This Is the Stupidest Anti-Science Bullshit of 2014

Via Mother Jones:

2014 had its fair share of landmark scientific accomplishments: dramatic cuts to the cost of sequencing a genome; sweeping investigations of climate change impacts in the US; advances in private-sector space travel, and plenty more. But there was also no shortage of high-profile figures eager to publicly and shamelessly denounce well-established science—sometimes with serious consequences for public policy. So without further ado, the most egregious science denial of 2014:

Basically everything said by Donald Trump:

You can always count on The Donald to pull no punches. He got started early this year, when he pointed to freezing temperatures in parts of the country as evidence that “this very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop” and then told Fox News that the global warming “hoax” was merely the result of scientists“having a lot of fun.”

In September, Trump went on a Twitter screed linking vaccines to autism.

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The reaction to the “Instagram Rapture” shows how narcissistic the service really is

Instagram-Logo

via Pando Daily:

Instagram recently decided to permanently delete many of the spam accounts it’s discovered on its service. The move was meant to help the network remain “authentic” because “it’s a place where real people share real moments,” Instagram said at the time. But apparently some of the users affected by this decision aren’t happy about its impact.

Business Insider reports “thousands of people” have reached out to Instagram asking it to restore their old follower counts in the wake of what it calls the “Instagram Rapture.” This despite Instagram’s warning that follower counts would change as the result of its New Year’s cleaning — and the fact that those followers were little more than spam bots.

This is in keeping with what some have suspected about Instagram for a while. For example, I argued last year that the addition of video features to the service wasn’t about communication, like co-founder Kevin Systrom said, but about its users’ narcissism:

Instagram is still very much about presentation.

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Sexts on Film


Sendmeyoursexts.com is the latest project by documentary filmmaker Eileen Yaghoobian. Fueled by the modern day phenomenon of sexting and Yaghoobian’s own experience with this, the website encourages people from all over the world to share these exchanges with an artistic twist. For a nominal fee, the encounters are turned into short videos which use the sexts as scripts. Yaghoobian’s project toes the line between performance art, soft porn, and film.

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They are funny to watch and capture both the kitsch and awkwardness of the sexting experience; however they also point to how widespread this practice is. Yaghoobian’s videos consider the role of public and private space and what this means in relationship to sex and intimacy in the digital age. Sendmeyoursexts.com offers people an online platform to explore these experiences in a different context. By looking at what desire, fantasy, and intimacy means through the mode of sexting, Yaghoobian is also calling attention to contemporary attitudes about sex.… Read the rest

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North Korea Threatens ‘The Whole U.S. Mainland, That Cesspool of Terrorism’

Quake in boots time for Americans as North Korea threatens to strike “the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism.” From AP:

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama is “recklessly” spreading rumors of a Pyongyang-orchestrated cyberattack of Sony Pictures, North Korea says, as it warns of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and “the whole U.S. mainland, that cesspool of terrorism.”…

Kim Jong Un

The National Defense Commission, led by Kim, warned that its 1.2 million-member army is ready to use all types of warfare against the U.S.

“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the `symmetric counteraction’ declared by Obama,” said the commission’s Policy Department in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency…

[Full story at AP]

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NYPD Union Vows ‘Wartime Policing’

"It is irresponsible to draw connections between this movement and the actions of a troubled man who took the lives of these officers and attempted to take the life of his ex-partner, before ultimately taking his own," said Ferguson Action in a statement issued Sunday. (Photo: Webfan29/Wikimedia Commons)

“It is irresponsible to draw connections between this movement and the actions of a troubled man who took the lives of these officers and attempted to take the life of his ex-partner, before ultimately taking his own,” said Ferguson Action in a statement issued Sunday. (Photo: Webfan29/Wikimedia Commons)

Sarah Lazare writes at Common Dreams:

A declaration by the New York Police Department Union that it will engage in “wartime policing” in response to Saturday’s killing of two city law enforcement officers has raised alarm among protesters and civil rights advocates, who ask: “Have we learned nothing?”

A statement released Saturday by the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association—the union for the NYPD—reads, “The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

Steven Thrasher, writing for the Guardian, responds, “Wartime?

