I'd send her a copy of The Irrational Atheist, but I'm afraid that doing so is considered tantamount to forcing women into sex slavery these days.
Billboard-charted. Hugo-nominated. SFWA-purged.
Steven Salaita, who was set to begin teaching at the University of Illinois this fall, says he was simply speaking his mind when he tweeted out messages during Israel’s military conflict in Gaza earlier this year. But the school deemed the tweets offensive and pulled its offer of a tenured position in its American Indian studies program.Every single Christian at the University of Illinois should begin compiling a list of offensive anti-Christian statements by members of the university faculty and demand that all of the responsible professors be fired. After all, Christian students should not feel intimidated or unable to express their opinions in the classroom.
“We believe that our classrooms ought to be a place where opinions, regardless of their origin or their perspective, ought to be able to be offered freely and students not feel intimidated or unable to express their opinion and that’s what led us to the decision,” said University of Illinois President Robert Easter.
The man who scaled the White House fence and was able to run through the front doors made it farther into the building than was previously reported, CBS News has learned. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson is scheduled to answer questions about the incident when she appears at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Tuesday morning.If trained, armed Secret Service agents aren't able to deal with unarmed lunatics, what chance do they have against battle-hardened ISIS soldiers and elite Spetsnaz special forces?
The man, 42-year-old Omar J. Gonzalez, ran unobstructed for 70 yards across the front lawn of the White House before entering through the North Portico. On the way, he brushed by a Secret Service officer with a drawn gun, sources tell CBS News' Bill Plante.
Gonzalez then proceeded to run through the entrance hall to the cross hall of the White House, past the staircase that leads up to the first family's residence. He was confronted by a female Secret Service agent, who he overpowered, and made it all the way to the East Room, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told CBS News, citing whistleblowers.
Labels: Castalia House
A patient being treated at a Dallas hospital is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.Fabulous. One hopes this will work out better than the failure to quarantine those with AIDS did.
The person, whose identity was not released, left Liberia on September 19 and arrived in the United States on September 20, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC.
At that time, the person did not have symptoms. "But four or five days later," that person began to show symptoms, Frieden said. The person was hospitalized and isolated Sunday at a hospital in Texas.
Labels: health care
Asset-stripping sanctions aren't going to be very effective if the Russians simply compensate those whose assets are stripped by taking them from Western companies with Russian assets. This could have some interesting knock-on effects in the NBA.Russian courts could get the green light to seize foreign assets on Russian territory under a draft law intended as a response to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis. The draft, which was submitted to parliament on Wednesday by a pro-Kremlin deputy, would also allow state compensation for an individual whose property is seized in foreign jurisdictions.Italian authorities this week seized property worth about 30 million euros ($40 million) belonging to companies controlled by Arkady Rotenberg, an ally of President Vladimir Putin targeted by the U.S. and European Union sanctions.The draft law, published on a parliamentary database, would allow for compensation for Russian citizens who suffer because of an "unlawful court act" in a foreign jurisdiction and clear the way to foreign state assets in Russia being seized, even if they are subject to international immunity.
Recent research has demonstrated that deliberate practice, while undeniably important, is only one piece of the expertise puzzle—and not necessarily the biggest piece. In the first study to convincingly make this point, the cognitive psychologists Fernand Gobet and Guillermo Campitelli found that chess players differed greatly in the amount of deliberate practice they needed to reach a given skill level in chess. For example, the number of hours of deliberate practice to first reach “master” status (a very high level of skill) ranged from 728 hours to 16,120 hours. This means that one player needed 22 times more deliberate practice than another player to become a master.To put it bluntly, it's bullshit. You will NEVER rise to the top of any skill-related activity through nothing more than determination and practice. I have played far more than 10,000 hours of soccer in my life, and while I am an effective club veteran's team player, I still don't have one-tenth the soccer ability that some of the club juniors had by the age of 13.
