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Topics - Tulionberry the Enforcer

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91
http://www.eonline.com/news/495022/james-avery-dead-fresh-prince-of-bel-air-s-uncle-phil-was-65

Nobody laid down the law like Uncle Phil when Will got out of hand.
James Avery, best known for playing Will Smith's no-nonsense rich uncle on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has died. He was 65.

"I'm deeply saddened to say that James Avery has passed away," Alfonso Ribeiro, who played preppy son Carlton on the 1990s-era hit, tweeted this morning. "He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly."

The news was first broken by TMZ, which reports that Avery died last night at a Los Angeles hospital and had recently undergone surgery for an undisclosed condition.

92
General Discussion / The Dark Side of Buddhism
« on: January 01, 2014, 02:06:48 PM »
http://rationalist.org.uk/articles/4021/the-dark-side-of-buddhism

The dark side of Buddhism

Buddhism is often seen as the acceptable face of religion, lacking a celestial dictator and full of Eastern wisdom. But Dale DeBakcsy, who worked for nine years in a Buddhist school, says it's time to think again

On paper, Buddhism looks pretty good. It has a philosophical subtlety married to a stated devotion to tolerance that makes it stand out amongst the world religions as uniquely not awful. Even Friedrich Nietzsche, not known for pulling punches when it came to religious analysis, only said of Buddhism that it was "nihilistic", but still "a hundred times more realistic than Christianity." And we in the 21st century have largely followed his lead in sensing something a bit depressing about Buddhism, but nothing more sinister than that. But if we start looking a bit closer, at the ramifications of Buddhist belief in practice, there is a lurking darkness there, quietly stated and eloquently crafted, but every bit as profound as the Hellfires of Christianity or the rhetoric of jihad.

For nine years, I worked as a science and maths teacher at a small private Buddhist school in the United States. And it was a wonderful job working with largely wonderful people. The administration, monks, and students knew that I was an atheist and had absolutely no problem with it as long as I didn't actively proselytise (try and find a Catholic school that would hire a moderate agnostic, let alone a fully out-of-the-closet atheist). Our students were incredibly sensitive and community-conscious individuals, and are my dear friends to this day.

However.

I have no doubt that Buddhist religious belief, as it was practised at the school, did a great deal of harm. Nowhere was this more in evidence than in the ramifications of the belief in karma. At first glance, karma is a lovely idea which encourages people to be good even when nobody is watching for the sake of happiness in a future life. It's a bit carrot-and-stickish, but so are a lot of the ways in which we get people to not routinely beat us up and take our stuff. Where it gets insidious is in the pall that it casts over our failures in this life. I remember one student who was having problems memorising material for tests. Distraught, she went to the monks who explained to her that she was having such trouble now because, in a past life, she was a murderous dictator who burned books, and so now, in this life, she is doomed to forever be learning challenged.

Not, "Oh, let's look at changing your study habits", but rather, "Oh, well, that's because you have the soul of a book-burning murderer."

To our ears, this sounds so over the top that it is almost amusing, but to a kid who earnestly believes that these monks have hidden knowledge of the karmic cycle, it is devastating. She was convinced that her soul was polluted and irretrievably flawed, and that nothing she could do would allow her to ever learn like the people around her. And this is the dark side of karma – instead of misfortunes in life being bad things that happen to you, they are manifestations of a deep and fundamental wrongness within you. Children have a hard enough time keeping up their self-esteem as it is without every botched homework being a sign of lurking inner evil.

As crippling as the weight of one's past lives can be, however, it is nothing compared to the horrors of the here and now. Buddhism's inheritance from Hinduism is the notion of existence as a painful continuous failure to negate itself. The wheel of reincarnation rumbles ruthlessly over us all, forcing us to live again and again in this horrid world until we get it right and learn to not exist. I remember one of the higher monks at the school giving a speech in which she described coming back from a near-death experience as comparable to having to "return to a sewer where you do nothing but subsist on human excrement." Life is suffering. It is something to be Finally Escaped.

Now, there are legitimate philosophical reasons for holding to this view. Viewed from a certain perspective, the destruction of everything you've ever cared about is inevitable, and when it's being experienced, the pain of loss does not seem recompensed by the joy of attachment that preceded it. And that yawning stretch of impermanence outside, so the argument goes, is mirrored by the fundamental non-existence of the self inside. Meditation, properly done, allows you to strip away, one by one, all of your merely personal traits and achieve insight into the basic nothingness, the attributeless primal nature, of your existence. Those are all interesting philosophical and psychological insights, and good can come of them. Being hyper-sensitive to suffering and injustice is a good gateway to being helpful to your fellow man and in general making the world a better place.

However.

There is something dreadfully tragic about believing yourself to have somehow failed your calling whenever joy manages to creep into your life. It is in our biology, in the fabric of us, to connect to other human beings, and anything which tries to insert shame and doubt into that instinct is bound to always twist us every so slightly. If the thought, "I am happy right now", can never occur without an accompanying, "And I am just delaying my ultimate fulfillment in being so", then what, essentially, has life become? I've seen it in action – people reaching out for connection, and then pulling back reflexively, forever caught in a life of half-gestures that can't ever quite settle down to pure contemplation or gain a moment of genuine absolute enjoyment.

