I Grew Up in a Family of Crack Addicts. So Why Did I Fear Being Taken Away?

Photo Credit: Psychonaught/Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Psychonaught/Creative Commons

via Alternet:

Growing up in a household with 15 people – four of whom were strung out on drugs and sobered up only by drinking 40-ounce King Cobras malt liquor and pints of E&J brandy (known around my home as “Erk & Jerk” or “Easy Jesus”) – meant that by the time I was five years old, I was accustomed to the acrid smell of burning  crack cocaine. I was used to the unending fear that my cousins and I would be accosted by “The People” and carted off to live separately in dilapidated homes, where we’d be forced to call a stranger “Ma Dear”.

As a child raised in California in the 90s – at the time,  one of three states with the largest average population of foster children – I was all too aware that I could become a statistic and join the then- 78% of children removed from homes where “at least one parent was a drug abuser”.

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Curious Signal Could Be Dark Matter Pouring From The Sun’s Core

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via io9:

This could be historic: Astronomers from Leicester University have detected a strange signal in the X-ray spectrum that appears to be a signature of ‘axions’ — a hypothetical dark matter particle. It could take years to confirm, but this may be the first direct detection and identification of dark matter.

The study has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of dark matter and the way our Universe works. Though it has never observed directly, astronomers are certain dark matter exists because, without it, galaxies would just unravel and fly apart. Moreover, even though it doesn’t emit or absorb light, it exerts gravitational pull on celestial objects we can observe. To put it bluntly, it’s dark matter that holds the Universe together — and it may comprise up to 85% of all the stuff within it.

The idea of axions has been around for a while. It was postulated by the Peccei-Quinn theory in 1977 to resolve a nasty problem in quantum physics.

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[Rap News] The Singularity – feat. Ray Kurzweil & Alex Jones

“Today we travel into the pure world of sci-fi to investigate the much vaunted, mysterious potential future event known as ‘The Singularity’. What will a machine consciousness mean for humanity? What are the ethical, political, military and philosophical implications of strong A.I.? And what would an AI sound like when spitting rhymes over a dope beat? All this and more shall be revealed in Rap News 28: The Singularity – featuring a special appearance from famed technocrat, futurist and inventor, Ray Kurzweil, in full TED talk mode; everyone’s favourite warmonger, General Baxter; and we welcome back the dauntless info warrior Alex Jones, who last made an appearance in RN6. Join Robert Foster on this epic Sci-Fi quest into the future/past of humanity.”

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Ebola Conspiracy Theories, Through a Mainstream Lens

It’s always revealing to see the spin that the establishment places on conspiracy theories and this week it’s the turn of the New York Times, reacting to theories about the Ebola scare:

The spread of Ebola from western Africa to suburban Texas has brought with it another strain of contagion: conspiracy theories.

The outbreak began in September, when The Daily Observer, a Liberian newspaper, published an article alleging that the virus was not what it seemed — a medical disaster — but rather a bioweapon designed by the United States military to depopulate the planet. Not long after, accusations appeared online contending that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had patented the virus and was poised to make a fortune from a new vaccine it had created with the pharmaceutical industry. There were even reports that the New World Order, that classic conspiracy bugbear involving global elites, had engineered Ebola in order to impose quarantines, travel bans and eventually martial law.

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Why Aristotle Deserves A Posthumous Nobel

aristotle

via The Daily Beast:

Shortly before his death in 1882, Charles Darwin received a letter from a physician and classicist named William Ogle. It contained Ogle’s recent translation of Aristotle’s The Parts of Animals and a brief letter in which he confessed to feeling “some self-importance in thus being a kind of formal introducer of the father of naturalists to his great modern successor.”

Aristotle is not typically remembered as the father of naturalists, but Darwin acknowledged a line of intellectual descent. “I had not the most remote notion of what a wonderful man he was,” Darwin wrote of Aristotle in his reply to Ogle. “Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere school-boys to old Aristotle.”

A fascinating new book by the evolutionary biologist and science writer Armand Marie Leroi claims that Aristotle fully deserves Darwin’s high praise. In The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, Leroi argues that Aristotle developed many of the empirical and analytical methods that still define scientific inquiry.

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Secret space plane lands at US air force base after unknown two-year mission

"The US air force’s first unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photograph: US AIR FORCE/Reuters"

“The US air force’s first unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photograph: US AIR FORCE/Reuters”

via The Guardian:

A top-secret space plane landed Friday at an air force base on the southern California coast.

The plane spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Known as the X-37B, it resembles a mini space shuttle.

It safely touched down at 9.24am Friday, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base said.

Just what the plane was doing during its 674 days in orbit has been the subject of sometimes spectacular speculation.

Several experts have theorized it carried a payload of spy gear in its cargo bay. Other theories sound straight out of a James Bond film, including that the spacecraft would be able to capture the satellites of other nations or shadow China’s space lab.

In a written release announcing the return of the craft, the air force only said it had been conducting “on-orbit experiments”.

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Sex Is Only For Rich People

An interesting hypothesis, brought to you by the Washington Post:

America has decided: Sex is for rich people. Non-procreative sex in particular.

How else would you explain the trap we’re laying for poor people who deign to get it on?

Pregnancy test result.jpg

Our country apparently doesn’t want low-income Americans to have free access to birth control, either by compelling all insurance plans to offer it or by adequately funding public reproductive health programs. In many schools — predominantly located in low-income, high-teen-pregnancy areas — we don’t even teach kids how contraception works. We also don’t want them to have easy access to abortions when they inevitably get pregnant because they’re not using birth control, with states such as Texas and Mississippi trying to shutter their few remaining abortion clinics.

Then we don’t help them very much after they birth those unplanned kids, instead publicly chastising irresponsible single mothers for having babies they can’t afford and offering little assistance in the form of child care, education or cash.

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