Author Archive | majestic

Mayans Defeat Monsanto In Guatemala

Anga Bottione-Rossi00Who’s got the cojones to stand up to Monsanto and send them packing? The Mayans of Guetamala, that’s who!

IC Magazine reports on the recent victory of the Mayan People’s Movement against Monsanto’s attempt to bring their patented, genetically engineered seeds into Guatemala, displacing traditional seed diversity:

On September 4th, after ten days of widespread street protests against the biotech giant Monsanto’s expansion into Guatemalan territory, groups of indigenous people joined by social movements, trade unions and farmer and women’s organizations won a victory when congress finally repealed the legislation that had been approved in June.

The demonstrations were concentrated outside the Congress and Constitutional Court in Guatemala City during more than a week, and coincided with several Mayan communities and organizations defending food sovereignty through court injunctions in order to stop the Congress and the President, Otto Perez Molina, from letting the new law on protection of plant varieties, known as the “Monsanto Law”, take effect.

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Science Says the Universe Could Be a Hologram, Computer Program, Black Hole or Bubble

What is the Universe? A hard question to answer , no doubt, but Smithsonian Magazine suggests there are ways to check:

The questions are as big as the universe and (almost) as old as time: Where did I come from, and why am I here? That may sound like a query for a philosopher, but if you crave a more scientific response, try asking a cosmologist.

This branch of physics is hard at work trying to decode the nature of reality by matching mathematical theories with a bevy of evidence. Today most cosmologists think that the universe was created during the big bang about 13.8 billion years ago, and it is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. The cosmos is woven into a fabric we call space-time, which is embroidered with a cosmic web of brilliant galaxies and invisible dark matter.

It sounds a little strange, but piles of pictures, experimental data and models compiled over decades can back up this description.

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The Cult of CrossFit

Here at disinformation we’re always alert to weird cults, whether of the suicide variety (Heaven’s Gate) or the brainwashing/cash-draining variety (Scientology). We’ve been following a new cult that’s sweeping America – CrossFit – although we’re not sure that it’s in any way insidious.

Recently I caught up with JC Herz, who’s penned the definitive book on CrossFit, Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness, to answer some questions:

JC, I discovered CrossFit myself a few years ago when I looked up “what is fitness.” For those who don’t know can you briefly describe what CrossFit it and how it addresses my original search question?

2007 CrossFit Trainer certification

The CrossFit catechism is: “Constantly varied functional movement executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains.” Which is technical jargon for: Move your whole body (not single muscles in isolation) and heavy weight, lots of different ways, going flat-out for anywhere between four minutes and half an hour.… Read the rest

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Rand Paul: From Purist to Politician

One thing you can say about former Congressman Ron “Dr. No” Paul: he never compromised his libertarian views. It definitely held him back, career-wise; now his son Rand seems to have learned this lesson and is showing all the signs of a politician whose opinions change with the wind. Major profile in the Washington Post:

Sen. Rand Paul wanted to eliminate aid to Israel. Now he doesn’t. He wanted to scrap the Medicare system. Now he’s not sure.

Rand Paul (5584558924)

He didn’t like the idea of a border fence — it was expensive, and it reminded him of the Berlin Wall. Now he wants two fences, one behind the other.

And what about same-sex marriage? Paul’s position — such marriages are morally wrong, but Republicans should stop obsessing about them — seems so muddled that an Iowa pastor recently confronted him in frustration.

“With all due respect, that sounds very retreatist of you,” minister Michael Demastus said he told Paul (R-Ky.) after the senator explained his position during a stop in Des Moines.

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There’s Lithium In The Water Supply

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Stylised Lithium Atom. CC BY-SA 3.0

Forget about the awful things that fluoride in the water supply supposedly does to us; the New York Times is reporting that there’s lithium in our water supply:

THE idea of putting a mind-altering drug in the drinking water is the stuff of sci-fi, terrorist plots and totalitarian governments. Considering the outcry that occurred when putting fluoride in the water was first proposed, one can only imagine the furor that would ensue if such a thing were ever suggested.

The debate, however, is moot. It’s a done deal. Mother Nature has already put a psychotropic drug in the drinking water, and that drug is lithium. Although this fact has been largely ignored for over half a century, it appears to have important medical implications.

Lithium is a naturally occurring element, not a molecule like most medications, and it is present in the United States, depending on the geographic area, at concentrations that can range widely, from undetectable to around .170 milligrams per liter.

