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Sunday, 29 April 2012

sucking at the teat of the public purse part two... yes, it is a mixed metaphor but the public purse is a grossly fat, leaky, living thing

From: Wikimedia Commons

"California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84 percent. Nevada’s? Zero.
     Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year. As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands — some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office — that help cut the taxes it pays around the world.
     Almost every major corporation tries to minimize its taxes, of course. For Apple, the savings are especially alluring because the company’s profits are so high. Wall Street analysts predict Apple could earn up to $45.6 billion in its current fiscal year — which would be a record for any American business.
     Apple serves as a window on how technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age and ill suited to today’s digital economy. Some profits at companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft derive not from physical goods but from royalties on intellectual property, like the patents on software that makes devices work. Other times, the products themselves are digital, like downloaded songs. It is much easier for businesses with royalties and digital products to move profits to low-tax countries than it is, say, for grocery stores or automakers. A downloaded application, unlike a car, can be sold from anywhere."
― Charles Duhigg and David Kocienniewski, The New York Times

"This past month, there was much outrage over the fact that General Electric, despite making $14.2 billion in profits, paid zero U.S. taxes in 2010. General Electric actually received tax credits of $3.2 billion from American taxpayers. At the same time that General Electric was not paying taxes, many undocumented immigrants, who are typically accused of taking advantage of the system while not contributing to it by many on the right, paid $11.2 billion in taxes. A new study by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy shows that undocumented immigrants paid $8.4 billion in sales taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $1.2 billion in personal income taxes last year. The study also estimates that nearly half of all undocumented immigrants pay income taxes."

Thursday, 26 April 2012

killing us softly

From: merisinomblackandwhite
"If it were a novel, people would criticize the plot for being too far-fetched – thriving colonies disappear overnight without leaving a trace, the bodies of the victims are never found. Only in this case, it’s not fiction: It’s what’s happening to fully a third of commercial beehives, over a million colonies every year. Seemingly healthy communities fly off never to return. The queen bee and mother of the hive is abandoned to starve and die.
     Thousands of scientific sleuths have been on this case for the last 15 years trying to determine why our honey bees are disappearing in such alarming numbers. 'This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,' according to Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee and pollination program.
     Until recently, the evidence was inconclusive on the cause of the mysterious 'colony collapse disorder' (CCD) that threatens the future of beekeeping worldwide. But three new studies point an accusing finger at a culprit that many have suspected all along, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. [...]
     Honey bees have been likened to the canaries in the coal mine. Their vanishing is nature’s way of telling us that conditions have deteriorated in the world around us. Bees won’t survive for long if we don’t change our commercial breeding practices and remove deadly toxins from their environment. A massive pollinator die-off would imperil world food supplies and devastate ecosystems that depend on them. The loss of these creatures might rival climate change in its impact on life on earth."
— Richard Schiffman, Reuters

"In the past months, three separate studies—two of them just out in the prestigious journal Science—have added to a substantial body of literature linking widespread use of neonicotinoids to CCD. The latest research will renew pressure on the EPA to reconsider its registration of Bayer's products. The EPA green-lighted Bayer's products based largely on a study funded by the chemical giant itself—which was later discredited by the EPA's own scientists, as this leaked memo shows.
     When seeds are treated with neonics, the pesticides get absorbed by the plant's vascular system and then ;expressed' in the pollen and nectar, where they attack the nervous systems of insects. Bayer targeted its treatments at the most prolific US crop—corn—and since the late 1990s, corn farmers have been blanketing millions of acres of farmland with neonic-treated seeds."
— Tom Philpott, Mother Jones

"A new kind of genetically modified crop under the brand name of 'Enlist' ― known by its critics as 'Agent Orange corn' ― has opponents pushing U.S. regulators to scrutinize the product more closely and reject an application by Dow AgroSciences to roll out its herbicide-resistant seeds. The corn has been genetically engineered to be immune to 2,4-D, an ingredient used in Agent Orange that some say could pose a serious threat to the environment and to human health. Approval by the United States Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency would allow farmers to spray it far and wide without damaging their crops, boosting profits for the agribusiness giant."
― Lucia Graves, Huffington Post

