Author Archive | majestic

You Are Totally Wrong About Genetically Altered Food

“You Are Totally Wrong About Genetically Altered Food” screams the cover of Newsweek, below, with a feature story inside entitled “GMO Scientists Could Save the World From Hunger, If We Let Them.”

newsweek gmo

Is the story’s author, Tom Parrett, right? Arguments against in the comments please:

…Biotech crops are already well-established around the world. The U.S. has approved about 100 genetically modified plants for use in agriculture. Virtually all cotton in India, a vital economic staple for the country, is GM, as is 90 percent of cotton grown in China. Four out of every five harvested soybeans on earth are genetically modified. Corn worldwide is 35 percent genetically modified. Bangladesh is considering a GM eggplant that could double its harvest by protecting it from worms. Food writer Mark Bittman recently pointed out that we’ve been happily eating harmless genetically modified, virus-resistant papayas for years, and that’s Mr. Natural talking.

But some countries are balking.

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Kylie Jenner Just Outed Herself as a ‘Chemtrail’ Truther

I suspect that among disinfonauts there will be more people wondering who Kylie Jenner is than what a chemtrail might be, but here anyway is Fusion‘s explanation of chemtrails and the shocking news that one of the Karsdashian clan is into them:

Even celebrities find time to get sucked into horrible Internet wormholes.

At least that’s what seems to have happened to Kylie Jenner, who tweeted an image last night that parrots the worst of the worst of the most outlandish and unscientific of all conspiracy theories: the theory of the “chemtrails.”

jenner

The theory basically boils down to people claiming that the typical condensation trails left behind by an airplane dissipate very quickly, so when there are trails that do not dissipate quickly—leaving a “chemtrail” in the otherwise blue sky—there must be some sort of sinister, hidden agenda at play. Namely, a plan to control the weather and our minds.

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The Creepy Fundamentalist Homeschool Cult That Trained the Duggars

Bill Gothard 03.jpg

Bill Gothard, founder of Advanced Training Institure. Credit: Institute in Basic Life Principles (CC)

The Duggar family has been tearing up the Internet of late. Never one to be left behind in the race to jump on a rapidly vanishing meme, Gawker goes deep into what it calls the “bizarre horrors of the Advanced Training Institute, its founder Bill Gothard, and its many overpopulated families”:

You know about the Duggars, the evangelical Christian family whose 19 children catapulted them to fame through Discovery Health specials and TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, and you know about Josh Duggar, the eldest son, who admitted last week to molesting several underage girls as a teen—including his own sisters.

You’ve seen some examinations of the dangerous, backwards logic that helped fuel that systematic and highly preventable sexual abuse, and some explorations of the culture of authority and fear promulgated by the Duggars’ uniquely patriarchal brand of Christianity.

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Vampire Legend Came From Rare Genetic Disorder Porphyria

Did you know that vampire myths may actually have come from Medieval fears of a rare genetic disorder called porphyria? Guardian Liberty Voice has the story:

The origin of the vampire myth may not have come only from the excitable minds of Middle Age peasants. Instead, a rare genetic disorder called porphyria might have started the tales, according to biochemist Dr. David H. Dolphin of the University of British Columbia and other scientists.

Vampire

Photo: Lua Morales (CC)

 

Porphyria is a rare group of at least eight blood disorders. A patient is diagnosed with porphyria if any of the eight different enzymes that create porphyrin, a body chemical which transforms into heme (another chemical the body needs) when in contact with iron, are affected. A patient lacking in any one of the eight enzymes is not able to produce heme, which is responsible for items such as cell differentiation and protein synthesis.

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Atheists Make Americans Think of Death

What do you think of if/when you think of atheists? If you’re American there’s a good chance the thought of atheism inspires further thoughts about death, per Discovery News:

Atheists consistently rank among the lowest of the low in the court of American public opinion. Now, research suggests one reason why: Thinking about atheists reminds people of death.

The Grim Reaper - geograph.org.uk - 522625

Photo: Trish Steel (CC)

In fact, prompting people to think about atheism triggered death-related thoughts just as strongly as, well, directly prompting people to think about death, a new study finds. These death thoughts help trigger a subconscious dislike of atheists, said study leader Corey Cook, a social psychologist at the University of Washington, Tacoma. Not only do thoughts of death put people in a negative frame of mind, Cook told Live Science, but they also prompt people to hold more tightly onto their own values.

“There’s a little circular thing going on where encountering atheism will make people grasp their values closer and then become more negative because atheists are perceived as not having values,” Cook said.

