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4 July 2014

by In Wales Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:45:58 PM EST

Your take on today's news media


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by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 01:41:50 PM EST
Ukraine shakes up military leadership, vows to fight separatists | News | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (pictured right) won parliament's approval on Thursday to change the leadership of his country's armed forces. The Ukrainian leader appointed Col. Gen. Valery Heletey (pictured left) as defense minister who will replace Mikhailo Koval. Lt. Gen. Viktor Muzhenko was named chief of the military's general staff.

Poroshenko, who took office last month, denounced the "complete collapse" of the government's ability to supply the armed forces in their bid to end the rebellion in the country's eastern parts.

He also promised to "purge the army of thieves and grafters." Accusations of corruption have been rife as Kyiv continues with its military offensive against the separatists.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:20:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eastern Ukraine: plan 'B,' as in 'bombs' | Europe | DW.DE | 03.07.2014
The Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv Thursday (03.07.2014) approved replacement of the country's defense minister, against the backdrop of fresh fighting in eastern Ukraine. Valeriy Heletey, who had been nominated for the post by President Petro Poroshenko, succeeds Myhailo Koval, whose term in office ended after only three months. Observers in Kyiv say the change will help the newly elected president strengthen his governmental influence.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany eases single citizenship law slightly | News | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Germany's largely singular nationality law was widened slightly on Thursday by the Bundestag parliament to allow children born and raised in Germany to migrant parents to apply for two passports.

Parliament's vote, 463 for and 111 against, implemented a deal finalized in January when Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives entered into a grand coalition government with Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel's center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Crystal Meth' Interior Spokesman is latest politician-on-drugs casualty | Germany | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Give credit where it's due. Michael Hartmann - a balding 51-year-old with a well-fed face - is apparently a lot wilder than you'd have supposed given the position he held until yesterday: Social Democratic Interior Affairs parliamentary spokesman.

Hartmann was forced to step down from that post after allegations in the always-up-for-a-scandal Bild newspaper that he'd used crystal meth. Police in Berlin are currently investigating Hartmann, who also sits on a committee supervising Germany's intelligence-gathering services.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:25:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What??? Using crystal meth at 51 ??

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 02:06:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German MPs are a lot of things, but lazy isn't one of them.

My personal guess is that he was simply trying to keep up and too unsophisticated to figure out how to get hold of Ritalin.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 03:10:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking Bad, Deutschland edition.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 04:00:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Judges to cross-examine Barroso in tobacco lobby case

BRUSSELS - European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso is to appear at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in a tobacco lobbying scandal which refuses to go away.

He is to answer judges' questions as a witness in the tobacco case on Monday (7 July), before lawyers from both sides give their arguments on Tuesday.

The case was brought by former EU health commissioner John Dalli, who left office in disgrace in 2012 amid allegations of solicited bribes.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:30:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / Court ruling to boost access to EU documents

BRUSSELS - EU institutions must demonstrate that the disclosure of a document effectively harms the public interest if they want to deny publication, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

The EU's top court also said on Thursday (3 July) that papers related to international agreements should not automatically be exempt from publication.

The ruling is the culmination of a five-year legal dispute between Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie In't Veld and EU governments over access to documents regarding the Swift agreement between the EU and US on transferring banking data.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:30:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver / MEPs to renew battle against Strasbourg seat

BRUSSELS - Surveys in five countries have revealed large public support for a single European Parliament seat.

Published on Wednesday (2 July), the poll surveyed more than 1,000 people in Germany, France, Italy, Sweden and Poland. In all countries an overwhelming majority backed a single seat for Parliament, with between 12 percent and 18 percent supporting the status quo.

However, majorities in all five also said governments rather than MEPs should decide on the location of the seat.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 01:42:28 PM EST
German parliament approves controversial national minimum wage | Business | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Bundestag approval of national minimum wage legislation came Thursday after protracted negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and their grand coalition partners, the Social Democrats.

The two sides finally reached an agreement for an 8.50 euro ($11.60) per-hour blanket minimum.

But the compromise deal includes far more exemptions than the Social Democrats had originally been willing to accept.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:22:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dow Jones jumps above 17,000 points on US jobs data | Business | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

On Wall Street in New York on Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index traded above 17,000 for the first time, gaining 0.4 percent to reach 17,043 points in early trading. The S&P 500 index of smaller cap shares also hit a record, rising 0.3 percent to 1,981 points.