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

fifties felt and faux fur fads

From: Poodle Skirt

"Juli Lynne [Charlot] didn’t set out to be a clothing designer; she had a beautiful voice and studied for the opera. Along the way she sang with Xavier Cugat’s orchestra, was soprano with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Company, and played straight 'man' to the Marx Brothers while performing at military bases during WWII.
     As a performer, Juli Lynne had strong ideas about how she wanted to look. She designed her stage wardrobe even though she could not sew. She hired a professional dressmaker to bring her designs to life. As the war came to a close, Juli Lynne met and married Philip Charlot. She gave up performing to be a post-war wife. In 1947 two seemingly unrelated events came together to start her career in fashion.
     First, fashion changed dramatically with the New Look. WWII fabric restrictions were lifted and hemlines dropped and skirts got full. About the same time, Philip Charlot lost his job. Juli Lynne was a young woman who wanted to be in fashion but she had no money for the new styles. So she decided to make her own skirt for Christmas that year. Since she could not sew, she got some felt. It was the only fabric wide enough to cut a full circle skirt without making seams.
     Fortunately, her mother owned a factory which used felt, so she had a free source of it. Juli Lynne added some Christmas motif appliques and the result was so attractive that she made three more which she took to a Beverly Hills boutique. The store put them on the floor, and they quickly sold.
     The store reordered."
The Vintage Traveler

When I was five or six Davy Crockett was hot, even for kids in the U.K. While visiting our relatives in Abertillery, South Wales my brother and I found an old fur coat at the local dump site known as "the tip"; this mountain of coal mine tailings had become a dumping ground for all sorts of discards. We took the threadbare coat back to Aunty Vi's house and coaxed my dad into making Davy Crockett hats out of it. He did such a great job I was offered a part in our school Christmas pageant. I'm sure it was the swell hat that got me the gig and not my singing voice:
          Davy... Davy Crockett.
          King of the wild frontier...
From: Fur Hat World

"[Davy] Crockett's new popularity initiated a fad among boys all over the United States as well as a Davy Crockett craze in the United Kingdom. The look of the cap that was marketed to young boys was typically simplified; it was usually a faux fur lined skull cap with a raccoon tail attached. A variation was marketed to young girls as the Polly Crockett hat. It was similar in style to the boys' cap, including the long tail, but was made of all-white fur (faux or possibly rabbit). At the peak of the fad, coonskin caps sold at a rate of 5,000 caps a day."
— Inner Toob

Monday, 23 April 2012

about face

Stephen Fry (sourse image from: E-Verse Radio)

"The authors [Kelsey Blackburn and James Schirillo from Wake Forest University] explain: 'Our results suggest that posers' left cheeks tend to exhibit a greater intensity of emotion, which observers find more aesthetically pleasing. Our findings provide support for a number of concepts – the notions of lateralized emotion and right hemispheric dominance with the right side of the brain controlling the left side of the face during emotional expression.'
     Participants were asked to rate the pleasantness of both sides of male and female faces on gray-scale photographs. The researchers presented both original photographs and mirror-reversed images, so that an original right-cheek image appeared to be a left-cheek image and vice versa.
     They found a strong preference for left-sided portraits, regardless of whether the pictures were originally taken of the left side, or mirror-reversed. The left side of the face was rated as more aesthetically pleasing for both male and female posers."
Springer

"What you see in the mirror in old age may reflect more than your features. According to researchers publishing in a July, 2011 issue of Economics and Human Biology, the symmetry of those features can trace your early history. Studying a group of octogenarians, David Hope, Timothy Bates, and colleagues found that being poor in childhood led to greater irregularities in facial symmetry many decades later, but not in body symmetry.
     The researchers measured the facial and body symmetry of 292 people who are part of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921, one of two birth cohorts under study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The year 1921 is of interest because almost every schoolchild in Scotland born in that year took a mental ability test known as the Moray House Test."
— Emily Willingham, EarthSky

"For those of you who have one side of your face bigger than the other, I used to have the exact same problem. I'm not exactly sure what caused it, but my face used to be perfectly symmetrical. Then, after two and a half years of braces, my mom started noticing that my left side, namely the cheek along the jawline, was larger than my right side. I rarely noticed it, but it's a lot more pronounced in pictures. This went on for several years, and I began to worry whether this was going to be permanent. My mom's theory was because I always rested my face on my right hand when listening to lectures in class and over time this caused an indentation.
     So, I tried sleeping on my left side all the time and also resting my face on my left hand. It didn't seem to work. What was interesting was sometimes my mom would notice the asymmetry getting better, but then it would go back to the way it was. I was starting to think about cosmetic surgery, when one day I decided to start chewing on my right side. I'm right handed, and all my life I have favored chewing on the left side. Over time, it progressed to me chewing only on my left side and never on my right. Immediately afterwards, my mom noticed a difference that would not revert back to the original asymmetry.
     After about 3-4 months of chewing solely on my right side, my face went back to being symmetrical again (it's still not 100%, but it's no longer noticeable). I was so happy, and I couldn't believe the solution was as simple as developing the right jaw muscle by exercising it. All those years of neglecting the right masseter caused it to shrivel from disuse. Now, I make sure to alternately chew on both sides.
     For those of you who also chew heavily on one side, I strongly encourage you to try what I did. You never know, a possible solution to the asymmetry could just be a couple months away. Another idea asking a doctor what sort of exercises you could do to develop the muscle on the side of the face that is smaller. Good luck."
— Guest, (In a discussion about "corrective measures for asymmetrical face") Steady Health

