Oh, the weird shit you find on the internets. To preface this, earlier in the week I quite randomly had a dream that featured the impressively god awful Christian rap group DC Talk (which I wrote about on Facebook, Friend me). In this dream, I was in a classroom where DC Talk showed up to perform. We couldn’t believe our teacher actually thought this was something that we’d find interesting. So we students just mockingly encouraged them all hipster irony style as they did their crappy thing. Didn’t seem like there was a lot of substance to the dream, but upon waking up I realized that the only reason I’d heard of DC Talk in the first place had to do with them being forced on us in Church youth group as a kid. The dream had an incredibly similar vibe. “Hey kids, stop listening to that satanic secular music, these guys are church approved.” Being impressionable and somewhat open to the idea, those of us in the youth group took the tape home and gave it a listen just to discover that, wow, this is the worst rap group ever.… Read the rest
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A little violence can sometimes work to defend against predatory bankers. Consider the farmers of Le Mars, Iowa. The year was 1933, the height of the Great Depression.
A finance bubble on Wall Street had crashed the economy, the gears of industrial production had ground to a halt, and 13 million Americans had lost their jobs. Across the Corn Belt, farmers couldn’t get fair prices for milk and crops, their incomes plummeted, and their mortgages went unpaid. Seeing opportunity, banks foreclosed on their properties in record numbers, leaving the farmers homeless and destitute.
So they organized. Under the leadership of a boozing, fist-fighting Iowa farmer named Milo Reno, who had a gift for oratory, several thousand farmers across the Midwest struck during 1933, refusing to sell their products. “We’ll eat our wheat and ham and eggs” went the popular doggerel of the movement.
A study finds meditating cancer patients are able to affect the makeup of their DNA, reports Scientific American:
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“I think, therefore I am” is perhaps the most familiar one-liner in western philosophy. Even if the stoners, philosophers and quantum mechanically-inclined skeptics who believe we’re living an illusion are right, few existential quips hit with such profound, approachable simplicity. The only catch is that in Descartes’ opinion, “we” – our thoughts, our personalities, our “minds” – are mostly divorced from our bodies.
The polymathic Frenchman and other dualist philosophers proposed that while the mind exerts control over our physical interaction with the world, there is a clear delineation between body and mind; that our material forms are simply temporary housing for our immaterial souls. But centuries of science argue against a corporeal crash pad. The body and mind appear inextricably linked. And findings from a new study published in Cancer by a Canadian group suggest that our mental state has measurable physical influence on us – more specifically on our DNA.
For years, I’ve been looking at some of the dubious and harmful health claims TV doctors make on their talk shows. In carefully examining Dr. Oz, unpicking the evidence behind the ideas he peddles, I came to the conclusion that, on balance, the bulk of what he has to say is misleading at best, and total nonsense at worst.
He is, after all, in the business of entertainment. Real, evidence-based medicine isn’t often entertaining, especially on the subjects — weight loss, diets — he tends to cover.
Now, science has confirmed my suspicions.
Researchers writing in the British Medical Journal examined the health claims showcased on 40 randomly selected episodes of the two most popular internationally syndicated health talk shows, The Dr Oz Show and The Doctors.
Income inequality in the United States continues to surge, with the wealth of upper-income households rising to nearly seven times that of middle-class ones, reports the Los Angeles Times:
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The wealth gap between middle- and upper-income households has widened to the highest level on record, says a new report.
Using the latest Federal Reserve data, the Pew Research Center said Wednesday that the median wealth for high-income families was $639,400 last year — up 7% from three years earlier on an inflation-adjusted basis.
For middle-income families, the median wealth — that is, assets minus debts — stood at $96,500 last year, unchanged from 2010.
The result is that the typical wealth of the nation’s upper-income households last year was nearly seven times that of middle-class ones. By Pew’s calculations, that is the biggest gap in the 30 years that the Fed has been collecting statistics from its Survey of Consumer Finances.
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MANHATTAN — It may be beneficial for employers to not only encourage office Christmas parties but also celebrate holidays and festivals from a variety of religions, according to a Kansas State University researcher.
Sooyeol Kim, doctoral student in psychological sciences, was involved in a collaborative study that found that employees who openly discuss their religious beliefs at work are often happier and have higher job satisfaction than those employees who do not.
“For many people, religion is the core of their lives,” Kim said. “Being able to express important aspects of one’s life can influence work-related issues, such as job satisfaction, work performance or engagement. It can be beneficial for organizations to have a climate that is welcoming to every religion and culture.”
Kim said employers might even want to consider a religion-friendly policy or find ways to encourage religious expression.
Shortly after the release of the CIA Torture Report, I discussed the new details revealed about torture techniques used by the CIA.
Today, I feel it is important to raise awareness about those that were wrongfully detained and the egregious amount of time many were detained. The report lists 26 people who were “wrongfully detained,” three of which underwent “enhanced interrogation” tactics.
The report lists 119 detainees, 39 of which were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. These 119 detainees spent an average of at least 392 days in custody, while one detainee, Abu Zubaydah, was in CIA custody for at least 1,590 days.
What exactly has any of this accomplished except creating more enemies for our country?
I’ve been hooked on the various salacious disclosures from the hack attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. Reading what studio executives really think of their star actors and producers is better than TMZ can make up, and the true financial performance of various movies would never, ever be disclosed outside the C-suite if not for the Pastebin uploads. The real-life plot starring North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, his supposed superhackers, Seth Rogen and the heads of Sony also reads like a sequel to The Orphan Master’s Son. But is it too good to be true? Wired pours some cold water on the fire:
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Today Sony canceled the premiere of “The Interview” and its entire Christmas-Day release of the movie because of fears that terrorists might attack theaters showing the film.
The actions show just how much power the attackers behind the Sony hack have amassed in a short time. But who exactly are they?
Travis Gettys writes at Raw Story:
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Torture is rampant across the world and has become almost normalized by the “war on terror” and its glamorous portrayal in shows such as “24″ and “Homeland,” Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
The London-based human rights group is launching a new campaign aimed at ending torture, which it says remains widespread even 30 years after a blanket prohibition was agreed by the United Nations.
In the past five years, Amnesty says it has recorded incidents in 141 countries, including 79 of the 155 signatories to the 1984 UN Convention against Torture.
The global survey of 21,000 people in 21 countries also revealed a widespread dread of the practice, with 44 percent saying they feared being abused if they were taken into custody.
Yet over a third percent of the respondents said they believed torture was sometimes necessary and acceptable to gain information that may protect the public.
by Charles Dickens
He lived on the bank of a mighty river, broad and deep, which was always silently rolling on to a vast undiscovered ocean. It had rolled on, ever since the world began. It had changed its course sometimes, and turned into new channels, leaving its old ways dry and barren; but it had ever been upon the flow, and ever was to flow until Time should be no more. Against its strong, unfathomable stream, nothing made head. No living creature, no flower, no leaf, no particle of animate or inanimate existence, ever strayed back from the undiscovered ocean. The tide of the river set resistlessly towards it; and the tide never stopped, any more than the earth stops in its circling round the sun.
He lived in a busy place, and he worked very hard to live. He had no hope of ever being rich enough to live a month without hard work, but he was quite content, GOD knows, to labour with a cheerful will.… Read the rest