The search for dark matter continues

I wrote last month about recent reports on the failure of two major experiments named LUX and PandaX-II to directly detect dark matter and what that might mean for the prospects of alternate theories to explain anomalous gravitational effects. Of course, concluding that dark matter is non-existent is a tricky call since we don’t really know what it is made of and the negative results so far may well be due to the lack of sufficient sensitivity of the detectors or that dark matter is made of something quite different from what the detectors are designed to register.
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US war crimes in Yemen continue

Iona Craig has a horrifying account of the deadly carnage that was recently unleashed on the Yemeni village of Al Ghayiil due to a botched raid by US forces. According to reports, the target of the attack, a senior al Qaeda official, escaped. The media here has largely focused on the death of a US Navy Seal whose widow was used as an applause line during Donald Trump’s speech to the joint session of Congress. As usual, Trump has tried to have it both ways, falsely claiming that the raid was a success because of the valuable intelligence received and thus he should get credit for it, while blaming the soldier’s death on the false claim that the planning for the raid was approved by president Obama before he left office. Of course, mutually contradictory claims do not faze the administration of a pathological liar.
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Trump is a throwback of the worst kind

It is astonishing sometimes to look back at the kinds of things that were considered acceptable in the past. What is worse is to see some of those attitudes making a comeback now. Mark Frauenfelder points to a post by someone known as Saint Hoax titled MAKING AMERICA MISOGYNISTIC AGAIN who has taken advertisements from the past that are horribly demeaning and abusive towards women and superimposed actual quotations from Donald Trump on them.
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The luxury of being a man on the internet

In maintaining this blog, I have to deal with the occasional commenter who tends to hijack the comments to pursue some pet issue, sometimes using a form of argumentation that I have now learned is called sealioning. Bloggers take different attitudes to this phenomenon. There are those who treat the blog platform as similar to their homes and all commenters as visitors. This results in relatively quick ejections for those who violate the rules of the house. I view this blog as more of an online magazine with me as the editor with the right to moderate comments but where the rules of behavior are less strict than those of a private home. I initially tried to treat the blog as a completely open platform where people were free to say what their liked but I found that my tolerance had its limits and I had to ban one commenter.
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The rise of anti-Semitic acts in the US

Every day brings with it fresh reports of acts of hate aimed at Jews in the US. ProPublica has been monitoring these acts as part of a project called Documenting Hate and has published a lengthy report, listing incidents ranging from swastikas painted on the homes and cars of people that had some kind of indicator that the owner was Jewish, to bomb threats.
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The danger in the way the Russian story is being covered

As a result of the way that the CIA leaks have fueled the coverage of the links between Donald Trump and his associates, partisan opinions about the CIA have shifted dramatically from the way it was perceived when this question was last polled in 2015

CIA favorability

The poll, which measured Republican and Democratic sentiment toward the CIA, showed that Democrats had started to view the CIA with a net favorability of 32%, compared with 4% net favorability for Republicans.

An NBC/WSJ poll from 2015 showed Republicans viewing the CIA with a net favorability of 27%, versus -4% from Democrats.

The divide in the latest poll was even steeper between Trump supporters and those who supported his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. The CIA had net favorability of 39% among Clinton supporters in December, compared with 2% among Trump supporters.

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