Sunday, December 19, 2010

Great Chinese State Circus - Swan Lake

INCREDIBLE!! As a ballerina myself I can almost comprehend that ;) The strength and balance for both people, and trust is amazing, and they make it look so effertless.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Memes, selfish genes and Darwinian paranoia

I’m reviewing a book by philosopher of science Peter Godfrey-Smith entitled “Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection.” (This is not the book review, forthcoming.) Godfrey-Smith makes an excellent argument at some point in the book (chapter 7, on the gene’s eye view) that genes are not at all the sort of things Richard Dawkins and some other biologists think they are. For instance, contrary to the standard view, genes are not “unities of heredity” (and therefore do not last as “individuals”) for the simple reason that crossing-overs (the molecular processes that shuffle bits and pieces of genetic material, the real reason for sex) do not respect gene’s boundaries, but rather cut genes into pieces and shuffle them. Indeed, as Godfrey-Smith points out, for this and other reasons sophisticated theoretical biologists are abandoning talk of “genes” altogether, referring instead to the more diffuse concept of “genetic material.” As PGS puts it, this is “a stuff, not a discrete unit.”
The interested reader will have to read PGS’s book or wait for my review (forthcoming in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews) to learn more about the issue of the nature of genes. But what struck me toward the end of that chapter is Godfrey-Smith’s unusual (and, I think, rather compelling) argument that talk of selfish genes (and memes) is one example of a broader “agent-positing” discourse that is shared, of all people, by some evolutionary biologists (though by all means not all, yours truly being one of many exceptions) and theologians!
Here is how PGS himself has characterizes the phenomenon: “Two explanatory schemata can be distinguished within the general agent-positing category ... The first is a paternalist schema. Here we posit a large, benevolent agent, who intends that all is ultimately for the best. This category includes various gods, the Hegelian ‘World Spirit’ in philosophy, and stronger forms of the ‘Gaia’ hypothesis according to which the whole earth is a living system. The second schema is a paranoid one. Now we posit a hidden collection of agents pursuing agendas that cross-cut or oppose our interests. Examples include demonic possessions narratives, the sub-personal creatures of Freud’s psychology (superego, ego, id), and selfish genes and memes.”
I must say that I am rarely struck by a novel enough idea that my first reaction is “wow.” This is one of those instances. There is something profoundly intellectually satisfactory in suddenly seeing disparate phenomena like Augustine’s god and Dawkins’ memes as different aspects of an all-too human tendency to project agency where there is none. Not to mention, of course, the admittedly wicked pleasure I’m getting from imagining Dawkins cringing at the comparison.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Here is another piece of propaganda from the New Age Global Warming religionists.
There are many dimensions of human development for which the impact of climate change has not been projected in a way that can be applied to a global model. These include factors such as a community’s access to education, water, sanitation, energy, and clean cooking environments.
While they say they will not include clean cooking environments in their estimates, they still throw in:
1. Indoor smoke from solid fuels, urban air pollution and airborne particulates as risk factors for mortality accounted for approximately 2.7 million deaths worldwide in 2000. Source: WHO (2002)

Perhaps the reason they don't include this factor in the quantitative estimates is because it would clearly show that the increase in energy prices caused by carbon taxes advocated lead to increased deaths due to indoor smoke from solid fuels. Typically, poor persons must resort to these fuels, when prices rise due to carbon taxes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A profound hatred for democracy

Commenting on the revelations that several Arab leaders are urging the United States to attack Iran, Chomsky says the latest polls show "Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that’s 80 percent; the second threat is the United States, that’s 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent... This may not be reported in the newspapers, ... but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and the U.S. governments and to the ambassadors... What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Climate Change Authority Admits Mistake

The scientist from whom this claim originated, Dr Syed Hasnain, has for the past two years been working as a senior employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Delhi-based company of which [IPCC chairman] Dr. Pachauri is director-general. Furthermore, the claim … has helped TERI to win a substantial share of a $500,000 grant from one of America’s leading charities, along with a share in a three million euro research study funded by the EU.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is Free Thinking A Mental Illness?

Is nonconformity and freethinking a mental illness? According to the newest addition of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it certainly is. The manual identifies a new mental illness called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD. Defined as an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Democracy in Europe is under threat of a police force that feels entitled to police thoughts and use violence, while being fully confident that it can act with impunity. Marianne Maeckelbergh, assistant professor at Leiden University went through a horrowing first hand experience.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Patients to be frozen into state of suspended animation for surgery

The body is essentially in real life suspended animation with no pulse, no blood pressure, no electrical waves in the brain. We didn't find any evidence of functional impairment after the surgery.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Researchers engineer adult stem cells that do not age

Biomedical researchers at the University at Buffalo have engineered adult stem cells that scientists can grow continuously in culture, a discovery that could speed development of cost-effective treatments for diseases including heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders and neurodegenerative diseases.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How can we reduce the risk of human extinction?

The history of life on Earth is the history of extinction events, and human expansion into the Solar System is, in the end, fundamentally about the survival of the species.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Leading Israeli Rabbis Defend Manual for For Killing Non-Jews

As soon as it was published late last year,Torat Ha’Melechsparked a national uproar. The controversy began when an Israeli tabloid panned the book’s contents as “230 pages on the laws concerning the killing of non-Jews, a kind of guidebook for anyone who ponders the question of if and when it is permissible to take the life of a non-Jew.” According to the book’s author, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, “Non-Jews are “uncompassionate by nature” and should be killed in order to “curb their evil inclinations.” “If we kill a gentile who has has violated one of the seven commandments… there is nothing wrong with the murder,” Shapira insisted. Citing Jewish law as his source (or at least a very selective interpretation of it) he declared: “There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.”

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Environmentalism Is the New Religion - Ian Plimer

Australian geologist Ian Plimer argues that, for many agnostics and atheists, the cause of environmentalism has replaced organized religion as a matter of personal faith.

While the world's religions have inspired stunning acts of creation, they also have been implicated in some of the darkest deeds in human history.
If God cannot be blamed for such moments of evil, His priests and prophets at least have a case to answer.
So what might they say? That religion is unfairly blamed -- and that we should look to other factors? Admit that there are problems but argue that on balance the good outweighs the bad? That there is no alternative; that people need religion like they need air? - Intelligence Squared
Ian Plimer is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide. He is a prominent critic of creationism, and is famous for a debate with creationist Duane Gish in which he asked his opponent to hold live electrical cables to prove that electromagnetism was 'only a theory'. He has published over 120 academic papers and six popular books. He is also a prominent member of the Australian Skeptics. In 2004 he was awarded the Calrk Medal by the Rioyal Society of NSW. In the late 1990s, Plimer was involved in legal proceedings concerning the location of Noah's Ark, in which Plimer was ultimately unsuccessful. His most recent book, Telling Lies For God, has a forward by Archbishop Peter Hollingsworth. Professor Plimer argues that religion is important for the fabric of society.

