Via Boing Boing: ‘Kenlissia Jones, 23, of Georgia has been charged with murder after a hospital social worker reported her to the police for taking cytotec pills she purchased online to terminate her pregnancy. She is being held on charges of malice murder and possession of a dangerous drug. Leaders in both pro-choice and anti-abortion groups said they were surprised by the charges….
[UPDATE: Murder charges dropped. Jones still faces a misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous drug.]’
Via NYTimes.com: ‘When it comes to insomnia, comparative effectiveness studies reveal that sleep medications aren’t the best bet for a cure, despite what the commercials say. Several clinical trials have found that they’re outperformed by cognitive behavioral therapy. C.B.T. for insomnia (or C.B.T.-I.) goes beyond the “sleep hygiene” most people know, though many don’t employ — like avoiding alcohol or caffeine near bedtime and reserving one’s bed for sleep (not reading or watching TV, for example). C.B.T. adds — through therapy visits or via self-guided treatments — sticking to a consistent wake time (even on weekends), relaxation techniques and learning to rid oneself of negative attitudes and thoughts about sleep….’
Via New Scientist
Via Motherboard: ‘A series of videos recently uploaded on YouTube show two young children divulging disturbing information about a secret society active in north London.
The siblings reveal that they have been the victims of satanic ritual abuse, inflicted upon them at school and church in the affluent suburb of Hampstead. In hours of video footage that has been viewed millions of times, they describe the sacrificing and eating of babies, grotesque sex parties, and rituals of satanic worship.
“The assertions were that babies had been abused, tortured and then sacrificed,” a judge later put it. “Their throats were slit, blood was drunk and cult members would then dance wearing babies’ skulls—sometimes with blood and hair still attached—on their bodies.”
They name dozens of perpetrators, claiming teachers and the parents of other pupils belong to the pedophilic cult lead by their own father.
Naturally the police took these initial accusations seriously.
But after six officers searched the church, they found no reason to suspect any satanic behaviour. Eventually, after two police interviews, the children admitted it was false—citing physical and psychological abuse from their own mother Ella Draper and her partner Abraham Christie, who pressured them to lie.
“That was all made up,” the 9-year-old girl explains to the police. “He told me to say that, and I said ‘Why, Abraham? That’s not true though’ and he said ‘Yes, that is true, so don’t lie and say that to the police. They dance around with baby skulls in the church, don’t they?’ That’s what Abraham told me, and I said ‘no, they don’t’ and he said ‘yes, they do—stop lying, you little brat.’”
Despite the confession, campaigners are adamant that there is more to this case then we are being lead to believe. “Believe the children!” “Satanists!” were some of the cries that could been heard just a few weeks ago at a demonstration outside the school.
How did huge numbers of people become so frenzied over baseless accusations, and how did the line between fact and fiction become so blurred?
Meanwhile, High Court Justice Pauffley determined in March that there had been no satanic cult. “I am able to state with complete conviction that none of the allegations are true,” she said. “I am entirely certain that everything Ms. Draper, her partner Abraham Christie, and the children said about those matters was fabricated. The claims are baseless. The stories came about as the result of relentless emotional and psychological pressure as well as significant physical abuse.”
“Both [children] P and Q have suffered significantly. Their innocence was invaded. Their grip on reality was imperilled.”
“Their minds were scrambled.”
As bizarre as this story seems, it’s far from the first time someone has contrived a story about satanic horrors—and repeated it so many times that they themselves almost began to believe it. In fact, it’s been happening since the early 1980s. In a BBC Radio 4 documentary, journalist David Aaronovitch identifies the controversial book Sybil, published in 1973, as the predominant cause of what came to be known as “the satanic panic.”…’
Via Salon.com: ‘A lot can happen between now and Election Day — and with no GOP adult in the room, that’s a frightening thought…
There was a time when the well-worn “clown car” description of the Republican presidential primary field wasn’t so on-the-nose. But as of right now, not even a few months into the process, it’s impossible to avoid daily news items in which one GOP candidate or another is self-immolating with ludicrous remarks or unforced errors. Frankly, it’d be really fun to observe if it weren’t for a nagging sense of danger….’
Via Boing Boing: ‘Cary… informs us that the world has finally made some sense, a Great Pyrenees has been elected mayor of a Minnesota town….’
Via Motherboard: ‘Can a computer produce nonsense of sufficient nonsensical quality to convince a reader that they’re actually reading James Joyce? Or, rather, that they’re reading James Joyce’s unreadable opus Finnegan’s Wake, literature’s towering force of impenetrability?
