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The truth about evil

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 at 11:42 by John Sinteur in category: News


When George W Bush looked into Putin’s eyes at a Moscow summit in May 2002, he reported, “I was able to get a sense of his soul”. When Joe Biden visited the Kremlin in 2011, he had a very different impression, telling Putin: “Mr Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.” According to Biden, Putin smiled and replied, “We understand each other.”

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  1. Although propaganda and speeches of the West talk about good and evil, nation building, reconstruction, etc., turning opponents’ territories into “anarchic hell-holes” can’t be described as accidental or unexpected.

Euro sell-off after report ECB looking at corporate bond buys

Posted on October 21st, 2014 at 20:01 by Paul Jay in category: News, Robber Barons


(Reuters) – The euro fell sharply against the dollar on Tuesday after Reuters reported the European Central Bank was looking at buying corporate bonds as soon as December in its efforts to revive the stagnating euro zone economy.

The move, if realized, would expand the private-sector asset-buying program the ECB began on Monday, adding to the number of new euros the bank can put into circulation without politically controversial purchases of government bonds.

“Headlines on the market today about the ECB potentially buying corporate bonds has reinvigorated attention on the downside for the euro,” said Richard Cochinos, head of Americas G10 FX strategy at Citi in New York.

“What the headlines have done is remind the market that essentially policy is dynamic and alternative options could potentially be considered,” he said.



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WPost’s Slimy Assault on Gary Webb

Posted on October 20th, 2014 at 22:12 by John Sinteur in category: News


The movie, “Kill the Messenger,” portrays the mainstream U.S. news media as craven for destroying Gary Webb rather than expanding on his investigation of the Contra-cocaine scandal. So, now one of those “journalists” is renewing the character assassination of Webb, notes Robert Parry.

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  1. The reputation of the Washington Post rests on it’s investigation of the Watergate break in. There has been very little since then to recommend it. Its financial problems are ongoing, print media is a Dinosaur waiting to die, even Rupert Murdoch knows that.
    Accuracy in Media reported in 2012 regarding an insider trading scandal:http://www.aim.org/special-report/scandal-at-the-washington-post-fraud-lobbying-insider-trading/ It’s a symptom of the sickness at the heart of a business slowly ossifying. The decline in its investigative powers reflects its changing role into one of pandering to the prejudices of its readers. Look at the comments on http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/gary-webb-was-no-journalism-hero-despite-what-kill-the-messenger-says/2014/10/17/026b7560-53c9-11e4-809b-8cc0a295c773_story.html and try to tell me Jeff Leen is not servicing his clients.

  2. “The decline in its investigative powers reflects its changing role into one of pandering to the prejudices of its readers.”

    Yup. I see that in almost all media. Probably they were always corrupt, with a few exceptions. Lying is just part of the process.

    I’m surprised that I’m disappointed, I must be getting soft :-)

#Map of car bombs in #Baghdad since 2003

Posted on October 20th, 2014 at 9:09 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia



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Some Fear Ebola Outbreak Could Make Nation Turn to Science

Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 9:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


There is a deep-seated fear among some Americans that an Ebola outbreak could make the country turn to science.

In interviews conducted across the nation, leading anti-science activists expressed their concern that the American people, wracked with anxiety over the possible spread of the virus, might desperately look to science to save the day.

“It’s a very human reaction,” said Harland Dorrinson, a prominent anti-science activist from Springfield, Missouri. “If you put them under enough stress, perfectly rational people will panic and start believing in science.”

Additionally, he worries about a “slippery slope” situation, “in which a belief in science leads to a belief in math, which in turn fosters a dangerous dependence on facts.”

At the end of the day, though, Dorrinson hopes that such a doomsday scenario will not come to pass. “Time and time again through history, Americans have been exposed to science and refused to accept it,” he said. “I pray that this time will be no different.”

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  1. F_ing idiots like that also do not believe in immunizations putting the rest of population at risk.

  2. Onion-worthy!

  3. Sue,

    More like War of the Worlds … :)

  4. I agree with him, Math has gone too far in revising the bible. In the bible the value of pi is 3, if that worked for my grand pappy Jed, then it is good enough for me. lol.