Michael Crichton on Environmentalism as a Religion

Michael Crichton on Environmentalism as a Religion

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Ayn Rand, Hugely Popular Author and Inspiration to Right-Wing Leaders, Was a Big Admirer of Serial Killer

Her works are treated as gospel by right-wing powerhouses like Alan Greenspan and Clarence Thomas, but Ayn Rand found early inspiration in 1920's murderer William Hickman.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To rob a country, own a bank

William Black, author of "Best way to rob a bank is to own one" talks about deliberate fraud on Wall St. Watch Pt2 of this story at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Check out the scale of the Universe

Click on "Play".

It takes a few seconds to load, then move the slider.

Journey out and in.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


So the political-economy question is what kinds of political leaderships do you need to have to construct growth and transformation? And this is what I call governance for growth. And what we need to learn (and I will come back to Chile and the Latin American examples later on) that the problem in poor countries making the transition is, putting it very bluntly, how do you construct humane and dynamic versions of capitalism. And this is a very difficult task because capitalism by its nature is not just, is not fair, and it’s an ugly beast, right.

So when we’re talking about markets, you actually miss the elephant in the room, which is markets have existed in developing countries for thousands of years. We don’t need anyone to come and tell us about markets. India had markets when Europeans didn’t know what a bath was.

The point is that to construct capitalism is something completely new. It’s a different hierarchy in societies, different asset structure, it’s very difficult to construct. You need to have a lot of elite cohesion to achieve that transformation without civil war breaking out. The problem with a lot of African countries and large parts of India as well is that that elite cohesion is very difficult to construct. The elites when they have cohesion don’t have a long enough time horizon so that they do a lot of looting instead of construction of capitalism from which they will actually end up better off. This is the problem.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Global Super Ruling Class

Two great talks on the rise and rule of the global ruling class, by David Rothkopf. How a select, insular group of the six thousand most powerful people on the planet make daily decisions that impact the lives of millions across borders and develop ideas that are shaping the history of our times.

Forget food, sleep, friends, love

“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.” -Nikola Tesla

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The facts of an improving world jar with the doom-mongering

So why do we find it so difficult to celebrate these facts? Ridley points out that developed societies seem to live in constant fear of things coming to an end: what he calls ‘turning-point-itis’. From fears of nuclear armageddon, an epidemic of pesticide-induced cancers and global starvation in the Sixties and Seventies, to panics about pandemics and climate change today, the defining worldview is of things getting worse and worse with the root cause of the impending disaster being humanity itself. The collapse of the old left and the rise of the greens is built on the assumption that the world is going to hell. Indeed, there are distinct echoes of apocalyptic religion in environmentalist discourse today. The facts of an improving world jar with such a sense of doom, which helps to explain the vitriolic reaction to Lomborg and Ridley from many commentators.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why biology should inform social policy

LEFT-LEANING politicians have traditionally blamed the structure of western society for the feckless and antisocial behaviour of its "underclass". Now biologists are chiming in.

Animals that live shorter, riskier lives tend to reproduce early, and that applies to humans living in tough circumstances, too. So teenaged mothers and wayward fathers may be an evolutionary response to deprivation, and many of the problem behaviours that plague western societies could be put down to a biological "die young, live fast" strategy.

The solution is to improve the health and wellbeing of the poorest in society and give all young people the prospect of a good job and a stake in their future. But that looks unlikely, given the economic downturn.

In recent years, though, we have gained considerable insights into the prerequisites for human fulfilment. Health and security may be top of the list, but we also thrive on community, fairness, bonding, altruism, playfulness and celebration. Hard-pressed politicians seeking inspiration would do well to look to these biological principles.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Television viewing time independently predicts all-cause and cardiovascular mortality

Television viewing (TV), a highly prevalent behaviour, is associated with higher cardiovascular risk independently of physical activity

How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It

The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away With It

While Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $550 million to resolve a civil fraud
lawsuit filed by the SEC, Goldman has not been held accountable for many
of its other questionable investment practices. A new article in
Harper’s Magazine examines the role Goldman played in the food crisis of
2008 when the ranks of the world’s hungry increased by 250 million.

See also:

Goldman Sachs Settles Civil Fraud Case for $550M—Less Than It Reportedly
Expected, and With No Admission of Criminal Wrongdoing

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $550 million to resolve a civil fraud
lawsuit over selling a mortgage investment that was established to fail.
While the SEC hailed the $550 million settlement as the largest in Wall
Street history, many outside analysts questioned why the government
didn’t demand more. Investors responded favorably as Goldman Sachs
shares jumped by five percent in late trading, adding far more to the
firm’s market value than the amount it will have to pay in the

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Can more sex make up for less life?

Does an extra dose of testosterone pay long-term dividends? A higher level of the hormone increases sex drive and attractiveness of males, leading to more offspring and increased evolutionary fitness; it also weakens the immune system, amplifies stress, and encourages recklessness, increasing the risk of departing the gene pool altogether. Looking at songbirds, Wendy Reed, a physiological ecologist at North Dakota State University, set out to determine whether, evolutionarily speaking, a little extra machismo is really worth it. And since testosterone has pretty much the same effect across all species, her results probably extend to humans as well.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Freedom from Sexual Self-Denial

Freedom from Sexual Self-Denial: Why Not Have Sex With People Who Aren't Your Partner?
Infidelity is treated as selfish, while monogamy is celebrated. But what's so great about living a life of self-denial?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Runaway General

Stanley McChrystal, Obama's top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.
"The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bush told me the best way to revitalize the economy is war

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone has taken on three American presidents in JFK, Nixon, and W. and the most controversial aspects of the war in Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July. He looked at the greed of the financial industry in the Hollywood hit Wall Street and its forthcoming sequel. In South of the Border, his latest documentary out this week in the United States, Stone takes a road trip across South America, meeting with seven presidents about the revolution sweeping the continent. The leftist transformation in the region might be ignored or misrepresented as nothing but "anti-Americanism" in the corporate media, but this film seeks to tell a different story. Stone joins us along with the film’s co-writer, the Pakistani British author and activist Tariq Ali.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Architecture of Immortality

To conquer aging and eventually death. We have long been fascinated by the possibility of immortality even as we accepted death as inevitable. However, recent scientific advances suggest that aging and death are genetically programmed and might, someday, be slowed or even eliminated. We are now entering an era in which the exponential growth of technology will soon create a world that we, at the beginning of the 21st century, will hardly recognize. Practical immortality may be a significant part of this world to which Timeship will take us. Created by architect Stephen Valentine, Timeship's six-acre structure will be a center for pioneering research to indefinitely extend the healthy human lifespan, as well as the world's most secure and technologically advanced facility for the storage of cryopreserved biological materials, including DNA, organs for transplant, and whole mammalian organisms.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger

Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on "biblical law," and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as "nominal Christians"—meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged.

