What the Hell Is a Little Girl Doing With an Uzi?

OK Second Amendment defenders, what do you say to this question (posed by Cliff Schecter at Daily Beast) in the wake of the now notorious gun range death of a 9-year-old girl’s instructor: “What the Hell Is a Little Girl Doing With an Uzi?”

Yesterday afternoon, the “NRA Women” Twitter account sent out a simple and yet ghoulish message to its followers. With an embedded link to an article on their website, it reminded its adherents of “7 ways children can have fun at the shooting range.”

No matter that merely two days earlier, at the Bullets & Burgers Gun Range in the Las Vegas area, a 9-year old girl had been handed an Uzi, lost control while firing it in fully automatic mode, and accidentally shot the instructor standing next to her in the head (he later died after being airlifted to hospital).

Uzi of the israeli armed forces.jpg

Photo by Uziel Galishto (CC)

Hell, the gun range didn’t even shut down.

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Simulation Theory and the Nature of Reality with NASA Physicist and Author, Tom Campbell

Via Midwest Real

IMG_5913“When the original founding fathers of quantum mechanics were doing these experiments they were really excited… making statements like- ‘if quantum mechanics doesn’t blow your mind, that’s because you don’t understand quantum mechanics.’ They realized this was a really big deal philosophically, (and) scientifically… Then they tried to come up with a good explanation. They couldn’t find one… Now they just blow it off as ‘nobody will ever know… it’s just weird science.’ This My Big Toe theory though, explains it.”  -Tom Campbell

If that chopped up quote sounds vague, pseudo science-y, or confusing (especially if you’re not familiar with some of the basic ideas behind quantum mechanics) I get that. But, when you’re grappling with huge issues like the very nature of our reality and you’re trying to take a broad stroke across the top, things tend to get foggy, so bear with me.

(You should know about the infamous, hotly-debated double-slit experiment covered above for this talk.)

Actually, don’t bear with me, or take anything from me, because our guest, Tom Campbell has an impressive career in applied physics.… Read the rest

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An Anatomy of Paranoia

"Sister Anna," by Carl Fredrik Hill (1887)

“Sister Anna,” by Carl Fredrik Hill (1887)

We all agree that it’s important to question conventional wisdom, and that ideas which are too bizarre for most people to accept may, nonetheless, turn out to be true. Some people, however, seem to reach a tipping point where scores of obsessive strange beliefs feed upon one another to such a degree that they impair the individual’s ability to maintain relationships or function in society. By searching mental health forums, one can find countless posts by concerned individuals who worry that they are losing a loved one to the world of conspiracy. Here is a typical example:

My husband and I have been married for over 3 years (been together 5 years).  For the last two years of our marriage, my husband has become obsessed with conspiracy theories.  Initially, I chalked it up as a new hobby/interest.  But lately (over the past year) his obsession has progressed and has me alarmed.  He spends countless hours on the internet researching conspiracy theories, mostly political (i.e.Read the rest

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Is Congress Really Being Proactive in Regards to Ferguson?

Lapel_cameras_(9816063276)

Fingers crossed that this is implemented.

Senator Claire McCaskill is calling for body cams for all police departments that receive federal funding.

via Policy.Mic:

The news: After weeks of clashes between protesters and heavily armed riot police in Ferguson, Mo., following the police killing of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown, one senator has a simple solution to help prevent future law enforcement excesses: mandatory body cameras for all uniformed officers whose departments receive federal funding.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told the Springfield News-Leader that such a program requirement would constitute a “great legacy” stemming from Brown’s death. She condemned the heavy-handed police crackdown on protesters, particularly officers who threatened reporters, and said that the body cams would protect police officers following legal guidelines for use of force, while reassuring community members that their rights would be respected.

Currently, video evidence usually only covers the tail end of a police incident, McCaskill told the News-Leader: “It gives the impression the police officer has overreacted when they haven’t.

