The Myth of the Megalith

Eusebius@Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Eusebius@Commons (CC BY 2.0)

via The New Yorker:

Baalbek, Lebanon, is the site of one of the most mysterious ruins of the Roman Empire, a monumental two-thousand-year-old temple to Jupiter that sits atop three thousand-ton stone blocks. (The pillars of Stonehenge weigh about a fortieth of that.) The blocks originated in a nearby limestone quarry, where a team from the German Archaeological Institute, in partnership with Jeanine Abdul Massih, of Lebanese University, recently discovered what they are calling the largest stone block from antiquity, weighing one thousand six hundred and fifty tons and matching those that support the temple. Its provenance is more shadowy than one might expect of a three-million-pound megalith. Nobody seems to know on whose orders it was cut, or why, or how it came to be abandoned.

Baalbek is named for Baal, the Phoenician deity, although the Romans knew the site by its Greek name, Heliopolis.

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Half of Dr. Oz’s Medical Advice is Baseless or Wrong


Sorry Doc, but half of everything you know is wrong. From the Washington Post:

It’s not hard to understand what makes Dr. Oz so popular. Called “America’s doctor,” syndicated talk-show host Mehmet Oz speaks in a way anyone can understand. Medicine may be complex. But with Dr. Oz, clad in scrubs and crooning to millions of viewers about “miracles” and “revolutionary” breakthroughs, it’s often not. He somehow makes it fun. And people can’t get enough.

“I haven’t seen a doctor in eight years,” the New Yorker quoted one viewer telling Oz. “I’m scared. You’re the only one I trust.”

But is that trust misplaced? Or has Oz, who often peddles miracle cures for weight loss and other maladies, mortgaged medical veracity for entertainment value?

These questions have hammered Oz for months. In June, he was hauled in front of Congress, where Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told him he gave people false hope and criticized his segments as a “recipe for disaster.” Then last month, a study he widely trumpeted lauding coffee bean weight-loss pills was retracted despite Oz’s assertions it could “burn fat fast for anyone who wants to lose weight.”

Sen.
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The First People

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This post originally appeared on Morocco World News.

Kenitra – “Why should we be so arrogant as to assume that we’re the first homo-sapiens to walk the earth?” (J.J. Abrams et al., 2010)

No one remembers one’s moment of birth and neither does humanity. The beginning of man is a scientific mystery. This article, however, is not about how man came to be, but about shortly after that; it is about the dawn of humanity, a missing chapter in human history. People, in this forgotten chapter, mapped the earth and sky long before there were ancient Egyptians or Jews. They are not to be confused with Australopithecus, Homo Habilis, or Homo Ergaster. Instead, they are remembered by ancients as ‘gods’ because it is they who first engineered societies, leaving baffling traces on earth.

The idea of how humanity’s progress began is relative. Before the enlightenment, human civilizations throughout history viewed the past as glorious and expected the future to simply resemble and repeat the past.… Read the rest

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5am Film Series: The Bohemia

There exists, in a pocket of North London, a group who wanted only to provide their community with a space in which to exchange thoughts and ideas, far away from the corporate disease that’s infested the United Kingdom. In ‘The Bohemia’, Aaron Jolly paints a picture of the Finchley wing of the Occupy movement during their time spent squatting an abandoned pub on the high road.

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The Legendary Dennis McKenna Joins the Midwest Real Podcast!

Via Midwest Real

Dr. Dennis McKenna is a scientist, author and living legend of psychedelic counterculture. He joined Midwest Real to wax philosophical on the ever-novel, topography of society, technology, medicine, the limits of science and why we should always remain humble. 

ITUNES  STITCHER DOWNLOAD

IMG_6310How many of us can truly say our lives will tell a story? That when we, or someone else looks back on it, we’ll find real development, defining moments and a worthwhile central cause?

Clearly, living a life of legends is far from simple. Just getting around the obligations and momentum that are built into being a modern human can be a tough, if not insurmountable task. Depending upon your roll of the dice, you might be grappling with debt, illness, family issues or any number of other inhibitory obstacles that coerce you into living your life in a way that’s less than ideal. But, aside from that, I’m willing to bet that most of us are actually holding ourselves back.… Read the rest

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The Junky’s Christmas

Back in 1993, The Junky’s Christmas by William S. Burroughs, was made into a short claymation film. It was directed by Nick Donkin and Melodie McDaniel, produced by Francis Ford Coppola, and narrated by Mr. Burroughs himself. If you haven’t already watched it, it’s a treat for Burroughs and animation fans alike.

You can watch the short film in its entirety below:

h/t Dangerous Minds.

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Exonerated Seventy Years After Execution

Earlier this week, a judge vacated the decision against George Stinney Jr, a black teen who was convicted of murdering two white girls in South Carolina. For Stinney, this came 70 years too late.

Despite not having evidence that Stinney committed the crime, and Stinney’s sister testifying that she was with him the entire day, it took the all-white jury just 10 minutes to convict and sentence him to death. At 14 years old, Stinney was one of the youngest people executed in the US and actually had to sit on a phone book to fit in the electric chair.

Unfortunately, Stinney is not the only innocent person which has been put to death. Today, it is estimated that 4.1% of all defendants sentenced to death in the US are, in fact, innocent.

Capital punishment is still widely supported in the United States and legal in 32 states.… Read the rest

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Apple ‘failing to protect Chinese factory workers’

via BBC:

Poor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation.

Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken.

It found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories.

Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme’s conclusions.

Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai.

One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off.

Another reporter, whose longest shift was 16 hours, said: “Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn’t want to move.

“Even if I was hungry I wouldn’t want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest.

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In the Beginning was the Code: Juergen Schmidhuber at TEDxUHasselt

The universe seems incredibly complex. But could its rules be dead simple? Juergen Schmidhuber’s fascinating story will convince you that this universe and your own life are just by-products of a very simple and fast program computing all logically possible universes.

Juergen Schmidhuber is Director of the Swiss Artificial Intelligence Lab IDSIA (since 1995), Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Lugano, Switzerland (since 2009), and Professor SUPSI (since 2003).

He helped to transform IDSIA into one of the world’s top ten AI labs (the smallest!), according to the ranking of Business Week Magazine. His group pioneered the field of mathematically optimal universal AI and universal problem solvers. The algorithms developed in his lab won seven first prizes in international pattern recognition competitions, as well as several best paper awards.
Since 1990 he has developed a formal theory of fun and curiosity and creativity to build artificial scientists and artists.… Read the rest

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