On a global scale, MSCI's all-country world index, which covers about 85 percent of potential global stock investments, rose 0.22 percent to a record high. European shares climbed to within sight of multi-year highs.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:22:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Made in China' high-speed trains going global | Asia | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Previously known as a manufacturing hub for low-technology and labor-intensive products, China has been increasingly moving up the technology ladder to become an exporter of hi-tech goods.

No other sector symbolizes this shift better than the train market. When China decided over a decade ago to build a high-speed rail network connecting the length and breadth of the vast nation, the country had no domestic production base that could handle such a mammoth project. It had to import trains from foreign companies such as the German conglomerate Siemens, the Japanese corporation Kawasaki and the French firm Alstom.

Fast forward to today and Chinese rail companies have mastered the technology to build the trains and are now actively seeking markets overseas to sell their trains, thus competing with the established players in this segment.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:26:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Opinion: Argentina's strategy of internationalization | World | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Throughout the Argentine debt crisis, Cristina Kirchner has always played a risky game - so far, successfully. For a time, the problems left by the previous governments of Menem and de la Rua for her husband and then herself to deal with seemed to be smoothed out. After toughly negotiated debt restructuring in 2005 and 2010, Argentina seemed to be back on track for stabilization. The economy grew and Argentina paid its debts on time.

The small group of investors that refused to agree to the debt restructuring was at first persistently ignored - and then criminalized by Argentina's leaders. "Vulture funds" is the term Kirchner uses for the hedge funds. The investors took the matter to court, and won. This has pushed Argentina into technical insolvency, because the funds' debt claims are now blocking debt servicing for all other creditors.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:29:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 01:42:43 PM EST
Israel moves troops towards Gaza after air strikes | News | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Troops, tanks and armored vehicles were moving towards the border area with the Gaza strip after more than a dozen rockets hit southern Israel early on Thursday, two of which hit homes in the border town of Sderot without causing injuries.

It remained unclear on Thursday afternoon if the troop deployment was part of a defensive action on the part of Israel, or whether the Israeli military was preparing a wider operation.

Overnight, the Israeli air force staged 15 strikes against "Hamas" targets in Gaza, thought to include concealed rocket launchers and weapons stores.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Palestinians riot after youth's murder | Middle East | DW.DE | 03.07.2014
News of Mohammed Abu Khdeir's death spread quickly. Near his family home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, the anger and grief of Palestinian youths erupted early on Wednesday (02.07.2014). Some hurled stones, as Israeli police officers repelled protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets. At 9 a.m., Israeli security forces had already cordoned off the area, and clashes continued until late in the evening.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:23:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkish truck drivers freed in Iraq as Kurdish president calls for independence | News | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Turkey's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday the truck drivers were making their way to the Kurdish city of Irbil in northern Iraq, and would then be flown to Ankara in the evening.

There was not any news on the remaining 49 Turks, including special forces soldiers, diplomats and children, who were seized by militants from the extremist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). They were abducted in the northern city of Mosul on June 11, three days after the drivers were taken.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:19:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NSA 'totalitarian,' ex-staffer tells German parliament | News | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Former NSA technical head William Binney described the US National Security Agency in Berlin on Thursday as an entity that had abandoned every rule-of-law principle and breached the democratic freedoms of citizens.

Binney was the first American insider to testify to the German Bundestag's newly formed NSA inquiry committee, which is pursuing three questions, including whether German intelligence services had worked with the NSA.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:19:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU mulls cyber defense against US surveillance | Europe | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

As a key component of its official cyber security strategy, the European Union has explicitly emphasized the importance of protecting basic rights as its member states and the private sector bolster defenses against digital attacks.

Written in the pre-Snowden era, the document does not address the potential risk posed to EU citizens' personal data by the intelligence agencies of allied nations. Europeans' personal data was allegedly compromised by an old and trusted partner - the United States - and by the the United Kingdom, an important member state of the bloc.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:26:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
China's corruption crackdown 'is slowing the economy' | Asia | DW.DE | 03.07.2014

Former top general Xu Caihou has become the highest-ranking Chinese official to be felled in president Xi's anti-corruption campaign. According to state-run news agency Xinhua, the 71-year-old - who retired in late 2012 from the decision-making Politburo - is accused of accepting bribes, both personally and through family members.

