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Our topics include the formation of the New World Order and the New Age Agenda, popular conspiracy theories.

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    Ever can’t help but think you’re surrounded by idiots? A leading scientist at Stanford University thinks he has the answer, and the bad news is things aren’t likely to get any better.

    Dr. Gerald Crabtree, a geneticist at Stanford, has published a study that he conducted to try and identify the progression of modern man’s intelligence. As it turns out, however, Dr. Crabtree’s research led him to believe that the collective mind of mankind has been on more or a less a downhill trajectory for quite some time.

    According to his research, published in two parts starting with last year’s ‘Our fragile intellect. Part I,’ Dr. Crabtree thinks unavoidable changes in the genetic make-up coupled with modern technological advances has left humans, well, kind of stupid. He has recently published his follow-up analysis, and in it explains that of the roughly 5,000 genes he considered the basis for human intelligence, a number of mutations over the years has forced modern man to be only a portion as bright as his ancestors.

    “New developments in genetics, anthropology and neurobiology predict that a very large number of genes underlie our intellectual and emotional abilities, making these abilities genetically surprisingly fragile,” he writes in part one of his research. “Analysis of human mutation rates and the number of genes required for human intellectual and emotional fitness indicates that we are almost certainly losing these abilities,” he adds in his latest report.

    From there, the doctor goes on to explain that general mutations over the last few thousand years have left mankind increasingly unable to cope with certain situations that perhaps our ancestors would be more adapted to.

    “I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues. Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2000–6000 years ago. The basis for my wager comes from new developments in genetics, anthropology, and neurobiology that make a clear prediction that our intellectual and emotional abilities are genetically surprisingly fragile.”

    According to the doctor, humans were at their most intelligent when “every individual was exposed to nature’s raw selective mechanisms on a daily basis.” Under those conditions, adaption, he argued, was much more of a matter than fight or flight. Rather, says the scientists, it was a sink or swim situation for generations upon generations.

    "We, as a species, are surprisingly intellectually fragile and perhaps reached a peak 2,000 to 6,000 years ago," he writes. "If selection is only slightly relaxed, one would still conclude that nearly all of us are compromised compared to our ancient ancestors of 3,000 to 6,000 years ago.”


    That doesn’t mean it’s all downhill, though. Dr. Crabtree says, “although our genomes are fragile, our society is robust almost entirely by virtue of education, which allow strengths to be rapidly distributed to all members."

    "We have a long time to solve it. People 300 years ago had no idea where we'd be scientifically now," he says. "We'll be able to deal with this problem with a range of humane and ethical solutions."

    RUSSIATODAY




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    The Philippine Department of Education has decided to drop the “Science and Health” subject from Grade 1 and 2 classes to make learning “more enjoyable” and “child-friendly.” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that the move to exclude Science at these grade levels does not mean that Science concepts will not be introduced to Grade 1 students at all.

    “We will be integrating topics in other subjects to make the new curriculum more child-friendly,” he explained.The move has caused a furor across the scientific community, with many questioning why science is deemed to be a non-child-friendly subject.

    According to DepEd, science, as a subject, will be introduced when they get to Grade 3; the Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan at Grade 4; and Technology and Livelihood Education at Grade 6.

    Budget for science scholarships at P9.8 billion

    In other news, the Aquino administration has earmarked an estimated P9.8 billion (US$231 million) in government scholarship programs for 2012.

    Of this new budget, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said P6.28 billion will be used by the DepEd for its Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) program, which subsidizes the transfer of public high school students to private schools in a move to decongest severely crowded public schools.

    Meanwhile, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has a P2.1-billion allocation, of which P1.3 billion will fund the DOST’s Science Education Institute to help over 10,000 scholars at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

    The remaining P800 million from DOST will be given to the Philippine Science High School to support 4,334 scholars this year. 

    ASIANSCIENTIST

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    The Pentagon’s mad science arm may have come up with its most radical project yet. Darpa is looking to re-write the laws of evolution to the military’s advantage, creating “synthetic organisms” that can live forever — or can be killed with the flick of a molecular switch.


    As part of its budget last year (2011), Darpa is investing $6 million into a project called BioDesign, with the goal of eliminating “the randomness of natural evolutionary advancement.” The plan would assemble the latest bio-tech knowledge to come up with living, breathing creatures that are genetically engineered to “produce the intended biological effect.” Darpa wants the organisms to be fortified with molecules that bolster cell resistance to death, so that the lab-monsters can “ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.”

    Of course, Darpa’s got to prevent the super-species from being swayed to do enemy work — so they’ll encode loyalty right into DNA, by developing genetically programmed locks to create “tamper proof” cells. Plus, the synthetic organism will be traceable, using some kind of DNA manipulation, “similar to a serial number on a handgun.” And if that doesn’t work, don’t worry. In case Darpa’s plan somehow goes horribly awry, they’re also tossing in a last-resort, genetically-coded kill switch:

    Develop strategies to create a synthetic organism “self-destruct” option to be implemented upon nefarious removal of organism.

    The project comes as Darpa also plans to throw $20 million into a new synthetic biology program, and $7.5 million into “increasing by several decades the speed with which we sequence, analyze and functionally edit cellular genomes.”

    Of course, Darpa’s up against some vexing, fundamental laws of nature — not to mention bioethics — as they embark on the lab beast program. First, they might want to rethink the idea of evolution as a random series of events, says NYU biology professor David Fitch. “Evolution by selection is nota random process at all, and is actually a hugely efficient design algorithm used extensively in computation and engineering,” he e-mails Danger Room.


    Even if Darpa manages to overcome the inherent intelligence of evolutionary processes, overcoming inevitable death can be tricky. Just ask all the other research teams who’ve made stabs at it, trying everything from cell starvation to hormone treatments. Gene therapy, where artificial genes are inserted into an organism to boost cell life, are the latest and greatest in life-extension science, but they’ve only been proven to extend lifespan by 20 percent in rats.

    But suppose gene therapy makes major strides, and Darpa does manage to get the evolutionary science right. They’ll also have a major ethical hurdle to jump. Synthetic biology researchers are already facing the same questions, as a 2009 summary from the Synthetic Biology Project reports:

    The concern that humans might be overreaching when we create organisms that never before existed can be a safety concern, but it also returns us to disagreements about what is our proper role in the natural world (a debate largely about non-physical harms or harms to well-being).

    Even expert molecular geneticists don’t know what to make of the project. Either that, or they’re scared Darpa might sic a bio-bot on them. “I would love to comment, but unfortunately Darpa has installed a kill switch in me,” one unnamed expert tells Danger Room.

    WIRED

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    "Zombie" mammalian cells that may function better after they die have been created by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico (UNM).

    The simple technique coats a cell with a silica solution to form a near-perfect replica of its structure. The process may simplify a wide variety of commercial fabrication processes from the nano- to macroscale.

    The work, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), uses the nanoscopic organelles and other tiny components of mammalian cells as fragile templates on which to deposit silica. The researchers then heat the cell to burn off its protein. The resultant hardened silica structures are faithful to the exterior and interior features of the formerly living cell, can survive greater pressures and temperatures than flesh ever could, and can perform some functions better than when they were alive, said lead researcher Bryan Kaehr, a Sandia materials scientist.
    "It's very challenging for researchers to build structures at the nanometer scale," said Kaehr. "We can make particles and wires, but 3-D arbitrary structures haven't been achieved yet. With this technique, we don't need to build those structures -- nature does it for us. We only need to find cells that possess the machinery we want and copy it using our technique. And, using chemistry or surface patterning, we can program a group of cells to form whatever shape seems desirable."

