Author Archive | Aaron Dames

Iraq To Sue U.S., Britain Over Depleted Uranium Bombs

The 105mm M900 APFSDS-T (Depleted Uranium Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot - Tracer)

Via the Tehran Times:

Iraq’s Ministry for Human Rights will file a lawsuit against Britain and the U.S. over their use of depleted uranium bombs in Iraq, an Iraqi minister says.

Iraq’s Minister of Human Rights, Wijdan Mikhail Salim, told Assabah newspaper that the lawsuit will be launched based on reports from the Iraqi ministries of science and the environment.

According to the reports, during the first year of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq, both countries had repeatedly used bombs containing depleted uranium.

According to Iraqi military experts, the U.S. and Britain bombed the country with nearly 2,000 tons of depleted uranium bombs during the early years of the Iraq war.

Atomic radiation has increased the number of babies born with defects in the southern provinces of Iraq.

Iraqi doctors say they’ have been struggling to cope with the rise in the number of cancer cases — especially in cities subjected to heavy U.S.

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U.S. Raises Stakes on Iran: Deploys Ships and Missiles

missileChris McGreal at Global Research:
Tension between the US and Iran heightened dramatically today with the disclosure that Barack Obama is deploying a missile shield to protect American allies in the Gulf from attack by Tehran. The US is dispatching Patriot defensive missiles to four countries — Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait — and keeping two ships in the Gulf capable of shooting down Iranian missiles. Washington is also helping Saudi Arabia develop a force to protect its oil installations. American officials said the move is aimed at deterring an attack by Iran and reassuring Gulf states fearful that Tehran might react to sanctions by striking at US allies in the region. Washington is also seeking to discourage Israel from a strike against Iran by demonstrating that the US is prepared to contain any threat.
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Gone But Not Forgotten: Future Implications of Human Killed-Off Species

GVmammothsSPLVia the Economist:

Between 50,000 and 5,000 years ago roughly half of the earth’s larger mammals (species that were sheep-sized or bigger) went extinct. The distribution of these extinctions in time and space suggests strongly that humans were responsible.

Large mammals in Africa, which had evolved alongside humans for millions of years, were for the most part spared. The species which died out elsewhere — 178 of them, possibly more — tended to do so at around the time that they first encountered modern humans coming forth out of Africa with pointy sticks, good throwing arms and large appetites.

Ecologists have shown that wiping out big animals is surprisingly easy, since big animals reproduce slowly, which means that a small increase in the rate at which predators pick them off can have a large effect on the population, especially if the predators prefer hunting juveniles. Hence the now widely accepted argument that humans come with original ecological sin built in.

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‘Sex Puppeteers’ Force Sex Changes and Virgin Births in Bugs Via Genes

Christine Dell'Amore writes in National Geographic News:wolbachia infected wasp egg
Fast-spreading parasite species force sex changes on their victims, induce virgin births, and turn animals into "gross monsters" — among other horrors. Now a new study has decoded how the bacteria may be able to wreak their havoc: by shutting down immune systems. The parasites, of the Wolbachia bacteria genus, cause a gene in wasps to stifle the insect's protein-based "alarms" against the bacterial invaders, say researchers who mapped the genomes of three species of Nasonia wasp for the first time. As a result, the wasps' antibacterial defenses are never deployed, allowing Wolbachia to begin their dirty work.
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Banksy “Speaks” At ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ Sundance Premiere

Kevin Kelly writes in Cinematical:
The infamous street artist Banksy premiered Exit Through The Gift Shop at Sundance last night, which was part of Sundance's "Secret Spotlight" series. In short, we enjoyed it, but there's a lot to say about it this movie, so check back later for our review. The title itself refers to Disneyland and Disney World's engineered design of having guests exit attractions right through the gift shop, so as to better serve all of their merchandising needs. Banksy, whose real identity is an extremely well-kept secret, may or may not have been at the screening last night (how would we even know?), but he did send a letter which Sundance Director of Programming John Cooper read aloud to the audience. Read on for the full text of the mysterious letter, keep your eyes peeled for our reviews ... and for more mysterious street art to appear.
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Schwarzenegger Asks: Why Not Build Prisons in Mexico?

