Google Ditches ALEC

if you haven’t heard of the American Legislative Exchange Council, generally referred to as ALEC, it’s a conservative group of American lawmakers who are trying to institute extreme right wing legislation throughout the states.

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They’ve been remarkably successful in persuading large corporations to back them, but first Micrsoft and now Google are distancing themselves, reports the Chicago Tribune:

Google is breaking ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent network of conservative state legislators that, among other projects, works to roll back laws that promote solar and wind power, the company’s chairman said Monday.

The decision marks a major victory for a campaign by environmentalists, union activists and other liberal groups that have pushed companies to drop support for ALEC. Microsoft ended its ties to the group a few weeks ago.

“The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said, referring to the initial decision to support ALEC.

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A Man Young and Old

by Hartwig HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

by Hartwig HKD via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

I First Love

THOUGH nurtured like the sailing moon
In beauty’s murderous brood,
She walked awhile and blushed awhile
And on my pathway stood
Until I thought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood.
But since I laid a hand thereon
And found a heart of stone
I have attempted many things
And not a thing is done,
For every hand is lunatic
That travels on the moon.
She smiled and that transfigured me
And left me but a lout,
Maundering here, and maundering there,
Emptier of thought
Than the heavenly circuit of its stars
When the moon sails out.

II Human Dignity

Like the moon her kindness is,
If kindness I may call
What has no comprehension in’t,
But is the same for all
As though my sorrow were a scene
Upon a painted wall.
So like a bit of stone I lie
Under a broken tree.… Read the rest

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It’s no bubble: insane dotcom valuations reveal how integral tech is to our lives

Dot Com Made Of Lego Bricks by Kiewic via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Dot Com Made Of Lego Bricks by Kiewic via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Gordon Fletcher, University of Salford

A recent flurry of business mergers and acquisitions and stock market flotations in the US has prompted some financial commentators to predict a new tech bubble.

The size of these buyouts and IPOs, and the businesses themselves, are so large they are almost beyond comprehension. The recent announcements about Alibaba and Line have had financial analysts in North America, Australia and Europe scratching their heads; the estimated values of their offerings are US$20 billion and US$10 billion respectively, for products that are relatively unknown beyond Asia.

Combined with a general lack of public knowledge about the biggest emerging techs and the various analyses by traders and advisers, the danger of a tech bubble bursting looks all too real.… Read the rest

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When Humans Lose Control of Government

By Sheila in Moonducks via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Sheila in Moonducks via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via The Atlantic:

The Veterans Affairs scandal of falsified waiting lists is the latest of a never-ending stream of government ineptitude. Every season brings a new headline of failures: the botched roll-out of Obamacare involved 55 uncoordinated IT vendors; a White House report in February found that barely 3 percent of the $800 billion stimulus plan went to rebuild transportation infrastructure; and a March Washington Post report describes how federal pensions are processed by hand in a deep cave in Pennsylvania.

The reflexive reaction is to demand detailed laws and rules to make sure things don’t go wrong again. But shackling public choices with ironclad rules, ironically, is a main cause of the problems. Dictating correctness in advance supplants the one factor that is indispensable to all successful endeavors—human responsibility. “Nothing that’s good works by itself,” as Thomas Edison put it.

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How Ayn Rand Brought You Kim Kardashian and the Cult of Self-Obsessed Celebrity

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An interesting take on Ayn Rand’s obsession with individualism to the point of valuing selfishness. Do you think a Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton is what Rand had in mind? They certainly seem to value themselves more than anyone else. Would Rand endorse their rampant vanity and self-interested actions? Or did the author, Lynn Stuart Paramore, at AlterNet get it wrong?

via AlterNet:

Just about any philosopher or religious leader, not to mention nearly anyone you meet walking down the street, could tell you that selfishness is not a virtue. If you are old enough to apply for a driver’s license, you can probably work out that selfish behavior has detrimental effects on all of us. Even if you’re not quite ready to give it up.

But not Ayn Rand. The 20th-century doyenne of destructive capitalism, dear to self-centered college sophomores and those, likePaul Ryan, who have not yet grown out of their me-first phase, declared aloud what a lot of jerks tend to keep to themselves: the idea that selfishness is awesome.

