Explainer: why do landslides happen and why are they so devastating?

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Mark Hounslow, Lancaster University

Landslides don’t attract the same media attention as more familiar geological hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes. And yet they can be just as disastrous and, in fact, 2014 has been a particularly bad year.

In Hiroshima, Japan, a series of landslides has left 39 people confirmed dead and a further 52 missing. In March a hillside collapsed in Washington state, US, leaving 43 dead, and in May massive mudslides in Afghanistan caused several thousand deaths. In early August, landslides in Nepal left almost 200 dead or missing.

Landslides can vary greatly in speed, water content and size. Different landslides can look very different and can vary greatly in their destructive power – size is not everything. Nevertheless, they pose a significant hazard to human life, buildings and transport routes.… Read the rest

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Bill Nye Fights Back

What do you think of Bill Nye, the science guy, disinfonauts? He’s profiled as an heroic but beleaguered underdog by Popular Science:

“Let’s say that I am, through my actions, doomed, and that I will go to hell,” Bill Nye said. He was prepping for a Super Bowl party and making pizza dough from a recipe given to him by his friend, Bob Picardo, who played The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager. He ducked beneath the countertop, pulled out a KitchenAid mixer and a bag of flour, and then returned to the topic at hand, which was religion and science and what he believed.

Bill Nye

“Even if I am going to hell,” he continued, “that still doesn’t mean the Earth is 6,000 years old. The facts just don’t reconcile.” He turned back to the mixer, sighed, and slumped a little. For a moment, Nye looked weary at the thought of ill-informed parents undoing his life’s work.

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What exactly is “Boredom”? An interview with filmmaker Albert Nerenberg

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Filmmaker of Disinfo’s Boredom, Albert Nerenberg, recently did an interview on Wisconsin’s Public Radio. It’s pretty interesting, especially if you haven’t seen the film. Unfortunately, there was no embed link, so you’ll have to go to the site to hear it.

Also, don’t forget to send in your nominations for the American Boring Awards.

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What happens when your vagina is broadcast on national TV?

Jessie Nizewitz, left. VH1

Jessie Nizewitz, left.
VH1

via Think Progress:

Jessie Nizewitz knew she was going to be naked on the VH1 dating reality show Dating Naked. But she didn’t think she’d be, you know, naked. She anticipated, and was allegedly promised multiple times, kosher-for-cable nudity, with anything a bikini would block blurred for air.

In an episode that aired July 31, Nizewitz play-wrestled on the beach with her date. And everything below Nizewitz’s waist was on-screen, unblurred. The episode is no longer available on VH1.com.

Nizewitz is suing Viacom for ten million dollars. The full complaint is available online, and it is quite distressing:

complaintSS1

Her complaint alleges she was “continually promised” that “all frontal and genital nudity would be blurred out,” and that she was also “strongly encouraged” to engage in the wrestling session. In perhaps the most cringe-inducing line, the lawsuit goes on to say that “Defendants knew or reasonable should have known that they did not have consent from Plantiff to broadcast her vagina and anus on national cable television.” The saddest part is that Nizewitz requests, in addition to the money, that “all images of Plantiff’s vagina and anus” be removed “from the Internet, including but not limited to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.” Would that it were so simple to scrub an image from the internet; brave be the soul who tries to succeed where even Beyonce has failed.

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How to Change Behavior: Timothy Leary’s First Article on Psilocybin

Timothy Leary lives on the Internet

[disinfo ed.'s note: the following is an excerpt from Timothy Leary: The Harvard Years: Early Writings on LSD and Psilocybin with Richard Alpert, Huston Smith, Ralph Metzner, and others by James Penner]
Timothy Leary’s “How to Change Behavior” was presented at the International Congress of Applied Psychology in Copenhagen in August of 1961, and was also reprinted in David Solomon’s LSD: The Consciousness-Expanding Drug (1964). Leary had organized the plenary session of the International Congress; it included several distinguished speakers, including the novelist Aldous Huxley, Frank Barron of U.C. Berkeley, Richard Alpert and Henry A. Murray of Harvard, and himself. Each speaker was also an advocate of ­consciousness-expanding drugs. Psilocybin—synthesized magic mushrooms—was the drug of choice in 1961.

