‘Cowboy Indian Alliance’ Steps Forward in Earth’s Time of Need

PIC: Reject and Protect (C)

PIC: Reject and Protect (C)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

In the week ahead, a coalition of tribal communities, ranchers, farmers and allies calling itself the ‘Cowboy Indian Alliance‘ plans to lead a series of protests, ceremonies, and direct actions in the heart of Washington, DC in order to drive home their united opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the destructive expansion of tar sands mining and fossil fuel dependence it represents.

Under the banner ‘Reject and Project,’ the five-day long event will kick off on this year’s Earth Day—Tuesday, April 23—and culminate on Saturday with a ceremony and procession expected to draw thousands.

“We are writing a new history by standing on common ground by preventing the black snake of Keystone XL from risking our land and water,” said Faith Spotted Eagle of the Yankton Sioux tribe and a spokesperson for the Cowboy Indian Alliance (C.I.A.).

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Pat Robertson: Jesus Said An Asteroid Could Destroy Earth Next Week

Pat Robertson uses “scientific explanations” for Biblical prophecies when they suit him. I hope that wherever they film the 700 Club is the pitcher’s mitt when Jesus winds up to throw that big cosmic fastball.

Via RightWingWatch:

In November, scientists predict that a massive asteroid will fly near the earth in one of the planet’s closest encounters with an asteroid since 1976. While most people are focusing on how radar and observers can watch the asteroid pass-by, Pat Robertson is using the occasion to propagate his End Times prophesy.… Read the rest

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Steven Hawking And Colleagues: We’re Not Preparing Enough For Artifical Intelligence

PIC: Giasela Giardino (CC)

PIC: Giasela Giardino (CC)

“If a superior alien civilization sent us a text message saying, ‘We’ll arrive in a few decades,’ would we just reply, ‘OK, call us when you get here — we’ll leave the lights on’? Probably not — but this is more or less what is happening with AI, warns Stephen Hawking and several other scientists in this article at the Huffington Post. As a quick aside, did anyone see Transcendence? Is it as crappy as I hear?

Via Huffington Post:

Artificial intelligence (AI) research is now progressing rapidly. Recent landmarks such as self-driving cars, a computer winning at Jeopardy!, and the digital personal assistants Siri, Google Now and Cortana are merely symptoms of an IT arms race fueled by unprecedented investments and building on an increasingly mature theoretical foundation. Such achievements will probably pale against what the coming decades will bring.

The potential benefits are huge; everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence; we cannot predict what we might achieve when this intelligence is magnified by the tools AI may provide, but the eradication of war, disease, and poverty would be high on anyone’s list.

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You’re More Likely To Eat High-Calorie Foods If You Believe Obesity Is A Disease

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

In 2013, the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease. The decision had unintended consequences, among them that believing that it is a disease makes you more likely to eat high calorie food. The belief does help people to have a more positive body image, though.

Via PsyPost:

…new psychology research suggests the “obesity is a disease” message actually undermines important weight-loss efforts.

“The term disease suggests that bodies, physiology, and genes are malfunctioning. By invoking physiological explanations for obesity, the disease label encourages the perception that weight is unchangeable,” Crystal L. Hoyt of the University of Richmond and her colleagues wrote in their study, which was published in the April issue of Psychological Science.

In three separate studies with more than 700 participants, the researchers found that obese participants who read a New York Times article about the AMA declaring obesity to be a disease were subsequently less likely to be concerned about their weight and more likely to choose to eat higher-calorie foods.

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Free Range Play: Do Fire, Blood, and Snakes Make For a Stronger, Healthier Child?

PIC: USFWS (PD)

PIC: USFWS (PD)

“Discarded junk? Fire? Water? Tetanus! Skin grafts! Drowning!” That’s probably how many American parents would respond to the idea of their child visiting “The Land,” a Welsh “Adventure Playground” where a kid can really be a kid. Sorry, Chuck E. Cheese. As an aside, what kind of restaurant has a rat as a mascot? It’s like something from The Simpsons. (Incidentally, if you read the news, your kid is probably safer running around at The Land than the Chuck E. Cheese. I’m not sure when that place turned into Fight Club, but…)

Anyway, I’m not a parent, but I was certainly a kid at one time, and the activities children pursue at The Land sounds identical to the same things we used to do in the woods near my childhood home. The only difference being that these children have adults nearby, whereas we set fires, beat each other up with stick “swords” and dirt clods playing “ninja”,  built forts, caught snakes and turtles, and splashed around in ditches and small ponds without an adult in sight.… Read the rest

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Too Big to Jail? Why Kidnapping, Torture, Assassination, and Perjury Are No Longer Crimes in Washington

President Obama with, third from left, Gen. James E. Cartwright.

President Obama with, third from left, Gen. James E. Cartwright.

The ever-insightful Tom Engelhardt highlights the teflon status of White House cronies at TomDispatch.com:

How the mighty have fallen.  Once known as “Obama’s favorite general,” James Cartwright will soon don a prison uniform and, thanks to a plea deal, spend 13 months behind bars.  Involved in setting up the earliest military cyberforce inside U.S. Strategic Command, which he led from 2004 to 2007, Cartwright also played a role in launching the first cyberwar in history — the release of the Stuxnet virus against Iran’s nuclear program.  A Justice Department investigation found that, in 2012, he leaked information on the development of that virus to David Sanger of the New York Times. The result: a front-page piece revealing its existence, and so the American cyber-campaign against Iran, to the American public.  It was considered a serious breach of national security.  On Thursday, the retired four-star general stood in front of a U.S.

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He’s Lost Control Again

Spoek Mathambo is an incredibly talented musician from Soweto South Africa and in 2010 he produced a “darkwave township house” cover of Joy Division’s She’s Lost Control Again. It is a blistering track of Afro-Gothic intensity and its accompanying video is just as hauntingly fierce: “shot in Langa, Cape Town and directed by respected photographer, Pieter Hugo, who used a cast made up mainly of kids from the local dance troupe, Happy Feet.”

For more Spoek sexcellence, make sure to check out Gwababa (Don’t Be Scared) and War on Words. Also, if you love the killer beat which he has going in Control, then make sure to check out the full version of the song here!… Read the rest

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