Tabloid Watch: body fascism

This, and much else on the site is pure gold. Have you any idea how much drivel you have to crawl through to be able to perform a dissection as good as this? And it doesn’t take too much of your precious time to absorb the message.

My only complaint is that, clearly, nowhere near enough punters know about or visit such sites and we desperately need them to…

Tabloid Watch: body fascism.

Google and Your Memory – Online Colleges

the key passage in this interesting summary is:

“Our Recall is flawed. Every time we recall a memory we also remake it. Google acts like a fact checker, helping us avoid many errors.”

It’s not quite that simple because google gives you access to the wrong answers just as easily as the right ones, but with a bit of practice, you can learn how to assess the validity of the online sources. (The shortcut is to use wiki, which is now at least as reliable as the “professional” encyclopaedias)

Nevertheless, that key function is rapidly changing the world at micro and macro levels. Arguments over trivial facts (who sung that song, starred in that movie etc) were the first to go. Not because of google but rather because of broadband. Once we had a permanent online connection and it became trivial to fire up the browser and look up the answer to the question, many people, rather than argue the toss (and, perhaps more importantly, rather than be made to look foolish) started saying “why not look it up on the web”. Google’s dominance arose later, when it made itself the superior search engine.

Nowadays, the same functionality is available on any decent smartphone so the same access to instant answers is available wherever we have a decent signal.

The social and political significance of this technological achievement is even more important than it’s potential for changing our psychology and brain function. It means that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for politicians and other manipulators to lie to us. This is the root of the authoritarians’ battle to control the internet. Whether they’re conservatives, communists or creationists, they’d all prefer you to see only the messages they approve.
Google and Memory
Research and Design by: Online Colleges Site

Best Marijuana Argument Ever: Given By Superior Court Judge James P. Gray – YouTube

It’s rare that a video lives up to a title like the one they’ve given this, but, on this occasion, I have to agree. This is the most succint summary of the anti-prohibition argument I’ve ever heard. Now we need similar presentations on the medical case, the economics, the social benefits of alcohol mediation and reduction in consumption of the harder drugs, etc etc.

Then comes the awkward bit. Finding some way to get the people who need to listen to these arguments, to listen to these arguments.

Best Marijuana Argument Ever: Given By Superior Court Judge James P. Gray – YouTube.

Science Says: Lungs Love Weed

Again, no news here.,

Cannabis smokers (who don’t pollute it with tobacco) have been aware for decades that it doesn’t cause any problems with the lungs despite the drug warriors ignorant assertions. 30 -40 years ago they published a couple of studies of Costa Rican and Jamaican cannabis consumers and compared several thousand of them to tobacco smokers and non smokers. (1 Cannabis in Costa Rica: A Study of Chronic Marijuana Use, 1980-82: 2 Ganja in Jamaica: A Medical Anthropological Study of Chronic Marijuana Use. 1975) They found no impairment caused by cannabis and a small but significant protection level (i.e. cannabis smokers suffered a little less than non smokers from things like bronchitis and lung cancer). I suspect this is the first time you’ve heard about those studies. Now try and find copies. They’re not out there. I wonder why.

Are they fictional? (in which case the HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH LETTER:Marijuana. L. Grinspoon, vol. 4, no. 5. Nov, 1987 is also fictional – or lying)

Or would the powers that be prefer us not to read them. I genuinely don’t know. I’ve been reading references to them for years but never seen a copy or even extensive extracts from them. Will someone please put us out of our misery and post them up to the web…

Mind Uploading: Brain Facts

good to see it discussed so “matter of factly”.

What we’re talking about here is one of the most exciting prospects in human history: the nitty gritty of what it will take to map the mind for digital uploading – i.e. copying your brain to a digital environment, in order to (initially) act as a “backup” but ultimately to permit omortality, as described here

Mind Uploading: Brain Facts.

What If Humans Were Twice as Intelligent? | Digg Topnews

the major benefit of increased intelligence will be that the implementation of true democracy (which is critically dependent on intelligent debate) will become much easier.

The two biggest obstacles to democracy at the moment are the vested interests who are currently in control – who show no signs of wishing to relinquish or even dilute that control; and the generally high levels of ignorance and low levels of intelligence in the population at large. The widespread inability to understand and adopt the principles of rational epistemology make it very difficult to promote or even defend true democracy.

The web is slowly helping to overcome the ignorance problem, but it can’t do much to improve actual processing power. For that I think we’re going to have to wait a couple of decades for the first brain implants to arrive which begin to enhance our intellectual abilities. And the problem with that is that the early adopters will likely be those who need it least, thus widening the gap between top and bottom of the social ladder…

What If Humans Were Twice as Intelligent? | Digg Topnews.