See a related article here...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

love is blind

"Each woman watched three videos while having her brain imaged by positron emission tomography, better known as a PET scan. These scans detect minute changes in radioactivity in the brain that correspond to the amount of blood flowing to any given region. Regions with more blood flowing to them are considered more active.
     One of the videos used in the study was a simple nature documentary about marine life in the Caribbean. The other two were selections from ;women-friendly' pornographic movies, one depicting only foreplay and manual stimulation and the other depicting oral sex and vaginal intercourse. Earlier studies had shown that the higher-intensity video showing intercourse produced stronger physical arousal in women than the foreplay-focused movie clip.
     The scan results revealed that the high-intensity erotic video — and only the high-intensity erotic video — resulted in far less blood being sent to the primary visual cortex. The region is still active, just much less so. Usually, that effect is only seen when people are asked to conduct a nonvisual task, like remembering words, while also watching some sort of visual stimuli.
     To [Gert] Holstege [a uroneurologist at the University of Groningen Medical Center in the Netherlands] those results suggest that the brain is focusing on sexual arousal as more important than visual processing during these erotic films."
— Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

"subversive quotation of the penis"

"The Very End of Clacton Pier" 

"[...] the artificial prosthesis of the dildo not only has the potential to blur the boundaries between different sexual and gender identities, but also those between human beings and technologies. Through the concept of Preciado’s dildo, post-porn is already located within the scope of a feminist posthumanism. With reference to Foucault, the term technology is used to describe not only the inorganic and artificially created object but also its forms of application, i.e. discourses and practices that surround the tool or machine and activate it culturally in the first place (Preciado 115-117).
     In a feminist-posthumanist perspective, the inorganic and technological on the one hand and the organic and supposedly natural on the other hand are never located in an exterior relation to each other. This inseparable interconnection is analogous to the one between sexuality and power. Every mode of medical-technological interference with the human body – for instance the contraceptive pill – transgresses the boundaries of the organism and thereby renders such borders fragile and permeable (Preciado 109-127).
     So does a tool called dildo. When someone masturbates with a dildo in queer post-porn and the streams of lust circulate between the dildo and the organism, the attempt to establish the skin as a distinct barrier between the human being and technology becomes impossible and pointless (Joy 21:30-21:55). The diverse and rapidly increasing forms of interconnection between the organic and the technological produce new bodies over and over. As early as 1985, the feminist biologist and science historian Donna Haraway termed these hybrids cyborgs (Haraway 149-181). According to her, every human body is always already a cyborg as every body constantly is technologically connected. Hence, the body cannot be conceptualized without referring to technologies since it is produced by them in the first place."
— Stefan Offermann, Gender Forum
Read more....

"It is what Derrida has called the dangerous supplement that destroys what it completes."

"In this theoretical context Beatrice Preciado has analysed the paradoxical production of the female orgasm. The 17th century saw the beginning of a number of medical campaigns against masturbation, then considered a dangerous and abnormal exposure. These campaigns reached a peak in the 19th century when a vast number of instruments were invented to prevent the spread of the masturbation disease. These instruments, ranging from chastity belts, cock rings and bondage systems to electroshock apparatuses, marked the body with regions of pleasure and pain, isolating them in order to medically determine where sex is located.Through a play of repression and permission, these anti-masturbation devices show that sex lies in the genitals and that the orgasm is the corresponding bodily reaction. At the same time, medicine developed a method for treating female hysteria using genital massages to stimulate orgasm both as a symptom of and a cure for a hysterical fit. For Preciado the female orgasm was produced at the intersection of these two reverse strategies of repression and production.This is why she suggests that the dildo is the truth of heterosexuality that will betray its logic – because it is the bad copy of the penis that denaturalises the sexual field and its dual distribution of positions.

