You Are Not Nearly Scared Enough About Ebola

2014 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak situation map.jpg

2014 West Africa Ebola virus outbreak situation map by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) via Wikimedia Commons.

“Experimental drugs and airport screenings will do nothing to stop this plague. If Ebola hits Lagos, we’re in real trouble,” says Laurie Garrett at Foreign Policy:

Attention, World: You just don’t get it.

You think there are magic bullets in some rich country’s freezers that will instantly stop the relentless spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa? You think airport security guards in Los Angeles can look a traveler in the eyes and see infection, blocking that jet passenger’s entry into La-la-land? You believe novelist Dan Brown’s utterly absurd description of a World Health Organization that has a private C5-A military transport jet and disease SWAT team that can swoop into outbreaks, saving the world from contagion?

Wake up, fools. What’s going on in West Africa now isn’t Brown’s silly Inferno scenario — it’s Steven Soderbergh’s movie Contagion, though without a modicum of its high-tech capacity.

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Woman Has Cosmetic Surgery on Hands for Engagement Ring Selfies

Screenshot from "Women undergoing pricey cosmetic procedure to get perfect engagement ring selfie" by Andrew Ramos via Youtube

Screenshot from “Women undergoing pricey cosmetic procedure to get perfect engagement ring selfie” by Andrew Ramos via Youtube

via CNet:

However, 33-year-old Christa Hendershot apparently has a very specific reason for beautifying her hands. She wants her engagement selfies to be the perfect hand-a-shots.

As ABC News reported Thursday, Hendershot believed that her hands were excessively veiny and red. So, she turned to Dr. Ariel Ostad in New York and asked him to offer some surgical toning.

So great, it seems, is the need to have socially networked photographs that are the apogee of perfection that people are prepared to spend significant sums to achieve it.


Ostad told ABC News: “I’ve noticed over the last six months (that) patients actually bring a selfie in the examining room. They show me what bothers them and what they would like to fix.”

One stray thought that might bother some is that if you don’t like your hands, you don’t need to take a thousand selfies of them wearing the ring.

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The End of UFOs?

403px-PurportedUFO2Is the end of ufology upon us? Why has the fascination with UFOs seemingly dwindled?

via New York Magazine:

As the news of the day pulsed along the once seemingly unthinkable pathways of the information industry — boots on the ground in Gaza, slide show updates on Mila Kunis’s pregnancy — adherents of an earlier future gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The occasion was the annual conference of the Mutual Unidentified Flying Objects Network, which, in accordance with this year’s theme, “UFOs and the Media,” was focused not on the ephemera of the news cycle but rather on the eternalities of what several in attendance called “the biggest single story in  history,” i.e., the existence of extraterrestrial life on Earth and the cover-up of that presence by the United States government, the corporate structure, and their oblivious and/or sold-out lackeys in the mainstream press.

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An Ethical Framework for the Use of Enhancement Drugs

By Ondřej Karlík via Wikimedia Commons

By Ondřej Karlík via Wikimedia Commons.

This post originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions on August 12, 2014 by John Danaher.

Debate about the merits of enhancement tends to be pretty binary. There are some — generally called bioconservatives — who are opposed to it; and others — transhumanists, libertarians and the like — who embrace it wholeheartedly. Is there any hope for an intermediate approach? One that doesn’t fall into the extremes of reactionary reject or uncritical endorsement?

Probably. Indeed, a careful reading of many pro- and anti-enhancement writers suggests that they are not, always and everywhere, in favour or against the use of enhancement. But to sustain the intermediate approach, we need some framework for deciding when enhancement is permissible and when it is not. In their paper, “Who Should Enhance? Conceptual and Normative Dimensions of Cognitive Enhancement”, Filippo Santoni di Sio, Philip Robichaud and Nicole Vincent try to provide one such framework.Read the rest

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When Selfies Turn Deadly

Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe, Portugal.

Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe, Portugal.

