Archive | July 19, 2013

In Defense of GMOs

PDB 1gmo EBIHear him out before you comment, y’all! Self-described liberal Saul of Hearts finds things to like regarding GMOs, if not Monsanto, writing at Medium:

Let me get a few things out of the way.

I’m a crazy fucking hippie. I go to Burning Man every year. I teach yoga. I live in a co-op. For the past two years I’ve been delivering organic vegetables for a local delivery service. I’ve been eating vegetarian for years, and vegan for the past four months.

I’m also fascinated by genetics. I read every book that comes my way on evolutionary theory, population genetics, and mapping the genome. I took several classes on the subject at the University of Pennsylvania. All told, I have a pretty solid understanding of how genes work.

And ultimately, I’m just not that scared of GMOs.

Now don’t get me wrong. I understand where my liberal friends are coming from.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

HuffPo Just Discovered ‘Real’ Vampires

In what must be a shock to some small percentage of people born after 1989, the Huffington Post offers this “shocking” report on a “real-life” vampire couple. Undead? Try unintentionally hilarious.

Benninghoff, 20, met Draven, 38, on a dating website this past February and, while both were into the gothic lifestyle, he wanted a more intimate relationship.

“When he explained that blood sharing would bring us closer together, I asked him to turn me,” Benninghoff said, according to the Daily Star. “Aro cut himself with a razor and offered me his blood. Then I cut myself and he drank from me too. Suddenly I felt the energy rushing through me. It was a magical experience –- much more intimate than sex.”

With a connection like that, it would be silly not to tie the knot so the couple is planning a wedding on Halloween, Hir24.hu reported.

But they haven’t yet told Benninghoff’s parents that her daughter has “converted” to vampirism.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Colorado Town To Issue Permits For Hunting Of Drones

hunting of drones

Can the ragtag hunters of one Colorado town stop the Rise of the Drones? Denver’s ABC 7 News reports:

The Deer Trail, Colorado town board will be voting on an ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and offer bounties for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel drafted the ordinance. “We do not want drones in town,” said Steel. “They fly in town, they get shot down.”

Even though it’s against the law to destroy federal property, Steel’s proposed ordinance outlines weapons, ammunition, rules of engagement, techniques, and bounties for drone hunting.

The ordinates states, “Deer Trail shall issue a reward of $100 to any shooter who presents a valid hunting license and identifiable parts of an unmanned aerial vehicle […consistent with those…] known to be owned or operated by the United States federal government.”

If passed by the town board, Deer Trail would charge $25 for drone hunting licenses, valid for one year.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Evolutionary Complexity: The Development of Elaborate Structures Without Darwinian Selection

hqdefault

Derp.

Nice little piece at Scientific American about the evolution of odd-ball structures like the human eyeball:

Charles Darwin was not yet 30 when he got the basic idea for the theory of evolution. But it wasn’t until he turned 50 that he presented his argument to the world. He spent those two decades methodically compiling evidence for his theory and coming up with responses to every skeptical counterargument he could think of. And the counterargument he anticipated most of all was that the gradual evolutionary process he envisioned could not produce certain complex structures.

Consider the human eye. It is made up of many parts—a retina, a lens, muscles, jelly, and so on—all of which must interact for sight to occur. Damage one part—detach the retina, for instance—and blindness can follow. In fact, the eye functions only if the parts are of the right size and shape to work with one another.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Counterterrorism Olympics

Village-Urban Area

Photo: KASOTC

How long before this becomes a reality TV event? Josh Eels tags along with Team America for the New York Times:

The men of Team America were missing an assault rifle. “Everybody pulled a rifle, right, guys?” Eric asked. A 38-year-old ex-Navy lieutenant, he had blond hair to his shoulders and a few days’ worth of deployment stubble.

“We’re supposed to have eight,” Brian said. He and Eric worked SWAT together in Virginia and sometimes hunted together, too.

Brandon, 33, had six 9-millimeter Glock pistols stuffed in his pockets. He surveyed the room: “Two . . . four . . . six. . . . “

Carey, a sniper, tried to stifle a laugh. “Good thing they don’t have a counting event.”

It was a spring Saturday at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (Kasotc) in Jordan.

The members of Team America were in their barracks after a morning at the range, cleaning their guns so the desert sand wouldn’t jam the actions.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

McDonalds’ Budgeting Website Clearly Out of Touch With Reality of Employees’ Lives

imagesAre you “loving it” yet?

Via Addicting Info:

For this budget to work, this hypothetical worker of two jobs is living in a roommate situation, likely with four people. They, therefore, can pool their resources in order to live in most areas of the country on this budget. This is the lifestyle of Generation X, but rejected by the Millenials. The Millenials are redefining the system, throwing older models into chaos as a result.

As for McDonald’s, they have, in their budgeting example, have also demonstrated how out of touch they are with their own workers. They do not understand the cost of healthcare, the cost of rent, or even the cost of food, which is highly ironic considering what their business is. They have, in a single document, destroyed their own case for keeping wages low, displaying that the only way their workers can survive is with a second job, living with roommates, and eating like crap.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Pim Van Lommel On Near Death Experiences And Non-Local Consciousness

I remain somewhat skeptical that near death experiences (NDE) involve a different plane of perception, but Pim van Lommel is far closer to convincing me than Proof of Heaven. Inspired by the transformative encounters described by his patients, the Dutch cardiologist has interviewed hundreds of people who have had NDEs and argues that they are “real”, cannot be dismissed as tricks of memory or the oxygen-deprived mind, and are suggestive of consciousness existing outside of the brain:

I grew up in an academic environment in which i had been taught that there was a reductionist and literalist explanation for everything, that it was obvious that consciousness was a product of a functioning brain. But the phenomenon of near death experiences raised a number of fundamental questions. I was unable to accept most of the answers to these questions because they seemed incomplete, incorrect, or unfounded.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Levitation Technology Moving From Sci Fi To Reality

Continuing the trend of fictional technology becoming a reality, Dominic Basuto writes for the Washington Post that levitation is next up:

Every month, there seems to be news of some fabulous science fiction concept that is ever closer to becoming science fact. In just the past few months, we’ve seen concepts go public for medical tricorders, augmented reality glasses, smart watches (although how much we actually want them is up for debate) and Jurassic Park-style de-extinction. Now, enter levitation, which could very well be the next science fiction concept to hit it big.

If all goes as planned, it may soon be possible for pharmaceutical researchers to levitate molecules in mid-air and for city planners to build super-fast transportation networks filled with levitating vehicles.

The latest development is the ability of Swiss researchers to use sound waves to levitate —  and then move — particles and objects in mid-air.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Polish Conference Of Exorcists To Focus On Madonna, Body Piercings, Horoscopes

madonna Are today’s youth at risk from the demonic subliminal messages in nineties pop culture? The Telegraph reports:

Madonna will feature on the agenda of a secretive five-day meeting of European exorcists in Poland.

“Part of the conference is dedicated to the hidden subliminal message in communication, and this choice was inspired by the woman who dares to call herself Madonna,” said Father Andrzej Grefkowic, an exorcist and one of the organisers of the conference. “We’ve been worried about her concerts.”

Father Grefkowic also warned of a growing risk from Satan, highlighting the increasing popularity of tattoos, body piercing, horoscopes and magic shows as ways evil could corrupt people.

About 300 exorcists are expected to attend the five-day conference, which is held every two years, at the Jasna Gora monastery, the most holy site in Poland. Along with analysing the apparent risks posed by modern fashions and trends, the exorcism conference will also discuss ways to deal with possession.

Read the rest

Continue Reading