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20 years after NASA launched the Cassini probe toward Saturn, and 305 years after the death of its namesake, the bus-sized gadget is having the last moments of its mission. In a plunge into the atmosphere of the 5th planet, it will send a last batch of images, and will be no more. Just after 6:32 a.m. ET, Cassini will turn into a meteor, and burst to pieces.

Links for watching live:
mahnmut: (We're doooomed.)
[personal profile] mahnmut
Wow, now what do we do with the large ice cube - 1 trillion tons of it. Any suggestions?

Giant Iceberg Breaks Off Antarctica

I suggest that climate change deniers immediately run to Antarctica to stick this ice cube back into place! We can't allow this Chinese conspiracy to go on forever, right?
[identity profile]
Colorado: Hunter claims he was sexually assaulted by a sasquatch

Darrel Whitaker, from Glenwood Springs in Colorado, claims a sasquatch attacked him and attempted to rape him while he was walking in the woods.

When I regained consciousness, he had already torn my pants and was tearing through my underwear. I stabbed him in the shoulder with my hunting knife, and that made him run away.

Those damned horny Sasquatches and their damned huge hairy balls!
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Yes, there was an explosion targeting the team bus of German club Borussia Dortmund the other day, just before their game with AC Monaco in Dortmund for the Champions League quarter-final. One player (Spaniard Marc Bartra) sustained medium injuries.

There were various versions for the incident, one was an Islamist terrorist act (similarly, some matches were reportedly targeted at the Euro'16 in France); the other is that a left-wing faction of the Dortmund fans did this in revenge for the club's "soft" stance on racism and expressions of neo-Nazism by some Dortmund fans.

But whatever the case, the fans of both rivals in this Champions League encounter have amazed everybody with the absolutely outstanding way they reacted. It all started at the stands, where the stadium authorities announced that the game was going to be postponed for the following day due to the attack on the bus. The visiting French fans started chanting "Dortmund! Dortmund!" in support of their hosts.

Then it all got even better. Because the game was postponed for the next day, thousands of French fans would remain stranded in Germany without a place to stay. And the Dortmund fans responded in style. They initiated a #bedsforawayfans hashtag and opened their homes to the visiting fans. So, hundreds of strangers from another country who were supposed to be cheering a team that was going to try to defeat the local team, ended up being sheltered by the fans of their local rival.

Lots of friendships were created in the process. Tons of selfies were published on the social networks, showing fans of both sides having fun together.

The fact that Monaco beat Dortmund 3-2 on the next day, doesn't matter even one bit at this point. What matters is that the French and German people showed what football is really about: bringing people together. Terrorism cannot win.
[identity profile]
Fake human sacrifice filmed at Cern, with pranking scientists suspected

Spokeswoman at high temple of particle physics suggests ‘scientific users’ of the Geneva facility ‘let their humour go too far’ with staging of occult rite

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I think this is just brilliant. And the most priceless part? The way it riled up the conspiracy junkies. :-)
[identity profile]
...Without chasing imaginary digital... kittens? Teddy bears? Furries? Angry birds? Trolly-like... thingies?

Searching for Pokemon in Real Life - Pokemon GO is Nintendo's Latest Attempt to Get Us Active

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It was about time someone figured they could bring the selfie-, Facebook-, smartphone-obsessed folks of the new generation out of their stupor and on the street, and actually make them... you know, walk.
[identity profile]
Cosmic breakthrough: Physicists detect gravitational waves from violent black-hole merger

Scientists announced Thursday that they have succeeded in detecting gravitational waves from the violent merging of two black holes in deep space. The detection was hailed as a triumph for a controversial, exquisitely crafted, billion-dollar physics experiment and as confirmation of a key prediction of Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.

[identity profile]
Beware, Trump! He's coming for you!

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[identity profile]
First off, let's start with "an" historic news.

BBC: Polar bears have smelly feet

"Polar bears have smelly feet, scientists have discovered. Not just feet that are stinky because they are dirty, or unwashed. But feet that distribute scent, allowing the bears to leave chemical trails wherever they walk."

First response to this that I came across was like, "Hell, those scientists have spilled a billion and a half to land on some piece of icy rock out there in space, what's left for aimlessly splashing more cash on sniffing the smelly feet of polar bears!"

To that sort of "why spend money for stuff we don't need and don't care about right now" attitude, one Bill Nye had a very nice response. Well, WE DON'T KNOW YET! That's the point of the whole exercise. What we do know, though, is that there are areas of which we roughly know are where we could find potential for further future developments and discoveries if we pursue them in a meaningful way. Discoveries that oftern turn out to be something we never expected, but which, if past experience is any guide, tend to bring a tremendous chance of pushing the human civilization onto new levels of development.

It's the principle that matters )
[identity profile]
Sooo... my city of Plovdiv has become famous throughout the land with the weirdest lawsuit you've heard as of late...