A recent meta-analysis by Case Western Reserve University psychologist Brooke Macnamara and her colleagues (including the first author of this article for Slate) came to the same conclusion. We searched through more than 9,000 potentially relevant publications and ultimately identified 88 studies that collected measures of activities interpretable as deliberate practice and reported their relationships to corresponding measures of skill. (Analyzing a set of studies can reveal an average correlation between two variables that is statistically more precise than the result of any individual study.) With very few exceptions, deliberate practice correlated positively with skill. In other words, people who reported practicing a lot tended to perform better than those who reported practicing less. But the correlations were far from perfect: Deliberate practice left more of the variation in skill unexplained than it explained. For example, deliberate practice explained 26 percent of the variation for games such as chess, 21 percent for music, and 18 percent for sports. So, deliberate practice did not explain all, nearly all, or even most of the performance variation in these fields. In concrete terms, what this evidence means is that racking up a lot of deliberate practice is no guarantee that you’ll become an expert. Other factors matter.
Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to delever. Global debt-to-GDP is still growing, breaking new highs. Figure 1 shows the evolution of total debt (excluding the financial sector) for our global sample (advanced economies plus major emerging market economies). While there was a pause during 2008-09, the rise of the global debt-GDP ratio recommenced in 2010-2011. Data in the report also show that debt-type external financing (leverage) continues to dominate equity-type financing (stock market capitalisation).The chart they provide on global debt-to-GDP makes it perfectly clear how much worse the debt situation has gotten. There is actually 20 percent more global debt-to-GDP during this period of supposed "deleveraging" than there was when the crisis began.
A few days ago, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, tweeted the following statement: “Germans rally against anti-Semitism that flared in Europe in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza war. Merkel joins.” Roth provided a link to a New York Times article about the rally, which took place in Berlin.Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza? It's passing strange, then, that European anti-semitism should randomly happen to have flared up at the very moment that Israel launched its Gaza offensive. And isn't it astonishing to be informed that that absolutely no prejudices are the result of rational responses?
Roth’s framing of this issue is very odd and obtuse. Anti-Semitism in Europe did not flare “in response to Israel’s conduct in Gaza,” or anywhere else. Anti-Semitic violence and invective are not responses to events in the Middle East, just as anti-Semitism does not erupt “in response” to the policies of banks owned by Jews, or in response to editorial positions taken by The New York Times. This is for the simple reason that Jews do not cause anti-Semitism.
It is a universal and immutable rule that the targets of prejudice are not the cause of prejudice. Just as Jews (or Jewish organizations, or the Jewish state) do not cause anti-Semitism to flare, or intensify, or even to exist, neither do black people cause racism, nor gay people homophobia, nor Muslims Islamophobia. Like all prejudices, anti-Semitism is not a rational response to observable events; it is a manifestation of irrational hatred. Its proponents justify their anti-Semitism by pointing to the (putatively offensive or repulsive) behavior of their targets, but this does not mean that major figures in the world of human-rights advocacy should accept these pathetic excuses as legitimate.
Labels: Castalia House
Fierce fighting has been reported on the outskirts of Baghdad where ISIS militants are attempting to seize control of the Iraqi capital - despite ongoing Western airstrikes against the terror group.Once ISIS takes Baghdad, I think it will be time to drop the "so-called" from the description of the caliphate. I'm far from only one who expected a new caliphate to arise in the Middle East, but I am a little astonished at the speed with which it has risen and filled the vaccuum left by the ill-considered American conquest of Ba'athist Iraq. Consider William Lind's predictions back in 2004:
The fighting is taking place just one mile to the west of the city, with government forces desperately trying to hold off the militants, who allegedly killed up to 1,000 soldiers during clashes yesterday.
ISIS have held a number of towns and villages close to the Iraqi capital since earlier in the year, when government troops melted away following a lightning advance in the west of the country - enabling the terrorist group to seize further swaths of territory for their so-called caliphate.
An article in the Friday, March 29 Washington Post pointed to the long-expected opening of Phase III of America's war with Iraq. Phase I was the jousting contest, the formal "war" between America's and Iraq's armies that ended with the fall of Baghdad. Phase II was the War of National Liberation waged by the Baath Party and fought guerilla-style. Phase III, which is likely to prove the decisive phase, is true Fourth Generation war, war waged by a wide variety of non-state Iraqi and other Islamic forces for objectives and motives that reach far beyond politics.And with the fall of Baghdad, Phase III of America's war with Iraq will be complete and mark America's defeat by the very 4th Generation elements of whom Lind warned ten years ago.