    UNM professor and Sandia Fellow Jeff Brinker added, "The process faithfully replicates features from the nanoscale to macroscale in a robust, three-dimensionally stable form that resists shrinkage even upon heating to over 500 degrees Centigrade [932 degrees Fahrenheit]. The refractoriness of these delicate structures is amazing."

    The unusual but simple procedure may serve as a model for creating hardier classes of nanoscopic products.


    Because a cell is populated by a vast range of proteins, lipids and scaffolding, its interior is ready-made to model catalysts, funnels, absorbents and other useful nanomachinery, said Kaehr, a former Sandia Truman Fellow.

    Catalysts that evolve in cells are enzymes that have to retain a certain shape for their chemistry to work. Since structure is important to function, stabilizing a catalyst in the shape it evolved is important, Kaehr said. Heat-hardened silica would stabilize and protect the still-present protein as it did its work.

    UNM post-doctoral student Jason Townson said the most immediate use for silicification may be as a simple way to preserve the structure of organic materials for imaging.

    "Formerly, for internal preservation and subsequent imaging, a cell would be fixed in formaldehyde or some other preservative. But many of these methods are labor-intensive," Townson said. "This method is simple. The preserved cells will never get sloppy in decay. And when we cracked open the resulting structure, we were blown away by how well the cell was preserved, down to the minor groove of the cell's DNA."

    Heating the cell to still higher temperatures (greater than 400 degrees C) evaporates the organic material of the cell -- its protein -- and leaves the silica in a kind of three-dimensional Madame Tussauds wax replica of a formerly living being. The difference is that instead of modeling the face, say, of a famous criminal, the hardened silica-based cells display internal mineralized structures with intricate features ranging from nano- to millimeter-length scales.

    The construction process is relatively simple: Take some free-floating mammalian cells, put them in a petri dish and add silicic acid.

    Through the action of methanol, a byproduct of the acid, the cell's lipid layers -- the protective casings that keep the cell intact -- are softened and made porous enough for the silica to flow in at about the temperature of the human body.

    The silicic acid, for reasons still partially obscure, enters without clogging and in effect embalms every organelle in the cell from the micro- to the nanometer scale.
    If the cell isn't heated, the silica forms a kind of permeable armor around the protein of the living cell. This may support it enough to act as a catalyst at temperatures and pressures undreamed of by nature.

    "Once we've used silica to stabilize the cellular structure, it can still carry out reactions and, more importantly, that reaction is stable enough to work at high temperatures," Kaehr said. "The method is also a means to take a soft, potentially valuable biological material and convert it to a fossil that will stay on our shelves indefinitely."

    Ordinarily, preserving something organic means freezing it, which is energy-intensive, he said. Instead, "We're doing rapid fossilization: quickly converting a protoplasmic cell into a hard structure that will stand the test of time."

    Experiments showed the cell can be used as a reverse mold from which, at 900 degrees C, a porous carbonized structure results from heating cell protein in a vacuum. In other words, in the same way that burning wood in air leaves a residue of structureless soot, the zombie heating method results in a high-quality carbon structure. Subsequent dissolution of the underlying silica support decreased the cell's electrical resistance by approximately 20 times. Such materials would have substantial utility in fuel cells, decontamination and sensor technologies.

    That such extraordinary results can be achieved by silicifying cells indicates many soft cellular architectures could be "feedstock for most materials processing procedures, including those requiring high temperatures and pressures," according to the technical paper.

    Other porous material structures, relying on titanium instead of silica, have been formed using the organic template technique. Other metal oxides, said Kaehr, are a possibility. These would have more complex structural functions or could serve as catalysts.

    The work follows the efforts of a number of scientific groups, including Kaehr's, that have built gel-like structures, copied them with silica and then burned off the gel to create, in effect, large sponges.

    "Now we can change the biological shape and calcify (heat) it, so for the first time we get new irregular structures," Kaehr said.

    Summing up, Kaehr offers what may be the first distinction in scientific literature between a mummy cell and a zombie cell: "King Tut was mummified," he said, "to approximately resemble his living self, but the process took place without mineralization [a process of fossilization]. Our zombie cells bridge chemistry and biology to create forms that not only near-perfectly resemble their past selves but can do future work."

    The work was supported by DOE's Office of Science. Co-authors are Brinker, Brian Swartzentruber of Sandia and the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, and, from UNM, Robin Kalinich, Darren Dunphy and student Yasmine Awad. —Sciencedaily.com

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    Wouldn’t it be nice to predict future events, even if they are just ten seconds ahead? According to researchers at Northwestern University, we can do just that.

    Researchers already know that our subconscious minds sometimes know more than our conscious minds. Physiological measures of subconscious arousal, for instance, tend to show up before conscious awareness that a deck of cards is stacked against us.

    Parapsychologists have made outlandish claims about precognition — knowledge of unpredictable future events — for years. But the fringe phenomenon recently got a mainstream airing after a paper providing evidence for its existence was accepted for publication by the leading social psychology journal.

    What’s more, sceptical psychologists who have pored over a preprint of the paper say they can’t find any significant flaws. “My personal view is that this is ridiculous and can’t be true,” says Joachim Krueger of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who has blogged about the work on the Psychology Today website. “Going after the methodology and the experimental design is the first line of attack. But frankly, I didn’t see anything. Everything seemed to be in good order.”

    “What hasn’t been clear is whether humans have the ability to predict future important events even without any clues as to what might happen,” said Julia Mossbridge, lead author of the study and research associate in the Visual Perception, Cognition and Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern.

    A person playing a video game at work while wearing headphones, for example, can’t hear when his or her boss is coming around the corner.

    “But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand and close your video game,” Mossbridge said. “You might even have a chance to open that spreadsheet you were supposed to be working on. And if you were lucky, you could do all this before your boss entered the room.”

    Predicting the near future is vital in guiding behavior and is a key component of theories of perception, language processing and learning, says Jeffrey M. Zacks, PhD, WUSTL associate professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences.

    “It’s valuable to be able to run away when the lion lunges at you, but it’s super-valuable to be able to hop out of the way before the lion jumps,” Zacks says. “It’s a big adaptive advantage to look just a little bit over the horizon.”

    Zacks and his colleagues are building a theory of how predictive perception works. At the core of the theory is the belief that a good part of predicting the future is the maintenance of a mental model of what is happening now. Now and then, this model needs updating, especially when the environment changes unpredictably.



    “When we watch everyday activity unfold around us, we make predictions about what will happen a few seconds out,” Zacks says. “Most of the time, our predictions are right.

    “Successfull predictions are associated with the subjective experience of a smooth stream of consciousness. But a few times a minute, our predictions come out wrong and then we perceive a break in the stream of consciousness, accompanied by an uptick in activity of primitive parts of the brain involved that regulate attention and adaptation to unpredicted changes.”
    This phenomenon is sometimes called “presentiment,” as in “sensing the future,” but Mossbridge said she and other researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future.

    “I like to call the phenomenon ‘anomalous anticipatory activity,’” she said. “The phenomenon is anomalous, some scientists argue, because we can’t explain it using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense. It’s anticipatory because it seems to predict future physiological changes in response to an important event without any known clues, and it’s an activity because it consists of changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin and nervous systems.”