The usual response that I've gotten to these concerns is, "You're sacrificing truth and wisdom for the sake of feeling good. That's just what you criticise Christianity for, isn't it?" This would be a pretty damn good argument if I were convinced that the conclusions of Buddhist belief were as ironclad as their usually serene-unto-finality presentation makes them seem. There are two central claims here: that our own fundamental essence is non-existence, and that the nature of the outer world is impermanence.

The idea of the void-essence of self is one arrived at through meditation, through exercises in reflection dictated by centuries of tradition. That's enough to give us pause right there – it's not really a process of self-discovery if you're told the method, the steps, and the only acceptable conclusion before you've even begun. Here's the fourteenth (and current) Dalai Lama on how to start a meditation:

Quote
First, look to your posture: arrange the legs in the most comfortable position; set the backbone as straight as an arrow. Place your hands in the position of meditative equipoise, four finger widths below the navel, with the left hand on the bottom, right hand on top, and your thumbs touching to form a triangle. This placement of the hands has connection with the place inside the body where inner heat is generated.

This is already an unpromising start – if you aren't even allowed variation in the number of sub-navel finger widths for hand placement, how can we hope to be allowed to even slightly differ on the supposed object of inner contemplation? And the text bears this out. When speaking of meditating on the mind, the Dalai Lama manoeuvres his audience into a position where his conclusion seems inevitable:

Quote
Try to leave your mind vividly in a natural state... Where does it seem that your consciousness is? Is it with the eyes or where is it? Most likely you have a sense that it is associated with the eyes since we derive most of our awareness of the world through vision.... However, the existence of a separate mental consciousness can be ascertained; for example, when attention is diverted by sound, that which appears to the eye consciousness is not noticed... with persistent practice, consciousness may eventually be perceived or felt as an entity of mere luminosity or knowing, to which anything is capable of appearing... as long as the mind does not encounter the external circumstances of conceptuality, it will abide empty without anything appearing in it.

If this reminds you more than a little of Meno, where Socrates leads a slave boy into "rediscovering" the truths of geometry through a combination of leading questions and implied conclusions, you're not alone. Notice the artful vagueness of the phrase "may eventually be perceived or felt as an entity of mere luminosity" - the subtle pressure that, if you don't perceive consciousness that way at first, you must keep trying until something in you falls into line and you end up with the "right" answer to meditative practice. Or take into consideration the construction of the questions - how the second question immediately shuts down any actual consideration of the first, and how the answer to that second question leads to a single special case open to multiple interpretations which are again immediately declared to be explicable by only one single answer. As it turns out, you have as much freedom of inquiry as you had freedom in hand placement. In a curious twist unique to Buddhism, rigidity of method has infected the structure of belief, ossifying potential explanations of existence into dogmatic assertions mechanically arrived at.

The impermanence of the outer world seems more solidly founded. Five billion years hence, I'm pretty sure that this novelty shot glass next to me is not going to exist in any sort of recognisable novelty shot glass form. Nothing in this room will functionally persist as long as you only admit my Use Perspective as the only relevant lens of observation. The matter and energy will both still exist, but they won't exist in the configuration which I am accustomed to. And that, apparently, is supposed to fill me with a sense of existential dread. But it doesn't - at all - and this is the weakness of the conclusions that Buddhism draws from an impermanence theory of the external world. It supposes that I cannot hold in my mind at the same time both an appreciation and attachment to an object or a person as they stand in front of me right now AND a recognition that my use of a particular configuration of matter and energy at the moment doesn't determine how it will exist for all time. Buddhism's approach to use-based impermanence attempts to force us into a false binarism where we must either be the slaves of attachment or the cold observers of transience, and that only one of these offers us a way out of suffering. Compelled by the forced logic of its myopic perspective on self-analysis that we saw above, it opts for the latter, and presents that choice as an inevitable philosophical conclusion.

So, it's not really a choice between Feeling Good and Truth. It's a choice between being able to unambiguously enjoy companionship and a system of thought which uses an ossified methodology bordering on catechism to support a falsely binary approach to our relations with the outside world.

At the end of the day, it's still true that, in many respects, Buddhism maintains its moral edge over Christianity or Islam handily. That instinct for proselytising unto war which has made both of these religions such distinctly harmful forces in the story of mankind is nowhere present. But, the drive to infect individuals with an inability to appreciate life except through a filter of regret and shame is perhaps even more dangerous in Buddhism for being so very much more subtle. Squeezed between the implications of inherited evil instincts and a monolithic conception of what counts as a right answer to the question of one's own personal existence, a young person entering a Buddhist community today is every bit as much under the theological gun as a student at a Catholic school, but because society has such a cheery picture of Buddhist practice, she has far fewer resources for resistance than her Catholic counterpart. And that allows sad things to happen. I would urge, then, that as fulfilling as it is to point out and work to correct the gross excesses of Christianity (and, let's face it, fun too), we can't let the darkness of Buddhist practice go by unremarked just because it works more subtly and its victims suffer more quietly.

