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Greater Faydork / The Wolverine
« on: July 29, 2013, 12:17:39 AM »

vastly less shitty than Origins

still pretty meh, but not totally unenjoyable

Spoiler (hover to show)

Greater Faydork / BREAKING Canada News: North Pole currently a Lake
« on: July 25, 2013, 11:04:59 PM »

Thanks to rapidly-melting ice, Santa Claus now has his own swimming pool: The North Pole is currently a lake, reports.

The shallow lake — it's about a foot deep, according to LiveScience — isn't the result of sea water overtaking the ice; it consists entirely of the melted ice itself. And it's a vicious cycle, writes William Wolfe-Wylie for That water picks up more radiation from the sun than solid ice would, so the area is getting even warmer.

At the beginning of the month, a lot of the Arctic Ocean saw temperatures two to five degrees warmer than average; the lake began forming July 13. But it's nothing new: The lake has been appearing each year, the Atlantic Wire notes.

More than half of Arctic sea ice is newly formed and thin, LiveScience reports, making it easier for meltwater ponds to form and combine. An Arctic cyclone due this week will boost the melting process even more. Visit the North Pole Environmental Observatory for images.

In related news, Arctic warming could end up costing the world an extra $60 trillion, researchers say. (Compare that to the size of the global economy in 2012: $70 trillion.) That's because the methane gas emitted as the permafrost under the East Siberian Sea thaws could quicken the effects of climate change, adding to the costs heaped upon the world by global warming, the Christian Science Monitor explains. And Science Daily notes that there's far more methane in the region than just what sits under that particular sea.

In quirky related news: The CIA is studying how to control the world's climate.

Newser is a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage from around the Web. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

Spamalot / hey zeke
« on: July 21, 2013, 08:29:58 AM »
you're on tzt

Spamalot / on the 29th, i begin my xx trip
« on: July 21, 2013, 07:40:47 AM »
the xx means "CROSS COUNTRY" you shallow dip

i LIKE but do not LOVE you. advise?

Spamalot / QUBBREAD
« on: July 21, 2013, 06:32:16 AM »
where in TX do you live BRO?

bc i will be in TX a bit, but the ladies imma goin with hate TX. so. can we hang? bc i hate girls + want to sex u.

Greater Faydork / India's Massive Challenge to Feed Every Poor Person
« on: July 21, 2013, 05:07:56 AM »
Uhhh not sure about the article's title.

And kind of underwhelmed by "more than 20 schoolchildren died after eating tainted food."

I mean -- 20? really? Sounds to me like India is doing a fuckin' bang-up job if that is our global idea of a problem.


"We've become familiar with the story of India's economic ascent and the creation of a large middle class. While that story is true, hundreds of millions of Indians have not been lifted out of extreme poverty.

India has sought to help its poorest children with its midday meal program, which was in the news this week when more than 20 schoolchildren died after eating tainted food.

As we noted, India trails other developing nations at the pace at which it is reducing death rates for children under 5. And as the map and graph below from the International Food Policy Research Institute show, India also lags behind in other key childhood indicators. (You may have to click on India on the map to see the data. You can also click on other countries.)

In the face of all these challenges, India's government is working on a new plan to feed hundreds of millions of poor people with subsidized food grains.

It's called the National Food Security Ordinance. The government says it will help the country's poorest people, and help India reach some of its poverty-reduction goals. Here are some key facts about the program:

— It would cover 2 out of every 3 Indians — or some 800 million people.

— It would give each of them 11 pounds of grain each month.

— It would provide rice at 5 cents; wheat at 3 cents; millet at 2 cents per kilogram (2.2 pounds).

— Its cost has been estimated at more than $20 billion annually.

Critics say India can't afford public spending on such a vast scale; and they say it'll be far more expensive than the government's estimates. They also claim the program amounts to pandering ahead of next year's elections. Meanwhile, the government is battling allegations of corruption, inefficiency and a slowing economy."

Greater Faydork / Electrocute your Noggin to Learn Faster
« on: July 18, 2013, 11:09:45 PM »
Just about everyone wishes they were better at math. But studying and practicing is so difficult and boring that very few people do it. If only there were an easier way.

Now there may be, suggests a new study in which scientists stimulated volunteers’ brains with mild electric current while they learned new arithmetic operations based on made-up symbols. People who received brain stimulation during training sessions on five consecutive days learned two to five times faster than those who received sham stimulation, and they retained a 30 to 40 percent performance edge six months later.

The study is not the first to show improvement in mathematical cognition with brain stimulation. In 2010, scientists reported that people can learn a new set of numbers based on arbitrary symbols more quickly when a mild current is applied to the right parietal lobe of the brain, a region implicated in previous number-comprehension studies.

The new research goes a step farther by showing that electrical stimulation can also improve the ability to perform calculations, says cognitive neuroscientist Roi Cohen Kadosh of the University of Oxford, who led both studies.

The new study also uses a different type of stimulation. In the 2010 study, Cohen Kadosh and colleagues used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which delivers a weak but constant current to the brain via electrodes placed on the skull. In the new study, they used transcranial random noise stimulation (TRNS): current that fluctuates randomly within certain bounds. People sometimes feel a slight tingling on the scalp with tDCS, Cohen Kadosh says, but with TRNS they usually feel nothing.

They may also get a different kind of cognitive boost.

The researchers applied TRNS to a different brain region thought to play a role in mathematical cognition, the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. When people received TRNS during training sessions spread across five days, they memorized new “facts” more quickly (such as 4 # 12 = 17, an arbitrary equation that had to be learned by rote). Compared to subjects who got sham stimulation, those who received TRNS also learned more quickly to do calculations with novel operands (the symbols like + and – that tell you what to do with the numbers on either side, but in this case the new symbols required somewhat more complicated operations).

The researchers also monitored blood flow in the stimulated region of cortex with a non-invasive method called near-infrared spectroscopy. TRNS appeared to make metabolism more efficient, co-author Jackie Thompson wrote in an email to Wired: “That is, metabolic levels  in the TRNS group were actually lower whilst doing the same mental calculations (the same amount of “work”) as the sham group.”

That physiological change, as well as the improved calculation performance, persisted 6 months after training, the researchers report today in Current Biology. (The improved memory performance did not).

“If I put my sci-fi hat on, what I can imagine coming down the road is even more sophisticated combinations of stimulation and cognitive training,” said Peter Reiner, a neuroscientist and neuroethicist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Reiner sees the performance improvements reported in the new study as a nice incremental advance over what’s been shown previously, but he predicts that bigger things are on the way. ”There’s a huge amount of potential there.”

But before you run off to RadioShack and fire up the soldering iron in an attempt to build a TRNS kit, Cohen Kadosh has a few words of caution. “Do not try this at home,” he said. Although tDCS is fairly simple, TRNS requires more sophisticated equipment and protocols. The electrodes have to be attached in just the right place and the cognitive training has to be done right too, Cohen Kadosh says.

Also, although his team didn’t see any adverse effects in this study, they recently discovered that tDCS can cause cognitive impairments as well as benefits in some cases.

Study and practice is still the surest and safest way to kick your brain into a higher math gear. At least for now.

related, earlier article:

Greater Faydork / Major Gay Conversion Org Shuts Down / Apologizes
« on: June 20, 2013, 11:37:12 AM »
Exodus International, one of the nation’s most prominent coalitions of groups promoting harmful “ex-gay” therapy, announced Wednesday that it was disbanding and apologized to the LGBT community for the massive harm it has caused to many. Alan Chambers, the group’s president, issued a written apology, acknowledging that his organization hurt many.
In his apology, Chambers wrote:

Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.

