Sunday Reads: GOP and Agnotology

This vintage ad about sums it up...look at the symbolic GOP elephant and his poison can...

This vintage ad about sums it up…look at the symbolic GOP elephant and his poison spray can of DDT …

Good Morning

Agnotology. New word, for me at least…read this explanation and tell me if it strikes a chord with you. (Emphasis mine.)

Agnotology is the study of culturally induced ignorance.

Agnotology refocuses questions about “how we know” to include questions about what we do not know, and why not.

Londa Schiebinger, in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 1 Sep. 2005.

Historians of science have tended to focus on the processes by which scientific knowledge gets accepted. In recent decades, some scholars have come to see that processes that impede or prevent acceptance of scientific findings are also important. Such processes include the very human desire to ignore unpleasant facts, media neglect of topics, corporate or government secrecy, and misrepresentation for a commercial or political end. They often generate controversy, much of it ill-informed. Examples include the health implications of tobacco and of genetically modified plants, the safety of nuclear power, the environmental consequences of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and the existence or extent of man-made climate change.

Seriously, by that definition alone, and with those examples…you could just say that Agnotology is the study of Republicans.

While we are going through a GOP induced hell here in the states, some parts of India are living a real hell…being hit by one of the strongest typhoons in years. Cyclone Phailin makes landfall in India

A huge cyclone that has forced as many as 500,000 people to flee their homes has made landfall in eastern India.

Map of India

Winds were measured at 200 km/h (125mph) as Cyclone Phailin hit the coast near Gopalpur, Orissa state, at about 21:15 (15:45 GMT).

Authorities had predicted a storm surge of at least 3m (10ft) that was expected to cause extensive damage.

Officials say they are better prepared than in 1999 when a cyclone killed thousands of people in Orissa.

Cyclone Phailin has been classed as “very severe”, and the head of India’s Meteorological Office, LS Rathore, said it would remain in that category for six hours before losing strength.

An hour before Phailin made landfall, winds were over 150 mph.  New York Times is reporting that over 800,00 people have been evacuated…We will learn more as the morning progresses, I will post updates in the comments below.

Heading toward Russia, there was some violence at St Petersburg when a Russian gay rally ends in fights and arrests.

The clashes began after a protester had her rainbow flag ripped from her hands [Reuters]

Sixty-seven people were arrested after fightes broke out between gay rights activists and opponents at a rally in the Russian city of St Petersburg, according to local news sources.

Several dozen activists for  lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual rights had gathered in the centre of the city for a sanctioned LGBT rally, which was held on what activists termed as “international coming out day”.

They were far outnumbered by the anti-gay demonstrators, including several dressed as Cossacks and Orthodox priests, who had occupied the site of the planned demo.

Fights broke out after anti-gay protesters tore a rainbow flag from a woman’s hands, and police then moved in to arrest those involved. They eventually detained 67 people from both sides, Russian news agencies reported.

The Winter Games are going to be one shitty scary mess.

Back here in the states, there was an arrest yesterday in a famous unsolved murder case out of New York City. New York police arrest man in 1991 ‘Baby Hope’ killing

New York City police have arrested a cousin in the killing of a 4-year-old girl dubbed “Baby Hope,” whose body was found crammed in a picnic cooler in 1991, police said on Saturday.

Conrado Juarez, 52, early on Saturday confessed to sexually assaulting and then smothering the girl, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told a news conference.

Police detained him at a Manhattan restaurant on Friday, more than 22 years after the girl’s death, he said.

The girl, dubbed “Baby Hope” by investigators, was never reported missing and was only recently identified.

Kelly named her as 4-year-old Anjelica Castillo.

Her bound, asphyxiated body was discovered stuffed underneath cans of soda inside a blue-and-white cooler alongside the Henry Hudson Highway in northern Manhattan in July of 1991. She had been starved and sexually abused, police said.

New York police announced on Tuesday they had identified the girl’s mother after following through on a tip they received over the summer. Her identity was confirmed through DNA testing and she was cooperating with the investigation, they said.