Making Latin America's Cities Women-Friendly

"Violence against women is not only domestic, it also happens in the streets. Not having the right to feel safe in a city square or at a bus stop without someone bothering us, that's also violence."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ecological science as a creation story

Since at least the late 1980s, environmental writers have made growing use of the explicit Christian language of "the Creation." Two 1990s books by environmental authors, for example, are Caring for Creation (Oelschlaeger 1994) and Cavenant for a New Creation (Robb and Casebolt 1991). The magazine of the Natural Resources Defense Council describes the need for a greater "spiritual bond between ourselves and the natural world similar to God's covenant with creation" (Borelli 1988). Natural environments isolated historically from European contact are commonly described as having once been an "Eden" or a "paradise" on the earth--similar to the Creation before the fall (McCormick 1989; "Inside the World's Last Eden" 1992). 
Such creationist language has also invaded mainstream environmental politics. During his tenure as vice president, Al Gore said that we must cease "heaping contempt on God's creation" (qtd. in Niebuhr 1993). In a 1995 speech remarkable for its religious candor, Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt said that "our covenant" requires that we "protect the whole of Creation." Invoking messages reminiscent of John Muir, Babbitt argued that wild areas are a source of our core "values" because they are "a manifestation of the presence of our Creator." It is necessary to protect every animal and plant species, Babbitt said, because "the earth is a sacred precinct, designed by and for the purposes of the Creator," and thus we can learn about God by encountering and experiencing his creation.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Understanding the True Dynamics of Sexual Abuse

The less traumatic sexual abuse was when it happened, the more betrayal, guilt, isolation, and shame victims will feel and the more psychological distress and dysfunction they may experience in the aftermath. And because it is backwards, the trauma model is not just failing to help victims; it is actually causing some of the harm it was supposed explain by simultaneously exacerbating the victim's damaging beliefs

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Carbon Trading and Salvation

At the heart of this great project of salvation, then, is the creation of a powerful rent- receiving and rent-seeking alliance of banks and other financial institutions who will make billions from trading the emissions permits and who, once the emissions trading scheme is established, will be able to spend hundred of millions in ensuring, as best they can, that repeal is politically impossible.

Shell supported climate alarmism

July 5, 2000: email 0962818260 Mike Kelly, of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, writes to
Mike Hulme and Tim O’Riordan: 
Had a very good meeting with Shell yesterday. Only a minor part of the agenda, but I expect they will accept an invitation to act as a strategic
partner, and will contribute to a studentship fund, though under certain conditions. 
And they accuse skeptics of “being in the pockets” of Big Oil?
I’m talking to Shell International’s climate change team, but this approach will do equally for the new Foundation, as it’s only one step or so off Shell’s equivalent of a board level. I do know a little about the Foundation and what kind of projects they are looking for. It could be relevant for the new building, incidentally, though opinions are mixed as to whether its within the remit.
Sounds lucrative. Buildings don’t come cheap.

Mine Your Own Business

Mine Your Own Business exposes the dark side of environmentalism. The documentary hacks away at the cosy image of environmentalists' as well meaning, harmless activists.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


 ...This documentary reveals Canada's darkest secret - the deliberate extermination of indigenous (Native American) peoples and the theft of their land under the guise of religion. This never before told history as seen through the eyes of this former minister (Kevin Annett) who blew the whistle on his own church, after he learned of thousands of murders in its Indian Residential Schools...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Soviet "Godfather of Star Wars"

The director of the 1958 film“Road to the Stars” and 1962’s “Planet of Storms” prompted Stanley Kubrick to shoot “2001: Space Odyssey”, which subsequently inspired Georges Lucas to create his famous fantasy space opera.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Relational Spirituality

Relational spirituality defines itself in contrast to the vertical spirituality that focuses on inner transformation alone, in abstraction from the relational basis of human life; and in contrast to the authoritarian aspects of many traditional and contemporary spiritual paths.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Eat less, live longer?

Dreams of eternal youth feature in many cultures throughout history, but it was only in the 20th century that research into longevity really began. Much about ageing is still mysterious - we don't even know the underlying reasons why we journey into old age. There are many lines of enquiry into how to live longer, though, with one of the most intriguing being calorie restriction: in effect, going on a lifelong diet.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Existentialism Today: Terror Management Theory

This is the original introduction for a Letter, tentatively titled, "Can unconscious motivation explain the Climate Crisis."


The purpose of this note is to alert researchers and activists to a recent development in social psychology which offers a scientifically validated way to understand the unconscious motivations of activists and others involved in social movements. Over the last 25 years, terror management theory (TMT) (Pyszczynski et al., 1999; 2004) has demonstrated its validity through hundreds of controlled experiments. This new approach has proved theoretically sound, as well as applicable in a wide range of practical situations. It has been applied in marketing, management, psychotherapy, politics, economics, and other areas. Terror management theory is based upon the work of a cultural anthropologist (Becker, 1973) (A Foundation has been established to disseminate the results of research in this area to both academics and the public at large. URL:

Terror management theory

The theory attempts to explain the foundations of culture and of personal identity. It is a subset of a framework that is known as generative death anxiety. The underlying idea of this framework is that many creative acts can be explained by the desire for immortality in some form, for example, through monuments, buildings, or other lasting objects or symbols. TMT considers culture to be a societal level reflection of individual identity processes. It defines culture as a system of meanings that supersedes the natural world and elevates humans to a higher plane of existence. It defines social identity as our membership in groups.

Terror management theory assumes that at a certain point in human evolution cognitive complexity reached a level which enabled self-awareness. This capacity for self-awareness and the corresponding awareness that the self will cease to exist in the future is the foundation for terror management theory. That is, the awareness of the inevitability of death in an animal programmed for self-preservation by evolution leads to the potential for paralyzing terror. The human species created culture to control this terror. Cultural worldviews ameliorate anxiety by:

:conceiving a universe with meaning

:providing standards of value

:promising death transcendence to those who meet those standards.

