Is Earth Heading For Another Mass Extinction?

PIC: InSapphoWeTrust (CC_

PIC: InSapphoWeTrust (CC_

John Feffer writes at Foreign Policy in Focus:

Video games usually provide you with multiple lives. If you step on a landmine or get hit by an assassin, you get another chance. Even if such virtual reincarnation is not built into the rules of the game, you can always reboot and start over again. You can try again hundreds of times until you get it right. This formula applies to first-person shooter games as well as simulation exercises like SimEarth.

The real Earth offers a similar kind of reboot. Catastrophe has hit our planet at least five times, as Elizabeth Kolbert explains in her new book, The Sixth Extinction. During each of these preceding wipeouts, the planet recovered, though many of the life forms residing in the seas or on land were not so fortunate (“many” is actually an understatement—more than 99 percent of all species died out in these cataclysms).

Read the rest

Continue Reading

3D Printing’s Killer App? Sex Toys!

What’s going to make a 3D printer an essential home appliance? Sex toys, that’s what! Pando Daily dissects a report from UK retailer Pink Rocket:

For a week in December 2012, a store popped up in New York called 3DEA. For $250 men could get a 3D scan of their manhood, which would be sent to the New York Toy Collective who would then create a truly one-of-a-kind sex toy. A Christmas gift for the lady that really does have it all…

It turns out that while everyone was declaring 3D printing to be too simple for much practical use now, its ability to replicate objects precisely in one solid piece is more than enough for it to start having big relevancy in the sex toy industry, at least according to UK-based retailer Pink Rocket’s new Sex Toys & 3D Printing report.

sex toys 3d

Given that vibrators are 145-years old this year and the first blow-up doll went on sale 110-years ago, it fits with history that the adult industry would be an early adopter of 3D printing.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Peoria Mayor Uses Police Department To Raid House Over Parody Twitter Account

341px-Twitter_logo.svgAaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

Last week, Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis finally became fed up with a suspended parody Twitter account and enacted swift justice against his would-be social media detractors. Ardis filed a criminal complaint regarding the nefarious internet ne’er-do-well behind @Peoriamayor, who tweeted some 50 times to followers about the mayor’s unverified and supposed drug use and association with prostitutes.

Twitter suspended the account in March, which was marked as a parody a week before it ended, but Ardis understood a social media slight was comparable to lawless anarchy. Realizing a relatively unknown Twitter feed might destroy his reputation as an important civic leader, Ardis made sure the Peoria Police took care of the Internet miscreants. Peoria police executed a search warrant and raided a home in connection with the account, detained several people for questioning and seized computers and smart phones.

“They brought me in like I was a criminal,” Michelle Pratt told the Peoria Journal Star.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Chelsea Manning’s Statement on Her Legal Name Change

PIC: How Chelsea Manning sees herself. Portrait by Alicia Neal, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support (C)

PIC: How Chelsea Manning sees herself. Portrait by Alicia Neal, commissioned by the Chelsea Manning Support (C)

Chelsea Manning writes:

Today is an exciting day. A judge in the state of Kansas has officially ordered my name to be changed from “Bradley Edward Manning” to “Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.” I’ve been working for months for this change, and waiting for years.

It’s worth noting that in both mail and in-person, I’ve often been asked, “Why are you changing your name?” The answer couldn’t be simpler: because it’s a far better, richer, and more honest reflection of who I am and always have been –a woman named Chelsea.

But there is another question I’ve been asked nearly as much, “why are you making this request of the Leavenworth district court?” This is a more complicated question, but the short answer is simple: because I have to.

Unfortunately, the trans* community faces three major obstacles to living a normal life in America: identity documentation, gender segregated institutions, and access to healthcare.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

An Inside Look at the NSA With Whistleblower William Binney (Part 1 of 2)

Via We Are Change

In this video WeAreChange gets an unique inside look at inner workings and evolution of the NSA with NSA Whistleblower William Binney. Binney describes his work with the National Security Agency which ultimately ended in federal agents raiding his home and drawing rifles on him. Part One of WeAreChange’s in-depth conversation with a former high ranking NSA intelligence officer turned whistleblower.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

‘Hero’ Cliven Bundy Wants to Tell You Something About ‘The Negro’

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 12.03.36 PMCliven Bundy’s stand-off with federal agents over cattle grazing on government-owned land has been an incredibly contentious topic here and elsewhere. Many see him as a hero, and others a thief of public resources. Since proclaiming victory against the feds, he’s been holding press conferences, and his comments in the latest one seem to have even his supporters scratching their heads.

