The Gympie-Gympie Tree Has an Insanely Painful Sting

Have you ever known anyone stung by the Gympie-Gympie tree? It sounds horrifying — the pain can last for up to several months with reocurrences for years afterwards.

Sumitra writes at Oddity Central:

‘Gympie-Gympie’ is hardly the name you’d expect for a stinging-tree. It looks quite harmless too, but in reality, the Gympie-Gympie is one of the most venomous plants in the world. Commonly found in the rainforest areas of north-eastern Australia, the Moluccas and Indonesia, it is known to grow up to one to two meters in height.

In fact, the Gympie-Gympie sting is so dangerous that it has been known to kill dogs, horses and humans alike. If you’re lucky enough to survive, you  only feel excruciating pain that can last several months and reoccur for years. Even a dry specimen can inflict pain, almost a hundred years after being picked!

With the exception of its roots, every single part of the deadly tree – its heart shaped leaves, its stem and its pink/purple fruit – is covered with tiny stinging hairs shaped like hypodermic needles.

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Politicians or central bankers: who runs the world?

401(K) 2012 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

401(K) 2012 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Mark Beeson, University of Western Australia

Global governance sounds like a good idea. Solving the sorts of “collective action problems” that are an inescapable part of geographically dispersed activities – especially economic ones – is something only some sort of supranational authority can do.

Until relatively recently we looked primarily to states to provide the institutional and legal infrastructure that allowed people to conduct commercial relationships with strangers. Now, when economic activities and relationships are increasingly transnational, states cannot provide such a regulatory framework – or they can’t on their own, at least.

Not all states are alike, of course, and some have a much greater capacity to influence the way economic activities are conducted, especially within national borders, than others. But even the most powerful states are now subjected to pressures and constraints that they’ve never faced before.

True, the US still exerts more influence over the structure and practices of the international economic system than anyone else, but even the world’s current hegemon finds its power constrained.… Read the rest

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Texas woman claims Bigfoot just had a baby

JD Hancock (CC BY 2.0)

JD Hancock (CC BY 2.0)

The woman from Texas, Brenda, claims (via Cryptozoology News):

“We didn’t know what was going on until just a few years ago. At first, we found the house that they were living in. My husband and I didn’t know what it was, and he kind of joked at me about it… at that time we didn’t realize it was a Bigfoot. Since then, our property had a fire, it burned down, so we moved a mile and a half from where we knew they were into another house. Little did we know that we were just coming into a family of them,” she told Coast to Coast guest host Dave Schrader late Friday in an open-line phone call made to the nightly radio show.

“They throw rocks on the house, I hear them talking. People thought I was crazy, but I know what I heard.

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Depression may result from “hyperactivity” in “the disappointment circuit” of the brain

Gerald Gabernig (CC By 2.0)

Gerald Gabernig (CC By 2.0)

Dr Jeremy Dean writes at PsyBlog:

People who are depressed may have hyperactivity in a part of the brain known as ‘the disappointment circuit’, a new study finds.

Scientists led by Professor Roberto Malinow of the University of California, San Diego, found what could amount to an antidote to feeling let-down.

The study focused on a part of the brain called the lateral habenula, which has been linked to the feeling of disappointment which follows from the absence of an expected reward.

Professor Roberto Malinow, who led the study, said:

“The idea that some people see the world as a glass half empty has a chemical basis in the brain.

What we have found is a process that may dampen the brain’s sensitivity to negative life events.”

The neuroscientists found that this area, unlike almost any other in the brain, produces neurotransmitters which both ramp up and damp down brain activity.

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How the CIA made Google

Patrick Barry (CC BY 2.0)

Patrick Barry (CC BY 2.0)

Nafeez Ahmed writes at Medium:

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world.

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Rapper Tiny Doo Facing Long Prison Sentence Over Lyrics

So now you can go to prison because of the lyrics of a song? In California, the answer may be “yes” reports CNN:

Song lyrics that glorify violence are hardly uncommon. But a prosecutor in California says one rapper’s violent lyrics go beyond creative license to conspiracy.

San Diego-based rapper Tiny Doo has already spent eight months in prison, and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted under a little-known California statute that makes it illegal to benefit from gang activities.

