Author Archive | Marcie Gainer

1980: America’s First Extraterrestrial Election

By exoimperator via Flickr (CC by-sa 2.0)

By exoimperator via Flickr (CC by-sa 2.0)

via The Daily Beast:

In a democracy, an idea ceases to sound crazy once every candidate in an election has accepted it. By that measure, 1980 is the year Americans embraced the possibility that humans might not be the only intelligent life forms in the universe. That’s because both that year’s presidential candidates, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, reported having life-changing encounters with unidentified flying objects at some point in their lives.

The following is a summary of what we know about Presidents Carter and Reagan’s close encounters of the third kind and how these episodes affected their views on our place in the cosmos:

In 1969, state senator Jimmy Carter was preparing to give a speech in rural Georgia when an associate called his attention to something floating low above the horizon. There he claims he saw a luminous object change colors several times then vanish into the night sky.

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Political Polarization & Media Habits

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Do you listen to NPR or watch the Colbert Report? You may be more liberal than the folks who watch MSNBC. Do you read “The Blaze”? You may be more conservative than those who watch Fox News.

via Pew Research:

When it comes to getting news about politics and government, liberals and conservatives inhabit different worlds. There is little overlap in the news sources they turn to and trust. And whether discussing politics online or with friends, they are more likely than others to interact with like-minded individuals, according to a new Pew Research Center study.

The project – part of a year-long effort to shed light on political polarization in America – looks at the ways people get information about government and politics in three different settings: the news media, social media and the way people talk about politics with friends and family. In all three areas, the study finds that those with the most consistent ideological views on the left and right have information streams that are distinct from those of individuals with more mixed political views – and very distinct from each other.

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Swedish submarine mystery: Navy works on two new observations of ‘foreign underwater’ activity

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via abc.net.au:

Sweden’s military is working on two new observations that could be evidence of suspected “foreign underwater activity” near the country’s capital, a senior naval officer says.

Swedish forces have been scouring the sea off Stockholm since Friday, after what the military called three credible reports of activity by foreign submarines or divers using an underwater vehicle.

The vessels were unidentified, but during the 1980s the Swedish navy from time to time hunted suspected Soviet submarines in its waters.

“Today, I can also report that there have been two further observations which were made by members of the public that are interesting enough to require further follow-up work,” Admiral Anders Grenstad told reporters.

He would not give further details about what kind of new sightings had been made, but said they were being assessed and were not yet considered as credible as the three made earlier.

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Vlad the Impaler Was Not the Inspiration for Stoker’s Dracula

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via io9:

It’s one of those so-called facts that everyone knows: Bram Stoker’s character Count Dracula was loosely based on Vlad the Impaler. But while there’s no doubt that Stoker took the name from Vlad III’s patronymic, it’s doubtful that the Impaler was actually the basis for the famous vampire.

Who Made The Vlad-Dracula Connection?

It certainly makes sense that scholars and other readers have connected Count Dracula with the Wallachian warlord Vlad III, nicknamed “Vlad Tepes” or, in English, “Vlad the Impaler.” After all, Vlad III was a member of the House of Drăculești, and is one of a handful of historical figures whose title is rendered as “Voivode Dracula” in English-language texts. And the fictional Dracula does share one key biographical detail with his historical namesake: they both fought against the Turks during their mortal lives. But how did these two connections turn Vlad III into the supposed basis for Count Dracula?

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Paralysed man walks again after cell transplant

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via BBC:

A paralysed man has been able to walk again after a pioneering therapy that involved transplanting cells from his nasal cavity into his spinal cord.

Darek Fidyka, who was paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack in 2010, can now walk using a frame.

The treatment, a world first, was carried out by surgeons in Poland in collaboration with scientists in London.

Details of the research are published in the journal Cell Transplantation.

BBC One’s Panorama programme had unique access to the project and spent a year charting the patient’s rehabilitation.

Darek Fidyka, 40, from Poland, was paralysed after being stabbed repeatedly in the back in the 2010 attack.

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Anthropology unlocks clues about Roman gladiators’ eating habits

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via Phys.org:

Roman gladiators ate a mostly vegetarian diet and drank ashes after training as a tonic. These are the findings of anthropological investigations carried out on bones of warriors found during excavations in the ancient city of Ephesos.

Historic sources report that gladiators had their own diet. This comprised beans and grains. Contemporary reports referred to them as “hordearii” (“barley eaters”).

In a study by the Department of Forensic Medicine at the MedUni Vienna in cooperation with the Department of Anthropology at the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University of Bern, bones were examined from a gladiator cemetery uncovered in 1993 which dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century BC in the then Roman city of Ephesos (now in modern-day Turkey). At the time, Ephesos was the capital of the Roman province of Asia and had over 200,000 inhabitants.

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5am Film Series: Invocate, SKG, and Ectoplasm

These were submitted to the 5am film series by Lary Love Dolley, who stars in all three films.

SKG from JonGunnar on Vimeo.

Invocate from The Evil I on Vimeo.

An amateur gothic necromancer raises more than she bargains for in a desolate New Orleans cemetery.

Ectoplasm from The Evil I on Vimeo.

A medium reaches out to the spirit world and the spirit world reaches within her in this experimental short horror.
*Note that Ectoplasm is unique in that every word and song is in reverse, the actual spoken word part and songs may be found in the proper order at the website below.*

ectoplasmthemovie.webs.com/

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Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.

"US Capitol, Washington, DC" by Jacqueline Poggi via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“US Capitol, Washington, DC” by Jacqueline Poggi via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

via The Boston Globe:

THE VOTERS WHO put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.

But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.

Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line.

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