That is, terror management theory assumes that a successful society must create a cultural anxiety buffer that shields the individual from the awareness of death. When a death reminder is encountered, it is expected that one of two types of psychological reactions take place. One is worldview defense, that is, responses reinforcing the cultural belief system. The other is a striving to increase status, as defined by the cultural belief system, and thereby self-esteem, since increases in self-esteem have been shown to reduce anxiety. In the well adjusted individual, these responses occur unconsciously, so the individual need never become aware of the death reminder or the processes that suppress awareness of it.

Psychological Emergence of the Self and Modern Socio-Cultural Dilemmas

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Biases and Flaws of the IPCC

Presented in November 2007 at the AIER Global Climate Change conference in Great Barrington, MA, David Henderson discusses the role of governments in the debate over climate change. He also explores the flaws and biases found within the IPCC. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

IPCC is a policy making body

The IPCC is a policy making body, since its Terms of Reference limit it to investigation of only human-induced climate change and its Summary for Policymakers defines what can be included in the 'science' parts of its reports. The NIPCC report cites many instances of scientists objecting to these limitations.

The role of the IPCC “is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation” (emphasis added) [IPCC 2008].

Changes (other than grammatical or minor editorial changes) made after acceptance by the Working Group or the Panel shall be those necessary to ensure consistency with the Summary for Policymakers or the Overview Chapter.

The Synthesis Report is composed of two sections as follows: (a) a Summary for Policymakers and (b) a longer report. The IPCC Chair will lead a writing team whose composition is agreed by the Bureau, noting the need to aim for a range of views, expertise and geographical representation. An approval and adoption procedure will allow Sessions of the Panel to approve the SPM line by line and to ensure that the SPM and the longer report of the Synthesis Report are consistent, and the Synthesis Report is consistent with the underlying Assessment Reports and Special Reports from which the information has been synthesised and integrated. This approach will take 5-7 working days of a Session of the Panel.

The Session of the Panel will review and adopt the longer report of the Synthesis Report, section by section, i.e. roughly one page or less at a time. The review and adoption process for the longer report of the Synthesis Report should be accomplished in the following manner:

- When changes in the longer report of the Synthesis Report are required either to conform it to the SPM or to ensure consistency with the underlying Assessment Reports, the Panel and authors will note where changes are required in the longer report of the Synthesis Report to ensure consistency in tone and content. The authors of the longer report of the Synthesis Report will then make changes in the longer report of the Synthesis Report. Those Bureau members who are not authors will act as Review Editors to ensure that these documents are consistent and follow the directions of the Session of the Panel.

- The longer report of the Synthesis Report is then brought back to the Session of the Panel for the review and adoption of the revised sections, section by section. If inconsistencies are still identified by the Panel, the longer report of the Synthesis Report is further refined by the Authors with the Assistance of the Review Editors for review and adoption by the Panel. This process is conducted section by section, not line by line.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gabriel Almond

Almond completed his PhD degree in 1938, but his doctoral dissertation, Plutocracy and Politics in New York City, was not published until 1998, because it included unflattering references to John D. Rockefeller, a benefactor of Chicago.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The New War Between Science and Religion

There is a new war between science and religion, rising from the ashes of the old one, which ended with the defeat of the anti-evolution forces in the 2005 "intelligent design" trial. The new war concerns questions that are more profound than whether or not to teach evolution. Unlike the old science-religion war, this battle is going to be fought not in the courts but in the arena of public opinion. The new war pits those who argue that science and "moderate" forms of religion are compatible worldviews against those who think they are not.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate

This is the Policymakers Summary of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an international coalition of scientists convened to provide an independent examination of the evidence available on the causes and consequences of climate change in the published, peer-reviewed literature – examined without bias and selectivity. It includes many research papers ignored by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), plus additional scientific results that became available after the IPCC deadline of May 2006.

The IPCC is pre-programmed to produce reports to support the hypotheses of anthropogenic warming and the control of greenhouse gases, as envisioned in the Global Climate Treaty. The 1990 IPCC Summary completely ignored satellite data, since they showed no warming. The 1995 IPCC report was notorious for the significant alterations made to the text after it was approved by the scientists – in order to convey the impression of a human influence. The 2001 IPCC report claimed the twentieth century showed ‘unusual warming’ based on the now-discredited hockey-stick graph. The latest IPCC report, published in 2007, completely devaluates the climate contributions from changes in solar activity, which are likely to dominate any human influence.

Cultural Attitudes and Rumors Are Lasting Obstacles to Safe Sex

Because a man buys a wife from her father for cows or cash, he “owns” her. If she refuses sex or insists on a condom, he may beat her or throw her out of the house.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Walter Cronkite on Earth Day 1970

less cars, less children....

Original broadcast of CBS News Special Report with Walter Cronkite about the first Earth Day, 1970. Also known as Earth Week 1970.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Darwin dynasty's ill health blamed on inbreeding

Darwin was so concerned about inbreeding that he lobbied unsuccessfully in 1870 for questions about first-cousin marriages to be added to the following year's national census form.

At the time, "blood marriages" were common, unions with first or second cousins accounting for 10 per cent of all marriages, often to keep money or influence in the family. Today, around a fifth of all marriages in the world are consanguineous

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Mythology of Prostitution

Knowledge regarding sex work is increasingly being distorted by a group of influential activists, organizations, and some academics who regard the sex industry as a universally harmful institution.

The result is that prostitution policies are becoming increasingly divorced from sound research based on standard canons of scientific research. Prostitution policy is by no means unique in this regard; morality and dogma have also trumped science in recent policies on stem cells, HIV prevention, and needle-exchange programs

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Torture Can't Provide Good Information

based on the idea that repeatedly inducing shock, stress, anxiety, disorientation and lack of control is more effective than standard interrogatory techniques in making suspects reveal information. Information retrieved from memory in this way is assumed to be reliable and veridical, as suspects will be motivated to end the interrogation by revealing this information. No supporting data for this model are provided; in fact, the model is utterly unsupported by scientific evidence.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

End the Church of Scientology's Tax-Exempt Status

Hubbard has been gone for nearly a quarter century, but the questionable practices of extracting huge fees from members, paying lip service to informed consent and employing violence, threats and unfair labor tactics to protect its interests continue today under Scientology leader David Miscavige.