The Post article, "Iraq Attacks Blamed on Islamic Extremists," contains the following revealing paragraph:
In the intelligence operations room at the 1st Armored Division's headquarters (in Baghdad), wall-mounted charts identifying and linking insurgents depict the changing battlefield. Last fall the organizational chart of Baathist fighters and leaders stretched for 10 feet, while charts listing known Islamic radicals took up a few pieces of paper. Now, the chart of Iraqi religious extremists dominates the room, while the poster depicting Baathist activity has shrunk to half of its previous size.
The article goes on to quote a U.S. intelligence officer as adding, "There is no single organization that's behind all this. It's far more decentralized than that."
Welcome to Phase III. The remaining Ba'athists will of course continue their War of National Liberation, and Fourth Generation elements have been active from the outset. But the situation map in the 1st Armored Division's headquarters reveals the "tipping point": Fourth Generation war is now the dominant form of war against the Americans in Iraq.
Black holes have long captured the public imagination and been the subject of popular culture, from Star Trek to Hollywood. They are the ultimate unknown – the blackest and most dense objects in the universe that do not even let light escape. And as if they weren't bizarre enough to begin with, now add this to the mix: they don't exist.Well, this is a little embarrassing now, isn't it? How reliable can we consider the science that was used to show that nonexistent entitities emit radiation? I shall be very interested to see what Stickwick makes of this. And if singularities never form, what are the philosophical implications of this for the technocult of the Singularity and the rise of posthumanity?
By merging two seemingly conflicting theories, Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physics professor at UNC-Chapel Hill in the College of Arts and Sciences, has proven, mathematically, that black holes can never come into being in the first place. The work not only forces scientists to reimagine the fabric of space-time, but also rethink the origins of the universe.
"I'm still not over the shock," said Mersini-Houghton. "We've been studying this problem for a more than 50 years and this solution gives us a lot to think about."
For decades, black holes were thought to form when a massive star collapses under its own gravity to a single point in space – imagine the Earth being squished into a ball the size of a peanut – called a singularity. So the story went, an invisible membrane known as the event horizon surrounds the singularity and crossing this horizon means that you could never cross back. It's the point where a black hole's gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape it.
The reason black holes are so bizarre is that it pits two fundamental theories of the universe against each other. Einstein's theory of gravity predicts the formation of black holes but a fundamental law of quantum theory states that no information from the universe can ever disappear. Efforts to combine these two theories lead to mathematical nonsense, and became known as the information loss paradox.
In 1974, Stephen Hawking used quantum mechanics to show that black holes emit radiation. Since then, scientists have detected fingerprints in the cosmos that are consistent with this radiation, identifying an ever-increasing list of the universe's black holes.
But now Mersini-Houghton describes an entirely new scenario. She and Hawking both agree that as a star collapses under its own gravity, it produces Hawking radiation. However, in her new work, Mersini-Houghton shows that by giving off this radiation, the star also sheds mass. So much so that as it shrinks it no longer has the density to become a black hole.
Before a black hole can form, the dying star swells one last time and then explodes. A singularity never forms and neither does an event horizon. The take home message of her work is clear: there is no such thing as a black hole.
Labels: Rules of Writing
Kulane, a 32-year-old graduate of St. John’s University, is one of two Somali council candidates this year, marking the first time that Somali-American citizens have filed for city election here. A third is running for school board. By all accounts, it’s a significant step in this central Minnesota town of about 65,000, which has had a history of cultural tension with the immigrant group.A significant step to be sure. But not for the better. I wonder how it is that people from a notoriously failed state are suddenly deemed worthy of political leadership in the United States due to nothing more than the miracle of geographic translocation. And keep in mind that for the most part, alien refugees are the losers of the wars in their homelands; the USA is actually the recipient of the least capable parties. They were outsmarted by barbarian warlords running a Third World failed state, they've done nothing but live off welfare ever since, and now they're going to run things in the West?