    In previous studies, researchers have suggested that early childhood education should focus on building behavioral, social and emotional skills just as much as building academic skills. Freed from distraction, your intuition will step in and guide you effortlessly through life.

    It is this cumulative knowledge, which our feelings summarize for us, that allows us make better predictions. In a sense, our feelings give us access to a privileged window of knowledge and information, “a window that a more analytical form of reasoning blocks us from.”

    ©APRIL McCARTHY

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    SAN FRANCISCO — Apple on Tuesday said it suffered a cyber attack similar to the one recently carried out against Facebook, but that it repelled the invaders before its data was plundered.

    The maker of iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers said it is working with law enforcement officials to hunt down the hackers, who appeared tied to a series of recent cyber attacks on US technology firms.

    “The malware was employed in an attack against Apple and other companies, and was spread through a website for software developers,” Apple said in an email response to an AFP inquiry.

    The malicious software, or malware, took advantage of a vulnerability in a Java program used as a “plug-in” for Web-browsing programs.

    A “small number” of computer systems at Apple were infected but they were isolated from the main network, according the Silicon Valley-based company.

    “There is no evidence that any data left Apple,” Apple said.

    Apple released a Macintosh computer operating system update that disables Java software that hasn’t been used for 35 days or longer, as well as a tool for finding and removing the malware.

    Word of hackers hitting Apple came just days after leading social network Facebook said it was “targeted in a sophisticated attack” last month, but that it found no evidence any user data was compromised.

    Facebook said Friday that the malware came from an infected website of a mobile developer.

    “We remediated all infected machines, informed law enforcement, and began a significant investigation that continues to this day,” it said.

    It was unclear whether it was the same website blamed for the attack on Apple.

    Using a previously unseen tactic, the attackers took advantage of a flaw in Java software made by Oracle, which was alerted to the situation and released a patch on February 1, according to Facebook.

    The hackers appeared to be targeting developers and technology firms based on the website they chose to booby-trap with malicious code.

    “Facebook was not alone in this attack,” the Northern California-based company said.

    “It is clear that others were attacked and infiltrated recently as well.”

    Early this month Twitter said it was hammered by a cyber attack similar to those that recently hit major Western news outlets, and that the passwords of about 250,000 users were stolen.

    “This attack was not the work of amateurs, and we do not believe it was an isolated incident,” Twitter information security director Bob Lord said in a blog post at the time.

    Lord said there was an “uptick in large-scale security attacks aimed at US technology and media companies.”

    The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal recently said they had been attacked by suspected Chinese hackers.

    The brazen cyberattacks on US media and technology firms have revived concerns over Chinese hackers, whom analysts say are likely linked to the secretive Beijing government.

    China’s army controls hundreds if not thousands of expert hackers, according to a report Tuesday by a US Internet security firm that traced a host of cyberattacks to an anonymous building in Shanghai.

    Mandiant said its hundreds of investigations showed that groups hacking into US newspapers, government agencies, and companies “are based primarily in China and that the Chinese government is aware of them.”

    The report focused on one group, which it called “APT1,” for “Advanced Persistent Threat.”

    “We believe that APT1 is able to wage such a long-running and extensive cyber espionage campaign in large part because it receives direct government support,” Mandiant said.

    It said the group was believed to be a branch of the People’s Liberation Army and digital signatures from its attacks were traced back to the direct vicinity of a nondescript, 12-story building on the outskirts of Shanghai.

    China’s foreign ministry rejected “groundless accusations” of Chinese involvement in hacking, saying China was itself a major victim, with most overseas cyberattacks against it originating in the United States.

    In his State of the Union address last week, US President Barack Obama said the potential ability of outsiders to sabotage critical US infrastructure was a major concern.

    “We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy,” he said. —AFP

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    It can withstand a nuclear bomb, asteroid blasts and terror attacks while staying airborne for days without refueling: It's the president's $223 million 'doomsday' plane and it's on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, ready to launch at a minute's notice.

    The United States' so-called Doomsday plane is a jumbo jet on steroids, set apart from other Boeing 747's by its radiation-protected shell, 67 antennae and satellite dishes that can communicate with anyone on the ground, advanced heating and cooling systems and loads of other high-tech top-secret gear.

    In the case of a national disaster, the plane's four turbofan jet engine can fly for days without refueling and it can reach speeds of up to 620 miles per hour, whereas commercial planes can only fly up to 580 miles per hour.

    Perhaps the most surprising fact about the 'doomsday' plane is its age. The aircraft was built more than 30 years ago in the 1980s, and still retains much of its technology from that era.

    'In the event of a disaster low tech can be very advantageous,' a tech sergeant told the Discovery Channel, which is airing a special on America's 'doomsday' plans this week. 'The higher the tech, the more electronics. [When] you rely on more parts, it's more susceptible to breaking.'

    The plane has been modified and updated over the years with advances in technology.



    Lt. Col. David Gaskill, who oversees the day-to-day operations of the president's Doomsday plane, told U.S. Strategic Command in 2010 it is the 'most technologically advanced airborne system in the world.'

    The plane, which was last airborne during the terror attacks on 9/11, is designed to launch within five minutes in the case of a surprise alarm. Specially-trained technicians sleep near the plane in case of emergency.

    But the Doomsday aircraft is only one slice of the United States' plans for protecting high-ranking officials in the case of a national emergency.

    The federal government also has a top-secret underground complex called 'Mount Weather' located 64 miles from Washington, D.C. in Virginia.

    Buried 300 feet underground, the massive complex features 20 multistory buildings, water reservoirs, a sewage treatment plant, a hospital, a crematorium and a television studio where the president can keep the American people apprised of what's going on.

    The compound has enough supplies to last 200 personnel a month, but enough bunks for 2,000 people.

    Former president Ronald Reagan made the country's doomsday plan a top priority during his administration.

    Reagan put his chief of staff, Donald Rumsfield, and then-congressman Dick Cheney in charge of his 'continuity of government' plan.

    Rumsfeld and Reagan role-played doomsday scenarios as top level officials.

    'We would have a scenario that was a nuclear war,' Jim Wink, who oversaw the role-playing and preparation, told the Discovery Channel. 'Washington, D.C. would get wiped out. The president of the United States would be killed and the senior candidate out there would become the president.'

    Wink said top-level cabinet officials would be secluded for up to three days during the exercises.

    'The way the exercises were carried out was in the utmost secrecy and they would tell no one -- not even tell their wives -- where they would be,' said national security expert James Mann.

    The annual budget for the U.S. doomsday plan is between $5 billion and $6 billion dollars.

    Much of the country's emergency preparation falls to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, which also handles natural disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy.

    Roughly 30 percent of FEMA head Craig Fugate's job is dealing with the secret continuity programs, according to U.S. News and World Report.

    The U.S. Air Force is also a key part of the plan. The Air Force has a a strategic command center dedicated to emergency preparation at its at Offutt Air Force base near Omaha, which houses four Boeing 747s designed to allow the president to govern from the air.

    DAILYMAIL



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    What is "blue carbon"?