I just heard about the Polish couple who fell to their deaths while trying to snap a selfie on a cliff in Portugal. As if that isn’t horrifying enough, their young children witnessed the event.

via Mashable:

A couple has died after falling from cliffs in Portugal while taking pictures of themselves on Sunday, according to investigators.

The man and woman reportedly went past a barrier set up to keep people off the cliff edge at Cabo de Roca, a popular coasta tourist destination near Lisbon. They slipped while trying to take a selfie, Captain Dario Pinto Moreira told Portuguese news station CMTV. The couple’s children, aged 5 and 6, were with them and are now in the custody of Polish diplomats.

This is, sadly, not the first time a selfie has turned deadly. Last week a man in Mexico was taking a selfie when he accidentally shot himself in the head.

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Abraxas: International Art Journal for Esoteric Studies

Abraxas is a high-quality printed journal of esoteric art and culture, published twice a year, specializing in esoteric art and culture. Abraxas is a meeting point among academics, practitioners and curious readers. Abraxas publishes pieces that are clearly presented yet rigorous in quality, so that written scholarship can reach across specialisms and enchant and engage the non-specialist. The art we present is an eclectic mix of contemporary and ancient esoteric visuals presented in the form of interviews, features and critical essays. Abraxas aims to share and publicise the most up-to-date developments in magic and esotericism on all fronts, in research, practice and art. More information on the study of Western Esotericism by Prof. Wouter Hanegraff: http://www.esoteric.msu.edu/Hanegraaff.html

“Contributions for Abraxas #5 include an interview by Pam Grossman with Greek artist, Panos Tsagaris; an analysis of Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas by Silvia Urbini, a visual interpretation of the Dionysian mysteries by Arrington de Dionyso; a substantial essay from Shasha Chaitow on the grandfather of esoteric art, Joséphin Péladan; an introduction to the art of Michael Bertiaux by Ariock Van de Voorde; reminiscences by Caroline Wise of her friend Olivia Robertson (1917-2013), and much more.”


An outline of two of the articles you’ll find in issue no.5:

A Brief History of the Use of Spirits in European Occultism
Stephanie Spoto images © Getty Research Centre (Journal double page spread)

Description: This article challenges contemporary ideas about occultism which are perpetuated by the media and which place occult philosophy and ritual as separate from Christianity or else entirely opposed to it.… Read the rest

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Gamer disclaimer: virtual worlds can be as fulfilling as real life

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Michael Kasumovic

Step aside Olympians – the new sporting pursuit of choice may soon be professional gaming. Electronic sports (or esports) are now mainstream, drawing more than a million viewers in large tournaments and offering prizes up to US$5 million.

Unsurprisingly, pro-gamers practise for around 10 hours a day, but non-professionals can also spend hours in front of a screen, forsaking real life. Are they missing out? Can a virtual life be equally or more fulfilling than a real one? And should gamers power down and feel the grass beneath their feet?

Some research from the past weeks sheds interesting light on gaming’s effects on life, work and school – and it’s not all bad.

More than 1 billion gamers served

A restaurant without returning customers won’t last long, and video games and their developers are no different.… Read the rest

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Lieutenant Gorman vs. the UFO

A sculpture of a UFO, permanently exhibited in Bremerhaven, Germany. Via Wikimedia Commons

A sculpture of a UFO, permanently exhibited in Bremerhaven, Germany. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Just a little UFO story to brighten your Friday evening (though most of you probably already know this one).

via Mysterious Universe (click through to read the entire piece):

Lieutenant George F. Gorman, a veteran pilot in the North Dakota Air National Guard, has gone down in history as the subject of an amazing close encounter with a still-unidentified flying object. Taking place on the night of October 1st, 1948, Lieutenant Gorman’s encounter was one of the earliest reported pilot testimonies regarding a UFO, and remains a classic case to this day.

Lt. Gorman was a member of the North Dakota Air National Guard and upon returning to Hector airport in Fargo from a cross-country flight with his squadron, he decided to keep his F-51 Mustang in the air to log some night-flight hours. So while the rest of the squadron landed, Gorman stayed aloft, circling the town of Fargo.

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