Or, rather, can a James Joyce convince a reader that they’re not reading nonsense produced by a computer program and are indeed consuming high literature?…’
Via Salon.com: ‘Why would I ever want to break up with the thing that had brought me actual mental health? And why hadn’t I known how hard it would be?…’
Via Salon.com: ‘New poll data suggest a majority of Americans now hold a favorable opinion of W. Here’s what they’re forgetting…’
Via Boing Boing: ‘“The tiny nation of the Republic of the Marshall Islands is once again at the center of international activism, filing two lawsuits, one in US federal court against the United States, and one in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against all nine countries that possess nuclear weapons,” writes Robert Alvarez at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
The Pacific island nation is suing the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China for failure to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, as called for by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and also names India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel as defendants….’
Via WIRED: ‘YOU KNOW THAT scene in the newish King Kong where those folks get eaten alive in a pit of giant insects? It’s a damn character assassination, through and through. The huge cricket-like bugs among them are based on the giant weta, the heaviest reliably reported insect on Earth, at 2.5 ounces. And really, the movie bugs could have been even bigger for all I care—it’s that their crummy attitude is all wrong. Giant weta, for their monstrous size, are actually quite sweet….’
Via io9: ‘If you don’t remember Jean-Paul Sartre’s play No Exit, let me recap it for you. Three sinners are sent to hell and their punishment is each other. Confined to a room, the three people form a toxic triad, each one locked to another, each craving the love, respect, or approval that the others cannot give. Lose any one of the three and they’re all free,
but put them all together and they’re stuck.
Physicists apparently looked at that play and thought they’d recreate it. It started small. A young Russian physicist, Vitaly Efimov, thought he’d usher the 1970s with a new theory. Cool a group of three atoms down to superlow temperatures, and although any two members of the triad would repel each other alone, the three will become suddenly unable to escape each other. They will pull together in what would eventually be called an Efimov State….’
via National Geographic: ‘Nothing hurts like your dog not taking your calls….If your dog won’t give you the FaceTime of day, don’t worry, it’s not you.’
via 3quarksdaily: ‘So Jeb Bush gets asked if he would have invaded Iraq “knowing what we know now,” and he flubs his answer.
But he got asked the wrong question.
The right question to ask Jeb Bush is this:
“How dare you run for president when you should be dying of shame instead, because your brother is a war criminal?”
We seemed to have banished simple morality from all our discussions of public policy.
We call the Iraq War our “most serious foreign policy blunder” instead of what it really was: a war crime.’
via Boing Boing: ‘A snorkeler dragged in this 18-foot dead oarfish he found just off Catalina Island near Los Angeles on Sunday. Oarfish are rarely seen this large and usually found in deep open ocean waters.
“Not a whole lot is known about them, because they are sort of secretive,” ichthyology collections manager Rick Fennel at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County told the Los Angeles Times.’
Via Gizmodo: ‘As a student project for his degree in fine arts at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm, Sweden, Oskar Pernefeldt designed this international flag to “be used while representing planet Earth” and “remind the people of Earth that we share this planet”…’
Via Motherboard: ‘Thankfully (if unfortunately) there’s something of a blueprint for conquering a sustained scorch: Australia’s Millennium Drought. Spanning from 1995 to 2009, it may not have been quite long enough to earn the mantle of “megadrought,” a term that typically describes a drought that lasts over two decades. But the Millennium Drought was long, harsh, and painful. It was the longest in Australia’s recorded history, yet the afflicted communities adapted, even thrived, in spite of the parch….’
Via Motherboard: ‘As of midnight on Sunday, for the first time since 2001, the NSA lost its legal authority to collect Americans phone records in bulk.
The Senate let three provisions of the Patriot Act expire on Sunday, including the controversial Section 215, which allows the spy agency to collect all phone records from telephone companies every three months, a practice that was ruled ruled illegal by a judge less than a month ago.
Two other provisions of the Patriot Act also expired. One of them allowed the government to obtain warrants from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on suspected “lone wolf” terrorists; and the other, known as the “roving wiretap,” allowed investigators to obtain permission to spy on multiple phones owned by one suspect with just one application.
While this might seem like a victory for anti-surveillance advocates, the truth is that most of the Patriot Act stands, and even this victory is going to be a short lived one….’
Via Bitch Media (thanks to Boing Boing): ‘Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz carried her mattress across the stage at her graduation ceremony this morning. Sulkowicz and her friends have been carrying the mattress around for the whole academic year in protest of the way the school handles sexual assault issues. As New York Magazine explains, for her senior thesis in visual art, Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight), Sulkowicz vowed that she would carry her dorm-room mattress whenever she was on campus as long as her alleged rapist remained on campus. “The piece could potentially take a day, or it could go on until I graduate,” she said….’
I live in the overall Safest State in the US (WalletHub®).
Via Salon.com: ‘In just over two minutes, the Massachusetts senator nails how the 1 percent has conquered the U.S. government…’
Via Boing Boing: ‘The most outstanding and urgent hour of audio you’ll hear this week is the On the Media history of the PATRIOT Act (MP3), and the most important website you’ll visit this week is Sunset the PATRIOT Act, which lets you do something about it.
