Some political clips from The Daily Show

I was traveling all days yesterday and so missed the Democratic debate and haven’t caught up on the news. But here are some segments of The Daily Show that deal with politics. In the first one, Republicans compete for the torture vote. As Alex Emmons writes, Ted Cruz’s definition of what he said is “generally recognized” as the definition of torture is anything but. It is an extreme definition that comes from a self-serving memo of the Bush-Cheney regime that has since been withdrawn. His claims that his own father was tortured in Cuba would be false under that definition.
[Read more…]

Gravitational waves detected for the first time

It has been announced that scientists have detected gravitational waves for the first time, after a long and arduous search that rivaled the search for the Higgs boson in the difficulty involved even though it did not match it in costs. The announcement came in the form of a paper published yesterday in the journal Physical Review Letters, based on results obtained on September 14, 2015. You can read the paper here.
[Read more…]

How long do things take to decompose?

In a moment of idle curiosity, I wondered what would happen if for some reason, human beings suddenly became extinct. Not a cheery thought but I was curious about how long it would be before all traces of our existence disappeared so that a new future intelligent species or maybe extra-terrestrial visitors to Earth would see no trace that intelligent life had ever existed because all the artifacts we created had simply decomposed away. It seems hard to imagine since humans have covered the Earth with our creations but surely all things must pass at some time?
[Read more…]

Stephen Colbert Feels the Bern

Bernie Sanders made an extended appearance on Colbert’s show last night. The crowd gave Sanders a rousing reception. It is really strange how Sanders has become the ‘cool’ candidate. I think that it is because of the authenticity that he emanates and that he speaks truths that others don’t. The ‘why’ questions he asks and his conviction that things could and should be much better than they are now is inspiring.
[Read more…]

A review of the New Hampshire primary

A team of reporters for CNN had a recap of the New Hampshire primary and how it came to be that the two outsiders won. It explains why Chris Christie zeroed in on Marco Rubio in the last debate and savaged him, rather than aiming for the frontrunner Donald Trump. It is true that Christie was competing to win the ‘establishment ‘ candidate slot that Rubio seemed to be holding on to but there was apparently more to it than that, that it was also motivated by a desire for revenge.
[Read more…]

Presidential pensions

Currently a US president gets a pension of $200,000 per year as well as funding for office space and custodial staff. Zaid Jilani writes about the origin of presidential pensions. He said that there had always been some concern about needing to enable former presidents to live in dignity and engage in acts that benefit the country without having to sell themselves to earn money.
[Read more…]