Coco De Mer (from: InRumor.com)
     In its most strategic sense, the dildo disrupts the distinction between living subjects and dead things: The dildo is detachable and therefore resists the force with which the body reappropriates pleasure, as if pleasure were something that emerged from the body. The pleasure produced by the body belongs to it only to the extent that it is reappropriation.(…) The enjoying dildo knows that pleasure is never given or taken, that it is never there, that it is never real but always embodiment and reappropriation. For Preciado the dildo, as subversive quotation of the penis, reveals the inconsistency of the heterosexual regime.
     By a mere act of multiplication, it exceeds the sovereignty of the single signifier and rejects the separations that the latter has instituted. It is what Derrida has called the dangerous supplement that destroys what it completes. Replacing the one with the multiple, this instrument demonstrates that the pleasure produced by sex can neither be attributed to a bodily region nor declared as subjective property: The dildo shows that the signifier that generates sexual difference falls outside of its own game. The logic that it establishes isthe logic that will betray it.“
— Katja Diefenbach, Fizzle Out in White: Postporn politics and the deconstruction of fetishism

See related article here...

Monday, 16 April 2012

god particle or higgs bozo

Source images: Sagacity; Frum Forum

"Metaphors like these [etch a sketch]  inexact as they are, are the only way the layman can begin to grasp the strange phantom world that underpins the very fabric of not only the Romney campaign but also of Mitt Romney in general. For we have entered the age of quantum politics; and Mitt Romney is the first quantum politician.
     A bit of context. Before Mitt Romney, those seeking the presidency operated under the laws of so-called classical politics, laws still followed by traditional campaigners like Newt Gingrich. Under these Newtonian principles, a candidate’s position on an issue tends to stay at rest until an outside force — the Tea Party, say, or a six-figure credit line at Tiffany — compels him to alter his stance, at a speed commensurate with the size of the force (usually large) and in inverse proportion to the depth of his beliefs (invariably negligible). This alteration, framed as a positive by the candidate, then provokes an equal but opposite reaction among his rivals.
     But the Romney candidacy represents literally a quantum leap forward. It is governed by rules that are bizarre and appear to go against everyday experience and common sense. To be honest, even people like Mr. Fehrnstrom who are experts in Mitt Romney’s reality, or 'Romneality,' seem bewildered by its implications; and any person who tells you he or she truly 'understands' Mitt Romney is either lying or a corporation. [...]
     The basic concepts behind this model are:
     Complementarity. In much the same way that light is both a particle and a wave, Mitt Romney is both a moderate and a conservative, depending on the situation (Fig. 1). It is not that he is one or the other; it is not that he is one and then the other. He is both at the same time. [...]"
— David Javerbaum, The New York Times

Saturday, 14 April 2012

bored doctors + movies = no fun

"Pelvic Massage" (from: Wikipedia)

"Male doctors found their hysterical and neurasthenic patients especially frustrating. Many doctors suggested that women would feel better if they engaged in sexual intercourse until its natural conclusion with a male orgasm. But given the ineffectiveness of vaginal penetration in satisfying many women, doctors resorted to other solutions. Doctors manually massaged the women’s clitoris until she achieved relief, i.e. experienced an orgasm, although it was not recognized as such. Annoyed doctors complained that it took women forever to achieve this relief; moreover, they thought this condition beneath their respectable professional demeanor to treat. On the other hand, the repeat business of these women was good for their pocketbooks."
— Erik Loomis, AlterNet

"For hysteria unrelieved by husbandly lust, and for widows, and single and unhappily married women, doctors advised horseback riding, which, in some cases, provided enough clitoral stimulation to trigger orgasm.
     But many women found little relief from horseback riding, and by the 17th century, dildos were less of an option because the arbiters of decency had succeeded in demonizing masturbation as 'self-abuse.'  Fortunately, an acceptable, reliable treatment emerged: having a doctor or midwife 'massage the genitalia with one finger inside, using oil of lilies or crocus' as a lubricant. With enough genital massage, hysterical women could experience sudden, dramatic relief through 'paroxysm,' which virtually no medical authority called orgasm, because, of course, everyone knew that women did not have sexual feelings, so they could not possibly experience sexual climax. [...]
     Electricity gave women vibrators, but ironically, within a few decades, electricity almost took the devices away from them. With the invention of motion pictures, vibrators started turning up in pornography and gained an unsavory reputation. By the 1920s, they had become socially unacceptable. Vibrator ads disappeared from the consumer media. From the late 1920s and well into the 1970s, they were difficult to find."
— Michael Castleman, Victorian Pleasure Parties

