D.C. Circuit won’t televise NSA arguments


via Josh Gerstein at Politico:

A federal appeals court set to wrestle with the legality of the National Security Agency’s massive collection of information on Americans’ phone calls will not do so in front of TV cameras, the court said in an order Monday.

Without comment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied a motion surveillance opponent Larry Klayman and his clients filed last week seeking to televise the oral arguments in the case, currently set for November 4. The court acted before the government stated a position on the request. The order (posted here) does not indicate which specific judges denied Klayman’s motion.

Earlier this month, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held a lively and interesting round of oral arguments on the same issue with live TV coverage provided on C-SPAN’s websiteand delayed coverage on C-SPAN’s TV networks.

While most federal court proceedings remain closed to cameras, the 2nd Circuit and the 9th Circuit have permitted video coverage of oral arguments upon request for years.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Cult of CrossFit

Here at disinformation we’re always alert to weird cults, whether of the suicide variety (Heaven’s Gate) or the brainwashing/cash-draining variety (Scientology). We’ve been following a new cult that’s sweeping America – CrossFit – although we’re not sure that it’s in any way insidious.

Recently I caught up with JC Herz, who’s penned the definitive book on CrossFit, Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness, to answer some questions:

JC, I discovered CrossFit myself a few years ago when I looked up “what is fitness.” For those who don’t know can you briefly describe what CrossFit it and how it addresses my original search question?

2007 CrossFit Trainer certification

The CrossFit catechism is: “Constantly varied functional movement executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains.” Which is technical jargon for: Move your whole body (not single muscles in isolation) and heavy weight, lots of different ways, going flat-out for anywhere between four minutes and half an hour.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Thoughts From a Conservative Mom Who Buys Weed For Her 12-year-old Son

Brett Levin via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Brett Levin via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

GB from xoJane via AlterNet:

To say I’m your standard Conservative Suburban Mom is probably an understatement.

I’ve voted with the GOP hardline in the last three elections (which is probably enough to get me burned at the stake with most of you reading this.) I wear sweater sets with pearls. We go to church every Sunday.

And I score drugs for my 12-year-old son.

Why yes, that is my SUV (with the “Romney 2012” bumper sticker) outside Milo’s cheesy college apartment, picking up this month’s supply. I always guiltily hit up 2 different ATMs to get the money, not wanting the nice girl at my bank branch to wonder why I’m always getting cash. I dose my son with a nice home-baked chocolate chunk cookie. (Important: keep those cookies in a separate jar.)

As a baby, my Matthew developed in a perfectly normal fashion.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Hollywood Must Turn Its Head to Personalized Longevity Science instead of Anti-Aging Pseudoremedies


I think Konovalenko hits the nail on the head when she says that celebrities are looking for quick solutions, but she fails to understand that that’s precisely why celebs don’t look to “personalized science” for answers. Our society is predicated on a fast, easy, and cheap mentality – a mentality that seems to be perpetuated by Western celebrity culture.

By Maria Konovalenko via The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies:

This attention-worthy article in The Hollywood Reporter signals that Hollywood people are ready and willing to do something about their longevity. The article mentions hormone replacement therapy, different check-ups and other things available in California, however completely misses 99% of what actually can be done about aging – science.

Why doesn’t the author talk about the work done at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, USC, UCLA and Stanford University?

People are looking for a ready solution, something that they can do today, and mistakenly dismiss science completely, because they think it is too far away for being applied to them.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

IRS Has “Lost” Emails From 5 More Employees


This whole story makes me extremely nervous and the fact that they are probably going to get away with it is alarming.

via AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The IRS says it has lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax exempt status.

The tax agency said in June that it could not locate an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. The revelation set off a new round of investigations and congressional hearings.

On Friday, the IRS said it has also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.

Continue reading.

Back in June, emails from Lois Lerner (the former head of the agency’s tax-exempt status department) were lost.Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Dangers of Ambien and Other Sleeping Aids


via AlterNet:

It has been several years since the bloom fell off the rose of Ambien, the blockbuster sleeping pill. Recently, the FDA has warned about Ambien hangovers, sedation and the risk of dangerous driving and recommended lower doses. The FDA warnings came a year after Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and former wife of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, was arrested for what was believed to be Ambien-inebriated driving. The arrest came six years after her cousin, former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, son of Sen. Edward Kennedy, was also involved in an apparent Ambien-related traffic mishap.

