Archive | June, 2012

Explorer Rory Nugent on The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs

Rory Nugent | The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 13

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It's Lucky Episode 13 for The DisinfoCast, and to bring a little perspective to what it means to have "bad luck," adventurer and writer Rory Nugent opens up the show with his true account of being lost at sea for five days with nothing but a couple of candy bars and his own urine to drink. After an experience like that no one would have blamed Nugent if he never left his home again, but instead he took off for India in search for a rare pink-headed duck and then to the Congo to find Mokele-Mbembe, the legendary last dinosaur. After you're done with the show, visit Rory and learn more about his books (The Search for the Pink Headed Dinosaur, Drums Along the Congo, Down at the Docks) at www.rorynugent.com.
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Texas Man Strangles And Eats Dog After Entering Animal-Like State From Synthetic Marijuana

How long until our military attempts to harness the potential of the new breeds of synthetic drugs? Via the Daily Mail:

A drug-fuelled rampage led a man to attack several people and chase around a neighbour while growling like an animal – before he brutally killed and ate a dog.

Waco police said that Michael Terron Daniel told his housemates that he was ‘on a bad trip’ after taking the synthetic drug K-2 and began attacking them. Sgt W. Patrick Swanton said that when a neighbour tried to intervene, Daniel got down on his hands and knees and ‘began barking and growling like a dog.’

As horrified witnesses watched, Daniel allegedly turned to a medium-sized Spaniel mix, who belonged to one of his housemates, choking the animal. Daniel then ‘took a bite out of the dog, ripping pieces of flesh away and eating them.’ Police showed up to find Daniel sitting on the front porch with the dog’s carcass on his lap.

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Meditation Causes Brains To Grow

Plant food for the human brain. Sprinkle some meditation and watch as your grey matter expands, MRIs reveal. Reality Sandwich reports:

Last week, two University of Oregon scientists published new research confirming and expanding upon previous findings which supported the benefits of a Chinese meditation technique known as integrative body-mind training.

In the concrete physical dimension, the brains of subjects who consistently meditated for a month showed an increase in axonal density, or signaling connections, and growth of the protective fatty tissue known as myelin.

Researcher Michael Posner said, “This study gives us a much more detailed picture of what…is actually changing…we did confirm the exact locations of the white-matter changes that we had found previously. And now we show that both myelination and axon density are improving. The order of changes we found may be similar to changes found during brain development in early childhood.”

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Dancing On Pinheads

Many people have at some point heard, or are at least vaguely familiar with the question, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” – a reference to the pointless theological debates that consumed much of European academia during the latter half of the Middle Ages.  Although it turns out this particular phrasing was most likely never actually discussed (not appearing in print until hundreds of years later as a retroactive jab at Thomas Aquinas and his “scholastic” brand of philosophy) it continues to serve as a handy metaphor for any dubious intellectual endeavor lacking in apparent practical value and without any foreseeable means of resolution.

Questions of this sort, while no longer at the forefront of serious scholarly inquiry, haven’t completely subsided in the modern age, especially in the United States where we have the unusual distinction of being by far the most religious of any advanced, industrial nation.  As the so-called “culture wars” rage on unabated in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election (with back and forth volleys ranging from Rick Santorum’s failed candidacy to President Obama’s recent declaration of support for gay marriage), the subject of religious belief and its role in American politics has been pushed to the forefront of national discourse, and with it has come a revival of interest in a wide range of formerly obscure ideas relating to God and his role in the universe.… Read the rest

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Salman Rushdie Fatwa To Be Turned Into Iranian Video Game

The religious bounty on the head of Satanic Verses author Salman Rushie will be the basis for a video game under development in Iran, the Guardian reports:

Salman Rushdie was the target of a notorious fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic of Iran, 23 years ago.

The Stressful Life of Salman Rushdie and Implementation of his Verdict is the title of the game being developed by the Islamic Association of Students, a government-sponsored organisation which announced this week it had completed initial phases of production.

News of the game came as Tehran on Tuesday played host to the country’s second International Computer Games Expo. Little has been revealed about the game but its title suggests players will be asked to implement Khomeini’s call for the killing of Rushdie.

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Tweeting To Aliens

Who would have guessed that the best way to send a message to those aliens we know are out there somewhere would be via Twitter? Natalie Wolchover explains why for MSNBC:

If there’s something you’d like to say to aliens, now’s your chance. The Wow! signal, a mysterious radio transmission detected in 1977 that may or may not have come from extraterrestrials, is finally getting a response from humanity. Anyone can contribute his or her two cents — or 140 characters, to be exact — to the cosmic reply via Twitter.

All tweets composed between 8 p.m. EDT Friday and 3 a.m. EDT Saturday tagged with the hashtag #ChasingUFOs will be rolled into a single message, according to the National Geographic Channel, which is timing the Twitter event to coincide with the premiere of the channel’s new series, “Chasing UFOs.”

Then on Aug. 15, exactly 35 years after the Wow!

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Talking To The Weather Underground In Hiding

What is it like being an underground revolutionary, with fantasies of grandeur, dreaming of a better tomorrow? In 1975, the Weather Underground, a militant faction of the Students for a Democractic Society attempting to overthrow U.S. imperialism, were fugitives in hiding. Filmmakers Emile de Antonio, Haskell Wexler and Mary Lampson spoke to members of group (who were concealed from the camera by sheets and mirrors to interesting effect). Much of footage which revealed too much was burned, and the film and negatives were subsequently subpoenaed by the FBI for use in their mission to capture the Weathermen:
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