Friday, 13 April 2012

dissing information

Phot: Heidi Sagerud (universetoday.com)

"'After I showed them the materials three times, one of the them stepped forward and said, "This event never happened. We were never here. We're confiscating all this data, and you're all sworn to secrecy,"' Callahan recalled. [...]
     'There was a page that said unlawful disclosure of any UFO information is a $10,000 fine and 10 years in jail,' Fox said. 'If I had mentioned anything to anybody, they would've grabbed me and sent me for a Section 8,' he added, referring to a military discharge when someone is deemed mentally unfit. 'So I just kept my mouth shut.'"
— Lee Speigel, Huffington Post

“I would’ve hoped they would’ve been more open-minded instead of going ad hominem and calling me clueless and stupid,” said Michael from Montgomery, Ala. That’s where he teaches nuclear counterproliferation and deterrence theory, at the Air War College, as an associate professor. “I know they categorically reject UFOs, I just didn’t know how deep it went.”
— Dr. George Michael (via Herald Tribune)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

the best form of flattery

"The Tennessee Senate just days ago passed their alternative to the much lampooned 'Don’t Say Gay' bill that would classify holding hands as a 'gateway sexual activity' in their new 'family life education curriculum.' The bill also includes specific provisions that allow parents to sue teachers if they deviate from the specified curriculum.
     For the past few years Tennessee has been the subject of nationwide ire for its attempts to pass an infamous 'Don’t Say Gay' bill, that would have prohibited the mentioning of anything about homosexuality by teachers or students. In a new family life instructions bill, holding hands and kissing could be considered gateways to sex. [...]"
— David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

"The rules, which apply to all public places, include a ban on all forms of nudity, playing music loudly and dancing, exchange of kisses between men and women -- and even on unmarried couples holding hands. Any breach of the guidelines, by nationals or expatriates, carries a possible prison penalty, the paper said."

"So not only is hand-holding a gateway to sexytimes, but the Tennessee State Senate, having exhausted all other possible things to give a damn about in their state, is making darn sure that your teacher can't demonstrate hand-holding in the classroom, while saying 'see? Don't do this.' Also out: winking, wearing short sleeves, any shoes not issued by the U.S. Army, and giving other children those horrible, chalky Valentine's Day candies with vapid little sayings on them. I don't know how many of our nation's children have gotten laid as a result of exchanging those wretched, inedible things, but that's not a risk good conservative Republicans can be taking anymore."
— Hunter, Daily Kos

"[...] anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs [...]"

"Obviously, Gotto and Johnson don't remember what it's like to be teenagers, because just about anything at that age feels like sexual contact. Hell, reading this legislation and remembering how fucking hot Tim Boblitt looked in his football uniform, I'm not sure it'd be legal for teachers to encourage young straight women to go to football games. The definition of gateway sexual activity is so vague it's hard to tell if we can even allow young people to sit together on school buses. What if their thighs touch? Their hands brush together? Their heads bonk into each other as they cross railroad tracks?"
— Betsy Phillips, Nashville Scene

"In their ideal world, women are covered from head to toe, only learn how to cook and clean to take care of their husbands, and rarely venture outside the home. [...]
     'These people want to destroy society and the best way of doing that is by destroying education,' said Nur Waheed, holding the hand of his four-year-old granddaughter outside a butcher’s shop."
Reuters (via The Express Tribune)

"One Taliban list of prohibitions included: pork, pig, pig oil, anything made from human hair, satellite dishes, cinematography, and equipment that produces the joy of music, pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine, lobster, nail polish, firecrackers, statues, sewing catalogs, pictures, Christmas cards. They also got rid of employment, education, and sports for all women, dancing, clapping during sports events, kite flying, and characterizations of living things, no matter if they were drawings, paintings, photographs, stuffed animals, or dolls. Men had to have a fist size beard at the bottom of their chin. Conversely, they had to wear their head hair short. Men had to wear a head covering."

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

asbestos prime minister

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (in a parallel universe not so far away) holding up a sample of asbestos ore, the very substance used to fabricate the armor-like hairpieces he is so famous for. Reagan was known as the "teflon president"; Mr. Harper will no doubt go down in history as the "asbestos prime minister."