The board of Exodus International unanimously voted to shut down and announced that it will begin a new organization dedicated encouraging churches to “become safe, welcoming, and mutually transforming communities.”

In an address at the group’s final annual conference, at Concordia University Irvine in California, Chambers noted that his admission last year that people do not actually change their sexual orientation engulfed his organization in scandal. “I’m convinced,” he told attendees, “that the scandal is of God’s making.”

He encouraged the attendees to work to change their churches to be more like a loving, accepting “father church” than scolding, judgmental “older brother church.”
“What that means is we’re not gonna control people anymore,” he told them. “We’re not gonna tell them how they should live. We’re not gonna be responsible for what they’re doing.

It’s not our job. You are not the Holy Spirit. I am not the Holy Spirit. The Church is not the Holy Spirit.”
Watch the video here (Chambers begins at about the 20 minute mark):

Sadly, the admissions and departure by Exodus International do not mean the end for the dangerous “ex-gay” movement. A splinter group called the Restored Hope Network continues, with the endorsement of anti-LGBT organizations like Focus on the Family, to promote the same harmful and ineffective “cures.” And, according to the group’s statement, Exodus International’s former local affiliated ministries “will continue, but not under the name or umbrella of Exodus.”

 AMES, Iowa — As the car pulled into the parking lot of a Starbucks, William Sanford Nye unknotted his trademark bow tie and slipped it off.

“This might buy us a couple of minutes,” he said.

Roughly two minutes later, before his drink was ready, he was recognized anyway. Two awed young women approached to ask if he was really Bill Nye the Science Guy. Like more than a dozen other college students who would approach him over the next several hours, they asked if they could take a picture with him. He smiled, took a proffered iPhone, scooched the students in and, in a practiced gesture, stretched out his arm to take a shot of the three of them that you just knew was totally going on Facebook.

Mr. Nye had come to talk to them, and a few thousand of their friends, at Iowa State University. If he were a politician, college students would be his base. Instead, he is something more: a figure from their early days in front of the family TV, a beloved teacher and, more and more these days, a warrior for science. They, in turn, are his fans, his students and his army.

They have gone from watching him explain magnetism and electricity to defending the scientific evidence for climate change, the age of the earth and other issues they have seen polemicized for religious, political and even economic reasons.

He takes on those who would demand that the public schools teach alternative theories of evolution and the origins of the earth — most famously, in a video clip from the site that has been viewed some five million times. In it, he flatly tells adult viewers that “if you want to deny evolution and live in your world — in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe — that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.”

In any given week, you’re likely to see Mr. Nye, 57, somewhere on television, calmly countering the arguments made by people like Marc Morano, the former Republican Senate staff member whose industry-funded organization,, disputes the increasingly well-understood connection between rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and warming. In an exchange several months ago on “Piers Morgan Tonight” on CNN, Mr. Morano denied that warming is occurring, and scoffed that Mr. Nye’s arguments were “the level of your daily horoscope.”

Mr. Nye quietly rebutted his opponent with the gravity of scientific consensus. “This will be the hottest two decades in recorded history,” he said. “I’ve got to disagree with you.”

Sometimes his advocacy can step out in front of scientific consensus, however. In May, after a monster tornado devastated large parts of Moore, Okla., he took a jab on Twitter at one of that state’s United States senators, James Inhofe, who has written a book calling climate change “the greatest hoax.” He mused: “Has anyone asked Oklahoma Senator Inhofe” about the frequency of such destructive storms? Yet a link between climate change and tornado activity has not been established.

On the night the tornado hit Moore, Mr. Nye explained to Mr. Morgan that “you can’t say from any one storm that ‘this is a result of, let’s say, climate change.’ ” But he noted that “if there’s more heat driving the storm, then there’s going to be more tornadoes,” and added that the question “is worth investigating.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, said that he considered Mr. Nye “among my best friends” and complimented him for “hitting controversial topics head on.”

But, he said, his own style is a bit less confrontational: “I’m looking to stimulate curiosity so most people can go out there and learn on their own.”

Phil Plait, the creator of the Bad Astronomy blog at and a fierce advocate himself, is more like Mr. Nye, willing to take the gloves off in rebutting those who might deny that men landed on the moon, or the evidence for human effects on climate change.

Mr. Plait said admiringly of Mr. Nye, “He will very calmly tear them apart,” adding, “His big advantage is, he’s right. We know that climate change is real. We know creationism is wrong. These are no longer scientific controversies.”

“When people call these ‘controversial topics,’ that’s misleading,” he continued. “They are only controversial politically. And politics is not necessarily evidence-based.”

There was nothing in Mr. Nye’s early days that suggested he might be a firebrand for science. Born in Washington, D.C., he studied mechanical engineering at Cornell, where he got to know a professor named Carl Sagan. He moved out West to do engineering for Boeing, where he spent some three years designing a hydraulic tube for the 747 that served to dampen vibration in the steering mechanism. He refers to it lovingly as “my tube.”

He tried his hand at stand-up comedy — his first time onstage was during a Steve Martin look-alike competition, which he won. He would achieve escape velocity from Boeing with an idea for a television program that would teach science to children in a wacky way. The best-known version of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” ran from 1992 to 1996, and won 18 Emmys in five years.

Mr. Nye’s past teaching and present crusading have made him a rock star for scientifically inclined students across the country. That celebrity has allowed him, as executive director of the Planetary Society, to push for the kind of interplanetary exploration that, he said in an interview, “leads to the reverence that we have for our place in the cosmos.”

“Space,” he added, “brings out the best in us.”

On the day of Mr. Nye’s visit to the Iowa State campus, students began lining up by midafternoon to make sure they got into the evening lecture. Stephens Auditorium holds about 3,000 people, and as many as a thousand would ultimately be turned away.

They came, many said, because “Bill Nye the Science Guy” helped shape their lives. “He was probably the one who inspired me to keep going in the science career track,” said Betsy Salmon, the first person in line at one entrance to the auditorium. She majored in animal ecology.

Kaci McCleary, an “aspiring neurobiologist, or neuro-something,” said that Mr. Nye was “a very inspiring person in the field of science — he tells people to make science part of their lives, even if it’s not their career.” Ms. McCleary, who knitted as she waited to be let in, said a friend had joked to her, “I hope to be able to touch the hem of his lab coat, so he could cure me of my stupid.”

Mr. Nye did not disappoint. In a lecture that gave evidence of his stand-up roots, he started out with rambling asides on his his family and its generations-long fascination with sundials. He talked about the bluish tinge of shadows on Earth compared with the orangy shadows on Mars, and described the sundial that he convinced NASA to send up with the Curiosity rover. He got a little risqué with a joke about the gnomon — the part of the sundial that sticks up, you know — and bounced into a discussion of the hellish heat of Venus and that planet’s high concentration of greenhouse gases.

He told the students that if they figured out ways to solve problems like greenhouse gases and global warming, “You could — dare I say it? — change the world!” And what’s more, he added, throwing his head back for a hearty mad-scientist laugh, “you could get rich!”

Over the hour-and-a-half talk, those statements started out as a laugh line that got funnier through increasingly manic repetition. But he shifted his tone gradually, from goofy to fervent. By the end of his speech, it was an exhortation, a command: Change the world.

