Prehistoric Sea Scorpion Discovered

This is an artist’s impression of Pentecopterus. PATRICK LYNCH, YALE UNIVERSITY

This is an artist’s impression of Pentecopterus.
PATRICK LYNCH, YALE UNIVERSITY

The prehistoric sea scorpion, a relative to the spider, has been discovered in northeastern Iowa — and it’s human sized.

Jennifer Viegas via Discovery:

The previously unknown species of sea scorpion, Pentecopterus decorahensis, was named after an ancient Greek warship, the penteconter, and is described in the latest issue of the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

“The new species is incredibly bizarre,” lead author James Lamsdell of Yale University said in a press release. “The shape of the paddle — the leg which it would use to swim — is unique, as is the shape of the head. It’s also big!”

Lamsdell and his colleagues excavated more than 150 fossil fragments from the ancient predator, which lived 460 million years ago, long before the first dinosaurs emerged. The site itself is noteworthy, as the fossils were entombed in thick shale located within an ancient meteorite impact crater that today is mostly submerged by the Upper Iowa River.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Mutually Agreed Peace: Ending The Doctrine of Perpetual War

Peace-a-Chance-NukeEthan Indigo Smith via Waking Times:

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” ~ Pericles

Everything is ultimately political these days, but everything is firstly biological. Yet, ignoring our biology and our humanity, the military-industrial complex, with all its toxic modalities, still claims to operate in our best interests.

The fact is, modern politics has become the imposition of institutional formality where individuals and truth once were. Increasingly favoring institutional privilege over individual rights, politicians on all sides of the game act to reinforce and advance the standing of corporations at the expense of our physical world. They embark on resource wars for profit, destroy our environment for energy, construe zealotry as patriotism, and steer a culture of social competition – not cooperation – all the while hiding behind veils of secrecy and meaningless rhetoric.

It does not matter what caste you were born into, whether you are wealthy or poor, victor or victim of the system; as far as the big picture goes, we live in a world where commerce, politics and war are dominant and inseparable forces.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Wikipedia bans editors suspected of being paid shills

Graphic image illustrating the close interlacing of sock accounts. Yellow bubbles represent IP addresses, and green bubbles represent accounts. via Wikimedia.

Graphic image illustrating the close interlacing of sock accounts. Yellow bubbles represent IP addresses, and green bubbles represent accounts.
Created by James Alexander using Maltego CaseFile software.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia.

Wikipedia admins have banned 381 accounts believed to be run by paid shills.

via Wikipedia:

The socks

There are 381 socks currently being blocked as a result of this investigation. All of the socks are linked by both technical data and behavioural evidence. The list of socks has been posted at Wikipedia:Long-term abuse/Orangemoody/Accounts. All of these blocks are checkuser blocks. They are being performed by EgressBot using a standardized block summary and user talk page template, so that reviewing administrators and editors will be able to identify that they are part of this group. A copy of the block summary and template is posted on the page listing the identified socks. Unblock requests can be brought to the attention of checkusers; this can be done by posting a link at the SPI talk page.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

College Students Now Prefer Daily Toke to Daily Smoke

It’s sort of a no-brainer isn’t it? Swapping tobacco for marijuana, now that the latter is legal or accepted in many places, that is. Slate reports on the results of a new study:

America’s college students are leaving cigarettes behind in favor of marijuana as their preferred daily vice, according to the most recent update to an ongoing nationwide study by the University of Michigan. Pot’s dethroning of cigarettes, a reversal that researchers say is a first in the study’s 34-year history, is likely due to a drop in the number of people who perceive marijuana use as dangerous coupled with the effectiveness of public campaigns warning of the harms of tobacco.

