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Sat, 25 Mar 2023
The World for People who Think

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Obama: Something is Wrong with US Politics

Obama book signing
© AP Photo/David Karp
President Barack Obama signs a copy of his book at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Aligning himself with a public fed up with economic uncertainty and Washington gridlock, President Barack Obama declared Thursday: "There is nothing wrong with our country. There is something wrong with our politics."

His toughly worded message - he said there was frustration in his voice, in case anyone missed the point - came amid a series of polls showing that people are disgusted with political dysfunction and are dispensing blame all around, including on Obama.

Obama aired his frustration with the ways of Washington at an event in Michigan before pivoting to his re-election campaign and a pair of big-money fundraisers in New York City.

Comment: The reader will of course note the irony of Obama stopping off to declare 'there is something wrong with our politics", while on route to his big-money fundraisers.


Could this 'police officer' be a soldier?

© Special Reconnaissance Regiment
Beware the Praetorian Guard: The coat of arms of Downing Street's own "Executive Assassination Ring"?
British special forces soldiers took part in the operation that led to the shoot-to-kill death of an innocent Brazilian electrician with no connection to the London bombings, defence sources said last week.

Jean Charles de Menezes was tailed by a surveillance team on July 22 as he caught a bus to Stockwell Underground station in south London. He was shot eight times when he fled from his pursuers at the Tube station.

The Ministry of Defence admitted last week that the army provided "technical assistance" to the surveillance operation but insisted the soldiers concerned were "not directly involved" in the shooting.

Press photographs of members of the armed response team taken in the immediate aftermath of the killing show at least one man carrying a special forces weapon that is not issued to SO19, the Metropolitan police firearms unit.

Monkey Wrench

US Appeals Court Rules Against Obama Healthcare Mandate

Obama iftar dinner
© REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at an iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House in Washington August 10, 2011.
President Barack Obama's healthcare law suffered a setback Friday when a U.S. appeals court ruled that it was unconstitutional to require all Americans to buy insurance or face a penalty.

The Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta, found that Congress exceeded its authority by requiring Americans to buy coverage, but also reversed a lower court decision that threw out the entire healthcare law.

Alarm Clock

Priest says Hell is an invention of the church to control people with fear

Retired Bishop, John Shelby Spong gives his views on how the church controls people with fear.


Lies, Damn Lies and Corruption: Retractions of Scientific Research Papers Going Up

Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot reports on the media coverage of a new study published by the Journal of Medical Ethics which shows a disturbing trend - more and more journals are retracting journal articles they previously published.

Worse yet, nearly 32 percent of the retracted papers are not noted as retracted. "Retracted" in scientific language means that the paper has been withdrawn and should be ignored - as though it never existed in the scientific literature. Retractions generally occur because of sloppy research and errors in the data calculations, collection or statistics, or because of fraud.

Is this a trend pointing to lower quality research and sloppier methods being employed? Or perhaps that because more people than ever can read the scientific research, more mistakes are being found after publication?

Comment: If you are appalled and shocked by the situation in the scientific community, it's important to understand that lies, deceit and corruption has been plaguing science for years. In fact, we are doubtful that any real and honest science is still going on within official circles. To learn more about the gravity of the situation, check out the latest issue of The Dot Connector Magazine, dedicated to the topic of the corruption of science.

Arrow Up

Corruption of Science: Fraud and Errors in Scientific Studies Skyrocket

© Reuters / Lucas Jackson
Devices used to take blood pressure, temperature, and examine eyes and ears rest on a wall inside of a doctor's office in New York in this March 22, 2010 file photo
A rise in the number of studies published in scientific journals has been accompanied by a surge in retraction notices, casting into doubt findings that influence everything from government grants to prescriptions written for patients, a Wall Street Journal analysis found.

Citing data compiled by Thomson Reuters, the Journal found a steep rise in retraction notices in peer-reviewed research journals, from just 22 in 2001 to 339 last year. The number of papers published in such journals rose 44 percent in the same time frame. The article pointed to other studies finding that fraud and misconduct were becoming increasingly prevalent.

