Circa midnight Tuesday the 16th of September (EST) activists loosely affiliated with the group ‘anonymous’ gained access to U.S. Republican Party Vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account email@example.com and passed information to Wikileaks. Governor Palin has come under criticism for using private email accounts to conduct government business and in the process avoid transparency laws. The zip archive made available by Wikileaks contains screen shots of Palin’s inbox, two example emails, address book and a couple of family photos. The list of correspondence, together with the account name tends to re-enforce the criticism.
The list of emails include an exchange with Alaskan Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell about his campaign for Congress.
update: The Onion has Obama’s email
The Vatican has announced that they are having an evolution congress, and that no creationists or intelligent design creationists will be invited. Isn’t that sweet? They’re still inviting a swarm of theologians, though, so their exclusion is all window-dressing, a transparent attempt to sidle medieval peddlers of superstitious nonsense up next to some serious science for a photo op and a little propaganda. And they aren’t even trying to hide what they’re doing.
Jesuit Father Marc Leclerc, a philosophy professor at the Gregorian, told Catholic News Service Sept. 16 that organizers “wanted to create a conference that was strictly scientific” and that discussed rational philosophy and theology along with the latest scientific discoveries.
Right. Strictly scientific. With theology.
Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the other extreme of the evolution debate — proponents of an overly scientific conception of evolution and natural selection — also were not invited.
“Overly scientific conception of evolution”? What the heck? So the problem with evolution, to these Catholics, is that there’s too darned much science in it?
“CHARLIE, I’VE GOT A SNOW BANK JUST 50 FEET FROM MY HOUSE.”
Location 2: Oblique aerial photography of Bolivar Peninsula, TX, on September 9, 2008 (top) and September 15, 2008, two days after landfall of Hurricane Ike (bottom). Yellow arrows mark features that appear in each image. In addition to the loss of houses, the evidence of inundation here includes eroded dune face and sand deposited well inland of the shoreline
“He did this,” Douglas Holtz-Eakin told reporters this morning, holding up his BlackBerry. “Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you’re looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that’s what he did.”
Al Gore, call your office.
President Bush underwent treatment for a benign lesion over the weekend, leaving a noticeable scab on his forehead as he went about his business on Tuesday.
Yet no progress on removing malignant lesion from his shoulders…
Early morning Sept 15, 2008:
So you will never put the country in this situation “again”? You actually admit responsibility for the situation?
Anyway, you’re not going to answer that, but I’m glad to hear you don’t think the economy is at risk.
Oh wait, several hours later:
For the last two weeks, Democrats have not settled on a singular approach for how to deal with Gov. Sarah Palin’s sudden entry into the presidential campaign.
Several strategies have been discussed and debated, but perhaps none have been as original as the observations offered by Lt. Gov. Patty Judge of Iowa.
“Sarah knows how to field-dress a moose; I know how to castrate a calf,” Ms. Judge, a farmer and former state agricultural secretary, told an audience in Iowa the other day. “Neither of those things has anything at all to do with this election. But since we know so much about Sarah’s special skills, I wanted to make sure you knew about mine, too.”
In this video scientists explore underwater structures found off the coast of Okinawa. These Structures are under 40-100 ft of water. Scientists say the last time these structures would have been above water was 10,000 years ago during the ice age twice as old as the great pyramids of Egypt. During this period history tells us that the humans that lived at this time were hunters and gathers who did not have the kind of technology needed to build such structures. After months of study the lead scientist believed that these structures were 100% not made by nature and could only be made from an intelligent people with great technology
But Serwer’s comments were what bothered me the most. He was saying that Obama and McCain are equally off on the financial crisis. I said that’s not true: Obama has called for expanded regulation, while McCain takes his advice from people like Phil Gramm, who helped create this mess. Plus McCain’s new line denouncing excessive executive bonuses makes no sense: Washington doesn’t set executive compensation! Unless McCain is willing to say what he’d actually do, it’s empty posturing.
And Serwer’s response? “That’s awfully partisan.”
So there you have it: if the facts have a liberal bias, pointing them out is excessively partisan.
Lehman Brothers has hired Jeb Bush, brother of the President of the United States, as an advisor to its private equity business, a source familiar with the situation said.
Lehman hired another relative of U.S. President George W. Bush last year–George Walker, a second cousin, who heads up the bank’s asset management business.