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Mark Bittman’s ‘Drinker’s Manifesto’

The conclusion of Mark Bittman’s “Drinker’s Manifesto” (in the New York Times) is really the best part: “…when it comes to public health we fail to prioritize correctly. The C.D.C. says that excessive alcohol consumption causes 88,000 deaths a year and ‘costs the economy about $224 billion.’ Obesity-related illnesses cause somewhere around 112,000 deaths, and cost maybe a trillion dollars. You don’t see the C.D.C. saying that people under 21 years of age ‘drink too much’ if they consume a can of soda. But it should.” Bittman has a pretty good rationalization for boozing:

Across my desk recently came a reissue of the 1964 classic “The Drinking Man’s Diet,” a cute little volume that maintains that if you drink a bit you’ll lose weight. Counterintuitive, since one of the things we think we know about alcohol is that it provides truly empty calories, which generally speaking cause weight gain (see, for example, soda).

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LISTEN: Leaked Audio Reveals Republican Candidates Cozying Up to the Kochs

Again, I can feel your surprise.

via Policy.Mic:

While Republican candidates have benefitted greatly from the financial assistance of the Koch brothers and their network of mega-donors, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see them owning up to that on the campaign trail.

Behind closed doors, though, is another story. That’s why we get regular leaks from Koch conferences and meetings featuring conservative candidates seemingly kowtowing to a room full of billionaires. It’s what makes the Koch empire the Left’s biggest boogeyman.

But while these leaks make for good campaign soundbites, the real problem isn’t politicians heading to these conferences and retreats. It’s the lax campaign finance rules that make buddying up to donors so damn profitable.

Meanwhile, the Nation got a clip of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaking frankly at a secret Koch-organized meeting. “I assure you that in the spending bill, we will be pushing back against this bureaucracy by doing what’s called placing riders in the bill,” he told those in attendance.

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Just What We Need: Another War

Sound the bugle! Get the press to march along; we are going to war.

Again!

Enemies R ‘Us, and for a long time with the killing of bin Laden, a Jihadi fatigue had set in. With the apparent shriveling up of the Al Qaeda menace, America’s threat-defining and refining machinery was somewhat adrift. What had been so simple, turned too complex to fuse into one soundbite.

Former Intelligence official Thomas Fingar, now of Stanford University, describes his own frustration in finding out what US policy priorities should be in national intelligence. He asked his colleagues to share the threats they worried about. He was soon inundated.

“When I was given responsibility for the process known as the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, almost 2300 issues had been assigned priorities higher than zero, “ he explained. “My first instruction was, “Reduce the number.”

He knew they needed only one bad-ass enemy to focus fears and attract appropriations to fight.… Read the rest

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The Magic Square and the Numbers Eight and Nine

[disinfo ed.'s note: The following is excerpted from China's Cosmological Prehistory: The Sophisticated Science Encoded in Civilization's Earliest Symbols by Laird Scranton]

Integral to both the plan of the ancient Chinese city and the nine-plot layout of the well-field system—and to concepts of divination in ancient China—is the notion of the Lo Shu square, or magic square, sometimes referred to as the “nine halls diagram.” This figure is essentially a grid of nine squares, arranged like the well-field plots into a larger square, consisting of three squares per side (see below). Each smaller square is associated with one of the cardinal numbers from one to nine, arranged in such a way so that the sum of the three integers along any column or diagonal produces a total of fifteen.

Magic Square Lo Shu.svg

Although there are variations in the myths, the invention of the magic square in China is traditionally assigned to Fu-xi at around 3000 BCE.… Read the rest

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Discussions of Michael Brown’s Death Banned in Illinois School District

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. via Wikimedia Commons

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. via Wikimedia Commons

Why do people actually think stifling discourse about polarizing current events is the key to a good education?

via AlterNet:

When faced with tragedies like the shooting of Michael Brown and the community unrest that followed, there are many hard questions to be asked. Why did this happen again? Who should be held accountable? How do we prevent such injustices?

But among the hard questions, few are so pressing, or essential, as this: What do we tell the children?

For educators, that question weighs heavily, and in the Brown case all the more so because Brown’s death occurred just as the new academic year begins.But in Edwardsville, Illinois, the answer is chilling: What do we tell the children? We tell them nothing.

From the local CBS affiliate in St. Louis:

A new directive has been issued in Edwardsville schools: Don’t talk about Ferguson or Michael Brown in class.

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