With dozens of officials at or above ministerial level being investigated, some analysts argue that the anti-corruption campaign is also a vehicle of settling political scores and putting Xi's own men and reform-minded bureaucrats into key positions across the Communist Party.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:27:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EU calls for more in-depth probe into Afghan election fraud claims | Asia | DW.DE | 03.07.2014
There are growing concerns that Afghanistan's presidential election could produce a contested result following the postponement of preliminary results until July 7. Votes from around 2,000 polling stations in the June 14 runoff are set to be reviewed and recounted as part of an investigation by the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) into allegations of massive fraud.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:28:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 01:43:38 PM EST
EUobserver / EU proposes new waste and recycling targets
BRUSSELS - The European Commission on Wednesday (2 July) laid out new targets to boost recycling and curb waste throughout the Union.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arsenic poisoning in rural China - in pictures | Environment | theguardian.com
Mines and chemical plants mushroomed in the realgar-rich area around Heshan from the 1950s. Shut down in 2011 due to the pollution they caused, dust and run-off plagues the village to this day, destroying crops and poisoning people
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:43:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Water supply key to outcome of conflicts in Iraq and Syria, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

The outcome of the Iraq and Syrian conflicts may rest on who controls the region's dwindling water supplies, say security analysts in London and Baghdad.

Rivers, canals, dams, sewage and desalination plants are now all military targets in the semi-arid region that regularly experiences extreme water shortages, says Michael Stephen, deputy director of the Royal United Services Institute thinktank in Qatar, speaking from Baghdad.

"Control of water supplies gives strategic control over both cities and countryside. We are seeing a battle for control of water. Water is now the major strategic objective of all groups in Iraq. It's life or death. If you control water in Iraq you have a grip on Baghdad, and you can cause major problems. Water is essential in this conflict," he said.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:44:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Wales:
The outcome of the Iraq and Syrian conflicts may rest on who controls the region's dwindling water supplies

My map says that's Turkey.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 03:14:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yup.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 03:54:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kurdish part of Turkey?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 04:04:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
#popcorn

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 04:14:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To a significant extent.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 06:47:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, the Ilisu dam rears its head again

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 11:21:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wait, what?  Water?  Is more important than oil?

Now where are we going and what's with the handbasket?
by budr on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 01:50:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oklahoma earthquakes linked to fracking wastewater wells, study says | Environment | theguardian.com

Scientists have, for the first time, linked hundreds of earthquakes across a broad swath of Oklahoma to a handful of wastewater wells used by the fracking industry.

The research, published in the journal Science on Thursday, said about one-fifth of the quakes that helped turn Oklahoma into the earthquake capital of America were caused by just four wells.

Oklahoma has had about 240 magnitude 3.0 or higher earthquakes just since the start of the year. The state now has twice the number of 3.0 earthquakes as California.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:44:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
World Bank and UN carbon offset scheme 'complicit' in genocidal land grabs - NGOs | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com

Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 500 million acres of land in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean was acquired or negotiated under deals brokered on behalf of foreign governments or transnational corporations.

Many such deals are geared toward growing crops or biofuels for export to richer, developed countries - with the consequence that small-holder farmers are displaced from their land and lose their livelihood while local communities go hungry.

The concentration of ownership of the world's farmland in the hands of powerful investors and corporations is rapidly accelerating, driven by resource scarcity and, thus, rising prices. According to a new report by the US land rights organisation Grain: "The powerful demands of food and energy industries are shifting farmland and water away from direct local food production to the production of commodities for industrial processing."

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:45:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 02:16:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with an extra added

[No Shit, Sherlock!]

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 02:16:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
California Cities Crack Down on Water Use - WSJ.com

The pain of California's three-year drought is spreading from its agricultural belt to urban lawns and backyards, where residents are being hit with fines for excess water use, and businesses such as golf courses and lawn care are seeing revenue dry up due to water restrictions.

