Author Archive | majestic

George Zimmerman Teams Up with Owner of ‘Muslim-Free Zone’ Gun Shop to Sell Confederate Flag Art

Why am I not surprised that George Zimmerman is selling confederate flag art? It’s more surprising that the murderer of Trayvon Martin is still at large, IMO. The Washington Times describes his latest misadventure:

The man who killed Trayvon Martin is now selling Confederate battle flag art and expects to raise a six-figure amount for his own legal defense and that of a Florida gun shop owner who declared his establishment a “Muslim-free zone.”

George Zimmerman has joined Florida Gun Supply to sell signed and numbered prints of a painting he did of the Stars and Bars with the words in the quadrants “The 2nd / protects / our / 1st.”

George Zimmerman Painting: Confederate Flag in Andy Hallinan's Honor, sold by Florida Gun Supply

George Zimmerman Painting: Confederate Flag in Andy Hallinan’s Honor, sold by Florida Gun Supply

 

Florida Gun Supply is an Inverness shop owned by Andy Hallinan, who also became nationally notorious, because of a video last month in which he declared his store a “Muslim-free zone” over the fatal shootings of four American servicemen in Chattanooga, Tennessee, by a Kuwait-born Muslim..

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Is Archaeology Better Off Without Religion?

“Archaeologists used to be obsessed with religion. Now they can’t be bothered with it. Is the field worse off?” asks Rose Eveleth at Aeon:

In her first year teaching at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, Leann Pace taught a class called Near Eastern Archaeology. Thirty years ago, the course would probably have been called ‘Biblical Archaeology’, as it focuses on regions important in the birth of the major Western religions. One day, a student raised her hand and asked: ‘Why do we care about the origins of this small group of people anyway?’

Photo: Ori (CC)

Photo: Ori (CC)

 

Pace told me she was shocked. ‘It was one of those moments when a student wrings you to the core,’ she said. She expected students to ask challenging questions. She expected students to feel like the class was undermining their faith, or favouring one religion over another. She was not prepared for students who didn’t understand why anyone would focus on the region at all.

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Facebook Should Pay All Of Us

We are the product Facebook’s selling, so why aren’t we getting paid? The New Yorker poses an excellent question:

Not long ago, Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist who studies social media, wrote that she wanted to pay for Facebook. More precisely, she wants the company to offer a cash option (about twenty cents a month, she calculates) for people who value their privacy, but also want a rough idea of what their friends’ children look like. In return for Facebook agreeing not to record what she does—and to not show her targeted ads—she would give them roughly the amount of money that they make selling the ads that she sees right now. Not surprisingly, her request seems to have been ignored. But the question remains: just why doesn’t Facebook want Tufekci’s money? One reason, I think, is that it would expose the arbitrage scheme at the core of Facebook’s business model and the ridiculous degree to which people undervalue their personal data.

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Jeb Bush Calls Common Core ‘Poisonous,’ Forgets He Actually Supports It

I thought Jeb was supposed to be smarter than George W… ThinkProgress reminds Jeb that he supports the reviled Common Core education program:

Former Florida governor and GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush had an awkward conversation about Common Core education standards this week, calling the initiative’s name “poisonous” while attempting to appeal to conservatives who oppose the program — even though he supports it.

Jeb Bush. Photo: Michael Vadon (CC)

Jeb Bush. Photo: Michael Vadon (CC)

While speaking at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Friday, former Florida governor Bush tried to talk his way around a question about the Common Core Standards Initiative, an education policy initiated by the National Governors Association that tries to bring education standards into alignment nationwide.

“The term ‘Common Core’ is so darn poisonous, I don’t even know what it means,” Bush said. “[But] I’m for higher standards — state-created, locally implemented — where the federal government has no role in the creation of standards, content or curriculum.”

The evasive answer appears to be an attempt to sidestep widespread Republican opposition to the policy, which is rooted in the misconception that it amounts to a “federal takeover” of the education system — even though the standards were created by state governors, not the federal government, and developed at the state level.

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How Wall Street’s Bankers Stayed Out of Jail

How did the banksters stay out of jail? The Atlantic investigates:

In her first major prosecutorial act as the new U.S. attorney general, Loretta Lynch unsealed a 47-count indictment against nine FIFAofficials and another five corporate executives. She was passionate about their wrongdoing. “The indictment alleges corruption that is rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States,” she said. “Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice.”