The On The Media special tells the story of how the PATRIOT Act was not only passed without any debate, but without any chance for Congress to read it, but goes on to point out all the ways in which mass surveillance, torture, and other gross abridgments of liberty were carried out without support from PATRIOT.
Our great and good friends at Fight for the Future, ringleaders of the SOPA and Net Neutrality fights, are using Sunset the PATRIOT Act activist site to pour the heat on the Senate, who have until the close of today’s session to kill the mass surveillance parts of PATRIOT….’
Via National Geographic: ‘Polar explorer Thomas Ulrich skis across a melt pond on sea ice near Champ Island, in Russia’s Franz Josef Land, in 2009. Climate change is making Arctic ice melt faster, making it more perilous to cross….’
Via Mental Floss: ‘The Dictionary of American Regional English, or DARE, contains all of the weird and wonderful words and phrases that make up the vocabulary of the 50 states. First published in 1985, the catalog of regional nuances is an ever-evolving document of American English as it’s spoken—but recently, DARE has fallen into danger due to lack of funding. A campaign is underway to raise $25,000 to help the organization retain its employees and continue its mission. To celebrate DARE and the treasures it contains, here are 29 words that should really extend beyond their regions….’
Interesting — not many of these are from the Northeast, and I have only ever heard one of the 29 (#7) used in conversation. If you come from a different region of the US, do some of the listed terms from your region sound familiar? Are they anything you have actually encountered?
Via 3quarksdaily: ‘The word psychosomatic refers to physical symptoms that occur for psychological reasons. Tears and blushing are examples of this, but they are normal responses that do not represent illness. It is only when psychosomatic symptoms go beyond the ordinary and impair our ability to function that illness results. Modern society likes the idea that we can think ourselves better. When we are unwell, we tell ourselves that if we adopt a positive mental attitude, we will have a better chance of recovery. I am sure that is correct. But society has not fully woken up to the frequency with which people do the opposite – unconsciously think themselves ill….’
Via Boing Boing: ‘It wasn’t until readers showed outrage that a Pennsylvania newspaper realized its wrongdoing. On Memorial Day, The Daily Item of Sunbury, PA ran an editorial piece by W. Richard Stover, who thought America needed a “regime change,” and the best way to go about this would be “execution by guillotine, firing squad, public hanging.”…’
Via Vox: ‘Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day often get equated, but there is an essential distinction between the two. Veteran’s Day honors all who have served the American military in wars. Memorial Day honors those who’ve perished. It’s an annual reminder that wars have grave human costs, which must be both recognized and minimized.
Those costs are not inevitable. We ought to also set aside time to remember those throughout American history who have tried hardest to reduce them, to prevent unnecessary loss of life both American and foreign: war resisters….’
The end of the world is just the beginning in NEAL STEPHENSON’s new novel (via Boing Boing): ‘The #1 New York Times bestselling author, known for Anathem (the Locus Award winner for Best Science Fiction Novel that the New York Times called “immensely entertaining”) and Reamde (which Cory Doctorow called “a triumph” in these pages) strikes again with exactly the kind of complex and mind-altering epic you’d hope for.
SEVENEVES. (You say “seven eves” with no pause.)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was described as being about “the end of the world and the happy-go-lucky days that follow.” Well, these End Times aren’t as freewheeling, but they’re endlessly fascinating, stocked with characters and concepts that will immerse you completely in their fracturing world. (Prepare yourself with the GLOSSARY.)
The story: A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.
But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .
Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.
A writer of dazzling genius and imaginative vision, Neal Stephenson combines science, philosophy, technology, psychology, and literature in a magnificent work of speculative fiction that offers a portrait of a future that is both extraordinary and eerily recognizable.
As he did in Anathem, Cryptonomicon, the Baroque Cycle, and Reamde, Stephenson explores some of our biggest ideas and perplexing challenges in a breathtaking saga that is daring, engrossing, and altogether brilliant….’
Derek Beres via Big Think: ‘The mystical is chemical. When …
egoistic brain centers shut down, crosstalk occurs between neural regions that don’t otherwise communicate. Religious literature has expressed the sentiments that result for eons: unity, serenity, peacefulness, compassion. Given the frayed wires so many humans grapple with today, I’m not sure what could be more therapeutic, or spiritual, than this….’
Via Big Think: ‘Well, we’re about a week into the @POTUS era so here’s what we now know:
Obama’s not a big fan of the men’s rights movement.
He still doesn’t care for the Cubs.
Tweeting at him may or may not get you entered into a scary White House database.
Really, that’s about it….’
Via Salon.com: ‘Debunking the phony case that more guns will stop crime: The NRA and some researchers claim we just need more good guys with guns. The math shows they’re all dead wrong…’
Via NYTimes.com: ‘Ireland became the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote, sweeping aside the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church in a resounding victory Saturday for the gay rights movement and placing the country at the vanguard of social change.
