Tuesday, October 13, 2015

mr. miracle is NOT a vampire squid plant - he's pandering to peasants far more broadly than that...,

dailybeast |  With the significant but specific exceptions of climate change and health reform, the Koch brothers’ critique of Washington is almost the exact opposite of Trump’s. Indeed, with those important exceptions aside, the average Jon Stewart fan would probably agree with the Koch brothers more than Hillary Clinton on a wide array of issues.

From the 1960s through the George W. Bush administration, Charles and David Koch were fierce critics of the GOP. David Koch, in fact, was the Libertarian Party candidate for vice president in 1980—the year Ronald Reagan was first elected. The brothers founded and funded think tanks that opposed the Vietnam War, the Patriot Act, prison-building, homophobic marriage laws, corporate subsidies, deficit spending, and many other GOP positions.

Unlike Trump’s platform, this set of ideas has been thoroughly developed by diverse thinkers from libertarians to moderate thinkers in both parties. It is a promising platform for governance, and the Koch brothers had spent decades patiently bringing it to fruition. 

At least, that was their strategy until 2008, when they panicked and changed course.

The root cause was those two thorny policy areas where they actually do agree with Trump: climate change and health reform. Charles and David feared that Obama would socialize medicine, overreact on climate change, and crash the economy. As a result, they discarded their careful libertarian strategy and created a monster: They heavily backed the GOP by funding a quasi-grassroots rage campaign known today as the Tea Party movement, built to attack Obama and Democrats.

In the short term, this Koch investment clearly failed. The Tea Party failed to block either of Obama’s election victories; failed to block healthcare reform; failed to block health-care implementation; and failed to block executive action on climate change. By attacking the Democratic Party directly, the Koch brothers dragged their own brand into the political arena—exactly the result they initially wanted to avoid.  Fist tap Dale.

if you lay down with tards, you get up with invisible freedom caucus fleas..,

thenation |  In his first term, Nixon himself made a memorable gesture by supporting federal tax subsidies for the private “seg academies” springing up across the South. He didn’t prevail, but he won lots of political loyalty among Southern whites—a generation of voters who had been raised to vote Democratic, but who were beginning to switch parties. 

In 1980, Ronald Reagan opened his presidential campaign at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi—a few miles from where three civil-rights workers had been murdered in the 1960s. Reagan announced his intention “to restore to states and local government the power that properly belongs to them.” That is Dixie’s euphemism for opposing racial integration.
In 1988, George H.W. Bush smeared Michael Dukakis with his notoriously racist “Willie Horton” ads. In 1990 in North Carolina, Senator Jesse Helms ran for reelection against Harvey Gantt, a black former mayor of Charlotte, with a provocative ad called “white hands, black hands” attacking affirmative action. Helms won, and of course so did Bush. 

In 2008, when Americans elected our first black president, most of the heavy smears came after Barack Obama took office. Grassroots conservatives imagined bizarre fears: Obama wasn’t born in America; he was a secret Muslim. Donald Trump demanded to see the birth certificate. GOP leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell—who had been a civil-rights advocate in his youth—could have discouraged the demonizing slurs. Instead, McConnell launched his own take-no-prisoners strategy to obstruct anything important Obama hoped to accomplish. 

At least until now, Republicans have gotten away with this bigotry. As a practical matter, there was no political price. Democrats often seemed reluctant to call them out, fearful that it might encourage even greater racial backlash. Indeed, the Dems developed their own modest Southern strategy—electing centrists Jimmy Carter of Georgia and later Bill Clinton of Arkansas to the White House. But the hope that Democrats could make peace with Dixie by moderating their liberalism was a fantasy. Conservatives upped the ante and embraced additional right-wing social causes.
* * *
So what caused the current rebellion in the GOP ranks? It finally dawned on loyal foot soldiers in the odd-couple coalition that they were being taken for suckers. Their causes always seemed to get the short end of the stick. The GOP made multiple promises and fervent speeches on the social issues, but, for one reason or another, the party establishment always failed to deliver.

