Archive | June 12, 2013

A Piece of History named Popcorn Sutton

Disinfonaut Echar and I were cutting up when I bumped into this and knew I had to share it. This is a few years old so you may have seen it. Since the film tells the story, I won’t.

My words fail me for a closing comment, but this lady said it rather well;

Popcorn, rest in peace. You and your kind are missed by some of us. (And I don’t drink!)… Read the rest

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Japanese Prosthetic Expert Makes Fake Fingers for Ex-Yakuza Members

via Oddity Central Hardcore_Business_Manga

Shintaro Hayashi, a prosthetics maker from Japan, is helping out former members of the Yakuza, or Japanese mob, by creating fake fingers they lost during their life of crime, so they can get normal jobs easier.

The Yakuza organized crime syndicates are renowned for their strict codes of conduct and organized nature. When a member causes serious offenses, he is required to perform a ritual known as “yubitsume”, which implies cutting off his own fingers as a form of atonement. Usually, the left pinkie is the first one to go, but repeated mistakes can cause a sloppy Yakuza to lose several digits.

It becomes a stigma that signifies current or former membership in the Japanese mafia, and those who manage to leave their troubled past behind and become reformed citizens have a hard time finding jobs because of it. Most Yakuza try to conceal their missing fingers in public by keeping a fist, but there comes a time when they can’t hide their defects anymore, and that’s where prosthetics maker Shintaro Hayashi comes in.

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Pope Admits There’s A ‘Gay Lobby’ At The Vatican

Pope Francis in March 2013I’m sure you’re all shocked, shocked.  From BBC News:

Pope Francis is reported to have acknowledged the existence of a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican.

He also said there was a “stream of corruption”, according to reports in Catholic media.

He is said to have made the remarks during a private meeting with a group of Latin American Catholic clerics.

The clerics wrote up a report of the conversation that then appeared on the Chilean website Reflection and Liberation.

Previous rumours

According to the report, the Pope was extremely open as he discussed problems at the Vatican.

He is said to have told the Latin American delegation that there were good, holy men in the administration, but that there was also corruption.

The Vatican would have to “see what we can do” about the “gay lobby” operating in the bureaucracy, he said. “It is true, it is there,” the report quotes him as saying.

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Bilderberg Protest 2013

Thousands of protesters took part in the anti Bilderberg meeting this weekend. In this video protesters are naming various members of the Bilderberg group, give details of the group’s activities, agendas and future plans. People worldwide are outraged by the fact that the Bilderberg meetings are held it complete secrecy without any main stream media coverage.

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Low Dose Psychedelics Allow Mice To Generate Neurons And Unlearn Conditioned Fear

psychedelics

Psychedelic Frontier reports on another study pointing to the immense power (and hazards) of psychedelics:

A new study of mice published in Experimental Brain Research shows that low doses (but not high doses) of psychedelics increase the rate of neuron creation in the hippocampus, and help the mice to rapidly unlearn conditioned fear responses.

Mice injected with low doses of PSOP [psilocybin] extinguished cued fear conditioning significantly more rapidly than high-dose PSOP or saline-treated mice. PSOP facilitates extinction of the conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions.

Research continues to confirm psychedelics’ ability to reduce the conditioned fear response, enabling patients to confront fearful stimuli without the usual baggage of anxiety and defense mechanisms.

With the right therapeutic approach, psychedelics allow us to rewire our brains in a positive manner. On the flip side, reckless use of these substances may cause lasting negative changes in the brain.

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Witchcraft Accusations – Still Killing Women Over 300 Years Later

via Doubtful News

A crowd watches Helen Rumbali, a woman accused of witchcraft, being burned alive. Photo credit: Post Courier A crowd watches Helen Rumbali, a woman accused of witchcraft, being burned alive last February. Photo credit: Post Courier

A crowd watches Helen Rumbali, a woman accused of witchcraft, being burned alive. Photo credit: Post Courier

What is the cause of increasingly visible problem of witchcraft accusations in PNG?

Witch hunts in Papua New Guinea linked to jealousy – Yahoo! News.

There is no clear explanation for the apparent uptick in killings in parts of the South Pacific nation, and even government officials seem at a loss to say why this is happening. Some are arguing the recent violence is fueled not by the nation’s widespread belief in black magicbut instead by economic jealousy born of a mining boom that has widened the country’s economic divide and pitted the haves against the have-nots.

“Jealousy is causing a lot of hatred,” said Helen Hakena, chairwoman of the North Bougainville Human Rights Committee, which is based in the area Rumbali was killed. “People who are so jealous of those who are doing well in life, they resort to what our people believe in, sorcery, to kill them, to stop them continuing their own development.”

She said the witchcraft accusation against Rumbali was just an excuse.

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Ted Rall’s Prescient Take On Verizon And The NSA

verizon and the NSAVia Common Dreams, political cartoonist Ted Rall foresaw exactly where we would be today in a piece written in 2006:

Several months ago employees of Verizon, the company that enjoys a monopoly on local telephone service where I live, confirmed that my telephone has been tapped by the government.

“I don’t mind that Bush is listening to my calls,” I told the security department. “It’s not like I’m calling al Qaeda. And if they called me, I wouldn’t be able to hear them because of the noise on the line.”

Most Americans feel the same as me. We’re not doing anything wrong, so why should we care if the government knows when we’re stuck on hold? If losing our privacy can prevent another 9/11, isn’t it worth it?

No. First and foremost, domestic spying is not an anti-terrorism program. The CIA estimates that there are between 2,000 and 10,000 al Qaeda members worldwide.

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Is Spirituality The Result Of A Combination Of Hallucinations And Happiness?

spirituality

Epiphenom suggests that positive moods and an inclination towards hallucinatory episodes may be the ingredients that produce the spiritual mindset:

Hallucinations and such like are actually a rather common part of the human experience – probably 70% of people experience some form of ‘unusual experiences’ at some time in their lives. You might think that hallucinations would be distressing, but people often report them to be quite pleasant. What’s more, spiritual people often report being happier than average.

James Schuurmans-Stekhoven, at the Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia, speculated that that the two might be causally related. In other words, he thinks that when basically happy people have ‘unusual experiences’ like auditory hallucinations, it inclines them to a spirtual worldview.

To test this, he surveyed Australians about their spirituality, their unusual experiences, and their positive affectivity (mood). As happiness and unusual experiences increase, so to does spirituality.

But [for] people with the lowest levels of unusual experiences, changing levels of positive affect has basically no effect on their spirituality.

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