"The Conservative Leader made a campaign stop in Quebec’s Eastern Townships to show the failing asbestos industry some support, a move the Tories are hoping will enable them to win a seat in the area.
One of Mr. Harper's own cabinet ministers, Chuck Strahl is a victim of asbestos.
     Mr. Strahl, not seeking re-election, has been diagnosed with incurable lung cancer – mesothelioma – believed to be triggered by breathing asbestos when he was younger.
     Mr. Harper’s stumping, however, sparked renewed pressure on him to end Canadian production and export of the cancer-causing mineral.
     He said it’s not fair to deny a Canadian enterprise export markets for a product that’s in demand elsewhere. And he declined though to reconsider a ban on using asbestos in homes and schools.
     'We have no plans to do that but chrysotile, specifically, is permitted internationally under conditions of safe and controlled use,' Mr. Harper said. [...]
      The Conservatives [...] support the industry. Ottawa funds an asbestos industry lobby group and fights international efforts to restrict trade in asbestos.
     'The science is indisputable that all asbestos is deadly. Not a single reputable authority supports your claim that chrysotile asbestos can be safely used,' the Rideau Institute's Kathleen Ruff said in the letter on behalf of more than 15 activist groups. 'Canada is becoming known as an immoral asbestos pusher and as an enemy of global public health. This is not the role Canadians want to play in the world.'"
— Steven Chase, The Globe and Mail

"Canada is the world’s biggest hypocrite when it comes to asbestos."

"In recent years, numerous studies have documented the anticipated rise in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases over the next several decades in Asia. One recent study, in the Journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, said that Asia, with its large, developing countries, currently accounts for about 64% of the world’s asbestos use. This represents a steady increase -- the continent accounted for a 33% share from 1971 to 2000, and 14% from 1920 to 1970. [...]
     Many public health experts, such as [Dr. Arthur] Frank of Drexel University, have called for a ban on asbestos exports to Asia. Last year, Frank led a group of 120 medical doctors and other health professionals in a campaign to stop Canada from exporting asbestos to developing nations. Canada, which has largely banned asbestos for domestic use, is the second-largest exporter of asbestos to Asia, behind only Russia.
     In an appeal to Canadian medical experts, Frank and his colleagues warned that Canada is morally obligated to consider the 'enormous harm to health for generations,' if the exports continue – a plea that so far has gone unheeded.
     In the recent interview, Frank reiterated the urgency to stop developed nations such as Canada from exporting asbestos to the Third World, along with the need for Asian nations to ban asbestos and start using available non-lethal substitutes.
     'What needs to be done is very simple,' Frank told me. 'They should stop using asbestos in Asia.'
     However, this is unlikely to happen as long as established countries continue to chase the profits from exporting the carcinogen. 'Canada is the world’s biggest hypocrite when it comes to asbestos,' said Frank. 'It is taking it (asbestos) out of Parliament buildings but willing to sell it overseas.' [It] has banned the use of asbestos domestically and is scheduled to begin a $1 billion renovation project to clean its parliamentary buildings of asbestos this summer. Yet Canada remains one of the world’s biggest exporters of asbestos to the Third World."
— Gary Cohn, The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

the new dark ages (part 3)

Michelangelo's Saint Anthony Tormented by Demons
"Televangelist Pat Robertson recently made headlines for suggesting that homosexuality may be driven by 'demonic possession.' In recent years, Robertson has labeled a wide (and frequently bizarre) range of things as demonic, including: feng shui, yoga, karate, horoscopes, Twilight, paintings of Buddha, television shows about ghosts, Halloween, psychics, young girls levitating their friends at sleepovers, and (sometimes) adopted children from other countries."
— Ben Dimiero & Oliver Willis, County Fair/Media Matters

"Demonic possession is a very rare phenomenon. Although it happens more often that people realize, it is still considered rare. Science has swept away much of what used to be considered demonic possession. Diseases of the mind such as Schizophrenia, Tourette’s syndrome and various forms of psychosis were once regarded as sure-fire signs that diabolical infestation was taking place. We have come a long way over the years and many of the people suffering from the above diseases can live active lives while on medication. Many use this as proof that possession does not exist. After all, some reason, science has proven that it does not exist.
     The Church fuels this line of thinking today. In this modern era, the Church seeks to write off the devil as a concept, as opposed to being an intelligent force. However, it is flawed thinking. For openers, science does not have close to all the answers and science is always changing. What we once believed as scientific fact now comes under scrutiny itself. In addition to that, there are some very unusual manifestations that take place in demonic possession. These things cannot be explained by science and they offer no cure for them either."
— Tom Cooney, FSPP