Banksters - Get Out of Jail

Lost in the hoopla surrounding the event was a depressing fact. Lynch and her predecessor, Eric Holder, appear to have turned the page on a more relevant vein of wrongdoing: the profligate and dishonest behavior of Wall Street bankers, traders, and executives in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. How we arrived at a place where Wall Street misdeeds go virtually unpunished while soccer executives in Switzerland get arrested is murky at best.

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Body-hackers: The People Who Turn Themselves into Cyborgs

“Not content with their version 1.0 bodies, biohackers are installing USB drives in their fingertips, giving themselves night-vision eyedrops and growing third ears on their arms (that can go online). Welcome to the world of DIY cyborgs,” writes Oliver Wainwright for the Guardian:

When the director of a research institute called the Alternate Anatomies laboratory says he’s got something up his sleeve, you can safely assume it’s not just a figure of speech.

For Professor Stelarc, an Australian performance artist whose previous party tricks have included using a robotic third arm and letting his muscles be remotely controlled by a computer, growing a human ear on his arm was the obvious next step. Now, he wants to connect it to the internet.

Nine years in the making, Stelarc’s third ear is part surgically modelled, part grown from his own flesh – the result of an artificial implant that’s been left to fuse with his body.

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Here’s Why People Believe In Conspiracy Theories

There’s a sudden rash of serious academic research being published on conspiracy theories. Earlier today we re-published Michael J. Wood’s paper, Some Dare Call It Conspiracy: Labeling Something a Conspiracy Theory Does Not Reduce Belief in It, originally published in the journal Political Psychology. Now Jan-Willem van Prooijen and Michele Acker have published the paper The Influence of Control on Belief in Conspiracy Theories: Conceptual and Applied Extensions in journal Applied Cognitive Psychology. Time analyzes their findings:

UFO sightings. Hoaxed moon landings. Reptiles who rule the world.

What, in the name of our alleged lizard overlords, convinces a person to believe in conspiracy theories?

CONSPIRACY THEORIES 2008

According to a pair of new studies published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, conspiracy theorists—and there are a lot more of them than you may think—tend to have one thing in common: they feel a lack of control over their lives.

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How ‘Thanks, Obama’ Explains American Politics

Nona Willis Aronowitz explains the “Thanks, Obama” meme writing at Medium:

Barack Obama, slumped like a sullen teen, attempts to dunk a cookie in milk, only to realize with chagrin that the edges scrape haplessly against the cup’s rim. His snack game thwarted, the president mutters with a click of his teeth:

“Thanks, Obama.”

thanks obama

These few seconds of a Buzzfeed video, which has been viewed more than 55 million times since February, signaled the moment when the one of the most malleable, morally complex political memes of our time arrived at its logical conclusion. It was a meta, sarcastic take on a phrase whose very humor and power lies in sarcasm, uttered by the very man it seeks to either lambast or defend, depending on whom you voted for. The “Thanks, Obama” meme was first used six years ago, and has ricocheted from deep-red backchannels to liberal talk shows and back again: in an Instagram caption for a shattered beer bottle, in a Facebook post from an incensed conservative, in a nonsensical, racist Reddit post, in a tweet from a teenage boozehound bemoaning her underage status.

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‘Flying spaghetti monster’ sea creature discovered living thousands of feet beneath the ocean

Pastafarians rejoice, the flying spaghetti monster lives! Well, it lives in the media anyway, in this instance in UK tabloid the Mirror:

jellyfish like creature which has a striking resemblance to a parody religious god has been found living beneath the ocean.

This footage was captured by a remote control underwater vehicle and shows a ‘flying spaghetti monster’ living 4,000ft beneath the Atlantic.

BP workers were so amazed by the creature’s similarities to the mythical god that they called their discovery after it.

They then sent the footage, filmed off the cost of Angola, to marine scientists in Southampton.

Experts at the National Oceanography Centre believe the monster is a type of siphonophore – similar to jellyfish – known technically as Bathyphysa conifera.

In 2005 physics graduate Bobby Henderson created the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a protest against the teaching of Intelligent design – a theory that the creation of the universe can be explained by intelligent argument and not natural occurrences…

[continues at the Mirror]

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22 Bizarre Conspiracy Theories

It’s silly season (a/k/a summer) and Mental Floss has decided to celebrate with a video about 22 bizarre conspiracy theories. They’re not really that bizarre (the usual fare: illuminati, reptilians, Skull & Bones, subliminal advertising, Area 51, Fluoride, Paul is dead, Elvis is alive, Jesus was married, Princess Diana was assassinated, Clinton deaths, 9/11, pro sports are fixed, etc.) but it’s a fun few minutes:

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