Author Archive | majestic

It’s Asteroid Day!

Did you know there’s an official Asteroid Day? Well there is and it’s today, June 30th. Another thing you may not have known: one of the people behind it is Brian May from the band Queen, more accurately entitled Dr. Brian May as he has a PhD in Astrophysics. The official video – a version of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” – and blurb appear below:

Asteroid Day is a global awareness movement where people from around the world come together to learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet, our families, communities, and future generations. Asteroid Day will be held on the anniversary of the 1908 Siberian Tunguska event, the largest asteroid impact on Earth in recent history. You can now sign the 100x Declaration yourself, right here.

The Asteroid Day 100x Declaration was signed by astronauts, scientists, nobel laureates, technologists and artists  – click here to view it – will you join them?… Read the rest

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Jewish global population approaches pre-Holocaust levels

It’s now estimated that there are 16.5 million wholly or partially Jewish people in the world, the same number as before the second world war and, of course, the Holocaust. From the Guardian:

The world’s Jewish population has grown to be nearly as large as it was before the Holocaust, an Israeli thinktank said in its annual report.

Credit: Akalati (CC)

Credit: Akalati (CC)

The Jewish People Policy Institute said there are currently 14.2 million Jews in the world. When factoring in individuals with one Jewish parent and others who identify as partially Jewish, the figure approaches 16.5 million — the Jewish population on the eve of the second world war. The Nazis and their collaborators killed about 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

The report said the rise has been due in part to natural growth, mainly in Israel, which has about 6.1 million Jews and one of the western world’s highest fertility rates.

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This Is How Fast America Changes Its Mind

The new, improved Bloomberg Business has some cool motion graphics illustrating the incredible speed at which America changes its mind on things like gay marriage and interracial marriage:

Eleven years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the Supreme Court has now extended that right nationwide. The decision came after a wave of gay marriage legalization: 28 states from 2013 to 2015, with 36 overall prior to the Court’s ruling. Such widespread acceptance in a short amount of time isn’t a phenomenon unique to gay marriage. Social change in the U.S. appears to follow a pattern: A few pioneer states get out front before the others, and then a key event—often a court decision or a grassroots campaign reaching maturity—triggers a rush of state activity that ultimately leads to a change in federal law.

We looked at six big issues—interracial marriage, prohibition, women’s suffrage, abortion, same-sex marriage, and recreational marijuana — to show how this has happened in the past, and may again in the very near future.

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Ultimate Outsider Art: Prisoner Paintings

The eerily compelling tale of the escaped convict manhunt in Upstate New York may be over, but the revelation that Richard Matt used his paintings as currency to help facilitate his escape prompts the New York Times to focus on what may be the ultimate outsider art: prisoner paintings:

The news that Richard W. Matt, the convicted murderer who was killed by the police on Friday after a weekslong manhunt, spent most of his time behind bars painting technically skilled portraits of Julia Roberts, President Obama and fellow inmates’ relatives, and bartering them for preferential treatment, has come as a surprise to many.

Marilyn Monroe by Richard W. Matt. Photo: Heavymetal.com

Marilyn Monroe by Richard W. Matt. Photo: Heavymetal.com

But to those who have spent years teaching art in prisons or making it themselves as inmates, such a trade is a deeply ingrained ritual of incarcerated life. It is practiced informally or as part of established programs by a wide range of prisoners, many of them, like Mr.

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Some physicists believe we’re living in a giant hologram — and it’s not that far-fetched

I knew it – we’re living in a giant hologram! Well actually the holographic principle as explained at Vox isn’t quite what I had in mind:

Some physicists actually believe that the universe we live in might be a hologram.

Calabi yau formatted.svg

The idea isn’t that the universe is some sort of fake simulation out of The Matrix, but rather that even though we appear to live in a three-dimensional universe, it might only have two dimensions. It’s called the holographic principle.

The thinking goes like this: Some distant two-dimensional surface contains all the data needed to fully describe our world — and much like in a hologram, this data is projected to appear in three dimensions. Like the characters on a TV screen, we live on a flat surface that happens to look like it has depth.

It might sound absurd. But if when physicists assume it’s true in their calculations, all sorts of big physics problems — such as the nature of black holes and the reconciling of gravity and quantum mechanics — become much simpler to solve.