After Rep. Kennedy’s crash, as stories of more bizarre behavior on the sleeping pill surfaced, Ambien’s manufacturer Sanofi-Aventis, was forced to launch an ad campaign telling people if they were going to take Ambien, to get in bed and stay there. (Or you’ll “break out in handcuffs” as the joke goes.) Reports of driving, eating, sex and other “wakeful” behavior in Ambien blackouts proliferated.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

David Cronenberg: ‘My imagination is not a place of horror’

David Cronenberg, Genie Awards 2012 by Alan Langford via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

David Cronenberg, Genie Awards 2012 by Alan Langford via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Cronenberg compares himself to Gergor Samsa? I like him even more.

via The Guardian (Follow the link to read the entire interview):

When the great Canadian film-maker David Cronenberg turned 70 last year he felt, in a word, old. An admirer of Franz Kafka, he said he found himself comparing himself to Gregor Samsa, the protagonist of The Metamorphosis, who wakes up one morning to find – very Cronenbergian – that he’s become a giant beetle.

“You are a new creature,” Cronenberg explains. “Ask anybody who is not advanced in years what they think of 70-year-olds – if they think of them at all – and it’s Alzheimer’s, senile old people and Zimmer frames. Just, ‘Wow, what a burden on the healthcare system.’ Three score and ten, that’s supposed to be it, that’s the biblical age. So there are precedents for considering 70 to be a major moment in your life.”

Once he had come to terms with the shock, though, Cronenberg returned to his work with renewed vigour.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

California’s Plastic Bag Ban: An Analysis

Trash Tree by Alex via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Trash Tree by Alex via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

This is why I try to just use the tote bags I’ve collected from trade shows and festivals (I also use them for laundry days).

Via Mother Jones:

Last week, California became the first state to pass a bill banning the ubiquitous disposable plastic bag. If signed into law, the measure will prohibit grocery and retail stores from providing single-use plastic bags and require them to charge at least ten cents for paper bags, compostable bags, and reusable plastic bags. The bill, introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-LA), will also provide funding for California-based plastic bag companies to develop sturdier, reusable options.

Worldwide, consumers use an estimated one trillion plastic bags each year—nearly two million a minute—with the use time of a typical bag just 12 minutes. Californians alone throw away 14 billion a year, creating 123,000 tons of waste and untold amounts of litter.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Potato That Killed!

Beer and chips by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Beer and chips by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A tale of science gone wrong.

via io9:

They thought they had created the perfect potato – but they were wrong. In a dramatic tale of science gone wrong, a killer potato rises from a secret breeding program, intent on killing those who wronged it. Learn about… the Lenape potato!

All right, perhaps the potato wasn’t invested with a sense of revenge. After all, it was only going about its business, and defending itself against those who would destroy it. Mainly insects. All potatoes, and other plants in the same family, like tomatoes, contain different kinds of glycoalkaloids. These give them a distinctive flavor that humans sometimes enjoy, but that insects hate.

One of these glycoalkaloids is solanine. Solanine generally collects in the stems, leaves, and eyes of the potato. A little does no harm, but too much cause cramps, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Caffeine Powder and Overdoses


I’ve used caffeine powder before. I would put a little bit in my coffee to make it stronger.

via Cincinnati.com:

With a new school year underway, poison control officials in Kentucky and across the nation are sounding the alarm about powdered caffeine, used by some teens to boost workouts, weight loss or energy but implicated in the death of a high school wrestler in Ohio.

Many poison control officials want the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to restrict the use of the increasingly popular powder, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is calling for an outright ban.

FDA officials say they are collecting information and will consider regulatory action, and urge consumers to avoid the product in the meantime.

“I drink coffee. … We’re not trying to get rid of caffeine. It is just this form and this dose,” said Henry Spiller, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center.

Read the rest
Continue Reading