The statute in question is California Penal Code 182.5. The code makes it a felony for anyone to participate in a criminal street gang, have knowledge that a street gang has engaged in criminal activity, or benefit from that activity.

It’s that last part — benefiting from criminal activity — that prosecutors are going after the rapper for.

Tiny Doo, whose real name is Brandon Duncan, faces nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy because prosecutors allege he and 14 other alleged gang members increased their stature and respect following a rash of shootings in the city in 2013.

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Banker Suicides Continue

ABN AMRO4.jpg

ABN AMRO headquarters in Amsterdam.

Last year we ran stories about the unusually high number of suicides among bankers. The trend is continuing in 2015, reports ZeroHedge, with the death of a “cheerful” Dutch playboy financier making it four suicides at one bank alone, ABN Amro:

Following the deaths of 36 bankers last year, 2015 has got off to an inauspicious start with the reported suicide of Chris Van Eeghen – the 4th ABN Amro banker suicide in the last few years. As Quotenet reports, the death of Van Eghen  – the head of ABN’s corporate finance and capital markets -“startled” friends and colleagues as the 42-year-old “had a great reputation” at work, came from an “illustrious family,” and enjoyed national fame briefly as the boyfriend of a famous actress/model. As one colleague noted,

“he was always cheerful, good mood, and apparently he had everything your heart desired. He never sat in the pit, never was down, so I was extremely surprised.

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Tangerine Dream Founder Edgar Froese Dead at 70

Ralf Roletschek via Wikimedia Commons.

Ralf Roletschek via Wikimedia Commons.

Daniel Kreps writes at Rolling Stone:

Edgar Froese, founding member and keyboardist of the long-running band Tangerine Dream and an electronic music pioneer, passed away after suffering a pulmonary embolism on January 20th. Froese was 70.

“This is a message to you we are very sorry for… On January 20th, Tuesday afternoon, Edgar Froese suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from the effects of a pulmonary embolism in Vienna,” the band posted on Facebook Friday afternoon. “The sadness in our hearts is immensely. Edgar once said: ‘There is no death, there is just a change of our cosmic address.’ Edgar, this is a little comfort to us.”

Formed in 1967 in West Berlin and born out of the same Krautrock scene that produced Kraftwerk, Cluster, Neu! and Can, Tangerine Dream’s 1970 debut LP Electronic Meditation, which featured fellow electronic music giant Klaus Schulz, shared many of the same musical qualities as their German peers.

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Secret TPP Negotiations—And Public Protests—To Be Held in New York City

Expect vocal opponents to the New World Order to show up in New York this coming week to protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, warns EFF:

The next round of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations begins this Monday, January 26, and runs through the following week at the Sheraton New York Time Square Hotel in downtown Manhattan. As with many previous TPP meetings, the public will be shut out of talks as negotiators convene behind closed doors to decide binding rules that could impact how our lawmakers set digital policy in the decades to come. Big content industry interests have been given privileged access to negotiating texts and have driven the US Trade Representative’s mandate when it comes to copyright—which is why the TPP carries extreme copyright measures that ignore users’ rights.

Stop TPPA rally. (15550752528).jpg

Protest against TPP in New Zealand. Photo: Neil Ballantyne (CC)

 

Some claim that this could be the final official round of TPP negotiations.

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Read The Very First Comic Book: The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck

 

Obadiah Oldbuck

Via Open Culture.com

Comic books, as any enthusiast of comics books won’t hesitate to tell you, have a long and robust history, one that extends far wider and deeper than the 20th-century caped musclemen, carousing teenagers, and wisecracking animals so many associate with the medium. The scholarship on comic-book history — still a relatively young field, you understand — has more than once revised its conclusions on exactly how far back its roots go, but as of now, the earliest acknowledged comic book dates to 1837.

The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck, according to thecomicbooks.com’s page on early comic-book history, “was done by Switzerland’s Rudolphe Töpffer, who has been considered in Europe (and starting to become here in America) as the creator of the picture story. He created the comic strip in 1827,” going on to create comic books “that were extremely successful and reprinted in many different languages; several of them had English versions in America in 1846.

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