Facebook and Spotify automatically want to share my every waking action, so that I’m like a character in The Sims.
Sharing. Now there’s a basic social concept that has somehow got all out of whack. The idea behind sharing is simple. Let’s say I’m a caveman. I hunt and slaughter a bison, but I can’t eat it all myself, so I share the carcass with others, many of whom really appreciate it, such as my infirm 86-year-old neighbour who hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks because he is incapable of killing anything larger than a woodlouse. Have you tried grilling a woodlouse? It’s scarcely worth the effort.
But it’s not all bison meat. Let’s say I am still a caveman. The other thing I share is information: the thoughts inside my head or stirring tales of the things I have done. I grunt a hilarious anecdote about the time I dropped a huge rock on a duck and an egg popped out, and mime scandalous gossip about well-known tribesmen. I’m the life and soul of the cave-party.
All this sharing served a purpose. It kept the community fed, as well as entertained and informed. Now zip forward to the present day and, like I say, sharing has somehow got all out of whack. A small percentage of the population hoards more bison meat than it could eat in 2,000 lifetimes, awarding itself huge bison meat bonuses on top of its base-rate bison meat “salary”. I say “bison meat”. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m using it as a clever metaphor for money.
The huge salaries and bonuses, we are told, are essential if we are to prevent this tiny percentage of selfish, hoarding arseholes from moving overseas. Imagine if they flew to Singapore and started selfishly hoarding things over there instead. Drained of their expertise and reassuring presence, how would Britain cope? Within days we’d be walking on all fours and devouring our offspring for food.
Read more HERE.
Bartleby.com “Bartleby.com publishes thousands of free online classics of reference, literature and nonfiction.”
At Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, students with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or higher are required to take a physical education class before they are allowed to graduate. – Provided by RandomHistory.com
A study of newly declassified documents seized in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound a year ago reveals the Al-Qaida leader to have had a tumultuous relationship with his “affiliates” around the world; the documents show also that Bin Laden had chosen CBS as the recipient of a Sept. 11 anniversary propaganda message by Al-Qaida.
The series of 17 letters penned by Bin Laden to his henchmen, dating from September 2006 to the weeks leading to his death in 2011, has been made available in Arabic and their helpful English translations by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
A cheat sheet to the letters — which detail Bin Laden’s increasingly disenchanted perceptions of Iran, Pakistan, and the Arab Spring and the dysfunction within his own network — can be found here.
A few weeks ago, ESPN columnist Sarah Phillips concluded her weekly “Junk Mail” column with a question from an unnamed reader:
Rumor has it “Sarah Phillips” isn’t a real person and this column is being produced by a ghost writer. Is this true?
I’m flattered to join the ranks of Barack Obama, Elvis Presley, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Tupac Shakur as the subject of a great American conspiracy theory! (I would have added Biggie Smalls to the list, but I’m westside ’til I die.) In any event, I’m either an alien life form brought to Earth to keep track of Jose Canseco, or I’m a woman named Sarah Phillips who writes sports-related columns and blogs. You decide. In the meantime … taaake meee tooo yooour leeeadeeer.
Is Sarah Phillips for real? Thirteen months ago, she was an unknown message-board participant at Covers.com, a gambling website. Then Covers plucked her from the boards and gave her a weekly column, sight unseen.
When some people think about Wall Street, they conjure up images of traders shouting on the stock exchange, of bankers dining at five star restaurants, of CEOs whispering in the ears of captured Congress members.
When I think about Wall Street, I think about its stunted rainbow of pale pastel shirts. I think about the vaulting, highly secured, and very cold lobbies. And I think about the art passed daily by the harried workers, virtually unseen.
Before I occupied Wall Street, Wall Street occupied me. What started as a summer internship led to a seven-year career. During my time on Wall Street, I changed from a curious college student full of hope for my future, into a cynical, bitter, depressed, and exhausted “knowledge worker” who felt that everyone was out to screw me over.