About 60 California cities and agencies have imposed mandatory water-use cutbacks, some as high as 50%. In many cases, the rules are enforced by charging higher fees for excess usage. In others, inspectors are deployed to crack down on scofflaws.

Among the most aggressively monitored locales is the state capital, Sacramento, which issued 2,444 notices of violation in the first 5½ months of the year, with fines of up to $1,000 for repeat offenders.

by das monde on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 06:41:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember being shocked by the water wastage in LA back in 2005. Is it still like that?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 11:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]


The Fates are kind.
by Gaianne on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 12:13:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Plants identify leaf-munching insects by sound and prepare their defenses : Tech Times

Researchers recorded the sounds, or vibrations, made by caterpillars when they feed on a plant and then presented the vibrations to other plants. They set up a control, or a separate group of plants, that were not exposed to the vibrations. At the end of the study, the researchers found that the plants subjected to the feeding vibrations produced more mustard oil, a chemical that caterpillars find unappetizing.

This chemical defense was seen in the Arabidopsis plant, which is related to cabbage and mustard. Heidi Appel, a scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at the University of Missouri, collaborated with Professor Rex Cocroft to study this complex vibration sensing mechanism in plants.

When the plants were exposed to similar vibrations, such as those produced on the leaves during wind or in response to touch, the chemical defense was not observed. Appel suggests that the Arabidopsis has a highly complex mechanism to specify which vibrations are feeding vibrations, and therefore threatening, and which vibrations are merely environmental and harmless. The change seen in response to the distinguished feeding vibrations is considered to be a remarkable sort of metabolic change in the plant cells.

by das monde on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 06:43:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 01:44:10 PM EST
Ebola conference agrees to set up regional fund | Africa | DW.DE | 03.07.2014
The health ministers and experts who gathered in Accra agreed to establish a fund pool to which member countries of the West African sub-region would contribute and from which they would benefit in common efforts to fight the Ebola virus. They have also agreed to improve coordination across the region with a view to containing and preventing the spread of the disease. They also recommended measures aimed at persuading citizens to abandon certain cultural practices that encourage the spread of Ebola.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WFP: African refugee camps 'no longer attract global awareness' | Africa | DW.DE | 03.07.2014
In Africa the World Food Programme (WFP) provides food aid for 2.4 million refugees. They live in 200 camps in 22 countries, victims of war and persecution. Due to a shortage of funding, the WFP says it has already had to cut food rations for 450,000 refugees in camps in Central African Republic, Chad and South Sudan. A further 338,000 refugees in Liberia, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Ghana, Mauritania and Uganda receive between five and 43 percent less food aid.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:28:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AFP.com

Black Pete, the jolly sidekick of the Dutch Saint Nicholas is a negative stereotype, an Amsterdam court ruled on Thursday, ordering the capital's mayor to review a traditional children's festival because of the caricature's presence.

"The image of Black Pete with his thick red lips, being a stupid servant, gives rise to a negative stereotyping of black people," the regional court said in a statement.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:32:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
AFP.com

The Vatican has formally recognised the International Association of Exorcists, giving its blessing to a group of 250 priests in 30 countries who claim to save the possessed from Satan.

The association's practice of exorcism is now recognised under canon law, the Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano newspaper reported Thursday.

Pope Francis often insists on the need to fight "Satan" and "demons", and was captured in dramatic images last year placing his hands on the head of a boy in a wheelchair who appeared to slump at his touch -- an act of prayer exorcists claim was intended to free the victim from the devil.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:33:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he he, what's next? Witch doctors? shamen ? voodoo? Soothsayers? Astrologers ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 02:18:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Economists.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 04:26:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't they supposed to be the exorcists' clients?

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 06:50:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No regrets, say the Chinese women who chose independence over marriage | World news | The Guardian
Her mother carefully undid Liang Jieyun's plaits, combed out the strands and pinned them into a bun. When her friends put up their hair, they wore the red clothing of brides. But as Liang left her girlhood behind and stepped across the family threshold, she was embarking on a lifelong commitment to remain single. At 85, Liang is a rare survivor of a custom stretching back to the early 19th century in parts of southern Guangdong. Women here could vow to remain a "self-combed woman", or zishunü, leaving their parents' home to work without marrying. "If I hadn't become a 'self-combed woman', the landlord would have forced me into marriage," she said.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shocking but true: students prefer jolt of pain than being made to sit and think | Science | The Guardian

It was not so much how hard people found the challenge, but how far they would go to avoid it that left researchers gobsmacked. The task? To sit in a chair and do nothing but think.