Via New York Times:

But if the federal government has moved on, Mr. Bundy — a father of 14 and a registered Republican — has not.

He said he would continue holding a daily news conference; on Saturday, it drew one reporter and one photographer, so Mr. Bundy used the time to officiate at what was in effect a town meeting with supporters, discussing, in a long, loping discourse, the prevalence of abortion, the abuses of welfare and his views on race.

Mr. Bundy flies the U.S. flag and his friends acknowledge the national anthem but refuse to pay for the use of public lands.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

In Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide: How Christianity Came to Armenia, Myth vs. Fact, Two Tales from a Priest

Jean-Léon_Gérôme_-_The_Christian_Martyrs'_Last_Prayer_-_Walters_37113_thumbvia chycho

Last year, in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide, I shared a story from my father. This year, I would like to share the account of how Christianity came to Armenia as told by a priest.

A few years ago I attended an Armenian dinner function. A number of friends and family were in attendance including two Armenian priests. As usual, the conversations were lively and the food and drinks abundant – merriment and passionately uninhibited exchange of ideas is the norm in these gatherings.

Post dinner, while everyone was taking delight in what appeared to be an endless supply of sweets and bottomless cups of coffee and tea, one of the priests asked a question: “who here knows how and why Armenians adopted Christianity?”

All Armenians, even the atheists, are aware and will proudly share the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church “is the world’s oldest national church”; Armenia being “the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in AD 301.” That Etchmiadzin is considered to be “the oldest cathedral in the world”, and that the Armenian Christian order is unique on the religious landscape and has thus been granted stewardship of a quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Should a Chimp Be Able to Sue Its Owner?

This could change everything! Walk me now or I sue…

This excerpt from the New York Times Magazine picks up after Steven Wise visits a chimpanzee named Tommy at Circle L Trailer Sales near Gloversville, N.Y.:

…Seven weeks later, on Dec. 2, Wise, a 63-year-old legal scholar in the field of animal law, strode with his fellow lawyers, Natalie Prosin, the executive director of the Nonhuman Rights Project (Nh.R.P.), and Elizabeth Stein, a New York-based animal-law expert, into the clerk’s office of the Fulton County Courthouse in Johnstown, N.Y., 10 miles from Circle L Trailer Sales, wielding multiple copies of a legal document the likes of which had never been seen in any of the world’s courts, no less conservative Fulton County’s.

Under the partial heading “The Nonhuman Rights Project Inc. on behalf of Tommy,” the legal memo and petition included among their 106 pages a detailed account of the “petitioner’s” solitary confinement “in a small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed”; and a series of nine affidavits gathered from leading primatologists around the world, each one detailing the cognitive capabilities of a being like Tommy, thereby underscoring the physical and psychological ravages he suffers in confinement.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Scientists: The Bigger the Meat, The More Likely She’ll Cheat

PIC: Mykl Roventine (CC)

PIC: Mykl Roventine (CC)

Well, they didn’t exactly put it that way, but…

Via Huffington Post:

Contrary to popular belief, a new study out of Kenya found that husbands with larger penises were more likely to be cheated on by their wives (shocking, we know).

For the study — published this month in PLOSOne — researchers interviewed 545 married couples in Kenya in order to better understand their relationship habits and, more specifically, to identify factors which contributed to women having extramarital affairs.

Researchers asked both partners to self-report the male’s erect penis size (they had a 15 inch ruler on hand for reference). Then, if there were differences between the estimates (which there were), they either took the average of the two or went with the estimate from the partner who was less likely to fib.

What they found was rather shocking:

“Every one inch longer penis increased the likelihood of women being involved in extra-marital partnership by almost one-and-half times,” the researchers wrote.

Read the rest

Continue Reading