24 July 2014

10,000 Palestinian protesters have marched on an Israeli checkpoint, sparking clashes with the military

The demonstration comes just hours after 15 men, women and children were killed and more than 200 injured when a school operated by the United Nations came under attack in Beit Hanoun.
The continuing fighting sparked a massive street protest in the West Bank, raising the possibility that Israel could face disturbances in areas where Palestinians and Israeli settlers often live in uncomfortable proximity to one another.

Reuven Rivlin: genocide was never this "affable"


Jerusalem (AFP) - Reuven Rivlin, who was sworn in on Thursday as Israel's 10th president, is a far-right hawk with a quirky sense of humour who is known as the guard-dog of democracy.
Popular and affable, 74-year-old "Ruby" Rivlin was a veteran member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightwing Likud party and a former parliament speaker.
He has made no secret of his vision of a Greater Israel encompassing all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
But during his tenure as speaker, he also earned a reputation as a fierce defender of democracy, winning him support from the left and even Israel's Arab minority.
Considered to be among the Likud's most hawkish members, Rivlin has never hidden his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state and is a staunch backer of Jewish settlements.
"Rivlin won't be the State of Israel's president, but Greater Israel's president," wrote commentator Ari Shavit in Haaretz newspaper about the largely ceremonial post.
"He will exploit the presidential institution to advance the West Bank settlement project, which he worships, and the one-state solution he believes in," he wrote.
Rivlin, a former military intelligence officer, was quoted in 2010 as saying he would "rather accept Palestinians as Israeli citizens than divide Israel and the West Bank in a future two-state peace solution".
He also opposed Israel's 2005 withdrawal of all settlers and troops from Gaza.
But his jocular approach, coupled with a determined stance on democratic and human rights, has won him plaudits and respect from across the political spectrum.
Indeed, it is his views on other issues that have garnered him support from the left and even the Arab minority, which makes up one fifth of Israel's population.

Twitter has too many Whites

Twitter disclosed the gender and ethnicity breakdown of its employees on Wednesday, less than a week after U.S. civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson called on the company to release its employee diversity information.
The data is more or less in line with that released earlier by the company’s Silicon Valley peers like Google, Facebook, Yahoo and LinkedIn, which showed that both women and blacks are a minority in their companies.
Silicon Valley tech companies have been under pressure to release their employee diversity data after Jackson initiated a campaign to highlight the underrepresentation of African-Americans in Silicon Valley companies, starting with a delegation in March to Hewlett-Packard’s annual meeting of shareholders.
Research shows that more diverse teams make better decisions, and companies with women in leadership roles produce better financial results, wrote Janet Van Huysse, Twitter’s vice president for diversity and inclusion in a blog post. She admitted that like its peers the company had “a lot of work to do.”
Men dominate Twitter’s worldwide workforce, accounting for 70 percent of all staff, 90 percent of tech staff, and 50 percent of non-tech staff. Male employees also make up 79 percent of the company’s leadership.
Twitter has about 3,000 employees worldwide, of which 50 percent are engineers, according to its website.
Whites account for 59 percent of its total U.S. employees, followed by Asians with 29 percent. Blacks make up for 2 percent of the U.S. staff while Hispanic or Latino workers were at 3 percent. Twitter, like other tech companies, only provided ethnicity data for its U.S. workers.
Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition said that over 25,000 petitions were delivered to Twitter this past weekend demanding that they release their workforce data. “While slow to release these paltry and pathetic numbers, it’s a step in the right direction,” the coalition said in a statement. The Rainbow Push Coalition joined black empowerment group, ColorOfChange.org, to launch a Twitter-based campaign to challenge the company.
“There is no talent deficit, there’s an opportunity deficit,” the coalition said. It has previously criticized tech companies for claiming that they find it difficult to recruit and retain women and minorities.
Jackson said last week that tech companies cannot explain away their hiring disparities by citing an issue with talent among blacks. Google, for example, has pointed to data that showed that blacks and Hispanics each account for under 10 percent of U.S. college graduates and each earn fewer than 10 percent of degrees in computer science majors. The argument ignores the fact that black people are also severely underrepresented in nontechnical Silicon Valley roles, Jackson said.
Twitter has employee-led groups to promote inclusiveness and has also partnered with several organizations that address the same issue.