So unbearable did some find it that they took up the safe but alarming opportunity to give themselves mild electric shocks in an attempt to break the tedium.

Two-thirds of men pressed a button to deliver a painful jolt during a 15-minute spell of solitude. One man - an outlier - found thinking so disagreeable he opted for a shock 190 times.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some video-game developer should look into this.

It's already been done? Well, you can't stop progress, can you?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 02:06:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When 'comfortably numb' just doesn't cut it anymore...

As metaphor for the 'modern malaise' of terminal ennui laced with bracingly masochistic self-punishment, it's a winner!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 08:36:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another nature vs nurture issue? Feeling pain more manly than thoughtfullness?
by das monde on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 09:19:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, America's Real Foreign Policy | TomDispatch

When the NSA's surveillance program was exposed by Edward Snowden's revelations, high officials claimed that it had prevented 54 terrorist acts.  On inquiry, that was whittled down to a dozen.  A high-level government panel then discovered that there was actually only one case: someone had sent $8,500 to Somalia.  That was the total yield of the huge assault on the Constitution and, of course, on others throughout the world.

Britain's attitude is interesting.  In 2007, the British government called on Washington's colossal spy agency "to analyze and retain any British citizens' mobile phone and fax numbers, emails, and IP addresses swept up by its dragnet," the Guardian reported.  That is a useful indication of the relative significance, in government eyes, of the privacy of its own citizens and of Washington's demands.

Another concern is security for private power.  One current illustration is the huge trade agreements now being negotiated, the Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic pacts.  These are being negotiated in secret -- but not completely in secret.  They are not secret from the hundreds of corporate lawyers who are drawing up the detailed provisions.  It is not hard to guess what the results will be, and the few leaks about them suggest that the expectations are accurate.  Like NAFTA and other such pacts, these are not free trade agreements.  In fact, they are not even trade agreements, but primarily investor rights agreements.



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 08:50:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blood & Treasure
spooks gonna spook

Beginning in about 2005, the CIA began secretly developing a custom-made Osama bin Laden action figure, according to people familiar with the project. The faces of the figures were painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a red-faced bin Laden who looked like a demon, with piercing green eyes and black facial markings.

The goal of the short-lived project was simple: spook children and their parents, causing them to turn away from the actual bin Laden.

Hmm, yes, very funny, maybe apart from the racist pseudo-anthropology. Anyway, this is the iron rule of the CIA: everything is true except the conspiracy theories, and we know they're not true because they're not weird enough. That aside, you can pluck any random bizarreness out of the ether - colonising Mars with trained gibbons, raising an army of zombie hopping ghosts to undermine Chinese communism  - in full confidence that yes, indeed, they have tried that.



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 10:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 01:45:07 PM EST
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 01:45:32 PM EST
AFP.com

A full-size Thomas the Tank Engine will steam through Japanese tea fields this summer in the first service of its kind in East Asia, a railway official said Thursday.

Oigawa Railway, a small operator in Shizuoka prefecture in central Japan, has converted a regular steam locomotive into the anthropomorphic British creation.

The train service, which will run for three months from July, has proved popular with Thomas buffs and all tickets have already sold out, the company said.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 at 05:36:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Already common in the UK

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 02:19:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Area Man Outraged His Private Information Being Collected By Someone Other Than Advertisers | The Onion - America's Finest News Source
"I can't express how infuriated I am that my credit history, phone activity, and online browsing habits are being systematically collected and archived without my knowledge by undisclosed organizations that aren't trying to sell me products," said the visibly disturbed man, adding that if his private information isn't being used by advertisers to create a targeted consumer profile, it shouldn't be used at all. "As a law-abiding resident of this nation, I have the right to do whatever I want without a shadowy organization recording my every move, unless of course it's part of an electronic campaign designed to figure out, based on all of my emails and phone conversations, what types of clothes, shoes, and houseware products I like. Then it's fine."


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 at 12:00:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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