Archive | September 16, 2013

‘This Chicken is Gonna Die’: Kaparos Ritual Filmed in NYC

Leghorn_SaundersOur more sensitive readers may want to sit this one out.

Here’s footage of Kaparos, a controversial ritual performed by some Hasidic Jews on the eve of Yom Kippur. Kaparos is performed by swinging a chicken over the head of a participant three times and then ritually slaughtering the bird. The meat is then supposed to be donated to the poor to eat in a pre-fast meal. By doing so, the sins of the person under the chicken is supposedly transferred to the unfortunate hen.

What do you think, Disinfo readers? Can you really call this any more barbaric or cruel than industrial farming? If not, then is the rite any “weirder” than any other religious practice?

Via Animal New York.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Cops Might Use your iPhone Fingerprint Against You

iPhone-5S-Has-Fingerprint-Scanner-Repositioned-Buttons-Analyst-SaysAre you excited about the new iPhone’s nifty biometric fingerprint unlock system? The police might be, too.

Via Wall Street Journal:

Courts have given mixed messages about whether Americans are protected from being forced to divulge passwords or decrypt information for law enforcement officials. Civil liberties advocates argue defendants shouldn’t have to unlock their own computers for the cops.  The logic: Under the Fifth Amendment, Police can’t force you to self-incriminate by testifying, or divulging something in your mind.

It’s unclear if that same protection applies if the password is your fingerprint.

“A fingerprint is entitled to less constitutional protection than a password known in your mind,” said Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.  “If police arrest you and ask you for a password, you could refuse and they’d be hard pressed to force you to divulge the password.”

Of course, police already collect fingerprints after booking a suspect.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ten CIA-Funded Start-Ups

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 2.25.15 PMCourtesy of The Kernel comes this list of ten CIA-funded start-ups: Rocket technology, language recognition software, devices to see through walls. “Q” needs to step up his game.

Here’s one: Soundbite, from Sonitus Medical:

Sonitus Medical manufacture a product called SoundBite, a bone conduction prosthetic hearing device. In essence it is a hearing aid type system that utilises an in-mouth hearing device. Sonus medical plan to use their technology for future treatments of hearing disorders such as mixed hearing loss and tinnitus.

Of course In-Q-Tel might see other future uses for a hidden in-mouth communication platform.

Go examine grandma’s dentures and click through here to read more.

 

Read the rest

Continue Reading

How The U.S. Air Force Nearly Nuked North Carolina

Long-serving disinfonauts may remember Disinfo Dave recounting the tale of the USAF B-52 that dropped two nuclear bombs on North Carolina for Canadian TV host Strombo (for those who never saw it, here’s Dave…).

Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser picks up the thread in his new book on nuclear weapons, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, reviewed here by Mother Jones:

On January 23, 1961, a B-52 packing a pair of Mark 39 hydrogen bombs suffered a refueling snafu and went into an uncontrolled spin over North Carolina. In the cockpit of the rapidly disintegrating bomber (only one crew member bailed out safely) was a lanyard attached to the bomb-release mechanism. Intense G-forces tugged hard at it and unleashed the nukes, which, at four megatons, were 250 times more powerful than the weapon that leveled Hiroshima. One of them “failed safe” and plummeted to the ground unarmed.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

MMA Fighter With Down Syndrome Garrett Holeve Wants to Get Into the Ring

garrettCombat sports of any sort – particularly mixed martial arts competitions like those organized by the UFC – are controversial. Some consider them barbaric or cruel, or compare the practice to human cockfighting. In most cases, an argument can be made that these fighters are able-minded adults who enter into the ring willingly and are fully capable of making their own decisions, but what if the fighter has a cognitive disability? Twenty-three year-old Garrett “G-Money” Holeve has Down syndrome, but trains in mixed martial arts and loves the sport. He wants to compete, but many people consider it exploitative and potentially too dangerous for someone with Holeve’s condition. Where’s the line between encouraging people with disabilities to pursue their dreams and deciding for them that some of these dreams aren’t appropriate? Would you let Garrett fight, provided he had the requisite skill and physical conditioning? An additional question: I would bet that there are already some fighters out there with cognitive problems, from low IQs or brain damage: Are we not concerned about them?… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Residents Of U.K. City Spooked By Creepy Clown Lurking Outside Homes

clownThis is why you can’t go outside anymore these days. Via the Herald Sun:

A clown – with red wig and full make-up and sometimes holding balloons – is freaking out residents of one English town.