“It’s a sign of the times,” said Stephen Philion, professor of sociology at St. Cloud State University and chair of the nonprofit Greater Minnesota Worker Center. “They’ve organized the way that other [immigrant] groups previously have organized. Now they’re looking for a seat at the table … They’re a group that should no longer be taken as outsiders. They are St. Cloud.”
Philion said the racial hostility they faced may have had unintended consequences of giving the Somali community “a greater sense of commitment to fighting for political power.”
Kulane, who has lived in the city’s Ward 1 since 2006, is careful not to campaign on issues of diversity.... The racial strife dates to as early as 2002, a few years after Somalis began moving to the area in greater numbers.
Today, for example, it seems obvious that Freudianism was a cult, but it was treated with immense respect in post-WWII America. Vladimir Nabokov had the aristocratic self-assurance to scoff publicly and repeatedly at Freud, but how many other men of reputation dared?Indeed, how can one possibly look at either the global climate change cult or the "marriage equality" cult or the magic geography cult or the politically correct pinkshirts and conclude that people are any less disinclined to believe in bizarre and obvious nonsense than 100 or 200 years ago? To say nothing of Keynesianism, which is quite literally nothing more than Freudian concepts applied to economics.
For example, few called Stephen Jay Gould a cult leader, but the man who told his followers — “Say it five times before breakfast tomorrow; more important, understand it as the center of a network of implication: ‘Human equality is a contingent fact of history’” — can perhaps be understood as the type of soothsayer who tries to hijack the prestige of science for his own anti-scientific purposes in the tradition of Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, and L. Ron Hubbard.
The president of Spain's powerful northeastern region of Catalonia on Saturday formally called an independence referendum, the latest secession push in Europe and one of the most serious challenges to the Spanish state in recent years. Catalan leader Artur Mas signed the decree to call the referendum in a solemn ceremony in the regional government headquarters in Barcelona, flanked by most of the region's political leaders who support the vote....This is why it is impossible to take people who claim to support democracy seriously. Whether it is the proper definition of marriage or independence that is on the table, when push actually comes to shove, they usually find a way to invalidate the very Will of the People upon which their very legitimacy rests.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was flying back from a state visit to China when Mas made his declaration. He has repeatedly said Spain's constitution doesn't allow referendums on sovereignty that don't include all Spaniards, and experts say the Constitutional Court is almost certain to declare the vote illegal.
In the Bury Park area of Luton, Muslims have been accused of “ethnic cleansing” by harassing non-Muslims to the point that many of them move out of Muslim neighborhoods. In the West Midlands, two Christian preachers have been accused of “hate crimes” for handing out gospel leaflets in a predominantly Muslim area of Birmingham. In Leytonstone in east London, the Muslim extremist Abu Izzadeen heckled the former Home Secretary John Reid by saying: “How dare you come to a Muslim area.”If you think it will not happen in the USA, think again. There are already 7 million Muslims in America, more than the 6 million in German, the 4 million in France, or the 3 million in the UK.
In France, large swaths of Muslim neighborhoods are now considered “no-go” zones by French police. At last count, there are 751 Sensitive Urban Zones (Zones Urbaines Sensibles, ZUS), as they are euphemistically called. A complete list of the ZUS can be found on a French government website, complete with satellite maps and precise street demarcations. An estimated 5 million Muslims live in the ZUS, parts of France over which the French state has lost control.
Muslim immigrants are taking control of other parts of France too. In Paris and other French cities with high Muslim populations, such as Lyons, Marseilles and Toulouse, thousands of Muslims are closing off streets and sidewalks (and by extension, are closing down local businesses and trapping non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices) to accommodate overflowing crowds for Friday prayers. Some mosques have also begun broadcasting sermons and chants of “Allahu Akbar” via loudspeakers into the streets.
The weekly spectacles, which have been documented by dozens of videos posted on Youtube.com (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here), and which have been denounced as an “occupation without tanks or soldiers,” have provoked anger and disbelief. But despite many public complaints, local authorities have declined to intervene because they are afraid of sparking riots.