With the final ballots counted, the vote was 62 percent in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, and 38 percent opposed….’
Chris Bucholz via Cracked.com: ‘Despite the perfectly healthy and sane number of times I’ve taken my child for a walk through the deepest, darkest part of the woods, I’ve never even come close to losing him in there. But, as my psychiatrist loves to ask me, what if? What’s the worst that could happen? To find out, I turned to the ever-growing number of books and movies featuring feral children that I’ve extensively collected while giggling over the past year, and I pored through them looking for common themes. The next time my shrink smugly asks about my woods/children practices, I’ll be ready with an answer….’
Belinda Carroll via Cracked.com: ‘When we in the gay community got our “Now That You Are Queer” welcome packet, it never said how much responsibility came with it. It implied that being gay was just a matter of having great sex, awesome parties, and some light weather-changing capabilities. We in no way realized that we were going to cause some of the largest disasters in human history….’
Via Lifehacker: ‘Retailers are darn good at inventing tricks to separate us from our money. Whether it be through the price points they choose, how they market their products, or their discounting techniques, they are experts at getting inside our brains and influencing our buying decisions. Here are a few of the most popular pricing tricks retailers’ use, along with some easy ways to fight back…’
Via Vox: ‘A Cleveland police officer on Saturday was found not guilty of two counts of voluntary manslaughter for taking part in a 2012 shooting that killed two unarmed suspects, the Associated Press’s Mark Gillespie reported.
Michael Brelo, who is white, was one of several police officers who fired nearly 140 bullets into a car occupied by Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, both of whom were black and unarmed, following a police chase that involved more than 100 officers. Brelo was the only officer charged for the shooting, so none of the cops involved will be convicted unless someone else is charged.
The chase and shooting prompted a US Department of Justice investigation that found a pattern of abuse and misuse of force at the Cleveland Police Department.
The Justice Department will review the shooting and verdict in another investigation’
He may not capture the Democratic nomination, but the
Via Salon.com:‘He may not capture the Democratic nomination, but the Vermont senator still has a chance to reshape the party.’
— Wendell Berry (1973)
Via Vox: ‘Will the Illuminati kill me for reading this article? If they do still exist, you already know too much.’
Via Vox: ‘The month before a huge Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage is expected, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided over a same-sex wedding, and her words and gestures are being scrutinized for hints of how the case might come out.The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd was a guest at the wedding of Shakespeare Theatre Company artistic director Michael Kahn and New York architect Charles Mitchem. After the ceremony, Dowd wrote in her column that Ginsburg had pronounced the two men married by the powers vested in her by the Constitution of the United States, and that she’d emphasized the word “Constitution” and given “a sly look.”‘
Via Vox: ‘Forty-six states now have laws that explicitly ban texting while driving. But smartphones can distract drivers in many other ways, too, a new survey commissioned by AT&T shows.While it found that texting was the most common distraction, lots of drivers said they emailed, browsed the internet, checked Facebook, took selfies or other photos, or even video chatted while driving’
Via Vox: ‘Americans increasingly think that animals should have the same rights as people, according to Gallup polling on the issue.’
Via Salon.com: ‘From “Mad Men” to “Sopranos,” our obsession with endings gets everything backwards. We debate them to death, but there are no perfect endings. We’d enjoy our favorite shows more if we accepted that. ‘
Via Boing Boing: ‘Many Baby Boomers who grew up in Alabama learned the: ‘history of their state from a racist 1957 textbook called Know’ Alabama. John Archibald of AL.com presented some samples…’
The Neuromancer Movie Lives Again (io9). As one of my favorite visionary novels of all time, I can’t decide if I’m over-the-top excited about this or dreading it.
Via The Verge: ‘Antarctica‘s once-massive Larsen B Ice Shelf is melting rapidly, and will likely be entirely gone by the end of this decade, according to a new report from NASA. A team led by Ala Khazendar of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) found the shelf is developing large cracks while its tributary glaciers rapidly disintegrate.”Although it’s fascinating scientifically to have a front-row seat to watch the ice shelf becoming unstable and breaking up, it’s bad news for our planet,” Khazendar said in a statement. “This ice shelf has existed for at least 10,000 years, and soon it will be gone.” ‘
Via Motherboard: ‘[A] team led by cosmologist Joseph Hennawi has discovered four of these objects—a quasar quartet—huddled together in a nebula 10 billion light years away. This is the first time such a large gaggle of quasars has ever been imaged, and according to Hennawi team, the odds of finding such an event are 10 million to one.’
Via WIRED: ‘[The] problem of a lack of commercial investment in antibiotics can be solved relatively quickly and without a dramatic increase on what governments and private patients spend on antibiotics globally today (approximately $40 billion US dollars a year)…’