On a recent CNN program, former high-ranking Scientologists Marty Rathbun and Amy Scobee detailed how Miscavige used beatings and other acts of violence to intimidate subordinates. In her recent memoir, My Billion Year Contract, Nancy Many recounts how she became near-psychotic during her 27 years as a high-level Scientologist.

"Scientology is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo scientific theories ... and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with their sect," wrote California Superior Court Judge Paul G. Breckenridge, Jr.

"In addition to violating and abusing its own members' civil rights, the organization over the years ... has harassed and abused those persons not in [Scientology] whom it perceives as enemies. The organization clearly is schizophrenic and paranoid, and this bizarre combination seems to be a reflection of its founder."

Cross “not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs”

A badly divided Supreme Court has overturned a good ruling against a cross that sits on federal land. The opinions did not provide much guidance but, over all, are likely to encourage those who want to entangle government and religion.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How I found what's wrong with economics

I found out that in theoretical economics, fairness just doesn't count.

His work is overturning 50 years of economic wisdom about motivation, showing that most economists have overlooked one of the most important factors determining economic outcomes: our values about fairness.

"I think this kind of thinking played a fundamental role in the recent crisis," he says, "as this notion that people are strictly self-interested has been the dominant mindset for decades. Almost everyone in business, finance or government studies some economics along the way and this is what they think is the norm. It's a biased way of perceiving the world."

Pfizer's payments to censured doctors

THEY are billed as "healthcare professionals who spend years building expertise in their fields". Using materials grounded in science, they educate their peers in the risks and benefits of drugs.
This is how Pfizer, the pharmaceuticals giant, describes the experts it hires to lead forums in which doctors are lectured on the use of its products.
Yet New Scientist has found that some of Pfizer's experts have been disciplined for deficiencies in patient care, while others have been reprimanded for how they conducted drug research trials.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Starships and Spinoza

We discuss a proposal to make small artificial black holes (ABH's) using a huge laser. Because of Hawking radiation, they would be extremely powerful energy sources. We investigate the technical problems of using them to make power plants and starships. The first suggestion is due to Hawking. Next, we consider what challenges the ABH proposal would pose for a future quantum theory of gravity. The form of a theory which would allow us to compute the necessary corrections to classical theory is considered. It is widely believed that every black hole produces a new baby universe on the other side of its singularity. If this is true, ABH technology will involve future humanity in the creation process of universes. Finally, we ponder the effects that the ABH proposal would have on the culture of a future society, particularly if the baby universe theory is correct. The changes in our economic life and understanding of our role in the cosmos would be so profound as to have a "spiritual" aspect.
First prize winner FQXi contest "On the limits of Physics"


Harry Taylor left some cartoons or leaflets in a “prayer room” at a municipal airport, and for this non-crime he was convicted of “causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.” He was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for two years, 100 hours of unpaid work, £250 in court costs, and an anti-social behaviour order banning him from carrying religiously offensive material in a public place.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Criminalizing scientific speech

Supporters of a new ecocide law also believe it could be used to prosecute "climate deniers" who distort science and facts to discourage voters and politicians from taking action to tackle global warming and climate change.

Goldman Sachs 'misled investors'

Goldman released a series of e-mails from Mr Tourre, in one of which he jokes that he has sold doomed investments to widows and orphans.

Chimps 'feel death like humans'

"We found several similarities between the chimpanzees' behaviour toward the dying female and their behaviour after her death, and some reactions of humans when faced with the demise of an elderly group member or relative, even though chimpanzees do not have religious beliefs or rituals surrounding death,"

Sunday, April 25, 2010


While FOS does not do any original scientific research, it does extensive literature research and draws on the worldwide body of work by scientists in all fields relating to global climate change.

Green House Conspiracy

This documentary is a good companion to the latest documentary,"The Great Global Warming Swindle" recently shown on CH 4 UK and is available on Google video. The hoax of Global Warming / Green House was exposed 17 years ago by CH 4 UK in this documentary entitled Green House Conspiracy. Those who subscribe to the rubbish trotted out by Al Gore and his mindless followers are not new they were the same arse clowns who were telling us we were all going to freeze to death 30 years ago.

Cost of the corruption of climate science

Cost of the corruption of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change(IPCC) is likely a trillion dollars already and there is no measure of the lives lost because of unnecessary reactions like biofuels affecting food supplies.

Global Warming, the Politicization of Science

Whenever science is enlisted in some other cause--religious, political, or racialist--the result is always that the scientists themselves become fanatics (Johnson, 1991, p. 154)

Beating children, spending orphanage money on wine and jewelry

The accused man, Bishop Walter Mixa, was one of the church’s most prominent and outspoken conservatives in Germany, and he aggressively defended himself for weeks against charges of physically abusing children in a Bavarian orphanage.
Accusations have also surfaced of financial irregularities at the orphanage’s foundation. A lawyer hired by the foundation has raised questions about thousands of dollars spent on wine, art, jewelry and even a tanning bed while Bishop Mixa was chairman of the foundation’s board in the 1990s.


In fact, the most catastrophic epidemic on record anywhere in the world occurred in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, with a peak incidence of 13 million cases per year, and 600,000 deaths. Transmission was high in many parts of Siberia, and there were 30,000 cases and 10,000 deaths due to falciparum infection (the most deadly malaria parasite) in Archangel, close to the Arctic circle. Malaria persisted in many parts of Europe until the advent of DDT. One of the last malarious countries in Europe was Holland: the WHO finally declared it malaria-free in 1970.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Great Global Warming Swindle

This film by the documentary-maker Martin Durkin presents the arguments of scientists and commentators who don't believe that CO2 produced by human activity is the main cause of climate change. 

Globalists Love Global Warming

A common charge leveled against those who question the official orthodoxy of the global warming religion is that they are acting as stooges for the western establishment and big business interests. If this is the case, then why do the high priests of the elite and kingpin oil men continue to fan the flames of global warming hysteria?

Allegations that skeptics of the man-made explanation behind global warming are somehow doing the bidding of the elite are laughable in the face of the fact that Rothschild operatives and the very chairman of British Petroleum are the ones orchestrating an elitist plan to push global warming fears in order to achieve political objectives.
We have a similar situation to the Peak Oil scam, which was created by the oil industry as a profit boon to promote artificial scarcity, and yet is parroted by environmentalists who grandstand as if they are in opposition to the oil companies. 

