31 Aug 2009

Scientists design spacecraft to save Earth

A team of British engineers have designed a real-life spacecraft to save the world from destruction. Their invention, called a "gravity tractor", would be deployed when an orbiting rock is detected on a collision course with Earth.


The spacecraft would intercept the asteroid and position itself to fly alongside it, just 160ft from its surface. From this position, the 10 tonne craft is able to exert a small gravitational force on the rock, pulling the asteroid towards it. By gradually modifying its course, over several years, the gravity tractor is able to slowly shift the asteroid's trajectory enough to ensure it misses the Earth.


Digging up the Saudi past: some would rather not

Much of the world knows Petra, the ancient ruin in modern-day Jordan that is celebrated in poetry as "the rose-red city, 'half as old as time,'" and which provided the climactic backdrop for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

But far fewer know Madain Saleh, a similarly spectacular treasure built by the same civilization, the Nabateans.

That's because it's in Saudi Arabia, where conservatives are deeply hostile to pagan, Jewish and Christian sites that predate the founding of Islam in the 7th century.


But now, in a quiet but notable change of course, the kingdom has opened up an archaeology boom by allowing Saudi and foreign archaeologists to explore cities and trade routes long lost in the desert.

The sensitivities run deep. Archaeologists are cautioned not to talk about pre-Islamic finds outside scholarly literature. Few ancient treasures are on display, and no Christian or Jewish relics. A 4th or 5th century church in eastern Saudi Arabia has been fenced off ever since its accidental discovery 20 years ago and its exact whereabouts kept secret.

In the eyes of conservatives, the land where Islam was founded and the Prophet Muhammad was born must remain purely Muslim. Saudi Arabia bans public displays of crosses and churches, and whenever non-Islamic artifacts are excavated, the news must be kept low-key lest hard-liners destroy the finds.

The Guardian

30 Aug 2009

Debt Slave

National Inflation Association

Australia’s 'Forgotten' children to get formal apology

The Australian Federal Government will formally say sorry to the hundreds of thousands of people who were abused and neglected as children after being placed in institutions or foster care.


The Government will by the end of the year formally acknowledge and apologise to generations of so-called ''Forgotten Australians'' and child migrants who suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse while in the care of government institutions, foster care and church organisations.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin said the level of abuse and neglect had been unacceptable and it was now time to issue a formal apology.

''Many former child migrants and other children who were in institutions, their families and the wider community have suffered from a system that did not adequately provide for, or protect, children in its care,'' Ms Macklin said.

The planned apology, which will also involve consultation with the Opposition, follows a number of Senate inquiries, all of which recorded horrific abuse and neglect of children.

The 2004 Forgotten Australians Senate report estimated that at least 500,000 children had been placed in more than 500 orphanages, homes or other forms of care during the last century - many because they were born to single mothers or were the victims of family break-ups or poverty.

The inquiry found a ''litany of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and often criminal physical and sexual assault'' with widespread deprivation of food, education and health care.

Thousands of children were also sent from Britain to work in Australia up until the late 1960s.

The Age

29 Aug 2009

Circus Elephant Suffering

Good ole boys together again for Kennedy's Funeral

A funeral Mass to honor the life of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was being held on a gray Saturday that matched the solemn mood at a Boston church packed with mourners.

His renowned family, fellow senators and former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, were attending the service at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the Mission district.


The program opens with an undated quote from Kennedy: "For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make."

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who is married to Kennedy's niece Maria Shriver, entered the church shortly before the funeral was scheduled to begin.


Court takes Dutch teenage girl from parents to block her solo voyage

Laura Dekker, a 13-year-old Dutch girl, has been taken into the custody of child protection officers after a court blocked her bid to make a solo sailing voyage around the world.

A Dutch court has placed Laura Dekker, 13, under state care, stopping her from attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

A Dutch court has placed Laura Dekker, 13, under state care, stopping her from attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

The world record-breaking journey, which had her parents' approval, would have taken Laura Dekker out of the classroom next week and through some of the world's most dangerous waters for the next two years.

But judges in Utrecht ordered the state child care authorities to take responsibility for the teenager over the next two months while an independent child psychologist assesses her capacity to undertake the risky voyage. 

Social workers argued that Miss Dekker was too young to be aware of the dangers of a solo journey and psychologists suggested that two years of isolation on the high seas would damage the young girl's development.


Avian Swine Flu created by the CIA

12 Aug 2009

Illuminati: All Conspiracy, No Theory

Unique species of Galápagos Islands threatened by mosquitoes

Unique species on the Galápagos Islands are under threat from mosquitoes introduced by tourist planes and boats, according to research published today.


The southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, capable of carrying West Nile fever and avian malaria, is being transported from mainland Ecuador and breeding with existing populations on the islands, prompting fears of disease outbreaks.

Endemic birds, including the waved albatross, red-footed booby and flightless cormorant, may also be vulnerable.

The Guardian

11 Aug 2009

Israel Mermaid Fever Makes A Splash: Mythical Creature Spotted Near Haifa

Israel is in the grips of mermaid fever after numerous sightings of the mythical sea creature off its coast.

One town council is taking the reports so seriously it is offering a $1m (£609,000) reward to anyone who can prove the existence of a mermaid in its waters.


Kiryat Yam municipality, near Haifa, says it has been told of dozens of sightings in the past few months.

"Many people are telling us they are sure they've seen a mermaid and they are all independent of each other," council spokesman Natti Zilberman told Sky News.

The nautical nymph is only seen in the evening at sunset, according to media reports, drawing crowds of people with cameras hoping for a glimpse.

"People say it is half girl, half fish, jumping like a dolphin. It does all kinds of tricks then disappears," Mr Zilberman said.

Sky News

Chavez: US, Colombia 'threaten war'

Venezuela's president has criticised as a threat of war a deal between the US and Colombia allowing more US troops to operate on Colombian soil, during a summit of South American leaders in Ecuador.


"The winds of war are beginning to blow… I am not going to allow them to do to Venezuela what they did to Ecuador," Hugo Chavez said on Monday at the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) talks in Quito, referring to a 2008 Colombian raid on a guerrilla camp in Ecuador.

"We would respond militarily and decisively if the pro-war forces in Colombia, egged on by the United States, dare to launch aggression against Venezuela."

Al Jazeera


Aung San Suu Kyi will spent the next year and a half in detention after a court today found the Burmese pro-democracy leader guilty of breaking the terms of her house arrest.


Reports from the Burmese capital, Rangoon, said the court had imposed a three-year sentence, which the country's military leaders immediately commuted to 18 months on the orders of military government which said she could serve the sentence in her Rangoon home.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 64, had been accused of harbouring an American, Jon Yettaw, who swam uninvited to her lakeside compound last month.

Observers had expected a guilty verdict at the end of a trial that has drawn widespread condemnation.

Opponents of the Burmese junta, which has ruled with an iron fist since 1962, say the verdict is designed to keep Aung San Suu Kyi out of the public eye during elections scheduled for early next year.


10 Aug 2009

Like the fist of an angry god

Deep in the outer realms of our solar system, well over a billion kilometers away, something bizarre happened at Saturn’s F ring.

Cassini image of something punching through Saturn’s F ring

This is one of the latest pictures returned from the remarkable human achievement that is the Cassini spacecraft, a probe the size of a school bus that has been orbiting the ringed planet since 2004. It’s returned one incredible picture after another, and lately — as Saturn’s orbit has brought it to a point where the rings are nearly edge-on to the Sun — things have gotten not only spectacular but also really weird.

The rings are incredibly thin, only a few meters in thickness despite being hundreds of thousands of kilometers across. Over the past few months, as the Sun shines almost straight into the rings (instead of down on them), every bump and irregularity sticks out like, well, like a tree in the desert. Weird gravitational effects from Saturn’s fleet of moons tune and resonate the countless particles making up the rings, creating beautiful waves and ripples.

But this, this is something new.

Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine

Secret KGB UFO Files

9 Aug 2009

Palestinians out, Jews in

Hollywood's distortion of the truth alters history in the eyes of schoolchildren

Researchers have found that film is an incredibly powerful tool for teaching children about the past which can greatly increase historical knowledge.

However, it is so powerful that if the facts are wrong, pupils are more likely to believe them even if they are told otherwise by text books or teachers, they say.

When films get it right then children benefit enormously and remember much more detail when later questioned, said lead researcher Andrew Butler of Washington University in St Louis.


But when they it wrong, so do the children. Even if they have read the correct version in a textbook they remember what was in the film not what was in their book.

"When information in the film was consistent with information in the text, watching the film clips increased correct recall by about 50 per cent relative to reading the text alone," he said.

"In contrast, when information in the film directly contradicted the text, people often falsely recalled the misinformation portrayed in the film, sometimes as much as 50 per cent of the time."