In the Belgian capital of Brussels (which is 20% Muslim), several immigrant neighborhoods have become “no-go” zones for police officers, who frequently are pelted with rocks by Muslim youth. In the Kuregem district of Brussels, which often resembles an urban war zone, police are forced to patrol the area with two police cars: one car to carry out the patrols and another car to prevent the first car from being attacked. In the Molenbeek district of Brussels, police have been ordered not to drink coffee or eat a sandwich in public during the Islamic month of Ramadan.
In Germany, Chief Police Commissioner Bernhard Witthaut, in an August 1 interview with the newspaper Der Westen, revealed that Muslim immigrants are imposing “no-go” zones in cities across Germany at an alarming rate.
The interviewer asked Witthaut: “Are there urban areas – for example in the Ruhr – districts and housing blocks that are “no-go areas,” meaning that they can no longer be secured by the police?” Witthaut replied: “Every police commissioner and interior minister will deny it. But of course we know where we can go with the police car and where, even initially, only with the personnel carrier. The reason is that our colleagues can no longer feel safe there in twos, and have to fear becoming the victim of a crime themselves. We know that these areas exist. Even worse: in these areas crimes no longer result in charges. They are left ‘to themselves.’ Only in the worst cases do we in the police learn anything about it. The power of the state is completely out of the picture.”
Though not as well known as Orson Scott Card, sci-fi author John C. Wright has been even more vocal about his distaste for homosexuality. After the SyFy Channel promised to be diverse in its portrayal of gay people, Wright took to LiveJournal with a shockingly homophobic post: “Why are you willing to tolerate sexual perversion but not racism? In a world with no standards, what makes a malfunction of love higher on your standard than a malfunction of hate? Is an irrational lust and longing to mimic the mating act with a sex with which one cannot mate, at its root, any more or less disconnected to reality than an irrational fear and hatred of a Negro?” He also compared being gay to bestiality, necrophilia, and the sexual abuse of children.As the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil League of Evil, I can only approve, of course. I am also amused by all the great writers of the past that were omitted; if "distaste for homosexuality" is sufficient to land one on the list of evil bigots, then the greater part of the contributors to the Western literary canon will necessarily need to be included as well.
That (ed: the public's glazed-eye look when you speak of financial reform) may very well change today, for today -- Friday, Sept. 26 --- the radio program "This American Life" will air a jaw-dropping story about Wall Street regulation, and the public will have no trouble at all understanding it.The US economy is entirely corrupt and is run solely for the benefit of the bankers. This has always been the case, but it should have been entirely obvious to everyone after Ben Bernanke "rescued" the housing market by giving money to the banks rather than to the homeowners.
The Fed encourages its employees to keep their heads down, to obey their managers and to appease the banks. That is, bank regulators failed to do their jobs properly not because they lacked the tools but because they were discouraged from using them. For instance, in one meeting a Goldman employee expressed the view that "once clients are wealthy enough certain consumer laws don't apply to them." After that meeting, Segarra turned to a fellow Fed regulator and said how surprised she was by that statement -- to which the regulator replied, "You didn't hear that."
Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says the alleged suspect, 30-year-old Alton Nolen had just been fired when he drove to the front of the business, hit a vehicle and walked inside. He walked into the front office area where he met 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and began attacking her with a knife.A convert too. It would appear that diversity is a virus one can catch. Now that we've got Islamic beheadings from London to Oklahoma, it may be time to rethink the rejection of America as a Christian nation. Human nature observably abhors a religious vaccuum.
Sgt. Lewis confirms the type of knife used in the attack is the same kind used at the plant. Lewis confirms that Hufford was stabbed several times and that Nolen “severed her head.”
At that point, Lewis claims Nolen met 43-year-old Traci Johnson and began attacking her with the same knife. Officials say at that point, Mark Vaughan, an Oklahoma County reserve deputy and a former CEO of the business, shot him as he was actively stabbing Johnson.
The FBI is now looking into Nolen’s background after his former co-workers said he tried to convert them to Islam after recently converting himself.
