Revealed: US spy operation that manipulates social media | Technology | The Guardian
3:16 pm EDT, Mar 17, 2011
The US military is developing software that will let it secretly manipulate social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter by using fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda.
A Californian corporation has been awarded a contract with United States Central Command (Centcom), which oversees US armed operations in the Middle East and Central Asia, to develop what is described as an "online persona management service" that will allow one US serviceman or woman to control up to 10 separate identities based all over the world.
The project has been likened by web experts to China's attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.
PLoS ONE: Reduced Fertility in Patients' Families Is Consistent with the Sexual Selection Model of Schizophrenia and Schizotypy
12:35 pm EST, Jan 8, 2011
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder marked by an evolutionarily puzzling combination of high heritability, reduced reproductive success, and a remarkably stable prevalence. Recently, it has been proposed that sexual selection may be crucially involved in the evolution of schizophrenia. In the sexual selection model (SSM) of schizophrenia and schizotypy, schizophrenia represents the negative extreme of a sexually selected indicator of genetic fitness and condition. Schizotypal personality traits are hypothesized to increase the sensitivity of the fitness indicator, thus conferring mating advantages on high-fitness individuals but increasing the risk of schizophrenia in low-fitness individuals; the advantages of successful schzotypy would be mediated by enhanced courtship-related traits such as verbal creativity. Thus, schizotypy-increasing alleles would be maintained by sexual selection, and could be selectively neutral or even beneficial, at least in some populations. However, most empirical studies find that the reduction in fertility experienced by schizophrenic patients is not compensated for by increased fertility in their unaffected relatives. This finding has been interpreted as indicating strong negative selection on schizotypy-increasing alleles, and providing evidence against sexual selection on schizotypy.nullnull
WikiLeaks website pulled by Amazon after US political pressure | Media | The Guardian
12:58 pm EST, Dec 2, 2010
The US struck its first blow against WikiLeaks after Amazon.com pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure.
The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off yesterday only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate's committee on homeland security.
WikiLeaks expressed disappointment with Amazon, and insisted it was a breach of freedom of speech as enshrined in the US constitution's first amendment. The organisation, in a message sent via Twitter, said if Amazon was "so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books."
Radley Balko of Reason.com posted this Tampa news channel's cheerful puff piece about a federal check point set up at a Greyhound bus station to pretend to stop terrorists, as well as nab unregistered immigrants, drug dealers, and cash smugglers.
It's not difficult to envision the day where anyone wishing to take mass transportation in this country will have to first submit to a government checkpoint, show ID, and answer questions about any excess cash, prescription medication, or any other items in his possession the government deems suspicious. If and when that happens, freedom of movement will essentially be dead. But it won't happen overnight. It'll happen incrementally. And each increment will, when taken in isolation, appear to some to be perfectly reasonable.
UN General Assembly Votes To Allow Gays To Be Executed Without Cause | The New Civil Rights Movement
4:51 pm EST, Nov 20, 2010
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people were once again subject to the whims of homophobia and religious and cultural extremism this week, thanks to a United Nations vote that removed “sexual orientation” from a resolution that protects people from arbitrary executions. In other words, the UN General Assembly this week voted to allow LGBT people to be executed without cause.null
USB - Satan's Data Connection | Science | guardian.co.uk
1:52 am EST, Nov 19, 2010
Evangelical Christians in Brazil have apparently banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers (Hat tip: Fernando Frias). Apparently the revelation came after the evangelists noticed that the USB symbol resembles a trident. Presumably they're not great fans of Britain's ballistic missiles either.
China's 'State Capitalism' Sparks a Global Backlash
11:47 pm EST, Nov 15, 2010
"The Chinese have shown that if they have the ability to kill your model and take your profits, they will," says Ian Bremmer, president of New York-based consultancy Eurasia Group. His book, "The End of the Free Market," argues that a rising tide of "state capitalism" led by China threatens to erode the competitive edge of the U.S
You can see clearly that the delivery volume fell slightly, economists would probably point to the decline in consumption during the economic crisis. The graph shows, however, something disturbing: the promotion will no longer appear slightly above the level of 2003-2007, but soon fall even steep. Only when "undeveloped fields are already taking a job right now, we can roughly hold today, slightly depressed levels stable - until only about 2015. Then need to be added "not yet found boxes. Otherwise we have about a generation later, perhaps only half of current production. nullnullnull
Bread was around 30,000 years ago -study - Yahoo! News
11:02 pm EDT, Oct 19, 2010
LONDON (Reuters Life!) – Starch grains found on 30,000-year-old grinding stones suggest that prehistoric man may have dined on an early form of flat bread, contrary to his popular image as primarily a meat-eater.nullnullnullnullnullnullnull