Fear is the Mind Killer

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Via Don Hazen at AlterNet:

“Fear is the mind-killer” – Frank Herbert, Dune

People cannot think clearly when they are afraid. As numerous studies have shown, fear is the enemy of reason. It distorts emotions and perceptions, and often leads to poor decisions. For people who have suffered trauma, fear messages can sometimes trigger uncontrollable flight-or-fight responses with dangerous ramifications.

Yet over time, many interlocking aspects of our society have become increasingly sophisticated at communicating messages and information that produce fear responses. Advertising, political ads, news coverage and social media all send the constant message that people should be afraid—very afraid.

In addition, television and film are filled with extreme violence and millions of fictional deaths, far out of proportion to what happens in real life, as researchers have pointed out. And more recently, we have witnessed the massive militarization of local police departments with equipment, gear and attitudes that treat citizens as if they were terrorists, as recently evidenced by events in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Jürgen Schmidhuber to do AMA on reddit /r/MachineLearning

"Structure of the Universe" by NASA, ESA, and E. Hallman (University of Colorado, Boulder) - http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/hst_img_20080520.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Structure of the Universe” by NASA, ESA, and E. Hallman (University of Colorado, Boulder) – http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/hst_img_20080520.html. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Jürgen Schmidhuber will be hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the subreddit, /r/machinelearning, this Wednesday (March 4) at 10am EST.

From Schmidhuber’s website:

Since age 15 or so, Prof. Jürgen Schmidhuber’s main scientific ambition has been to build an optimal scientist through self-improving Artificial Intelligence (AI), then retire. He has pioneered self-improving general problem solvers since 1987, and Deep Learning Neural Networks (NNs)since 1991. The recurrent NNs (RNNs) developed by his research groups at the Swiss AI Lab IDSIA & USI & SUPSI (ex-TU MunichCogBotLab) were the first RNNs to win official international contests. They recently helped to improve connected handwriting recognition, speech recognition, machine translation, optical character recognition, image caption generation, and are now in use at Google, Microsoft, IBM, Baidu, and many other companies.

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Democracy Movement Launches Nationwide Actions

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday March 2nd, 2015

Kevin Zeese: ​​Popular Resistance ​- kbzeese@gmail.com
Eleanor Goldfield:​​ Rooftop Revolutionaries, Art Killing Apathy, Act Out! ​- Eleanor@BackboneCampaign.org

Actions Roll Across the Nation Defending Internet Freedom Before Historic FCC Vote & in Opposition to Congressional Fast-Tracking of Largest U.S. Trade Deal Ever

On February 26th the FCC cast a historic vote upholding Net Neutrality. Simultaneously, as Congress reconvenes after the congressional recess, they are preparing to bring Fast Track of the Trans-Pacific Partnership up for a vote. The Rolling Rebellion for Real Democracy is confronting these two current issues of people power vs. corporate power that will have a major impact on people’s lives.

Firstly, the issue of Net Neutrality. A people-powered movement convinced the FCC to reclassify the Internet to ensure equal access for all without discrimination. Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance notes that “Net Neutrality is essential for the exercise of Freedom of Speech in the 21st Century.… Read the rest

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After I “Discovered” an Abandoned Town and My Film Went Viral

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It was 4:47pm in San Diego on October 1, 2014. A YouTube user named trixxie62 subscribed to my channel, sending an email notification to my inbox. This triggered my phone’s “new email” ringtone. Several minutes later another one came in. Then another. After that I was receiving a new subscriber every 1-2 minutes, far exceeding the usual 1-3 per week.

Upon checking around I found that Roadtrippers.com had included my film in a story on their website and social media pages. The story was receiving more Facebook Likes and Comments than any other Roadtrippers story in weeks. It seemed like an exciting moment. But things were about to take an unexpected turn.

Very often you can read stories about people who were perceived to have said something dumb, hateful or untrue, then they pay for it by being called out on social media and in the news. While I can’t particularly speak to never saying anything “dumb,” I can confirm that I did not say anything hateful or untrue.… Read the rest

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Los Angeles Police Shoot Homeless Man On Skid Row (Video)

Yet again an American police department has needlessly killed one of its citizens, this time in Los Angeles. The following video is disturbing, but it’s important that it be seen and that the people whom the police serve demand a change in how policing is done:

Yahoo News/AFP describes the incident:

Los Angeles police fatally shot a man on Sunday in an incident that was caught on video and circulated widely online, with the department saying officers resorted to deadly force after the man had reached for one of their guns.

The graphic footage, which appeared on Facebook, shows a violent altercation between a man and several officers in LA’s “Skid Row,” an area near downtown where many homeless people live.

The video appears to show the man flailing at officers as they try to subdue him.

A voice yelling “Drop the gun!” can be heard before several shots ring out and several onlookers cry out in alarm.

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Astrology could help take pressure off NHS doctors, claims Conservative MP

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Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

Via The Guardian:

A Conservative MP has claimed that astrology could have “a role to play in healthcare”.

David Tredinnick said astrology, along with complementary medicine, could take pressure off NHS doctors, but acknowledged that any attempt to spend taxpayers’ money on consulting the stars would cause “a huge row”.

He criticised the BBC and TV scientist Professor Brian Cox for taking a “dismissive” approach to astrology, and accused opponents of being “racially prejudiced”.

The MP for Bosworth, in Leicestershire, who is a Capricorn and in 2010 paid back £755 he had claimed in expenses for software that used astrology to diagnose medical conditions, told Astrological Journal: “I do believe that astrology and complementary medicine would help take the huge pressure off doctors.

“Ninety per cent of pregnant French women use homeopathy. Astrology is a useful diagnostic tool enabling us to see strengths and weaknesses via the birth chart.

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