The culture of Wall Street is pervasive and contagious. While there are Wall Street employees who are able to ignore it, or block it out, I was not one of them. I drank the Kool Aid. I’m out of it now. But I’d like to tell you what it was like.
Ground Warmer below Wind Farms
Humans have been using wind power for millennia, and in the past several decades, as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming, there has been a surge in the number of power-producing wind farms. However, this so-called clean energy source may also have unintended weather effects. Measurements of ground temperatures around wind farms show that nighttime temperatures on the ground have increased, likely because the turbines’ blades pull down warmer air as they spin. Over about a decade, the nighttime air around the wind farms became about 1.3° F (0.72° C) warmer, compared with the surrounding area. More …
‘Ironman’ a game-changer on battlefield
During this accelerated development process, Roy saw how the Ironman could increase a small unit’s effectiveness in combat. “To allow the gunner himself to be able to have this kind of firepower increases his lethality,” Roy said. “By increasing his lethality, you’ve also increased his survivability by a certain amount. Now that gunner has 500 rounds of ammunition. It’s very difficult for me to make him ineffective.”
It all began during an intense 2 1/2-hour firefight with the enemy earlier this year in Afghanistan. As members of the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Iowa National Guard, sat around later at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam and discussed the engagement, they talked about how three-man teams manning crew-served weapons struggled to stay together over difficult terrain in fluid battles.
Someone mentioned actor Jesse Ventura in the movie “Predator.” His character brandished an M-134 Mini-gun fed by an ammo box on his back.
After the Soldiers had a good laugh over that thought, Staff Sgt. Vincent Winkowski asked why a gunner couldn’t carry a combat load of ammo. He decided to pursue the idea.
Read more HERE.
Multiple people — including the groom’s mother! — were arrested this past weekend in a wedding brawl that started when the groom’s brothers were cut off at the bar. The Boston Herald‘s Jessica Heslam recounts the he said, she-said mayhem:
This service slight somehow incensed [groom Anthony] Delorio-Weiner, 25, who punched a wall and began tearing apart the coatroom after someone from the bride’s side of the family told him to calm down.
When the bride’s brother approached Delorio-Weiner, the groom punched him and the pair were soon tussling on the floor, police say.
[Mother of the groom] Darlene [Delorio]‘s version of the story is a bit different. It was all about disrespect, she said. According to her, the whole kerfuffle began when the bride’s mother began yelling at Darlene’s 70-year-old mother and waving her finger in her face.
Darlene insists she was only defending her mom and her family’s good name. How could that be assault? As the fighting escalated, Darlene claims she went to leave but was insulted by her ex-boyfriend’s galpal, who told her she was no lady.
The couple are (hopefully) patching things up on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic. “They’re in love,” Delorio said. “They’re doing everything in their power to make it work.”
From here: mediaite
The Old Man of the Mountain Collapses (This day in 2003)
The Old Man of the Mountain was an iconic rock formation in the Franconia Notch mountain pass of New Hampshire. Protruding from the side of a cliff, about 1,200 feet (366 m) above a lake, it looked like a craggy, 40-ft (12-m) human face. Years of freezing weather and the feature’s already precarious position caused the beloved local symbol and tourist destination to collapse in 2003. American statesman Daniel Webster once said that the Old Man was God’s way of saying what? More…
Upstart Virginia aerospace firm Mav6 is offering to install guided missiles on the massive, robotic spy blimp it’s building for the Air Force. The idea would only be slightly terrifying, if the massive airship was headed to Afghanistan, as originally planned. But Mav6 and its CEO, a respected retired Air Force general, are also promoting the giant airship for homeland security missions over U.S. soil. In that way, today’s war blimp could become tomorrow’s all-seeing, lethal Big Brother.
