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Stephen Hawking: 'There are no black holes'

Notion of an 'event horizon', from which nothing can escape, is incompatible with quantum theory, physicist claims.

Zeeya Merali

Most physicists foolhardy enough to write a paper claiming that “there are no black holes” — at least not in the sense we usually imagine — would probably be dismissed as cranks. But when the call to redefine these cosmic crunchers comes from Stephen Hawking, it’s worth taking notice. In a paper posted online, the physicist, based at the University of Cambridge, UK, and one of the creators of modern black-hole theory, does away with the notion of an event horizon, the invisible boundary thought to shroud every black hole, beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape.

In its stead, Hawking’s radical proposal is a much more benign “apparent horizon”, which only temporarily holds matter and energy prisoner before eventually releasing them, albeit in a more garbled form.

“There is no escape from a black hole in classical theory,” Hawking told Nature. Quantum theory, however, “enables energy and information to escape from a black hole”. A full explanation of the process, the physicist admits, would require a theory that successfully merges gravity with the other fundamental forces of nature. But that is a goal that has eluded physicists for nearly a century. “The correct treatment,” Hawking says, “remains a mystery.”

Hawking posted his paper on the arXiv preprint server on 22 January1. He titled it, whimsically, 'Information preservation and weather forecasting for black holes', and it has yet to pass peer review. The paper was based on a talk he gave via Skype at a meeting at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California, in August 2013 (watch video of the talk).



Judge tosses Oklahoma morning-after pill law

Source: Tulsa World

OKLAHOMA CITY -— An Oklahoma County judge threw out a law barring young girls from an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive Thursday on the grounds it violates the state constitution.

The law, contained in House Bill 2226, prevented girls younger than 17 from getting Plan B One-Step —- commonly called "the morning-after pill" — without a prescription. Women and girls 17 and older can obtain the product without a prescription.

The drug is also known as levonorgestrel. It is taken after sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy but is not capable of terminating an existing pregnancy, so it is not an abortion drug.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice and Jo Ann Mangili of Mounds, whose daughter was 15 at the time.

Read more: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/courts/judge-tosses-oklahoma-morning-after-pill-law/article_1fa51466-e77d-5d9c-8bd0-41a214bbae22.html

Koch World 2014

By KENNETH P. VOGEL | 1/24/14 5:07 AM EST

If the Koch brothers’ political operation seemed ambitious in 2010 or 2012, wait for what’s in store for 2014 and beyond.

The billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch are convening some of the country’s richest Republican donors on Sunday at a resort near Palm Springs, Calif., to raise millions of dollars for efforts to shape the political landscape for years to come.

It’s the cash that can possibly kick Democrats out of the Senate majority this fall and shape the philosophy and agenda of the GOP conference – not to mention the 2016 presidential field.

The Koch political operation has become among the most dominant forces in American politics, rivaling even the official Republican Party in its ability to shape policy debates and elections. But it’s mostly taken a piecemeal approach, sticking to its sweet spots, while leaving other tasks to outsiders, or ad hoc coalitions of allies.

That’s changing. This year, the Kochs’ close allies are rolling out a new, more integrated approach to politics. That includes wading into Republican primaries for the first time to ensure their ideal candidates end up on the ticket, and also centralizing control of their network to limit headache-inducing freelancing by affiliated operatives.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/01/koch-brothers-2014-elections-102555.html

How The 0.01 Percent Underwrites, And Undermines, Politics

Paul Blumenthal

WASHINGTON -- Just four days after being named Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate in August 2012, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made a pilgrimage to Las Vegas to meet the man who had, overnight, become his biggest benefactor: casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Throughout the 2012 campaign, the octogenarian Adelson was both everywhere and nowhere -- perhaps the greatest example of an Oz-like wizard pulling the political strings behind the scenes. He appeared in public with Romney just once, at a fundraiser that Adelson hosted for the GOP nominee during a visit to Jerusalem. But he poured more than $150 million into a network of political groups that backed Republican candidates.

Adelson was not alone, however, among the small circle of Republican mega-donors. In June 2012, billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch invited dozens of the country's wealthiest individuals to their annual "donor" conference in San Diego. There they raised nearly $400 million in three days, money they would later churn through a web of conservative nonprofit groups -- shielding the identities of the donors in the process. Two weeks after the conference, David Koch held a fundraiser for Romney at his home in the Hamptons, which guests paid between $50,000 and $75,000 to attend.

Meanwhile, the reelection campaign of President Barack Obama sought to cast a populist sheen on its glitzy fundraisers by raffling off tickets to events hosted by the likes of Vogue editor Anna Wintour and actor George Clooney. Yet while he ultimately raised more money from small donors in 2012 than he had during his historic 2008 campaign, Obama also attended more high-dollar fundraisers than any previous sitting president.



Friday TOON Roundup 4 - The Rest








Friday TOON Roundup 3 -Politics







Friday TOON Roundup 2 - That Damn Canadian

Friday TOON Roundup 1 -The War on Women's Rights

(note, first one should be animated, give it a moment)

Luckovich Toon: Just Belieb!

An insider’s story of the global attack on climate science

by Jim Sallinger Jan 23 2014

A recent headline—"Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss"—marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly funded climate denial, the harassment of scientists, and a tying-up of valuable government resources in New Zealand.

It’s likely to be a familiar story to my scientist colleagues in Australia, the UK, the US, and elsewhere around the world.

But if you’re not a scientist and are genuinely trying to work out who to believe when it comes to climate change, then it’s a story you need to hear, too. Because while the New Zealand fight over climate data appears to finally be over, it’s part of a much larger, ongoing war against evidence-based science.

From number crunching to controversy

In 1981, as part of my PhD work, I produced a seven-station New Zealand temperature series known as 7SS to monitor historic temperature trends and variations from Auckland to as far south as Dunedin in southern New Zealand.


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