How Hard Is It To Steal An Atom Bomb?

In 2012, an 82-year-old Nun easily broke into one of America’s most secure weapons facilities. In 1982, inspectors discovered that a massive hyper-secure vault used to store nuclear weapons had an unlocked back door next to a public road. In 1997, one of Russia’s top generals claimed that almost a hundred bombs were missing and unaccounted for.

This week, Science Faction takes a look at the jaw-dropping history of Nuclear Security blunders in ‘How Hard Is It To Steal An Atom Bomb?’

(Information is drawn primarily from released Oversight reports and Congressional hearings – Full list of sources at the end)’

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The Eye of the Luddite: Ruminations on Anti-Technological Themes in the Rocky Series

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There is a tendency among many in our culture to conflate the idea of “progress” with technological advance. The advent of the iPhone 6 is the next step “forward” in mankind’s (and gyno-kind’s, I suppose) evolution towards becoming an enlightened, intelligent species. The message has been drilled into us for the past 150 years or so by the priestly scientist caste, who have promised us absolution, atonement and the alleviation of all of life’s supposed ills, if only we pledge ourselves and our faith in the seemingly unending and supposedly unerring path of technological advance. War, famine, disease, boredom–as technology advanced, there was to be a corresponding decrease in the suffering and discomfort inherent in daily life.

Obviously, none of this has come to pass. Technology has advanced to the point that it’s almost superfluous to distinguish between it and magic, and yet people are still fucking miserable–perhaps in many more and varied ways than they had been in the past.… Read the rest

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Egyptian security forces raid universities with aim of suppressing campus dissent

"Al-Azhar University students walk past riot police during a protest conducted by a pro-Muslim Brotherhood student movement in Nasr City district on 12 October 2014." Photo cred: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

“Al-Azhar University students walk past riot police during a protest conducted by a pro-Muslim Brotherhood student movement in Nasr City district on 12 October 2014.” Photo cred: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

via IFEX.org:

Egyptian authorities should release more than 110 university students arrested since the start of the school year on October 11, 2014. The arrests were apparently aimed at preventing a revival of campus protests that have erupted repeatedly since the overthrow of the former president, Mohamed Morsy, in July 2013. The arrests and subsequent activities appear to be solely directed at the students’ peaceful exercise of the right to free assembly.

Security forces arrested at least 71 students in 15 governorates on October 11, according to the Students for Freedom Observatory, an activist group formed this year to track worsening restrictions on campus political activities. The group said many students were seized from their homes in pre-dawn raids that involved uniformed police, plainclothes officers, and heavily-armed special forces units.

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Electronic Frontier Foundation: Know Your Rights

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via EFF:

Your computer, phone, and other digital devices hold vast amounts of personal information about you and your family. This sensitive data is worth protecting from prying eyes, including those of the government.

EFF has designed this guide to help you understand your rights if officers try to search the data stored on your computer or portable electronic device, or seize it for further examination somewhere else. Keep in mind that the Fourth Amendment is the minimum standard, and your specific state may have stronger protections.

Read More.

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A Sick Society

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

In a stunning indictment of the Gaza assault as the act of a savage nation, even its president has proclaimed Israel a “sick society” incapable of dialogue with those around them and in need of treatment. In a speech at the opening of a conference aptly titled, “From Hatred of the Stranger to Acceptance of the Other,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin – who as head of state has little real power compared to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with far too much – suggested Israel has become a nation without humanity or empathy that has “forgotten how to be decent human beings.” If you need further evidence of the justice of his claim, here’s video of Israeli soldiers arresting an 11-year-old, mute, developmentally disabled boy near Hebron for the possible crime of throwing a stone as neighboring Israeli settlers cheer. This makes us sick.

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Groening VS Kubrick

Simpsons Kubrick

Casting about for another spooky October post, this one didn’t take long.

The Simpsons annual “Treehouse of Horror” episodes have become an American Halloween television tradition given the show’s ridiculously long run and the intense creativity highlighted in these seasonal creep-fests. Often, the “Treehouse” episodes are among the best of a given season and if you’re wondering why the show is still on the air, a glance at their most recent tribute to Stanley Kubrick proves that the show continues to have relevance — and references — to spare.

Here’s the episode’s big scene courtesy of Vulture— it incorporates nearly the entirety of Kubrick’s weighty oeuvre. How many references can you catch?

I wonder what Rob Ager will have to say about this?

Stay Awake!

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel where I archive all of the videos I curate at Insomnia. Click here to check out more Cinema posts.… Read the rest

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Global Epidemic: Every 5 Minutes a Child is Killed by Violence

The UNICEF report reveals that the vast majority of children are killed outside warzones and that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities.  (Image: UNICEF UK)

The UNICEF report reveals that the vast majority of children are killed outside warzones and that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities. (Image: UNICEF UK)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Violence against children is a global epidemic in which a young person is killed by violent conflict every five minutes, according to a new study released Tuesday by U.K. branch of UNICEF.

The global assessment—titled “Children in Danger: Act to End Violence Against Children”—reveals that an estimated 345 children under the age of twenty-years-old die nearly every day across the world. According to the report, the vast majority of these young victims are killed outside war zones, indicating that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities.

“We live in a world where some children are too scared to walk out of their own front doors or play on their streets,” said David Bull, executive director of UNICEF UK.

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‘Hidden brain signatures’ of consciousness in vegetative state patients discovered

Brain networks in two behaviorally similar vegetative patients (left and middle), but one of whom imagined playing tennis (middle panel), alongside a healthy adult (right panel) (credit: Srivas Chennu)

Brain networks in two behaviorally similar vegetative patients (left and middle), but one of whom imagined playing tennis (middle panel), alongside a healthy adult (right panel) (credit: Srivas Chennu)

via Kurzweil: Accelerating Intelligence:

Scientists in Cambridge, England have found hidden signatures in the brains of people in a vegetative state that point to networks that could support consciousness — even when a patient appears to be unconscious and unresponsive. The study could help doctors identify patients who are aware despite being unable to communicate.

Although unable to move and respond, some patients in a vegetative state are able to carry out tasks such as imagining playing a game of tennis, the scientists note. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner, researchers have previously been able to record activity in the pre-motor cortex, the part of the brain that deals with movement, in apparently unconscious patients asked to imagine playing tennis.

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1980: America’s First Extraterrestrial Election

By exoimperator via Flickr (CC by-sa 2.0)

By exoimperator via Flickr (CC by-sa 2.0)

via The Daily Beast:

In a democracy, an idea ceases to sound crazy once every candidate in an election has accepted it. By that measure, 1980 is the year Americans embraced the possibility that humans might not be the only intelligent life forms in the universe. That’s because both that year’s presidential candidates, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, reported having life-changing encounters with unidentified flying objects at some point in their lives.

The following is a summary of what we know about Presidents Carter and Reagan’s close encounters of the third kind and how these episodes affected their views on our place in the cosmos:

In 1969, state senator Jimmy Carter was preparing to give a speech in rural Georgia when an associate called his attention to something floating low above the horizon. There he claims he saw a luminous object change colors several times then vanish into the night sky.

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