Author Archive | majestic

Oath Keepers, Miners and Bureau of Land Management Face Off in Oregon

Another Waco or Ruby Ridge in the making? The Federal Bureau of Land Management, Oath Keepers and a group of Oregon miners are facing off in Oregon, reports KRDV:

NEAR MERLIN, Ore. — A land dispute is creating tension between miners in Josephine County and the Bureau of Land Management. The owners of the mines say they are afraid their rights to due process will not be respected and have now called in reinforcements.

The Oath Keepers of Josephine County are gathering at a piece of property near Merlin. They’re in the process of setting up a staging area, in order to step in if they are needed by the Sugar Pine miners.

“Because we are constitutional group,” said Mary Emerick with Oath Keepers. “We defend the Constitution… And we are here just to make sure that they receive their Fifth Amendment rights which is due process.”

The owners called them in to help protect the property that they have mined for more than 100 years.

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Operation Jade Helm 15, Wal-Mart Closures Over ‘Plumbing Issues’ Spark Martial Law Conspiracy Theories

jade helmRemember the recent fuss over Operation Jade Helm? Well now the same "usual suspects" conspiracy theorists are linking it to a spate of closures of Wal-Mart stores due to some vague plumbing issues. The Inquisitr picks up the story:
The right-leaning conspiracy theory blogosphere has come alive once again with conspiracy theory speculations linking recent reports that several Wal-Mart stores have closed across the U.S. with Jade Helm 15 military training exercises scheduled to begin in July in some selected states, including Texas, California, Utah and Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. According to ABC Action News, more than 2,000 Wal-Mart employees nationwide learned on Monday that they were being laid off because their stores were being closed for reasons that WFLA and KSN-TV, both mainstream news sources, admitted were “weird” plumbing issues...
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The Man Who Claims He Just Founded a New Country in Europe

TIME profiles Vit Jedlicka, founder of Liberland, Europe’s newest country (maybe):

A Czech man is claiming to be the president of a new country he founded in Europe.

liberland

Vit Jedlicka, a member of the conservative Party of Free Citizens in the Czech Republic, is the self-appointed president of Liberland, which he says sits on unclaimed terra nullius territory wedged between Serbia and Croatia. The 3 sq. mi. “country,” where taxes are optional and a military is nonexistent, does not “interfere with the territory” of the two states, according to Liberland’s website.

“The objective of the founders of the new state is to build a country where honest people can prosper without being oppressed by governments making their lives unpleasant through the burden of unnecessary restrictions and taxes,” reads a statement announcing the creation of the new country this week. The country’s motto is: “To live and let live.”

Jedlicka, speaking by phone from Prague, told TIME that the effort began as a political stunt to garner media attention.

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World Map of Every UFO Sighting Since 1933

Christian Pearson explains why he decided to map every UFO sighting since 1933 at Quantbait:

Today my project was to visualize time series data in CartoDB. I discovered CartoDB about two weeks ago, read their blog (check out Fredo Baart’s water current simulation to see if the Alcatraz escapees could have survived) and fell in love.

Excited to get started I grabbed the UFO sighting dataset from the National UFO Reporting Center and went to work. It is very easy to get started with the software. Manipulating data within CartoDB wasn’t difficult and I was able to develop a basic torque visualization within 15 minutes. My very first CartoDB visualization can be found below:

The first thing that jumped out was the increase in sightings during the 1950s and 1960s. It turns out that the CIA’s U2 program may be responsible for several of these report. In late 2014 the CIA took to Twitter to take credit for nearly HALF of the UFO reporting in the 1950s.

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Boston Bomber’s Family Claims Charges ‘Fabricated by American Special Services’

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Does the statement from Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s family that the charges against him were “all fabricated by the American special services” fall into the “Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?” category, or could there be something to their claim that he was set up? The family talks to TIME:

Throughout the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old who was convicted last week of bombing the Boston Marathon in 2013, his family resisted the urge to speak out publicly in his defense. Tsarnaev’s defense team had advised them not to grant interviews, they say, as it could risk his chances at trial. But when the jury issued its guilty verdict on April 8, convicting him on 17 counts that could each carry the death penalty, some of his relatives decided to go public with their outrage.

On the evening of April 14, three members of the Tsarnaev family met at a café in the city of Grozny, close to their ancestral home in southern Russia, and told a TIME reporter how the trial had torn their family apart, how helpless they felt against what they see as an American conspiracy against them and, above all, how they still hope to convince Tsarnaev to fire his legal team and seek to overturn the verdict on appeal.