Why The Deep State Always Wins

dissidentvoice |  Looking back at the past two decades, U.S. intervention in the Middle East has failed to “spread democracy” or win the “war on terror.” It has only succeeded in creating more instability, more conflict, and more enemies.47 After spending $25 billion to equip and train Iraqi security forces,48 our military ends up bombing its own equipment49 to fend off CIA-armed jihadist forces50 in anticipation of providing even more military aid to the Kurds.51

One thing is certain: the Middle East is awash with armaments supplied by the United States.

There are those who would argue that this incongruous state of affairs is intentional, that stated claims about WMDs and nurturing democracy are a mere pretext for a more ominous stratagem. More than a decade ago John Stockwell presciently pointed out an unsettling logic, an instance of Hegelian Dialectic where the ruling class creates its own enemies to feed off of the ensuing carnage:52
Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the U.S. military machine to turn. If the world were peaceful, we would never put up with this kind of ruinous expenditure on arms at the cost of our own lives. This is where the thousands of CIA destabilizations begin to make a macabre kind of economic sense. They function to kill people who never were our enemies-that’s not the problem-but to leave behind, for each one of the dead, perhaps five loved ones who are now traumatically conditioned to violence and hostility toward the United States. This insures that the world will continue to be a violent place, populates with contras and Cuban exiles and armies in Southeast Asia, justifying the endless, profitable production of arms to ‘defend’ ourselves in such a violent world.
The defense industry thrives from regional conflicts like this, a constant stream of flash points in America’s self-perpetuating campaign to eradicate terrorism. The cost for the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan reaches into trillions of dollars and much of that funding ends up covering military expenses.53 About a year ago, back when President Obama announced he was thinking about bombing the Assad regime, Raytheon’s stock jumped.54

And the defense executives aren’t alone, the fossil fuel industry also extracts its pound of flesh.55 It’s the failed state model for neocolonialism.56 Non-nuclear countries that have been ravaged by war are more susceptible to opening their doors and yielding nationalized resources on behalf of corporate pressure. Before the United States invaded Iraq its oil wells weren’t accessible to outside firms. After the invasion Western oil interests like Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil have all gained entry to one of the world’s largest sources of oil.57 In March of 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iraq’s oil output was at its highest point in more than 30 years.58

Slavery is Freedom
As perennial conflict abroad is leveraged as a tool of empire, at home it leads to repression. The late Chalmers Johnson, who studied this phenomenon as a professor at UC San Diego, characterized this with the adage “Either give up your empire, or live under it.”

With the public exposure of the NSA’s global surveillance apparatus there are intimations that this process is already underway. In 2005 there were revelations of warrantless wiretapping under President George W. Bush,59 a story that the New York Times sat on for months.60 Then a slew of NSA whistleblowers like Russell Tice,61 Thomas Drake62 and William Binney63 publicly came forward with allegations that the NSA’s monitoring programs were unconstitutional. And in May of 2013 the other shoe dropped when a Booz Allen contractor named Ed Snowden handed over a large set of classified documents64 to journalists in Hong Kong.

The purpose of the NSA’s panopticon is to further the interests of the corporate elite. In an open letter to Brazil Ed Snowden clearly states as much:65
These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.
Yet it’s important to keep in mind that the origins of the emerging police state can be traced much farther back.66 For example, in the late 1960s the Department of Defense conceived Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, code named Operation Garden Plot, which included “plans to undercut riots and demonstrations” using “information gathered through political espionage and informants.”67

In 1971 an instructor for the U.S. Army, a man named Christopher Pyle, revealed that the military had been tracking civilian political activists and demonstrations for several years. A few years later in 1974 Seymour Hersh, writing for the New York Times, exposed a CIA program called CHAOS (aka MCHAOS) which targeted antiwar activists in the United States.68

Though the trend of militarization is hard to dismiss,69 how exactly does military action overseas incite civilian persecution within our borders? George Orwell in his timeless book 1984 provides a succinct explanation:
War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.
American society cannot endure perpetual war and maintain a healthy middle class. Especially when plutocrats70 and executives71 do everything in their power to avoid72 paying taxes.73 The decree of maximizing profit requires them to extract value from the commons and then fail to offer anything in return, to the tune of trillions of dollars a year. Hence the burden of supporting an endless series of bloody military campaigns falls on the rest of us.