And just in case you think the McCain family is any different…
A dragon and knight live on an island. This island has six poisoned wells, numbered 1 to 6. If you drink from a well, you can only save yourself by drinking from a higher numbered well. Well 6 is located at the top of a high mountain, so only the dragon can reach it. One day they decide that the island isn’t big enough for the two of them, and they have a duel. Each of them brings a glass of water to the duel, they exchange glasses, and drink. Who dies and who lives?
The Trivial Answer
Obviously, the dragon kills the knight by feeding him poison #6 which he cannot cure. Similarly, the dragon can cure any poison that knight has given him by flying up to #6 after the duel. This answer should immediately seem “too obvious” and therefore give anyone pause as choosing it as correct.
“Sen. McCain at 9 a.m. yesterday said, yesterday morning, he stated again — quote — ‘the fundamentals of this economy are strong,’” Biden said at Linvilla Orchards in Media, Pa., causing the crowd of 3,000 to boo loudly.
“I’m not just saying this to get a boo,” Biden continued. “I’m saying this to point out just how — at 10 o’clock, as we Catholics say, John had an epiphany: John said the economy is in economic crisis. Now, what happened in one hour between the economy being sound and an economic crisis looming? Well, John had a political realization, not a policy conversion.”
The Delaware senator, who dubbed McCain’s economic philosophy “bankrupt,” argued that a Republican-backed elimination of government oversight had caused the country’s current economic problems.
“John McCain, if he actually realized what was going on, he would have been forced to admit that the economic philosophy, one that he shares with Bush, the economic philosophy of the last eight years, is a bankrupt philosophy,” said Barack Obama’s running mate. “He would have to admit that we could have used some common sense oversight, we could have looked out a little bit for the middle class. If we did, we would have made a big difference.”
Biden then blamed McCain for “proudly shredding” government regulations of Wall Street years ago.
“Today, he’s talking about the greed of Wall Street,” Biden said. “Yesterday, the day before, a year before, two years before, he was on Wall Street heralding the fact that he was proudly shredding whatever regulation and oversight that, in fact, were to manage these markets that now he calls greedy.”
Top McCain-Palin official Carly Fiorina is facing criticism from some within the campaign for a day of what they call “very Biden-like” comments, after the former Hewlett-Packard CEO told two separate interviewers that neither member of the Republican ticket would be capable of running a company.
“This campaign source said Fiorina would be discouraged from additional media interviews.
Another top campaign adviser was far less diplomatic.
“Carly will now disappear,” this source said. “Senator McCain was furious.” Asked to define “disappear,” this source said, adding that she would be off TV for a while – but remain at the Republican National Committee and keep her role as head of the party’s joint fundraising committee with the McCain campaign.
Fiorina was booked for several TV interviews over the next few days, including one on CNN. Those interviews have been canceled.
Well, Fiorina knows from personal experience what it means to be incapable of running a company…
Many atheists behold the persistence of religion in the West – and especially in America and its politics – with something close to incredulity. How can it be, they lament, that despite the absence of any evidence for the central tenets of Christianity, despite the enormous progress of science in explaining the origins of the Earth and its inhabitants, that so many people continue to believe pre-Enlightenment gobbledegook?
Most often, I suspect, people are expressing their hopes rather than their beliefs – substituting “I believe” for “I wish” in the unconscious endeavour to convince themselves.
The real test for genuine belief is not what people say, but what they do. To believe something is to be disposed to act upon it. The vast majority of Western Christians fail this test.
Fearing a financial crisis worldwide, the Federal Reserve reversed course on Tuesday and agreed to an $85 billion bailout that would give the government control of the troubled insurance giant American International Group.
The decision, only two weeks after the Treasury took over the federally chartered mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is the most radical intervention in private business in the central bank’s history.
What frightened Fed and Treasury officials was not simply the prospect of another giant corporate bankruptcy, but A.I.G.’s role as an enormous provider of esoteric financial insurance contracts to investors who bought complex debt securities. They effectively required A.I.G. to cover losses suffered by the buyers in the event the securities defaulted. It meant A.I.G. was potentially on the hook for billions of dollars’ worth of risky securities that were once considered safe.
If A.I.G. had collapsed — and been unable to pay all of its insurance claims — institutional investors around the world would have been instantly forced to reappraise the value of those securities, and that in turn would have reduced their own capital and the value of their own debt.
Perhaps I’m thinking too simple, but the value of my own house doesn’t depend on the health of the insurance company who provides home-owner insurance or fire insurance. It sounds like a problem if the value of the things you own is dependent on your insurance company. Perhaps you’ve written your books wrong if that’s the case, and that would mean that sooner or later you’re going to have to take care of the value in your books anyway…
hmmm – on the other hand, perhaps I should trying to tell the government that due to lack of insurance, the property tax they calculate is too high…
What happens when two of the largest objects in the universe collide?