    According to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), one of the most promising new ideas to reduce atmospheric CO2 and limit global climate change is to do so by conserving mangroves, seagrasses and salt marsh grasses. Such coastal vegetation, dubbed “blue carbon”, sequesters carbon far more effectively (up to 100 times faster) and more permanently than terrestrial forests. Carbon is stored in peat below coastal vegetation habitats as they accrete vertically. Because the sediment beneath these habitats is typically anoxic, organic carbon is not broken down and released by microbes. Coastal vegetation also continues to sequester carbon for thousands of years in contrast to forest, where soils can become carbon-saturated relatively quickly. Therefore, carbon offsets based on the protection and restoration of coastal vegetation could be far more cost effective than current approaches focused on trees. Furthermore, there would be enormous ad-on benefits to fisheries, tourism and in limiting coastal erosion from the conservation of blue carbon.
    You can see all the organic rich sediment that gets accumulated in the mangrove roots as the forest accretes vertically. This makes mangrove forests highly effective at capturing and storing carbon emitted into the atmosphere by humans. However, when mangrove forests are destroyed for development, vast amounts of carbon is released, intensifying global climate change.


    Source: United Nations Information Center Manila.

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    Amid a growing call for new cybersecurity protections in the United States, the US government has issued a report that reconfirms Washington’s interest in shutting down WikiLeaks and other underground information-sharing organizations.

    In Washington, DC on Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled a new White House report that is meant to address further the growing threats malicious hackers are posing on America’s computer networks and the information stored therein.

    The presentation, made just days after a security firm released an in-depth analysis of a covert cyberbattle waged at the US by Chinese hackers, is only the latest in a series of actions from the White House being rolled out to target computer criminals scouring the Web for privileged information to pilfer and exploit. As with an onslaught of other recent administrative actions, though, the latest release out of Washington also serves as yet another example of the White House’s escalating war on information sharing: In addition to singling out the dangerous actors abroad that are attempting to uncover state secrets and private intelligence, the report put out on Wednesday also points the finger at the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and the group LulzSec — a now-defunctoffshoot of the hacktivist movement Anonymous who wreaked havoc on the Web for a span of several months in 2011.

    US President Barack Obama has made numerous statements in recent months in which he addresses emerging cyberthreats from foreign competitors, specifically China, but the report released by the White House on Wednesday doesn’t stop with states abroad. Within the 141 pages of the publication, ‘Administration Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of US Trade Secrets,’ the Obama administration includes portions of a 2011 report that discusses the dangers posed by alleged hacktivists groups, including WikiLeaks and LulzSec.

    That sub-report, a product of the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, was put together 16 months ago to warn Congress of the growing threats facing American companies holding onto crucial trade secrets and sensitive technologies that could be harvested from bad actors on the Internet. But in addition to the Chinese hackers who have managed to make international headlines this week on the heels of a highly-cited report, the publication warns that domestic parties could be acting as proxies for foreign intelligence.

    “Cyberspace provides relatively small-scale actors an opportunity to become players in economic espionage,” the report claims in part. “Under-resourced governments or corporations could build relationships with hackers to develop customized malware or remote-access exploits to steal sensitive US economic or technology information, just as certain FIS have already done.”

    “Similarly, political or social activists may use the tools of economic espionage against US companies, agencies, or other entities, with disgruntled insiders leaking information about corporate trade secrets or critical US technology to ‘hacktivist’ groups like WikiLeaks,” it continues.

    Further down, the authors of the whitepaper attempt to broadly explain the hacktivism phenomena, citing WikiLeaks and the Anonymous-offshoot as examples of hacktivist groups orchestrated to harm the United States.

    In the section ‘Possible Game Changers,’ the report reads:

    “Political or social activists also may use the tools of economic espionage against US companies, agencies or other entities. The self-styled whistleblowing group WikiLeaks has already published computer files provided by corporate insiders indicating allegedly illegal or unethical behavior at a Swiss bank, a Netherlands-based commodities company, and an international pharmaceutical trade association. LulzSec — another hacktivist group — has exfiltrated data from several businesses that it posted for public viewing on its website.”

    Exposing “allegedly illegal or unethical behavior” seems unworthy of administrative action on the surface, but when WikiLeaks or other groups are unearthing damaging facts about the United States, the White House is ready to respond. While unveiling the report this week, Mr. Holder said attacks targeting United States entities are posing a "steadily increasing threat to America's economy and national security interests.”

    The attorney general’s comments mirror a remark made by Pres. Obama earlier this month during his annual State of the Union address when he said, “We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.” Holder’s quip, however, comes at a crucial moment as it comes the same week that two accused LulzSec members have hearing in federal court week for matters related to WikiLeaks.

    On Thursday morning, District Judge Loretta Preska told 27-year-old Jeremy Hammond and a courtroom full of supporters that she will not be stepping down at this time from the federal case against the young political activist, who’s accused by the government of hacking private intelligence firm Stratfor during a highly-publicized security breach in late 2011. Prosecutors say Hammond, an alleged member of LulzSec, hacked into Stratfor and obtained a trove of personal information, including personal correspondence between executives and thousands of credit card credentials belonging to subscribers of a paid service offered by the company. In recent weeks, though, it’s been discovered that Judge Preska’s husband, attorney Thomas J. Kavaler, was victimized in that very hack. Mr. Kavaler’s personal information, including his credit card numbers, were leaked in the hack attributed to Hammond. Despite this knowledge, though, Judge Preska said Thursday that she is reserving judgment in recusing herself from the case.

    “The conflict of interest here is clear cut,” National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian said in a statement earlier this week. “Judge Preska is required to avoid the appearance of bias so that, even if she owned one share of Stratfor stock, she would be obligated to recuse herself. How can she be impartial when the case directly affects the man she wakes up to every morning?”

    Supporters of Hammond say any conviction might be grounds for an appeal if Judge Preska stays on board, but given the current state of affairs — especially Thursday’s decision — a happy ending for the alleged hacktivist seems improbable. Moments before Thursday’s hearing began, attorney Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights told a crowd outside of the courthouse that Mr. Holder’s report from one day earlier suggests the Obama administration will go to great lengths to return a guilty verdict against Mr. Hammond and any other hacktivists.

    “Just yesterday, our wonderful attorney general announced a new policy, a tougher policy, one in which he said we are going to make truth tellers — getting them — a priority,” he said.

    According to Ratner, the latest maneuver out of Washington exemplifies the Obama administration’s ongoing witch-hunt for political activists who have engaged in activity critical of the US government.

    “They already killed Aaron Swartz; Jeremy Hammond is facing 39 years-to-life; Bradley Manning, life imprisonment; and Julian Assange, if they ever get him out of that embassy and into a prison here, will face the same,” said Mr. Ratner, who works as an American attorney for the whistleblower site.

    Last month, 26-year-old Demand Progress founder and Reddit co-creator Aaron Swartz was found dead in his New York City apartment from an apparent suicide. He was weeks away from standing trial in a controversial court case regarding his alleged theft of free academic papers published on the website JSTOR. After his death, Aaron Swartz’ father blamed the government in part for his loss.

    “Aaron did not commit suicide but was killed by the government,” Robert Swartz said during his son’s funeral earlier this month outside of Chicago, Illinois. “Someone who made the world a better place was pushed to his death by the government.”

