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 Considerat una dintre cele mai reprezentative dar si mai controversate personalitati stiintifice ale Renasterii, Paracelsus, pe numele sau adevarat Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim, a vazut lumina zilei intr-un canton elvetian, primind primele notiuni de medicina si ocultism de la tatal sau, reputat medic dar si foarte pasionat de alchimie. La 16 ani este admis la Universitatea din Basel dar se va muta apoi la cea din Viena, unde va obtine diploma de medic.

In aceasta perioada va deveni elevul lui Johannes Trithemius, abatele manastirii St Jakob din Wurzburg si renumit specialist in astrologie, magie si alchimie. In 1516, primeste titlul de doctor in medicina la Universitatea Ferrara si tot atunci isi schimba numele in Paracelsus, vadind astfel nazuinta sa de a-l depasi in pricepere pe marele medic al antichitatii, Celsus. Urmeaza o perioada de „stagiatura” voluntara, dupa obiceiul vremii, care-l poarta prin Germania, Franta, Danemarca, Suedia, Ungaria si Rusia. In peregrinarile sale ar fi ajuns, spun unele surse, chiar si in India, fiind initiat in invataturile tainice ale Orientului.

Pretutindeni unde a mers, Paracelsus a cercetat, a intrebat, a studiat, s-a interesat de metodele practicate de medicii si vracii din regiunile vizitate; a discutat insa chiar si cu barbierii, calaii sau vrajitoarele, adunand de la fiecare informatii pretioase privind anatomia umana. Acumuland o bogata experienta, in 1523 a revenit in tara natala si a dobandit rapid reputatia unui „doctor mirabilis”, gratie tratamentelor sale neobisnuite pentru acea epoca, dar aplicate  cu deosebit succes.

Numit profesor de medicina si chirurgie la universitatea din Basel, Paracelsus va pune la indoiala teoriile lui Galen, Hipocrate si Avicena, considerate pe atunci „litera de lege”, iar noile sale teorii se vor bucura de aprecierea spiritelor luminate ale vremii. In paralel, se va dedica studiilor alchimice si va face, intamplator, o serie de descoperiri importante in domeniul chimiei, dobandind, la moartea sa, in 1541, renumele de cel mai mare medic si alchimist al Europei.


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By Admin (from 27/05/2011 @ 14:00:12, in en - Science and Society, read 3413 times)

A retina made in a laboratory in Japan could pave the way for treatments for human eye diseases, including some forms of blindness.

Created by coaxing mouse embryonic stem cells into a precise three-dimensional assembly, the 'retina in a dish' is by far and away the most complex biological tissue engineered yet, scientists say.

"There's nothing like it," says Robin Ali, a human molecular geneticist at the Institute of Ophthalmology in London who was not involved in the study. "When I received the manuscript, I was stunned, I really was. I never thought I'd see the day where you have recapitulation of development in a dish."

If the technique, published today in Nature (This article is reproduced with permission from the magazine Nature. The article was first published on April 6, 2011. - TA note), can be adapted to human cells and proved safe for transplantation -- which will take years -- it could offer an unlimited well of tissue to replace damaged retinas. More immediately, the synthetic retinal tissue could help scientists in the study of eye disease and in identifying therapies.

The work may also guide the assembly of other organs and tissues, says Bruce Conklin, a stem-cell biologist at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, who was not involved in the work. "I think it really reveals a larger discovery that's coming upon all of us: that these cells have instructions that allow them to self-organize."

Cocktail recipe

In hindsight, previous work had suggested that, given the right cues, stem cells could form eye tissue spontaneously, Ali says. A cocktail of genes is enough to induce frog embryos to form form eyes on other parts of their body, and human embryonic stem cells in a Petri dish can be coaxed into making the pigmented cells that support the retina, sheets of cells that resemble lenses and light-sensing retinal cells themselves.

However, the eye structure created by Yoshiki Sasai at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe and his team is much more complex.

The optic cup is brandy-snifter-shaped organ that has two distinct cell layers. The outer layer -- that nearest to the brain -- is made up of pigmented retinal cells that provide nutrients and support the retina. The inner layer is the retina itself, and contains several types of light-sensitive neuron, ganglion cells that conduct light information to the brain, and supporting glial cells.

To make this organ in a dish, Sasai's team grew mouse embryonic stem cells in a nutrient soup containing proteins that pushed stem cells to transform into retinal cells. The team also added a protein gel to support the cells. "It's a bandage to the tissue. Without that, cells tend to fall apart," Sasai says.

At first, the stem cells formed blobs of early retinal cells. Then, over the next week, the blobs grew and began to form a structure, seen early in eye development, called an optic vesicle. Just as it would in an embryo, the laboratory-made optic vesicle folded in on itself over the next two days to form an optic cup, with its characteristic brandy-snifter shape, double layer and the appropriate cells.

Even though the optic cups look and develop like the real thing, "there may be differences between the synthetic retina and what happens normally," Ali says.

Sasai's team has not yet tested whether the optic cups can sense light or transmit impulses to the mouse brain. "That's what we are now trying," he says. However, previous studies have suggested that embryonic retinas can be transplanted into adult rodents, so Sasai is hopeful.