The article noted that new scientific studies look to past research for guidance, so that a flawed study can cause a cascade of faulty or fruitless research: for example, when the renowned Mayo Clinic had Mayo Clinic found that data about using the immune system to fight cancer had been fabricated, seventeen scholarly papers published in nine research journals had to be retracted.

Comment: Personal integrity, love of truth, fairness, conscience, no conflict of interest, taking responsibility, unbiased scientific research, etc. These are pretty words that we have come to associate with members of the scientific and medical community. And why not? After all, they are supposed to be the brightest of us all; the ones that help to create a better future.

The problem with such associations is that they are no more than an illusions, and dangerous ones at that, especially when we provide scientists and whoever funds their research with silent consent to shape, control and influence our lives in any way they see fit.

To better understand the depth of moral depravity and criminal negligence at all levels in the scientific community and how their actions keep us in the dark and often put our lives in harm's way, read this month's issue of The Dot Connector Magazine, dedicated to the issue of the corruption of science.

Also, take a look at the following quotes to get a glimpse of what is really going on behind the closed lab doors:
Choosing research problems can be likened to an investment process (Bourdieu 1975, 1988). Scientists have available a certain amount of "capital" - knowledge, experience, time and effort - that they can invest in different ways. A conservative investment strategy is to pursue small, incremental innovations, with a high likelihood of success and a modest return of investment.[...] A risky strategy is to pursue a speculative idea: the likelihood of success may be low but the returns, if the idea pans out, can be huge.[...]

A different investment calculation comes into play, though, when it comes to someone else's ideas. To examine or even promote someone else's challenge to orthodoxy requires significant time and energy, yet the major returns go to another person, if they are recognized as the innovator. If the idea is a promising one, the temptation is to grab credit, for example by domesticating the radical idea and publishing in orthodox journals. It is no surprise that many innovators are afraid of having their ideas stolen. (Challenging Dominant physics paradigms by J.M Campanario and B.Martin)
In 1951, the U.S Congress established the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide financial support for post-World War II scientific research. Soon thereafter, someone at NSF or on the National Science Board, which is charged with oversight of NSF, had an idea, a really corrosive idea, the implementation of which would lead to the perversion and corruption of American science for decades ahead. The idea was that reviewers of scientific proposals to NSF for government research grant money should be anonymous; the crux of the idea being that anonymity would encourage honesty in evaluation even when those reviewers might be competitors or might have vested interests. Thus the concept of anonymous peer review was birthed.[...]

For decades, the use of anonymity within NSF, NASA, and elsewhere has been gradually corrupting American science. Unethical reviewers - secure, camouflaged, masked and hidden through anonymity - all too often make untrue and/or pejorative statements to eliminate their professional competitors. Nowadays, it is a pervasive, corrupt system that encourages and rewards the darkest elements of human nature. (Basic Cause of Current Corruption in American Science, Herndon, J. Marvin, 2008)
The most common view about how science works is that new ideas are judged on the basis of evidence and logic: if a new idea explains more data or provides more precise agreement with experiment, this counts strongly in its favor.

Karl Popper claimed that science advances by falsification (Popper 1963). In his view, it is the duty of scientists to attempt to disprove theories, confronting them with experimental data and rejecting them if they do not explain the data. Theories that cannot be falsified are, according to Popper, not scientific. Many scientists believe in falsificationism.

These conventional views were challenged by Thomas Kuhn (1970). Kuhn argued that scientists - and physicists in particular, since most of his historical examples were from physics - adhere to a paradigm, which is a set of assumptions and standard practices for undertaking research. If an experiment gives results contradictory to theory, then instead of rejecting the theory all together, alternative responses include rejecting the experiment as untrustworthy and modifying the theory to account for the new results (Chia 1998; Chinn and Brewer 1993).