    Interestingly, all parties mentioned by Mr. Ratner share one common bond in particular: they’ve all been linked in some regards to the WikiLeaks website. After his passing, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said with little explanation that Swartz had a relationship with his organization. As for Hammond, the Stratfor data he is believed to have compromised was later published by WikiLeaks, a group which has been in the sights of American prosecutors since even before the 2010 release of materials attributed to Army Private first class Bradley Manning — a 25-year-old soldier who has been detained for roughly 1,000 days now without trial. Assange, an Australian citizen residing in England, has been inside of London’s Ecuadorian Embassy for over six months awaiting safe passage to South America.

    “What do they want to do? Put them up against the wall and just shoot the guys?” Mr. Ratner asked outside of the courthouse.

    On Friday, Mr. Ratner might very well get his answer. Hector Xavier Monsegur, a hacker who famously operated on the Web as LulzSec ringleader “Sabu,” will be sentenced in federal court for crimes that preceded the Stratfor hack. But although Sabu’s rap sheet is long and his crimes arguably heinous, he is expected to be let off easy: according to court documents, he pleaded guilty back in August 2011 but has had his sentencing delayed because of his ongoing cooperation with federal investigators. In fact, FBI agents provided him with the very computer used by Hammond to upload the hacked Stratfor files just two months later.

    “A travesty of justice,” Mr. Ratner said of the ordeal on Thursday, accusing the government of entrapping other LulzSec members by using Sabu as a confidential informant. That on its own is being considered enough reason by soon to shut-down the case against Hammond.

    Since the start of 2013, Washington’s elite have relentlessly rolled out new attempts at prosecuting and persecuting alleged cybercriminals. On the day of his State of the Union address, Pres. Obama signed an executive order that will lay out the framework for a system of information-sharing about the government and private businesses. One day later, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Sen. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Calif.) reintroduced the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA — an attempt at formally creating those government-to-business links through federal legislation. Both lawmakers attempted to have CISPA be approved by Congress last year, but the bill failed to advance to the Senate before the end of the session.

    In light of recent events, though, CISPA may have a new fate. This week’s report on emerging cyberthreats from China has garnered so much attention that the White House and Justice Department responded with their new strategies to protect trade secrets and intellectual property on the Web. Meanwhile, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and the president himself are advocating new cybersecurity laws almost to the same extent of the fear-mongering being spewed at the same time.

    “This is clearly not a theoretical threat – the recent spike in advanced cyberattacks against the banks and newspapers makes that crystal clear: American businesses are under siege,” Rep. Rogers said when he unveiled his proposal. Rep. Ruppersberger added that all it will take is one national cyber-emergency and Congress “will get all the bills passed we want.”

    Until then, though, it will be the courts that come down on hacktivists — not Congress. Meanwhile, those making enemies with the White House say they won't stop. In a letter published by his attorney on Wednesday, Jeremy Hammond writes, "We the people demand free and equal access to information and technology. We demand transparency and accountability from governments and big corporations, and privacy for the masses from invasive surveillance networks.

    "The government will never be forgiven. Aaron Swartz will never be forgotten."

    —RT.com




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    The Obama administration has declared war on the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations in the US. The soon to be implemented "Affordable Care Act" has several provisions in it which will adversely affect religious organizations. The US government is requiring religious organizations to comply with this law, some of which violates their religious beliefs.

    The law requires all employers to provide health insurance coverage for services such as abortion and birth control. Even if the employer is a religious organization, it will be required to provide these, under penalty of fine and or imprisonment. Before this law was passed, employers were allowed to choose the health care plans for their employees. Churches, Christian Hospitals and schools, chose not to provide these services which were contrary to their beliefs. Employees picked which plan suited their needs best. A woman over 50 need not pay for contraceptive or abortion services as she will probably not use them. No more choosing what is best for us or our families, now the US Government will tell us what health insurance we receive, and what each plan MUST provide.

    The law passed by the Obama administration is nothing more than an attack on the Catholic Church and organized religion itself. The Affordable Care Act is an attempt by our government to weaken religious organizations, gain control over one seventh of the US economy, and get more people dependent on the US government for their daily needs. The fact that the Catholic Church is the largest provider of healthcare in America, outside of the US government, means nothing. It does not matter that the Catholic Church operates 600 hospitals and 1400 long term care and other facilities that provides health care regardless of a person's ability to pay. The Catholic Hospitals have operated freely for over 100 years in America, without ever having to compromise their religious beliefs.

    This is just the beginning of the war on religious organizations and traditional values from our government. The president has come out and supported homosexual marriage as well. The US government is already pressuring military chaplains to marry homosexuals. Soon they will force Catholic and Christian schools to hire homosexual teachers or face discrimination charges.

    It is such a shock to see the US government attacking the Church, while the Russian government defends it. The jailing of the Pussy Riot band for desecrating an Orthodox Church, the recent law passed by the Duma, prohibiting homosexual propaganda aimed at children. Laws protecting the unborn are being passed, as well as removing government funding for some abortions. These are positive signs for Russia. Many in the west will decry these acts, but they show that the Russian government is not afraid to defend the Church's position, not because of a religious preference, but because it is the right thing to do for a nation to prosper. It will help put Russia on solid footing for the future. This is just the opposite of what is going on in the US at the present time.

    The US became the richest country in the world because it allowed religious freedom, protected individual and property rights, and its laws and standards of behavior were based on traditional Judeo-Christian values. As a nation, we prospered for over 200 years because of this. In the last 40 years, we have abandoned these principles and look where we are now. We borrow hundreds of billions of dollars each year from many countries just to pay our expenses. Our nation is bankrupt financially and morally. No nation on this earth was capable of destroying us militarily, so we have set out to destroy ourselves through moral decay, or as the late Senator Daniel Moynihan called it "Defining Deviancy Down".

    When I was a young boy, we were taught in the Catholic Church to pray for the conversion of Russia from Communism. With the US government attacking our churches and religious organizations, maybe we should start asking the Russian people to pray for the conversion of America.

    Michael P Gardner
    Jacksonville, FL USA


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    The latest allegation that a gay priest blackmail scandal was the reason for Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation shows that his sudden decision will be queried long after his departure, perhaps robbing him of his greatest achievement while in office.

    Italian newspaper La Repubblica has reported that the Pope was overwhelmed when presented with evidence in mid-December last year (collected in "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red”) of a network of highly-placed Vatican priests who did not only engage in illicit homosexual “worldly relations” with outsiders, but let themselves be blackmailed by their gay lovers.

    Among the listed locations for alleged trysts were a sauna, a beauty parlor, and even a residence used by an archbishop.

    The newspaper claims it was then that Pope decided that he could not carry on, declaring that he was “no longer suited” to the demands of the job during his resignation speech earlier this month.

    With cack-handedness that marked public relations throughout Benedict’s term, the Vatican immediately issued a denial that almost invited more speculation.

    "Neither the cardinals' commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter. Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this," said Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman.

    The media quickly latched onto to the simultaneous announcement on Friday of a transfer of Ettore Balestrero, a senior clergyman, to a new prestigious post in Colombia, saying it was intended to get him out of the Vatican after unnamed transgressions.

    This forced Lombardi into making a second statement on the same day. The spokesman shot the insinuations down as "absurd, totally without foundation", saying the decision had been made weeks ago.

    Both the report and the figure of Balestrero did not come out of the blue, but to the press they are a continuation of the scandals that rocked the Papacy last year.

