A River Runs Red in China

Last week, a river in Wenzhou that was once considered to be clean enough to drink from mysteriously turned bright red.

red-river-china-140728

Via Tech Times:

The river is located at Wenzhou, a popular town in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. The place is bordered on the three sides with mountains while the front faces the Pacific Ocean. Residents are proud of their place particularly with the river which they describe as one of the healthiest and cleanest rivers in their province. This was attributed to the fact that there are no factories found along the river’s banks.

Residents claim that prior to the incident, the river thrives in marine life as they can easily catch fish in it. It is so clean that one can even safely drink the water which normally tastes good.

According to the residents, it was the first time that they’ve seen the river change its color.

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Did YouTube Copyright Rules Help to Silence Activists?

Activists love putting up their videos on YouTube (Luke Rudkowski, for example), but the video-sharing site’s copyright rules aren’t always favorable to activists, reports New Media Rockstars:

File this under “dirty tricks” if you’re the sort of person who files things! The Australian environmental activist group Get Up! is claiming that its opponents have exploited YouTube’s copyright policies in a sneaky attempt to silence them. The group, which campaigns for various social and environmental causes, suggests that an anti-coal video they produced may have been pulled from their channel by a strategically timed copyright claim just before a critical vote on the issue.

The video was allegedly produced by Get Up! to educate the public about a proposed coal transportation facility that could potentially endanger part of the Great Barrier Reef. The video highlights other environmental abuses by Adani, the energy conglomerate that would own and operate the expanded facility.

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The Downfall of Domino’s Mascot: The Noid

The bizarre and tragic story of Domino’s successful (unsuccessful?) marketing campaign in the 1980′s.

The Noid

The Noid

via Priceonomics:

During this period of rapid growth, Domino’s Pizza set an industry precedent that would prove critical to their success: they guaranteed that if a customer didn’t receive his pizza within 30 minutes of placing the order, it’d be free. Domino’s executives hired an external marketing firm, Group 243, to promote this new promise. The result? The “Noid.”

A troll-like creature, the Noid was outfitted in a skin-tight red onesie with rabbit-like ears and buck-teeth. Will Vinton, whose studio animated the creature, described it as a “physical manifestation of all the challenges inherent in getting a pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less.” Its name, a play on “annoyed,” was an indication of its nature: many considered the Noid to be one of the most obnoxious mascots of all time. Throughout the late 80s, Domino’s ran a series of commercials in which the Noid set about attempting to make life an utter hell for pizza consumers:

Then, right at the height of his popularity, the Noid endured perhaps the worst mascot PR in history.

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The Hidden Systems That Have Frozen Time and Stop Us Changing The World

Adam curtis.jpg

A tremendous essay from filmmaker (The Power of Nightmares, The Century of the Self) Adam Curtis for the BBC is a must read for all disinfonauts:

If you are an American politician today, as well as an entourage you also have a new, modern addition. You have what’s called a “digital tracker”. They follow you everywhere with a high-definition video camera, and they are employed by the people who want to destroy your political career.

It’s called “opposition research” and the aim is to constantly record everything you say and do. The files are sent back every night to large anonymous offices in Washington where dozens of researchers systematically compare everything you said today with what you said in the past.

They are looking for contradictions. And if they find one – they feed it, and the video evidence, to the media.

On one hand it’s old politics – digging up the dirt on your opponent.

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USA Today Whips Up Fear of Ebola In United States

With a headline that Ebola is “only a plane ride away” from the United States, the lowest common denominator newspaper USA Today sounds increasingly like a British tabloid:

The growing Ebola outbreak in West Africa serves as a grim reminder that deadly viruses are only a plane ride away from the USA, health experts say.

The outbreak is the largest and deadliest on record, with more than 670 deaths and more than 1,200 infections in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fatality rates for Ebola have been as high as 90% in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

The virus — which has an incubation period of a few days to three weeks — could easily travel to the USA through infected travelers, says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

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Fake Birth Control in Peru

The organization, Prosalud Interamericana, worried that emergency contraception pills being sold in Peru were not, in fact, birth control pills at all. They investigated and what they found was disturbing: 1 out of 4 pills was a generic antibiotic.