During the question-and-answer session, a student brought up Mr. Nye’s comments on evolution and creation. The problem, he explained, is that some people advocate requiring public schools to teach religious apologia as science.

“The earth’s not 4,000, 6,000, 10,000 years old,” he said. “I’ve got no problem with anybody’s religion. But if you go claiming the earth is only 10,000 years old, that’s just wrong.”

The students roared their approval. As the audience streamed out — did those dudes really rip off their shirts to show that they had painted, in all capital letters, “Bill Nye” on their chests and “science” on their backs? — Mr. Nye looked like someone who had just run a triathlon. And then it was time for more pictures.

Earlier in the day, he had marveled at the chain of events that made him the Springsteen of the nerds. “I was making a TV show. It had commercials for toys.” Yet, he noted, “It stands the test of time. It’s very gratifying.”

What he did then, and what he does now, are all part of the same crusade, he said. “There’s nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering,” he said — “for a better tomorrow, for all humankind.”

He stopped, realizing that sounded grandiose, or at least corny.

“I’m not kidding,” he said.

Spamalot / Aro: Hiking
« on: June 17, 2013, 11:53:45 PM »
I mentioned in another thread that I'll be up in MD July 17-18 (17th evening for a show, 18th... not sure what I'm doing? Going to Philly on the 19th).

You down for hiking something? What's MD's best, most painful, entertaining hike. LET'S DO THAT.

seriously wtf.

i've avoided bars for quite a while but lately gotten back into them as part of my social life, and i just don't fucking get it. is it supposed to be erotic to barely be able to yell your phrase-of-the-moment into your lady friend's ear or something?

seriously bars are horseshit stupid cockfecal sucktwats.

my dad is a former vet (not of any major war, but enough of his life was put into it to really matter) and my brother tried to join the marines and broke his arm so he couldn't.

she pressured me into celebrating them on 'their day' (which i did, bc i didn't really want to be a gigantic cocksuck about it), but i don't really think every person who joins the military deserves my gratitude. a lot of them are badass heroes. a lot of them are worthless shits. so, yeah.

tell me i'm an asshole, thanks :smitten:

Greater Faydork / Nazi SS Commander chillin' in Minnesota
« on: June 14, 2013, 03:36:17 PM »
A top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press.

Michael Karkoc, 94, told American authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during World War II, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Galician Division and a Ukrainian nationalist organization he served in were both on a secret American government blacklist of organizations whose members were forbidden from entering the United States at the time.

Though records do not show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes, statements from men in his unit and other documentation confirm the Ukrainian company he commanded massacred civilians, and suggest that Karkoc was at the scene of these atrocities as the company leader. Nazi SS files say he and his unit were also involved in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, in which the Nazis brutally suppressed a Polish rebellion against German occupation.

The U.S. Department of Justice has used lies about wartime service made in immigration papers to deport dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals. The evidence of Karkoc's wartime activities uncovered by AP has prompted German authorities to express interest in exploring whether there is enough to prosecute. In Germany, Nazis with "command responsibility" can be charged with war crimes even if their direct involvement in atrocities cannot be proven.
Larger view
Karkoc's petition for naturalization

Karkoc refused to discuss his wartime past at his home in Minneapolis, and repeated efforts to set up an interview, using his son as an intermediary, were unsuccessful.

Efraim Zuroff, the lead Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, said that based on his decades of experience pursuing Nazi war criminals, he expects that the evidence showing Karkoc lied to American officials and that his unit carried out atrocities is strong enough for deportation and war-crimes prosecution in Germany or Poland.

"In America this is a relatively easy case: If he was the commander of a unit that carried out atrocities, that's a no brainer," Zuroff said. "Even in Germany ... if the guy was the commander of the unit, then even if they can't show he personally pulled the trigger, he bears responsibility."

Former German army officer Josef Scheungraber -- a lieutenant like Karkoc -- was convicted in Germany in 2009 on charges of murder based on circumstantial evidence that put him on the scene of a Nazi wartime massacre in Italy as the ranking officer.

German prosecutors are obligated to open an investigation if there is enough "initial suspicion" of possible involvement in war crimes, said Thomas Walther, a former prosecutor with the special German office that investigates Nazi war crimes.

The current deputy head of that office, Thomas Will, said there is no indication that Karkoc had ever been investigated by Germany. Based on the AP's evidence, he said he is now interested in gathering information that could possibly result in prosecution.

Prosecution in Poland may also be a possibility because most of the unit's alleged crimes were against Poles on Polish territory. But Karkoc would be unlikely to be tried in his native Ukraine, where such men are today largely seen as national heroes who fought for the country against the Soviet Union.

Karkoc now lives in a modest house in northeast Minneapolis in an area with a significant Ukrainian population. Even at his advanced age, he came to the door without help of a cane or a walker. He would not comment on his wartime service for Nazi Germany.

"I don't think I can explain," he said.

Members of his unit and other witnesses have told stories of brutal attacks on civilians.

One of Karkoc's men, Vasyl Malazhenski, told Soviet investigators that in 1944 the unit was directed to "liquidate all the residents" of the village of Chlaniow in a reprisal attack for the killing of a German SS officer, though he did not say who gave the order.

"It was all like a trance: setting the fires, the shooting, the destroying," Malazhenski recalled, according to the 1967 statement found by the AP in the archives of Warsaw's state-run Institute of National Remembrance, which investigates and prosecutes German and Soviet crimes on Poles during and after World War II.

"Later, when we were passing in file through the destroyed village," Malazhenski said, "I could see the dead bodies of the killed residents: men, women, children."

In a background check by U.S. officials on April 14, 1949, Karkoc said he had never performed any military service, telling investigators that he "worked for father until 1944. Worked in labor camp from 1944 until 1945."

However, in a Ukrainian-language memoir published in 1995, Karkoc states that he helped found the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1943 in collaboration with the Nazis' feared SS intelligence agency, the SD, to fight on the side of Germany -- and served as a company commander in the unit, which received orders directly from the SS, through the end of the war.

It was not clear why Karkoc felt safe publishing his memoir, which is available at the U.S. Library of Congress and the British Library and which the AP located online in an electronic Ukrainian libary.

Karkoc's name surfaced when a retired clinical pharmacologist who took up Nazi war crimes research in his free time came across it while looking into members of the SS Galician Division who emigrated to Britain. He tipped off AP when an Internet search showed an address for Karkoc in Minnesota.

"Here was a chance to publicly confront a man who commanded a company alleged to be involved in the cruel murder of innocent people," said Stephen Ankier, who is based in London.

The AP located Karkoc's U.S. Army intelligence file, and got it declassified by the National Archives in Maryland through a FOIA request. The Army was responsible for processing visa applications after the war under the Displaced Persons Act.

The intelligence file said standard background checks with seven different agencies found no red flags that would disqualify him from entering the United States. But it also noted that it lacked key information from the Soviet side: "Verification of identity and complete establishment of applicant's reliability is not possible due to the inaccessibility of records and geographic area of applicant's former residence."

Wartime documents located by the AP also confirm Karkoc's membership in the Self Defense Legion. They include a Nazi payroll sheet found in Polish archives, signed by an SS officer on Jan. 8, 1945 -- only four months before the war's end -- confirming that Karkoc was present in Krakow, Poland, to collect his salary as a member of the Self Defense Legion. Karkoc signed the document using Cyrillic letters.

Karkoc, an ethnic Ukrainian, was born in the city of Lutsk in 1919, according to details he provided American officials. At the time, the area was being fought over by Ukraine, Poland and others; it ended up part of Poland until World War II. Several wartime Nazi documents note the same birth date, but say he was born in Horodok, a town in the same region.
Larger view
Recalling the Nazi offensive

He joined the regular German army after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and fought on the Eastern Front in Ukraine and Russia, according to his memoirs, which say he was awarded an Iron Cross, a Nazi award for bravery.

He was also a member of the Ukrainian nationalist organization OUN; in 1943, he helped negotiate with the Nazis to have men drawn from its membership form the Self Defense Legion, according to his account. Initially small, it eventually numbered some 600 soldiers. The legion was dissolved and folded into the SS Galician Division in 1945; Karkoc wrote that he remained with it until the end of the war.

Policy at the time of Karkoc's immigration application -- according to a declassified secret U.S. government document obtained by the AP from the National Archives -- was to deny a visa to anyone who had served in either the SS Galician Division or the OUN. The U.S. does not typically have jurisdiction to prosecute Nazi war crimes but has won more than 100 "denaturalization and removal actions" against people suspected of them.

Department of Justice spokesman Michael Passman would not comment on whether Karkoc had ever come to the department's attention, citing a policy not to confirm or deny the existence of investigations.

Though Karkoc talks in his memoirs about fighting anti-Nazi Polish resistance fighters, he makes no mention of attacks on civilians. He does indicate he was with his company in the summer of 1944 when the Self Defense Legion's commander -- Siegfried Assmuss, whose SS rank was equivalent to major -- was killed.

He did not mention the retaliatory massacre that followed, which was described in detail by Malazhenski in his 1967 statement used to help convict platoon leader Teodozy Dak of war crimes in Poland in 1972. An SS administrative list obtained by AP shows that Karkoc commanded both Malazhenski and Dak, who died in prison in 1974.

Malazhenski said the Ukrainian unit was ordered to liquidate Chlaniow in reprisal for Assmuss' death, and moved in the next day, machine-gunning people and torching homes. More than 40 people died.

"The village was on fire," Malazhenski said.

Villagers offered chilling testimony about the brutality of the attack.

In 1948, Chlaniow villager Stanislawa Lipska told a communist-era commission that she heard shots at about 7 a.m., then saw "the Ukrainian SS force" entering the town, calling out in Ukrainian and Polish for people to come out of their homes.

"The Ukrainians were setting fire to the buildings," Lipska said in a statement, also used in the Dak trial. "You could hear machine-gun shots and grenade explosions. Shots could be heard inside the village and on the outskirts. They were making sure no one escaped."

Witness statements and other documentation also link the unit circumstantially to a 1943 massacre in Pidhaitsi, on the outskirts of Lutsk --today part of Ukraine -- where the Self Defense Legion was once based. A total of 21 villagers, mostly women and children, were slaughtered.

Karkoc says in his memoir that his unit was founded and headquartered there in 1943 and later mentions that Pidhaitsi was still the unit's base in January 1944.

Another legion member, Kost Hirniak, said in his own 1977 memoir that the unit, while away on a mission, was suddenly ordered back to Pidhaitsi after a German soldier was killed in the area; it arrived on Dec. 2, 1943.

The next day, though Hirniak does not mention it, nearly two dozen civilians, primarily women and children, were slaughtered in Pidhaitsi. There is no indication any other units were in the area at the time.

Heorhiy Syvyi was a 9-year-old boy when troops swarmed into town on Dec. 3 and managed to flee with his father and hide in a shelter covered with branches. His mother and 4-year-old brother were killed.

"When we came out we saw the smoldering ashes of the burned house and our neighbors searching for the dead. My mother had my brother clasped to her chest. This is how she was found -- black and burned," said Syvyi, 78, sitting on a bench outside his home.

Villagers today blame the attack generically on "the Nazis" -- something that experts say is not unusual in Ukraine because of the exalted status former Ukrainian nationalist troops enjoy.

However, Pidhaitsi schoolteacher Galyna Sydorchuk told the AP that "there is a version" of the story in the village that the Ukrainian troops were involved in the December massacre.

"There were many in Pidhaitsi who were involved in the Self Defense Legion," she said. "But they obviously keep it secret."

Ivan Katchanovski, a Ukrainian political scientist who has done extensive research on the Self Defense Legion, said its members have been careful to cultivate the myth that their service to Nazi Germany was solely a fight against Soviet communism. But he said its actions -- fighting partisans and reprisal attacks on civilians -- tell a different story.

"Under the pretext of anti-partisan action they acted as a kind of police unit to suppress and kill or punish the local populations. This became their main mission," said Katchanovski, who went to high school in Pidhaitsi and now teaches at the University of Ottawa in Canada. "There is evidence of clashes with Polish partisans, but most of their clashes were small, and their most visible actions were mass killings of civilians."

There is evidence that the unit took part in the brutal suppression of the Warsaw Uprising, fighting the nationalist Polish Home Army as it sought to rid the city of its Nazi occupiers and take control of the city ahead of the advancing Soviet Army.

The uprising, which started in August 1944, was put down by the Nazis by the beginning of October in a house-to-house fight characterized by its ferocity.

The Self Defense Legion's exact role is not known, but Nazi documents indicate that Karkoc and his unit were there.

An SS payroll document, dated Oct. 12, 1944, says 10 members of the Self Defense Legion "fell while deployed to Warsaw" and more than 30 others were injured. Karkoc is listed as the highest-ranking commander of 2 Company -- a lieutenant -- on a pay sheet that also lists Dak as one of his officers.

Another Nazi accounting document uncovered by the AP in the Polish National Archives in Krakow lists Karkoc by name -- including his rank, birthdate and hometown -- as one of 219 "members of the S.M.d.S.-Batl 31 who were in Warsaw," using the German abbreviation for the Self Defense Legion.

In early 1945, the Self Defense Legion was integrated into the SS Galicia Division, and Karkoc said in his memoirs that he served as a deputy company commander until the end of the war.

Following the war, Karkoc ended up in a camp for displaced people in Neu Ulm, Germany, according to documents obtained from the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany. The documents indicate that his wife died in 1948, a year before he and their two young boys -- born in 1945 and 1946 -- emigrated to the U.S.

After he arrived in Minneapolis, he remarried and had four more children, the last born in 1966.

Karkoc told American officials he was a carpenter, and records indicate he worked for a nationwide construction company that has an office in Minneapolis.

A longtime member of the Ukrainian National Association, Karkoc has been closely involved in community affairs over the past decades and was identified in a 2002 article in a Ukrainian-American publication as a "longtime UNA activist."

THURSDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for medicine, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that human genes cannot be patented.

The ruling could be a blow to drug companies such as Myriad Genetics, whose effort to patent an isolated form of a gene that might foretell cancer risk was at the center of the case. The high court decided that, unlike drugs or medical devices, human genes are not "created" by companies and therefore cannot be patented, USA Today reported.

"Myriad did not create anything," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the unanimous decision. "To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention."

Still, the justices did say that Myriad or companies like it might be able to patent forms of DNA that were not simply extracted from genes taken from the human body.

According to USA Today, the judges' nine-to-zero decision was in line with past decisions that have ruled that forces of nature are not patent-eligible, while products of human invention are.

The decision may have a profound impact on the bottom line of companies that sell genetic tests. According to USA Today, more than 40,000 patents linked to genetic material have been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 1984. Myriad's gene tests for breast and ovarian cancer risk have been used by almost 1 million women since the late 1990s.