Capable of hovering at 20,000 feet for a week at a time while carrying radars, cameras, radio links and computer processors — the “most powerful” of their type in existence — the Blue Devil 2 airship can also be fitted with “weapons modules,” according to marketing material provided by Mav6. The brochure (.ppt) depicts a rotary launcher fitted with 100-pound Hellfire missiles, capable of hitting pinpoint targets up to five miles away. The launcher would presumably dangle from the tractor-trailer-size gondola that also houses the sensors, radios and computers.
As originally configured, Blue Devil 2 would need help from armed drones or manned jet fighters to attack any targets it finds. With missiles installed, the 100-mile-per-hour airship would theoretically be able to spot and kill bad guys all on its own. What Mav6 calls “semi-automated sensor-to-sensor cueing for enhanced threat detection” should minimize human intervention. Controllers on the ground would provide the basic flight plan, occasionally point the sensors and give permission to fire.
The Pentagon wants to understand the science behind what makes people violent. The question is what do they plan to do with it?
In February this year, the US government was forced into full damage limitation mode. News that US troops in Afghanistan had sent copies of the Koran to be incinerated, sparked a wave of deadly protests that left 36 people dead and more than 200 injured. Despite an apology from President Barack Obama and assurances that the burning was accidental, the public relations offensive launched to counter the damage done to the military’s reputation and stem the violence showed little sign of success.
Now imagine that instead of employing public relations experts to advise on the best strategy, US officials had a device that could advise them what to say, generating a story based on a scientific understanding of the brain’s inner workings to soothe tempers and calm the mood of the population. It sounds like something from a science fiction blockbuster, but is in fact the premise behind the Pentagon’s growing interest in the neurobiology of political violence, a relatively new field that combines neuroscience with more traditional social science-based approaches to understanding human behaviour.
TAJIKISTAN is the poorest republic of the former Soviet Union, yet its capital, Dushanbe, is awash with cash, construction and flash cars. It is easy to guess where the money comes from. Tajikistan has little industry but, with a porous 1,300-km (800-mile) border with northern Afghanistan, it is at the heart of a multi-billion-dollar network smuggling heroin. Bizarrely though, unlike other transit countries such as Mexico, Tajikistan sees little drug-related violence. The heroin, instead, seems to help stabilise the place.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that some 30% of Afghan opiates—including 90 tonnes of heroin a year—pass through Central Asia on their way to Russia, most of them through Tajikistan. The trafficking route is the country’s most valuable resource, and its anaemic economy is hooked. Researchers believe the industry is equivalent to 30-50% of Tajikistan’s GDP. But officials from NATO, which is trying to extract itself from the region, say they have no intention of upsetting the status quo.
Tattoos and body piercings are so ubiquitous in western societies that they are more cliché than edgy, but social scientists in France say they may be more than fashion trends – they may be harbingers of doom. Individuals who get them are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors that include substance and alcohol use.
They conducted this truly first-of-its-kind survey on four different Saturday nights, when most French youth frequent bars and clubs before dancing, collectively approaching a total of 2,970 individuals (1,710 males, 1,260 females) as they were exiting drinking establishments – apparently without being punched in the face, showing the patience of French young people. The young men and women were asked if they wore tattoos and piercings or not, and were then requested to breathe into a breathalyzer in order to evaluate their alcohol consumption.
This study was the first in France to find more alcohol per liter of exhaled breath in association with tattooing and body piercing.
Oregon Ducks head football coach Chip Kelly has made honoring the military a tradition at the annual spring game, and this year was no different. To the cheers of 44,129 fans, the team welcomed 100 military personnel onto the field, where Ducks football players presented them with jerseys. And not just any jerseys — the notoriously gaudy, Nike-designed jerseys off their stinky, sweat-soaked backs.
Ditched: The “Fig” in Fig Newtons
Licensed: Michael Jackson’s likeness, for use in upcoming Pepsi ads
Yanked: Ashton Kutcher’s racist ad for Popchips, after a massive backlash
Skyrocketing: Negative political ads, up 750 percent over 2008