When anomalies accumulate, the paradigm can enter a state of crisis and be ripe for overthrow by a new paradigm. This process of scientific revolution does not proceed solely according to a rational procedure but involves social factors such as belief systems and political arrangements. [...]

In any case, the idea of paradigms puts a different spin on the problem of new ideas in science. Rather than being dealt with according to logic and evidence, challenging ideas may be ignored or rejected out of hand because they conflict with current models. In effect, the logic and evidence used to establish the paradigm are treated as definitive and are unquestioningly preferred over any new logic and evidence offered that challenge the paradigm. During periods of "normal science", the ideas developed by mainstream scientists originate from current paradigms: they add more and more pieces to standard puzzles. Given that the paradigm is the source of ideas, it is not surprising that challenges to the paradigm - the framework that allowed mainstream scientists to contribute to the development of science - are seldom greeted with open arms. If a theory is not considered physically plausible, it may be rejected even though it makes successful predictions. (Challenging dominant physics paradigms, J.M Campanario and B.Martin, 2004)
In 2007 Professor Richard Lindzen described in the Wall Street Journal the tremendous pressure upon scientists to conform to the manufactured consensus of Global Warming:
Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.

To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let's start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.


Norway: Hackers claim to have cracked Norway mass-murderer's email

© Unknown
Breivik's rantings handed to journo, cops, says 'Noria' crew

A hacking group claims to have broken into two email accounts maintained by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, the far-right extremist who killed more than 70 people in attacks that shocked the world last month.

The hacking crew, who call themselves Noria, reportedly hacked into Breivik's email accounts after earlier taking over a Twitter profile maintained by the domestic terrorist.

The group is said to have handed over information from the hacked email accounts to a freelance journalist Kjetil Stormark, with the request that he pass on the material to police investigating the mass killings.


UK: Anonymous Might Act Against UK Web Shutdowns

Opposes Government social network shutdown threats

The Hacktivist Group Anonymous has issued a rather thinly veiled threat to the Government about its proposed plans to shut down social networking during times of social unrest.

Fresh from his holidays, UK Prime Minister David Cameron set about making himself look like a powerful and reassuring leader. He failed, and perhaps while scrabbling towards credibility he decided that perhaps the best thing to do would be to tackle social networking, since he thought that caused the riots and looting that have recently beset cities and towns all across the UK.

"Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill," he said. "Police were facing a new circumstance where rioters were using the Blackberry Messenger service, a closed network, to organise riots."


China: Chinese government under cyber siege

'We're the victims not the perps'

The Chinese government claims it came under almost 500,000 cyberattacks last year, most of which it said originated outside the country.

Most of the attacks involved Trojan horse malware, according to a report by the National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Center of China. A report by the cyber-monitoring agency, published on Tuesday, said that 14.7 per cent of the attacks came from the United States with a further 8 per cent originating in India, according to Kaspersky Labs security blog Threatpost.


Anonymous and TeaMp0isoN promise songs but no Facebook hack

Factions forming within hack group

Politically motivated hacking crew TeaMp0isoN has teamed up with Anonymous in an attempt to storm the music charts.

The hacktivists fancy themselves as music moguls with plans to release a song by an unspecified artist that they are nonetheless convinced is bound to storm the charts. Proceeds of the unknown song - due to released via iTunes and YouTube - will go to charity.

Only the music industry can thwart this digital activism, the groups suggest, adding that if the entertainment industry gets in the way the the hackers will return to more traditional hacking tactics, according to a manifesto for the project.
Long have activists and revolutionaries turned to a song to get their message out. Anonymous and TeaMp0isoN have collaborated together to continue this tradition. We are going to take youtube and iTunes by storm and flood the song into the world around us, with proceeds going to charities that are actively striving to change it. Once this hits the charts, radio stations will by law, have to play it. Will they thwart the law to continue making sheep out of the people?

If they censor the song we will attack the music industry and censor them instead.