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Jul 29 2014

Facing death-2: My own attitude to aging and death

Like everyone, my view of death is shaped by my own life experiences. I became seriously ill with polio at the age of six and it was only as a result of the heroic efforts of my family and the skill of the physicians who treated me that I have had a full life. But as a result of that illness I always felt, even before my teenage years, that the permanent damage that the disease had inflicted on my body would take its toll over time, leaving me with a shorter lifespan than that of other people.
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Jul 28 2014

More tricks from Richard Wiseman

Wiseman is an academic and amateur magician who periodically comes up with interesting little tricks and explains how they are done.

Jul 28 2014

The destruction of Gaza

Photographs from Gaza show the extent of the destruction. Here is just one.

gaza wreckage
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Jul 28 2014

Take that, Alito!

The Satanic Temple, the group that seeks to put its monument on state grounds that have allowed things like the Ten Commandments, has said that by virtue of the rights granted to religious organizations by the Hobby Lobby verdict (authored by justice Samuel Alito), it will exempt its own employees from state laws that restrict rights to abortions.
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Jul 28 2014

GCHQ’s activities

While the NSA has been the focus of much my criticisms, its British counterpart the GCHQ has been even worse in its disregard for people’s privacy. Glenn Greenwald has a new story out today revealing more of its activities and its propaganda techniques to manipulate public opinion.
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Jul 28 2014

Facing death-1: Why think about it?

I have been thinking about death quite a lot recently. Circumstances have forced this topic to the forefront of my mind. Don’t get me wrong. There are no signs that any time soon I will be shuffling off this mortal coil, checking out, kicking the bucket, snuffing out the candle, or any of the other euphemisms we use to avoid the word death. As far as I can tell, my body is ticking along nicely.
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Jul 27 2014

More on the recent Obamacare rulings

Last Tuesday we had two conflicting rulings by two different US Appeals Courts, one ruling 2-1 that the Affordable Care Act only allowed tax credit subsidies if they were offered through the state-run health care exchanges while the other unanimously said that such subsidies could also be offered through the federal exchanges. Since 36 states belong to the latter category, the eventual outcome of this case has significant implications.
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Jul 27 2014

How religious is Hillary Clinton?

Recently I mocked Hillary Clinton’s assertion that “the Bible was and remains the biggest influence on my thinking”, saying that it was yet another example of her willingness to pander to voters.
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Jul 27 2014

US and Saudi Arabia cooperation

Saudi Arabia has one of the most brutal governments and repressive social practices. The terrible way it treats criminals and women and gays and indeed anyone who deviates from strict Islamic orthodoxy is legendary. Hence the US government’s close ties with that country and its reluctance to criticize its practices is noteworthy showing how the US’s concern for human rights is highly selective and largely driven by geopolitical interests.
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Jul 26 2014

Understanding Gaza

As the reports keep coming in about civilian casualties as schools and hospitals keep getting shelled by Israel, here is a more detailed map of Gaza so people can have some idea of where the deaths are occurring. The map also gives more details about the blockade by Israel and the few entry points in and out that has made Gaza into a prison camp.
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