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Tis the Season of Misrule

Merry Julian Calendar Christmas!

Christmas isn't always what it seems.  But let's forget the War on Christmas and remember the unreason for the season.  Here's a selection of merry japes on the unreality of things christmasy.

 

Horrible Histories - O Christmas Tree!

 

Horrible Histories - Silent Night

 

Horrible Histories - Good King Wenceslas

 

Wassail!

Trench Truces-Before and Beyond Christmas 1914

The Christmas Truce of 1914 is only the most widely known impromptu truce. But anecdotal accounts abound of other truces, trades and temporary accommodations.

This from Walter Lord's account of the sinking of the light cruiser USS Helena contained in Lonely Vigil: Coastwatchers of the Solomons.

 

Soon more planes arrived-but this time they were Zeros. Watching them approach, Major Kelly recalled the recent Bismarck Sea affair, where Allied aircraft strafed the Japanese life rafts after sinking their transports. This was no gentleman's war, and he steeled himself for the worst.

 

 

But the Zeros didn't shoot. The nearest pilot simply pulled back his canopy and looked at them closely. Circling, the planes made a second run, and again held their fire. As they circled for a third run, they got off a few short bursts, and Kelly felt sure that this time would be "it". As they roared by, practically touching the water, the lead pilot grinned, waved, waggled his wings…and then they were gone.

 


The Zero pilots could have machine gunned the survivors, but didn't. Perhaps they thought "Why waste ammunition?" But, then why wave and waggle?

Australian Police: Tents aren't clothes

This follow up to the Tent Monster video from Occupy Australia shows police stripping a woman in public. I have to wonder about the police response to people dressed in clothes that happen to be tents. What's next - cutting off t-shirts that have messages the police don't like?

The 2 party system is bankrupt - literally

From Friday's Star Tribune:

State GOP faces $533,000 in debt

And, the DFL is $242,000 in the hole.

Read more and see the video

To Cyber War or not to Cyber War...

Ex-U.S. general urges frank talk on cyber weapons OR Cyber War Might Never Happen

Scholar versus General.  Who's telling the truth?

Cyber War Might Never Happen

ScienceDaily — Cyber war, long considered by many experts within the defence establishment to be a significant threat, if not an ongoing one, may never take place according to Dr Thomas Rid of King's College London.  READ MORE

Ex-U.S. general urges frank talk on cyber weapons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States should be more open about its development of offensive cyber weapons and spell out when it will use them as it grapples with an increasing barrage of attacks by foreign hackers, the former No. 2 uniformed officer in the U.S. military said.  READ MORE

Profiling on Steroids-More Security Insecurity

 

Computer Vision Experts Develop 'Questionable Observer Detector'



This is a demonstration of a crime-fighting tool that can help law enforcement officials identify suspicious individuals at crime scenes. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

ScienceDaily (Oct. 12, 2011) — It's become a standard plot device of television detective shows: criminals always return to the scene of the crime. And law enforcement officials believe that perpetrators of certain crimes, mostly notably arson, do indeed have an inclination to witness their handiwork. Also, U.S. military in the Middle East feel that IED bomb makers return to see the results of their work in order to evolve their designs.

Twit the Twits with Twitter

Opening Closed Regimes: What Was the Role of Social Media During the Arab Spring?

Will iPhone be the new Diebold?

 

Is Smartphone Technology the Future of US Elections?

ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2011) — With more and more Americans upgrading to smartphones, and as smartphone capabilities continue to improve, even the U.S. government is considering innovative ways to harness this advancing technology. Human factors/ergonomics researchers have evaluated the potential benefits of using smartphones to enable online voting in future U.S. elections and will present their findings at the upcoming HFES 55th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Progressive tax system & the pursuit of happiness

 

A More Progressive Tax System Makes People Happier, 54-Nation Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Sep. 11, 2011) — The way some people talk, you'd think that a flat tax system -- in which everyone pays at the same rate regardless of income -- would make citizens feel better than more progressive taxation, where wealthier people are taxed at higher rates. Indeed, the U.S. has been diminishing progressivity of its tax structure for decades.

U.S. Physicians Spend Nearly Four Times More On Health Insurance Costs Than Canadian Counterparts

ScienceDaily (Aug. 4, 2011) — U.S. physicians spend nearly $61,000 more than their Canadian counterparts each year on administrative expenses related to health insurance, according to a new study by researchers at Cornell University and the University of Toronto.

The study, published in the August issue of the journal Health Affairs, found that per-physician costs in the U.S. averaged $82,975 annually, while Ontario-based physicians averaged $22,205 -- primarily because Canada's single-payer health care system is simpler.