“How to Change Behavior” was Leary’s first full-length article after his famous virginal experience with Mexican mushrooms in Cuernavaca in August of 1960 and as such, this article represents his first major work on psychedelics.… Read the rest

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An Interview with Bertrand Russell from 1960

If your Friday calls for some philosophical discourse, I’ve got your remedy. Check out this 13 minute interview between Bertrand Russell and Woodrow Wyatt from 1960.

After posting the debate between Norman Mailer and Marshall McLuhan, I decided to hunt for some more goodies. Some of you mentioned having seen the Mailer/McLuhan piece before. So if you know of anymore videos like that and you feel so inclined to share, let me know! I’m sure the Disinfo crowd will appreciate it.

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Beheadings – They’re Just So Yesterday!

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Whilst beheadings are undoubtedly savage and brutal the fundamental problem is that they are terribly old-fashioned. Today, civilized nations blow people up, obliterate them with drones, riddle them with bullets, and execute them with chemicals cocktails. Many of those killed with hi-tech weapons die slowly in excruciating pain, their bodies ripped to pieces. But this is somehow okay since it is the modern way and done from a distance – however savage, brutal and indiscriminate the results. Most of the weaponry involved comes from the guardians of peace and democracy in America and Britain, with average cost-per-kill running into tens of thousands of dollars per “insurgent,” millions by some estimates.

The drums of full-spectrum war are beating once again, stimulated by outrage and hysteria over this single video. Bearing in mind the fallacy of WMD it would behoove us to see this war-worthy video but no, we are banned from doing so, with the mere viewing of it in the UK declared a potential terrorist act.… Read the rest

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Ferguson: Era of the Ninja Cop | Interview with Mike Papantonio


Abby Martin speaks with Mike Papantonio, attorney and host of the Ring of Fire radio show, discussing the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, MO, including the militarization of police and the case against Darren Wilson the police officer who shot unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown, which sparked the protests.

LIKE Breaking the Set @ http://fb.me/JournalistAbbyMartin
FOLLOW Abby Martin @ http://twitter.com/AbbyMartin

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A type of dandruff fungus is found in deep sea vents, lobster guts, and Antarctic soil

Scanning Electron Microscope picture of freshly prepared human dandruff sample. By Horoporo via Wikimedia Commons

Scanning Electron Microscope picture of freshly prepared human dandruff sample. By Horoporo via Wikimedia Commons.

via Popular Science:

What do human scalps, deep sea vents, and Antarctic soil have in common? As it turns out, all of these places are home to one weird group of fungi. A study published today in the journal PLOS Pathogens found that fungi of the genus Malassezia are just about everywhere. And we do mean everywhere.

Scientists have known for quite a while that some species of Malassezia were associated with dandruff and other skin conditions like eczema, and they had long assumed that these fungi were specialized to live on skin. The fungus, which relies on a host to provide fatty acids, is incredibly difficult for scientists to cultivate, or grow in a lab, and it flew under the radar for years. Now the fungus has turned up in the guts of lobster larvae, hydrothermal vents, the roots of orchids and many other incredibly different places.

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The Chairless Chair: A Chair That You Wear

chairlesschair

The things people come up with.

via Gizmag:

If you work somewhere such as a factory, warehouse, or restaurant kitchen, then you’ll know how tiring it can be to stand for several hours at a time. Unfortunately, however, it isn’t always practical or safe to carry a stool around with you wherever you go. That’s why Swiss start-up noonee has created the Chairless Chair. Worn as an exoskeleton on the back of the legs, it lets you walk or even run as needed, but can be locked into a supporting structure when you go into a sitting position.

Company CEO Keith Gunura started developing the Chairless Chair in 2009, when he was a student in the Bioinspired Robotics Lab at the ETH Zurich research institute. He was inspired to do so by memories of his first job, in which he worked while standing at a packaging line.

Now in prototype form and being actively marketed, the device utilizes a powered variable damper to support the wearer’s body weight.

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