Telegraph - Guardian - Reel history is best when it's not like real historyJohns Hopkins Newsletter - Alexander the not-so great

7 Aug 2009

'They are talking to me about money I owe to them as if I had robbed a bank'

Clowes leg A UK soldier who lost a leg fighting in Afghanistan has attacked the Ministry of Defence's "disgusting" treatment of his compensation case after it insisted he repay £48,392 that it deposited in his account in error.

Carl Clowes, 23, a former private in the Royal Engineers whose legs were shattered when his vehicle hit a mine in Helmand province in July 2007, used the money to clear his mortgage on his house, before offering to pay it back at the rate of £120 a month over 23 years.

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency refused his terms this week, cancelled his £14,300 medical discharge award and said it would cut his pension from £920 to £620 a month. It wants to take £10,000 of his £13,000 savings.

In an escalating dispute, Clowes, who has a prosthetic left leg and suffers pain if he walks more than a few yards, plans to keep the money, which he believes is reasonable compensation for 17 other injuries, including serious injuries to his right leg. The government agency has warned him not to go public about the dispute, which has made him even angrier.

More on guardian.co.uk - Link to video

Ian Tomlinson's family accuse UK police of cover-up over his death

The family of Ian Tomlinson, who collapsed after being hit by an officer at the G20 protests in London, have accused the police of engaging in a cover-up to stop them finding out the truth.


In an interview with the Guardian, Tomlinson's widow, Julia, and son, Paul King, spoke for the first time about the anger, hurt and frustration they have felt in the months since his death.

They said they felt they had been pressured by the City of London police, Scotland Yard and the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) not to speak out, but could no longer keep quiet because of their concerns.

The family said police had prevented them from viewing Tomlinson's body for six days after his death.

Police initially tried to persuade them there was nothing suspicious about the death and gave them only an edited version of his first post-mortem exmaination.

guardian.co.ukLink to Video

5 Aug 2009

Information Overload Syndrome - IOS?

(It’s really a Xerox commercial…)

US Journalists Return From North Korea After Bill Clinton Negotiates Release

One of two US journalists freed from a North Korean prison have thanked Bill Clinton and his "super-cool team" for securing their release.

Former US President Bill Clinton greets journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee at an airport in Pyongyang, North Korea

Mr Clinton greets journalists Ling and Lee at an airport in Pyongyang

Laura Ling and Euna Lee were detained for illegally entering the country in March and faced 12 years' hard labour in the communist state. The TV reporters have now arrived in Burbank, California after flying back from North Korea with the ex-US president.

The journalists were released after Mr Clinton made a surprise trip to the capital Pyongyang to meet reclusive leader Kim Jong Il, who pardoned the pair following negotiations. Ms Ling said she had feared she was being taken to a hard labour camp before the former US leader arrived to see them.

Sky News

What makes this story even more intriguing is the fact that Laura Ling’s sister, Lisa, entered North Korea under false pretenses in June 2006 to film a National Geographic documentary entitled Undercover in North Korea. Posing as a volunteer for Nepalese eye doctor Sanduk Ruit, Lisa Ling used miniature hidden cameras to capture damning images of the secretive regime. The young reporter then included material provided by the Department of Defense and State Department to produce a very harsh portrait of what she called “the most terrifying country on Earth.”

The CIA has utilized a stable of journalists since its post-World War II formation. Ben Bradlee—Washington Post editor and famed Watergate player—served the CIA under Operation Mockingbird in the 1950s during his stay in Paris. In a groundbreaking article for Rolling Stone magazine on October 20, 1977, Carl Bernstein listed the benefits of having CIA journalists at their disposal. They are “accorded unusual access, permitted to trade in areas often off-limits, and spend much of their time cultivating sources in government.”
Are Euna Lee and Laura Ling spies? It’s not certain at this time; but as Brian Stelter of The New York Times wrote on June 8, “The detainment of two Current TV employees has been shrouded in secrecy by the television channel.”


Ahmadinejad's kisses shoulder of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

YouTube - ABC News

4 Aug 2009

UK problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes

Thousands of the worst families in England are to be put in “sin bins” in a bid to change their bad behaviour, Ed Balls announced yesterday.

The Children’s Secretary set out £400million plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes.

Ed Balls UK Children's Secretary Ed Balls

They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.

Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and alcohol addiction.

Around 2,000 families have gone through these Family Intervention Projects so far.

But ministers want to target 20,000 more in the next two years, with each costing between £5,000 and £20,000 – a potential total bill of £400million.

Ministers hope the move will reduce the number of youngsters who get drawn into crime because of their chaotic family lives, as portrayed in Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless.

Sin bin projects operate in half of council areas already but Mr Balls wants every local authority to fund them.

Daily Express


UPDATE: On British Department for children, schools an families website is now this comment (they probably got scared by the reactions):

Responding to stories claiming that irresponsible families will be monitored by CCTV cameras in their own homes, a DCSF spokesperson said:

Families will not be monitored by CCTV in their own homes. Through Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) we are supporting and challenging the small number of families involved in persistent anti-social behaviour. FIP workers spend time observing families in their own homes, helping them to recognise that their anti-social behaviour is unacceptable. They focus on the causes of their behaviour, and challenge them to make changes so they can turn their lives around. A very small number of families who need further intensive support are placed in residential units with project workers living with them – this does not involve CCTV


3 Aug 2009

Where do they go?

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin Reveals Existence of Monolith on Mars Moon

Palermo's Phobos Anomalies - the VGL siteMore about Buzz: "God put it there"

Our moon is also an alien place: The Alien Moon (uncensored pics)

The plague in west China

A second man has died of pneumonic plague in a remote part of north-west China where a town of more than 10,000 people has been sealed off.

The 37-year-old victim was a neighbour of the first person to die from the plague, a herdsman aged 32 in Ziketan, near Xinghai in Qinghai Province.


Pneumonic plague, which attacks the lungs, can spread from person to person or from animals to people.

A spokeswoman for the World Health Organization, Vivian Tan, said an outbreak such as this was always a concern, but praised the Chinese for reacting quickly and for getting the situation under control.


2 Aug 2009

Mohammad Khatami: Iran's 'show trial' violates constitution

Iran's moderate former president, Mohammad Khatami, has denounced the trial of more than 100 opposition activists and protesters as a violation of the constitution that will further damage public trust in the Islamic republic.


"The trial on Saturday was a show and the confessions are invalid ... What was called a trial was a violation of the constitution ... Such show trials will directly harm the system and will further damage public trust," he said in a posting on his website .

Khatami, who was president from 1997 to 2005, criticised the court for not allowing defendants' lawyers access to the courtroom or the case files. Instead of a show trial, Khatami said the public expected the government to "confront the problems and tragedies that happened in some detention centres and apparently led to murder".

Khatami's outspoken remarks dashed any hopes the regime may have harboured that a show of legal strength would initimidate its critics into silence.

guardian.co.uk - Mohammad Khatami website

Avian Swine Flu created by the CIA

This strain of swine influenza that's been cultured in a laboratory is something that's not been seen anywhere actually in the United States and the world, so this is actually a new strain of influenza that's been identified, said Dr. John Carlo, Dallas Co. Medical Director

Freedom of Expression

Fried Potato's instead of Freedom - Man's struggle for freedom is one of the greatest tests and gifts we have as a sentient species. Nothing feels as good as fighting the good fight. Some things really are worth life itself. An ideal, a belief, and a love. The resistance is now. You are free.

Amish farmers lose court battle against RFID

Michigan farmers have failed in their attempt to block the introduction of RFID tags for cattle, despite arguments about the cost and the risk of upsetting an otherwise benevolent deity.


The case was bought by the catchily-named Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defence Fund (FTCLDF), representing small farmers in Michigan as well as a group of six Amish farmers: the former concerned about the cost of the tags, while the latter were more worried about eternal damnation brought on by applying numbers to God's own cattle.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) tried to get the case dismissed back in November last year, but only now has it managed to have the case thrown out on the basis that it is a Michigan ruling and thus subject to state laws, rather than part of any agenda being set by the USDA as part of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), against which the plaintiff's case was based.

The Register

Fake Al Qaeda Actors EXPOSED! Adam Gadahn & Yousef al-Khattab


1 Aug 2009

Bombshell: Bin Laden worked for US till 9/11

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds dropped a bombshell on the Mike Malloy radio show, guest-hosted by Brad Friedman (audio, partial transcript).
In the interview, Sibel says that the US maintained 'intimate relations' with Bin Laden, and the Taliban, "all the way until that day of September 11."

These 'intimate relations' included using Bin Laden for 'operations' in Central Asia, including Xinjiang, China. These 'operations' involved using al Qaeda and the Taliban in the same manner "as we did during the Afghan and Soviet conflict," that is, fighting 'enemies' via proxies.
As Sibel has previously described, and as she reiterates in this latest interview, this process involved using Turkey (with assistance from 'actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia') as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army.

Against All Enemies