    Throughout 2012, the Pope’s butler, Paolo Gabriele, aided by a selection of powerful officials leaked documents to an Italian journalist, Gianluigi Nuzzi that confirmed the worst outsider prejudices about the Holy See. The Vatileaks exposed the Papacy’s spiritual home as a highly-factionalized breeding ground for gossip, plotting and dirty tricks (including an instance when one newspaper editor was removed from his post by a rival with the help of anonymous letters falsely alleging his homosexuality). Even those who leaked the revelations themselves were suspected to be jockeying for position within the Holy See.
    "The Pope was never the same after that. It was like shooting Achilles in the heel," one insider told Reuters after the resignation was announced.

    The quick trial of Gabriele by Vatican cardinals was seen as a whitewash (concerned only with the specifics of how he obtained the documents, not why) but Benedict did order a deeper investigation by three trusted cardinals.

    It was apparently their report, which showed the situation as even worse than assumed, that tipped the Benedict’s hand.

    The other insurmountable embarrassment of 2012 was the interconnected but separate failure of the Vatican Bank to get on the “white list” of Moneyval, the EU’s banking compliance commission that had criticized the lack of transparency at the institution (something Vatileaks amply confirmed).

    The man who led the Vatican’s efforts? Ettore Balestrero.

    For the critics the assorted facts compose paint a picture of a Pontiff forced to abandon his post, unable to stem the tide of revelations, and possibly facing censure for personal mistakes, if not in deeds, then in appointing corrupt men to high places.

    Even one of the investigating cardinals, Julian Herranz, conceded that this might have been one of the “hypotheses”.

    "He could content himself with doing very little except praying ... but because the people he had in place were not adequate, instead of removing them, he removed himself," said yet another insider to Reuters.

    But the does the notion of a Pope on the verge of disgrace (not only due to Vatileaks, but possibly also as a result of the sexual abuse allegations rocking the church) really stand up?

    In his statement the 85-year-old Benedict XVI said his ebbing “strength of mind and body” was the reason for his resignation.

    "The pope's decision was made many months ago, after the trip to Mexico and Cuba [almost a year ago] and kept in an inviolable privacy that nobody could penetrate," wrote the official Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano.

    It was on that trip to Mexico that the Pope fell and hurt his head while in an unfamiliar hotel room. He has also had a pacemaker installed in recent months.

    But it is perhaps a description of the pontiff from his own biographer Peter Seewald, who saw him last at the end of 2012, which most vividly conveys his true state.

    "His hearing had worsened. He couldn't see with his left eye. His body had become so thin that the tailors had difficulty keeping up with newly fitted clothes ... I'd never seen him so exhausted-looking, so worn down," Seewald recently wrote in the German magazine Focus.

    This does not nullify the degree of decay at the Holy See, but perhaps draws a more nuanced portrait of Benedict’s final year.

    There is little doubt that Benedict XVI served a calamitous eight years as the spiritual leader of the Catholic Church. His time in charge has lurched from public relations disasters, to damaging revelations, to endless lawsuits from all corners of the world.

    The Vatican’s instinctive response to crisis situations has been to close ranks, hide information and try to deal with transgressions internally, something that simply amplifies the scale of any misdeed once the truth inevitably emerges in this telecommunications age.

    Whatever his reported knowledge on theological matters, Pope Benedict was rarely a successful communicator, often on the defensive after making pronouncements on the most routine issues, and regarded as out-of-touch and uncharismatic.

    But for all his flaws, no one has doubted the personal religious devotion of the pontiff (and none of the scandals incriminated him in anything other than passiveness in his dealing with problems).

    Perhaps due to his age and inherent traditionalism, he was never the right man for the Papacy, but at least he knew his limitations.

    Benedict learned from observing his close friend John Paul II in the last months of his Papacy in 2005, body trembling with symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and voice barely above a whisper as he attempted to struggle through services in front of crowds of thousands.

    For all the unexpectedness of his resignation, Benedict said as far back as in 2010 that he would step down as soon as he was unable to perform this job.

    He has done as he promised, with his dignity intact.


    By being the first Pope to leave his post alive in 600 years, Joseph Ratzinger may have angered the traditionalists (who say that being God’s representative on Earth isn’t a job you can just quit), but he may have also set an example to his successors that will help the Papacy avoid becoming a constant deathwatch as its decrepit heads are driven around the world in wheelchairs.

    And for this he should be treated with respect, instead of having his motives queried and twisted by those pursuing their own agendas, however valid.

    In the meantime, the world can switch its attention to the new man at the Vatican, who will hopefully be able to address the very problems Benedict XVI failed to overcome.

    RUSSIA TODAY


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    The Aghoris are members of a Hindu sect who worship Shiva, whom they see as the supreme god. Because they believe that Shiva created everything – they consider nothing to be bad. For this reason they engage in a variety of sexual practices, they drink alcohol, take drugs, and eat meat. Nothing is considered taboo. But the thing that makes their ancient traditions bizarre is that they are also practicing cannibals and their temples are cremation grounds. An aghori lives in the cremation ground and is able to support himself there – his clothing comes from the dead, his firewood comes from the funeral pyres, and food from the river. When a person is cremated, an aghori will coat himself in the ashes of the body and meditate on the dead.




    The most shocking aspect of the Aghori life is their cannibalism. Dead bodies that are found floating in the river are gathered up and meditated on. The limbs are then removed by the Aghori and eaten raw.




    The corpses, which may be either pulled from a river (including the Ganges) or obtained from cremation grounds, are consumed both raw and cooked on open flame, as the Aghoris believe that what others consider a “dead man” is, in fact, nothing but a natural matter devoid of the life force it once contained. Therefore while for ordinary folks cannibalism may be seen as primitive, barbaric as well as unclean, for aghori’s it’s being both resourceful and subverting the common stereotypes placed on such taboos into a spiritual ascertainment that indeed nothing is profane nor separate from God, who is hailed to be all and in all. In fact, the Aghoris see it as a scientific approach in trying to discover how matter converts from one form to another.


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    The recent media splash (originally published in The New York Times) about finding the hypothetical common ancestor of all mammals is based upon nothing more than the evolutionary argument (assumption) that DNA and biological similarities between species is evidence for common ancestry.

    However, what if the DNA and biological similarities between species are because of a common Designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes in various species? Genetic information, like other forms of information, cannot arise by chance, so it is more logical to believe that similarities in DNA between species are due to intelligent design.


    All real evolution in nature is within limits. The genes already exist for micro-evolution (variations within a biological kind such as varieties of dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.), but the genes do not exist for macro-evolution (variations across biological kinds such as from sea sponge to human).  Only variations of already existing genes and traits are possible. A dog will always be a dog no matter how many varieties come into being. The unthinking environment simply has no ability to design or program entirely new genes.


    Evolution is possible only if there's information (i.e. genes, genetic code) directing it. Only variations of already existing genes are possible, which means only limited evolution and adaptations are possible. Nature is mindless and has no ability to perform genetic engineering or to invent entirely new genes via random genetic mutations caused by random environmental forces like radiation. That's blind evolutionary faith, not science. Read author's Internet article, War Among Evolutionnists (2nd Edition).

    We have breeds or races of dogs today that we didn't have a few hundred years ago. The genes for these new races or breeds were always there in the dog population. They just didn't have opportunity for expression until much later. All species of life carry both expressed and unexpressed genes. When we witness new variations within a natural species, what we're witnessing is the expression of previously existing genes. The genes were always there. The genes themselves didn't evolve, but when previously unexpressed genes have opportunity to express themselves, we witness micro-evolution (evolution within a natural species).