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Video allegedly shows UFOs blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere before NASA cuts live feed

Is NASA intentionally tweaking UFOlogists? The claim is that NASA keeps cutting off live video feeds of UFOs, per International Business Times:

UFO seekers are riled up over another alleged instance of NASA cutting their live transmission to keep the “existence of aliens a secret” which has surfaced online via a video claiming to show UFOs blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA ISS feed

According to Sunday Express, the live transmission was coming from the International Space Station when three UFOs slowly come into view (blurred, of course) and then fly out of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The lights leave Earth seconds before the live video feed is allegedly cut by NASA due to a reported “loss of signal”.

Clapway reports that the three UFOs gradually move in what appears to be an ascending path. Then two of the UFOs disappear and when NASA cuts the live feed, the third UFO is still in view.

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Shamans Publish 500-Page Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia

Mayoruna.jpgIf you want to try the shamanic healing methods of Amazonian shamans, you generally have to go to the Amazon and find a shaman. That may change with the publication of a 500-page Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia, reports Acate Amazon:

Deep in the farthest reaches of the Amazon rainforest, the last remaining elder shamans of the Matsés tribe came together from distant villages in a quest to save their ancestral knowledge from the edge of extinction. This meeting concluded over two years work and culminated in the first encyclopedia of indigenous knowledge written by Amazonian tribal shamans ever produced.

On May 16th, after more than two years of work, the leaders of Acaté and the Matsés met to finalize the Matsés Traditional Medicine Encyclopedia. This historic meeting was held over a period of five days in the Matsés village of Puerto Allegre on the Rio Yaquerana, one of the most remote villages and the last settlement before the river’s headwaters, a vast territory that contains at least one ‘uncontacted’ tribal group living in voluntary isolation…

The health of Amazonian peoples has always depended on the wisdom of their elders.

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Facebook’s new algorithm can recognize you even if your face is hidden

There’s just no hiding from the archons of Facebook now that their algorithm can recognize you even if your face is hidden, as reported by Forbes:

The head of Facebook’s artificial-intelligence research lab says the software can identify users 83% of the time even if their face isn’t visible.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg for WIRED magazine

Mark Zuckerberg for WIRED magazine by Charis Tsevis, on Flickr (CC)

 

We are just beginning to come to grips with the idea that computers and algorithms can recognize our faces, and the implications that has for privacy. Now the head of Facebook’s artificial-intelligence research lab says that an experimental algorithm he helped develop for the giant social network can recognize you with a high degree of accuracy even if your face is hidden from the camera.

Yann LeCun, an expert in computer vision and pattern recognition who was hired by Facebook in 2013, presented his research at a recent conference in Boston.

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Peter Thiel And N.T. Wright Debate The End Of Death

Max Anderson attends a public debate between leading technology investor Peter Thiel (conspiracy theorists may also identify him as one of the progenitors of the New World Order) and revered theologian N.T. “Tom” Wright, and then meets with them privately to discuss the inevitablity – or not – of death. He writes for Forbes:

It turns out that Peter Thiel quotes Hamlet.

Peter Thiel. Photo: David Orban (CC)

Peter Thiel. Photo: David Orban (CC)

For Thiel, a line in the play’s second scene throws open the pessimism that runs throughout the tragedy and, in his opinion, our current cultural moment. “Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die,” says Gertrude to her son, Hamlet. Her words are a cold comfort to the young prince, who is grieving the death of his father. All that lives must die. “At some level it’s a statement about reality. At another level,” Thiel postulates, “it’s a statement about accepting the rottenness that is in Denmark.” Death is a fact of life, Gertrude says.

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The 10 Most Wild Lines From Antonin Scalia’s Extreme Dissent Over Gay Marriage

Well done Mother Jones for picking apart Antonin Scalia’s furious dissent in the Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing gay marriage:

In a 5-4 decision penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by the court’s liberal wing, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the entire country Friday morning.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Photo: Stephen Masker (CC)

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Photo: Stephen Masker (CC)

Unsurprisingly, the other four conservative justices on the court besides Kennedy disagreed, each writing his own dissent. Antonin Scalia’s, per usual, is a classic. Legalizing same-sex weddings isn’t just a threat to traditional marriage for Scalia. Nay, it is a sign of democracy’s downfall. Just “ask a hippie.”

Scalia opened his dissent by warning that legalizing marriage was not just a misreading of the law. He claims to not care one way or another about the concept of gay people getting married—though past opinions say otherwise. Rather, he felt compelled to write his own dissent in order to “call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy”: “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.” Also he goes out of his way to bash fellow justices as pretentious poets.

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