My Night With Afghanistan’s Only Female Warlord, Commander Pigeon

Posted on October 16th, 2014 at 14:43 by John Sinteur in category: News


Everybody in Kabul knew about Commander Pigeon, but no one agreed on a narrative. The Afghans accused her of robbery and murder. A few suspected she worked with Taliban commander Mullah Dad-e Khuda, who escaped from Bagram prison in 2008, and a local warlord called the Green Imam. Together they supposedly controlled all the drug-trafficking routes in the north. One person told me, “She has many houses in Kabul but prefers to live in the mountains among the animals.” She didn’t have any of the usual warlord stories. No acid throwing or biting off chicken heads, or leaving prisoners in vats to die. She was not like Commander Zardad who kept a human dog on a chain to maul and sometimes eat people. She was a woman and she killed men—while wearing a flowery dress.

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How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

Posted on October 16th, 2014 at 14:14 by John Sinteur in category: News


Nigeria is much closer to the West Africa outbreak than the US is, yet even after Ebola entered the country in the most terrifying way possible — via a visibly sick passenger on a commercial flight — officials successfully shut down the disease and prevented widespread transmission.

In Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea, which have been ravaged by the deadly virus, this isn’t the case. Unlike more-developed and wealthier nations, those countries simply aren’t equipped to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola. That’s why international help is so desperately needed.

But when Nigerian officials found out that a man who traveled to the country from Liberia was sick with Ebola, they quickly figured out who he had been in contact with and acted on that information to successfully contain the disease. Nigeria ended up seeing 19 confirmed cases of Ebola, but no new cases have been reported in over a month.

If there are still no new cases on Monday, the World Health Organization will officially declare the country “Ebola-free.” Here’s how Nigeria did it.

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  1. Hard to believe Nigeria is more efficient than the US when it comes to protecting people. I guess being PC isn’t as important there.

Spectaculair ongeval E40 Aalter

Posted on October 15th, 2014 at 15:38 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Revenge of the Unforgiven

Posted on October 14th, 2014 at 16:46 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


Why are debtors receiving so little relief? As I said, it’s about righteousness — the sense that any kind of debt forgiveness would involve rewarding bad behavior. In America, the famous Rick Santelli rant that gave birth to the Tea Party wasn’t  about taxes or spending — it was a furious denunciation of proposals to help troubled homeowners. In Europe, austerity policies have been driven less by economic analysis than by Germany’s moral indignation over the notion that irresponsible borrowers might not face the full consequences of their actions.

Like the War on Drugs this is a very difficult thing for some people to comprehend. Do they want to impoverish or imprison their neighbours? Probably. Will it help? Nope. Will we keep doing it? Yes.

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  1. This is nothing like the war on drugs. The problem a lot of people have with debt forgiveness is where it comes from. Responsible debtors end up paying for irresponsible debtors in the form of higher fees, higher interest, higher insurance, tighter credit, etc. If my neighbor needs a few bucks to tide him over, he can ask me for it.

  2. With respect, if the problem isn’t getting better, and may be getting worse, perhaps there’s a need to do something different.

    “Responsible debtors” will also suffer if there is another serious economic downturn or deflation-driven depression. Even people with no debt will.

    Many irresponsible debtors are sinking. And yes, it’s their fault, etc. etc. but that doesn’t help them pay. They will eventually default, increasing costs for everyone.

    What Argentina needs, for example, is more than a few bucks, I’m sorry to say.

  3. In the Victorian era, people who defaulted were jailed in debtors’ prisons, and not let out until their debts were paid. This naturally meant that they were less likely to be able to pay.

  4. In his first Presidential campaign, Bill Clinton said about welfare that it was “meant to be a helping hand, not a way of life”. Argentina has been in financial trouble since I was in high school 40 years ago when we were hearing about 60% inflation. I think that qualifies as a way of life.

  5. @Rob: Again with all due respect to Mr. Clinton, things can be a bit more complicated than slogans such as that imply. Frankly, I’d rather people had the welfare “way of life” than see them starve, become criminals or slaves, sell their children or other extreme manifestations of poverty and deprivation. It might be the price of social order. Plus they still contribute to the economy – in general they spend everything that they are given.

    In the timeframe you mention, Argentina went from such difficulties to a military dictatorship to mass murder of political opponents to provoking a war with Britain. Didn’t end well but who was to blame? I don’t know enough to say how it could have been avoided.