23 July 2014

Creationist Ken Ham Says Aliens Will Go To Hell

Creationist Ken Ham has said that the U.S. space program is a waste of money because any alien life that scientists found would be damned to hell.
“I’m shocked at the countless hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent over the years in the desperate and fruitless search for extraterrestrial life,” Ham wrote in a Sunday column on his Answers in Genesis website.
Ham argued that “secularists are desperate to find life in outer space” as a part of their “rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution.”
“Life did not evolve but was specially created by God, as Genesis clearly teaches. Christians certainly shouldn’t expect alien life to be cropping up across the universe,” he continued. “Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space. I certainly suspect not.”
But regardless of whether there was life in outer space, Ham asserted that it could not be truly “intelligent.”
“You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation,” he explained. “Jesus did not become the ‘GodKlingon’ or the ‘GodMartian’! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the ‘Godman’ as our Savior.”
Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta called Ham’s quest to end the space program “a new low even for him.”
“Jesus Christ, Ken Ham is talking about the eternal damnation of alien life forms,” Mehta wrote. “They’re all going to hell, apparently, and why go in search of life on other planets if they’re all doomed to a lake of fire?”
“To whine about the pittance we spend on space exploration because ‘Christians certainly shouldn’t expect alien life to be cropping up across the universe’ has to be a new low even for him.”

22 July 2014

The Big Seed: Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space


Though he probably didn’t intend anything so jarring, Nicolaus Copernicus, in a 16th-century treatise, gave rise to the idea that human beings do not occupy a special place in the heavens. Nearly 500 years after replacing the Earth with the sun as the center of the cosmic swirl, we’ve come to see ourselves as just another species on a planet orbiting a star in the boondocks of a galaxy in the universe we call home. And this may be just one of many universes — what cosmologists, some more skeptically than others, have named the multiverse.
Despite the long string of demotions, we remain confident, out here on the edge of nowhere, that our band of primates has what it takes to figure out the cosmos — what the writer Timothy Ferris called “the whole shebang.” New particles may yet be discovered, and even new laws. But it is almost taken for granted that everything from physics to biology, including the mind, ultimately comes down to four fundamental concepts: matter and energy interacting in an arena of space and time.
There are skeptics who suspect we may be missing a crucial piece of the puzzle. Recently, I’ve been struck by two books exploring that possibility in very different ways. There is no reason why, in this particular century, Homo sapiens should have gathered all the pieces needed for a theory of everything. In displacing humanity from a privileged position, the Copernican principle applies not just to where we are in space but to when we are in time.
Since it was published in 2012, “Mind and Cosmos,” by the philosopher Thomas Nagel, is the book that has caused the most consternation. With his taunting subtitle — “Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False” — Dr. Nagel was rejecting the idea that there was nothing more to the universe than matter and physical forces. He also doubted that the laws of evolution, as currently conceived, could have produced something as remarkable as sentient life. That idea borders on anathema, and the book quickly met with a blistering counterattack. Steven Pinker, a Harvard psychologist, denounced it as “the shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker.”
What makes “Mind and Cosmos” worth reading is that Dr. Nagel is an atheist, who rejects the creationist idea of an intelligent designer. The answers, he believes, may still be found through science, but only by expanding it further than it may be willing to go.
“Humans are addicted to the hope for a final reckoning,” he wrote, “but intellectual humility requires that we resist the temptation to assume that the tools of the kind we now have are in principle sufficient to understand the universe as a whole.”
Dr. Nagel finds it astonishing that the human brain — this biological organ that evolved on the third rock from the sun — has developed a science and a mathematics so in tune with the cosmos that it can predict and explain so many things.
Neuroscientists assume that these mental powers somehow emerge from the electrical signaling of neurons — the circuitry of the brain. But no one has come close to explaining how that occurs. 
That, Dr. Nagel proposes, might require another revolution: showing that mind, along with matter and energy, is “a fundamental principle of nature” — and that we live in a universe primed “to generate beings capable of comprehending it.” Rather than being a blind series of random mutations and adaptations, evolution would have a direction, maybe even a purpose.
“Above all,” he wrote, “I would like to extend the boundaries of what is not regarded as unthinkable, in light of how little we really understand about the world.”

Bacteria discovered that exist on pure energy

Microbiologists based in California have discovered bacteria that survive by eating pure electrons rather than food, bringing an entirely new method of existence to awareness and raising questions about possibilities for alien life.
The ‘electric bacteria’ – as they have been dubbed by the team that discovered them – take energy from rocks and metal by feasting directly on their electrons. The hair-like filaments the bacteria produce carry electrons between the cells and their environment.

The biologists from the University of Southern California (USC) found that the new discovery joins more than ten other different specific type of bacteria that also feed on electricity – although none in quite the same way.

“This is huge. What it means is that there’s a whole part of the microbial world that we don’t know about,” Kenneth Nealson of USC told New Scientist.