at this moment, the kochtopus is the only viable resistance to the deep state

rollingstone |  Koch Industries has written a lengthy response to our feature story on the company in the latest issue of Rolling Stone. In tweets the company apparently paid to promote, Koch bills this write-up as a "point-by-point response to Rolling Stone writer Tim Dickinson's dishonest and misleading story." The salient feature of Koch's response is that the company does not argue the core facts of our 9,000-word expose. Instead, Koch targets the messenger. Koch's top target here is not even Rolling Stone, but me, Tim Dickinson.

I find it, frankly, amusing that a company that has been convicted of six felonies and numerous misdemeanors; paid out tens of millions of dollars in fines; traded with Iran, and been so reckless in its business practices that two innocent teenagers ended up dead, attempts to impugn my integrity, and on the basis of my association with Mother Jones — where I worked as an editor in the late 1990s and early 2000s, on a team that was twice nominated and once awarded a National Magazine Award for General Excellence. 

Koch, in particular, takes umbrage with my reporting practices. 

For the record: In the weeks prior to publication, beginning September 4th, Rolling Stone attempted to engage Koch Industries in a robust discussion of the issues raised in our reporting. Rolling Stone requested to interview CEO Charles Koch about his company's philosophy of Market Based Management; Ilia Bouchouev, who heads Koch's derivatives trading operations, about the company's trading practices; and top Koch lawyer Mark Holden about the company's significant legal and regulatory history. 

The requests to speak to Charles Koch and Bouchouev were simply ignored. Ultimately, only Holden responded on the record, only via e-mail and only after Holden baselessly insinuated that I had been given an "opposition research" document dump from the liberal activist David Brock. (This is false.) From my perspective as a reporter, Koch Industries is the most hostile and paranoid organization I've ever engaged with — and I've reported on Fox News. In a breach of ethics, Koch has also chosen to publish email correspondence characterizing the content of a telephone conversation that was, by Koch's own insistence, strictly off the record.

Monday, October 12, 2015

no love for the bloody, cruel conquered or the bloody cruel conquerors...,

guardian |  One miniature sculpture resembles something not quite human, and instead has “an angel’s face on one side and a demon with goat horns on the other”, the researchers said.

Sacrifice was not the end for the victims. Skeletons show the marks of cuts consistent with flesh cleaved from bones, Martinez said, suggesting that the townspeople ate not just the horses but the caravan travelers as well.

Martinez could not be reached to describe evidence of cannibalism, however, and other archaeologists cautioned that such claims were sometimes founded in colonists’ accounts and not always supported by material evidence.

Some of the human remains were placed around the site, as on a bone rack of skulls that later greeted the avenging Spaniards sent by Cortes. In another case, inside the pelvis of a woman who was sacrificed and dismembered in a plaza, the Acolhuas placed the skull of a one-year-old child. 

Only the pigs were spared the full treatment, apparently because they so baffled the native people.
“The pigs were sacrificed and hidden in a well, but there is no evidence they were cooked,” Martinez said.

When Cortes learned of the massacre he sent a force to destroy the town and the Acolhuas. Martinez said the ruins of Zultepec-Tecoaque suggest its inhabitants tried to quickly abandon and hide evidence of the sacrifices by tossing the Europeans’ belongings in certain rooms and in cisterns.
Archaeologists have found more than 200 objects, including a riding spur, a brooch, rings, iron nails and glazed ceramic figurines, in 11 cisterns around the site, and plan to explore three more in the coming months. 

Cortes’ soldiers destroyed the town, but Acolhuas’ attempt to bury remnants of the sacrifices actually helped preserve the evidence for later archaeologists, Martinez noted.