But the newspaper noted that these tests aren't cheap: it costs $3,340 for the breast cancer gene analysis, for example.

As is usual in cases over patents, Myriad and industry representatives have long argued that losing patent protection would lead to less investment in research and development.

On the other side, doctors and patient advocacy groups say loss of patent protection for gene-based products would free up competition, drive prices down and lead to more research and development, not less.

In a statement released earlier this week, the National Society of Genetic Counselors, argued against the patenting of genes.

"Exclusive licenses on patents create barriers that could stifle the development of innovative tests by restricting the access of researchers to gene sequences," the group said, "or requiring researchers to pay exorbitant licensure costs that will ultimately be passed on to the consumer."

An advocacy group for patients with ovarian cancer agreed.

"Many women we work with are concerned about their genetic risk of developing ovarian cancer, especially in the wake of Angelina's Jolie's announcement that she carries the BRCA1 mutation," Calaneet Balas, CEO of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, said in a statement. "Myriad's patent limited women's options for learning about their genetic risk."

The Supreme Court agreed that a gene is a preexisting entity that is not subject to patent.

"In isolation, it has no value, it's just nature sitting there," Justice Sonia Sotamayor said, USA Today reported.

Spamalot / my kickball team won 11-0 yesterday
« on: June 13, 2013, 04:42:11 PM »
suck it, other team

Spamalot / what should i do in these states?
« on: June 09, 2013, 06:12:43 PM »
Taking a cross-country road trip in August:


(Arkansas? I didn't build the itinerary but I assume we're not teleporting to TX)

Texas (deemphasis on this one due to one traveller having lived here a while, tho we'll be in Austin & Big Bend)

New Mexico

Arizona (Grand Canyon but what else?)

Utah (we are going to Zion National Park if it kills me)

Colorado (Boulder specifically. I want to visit UC@Boulder's comp neuro program :smitten: :smitten:)

(intermediate state?)

South Dakota


(still more intermediate states..)


WVA & back to VA


An argument gildis made a while back, w/ some research teeth behind it:

Is the Federal Reserve a driving force behind the post-recession growth in inequality? It’s a provocative idea, voiced by writers including Neil Irwin and Robert Frank.

It is certainly true that inequality, in terms of both income and wealth, has widened since the recession. A study by the lauded economist Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, found that the top 1 percent of earners have accounted for all of the income gains in the first two full years of the recovery. Their incomes have climbed about 11.2 percent. The incomes of the 99 percent have declined by about 0.4 percent.

Those patterns repeat when looking at measures of wealth, meaning the value of a family’s assets, like its house and savings account, minus the value of its debts, like mortgages and credit card balances. A recent report from the Pew Research Center found that the wealth of the richest 7 percent of households climbed about 28 percent from 2009 to 2011. For the remaining 93 percent, average wealth dropped about 4 percent.

The Federal Reserve has been a major force propping up economic growth, even as Washington has started to slash the federal deficit and as droughts and debt crises abroad have taken their toll. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco estimated that the Fed’s aggressive policies have shaved 1.5 percentage points off the unemployment rate and have more broadly aided growth.

So if the Fed has been propping up the economy, has it also been propping up inequality? The argument would go something like this:

First, many financial experts consider the Fed’s policies a driving force behind the surge in the stock market. Since the depths of the crisis, the Dow Jones industrial average has more than doubled, increasing about 16 percent this year alone. Such gains have helped to lift the earnings and the net worth of the half of Americans who own stocks. But the wealthy have benefited disproportionately. According to recent research by the New York University economist Edward Wolff, the richest 10 percent of households own more than 81 percent of stocks, as measured by value.

A second factor is the rebound in the housing market, aided by the Federal Reserve’s purchase of about $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities every month. The effort has helped push down mortgage rates and make it cheaper for millions of families to buy a house or to free up some cash by refinancing. But because of tight credit standards, that windfall has mostly gone to the rich – families that meet the standards to refinance, and investors with enough cash to buy.

Looking at those two factors, there’s a strong argument that the Fed stands behind growth in inequality, particularly when it comes to wealth. But the picture is murkier when it comes to income. And experts sounded a note of caution about trying to work out the distributional effect that the central bank’s policies might be having more generally.

“I don’t think we know that much about it,” said Josh Bivens, an economist at the left-of-center Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based research group. “It would be interesting to have a really determined academic look at the effect on all these asset groups and try to figure it out from there.”

Even if the Fed had stoked some wealth inequality through the stock and housing markets, he said, that would not be the full picture. How much did the Fed’s policies account for the housing turnaround, or the stock-price rebound? That would be hard to say. In the case of the stock markets, corporate earnings seemed the main factor, Mr. Bivens said.

Moreover, the fuller picture would need to take into account how the Federal Reserve might have eased earnings inequality by reducing unemployment. “High unemployment is much more destructive to wage growth for low-income workers than for high-income workers,” Mr. Bivens said. “The Fed might have done quite a bit to keep wages from falling even further at the low end.”

Other experts said they thought the Fed might have reduced inequality, if anything, and that one way or another it would be difficult to tell. “The effect is going to be at the margin if it is there at all,” said Joseph E. Gagnon, a former Fed official now at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “It’s kind of a silly question to ask, though. It’s relevant to talk about international trade. It’s relevant to talk about technology. It’s relevant to talk about regulation. Monetary policy seems far down the list.”

One piece of analytical evidence that the Fed might be stoking inequality comes from the Bank of England. That central bank also undertook an aggressive round of asset purchases, and a report released last year found it helped the economy over all – but the rich much more than the poor.

Still, it described those distributional effects as unavoidable, and worth it in the long run. “Without the bank’s asset purchases, most people in the United Kingdom would have been worse off,” the report said. “Economic growth would have been lower. Unemployment would have been higher. More companies would have gone out of business. That would have had a detrimental impact on savers and pensioners along with every other group in our society.”

One way or another, it is a subject the Federal Reserve itself might have some interest in. Speaking at a conference in New York in April, Sarah Bloom Raskin, a Federal Reserve governor, posed the question of whether “inequality itself is undermining our country’s economic strength.” Her answer was an unequivocal yes. “I am persuaded that because of how hard these lower- and middle-income households were hit, the recession was worse and the recovery has been weaker,” she said.

“It is not part of the Federal Reserve’s mandate to address inequality directly,” she added, “but I want to explore these issues today because the answers may have implications for the Federal Reserve’s efforts to understand the recession and conduct policy in a way that contributes to a stronger pace of recovery.”

A jury in Bexar County, Texas just acquitted Ezekiel Gilbert of charges that he murdered a 23-year-old Craigslist escort—agreeing that because he was attempting to retrieve the $150 he'd paid to Frago, who wouldn't have sex with him, his actions were justified.

Gilbert had admitted to shooting Lenora Ivie Frago in the neck on Christmas Eve 2009, when she accepted $150 from Gilbert and left his home without having sex with him. Frago, who was paralyzed by the shooting, died several months later.

Gilbert's defense argued that the shooting wasn't meant to kill, and that Gilbert's actions were justified, because he believed that sex was included as part of the fee. Texas law allows people "to use deadly force to recover property during a nighttime theft."

The 30-year-old hugged his defense attorneys after the "not guilty" verdict was read by the judge. If convicted, he could have faced life in prison. He thanked God, his lawyers, and the jury for being able to "see what wasn't the truth."

Greater Faydork / Telekinetic Helicopters Update (video)
« on: June 06, 2013, 10:41:37 AM »
Video Link

A remote controlled helicopter has been flown through a series of hoops around a college gymnasium in Minnesota.

