Archive | December 15, 2013

Can Facebook Status Updates Indicate Psychopathy?

newsAnyone could certainly compose a valid argument that Facebook is a key indicator of narcissism, but it’s hard to say that liking the musical works of Phil Collins more than Huey Lewis and the News is genuinely indicative of psychopathy. Of course, for those who do not have a Facebook page, you can rest assured that you are just as likely to be psychopaths as well!

VIA Daily Mail

For most people, most of the time, Facebook is a bright and breezy place where they share holiday and baby photos and brag about great parties they’ve been to.

But the social media site has a darker side, because a new study reveals that status updates can reveal a range of personality traits, including if someone has psychopathic tendencies.

Researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy and Lund University in Sweden found that status updates that indicated psychopathy could concern prostitutes, decapitation, pornography and butchers.

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The One Percent Is Hogging so Much of Our Income That It’s Holding the Economy Back

meanlifeAre the rich intentionally trying to make the rest of us poor, thus preserving their own power?  Anthony W. Orlando writes at Informed Comment:

We all know that inequality has been rising and the average American household has been suffering. There is a myth that says all this suffering is necessary, that extreme inequality is the by-product of a rapidly growing economy—or worse, that it’s a good thing because it motivates everyone to work hard and climb the long ladder to the One Percent.

Even a brief glance at the historical record reveals just how perverted this hypothesis is.

For one thing, the economy has not been growing rapidly since inequality started climbing. From 1950 to 1980, “real gross domestic product (GDP)”—the output of the economy, adjusted for inflation—grew by 3.8 percent per year. From 1980 to 2010, it grew by 2.7 percent per year. (Since then, it’s been even worse.)

So income inequality hasn’t been “growth-enhancing” at all.

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Is Bioenergy Expansion Harmful to Wildlife?

1glowing-slimeVia ScienceDaily:

Despite the predicted environmental benefits of biofuels, converting land to grow bioenergy crops may harm native wildlife. Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig have developed a way to study the effects of increased energy crop cultivation on farmland bird populations.

“The Skylark is an indicator species for agricultural areas because it occupies many habitats of the wider countryside around the globe, breeds on the ground within fields and feeds mostly on insects” notes lead researcher, Jan Engel. “Improving the habitat suitability for Skylark, accordingly, would improve conservation of natural vegetation, insects, and other ground breeding farmland bird species.”

Mr. Engel and his colleagues developed a computer model that evaluated the habitat requirements of Skylark in a variety of bioenergy cultivation scenarios. The study, published in Global Change Biology Bioenergy, found that bioenergy crop expansion will not harm Skylark populations if field sizes are low, many crop types are present, and small natural areas, known as Integrated Biodiversity Areas, are included within the landscape.

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Tila Tequila Fuels Conspiracy Theories

Photo: Toglenn (CC)

Photo: Toglenn (CC)

Remember Tila Tequila, the MySpace (what?) starlet? Well anyway she’s still garnering more than her share of attention but she has to make more and more outlandish claims. The Washington Post reports:

…Tequila’s claims are a special kind of explosive, a bizarre cocktail of the biggest fringe conspiracy theories and occult movements of the past several years. In a nutshell, she believes that:

1) She is descended from an alien race who came from the stars;

2) she is an angel, a queen, and possibly the latest iteration of the Egyptian goddess Isis;

3) she can travel through time and space and has, in the process, fallen in love with Nicola Tesla;

4) humanity is controlled by a “New World Order” composed of Illuminati, Satanists, Zionists and lizard-people;

5) this NWO has succeeded in engineering and covering up just about everything you think you know, including World War II, 9/11 and Paul Walker’s death;

6) a judgment day/reckoning/space battle is coming, in which Tila and her kind will fight the NWO to save the human race;

7) all of Tila’s Facebook haters, a.k.a.

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Florida Atheist’s Challenge Leads To Display Of Festivus Pole In The State Capitol

festivusA Florida man has forced the state to display his homemade pillar of beer cans alongside a nativity scene at the state capitol, NBC 6 South Florida reports:

A nearly 6-foot-tall pole made from emptied beer cans will be put up in the Florida Capitol this week as a not-so-subtle protest to the recent placement of a Christian nativity scene.

The homemade Festivus pole will be erected most likely on Wednesday in the same first-floor rotunda as a nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus Christ that was put up last week by the Florida Prayer Network. Festivus is a “holiday” created for the TV sitcom “Seinfeld”.

Chaz Stevens, a Deerfield Beach resident, applied to the state Department of Management Services to put the Festivus pole on display. Stevens said the intent of the Festivus pole is to make a political statement on the need for the separation of church and state.

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Surveillance Spaulder Device Alerts Wearer To Surveillance Cameras

Not surprisingly, a wearable “Surveillance Spaulder” hails from the surveillance capital of the western world: London. James Bridle made the CCTV surveillance detector for Wearable Futures’ Futures 10 exhibition. He explains at his blog:

The spaulder is a traditional component of medieval plate armour, designed to protect the wearer from unexpected and unseen blows from above. The Surveillance Spaulder continues this tradition into the present day – and the electromagnetic spectrum – alerting the wearer to the violence of ubiquitous surveillance.

Surveillance Spaulder from stml on Vimeo.

The spaulder contains a CCTV detector, based on a design by anonymous security researcher Puking Monkey. The detector filters the light it collects through a 730nm bandpass filter to isolate the infrared lighting used in most commonly-deployed CCTV cameras. When it receives a signal, it pulses electric current through a pair of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) pads attached to the wearer’s shoulder, causing them to twitch sharply.

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