Untitled

Released Tuesday, the 2014 results for the university’s “Monitoring the Future” study show that 5.9 percent of college students surveyed said they’d used marijuana 20 or more days out of the last 30, compared to 3.5 percent who reported similar use in 2007.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Witches’ Ointment

A woman, alone at night, pulls an ointment jar from a chest hidden beneath her bed. Opening the container, she scoops a handful of the foul-smelling goop—the witches’ ointment, lamiarum unguenta—into her palm. She turns to an ordinary broom in the shadows of the corner, the kind that her neighbors foolishly believe has no other use than that of sweeping—maybe killing a mouse or two. At present, this woman intends to do neither. Grasping the besom, she smears the long wooden handle with her witches’ ointment, destroying the freshly woven spiderwebs that now trail her fingertips. Straddling the oily broomstick, she is instantly lifted out the window into the ethers to join scores of other women who have similarly anointed implements, soaring alongside demons that fill out the aerial entourage.

Witch on a broomstick

As they glide over rooftops and clouds, dotting the moon in their wake, all are careful not to mention the name of God or Christ lest they plunge to their deaths.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Finale Prep: Your ‘Mr. Robot’ Conspiracy Theory Field Guide

Are any of you into the TV series Mr. Robot? It’s developed something of a cult following, not least for its conspiracy and hacker culture dog whistles. The show’s finale was delayed from last week due to the live broadcast shootings in Virginia, but if you’re planning on catching the show tonight, Grantland has a convenient “conspiracy theory field guide” to use on your second screen:

Two weeks ago, I hadn’t really paused to think about how idiotic all my passwords are. If you asked me about honeypots or raspberry pi(e)s I’d assume you were talking Winnie the Pooh or sickly-sweet deserts. The closest I’d come to experiencing true paranoia about consumerism and brands was the hell of submitting to a baby shower registry. (Seriously, though: Big Baby is no joke.) And then I started binge-watching Mr. Robot.

f---society

If you’re reading this, I don’t have to explain to you what Mr.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The FBI was Afraid that Ray Bradbury was Spreading Communism Through Science Fiction

ray-bradbury-fbi-fb

According to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI was worried that Ray Bradbury was spreading communist ideals through his writings. They were particularly concerned about The Martian Chronicles because of the “repeated theme that earthmen are despoilers and not developers.” Even more ludicrous, FBI informant Martin Berkeley called science fiction a “lucrative field for the introduction of Communist ideology.”

JPat Brown via MuckRock:

Bradbury’s membership in the Screen Writer’s Guild, as well as his vocal opposition to McCarthyism, drew particular attention. FBI informant Martin Berkeley – notorious for his role as the House Un-American Activities Committee’s “number one friendly witness” – drew a portrait of Bradbury as pinko boogeyman:

brad2

After noting that science fiction “may be lucrative field for the introduction of Communist ideology,” Berkeley goes on to declare the entire field of science fiction writers as a veritable fifth column, intent on crippling America before her enemies.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

‘Refugees Welcome': As EU Slams Door on War Survivors, People Show Another Way

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s articles here.

In response to the worst refugee crisis since World War II, European governments are tightening their borders and preparing to escalate military targeting of so-called human smugglers. But many people within the European Union are modeling a different approach by holding rallies and opening their homes to welcome refugees of war and poverty who survive the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

Over 20,000 people marched through Vienna on Monday to protest the horrific treatment of refugees, the week after the bodies of 71 people were found in a truck on a highway between the Hungarian border and Vienna. In what was billed as a welcome rally, marchers carried signs which read: “I don’t want Europe to be a mass grave.” The crowd included numerous parents carrying children and erupted into Austrian pop songs as they were cheered by enthusiastic passersby.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Visit: An Alien Encounter

The Visita mockumentary, documents various government agencies as they try to deal with Earth’s first alien encounter. The film originally premiered at Sundance 2015 and is officially releasing on Vimeo today.

dvrdexlnqhf3tuvyaacs

“This film documents an event that has never taken place – man’s first encounter with intelligent life from space.” The film explores a first contact scenario, beginning with the simplest of questions: Why are you here?

Read the rest

Continue Reading