It sounds like your everyday student project; however, there is one caveat -- the helicopter was controlled using just the power of thought.

The experiments have been performed by researchers hoping to develop future robots that can help restore the autonomy of paralysed victims or those suffering from neurodegenerative disorders.

There were five subjects (three female, two male) who took part in the study and each one was able to successfully control the four-blade helicopter, also known as a quadcopter, quickly and accurately for a sustained amount of time.

Lead author of the study Professor Bin He, from the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering, said: "Our study shows that for the first time, humans are able to control the flight of flying robots using just their thoughts, sensed from noninvasive brain waves."

The noninvasive technique used was electroencephalography (EEG), which recorded the electrical activity of the subjects' brain through a cap fitted with 64 electrodes.

Facing away from the quadcopter, the subjects were asked to imagine using their right hand, left hand, and both hands together; this would instruct the quadcopter to turn right, left, lift, and then fall, respectively. The quadcopter was driven with a pre-set forward moving velocity and controlled through the sky with the subject's thoughts.

The subjects were positioned in front of a screen which relayed images of the quadcopter's flight through an on-board camera, allowing them to see which direction it was travelling in. Brain signals were recorded by the cap and sent to the quadcopter over WiFi.

"In previous work we showed that humans could control a virtual helicopter using just their thoughts. I initially intended to use a small helicopter for this real-life study; however, the quadcopter is more stable, smooth and has fewer safety concerns," continued Professor He.

After several different training sessions, the subjects were required to fly the quadcopter through two foam rings suspended from the gymnasium ceiling and were scored on three aspects: the number of times they sent the quadcopter through the rings; the number of times the quadcopter collided with the rings; and the number of times they went outside the experiment boundary.

A number of statistical tests were used to calculate how each subject performed.

A group of subjects also directed the quadcopter with a keyboard in a control experiment, allowing for a comparison between a standardised method and brain control.

This process is just one example of a brain-computer interface where a direct pathway between the brain and an external device is created to help assist, augment or repair human cognitive or sensory-motor functions; researchers are currently looking at ways to restore hearing, sight and movement using this approach.

"Our next goal is to control robotic arms using noninvasive brain wave signals, with the eventual goal of developing brain-computer interfaces that aid patients with disabilities or neurodegenerative disorders," continued Professor He.

Their study has been published today, 5 June 2013, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Neural Engineering and is accompanied by a video of the helicopter control in action

Article Link

Greater Faydork / My Favorite Hiking* Pic's
« on: June 03, 2013, 02:09:46 AM »
Or *walking, as taket's ignorant flat-ass Floridian bitch cunt douche anal taint tit-shit taint-rug calls it.

EDIT: I'm not resizing this shit for your lazy ass. Click to expand it, then right click and hit "View Image." Kthx.

Greater Faydork / HOODIES 2013: UM what the F**** UTUMNO
« on: June 03, 2013, 01:58:33 AM »
Intentionally added that last asterisk y'all.

Why is the Hoodies thread closed? I believe I said I *wanted* a second hoodie, you little (fat? shrug) person bitch whore cunt rapist serial killer of black asian latino people in labor specifically. You are awful and your appearance of not caring about other people has reached levels scientists in this clearly scientific area previously knew no bounds regarding.

Anyway give me a fucking second hoodie. I will pay money-cash for it.

Greater Faydork / What is happening in Istanbul?
« on: June 02, 2013, 10:23:47 PM »

To my friends who live outside of Turkey:

I am writing to let you know what is going on in Istanbul for the last five days. I personally have to write this because most of the media sources are shut down by the government and the word of mouth and the internet are the only ways left for us to explain ourselves and call for help and support.

Four days ago a group of people who did not belong to any specific organization or ideology got together in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Among them there were many of my friends and students.  Their reason was simple: To prevent and protest the upcoming demolishing of the park for the sake of building yet another shopping mall at very center of the city. There are numerous shopping malls in Istanbul, at least one in every neighborhood! The tearing down of the trees was supposed to begin early Thursday morning. People went to the park with their blankets, books and children. They put their tents down and spent the night under the trees.  Early in the morning when the bulldozers started to pull the hundred-year-old trees out of the ground, they stood up against them to stop the operation.

They did nothing other than standing in front of the machines.

No newspaper, no television channel was there to report the protest. It was a complete media black out.

But the police arrived with water cannon vehicles and pepper spray.  They chased the crowds out of the park.

In the evening the number of protesters multiplied. So did the number of police forces around the park. Meanwhile local government of Istanbul shut down all the ways leading up to Taksim square where the Gezi Park is located. The metro was shut down, ferries were cancelled, roads were blocked.

Yet more and more people made their way up to the center of the city by walking.

They came from all around Istanbul. They came from all different backgrounds, different ideologies, different religions. They all gathered to prevent the demolition of something bigger than the park:

The right to live as honorable citizens of this country.

They gathered and marched. Police chased them with pepper spray and tear gas and drove their tanks over people who offered the police food in return. Two young people were run over by the tanks and were killed. Another young woman, a friend of mine, was hit in the head by one of the incoming tear gas canisters. The police were shooting them straight into the crowd.  After a three hour operation she is still in Intensive Care Unit and in  very critical condition. As I write this we don’t know if she is going to make it. This blog is dedicated to her.

These people are my friends. They are my students, my relatives. They have no «hidden agenda» as the state likes to say. Their agenda is out there. It is very clear. The whole country is being sold to corporations by the government, for the construction of malls, luxury condominiums, freeways, dams and nuclear plants. The government is looking for (and creating when necessary) any excuse to attack Syria against its people’s will.

On top of all that, the government control over its people’s personal lives has become unbearable as of late. The state, under its conservative agenda passed many laws and regulations concerning abortion, cesarean birth, sale and use of alcohol and even the color of lipstick worn by the airline stewardesses.

People who are marching to the center of Istanbul are demanding their right to live freely and receive justice, protection and respect from the State. They demand to be involved in the decision-making processes about the city they live in.

What they have received instead is excessive force and enormous amounts of tear gas shot straight into their faces. Three people lost their eyes.

Yet they still march. Hundred of thousands join them. Couple of more thousand passed the Bosporus Bridge on foot to support the people of Taksim.

No newspaper or TV channel was there to report the events. They were busy with broadcasting news about Miss Turkey and “the strangest cat of the world”.

Police kept chasing people and spraying them with pepper spray to an extent that stray dogs and cats were poisoned and died by it.

Schools, hospitals and even 5 star hotels around Taksim Square opened their doors to the injured. Doctors filled the classrooms and hotel rooms to provide first aid. Some police officers refused to spray innocent people with tear gas and quit their jobs. Around the square they placed jammers to prevent internet connection and 3g networks were blocked. Residents and businesses in the area provided free wireless network for the people on the streets. Restaurants offered food and water for free.

People in Ankara and İzmir gathered on the streets to support the resistance in Istanbul.

Mainstream media kept showing Miss Turkey and “the strangest cat of the world”.


I am writing this letter so that you know what is going on in Istanbul. Mass media will not tell you any of this. Not in my country at least. Please post as many as articles as you see on the Internet and spread the word.

As I was posting articles that explained what is happening in Istanbul on my Facebook page last night someone asked me the following question:

«What are you hoping to gain by complaining about our country to foreigners?»

This blog is my answer to her.

