What the battle for the DNC chair is all about

Glenn Greenwald discusses what the battle for the chair of the Democratic National Committee between Keith Ellison and Tom Perez represents. The same failed Democratic party establishment, supported by its single largest donor Haim Saban, whose main agenda is promoting Israel’s interests, have got out their knives out for Ellison, in order to keep themselves in control.
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A quick primer on the basic forces in physics

There was an interesting question posed by Marcus Ranum about the nature of the WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles) that are being looked for as the constituents of dark matter, and which are proving to be so elusive. He wondered why their presence could not be detected via gravity since it was to explain the gravitational effects of galaxies that they were postulated in the first place. I thought the question merited a quick primer for those interested in understanding it in a little more depth.
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Bannon’s prominence is already getting to Trump

It looks like more and more people are making the assertion that Donald Trump is mere clay in the hands of his advisor Steve Bannon, as shown in last week’s Saturday Night Live sketch. These are not just the late night comedians on TV but political commentators as well. There have even been social media movements with hashtags #PostcardstoBannon and #PresidentBannon surfacing on Twitter.

The hashtag #PresidentBannon gained ground last week after Bannon was appointed to the National Security Council by an executive order signed by Trump. This decision came at a time when the country was still reeling under the effects of the president’s temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries as well as the suspension of the refugee program.

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The appeal hearings on Trump’s orders

I listened yesterday to the oral arguments before a panel of the Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal on whether the stay on Trump’s Executive Orders on people entering the US that was imposed by the US District Judge in the state of Washington should be lifted. (You can listen to the oral arguments here.) It is always hard to predict outcomes based on the kinds of questions that the judges ask. The questions posed to August E. Flentje, the attorney speaking on behalf of Trump’s orders, were more sharp and skeptical and the attorney seemed less prepared. At the end he even conceded that he did not seem to be persuading the justices. He admitted that the rollout of the orders had been confusing, with legal permanent residents first being included in the ban and then excluded and suggested that an acceptable outcome might be for the judges to rule that the ban only applies to people who have never been in the US before. One justice pointed out that it should not be their job to clarify what the administration’s intentions are about who is covered and that the administration could issue new orders that were clearer.
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Dark matter continues to be elusive

A month ago, I had a post about how the search for dark matter was proving to be frustrating with one negative result after another, prompting increased speculation that an alternative theory might be necessary. The hope had been that experiments using more sensitive detectors might prove successful. But the LUX (Large Underground Xenon) experiment in a deep underground mine in South Dakota failed to find evidence of dark matter in the form of WIMPs (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles), the theoretically favored dark matter candidate. The abstract of the paper published on January 11, 2017 in Physical Review Letters says:
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“I’m not a robot”

Most of us are familiar with the CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) test that one sometimes has to complete to prove to some website that you are a human and not a bot seeking to impersonate one. Naturally this created the usual arms race between CAPTCHA and CAPTCHA-solving technology resulting in some of tests becoming quite tricky with the lettering highly distorted and with a cluttered background, presumably to fool computers. I have often failed it and had to redo the test.
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Evolution in almost real time

I thought I had shown the fascinating video below before but a search of my blog did not find it, suggesting that I meant to and forgot. It shows how in just eleven days bacteria can evolve to become resistant to high levels of antibiotics. As a visual demonstration of evolution it is dramatic. It is also frightening in that it shows how we need to be careful about the use of antibiotics since unnecessary use can help speed up the appearance of resistant strains of bacteria.
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