93
General Discussion / Today we celebrate...
« on: November 11, 2013, 04:54:13 PM »
National Metal Day.




94
General Discussion / X-Men: Days of Future Past (Trailer 2)
« on: October 30, 2013, 07:48:13 PM »

95
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/by-opposing-golden-rice-greenpeace-defies-its-own-values-and-harms-children/article14742332/

It was 43 years ago when I boarded an old fishing boat named the Phyllis Cormack in Vancouver on the first Greenpeace campaign to stop nuclear testing in Alaska. I never dreamed that 43 years later Greenpeace would be arriving in Vancouver on a $32-million ship, and that this time I would be going down to protest against them.

I’m still proud of the work Greenpeace did during the 15 years I was in the leadership. I left because they had drifted from a humanitarian effort to save civilization from all-out nuclear war to an organization that sees humans as the enemies of the earth. How else could they justify their opposition to Golden Rice?

Two humanitarian scientists, Dr. Ingo Potrykus and Prof. Peter Beyer, used their knowledge of genetics to create Golden Rice, a variety of rice that contains beta carotene, the essential nutrient that we make into vitamin A. They were aware that two million people, mostly young children, die each year from vitamin A deficiency. Most of them live in urban slums in Asia and Africa and eat little more than a cup of rice each day. Conventional rice contains no beta carotene, resulting in 250 million preschool children who have chronic vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is necessary for eyesight and the immune system. As many as 500,000 children go blind each year, half of whom die within a year of becoming blind, according to the World Health Organization.

Since Golden Rice was first announced in 2000, Greenpeace has made a concerted effort to block its introduction. They have waged a campaign of misinformation, trashed the scientists who are working to bring Golden Rice to the people who need it, and supported the violent destruction of Golden Rice field trials at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

How does Greenpeace justify this heartless behavior? First they claim there may be “unforeseen” consequences for human health and the environment. Yet they are not able to specify a single health risk with Golden Rice. That’s because the only difference between white rice and Golden Rice is the beta carotene, an essential nutrient that is necessary for good health. As for environmental risks Greenpeace says they are concerned that Golden Rice may cross with other rice plants. There is no imaginable way this could cause damage and could only make rice more nutritious. And to suggest that the threat of rice interbreeding is more important than two million deaths every year is pathetic.

Second, they say that Golden Rice will not solve the problem and that children should eat leafy vegetables and take vitamin A pills. But the very reason they suffer from malnutrition is that they can’t afford pills and they have no place in their slums to grow vegetables. Golden Rice is like a vitamin pill in a grain of rice.

Third, they claim that Golden Rice may not be effective in delivering the vitamin A to children. Yet they know Dr. Gwangwen Tang and her colleagues at Tufts University and the Zhejiang Academy of Medical Sciences in China have already proven that Golden Rice is effective. After conducting nutritional trials with animals and then adults in the United States, 23 Chinese children were fed one meal of Golden Rice and tested to see if they had absorbed the beta carotene. The results were published in 2012 in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and demonstrate conclusively that Golden Rice is effective.

The real reason Greenpeace is opposed to Golden Rice is because it is generically modified and they can’t seem to imagine that even one beneficial crop might result from this technique. They are willing to put their zero-tolerance ideology ahead of a critical humanitarian mission. Every major science and health organization supports Golden Rice.

Last week we launched the Allow Golden Rice Now! campaign with a demonstration at the Greenpeace Canada office in Toronto. We are not asking Greenpeace to give up their general dislike of genetically modified foods. We are only demanding that they make an exception to their policy, on humanitarian grounds, for Golden Rice.

96
General Discussion / Why Legalizing Drugs Will Save Your Child's Life
« on: October 08, 2013, 05:06:16 AM »
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neill-franklin/mdma-legalization_b_4044755.html

What We Can't Seem to Remember About MDMA and Why Legalizing Drugs Will Save Your Child's Life

This article is about every person who has ever ingested a mind-altering substance but didn't want to die from doing so.

Thanks to our failed experiment with alcohol prohibition, we know that it's impossible to keep people away from intoxicants, legal or otherwise. The difference is in how we treat those who favor certain substances over others. If Budweiser were suddenly implicated in a salmonella outbreak, there would be a furious investigation. People would ask why nobody had been monitoring the safety equipment, why no one was sanitizing the bottles. We regulate beer so that millions of people who enjoy it every day don't fall ill because of low quality standards or because someone's been pouring paint thinner into the brew. Regulation also keeps us from getting hit by the stray bullets of gangs fighting over the local Bud Light distribution. But for the many illicit drugs that, unlike alcohol, a substance that kills thousands of people every year, do not have the government's seal of approval, there are no such guarantees.

MDMA (methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine) is a crystalline off-white to brownish substance known to cause feelings of euphoria banned by the U.S. government. This is what Molly, a drug linked to some deaths in the news recently, is intended to be (and can be, depending on the source) but because of large profits to be made, its place on the illegal market, and lack of public drug literacy, Molly is often sold as a mystery bag of off-white powders. There are numerous cheaper chemicals that appear similar but that can be deadly in much lower doses, making buying Molly off the street a dangerous proposition.

Victims of the unregulated market include Jeffrey Russ and Olivia Rotondo, who died from overdoses at a recent festival in New York City. Olivia reportedly told paramedics she ingested six hits of Molly before dying. There is no standard unit of measurement for a single "hit" of the drug, however, and Olivia had no way of knowing if what she took was actually MDMA. The difficult truth is that if the drug she wanted were legal, she and Jeffrey might still be alive. They would have known what they were buying and exactly how much to take while minimizing harm. Their drugs would have been labeled with safety precautions necessary to alleviate common symptoms -- such as taking magnesium to reduce bruxism, sipping on an electrolyte-infused beverage to stay hydrated, and replenishing the brain's serotonin supply with a 5-HTP supplement.