    The present debt default was caused by speculators buying up already-distressed bonds then refusing to agree to the haircut that the rest of the owners had agreed upon. Result: no-one got anything and the Argentine govt. gets to blame the greed of the U.S. in general, and a hedge fund and a NY judge in particular, for any problems. And of course, more hardship for the poor.

  6. I don’t dispute anything you say, Sue. I’m just saying debt relief is a tough sell. When just about everyone, everywhere has some debt, giving relief to a select few is just not going to play well. It’s not just “righteousness” as the original post contends or lack of compassion, it’s also “we can’t afford it” and “we have our own problems”.

  7. I didn’t mean relief above, I meant forgiveness.

  8. The “select few” have already been given all kinds of bailouts, financial and otherwise. And they have mostly got away with it. We are told that they are worth it :-)

  9. The select few are at both ends and squeezing those of us in the middle pretty hard. :)

Bias in the Box

Posted on October 12th, 2014 at 14:00 by John Sinteur in category: News


Indeed, Baldus found that in Philadelphia prosecutors were twice as likely to strike black jurors. But Baldus also found that defense attorneys were almost twice as likely to strike nonblack jurors. The critical difference was in the effect of these strikes. While prosecutors dramatically enhanced their death-sentencing rate by removing blacks, defense attorneys only marginally decreased death sentencing by removing nonblacks. The data was most disturbing when Baldus looked at the race of the defendant. In Philadelphia, juries, no matter their racial composition, sentenced black defendants to die at higher rates than nonblack defendants. Moreover, predominately non-black juries were significantly more punitive toward black defendants than were black-majority juries. In other words, the racial makeup of the jury and of the defendant heavily influenced the sentencing outcome.

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Posted on October 11th, 2014 at 22:55 by John Sinteur in category: News


“…FBI provides assistance with compelled and cooperative partnership associated with WHIPGENIE”, the details of which are classified above Top-Secret – and the actual partnership terms are even held from the 5-Eyes.

This will lay to rest one of the 2 strong claims made by Skeptical: that the USG can not and will not coerce a commercial company to subvert its products. They clearly will.

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  1. This is from: firstlook.org/theintercept/ Right?

  2. If I click the source link, do I end up on the no-fly list?

  3. @des- fyi, if you type that question into the comment section of a web page you end up on the no fly list…

  4. Crap. Anyone want my miles?

Federal Bureau seeks Sac State students for service

Posted on October 11th, 2014 at 21:28 by John Sinteur in category: News


On Monday, Sac State’s Career Center welcomed the FBI for an informational on its paid internship program where applications are now being accepted. One of the highly discussed topics in the presentation was the list of potential traits that disqualify applicants.

This list included failure to register with selective services, illegal drug use including steroids, criminal activity, default on student loans, falsifying information on an application and illegal downloading music, movies and books.

FBI employee Steve Dupre received questions ranging from the use of cell phone apps to download free music , to Spotify and other means of retrieving music.

“If you’re doing that, stop doing it.” Dupree said.

He explained how the FBI will ask people during interviews how many songs, movies and books they have downloaded because the FBI considers it to be stealing.

So from now on you can only get a job at the FBI is you are able to lie and get away with it at a polygraph. Does that really make the FBI a better institution?

as we all know, FBI’s recruitment standards are so exceedingly high, and their ethical standards are so unimpeachable.

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  1. Perhaps if they restricted their recruits to women over 40…and psychopaths.

Small Plates – Video

Posted on October 11th, 2014 at 18:39 by John Sinteur in category: News


For the magazine’s fall Food issue, we treated six second graders from P.S. 295 in Brooklyn to dinner at Daniel, where the seven-course tasting menu goes for $220 a person.

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Lest we forget…

Posted on October 11th, 2014 at 3:39 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


“My dreams of marrying someone I loved suddenly got put by the wayside. Instead, I was back to being scared to walk down the street…”

Even if marriage is legal.

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Slachtoffer steekpartij vmbo-school Voorburg overleden

Posted on October 10th, 2014 at 16:50 by John Sinteur in category: News


Op een school in Voorburg, het Corbulo College, is een jongen neergestoken. De 15-jarige leerling werd in de buurt van de school door hulpdiensten behandeld, maar is inmiddels overleden.