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Krampus: He Sees You When You’re Sleeping, and Gives You Nightmares

Moderner Krampus Kärnten3.JPG

Photo: Horst A. Kandutsch (CC)

Krampus goes mainstream, making onto the front page of the New York Times:

MUNICH — Long before parents relied on the powers of Santa Claus to monitor their children’s behavior, their counterparts in Alpine villages called on a shaggy-furred, horned creature with a fistful of bound twigs to send the message that they had better watch out.

Tom Bierbaumer recalls the trepidation he felt every Dec. 6, when the clanging of oversize cowbells signaled the arrival of the Krampus, a devilish mountain goblin who serves as an evil counterpart to the good St. Nick. He would think back over his misdeeds of past months — the days he had refused to clear the supper table, left his homework unfinished or pulled a girl’s hair.

“When you are a child, you know what you have done wrong the whole year,” said Mr. Bierbaumer, who grew up in the Bavarian Alps and now heads a Munich-based club, the Sparifankerl Pass — Bavarian dialect for “Devil’s Group” — devoted to keeping the Krampus tradition alive.

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Gimme Nirvana Baby: On the Spiritual Journey of Ash from the Evil Dead Films

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Ugh. I’ve desperately tried to write this essay without referring–for the second essay in a row–to my Sunday living habits. They’re really not that interesting, and I understand that. But I’m sorry. Just like the last essay, the origins of this one occur during those existential lulls that seem to characterize a lot of people’s Christian Sabbath.

You see, in my household–after my morning workout– Sunday mornings are reserved for one of two rituals. One, because my wife is a practicing Catholic, we go to mass. Or, two–if we’re too lazy on that particular morning–we lay around in our sweats and my wife watches “Super Soul Sundays” on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Of the two, even though I am a blasphemer, heretic and just an outright nonbeliever, I greatly prefer going to mass, even though it means making the effort to look presentable in public on a Sunday morning and listening to some dweeb in a blouse tell me about how I need to make some more time for gahd/Jesus in my life.… Read the rest

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COEXIST’s Bonehead Bumper-Sticker Politics

Aia Fernandez (CC BY 2.0)

Aia Fernandez (CC BY 2.0)

via The Daily Beast:

You’ve seen them before, in Trader Joe’s parking lots and on Eastern Seaboard freeways, in the quiet streets of Asheville and Berkeley, on the bumpers of a fleet of VWs and Volvos. White letters, blue background, imperative mood: COEXIST. After campaign stickers, NRA decals, cartoon families, and those blatant “26.2” ovals, Coexist bumper stickers may be the most popular way for Americans to broadcast their worldviews in one word or less, while driving.

Meanwhile, ISIS is marauding across the Middle East. China is squeezing Tibet in an anaconda grip of cultural homogenization. Buddhists are causing violence in Sri Lanka, far-right Islamophobic parties are on the rise in Scandinavia, and Muslims and Christians are slaughtering each other in the Central African Republic.

All of this despite earnest, $2.50 bumper sticker pleas by tens of thousands of Americans asking these people to just get along.

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How we found world’s deepest fish in the Mariana Trench – and why we must keep exploring

The record-breaker poses for the camera, 8,145m below the waves. Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, CC BY

The record-breaker poses for the camera, 8,145m below the waves. Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, CC BY

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Alan Jamieson, University of Aberdeen

It was our 14th expedition to the trenches of the Pacific Ocean, where depths can exceed 10,000m. And it was due to be our last for the foreseeable future.

We had been aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s (SOI) vessel RV Falkor for 30 days. It was almost over. Then, it turned out to be “the big one”.

For this was the expedition in which my colleagues and I discovered a snailfish living some eight kilometres below the waves, deeper than any fish we know of. My colleagues from the University of Hawaii even recovered some in their traps.

In the past six years we have made many discoveries in the depths, such as the missing order of Decapoda (shrimps) that were long thought absent from the trenches but are actually rather conspicuous.… Read the rest

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Mind Art

via The Imaginary Foundation:

Chinese artist Jody Xiong has collaborated with 16 handicapped people — recruited via social media — in the artistic and technological realization of the ‘Mind Art’ installation. The project participants were asked to choose a Winsor & Newton paint color, which was placed in balloons equipped with tiny detonators. Large canvas panels surrounded the balloons on all sides.

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