The identification of indigenous allies in the Spanish caravan struck Overholtzer as a telling sign of the complex world into which the invaders marched.

you can start building that wall any time now...,

guardian |  Archaeologists say they have have found the main trophy rack of sacrificed human skulls at Mexico City’s Templo Mayor Aztec ruin site.

Racks known as “tzompantli” were where the Aztecs displayed the severed heads of sacrifice victims on wooden poles pushed through the sides of the skull. The poles were suspended horizontally on vertical posts.

Eduardo Matos, an archaeologist at the National Institute of Anthropology and History, suggested the skull rack in Mexico City “was a show of might” by the Aztecs. Friends and even enemies were invited into the city, precisely to be cowed by the grisly display of heads in various stages of decomposition.

Paintings and written descriptions from the early colonial period showed descriptions of such racks. But institute archaeologists said the newest discovery was different.

Part of the platform where the heads were displayed was made of rows of skulls mortared together roughly in a circle, around a seemingly empty space in the middle. All the skulls were arranged to look inward toward the centre of the circle, but experts don’t know what was at the centre.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

another hopefully the last long-winded stream of consciousness ramble signifying nothing...,

sundaily |  "If we are denied what is rightfully due to us, then there has to be unified action that we take that will force the justice that we seek," he said from a podium near the steps of the US Capitol building.

"There must come a time when we say, enough is enough. It must change, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring about that change."

His message found resonance with speakers and many protesters at the rally, who invoked recent acts of alleged excessive use of police force, including some that proved deadly.

"Twenty years ago, the death of Tamir Rice would have fallen on deaf ears, left for the police to write a false report, and not broadcast for the world to know," organiser Tamika Mallory said, referring to last year's police shooting of a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland, Ohio.

She also recalled the now infamous deaths at police hands of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York that inspired the "Black Lives Matter" movement, whose slogan was omnipresent on the Mall.

Beyond the growing media attention and accountability, though, there are mixed signs of progress over the two decades since the original march.

The unemployment rate for black men in the US has stubbornly hovered around eight percent since 1995, twice that of white men.

The rate at which African-Americans are arrested has declined slightly, but they remain six times more likely than whites to be detained and often face harsher sentences for comparable crimes, according to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Barack Obama attended the original Million Man March, prior to being elected America's first black president, but the US leader was in California during the latest protest.

overseer execution of tamir rice was reasonable?

cleveland |  The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office released reports Saturday from two experts in use of force by police who concluded that the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland officer was "tragic" and "heartbreaking," but reasonable given that the officer believed the boy to be armed.

The reviews are the first of many sought by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty as his office prepares to present to a grand jury the case that thrust Cleveland into the heart of an ongoing national conversation on police violence.

Retired Virginia FBI agent Kimberly Crawford and Denver-area District Attorney S. Lamar Sims, nationally renowned experts on police use-of-force issues, each stressed that they did not look at whether Loehmann or his partner Frank Garmback violated Ohio laws, made tactical mistakes or broke with department policy in the moments leading up to the shooting.

They only examined the constitutionality of Loehmann's decision to open fire on the boy during their two-second encounter.

 "There can be no doubt that Rice's death was tragic and, indeed, when one considers his age, heartbreaking," Sims wrote in a 52-page analysis. "However, I conclude that Officer Loehmann's belief that Rice posed a threat of serious physical harm or death was objectively reasonable as was his response to that perceived threat."

Both experts reviewed surveillance camera footage of the shooting and concluded that the fact that Tamir reached toward his waistband gave first-year officer Timothy Loehmann legal reason to consider him a threat and open fire Nov. 22 outside Cudell Recreation Center on the city's West Side.
To make that decision, Crawford and Sims said they could only use the information Loehmann knew at the moment he shot Tamir and not the boy's age or that the gun he carried was fake, two details that make the case unique among the dozens of use-of-force cases drawing scrutiny toward police forces across the United States. 