"The following is a guide for the extraction and maintenance of unclean spirits of all types. It is designed to assist people during moments of critical spiritual attack and its aftermath. If followed, it will deliver you from the attacks of unclean spirits, and put you under the covering and protection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
     1. If you are being attacked in a dream or in person by a demon, devil, incubus, succubus, Satan, unclean spirit, unclean bird or alien, immediately cry out the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and plead the Blood of the Lamb of God. If you have the mind, say the following: 'The Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth bind, rebuke you. The Lord Adonai rebuke you. I claim the Blood of the Lamb, the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you leave. In the Name of Jesus get out!' Repeat until it leaves. It will leave.
     If you don't have the mind, let's just say you are in a complete panic or overwhelmed with a total oppressive paralyzing terror, say: 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus...' Repeat for effect. This will absolutely work. [...]
     It should also be noted that calling on the name of Solomon, Mohammed, Buddha, or Krishna is not effective. You must be specific. Use the name above all names: Jesus Christ of Nazaerth the lamb of God. Trust me on this one. An exorcism or an attack is not the place to be experimenting with names. Use Jesus Christ. He will help you.
     Never use the name of Mohammed! Mohammed and Muslims would consider that blasphemy anyway. We love Muslims and we do not want to offend them, as Paul (1 Timothy 1:13), what they do, they do in ignorance and in unbelief. Muslims are probably covered under the mercy of the Lord like Paul. Muslims can be saved like Paul also. 'There is only One God and He is God.' according to the Koran. Muslims may in fact invite jinnies of suicide, terror, and mayhem in order to conduct Jihad."
— Chris Ward, Logos Christian Fellowship


From: Retrogasm

"Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) has announced that he plans to introduce legislation to reverse the ban on incandescent light bulbs which is scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2014. The ban was included in a comprehensive energy bill that President George W. Bush signed into law in 2007 as an amendment, and was intended as a means of saving energy and limiting pollution. [...]
     'Washington needs to stop picking winners and losers in the marketplace and micromanaging how Americans live their lives,' said Senator DeMint, the lead co-sponsor of the bill. 'Americans are fully capable of choosing the best way to light their own homes and what best fits the needs and budget of their families. When Congress dictates which light bulbs folks in South Carolina must buy, it’s clear the "nanny state" mentality has gotten out of control in Washington.' "
— Daniel Sayani, The New American

"The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband. [...]
     According to opinions in the lower courts, people may be strip-searched after arrests for violating a leash law, driving without a license and failing to pay child support. Citing examples from briefs submitted to the Supreme Court, Justice Breyer wrote that people have been subjected to 'the humiliation of a visual strip search' after being arrested for driving with a noisy muffler, failing to use a turn signal and riding a bicycle without an audible bell.
     A nun was strip-searched, he wrote, after an arrest for trespassing during an antiwar demonstration."
— Adam Liptak, The New York Times

chicken feathers... again

From: jalopyjournal.com

"Hydrogen fuel cell technology is full of promise, but it's being held back by the problem of storing the dangerous gas safely and efficiently. Some U.S. scientists have been tackling this, and their solution is as ingenious as it is odd: Carbonized chicken feathers.
     The University of Delaware team realized that the protein keratin, the main ingredient in chicken feather fibers, had fabulous properties when it's heated. Basically the keratin creates very strong cross-links when it's carbonized, and the feather fibers become extremely porous, which dramatically increases their surface area. As a result, the carbonized feathers can absorb huge amounts of hydrogen into their structure."
— Kit Eaton, Fast Company

Friday, 6 April 2012

the circle of life

From: Lulososo

"In a joint study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Arizona State University found evidence suggesting that a class of antibiotics previously banned by the U.S. government for poultry production is still in use. Results of the study were published March 21 in Environmental Science & Technology.
     The study, conducted by the Bloomberg School's Center for a Livable Future and Arizona State's Biodesign Institute, looked for drugs and other residues in feather meal, a common additive to chicken, swine, cattle and fish feed. The most important drugs found in the study were fluoroquinolones — broad spectrum antibiotics used to treat serious bacterial infections in people, particularly those infections that have become resistant to older antibiotic classes."
Science Daily

"Feather Meal is the protein finished product derived from feathers. Hydrolyzed feather meal is produced in a pressure cooking rendering process. This finished product is used as a protein source for animal feed. It is one of many ingredients that a nutritionist will use to formulate a complete feed. Hydrolyzed Feather Meal is high in nitrogen and because the nitrogen is released slowly, it is useful for organic farming applications. [...]
     Non-Ruminant Animal Blood Meal is a finely ground protein product derived from avian and porcine blood. Blood Meal is used as a protein source for animal feed. It is one of many ingredients that a nutritionist will use to formulate a complete feed. This finished product is high in nitrogen and can be used in organic farming."
West Coast Reduction Ltd.

