Mike Lofgren – How Washington’s New Rich Live

February 10, 2016

In 1927, H.L. Mencken rode by train through the Pennsylvania coal country. The houses he saw along the way were so hideous, at least in his eyes, that he was moved to pen his famous essay, “The Libido for the Ugly.” Mencken was writing about towns inhabited by coal miners and railroad brakemen, but what would he say if he were to visit present-day Washington, DC and take a stroll in its surrounding suburbs? I’d bet the Sage of Baltimore would direct his limitless venom at the spanking-new particle-board McMansions of Washington’s New Class: the K Street lawyers, political consultants, Beltway fixers and war on terrorism profiteers who run a permanent shadow government in the nation’s capital. There is talk of a Georgetown elite, but ever since Pamela Harriman’s death in 1997, that crowd has been as defunct as the Romanov dynasty. Georgetown has elegant but cramped townhouses with creaky floorboards, inadequate wiring and an aura of ever-so-slightly shabby gentility. Who needs that when you can buy a brand-new 12,000 square foot McMansion with cast stone lions guarding the front gate, a two-and-a-half story tall great room and a home cinema with built-in FSB ports? Read

In Memoriam: Edgar Mitchell, ScD, PhD

February 8, 2016

When he returned from space forty-five years ago, Apollo 14 Astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell committed his life to supporting a sustainable future. He worked tirelessly to understand and promote what he viewed as an absolutely necessary collective shift in consciousness. To those of us who knew him well, Edgar was an enthusiastic, loving, dedicated, courageous, generous, and brilliant man who inspired us to be bold in our exploration of the further reaches of human potential, to fearlessly challenge inadequate paradigms, and to carry his spirit of adventure into investigating our inner lives. Most people know Edgar Mitchell best as an Apollo 14 astronaut and sixth person to walk on the moon. A US Navy Captain, MIT-trained aeronautics engineer, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NASA distinguished service award, and 2005 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize among many other honors, Edgar Mitchell was a hero in the truest sense of the word. What fewer people know is that Edgar’s spirit of exploration extended well beyond space travel to his lifelong dedication to increasing our scientific understanding of the nature of consciousness. Read

Gun deaths in US remain highest among high-income nations

February 5, 2016

Gun deaths are a serious public health issue in the United States and the scope of the problem is often difficult to illustrate. A new study published inThe American Journal of Medicine lays out the risk in concrete terms. When compared to 22 other high-income nations, Americans are ten times more likely to be killed by a gun than their counterparts in the developed world. Specifically, gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in the U.S. and, while the overall suicide rate is on par with other high-income nations, the U.S. gun suicide rate is eight times higher. In order to help put America’s relationship with guns into perspective, researchers from the University of Nevada-Reno and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed mortality data gathered by the World Health Organization in 2010. Investigators found that despite having similar rates of nonlethal crimes as other high-income countries, the U.S. has much higher rates of lethal violence, mostly driven by extremely higher rates of gun-related homicides. Read

John Vibes – Documents Show JFK Was Murdered Days After Demanding Answers About UFOs From The CIA

January 7, 2016

declassified documents obtained and published by Scott C Waring, editor of UFO Sightings Daily, John F. Kennedy wrote a letter to the head of the CIA demanding their research on alien life and UFOs just days before his death. The memo is authentic and is a confirmed declassified document released by the CIA. JFK wrote the memo to CIA on November 12, 1963, only to be killed on November 22, 1963. n the memo, JFK wrote: It would be very helpful if you would have the high threat cases reviewed with the purpose of identification of bona fide as opposed to classified CIA and USAF sources. It is important that we make a clear distinction between the knowns and unknowns in the event the Soviets try to mistake our extended cooperation as a cover for intelligence gathering of their defense and space programs. I would like you to arrange a program of data sharing with NASA where unknowns are a factor. Read

Janet Allon – The Polluted Air You’re Breathing Could Be Making You Gain Weight

December 22, 2015

Researchers are studying whether air pollution could be contributing to the obesity epidemic, and the news is not good for city dwellers and second-hand smokers. Increasingly, it looks like two people can have exactly the same diet, and perform the same amount of exercise, but one may put on more weight depending on the air quality around their home. The tiny particles that lodge in the lungs from smog and cigarette smoke appear to be the culprits in more than just respiratory diseases, according to researchers, who are looking into the effect that increased CO2 levels might have on metabolism. Read

Miles Grant – As December Heat Ends History’s Warmest Year, Media Still Shy Away From the Cause

December 16, 2015

As wave after wave of record-breaking high temperatures grips huge swaths of America, media coverage of the December warmth has rarely been willing to discuss its cause. Reporters may be willing to point to a monster El Niño, but hardly have mentioned it’s launching its assault off a higher baseline temperatures from human-caused climate change, resulting in some jaw-dropping record highs. Of 259 newspaper stories that touched on December’s warmth between December 1 and 14, 25 made the link to El Niño, but only seven made the tie to climate change. Network news coverage has been no more willing to connect the dots. Of 67 mentions of December warmth, six linked it to El Niño, but only one talked about the climate connection. Read

Jessica Orwig – Sending humans to Mars could uncover a disturbing truth to one of life’s greatest mysteries

December 10, 2015

This version of a self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover at a drilling site called “Buckskin” is presented as a stereographic projection, which shows the horizon as a circle. The MAHLI camera on Curiosity’s robotic arm took dozens of component images for this selfie on Aug. 5, 2015. If humankind successfully lands people on the surface of Mars, we could discover an important clue about the origins of life on Earth — one of the greatest scientific mysteries in human history. A theory called panspermia, which dates back to the 5th century BC, posits that certain life forms can hop between planets, and even star systems, to fertilize them with life. Following this theory, some scientists suspect that the first life on Earth never formed on our planet at all, but instead, hitched a ride inside planetary fragments from Mars that were flung into space after a powerful impact and eventually fell to Earth. We could be the aliens! Read


November 10, 2015

The House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology wants to know what government scientists say about climate change. Not what they say in public, of course—you don’t need a subpoena to read the many reports the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has published on the pressing problem of global warming. No, the congressional body tasked with overseeing the nation’s scientists thinks that climate change is some kind of elaborate prank NOAA is playing on the nation, and that surely their internal e-mails look something like this: From: Candace Climate, PhD Read

Conor Friedersdorf – The NYPD Is Using Mobile X-Ray Vans to Spy on Unknown Targets

October 22, 2015

Dystopian truth is stranger than dystopian fiction. In New York City, the police now maintain an unknown number of military-grade vans outfitted with X-ray radiation, enabling cops to look through the walls of buildings or the sides of trucks. The technology was used in Afghanistan before being loosed on U.S. streets. Each X-ray van costs an estimated $729,000 to $825,000. The NYPD will not reveal when, where, or how often they are used. Read

Large solar storms ‘dodge’ detection systems on Earth

October 19, 2015

According to observations from the Tihany Magnetic Observatory in Hungary, the indices used by scientists to assess the Sun’s geomagnetic perturbations to the Earth are unable to detect some of these events, which could put both power supply and communication networks at risk. The Tihany Magnetic Observatory registered a solar storm similar to the largest one ever recorded while other observatories were completely unaware of the event. In 1859 the largest and most powerful solar storm ever recorded, also known as the Carrington Event or the Carrington Flare in honour of the English Astronomer Richard Carrington who observed it, was detected at the Colaba Observatory in India. This solar storm allowed for the observation of auroras at latitudes as low as Madrid and even the Caribbean Sea. However, the storm was also the cause of power outages and fires at telegraph system facilities all over Europe and North America. Read
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