Nealson explained the process by which the bacteria function. “You eat sugars that have excess electrons, and you breathe in oxygen that willingly takes them,” he said. Human cells break down the sugars in order to obtain the electrons – making the bacteria that only absorb the electrons that much more efficient.

“That's the way we make all our energy and it's the same for every organism on this planet,”
Nealson said. “Electrons must flow in order for energy to be gained.”


Some of the bacteria even have the ability to make ‘bio-cables’ – a kind of microbial collection of wires that can conduct electricity as well as copper – renowned for its high electrical conductivity.

Such ‘nanowires’ were first discovered in a separate study conducted by researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark. Their presence raises the possibility that one day bacteria could be used in making subsurface networks for people to use.

“Tens of thousands of bacteria can join to form a cable that can carry electrons over several centimeters,” the New Scientist video on the subject points out.  
Nealson and his team discovered the bacteria by taking ocean sediment, and placing electrodes in it in the laboratory. As higher voltages were pumped into the water, the bacteria started to consume electrons from it.

When a lower voltage was pumped into the water the bacteria emitted electrons, making an electric current. The scientists carefully cut off all other possible nutrition sources for the bacteria. Nealson compared their method of survival to a human attempting to power up by sticking their finger in a DC electrical socket instead of eating.

Two of the most well-known bacteria which have ‘electrical’ properties already’ include the marine bacteria Shewanella and Geobacter – some species of which can metabolize certain collections of chemicals, producing electrons in the process, leading some scientists to theorize that a sort of natural battery could be created using it.

Last month, at the Goldschmidt geoscience conference in Sacramento, California, results were presented.

Nealson’s PhD student Annette Rowe has identified some eight different kinds of the bacteria.

NASA has also expressed interest in the “dark energy biosphere” – microorganisms lurking beneath the seabed – because they survive on such little energy that their means of living could theoretically be used by other beings living in other areas of the solar system.

“If nothing is going to eat it or destroy it then, theoretically, we should be able to maintain that organism indefinitely,” Yuri Gorby, a microbiologist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, speculated.

21 July 2014

Dance of dwarf galaxies may force a cosmic rethink

evolutionary transubstantiation

(Phys.org) —The discovery that many small galaxies throughout the universe do not 'swarm' around larger ones like bees do but 'dance' in orderly disc-shaped orbits is a challenge to our understanding of how the universe formed and evolved.
The finding, by an international team of astronomers, including Professor Geraint Lewis from the University of Sydney's School of Physics, is announced today in Nature.

"Early in 2013 we announced our startling discovery that half of the dwarf galaxies surrounding the Andromeda Galaxy are orbiting it in an immense plane" said Professor Lewis. "This plane is more than a million light years in diameter, but is very thin, with a width of only 300 000 light years."

The universe contains billions of galaxies. Some, such as the Milky Way, are immense, containing hundreds of billions of stars. Most galaxies, however, are dwarfs, much smaller and with only a few billion stars.

For decades astronomers have used computer models to predict how these dwarf galaxies should orbit large galaxies. They had always found that they should be scattered randomly.
"Our Andromeda discovery did not agree with expectations, and we felt compelled to explore if it was true of other galaxies throughout the universe," said Professor Lewis.

Using the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a remarkable resource of colour images and 3-D maps covering more than a third of the sky, the researchers dissected the properties of thousands of nearby galaxies.

"We were surprised to find that a large proportion of pairs of satellite galaxies have oppositely directed velocities if they are situated on opposite sides of their giant galaxy hosts", said lead author Neil Ibata of the Lycée International in Strasbourg, France.

"Everywhere we looked we saw this strangely coherent coordinated motion of dwarf galaxies. From this we can extrapolate that these circular planes of dancing dwarfs are universal, seen in about 50 percent of galaxies," said Professor Geraint Lewis.

"This is a big problem that contradicts our standard cosmological models. It challenges our understanding of how the universe works including the nature of dark matter."

The researchers believe the answer may be hidden in some currently unknown physical process that governs how gas flows in the universe, although, as yet, there is no obvious mechanism that can guide dwarf galaxies into narrow planes.

Some experts, however, have made more radical suggestions, including bending and twisting the laws of gravity and motion. "Throwing out seemingly established laws of physics is unpalatable," said Professor Lewis, "but if our observations of nature are pointing us in this direction, we have to keep an open mind. That's what science is all about."