Finally some closure for the people who have worked this case for all these years, because it is obvious the family didn’t give a damn about this little girl at all.  Police say Juarez’s sister, who is dead, helped him dispose of Anjelica’s body. More information at this CNN link: NYPD arrests man in killing of ‘Baby Hope’

Update on Dartmouth: Dartmouth Suspends Wholesome Frat Over Hazing Emails

Meanwhile, Georgia’s Governor Deal may be under investigation. Read this AP report from North Georgia Access…it is a long article. I wonder if anything will come of it.: Attorney who raised questions about ethics complaints against Deal contacted by FBI  

I saw this next link via Google News from my hometown of Tampa: 10 News Investigators find memo warning about terrorist “dry-runs” on airplanes | wtsp.com Strange…and again not a lot of news on this in other media outlets.

Of course, if you want to see what is up with the shutdown: Senate leaders take over government shutdown talks – The Washington Post

Hey, I mentioned yesterday that I was having some problems with my gmail account, well…here are two links that you need to read if you use Facebook or Google:

Facebook Removing Option To Be Unsearchable By Name, Highlighting Lack Of Universal Privacy Controls | TechCrunch

“Who can look up your Timeline by name?” Anyone you haven’t blocked. Facebook is removing this privacy setting, notifying those who had hidden themselves that they’ll be searchable. It deleted the option from those who hadn’t used it in December, and is starting to push everyone to use privacy controls on each type of content they share. But there’s no one-click opt out of Facebook search.

Your Face May Appear in a Google Ad Soon- Mashable

If you’ve ever been appalled to see yourself or your friends used in a Facebook ad, then you’re not going to like Google‘s new terms of service.

The company updated its TOS on Friday to allow an adult user’s profile name and photo to appear in reviews and advertising starting Nov. 11.

And let me tell you, it is a bitch to find the dashboard on Google where you can fix this shit!

We have a personal connection to the PBS Frontline “League of Denial” that aired this past week, Boston Boomer’s brother created the trailer that angered the NFL so much they pressured ESPN to drop out of the project….well here’s a round-up of responses to the show via The Dish: The Football Fan’s Dilemma « The Dish

I think you will find this infographic from Huffpo interesting: The Geographic Inequality Of Death Row (INFOGRAPHIC)

October 10 marks the 11th World Day Against the Death Penalty, and the United States remains one of the top five countries in the world for executing its citizens — along with China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty International. The 43 executions we carried out last year happened in just nine states; 15 of them were in Texas.

I am going to move on to the better part of today’s post…nothing depressing or disturbing.

There was this article at The New York Times which touched a personal side for me. Growing Up With a Disabled Sibling

Some research suggests that growing up with a disabled sibling can also infuse a person with a greater sense of responsibility, patience and compassion for others. Some siblings may be inspired to go into a helping profession, like medicine, teaching or public interest law. Others translate their early experience with disability into a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, the wide spectrum of human differences. I confess to keeping my own list of successful and accomplished people who have a sibling with Down syndrome, which includes the Olympic snowboarder Kevin Pearce (now himself disabled by a traumatic brain injury), the actor and singer Jamie Foxx, the actress Eva Longoria, and Amy Chua of “Tiger Mom” fame (and a Yale Law School professor).

That is just one paragraph I want to point out, you have to read the whole op/ed. It is great.I guess it is for me because I know the outcome of growing up with a disabled sibling…in my situation, Denny and I were always a package deal. So I see the hope in that piece.

There are some cool pictures at this link: We Could Stare At These Defaced Bills All Day

And hey…check it out: [VIDEO] ‘Remington Steele’ Reboot — NBC Plans Sequel I used to love that show, Pierce Brosnan was so damn hot.

Oh, and since this is October, two links on horror movies:

Future Recall: 10 Cage-Free Horror Films on the Web (Netflix, AMC, youtube) that span time… – Bright Lights After Dark

A Very Brief History of a Very Famous Mask – She Blogged By Night

And one on Classic Movies from the 50’s:

moviemorlocks.com – Biting the Hand That Feeds You: Movies About the Movies In the 1950s

Finally, this last article…which proves that an animal without a backbone is more intelligent than one of those Republicans, or at least the octopus can assist in the Agnotological study of the Republican Brain:  How the Freaky Octopus Can Help us Understand the Human Brain – Wired Science

If you were to measure octopus smarts by the number of neurons the creatures have (500 million to our almost 100 billion), they’d come up pretty dull. But forget that metric. The octopus’s neurons aren’t even concentrated in its head; about two-thirds of its “brains” are distributed in its arms, dedicated to the fine operation of these limbs and each of their hundreds of suckers. The rest of the neurons are split between a central brain—surrounding the esophagus—and large optic lobes behind the eyes. Like we said: alien.