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The Path to DMT: Psychedelic Drugs, Meditation, and the 
Pineal Gland

DmSoPr cover HR[disinfo ed.'s note: Excerpted from DMT and the Soul of Prophecy: A New Science of Spiritual Revelation in the Hebrew Bible by Rick Strassman, MD.]

The notion of Hebrew Bible prophecy as a model for the DMT experience, and for the Western psychedelic drug experience in general, started forming in my mind several years after completing my drug studies in the mid-1990s. That research project represented the culmination of a decades-long interest in the biology of spiritual experience that began during my undergraduate training in the late 1960s. In these next two chapters, I trace the impetus for my research; its intellectual, biological, personal, and spiritual backdrops; the data that the project generated; and how those data forced me to search outside my preexisting models for more adequate ones. That search ultimately led to the Hebrew Bible and its notion of prophecy.

Altered States of Consciousness: East Meets West

During the middle of the twentieth century, two powerful mind-­altering technologies burst upon the West.… Read the rest

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ISIS, the FBI and the Georgia Guidestones (Plus All New 2014 Cube!)

Still from KafkaWinstonWorld's video at post bottom

Still from KafkaWinstonWorld’s video at post bottom

In a bizarre example of terrorism paranoia, America’s current bogeyman, ISIS, has been linked to the Georgia Guidestones (for those of you who don’t know about the Guidestones, check out our exclusive video below) following some recent vandalism where the word “Isis” was left on one of the stones (see video at bottom of post at 3:48 in). The FBI are on the case reports OnlineAthens:

The Georgia Guidestones, a 19-foot tall structure somewhat resembling the ancient Stonehenge monument of England, was recently vandalized in Elbert County and no one knows by whom.

But the inclusion of the word Isis in the graffiti earned the attention of the feds.

“We have not had any tips,” Elbert County sheriff’s Capt. Darren Scarborough said Monday of the search for the vandal. “We were hoping that through radio and newspapers we would get something, but we haven’t.”

However, the FBI was made aware of the graffiti because the author of the vandalism scrawled symbols on the stones and wrote such strange messages as, “I banish all darkness,” and, “I Am Isis, goddess of love.”

The word Isis caught the attention of the authorities because a terrorist group in the Middle East is known as ISIS.

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Radical Linguistics in an Age of Extinction

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An interesting essay on the equality of languages by Ross Perlin at Dissent Magazine:

. . . words are a way of fending in the world: whole languages, like species, can disappear without dropping a gram of earth weight, and symbolic systems to a fare you well can be added without filling a ditch or thimble. . . .

—A.R. Ammons

Modern linguistics is founded on a radical premise: the equality of all languages. “All languages have equal expressive power as communication systems,” writes Steven Pinker. “Every grammar is equally complex and logical and capable of producing an infinite set of sentences to express any thought one might wish to express,” says a recent textbook. “The outstanding fact about any language is its formal completeness,” wrote Edward Sapir, adding elsewhere for rhetorical effect: “When it comes to linguistic form, Plato walks with the Macedonian swineherd, Confucius with the head-hunting savage of Assam.”

Where native speakers are concerned, no language, dialect, or accent can meaningfully be described as primitive, broken, or inferior.

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Diary of an American Terrorist

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The Wall Street bankers and billionaires had better watch out. A new novel, Diary of an American Terrorist, by Chuck Darwin, pictures them mowed down by machine gun fire, dropped from high places, and having their throats slit – in general, being rubbed out in increasingly gruesome and wholesale ways.

“This is a startling document,” says Patrick Quinlan, president of Strawberry Books, the publisher of Diary. “There’s a lot of anger in it, and why not? The bankers have been getting up to all kinds of mayhem for a long time. A lot of jobs have gone overseas. Let’s face it: we’ve all been waiting for a novel where an ordinary working person decides to strike them back.”

In the story, an unnamed middle-aged man has lost everything – his family, his job, his very life. His humiliation becomes anger, which boils over into a murderous rage. He turns it toward the people he blames for his predicament – the very wealthy, who so often profit from the misery of working people.… Read the rest

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