Thursday, April 17, 2008
Although the government won't announce specific bans or restrictions, the designation as dangerous could pave the way for the hormonally active chemical to be listed as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which would allow Health Minister Tony Clement to issue specific measures to curb its use.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is one of the most widely used synthetic chemicals in modern industry. It is the basic building block for polycarbonate, the see-through, shatter-proof plastic that resembles glass, and is also used to make the epoxy resins lining the insides of most tin cans, along with some dental sealants, sports helmets, and compact discs.
Experts are worried about BPA in food and beverage containers. Products such as CDs aren't considered a problem.
"Bisphenol A is in every Canadian home. It threatens the health of every Canadian. Moving against it would be a hugely significant victory for public health and the environment," said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, a group that has been campaigning for a ban on the chemical from food containers.
The conclusion by Health Canada that BPA is a possible threat, expected to be announced as early as tomorrow, will amount to one of the most important regulatory decisions regarding a single chemical in decades, and will put pressure on its counterparts at both the European Union and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reconsider their approval.
"If this chemical is listed as toxic (by Health Canada), it will be an internationally significant decision," Mr. Smith said.
"We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor."
Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.
South Korea on Wednesday issued a nationwide bird flu alert, deployed troops and put firefighters on standby to try to contain the spread of the disease, officials said.
The agriculture ministry said in a statement the "orange" vigilance level was extended to the whole country after previously covering only the badly hit southwest.
The ministry said it had confirmed 20 outbreaks involving the H5 virus, of which at least six were the deadly H5N1 subtype, since the first case was reported in Gimje, 260 kilometres (162 miles) south of Seoul, in early April.
It is investigating 14 more suspected cases, including one on a farm in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometres south of Seoul.
~ read on... ~
'There are many causes behind the world food crisis, but one chief villain: World Bank head, Robert Zoellick'
Even the World Bank's own Independent Evaluation Groupadmits (pdf) that the bank has been doing a poor job in agriculture. Part of the bank's vision was to clear away the government agricultural clutter so that the private sector could come in to make agriculture efficient. But, as the Independent Evaluation Group delicately puts it, "in most reforming countries, the private sector did not step in to fill the vacuum when the public sector withdrew." After the liberalisation of agriculture, the invisible hand was nowhere to be seen.
But governments weren't allowed to return to the business of supporting agriculture. Trade liberalisation agreements and World Bank loan conditions, such as those promoted by Zoellick, have made food sovereignty impossible.
Every Metropolitan police officer will be "tagged" so that senior officers can monitor their movements on a tracking system, it has been disclosed.
The plan - which affects all 31,000 serving officers in Britain's largest police force, including the Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair - will augment the Airwave radio system used to help monitor officers' movements, the magazine Police Review reported.
The electronic tracking device, called the Automated Personal Location System (APLS), means that officers will never be out of range of supervising officers.
~ read on... ~
The circuits -- little-known electronic connections between telecom firms and FBI monitoring personnel around the country -- are used to tell the government who is calling whom, along with the time and duration of a conversation and even the locations of those involved.
Recently, three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including Chairman John Dingell, D-Mich., sent a letter to colleagues citing privacy concerns over one of the Quantico circuits and demanding more information about it. Anxieties about whether such electronic links are too intrusive form a backdrop to the continuing congressional debate over modifications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs federal surveillance.
Since a 1994 law required telecoms to build electronic interception capabilities into their systems, the FBI has created a network of links between the nation's largest telephone and Internet firms and about 40 FBI offices and Quantico, according to interviews and documents describing the agency's Digital Collection System. The documents were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group in San Francisco that specializes in digital-rights issues.
The bureau says its budget for the collection system increased from US$30 million in 2007 to US$40 million in 2008. Information lawfully collected by the FBI from telecom firms can be shared with law enforcement and intelligence-gathering partners, including the National Security Agency and the CIA. Likewise, under guidelines approved by the attorney general or a court, some intercept data gathered by intelligence agencies can be shared with law enforcement agencies.
~ more... ~
An assistant to the painter Asher B. Durand described the scene near the center of the outbreak. "There is no business doing here if I except that done by Cholera, Doctors, Undertakers, Coffinmakers, &c," he wrote. "Our bustling city now wears a most gloomy & desolate aspect -- one may take a walk up & down Broadway & scarce meet a soul."
The epidemic left 3,515 dead out of a population of 250,000. (The equivalent death toll in today's city of eight million would exceed 100,000.)
Dr. Snow tested the idea by plotting cholera cases on a map of Soho. This showed that most of the victims drew their water from a public pump on Broad (now Broadwick) Street. An infected baby's diapers had been dumped into a cesspool near the well. A recent book, "Ghost Map," by Steven Johnson, recounts the discovery.
