Author Archive | majestic

How The Media Has Helped Normalize GOP Crazy

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Alison Lundergan Grimes. Photo: Patrick Delahanty (CC)

Can you remember a time when Republicans didn’t act foam-at-the-mouth radio host crazy? Paul Waldman makes a good point writing at the Washington Post: GOP crazy is now the norm:

The victim of this morning’s pile-on is Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who was asked in an editorial board meeting whether she had voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Grimes hemmed and hawed a bit, obviously scared to say Yes. That isn’t too surprising — when you run as a Democrat in a red state (just as when you run as a Republican in a blue state), you spend a lot of your time explaining why you aren’t like the national party and its leaders. But some people are outraged, including Chuck Todd, who said on Morning Joe (with a look of profound disgust): “Is she ever going to answer a tough question on anything?…I think she disqualified herself.

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Chris Brown Leads the Ebola Conspiracy Charge

It’s no surprise that there are conspiracy theories about the Ebola virus deaths and fears as they spread around the world. Accusations of intentional population control is something that we expect from the usual proponents of nefarious New World Order plans, but now there is a new and unlikely champion: Chris Brown, the R&B singer perhaps most famous for battering Rihanna’s face into an ugly mess. Here’s his tweet on the topic – note the number of retweets and favorites:

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.02.40 PM

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The Holy Prepuce

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Grigori Rasputin

I just don’t know how to introduce an essay about Christ’s foreskin, known as the Holy Prepuce, so take it away Stassa Edwards at The New Inquiry:

Europe’s history of penis worship was cast aside when the Catholic Church decided Jesus’s foreskin was too potent to control.

Grigori Rasputin’s dick is on display at the Museum of Erotics in Saint Petersburg. Housed in a jar of formaldehyde, the member, which the museum’s owner claims he obtained from a French antiquarian, is quite sizable. Actually, it’s enormous for a human penis: Wide and meaty, it measures about a foot long. According to the museum, just gazing on the preserved member can cure a range of problems, everything from infertility to a humdrum sex life. But the specimen isn’t a human penis. It more than likely came from a horse.

It wouldn’t be the first time something inhuman was passed off as Rasputin’s dick.

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Elon Musk Warns Artificial Intelligence Could Wipe Out Humanity

As one of the most celebrated of technology pioneers, Elon Musk (Tesla cars, SpaceX, etc.) knows a thing or two about where technology is headed, and he’s not at all sure there will be a positive outcome for humanity per this interview with Walter Isaacson for Vanity Fair:

Tesla and SpaceX C.E.O. Elon Musk said he was worried that people didn’t understand how fast artificial intelligence was progressing, and expressed his concern that, in a worst-case scenario, a “super-intelligent” machine might decide to destroy human life.

Musk was speaking to Walter Isaacson, the president and C.E.O. of the Aspen Institute, on stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. Musk, uncharacteristically wearing a suit, detailed his fears after teasing the announcement of Tesla’s secretive project called “the D.”

“I don’t think anyone realizes how quickly artificial intelligence is advancing. Particularly if [the machine is] involved in recursive self-improvement .

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Help Dario Argento Make A Movie Starring Iggy Pop

Two venerable icons of counterculture, Dario Argento and Iggy Pop want to make a movie together and they’re crowd funding it at Indiegogo:

THE_SANDMAN_POSTERHere’s the pitch:

Friends! Romans! Countrymen –– lend us your… eyes — while you still have them, that is — and look over our Indiegogo campaign, to ensure that The Maestro (of Terror), Dario Argento, and The Godfather (of Punk) Iggy Pop have free reign to make this next horror film a true masterpiece for the ages!

Beware The Sandman!

