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What Shakespeare taught me about Marxism

Posted on November 4th, 2014 at 10:34 by John Sinteur in category: News


If you could watch Shakespeare’s history plays back-to-back, starting with King John and ending with Henry VIII, it would, at first sight, be like an HBO drama series without a central plot: murders, wars and mayhem, all set within an apparently meaningless squabble between kings and dukes.

But once you understand what a ‘mode of production’ is the meaning becomes clear. What you are watching is the collapse of feudalism and the emergence of early capitalism.

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As the Berlin Wall fell, checks on capitalism crumbled | Larry Elliott | Business | The Guardian

Posted on November 4th, 2014 at 10:33 by John Sinteur in category: News


As it turned out, the end of the cold war was not unbridled good news for the citizens of the west. For a large part of the postwar era, the Soviet Union was seen as a real threat and even in the 1980s there was little inkling that it would disappear so quickly. A powerful country with a rival ideology and a strong military acted as a restraint on the west. The fear that workers could “go red” meant they had to be kept happy. The proceeds of growth were shared. Welfare benefits were generous. Investment in public infrastructure was high.

There was no need to be so generous once the Soviet Union was no more. What was known as neoliberal economics was born in the 1970s, but it was not until the 1990s that market forces reigned supreme. The free market spread to poorer parts of the world where it had previously been off limits, expanding the global workforce. That meant cheaper goods but it also put downward pressure on wages.

What’s more, there was no longer any need to be inhibited. Those running companies could take a bigger slice of profits because there was nowhere else for workers to go. If citizens did not like “reform” of welfare states, they just had to lump it.

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  1. So wait, the existence of the Soviet Union determines whether workers in thre West will unionize?

    Will the U.S. start an arms race with France next to wipe out that bad example?

    Excuse me while I roll my eyes.

  2. That’s not the way I read it, Desiato. I took it to mean those who weren’t happy in their workplace could always pack up and move to one of those communist utopias. Their income level would be about the same or less but they’d only be as miserable as everyone else, not more. I’m sure you remember that wave of dissatisfied workers doing just that back in the 80s???

Joy of Tech

Posted on November 3rd, 2014 at 14:03 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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Fiona Woolf quits as head of inquiry into historic child sex abuse

Posted on November 1st, 2014 at 21:29 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


Fiona Woolf has stepped down as the head of the inquiry into historic child sex abuse allegations…

Doubt was cast on her suitability for the role after it was revealed in September that she had links to Leon Brittan, the former Home Secretary who is likely to give evidence to the inquiry…

Woolf is the second head of the inquiry to step down. The original appointee, Baroness Butler-Sloss, voluntarily resigned the position in July after it was revealed that her brother, Lord Michael Havers, was attorney general during the period the abuse is said to have taken place.

To lose one posh female head of inquiry could be deemed a misfortune, to lose two looks like carelessness.

(With apologies to Mr. Wilde)

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Been to an Ebola-affected country? Stay away from tropical medicine meeting, Louisiana says

Posted on November 1st, 2014 at 16:38 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


Today, Louisiana state health officials asked anyone who has traveled to Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea in the past 21 days, or has treated Ebola patients elsewhere, to stay away from the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), which begins on Sunday in New Orleans.

So fear of Ebola now hinders research of Ebola. That is just plain stupid. And let’s not forget these other tropical diseases, like malaria.

You have more chance of being run over by a snowmobile on Miami beach than you do of catching Ebola, yet somebody dies of malaria every 60 seconds…

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  1. Canadians have a much higher chance of being run over by snowmobiles so the govt. has decided to spring into action:


California highway patrol officers share naked photographs of women in their custody.

Posted on November 1st, 2014 at 16:27 by John Sinteur in category: Foyer of Ennui (just short of the Hall of Shame)


On Aug. 29, officers with the California Highway Patrol stopped a 23-year-old driver in a Bay Area suburb on suspicion of driving while drunk. The woman’s blood alcohol level registered more than three times the legal limit, and she was arrested and brought to the Martinez County jail for processing. Five days after her release, the Contra Costa Times reports, the woman was tooling around on her iPad when she discovered that explicit photographs of herself had been forwarded to an unknown number while she had been sitting, deviceless, in jail. CHP officer Sam Harrington later admitted that he had seized the woman’s confiscated phone, searched it for nude photographs, sent five of them to his own phone, then forwarded some along to two fellow officers. Harrington had attempted to erase the evidence on the woman’s cellphone, but her synced iPad revealed the trail.

According to court documents obtained by Matthais Gafni and Malaika Fraley of the Contra Costa Times, Harrington described the behavior to investigators as a “game” he had learned in the CHP’s Los Angeles office. Officers across the state play along, passing around naked photographs along with disgusting commentary about the women they pick up. Sometimes, the material is sent to civilians, too. Harrington said that he’d done the same thing a “half dozen” times over the past few years. In a second known incident, this September, Harrington scoured a DUI suspect’s phone while she was receiving X-rays for her injuries and sent bikini shots to another officer. He replied: “No fucking nudes?”

Since uncovering the scheme, Gafni has detailed similar incidents in police stations across the country, none of which have produced criminal charges against the cops.