    Evolutionists hope and assume that, over millions of years, random mutations (accidental changes) in the genetic code caused by radiation from the environment will produce entirely new genes for entirely new traits in species so that macro-evolution occurs.  It's much like hoping that, if given enough time, randomly changing the sequence of letters in a cook book will turn the book into a romance novel, or a book on astronomy!

    Another problem for macro-evolution is the issue of survival of the fittest. How can a partially evolved species be fit for survival? A partially evolved trait or organ that is not complete and fully functioning from the start would be a liability to a species, not a survival asset. Plants and animals in the process of macro-evolution would be unfit for survival. 

    Imagine an evolving fish having part fins and part feet, with the fins evolving into feet. Where's the survival advantage? It can't use either fins or feet efficiently.  There are no fossils of such fish. These fish exist only on automobile bumper stickers!

    In fact, how could species have survived at all while their vital organs were supposedly evolving? Survival of the fittest (natural selection) may explain how species survive, due to minor variations and adaptations to the environment, but not how they originated. Natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are possible. Natural selection itself does not produce any biological traits. The real issue is what biological variations are possible in nature. The scientific evidence supports that only limited evolution, or biological variations, are possible in nature.

    What about "Junk" DNA? The latest science shows that "Junk DNA" isn't junk after all! It's we who were ignorant of how useful these segments of DNA really are. Recent scientific research published in scientific journals such as Nature and RNA has revealed that the "non-coding" segments of DNA are essential in regulating gene expression (i.e. how, when, and where genes are expressed in the body).
    All the fossils that have been used to support human evolution have ultimately been found to be either hoaxes, non-human, or human, but not human and non-human.

    All species in the fossil record are found complete and fully-formed, which is powerful evidence that they came into existence as complete and fully-formed from the beginning. This is only possible by creation.



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    These are DOGS! We can indignant, exclaim "Oh my God!", or take a position and sign the public petition "Nobody touch the DOG", addressed to the President of the European Commission Mr. Manuel Barroso and Mr. Barack Obama to officialy ask to the Chinese government to stop this brutal practice of eating dog meat, and to immediately end the terrible tortures which the DOGS are subjected in China.



    You can sign the Petition here: http://goo.gl/vXgTk

    I advise you that the images in this video are of a terrible cruelty and are reserved to an adult audience! 

    The dogs have no voice, but we do! Then we make our voice heard. More we'll be and stronger will be our call.

    Yes WE CAN! WE can STOP them!



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    A team of international researchers has discovered fragments of an ancient supercontinent of earth vanished beneath the floor of the Indian Ocean.

    The fragments, called Mauritia, are remains of a landmass on earth that would have existed between 2,000 and 85 million years ago, researchers say.

    The earth's landmass was gathered into a vast single continent called Rodinia, according to the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
    The primitive land broke up and disappeared beneath the waves of the ocean during the process of forming modern world occurred about 750 million years ago.
    Scientists confirmed the result after analyzing grains of sand taken from the beaches of Mauritius.

    The study revealed that grains belonged to a volcanic eruption that happened about nine million years ago, while they contained minerals that were much older.

    "We found zircons that we extracted from the beach sands, and these are something you typically find in a continental crust. They are very old in age," said the study leader Professor Trond H.Torsvik, from the University of Oslo, Norway.

    While the zircon dated to between 1,970 and 600 million years ago, the team concluded that the fragments were remnants of ancient land that had been dragged up to the surface of the island during a volcanic eruption.

    According to the study, although India and Madagascar are now separated by thousands of kilometres of ocean, they were once located next to.

    About 85million years ago, as India started to drift away from Madagascar towards its current location, the microcontinent would have broken up, eventually disappearing beneath the waves, researchers elaborate.

    The Seychelles islands, as a piece of granite or continental crust, which is currently sitting in the middle of the Indian Ocean, once upon a time was located in north of Madagascar, Torsvik explained.

    “What we are saying is that maybe this was much bigger, and there are many of these continental fragments that are spread around in the ocean," he added.

    The study was conducted by the researchers from Norway, Germany, and Britain.

    FGP/FGP

    Source: PRESS TV

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    Los Angeles (CNN) -- Tourists staying at a Los Angeles hotel bathed, brushed teeth and drank water from a tank in which a young woman's body was likely decomposing for more than two weeks, police said.

    Elisa Lam's corpse was found in the Cecil Hotel's rooftop water tank by a maintenance worker who was trying to figure out why the water pressure was low Tuesday.

    Lam's parents reported her missing in early February. The last sighting of her was in the hotel on January 31, Los Angeles Police said.

    Detectives are now investigating the 21-year-old Canadian's suspicious death, police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said.

    It was not clear whether the water presented any health risks to those who consumed it. Results on tests on the water done Wednesday by the Los Angeles Public Health Department were expected later in the day.

    The hotel management has not responded to CNN requests for comment.

    Video appears to show four cisterns on the hotel roof.
    People who stayed at the Cecil since Lam's disappearance expressed shock about developments.

    "The water did have a funny taste," Sabrina Baugh told CNN on Wednesday. She and her husband used the water for eight days.
    "We never thought anything of it," the British woman said. "We thought it was just the way it was here."

    What she described was not normal.

    "The shower was awful," she said. "When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for two seconds and then it was going back to normal."

    The hotel remained open after the discovery, but guests checking in Tuesday were told not to drink it, according to Qui Nguyen, who decided to find a new hotel Wednesday.

    Nguyen said he learned about the body from a CNN reporter, not the hotel staff.

    Source: CNN

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    As reported by Wuhan’s Evening Newspaper, at the “2012 Chutian Automobile Festival” held on November 16th at the Wuhan International Conference & Exhibition Center, several little girls in bikinis posing like car models, attracting crowds of onlookers.

    Photos of these little girls in bikinis were posted on Weibo, inciting strong reactions, with comments nearly “all one-sided” against the organizer of the auto show, the automobile manufacturers, and the parents of these little girls. One visitor to the car exhibition who saw the “show” commented that having little children wearing bikinis as car models is businesses harming “the buds of our motherland” and that the parents were being absolutely irresponsible.

    “They should get their minds out of the gutter?” said the mother of one of the little girls, feeling very misunderstood and wronged. She said that she had encouraged her daughter to compete in several children’s model contests, believing that the catwalk would keep her child physically fit and help to build a more confident and open personality. “And it’s not like its illegal for kids to wear bikinis.”

    The show was co-hosted by Qisefeng Modeling Agency, whose director Zhang Ping said that they held a Parent-Child Contest at the car show, hoping to find potential future super models. There were only two events in the children modeling contest held on November 16th—a talent show and car model posing, and wearing a bikini was not required. Zhang Ping says these girls were just contestants, not car models, and there was no business relationship between the parents, the Challenge Contest and the organizer of the event.

    However, Feng Jialin, a research associate of Hubei Academy of Social Sciences, indicated that wearing bikinis for show would have negative effects on girls of such a young age.

    Firstly, it is probable that young girls that start modeling at a young age might easily think that it’s easy money; hence they lack the motivation to study hard at school. Secondly, overly-revealing clothing could have unfavorable influences on children’s psychological health, especially on their sexual development. Wearing bikinis at such a young age is beyond what people could accept psychologically, and is rather inappropriate.

    From the perspective of child psychology, parents should try their best to keep children from forms of art or behavior that are not well-accepted among the public, especially little girls; and revealing clothing should not be worn by them.