The cholera research was an early application of mapping in medical investigations, a technique that has become widespread now that computers facilitate the display and analysis of such data. Historians of medicine credit Dr. Snow with advancing the modern germ theory of disease & laying the foundations of scientific epidemiology.
The cholera menace thus prompted cities to begin cleaning up their fouled nests. This came too late for victims of the 1832 epidemic in New York, or one that followed in 1849. By then, the city's population had doubled, to 500,000, and deaths by cholera rose to 5,071.
An ever-increasing prison population has put extreme pressure on detainment facilities as well as on Iraq's fragile, developing judicial system. The New York Times reported on February 14 that more than half of the 26,000 detainees in US custody are still awaiting trial - many having been imprisoned for years. (2)
For example, Bilal Hussein, a photographer from The Associated Press, has been detained by the US military since April of 2006, while no evidence or charges have been brought forward against him in court. (3)
Bilal Hussein is one of many individuals urgently seeking a just and expedient manner to challenge their detainment.
Most of the prisoners held by the Iraqi and American governments are Sunni Arabs, accused of fueling the insurgency. (4) This sectarian imbalance has created controversy, with many Iraqis in the Sunni minority accusing Iraqi and American forces of foul play.
From Reuters :
Merrill Lynch warned that the United States faces the prospect of a severe and prolonged recession as consumers cut spending, and credit-card stocks could be hit as current valuations and market estimates for the U.S. consumer finance sector assume only a moderate downturn.
Recently released economic data suggests debt-laden and cash-strapped U.S. consumers are becoming increasingly more cautious on spending and falling further behind on debt payments, analyst Kenneth Bruce said.
The U.S. consumer finance sector will likely face credit and spending-related headwinds in the first quarter, and credit-card and travel-services firm American Express Co may be hit hardest due to slower revenue growth and higher credit losses, Bruce said.
Mr. Paulson, the founder of Paulson & Company, was not the only big winner. The hedge fund managers James H. Simons and George Soros each earned almost $3 billion last year, according to an annual ranking of top hedge fund earners by Institutional Investor's Alpha magazine, which comes out Wednesday.
Hedge fund managers have redefined notions of wealth in recent years. And the richest among them are redefining those notions once again.
Their unprecedented and growing affluence underscores the gaping inequality between the millions of Americans facing stagnating wages and rising home foreclosures and an agile financial elite that seems to thrive in good times and bad. Such profits may also prompt more calls for regulation of the industry.
Even on Wall Street, where money is the ultimate measure of success, the size of the winnings makes some uneasy. "There is nothing wrong with it — it's not illegal," said William H. Gross, the chief investment officer of the bond fund Pimco. "But it's ugly."
The richest hedge fund managers keep getting richer — fast. To make it into the top 25 of Alpha's list, the industry standard for hedge fund pay, a manager needed to earn at least $360 million last year, more than 18 times the amount in 2002. The median American family, by contrast, earned $60,500 last year.
From: Fascism Is Creepy
The danger of fascism is its seemingly benign mechanisms of control - fear, conformity, the state's intermingling with religion and corporate enterprise - for keeping a populace in check, for making its people feel content with the way things are and never quick to protest occasional violations of human rights and infringements on their or another's liberties.
The danger of fascism is its seemingly magical ability - through brilliant propaganda outlets like Fox News - to keep a people resigned to whatever the government does in their name, making them feel secure through its adventures in endless wars and policing the globe and the homeland.
The other great thing about fascism is its capacity for supporting, even indulging, denial on the most massive scale: "We don't torture. …You can trust us. …If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to worry about…."
Our phones are tapped, elections rigged, bogus wars planned and executed, real and imagined enemies created, and police acquire more powers to intimidate and harass while more rights are taken away from citizens.
Churches pray for the end of the world and offer their children as sacrifices for the war machine, and collude with the government colluding with the corporations and financial institutions - promising blood, anything, for National Security.
Soon, we who protest have been silenced, or marginalized. The Supreme Leader has the right to put anyone he considers a threat - U.S. citizens included - into prison indefinitely, without access to an attorney, or the right to confront his accusers, merely by declaring that person an "enemy combatant."
The whole drama and theater of the fascist play draws its action from the government wedding itself to corporate interests - in the U.S., a nationalist religious fervor is thrown into the mix to make it all palatable.
Eventually, we all do what we are told - or suffer the consequences. The real danger of fascism is its creep factor. It creeps up on us, and before we know it, we've become model citizens in the state that runs secret prisons and gulags around the world. We accept, approve and justify state-sponsored kidnapping, torture and preemptive war.