A 40 year old poetess is suing a colleague for calling her "a maid" - and is set to win.

Albena Hinkova of Plovdiv proved her maidenhood in court through a specially appointed medical examination, Nova TV reported yesterday. The reason for the lawsuit was a remark that a poet by the name of Nikolay Slavov had dropped during a gathering of intellectuals here in Plovdiv. He had publicly expressed doubts in her maidenhood by referring to her with the words, "Look now, my darling maiden - although I rather doubt you're a maiden, but nevermind..."

This has been the 4th squabble between the two, and this time Miss Hinkova is determined to go to the very end. In the meantime, the whole lawsuit was turned into complete circus for the many amused spectators, and the judge could barely withhold his laughter in the court-room.

What's the reason for us not being able to have nice things )
[identity profile]
First, there was the claim that NASA had admitted the world would plunge in 6 days of total darkness.

NASA: Viral news on days of darkness in December is hoax

And then, there was the misunderstood characterization of a terrestrial quasi-satellite as Earth's "new moon".

Meet Earth’s new ‘moon’: Peculiar path of asteroid 2014 OL339 makes it look as if it’s orbiting our planet

Naturally, these were quickly taken by the sensationalist media, and blown out of proportion, with the respective amount of paranoia and conspiracy theory sprinkled around for a good taste.

Because that's how today's 24/7 news cycle really works.
[identity profile]
Every time a shooter pulls a gun nowadays and uses it with lethal force, donations to political organizations dedicated to restricting firearms in some way skyrocket. No one can blame the donors; they see an out-of-control situation and seek a means to staunch the bloodshed.

Here's the kicker, though: after each of these incidents, donations to the NRA and other pro-Second Amendment organizations also spikes. The reason is fairly simple. If the gun restriction crowd gets its way, the lifestyle of the gun rights crowd might well go away, no matter what positive benefit to society the restriction on guns might have. Which leads to the real split, as author Dan Baum puts it:

Data bout the effects of gun-control measures could be compared and contrasted. When it came to whether restrictive gun laws did good or did harm, reasonable people could disagree.

Finding reasonable people was the problem.

(Dan Baum, Gun Guys, Borzoi Books, 2013, p. 205.)

My point here is not to debate the rise or fall in gun-related violence, though, but to note that any rise in violence should be noted with equal focus. Which leads me to last Monday. )
[identity profile]
When last I shared, I noted that we in the United States have no liberal media bias, at least not when it comes to the mainstream, commercially-supported variety so dominant in our society. No sooner did I dare to mention this then the trickle of disclaimers dripped in. "Ah!," some deigned to note, "but look at these examples! Your thesis is therefore bunk!" And indeed, a link had helpfully collected the most egregious examples of pinko commie liberalism from broadcast and major print outlets.

I invite you to check them out. It won't take long; the examples run from September, 2009 to October 2013. All 13 examples.

And here we find a sampling error, exactly the same kind that failed to note the sudden extinction of ammonites following the Chicxulub asteroid impact that also killed the larger dinosaurs. Shall we sample more properly? )
[identity profile]
Whoever has made observation on the characters of nations will find it generally true that the manners of a nation, or of a party, can be better ascertained from the character of its press than from any other public circumstance.

-Thomas Paine

Once again, I tripped over a tired trope tossed like a caltrop on an online discussion, the myth that our main news reports are "liberal," aka that they lean to the political left. To be fair, this particular discussor provided a link to a study. All well and good.

Well and good, until you read the darned thing. )
[identity profile]
Last week, we got word of some crazy shenanigans happening in Salem, Massachusetts. Salem, home of the infamous witch trials of the late 1600s, has become more of a touristy place in modern times. During Halloween season in particular, the place is crazy. If you're ever in the area, it's worth a visit.

Just don't do what this guy did:

Here in Witch City, there has been a lot of talk recently about a New York man who paid a local psychic $16,800 to protect him from a curse.

Ah, New Yorkers. Not only are your baseball teams terrible, but apparently your people are super gullible, too. Salem residents, for the record, tend to be pretty live-and-let-live about this sort of thing:

One local witch says the problem is that there’s no such thing as a curse, and if you believe in them, that’s your curse. A local warlock says it doesn’t matter if you believe in curses or not — you can’t say with conviction that another person’s convictions are wrong.

Well, most residents, maybe:

And the Salem Police Department — well, they say none of that matters because the city ordinance clearly states that psychics can only forecast the future and read the past.

Curses are a strict no-no.


In an interview after the hearing, [Detective Sergeant James A.] Page made clear that he thought Fatima’s was defrauding people much like Internet scammers who prey on the elderly and weak. But while he said the department will continue to investigate Fatima’s, prosecuting them on criminal charges is extremely difficult because “people are embarrassed and they’re not going to come forward.”

If people believe in curses, why should we care? Should Salem? Is it not part of the overall experience, both touristy and otherwise?