    Source: CHINASMACK




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  • 02/27/13--03:29: Russia to upgrade SS Satan
  • Russia has reacted to what it says is the security threat the new U.S. defense system in Europe poses. Russia says it's upgrading the old RS-36 Voyevoda ICBM, known in the West as the "Satan missile," by building a new 100-ton ICBM.

    Russia also possessed the most powerful ICBM in the world, the RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) remains the ultimate ballistic missile. There is no anti-missile defense system to counter it. It can carry 10 warheads (550 kiloton each) a distance of more than 11,000 kilometers.
    It can be launched under almost any conditions, from an atmospheric temperature of -50 C to +50°ÃƒÂ¡;

    The working life of still-operational missiles has just been prolonged, which means they will remain on standby until 2016-2020, when they can be replaced with modern versions.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R-36_(missile)


    According to the English Pravda, Sergei Karakaev, commander of the missile troops said: "The decision about the creation of the new silo-based missile system with a liquid-fuel heavy missile has been made. The complex will have increased possibilities in overcoming the prospective missile defense system of the United States."
    Pravda reports further that the new missile will go into service in 2015.

    The Russian government said it was building the new ballistic missile to "preserve parity in the field." Business Insider reports that Russia's Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) will be renovating their Topol-M and Yars RS-24 missile systems and constructing an enormous new 100-ton ballistic missile. According to the official Russian Pravda, "Russia does not stand against the US missile defense system. Russia stands against the creation of the missile defense system, which would be directly aimed against Russia to potentially reduce the possibilities of the Russian nuclear containment forces."

    Analyst see the latest move by Russia as in protest of the European Missile Defense Shield being built by the U.S. Digital Journal reported in November that the,

    "Russian President threatened that if the U.S. proceeds with the planned European missile shield system, Russia will deploy Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad border area between Poland and Lithuania to strike against the system."

    The Russian president , according to Digital Journal, said that:
    "I have given the armed forces the task of drawing up plans to destroy the information and command and control systems of the (US/NATO) anti-missile shield...Our NATO partners are not for now showing any readiness to take our concerns about the architecture of the European missile shield into account, something which convinces us that their plans are aimed at Russia."

    The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (now Russian Prime Minister), also said that Russia may pull out of any disarmament treaties it has made with the U.S.
    Business Insider reports that the Russian Ria Novosti said the Russians have successfully carried out short-range interceptor missile test and are developing their own missile defense shield.

    The Inquisitr reports that the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (now Russian Prime Minister), abandoned talks with the U.S. in November over its new European missile defense system. The Russians abandoned the talks after they accused the U.S. of refusing to guarantee that the defense system will not be used against Russia. The U.S., however, alleged that Moscow's demand was to access the secret system's designs and locations, which it cannot allow. The U.S. says that the Russians may share the information with Iran against which the U.S.missile defense system is being deployed

    Source: http://digitaljournal.com/article/316513#ixzz23QdORXTt

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  • 02/27/13--04:18: Steak made with human poop


  • If you prefer your steak to be cooked rare, you may want to reconsider that choice after hearing about the latest advancement in food technology to come out of Japan: an edible steak made from human feces, reports Discovery News. (Update: Discovery News is now unsure if the story is real and wondering if they were duped. It reminds us of this "Yes Men" poop burger hoax.)

    Take a moment to let that gag reflex subside. Now consider this: it's already been taste-tested, approved, and could eventually become a practical solution to sewage treatment. Someday "bowel burgers" may even provide an easy source of protein for the hungry.


    The steaks were first envisioned by Japanese researcher Mitsuyuki Ikeda after he was approached by Tokyo Sewage to come up with a solution for the city's overabundance of sewage mud. Although "eating it" probably wouldn't have occurred to most people, Ikeda recognized that the mud was chock full with protein-rich bacteria.

    After isolating those proteins in the lab, Ikeda's team then combined them with a reaction enhancer and put them in an exploder. What eventually came out was no filet mignon, but it was edible.

    "Theoretically, there's nothing wrong with this," said Douglas Powell, a professor of food safety at Kansas State University. "It could be quite safe to eat, but I'm sure there's a yuck factor there."
    To make swallowing the stool steaks a little bit easier, a nutty flavor was added using soy protein, and red food coloring was mixed in too, apparently to make the concoction look more like a juicy, bloody steak. A few brave researchers even took the plunge and taste-tested the product. (Apparently it tastes like regular beef.)


    The official composition of the lab-grown steak is 63 percent proteins, 25 percent carbohydrates, 3 percent lipids, and 9 percent minerals. (Which sounds a lot better than 100 percent poop). According to Powell, the idea isn't really all that much different than eating plants that have been fertilized with manure or other excrement.
    The idea could even help to solve the world food crisis. By comparison, researchers have also proposed harvesting insect protein (i.e., "bug burgers") as one possible way to help combat famine worldwide. Are "bowel burgers" really so much worse? They also take the ethic of recycling to its logical extreme.

    Powell did offer one caveat to the future poo'd food revolution, though: because the steaks are made from human feces, there's always a chance for contamination. If you're brave enough to eat this, at least make certain that it's properly cooked (as if you were going to eat one raw!).

    When asked if he would ever consider eating one of the poop steaks if it wasn't cooked, Powell responded matter-of-factly.

    "I wouldn't touch it," he said.

    By Bryan Nelson



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  • 02/27/13--21:29: A LIFE TO KILL A SIN TO MAKE
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    “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is 'Abortion', because it is a war against the child... A direct killing of the innocent child, 'Murder' by the mother herself... And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love... And we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts...”
    ― Mother Teresa


    Fact 1.
    64 percent of women who committed abortion felt stress and more than 50% of abortions happen because of unintended pregnancy.

    Fact 2
    67 Percent of women who committed abortion got no counseling before doing it. 52% of women who did abortions felt rushed and 54 percent other not confident with her decision. 4 out of 10 causeless pregnancies lasted in abortion.


    Fact 3
    From all total number of pregnancies in the world, 24% of them end in abortion

    Fact 4
    79 Percent of the doer got no information about alternatives solutions.
    From all women between 15-44 years old, 2 out of 100 doers got an abortion. More than 48 percent of the number already had 1 or more abortions before. 52% of women who did abortions are under 25. 19 percent of them are teenagers and 33 percent of them are women between 20-24 years old

    Fact 5
    31 percent of the women who did abortion have infected by complication diseases. 10 percent of them suffer immediate complications and 1/5 of the percentage got life-threatening complication.
    Fact 6
    After abortion, women have 65% chances of clinical depression higher than women who bear her baby. Compare to white woman, the number of abortions that are doing by Black women are 4 times bigger. For Latin American women the quantities are 2.5 times bigger.
    Fact 7
    65 percent of women who did abortions suffer post traumatic stress disorder and almost 2/3rds of women who did abortion have never been married before.
    Fact 8
    Death rates of abortions are 3.5 times higher than a normal birth. 60% of the doers are mothers who already have one or more kids on her home. 
    Fact9
    According to survey, 60% of women who did abortions agree that “part of her is died” after doing it.

    Fact 10
    Suicide rates of women who did abortion are 6-7 times bigger than women who bear her baby. In Non Muslim country, 43% of women who did abortions are Protestant and 27% of them called themselves Catholic.

    Source:  Top World Facts




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