So sad… 15 year old kid stabbed to death on a school I know (son of a friend went to school there)… management has changed since I last went there, but I recognize some teachers names.

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Malala and Satyrathi win Nobel Peace prize

Posted on October 10th, 2014 at 11:13 by John Sinteur in category: News


Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyrathi have won the Nobel Peace prize.

Good choice.

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Our bullying corporations are the new enemy within

Posted on October 9th, 2014 at 15:51 by John Sinteur in category: News


The more power you possess, the more insecure you feel. The paranoia of power drives people towards absolutism. But it doesn’t work. Far from curing them of the conviction that they are threatened and beleaguered, greater control breeds greater paranoia.

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  1. Perhaps the more thoughtful amongst the ruling classes do feel paranoia. After all, they must anticipate that disruptive change is probably the inevitable outcome if present trends continue.

    Most of the rest seem to feel a fervid sense of entitlement.

Interview with Peter Piot Discoverer of the Ebola Virus

Posted on October 9th, 2014 at 13:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


Almost four decades ago, Peter Piot was part of the team that discovered the Ebola virus. In a SPIEGEL interview, he describes how the disease was isolated and explains why the current outbreak is different than any that have come before.

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Banning club drugs hasn’t made users safer: A grieving mom hopes her plan will

Posted on October 7th, 2014 at 19:37 by John Sinteur in category: News


In her quest for answers, Goldsmith came to a startling realization: Molly didn’t kill her daughter. Federal policies that promote drug abolition and discourage education about safe drug use killed her daughter.

“The way we deal with it has got to change because people are dying,” said Goldsmith. “My heart says: if you’re gonna try Molly, you better make sure you know what you’re taking.”

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Cubic Bezier Curves – Under the Hood

Posted on October 4th, 2014 at 19:08 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. I know that this clip was in english and I appreciate your apparent assumption that I am smart enough to understand and benefit from it. Sometimes, though, I think maybe posting an alternate viewing choice would be helpful – like maybe a video of playful otters – ?

  2. Now THAT one I understood!

  3. i. love. it. finally! this makes so much sense!

  4. I found this to be a wonderfully clear visual and intuitive explanation of Bezier curves. More like this please!

  5. I am more into brazier curves.

  6. That is a beautiful visualization! It makes data make sense!

  7. Yeah, but what’s under the bonnet?

Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

Posted on October 4th, 2014 at 13:27 by John Sinteur in category: News

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Pope Francis Among Picks for Nobel

Posted on October 3rd, 2014 at 23:45 by John Sinteur in category: News


A Japanese group seeking to preserve pacifism in the Asian nation’s constitution and Pope Francis, who has made the fight against poverty a focus of his tenure, are among the top contenders for the Nobel Peace Prize.

He should start a land war somewhere and continue funding a torture camp to really get a lock on winning.

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  1. lol, you don’t have to do that until after you get your peace prize (actually, this is what happens when you give your peace prize to someone who hasn’t done anything yet.)

  2. Obama doesn’t fund Guantanamo, Congress does. And what’s with the land war? I’m only aware of an air war.

Reza Aslan educates Bill Maher and CNN hosts on Islam

Posted on October 2nd, 2014 at 20:27 by Desiato in category: News

Worth watching for a rare nuanced take on Islam’s link with violence, lack of rights for women, etc.

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  1. So is it Christianity– Bad, Islam– Good?

    I would prefer Bill Maher to this Islamic apologist.

    Remember– Let me quote Pat Condell on that:

    “If you criticize religion, then, every so often somebody will say to you – quite disapprovingly – ‘you may not have faith in god, but you could show a bit more respect for those people who do’.

    And, you might find yourself thinking ‘well actually, maybe they’re right. It wouldn’t hurt to show a bit more respect – after all, nobody likes to be told point-blank that their religion is a crock of delusional garbage and a force for evil in the world. That, what they call ‘faith’ is merely fear dressed up as virtue. And that their puerile beliefs are a strait-jacket on the whole of humanity.’

    That’s bound to put anybody’s nose out of joint.

    So yes, maybe I could show a bit more respect.

