What’s the worst that could happen?


In the innocent era, when single megaton nukes were considered dangerous, the U.S. government had plans in place to recover from a devastating nuclear attack that would make life in the world of The Walking Dead look utopian. “Federal Emergency Plan D-Minus,” developed in the 1950s, was the U.S. government’s nuclear “911” protocol; step-by-step instructions that would be taken following the detonation of “several hundred” nuclear warheads in the United States. Plan D-Minus envisioned a D-Day “plus one” in which a third of the U.S. population had been killed, gangs and militias roamed the countryside, agriculture had reverted to subsistence levels, industrial production had collapsed, and even the government’s own bunkers and emergency facilities had been wiped out.

Immediately following an attack under D-Minus conditions, the National Security Council’s Office of Emergency Planning would initiate and then decentralize its primary post-attack programs, including anti-hoarding and resource conservation measures, to those state and local governments that remained functioning.

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Negativland: U2, FU, and the TPP

The musical group Negativland has been at the center of copyright conversations for the last 25 years. A series of lawsuits that began with U2’s record label, Island Records, sent them “on something of a crusade to bring this issue out for public debate.” These guys literally wrote the book on “Fair Use” and coined the term “culture jamming,” so there’s probably no one better to ask about the intellectual property aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a slew of looming threats to online freedom, which is what a new interview with Negativland’s Mark Hosler does.

In the first part of the interview, Hosler states, “The powers that be, the so-called 1%, etc, the TPP is them kinda writing the rules, it’s like their wet dream fantasy of how they’d like the world to run. It all works to their advantage and to the disadvantage of absolutely everyone else.… Read the rest

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Once You Go Perfect Black, You’ll Never Go Back

Over the past few years, 4K (ultra HD, 3840 x 2160 pixels) TVs have become more and more common in the average home. As the new technology becomes more and more affordable, it too becomes widespread. People have thus become more used to higher quality, clear sound, and a better overall viewing experience. The leap forward in TV technology makes older technology (such as CRT television) seem archaic. But it is through this archaic technology that we have seen many of the films and movies that we love. But what would the classic Tim Burton Batman films, or the original Star Wars trilogy look like in 4K? What if you’ve been seeing both of these series in sub-par quality all your life?

How would one describe the visuals in both Batman and Star Wars? In a word, dark. But whether it is Batman’s flowing black cape, or X-Wings flying toward the Death Star from their base on Yavin IV, the color black is extremely essential to both films.… Read the rest

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Extinction is key to terrestrial vertebrate diversity, new research reveals

Martin Heigan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Martin Heigan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

University of Lincoln via ScienceDaily:

Periods of high extinction on Earth, rather than evolutionary adaptations, may have been a key driver in the diversification of amniotes (today’s dominant land vertebrates, including reptiles, birds, and mammals), according to new research published in Scientific Reports.

The new study reveals that mass extinctions among some groups of amniotes coincide with numerous and large diversifications in other closely related groups.

Conducted by scientists from the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany, and the University of Lincoln, UK, the research challenges commonly held views that support a relationship between the evolution of “key innovations” in a group and the rapid increase in its number of species. The researchers behind the new study suggest the evidence for such a relationship has only ever been circumstantial.

The new study examined the issue of adaptive radiations among early amniotes, from 315 to 200 million years ago.

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Donald Trump Just Going to Keep Saying He Saw New Jersey Muslims Celebrating 9/11

Donald Trump has absolutely no shame (in case you hadn’t realized that long ago). New York Magazine summarizes his fabricated 9/11 story:

Donald Trump’s claim that “thousands” of New Jersey Muslims went out and celebrated the September 11th attacks has been thoroughly debunked, but that’s not going to stop him from insisting that it happened.