Sasai, Ali and others expect that human retinas, which develop similarly to those of mice, could eventually be created in the lab. "In terms of regenerative medicine, we have to go beyond mouse cells. We have to make human retinal tissue from human embryonic stem cells and investigation is under way," Sasai says.

The eyes have it

Synthetic human retinas could provide a source of cells to treat conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa, in which the retina's light-sensing cells atrophy, eventually leading to blindness. In 2006, Ali's team found that retinal cells from newborn mice work when transplanted into older mice. Synthetic retinas, he says, "provide a much more attractive, more practical source of cells".

David Gamm, a stem-cell biologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, says that transplanting entire layers of eye tissue, rather than individual retinal cells, could help people with widespread retinal damage. But, he adds, diseases such as late-stage glaucoma, in which the wiring between the retina and brain is damaged, will be much tougher to fix.

When and whether such therapies will make it to patients is impossible to predict. However, in the nearer term, synthetic retinas will be useful for unpicking the molecular defects behind eye diseases, and finding treatments for them, Sasai says. Retinas created from reprogrammed stem cells from patients with eye diseases could, for instance, be used to screen drugs or test gene therapies, Ali says.

Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of the biotechnology company Advanced Cell Technology, based in Santa Monica, California, says the paper has implications far beyond treating and modeling eye diseases. The research shows that embryonic stem cells, given the right physical and chemical surroundings, can spontaneously transform into intricate tissues. "Stem cells are smart," Lanza says. "This is just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully it's the beginning of an important new phase of stem-cell research."

Source: ScientificAmerican

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By Admin (from 27/05/2011 @ 16:00:05, in en - Video Alert, read 4017 times)


We need to have a true banking system that is built to last. There are two separate purposes to a bank. The primary reason of a bank's existence is to safely store your money. That is why banks have vaults. You bring your money to them and they keep it safe for you. Today we also have available services such as internet banking, cashiers checks, electronic transfers, debit cards, ATM's, etc. The bank keeps your money safe, accessible and today able to be used much more conveniently. That is the sole purpose of a bank. Every last penny you put in would be held in reserve and available to you on request. Banks would not lend any of it out. Banks would make money in this model because you would pay fees to the bank for their services, and you would always know your money is safe, secure and that any "run on the bank" could be covered by the bank's reserves.

The second and separate function of a bank is lending/investing. This function should be entirely separate from the first function. This function is for those who wish to put some or all of their money at risk for a possible gain, and they also accept the losses if their investment fails. If you want to invest in such services of a bank you could buy stock, bonds, CD's or other investment opportunities at agreed upon terms between you and the bank. If we have a crash in the economy, only this "at risk" or invested money is in jeopardy. Currently both these functions are intermingled and when one goes down it takes the entire financial system with it. We must end this insanity and return to a sound banking model.


We can't say it much more clearly than that. The Federal Reserve System needs to be systematically taken apart and replaced with hard money and a sound banking system. Money should be issued by the US Treasury and have some if not full hard assets backing it. We should also end legal tender laws so there can be competing currencies issued by the private market as well.


We must re-define the scope of government. The original idea of America was to have a strong but very limited in scope Federal Government. The Constitution laid out clearly what the scope was to be and it is a small fraction of what it has evolved into today.

There is no question that as time goes on there are new issues that arise because of new problems and technologies, but the inherent and legal philosophy can and should still be used to make the determination on whether it fits into the federal government's proper role to manage these things. If it is something that falls outside of what the constitution allows, they either must not do it or we change the constitution to accommodate this new responsibility. The reason this is so important is not just because one is a stickler for the letter of the Constitution but because Governments, unless strictly held in check, only grow over time.

Most bureaucrats and elected officials want more money and control, and as this occurs they get their hands into more and more areas of life. The problem is that as the organism of central government grows it becomes unfocused and loses transparency. Waste and corruption go up and accountability goes down. Just look at recent events with the banking bailouts, the BP oil spill and other areas of corruption and incompetence such as Katrina. Another important problem is that you have a lot less individual say in your federal government as you are only 1 in 231 million eligible voters and it takes huge amounts of money and organization to make an impact on a national level. On the other hand you can have far more impact in your city or even your state. It's much easier to hold local governments accountable than it is a national government. You could reasonably have a chance of being on your city council or maybe even the state assembly. It is much more difficult to be in the House of Representatives, not to mention the Senate or President.

Less government is better, but the government we have should be as local as possible. We are often caught up with reform rather then elimination, and while we can reform the government until we are blue in the face, much of it just needs to be eliminated. To give you a feeling about how the size of the Federal Government has grown here are the percentages of the Gross Domestic Product that our Federal Government spends. This number tells us how big a piece of the entire economy the government is:

Federal government 2.5% of GDP
All government (including Federal, state and local) 7% of GDP

Federal government 10% of GDP
All government was 20% of GDP

Federal government 20% of GDP
All government 32% of GDP

Federal government 25% of GDP
All government 45% of GDP

In less than 100 years the size of the federal government has grown ten fold. We need to reign in the size of government and get it down to less than half its current size relative to GDP. The total of all government in the US should not exceed 20% and the federal government should be less than 10%. We need to cut, but what are we to cut? It's not as hard as you may think, and you will be surprised at how long we have managed to live without these programs that have now become untouchable.