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Pope Declares Start of World War III

Pope Francis in March 2013World War III isn’t like its two 20th century predecessors, but it’s ON, says the Pope, via Reuters:

Pope Francis said on Saturday the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a “piecemeal” Third World War, condemning the arms trade and “plotters of terrorism” sowing death and destruction.

“Humanity needs to weep and this is the time to weep,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass during a visit to Italy’s largest war memorial, a large, Fascist-era monument where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.

The pope began his brief visit to northern Italy by first praying in a nearby, separate cemetery for some 15,000 soldiers from five nations of the Austro-Hungarian empire which were on the losing side of the Great War that broke out 100 years ago.

“War is madness,” he said in his homily before the massive, sloping granite memorial, made of 22 steps on the side of hill with three crosses at the top.

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The Rastafarians’ Flawed African ‘Promised Land’

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Photo: Mattstone911 (CC)

Many people think of Rastafarians as dreadlocked Jamaicans for whom marijuana is a sacred herb. Partly true, but there’s much more to their beliefs, including the promised land in Ethiopia. BBC News Magazine reports:

Forty years ago Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was overthrown. It was a blow for all Rastafarians, who revere him as a god – and for those Rastafarians who had emigrated to Ethiopia, life suddenly got more difficult.

In 1948 Emperor Haile Selassie gave 500 acres (200 hectares) of land at Shashamene, 150 miles (225km) south of Addis Ababa, to black people from the West who had supported him in his struggles with Mussolini’s Italy.

The first settlers to arrive were African-American Jews, but they soon moved on to Liberia or Israel. After them, in 1963, came a dozen Rastafarians, and the numbers swelled after Selassie made an emotional visit to Jamaica three years later.

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Solar Storm Hits Earth

There could be power grid fluctuations tonight, not to mention some spectacular Northern Lights if you live far north enough, due to a couple of massive solar flares this week. Report via USA Today:

The second of two solar storms, in the form of a coronal mass ejection (CME) from a solar flare, hit Earth as predicted midday Friday.

Magnificent CME Erupts on the Sun - August 31.jpg

An earlier storm hit late Thursday.

“The second of the expected coronal mass ejections (CMEs) has arrived, and arrived in good agreement with the predicted arrival times,” according to NOAA’s Space Prediction Weather Center in Boulder, Colo. “As expected, an initial look shows this CME is stronger than the first.”

Scientists said the storms could cause some fluctuations in Earth’s power grid and slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions later on Friday and on Saturday.

“A G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Watch is still in effect for September 13th,” the space weather center announced.

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The Senate just rejected a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

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ABC-Washington Post poll results: Public views of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision.

Remember the Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC? You know, the one allowing corporations to spend whatever it takes to have their candidate win elections for public office. Well many, many people thought that was bad law and Congress should act to override it, but the Senate just rejected the opportunity to adopt a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, reports Vox:

On Thursday afternoon, a proposal to amend the US Constitution to allow tougher campaign finance and election spending restrictions was blocked in the Senate, in a party-line vote. 54 Democrats voted to advance the measure — another, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), would have done so but wasn’t present. However, every single Republican voted against it, and it fell to a filibuster.

Unlike with other bills that have majority support, a filibuster wasn’t the primary obstacle here. A proposed constitutional amendment has to win 67 votes to be passed by the Senate — so, assuming all Democrats were present, the amendment would still have been 12 votes short overall.

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Barack Obama is the Greatest Terrorist Hunter in the History of the Presidency

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That bold statement is made by Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, who asks why President Obama gets no credit for his terrorist hunting successes:

…Washington has reached a consensus view that Obama has been hesitant, contradictory, and flinching on a range of issues related to the Middle East. It is true that his rhetoric has not often matched his strategy (see Peter Baker’s story on the disconnect between some of Obama’s reassuring statements on the Middle East and the dispiriting reality of the place, and Richard Haass’s comments on Administration promises); it is true that early reports suggest that the strategy he is unveiling to counter ISIS seems limited and evolutionary; and it also true, as Ron Fournier, and others, note, that Obama has a tendency to tell America’s enemies what he won’t do to them, rather than what he will do.

Here are two things that are also true: Obama has become the greatest terrorist hunter in the history of the presidency; and his successful push to disarm the Assad regime of the bulk of its chemical-weapons stockpiles has removed from the Middle East, and beyond, the possibility of an unparalleled cataclysm.

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