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Monthly Archive: October 2011

Oct 23 2011

The Occupy Wall Street movement gains allies

The Occupy Wall Street movement is broadening its base and gaining more allies every day. Now a group called Occupy Writers has joined in that contains such famous names as Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Lemony Snicket, Barbara Ehrenreich, Naomi Klein, and Ann Patchett, some of whom have contributed original writings, such …

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Oct 23 2011

Siri and the Turing test

I don’t have an iPhone of any kind but was intrigued by the reports of the latest one that had the voice recognition software known as Siri that seems to have a conversational ability reminiscent of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, as can be seen from this compilation of a conversation. I am not …

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Oct 22 2011

The case against circumcision

PZ Myers makes the strong argument that this practice is nothing but ritualized child abuse. It is quite amazing how we accept as normal long-standing practices that, if they were not covered by the protective umbrella of old religions, we would reject with horror otherwise as the actions of cults or barbarians. The Daily Show …

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Oct 22 2011

What’s the one after 9-0-9?

Herman Cain took a beating for the fact that his 9-9-9 tax plan would raise taxes on low and middle income people while giving rich people a huge tax break. So he has tweaked it and now says that for the poor it will be a 9-0-9 plan. You can be sure that such ad-hoc …

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Oct 21 2011

Five bank behemoths that hold the political system hostage

Sarah Jaffe and Joshua Holland list them (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs) and explain why they are so bad and how they get their way. Currently, Bank of America is engaged in yet another effort to swindle the taxpayers. When it took over Merrill Lynch it also acquired …

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Oct 21 2011

When did humans arrive in the Americas?

It used to be thought that they came 13,000 years ago across the then-existing land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska, during what is known as the ‘Clovis’ period. A paper published today in the journal Science has measured with high precision (with new techniques) the age of a mastodon fossil bone with a weapon point …

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Oct 21 2011

Tragic death of exotic animals

The big story in Ohio has been the tragic one of a private owner of a large menagerie of exotic animals in a rural area of central Ohio who reportedly released all of them before killing himself. The authorities, confronted with dangerous animals roaming wild in populated areas, shot and killed almost all the animals. …

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Oct 21 2011

Relativity-7: What could be other reasons for the CERN-Gran Sasso results?

(For previous posts in this series, see here.) The reactions to the reports of the CERN-Gran Sasso discovery of possibly faster-than-light neutrinos open a window into how science operates, and the differences in the way that the scientific community and the media and the general public react whenever a result emerges that contradicts the firmly …

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Oct 20 2011

How the oligarchy looted people’s pensions

Jon Stewart interviews Ellen Schultz, an editor at the Wall Street Journal and author of Retirement Heist, who explains how corporations, with the connivance of the government that was willing to provide them with the necessary loopholes, looted the pension funds of 44 million of its workers to enrich their top executives, thus transforming pension …

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Oct 20 2011

Oligarchy to Democrats: Show us some love or else!

The strategy of the Democratic party has been to preach a populist message while serving the interests of the oligarchy, mollifying their supporters with support for social policies that the oligarchy does not care about. They have managed to play game successfully for some time but the Occupy Wall Street movement threatens to unmask that …

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