It's not just the newspapers, either. Numbers crop up in adverts, health warnings and speeches made by politicians, too. But do the figures add up? And do we trust them?
Not really, according to, yes, another set of stats that dropped into the Independent's inbox last month.
A survey in Britain by the Office for National Statistics found that only 36 per cent of people asked thought that official figures were "generally accurate". Meanwhile, a 2007 poll of trust in government statistics by the European Commission ranked Britain 27th out of 27 countries.
Last week, a statistics watchdog was set up to tackle this apparent crisis in confidence. The UK Statistics Authority has the job of ensuring statistics are correct and free from government spin. Every day, its website will provide links to the raw data backing up government statistics, and the authority will, warns its chairman, Sir Michael Scholar, "name and shame" ministers who spin them beyond recognition...
...To name and shame some of the worst offenders, the Independent has trawled the archives for classic examples of "junk statistics", from the poorly worded reports to deliberate massaging of official figures, and asked McConway to read between the lines...
..."Falling coconuts kill 150 people a year"
In 2002, in an article about the uprooting of coconut trees by lawsuit-wary Australian officials, the Daily Telegraph reported: "Coconuts ... kill about 150 people worldwide each year, making them more dangerous than sharks." The figure appeared again in a press release issued by a travel insurance firm assuring holidaymakers they would be covered, should they be struck by a coconut.
The reports suggested the figure of 150 came from a Canadian professor but his paper on coconut injuries did not posit a death toll. Attempts to trace the origin of the figure have failed.
The case echoes a similar legend - the belief that we should drink eight glasses of water a day. University of Pennsylvania researchers recently searched for the source. Their conclusion: "It is unclear where this recommendation came from."...
Now, for the 'proof':
Special attributes of everything that was, or is, recognised to be "holy": - English version (polska wersja ponizej w nastepnym wpisie)
kwiecień 16, 2008 by totalizm
Motto: "Everything that is recognised to be 'holy' displays various attributes which just cannot be explained on basis of atheistic science."
A rather extraordinary class of scientific evidence for the existence of God, is the difference between attributes of substances or objects which in past were called "holy", and attributes of other similar substances or objects which were NOT considered to be holy. For example, let us consider attributes of such "holy" substances and objects, as: (1) "daily bread" (by the Christian religion considered to be a representation of the body of Christ), (2) "coconuts", (3) "drinking water" (by first Christians used for christening, while by pagans utilised in water dowsing), (4) "red wine" (considered to represent the blood of Jesus). If one compares their attributes with attributes of other very similar substances or objects, e.g. with attributes of: (1n) white bread or buns, (2n) fruits of tropical durian, (3n) undrinkable water, (4n) white wine, then outcomes of this comparison become very meaningful. Namely, it then turns out that everything that in past was described as "holy" actually displays attributes which are beneficial to people at many levels...
...(2) The fact that coconuts never fall on heads of people, in spite that in light of statistics there should be cases of falling coconuts hitting some people in heads. As I explained this on a separate web page "fruit.htm" [ http://www.totalizm.net/fruit.htm ] - about tropical fruits from the area of Pacific, "in many tropical countries coconut palms are considered to be 'holy trees'" which were designed especially by God to satisfy all basic needs of people. (Notice that the holiness of coconuts is recognised in there in a similar manner as in old Europe the holiness of "daily bread" was practiced.) The holiness of coconut palms proves itself because e.g. on small oceanic islands, on which is NOT growing anything else apart from this palm, in fact coconut palms are providers of everything. In some religions, e.g. Hinduism, gods receive gifts from coconuts. The Bible says that palm branches were placed in front of walking Jesus. This holiness of coconut palms is there also a source of the deep belief which prevails in countries in which coconuts grow, namely that in order to NOT harm people heavy "coconuts never fall onto heads of humans". Actually in many tropical countries, e.g. in Malaysia, locals are saying that "coconut palms have eyes" - thus they never drop a coconut on heads of humans. I personally was very intrigued by this belief. So whenever I had an opportunity to visit an area where coconut palms grow, I always asked locals whether they know a case that a coconut fell on someone's head. I must confirm here, that in spite of my wide and many years long asking "I never encountered a case that someone knew someone else on the head of whom a coconut fell". Such a case would be quite well-known, because the large weight of coconuts combined with the significant height of coconut palms, would cause that the fell of a coconut on someone's head would kill such unfortunate person. Of course, this lack of cases when coconuts fall on human heads is something extraordinary and it should be explained by the "holiness" of the palm. After all, other (non-holy) trees drop their fruits completely at random, in this on human heads. I myself remember a case when a falling apple hit me in the head - fortunately was ripe and soft. In Malaysia grows a tasty fruit which just has a size of coconuts - it is called "durian". It is commonly known there, that at the time of durians' ripening, people should either keep far from these trees, or wear protective "hard hats". This is because heavy durian fruits fall "at random", including onto human heads. So it is nothing unusual to hear over there about cases of people getting hit by durian fruits.