    The only fly in the ointment is – I don’t actually feel any respect. I have tried, I really have, and I feel just terrible about it, but it just isn’t there.

    I suppose I could lie to myself, and pretend for the sake of people’s feelings – because we all know how delicate and tender they can be these days.

    But, the bold truth is, I don’t actually care about their feelings – at all; not even slightly.

    Of course, I realize that should weigh heavily on my conscience – but luckily my conscience knows when it is being bullied and manipulated – so it doesn’t care either.

    My conscience knows that there is no earthly reason for anybody on this planet to respect religion – in any way. Indeed, purely on the evidence religion itself provides, in such regular abundance, there is every reason to actively disrespect it to the point of outright abuse.

    And quite frankly, the fact that religion gets so little abuse, compared to what it really deserves, I can only attribute to the unbelievable tolerance, restraint and plain good manners of atheists and secularists everywhere.

    So, if you are a religious person, and if you’re thinking of demanding more respect for your beliefs, please try to bear in mind that you and your religion are already getting way more respect than you’ve ever deserved. Your faith is a joke. Your god is a joke. He’s so absurd, he’s an embarrassment even to people who don’t believe in him – and he and you still have it all to prove. So far, no proof has been forthcoming, nor is it likely to be; as we all well know – so respect, I’m afraid, is out of the question. The best you can hope for is amused incredulity – and that would be on a good day.

    People say ‘well, you can only truly understand faith when you have faith’ – which I take to mean when you’ve suspended your critical faculties and hypnotized yourself into believing a load of fascist nonsense about your eternal soul, then, you’ll understand faith – well, I can certainly believe that.

    Faith peddlers like to put themselves beyond question by claiming that their faith ‘transcends reason’ – the very thing that calls it to account – how convenient. Yes, faith transcends reason – the way a criminal transcends the law. The word ‘transcendent’ is very popular with religious hustlers because they never have to explain precisely what they mean by it – other than some vague, superior state of understanding, more profound than ‘mere reason’ – which is crude and simplistic next to the subtleties and profundities of belief without evidence.

    If you hear a senior clergyman, and you will, using the word ‘transcendent’ to explain the nonsense he claims to believe, then you know two things: one, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about; and two, he doesn’t want you to know what he’s talking about either.

    Faith doesn’t transcend reason at all; faith sidesteps reason – it runs away from reason because reason threatens its cozy bubble of delusion. So faith disqualifies reason the way a Dutch criminal court disqualifies truth and the witnesses – and for much the same reason.

    If you’re a believer, your faith allows you to adopt a set of beliefs that make absolutely no sense, knowing that you won’t be measured by whether they make sense, but by the level of piety that you exhibit in believing them. In other words, your willingness to deny reality becomes a measure of your virtue.

    No wonder religion is so popular.

    But what a price you pay for this ‘virtue’. You’ve been persuaded that believing in the impossible is your only hope… how did that happen?

    And that your purpose is to worship something beyond your understanding, defined by and only accessible through, self-appointed intermediaries. Your thoughts, your words and your identity, are no longer solely yours to decide; but are subject to the approval of those who have assumed authority over you – through your faith.

    The people who’ve told you that you were born with something wrong with you – c’mon – in a state of ‘sin,’ no less. A condition that can only be cured by complete submission and obedience to them – surprise, surprise – from the moment you’re born ‘til the moment you die.

    And if all this doesn’t exactly flatter your ego – and why should it – Don’t worry, we can give it a special name to make you feel better, and persuade you that you’ve still got some dignity – let’s call it “faith”, and let’s deem it to be the highest and most noble and profound of all virtues; and let’s pretend that it comes from within. When we all know, that nothing about your religion is allowed to come from within – because that would give you strength and freedom – the two things your religion wants as far away from you as possible.

    Faith is the grip that clergy have over you.

    It’s the invisible rope around your neck that pulls you along the road they want you to travel – for their benefit, not yours.

    It’s a dead-end word.

    It’s a word of bondage.

    It’s a word that lets you believe what you’ve been told to believe -without feeling that you’ve been told what to believe, but you have – and you can stop pretending any time you like.

    It’s not a virtue – that’s the last thing it is.

    It’s an abdication from reality.

    It’s a dumb act of self-hypnosis.