Maybe other places, you’ve heard about other kinds of Sandmen — forget everything you’ve heard. This guy doesn’t put sand in your eyes so you drift peacefully to sleep — don’t you wish! This Sandman is the real deal, going back to the dark, original German legend: the REAL Sandman was someone who stole the eyes of any children that wouldn’t just close them and go to sleep… then he’d go feed them to his hungry children on the moon.… Read the rest

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In Defense of Obama

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Photo: Elizabeth Cromwell (CC)

Paul Krugman has penned a lengthy essay for Rolling Stone on why President Obama is getting a raw deal from virtually everyone, including an opinion that “Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history”:

When it comes to Barack Obama, I’ve always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right. Furthermore, it seemed clear to me that, far from being the transformational figure his supporters imagined, he was rather conventional-minded: Even before taking office, he showed signs of paying far too much attention to what some of us would later take to calling Very Serious People, people who regarded cutting budget deficits and a willingness to slash Social Security as the very essence of political virtue.

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Sulawesi Cave Paintings Offer New Conclusions About Origins of Art

Cave paintings in Sulawesi, Indonesia, have been estimated to be at least 39,900 years old, changing ideas about creative art being exclusively European, reports BBC News (note to Graham Hancock fans: how does this affect Graham’s hypothesis in Supernatural?):

Scientists have identified some of the earliest cave paintings produced by humans.

Sulawesi cave painting with Dr Maxime Aubert (Photo: Dr. Aubert).

Sulawesi cave painting with Dr Maxime Aubert (Photo: Dr. Aubert).

Until now, paintings this old had been confirmed in caves only in Western Europe.

Researchers tell the journal Nature that the Indonesian discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

Early artists made them by carefully blowing paint around hands that were pressed tightly against the cave walls and ceilings. The oldest is at least 40,000 years old.

There are also human figures, and pictures of wild hoofed animals that are found only on the island. Dr Maxime Aubert, of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who dated the paintings found in Maros in Southern Sulawesi, explained that one of them (shown immediately below) was probably the earliest of its type.

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Where GMOs Hide In Your Food

GMO Full Disclosure AdvocateThe mighty (alright, once-mighty) Consumer Reports picks up the GMO labeling cudgel:

More than 70 percent of Americans say they don’t want genetically modified organisms in their food, according to a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of 1,000 adults. The trouble is, it’s hard to avoid them. Consumer Reports’ tests of breakfast cereals, chips, soy infant formulas, and other popular products found that GMOs lurk in many packaged foods—including some that carry labels suggesting that they don’t have these controversial ingredients.

In more than 60 countries, manufacturers must label foods that contain genetically modified ingredients. But GMO labeling isn’t required in the U.S. Yet our survey found that 92 percent of Americans want genetically modified foods to be labeled. And concerns about the potential health and environmental risks of GMOs coupled with an unwillingness on the part of the federal government to mandate labeling are leading many states to take action on their own.

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The Coming Era of Unlimited — and Free — Clean Energy

When I saw this headline in  a tweet from Daniel Pinchbeck I thought it was going to link to one of “those” blogs, but no, it’s straight from a stalwart of the mainstream media, the Washington Post, which is touting 100% solar-generated electricity meeting all our needs, sooner rather than later:

In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones.  McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant.  It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out.  McKinsey was wrong, of course.  There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use in 2000; there are billions now.  Costs have fallen so far that even the poor — all over world — can afford a cellular phone.

The experts are saying the same about solar energy now.

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New 20-Year Study Shatters Myths About Marijuana Use

Professor Wayne Hall has published the results of a 20-year study of the use of marijuana in the journal Addiction (PDF of Full Study article here), which summarizes his findings as follows:

Adverse effects of acute cannabis use

  • Cannabis does not produce fatal overdoses.
  • Driving while cannabis-intoxicated doubles the risk of a car crash; this risk increases substantially if users are also alcohol-intoxicated.
  • Cannabis use during pregnancy slightly reduces birth weight of the baby.

Adverse effects of chronic cannabis use

  • Regular cannabis users can develop a dependence syndrome, the risks of which are around 1 in 10 of all cannabis users and 1 in 6 among those who start in adolescence.
  • Regular cannabis users double their risks of experiencing psychotic symptoms and disorders, especially if they have a personal or family history of psychotic disorders, and if they start using cannabis in their mid-teens.
  • Regular adolescent cannabis users have lower educational attainment than non-using peers but we don’t know whether the link is causal.
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