Tucker writes that an essential means of achieving global government by consent over conquest, as has long been the ultimate goal of the elite, is by "fanning public hysteria" over climate change, encouraging further integration by forcing countries to adhere to international law on global warming. Such restrictions have prevented the development of third world nations and directly contributed to poverty, disease and squalor by essentially keeping them at a stone age level of progress, as is documented in The Great Global Warming Swindle documentary. 

The common enemy of humanity is Man

“In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. All these dangers are caused by human intervention… The real enemy, then, is humanity itself,” states the report, which can be read in full at the end of this article.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Magnetic resonance imaging of male and female genitals during coitus and female sexual arousal

The images obtained showed that during intercourse in the "missionary position" the penis has the shape of a boomerang and 1/3 of its length consists of the root of the penis. During female sexual arousal without intercourse the uterus was raised and the anterior vaginal wall lengthened. The size of the uterus did not increase during sexual arousal.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now charlatans will know to beware the geeks

One year on, the Singh case has led to the Court of Appeal issuing the most ringing defence of freedom of speech in living memory. Senior judges, who previously had not appeared to have known the difference between John Milton and Milton Keynes, quoted from "Areopagitica" as they severely limited the ability of libel lawyers to censor scientific debate. The BCA realised that it could not hope to win and dropped its case. The Lib Dems, Labour and the Tories responded to an outcry which was turning into a popular movement and included commitments to libel reform in their manifestos. We're not there yet, but a hopeless cause has become a national issue

National Day of Prayer victory

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb decided in favor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation in a rulingthat the federal law designating a National Day of Prayer and requiring a National Day of Prayer proclamation by the president violates the establishment clause of the Constitution's First Amendment.
In her ruling, Judge Crabb wrote: "The same law that prohibits the government from declaring a National Day of Prayer also prohibits it from declaring a National Day of Blasphemy."

You can promote Islam on the side of US buses, but you can’t oppose it

AN American group established to help Muslims escape the tyranny of Islam have been told that ads they put on Miami buses are to be pulled as they may be “offensive” to members of the Religion of Peace.

A jailed banker explains why banks still run the world

"Where are all the people that are politically connected in Washington that had accounts at UBS?" Birkenfeld asked. "I'm telling you this is a political cover-up. Why is it that the whistleblower is the only guy in jail? I mean, this is insanity," he said.

Tea Partiers take notice: This is the enemy. Not immigrants, blacks, or other powerless minorities. It's not Left vs. Right, Liberal vs. Conservative. That's how they keep us from looking at the man behind the curtain. It's class warfare, and they're cleaning up: They've destroyed our unions; shipped out our jobs; set up a lucrative War on Drugs; scammed us with a housing bubble, then helped themselves to our tax dollars when it burst; and now they've passed legislation that will force us to pay them for worthless private health insurance under pain of fine from the IRS. I challenge anyone to claim that immigrants have done this kind of damage. And these ruling elites don't think they need to pay taxes either. What a racket! This is truly Banana Republic stuff. 

The quest for the perfect female orgasm

Canner soon began to suspect that her employer -- along with many other pharmaceutical companies -- were exploiting women in pursuit of big bucks.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Red Hot Lies

Chris Horner shows us that those events were not coincidences. Environmentalism has become a new ideology that has replaced Stalinism and that is beginning to take over the Western world - a world that has enjoyed freedom and democracy for centuries. You will learn that Greenpeace is reading from Horner's trash, in order to obtain materials that they could find helpful in their propaganda war.

What is fearful, though, is the incident he described at the journal Climate Research, where editors resigned in "protest" of the publication of a non-alarmist paper. I had one in there a few years ago, and I saw the process first-hand. Tom Wigley and a few of his cronies demanded that the paper be withdrawn, and that the process as to how it could have been published be investigated. The message to editors is clear: if you're not with us, we're against you. That creates a scientific climate of fear.

Also touched upon is the unwillingness of scientists to open their data files to others. When Australian climatologist Warrick Hughes asked Phil Jones, the developer of the United Nations' climate history, for the raw data (he wanted to see how the error bars were calculated), Jones responded: "We have 25 years or so invested in this work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it"?

The last I heard, "science" is about finding "something wrong" with what has gone before. But that is not true in a world of Red Hot Lies. 

This is clearly apparent in this thoroughly detailed and carefully documented book about what has got to be the best orchestrated scam (thank you John Coleman for voicing that opinion) ever perpetrated on the good people of the world. It shows many powerful forces complicit in this scam including the UN, the world's governments, the now fat environmental groups, the well-funded internet alarmist bloggers, the mainstream media even in its decline, many academics and universities riding the new grant gravy train and the once professional societies for which the academics are the prime constituents. As Chris documented, Dr. Robert Corell, the Director of the Global Change Program at The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment and a Senior Policy Fellow at the Policy Program of the American Meteorological Society observed candidly and correctly to colleagues at a conference in the early 1990s "we must not miss this golden goose as this field has never before seen funding like that which is going to be involved here." 

Even though I have been close to this issue from the science side for decades, Chris's book has profoundly affected my thinking on how and why this perversion of science has taken place and who the real puppeteers controlling the strings are. It left me more worried than ever about the future reputation of our science when the truth becomes clear. I also have enhanced concern for our collective financial security as the policies under consideration can only make the global financial meltdown worse. And it will not be the heating from greenhouse gases responsible. Retirement seems so far away again.

Dr. Motl was for many years a physicist at Harvard and has been pointing out the scientific shortcomings of global warming theory along with Lindzen at MIT and a host of others ( I can easily provide you with the names of several hundred distinguished atmospheric scientists, paleontologists, statisticians, physicists, biologists and others who take the same view. I spent 31 years with the Meteorological Service of Canada and I do not subscribe to the view that CO2 is driving global warming. You can find a vetted list of more than 31,000 scientists who disagree with Al Gore at & These scientists all signed a petition in 2007/2008 which stated:
"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth. "

Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Ruin Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them

After reading Milloy's latest offering, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Ruin Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them, you could safely conclude that modern environmentalism is a regressive, anti-growth, anti-life movement whose end goal is totalitarianism. If you're skeptical of such a harsh charge, read the environmentalists' own literature, as Milloy has done exhaustively, and see for yourself. 

6. Lust for power. Greens want to control the life of everyone in America and on the planet.

7. Work for a state religion. Greens want to make their misanthropic earth worship (sometimes called Gaia worship) the official relgion of the state. They propound their dementoid faith in public schools and other public places. Thus Greens violate the separation between church and state

"GREENISM" is a new religion.