A split dose of two emergency contraceptive pills (most are now provided as one single-dose pill). [photo by Anka Grzywacz]

A split dose of two emergency contraceptive pills (most are now provided as one single-dose pill). [photo by Anka Grzywacz]

via Popular Science:

As a traditionally Catholic country, Peru has been slower than most to accept contraceptives. Over the past decade, most citizens’ ideology has gradually stretched to accommodate the need for birth control, but emergency contraception (AKA the “morning after” pill) is still highly controversial in Peru. Although some question the pill on moral grounds, others are starting to question it based on sinister scientific findings: some of the pills are not the pill.

With a growing number of “verified” emergency contraceptives being registered in Peru over the past few years, leaders of Prosalud Interamericana, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about sexual health, became suspicious that some of the birth control being sold in Peruvian pharmacies was not the pill described on the packaging.

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Natural News: A Truly Deadly Brand of Pseudoscience?

What do you make of Mike Adams and his Natural News site, disinfonauts? Big Think has a very negative take:

If there was an award for the single greatest hub of pseudoscience on the internet, the website Natural News would well and truly take the crown tin foil hat. Expect to find anti-vaccine paranoia which extends not only to your garden variety antivaxxer favorites such as the debunked link to autism but to crackpot claims that vaccines caused the “cancer epidemic” and were even responsible for the “origin” of AIDS. According to Natural NewsMicrosoft is developing “eugenics vaccines that target specific races and nationalities with infertility-inducing pharmaceuticals“. Alongside this you’ll also find full blown AIDS denialism (emphasis mine):

1-Aids-Denialism
HIV does NOT cause AIDSHIV does not cause anything. A staggering statement given the hype and acceptance by the scientific establishment and, through them, the public that the HIV virus is the only cause of AIDS. HIV is a weak virus and does not dismantle the immune system.

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EPA to Host Four Public Hearings on Climate Change Reduction

mokestack of Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Facility waste-to-energy plant.

Smokestack of Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Facility waste-to-energy plant.

And yet another battle in the climate change arena.

via EcoWatch:

This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will host four public hearings on its plan to reduce climate change pollution from power plants. The speakers list is already filling up. Physicians will outline the health hazards linked to climate change. Farmers will talk about the challenges of raising crops in the face of extreme weather. And governors and mayors will describe the benefits of attracting clean energy investment to their communities.

Many people will testify in favor of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. This should come as no surprise considering 7 in 10 Americans view global warming as a serious problem and want the federal government to reduce the pollution that causes it, according to a recent ABC News poll.

But the hearings will also attract another group of speakers: representatives from the American Coal Council, Americans for Prosperity and other dirty industries.

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Oldest Medical Report of Near-Death Experience Discovered

What an amazing thrift store find.

Cover of the book "Anecdotes de Médecine," by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux (1733-1766) Credit: Archive.org - Book contributor: Fisher - University of Toronto. Digitizing sponsored by University of Ottawa

Cover of the book “Anecdotes de Médecine,” by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux (1733-1766)
Credit: Archive.org – Book contributor: Fisher – University of Toronto. Digitizing sponsored by University of Ottawa

via Live Science:

Reports of people having “near-death” experiences go back to antiquity, but the oldest medical description of the phenomenon may come from a French physician around 1740, a researcher has found.

The report was written by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux, a military physician from northern France, who described a case of near-death experience in his book “Anecdotes de Médecine.” Monchaux speculated that too much blood flow to the brain could explain the mystical feelings people report after coming back to consciousness.

The description was recently found by Dr. Phillippe Charlier, a medical doctor and archeologist, who is well known in France for his forensic work on the remains of historical figures. Charlier unexpectedly discovered the medical description in a book he had bought for 1 euro (a little more than $1) in an antique shop.

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