Cut the following departments to either their proper role or cut them entirely and take the few responsibilities that some of them have that are needed and lawful and merge them into departments that are more justifiable. We need a department of defense we just don't need them to police the world:

Department of Defense (Created 1947)

We should bring most if not every troop home, not only from the middle east wars but also from our foreign bases. There is no increased long term safety to have troops all over the world and spend the $1trillion dollars annually to maintain this false sense of security. It's always funny how these war hawk, anti-terror, hard liners can't wait to send troops all over the world and yet our borders and ports are totally unsecured. Wait, here's an idea, bring our troops home, reunite them with their families, spend a hell of a lot less money and have them secure our borders and ports! Let these other countries figure out their own issues. Defense policy should not run on fear. That's what they constantly feed us. Do not become a victim of fear. As Ben Franklin said, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety".

Department of Energy (Created 1977)

The free market will handle energy demands. All we need is a department that manages mineral rights for mining and Oil/Gas drilling. We do not need a so called "energy policy". This department has caused far more bad than good. Do some research on ethanol and how the heavy subsidizing of corn to produce ethanol has caused massive deforestation, more pollution and higher food costs. The market will meet our energy needs not the government.

Department of Education (Created 1979)

This department hurts education, it doesn't help it. It exists because educational special interests have taken over the system in this country. Government in this country spends over $1 trillion on education annually. In 1970 we spent $56.5 billion. That is a 20 fold increase in spending and our test scores have stayed the same. How are we spending 20 times as much for the same? Some of that is inflation but most of it is not. Also remember that in 1970 people did not have computers and other high tech devices that should be accelerating learning today by leaps and bounds.

Department of Homeland Security (Created 2002)

This department does more to hurt civil liberties in this nation than anyone can imagine. We do not need this department. It opens the door to a massive loss on civil liberties.

Department of Labor (Created 1913)

Labor is a state issue. The federal government does not need to tell you how to have people do their jobs.

Department of Agriculture (Created 1862)

Farming is a state and market issue. The market place will meet the food demand and this department's rules are set up to favor a move to a mega agri-business model, where a few huge corporations make all the food. The food they make tends not to be healthy or made with care for you, the earth or the animals they sell.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (Created 1965)

Housing is a city and local issue. The federal government often creates large ghettos and is a major contributor to price inflation in real estate because of their interference.

Medicaid (Created 1965)

Providing healthcare for the poor is something that if it's going to be done should only be done at a state and local level. Really it should be done by charities and not the government. This program and the way it's designed bankrupts states, creates medical care inflation and creates a dependent class of people.

Social Security (Created 1935)

This program went from a national insurance policy for very old widows to a national retirement plan for the masses. Whether you like it or not, it will go bankrupt, and we have to, at a minimum, get this program solvent. This most fairly and easily could be done by raising the retirement age significantly. Think about this: when social security was created in the 1930's, the average life expectancy was 62, but you did not start receiving social security until the age of 65.

If you're going to do an apples to apples comparison with the current life expectancy then and now, the retirement age for social security should be 80 today. The people today who are at or near the current retirement age do need to have the promise we made them kept, but we need to begin to move this program into its intended direction. Social security should be a bottom line insurance plan for people who can no longer physically work and have outlived their savings.

Medicare (Created 1965)

This program is only about 45 years old and already threatens the entire United States as its deficits are going to be overwhelming very soon. There are two main issues. The first is that healthcare is too expensive, primarily due to the fact that we do not have a free market for healthcare. The way to create manageable healthcare costs is not difficult:

Get rid of mandates for coverage. Buy only the coverage that you desire and not what the state tells you to have.
Allow people to buy insurance across state lines so there is maximum competition.
We must have tort reform to bring down the frequency and the costs of lawsuits.
Make the tax laws the same for business and individuals so that people can purchase health insurance on their own rather than through company. This creates much more portability.
Get the government out of healthcare. They already spend 50% of every healthcare dollar and have driven costs and inefficiencies through the roof. We need individuals responsible for their own healthcare. If we knew the costs and had to pay for it, we would be much more conservative in what services we needed. Insurance is for the unforeseen. Cancer or a heart attack is unforeseen; the Flu or a broken finger is not. We must restore a marketplace to healthcare in the same way that we have a marketplace for most every other good or service.
The above ideas are just a start. Literally every level of government needs to be totally overhauled. We need to examine what we really need each level of government to be doing and what we or the market can do for ourselves. Most things fall into the latter.
We as Americans are facing a dire future and possible economic and structural collapse if we do not face the facts and take back individual responsibility. Political promises do nothing. The same speeches we hear every election cycle, but it is the power of the people given them by the law of our land that must hold our massive government accountable. Remember the government serves the people.