They want you to become extinct. Yes, they want fewer people any way they can get them to go away.

You will also learn about the way they have created an artificial energy shortage, a fresh water crisis, and the coming push to get you on a purely vegetarian diet. Really. Yes, really.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It’s Time for the Left to Get Serious

The impact of neoliberal globalization has, among other things, reshaped the role of the state. In general, the capitalist state cannot operate strictly on repression;therefore there must be some level of consensus. That consensus, at least among significant portions of the population, rests on the notion that the state will distribute resources and will help to sustain the population, particularly during rough periods. But what happens when the state stops fulfilling its distributionist role? What happens when people come to believe that they cannot count on the state? Neoliberal globalization has led to a shifting of the role of the State in that it is now more highly repressive but also much less distributionist. Given the polarization of wealth and overall inequality, there are fewer resources that can be devoted to distributionist activities, but always plenty of resources to devote toward wars, prisons and police. In that situation, people start looking out for themselves and this is when things can become dangerous. While the Left’s response to such a situation is to, among other things, demand a progressive role for the state and, for socialists, to look for a transformation beyond the capitalist state, the political Right can either move in the direction of greater authoritarianism or toward militiatype movements. An extreme version of this can be openly genocidal, e.g., Rwanda, 1994: people murdering one another over increasingly scarce resources.

But we cannot do that without organization. We cannot do that by relying on Facebook, Web sites and e-mails. We cannot do that by relying on speaking to and with those people that we like and who agree with us. It means organization and it means that we have to operate very differently than most of us are comfortable operating. 

Also, Listen:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Scientists discover true love

A team from Stony Brook University in New York scanned the brains of couples who had been together for 20 years and compared them with those of new lovers. They found that about one in 10 of the mature couples exhibited the same chemical reactions when shown photographs of their loved ones as people commonly do in the early stages of a relationship.

(The fact that it is only 1 of 10 is generally not reported in the media.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The shock of the old: Welcome to the elderly age

Of all the people in human history who ever reached the age of 65, half are alive now. Meanwhile, women around the world have half as many children as their mothers.

The longevity revolution affects every country, every community and almost every household. It promises to restructure the economy, reshape the family, redefine politics and even rearrange the geopolitical order over the coming century.

In most of Europe and much of east Asia, fertility is closer to one child per woman than two, way below long-term replacement levels. The notion that the populations of places such as Brazil and India will go on expanding looks misplaced: in fact, they could soon be contracting.

Tina Turner took to the stage in London, dancing in heels and a microskirt in her 70th year.

Millions of the middle-class retired continue working at everything from lucrative consultancies to teaching literacy or finally finishing that PhD. They are often more valuable than the young workers the demographers imagine are supporting them: in fact, the growing number of society's most qualified, most experienced individuals is potentially a huge demographic dividend.

This is sometimes called the Horndal effect, after a Swedish steel mill where productivity rose by 15 per cent as the workforce got older.

all the evidence is that "mass longevity facilitates affluence".

Monday, April 12, 2010

About Sam Harris’ claim that science can answer moral questions

As it turns out, there is much that Harris and I agree on, but I think his main target is actually moral relativism, and that he would get more mileage out of allying himself with philosophy (not to the exclusion of science), rather than taking what appears to be the same misguided scientistic attitude that Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne have come to embody so well. But let us start with a summary of Harris’ arguments, with extensive quotations from the lecture, proceeding then to my commentary.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Cyborg Space Race

Transhumanists believe that the development of such technology will lead one day to “Human version 2.0” – an upgrade of the human body that not only eliminates many of the problems that plague us, but improves upon the basic human design. For instance, some transhumanists envision a day when the human brain will be re-wired with computer chips, allowing us to think, learn and communicate with unprecedented speed and accuracy. 

Human beings developed from earlier species of animals?

US National Science Board tries to suppress knowledge of Americans’ scientific illiteracy

The deleted section notes that the 45% of Americans who answered “true” to the statement: “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals” is similar to the percentage in previous years and much lower than in Japan (78%), Europe (70%), China (69%), and South Korea (64%). A similar gap exists for the response to the statement: “The universe began with a big explosion,” with which only 33% of Americans agreed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

95% of victims of sexual exploitation by clergy are adult women

 One American report states that 'although clergy of any denomination can sexually exploit children, teens, men or women, over 95% of victims of sexual exploitation by clergy are adult women'. Another study found that 3.1% of regular women congregants (women in the congregation) had suffered sexual abuse.

In 2001 the European parliament passed an unprecedented motion, blaming the Vatican for the rapes of African nuns in the 1990s.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating: Nazism, Stalinism

The new Catholic Bishop of Parramatta, in Sydney's west, Anthony Fisher, drew broader comparisons.
"Last century we tried godlessness on a grand scale and the effects were devastating: Nazism, Stalinism, Pol Pot-ery, mass murder, abortion and broken relationships - all promoted by state-imposed atheism," he said.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Green movement is a modern secular religious movement

This paper argues that environmentalism has become a new secular Western religion, which threatens world disorder as well as the prospects of alleviating poverty in the Third World. It critically examines the Green agenda in terms of a number of prospective international environmental treaties: the Kyoto protocol, the Basel convention, the POPs treaty, and the Biodiversity convention, and shows how these pose serious threats to the prospects of alleviating poverty in India.

The Green movement is a modern secular religious movement engaged in a world wide crusade to impose its 'habits of the heart' on the world. Its primary target is to prevent the economic development which alone offers the world's poor any chance of escaping their age old poverty. This modern day secular Christian crusade has exchanged the saving of souls for saving Spaceship Earth. (p. 20)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How intellectuals who affect a liberal style, are imbued with reactionary ideas.

Ophelia Benson has the worst job in the blogosphere. She reads the papers of cultural studies and post-colonial academics - and given their  obscurantism she often must be their only reader - and explains how intellectuals who affect a liberal style, are imbued with reactionary ideas. The regurgitators of received wisdom hate her for it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gregory Benford On Artificial Biological Selection for Longevity

Our focus is to extend healthy human lifespan by using advanced genomics to develop therapeutic substances that attack the diseases of aging. We are the first company founded to exploit artificial selection of animal models for longevity.
Our extremely long-lived animal models (Drosophila melanogaster) have been developed over 700 generations. They are an ideal system for the study of aging and age-related disease because Drosophila metabolic genetic pathways that are highly conserved in humans.
Our sophisticated analysis cross-links gene function in Drosophila with their human orthologs, thus revealing the targets for therapeutic substance development. To date we have discovered over 100 of these genomic targets, all related to the primary diseases of aging.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jones admits: There has been no global warming since 1995

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Suspended Animation

The animals were total lights out – true suspended animation.

