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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Working toward a warp drive: In his garage lab, Omahan aims to bend fabric of space

David Pares points to the Faraday cage that he uses in his warp drive experiments in the garage of his Aksarben-area home. “It is so far out there, he’s not going to get funding to do it,” says Jack Kasher, a retired UNO physics professor. “If it’s going to be done, it’s going to be done in his garage.”

You might not believe any of this stuff. But suspend your disbelief for a moment and make space for something incredible.

Let’s start this past summer, when a NASA scientist named Harold “Sonny” White unveiled an artist’s rendering of a spacecraft capable of shooting across the galaxy.

The spacecraft was theoretical, but the research behind it was real. For years White has been exploring the possibilities of actual “Star Trek”-like travel. He even named his ship the IXS Enterprise.

There are obstacles, such as forms of energy that might not exist. That’s a problem.



Monday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest








This Week


Mr. Fish

Monday Toon Roundup 2-Sony Hacks

Monday Toon Roundup 1- GOP

How a false witness helped the CIA make a case for torture

by Marcy Wheeler

Buried amid details of “rectal rehydration” and waterboarding that dominated the headlines over last week’s Senate Intelligence Committee findings was an alarming detail: Both the committee’s summary report and its rebuttal by the CIA admit that a source whose claims were central to the July 2004 resumption of the torture program — and, almost certainly, to authorizing the Internet dragnet collecting massive amounts of Americans’ email metadata — fabricated claims about an election year plot.

Both the torture program and President Bush's warrantless wiretap program, Stellar Wind, were partly halted from March through June of 2004. That March, Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith prepared to withdraw Pentagon authorization for torture, amid growing concern following the publication of pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib, and a May 2004 CIA inspector general report criticizing a number of aspects of the Agency's interrogation program. On June 4, 2004, CIA Director George Tenet suspended the use of torture techniques.

During the same period, the DOJ lawyers who pushed to stop torture were also persuading President George W. Bush to halt aspects of Stellar Wind, a program that conducted warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ communications inside the U.S., on top of the Internet metadata. After a dramatic confrontation in the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft on March 10, 2004, acting Attorney General Jim Comey and Goldsmith informed Bush there was no legal basis for parts of the program. Ultimately, Bush agreed to modify aspects of it, in part by halting the collection of Internet metadata. But even as Bush officials suspended that part of the program on March 26, they quickly set about finding legal cover for its resumption. One way they did so was by pointing to imminent threats — such as a planned election-season attack — in the United States.

The CIA in March 2004 received reporting from a source the torture report calls "Asset Y,” who said a known Al-Qaeda associate in Pakistan, Janat Gul — whom CIA at the time believed was a key facilitator — had set up a meeting between Asset Y and Al-Qaeda's finance chief, and was helping plan attacks inside the United States timed to coincide with the November 2004 elections. According to the report, CIA officers immediately expressed doubts about the veracity of the information they’d been given by Asset Y. A senior CIA officer called the report "vague" and "worthless in terms of actionable intelligence." He noted that Al Qaeda had already issued a statement “emphasizing a lack of desire to strike before the U.S. election” and suggested that since Al-Qaeda was aware that “threat reporting causes panic in Washington” and inevitably results in leaks, planting a false claim of an election season attack would be a good way for the network to test whether Asset Y was working for its enemies. Another officer, assigned to the group hunting Osama bin Laden, also expressed doubts.


Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England

Source: AP

LONDON (AP) — Entertainer Elton John and longtime mate David Furnish officially married Sunday on the ninth anniversary of the day they entered into a civil partnership.

The couple converted their civil bond under new laws implemented in England earlier this year that allow same-sex marriages.

On Sunday the couple posted an Instagram picture of themselves preparing to sign official documents. "That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!" they wrote.

John and Furnish planned a celebration at their estate near Windsor Castle west of London. An A-list crowd is expected — even if the festivities are likely to be much more sedate than the parties in John's hell-raising rock 'n' roll days.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/world/article/Happy-day-Elton-John-David-Furnish-marry-in-5971843.php

Stonehenge discovery could rewrite British pre-history

Archaeologists have discovered the earliest settlement at Stonehenge - but the Mesolithic camp could be destroyed if government plans for a new tunnel go ahead.

Charcoal dug up from the ‘Blick Mead’ encampment, a mile and a half from Stonehenge, dates from around 4,000BC. It is thought the site was originally occupied by hunter gatherers returning to Britain after the Ice Age, when the country was still connected to the continent.

Experts say the discovery could re-write history in prehistoric Britain.
There is also evidence of feasting - burnt flints and remains of giant bulls – aurochs – as well as flint tools.

The dig has also unearthed evidence of possible structures, but the site could be destroyed if plans for a 1.8 mile tunnel go ahead.



1,200 Turtles Have Washed Ashore In Cape Cod — And No One Knows Why

Weak, immobile, and close to death, the turtles wash limply on to the sand. The wind and waves draw them up to the shore, where their cold bodies — incapacitated by the frigid, late-autumn ocean — will lie prone on the beach, unable to move or defend themselves.

Here, they can do nothing but await rescue.

Each week since mid-November, staff members and volunteers from the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in South Wellfleet, Mass., have diligently patrolled the shoreline, both day and night, searching for these stranded sea turtles, which have washed up on the shore in droves this year — a mysterious event that has left wildlife experts scratching their heads.

Every year, a few sea turtles — usually 200 at most, in recent years — linger a little too long in Cape Cod Bay after the rest of their brethren have drifted back out to sea in search of warmer waters. These turtles somehow miss their cue to leave and end up staying behind as the waters cool.



Food Stamp Reforms Are Ruining Christmas

By the time Maria Melo went to the state social services office to apply for food stamps, things had been going badly for months. She'd lost her job as director of nursing at a rehab facility. Then, longstanding problems with anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder shut her body down and she ended up hospitalized for two weeks. Between unemployment checks and her husband's work as a self-employed electrician, they might still have been able to squeak by OK and even get some decent Christmas gifts for the kids. But the unpaid hospital bills made that impossible now.

Food stamps, Melo figured, would reduce the monthly grocery bill, giving her a little breathing room in the family budget. But, sitting in the crowded waiting room at an office of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance near her home in Lowell, she was more embarrassed than hopeful.

"I was like, I can't believe I'm doing this," she said. "Here I am, a registered nurse, sitting there, just hoping for help."


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