Neither Loehmann nor Garmback have given statements about the shooting, so the experts could only use what Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department investigators were able to uncover during their three-month investigation, handed over to McGinty's office in June.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

or else what?

justiceorelse |  The Demand
  • WE want Justice for Blacks in America who have given America 460 years of sweat and blood to make her rich and powerful.
  • We want an immediate end to police brutality and mob attacks.
  • WE want Justice for the Native American Indians.
  • We want Justice for the Mexican and Latinos.
  • We want Justice for Women.
  • We want Justice for the Poor.
  • We want Justice for the Incarcerated.
  • We want Justice for Veterans.
  • We want Land
Justice or Else!
The longer justice is denied the more intense will be the cry. The anger that is in the breast of the people will continue and as the pain continues to intensify, if our cry for justice is not heard soon, then these demonstrations and protests in cities across the country and the world will produce a tsunami the results of which will bring about total chaos and destruction on all sides.

reconquista been underway for a minute...,

jpfo |  Apparently, multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic democracies don't last very long, if they even get started in the first place. The minute a single race, religion or ethnic group loses a large majority in a nation, that nation begins to undergo internal fracture. Chittum points out that the fall of the Soviet Union had as much to do with an incredible growth of Islamic forces in the various conglomerates of the Soviet Empire as did the arms race with the West. In the case of America, we shouldn't "celebrate diversity," we should fear it.

Civil War II will start in the American Southwest. Actually, it has already begun. It is called the "Reconquista," or in English, the Reconquest. An estimated two million illegal aliens, mostly Mexicans, have now infiltrated and occupied a huge swath of American soil that stretches from Los Angeles to New Orleans and up into New Mexico. Mexican and Latino radicals have already given this nation-to-be a name: "Aztlan." A beachhead has been established. Mexico will erupt into a revolution within the next 20 years. This revolution will either be brutally put down, as in the recent Chiapas uprising, or it will succeed and a new, likely Marxist, government will take over. In either case, further millions of Mexicans, attempting to escape the bloodshed and even more depressing poverty, will flee north across the American border and into the Southwest. The conflict between the whites and the Hispanics will be exacerbated by the fact that one group speaks English and the other Spanish. One group is brown and the other is white. The inevitable "them vs. us" division will occur because the opposing forces can be immediately identified by skin color and/or language.

Friday, October 09, 2015

the scientist and the church

bnarchives |  The Scientist and the Church is a wide-ranging biography of research, showcasing Bichler and Nitzan’s attempts to break through the stifling dogmas of the academic church and chart a new scientific cosmology of capitalism. Central to the authors’ work is the notion that capital is not a productive economic category but capitalized power, and that capitalism should be conceived and researched not as a mode of production and consumption but as a mode of power.

The articles collected in this volume outline the general contours of their approach, flesh out some of their recent research and offer personal insights into the broader politics of their journey. The first chapters reexamine the common foundations of the neoclassical and Marxist doctrines, sketch the contours of the authors’ alternative cosmology of capitalized power, identify the asymptotes – or limits – of this power and explore the all-encompassing logic of modern finance. Subsequent chapters research the connection between redistribution and cyclical crises, reassess the Marxist nexus between imperialism and financialism, rethink the oft-misunderstood role of crime and punishment in the capitalist mode of power and articulate a new theory and history of Middle-East energy conflicts. The closing chapters include two big-picture interviews, as well as riveting reflections on the authors’ own scientific clashes with the church.  BNA Fanboyism at Subrealism

male general intelligence does not increase female sexual attraction...,

drjamesthompson |  Although I don’t do trigger warnings, you may want to skip this item. One of the few consolations to shy men with intellectual aspirations was the thesis that women would be tempted to mate with them on the basis of intellect alone. Of course, men were still required reveal their intellects in some way, but telling jokes was judged sufficient. Personally, I cannot recall this ever working. “A friend, seeing Franz Kafka sitting alone at a cafe table, walked across the hall to him and said “Franz, I am sitting with some friends. Would you like to join us?” “No” replied Kafka.”

The young women on whom I attempted this approach would smile appreciatively, and then dance with someone else, usually of taciturn demeanour and singularly lacking in social skills. Of course I would not dream of suggesting that this was a shallow and heartless response. Perhaps the music was too loud, and the joke could not be heard.