    It’s a cowardly copout.

    It’s gullibility with a halo – and hiding behind it is like pretending to be an invalid.

    So, I don’t really understand exactly what it is that I’m supposed to respect.

    It seems to me, I’d need to be some kind of moral contortionist to respect something that noxious – something that depends for its existence on a closed-mind – and it is clearly dragging humanity in the wrong direction; giving us false ideas about ourselves, and about the nature of reality.

    I feel, if I respected that, I’d be needlessly contributing to the stupidity and ignorance of the human race – and that is one thing I don’t want on my conscience; no offense.


  2. > I would prefer Bill Maher to this Islamic apologist.

    If you think he’s an apologist then I think you didn’t watch the video or didn’t listen very well.

  3. He’s definitely not an apologist. The problem is, he has a stupid audience sitting in the CNN studio like that.

    As a result, he makes a few statements that are problematic as well – for example, near the 5 minute mark, he’s telling that bad people will do bad things regardless of religion, and good people do good things, but he should have been called out with a “but it takes religion to make good people do bad things”. His audience is not sophisticated enough.

    But if I were to choose whom to have a good solid discussion with about this subject, I would pick him over Bill Maher any day. It would have so much more depth…

  4. Nice token anchorpersons being forced to try to furrow those botoxed brows in their best frowny faces? Priceless.

  5. I believe people use religion to justify their personal views. So, let’s just get rid of the “middle man”. It’s just business!

Power Can Corrupt Even the Honest

Posted on October 1st, 2014 at 22:48 by John Sinteur in category: News


To investigate this the authors used experimental methods to distinguish between the situational and individual component; and determine if power corrupts or if corrupt individuals are drawn to power.

After completing psychometric tests to measure various individual differences, including honesty, participants played the ‘dictator game’ where they were given complete control over deciding pay-outs to themselves and their followers. The leaders had the choice of making prosocial or antisocial decisions, the latter of which resulted in reduced total pay-outs to the group but increased the leader’s own earnings.

The findings showed that those who measured as less honest exhibited more corrupt behaviour, at least initially; however, over time, even those who initially scored high on honesty were not shielded from the corruptive effects of power.

“We think that strong governance mechanisms and strong institutions are the key to keeping leaders in check,” concludes Antonakis. “Organisations should limit how much leaders can drink from the seductive chalice of power.”

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  1. So who do we vote for? Republican or Republican lite?

  2. The lack of choice comes from power’s need for and tight association with ignorance and fear. With instant run-off voting we could enhance our democracy with actual choices.

  3. Didn’t I read on this site somewhere, someone suggested including a NOTA – none of the above – option on the ballot paper to indicate a negative vote for the proposed candidates? Getting your vote counted, but not for any candidate with reflect in the voting figures by reducing the overall percentage of any candidate – and thus their legitimacy. It’s not much but it is something.

you can take my sagan cannon when you pry it from my cold lifeless fingers.

Posted on September 30th, 2014 at 8:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


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  1. Late, I know, but I gotta say it.

    Awesome picture & a striking contrast – which would YOU rather be? The person convinced they’ve found the answers & ready to strike down those who think they have a different answer or the person equipping themselves with the tools to ask the question, and then the question behind that, and the question behind that…?

  2. I see the problem here … women. :)

  3. That was my first thought as well, but I suppressed it in case you thought me prejudiced :-)

    But she does have a lovely beard for an unbeliever.

The ABC of Hand Tools

Posted on September 29th, 2014 at 21:17 by John Sinteur in category: News

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  1. Why is this video so relaxing?

EU to Publish Details of Probes of Tax Deals Benefiting Apple, Fiat

Posted on September 28th, 2014 at 20:13 by John Sinteur in category: News


European Union regulators will publish as soon as Monday their preliminary view that tax deals granted to Apple Inc. and Fiat SpA violated EU law, people familiar with the matter said, marking the next formal step in the bloc’s drive against alleged tax avoidance by multinationals.

The European Commission, the EU’s central antitrust authority, opened formal investigations in June into whether tax deals granted to Apple in Ireland, Fiat Finance and Trade in Luxembourg and Starbucks Corp. in the Netherlands amounted to illegal state support for the companies.

