Archive | December 19, 2013

U.S. Military Switching From Lead To ‘Green’ Bullets

M855A1 cartridge and bulletJust what is a “green” bullet, you may well ask. Fox News casts its skeptical eye over an attempt to decrease the the amount of lead in our environment:

When the last bullet-producing lead smelter closes its doors on Dec. 31, it will mark a major victory for those who say lead-based ammunition pollutes the environment, but others warn ‘green’ bullets will cost more, drive up copper prices and do little to help conservation.

The bid to ban lead bullets, seen by some as harmful to the environment, started slowly more than a decade ago. But with two dozen states, including California, banning bullets made of the soft, heavy metal, the lead bullet’s epitaph was already being written when the federal government finished it off.

First, the military announced plans to phase out lead bullets by 2018.

Then the federal Environmental Protection Agency, citing emissions, ordered the shutdown of the Doe Run company’s lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., by year’s end.

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The Bitcoin “Crash” Is A Patent Falsehood: Here’s Why

bitcoinNothing like that demented mainstream media narrative: talking about the Duck Dynasty guy’s personal views on gays non-stop, but kicking real stories like the Fukushima ongoing radiation crisis to the curb.

And when it comes to innovative technologies like Bitcoin, “our” “free” press is equally off the rocker.

Back in January, one Bitcoin fetched $13. When I began covering it on my podcast, the price was around $10 per coin. Today, even “post-crash” in mainstream media parlance, the same coin is worth $702 on the Mt. Gox exchange. That is a 54x return year to date, and the year’s not even finished yet. Find me a stock that has gained 54x during the same time period — would the media label that a “crash” also? I don’t think so.

The media is not your friend. Unless your name is JPMorgan Chase or Bank of America.

And the group who could be most helped by Bitcoin’s promise of frictionless money, liberated from constant fees, is the American middle class – a middle class hammered by increasingly stringent credit history requirements for loans, ruthless foreclosures, insane student loan debt.… Read the rest

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What Lies Beyond The Higgs Boson?

A simulated event in the CMS detector, featuring the appearance of the Higgs boson. (CERN)

A simulated event in the CMS detector, featuring the appearance of the Higgs boson. (CERN)

Apparently scientists are having a tough time with the Higgs Boson. From Science Recorder:

According to a news release from Harvard University, Harvard and Yale scientists have made the most precise measurements ever of the shape of electrons and, as a result, have raised “severe” doubts about several popular theories of what lies beyond the Higgs boson.

“We are trying to glimpse in the lab any difference from what is predicted by the Standard Model, like what is being attempted at the LHC,” said John Doyle, Professor of Physics at Harvard, in a statement.

“It is unusual and satisfying that the exquisite precision achieved by our small team in its university lab probes the most fundamental building block of our universe at a sensitivity that compliments what is being achieved by thousands at the world’s largest accelerator,” added Gerald Gabrielse, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard.

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The Disturbing Mystery Of Brazil’s Lead Masks Case

lead-masksWere they planning a heist of a radioactive device? Waiting to board an interstellar vessel? What were the swallowable capsules and the mask signal? Wikipedia on the Lead Masks Case:

The Lead Masks Case was the name given to the events which led to the death of two electronic technicians in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Their bodies were discovered on August 20, 1966.

A young man was flying a kite on the Morro do Vintém (Vintém Hill) when he came upon the two bodies. When police arrived, they noted the bodies’ odd conditions: The two males were lying next to each other, slightly covered by grass. Each wore a formal suit, a radiation-proof lead eye mask, and a waterproof coat. There were no signs of trauma and no evidence of a struggle. A small notebook contained the quote, “[translated] 16:30 (04:30 PM) be at the agreed place. 18:30 (06:30 PM) swallow capsules, after effect, protect metals, wait for mask signal”.

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What Will Your Virtual Afterlife Be Like?

Female Second Life avatarAccording to neuroscientist Michael Graziano writing at Aeon Magazine, “The question is not whether we can upload our brains onto a computer, but what will become of us when we do”:

Imagine a future in which your mind never dies. When your body begins to fail, a machine scans your brain in enough detail to capture its unique wiring. A computer system uses that data to simulate your brain. It won’t need to replicate every last detail. Like the phonograph, it will strip away the irrelevant physical structures, leaving only the essence of the patterns. And then there is a second you, with your memories, your emotions, your way of thinking and making decisions, translated onto computer hardware as easily as we copy a text file these days.

That second version of you could live in a simulated world and hardly know the difference. You could walk around a simulated city street, feel a cool breeze, eat at a café, talk to other simulated people, play games, watch movies, enjoy yourself.

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Failed Evangelical Apocalypse Predictor Harold Camping Dead At 92

Apocalypse SaturdayEver get the feeling that when semi-senile celebrity televangelists declare that the end of the world is approaching, they are just projecting their own impending death onto the rest of us? Via Religion News Service:

Harold Camping, the radio preacher who convinced thousands of followers that Jesus would return on May 21, 2011, to usher in the end of the the world, has died, according to a statement released late Monday by his Family Radio network. He was 92. He had fallen at his home on Nov. 30.

Camping first predicted Jesus’ return in 1994, but his most recent forecasts gained national attention through advertisements and the Family Radio network of stations he founded. He warned that “judgment day” would occur in May 2011 and said the world would end in October 2011.

The ministry sold its prominent stations and laid off staffers, with assets dropping from $135 million in 2007 to $29.2 million in 2011.

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Canadians Skeptical of ‘Official’ 9/11 Theories

posterBBC News reports that Canadians are more partial to alternative theories of what really happened on 9/11/01 than Americans are:

An advertising campaign in Canada raises questions about the US government’s official account of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Are Canadians more sympathetic to anti-American conspiracy theories than Americans themselves?

The posters, displayed on buses in Ottawa, show an image of a World Trade Center building collapsing in the inferno of the terrorist attack that morning.

The advertising campaign is supported by a Lafayette, California-based organisation called Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

The office tower, 7 World Trade Center, may have been destroyed in a controlled demolition, members of the organisation purport, rather than in a fire.

Frank Greening, a nuclear scientist who lives in Hamilton, Ontario, knows the people behind the organisation – truthers, as they are known – well. He first met them years ago.

Like them, he initially thought there was something more to the story of 9/11 than the US government let on.

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