The warning of the upcoming cliff can be best summed up by a quote most attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."

Repeal the 17th Amendment

In 1913 (bad year if you like freedom!), the same year that the Federal Reserve was created, there were two constitutional amendments put into place that have radically changed America for the worst. The first was the 16th Amendment which paved the way for the IRS and the personal income tax, and the second was the 17th Amendment put into affect in April of that same year.

The 17th amendment sounds simple and not too controversial. It changes election laws for Senators by mandating that our Senators be elected by popular vote. However prior to this, the Constitution mandated that all Senators were to be chosen by their state legislature.

You may think that this change shouldn't matter much, but simply put, America always had a balance of power in its federal government. Our elected House of Representatives are localized and popularly elected officials who are there to bring a very quick response from the people to Washington, and to give smaller groups of people a say in their government. With short two year terms this part of the congress could be reshuffled quickly to advocate the will of the people.

The President was meant to represent the will of our nation as a whole and Presidential terms were set at four years, which is in between the two years for Representatives and the six year terms of our Senators. This balanced our congress with both a shorter, medium term and longer national outlook. Senators were always picked by our state legislators to represent the interests of the individual states. This Senate branch of congress was meant to move more thoughtfully and slowly, hence the 6 year terms. Senators were created to defend the power and independence of the state they were chosen to represent.

However, the 17th Amendment changed this by changing the election of Senators to popular vote. In so doing, we have destroyed this carefully crafted congressional system that was put in place by our founding fathers. In part, running for Senator is generally much more expensive than it is to run for the House of Representatives, and money pours in from large companies and special interests intended to influence Senators and elect those that will advance their special agenda. Overall, this amendment allows for centralized powerbases and radically affects state sovereignty. Because the states no longer have a seat at the national table, we have seen a huge power move from constitutionally mandated state centered government to nationally centered government.

This amendment was not an accident but a carefully planned and executed coup. Passed under the smoke screen of giving "citizens"; more control of their government it has done just the opposite by adding further corruption to the system and vastly eroding state independence.

Our Republic took a big hit in 1913. We would do this nation a great justice by repealing the 16th amendment, 17th amendment and The Federal Reserve act.


We need to end the economy of Debt. Think about it: credit cards, car loans, long mortgages, financing for school, computers, big screen tv’s. All this credit everywhere. Most of us Americans live in debt. Many of our parents and most all of our grandparents didn’t live like this. You paid cash! You bought a new car when you had the money to pay for it. Many bought homes for cash and mortgages were often 7 years with big down payments. As our film shows, our current fiat money is inherently debt. It is loaned into existence. It is worth nothing inherently. It’s just an IOU. We all need to realize that we are going to have to live within our means. Spend only what we have and save for unforeseen events and our future. Living a debt free financially rational life is liberating; your relationships, family and sense of well being are all better. The materialism behind “buy now pay later” is a garbage lie that has us all chasing a carrot we can never catch. It has made many of us slaves. I implore to you be just a bit more old fashion and think of what your grandfather would have done.


We need to begin to reinstitute "real money". Historically money was gold and silver or a piece of paper that was redeemable for an amount of gold or silver. There are potential improvements possible than strict gold and silver standard, but the core idea here is that paper money has to represent something with long term real value which is finite and can be converted into a real asset. For example, we could have multiple precious metals, oil, food and other real assets put into a "basket" to stand behind our money. Gold and silver had a few problems as a hard money standard, but worked fairly well and could work even better with a few updates. Regardless of the backing, our money should only be created if it represents something that is valuable today, was valuable yesterday and has a good chance of being valuable tomorrow. Something real! Removing legal tender laws that prohibit private currencies would open up the marketplace to other ideas so we could have the best, most stable money there can be.


For the first 120 years of this country we had no income tax. We didn't need an income tax then and we don't need an income tax now. Whether we can repeal the 16th amendment and get rid of the income tax may not happen in step one, but let us at least have a fair and free system where everyone must share the burden of taxation. For instance, if you can vote to get a benefit for you, but demand that I pay for it, that is not going to promote long term freedom and prosperity for either of us. The more you use or make, the more you pay, but it must be proportional and that is the fundamental key to fair taxation.

Two other core ideas to fair taxation are that it be simple and only used for revenue generation and not intimidation or returning favors. This is what the current complex code does. It's so complicated that what the IRS demands you pay becomes a matter of interpretation. Loopholes are written into the code to favor the politically connected. It's nonsense. If we have to have an income tax it should be flat with very limited if any deductions, such as the money you give to charity. Remember most of the loopholes are for the politically connected anyway not for you or me.

The other core idea to fair taxation requires that the tax rate be as low as possible. A very common falsehood about taxes is that the higher the tax rate the more money the government raises in revenue. This is not true. The higher tax rates go up the more you cut economic growth. In economics, there is a point that higher taxes and maximum revenue cross which shows the most revenue the government can raise. It is much lower than you may think, about 10-15% depending on which economist's model and deductions you include, far lower than our current system. This rate is for all taxes, including social security and medicare. This rate should be applied to all forms of personal income and to business's net income. One rate, one set of rules, everyone pays. That is fair taxation.