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Anti-Littering Campaign Uses DNA From Trash to Shame People

Big Brother is vacationing in Hong Kong, apparently. The South China Morning Post reports on an ad campaign in the former British colony that used the DNA of the litterbugs to create posters with their composite faces:

A campaign that used DNA analysis to give a face to anonymous Hong Kong litterbugs, then posted representations of the faces on billboards across the city, has been a big hit on social media.

One of the posters showing the accused litterbug and his litter.

One of the posters showing the accused litterbug and his litter.

 

The Face of Litter campaign was launched on Global Earth Day last month for the Hong Kong Cleanup Initiative, organised by online magazine Ecozine and the Nature Conservancy. It was aimed at raising awareness of the extent of littering in the city by pinpointing those responsible and encouraging people to change their behaviour…

Marketing communications agency Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong came up with the idea for the billboard campaign and enlisted US-based  Parabon Nanolabs.

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‘Freelance’ Spies Filling in for NSA, Recording Your Private Conversations

Now that the NSA is readying to shut down its domestic surveillance operation as the Patriot Act goes into limbo, some freelancers in New York City are picking up the NSA’s reins and recording private conversations at restaurants, gyms and other public locations. Generously, they are “declassifying” the recordings and publishing them at their website, WeAreAlwaysListening.com. Gothamist reports:

Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that the National Security Agency collects the phone records of every American in order to keep the country safe from terrorism. But for the past eight months a group of artists claiming to work for the NSA on “a freelance, pro bono basis” have been recording people’s private conversations in popular bars, restaurants, and gyms in Lower Manhattan to ensure that no actionable intelligence falls through the cracks.

Recording devices from WeAreListening.com

Recording devices from WeAreListening.com

 

“We’re looking for terrorism, we’re looking for signs of plots and schemes that could put the homeland at risk,” one of the group’s “agents” tells us.

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Magic, Myth and Secrecy: W.B. Yeats and the Occult

William Butler Yeats by John Butler Yeats 1900.jpg

William Butler Yeats by John Butler Yeats, 1900.


Did you know that Yeats was fascinated by the occult? He was a member of Madam Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society (eventually expelled) and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Indpendent.ie sheds some light on Yeats’s fascination with the dark arts:

The young William Butler Yeats was introduced to the study and practice of the occult while in art college in Dublin – his instant fascination with the occult, metaphysics and paranormal activities was to remain with him throughout his life. His passion for mysticism and the occult sciences was displayed through his poetry and writings.

The path to conventional Christianity had been cut off for Yeats by his father’s religious scepticism, but his need to believe in something and a hunger for the spiritual life led him to seek and devise an alternative system of beliefs, according to official Yeats biographer Roy Foster.

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The Land Grab In Space

The US has space experts worried about an extra-terrestrial land grab, reports Quartz (and lest you should think that’s a joke, first check out leading property sales firm Knight Frank’s Asteroid Index):

asteroid index

Plans to make money in space are missing one of the fundamental ingredients to any business: property rights.

If you go mine an asteroid, as several companies plan to do, and bring some minerals back to earth, can you sell them? If you build a moonbase, as entrepreneur Robert Bigelow is contemplating, and someone else wants to land a rocket there, what’s to stop them?

Asteroid miners eager to raise funds to raid space rocks—some of which are packed with minerals valued in the trillions of dollars—are faced with a legal code that was never meant to apply to private enterprise in space, since it was written well before it took anything less than the resources of a national government to get to orbit.

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One-Third of American 8th Graders Think Canada is a Dictatorship

There’s clearly some pernicious, ahem, disinformation, being disseminated in US middle schools! CBC (Canada’s government-funded broadcaster, which is I suppose an organ of the state), is reporting in outraged terms that one-third of American 8th graders think Canada is a dictatorship:

The days of politically frustrated Americans declaring “That’s it, I’m moving to Canada!” could soon be coming to an end — at least among teenagers who value freedom and equality.

568px-Canada_flag_map.svg

 

According to the U.S. government’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 33 per cent of American eight graders currently believe that Canada is a dictatorship.

This finding was one of many revealed by the NCES in its 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress report when it was released late last month.

Alternately called “The Nation’s Report Card,” the publication presents the results of standardized tests given to more than 29,000 eighth-grade students across the U.S. last year.

It was here that reporters learned of how many young Americans may actually think Canada has more in common with North Korea, politically, than with our neighbours to the South.

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