No one was quite sure, but the answer is giving clues to the nature of mysterious dark matter.
In the case of MACSJ0025.4-1222, two huge clusters of galaxies have been found slowly colliding over hundreds of millions of years, and the result has been imaged by both the Hubble Space Telescope in
Once the above visible image was recorded, the location and gravitational lens distortions of more distant galaxies by the newly combined galaxy cluster allowed astronomers to computationally determine what happened to the clusters’ dark matter.
The result indicates that this huge collision has caused the dark matter in the clusters to become partly separated from the normal matter, confirming earlier speculation.
In the above combined image, dark matter is shown as the diffuse purple hue, while a smoothed depiction of the X-ray hot
normal matter is shown in pink.
Bullock and others have also shown that some refutations can strengthen misinformation, especially among conservatives.
Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler provided two groups of volunteers with the Bush administration’s prewar claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. One group was given a refutation — the comprehensive 2004 Duelfer report that concluded that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction before the United States invaded in 2003. Thirty-four percent of conservatives told only about the Bush administration’s claims thought Iraq had hidden or destroyed its weapons before the U.S. invasion, but 64 percent of conservatives who heard both claim and refutation thought that Iraq really did have the weapons. The refutation, in other words, made the misinformation worse.
A similar “backfire effect” also influenced conservatives told about Bush administration assertions that tax cuts increase federal revenue. One group was offered a refutation by prominent economists that included current and former Bush administration officials. About 35 percent of conservatives told about the Bush claim believed it; 67 percent of those provided with both assertion and refutation believed that tax cuts increase revenue.
The creator of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has made an odd request: for a kind of rating system to help people distinguish sites that can be trusted to tell the truth, and those that can’t.
Berners-Lee was speaking at the launch of the World Wide Web Foundation, which aims to ensure that everyone in the world benefits as the web evolves.
In his speech he referred to the way fears that the LHC could destroy the world spread like wildfire online. As the BBC puts it, he explained that “there needed to be new systems that would give websites a label for trustworthiness once they had been proved reliable sources.”
Although I share his concerns, I suspect it won’t make a bit of difference. Most people are not looking for truth, they’re looking for thruthiness, in the Colbert definition. These people will say “I don’t need a rating, I know the answer in my gut.”
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is on a fast-track process as rich nations hope to wrap it up by the end of the year. Unfortunately for everyone who cares about the outcome, it’s midway through September, and no draft text has yet emerged. The secrecy and the delay have inspired many conspiracy theories, none helped by leaked sets of corporate “wish lists” and public comments making outrageous demands. A worldwide group of public interest organizations has now banded together to call on ACTA negotiators to open the process up to scrutiny and public comment.
The letter, signed by more than 100 groups, has tough words for ACTA negotiators. “The lack of transparency in negotiations of an agreement that will affect the fundamental rights of citizens of the world is fundamentally undemocratic,” it says. “It is made worse by the public perception that lobbyists from the music, film, software, video games, luxury goods and pharmaceutical industries have had ready access to the ACTA text and pre-text discussion documents through long-standing communication channels.”
The very fact that the text of the agreement is not available to the public should be indication enough that it is rotten to the core.
Professor Michael Reiss has quit as director of education at the Royal Society following the controversy over his recent comments on creationism.
Last week Prof Reiss – a Church of England minister – said creationism should be discussed in science lessons if pupils raised the issue.
He was criticised by other scientists – though misquoted as saying creationism should be “taught” in science classes.
The society said some of his comments had been “open to misinterpretation”.
This had damaged its reputation.
“As a result, Professor Reiss and the Royal Society have agreed that, in the best interests of the society, he will step down immediately as director of education – a part-time post he held on secondment,” it said in a statement.
“He is to return, full time, to his position as professor of science education at the Institute of Education.”
The Royal Society reiterated that its position was that creationism had no scientific basis and should not be part of the science curriculum.
“However, if a young person raises creationism in a science class, teachers should be in a position to explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism is not, in any way, scientific.”
The faint dot in the upper left could be the first snapshot of a planet orbiting a sunlike star (central object) beyond the solar system.
Another day, another bailout. The U.S. government stepped in Tuesday to rescue American International Group Inc., one of the world’s largest insurers, with an $85 billion injection of taxpayer money.
It was the second time this month the feds put taxpayer money on the hook to rescue a private financial company, saying its failure would further disrupt markets and threaten the already fragile economy.