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Has the First Person to Achieve Immortality Already Been Born?

Aubrey de Grey

Aubrey de Grey

The answer to this question, posed by Motherboard, is swiftly supplied by Cambridge University gerontologist and co-founder or the California-based Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) Research Foundation, Aubrey DeGrey:

“The first thing I want to do is get rid of the use of this word immortality, because it’s enormously damaging, it is not just wrong, it is damaging. It means zero risk of death from any cause—whereas I just work on one particular cause of death, namely aging. It is also a distraction, it causes people to think this whole quest is morally ambiguous and technologically fanciful.”

So now that’s clear, what does DeGrey want to achieve in his quest for, um, indefinite life?

“If we ask the question: ‘Has the person been born who will be able to escape the ill health of old age indefinitely?’ Then I would say the chances of that are very high,” he said.

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Why Creationists Are Praying We Never Find Alien Life

It might be easy to pick on creationists, but it’s so much fun… this time by Mark Strauss at Slate:

Could primordial soup be served ice-cold and made with a liquid other than water? Astrobiologists believe that it’s possible on Titan.

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Not quite God’s green Earth: Titan viewed from from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

 

Although the temperature on Saturn’s massive moon is a chilly minus 179 degrees Celsius, it has a thick nitrogen atmosphere rich in organic molecules and a surface speckled with methane lakes. These ingredients, according to computer simulations recently conducted at Cornell University, could combine to form cellular membranes, which are crucial for the evolution of complex cells. “Ours is the first concrete blueprint of life not as we know it,” said one of the researchers in a news release. Another expressed hope that we might someday send a probe “to float on the seas of this amazing moon.”

But the creationists at the hilariously misnamed Discovery Institute, a prominent advocate for intelligent design theory, had a different spin on the story.

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Golden Meaning: 55 Graphic Artists Reveal the Maths of the Golden Ratio

There are more than a few sacred geometry fans visiting disinformation based on the outrage expressed at the recent post The Golden Ratio in Design is Nonsense. The Guardian profiles a new book, Golden Meaning in which the world’s top graphic designers explore the ancient geometrical concept of the Golden Ratio in poetry, food, sculpture, hairstyles and decorative art:

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Pictured above are two self-portraits of the British designer Oli Kellett.

Which one is most attractive?

The left one is untouched. The right one is retouched so that the features of his face conform to the golden ratio.

The golden ratio – or golden mean – is a number that is said to provide the secret of aesthetic beauty.

Yet the picture on the right is just weird!

There is something about it that makes him look a bit too perfect – so much so that it is subtly grotesque.

I love the juxtaposition of these portraits since it makes you reflect on the idea of aesthetic perfection; whether or not beauty can ever be prescribed by mathematics.

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CEO is the Profession with the Most Psychopaths

Yup, you read that right, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of corporations are more likely to be psychopaths than any other employment category. Great find from TIME:

But first off, psychopath doesn’t just mean someone who cuts you up with a chainsaw — though the majority of people who do things like that are psychopaths. What’s the definition?

Psychopathy is a personality disorder that has been variously described as characterized by shallow emotions (in particular reduced fear), stress tolerance, lacking empathy, coldheartedness, lacking guilt, egocentricity, superficial character, manipulativeness, irresponsibility, impulsivity and antisocial behaviors such as parasitic lifestyle and criminality.

So which professions (other than axe murderer) have the most psychopaths? What about the least?

Via The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success:

psychopath

[continues at TIME]

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Eau de Fracking? Companies Try to Trademark Scents

One imagines that if the frackers pay their lobbyists enough, the US Patent & Trademark Office will somehow find a way to issue a federal trademark for fracking scents. I kid you not, this is really happening, as described by the Wall Street Journal:

Federal trademark officials in Alexandria, Va., recently received an unusual package: a hand-delivered parcel containing vials of a clear liquid that smelled of oranges.

The sender wasn’t a crank. It was a corporate trademark lawyer representing Flotek Industries Inc., a Texas producer of hydraulic-fracturing fluids used to extract oil and gas from rocks deep in the earth.

Scent-bottles 01

The little bottles in the box were samples of a branding brainstorm that might be called eau de fracking: a specially developed scent that is supposed to make Flotek’s product smell like a glass of OJ. Flotek says its customers have come to associate the orange scent with its line of fracking chemicals and wants the U.S.

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