By so called «complaining» about my country I am hoping to gain:

Freedom of expression and speech,

Respect for human rights,

Control over the decisions I make concerning my on my body,

The right to legally congregate in any part of the city without being considered a terrorist.

But most of all by spreading the word to you, my friends who live in other parts of the world, I am hoping to get your awareness, support and help!

Please spread the word and share this blog.

Thank you!

For futher info and things you can do for help please see Amnesty International’s Call for Urgent Help

Though marijuana is a well-known recreational drug, extensive scientific research has been conducted on the therapeutic properties of marijuana in the last decade. Medical cannabis is often used by sufferers of chronic ailments, including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, to combat pain, insomnia, lack of appetite, and other symptoms.

Now Prof. Yosef Sarne of Tel Aviv University's Adelson Center for the Biology of Addictive Diseases at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine says that the drug has neuroprotective qualities as well. He has found that extremely low doses of THC -- the psychoactive component of marijuana -- protects the brain from long-term cognitive damage in the wake of injury from hypoxia (lack of oxygen), seizures, or toxic drugs. Brain damage can have consequences ranging from mild cognitive deficits to severe neurological damage.

Previous studies focused on injecting high doses of THC within a very short time frame -- approximately 30 minutes -- before or after injury. Prof. Sarne's current research, published in the journals Behavioural Brain Research and Experimental Brain Research, demonstrates that even extremely low doses of THC -- around 1,000 to 10,000 times less than that in a conventional marijuana cigarette -- administered over a wide window of 1 to 7 days before or 1 to 3 days after injury can jumpstart biochemical processes which protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function over time.

This treatment, especially in light of the long time frame for administration and the low dosage, could be applicable to many cases of brain injury and be safer over time, Prof. Sarne says.

Conditioning the brain

While performing experiments on the biology of cannabis, Prof. Sarne and his fellow researchers discovered that low doses of the drug had a big impact on cell signalling, preventing cell death and promoting growth factors. This finding led to a series of experiments designed to test the neuroprotective ability of THC in response to various brain injuries.

In the lab, the researchers injected mice with a single low dose of THC either before or after exposing them to brain trauma. A control group of mice sustained brain injury but did not receive the THC treatment. When the mice were examined 3 to 7 weeks after initial injury, recipients of the THC treatment performed better in behavioral tests measuring learning and memory. Additionally, biochemical studies showed heightened amounts of neuroprotective chemicals in the treatment group compared to the control group.

The use of THC can prevent long-term cognitive damage that results from brain injury, the researchers conclude. One explanation for this effect is pre- and post-conditioning, whereby the drug causes minute damage to the brain to build resistance and trigger protective measures in the face of much more severe injury, explains Prof. Sarne. The low dosage of THC is crucial to initiating this process without causing too much initial damage.

Preventative and long-term use

According to Prof. Sarne, there are several practical benefits to this treatment plan. Due to the long therapeutic time window, this treatment can be used not only to treat injury after the fact, but also to prevent injury that might occur in the future. For example, cardiopulmonary heart-lung machines used in open heart surgery carry the risk of interrupting the blood supply to the brain, and the drug can be delivered beforehand as a preventive measure. In addition, the low dosage makes it safe for regular use in patients at constant risk of brain injury, such as epileptics or people at a high risk of heart attack.

Prof. Sarne is now working in collaboration with Prof. Edith Hochhauser of the Rabin Medical Center to test the ability of low doses of THC to prevent damage to the heart. Preliminary results indicate that they will find the same protective phenomenon in relation to cardiac ischemia, in which the heart muscle receives insufficient blood flow.

Appearing on a Fox Business panel Wednesday evening, Fox contributor Erick Erickson suggested it is “anti-science” to reject the biological claim that men should be in the “dominant” role in the nuclear family.

This particular panel segment of Lou Dobbs Tonight took on a recent Pew study claiming that mothers are now the primary source of income in 40 percent of American households. Dobbs characterized the findings as “troubling” while panelist Juan Williams asserted that it indicates “something going terribly wrong in American society.”

Erickson added to that by suggesting female breadwinners are antithetical to biology:

    “I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology — when you look at the natural world — the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complementary role.”

He continued on to lament that “We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complementary relationships in nuclear families, and it is tearing us apart.”

He concluded: “Having mom as primary bread winner is bad for kids and bad for marriage.”

video behind the link

Spamalot / 1/2 of Americans below or just above Poverty Line
« on: May 30, 2013, 03:35:10 PM »
The Census Bureau has reported that 15% of Americans live in poverty. A shocking figure. But it’s actually much worse. Inequality is spreading like a shadowy disease through our country, infecting more and more households, and leaving a shrinking number of financially secure families to maintain the charade of prosperity.

1. Almost half of Americans had NO assets in 2009

Analysis of  Economic Policy Institute data shows that Mitt Romney’s famous  47 percent, the alleged ‘takers,’ have taken nothing. Their debt exceeded their assets in 2009.

2. It’s Even Worse 3 Years Later

Since the recession, the disparities have continued to grow. An  OECD report states that “inequality has increased by more over the past three years to the end of 2010 than in the previous twelve,” with the U.S. experiencing one of the widest gaps among OECD countries. The 30-year  decline in wages has worsened since the recession, as low-wage jobs have replaced formerly secure middle-income positions.

3. Based on wage figures, half of Americans are in or near poverty.

The IRS reports that the highest wage in the bottom half of earners is about $34,000. To be eligible for food assistance, a family can earn up to  130% of the federal  poverty line, or about $30,000 for a family of four.

Even the Census Bureau recognizes that its own  figures under-represent the number of people in poverty. Its  Supplemental Poverty Measure increases, by 50%, the number of Americans who earn between one-half and two times the poverty threshold.

4. Based on household expense totals, poverty is creeping into the top half of America.

A family in the top half, making $60,000 per year, will have their income reduced by a total tax bill of about $15,000 ($3,000 for  federal income tax and $12,000 for  payroll, state, and local taxes. The  Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau agree that food, housing, and transportation expenses will deduct another $30,000, and that total household expenditures will be about $50,000. That leaves nothing.

Nothing, that is, except debt. The median  debt level rose to $75,600 in 2009, while the median family  net worth, according to the Federal Reserve, dropped from $126,400 in 2007 to $77,300 in 2010.

5. Putting it in Perspective

Inequality is at its ugliest for the hungriest people. While food support was being targeted for  cuts, just  20 rich Americans made as much from their 2012 investments as the entire  2012 SNAP (food assistance) budget, which serves 47 million people.

And as Congress continues to cut life-sustaining programs, its members should note that their 400 friends on the  Forbes list made more from their stock market gains last year than the total amount of the  food, housing, and education budgets combined.

Arguments about poverty won’t end. Neither should our efforts to uncover the awful truth.

If you are physically strong, social science scholars believe they can predict whether or not you are more conservative than other men.

This might seem obvious. Fitness takes a lot of individual initiative, the government can do all of the outreach programs and legislate all of the soda cups they want, but it won't make people exercise. Super-fit people have to be conservative when it comes to their own exercise, even if they are liberal about money.

Michael Bang Petersen, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Government at Aarhus University, and evolutionary psychology colleagues at UC Santa Barbara say the strength/politics connection is due to evolution, which is sure to annoy biologists.

Men's upper-body strength predicts their political opinions on economic redistribution, they write, and they believe that the link may reflect psychological traits that evolved in response to our early ancestral environments and continue to influence behavior today.

