Archive | July 8, 2013

For The Canine Crowd: DogTV

There is a cable television network for seemingly every human interest, from motocross to knitting, so how about expanding the choices to include animal interests too? Variety reports that DogTV is coming to DirecTV:

Release the hounds: DogTV — touted as the first TV network aimed at man’s best friend — is a real 24-hour channel that will be unleashed on DirecTV starting Aug. 1.

For the first two weeks of August, DogTV will be available for free to any DirecTV subscriber. Pooch owners who register to subscribe before Aug. 10 will receive 30 days free through mid-September, after which the channel will be $4.99 per month. In addition, those signing up for the early-dog special will receive a PetHub dog ID tag and $10 coupon codes for PetBest.com and Dog Is Good.

According to PTV Media, the company behind DogTV, it spent more than four years developing and testing a 24-hour TV channel aimed at pups of all breeds…

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Obama’s ‘War on Coal’ Isn’t Real–But It’s Really in the Newspaper

War on coal

Pcture: USGS

Peter Hart writes at F.A.I.R.:

It’d be nice if newspapers covered policy fights as if reality mattered. But corporate media generally prefers to cover politics as a form of public relations–which involves the creation of a reality that you think will help your side win.

For Republicans, this means discussing Barack Obama’s environmental policies as a “war on coal.” And in today’s New York Times (7/2/13), reporter Trip Gabriel covers that story not as someone trying to explain reality to readers, but as someone helping to make the Republican case.

“GOP Sees Opportunity for Election Gains in Obama’s Climate Change Policy” is the headline, and Gabriel explains that after Obama’s recent climate speech, green groups “rejoiced.” But, wouldn’t you know it, “many Republicans were just as gleeful.” Why? Because they believe that this will cost Democrats some support in the next election cycle:

Elected officials and political analysts said the president’s crackdown on coal, the leading source of industrial greenhouse gases, could have consequences for Senate seats being vacated by retiring Democrats in West Virginia and South Dakota, for shaky Democratic incumbents like Mary L.

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Is Thelema a Religion or not?

Well is it? via IAO131 Aleister Crowley

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

One of the ever-present questions in the discourse about Thelema is whether or not it is a religion. I think this question is most poetically answered by someone – I believe the credit goes to Jake Stratton-Kent - who said:

“There is religion in Thelema for those that require it. There is also freedom from religion in Thelema, for those that require it.”

In short: Yes… and no. All I can attempt to do is elaborate on this position to make it a bit more clear.

Before going too far in depth, it should be said that – according to anthropologists, sociologists, theologists, and the like – Thelema would most definitely be classified as a “religion.” It has a “Bible” (Liber AL vel Legis), a moral code (Do what thou wilt), a Prophet (To Mega Therion), a set of practices (Magick), and even a “pantheon” (Nuit, Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Hoor-paar-kraatet cetera).

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The Roswell Crash: Sixty-Six Years Old and Still Controversial

RoswellDailyRecordJuly8,1947Today marks the 66th anniversary of the Roswell UFO incident and debate still continues regarding what exactly happened on that day. All we know for sure is something happened, and the subsequent confusion (some may say cover-up) in the press covering the event and contradictory statements from the US military has been fuel for speculation ever since.

Did the United States recover the wreckage of an alien craft or a weather balloon? Here’s what we know for sure (or pretty close to sure):

On July 8, 1947, Roswell Army Air Field Public Information Officer Walter Haut issued a press statement indicating that a “flying disc” had been recovered from a crash site on a local ranch by elements of the 509th Operations Group. Local newspaper the Roswell Daily Record ran with the story, publishing a front-page feature with the title “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region”. Later that day, another statement was released, this time under Commanding General of the Eight Air Force Roger Ramey.… Read the rest

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Lost Between the Cushions: CouchSurfing’s Identity Crisis

worklife_small-talk-is-big_june_jugglezine_maassen1

The culture of sharing your house and goodwill in hopes of getting a social return may be at risk due to growth and rude people.

Via The Connectivist:

Is trusting a stranger’s Internet profile still a safe and meaningful way to travel?

Florian, a 44-year old German man, felt used and taken advantage of by the stranger in his house. For a week, the stranger came and went as if he owned the place, returning late at night and making no time at all for the distraught Florian. Hardly any dialogue or intimacy was shared between the two. Florian, deeply distressed, complained that he and the stranger had “almost no opportunity to eat together or really get to know each other.”

Such are not the ways of CouchSurfing.

The Internet has a history of providing safe havens for new social, economical, and scientific experiments, like Bitcoin or downloadable vaccines. But what happens when they get too big for their boots?

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The Rapper Formerly Known As Mos Def Undergoes Force-Feeding In Protest Of Guantanamo

The pressure is being mounted on President Obama to take steps to end the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Wondering just how brutal force-feeding is? Yasiin Bey (better known as Mos Def) collaborated with the human rights organization Reprieve and filmmaker Asif Kapadia to document himself actually undergoing the procedure, in accordance with the standard operating guidelines found in leaked military documents. The resulting four-minute film is extremely disturbing:

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Human Head Transplant May Be Possible, But Should We?

body-art-marc-quinn

Body Art by Marc Quinn

Will we soon be able to swap heads willy-nilly like Jodorowsky’s  short film La Cravate? Will the cryogenic dreams of the Quick 8 come to fruition? It appears that now it is now theoretically possible according to this article from the Telegraph.

Dr Sergio Canavero believes that the technology now exists that will allow surgeons to carry out the Frankenstein-style procedure, which has been tested out on animals since 1970.

Up until now there has been no way to successfully reconnect the spinal cord, leaving the subjects paralysed from the point where the transplant was connected.

Recent advances have meant that re-connecting the spinal cord is now possible, and it is believed that the breakthrough means that previously fatal diseases could be cured.

Speaking of animal tests here’s a video: Experiments in the Revival of Organisms

(Warning: some readers may find the following video extremely disturbing.

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NSA College Recruitment Drive Goes Quite Wrong

NSA college recruitmentWhen the National Security Agency visited the University of Wisconsin last week to recruit language students to be the next generation of intelligence workers, events didn’t go smoothly as planned.

Journalist Madiha Tahir, currently taking a language course at the university, posted an audio recording of the NSA officials’ presentation to the student body going off the rails, as she and others tear the presenters to pieces with questions about Edward Snowden, the legality and ethics of their work, and if being a good liar is an asset for getting a job at the NSA. She has also posted a rough transcript on her blog.

Her comment that sums up the whole debacle: “I’m just surprised that for language analysts, you’re incredibly imprecise with your language. And it just doesn’t seem to be clear.”

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‘Proof of Heaven’ Disproven

As it turns out, the story of neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander and how he left his body to
experience Heaven was a crock of unscientific folderol (and I had no doubt for a single second).

Dr. Eben Alexander and his

Dr. Eben Alexander and his “Proof of Heaven”

Via The Atlantic:

In his book, Alexander claims that when he was in a coma caused by E. coli bacterial meningitis, he went to heaven. Of course, Dittrich’s piece is not the first time that Alexander’s text has come into question. In April, Michael Shermer at Scientific American explained how the author’s “evidence is proof of hallucination, not heaven.” But Dittrich calls into question not what Alexander experienced so much how he did. While Dittrich looks at legal troubles Alexander had during his time practicing neurosurgery, perhaps the most damning piece of testimony comes from a doctor who was on duty in the ER when Alexander arrived in 2008.… Read the rest

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