So, what happens when you test the hypothesis?

totally misses the point: N-1 is an in-group marker for human breeding populations...,

osu.edu |  Throughout history, scholars and researchers have tried to identify the one key reason that people are attracted to religion.

Some have said people seek religion to cope with a fear of death, others call it the basis for morality, and various other theories abound.

But in a new book, a psychologist who has studied human motivation for more than 20 years suggests that all these theories are too narrow. Religion, he says, attracts followers because it satisfies all of the 16 basic desires that humans share.

“It’s not just about fear of death. Religion couldn’t achieve mass acceptance if it only fulfilled one or two basic desires,” said Steven Reiss, a professor emeritus of psychology at The Ohio State University and author of The 16 Strivings for God (Mercer University Press, 2016).

“People are attracted to religion because it provides believers the opportunity to satisfy all their basic desires over and over again. You can’t boil religion down to one essence.”

Thursday, October 08, 2015

N-1 a literal diseased state?

biologydirect |  The variety of parasites that can affect host behavior suggests that the phenomena of parasitic host control might be more common in nature than currently established and could have been overlooked in humans. This warrants a detailed search for parasitic organisms that affect human behavior. One approach to search for “invisible” microbes that influence behavior is by comparing the microbiomes of control subjects and humans that consistently engage in irrational ritualistic behavioral activities, which contribute to the spreading of parasites and infections.

The modern anthropological view on religion is that it is a cultural meme that replicates through social communication [44]. While the meme itself may influence behavior, religious icons are known to be vectors of infectious diseases [45]. Most major religions have rituals that are likely to promote the transmission of infections. This includes circumcision [46], Christian common communion chalice [46], the Hindu ‘side-roll’[46] and Islamic ritual ablution [46] as well as the Hajj congregation in Mecca [47]. For example, the latter is specifically associated with outbreaks of meningococcal disease [48].

Also many religions are centered on sacred relics that are worshiped and frequently kissed by multiple people and thereby can act as vessels for microbial transmission. Crosses, icons, Bible covers are kissed in some denominations of the Christian tradition, the Black Stone (the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba) is a relic that is kissed by millions of Muslims, kissing of the Wailing Wall is a religious tradition for the Jewish. It is unlikely, but possible that the rejection of condom use, vaccination and use of antibiotics present in some religious cultures, as well as the sacred status of specific domestic animals (possible definitive hosts to the parasites) may also be related to microbial host control. Finally, it has been noted that many parasites eliminate their hosts reproductive potential as they channel all available resources to maximize their own reproductive success [18]. Coincidentally celibacy is commonplace for holy individuals that are most devoted to their faith such as monks or nuns.

Thus it is possible that various religious practices could represent biomemes: manifestations of a symbiosis between informational memes [54] and biological organisms. This concept is somewhat similar to the fictional midichlorians of the Jedi Order from the popular series “Star Wars”[55].

Two particular parts of the human body seem to be most promising for the search of  behavior-altering parasites. First of all, the human gut microbiome may be of interest in light of the microbiome-gut-brain axis concept. Another promising area to search for behavioraltering parasites is the human brain. Several organisms that can bypass the mammalian blood–brain barrier and produce a latent infection without obvious symptoms are currently known. In mice with latent toxoplasmosis, Toxoplasma gondii cysts can be found in various regions of the brain, especially in the olfactory bulb, the entorhinal, somatosensory, motor and orbital, frontal association and visual cortices, the hippocampus and the amygdala [56]. In humans the brain also appears to be an important site for Toxoplasma gondii cyst formation and the parasite is capable of infecting a variety of brain cells, including astrocytes and neurons [57-59].

behavioral transplants: tards are full of _______ - but there may be a simple solution...,

nature |  Twelve Canadian scientists accomplished something we've only heard about in science fiction: They transplanted a set of behaviors from one set of animals to another set of animals! And you'll never guess what part of these animals they physically transplanted to achieve this feat: It was not their brains; It was not their hearts; It was their gut-contents! We have all heard the phrase "you are what you eat", but scientists have discovered the real truth: You are what you poop. 