Photo: Gage Skidmore (CC)

Photo: Gage Skidmore (CC)


On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd gave Trump yet another opportunity to admit that he did not, in fact, see footage of people “on the other side of New Jersey where you have large Arab populations … cheering as the [World Trade Center] came down.” “This didn’t happen in New Jersey,” said Todd at one point. “You’re running for president of the United States. Your words matter. Truthfulness matters. Fact-based stuff matters.”

But the Republican front-runner stuck to his guns: “I saw it on television. So did many other people.

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Yesterday’s Parties: How the LSE Funded the Stones & Tom Driberg Courted Mick Jagger

Marianne Faithfull met Mick Jagger sometime at the start of her music career in 1964-5, and he wrote her first hit, “As Tears Goes By” (though they didn’t become a couple until 1966). Jagger was just fresh out of the (Fabian) London School of Economics, having got a grant to study there in late 1961 and staying on through to 1963. This two-year period was the same period in which the Stones grew into a known act, soon after to become “the vanguard of British rock and roll.” Before this, Jagger had been working in a psychiatric institution called Bexley Hospital, in the summer of 1961, where, by his own account, he learned invaluable lessons about human psychology, as well as losing his virginity to a nurse!

According to one story, Jagger ran into old schoolmate Keith Richards “coincidentally” on a train platform in 1961, on his way to LSE, and the rest is history.… Read the rest

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France Puts 24 Environmental Activists Under House Arrest Because They Might Protest at Climate Summit


Christian Hartmann writes, via Sputnik International:

The two-week COP21 open its doors only Monday but French law enforcement has already placed twenty-four environmental activists under house arrest in line with the country’s emergency laws which were extended for three more months after the Paris atrocities.

After Hollande claimed a state of emergency in France, police don’t need a judicial decision to put suspects under arrest, search homes and conduct raids at night.

But unsuspecting climate activists, who actively demonstrate every time France hosts environmental summits, were surprised to find themselves suspect after police officers came to arrest them. On Thursday, police handed Amelie and five her flat mates an order that restricts their liberty of movement in western city of  Rennes until 12 of December, the same day the Paris summit will close its doors.

“They entered the apartment with shotguns and assault rifles. It was quite violent. They pinned us to the ground,” said Amélie, a young barmaid who did not wish to give her full name.

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Gravy, With a Side of Cancer


Thanksgiving week is usually slow. Reeeeel s l   o   w   .   .     .

Thanksgiving proper, Citizen’s Cab lowers the gate (cab rental) for us drivers down from $91 to $61, as an act of mercy. A cabbie might gamble on coming into work early on Thanksgiving to drive a fare or two to the airport; people trying to make it somewhere around the country before turkey and the big game. Or that cabbie might just be spinning his or her wheels empty until well after noon, after the locals have long walked home from their neighborhood coffee joints and suddenly found themselves running late to whatever friend’s house with their thrown-together sweet potato casserole with marshmallows pot luck.

This year I chose to sleep in… until Black Friday.

But it will definitely be slow this morning, too, until the day wakes up for shopping and chemo.


I’ve just rolled-in to Citizen’s Cab.… Read the rest

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Israel To Coordinate With Google, YouTube, To Censor Palestinian Videos Of Conflict

redsoul300 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

More corruption. More censorship.

Saed Bannoura via AlterNet:

Israeli daily Maariv said Hotovely will be working with Google and YouTube officials in a joint mechanism that will be in charge of “monitoring and preventing” any publication of materials deemed by Tel Aviv to be “inflammatory.”

Hotovely announced in a Hebrew-only press release that she met with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, and Google’s Director of Public Policy, Jennifer Oztzistzki, at Google’s Silicon Valley Offices.

Hotovely said that she received a comprehensive review mechanism for companies to monitor the films that allegedly incite violence, claiming that the supposed ‘incitement videos’ drive young children to go out and stab: “The attacks daily in Israel are the result of youths and children incited by the education system and the social networks, this is a daily war of incitement.”

She said that Google agreed to strengthen the bilateral relations with Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and build a mechanism of “collaborative work” that would make both parties partners in monitoring the published materials and censoring them.

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