Archive | April 14, 2013

Wrongly Convicted Rapist Set Free After 38 Years in Prison

Picture: NY Daily News (C)

Picture: NY Daily News (C)

David Bryant had his youth stolen for him because his court-appointed attorney neglected to mention that he had a different blood type from body fluids from those collected from the body of a raped and murdered eight year-old girl. Arrested when he was 18, Bryant is now 56, the victim of a judgment system all too quick to carelessly convict a suspect of convenience. He’s free now, thanks to the efforts of advocacy group Centurion Ministries.

As you can imagine, 38 years in prison as a convicted child murderer and rapist is brutal:

“Let me tell you, the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl is not the ideal thing to be in prison for,” he said.

“All I had was my faith that I knew I was an innocent man. I was alone. I had no one. All I had was my personal knowledge that I didn’t commit these awful acts, and I clung to that so tight and I never let it go,” Bryant continued.

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Shell’s Plot to Take Away Your First Amendment Rights

Picture: Catherine Hammond (CC)

Picture: Catherine Hammond (CC)

Greenpeace’s executive director Phil Radford writes at Huffington Post:

Corporations want to work in secret. It’s what they do, and why they have lawyers. In secret, they can spill, clearcut, burn, and otherwise destroy the environment and local communities while telling the world they’re doing just the opposite. Shell Oil’s legal team is currently working overtime to keep the company’s Arctic work secret from advocacy groups like Greenpeace. It’s a battle that will have implications well beyond the Far North. If Shell ultimately wins the legal battle with us this month, corporate secrecy will have the blessing of a federal court — and America’s First Amendment rights will take a devastating hit.

The thought is chilling.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California is currently weighing whether Shell has the right to preemptively stop Greenpeace from protesting Shell’s drilling in the Alaskan Arctic. If the court ultimately rules in Shell’s favor, nothing would stop other corporations from taking the same preemptive action against anyone they saw as likely protesters — from neighborhood groups to Amnesty International.

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60,000-Ton Underwater Pyramid Detected Beneath Sea Of Galilee

galilee

Deep sea diving teams will be dispatched to attempt to decode the meaning of the monolith, Live Science reports:

A giant “monumental” stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built. Rising nearly 32 feet high, the mysterious structure is cone shaped and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships.

It appears to be a giant cairn, boulders piled on top of each other. Structures like this are known elsewhere in the world and are sometimes used to mark burials.

The structure was first detected in 2003 during a sonar survey of the southwest portion of the sea. Divers have since been down to investigate, they write in the latest issue of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. The researchers say the structure is definitely human-made and probably was built on land, only later to be covered by the Sea of Galilee.

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Christian Fundamentalism’s War on Higher Mathematics

384px-Relation1001.svgI’ll be the first to admit that my math skills are rudimentary. I’d go so far as to say they’re borderline non-existent. To quote that famous plastic scholar Barbie, “Math is tough!” If you can do math, especially anything from algebra on up, you’ve got my admiration – maybe even my fearful reverence. You’re like the first caveman who mastered fire to me. You don’t have to worry about me coming to your door with pitchfork in torch in hand. However, the same can’t be said of certain groups of Christian fundamentalists. According to BoingBoing’s Maggy Koerth-Baker, some of these guys are waging war against higher mathematics, particularly something called “set theory”. Check it out:

Some of these folks get very touchy about the idea of infinity. Mark Chu-Carroll is a software engineer at foursquare and a math blogger. Unlike me, he was already aware of the fundamentalist objection to set theory, because he’s actually had people show up in his comment section railing about how the theory is an affront to God.

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An Open Letter to TED

arrangementsKen Jordan, Publisher & Editorial Director, Evolver/Reality Sandwich, has written an open letter to TED’s Chris Anderson in an attempt to get the TED organization to stop squirming around for a minute and talk about the real issues at stake in their decision to cordon off large swaths of scientific inquiry:

“TED’s prominence has made it, perhaps inadvertently, into an forum that validates worthy intellectual progress. If a good idea gets momentum, it will most likely end up, one way or another, presented by TED or one of the TEDx offshoots.

That’s why the censure of the TEDx talks by Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake is so dismaying. As you must know, to many of us the reasons behind their removal from the TED YouTube site are just not clear. On behalf of the Evolver community, I’d like to extend an invitation to you to help us understand the reasoning that led to TED’s actions, because we suspect that behind your decision is an uninformed prejudice against groundbreaking research in a critical area of study, the possibility that consciousness extends beyond the brain.”

The issue here is not one of censorship, it’s one of social engineering.… Read the rest

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So Ray Kurzweil Wants To Live Forever…

Ray Kurzweil blue backgroundOk, so Ray Kurzweil is a man of above average intelligence and achievement, even if he only just got his first job (Google, of course), but is a desire to live forever a wise choice or foolish hubris? The Wall Street Journal reports on his quest for immortality:

Ray Kurzweil must encounter his share of interviewers whose first question is: What do you hope your obituary will say?

This is a trick question. Mr. Kurzweil famously hopes an obituary won’t be necessary. And in the event of his unexpected demise, he is widely reported to have signed a deal to have himself frozen so his intelligence can be revived when technology is equipped for the job.

Mr. Kurzweil is the closest thing to a Thomas Edison of our time, an inventor known for inventing. He first came to public attention in 1965, at age 17, appearing on Steve Allen’s TV show “I’ve Got a Secret” to demonstrate a homemade computer he built to compose original music in the style of the great masters.

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Gitmo Prisoners Stage Violent Rebellion

GuantanamoThe unrest at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (a/k/a Gitmo) that has seen brutal force feeding of hunger strikers exploded this weekend as detainees staged a rebellion armed with broomsticks and batons. From AP:

Months of increased tension at the Guantanamo Bay prison boiled over into a clash between guards and detainees Saturday as the military closed a communal section of the facility and moved its inmates into single cells.

The violence erupted during an early morning raid that military officials said was necessary because prisoners had covered up security cameras and windows as part of a weekslong protest and hunger strike over their indefinite confinement and conditions at the U.S. base in Cuba.

Prisoners fought guards with makeshift weapons that included broomsticks and mop handles when troops arrived to move them out of a communal wing of the section of the prison known as Camp 6, said Navy Capt.

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Power Of CERN Collider To Be Doubled, May Reveal Extra Dimensions

earthspaceAre we ready for a hint of the eleven-dimensional world? Via Reuters:

“When this refit is completed,” CERN scientist Marc Goulette says, gesturing across the gigantic Large Hadron Collider (LHC), “we shall be ready to explore an entirely new realm of physics.”

The collider is only five years old but, after swiftly finding a crucial missing link to support mankind’s main concept of the universe, is now entering a two-year revamp to double its power in the hope of breathtaking new discoveries.

Some scientists predict it might find a zoo of new particles or even catch hints that space has more than three dimensions. Oliver Buchmueller, an experimental physicist, also hopes to see proof the extra dimensions foreseen in string theory.

Could that take science beyond, into the extension of string theory that predicts the existence of parallel universes or a perpetually growing galaxy of universes, unpenetrable one from the other, that cosmologists call the Multiverse?

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