The number of legal and illegal immigrants living in the United States reached an all-time high, at 41.3 million people, in 2013, according to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies.Well, if repatriation is out, that leaves four possibilities:
The U.S. immigrant population has doubled since 1990, while the general population has risen just over 20 percent, and quadrupled since 1970, while the general population has risen just over 50 percent since then. The greatest increases over the last three years in the immigrant population over the last three years, between July 2010 and July 2013, came not from Latin America but from the Middle East, Asia, and the Caribbean.... Nearly one out of every six adults living in the U.S. in 2013 was an immigrant.
Auto loans to borrowers considered subprime, those with credit scores at or below 640, have spiked in the last five years. The jump has been driven in large part by the demand among investors for securities backed by the loans, which offer high returns at a time of low interest rates. Roughly 25 percent of all new auto loans made last year were subprime, and the volume of subprime auto loans reached more than $145 billion in the first three months of this year.Brave New World indeed. They're really squeezing every last drop of credit out of the economy.
But before they can drive off the lot, many subprime borrowers like Ms. Bolender must have their car outfitted with a so-called starter interrupt device, which allows lenders to remotely disable the ignition. Using the GPS technology on the devices, the lenders can also track the cars’ location and movements.
The devices, which have been installed in about two million vehicles, are helping feed the subprime boom by enabling more high-risk borrowers to get loans. But there is a big catch. By simply clicking a mouse or tapping a smartphone, lenders retain the ultimate control. Borrowers must stay current with their payments, or lose access to their vehicle.... Now used in about one-quarter of subprime auto loans nationwide, the devices are reshaping the dynamics of auto lending by making timely payments as vital to driving a car as gasoline.
Wesleyan University in Middletown plans to change a more-than-century-old tradition by ordering fraternities with on-campus houses to go coed. The school sent out a letter Monday to the university community saying: “We have decided that residential fraternities must become fully co-educational over the next three years. This change is something that Wesleyan and the fraternities have been contemplating for many years, and now the time has come.”The ways in which this lunatic policy is going to backfire should be spectacular. Do these people have any idea what fraternity-associated "little sisters" were generally known for? Ordering fraternities to accept female members is essentially mandating temple prostitution for college girls.
The move follows lawsuits and fraternity incidents involving alleged rapes that led hundreds of students to sign a petition calling on the fraternities to start admitting women. The goals are to reduce sexual assault and gender inequity.
The full extent of the Gardasil scandal needs to be assessed: everyone knew when this vaccine was released on the American market that it would prove to be worthless! Diane Harper, a major opinion leader in the United States, was one of the first to blow the whistle, pointing out the fraud and scam of it all.Gardasil appears to be literally worse than useless, because it has demonstrably harmed many girls and young women without any reduction of cervical cancer rates. Gardasil was introduced in 2006. As of 8 September 2013 there have been more than 57 million doses distributed in the United States. The result with the latest available data from the CDC:
Gardasil is useless and costs a fortune! In addition, decision-makers at all levels are aware of it!
Cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, paralysis of the lower limbs, vaccine-induced MS and vaccine-induced encephalitis can be found, whatever the vaccine.
I predict that Gardasil will become the greatest medical scandal of all times because at some point in time, the evidence will add up to prove that this vaccine, technical and scientific feat that it may be, has absolutely no effect on cervical cancer and that all the very many adverse effects which destroy lives and even kill, serve no other purpose than to generate profit for the manufacturers.
Two Ebola patients, who died of the virus in separate communities in Nimba County have reportedly resurrected in the county. The victims, both females, believed to be in their 60s and 40s respectively, died of the Ebola virus recently in Hope Village Community and the Catholic Community in Ganta, Nimba.Note that the two victims not only regained life, but they did so in "total disbelief". Perhaps this newly mutated virus is the antidote for religion for which Richard Dawkins has hitherto been searching in vain. It would, of course, be deeply raciss to be skeptical of these accounts in any way, given the fact that both the eyewitnesses and the journalists are African.
But to the amazement of residents and onlookers on Monday, the deceased reportedly regained life in total disbelief. The New Dawn Nimba County correspondent said the late Dorris Quoi of Hope Village Community and the second victim only identified as Ma Kebeh, said to be in her late 60s, were about to be taken for burial when they resurrected.
Labels: Vibrancy is our strength