Obama Admits That CIA Tortured ‘Some Folks’

Still from "Doctors of the Dark Side"

Still from “Doctors of the Dark Side”

Many Americans have called foul over the CIA torture program but up till now the US Government has steadfastly denied using interrogation techniques that were really torture. The documentary film Doctors of the Dark Side, for one, horrifyingly showed the complicity of American doctors and medical professionals in designing these torture techniques for the CIA and military. Now President Obama is finally admitting that it truly was torture, reports ABC News:

President Obama today admitted the CIA tortured al Qaeda detainees after the 9/11 attacks, saying “we did some things that were contrary to our values.”

“We tortured some folks,” the president told reporters at the White House, ahead of the release of a Senate report on enhanced interrogation techniques.

In a rare reflection on the practices that he banned after taking office, the president said, “I understand why it happened” and underscored the tremendous pressure that national security officials were under in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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Polish Priest Says He’s Receiving Text Messages From The Devil

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto

Illustration of the Devil in the Codex Gigas, folio 270 recto

I wish they would trace the number.

via The Austrian Times:

A Polish priest claims he has been getting hate texts – from a demon.

Parish priest Father Marian Rajchel from Jaroslaw, a town in south-eastern Poland, said he started getting the texts after carrying out an exorcism on a teenage girl.

But he said that the attempt to drive out the devil from the girl’s soul clearly failed, and that it was now using the teenager to attack him by using mobile phone messages.

He told local media: “The author of these texts is an evil spirit who has possessed her soul.”

He said that the devil and his followers were not shy about using modern technology but that in many cases their actions were not identified as being the work of evil.

He said: “Often the owners of mobile phones are not even aware that they are been used like this, however in this case it is clear.”

He said one of the text messages read: “She will not come out of this hell.

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Art From the Caddisfly

Gorgeous.

via This Is Colossal:

caddis-gif-2

Right now, in almost every river in the world, some 12,000 different species of caddisfly larvae wriggle and crawl through sediment, twigs, and rocks in an attempt to build temporary aquatic cocoons. To do this, the small, slow-moving creatures excrete silk from salivary glands near their mouths which they use like mortar to stick together almost every available material into a cozy tube. A few weeks later a fully developed caddisfly emerges and almost immediately flies away.

After first learning about caddisflies, self-taught (and self-professed amateur) artist Hubert Duprat had a thought. Had a caddisfly ever naturally encountered a fleck of gold in a river and used it to build a home? And then one step further: what if a caddisfly had only gold and other precious stones or jewels to work with?

drupat-9

Trichoptères, French for the scientific name of the caddisfly, is Duprat’s answer to that question.

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A Letter to George Orwell from a High School Student

The Library of Congress hosts a national reading and writing program (Letters about Literature) that invites students in grades 4-12 to write letters to an author – living or deceased. Here’s one such letter from Devi Acharya in Missouri.

via The Library of Congress blog:

George Orwell

George Orwell

To George Orwell:

You were right, you were right, you were right. I’m sorry I never saw it before, and I feel like an idiot, sitting here and penning this to you when you were so unspeakably right. You shouldn’t have published those books of yours under the guise of fiction—how could fiction be what’s happening outside my very doorstep! People get so worked up, angry at some imaginary oppressive tyrant when the very dystopias we fear and loathe are being built around us. I’m only just beginning to see them myself—brick and mortar meant to keep worlds apart, shields of hatred and arrows of intolerance, warlords arming for battle while the unwitting peasants continue to live from day to day.

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Largest Living Organism is Not the Blue Whale

The largest living organism, once considered to be the blue whale, might not be what you expect. The discovery of a giant fungus in Oregon has claimed the prize.

W.J.Pilsak (Walter J. Pilsak, Waldsassen)

W.J.Pilsak (Walter J. Pilsak, Waldsassen)

via Scientific American:

The discovery of this giant Armillaria ostoyae in 1998 heralded a new record holder for the title of the world’s largest known organism, believed by most to be the 110-foot- (33.5-meter-) long, 200-ton blue whale. Based on its current growth rate, the fungus is estimated to be 2,400 years old but could be as ancient as 8,650 years, which would earn it a place among the oldest living organisms as well.

