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A few pages from Dr. Evil’s playbook

Posted on October 31st, 2014 at 22:33 by John Sinteur in category: News


A hallmark of his campaigns is the lack of transparency:

“People always ask me one question all the time: ‘How do I know that I won’t be found out as a supporter of what you’re doing?’ ” Mr. Berman told the crowd. “We run all of this stuff through nonprofit organizations that are insulated from having to disclose donors. There is total anonymity. People don’t know who supports us.”

A particularly salient bit from the transcript of Berman’s speech (the first five or so pages, before his associate starts up, are particularly interesting):

We’re reframing this debate so it’s not just about going up to $10.10 [the minimum wage], there’s some other things that people need to think about.

You want to get people to say, one of my north stars is to get people to say, “You know, I never thought of it that way before.”

Because, if you can get people to say that, here’s what you get: instead of getting the ‘he said, she said debate,’ what you will get with the factual debate, often times, you’re going to get into people get overwhelmed by the science and ‘I don’t know who to believe.’ But, if you get enough on your side you get people into a position of pralysis about the issue.

We’re not experts and so you don’t want them trying to be experts. But if you put enough information out there and say, “Well, it could go to $10.10 but ou could also lose a lot of jobs, the Congressional Budget Office says you can lose a lot of jobs.” And again, we got a lot of ads on this thing.

You get in people’s minds a tie. They don’t know who is right. And you get all ties because the tie basically ensures the status quo.

People are not prepared to get aggressive and in moving one way or another. I’ll take a tie any day if I’m trying to preserve the status quo.

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Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes: 1 Dead, 1 Injured

Posted on October 31st, 2014 at 22:32 by John Sinteur in category: News


Virigin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane exploded and crashed during a test flight on Friday, killing one crew member and seriously injuring another, authorities said.

The explosion scattered debris across a two-mile swath of the desert floor outside Mojave, California, and came after the plane was released from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier airplane. SpaceShipTwo was testing its rocket engine in flight for the first time in more than nine months.

“During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of the vehicle,” Virgin Galactic said in a statement. “The WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft landed safely. Our first concern is the status of the pilots.”

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Posted on October 31st, 2014 at 10:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


Devan Dewey, the Chief Technology Officer of midsize investment consultancy NEPC, has an orderly office and a highly organized mind. So naturally, when some at-home employees near Boston complained they could barely work because their connections to the company data center had slowed to a crawl, Dewey and his team determined to find out why.

His team’s research led him to suspect something astonishing and dark: that NEPC, and probably many other businesses and consumers, were caught in the crossfire of an ongoing battle between “eyeball networks” run by Internet access providers, such as Comcast and Verizon; and “transit networks” used by competing video services, such as Netflix. He came to wonder whether, in their attempts to charge Netflix for access to their subscribers, Comcast and some other networks were recklessly affecting Internet connectivity for businesses like NEPC. Could that possibly be true?

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  1. And?

Jian Ghomeshi: more women come forward with sexual violence allegations

Posted on October 31st, 2014 at 1:54 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


The latest allegations – which date back to 2002 – raise new questions about a culture at CBC that allowed Ghomeshi’s alleged behaviour to go unchallenged. Some of the women say they met him at CBC events or at the CBC offices, while others say they encountered him during a 2012 book tour or at media and film festivals.

Ahem…Jian? When they say “hitting on” someone, they don’t actually mean you’re allowed to hit them. Or choke them, or whip them, or bite them…

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Surprise! Controversial Patriot Act power now overwhelmingly used in drug investigations

Posted on October 30th, 2014 at 22:12 by John Sinteur in category: News


One of the more controversial provisions of the Patriot Act was to broaden the “sneak-and-peek” power for federal law enforcement officials. The provision allows investigators to conduct searches without informing the target of the search. We were assured at the time that this was an essential law enforcement tool that would be used only to protect the country from terrorism. Supporters argued that it was critical that investigators be allowed to look into the lives and finances of suspected terrorists without tipping off those terrorists to the fact that they were under investigation.

And as critics predicted, it is overwhelmingly used in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism. But even if you’re a cynic, it’s pretty shocking just how little the power is used in terrorism investigations.

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Take a guess

Posted on October 29th, 2014 at 21:50 by John Sinteur in category: News

This quote (don’t click the link yet!):


“We must end this assault on our humanity and the misappropriation of fundamental human rights.”

is from:

a) Kurdish refugees trying and failing to get asylum in Turkey
b) a girl being denied access to school in Pakistan
c) gay Iranian students
d) North Korean hard labor camp survivors
e) homeless veterans in California
f) the Motion Picture of America Association talking about downloads

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  1. It seems kinda funny to call out the RIAA on this, as they are actually calling out the torrent index sites for claiming that fundamental human rights protect their operation which actually involves predominantly copyright infringement. Who’s making the ridiculous claim? OK, yeah, the “assault on our humanity” bit is a bit of a stretch for a puppet of big corporations, true.

  2. It’s such an absurd claim I assumed it was from the Onion, how wrong I was, again.

  3. Some people/organisations really need to invoke the ‘Onion Standard’.

    And the ‘Onion Standard’ is… ‘If we say this, will people think it’s a joke by The Onion?’

    A good rule of thumb for meeting the Onion standard would be, if you’re rich & powerful, don’t say stuff like, “Poor little me, I’ve got it so tough!”

Islamic State Interview with an Extremist Recruiter

Posted on October 29th, 2014 at 19:04 by John Sinteur in category: News


We are following Allah’s word. We believe that humanity’s only duty is to honor Allah and his prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. We are implementing what is written in the Koran. If we manage to do so, then of course it will be a success.

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American Exceptionalism

Posted on October 28th, 2014 at 22:28 by John Sinteur in category: News


The other real, if unspoken difference between Denmark and the United States is that the members of the Danish corporate class are not trained from their adolescence to become public sociopaths. This is not a minor distinction.

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  1. There was a time in the US when a person could raise a family on restaurant wages…not too long ago.

  2. Are you saying the United States gave capitalism a bad name, they actually made greed seem worse than it really is?

  3. The more I read about Ayn Rand and her “selfishness”, the more I am convinced that she was an extreme sociopath. She was just as much the authoritarian leader of an extreme personality cult as was L. Ron Hubbard, for example. Ayn Rand proudly inserted her acolyte Alan Greenspan as a “Manchurian candidate” into the Federal government to implement her philosophy. Unfortunately for society, she has convinced even many people who stand to lose from her philosophy, that being a sociopath is cool and sexy. Because of Ayn Rand extreme capitalism no longer has to be embarrassed about its antisocial and dystopian features. She has a lot to answer for.

  4. He who robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

    One of the strangest and most pervasive lunacies of our age is that there are so many Peters who have been convinced that they are Pauls.

A little girl allowed to die

Posted on October 27th, 2014 at 15:27 by John Sinteur in category: News


Assisted death is a moral minefield. There is no black and white. There are papers written, activists protesting, and laws up for debate all over the world on the subject.

What is probably more definitive is the way that a parent knows their child. A decision like the one Charlotte had to make could not in a million years be one that was made lightly. I hope she is kind to herself over the coming years.

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Weeks after winning a Nobel Prize for his microscope, Eric Betzig just revolutionized microscopy again

Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 17:35 by John Sinteur in category: News


Earlier this month Eric Betzig shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work on high-resolution microscopes — specifically the one he’d designed and built on a friend’s living room floor.

But when Betzig, a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia, got news of his win, his best work yet was still a few weeks away from being published. Thursday in Science, he and a team of his colleagues reported on a new microscopy technique that allows them to observe living cellular processes at groundbreaking resolution and speed.

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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?

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