The American Dream offers a powerful and informative look at America's economic collapse and reveals the ugly truth behind the Federal Reserve... Price: $9.95



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"It's an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat," Obama said Friday after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

With Obama in France, the White House said the president used an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president.

Congress sent the bill to the president with only hours to go on Thursday before the provisions expired at midnight. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.

The Senate voted 72-23 for the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities. The House passed the measure 250-153 on an evening vote.

A short-term expiration would not have interrupted ongoing operations but would have barred the government from seeking warrants for new investigations.

Congress bumped up against the deadline mainly because of the stubborn resistance from a single senator, Republican freshman Rand Paul of Kentucky, who saw the terrorist-hunting powers as an abuse of privacy rights. Paul held up the final vote for several days while he demanded a chance to change the bill to diminish the government's ability to monitor individual actions.

The measure would add four years to the legal life of roving wiretaps, authorized for a person rather than a communications line or device; court-ordered searches of business records; and surveillance of non-American "lone wolf" suspects without confirmed ties to terrorist groups.

The roving wiretaps and access to business records are small parts of the USA Patriot Act enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But unlike most of the act, which is permanent law, those provisions must be renewed periodically because of concerns that they could be used to violate privacy rights. The same applies to the "lone wolf" provision, which was part of a 2004 intelligence law.

Paul argued that in the rush to meet the terrorist threat in 2001 Congress enacted a Patriot Act that tramples on individual liberties. He had some backing from liberal Democrats and civil liberties groups who have long contended the law gives the government authority to spy on innocent citizens.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he voted for the act in 2001 "while ground zero was still burning." But "I soon realized it gave too much power to government without enough judicial and congressional oversight."
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said the provision on collecting business records can expose law-abiding citizens to government scrutiny. "If we cannot limit investigations to terrorism or other nefarious activities, where do they end?" he asked.

"The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans' privacy and violate their constitutional rights," said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.

Still, coming just a month after intelligence and military forces tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden, there was little appetite for tampering with the terrorism-fighting tools. These tools, said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, "have kept us safe for nearly a decade and Americans today should be relieved and reassured to know that these programs will continue."

Intelligence officials have denied improper use of surveillance tools, and this week both FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent letters to congressional leaders warning of serious national security consequences if the provisions were allowed to lapse.

The Obama administration says that without the three authorities the FBI might not be able to obtain information on terrorist plotting inside the U.S. and that a terrorist who communicates using different cell phones and email accounts could escape timely surveillance.

"When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we would be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot attacks against our country, undetected," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday. In unusually personal criticism of a fellow senator, he warned that Paul, by blocking swift passage of the bill, "is threatening to take away the best tools we have for stopping them."

The nation itself is divided over the Patriot Act, as reflected in a Pew Research Center poll last February, before the killing of bin Laden, that found that 34 percent felt the law "goes too far and poses a threat to civil liberties. Some 42 percent considered it "a necessary tool that helps the government find terrorists." That was a slight turnaround from 2004 when 39 percent thought it went too far and 33 percent said it was necessary.

Paul, after complaining that Reid's remarks were "personally insulting," asked whether the nation "should have some rules that say before they come into your house, before they go into your banking records, that a judge should be asked for permission, that there should be judicial review? Do we want a lawless land?"

Paul agreed to let the bill go forward after he was given a vote on two amendments to rein in government surveillance powers. Both were soundly defeated. The more controversial, an amendment that would have restricted powers to obtain gun records in terrorist investigations, was defeated 85-10 after lawmakers received a letter from the National Rifle Association stating that it was not taking a position on the measure.

According to a senior Justice Department national security official testifying to Congress last March, the government has sought roving wiretap authority in about 20 cases a year between 2001 and 2010 and has sought warrants for business records less than 40 times a year, on average. The government has yet to use the lone wolf authority.

But the ACLU also points out that court approvals for business record access jumped from 21 in 2009 to 96 last year, and the organization contends the Patriot Act has blurred the line between investigations of actual terrorists and those not suspected of doing anything wrong.

Two Democratic critics of the Patriot Act, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Udall of Colorado, on Thursday extracted a promise from Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that she would hold hearings with intelligence and law enforcement officials on how the law is being carried out.

Wyden says that while there are numerous interpretations of how the Patriot Act works, the official government interpretation of the law remains classified. "A significant gap has developed now between what the public thinks the law says and what the government secretly claims it says," Wyden said.

Author: JIM ABRAMS - Associated Press writers Laurie Kellman and Pete Yost contributed to this report.

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SpaceX, the American space transport company founded by PayPal and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk, has announced a late 2013 or 2014 launch date for the world's most powerful rocket, the Falcon Heavy. Overshadowed by only the Saturn V moon rocket that was decommissioned after the Apollo program, the Falcon Heavy will be able to carry payloads of 53 metric tons (117,000 pounds or 53,070 kg) into orbit, which is more than the maximum take-off weight of a Boeing 737-200 loaded with 136 passengers, luggage and fuel.