Science is rapidly discovering that the intestinal tract is a vast ecosystem of microbes and the proportion of each microbe species present doesn't just influence digestion, but also brain development, cognition and even behavior. This connection has been termed the microbiota-gut-brain axis and is a new and quickly growing area of research. Different strains of lab mice are known to have different personalities: Some are more anxious and skittish, while others are more easy-going and friendly. When scientists looked at the microbes in their guts, they found that anxious mice and easy-going mice had different proportions of these microbial species. Different microbe species seem to have different effects on their hosts. While some gut microbes can cause illness, mice that have been raised so that they have never had any gut microbes have all kinds of problems, including symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and autism, suggesting that some microbe species are important for healthy brain functioning.

Stephen Collins of McMaster University and his research collaborators tested the effects of gut microbes on behavior by giving BALB/c mice either 7 days of oral antibiotics or water. BALB/c mice are a very timid and anxious mouse strain. Normally, BALB/c mice that are placed in a box that is half dark and half bright will prefer to spend more time hiding in the dark side. BALB/c mice placed on an elevated platform will hesitate and take a long time to step down to explore. After a week of antibiotic treatment, mice given the antibiotic had a different proportion of microbe species in their guts, spent more time in the bright side of the light-dark box and were quick to step down from the elevated platform to explore! The scientists also found brain changes in these mice that correspond to decreased anxiety. But when the mice were tested a second time two weeks after treatment, all effects were gone, likely because the gut microbes were able to repopulate and rebalance their ecosystems.

the business model consists in fleecing credulous geeks with more money than sense...,

discovermagazine |  Full disclosure, I didn’t pay $89 for my sample analysis kit. But if I had, I would have been disappointed. And if I had paid $399 for the five-site kit, I would have been even more so. The amount of readily available information provided little enlightenment about what my internal lurkers meant about me.

To be fair, this is not totally uBiome’s fault, and it’s something they disclose explicitly in the terms of service. We don’t know enough about the microbiome to say, “Too many of X and too little of Y mean Z,” or, “Firmicutes make you fat.” I knew that, and uBiome made very clear that no human should use their service to diagnose themselves or predict their future, and that knowledge of the microbiome is nascent and evolving. But I did expect the comparison tools to have more flexibility.

I could check out how my bacteria’s phyla stood up to those of vegans, paleos, vegetarians, heavy drinkers, weight losers, weight gainers, those on antibiotics, men, and women. But not women on antibiotics. Or vegetarian women who are in their 30s. And I couldn’t compare a level beneath phylum.

My microbiome doesn’t look like vegans’, paleos’, vegetarians’, lushes’, or any of the other groups’, which makes sense given that I’m an individual and don’t strictly fit within those categories. 

However, it also means that my data didn’t provide me much insight. I could download my own raw data and manipulate it, but then I was looking at it in a vacuum, without a set to compare to, so the analysis amounts mostly to, “Hey, look. I have this many of those bacteria. Neat?”

Beyond that, I could see a list of all my bacteria and what percentage of the population they were; which were “most enriched” compared to the aggregate; and which were “most depleted” compared to the aggregate. For some, I could click on their name — digging down from phylum to genus — and learn more about their lives and the effect they might have on mine.

However, many — more than half, if you go all the way to genus — don’t have entries. That’s because science hasn’t figured them out yet. And science will almost certainly figure them out in the future… By which time, however, my microbiome will probably have changed.

Bio Business Model
uBiome bills itself primarily as a citizen science project—your guts in your hands!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

open thread - do my "smart" frog friends feel the west coast pot getting hot yet?

As population increases, while resources (and the associated wealth) decreases, and more people struggle to simply survive, social "niceties" are bound to diminish. In northern California and southern Oregon, there are more and more "transients"/ homeless people... with no investment in what is clearly falling apart, yet interestingly, with an inflated Californian sense of entitlement.