Regrettably, someone clearly could NOT stand this extraordinary attribute of "holy palms" and decided to include also the holy coconuts into the "scientific atheism". Namely, that someone started to spread on the behalf of science the untrue claims that supposedly in the world every year dies from falling coconuts as much as 150 people. These claims make falling coconuts hypothetically even more dangerous than attacks of sharks. Such false claims were disseminated in so organised manner, that on their base various insurance companies started to develop their "coconut policies". Fortunately for the truth, some scientists decided to get to the bottom of the "research" on which the coconut deaths claims were based. Outcomes of their research were summarised later, amongst others, in the article "Lies, damn lies, and 150 coconut deaths" from page B9 of the New Zealand newspaper named "Weekend Herald", issue dated on Saturday, April 12, 2008. Searches of these scientists revealed, that the claims were made up in Australia in 2002. Only then were disseminated all over the world by an article in Daily Telegraph. At the beginning these claims referred to the publication of a Canadian professor, in which there was NO quantitative data on this subject, while the professor himself denied that he ever accumulated such quantitative data. Thus, in spite of the lies spread on this subject under a smoke screen of the official science, in fact coconuts never fall down on heads of people...
Congress isn't impeaching Bush-Cheney because it "has little time to handle other affairs, including the run-up to November elections"
CONCORD – The House debated, then declined to take a final vote yesterday on a resolution that called for impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.
After 45 minutes of debate, the House tabled the resolution on a vote of 227-95.
The resolution's author, Rep. Betty Hall, D-Brookline, said impeachment would uncover the facts behind secrets the Bush Administration has fought to protect. She said impeachment would bring out the truth about the decisions to wage the war in Iraq, use of the Justice Department for political purposes, details of domestic surveillance and the torture of prisoners.
Hall, 87, drew support from both political parties during public hearings on the bill, but it emerged from a House committee with a 10-5 vote recommending it be killed.
Rep. Kris Roberts, D-Keene, chair of the House State Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee, said the resolution expects too much from a Congress that has little time to handle other affairs, including the run-up to November elections.
He said part of the blame for events stemming from Iraq should be laid with Congress.
"If Congress had done its job, the president would have had to ask for a declaration of war," he said. After the first Iraq war in 1991, Americans believed victory would be quick and easy, "so members of Congress abrogated their responsibility," Roberts said.
Deputy Minority Leader Rep. David Hess, R-Hooksett, argued that the petition was too general, and needed to be as specific as a criminal indictment.
He said an impeachment proceeding is for criminal conduct, "not behavior that pushes to the edge some of our laws, but for high crimes and misdemeanors . . . We have to deal with facts." A rally for the resolution this week included speakers Daniel Ellsberg, Vietnam War critic who leaked the Pentagon Papers, and former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.
Had the resolution passed, it would have not had any binding authority on Congress.
anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency — a move intended to
prevent violent crime but which also is raising concerns about the privacy
of innocent people.
Using authority granted by Congress, the government also plans to collect
DNA samples from foreigners who are detained, whether they have been
charged or not. The DNA would be collected through a cheek swab, Justice
Department spokesman Erik Ablin said Wednesday. That would be a departure
from current practice, which limits DNA collection to convicted felons.
Expanding the DNA database, known as CODIS, raises civil liberties
questions about the potential for misuse of such personal information, such
as family ties and genetic conditions.
Brigitte Bardot is back on trial in France, facing charges of fanning discrimination and racial hatred against Muslims.
In a Paris court hearing Tuesday, prosecutors said they are seeking a two-month suspended prison sentence and a $23,900 fine against the former screen siren and animal rights campaigner.
Bardot, 73, was not present for the hearing. A verdict is expected June 3.
A leading French anti-racism group known as MRAP filed suit last year over a letter that Bardot sent to then-Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, and which was published in her foundation's quarterly journal.
In the letter to Sarkozy, now the president, Bardot accused France's Muslim population of destroying France, and complained about the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.
French anti-racism laws prevent inciting hatred and discrimination on racial or religious or racial grounds. Bardot has been convicted four times for inciting racial hatred.
