a specific model, the Samsung JS9500 (which, oh yeah, costs around $4,500). In order to go from Tab to TV, your TV has to be DNLA, Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth LE-compatible. My TV's old school, so I couldn't really test this. When I opened up Quick Connect on the Tab S2, it was only able to find my Sonos speakers.
The tablet's 8-megapixel rear and 2.1-megapixel front cameras are pretty much the same as last year's Tab S, with a slightly wider aperture lens to let in more light. For people who like to take lots of pictures with your tablet (and I have yet to match your enthusiasm for such endeavors), you likely won't be blown away by the photos, especially ones taken in low light. It records QHD video at 30 frames per second, although it doesn't do 4K.
Battery life is a little disappointing
Then there's battery life. In our Verge battery test, which cycles one web page per minute, I got 6.5 hours out of the larger Tab S2 and about 15 minutes more out of the 8-inch Tab S2. With average use, it lasted about a day and a half. This falls short of what many other tablets are capable of these days, and the reason is obvious: it's just so darn thin. The batteries in each of these tabs are, in fact, smaller than the batteries on last year's Tab S.
Does it have fast-charging capabilities? Nope. Wireless charging? Wishful thinking.
Samsung's explanation for all of these decisions around the Tab S2 is that it mostly expects this to be a "living room device" '-- which maybe also says something about how we're all using (or not using) our tablets. Battery life, in this scenario, doesn't matter as much; you can always plug in if it's lying around the house.
Samsung has updated its flagship tablet in areas where it needed it. Will it lure some consumers? Sure, if they happen to be on an upgrade cycle, really care about thinness or '-- oh yeah '-- are looking to pay $399 or more for a high-end Android tablet. And yet, I still don't feel like it has that wow factor that gives tablets the push they really need.
Photography by Vjeran Pavic
The BreakdownMore times than not, the Verge score is based on the average of the subscores below. However, since this is a non-weighted average, we reserve the right to tweak the overall score if we feel it doesn't reflect our overall assessment and price of the product. Read more about how we test and rate products.
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