Author Archive | majestic

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Psychosurgeons Using Lasers To Burn The Bad From Brains

Photo: thomasbg (CC)

Photo: thomasbg (CC)

It may sound uncomfortably close to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but nevertheless brain surgeons are using lasers to burn away parts of the brain that they believe lead to mental illness, reports Wired:

A brain surgeon begins an anterior cingulotomy by drilling a small hole into a patient’s skull. The surgeon then inserts a tiny blade, cutting a path through brain tissue, then inserts a probe past sensitive nerves and bundles of blood vessels until it reaches a specific cluster of neural connections, a kind of switchboard linking emotional triggers to cognitive tasks. With the probe in place, the surgeon fires up a laser, burning away tissue until the beam has hollowed out about half a teaspoon of grey matter.

This is the shape of modern psychosurgery: Ablating parts of the brain to treat mental illnesses. Which might remind you of that maligned procedure, the lobotomy.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Churches Tracking Attendance With Facial Recognition Technology

All you mega church congregants (are there any amongst disinfonauts?), don’t think the pastor won’t know if you don’t show up on Sunday: the church is using facial recognition technology to make sure you’re in attendance, reports Fusion:

We know that Facebook has a vast facial recognition database so good that it can recognize you when your face is hidden, that the FBI has built a millions-strong criminal facial recognition system, and that Google’s new Photos app is so effective at face recognition that it can identify now-adults in photos from their childhood. But now facial recognition is starting to pop up in weird and unexpected places: at music festivals (to identify criminals); at stadiums (to weed out “sports troublemakers“) and at churches. Yes, churches.

Screenshot from Churchix.com website.

Screenshot from Churchix.com website.

 

Moshe Greenshpan, the CEO of Israel- and Las Vegas-based facial recognition software company Face-Six, says there are 30 churches around the world using his Churchix technology.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Adolf Hitler’s Paintings Sold At Auction

What sort of person wants to buy a painting by Adolf Hitler? Guesses in the comments, but whoever they are, they’re prepared to spend a lot of money to own a Hitler original judging by the recent auction in Germany where the collection sold for $450,000, per AFP via Yahoo News:

Watercolour paintings and drawings by Adolf Hitler from about a century ago were sold at auction in Germany at the weekend for nearly 400,000 euros ($450,000), organisers said.

A painting of Neuschwanstein Castle, a watercolor signed 'A Hitler'. Photo: Christof Stache

A painting of Neuschwanstein Castle, a watercolor signed ‘A Hitler’. Photo: Christof Stache

 

The most expensive was a painting of King Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, now a tourist magnet, which went to a buyer from China for 100,000 euros, Nuremberg-based Weidler auctioneers said, quoted by German news agency DPA.

A still-life of carnations changed hands for 73,000 euros and all of the works on offer, which date from 1904 to 1922, most signed A.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

NASA and NNSA May Use Nuclear Weapons Against Asteroids

Chelyabinsk meteor trail. Photo: Nikita Plekhanov (CC)

Chelyabinsk meteor trail. Photo: Nikita Plekhanov (CC)

 

Shooting nukes into space on rockets: what could possibly go wrong? The geniuses at NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have apparently overcome any reservations they may have had and are combining forces to think of ways to nuke any comet or asteroid that comes too close to Earth, per the New York Times:

In grappling with the threat of doomsday rocks from outer space, Hollywood has always been far ahead of the federal government, cranking out thrillers full of swashbuckling heroes, rockets and nuclear blasts that save the planet.

Now Washington is catching up.

On Wednesday, the nation’s agencies that build civilian rockets and nuclear arms sealed an agreement to start working together on planetary defense. The goal is to learn how to better deflect comets and asteroids that might endanger cities and, in the case of very large intruders, the planet as a whole.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

NASA Finds Three-Mile-High Pyramid on ‘Missing’ Planet

What do you make of this then? I’d guess that the pyramid is going to lead to even more conspiracy theories than the face on Mars… Metro has the story of NASA’s controversial photos:

A NASA probe orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres has sighted a weird, three-mile-high ‘pyramid’ on the surface – just hours after a similar structure on Mars came to light.

This image, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on June 14, 2015, shows an intriguing mountain on dwarf planet Ceres protruding from a relatively smooth area. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

This image, taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on June 14, 2015, shows an intriguing mountain on dwarf planet Ceres protruding from a relatively smooth area. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

 

The discovery has – naturally – sparked completely unfounded speculation that the structure on the dwarf planet has been made by extraterrestrials.

Note: the fact that Ceres is a dwarf planet does NOT mean there are any dwarves there.

Instead, it’s believed that the strange object is a three-mile-high mountain, roughly the size of Mont Blanc.

The Dawn spacecraft, driven by a Star Trek-style ion drive, is orbiting Ceres for the first time and sending back the first-ever clear images of its surface.

Read the rest
Continue Reading