The first of the Falcon Heavy's two stages is made up of three nine-engine cores that are used as the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket. For the Falcon Heavy, the Merlin engines have been upgraded and are currently being tested at SpaceX's development facility in McGregor, Texas. Like a commercial airliner, each engine is surrounded by a protective shell to contain a fire or chamber rupture and prevent it from affecting other engines or the vehicle itself.

At liftoff the 69.2m (227 ft) long Falcon Heavy will generate 3.8 million pounds of thrust, which is equivalent to the thrust of fifteen Boeing 747's taking off at the same time. SpaceX says this gives it more than twice the performance of the next most powerful vehicle, the Delta IV Heavy operated by the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance. SpaceX also says that with more than twice the payload of the Delta IV but at one third the cost, the Falcon Heavy sets a new world record in terms of economy at approximately US$1,000 per pound to orbit.

"Falcon Heavy will carry more payload to orbit or escape velocity than any vehicle in history, apart from the Saturn V moon rocket, which was decommissioned after the Apollo program. This opens a new world of capability for both government and commercial space missions," said Musk.

To achieve performance comparable to a three-stage rocket the Falcon Heavy will be the first rocket in history to do a propellant cross-feed from the side boosters to the center core, which leaves the center core with most of its propellant after the side boosters separate. Crossfeed can also be turned off when it is not required, such as for missions below 100,000 pounds (45,359 kg).

Source: GizMag

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Il cervello dell'uomo si sta rimpicciolendo. E secondo alcune teorie stiamo diventando... sempre meno intelligenti. Eppure dal punto di vista evolutivo avere il cervello piccolo ha i suoi vantaggi.

Le misure non contano. Almeno, non sempre. Il nostro cervello per esempio, a un certo punto dell'evoluzione ha smesso di crescere e ha inziato a diventare sempre più piccolo. Accadde 20-30.000 anni fa, quando sulla Terra comparve il più dotato, dal punto di vista della massa cerebrale, di tutta la specie "homo": l'Uomo di Cro-Magnon. Le evidenze fossili hanno dimostrato che il suo cervello era del 10% più grande rispetto al nostro.
Ma che senso ha, dal punto di vista evolutivo, questo strano andamento a fisarmonica delle misure cerebrali? Gli esperti hanno elaborato diverse teorie.

Un po' tonti e tanto buoni

Secondo David Geary, docente di Scienze Psicologiche all'Univeristà del Missouri, sarebbe la prova che stiamo diventando sempre meno intelligenti: la crescente complessità delle interazioni e dei rapporti sociali che ha contraddistinto la storia umana, ha reso sempre meno necessaria l'intelligenza del singolo come elemento indispensabile alla riproduzione e alla sopravvivenza.
Ma non tutti sono così pessimisti. Ben Hare, antropologo al Duke Univeristy Institute for Brain Sciences, ritiene che la riduzione delle misure cerebrali sia un vantaggio evolutivo: "Un cervello più piccolo indica che la selezione naturale ha privilegiato comportamenti non aggressivi" spiega ai media. Č accaduto a numerose specie animali quando sono state addomesticate dall'uomo, per esempio i cani: hanno perso la componente aggressiva e hanno evidenziato alcune caratteristiche fisiche come uno scheletro più snello, quindi meno adatto al combattimento, una fronte più piatta e un cervello più piccolo.

Cooperativo come una scimmia

Hare ha condotto un interessante studio sugli scimpanzè e sui bonobo: queste scimmie, dal punto di vista evolutivo, sono molto simili all'uomo ma sono molto diverse tra loro. I bonobo hanno il cervello più piccolo rispetto agli scimpanzè e sono meno aggressivi. Non solo: pur essendo entrambe molto abili nel superare facili prove, per esempio procurarsi del cibo azionando dei meccanismi, i bonobo hanno una maggior predisposizione alla cooperazione finalizzata al raggiungimento del risultato.
"L'aspetto più interessante degli studi sugli animali e sul comportamento umano è che aiutano a fare luce sul nostro lato più nascosto" spiega Hare.


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By Admin (from 28/05/2011 @ 14:00:46, in ro - Stiinta si Societate, read 3133 times)

 Omul modern e un mare consumator de bioenergie. Cei mai supusi riscului de a pierde aceasta energie a vietii sunt studentii in perioada examenelor sau sportivii in perioadele lor de vârf. Practica Reiki, sub forma autoenergizarii rapide, se impune ca o tehnica eficienta, pentru cei mai sus pomeniti, dar nu numai pentru ei.

 Aceasta se recomanda preventiv astfel:
 - cu cel putin o saptamâna inaintea sesiunii de examene sau a altor perioade de efort;
 - pe intreaga perioada de efort;
 - o saptamâna dupa perioada de suprasolicitare.
 In cazul in care perioada de efort a intervenit in mod neasteptat, fara sa ne dea posibilitatea unei pregatiri prealabile, vom prelungi la doua saptamâni perioada de refacere in urma suprasolicitarii.