Torture can lead to self-incrimination

Right to Remain Silent Not Understood by Many Suspects; Confusion About Constitutional Rights Can Lead to Self-Incrimination, Psychologist Reports

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2011) — Movies and TV shows often depict crime with a police officer handcuffing a suspect and warning him that he has the right to remain silent. While those warnings may appear clear-cut, almost 1 million criminal cases may be compromised each year in the United States because suspects don't understand their constitutional rights, according to research presented at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

Germany trying to step back from Nuke Holocaust

German government wants nuclear exit by 2022 at latest

By Annika Breidthardt
BERLIN | Mon May 30, 2011 3:04pm EDT
(Reuters) - Germany plans to shut all nuclear reactors by 2022, Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition announced on Monday, in a policy reversal drawn up in a rush after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

They might as well be giving it away - maybe they are

U.S. arms makers said to be bleeding secrets to cyber foes

By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON | Tue May 31, 2011 7:24pm EDT
(Reuters) - Top Pentagon contractors have been bleeding secrets for years as a result of penetrations of their computer networks, current and former national security officials say.

Voting worries haven't ended with Bush out of office

Not All Citizens' Votes Created Equal, and Study Says It Shows in Funding

ScienceDaily (May 28, 2011) — "One person, one vote" is often the rallying cry for democratic reform, suggesting everyone should get an equal say in their government.

Yet in some of the oldest and largest democracies, some votes are worth far more than others by design. A Wyoming voter, for instance, is significantly over-represented compared with a California voter. Each state has two U.S. senators, but California has 66 times more people.

How much does it matter? According to a recent study of decades of data, from the U.S. and eight other countries, it matters a lot when it comes to money.

Which war criminal will be next?

Ratko Mladic to face tribunal on genocide charges

By Aleksandar Vasovic
BELGRADE | Thu May 26, 2011 9:49pm EDT
(Reuters) - Bosnian Serb wartime general Ratko Mladic will face trial on genocide charges in the Hague following his arrest in Serbia after 15 years on the run, with European officials expecting his extradition within 10 days.

The arrest on Thursday of Mladic, the last of the three men blamed for instigating the ethnic cleansing during the 1992-5 Bosnian war, was expected to clear the way for the former pariah state of Serbia to join the European Union.

"On behalf of the Republic of Serbia I can announce the arrest of Ratko Mladic. The extradition process is under way," Serbian President Boris Tadic told reporters in Belgrade.

Carta abierta a Barack Obama: de Nóbel a Nóbel

LETTER TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

BY NOBEL PRIZE WINNER ADOLFO PEREZ ESQUIVEL, BUENOS AIRES, MAY 5, 2011:

FROM NOBEL TO NOBEL

Dear Barack,

In addressing you I do it fraternally and, at the same time, to express my concern and indignation after witnessing the destruction and death caused in several nations in the name of “freedom and democracy”, two words that have been twisted and stripped of meaning, and how you end up justifying murder, which was cheered up as if you were talking about a sports event.

My indignation refers to the big celebration of this assassination by North American social sectors, chiefs of state in Europe and other countries…a murder ordered by your administration and the satisfaction in your smiling face while stating that it was “in the name of justice”.

Seems we're losing the war on slavery too

Up to 27 million trapped in slavery worldwide: U.S.

By Catherine Hornby
ROME | Wed May 18, 2011
(Reuters) - Up to 27 million people are modern-day slaves, and migrants fleeing violence in North Africa are among those most at risk of being exploited, a senior U.S. official said on Wednesday.

Countries where migrants arrive should try to identify potential victims and protect them, rather than opting for immediate repatriation which often sends them back into the hands of human traffickers, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca said.

Tens of thousands of migrants are fleeing turmoil in North Africa, with many trying to reach Europe by boat, but the problem of slavery exists all over the world and India, Thailand and Malaysia are among the worst-affected countries.

See you can require corporations not to break the law

Maryland governor signs French railway Holocaust bill

BBC News - 19 May 2011
A US governor has signed a bill requiring a French railway company to disclose its role in the Holocaust if it is to win state contracts.

Martin O'Malley of Maryland signed a bill aimed at Keolis, a Paris company owned by French national railways SNCF.

The company had bid to operate commuter trains in the state of Maryland.

Historians say SNCF moved 76,000 Jews to Nazi camps during the Holocaust. The laws' supporters say it will force disclosure of war records.

Online availability

"We hope this legislation can become a national model sooner rather than later so that Holocaust survivors who are still with us can know that the atrocities inflicted upon their families and their people will remain in our minds, will never be forgotten and will never be repeated," Mr O'Malley said on Thursday.

Here's to hoping the USAF will learn something from the research it funded

Risking One's Neck for Better Grog: Mutinies Reveal Tipping Points for Collective Unrest

ScienceDaily (May 13, 2011) — Films depicting the 1787 mutiny aboard the British ship HMS Bounty show sailors living cheek by jowl, being forced to dance, enduring storm-ridden Cape of Good Hope crossings to satisfy the ship captain's ego and being flogged for trivial reasons.

We may not think that these harsh conditions have much relevance today. But mutinies continue to occur, especially in the armed forces of developing nations. And mutinies have similarities to other types of rebellions, including worker strikes, riots, prison rebellions and political uprisings.

University of Washington sociologists are studying naval records of mutinies as a way to see how modern-day ill-treatment toward subordinates can lead to violence.

Oh, I guess civilians could be affected too

Occupational Lung Diseases in Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

ScienceDaily (May 18, 2011) — A session presented May 18 explored the inhalational exposures and respiratory outcomes of military deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Presenters reviewed current knowledge on complex inhalational exposures, epidemiologic studies, animal toxicology studies, and clinical lung findings in U.S. military men and women who are returning from Southwest Asia.