"Baytril is the brand name for a veterinary drug, enrofloxacin, of the antibiotic class of fluoroquinolones. Health Canada recently approved Baytril 100 (a specific dose of Baytril - 100 mg/mL injectable solution) for therapeutic use against bacterial respiratory disease in beef cattle. Before Baytril 100 was approved for use as a veterinary drug, a comprehensive scientific review was undertaken to assess the drug's safety, efficacy and quality. Before approval of Baytril 100, no fluoroquinolones were approved in Canada for use in food-producing animals, however, Baytril has been approved for sale in Canada for use in dogs and cats for many years. [...]
     Baytril 100 will provide veterinarians with an alternative course of treatment for bovine respiratory disease only when other available drugs are not effective.
     If fluoroquinolones are used in human medicine, with growing concerns about antimicrobial resistance (AMR), why would they be used in animals?
     It is anticipated that the use of Baytril 100 in beef cattle will be very limited. Baytril 100 is a prescription only drug, and the warning statements on the label stipulate the conditions in which it should be used. This drug should not be used in an extra-label manner, i.e., a manner that is not consistent with what is indicated on the label, package insert or product monograph. Baytril 100 will be used for treating individual relapse cases of bovine respiratory disease after initial treatments have failed."
Health Canada

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

kiddie preen

"Charles Dickens Costume" from: Victorian School

"Over the past five years, print-on-demand technology and a growing number of self-publishing companies whose books can be sold online have inspired writers of all ages to bypass the traditional gatekeeping system for determining who can call himself a 'published author.'
     They include hundreds of children and teenagers who are self-publishing books each year — a growing corner of the book world that raises as many questions about parenting as it does about publishing.
     Critics say it is wonderful to start writing at a young age, but worry that self-publishing sends the wrong message. [...]
     'What’s next?' asked the novelist Tom Robbins. 'Kiddie architects, juvenile dentists, 11-year-old rocket scientists? Any parent who thinks that the crafting of engrossing, meaningful, publishable fiction requires less talent and experience than designing a house, extracting a wisdom tooth, or supervising a lunar probe is, frankly, delusional. There are no prodigies in literature,' Mr. Robbins said. 'Literature requires experience, in a way that mathematics and music do not.'"
— Elissa Gootman, The New York Times

shut up, run away, drop dead

From: Modern Mechanix

"They called him ‘Death Ray Matthews.’ It wasn’t a name he chose for himself, but of all the inventions Harry Grindell Matthews was known for, it was the death ray for which he was both feted and vilified. Was he a charismatic mixture of visionary and charlatan, or an ignored and embittered inventor who could have shortened both World Wars? Whatever the answer, his story is a fascinating one, not least because it brings into sharp focus how the British Government viewed fortean ideas in the early years of the 20th century."
— Dr David Clarke and Andy Roberts, Fortean Times

"The Active Denial System (ADS) beams a high-frequency, man-sized electromagnetic wave 1,000 meters.
     A person affected by ADS feels a sudden blast of heat that many compare to opening a very hot oven. The target feels pain and reflexively steps or runs away. During the presentation US servicemen managed to immediately disperse a group of disguised marines who played the role of an aggressive crowd.
     The US military say this weapon’s injury risk is far lower than other weapons like rubber bullets or pepper spray. The ray does not cause cancer or exacerbate existing cancer, nor does it causes fertility problems or birth defects. That is according to Stephanie Miller, with the biological effects branch of the    Air Force Research Laboratory as quoted by Stars and Stripes web edition.
     She also said the weapon has been tested on more than 11,000 people, and in just two of those cases, it caused second-degree burns."
The European Union Times

"It will not cause the person pain, but it will stress them into shutting up - recreating an uncomfortable feeling that most people will have experienced when they hear their own voice echo back to them during a phone call or on Skype.
     'In general, human speech is jammed by giving back to the speakers their own utterances at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds,' the scientists say in a new research paper for the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tskuba and at Ochanomizu University, both in Japan.
     'This effect can disturb people without any physical discomfort, and disappears immediately by stop speaking.'"
— Martin Robinson, The Daily Mail
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