Si acum sa vedem in ce consta aceasta autoenergizare rapida. Mai intâi, insa, iata câteva reguli generale si obligatorii pentru toate pozitiile Reiki:
 1.  Inainte de inceperea practicii Reiki, trebuie sa avem mâinile curate.
 2.  Ne vom scoate ceasul, ochelarii, bijuteriile stânjenitoare si oricare alte obiecte care ne pot incomoda (cravata, pantofi, curea etc.).
 3.  In timpul efectuarii autoenergizarii sau a oricarei pozitii Reiki, degetele mâinilor vor fi apropiate, pentru a nu se risipi energia.
 4.  Palmele nu vor fi puse una peste alta.
 5.   Picioarele se vor tine usor departate (la nivelul umerilor).

Autoenergizarea rapida se efectueaza astfel: asezam centrul palmei drepte (nu uitati, cu degetele apropiate) pe epigastru (capul pieptului) si centrul palmei stângi pe ombilic. Mâinile trebuie sa fie relaxate, nu incordate. Coatele vor fi tinute lânga corp.

In caz de nevoie, se poate folosi o singura mâna, cu podul palmei pe epigastru. Durata zilnica a procedeului este de aproximativ 30 de minute, timp in care putem privi la televizor, putem asculta muzica etc., deoarece nu este nevoie sa ne concentram in vreun fel asupra a ceea ce facem.

Tinem sa sublinem faptul ca nu exista pericolul unei supraincarcari energetice, intrucât in momentul atingerii nivelului maxim necesar, supapa depozitului central se inchide si nu se mai absoarbe nimic.

Prin acest procedeu, autoenergizarea este posibila datorita faptului ca mâinile, care au rol de filtru, sunt asezate pe zonele epigastrului si ombilicului, adica pe abdomen, care este depozitul central al energiei Ki. De aceea, la japonezi, abdomenul (Hara) este numit si „oceanul de energie”, in afara acestui depozit central, exista depozitele locale de pe lânga fiecare organ sau functie. Intre depozitul central si depozitele locale ale organelor si functiilor consumatoare, energia Ki circula pe un numar foarte mare de canale bioenergetice. Blocarea unuia dintre aceste canale produce tulburari atât la nivelul corpului fizic, cât si la nivelul celui eteric.

Tehnica Reiki ne ajuta la mentinerea permanenta a necesarului de energie Ki, fapt care ne asigura o mai mare rezistenta la efort si imbolnaviri, o crestere a capacitatii de concentrare si memorare, precum si o amplificare a imaginatiei si a intuitiei.


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Three provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire were extended yesterday as Senate leaders effectively shut off debate and worked to block attempts to amend the Patriot Act to include privacy protections. The reauthorized provisions went to the House for approval and, after passing through Congress, the legislation was flown to US President Barack Obama in France so he could sign the reauthorization.

The continued granting of overly broad powers, which directly threaten Americans’ right to privacy without unreasonable search or seizure, was accompanied by passage in the House of a National Defense programs bill that included language granting the Executive Branch the authority to wage worldwide war.

A handful of lawmakers in the House and Senate attempted to make amendments or block the passage of measures that would allow powers granted to the state to greatly expand. A trans-partisan group of House representatives introduced an amendment that would have struck down the worldwide war provision. Senator Rand Paul, Senator Mark Udall and Senator Ron Wyden each made valiant attempts to have a comprehensive debate on the provisions before granting reauthorization but the Obama Administration discouraged debate.

Marcy Wheeler of Firedoglake and Mike Riggs of reported Sen. Harry Reid and others in Congress were using Obama Administration fearmongering and talking points to prevent provisions from expiration. Debate (and in effect democracy) was being obstructed because the White House was asserting, “The FBI would be able to continue using orders it had already obtained, but it would not be able to apply for new ones if further tips and leads came in about a possible terrorist operation…no one could predict what the consequences of a temporary lapse might be.”

The fearmongering induced the following reaction from Sen. Paul:

…There have been people who [have] implied in print that if I hold the PATRIOT Act up and they attack us tonight, that I'm responsible for the attack.

There [have] been people who have implied that if some terrorist gets a gun, that I'm somehow responsible. It's -- it's sort of the analogy of saying that because I believe that you should get a warrant before you go into a potential or alleged murderer's house that somehow I'm in favor of murder.

The diligent work of bloggers closely following national security issues in the United States unearthed the fraudulence of such bullying. Had the provisions not been extended, a “grandfather clause” would have permitted their continued use in investigations that were already taking place.

Paul was eventually allowed by Reid to fully engage in the legislative process and bring two of his amendments to a vote. In his statement on why he thought it important to amend the Patriot Act, he deconstructed myths surrounding the Act, calling into question whether the government should have a right to sift through millions of gun records without asking if you are suspect; whether the government should be able to monitor what books citizens read; whether the government should have access to banking records without a warrant; whether it is good security to treat everyone as a potential terror suspect; whether the Patriot Act has truly given the government tools that have led to the capture of terrorists; whether violating the Fourth Amendment should be permissible; whether we as Americans believe in the rule of law; and whether these issues should be open to debate.

