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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Cracked:The 6 Weirdest Things We've Learned Since 9/11

By David Wong

Hey, guys -- I'm starting to think we overreacted to the terrorism thing.

It hit me last year as I was standing in the naked airport scanner again, listening to the faint gasps and then applause from the monitoring booth, and realized that I wouldn't put up with that hassle to ward off the threat of, say, lightning. You know, like if scientists had figured out that you could reduce the already miniscule chance of being struck by merely standing outside and showing God your dick.

Anyway, that made me look back at the lessons we've learned in the 12 years since the 9/11 attacks, and I've got to say, it's not encouraging. For instance, we found out that ...
#6. Terrorism Totally Works!
#5. Apparently Anything Can Be Called "Terrorism"
#4. It's Actually Really Hard to Pull Off a Large-Scale Terror Attack
#3. The Era of Awesome "Good vs. Evil" Wars Is Over
#2. Patriotism Got Really Weird at Some Point
#1. Sometimes the Alarmist Tinfoil Hat Crowd Is Right

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-6-weirdest-things-weve-learned-since-911/#ixzz2eardduQi

Nearly Half of All US Births Paid for With Medicaid

Federal funding in the form of Medicaid is used to pay for 45 percent of all births in the US, according to new research published in the journal Women's Health Issues, which analyzed the 4 million births that took place in the nation in 2010.

According to the researchers, who gathered data from all 50 states, the Medicaid information will allow health professionals and researches to gauge the impact of health care reform on maternal and child health.

Lead author of the study Anne Markus, an associate professor of health policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, said that as some states expand their Medicaid programs under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act it may lead to improved women's and maternity heath care practices and perhaps result in better health outcomes.

"As states expand coverage, low-income women of childbearing age will be able to obtain more continuous coverage before and between pregnancies," said Markus. "Now, for the first time, researchers will have a comprehensive baseline that will help them determine how increased access to services might change pregnancies and ultimately birth outcomes."



Skyscraper-sized Waves Recorded Beneath the Ocean

For the first time, scientist have recorded an enormous wave the size of a skyscraper breaking at a key location at the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean. (Photo : Tom Peacock, MIT | Wide Eye Productions)

For the first time, scientists have recorded an enormous wave the size of a skyscraper breaking at a key location at the bottom of the South Pacific Ocean.

Researchers from the University of Washington recorded the 800 foot wave breaking at a key bottleneck for ocean circulation where water of different density collides. Such massive underwater waves play a crucial role in long-term climate cycles, transporting heat, carbon, and nutrients around the world. Where and how these waves break is important to global climate as well as ocean circulation, the researchers said.

"Climate models are really sensitive not only to how much turbulence there is in the deep ocean, but to where it is," said lead author Matthew Alford, an oceanographer in the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. "The primary importance of understanding deep-ocean turbulence is to get the climate models right on long timescales."

Alford led an expedition to the Samoan Passage, a narrow channel in the South Pacific Ocean that funnels water flowing from Antarctica. There, dense water around Antarctica sinks deep into the Pacific, eventually surging through a 25-mile gap in the submarine landscape northeast of Samoa.

"Basically the entire South Pacific flow is blocked by this huge submarine ridge," Alford said. "The amount of water that's trying to get northward through this gap is just tremendous -- 6 million cubic meters of water per second, or about 35 Amazon Rivers."


Counting the cost of fixing the future

Published: September 10, 2013

What would you pay to protect the world in which your great-great-grandchildren will live from hurricanes, drought and the like?

In May, to little fanfare, the Obama administration published new estimates of the “social cost of carbon,” a dollars-and-cents measure of the future damage — from floods, pandemics, depressed agricultural productivity — that releasing each additional ton of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would cost.

The new numbers are likely to be more important than the low-key announcement would imply. They suggest climate change could cause substantially more economic harm than the government previously believed. But they also suggest there is a legitimate debate to be had about the cost of preventing it from getting worse.

Perhaps the most startling conclusion to be drawn from the new estimates is that the sacrifice demanded of our generation to prevent vast climate change down the road may turn out to be rather small.



Anti-LGBT author (Orson Scott Card) who compared Obama to Hitler appointed to PBS board in NC

By David Edwards
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 15:57 EDT

A science fiction author who opposes equal rights for LGBT people and has a history of comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler was appointed to a board of trustees overseeing North Carolina’s public television stations this week.

In a statement on Monday, UNC-TV announced that Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger had named Orson Scott Card to the UNC-TV Board of Trustees.

“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Card to the UNC-TV Board of Trustees,” Chairman Robb Teer said. “We are grateful for his willingness to serve and look forward to working with him to continue providing the people of our state with enriching, life-changing television in these challenging times.”

In a column earlier this year, Card speculated that Obama “Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs” and turn them into “Brown Shirts.”


Russia 'To Renew Offer' To Supply Iran With Missile Systems And Build Nuclear Reactor


A Russian S-300 missile system takes part in a rehearsal for the 2012 Victory Day parade in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will offer to supply Iran S-300 air defence missile systems as well as build a second reactor at the Bushehr nuclear plant, the Kommersant business daily reported Wednesday.

Putin will renew an old offer to supply Iran with five of the sophisticated ground-to-air missile systems at a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rowhani on Friday, Kommersant said, quoting a souce close to the Kremlin.

Putin is set to meet Rowhani at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation held in Kyrgyzstan on Friday.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.in/Russia-To-Renew-Offer-To-Supply-Iran-With-Missile-Systems-And-Build-Nuclear-Reactor/articleshow/22486973.cms

China's Prisoners for hire

It’s pretty clear that Bo Xilai, a former rising star of China’s Communist Party, will receive a hefty prison term when he is sentenced next week. After all, he was convicted of taking bribes worth more than 21 million yuan ($3.4 million), embezzling 5 million yuan of public money and trying to cover up the murder of a British businessman at the hands of his wife, Gu Kalai.

What’s unclear is whether Bo Xilai himself will actually do the time.

In China, they’re called ti-shen, or body doubles—people the rich and powerful hire to serve their sentences for them. In Bo’s case, suspicions are so strong that many users of Chinese social media outlet Weibo have demanded to see a photo of him in jail to verify he is actually there and not some destitute prisoner for hire.

Even before Bo’s conviction, chatter about ti-shen grew so rampant that the Chinese government banned the term from the country’s search engines and social media outlets in August 2012.

The case that brought the alleged practice to public attention occurred in the coastal city of Hangzhou in 2009. A wealthy 20-year-old named Hu Bin was racing a customized Mitsubishi sports car through an intersection when he ran over and killed a man, then kept driving. He was sentenced to only three years in prison, which observers of the tragedy found infuriating enough. But the anger intensified when Hu appeared much heavier at his sentencing than in photos at the scene of the accident two months earlier. No one actually proved that another man had taken his place, but then again, chinese prison authorities never bothered to show it wasn’t true.

As Bo awaits his sentence, rumors are also rampant about his glamorous wife, who was charged with the murder of Neil Heywood and given a “suspended death sentence” in one of modern China’s most sensational public scandals that has drawn as much scrutiny abroad as it has domestically. Gu Kalai will serve a 14-year sentence in prison, unless she commits another crime in the next two years—in which case, she would be executed.



Space Farming: The Final Frontier

By Jesse Hirsch on September 10, 2013
Last year, an astronaut named Don Pettit began an unusual writing project on NASA’s website. Called “Diary of a Space Zucchini,” the blog took the perspective of an actual zucchini plant on the International Space Station (ISS). Entries were insightful and strange, poignant and poetic.

“I sprouted, thrust into this world without anyone consulting me,” wrote Pettit in the now-defunct blog. “I am utilitarian, hearty vegetative matter that can thrive under harsh conditions. I am zucchini — and I am in space.”

An unorthodox use of our tax dollars, but before you snicker, consider this: That little plant could be the key to our future. If — as some doomsday scientists predict — we will eventually exhaust the Earth’s livability, space farming will prove vital to the survival of our species. Around the world, governments and private companies are doing research on how we are going to grow food on space stations, in spaceships, even on Mars. The Mars Society is testing a greenhouse in a remote corner of Utah, researchers at the University of Gelph in Ontario are looking at long-term crops like soybeans and barley and Purdue University scientists are marshaling vertical garden design for space conditions. Perhaps most importantly, though, later this year NASA will be producing its own food in orbit for the first time ever.

And if space farming still seems like a pipe dream, the zucchini also served a more tangible purpose. It kept Pettit and his crewmates sane.


Feds Abused Anti-Terrorism Database To Track Chelsea Manning Supporter, Seize His Computer

We've written a number of times about the so-called Constitution-free zone that extends 100 miles inward from the borders of the United States, a place where the Border Patrol, along with the DHS and ICE, exercise the "right" to search electronic devices without a warrant. (The government has also baffingly argued that not searching your laptop doesn't provide enough of a civil liberties benefit to outweigh the potential security "gain.")

As is the case with most unconstitutional acts performed by government agencies, the justification is "terrorism." Keeping our borders secure apparently means allowing federal agents to delve as deeply as they want into electronics that cross the border, even if it's someone who just went to Mexico on vacation. Presumably, David House wasn't a threat to national security when he left for Mexico, but by the time he landed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, he was.

House worked with the Bradley Manning Support Network and this was all the "evidence" ICE needed to alert DHS agents that House would be returning from Mexico through Chicago -- and the wide-open policy on electronic searches was all the agents needed to seize and search House's phone and laptop.
House was stopped at Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport coming back from vacation in November 2010. At the time, he was working with the Bradley Manning Support Network, which was raising funds for the legal defense of the soldier who has since plead guilty to providing classified documents to WikiLeaks. DHS agents detained House, interrogated him about his political activities and beliefs, and then seized his laptop computer, mobile phone, camera, and USB drive. The agents returned House’s phone after inspecting it, but the government kept the rest of his devices for seven weeks while agents searched his files for evidence. Even after the government returned House’s physical devices, it continued to actively investigate copies of his files for nearly six more months.

The ACLU filed suit on House's behalf, claiming he was targeted for political reasons, leading to his First and Fourth Amendment rights being violated. The government tried to dismiss the suit in 2012, claiming its agents don't need reasonable suspicion or a warrant to search electronic devices at the border. The judge smacked that down, granting that the DHS has certain powers which preclude reasonable suspicion or warrants, but that those powers are still limited and that its politically-motivated actions violated House's First Amendment rights. A settlement was reached with the government, which agreed to destroy the data it gathered from its search of House's electronics and release documents related to the search.


Weiner's final send off- Flipping the Bird

Weiner dodges sexting partner, flips the bird as he rides off

CNN Political Unit
New York (CNN) – The now-immortalized final moment of Anthony Weiner's failed New York mayoral campaign was the candidate's middle finger directed at a reporter curbside as his car drove away Tuesday night.

CNN affiliate NY-1 captured Weiner flipping the bird on video as the candidate departed his primary election night party after delivering his concession speech, punctuating the end of his bizarre campaign and an odd evening.

If that wasn't enough drama, Weiner had trouble getting into his event as Sydney Leathers, the woman at the center of the sexting controversy that began the unraveling of his mayoral campaign, had shown up outside in what she admitted was a blatant play for media attention. Weiner's problem was there was only one entrance to Connolly's Pub and Restaurant, the election night headquarters for his campaign.

"I'm here to celebrate. I think he needs some sex therapy," explained Leathers, who is now embracing a career in the porn industry.



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