Oceans 'vital' to possibility of alien life

If we want to find life on other planets, looking for places with oceans seems to be crucial.
Researchers at the University of East Anglia have made an important step in the race to discover whether other planets could develop and sustain life. New research published today in the journal Astrobiology shows the vital role of oceans in moderating climate on Earth-like planets.
Until now, computer simulations of habitable climates on Earth-like planets have focused on their atmospheres. But the presence of oceans is vital for optimal climate stability and habitability.
The research team from UEA's schools of Maths and Environmental Sciences created a computer simulated pattern of ocean circulation on a hypothetical ocean-covered Earth-like planet. They looked at how different planetary rotation rates would impact heat transport with the presence of oceans taken into account.
Prof. David Stevens from UEA's school of Maths said: "The number of planets being discovered outside our solar system is rapidly increasing. This research will help answer whether or not these planets could sustain alien life.
"We know that many planets are completely uninhabitable because they are either too close or too far from their sun. A planet's habitable zone is based on its distance from the sun and temperatures at which it is possible for the planet to have liquid water.
"But until now, most habitability models have neglected the impact of oceans on climate. "Oceans have an immense capacity to control climate. They are beneficial because they cause the surface temperature to respond very slowly to seasonal changes in solar heating. And they help ensure that temperature swings across a planet are kept to tolerable levels.

"We found that heat transported by oceans would have a major impact on the temperature distribution across a planet, and would potentially allow a greater area of a planet to be habitable.
"Mars for example is in the sun's habitable zone, but it has no oceans – causing air temperatures to swing over a range of 100OC. Oceans help to make a planet's climate more stable so factoring them into climate models is vital for knowing whether the planet could develop and sustain life.
"This new model will help us to understand what the climates of other planets might be like with more accurate detail than ever before."

Life Itself: These Videos Show Thousands Of Cells Growing And Dividing Inside An Embryo

The earliest stages of life have been the subject of intense fascination for eons. Aristotle, for instance, observed and recorded the development of a chicken embryo in its egg.
He needed something the size of a hen’s egg to see what was going on, of course. But modern microscopes allow scientists to see not just the larva of a fruit fly, but each of 100,000 or so cells in that larva as they form, move and propagate as organs appear and the larva takes its shape.
But whereas Aristotle could easily analyze what he saw, the flood of data that new technology produces has overwhelmed the analytic abilities of scientists and many computers. It’s one thing to see every cell, but another to keep track of what they all do.
Now Fernando Amat, Philipp J. Keller and colleagues at Janelia Farm, a Virginia research campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, have developed software that can track each and every cell in a developing embryo.
The microscopes now yield more than kaleidoscopic images of organ formation; they offer sources of data on the path of each cell, what the researchers call fate mapping.
Dr. Keller, who specializes in developing the tools of light microscopy, said that with new computer programs, a researcher can pick out a single cell at any point in development and trace its life backward and forward during the embryo’s growth.

Netanyahu accuses Hamas of Genocide

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames Hamas for the latest hostilities, even going so far as to accuse them of committing genocide. "These people are the worst terrorists, genocidal terrorists. They call for the destruction of Israel and they call for the killing of every Jew, wherever they can find them."

The US gives Israel 95% of its weapons

Israeli soldier in Palestine in 2007 carrying an American rifle, photo

America has provided up to 95% of the Israeli weapons that killed the 548 Palestinians in the last week. America also contributes military aid equivalent of a fifth of the Israeli army’s budget.

95% of Israeli weapons come from America

According to what David Miliband told Parliament in 2009 when he was Foreign Secretary, Britain provides “only” 1% of Israel’s weapons.
  • 95 % of Israel’s weapons come from the US
  • 2-4 % comes from the EU
  • 1 % comes from Britain

David Miliband told Parliament:
Estimates suggest that Israel buys over 95 per cent. of its military requirements from the US. The EU accounts for a proportion of the remainder. The UK is estimated as accounting for less than 1 per cent. of total Israeli military exports.
The US gives $3.1bn a year to Israel

It all goes on the Israeli military. The US gave Israel $3.1bn (£1.8bn) in aid money in 2012/13 and it’s all going on “Foreign Military Financing”. Much of that takes the forms of weapons directly.

$3.1bn US aid money goes to the Israeli army each year.  

Israel is the biggest single recipient of the US’s international aid.
Table from  the US's <A HREF = "http://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R42621.pdf">International Affairs budget </A>
Table from the US’s International Affairs budget

The UK sells up to £6m of arms to Israel each year 

    In 2013 UK arms companies sold up to £6.27m ($10.7m) of arms to Israel including:
  • components for military equipment for initiating explosives (2 licences)
  • components for surface-to-air missiles
  • components for targeting equipment (4 licences)

We don’t know the exact amount paid, but we do know that the British government licensed 113 military export contracts for British companies to sell arms to Israel in 2013. Totalled up the contracts make £6.27m. But it could be that not all of the licensed amount was sold.

