Archive | March 16, 2014

Should Anyone Plan to ‘Protest’ Fred Phelps’ Funeral?

PIC: I Sasek JR. (PD)

PIC: I Sasek JR. (PD)

National media is running with the story (not that that means anything necessarily) that 84 year-old Phelps has been “excommunicated” from his own church and is very near death. Given the highly litigious history of the church , I’ll refrain from guessing (publicly, at least) what kind of deathbed confession would be shocking enough for the virulently homophobic Westboro Baptist Church to cast out their founder – if it’s true.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a WBC Protest, but when they actually show up (they often make a big deal about coming somewhere and then are nowhere to be seen), there’s usually just a couple of them with signs, and they usually get the hell out of Dodge within minutes. When I was in college, exactly ONE of them showed up just off the property of my school with a little sign. She bailed in minutes, staying around just long enough to grab some media coverage.… Read the rest

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Nine new Dead Sea Scrolls found

Portion of column 19 of the Psalms Scroll (Teh...

Portion of column 19 of the Psalms Scroll (Tehilim) from Qumran Cave 11. The Tetragrammaton in paleo-Hebrew can be clearly seen six times in this portion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What else is gathering dust in storage?

via The Times of Israel

An Israeli scholar turned up the previously unexamined parchments, which had escaped the notice of academics and archaeologists as they focused on their other extraordinary finds in the 1950s. Once opened, the minuscule phylactery parchments from Qumran, while unlikely to yield any shattering historic, linguistic or religious breakthroughs, could shed new light on the religious practices of Second Temple Judaism.

The Israel Antiquities Authority has been tasked with unraveling and preserving the new discoveries — an acutely sensitive process and one which the IAA says it will conduct painstakingly, and only after conducting considerable preparatory research.

Phylacteries, known in Judaism by the Hebrew term tefillin, are pairs of leather cases containing biblical passages from the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy.

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Dying Fred Phelps Excommunicated from Westboro Baptist Church

Fred Phelps 10-29-2002Fred Phelps, notable homophobe (catchphrase, “God Hates Fags”) was the face and voice of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church. Now his estranged son has revealed not only that Phelps is dying, but that he was excommunicated from his own church. What could have happened? Did he have a change of heart about gay culture? From Nathan Phelps’ Facebook page:

I’ve learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the “church” back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.

I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved.

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The Light That Burns: Night-Time Illumination and Melatonin Suppression

File:U.S. Atlantic Seaboard at Night.JPG

NASA Earth Observatory (CC)

Some interesting studies are cited that indicate meditation, yoga, fruit, and darkness all increase our melatonin (a pineal gland metabolite; often referred to as a miracle hormone). We know that artificial lighting and bad diet have left us chronically deficient in this hormone – a fact with vast implications for neurodegenerative diseases -but just how far back does the deficiency go if, at one time, we were eating a high percentage of fruit biochemistry for millions of years in the African tropics?

Via The Nexian:

Darkness is good for us; it is an ally that heals us. It is something to be embraced, not feared. From Palaeolithic times, up until very recently, the only major sources of light we would have experienced once the sun went down would have been starlight, moonlight and firelight. Life on this planet has evolved for three and a half billion years with a regular and dependable day-night schedule.… Read the rest

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“Anti-Vaxxers” Demonized

RougeoleDPAre you in favor of vaccines? Or do you think they are more dangerous than the diseases they protect against? There’s a war going on for your hearts and minds and there’s no doubt which side the Daily Beast falls on:

Measles was considered eliminated at the turn of the millennium. Now it’s back, thanks to the loons who refuse to vaccinate their children.

Of all the things to be nostalgic for, infectious diseases probably don’t make it onto many lists.

However, if you happen to pine for the good old days when measles was an active public health threat, I have good news for you. The anti-vaccine crowd is bringing it back.

There is currently an outbreak of measles in New York City.  Considered eliminated in the United States in 2000, last year saw a record number ofoutbreaks around the country. It’s only three months into 2014, and not only is the nation’s largest city seeing cases in several boroughs, but other major metropolitan areas are warning of new cases as well.

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NASA: Industrial Civilization Heading for Irreversible Collapse

PIC: சஞ்சீவி சிவகுமார் (CC)

PIC: சஞ்சீவி சிவகுமார் (CC)

Looks like our time’s almost up. When the shit goes down I suggest you raid the caches of all of those idiots who gave a national television audience a guided tour of their bunkers (complete with an inventory of all weapons, defenses and stockpiled supplies) on “Doomsday Preppers” and “Extreme Survival Bunkers.” Anyway…

Via Raw Story:

A new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse — often lasting centuries — have been quite common.”

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists.

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Giant glass biodomes could help revive endangered species

biodôme Montréal janvier 2010

biodôme Montréal janvier 2010 (Photo credit: synhack)

Nature can use use all the help it can get. Just keep Bud and Doyle away.

via The Verge

A green, tree-lined valley in Yeongyang-gun, South Korea could soon be turned from a picturesque slice of nature into a scene out of a sci-fi film, complete with giant glass domes encapsulating the landscape. Despite disrupting nature in the short term, the plan is actually a national research and conservation effort, and architect and engineering firm Samoo recently unveiled its winning designs for the project, the National Research Center for Endangered Species, to be built there.

Most eye catching are the giant glass biodomes that will be build along the hillside. According to FastCo Exist, these closed-off ecosystems will be used to breed and raise endangered birds before releasing them back into the wild. The domes’ looming height is apparently a necessity to allow the birds to adapt.

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From the Pages of Barry Ween: What We Would All Like to Do and Say to the Minions of the Surveillance State

via chycho

barry_wee_8

Barry Ween is a fictional “10-year-old boy who secretly possesses the most powerful intellect on Earth”. His escapades are brilliantly depicted by Judd Winick in the pages of “The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius”.

Barry is a genius, and we’re not talking about the regular Einstein type of genius, or beyond belief Tesla genius, we’re talking about 350 I.Q. “by far the smartest organism on the planet” genius. We’re talking about “self-awareness-in-the-womb-smart” (click images to enlarge).

Being the smartest creature to ever walk this earth, he realizes early on that for his safety and the safety of those that he loves, he would have to remain hidden. After all, we all know what humanity is capable of once fear of the incomprehensible and the unknown takes hold.

His first few years were long and arduous but he withstood them, and at the age of 10 he acquired enough freedom to explore the limits of science and understanding, albeit, still in secret.

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Intel Panel ‘Very Close’ on Killing NSA Phone Programs

This reminds me of a Richard Pryor Joke. “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” They’re also allergic to sunlight, much like the NSA.

Crypt

Crypt (Photo credit: chb1848)

via Politico

The House Intelligence Committee’s Republican and Democratic leaders said Thursday they’re nearing agreement on legislation that would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ telephone data.

Negotiations on some key details remain fluid, but Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said in an interview that he’s “very close” to a deal with Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on a plan that would allow phone companies to hold telephone records now collected by the NSA and conduct individual searches needed to pinpoint suspicious activity.

“We’ve got to have legislation that will take away the concern and perception that people are being listened to,” Ruppersberger said. He added that he hoped to reach an agreement before the end of this month.

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