~ source ~
Together with many other leading physicists, during World War II, Wheeler interrupted his academic career to participate in the development of the U.S. atomic bomb under the Manhattan Project at the Hanford site, where reactors were constructed to produce the chemical element plutonium for atomic bombs. Even before the Hanford site started up the B-Pile (the first of three reactors), he had anticipated that the accumulation of "fission product poisons" would eventually impede the ongoing nuclear chain reaction by absorbing neutrons, and he correctly deduced (by calculating the half-life decay rates) that an isotope of xenon (Xe135) would be most responsible. He went on to work on the development of the American hydrogen bomb under Project Matterhorn.
After concluding his Matterhorn work, Wheeler returned to Princeton to resume his academic career. In 1957, while working on extensions to general relativity, he introduced the word wormhole to describe hypothetical tunnels in space-time.
In the 1950s, he formulated geometrodynamics, a program of physical and ontological reduction of every physical phenomenon, such as gravitation and electromagnetism, to the geometrical properties of a curved space-time. Aiming at a systematical identification of matter with space, geometrodynamics was often characterized as a continuation of the philosophy of nature as conceived by Descartes and Spinoza. Wheeler's geometrodynamics, however, failed to explain some important physical phenomena, such as the existence of fermions (electrons, muons, etc.) or that of gravitational singularities. Wheeler therefore abandoned this theory as somewhat fruitless in the early 1970s.
For a few decades, general relativity had not been considered a very respectable field of physics, being detached from experiment. Wheeler was a key figure in the revival of the subject, leading the school at Princeton, whilst Sciama and Zel'dovich developed the subject in Cambridge and Moscow. The work of Wheeler and his students contributed greatly to the golden age of general relativity.
His work in general relativity included the theory of gravitational collapse; he coined the term black hole in 1967 during a talk at the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS). He was also a pioneer in the field of quantum gravity with his development (with Bryce DeWitt) of the Wheeler-DeWitt equation or, as he called it, the "wave function of the Universe."
Recognizing Wheeler's colorful way with words, characterized by such confections as "mass without mass", the festschrift honoring his 60th birthday was fittingly entitled Magic Without Magic: John Archibald Wheeler: A collection of essays in honor of his sixtieth birthday, Ed: John R. Klauder, (W. H. Freeman, 1972, ISBN 0-7167-0337-8).
John Wheeler was the driving force behind the voluminous general relativity textbook Gravitation, co-written with Charles W. Misner and Kip Thorne. Its timely appearance during the golden age of general relativity and its comprehensiveness made it the most influential relativity textbook for a generation.
In 1979, Wheeler spoke to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), asking it to expel parapsychology, which had been admitted ten years earlier at the request of Margaret Mead. He called it a pseudoscience
- Cartoonist Alan Moore, the Guy Fawkes Mask, and Occupy Wall Street
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- Riots or revolt? - An insight into why Greece is now in flames
- Salvador Dali expounds on his 'Paranoiac Critical Method' philosophy
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- The Merchant of Death: Basil Zaharoff
- UPDATED: Warriors out of their minds: Drugs of choice for super soldiers
- Holocaust Deniers - a growing club
- Smokey the Bear Sutra by Gary Snyder
- Twilight of the Psychopaths
- The Bankers' Manifesto of 1892
- Jacques Ellul on Propaganda
Last Month's 13 Most Viewed Entries
- The pineal gland: Interface between the physical and spiritual planes?
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- '1984: Grace Commission Report under Ronald Reagan showed IRS is a fraud that collects taxes for the Banking Dynasties'
- The Illuminated Ones
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FAIR USE NOTICE
-- William Gladstone (1809-1898)
~ William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)
"A people who would begin by burning fences and let the forest stand!"
~ Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
" I would prefer not to" - Bartleby the Scrivener
~ Herman Melville (1819-1891)
"The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself"
~ William Blake (1757-1827)
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
~ Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005)
"On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break."
~ Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007)
"Only after the last tree has been cut down. Only after the last river has been poisoned. Only after the last fish has been caught. Only then will you find money cannot be eaten."
~ Cree Prophecy
"Theology is just a debate over who to frame for creating reality. What we imagine is order is merely the prevailing form of chaos."
~ Kerry Thornley (1938-1998)
~ A ballad against work - Kamunist Kranti
"What does the money machine eat? It eats youth, spontaneity, life, beauty, and, above all, it eats creativity. It eats quality and sh*ts quantity."
~ William S. Burroughs
...And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?...
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- Intelligence in the Age of National Security:Balan...
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- Every Met police officer to be 'tagged'
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- 'Epidemics as a consequence of urbanization'
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- Falling coconuts and 'proof' God exists
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