But somehow octopuses do things that suggest they’re brainier than plenty of animals with backbones and more familiar nervous systems. Here’s an easy one: Lots of octopods have learned to twist off standard jar lids. But in 2003, biologists at the Seattle Aquarium challenged Billye, a female Enteroctopus dofleini—a giant Pacific octopus—with a childproof bottle, the kind that can baffle even the smartest Homo sapiens. Billye figured out the push-and-twist trick in a little less than an hour. And in subsequent attempts, she popped those tricky tops in a mere five minutes.

Is the vertebrate brain optimized for intelligence? Ask the octopus. | Robert Eikelpoth/Corbis

This is just the beginning of their abilities. Octopuses in the wild may be using tools—a feat that, not so long ago, was considered the exclusive domain of humans (though now we know it’s the province of other species too, like dolphins and some birds). Researchers have observed octopuses off the coast of Indonesia collecting—and awkwardly carrying—coconut shell halves along the sandy seafloor. For a shelter on the go, they whip out the two pieces of shell, swoop inside, and snap the pair shut. “That’s a spectacular example, because it really does suggest foresight,” says Jennifer Mather, who studies animal behavior at Canada’s University of Lethbridge. “In terms of cognition, that’s pretty good.”

Have a great Sunday!

Stop by and share what you are reading and blogging about today.

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Late Night News Round-up: It’s Hammer Time!

Just a few links tonight…and since it is Classic Horror night on TCM, I may be wandering some in tonight’s post. It is the old horror flicks from Hammer Studios…starting with Horror of Dracula.

Hammer Horror celebrates the deliciously macabre offerings of the 1950s and ’60s from Hammer Films including Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Horror of Dracula (1958) and The Devil’s Bride (1968, aka The Devil Rides Out).

A small independent British studio simply trying to gain a foothold in the world market, Hammer Studios managed to forever transform the horror film. Once the lowliest of film genres, horror is now one of the world’s most popular and, to a large extent, the modern horror film began with Hammer’s Horror of Dracula (1958).

I absolutely love these old films. So it is difficult for me to keep from watching them.

This first link is for Boston Boomer, I find this kind of stuff interesting. Discovery of two opposite ways humans voluntarily forget unwanted memories

If only there were a way to forget that humiliating faux pas at last night’s dinner party. It turns out there’s not one, but two opposite ways in which the brain allows us to voluntarily forget unwanted memories, according to a study published by Cell Press October 17 in the journal Neuron. The findings may explain how individuals can cope with undesirable experiences and could lead to the development of treatments to improve disorders of memory control. (Credit: Current Biology, Benoit et al.)

On to a few news items that may have been overlooked today.

Pakistan’s Textile Industry Faces Challenges

A fire last month that killed some 300 trapped workers at a garment factory in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi exposed serious flaws in the country’s industry regulations. It was one of the worst industry disasters in Pakistan, one in which most victims were trapped behind closed or blocked fire exits. Union members blame a culture of easy violation of health and safety laws.

At the M.K. Sons factory in Faisalabad, which produces colorful printed fabrics for sale by U.S. retail giants like Walmart and Target, chief executive Rana Javed Akhtar insists that unlike the Karachi factory that burned down, his business is in line with international regulations.

Afghan woman beheaded after refusing prostitution

Afghan police have arrested four people who allegedly tried to force a woman into prostitution in western Afghanistan and beheaded her when she refused, officials said Wednesday.

Mah Gul, 20, was beheaded after her mother-in-law attempted to make her sleep with a man in her house in Herat province last week, provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada told AFP.

“We have arrested her mother-in-law, father-in-law, her husband and the man who killed her,” he said.