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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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  1. Curiously Dr Evil fits very nicely into at least one model of political behaviour: Pluralism. Pluralists argue that the western states are Democratic because they are open to the influence of rival pressure groups.
    What Dr Evil does sabotages this model. Political philosopher, Charles Lindblom realised this kind of serious disadvantage in his 1977 book Politics and Markets where he says “even in the democracies, masses are persuaded to ask from elites only what elites wish to give them.” (I’m quoting from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_E._Lindblom)
    Of course, come the revolution Dr Evil and his henchmen… oh you know the rest.

  2. …will come to power and really run the world?

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?

  2. #needmoarbandwidth

  3. @Desiato — And? Read the article, It is excellent.

    And my comment on the article – un-bundle the carrier from the content provider and breakup large carriers to spur competition.

Rev. James Schook asking to be released six months into 15-year

Posted on October 31st, 2014 at 8:24 by John Sinteur in category: Boo hoo poor you


A Louisville priest convicted earlier this year of sexually abusing a teenage boy in the 1970s is asking to be released from prison just six months into his 15-year sentence.

An attorney for the Rev. James Schook has given notice that he will ask a judge Monday to release Schook on shock probation, saying he “now realizes the importance of obeying and conforming to the community’s rules.”


At his sentencing, Judge Mitch Perry denied Schook probation and declined to set bond pending appeal.

“This court believes you’ve been spared the consequences of your acts, going back almost 40 years, and it cannot go unnoticed in all of the reports to the court that you’ve simply refused to take responsibility for these matters,” Perry said at the time.

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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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Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out: ‘I’m proud to be gay’

Posted on October 30th, 2014 at 22:16 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


“Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” he wrote in a column in Bloomberg Businessweek.

In his column, the Apple chief said that he had tried to maintain “a basic level of privacy.” But he said he decided that desire for privacy was stopping him from working for the benefit of others.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” he said. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”

I’m not surprised for a second, and I’m very happy he took this step.

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  1. “Well I’m gay too!”

    – The CEO of Samsung

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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Posted on October 30th, 2014 at 11:02 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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17 more Twin Cities priests ID’d as probable pedophiles

Posted on October 29th, 2014 at 22:11 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


The Twin Cities archdiocese and the law offices of Jeff Anderson issued a joint statement Thursday disclosing names of 17 priests with “substantiated” claims of sexual abuse of a minor — including four previously unknown to the public.

The names bring to 55 the number of priests deemed to have substantiated claims of child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Ten of the 17 priests have died, “but the pain they caused is very much alive,” Archbishop John Nienstedt said in a news release.

“I am profoundly saddened and sorry for the harm clergy sexual abuse has caused victims and survivors, their families and the community.”

How profoundly sorry? So profound, it took a lawsuit settlement before the names were released.

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  1. An interesting list of “disclosures” on their website:

    Most of the little biographies that I randomly clicked on, showed that these men were allowed to work in the church until death or retirement.

    To the archdiocese’s credit, the Rebort Abuse button is prominent on their website. And they tell you to go to law enforcement first…

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.

Simple test page for Cellular ISP tracking beacons

Posted on October 28th, 2014 at 9:43 by John Sinteur in category: Privacy


If there is a value in the Broadcast UID field at the top of this page, your carrier is sending active tracking beacons to every web site you visit.

Note: Viewing this page with Mobile Chrome or Flipboard can mask tracking beacons.

For technical details, see Jonathan Mayer’s post or recent coverage at Wired.

Update: My original motivation for this test page arose after reading several ad industry write-ups on Verizon’s PrecisionID technology and practices, in particular the fact that in most cases, even after opting out of marketing options via Privacy settings, Verizon continues to inject trackers to every HTTP connection made from your device, whether it’s an Access Point, mobile hotspot, tablet or mobile phone.

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  1. Vodacom in South Africa was adding customers’ IMEI and mobile phone number to the headers of every http request. Yowch.

  2. tested t-mobile here in NL, no headers. Will test telfort in a few days..

  3. Yeah nothing with T-Mo in the US either as far as I saw.

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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Liberia’s Gay Community Under Attack Over Ebola Outbreak

Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 17:40 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


“Since church ministers declared Ebola was a plague sent by God to punish sodomy in Liberia, the violence towards gays has escalated. They’re even asking for the death penalty. We’re living in fear,” Ponpon told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone from Monrovia.

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  1. Did you ever notice that all the plagues are sent by God and not the Devil?

  2. @chas: “Worship me, or I’ll kill you!” sounds like a protection racket.

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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Alabama man gets $1,000 in police settlement, his lawyers get $459,000

Posted on October 24th, 2014 at 17:17 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


Warren’s attorneys, Wendy Brooks Crew, Alyson Hood Rains and Cameron Hogan, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

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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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China collecting Apple iCloud data; attack coincides with launch of new iPhone

Posted on October 21st, 2014 at 14:28 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


After previous attacks on Github, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, the Chinese authorities are now staging a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on Apple’s iCloud.

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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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Chinese Photoshop Trolls

Posted on October 17th, 2014 at 17:07 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


Request: “Can you make it look like I’m running faster? I want to show this to my girl.”

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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.

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