He is red-haired and white faced and has surfaced several locations across Northampton, a town of 215,000, over the past few days since his first appearance on Friday the 13th.

The Northampton Clown – which has exploded on social media in the UK – has even sparked a police warning. Police said they were looking to track two teenagers who were caught dressed as clowns, and had been caught acting in a peculiar fashion.

A woman alleged that the clown had knocked on her door in full clown attire before then offering to paint her window sills.

Many have been left feeling frightened by the clown. As reported: “He doesn’t juggle. He doesn’t twist balloons into animal shapes.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

American Ephebiphobia

347px-American_teenager_with_cellphone_2011

Picture: Anthony22 (CC)

Thomas J. Leeper writes at Psychology Today (last year):

American mass culture is obsessed with youth: abundant beauty treatments aim to curb the signs of aging, literature frequently emphasizes the innocence of youth, and young love is glorified for its naiveté and lack of complication. But, Americans rarely take a positive view of youths themselves. Many of us are ephebiphobes – fearful and loathing of young people. While we love the condition of being young, we see young people as threatening, ignorant, lazy, and disengaged. What’s the deal with that?

Harvard professor and acclaimed scholar of intergroup relations Jim Sidanius has written about how human societies tend to have three hierarchical systems: (1) gender-based system, where men have disproportionate power and influence, (2) “arbitrary-set” system, where groups arbitrarily defined (e.g., around race, religion, creed, etc.) are given disproportionate power and influence, and (3) an age system, where adults have disproportionate influence over children.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Saudi Arabia’s Brutal ‘Anti-Witchcraft Unit’

saudiThe Atlantic on the Saudi government squad which arrests hundreds of people (many of them low-paid foreign workers) on charges of witchcraft, punishable by long prison sentences or even death:

The campaign of persecution has shown no signs of fizzling. In May, two Asian maids were sentenced to 1,000 lashings and 10 years in prison after their bosses claimed that they had suffered from their magic. Just a few weeks ago, Saudi newspapers began running the image of an Indonesian maid being pursued on accusations that she produced a spell that made her male boss’s family subject to fainting and epileptic fits.

The Saudi government’s obsession with the criminalization of the dark arts reached a new level in 2009, when it created and formalized a special “Anti-Witchcraft Unit” to educate the public about the evils of sorcery, investigate alleged witches, neutralize their cursed paraphernalia, and disarm their spells. Saudi citizens are also urged to use a hotline on the CPVPV website to report any magical misdeeds to local officials.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Manifesto for Living in the Now

RelojDespertadorCounterculture stalwart Douglas Rushkoff tells Discover that the future is bright for those of us willing to live in the present:

Discover: Are some people confusing the idea of “presentism,” of living in the present, with tweeting and texting and constantly updating Facebook?

Rushkoff: The faux now of Twitter updates and things pinging at you — all the pulses from digitality that we try to keep up with because we sense that there’s something going on that we need to tap into — are artifacts, or symptoms of living in this atemporal reality. And it’s not any worse than living in the “time is money” reality that we’re leaving.

D: What do you have against clocks?

DR: Time has always been used against us on a certain level. The invention of the clock made us accountable to the employer, gave us a standard measure and stopwatch management, and it also led to the requirement of interest-bearing currency to grow over time, the requirement of the expansion of our economy.

Read the rest
Continue Reading