Is this Bradley Manning's future?

Nuclear whistleblower asks to renounce citizenship

By BEN HARTMAN, 07/05/2011
Mordechai Vanunu tells 'Post' no country has offered him asylum but that if he is allowed to leave "I will get on first flight anywhere out of here."

Nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu on Saturday demanded that Israel rescind his citizenship in keeping with a new law that strips Israelis convicted of treason of their citizenship.

In a letter written to Interior Minister Eli Yishai and released to the media on Saturday Vanunu, a Beersheba native, says "I have no interest in Israeli citizenship, I don't want to go on living here." Rest of the article at the Jerusalem Post

Vanunu Mordechai's letter.

May 5TH 2011

To:
MK Mr. Eli Yishai

Minister of Interior

The State of Israel

Re: Revoking my Israeli Citizenship

I am Mordechai Vanunu that was kidnapped from Rome on September 30, 1986 by The Israeli Secret Services.

I was tried by The Jerusalem District Court and convicted of Aggravated Espionage, High Treason and Assisting the Enemy and I was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. This followed an interview I gave to The London Sunday Times regarding the secret production of nuclear weapons materials in Israel.

I fulfilled the democratic principal of the right of the public to know.

I have served 18 years in Ashkelon Prison, mostly in solitary confinement.

I was released on 21 April 2004 with severe restrictions imposed by the Israeli Government.
Seven years past and the restrictions had been renewed again and again relying on The Emergency Laws from 1945.

Since my release I have lived 6 years in East Jerusalem and since September 2010 I live in Tel Aviv.

"dawn of a new era in persistent overhead surveillance" Oh Happy Days!

Rocket blasts off with missile-warning satellite
By Irene Klotz, May 7, 2011
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Saturday to put the first satellite of the Defense Department's new missile-warning system into orbit.

After a day's delay due to poor weather, the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 booster lifted off at 2:10 a.m. EDT, soaring through clear blue skies out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Tucked inside the rocket's nosecone was the $1.3 billion Space-Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Geo-1 spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

The satellite, the first of four scheduled for launch over the next five years, is intended to provide the U.S. military with early notice of missile launches and other reconnaissance services.

Are YOU better than a coin flip?

Watch students Holly Donaldson, Russ Doubleday, Scott Hefferman, Evan Klondar & Kate Tummarello present their thesis "Are Talking Heads Blowing Hot Air? An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media"

Pundits predict no more accurately than a coin toss

Krugman tops, Cal Thomas bottom of accurate predictors, according to study at Hamilton College

By Vige Barrie
May 2, 2011

Executive Summary

Full Report

Op-ed columnists and TV’s talking heads build followings by making bold, confident predictions about politics and the economy. But rarely are their predictions analyzed for accuracy.

Now, five Hamilton College seniors led by public policy professor P. Gary Wyckoff have analyzed the predictions of 26 prognosticators between September 2007 and December 2008. Their findings? Anyone can make as accurate a prediction as most of them if just by flipping a coin.

Their research paper, “Are Talking Heads Blowing Hot Air? An Analysis of the Accuracy of Forecasts in the Political Media” was presented via webcast on Monday, May 2, at www.hamilton.edu/pundit. The paper is also available at that address. Questions during the presentation were posed via Twitter using #hcpundit. The students responsible for this study include Holly Donaldson, Russell Doubleday, Scott Hefferman, Evan Klondar and Kate Tummarello.

Do You Live/Work in a Nuclear Evacuation Zone?

Physicians for Social Responsibility marked the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident (26 April 1986) by releasing a new interactive Evacuation Zone Map. It shows a person’s residence in relation to a nuclear reactor and its evacuation zone. One third of the population of the United States (over 111 million people) lives within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor.

Now HAND Count ALL the Votes in WI

Please sign the petition calling for a 100% hand tally.

The recount of the Supreme Court election in Wisconsin is scheduled to start today, Wednesday, 27 April 2011. In part of the state the ballots will be hand counted and in the rest of the state the ballots will be machine counted. If the machines malfunction or have been tampered with, there will be major problems with declaring an official winner. The court order mandating partial hand tallying in the Supreme Court race recount must be changed to require 100% hand tallying across the state.

Although we will have a good comparison in the parts of those 31 counties that are ordered to conduct hand counts to the machine counts in those same counties on April 5th. If the results are not the same, the voting machines will be suspect. In the remaining 41 counties ordered to do machine counts, those official counts will be suspect if there are major differences between hand and machine counts in the 31 counties. Thus the entire recount process will be thrown into confusion.

The election will still not be decided. And the up to 16 state senate recall elections coming up will also be thrown into confusion: candidates will all have to decide whether to ask the courts to order hand tallying in all of those races. Thus we, as a state, must modify the court order mandating partial hand tallying in the Supreme Court race recount to require 100% hand tallying across the state.

Please sign the petition calling for a 100% hand tally and ask you friends to sign also.

Thank you!
Buzz Davis
Citizen

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