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America – YouTube

from where, this is but a single step. Conspiracy theory ignited…

The problem with stuff like this is that people like Welch were half right. People who tend to regard videos like this as “evidence” tend to overlook the fact that he also got it half wrong. And you really need to know which “predictions” fit in which category…

Mind blowing speech by Robert Welch in 1958 predicting Insiders plans to destroy America – YouTube.

1961 speech Eisenhower Warns us of New World Order – YouTube

what an excellent follow up. ‘Course you’ll be seeing these in the wrong order as you travel backwards down my time line. Must be very disorienting for you. For me, it tickles. Anyway, stick with it for 2 and a half minutes and then note that the American President spoke these words a mere fifteen years after the documentary you can watch – next – was made. It’ll all make sense eventually.

The Documentary About Hiroshima and Nagasaki The U.S. Didn’t Want Us to See | Motherboard

you have to watch this (1946) video (which the government tried to suppress), in order to believe it.

to describe it as cool and objective is a gross understatement. Despite which, it packs a punch to match the topic. With lines like these:

the difference in the totals of destruction to lives and property between the two cities, suggests the importance of the special circumstances in their layout and construction. These differences have a direct bearing on the result of the bombing and must be considered in evaluating the effectiveness of atomic demolition


no wonder the government didn’t want it’s citizens (or anyone else) to see it. That would have made nuclear war so unattractive.

now follow the link to learn how it came to be…

The Documentary About Hiroshima and Nagasaki The U.S. Didn't Want Us to See | Motherboard.

Neanderthal home made of mammoth bones discovered in Ukraine

fascinating in its own right but equally fascinating is the support it gives to Jean Auel‘s “Clan of the Cave Bear” series and its portrayal of life among the Neanderthals and Humans of that time…

Neanderthal home made of mammoth bones discovered in Ukraine.

Supernova SN 2011fe spotted just 11 hours after it exploded | Mail Online

This observation is typically material for Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science blog or Daily Mail Watch both of whom are the repository of stupid errors made by the tabloid press. But neither have picked up on this one to date, so I’ll fill in.

I grant you this is not going to keep you awake nights, but at the risk of appearing pernickety, the author of this errorfest appears to be a professional science journalist. Which is why his main error, repeated several times, is inexcusable. The Type 1a supernova is NOT the “brightest category” of supernova. If anything, it’s likely to be the least bright as it results from the smallest possible stellar mass capable of going supernova.

It’s true significance is that it is the highly predictable result of a white dwarf “accreting” extra mass from a companion star. At a certain critical mass (the “Chandrasekhar limit” – just under 1.4 solar masses), the star collapses and triggers the supernova. Because it is so predictable, its consistent brightness can be used as the “standard candle” required to measure the vast distances we have to cope with when we look beyond our solar system and galaxy. Most memorably, it was the observation of hundreds of distant Type 1a supernovae which allowed us to discover the accelerating expansion of the universe in the late 90s.

The real significance of this reportage is that it reminds us we cannot trust this newspaper (and many others) to be telling the truth.

Sometimes, of course, they are deliberately trying to deceive or obscure the facts in pursuit of their not so hidden agendae. But just as often, they fail simply because they don’t have the skills or intellect required to distinguish between fact and fiction. That limitation is not restricted to matters scientific. It’s just easier to demonstrate here than elsewhere…

Supernova SN 2011fe spotted just 11 hours after it exploded | Mail Online.

Cambridge Defends Student’s Thesis When Banks Ask to Have It Censored | Geekosystem

hi 5

Cambridge Defends Student’s Thesis When Banks Ask to Have It Censored | Geekosystem.

Medical marijuana could help patients reduce pain with opiates, study finds

Interesting medical version of the social benefit I’ve been predicting (and promoting) for years.

viz: In the same way that this study reveals that consumption of cannabis alongside opiates reduces the consumption of opiates (despite increasing benefits through greater reduction of pain), I argue that legalising cannabis can be expected to reduce – significantly – overall social harm by dramatically reducing alcohol consumption and it’s related medical and social harms (which are much much worse than any cannabis related harms which may partially replace them).

Medical marijuana could help patients reduce pain with opiates, study finds.

Tiger Woods’ superstar status hobbled the competition

fascinating and I’d bet that, if they had measured it at the time, they would have found a reduced testosterone level in the “subordinates”; exactly like we see in other primate gatherings where there is an overwhelmingly dominant alpha male…

Tiger Woods' superstar status hobbled the competition.

Psychology researcher finds that power does go to our heads

From the page: “thinking — focusing on one’s own goal and how to achieve it without being distracted by the surrounding context — can be advantageous.

someone got paid for writing that…

Psychology researcher finds that power does go to our heads.