Overseers in every municipality are being put to the test to maintain civility. City councils are passing severe ordinances which prohibit camping, sitting on sidewalks, curbs or the ground, no loitering, no panhandling etc. The Mount Shasta situation has been exasperated given two years with no snow, so what was once a very inhospitable winter climate just a few years ago, now affords year round camping and hanging outdoors.
The mass shootings are a symptom of "overshoot". You humans have gone over the plateau and are on the down edge of collapse.  Meanwhile, down in So-Cal

At Myra Marquez’s house, she checks the gauge on her 2500 gallon water tank before she touches a faucet. The tank gets filled every Monday.

Rationing 2000 gallons over five or six days is tough.

"It’s hard,” she said.

It takes $38 million dollars from the state’s Emergency Drought Relief Program to pay for the town’s drinking water and fill residents’ water tanks. (1700 residents)

Isn't anyone else surprised or annoyed that a household in Central California can't make it on 2500 gallons of H2O each week?

Isn't anyone else incredulous that California is paying $38,000,000 to truck water to just 1700 folks?

That's over $22,000 for each person!
Who's organizing that water drive, the Pentagon? That's $88,000 for a family of four. California could drill a $30,000 well for each family and save a bundle.

I hear there are plenty of idle drilling rigs in Texas... But, is there any water left?

Who was it that said, "Are humans smarter than yeast?"

Collapse is taking a whole lot longer than I thought it would - which is good - because in the intervening decade, my children have achieved young adulthood and waxed very strong - while I've been afforded an opportunity to carefully observe and study what you do under such self-inflicted, mass, stress conditions.

they not getting mine!!!

zerohedge |  Just as was evidenced after the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, after Columbine and Tucson in 2011, and following the theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, US gun sales have soared following the mass-shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, which killed 10 people and injured seven others. As The FT reports, gun sales this year could surpass the record set in 2013, when gun purchases surged after the December 2012 Sandy Hook murders.
Business has been brisk for Larry Hyatt, owner of Hyatt Guns in North Carolina, since the Oregon community college shooting last week that left 10 people dead, including the 26-year-old suspect.

Mr Hyatt saw an even bigger surge in customers after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that left 26 people dead, including 20 children, before the gunman killed himself.


However, the calls for tighter gun laws lead to an increase in weapons sales. “Once the public hears the president on the news say we need more gun controls, it tends to drive sales,” said Mr Hyatt, who owns one of the largest gun retailers in the US. “People think, if I don’t get a gun now, it might be difficult to get one in the future. The store is crowded.”

“We don’t want our business to be based on tragedy but we have to deal with what we have no control over,” Mr Hyatt said. “And after these shootings and then the calls for tougher gun laws, we see a buying rush.”
In the first nine months of this year, 15.6m of the background checks needed to purchase guns from federally licensed sellers have been processed, compared with the 15.5m applications in the same period in 2013, according to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Strong sales this year have also boosted the earnings for the two of the largest gun manufacturers in the US. Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co have seen their stocks rise this year by over 88% and 67% respectively.

more whiskey, bacon, and whyte wymyn for me...,

yahoo |  Kitchens that are shared between office workers may soon be banned from storing pork products like sausage rolls over fears that they are “offensive”.

New guidelines proposed by interfaith group CoExist House say that employers should consider worker’s religions before allowing ham sandwiches placed in the fridge alongside other products. The group also suggests that alcohol should not be served at corporate events in case it upsets members of certain faiths.

Andy Dinham, professor of faith and public policy at Goldsmiths, University of London, is writing up the guidelines that will be put forward to employers this week.

Defending the controversial report, he told The Sunday Times: “It would be good etiquette to avoid heating up foods that might be prohibited for people of other faiths.

"The microwaves example is a good one.

“We also say, ‘Don’t put kosher or halal and other… special foods next to another [food] or, God forbid, on the same plate.”

He also said that religious people should be entitled to wear religious clothing and symbols as required.

He added: "We have lost the ability to talk about religious belief because of a century of secular assumptions, and most religious belief is either highly visible and we don’t recognise it, or it’s invisible and we miss it entirely.”