What Darwin Got Wrong

The explanation for this might be the seductive myth that underlies it. That myth had its roots in Victorian social Darwinism but today it flows largely from two books – Jacques Monod's Chance and Necessity (1971) and Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene (1976). Both these books, of course, contain lots of good and necessary biological facts. But what made them bestsellers was chiefly the sensational underlying picture of human life supplied by their rhetoric and especially their metaphors. This drama showed heroic, isolated individuals contending, like space warriors, alone against an alien and meaningless cosmos. It established the books as a kind of bible of individualism, most congenial to the Reaganite and Thatcherite ethos of the 80s. Monod first showed humans in Existentialist style as aliens – "gypsies" in a foreign world – and, by expanding the role of chance in evolution, concluded that our life was essentially a "casino". Dawkins added personal drama by describing a population of genes which – quite unlike the real ones inside us – operate as totally independent agents and can do as they please. It is no great surprise that these images caught on, nor that they can now persist whether or not the doctrines linked to them turn out to be scientific.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Competition drives cooperation among closely related sperm

These results suggest that sperm from promiscuous deer mice discriminate among relatives and thereby cooperate with the most closely related sperm, an adaptation likely to have been driven by sperm competition.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sperm behavior indicates humans not sexually exclusive

Whether sperm fly at high speed or laze their way towards an egg might depend on how much competition they face, suggests a new analysis of sperm samples. The study reveals that promiscuous primate species have faster sperm than their more monogamous counterparts....

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Evolutionary Futurism in Stapledon’s ‘Star Maker’

The Star Maker neither loved nor had need of love" (SM 409). This "other end" is that of evolutionary process and creativity aimed toward a perfected future. Whitehead also believes that love is not the ultimate value. He, in fact, criticizes Christianity for its emphasis on love:
It dwells upon the tender elements in the world, which slowly and in quietness operate by love; and it finds purpose in the present immediacy of a kingdom not of this world. Love neither rules, nor is it unmoved; also it is a little oblivious as to morals. It does not look to the future; for it finds its own reward in the immediate present. (PR 520)
Not love, but harmony and peace are the ultimate goals or values in both Stapledon’s and Whitehead’s evolutionary cosmology (AI 367)

The End of the World as We Know It

Figures from an interesting article about work of Nathan Wolfe - Head of the Global Virus Forecasting Initiative.
pages 52 onwards...

CDC =  "£95m for pandemic prevention last year,"
"£120bn spent on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "

This is a higher than 1200 to 1 ratio. 

Death from terrorist attacks, about 400/yr. 
Death from AIDS about 3.1million/yr., and say 1.8 million/yr. for TB, a million/yr. for malaria = 5.9 million, let's add .1 for the rest, so 6 million/yr. Cause of death ratio: Pandemic Disease / terrorism = 15,000.

Total ratio of funding vs. cause of death = 17 million to 1. That is, the US Gov. spends 17 million USD/yr. to prevent each death from terrorism for each USD it spends to prevent a death from pandemic disease (worldwide).

Nothing like 'self-defense' to make the US citizen safer.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Salvation in the Space Age or How does Astrobiology get more Funding?


The concept of salvation and related ideas about the role of intelligent life in the Universe are reviewed, starting with literature from the dawn of the Space Age. We include the Anthropic Principle and the Meduso-anthropic Principle, which is based upon the theory of cosmological natural selection. Recent developments in existential psychology are presented in order to explain these historical developments and to suggest a cultural framework consistent with current knowledge. Acceptance of such a framework is expected to motivate dramatically increased funding for astrobiology and related research fields.

This Podcast can be downloaded from the iTunes Store with iTunes. Search for "NooPod" or "Stodolsky" in the iTunes Store. Use the below method only if that doesn't work. If you need the high-resolution slide set (PDF), follow the link below.

A click on the Title will start Part 1 of the Podcast in your browser, but with a small image. The preferred method is to use a secondary click to download and then play the Podcast in iTunes.

Part 2:

The complete high-resolution slide set (PDF) is no longer linked from the podcast. Find it here:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Climate agency going up in flames

A catastrophic heat wave appears to be closing in on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. How hot is it getting in the scientific kitchen where they've been cooking the books and spicing up the stew pots? So hot, apparently, that Andrew Weaver, probably Canada's leading climate scientist, is calling for replacement of IPCC leadership and institutional reform.

The IPCC author who planted that false Himalayan meltdown said the other day "we" did it because "we thought ... it will impact policy makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action."

One Reader commented:
This does show the rats fleeing the sinking ship though, so good news for science on the whole.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

James Hansen: Would you buy a used temperature data set from THIS man?

Before we get too worried about NASA’s latest stamping-its-little-feet claims that the world is getting hotter it is it is it IS, let us first remind ourselves why we should trust their temperature records slightly less far than we can spit.
Then let’s have a closer look at the character and motives of the man in charge of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), Dr James Hansen. Last year, he was described by his former course supervisor at NASA, Dr John Theon, as an “activist” and an embarrassment.

Now reader Michael Potts has drawn my attention to yet further evidence of Dr Hansen’s radical, virulently anti-democratic instincts. He has lent his support to an eco-fascist book advising on ways to destroy western industrialisation through propaganda, guile and outright sabotage.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monogamy: An Evolutionary Perspective

An overview of mating behavior in the animal kingdom and in human cultures is presented. The two best supported theories of reproductive choice are then reviewed: Promiscuity preferences are determined by parental investment in offspring; Short and long-term mating strategies are shown to be responses to survival threats during human evolution. Recent research on sexual desire among monogamous women is reviewed. The function of marriage is considered in light of the latest anthropological evidence. Finally, the rate of life-long marriage in an existing culture practicing informal marriage is noted.

This Podcast can be downloaded from the iTunes Store with iTunes. Search for "NooPod" or "Stodolsky" in the iTunes Store. Use the below method only if that doesn't work. If you need the high-resolution slide set (PDF), follow the link below.

A click on the Title will start the Podcast in your browser, but with a small image. The preferred method is to use a secondary click to download and then play the Podcast in iTunes. The correct file extension is 'm4a'. If you get an 'MP3' extension added when downloading, removing it should make the file play correctly.
The complete high-resolution slide set (PDF) is no longer linked from the first podcast slide. Find it here: