Study: Americans are as likely to believe in Bigfoot as in the big bang theory

By JD Hancock (cc by 2.0)

By JD Hancock (cc by 2.0)

via The Washington Post:

Human beings are, in general, a superstitious lot. Our tendency to see patterns where they don’t exist, and to falsely apply cause to effect, may have helped keep us alive back when we were little more than a band of frightened critters scurrying about the savanna. Those tendencies linger to the present day, reflected in our stubborn belief in completely irrational things: Rabbit’s feet. Horoscopes. A return to the gold standard.

The Chapman University Survey on American Fears, a comprehensive study of the fears, phobias and irrational beliefs of the American people, was just released this week and contains an interesting section on belief in the paranormal. The results are drawn from a nationally-representative sample of 2,500 American adults.

It finds that belief in certain paranormal phenomenon – like influencing the world with physical thought, and foretelling the future with dreams – are fairly widespread.

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Our Pay to Play System, Embodied by Beanie Babies

By Dominique Godbout (CC by 2.0)

By Dominique Godbout (CC by 2.0)

Disinfo’s newest film, Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes will be available this Saturday (11/1) on our site. Join us for Pay 2 Play’s worldwide digital release. You’ll be able to stream the film for $4 or download for $10.

There was a political scandal I heard about that changed the way I looked at corruption and helped me understand the larger mechanisms at work in government and society. It rocked the swing state of Ohio right after a disputed election, toppled the state’s one-party rule and ended the Taft legacy that included a President, a U.S. Senator, a Supreme Court Justice. And it started with Beanie Babies.

In Toledo, Ohio, Tom Noe was a small-time rare coin dealer who sought to raise his business prospects by getting involved in politics. He would later testify under oath that giving money to politicians “kept my business alive.” Noe elevated his status as a political player by bundling contributors together in North East Ohio in order to get more attention from statewide candidates.

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Humans, Chimps and Why We Need Personhood for All

Not Tommy the Chimp. By Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr (CC by-nd 2.0)

Not Tommy the Chimp.
By Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr (CC by-nd 2.0)

via Time:

We accord rights to babies, the profoundly disabled and elderly people with dementia. Is Tommy the ape that different?

Advocates of animal rights are eagerly awaiting the results of a case brought before a New York state appellate court in Albany earlier this month that will decide if a chimpanzee named Tommy is a person. The judge’s decision may be handed down at any time between late October and December. If, in the eyes of the law, 26-year-old ape Tommy is deemed a person, he will be released from the small cage where he is kept in isolation by his owner near Gloversville, New York, and sent to an ape sanctuary in Florida.

Tommy would then become the world’s first non-human animal to be legally granted personhood.

The idea behind the court case, argued on October 8th by lawyer Steven Wise of the Nonhuman Rights Project, rests upon Tommy’s right to determine what happens to his own life.

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Genetically Modified Organisms Risk Global Ruin, Says Black Swan Author

By Rebecca W via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

By Rebecca W via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

Written by The Physics arXiv Blog via Medium:

It is 20 years since the FDA approved the Flavr Savr tomato for human consumption, the first genetically engineered food to gain this status. Since then, genetically modified food has become a significant part of the human diet in many parts of the world, particularly in the US. In 2013 roughly 85 per cent of corn and 90 per cent of soybeans produced in the US were genetically modified.

Given the ubiquity of this kind of foodstuff, you could be forgiven for thinking that the scientific debate over its safety has been largely settled. It is certainly true that a large number of scientists seem to take that view. In 2012, for example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science declared that genetically modified crops pose no greater risk than the same foods made from crops modified by conventional plant breeding techniques.

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Ed Snowden Taught Me To Smuggle Secrets Past Incredible Danger. Now I Teach You

Edward Snowden-2.jpg

Edward Snowden by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films (CC)

Micah Lee was staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and chief technology officer of the Freedom of the Press Foundation when he was first contacted by Edward Snowden. He tells us what he learned about smuggling secrets at The Intercept:

Late on the evening of January 11, 2013, someone sent me an interesting email. It was encrypted, and sent from the sort of anonymous email service that smart people use when they want to hide their identity. Sitting at the kitchen table in the small cottage where I lived in Berkeley with my wife and two cats, I decrypted it.

The anonymous emailer wanted to know if I could help him communicate securely with Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who had repeatedly cast a critical eye on American foreign policy.

From: anon108@■■■■■■■■■
To: Micah Lee
Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2013

Micah,

I’m a friend. I need to get information securely to Laura Poitras and her alone, but I can’t find an email/gpg key for her.

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Coincidence Control Network: Episode 75

Sorry for the delay this week, kids. I (the all seeing Ken), have been stricken with evil germs. What are you going to do, huh? This week: I actually don't know...it's all in American...But I think they talk about Black Eyed kids again...or was it the Black Eyed Peas?, Something about Pigeons being terrorists?, How Twin Peaks is an all American cherry pie of a show?, Going to war again?...I dunno you listen. PersonnelJoe Nolan, and Frater Isla
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“Pay 2 Play” Filmmaker Wins #MAYDAYin30 Video Contest

John Wellington Ennis, the filmmaker of Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes (available VOD 11/1), placed first in the “General Issue” category of Mayday’s “Money in Politics Video Contest.” Check it out here.

From the MAYDAY.US site:

How the contest works

Inspired by MoveOn’s “Bush in 30 seconds” video ad contest from a decade ago, we’re asking citizens to create 30-second video ads that could be aired on national TV. Our all-star panel of judges – George Takei, Jason Alexander, Shepard Fairey, Zephyr Teachout, Marianne Williamson, Baratunde Thurston, Anna Galland and Cenk Uygur – will review the top entries and select the winners. 

We are excited to work on this contest in partnership with our friends at MoveOn.org, and with support from partners such as PCCC and Rootstrikers.

You can see the other contestant videos here.

 

ALSO: Don’t miss the worldwide digital release of Pay 2 Play on November 1st on our site!

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Pope Francis Loves Exorcists

ExorcistExorcists are becoming more and more important in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and now Pope Francis is recognizing them reports Breitbart:

According to Pope Francis, priests devoted to the ministry of exorcism “manifest the Church’s love and acceptance of those who suffer because of the devil’s works.”

Francis wrote these words in a message addressed to Father Francesco Bamonte, the president of the International Association of Exorcists, which is holding a convention in Rome this week. Vatican Radio has reported that more than 300 exorcists from around the world have participated.

This was the first conference to be held by the International Association of Exorcists since the Vatican formally approved its statutes this past June 13.

Father Bamonte said that the approval of the organization was “cause for joy not only for the association, but for the whole Church” and said that “God calls some priests to this important ministry of exorcism and deliverance” to be able to “accompany the persons with humility, faith and charity.”

Dr.

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Medical pot dilemma: Where to get the first seeds?

By Hajime NAKANO via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Hajime NAKANO via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via El Paso Inc:

As more states legalize medical marijuana, there’s one stage in the process nobody wants to talk about: the part where people still have to break the law.

After growers obtain licenses, plan for security and build facilities, they then must obtain their first seeds or cuttings — while regulators turn a blind eye.

“It has to be hush-hush,” said Bradley Vallerius, an attorney focused on the emerging industry in Illinois. “I’ve seen the moment where the client realizes this is a problem” — and wonders how they’re supposed to get started.

The situation is known as the “immaculate conception” or the “first seed” problem. Those involved see it as an absurd consequence of the nation’s patchwork of laws, with 23 states allowing medical marijuana sales, Colorado and Washington state allowing recreational use and a federal prohibition in place.

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