You make the call!
[identity profile]

Save a critically endangered species by hunting it?

The Dallas Safari Club says it is preparing to auction off an opportunity to hunt an endangered black rhino in Namibia -- to benefit the Namibian government's Game Products Trust Fund.

Read more... )

Carter said he was concerned about how the auction is being perceived. The rhino that will be hunted will be an older, non-breeding male, he said.

The DSC has a stated mission of conservation, education and protecting hunters' rights.

The auction will occur during the group's annual convention, which will be held Jan. 9-12 at the Kay Bailey-Hutchison Dallas Convention Center.

Although this article previously stated that the DSC auction would benefit the Save the Rhino Trust, that nongovernmental organization is not involved with hunting or the auction.

"We are not responsible for hunting and we are not associated with hunting," the group said in a statement on its website. "Our job at Save the Rhino Trust is to save rhino, and that is exactly what we do every waking hour of our lives."

The group suggests that people concerned about the auction contact the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and its the Department of Parks and Wildlife.

Plagarized from this Texas Chili with Rhino sauce:

ETA: you know..some days posts just write themselves...

[identity profile]

You've probably come across this already in whatever daily news you choose to read.  So, I don't feel the need to post a link here.  This case will go down in our nation's history.  What it will go down as will vary by the person.  Me?  I think justice was shot and killed with this verdict, just like Trayvon.


Edit:  I've been told I need to write more about my opinion, and so I guess maybe I picked the wrong topic to do a post on because really, right now I am just shocked.  I do not have the fluidity of thought right now because I truly am just shocked.  I'm not sure if this qualifies as an opinion, but that is my current state at the moment.  I just can't...  I really can't.  A boy is dead and his killer gets to go free.  It's not like they just bumped into each other and got in a fight.  He was stalked and preyed upon, and his killer gets to go free.  I'm sorry, but I just can't.

To the mods:  I'm sorry if this isn't good enough and I wasted time in posting, but this is all I can do right now.

"A jury's acquittal of George Zimmerman in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin sparked waves of disappointment, from some of the nation's best-known civil rights leaders to the streets outside a Sanford, Fla., courthouse.

A clearly shaken NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said, "This is a heartbreaking moment. This will confirm for many that the only problem with the New South is it occupies the same time and space as the old South.""

Post your thoughts, as I know there are many.

[identity profile]
I recently banged out a post commenting on a news source I still (kinda) trust, National Public Radio involving the "hidden" disability benefits story. I called it a "great piece of investigative journalism" without considering the flaws in the story. Worse, I didn't consider what I myself have been noticing for years now, that private forces have infiltrated NPR (and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, NPR's parent organization which is connected to NPR) distorting the once excellent reporting as a result.

I here apologize to all who read that post of mine. I dropped the ball, and I am sorry. In my excitement over hearing former Pacific North West reporter Joffe-Walt, formerly of Tacoma's "public" station KPLU just an hour south and nestled in my parent's alma mater, I neglected to fact check her story. I blew it.

Though her points were often not completely inaccurate, they were presented in a misleading way that led listeners to some damning conclusions. Beyond the cut lie my angry corrections on what I feel is really important here. )
[identity profile]
I pulled down the previous post because of the amount of misinformation, including the significance of fingering people who are very clearly unequivocally innocent. While it was representative of the reporting of the time, I took the unilateral step of removing it for the sake of the people in question. I blame no one for reporting it as is, and I take any responsibility for any information/data lost in the previous post. Please do not go after anyone who had been reporting information as it came out overnight in that thread, please.

What we know so far is that the bombers appear to be Chechen, naturalized in the United States. One suspect is dead, another holed up somewhere in the Boston area. The city and surrounding suburbs are effectively shut down right now while the other bomber is at large. A third suspect has been mentioned who may be en route to New York, or may be on a train headed that way. has streaming video, NECN is probably the best local outfit if you have streams available. Consider this an open thread.
[identity profile]

[Insert gratuitous joke about Poles, Nazis, and fleeing to South America here. Go wild. Remember the punchline is always 'The Aristocrats'].

In any event the College of Cardinals has selected a new boss to replace the old boss. This man, Pope Francis, is unique for two reasons. First, he is I believe the first Pope from the Western hemisphere and to boot the first from the Southern Hemisphere. Second, he's also not picked a name with a litany of numbers after it. From what I understand this man is also a classical conservative whose views on theology aren't all that different from those of Benedict XVI. So what does this mean, do you think?

I think that anyone who expected Ratzinger to approve a more liberal successor was deluding themselves, but I do wonder how Francis will deal with the former Benedict XVI around to give him advice? It's like taking over Penn State football once Joe Paterno croaked.

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Talk Politics.
A place to discuss politics without egomaniacal mods


Divisive Rhetoric


"Favoring multiculturalism is something Westerners give a lot of lovely lip service to until they have to actually do it."

September 2017

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