"While many think of politics as a modern phenomenon, it has — in a sense — always been with our species," says Petersen. Few people would argue that politics has not always been with us, and we have always evolved. They must be linked?

In the days of our early ancestors, they say, decisions about the distribution of resources weren't made in courthouses or legislative offices, but through shows of strength. With this in mind, the scholars hypothesized that upper-body strength — a proxy for the ability to physically defend or acquire resources — would predict men's opinions about economic redistribution.

So they surveyed hundred of people in America, Denmark and Argentina about bicep size, socioeconomic status, and support for economic redistribution. Their belief was that since bicep size as a proxy for upper body strength is irrelevant to payoffs from economic policies in modern mass democracies - might no longer makes right - anyone who wants to be strong is likely to have political decision making shaped by an evolved psychology designed for small-scale groups.

In line with their hypotheses, the data revealed that wealthy men with big biceps were less likely to support redistribution, while less wealthy men of the same strength were more likely to support it. In other words, richer men with big biceps supported lower taxes while poorer men with big biceps wanted higher taxes - on the rich. But men with tiny biceps were less adamant on both sides, they weren't as fanatical about socialism or capitalism.

"Despite the fact that the United States, Denmark and Argentina have very different welfare systems, we still see that — at the psychological level — individuals reason about welfare redistribution in the same way," says Petersen. "In all three countries, physically strong males consistently pursue the self-interested position on redistribution.

"Our results demonstrate that physically weak males are more reluctant than physically strong males to assert their self-interest — just as if disputes over national policies were a matter of direct physical confrontation among small numbers of individuals, rather than abstract electoral dynamics among millions."

No link was found between upper-body strength and redistribution opinions among women. Petersen argues that this is likely due to the fact that, over the course of evolutionary history, women had less to gain, and also more to lose, from engaging in direct physical aggression.

Whereas some biologists think nothing in biology has functions, evolutionary psychologists (and at least one political scientist and criminologist) believe everything in culture, psychology and decision-making is predetermined by inheritance. The psychology and political science scholars say the results indicate that an evolutionary perspective may help to illuminate political motivations, at least those of men.

"Many previous studies have shown that people's political views cannot be predicted by standard economic models," Petersen explains. "This is among the first studies to show that political views may be rational in another sense, in that they're designed by natural selection to function in the conditions recurrent over human evolutionary history."

So Republicans shouldn't be conducting voter registrations outside the IRS office, like they do now, they should be doing them outside the gym.


A robot in Cornell's Personal Robotics Lab has learned to foresee human action in order to step in and offer a helping hand, or more accurately, roll in and offer a helping claw.
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Understanding when and where to pour a beer or knowing when to offer assistance opening a refrigerator door can be difficult for a robot because of the many variables it encounters while assessing the situation. A team from Cornell has created a solution.

Gazing intently with a Microsoft Kinect 3-D camera and using a database of 3D videos, the Cornell robot identifies the activities it sees, considers what uses are possible with the objects in the scene and determines how those uses fit with the activities. It then generates a set of possible continuations into the future -- such as eating, drinking, cleaning, putting away -- and finally chooses the most probable. As the action continues, the robot constantly updates and refines its predictions.

"We extract the general principles of how people behave," said Ashutosh Saxena, Cornell professor of computer science and co-author of a new study tied to the research. "Drinking coffee is a big activity, but there are several parts to it." The robot builds a "vocabulary" of such small parts that it can put together in various ways to recognize a variety of big activities, he explained.

Saxena will join Cornell graduate student Hema S. Koppula as they present their research at the International Conference of Machine Learning, June 18-21 in Atlanta, and the Robotics: Science and Systems conference June 24-28 in Berlin, Germany.

In tests, the robot made correct predictions 82 percent of the time when looking one second into the future, 71 percent correct for three seconds and 57 percent correct for 10 seconds.

"Even though humans are predictable, they are only predictable part of the time," Saxena said. "The future would be to figure out how the robot plans its action. Right now we are almost hard-coding the responses, but there should be a way for the robot to learn how to respond."

The research was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office, the Alfred E. Sloan Foundation and Microsoft.


Entanglement is a property in quantum mechanics that seemed so unbelievable and so lacking in detail that, 66 years ago this spring, Einstein called it "spooky action at a distance."
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But a mathematician at Case Western Reserve University and two of his recent PhD graduates show entanglement is actually prevalent in large quantum systems and have identified the threshold at which it occurs.

The finding holds promise for the ongoing push to understand and take advantage of the property. If harnessed, entanglement could yield super high-speed communications, hack-proof encryptions and quantum computers so fast and powerful they would make today's supercomputers look like adding machines in comparison.

The mathematicians don't tell us how entanglement works, but were able to put parameters on the property by combining math concepts developed for a number of different applications during the last five decades. In a nutshell, the researchers connected the math to properties of quantum mechanics -- the otherworldly rules that best apply to atomic and subatomic particles -- to describe physical reality.

"There have been indications that large subgroups within quantum systems are entangled," said Stanislaw Szarek, mathematics professor at Case Western Reserve and an author of the study. "Our contribution is to find out exactly when entanglement becomes ubiquitous."

Szarek worked with Guillaume Aubrun, assistant professor of mathematics at Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France, and Deping Ye, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. Their work is published online in the Early View section of Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics.

The behaviors of materials down at the level of atoms are often strange, but entanglement borders on our concepts of sorcery. For example, if two electrons spinning in opposite directions are entangled, when one changes direction, the other immediately changes, whether the electrons are side by side, across the room or at opposite ends of the universe.

Other particles, such as photons, atoms and molecules, can also become entangled, but taking advantage of the property requires more than a pair or handful.

Szarek, Aubrun and Ye focused on large quantum systems -- large groups of particles that have the potential for use in our world.

They found that, in systems in a random state, two subsystems that are each less than one-fifth of the whole are generally not entangled. Two subsystems that are each greater than one-fifth of the whole typically are entangled. In other words, in a system of 1,000 particles, two groups that are smaller than 200 each typically won't be entangled. Two groups larger than 200 each typically will.

Further, the research shows, "the change is abrupt when you reach the threshold of about 200," Szarek said.

The team also calculated the threshold for positive partial transpose, or PPT, a property related to entanglement. If the property is violated, entanglement is present.

"From these two perspectives, the calculations are very precise." Szarek said.

Harsh Mathur, a physics professor at Case Western Reserve whom Szarek consulted to better understand the science, said, "Their point is entanglement is hard to create from a small system, but much easier in a large system."

"And the thing that Einstein thought was so weird is the rule rather than the exception," Mathur added.

The researchers used mathematics where analysis, algebra and geometry meet, Szarek said. The math applies to hundreds, thousands or millions of dimensions.

"We put together several things from different parts of mathematics, like a puzzle, and adapted them," he said. "These are mathematical tools developed largely for aesthetical reasons, like music."

The ideas -- concepts developed in the 1970s and 1980s and more recently -- turned out to be relevant to the emerging quantum information science.

"We have found there is a way of computing and quantifying the concept of quantum physics and related it to some calculable mathematical quantities," Szarek continued. "We were able to identify features and further refine the description, which reduces the questions about the system to calculable and familiar looking mathematical quantities."

So, if entanglement is more common in large quantum systems, why aren't they being used already?

"In the every day world, it's hard to access or create large quantum mechanical systems to do meaningful quantum computations or for communications or other uses," Mathur said. "You have to keep them isolated or they decohere and behave in a classical manner. But this study gives some parameters to build on."

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