SchwarzeneggerKevin Yamamura writes on the Sacramento Bee:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday offered yet another way California can save on incarcerating illegal immigrants: pay to build prisons in Mexico. Schwarzenegger said in a Sacramento Press Club speech that rather than raise taxes, the state could find money by cutting pension costs, allowing offshore oil drilling and lowering prison expenditures. His budget calls for an $880 million infusion from the federal government to pay for housing illegal immigrant prisoners who have committed crimes in California. The governor also wants to rely more on private prison companies.
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Secret Bill-Writing On The Rise

Jim Abrams on the Washington Post:

Schoolchildren are taught that a bill finally goes to the president after selected lawmakers meet openly to forge a compromise, and the House and Senate approve their accord.

But in today’s Congress, formal conference meetings are rare, the minority party is usually shut out and the public has little or no access to the process.

That trend has been on display this month as Democrats and the White House engage in closed-door talks on how the government is going to change the delivery of health care that have effectively excluded the public and the media.

Obama-telepromter-healthcare-speech

Dating back to 1789, the House and Senate have dealt with differences in bills by convening conference committees to thrash out a unified approach that the chambers can pass and send to the president. For the past two decades at least some of these bicameral, bipartisan meetings have been open to C-SPAN cameras.

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Ron Paul: ‘We Need to Take Out the CIA!’

Michael Nystrom on the Daily Paul:
Excerpt from the Campaign for Liberty Regional Conference in Atlanta, GA. As the crowd begins to cheer, Ron Paul states, "We need to take out the CIA!" There's been a coup — have you heard? It's the CIA coup. The CIA runs everything! They run the military .. and they're every bit as secretive as the Federal Reserve. And yet, think of the harm they have done since they were established at the end of World War II. They are a government unto themselves. They're in businesses, in drug businesses, they take out dictators ... We need to take out the CIA!
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A Sonic Blaster So Loud, It Could Be Deadly

the thunder generatorDavid Hambling writes for Wired:

All kinds of of devices have been dubbed “sonic blasters” — from the Long Range Acoustic Device super loudhailer to  the piercing Banshee to the Inferno (”most unbearable, gut-wrenching noise I’ve ever heard in my life” according to Danger Room’s own Sharon Weinberger). But a new device, developed in Israel, merits the “sonic blaster” label more than most: the Thunder Generator really is a blaster, producing a series of ear-splitting explosions. Some are so loud, they could be deadly.

Israeli firm PDT Agro developed the Thunder Generator, based on a gadget to scare away birds. The design is very simple: gas from a cylinder of domestic liquid petroleum (LPG) is mixed with air and then detonated, producing a series of high-intensity blasts. Patented “pulse detonation” technology ensures high-decibel blasts. According to Defense News, the Israeli Ministry of Defense has now licensed a firm called ArmyTec to market the Thunder Generator for military and security applications.

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Proof Of Martians ‘To Come This Year’

lifeFrom Paul Sutherland on Scientific American:

Final proof that Mars has bred life will be confirmed this year, leading NASA experts believe.  The historic discovery will come not on Mars itself but from chunks of the red planet here on Earth.

David McKay, chief of astrobiology at NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, says powerful new microscopes and other instruments will establish whether features in martian meteorites are alien fossils.

He says evidence for life in the space rocks could have been claimed by the UK if British scientists had used readily-available electron microscopes. Instead, images of colonies of martian bacteria were collected by American scientists.

The NASA team is already convinced that colonies of micro-organisms are visible inside three martian rocks that landed on Earth. If so, this would have profound implications for our understanding of life in the universe.

Two of the meteorites – ALH84001 and Yamato 593 – were found in the Antarctic by American and Japanese scientists after they lay in the icy desert for thousands of years.

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