A team of forestry scientists discovered the giant after setting out to map the population of this pathogenic fungus in eastern Oregon. The team paired fungal samples in petri dishes to see if they fused (see photo below), a sign that they were from the same genetic individual, and used DNA fingerprinting to determine where one individual fungus ended.

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Were Siberia’s Mystery Craters Caused by Explosive Methane Releases?

Screen-Shot-2014-07-19-at-8.47.14-AM-640x381Uh oh…

Via News.co.au:

The end of the world could be starting right now — in a frozen Siberian wasteland known as Yamal. It translates as “The End of the Land”.

The first mysterious crater was spotted by oil workers earlier this month. It was an 80m wide cavern that reached deep into the earth.

Since then, the Siberian Times reports goatherds have found a further two enormous vents in the ground.

Russian researchers have returned from their investigation of the first find and taken water and soil samples to help resolve how the hole was formed. Some say aliens. Some say they’re “hellmouths” — gateways to the undead.

But scientists already have a pretty good idea.

Explosive vents of vast quantities of methane gas.

Now a new, ominous, name could be attached to them: Dragon’s mouths.

Here’s where a blog posted by American professor in glaciology Dr Jason Box at the weekend comes in: “The dragon breath hypothesis has me losing sleep.”

THE DRAGON’S BURP

Dr Box highlights signs of alarmingly huge spikes of methane being released into the atmosphere above Siberia.

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Atheist TV Channel Launches

atheist tvWell I don’t see why there shouldn’t be Atheist TV, considering the proliferation of Christian and other religious television channels. Plus atheists can be just as rigid and dogmatic as religious extremists… From the New York Times:

Atheists are angry, and watch out, because now they have a television channel.

This week the organization American Atheists announced the premiere of Atheist TV, available through the streaming service Roku and over the Internet. That news will certainly prompt assorted knee-jerk reactions in some quarters, and perhaps some confusion:

“Atheist TV? It’ll be full of incest and smut and debaucheries of all kinds. Oh, wait; that’s HBO.”

“Atheist TV? It’ll be nonstop mockery of conservative Christians and Republicans and Middle America. Oh, wait; that’s Comedy Central.”

“Atheist TV? It’ll be godless wiccans and flesh-eating zombies and serial killers and all manner of other people who lack the Judeo-Christian morals that built America.

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Why We Can’t Wage War on Drugs

“The war on drugs was always a war against an idea. But ideas have a shelf-life, too, and this one has lost its potency,” writes Mike Jay at Aeon:

When the US President Richard Nixon announced his ‘war on drugs’ in 1971, there was no need to define the enemy. He meant, as everybody knew, the type of stuff you couldn’t buy in a drugstore. Drugs were trafficked exclusively on ‘the street’, within a subculture that was immediately identifiable (and never going to vote for Nixon anyway). His declaration of war was for the benefit the majority of voters who saw these drugs, and the people who used them, as a threat to their way of life. If any further clarification was needed, the drugs Nixon had in his sights were the kind that was illegal.

Nixon and Kissinger - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency.jpg
Nixon and Kissinger – Flickr – The Central Intelligence Agency” by The Central Intelligence AgencyNixon and Kissinger.

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Issue Two of The Nexian – Official E-Zine of the DMT-Nexus

This one is research themed and features an interview with Rick Strassman:

The Nexian publishing collective is delighted to announce the release of Issue Two of TheCOVER IMAGE Nexian! This issue places an emphasis on psychedelic research in its myriad of forms. Given this theme and the focus of this e-zine, we have dedicated a special section of this issue to the late Alexander Shulgin. We hope you will find as much inspiration in reading Issue Two as we found producing it.

With members of the DMT-Nexus stepping up to make terrific contributions in arenas including the sustainable sourcing of psychedelic plants, comprehensive harm reduction, and examinations of psychedelics and culture, this issue truly has something for everyone. In Issue Two you will find topics ranging from underground psychedelic research, to sanctioned psychedelic research, to surprising revelations that, according to the Controlled Substances Act, America’s citrus growers may be running the largest drug production ring in the world, and much, much more!… Read the rest

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