Meet the pretenders

As a culture, we have become more used to the idea that people can feel that their bodies do not match their own sense of identity. This is usually manifested in terms of gender and to some extent society has begun to come to terms with transgender people and transvestites, though there is still a long way to go. People are at least aware of them, even if not accepting, and those groups still experience a lot of enormous discrimination and abuse.
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The evolution of dogs

PZ Myers had an interesting post on a topic that I have long been intrigued by and that is how when breeders selectively bred silver foxes purely on the basis of a trait by which they are more tolerant towards humans, the animals change physically too, such as their ears becoming more floppy and their snouts shorter, similar to the way that we believe that wolves in the wild evolved to become the dogs we now have.
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How PGP works

Since the Edward Snowden revelations a year ago, I have been writing quite a lot about encryption although I don’t know much about it. I came across this introduction to the PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) system, a common form of what is known as public key cryptography, that was fairly clear about how it worked in converting the plain text message into the encrypted form called the ciphertext.
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Jimmy Carter calls climate change deniers ‘nutcases’

Jimmy Carter had his faults as president, the main one being his decision to implement what they must have thought was a clever plan to destabilize Afghanistan so as to covertly draw the Soviet Union, its Cold War adversary, into that country and get bogged down so as to create for them their own Vietnam. That set in motion a train of horrific conflict under which the Afghan people still suffer. [IPDATE: See the interview that Zbigniew Bzerzinski, Carter's National Security Advisor, gave in 1998.]
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