A further £3m’s worth of military hardware from the UK also goes to Israel, for Israeli arms-makers to rework and package off to other countries.

The UK stopped giving aid to Israel in 1999.

Israel spends a lot of money on its army

Israel spends about $15bn a year on its army, so the US pays for one fifth of the Israeli army.

Even Israeli right-wingers are keen to cut the aid – not least because it gives Americans leverage over Israeli politics. And Obama and John Kerry have been less supportive of Israel than previous presidents.

Israel has one of the biggest proportions of military spending to GDP in the world. 6% of Israeli GDP goes on the military.

About 6% of Israel’s $242bn GDP goes on military spending. That puts it fourth behind Oman (11.5%), Saudi Arabia (9%) and Afghanistan (6.2%) in the World Bank’s world ranking of military spending.

The US spends 3.8% of GDP on military. Britain spends 2.3% of its GDP on the military.

Israel’s spending used to be even higher, in the 1980s defence spending reached a high of about 24% of GDP in the 80s, but has since come down significantly, following the signing of peace agreements with Jordan and Egypt.

Here's a sample of what American taxpayers' money buys

Horror piles on horror: Now Israeli tank shells destroy two floors of a HOSPITAL as death toll tops 550 on 14th day of conflict in Gaza

Islamic State's support spreads into Asia

A jailed Indonesian preacher has reportedly urged his followers to fight with the Islamic State group
As the Islamic State group, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, continues its armed campaign in Iraq and Syria, its notoriety is drawing fans and fighters from as far as Asia and the Pacific.
Authorities and experts have warned that the growing popularity of the armed group in the Far East, driven in part by social media, could pose a long-term security threat to a region that has already been battling home-grown armed groups for decades.
"The security threat from Muslims travelling to fight in the Levant is already with us," said Rodger Shanahan, national security and Middle East expert at the Australian National University.
"The longer term threat will come from the linkages that these fighters establish with disparate groups," he told Al Jazeera. "In the future, we may see the existence of another global jihadist network of people who made connections in Syria and Iraq."

"The seeds of quite a few security issues are being sown in Syria and Iraq at the moment," Shanahan, of Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy, said. 
Keep up the good work Bibi. Keep digging your own grave.

Vagina voyeur costs Johns Hopkins $190 million

BALTIMORE—Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to more than 8,000 women whose bodies may have been videotaped or photographed by a gynecologist using a pen-like camera during pelvic exams.
Dr. Nikita Levy was fired in February 2013, days after a co-worker alerted hospital authorities about her suspicions and he was forced to turn over the camera. He committed suicide 10 days later. Investigators discovered roughly 1,200 videos and 140 images stored on a series of servers in his home.
“All of these women were brutalized by this,” said the women’s lead attorney, Jonathan Schochor. “Some of these women needed counselling, they were sleepless, they were dysfunctional in the workplace, they were dysfunctional at home, they were dysfunctional with their mates. This breach of trust, this betrayal — this is how they felt.”

Obama on Biden: 'Zionist Joe would be a superb president'

"I Am A Zionist. You Don't Have To Be A Jew To Be A Zionist."
But apparently that's okay with Obama:
President Obama isn’t endorsing a successor just yet, but he’s got good things to say about Vice President Biden’s ability to step into the job.

“I think Joe would be a superb president,” Obama told Evan Osnos, for a lengthy Biden profile in The New Yorker. “He has seen the job up close, he knows what the job entails. He understands how to separate what’s really important from what’s less important. I think he’s got great people skills. He enjoys politics, and he’s got important relationships on the Hill that would serve him well.”

What's really important? Such as the Yinnon Plan?


The Yinon plan is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.
The concept of a "Greater Israel" according to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, is a Jewish State stretching: "From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates." Rabbi Fischmann, of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, stated to the UN Special Committee on 9th July 1947 that: "The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon", wrote Michel Chossudovsky.


The idea, as in Bosnia, is to maintain a united Iraq by decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group — Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab — room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests. We could drive this in place with irresistible sweeteners for the Sunnis to join in, a plan designed by the military for withdrawing and redeploying American forces, and a regional nonaggression pact.

But Zionist Joe has the chutzpah to say Putin gas no soul.

Zionist Joe has no problem with the genocide going on today in the Gaza Strip. Zionist Joe also loves genocidal mass murdering psychopaths, as long as they're the right kind: