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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Graffiti of crashing planes placed on downtown 9-11 monument

Lafayette police are trying to find out who placed two cardboard cutout images of crashing planes at the 9-11 Memorial in downtown Lafayette.

The 3D graffiti was apparently placed at the monument overnight. Police say they are in the process of removing it.

The stabilizer on each plane includes a reference to the New World Order conspiracy theory--the Eye of Providence and the initials "NWO." For some, this theory includes the belief that the 9-11 attacks were carried out by the United States Government.

The 9-11 monument is a 1-by-100 scale of both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It includes three beams from the World Trade Center, limestone from the Pentagon, and soil from the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, field in which Flight 93 crashed.


There is also a cutout image of Bush with a detonator in his hand....

WSJ op-ed writer Elizabeth O’Bagy fired for resume lie

The Syria researcher whose Wall Street Journal op-piece was cited by Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain during congressional hearings about the use of force has been fired from the Institute for the Study of War for lying about having a Ph.D., the group announced on Wednesday.

“The Institute for the Study of War has learned and confirmed that, contrary to her representations, Ms. Elizabeth O’Bagy does not in fact have a Ph.D. degree from Georgetown University,” the institute said in a statement. “ISW has accordingly terminated Ms. O’Bagy’s employment, effective immediately.”

O’Bagy’s Aug. 30 op-ed piece for the Journal, “On the Front Lines of Syria’s Civil War,” was cited by both Kerry and McCain last week. McCain read from the piece last Tuesday to Kerry, calling it “an important op-ed by Dr. Elizabeth O’Bagy.” The next day, Kerry also brought up the piece before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing and described it as a “very interesting article” and recommended that members read it.

But the piece had also come under fire for misrepresenting her affiliations. Originally the op-ed only listed O’Bagy, 26, as only “a senior analyst” at the ISW, later adding a clarification that disclosed her connection to a Syrian rebel advocacy group.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/wall-street-journal-elizabeth-obagy-fired-96637.html

TOM THE DANCING BUG: Who Can't Buy a Beer on Counter-Earth?

Disney Develops 'Magical' Device To Make Fingertips Sing

By Joe Miller
BBC News

Disney has developed a device to transmit sound through the human body.

The Ishin-Den-Shin technology uses a standard microphone to record audio and then converts it into an inaudible signal transmitted through the body of the person holding the microphone.

When they touch someone's earlobe, an organic speaker is formed and the sound becomes audible, effectively whispering a message into that person's ear.

The sound can be passed from person to person using any physical contact.

The technology, which was developed at Disney Research in Pittsburgh, received an honorary mention at this week's Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria.


Ahh, the many, many uses this might be put too....

A return to Gitmo

By Molly Crabapple

After VICE published my previous piece about my first visit to Gitmo, "It Don't GITMO Better Than This," a Department of Defense spokesman phoned my editor, upset that I'd made him look like “a tool.” A former camp doctor, Monty Granger, sent me over 100 tweets calling me a “#pathetic #Islamist #apologist.”

I first came to Gitmo to cover the military commissions. During my second trip, I was the third artist granted permission to draw the prisons. The Joint Task Force offers journalists a carefully choreographed tour—the point of which is to show that the Bad Old Gitmo of public perception is not Gitmo Now.

Bad Old Gitmo existed from approximately 2002-2007. Its orange jumpsuits, water-boarding, detainees sleeping in what Granger, who served at Guantanamo in 2002, gleefully described as “dog kennels.” Its guards pummeling prisoners in revenge for September 11. Bad Old Gitmo, like so many icons of the Bush era, is Not Humane.

And “humane” is the catchword of Gitmo now.



The Least Bad Option

By Trevor Sutton

Dr. Walter Hern, one of the four remaining doctors in the country who will terminate a pregnancy after the 24th week of pregnancy.

Americans will declare war on almost anything. Like most nations in history, we declare war on other governments. But we have also made a habit of declaring war on ideologies (Communism, Islamic extremism), on broadly defined patterns of violence (terrorism, piracy), and even on abstract social ills (poverty, drugs). And then there are the “culture wars,” a lazy phrase that at one point served as a shorthand for the political agenda of the Christian right, but which has recently expanded to refer to any controversial topic that doesn’t involve tax brackets or firing cruise missiles into foreign countries. Guns, medical marijuana, zoning regulations, soda bans, physician-assisted suicide, rent-controlled apartments, Citibikes, and the Pledge of Allegiance all are part of the culture wars according to one respected commentator or another.

But there is one front in the culture war where the word “war” doesn’t seem like overheated rhetoric, where real bullets are fired and where real bombs are thrown: the struggle over the availability and scope of abortion. It's the hot-button social issue that stubbornly continues to divide Americans even as other bones of contention like recreational drug use and gay rights inch reliably towards liberalization. And the white-hot beating heart of the abortion debate—its bloodiest battlefield—is the question of late-term (i.e., third-trimester) abortions.

Late-term abortions and the forces arrayed for and against them are the subject of a wrenching new documentary, After Tiller, which opens in New York later this month. The film profiles the four remaining doctors in the United States who perform late-term abortions, all of whose lives were touched in one way or another by George Tiller, the Kansas-based, late-term abortion provider gunned-down by an anti-abortion extremist while attending Sunday church services three years ago. In the aftermath of Tiller’s slaying, Randall Terry, founder of the antiabortion group Operation Rescue, called Tiller a “mass murderer” who “reaped what he sowed.” Despite widespread condemnation, the killer got what he wanted: late-term abortions are no longer available in Kansas. Residents now must travel 500 miles to Denver for the procedure.

After Tiller isn’t formally inventive, and its directors, Martha Shane and Lane Wilson, don’t appear to have been tempted by the many gimmicks in the documentarian’s toolkit. The film is better for it. What the viewer gets instead is a sequence of raw and intimate portraits—filmed dead-on and without intrusive narration—of women struggling to make what will in all likelihood be the hardest decision of their lives. As with many great documentaries, After Tiller can make for excruciating viewing at times, but you’ll be glad you saw it, not least because it takes you to a place that the camera seldom visits.


How is the sequester affecting science in America?

The Federal Government's budget sequester has left the nation's science and technology funding at its lowest in years. As predicted, labs are ditching projects and scientists; researchers are looking overseas for jobs and funding; health initiatives are being hamstrung; and federal agencies across the board are floundering. Here's what you need to know about the state of science in America.

Get yourself up to speed: The Huffington Post's Sam Stein has been covering the sequester's impact on science in America for months now. His in-depth feature is a great place to start. When you're through, check out this from-the-field followup post that goes through some of the feedback Stein received from scientists on how the sequestration is killing their projects left and right – literally and figuratively. Robert E. Marc, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, writes:

Like many other investigators, we've been seriously wounded by sequestration. Many neighboring labs have let people go.

I have riffed one postdoctoral fellow and euthanized many beautiful, rare and expensive transgenic rabbits that were new, exciting models for testing new therapies for human retinal degenerations. We petted them, played with them, fed them treats. Now they are dead. I blame Congress directly for that.

...the sequester's cost is tremendously understated as no one is counting the destroyed investments. I've spent over $25,000 developing a colony of animals who have a progressive age dependent blindness. Because of the sequester we've killed them before we could finish the treatment study. We saved about $4000 from this year's budget. We thus wasted 5x more money than the sequester saved. When and if Congress ever does anything again, it will be years before we get our new blindness treatment study back on line. If it doesn't get better soon, I'll retire early and then 15 people will be unemployed.

Researchers across the country are being placed under similar pressure to cut people and projects. A funding report from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology shows NIH funding is 22 percent ($4.7-billion) less than it was in 2003, and at its lowest inflation-adjusted appropriations level since the turn of the millenium. A study released earlier this year by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) revealed nearly half of researchers receiving federal science funding have recently laid off, or will lay off, members of their lab.



xpost: Orson Scott Card appointed to North Carolina PBS Board


See the United States running out of cash in this scary chart

With so much focus in the US on Syria, where even US president Barack Obama says there is no immediate threat to American interests, it might be worth re-focusing for a moment on this chart from the Bipartisan Policy Center. It shows the government’s supply of cash running out sometime between October 18 and November 5—a serious threat not just to the US but also to the global economy:
The US reached its public debt limit on May 19 after Congress reinstated it following a brief suspension. The ceiling is now $16.669 trillion, though only a little more than $10 trillion of that debt is held by the public. To help keep the free cash flowing, the Treasury has adopted “extraordinary measures,” which mainly consist of holding off on the reinvestment of certain government funds in Treasury securities so that it can continue offering them to the public. Those measures only created limited space for new borrowing, though. While the expanding economy has increased tax revenue, government obligations scheduled for October, including the accrual of military benefits and public pension payments, will likely leave the US without cash, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s analysis.

In that case, either Congress raises the legal borrowing limit in time for a refinancing, the US defaults on its debt with disastrous consequences, or things get entirely weird. One thing’s for sure: An uncertain process around lifting the ceiling will upset markets.

The good news is that US borrowing this fiscal year is set to be $400 billion lower than last year, and next year will be even lower, around 3.4% of GDP, putting the US on a path to reduce its publicly-held debt over the next decade. That should be a good incentive for an agreement to raise the debt limit (why sabotage the government over debt when debt is already going down?). But political conflicts mean that any agreement will be accompanied by sturm und drang.


1,140 WTC 9/11 responders have cancer — and doctors say that number will grow

‘Sadly enough, I am here just two months, and I have identified a dozen new cancer cases, and I have another 25 patients whose diagnostic test results are pending,’ says Tina Engel, an oncology nurse at North Shore Hospital’s World Trade Center clinic in Queens, NY.

The “C” word has been every World Trade Center responder’s nightmare — and for good reason.
Cancer has become a reality for more than 1,000 men and women who sacrificed their health at Ground Zero — and the number is expected to grow.

“You get a lump in your throat when you first have to tell your wife,” said NYPD Detective Amadeo Pulley, 47, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer in May. “But I told my family and two kids I’m gonna be fine. We will get through this.”
As New York and the nation approach the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attack, a Mount Sinai Medical Center study found a 15% higher cancer rate among 9/11 responders than among people not exposed to the Ground Zero toxins.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/1-140-wtc-9-11-responders-cancer-article-1.1449499
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