Gul was married to her husband four months ago and her mother-in-law had tried to force her into prostitution several times in the past, Sayedzada said.

The suspect, Najibullah, was paraded by police at a press conference where he said the mother-in-law lured him into killing Gul by telling him that she was a prostitute.

“It was around 2:00 am when Gul’s husband left for his bakery. I came down and with the help of her mother-in-law killed her with a knife,” he said.

The murder comes against a backdrop of a world outcry over the shooting by Taliban Islamists of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, who had become a voice against the suppression of women’s rights.

While Yousafzai’s case has made world headlines, people using social media in Afghanistan have made the point that oppression and violence against women are commonplace in Afghanistan.

It is upsetting I know, but here is a feel good link for you. Check out this video:  – Air Canada jet passengers and crew hunt down missing yacht

A passenger jet was sent to 5000 feet to look for a stranded sailboat off the coast of Australia. Can you imagine flying down that low over the sea?

Here is another article about flight…this time it is old spitfires. Dozens of Spitfire planes to be excavated in Burma

Restored Spitfire

Restored Spitfires are in short supply and the Burma/UK project is expected to largely increase their population. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

Dozens of Spitfire fighter planes that were buried by British troops in Burma as the second world war drew to a close are to be excavated after an agreement to dig up the historic aircraft was signed by the Burmese government and an aviation enthusiast from Lincolnshire.

After 16 years of searching and lobbying, David Cundall, 62, has signed a deal to recover the lost RAF planes, which are believed to have been packed in crates and hidden by British forces on the orders of Earl Mountbatten shortly before the United States bombed the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

During his visit to Burma in April, David Cameron reached an agreement with President Thein Sein about the recovery of the missing aircraft. The British embassy in Rangoon said the newly signed deal was a chance to work with the new Burmese government “in uncovering, restoring, displaying these fighter planes”.

The restoration should begin at the end of month.

The number of Mark 14 Spitfires awaiting discovery remains unclear, but Htoo Htoo Zaw, managing director of Cundall’s Burmese partner, the Shwe Taung Paw company, said he estimated there were at least 60. Previous estimates have varied between 20 and 36. Even that number would represent a large increase in the global Spitfire population: while 21,000 were built, only 35 remain in a good enough condition to fly.

Well, now a few links about the debate.

There is news that Tagg wanted to punch Obama at the debate last night, guess that was part of the reason the family rushed over to Mitt? Romney’s son says he wanted to punch Obama during second debate | The Raw Story

From BAR: The Duopoly Debates Itself | Black Agenda Report

To any objective observer, the consensus that exists between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the fundamental issues of war and peace, Wall Street’s dominance of American life, and fiscal austerity, has been made crystal clear in the two “debates.” In the absence of effective popular resistance to the duopoly of money, the economic and social crisis fails to create a corresponding political crisis for the rulers. As a result, there is nothing important for them to debate.

This one by Paul Waldman:  No, Candy Crowley Did Not Show Any Favoritism

Before last night’s debate, both the Obama and Romney camps expressed their concern that moderator Candy Crowley might go rogue and act like something resembling a journalist, not merely keeping time and introducing questioners but interjecting to get clarifications and ask follow-ups. Once the debate was over, it was only conservatives complaining about her.

And this last link from Juan Cole…Romney Binder full of Top Ten Mistakes and Falsehoods | Informed Comment

I will end this post with an interesting mutation being seen in England.  Yup, it is a strange case, Attack of the Mutant Rats!

Okay, I got carried away with the theme of campy horror films.

Three quarters of rats in parts of West ‘resistant to poison’

Rats
About 75% of rats in the West have built up a resistance to poisons

An increasing number of rats in areas of the west of England are mutating to become more resistant to commonly sold poisons, a university study has found.

Scientists at Huddersfield University said about 75% of rats in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire had built up a resistance.

The most serious mutations have affected rats in Bath and Wiltshire.

Experts have blamed the rise on the incorrect use of poisons where dosages which are too low have been used.

Alright, that is it. It took me all of the movie to write this post…next up The Curse of Frankenstein.

I won’t be back tonight…after Frankenstein, comes The Mummy (1959) , actually just waiting for The Gorgon is giving me a thrill!