MDMA was originally synthesized by pharmaceutical giant Merck in the early 1900s, but was discarded for their particular goals. It was re-synthesized in the late 1970s by biochemist Alexander Shulgin. He and his psychotherapist friend Leo Zeff, among others, found that the chemical contained powerful therapeutic potential for people who have experienced trauma, marital troubles, depression, and more. Word got out quickly about the drug's success in therapy, and users started enjoying it in nightclubs because of its ability to induce euphoria and a sense of connectedness. Shulgin and Zeff were distributing it for free so there was no demand for an alternative source. But it quickly became too popular for this to be affordable.

Nobody had been significantly harmed by the drug until police got wind of the growing trend. MDMA was declared Schedule I in 1985. This means the government considers it to be extremely harmful, have high abuse potential, and that it has no accepted medical or therapeutic uses. Schedule I also means research approval is almost impossible. Like the scheduling of most other illegal substances, MDMA's classification is not based in much scientific truth.

Now that it was illegal, MDMA went from being carefully produced by a trained chemist making the drug for his friends to being poorly synthesized by the illegal market looking to capitalize on the high demand. It started getting cut with other chemicals to reduce distribution costs, becoming the drug popularly known as Ecstasy. Now that it's produced in the illegal market, it is known to contain anything from meth to cocaine to piperazine, an animal de-wormer. MDMA later fell under immense scrutiny after Ecstasy was blamed for several deaths.

If we were to legalize MDMA and other drugs, they could be regulated like alcohol, tobacco, and in some places, marijuana -- with a system that values responsibility, treatment, and academic research. Until then, local and state governments need to focus on what saves lives instead of what appeases frightened parents. Music festivals and nightclubs should work with organizations like Bunk Police, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and DanceSafe to set up informational booths and testing kits for those who wish to take substances. Earplugs, condoms, and water are often found at those tables too. It's not condoning drug use; it's condoning responsibility.

Some people need substances because of their addiction, and some use drugs for fun. Others prefer never to take drugs. All of these people deserve to live. The War on Drugs has forsaken anyone who prefers intoxicants unpopular with the American government. It has left behind people like Jeffrey Russ and Olivia Rotondo who just wanted to have a good time and made a mistake -- one that should never cost anyone his or her life.


Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) is executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of more than 100,000 law enforcement officials and supporters opposed to the war on drugs and a 34-year veteran police officer; Mikayla Hellwich is a Horticulture student at the University of Maryland and the outreach coordinator and former president of the university's chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

97
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2449051/Gulf-states-introduce-medical-testing-travellers-detect-gay-people-stop-entering-country.html

Gulf states to introduce medical testing on travellers to 'detect' gay people and stop them from entering the country

Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE already outlaw homosexuality, but are toughening their controversial stance

Kuwait's director of public health says 'gays will be barred'

 A medical test being developed by Kuwait will be used to 'detect' homosexuals and prevent them from entering the country – or any of the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), according to a Kuwaiti government official.

GCC member countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – already deem homosexual acts unlawful.

This controversial stance is being toughened, with members of the LGBT community stopped at the border and banned from entering the country, according to Yousouf Mindkar, the director of public health at the Kuwaiti health ministry.

He told Kuwait newspaper Al Rai: ‘Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the GCC countries. However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states.’

Those taking part in homosexual acts in Kuwait, if they’re under 21, can receive a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

Earlier this month Oman newspaper The Week was suspended over an article that was deemed to be sympathetic to homosexuals, according to the BBC.

It’s illegal to be gay in 78 countries, with lesbianism banned in 49. Five countries mete out the death penalty to gay people – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Mauritania.

Quote
WHERE HOMOSEXUALITY IS PUNISHED BY DEATH

Iran: Since 1979, the government has executed more than 4,000 people charged with homosexual acts. A non-adult who engages in consensual sodomy is subject to a punishment of 74 lashes.

Saudi Arabia: Although the maximum punishment for homosexuality is execution, the government tends to use other punishments - such as fines, prison sentences, and whipping - unless it feels that homosexuals have challenged state authority by engaging in social movements.

Sudan: For homosexual men, lashes are given for the first offence, with the death penalty following the third offence. 100 lashes are given to unmarried women who engage in homosexual acts.For lesbian women, stoning and thousands of lashes are the penalty for the first offence. Today, the issue has divided some religious communities. In 2006, Abraham Mayom Athiaan, a bishop in South Sudan, led a split from the Episcopal Church of Sudan for what he regarded as a failure by the church leadership to condemn homosexuality sufficiently strongly.

Yemen: Homosexuality is still illegal in Yemen in accordance to the country's Shari'ah legal system. Punishment ranges from flogging to death.

Mauritania: The Shari'a law applies in Mauritania. The penal code states that, since 1983,any adult Muslim caught engaging in an 'unnatural act' with a member of the same sex is punishable with the death sentence by public stoning.

98
http://www.forwardprogressives.com/conservative-kansas-group-suing-to-remove-science-from-schools-claims-science-is-unconstitutional/

Conservative Kansas Group Suing to Remove Science from Schools, Claims Science is Unconstitutional


In one of the dumbest things I’ve possibly ever read, there’s apparently a conservative group in Kansas that’s suing to remove science from the classroom on the grounds that it violates separation of church and state.

What kind of asinine reasoning is behind this push?  Well, it’s quite simple—and completely idiotic.  This group claims that evolution is a religion and teaching it violates the separation of church and state.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly.  A religious group is claiming that evolution is a religion and therefore it shouldn’t be taught in schools.

According to the AP:

Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE) claims that public schools “promote a ‘non-theistic religious worldview’ by allowing only ‘materialistic’ or ‘atheistic’ explanations to scientific questions.” The group argues that by teaching evolution “the state would be ‘indoctrinating’ impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment.”

And apparently they’re dead serious.

When I first read about this, I thought for sure it was some kind of article from The Onion or some other satire-based website.  But sadly, it’s a real story.

Now I’m a Christian, but to know that there are people who view science equally as proven as their religion is absolutely terrifying.  And these people are raising children—a truly sobering thought.  To think that there are parents so delusional that they would view evolution, something believed by probably 99.99% of the world’s scientists, similar to faith (faith being something that doesn’t rely on evidence) is astounding.

Basically this group is arguing that any kind of action taken that isn’t based on religious principles is a direct rejection of religion.

But apparently this isn’t the first time this kind of lawsuit has been attempted, and luckily history shows it’s been laughed out of court just as it should be.

Because while I’m a Christian who isn’t ashamed of his faith, I’m not dense enough to dismiss proven science.  Faith as a term is actually the opposite of evidence.  Faith is believing in something even though there’s little to no evidence to support its system of beliefs.  Science has rules behind it that scientists must follow for their theories or findings to be taken with any sense of validity behind them.

I can’t help but feel sorry for the children being raised by parents such as these.  To raise your child (or children) to reject proven science in favor of faith is the ultimate embrace of ignorance, and it’s setting them up for a life built on misinformation and delusion.  What a damn shame.

99
General Discussion / Surprise marriage proposal at Salt Lake City Home Depot
« on: September 14, 2013, 03:06:47 PM »
http://www.abc4.com/content/news/top_stories/story/Surprise-marriage-proposal-at-Salt-Lake-City-Home/4tw64Sx9fUOwoTm7dq-dTA.cspx#.UjIdq0Zc7lg.facebook

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - A Utah couple is engaged after an elaborate, surprise proposal at a Salt Lake City Home Depot.

Dustin arrived at the Home Depot thinking he was there to help his roommate pick out some lighting for a party.

He was taken to the lumber aisle, where he found a group of friends, and family waiting for him. They began a choreographed dance routine to the song “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who.


100
General Discussion / Jurassic World (2015)
« on: September 10, 2013, 11:13:14 PM »
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2013/09/10/jurassic-world-june-2015/2796201/

Steven Spielberg will be bringing the next dinosaur action-adventure to the big screen.

Dinosaur fear has a name and a date.

Steven Spielberg brings his long-awaited next installment of the Jurassic Park series to theaters June 12, 2015. It also has a name -- Jurassic World -- Universal Pictures announced on Tuesday.

Colin Trevorrow has been tapped to direct the epic action-adventure from a draft of the screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly. It will be shot in 3-D.

The filmmakers have already promised new dinosaur villains for the fourth installment of the franchise. The first three films in the series have taken in $1.9 billion at the box office.

Earlier this year, a 3-D re-release of the original 1993 Jurassic Park inspired a return to the dinosaur madness of decades past and brought in $114 million globally.

The news comes the same day that Disney studios announced that Pirates of the Caribbean 5 would move off the summer 2015 calendar and be released in 2016.

101
General Discussion / Mirror's Edge Parkour POV
« on: September 10, 2013, 01:46:22 AM »

102
Spamalot / Nice
« on: September 06, 2013, 10:37:48 AM »

104
General Discussion / I knew I should of been a Preacher.
« on: August 23, 2013, 08:30:18 PM »

105
General Discussion / Nature rules
« on: August 17, 2013, 08:39:32 PM »

106
Spamalot / Bruce Campbell singing "Hungry Like The Wolf"
« on: August 17, 2013, 04:21:06 PM »

107
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2021614151_hempfestdoritosxml.html

They’re calling it “Operation Orange Fingers.” Really.

Seattle police will hand out bags of Doritos at Hempfest on Saturday.

Police department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb confirmed the unusual duty, saying he and other officers will distribute one-ounce bags of nacho-cheese chips with educational information affixed to them about the state’s new legal pot law.

The bags also will contain a label with a link to the department’s “Marijwhatnow” FAQ, which explains that, yes, adults are now allowed to possess up to an ounce of weed, and that, no, you can’t get back the pot that cops might have seized before voters legalized recreational weed in last November’s election.

“A lot of people still have questions about the nuances of the law and 2013 is a year very much in transition for people who enjoy pot,” Whitcomb said.

Police are having some fun with the assignment.

“Please ignore maliciously false reports that we’re giving out Bugles at @seattlehempfest. We would never, ever do that,” the department tweeted Wednesday.

Operation Orange Fingers will be funded by the private Seattle Police Foundation, Whitcomb said.

The department expects to give out just 1,000 bags of chips, Whitcomb said. That’s likely to lead to some “Dude, where’s my Doritos?” queries from the 250,000 folks expected to attend the three-day, pro-pot event this weekend at Myrtle Edwards Park on the Seattle waterfront near Belltown.

The idea is not to cure the munchies, Whitcomb said, but “to pique their curiosity and get them to go to our FAQ.”

Kidding aside, Whitcomb said police will enforce aspects of the new law at Hempfest. He said they would bust minors for consuming in public, which is a misdemeanor. And he said they would bust people dealing pot, which is a felony.

Under the new law, only state-licensed stores can sell pot.

Because it’s still illegal to consume pot in public, Whitcomb said, officers will give warnings to adults they encounter getting high at Hempfest.

That’s not to say people should expect a “task force of undercover officers to infiltrate Hempfest,” he said.

But minors “can expect enforcement,” he said, because “it’s a big deal.”

Some officers don’t even want to wade into Hempfest, Whitcomb said, because they’re concerned about breathing in secondhand smoke and testing positive for pot.

Despite the state law, Seattle officers can’t use pot off-duty because marijuana use remains a federal violation and cops take an oath to uphold federal law, he said.

But officers would respond to any emergency, need or request for services, he said.

Whitcomb will speak about the department’s pot policies from Hempfest’s main stage Saturday at 2:50 p.m.

“The much-coveted 4:20 spot had gone to someone else,” he said.

108
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-08-debunk-myth-right-brain-left-brain-personality.html


(Medical Xpress)—Newly released research findings from University of Utah neuroscientists assert that there is no evidence within brain imaging that indicates some people are right-brained or left-brained.

Chances are, you've heard the label of being a "right-brained" or "left-brained" thinker. Logical, detail-oriented and analytical? That's left-brained behavior. Creative, thoughtful and subjective? Your brain's right side functions stronger —or so long-held assumptions suggest.

But newly released research findings from University of Utah neuroscientists assert that there is no evidence within brain imaging that indicates some people are right-brained or left-brained.

For years in popular culture, the terms left-brained and right-brained have come to refer to personality types, with an assumption that some people use the right side of their brain more, while some use the left side more.

Following a two-year study, University of Utah researchers have debunked that myth through identifying specific networks in the left and right brain that process lateralized functions.

Lateralization of brain function means that there are certain mental processes that are mainly specialized to one of the brain's left or right hemispheres. During the course of the study, researchers analyzed resting brain scans of 1,011 people between the ages of seven and 29. In each person, they studied functional lateralization of the brain measured for thousands of brain regions —finding no relationship that individuals preferentially use their left -brain network or right- brain network more often.

"It's absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Language tends to be on the left, attention more on the right. But people don't tend to have a stronger left- or right-sided brain network. It seems to be determined more connection by connection, " said Jeff Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study, which is formally titled "An Evaluation of the Left-Brain vs. Right-Brain Hypothesis with Resting State Functional Connectivity Magnetic Resonance Imaging." It is published in the journal PLOS ONE this month.

Researchers obtained brain scans for the population they studied from a database called INDI, the International Neuroimaging Data-Sharing Initiative. The participants' scans were taken during a functional connectivity MRI analysis, meaning a participant laid in a scanner for 5 to 10 minutes while their resting brain activity was analyzed.

By viewing brain activity, scientists can correlate brain activity in one region of the brain compared to another. In the study, researchers broke up the brain into 7,000 regions and examined which regions of the brain were more lateralized. They looked for connections—or all of the possible combinations of brain regions—and added up the number of connections for each brain region that was left- lateralized or right-lateralized. They discovered patterns in brain imaging for why a brain connection might be strongly left- or right-lateralized, said Jared Nielsen, a graduate student in neuroscience who carried out the study as part of his coursework.

"If you have a connection that is strongly left- lateralized, it relates to other strongly lateralized connection only if both sets of connections have a brain region in common," said Nielsen.

Results of the study are groundbreaking, as they may change the way people think about the old right-brain versus left-brain theory, he said.

"Everyone should understand the personality types associated with the terminology 'left-brained' and 'right-brained' and how they relate to him or her personally; however, we just don't see patterns where the whole left-brain network is more connected or the whole right-brain network is more connected in some people. It may be that personality types have nothing to do with one hemisphere being more active, stronger, or more connected," said Nielsen.

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http://www.npr.org/2013/08/10/210686255/a-sense-of-power-can-do-a-number-on-your-brain?ft=1&f=1007


When Power Goes To Your Head, It May Shut Out Your Heart


Even the smallest dose of power can change a person. You've probably seen it. Someone gets a promotion or a bit of fame and then, suddenly, they're a little less friendly to the people beneath them.

So here's a question that may seem too simple: Why?

If you ask a psychologist, he or she may tell you that the powerful are simply too busy. They don't have the time to fully attend to their less powerful counterparts.

But if you ask Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada, he might give you another explanation: Power fundamentally changes how the brain operates.

Obhi and his colleagues, Jeremy Hogeveen and Michael Inzlicht, have a new study showing evidence to support that claim.

Obhi and his fellow researchers randomly put participants in the mindset of feeling either powerful or powerless. They asked the powerless group to write a diary entry about a time they depended on others for help. The powerful group wrote entries about times they were calling the shots.

Then, everybody watched a simple video. In it, an anonymous hand squeezes a rubber ball a handful of times — sort of monotonously. While the video ran, Obhi's team tracked the participants' brains, looking at a special region called the mirror system.

Where Empathy Begins

The mirror system is important because it contains neurons that become active both when you squeeze a rubber ball and when you watch someone else squeeze a rubber ball. It is the same thing with picking up a cup of coffee, hitting a baseball, or flying a kite. Whether you do it or someone else does, your mirror system activates. In this small way, the mirror system places you inside a stranger's head.

Furthermore, because our actions are linked to deeper thoughts — like beliefs and intentions — you may also begin to empathize with what motivates another person's actions.

"When I watch somebody picking up a cup of coffee, the mirror system activates the representations in my brain that would be active if I was picking up a cup of coffee," Obhi explains. "And because those representations are connected in my brain to the intentions that would normally activate them, you can get activation of the intention. So you can figure out, 'Hey, this person wants to drink coffee.' "

Obhi's team wanted to see if bestowing a person with a feeling of power or powerlessness would change how the mirror system responds to someone else performing a simple action.

Feeling Power Over Others

It turns out, feeling powerless boosted the mirror system — people empathized highly. But, Obhi says, "when people were feeling powerful, the signal wasn't very high at all."

So when people felt power, they really did have more trouble getting inside another person's head.

"What we're finding is power diminishes all varieties of empathy," says Dacher Keltner, a social psychologist at University of California, Berkeley, not involved in the new study. He says these results fit a trend within psychological research.

"Whether you're with a team at work [or] your family dinner, all of that hinges on how we adapt our behaviors to the behaviors of other people," he says. "And power takes a bite out of that ability, which is too bad."

The good news, Keltner says, is an emerging field of research that suggests powerful people who begin to forget their subordinates can be coached back to their compassionate selves.

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http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/07/satanists-perform-gay-ritual-at-westboro-gravesite/

A group of satanists say they’ve given the controversial Westboro Baptist Church a taste of its own medicine, performing a same-sex ritual at the grave of the mother of the church’s founder.

Members of the Satanist Temple performed on Sunday what its spokesman describes as a “pink mass”  an admittedly made-up ritual, celebrating gay love, at the grave in Meridian, Miss.

Spokesman Lucien Greaves  doffed a headdress made of horns as two male couples, and a female couple recited scripture, lit candles and made out over the grave.

Members then posthumously declared Catherine Johnston, the mother of Westboro’s founder Fred Phelps, a lesbian.

The ritual was designed to get a rise of the WBC, the satanists said, an organization that’s earned a national reputation for getting a rise out of others.

Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, a fundamentalist congregation infamous for picketing at the funerals of celebrities, victims of disaster and terrorism, and U.S. soldiers killed in combat.
The church, located in Topeka, Kan., believes that the whole of the United States is in a state of sin because of gays. Members often protest at funerals carrying signs that read “God hates fags.”

The idea to stage a counter-protest by the New York based Satanist Temple after WBC members threatened to picket at funerals for those killed in the Boston Marathon bombings, Greaves told ABCNews.com.
The ritual took place at Magnolia Cemetery near a busy road, but Greaves said no one bothered the group of Satanists.

“Our right to believe that Fred Phelps now must believe that his mother is gay is inviolable,” said Greaves.  “No one can question our beliefs,” he said, mocking a Westboro talking point that was recently at the heart of Supreme Court case, which the church won.

A spokesman for Westboro, which has never shirked from publicity, told ABC that the “pink mass” only gave the church another moment to preach against gay people.

“I don’t care whether you’re dancing on a grave, in a hot air balloon, or standing on Mt. Kiliminjaro, homosexuality is a sin. And the punishment fixed for that sin is the death penalty,” said Westboro spokesman Steve Drain.

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General Discussion / Amazing Spider-man 2 Comic-Con Teaser
« on: July 18, 2013, 01:19:27 AM »

114
General Discussion / Hawthorne Cops arrest man, then shoots his dog
« on: July 02, 2013, 07:46:48 PM »
Warning: it's pretty graphic


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General Discussion / Terminator 2015 (Reboot)
« on: June 27, 2013, 09:06:19 PM »
http://www.nerdist.com/2013/06/terminator-rebooted/

You knew this day would come, it was inevitable; the question was when, and would we be prepared to face it? That’s right: The Terminator, one of the most beloved franchises in sci-fi/action movie history is getting the reboot treatment, and only Skynet knows what we have in store for us.

Paramount Pictures, in association with Annapurna Pictures and Skydance Productions will produce the first in what is promised to be a new trilogy of Terminator films; a trilogy with no association to Arnie’s romps as the time-traveling robotic bounty hunter with a heart of gold (or at the very least, molten lava). While no cast or crew has been revealed as of yet, the companies have announced a release date of June 26th, 2015.

We’re sure this is only the first of many Terminator news stories we’ll be bringing you in the two years until the film’s release, so stay tuned, stay vigilant, and never trust a machine… unless it speaks with a heavy Austrian accent.

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LoLz / New Sejuani skin has so much awesome
« on: June 24, 2013, 11:50:18 PM »

117
LoLz / A very well edited video
« on: June 21, 2013, 04:42:33 PM »

118
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/having_sets_and_video_camera_year_BYX3ukhiAiTYc9Y45U025O

A man who set up a video camera to capture paranormal activity in his kitchen instead recorded evidence of his partner engaging in a sexual relationship with his 16-year-old son, an Australian court has heard.

A 28-year-old woman -- who cannot be named for legal reasons -- pleaded guilty to five counts of having sexual intercourse with a young person.

Crown Prosecutor Jackie Hartnett told the court in October last year the woman had gone to her stepson's room to discuss his driving lessons.

Although the pair had previously had a strained relationship, tickling led to kissing and then to intercourse, the prosecutor said.

The following day, the woman's de facto partner set up a video camera in a bid to capture evidence of paranormal activity in the house, but forgot to turn it off.

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http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2013/06/the-sun-apology-aliens-scientology/66199/

The Church of Scientology forced the British tabloid The Sun to apologize for reporting that UFOs were seen flying over the church's British headquarters — but The Sun apologized to the aliens. It is one of the best newspaper apologies ever. The Sun says it's sorry for the weekend report "Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ" — flat silver discs were seen hovering by three airplane pilots — explaining, "Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists."

As Lawrence Wright reported in his book Going Clear, the Church of Scientology is infamous for aggressively suing its critics for libel — something that's all the more dangerous in Britain, where it's a lot easier to win libel suits. It's so easy that Going Clear was not published in Britain.



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http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/06/07/op-ed-climate-change-consensus

For the past 21 years there’s been broad consensus among climate scientists that humans are significantly changing global temperatures.

In 2004, Naomi Oreskes published the first analysis examining the scientific consensus on climate change in published peer-reviewed research. She scanned over 900 climate papers from 1993 to 2003 to determine how many papers rejected the proposition that humans caused global warming. Remarkably, she found zero rejection papers. Oreskes’ results were cited in An Inconvenient Truth to demonstrate the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change

Since that time, several studies have further sought to measure the level of agreement among climate scientists. In 2009, Peter Doran and Maggie Zimmerman found that 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agreed that humans were significantly changing global temperatures. In 2010, William Anderegg led a study that similarly found 97 percent of scientists who published climate papers agreed with the consensus. Over time, the picture was becoming clearer—there was overwhelming agreement in the climate science community on the issue of human-caused global warming.

Earlier this month, I published a peer-reviewed paper that continued and extended the work of Naomi Oreskes. The study was a collaboration of a team of research volunteers from the website Skeptical Science, working together for over a year to produce the most comprehensive analysis of climate research to date. We added another decade’s worth of climate research, examining 21 years and over 12,000 climate papers from peer-reviewed scientific journals. Our goal was to quantify the level of consensus in climate research from 1991 to 2011. We also hoped to determine how the consensus changed over the last two decades.

What we found was strikingly consistent with earlier research. Out of all the climate papers that stated a position on human-caused global warming, 97 percent endorsed the consensus. Overwhelming agreement had already formed by the early 1990s.

Over the 21 year period, the consensus strengthened. The number of papers endorsing the consensus was increasing at an accelerating rate. Correspondingly, more and more scientists from all over the world were adding their names to the ranks of scientists endorsing human-caused global warming. By 2011, the end of the period we examined, the level of consensus was around 98 percent.

We also employed a novel technique to independently measure the consensus. We invited the scientists who authored the climate papers to rate the level of endorsement in their own published research. After all, who is a better expert on what a paper is saying than the very authors of the paper?

The result was eerily familiar. Out of all papers that scientists rated as expressing a position on human-caused global warming, 97 percent endorsed the consensus. The 97 percent figure, seen in several studies over the last few years and through two different measures in our own study, continued to assert itself.

Nevertheless, there is a gaping chasm between the actual consensus and public perception of the consensus. When asked how many climate scientists agree on human-caused global warming, the average answer from the general public is around 50 percent.

This misperception has persisted for several decades and hasn’t happened by accident. There has been a deliberate, focused attempt to confuse the public about the level of agreement between scientists for over 20 years. In 1991, Western Fuels Association spent half a million dollars on a campaign attacking the scientific consensus. Political pollster Frank Luntz advised Republicans to focus on casting doubt on consensus in a memo leaked in 2002. A 2012 analysis of conservative syndicated columns found that the number one climate myth promoted by conservative columnists was “there is no scientific consensus.”

Why such a focus on attacking the consensus? Studies in 2011 and 2013 found that when the public correctly understands that scientists agree on climate change, it is more likely to support policy to do something about it. Social scientists are coming to realize what opponents of climate action have known for decades. If you confuse the public about scientific consensus, you can delay meaningful climate action.

This is why Naomi Oreskes’ 2004 work on consensus was so important. It’s why our study finding a strengthening consensus is important. The significance of this message is demonstrated by the fact that our paper was recently tweeted by President Obama and, fittingly, Al Gore. We need to clearly and persistently communicate the fact that the scientific community agrees on climate change. Closing the consensus gap is an essential and important step towards meaningful climate action.


Summary is in this link: http://www.theconsensusproject.com/

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