The commission will publish its so-called opening decision in the Apple case as soon as Monday, explaining why it reached the preliminary view that two tax deals agreed between the U.S. company and the Irish government—in 1991 and 2007—amounted to illegal state aid, a person familiar with the matter said.

Apple will have 30 days to respond to the EU’s decision, the person said.

Wait what, aren’t we just supposed to have congressional hearings and then do nothing?

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  1. The taxman cometh.

Kicking the Facebook Habit

Posted on September 28th, 2014 at 14:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


In July, I posted 159 times to my 2,308 friends, or about five posts a day (peaking at 12), and got a total of 1,110 “likes,” or about seven per post (peaking at 228). Sometimes I commented on or liked my own posts, a pathetic kind of Freudian Möbius strip. There were two days in July when I didn’t post at all, but that chastity was undone by sharing videos posted by Diddy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a Barack Obama Throwback Thursday photo, and a status update by the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson.

I was an old lady working the social-media slot machine. And my own likes felt perfunctory, never more so than my compulsion to like all the birthday notices posted on my page. Loading Facebook began to feel a lot like opening my inbox: lots of flotsam and jetsam.

It ended like any relationship does: bit by bit, then all at once. I wanted out from under Facebook’s thumb. So in mid-August, I deactivated my profile. (This can be undone at any time, unlike permanently deleting an account, a step that gives users 14 days to change their minds, and that I’m hesitant, for now, to take.)

When my friends tried to check in on me, they saw only an Error 404-style page. A typical note from an over-30 friend was “Are you O.K.?” A typical under-30 note was “Did you block me on Facebook?” Their self-centered hysteria only amplified my abstinence.

From the 12 Steps of FBAA FaceBook Addicts Anonymous:

1. We admitted we were powerless over Facebook—that our lives had become unmanageable.

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AC/DC: Malcolm Young will not return to the band

Posted on September 27th, 2014 at 20:37 by John Sinteur in category: News


Rock band AC/DC have confirmed that founding member Malcolm Young will not return to the band, after taking a break due to illness.

The band said “due to the nature of Malcolm’s condition” their new album Rock or Bust would be the first in AC/DC’s 41-year history not to feature Young on the recordings.

Malcolm is only 61….


AC/DC co-founder, guitarist and songwriter Malcolm Young, whose retirement from the band was announced on Wednesday, has been moved into full-time care in a nursing home facility in Sydney’s eastern suburbs specialising in dementia, sources connected to the Young family have said.

The home is understood to be Lulworth House in Elizabeth Bay, the same facility that is home to Gough Whitlam and, until his recent death, Neville Wran, who was afflicted with dementia in his last years.

The Young family connection said: “If you were in the room with [Malcolm Young] and walked out, then came back in one minute later, he wouldn’t remember who you are. He has a complete loss of short-term memory. His wife, Linda, has put him in full-time care.”

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The best “unlikely allies” story you’ve probably never heard.

Posted on September 27th, 2014 at 16:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


“Pride”, a critically-acclaimed new film given a limited release in the US today, tells the true story of how a small group of LGBT activists became the biggest fundraiser for the year-long British coal miner’s strike of 1984-85. The miners faced a pre-meditated, organized, thuggish, dishonest, deceptive, and illegal surveillance and smear campaign by the Thatcher government, which froze all mining union funds, cancelled their unemployment, and denied food and housing welfare to their wives and children, in an attempt to starve them out. For the first time, the British government trained Britain’s police into a paramilitary force, bused in at great expense and in great numbers to overwhelm the protesters, using violent, repressive, and corrupt tactics against non-violent protesters, with prolonged police detentions and the indiscriminate arrest of over 11,000 British citizens. The government was supported by the rightwing tabloid media, who used sensationalist, crude headlines to shape public opinion. LGBT activists reclaimed one such headline as the name of their most successful benefit.

Although the miner’s strike was broken by the Thatcher government, the miners kept their promise to support the LGBT community, by marching alongside them at the front of London’s 1985’s Pride parade.. Later that year at the Labour Party conference, a motion was tabled that supported adding equal rights for gays and lesbians as part of the Party’s platform. This motion was opposed by Labour’s executive committee, but the motion went to a vote – and passed, thanks to the votes of the National Union of Mineworkers and their allies.

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