Udall, in his statement on the extension, stated, “Many Americans have been demanding reforms to these provisions for years. We've known for months - years, in fact - that this was on our to-do list this Congress. We've been passing short-term extensions in order to give us time to consider a comprehensive overhaul…Yet we're now being pushed to approve a four-year straight reauthorization in just a few days. Trust me, we have time and should take that time for a full debate."

While the extension of provisions merits scrutiny, the squelching of democratic debate demands just as much scrutiny if not more. As Paul said in his statement on the floor, it is incredibly important to have debates on the floor, and “that's why there is a certain amount of disappointment to having arrived in Washington and to see the fear of debate of the constitution and that we really need to be debating these things.”

Not allowing debate was determined prior to the votes. As bloggers like’s Glenn Greenwald highlighted, the idea was “to pass the extension with as little debate as possible to avoid a protracted and familiar argument over the expanded power the law gives to the government.”

Congress should not be a body that inhibits debate. Authorizing power to government that so clearly threatens civil liberties such as rights to privacy (and in many cases First Amendment rights) should not be scrutinized, despite the fact that there exists clear evidence of government abuses of power under the Patriot Act.

Paul sharply noted that chilling debate is something those in the Legislative Branch of government have done multiple times. On the issue of war in Libya, there was no debate. An invasion was launched without asking Congress for permission (a move, that over sixty days later, now clearly violates the War Powers Act).

We now have a war in which there has been no congressional debate and no congressional vote. But you know what they argue? They say it is just a little war. But you know what? It is a big principle.

It is the principle that we as a country elect people. It is a principle that we are restrained by the Constitution, that you are protected by the constitution, and if I ask the young men and women here today to go to war and say we're going to go to war, that there darn well should be a debate in this body.

The worldwide war authorization to grant the president additional war powers that would further expand the imperial presidency also received little to no debate in the House. Read the text of Section 1034 (the "forever war" provision) and decide whether not debating this provision should be acceptable:

Congress affirms that--
(1) the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces and that those entities continue to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically and abroad;
(2) the President has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate force during the current armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note);
(3) the current armed conflict includes nations, organization, and persons who--
(A) are part of, or are substantially supporting, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; or
(B) have engaged in hostilities or have directly supported hostilities in aid of a nation, organization, or person described in subparagraph (A); and
(4) the President's authority pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority to detain belligerents, including persons described in paragraph (3), until the termination of hostilities.

The Obama Administration indicated, prior to the vote, that it objected to this provision that would expand war powers:

The Administration strongly objects to section 1034 [the worldwide war provision] which, in purporting to affirm the conflict, would effectively recharacterize its scope and would risk creating confusion regarding applicable standards. At a minimum, this is an issue that merits more extensive consideration before possible inclusion...”

Nonetheless, there was only about twenty minutes of debate on the section of the defense bill.

In the midst of obstruction of debate by Senate leaders like Reid, four senators earned the "promise" of a hearing on the "secret and expansive Justice Department interpretation of the information collection the Patriot Act allows."

Note what is allowed and not allowed: Scrutiny during the time when scrutiny could influence the nature of provisions or legislation is inconvenient and a nuisance. Such scrutiny must be limited by preventing amendments and restricting the time allowed for floor discussion. But, in the aftermath, if senators would like to provide oversight and share with agencies or departments criticism or ideas for improvement, that is allowable. As long as there is no binding legislation to force the agencies or departments to respond to criticism and adjust operations, lawmakers may have a dialogue. (However, as this deals with national security, the public will not be privy to what goes on in such hearings. They will have to trust unquestioning lawmakers who are typically averse to scrutinizing the national security establishment.)

The collusion between the White House and Congress to curb debate becomes further troubling as one considers how it allows for the militarization and securitization of society without any accountability for the players involved in the expansion.

Thirty-five articles of impeachment for former President George W. Bush by Rep. Dennis Kucinich were introduced in Congress in June 2008. When Attorney General Eric Holder took over the Department of Justice, concerned citizens, advocacy organizations and a few lawmakers urged accountability for crimes and misdemeanors committed by former Bush Administration officials. But, Americans were told that they needed to look forward and not backward.

Thus, there has been no expenditure of government resources to address and investigate: the creation of propaganda to manufacture a false case for war in Iraq; the misleading of the American people to make them believe Iraq was an imminent threat and possessed weapons of mass destruction; invading Iraq absent a declaration of war; providing immunity from prosecution for criminal contractors in Iraq; detaining indefinitely and without charge US citizens and foreign captives; secretly authorizing and encouraging torture; kidnapping people and taking them to ‘black’ prison sites in nations known to practice torture; directing telecommunications companies to create illegal and unconstitutional databases of private telephone data from citizens and spying on Americans without a court-ordered warrant in violation of the law and Fourth Amendment.

Thus, a crisis of impunity gives way to widespread lawless conduct by power.

Impunity allows security to employ tools of repression that typically society had found to be off-limits because of certain rights society presumed should be preserved and protected. This new brand of security becomes normalized. As those keeping citizens “more safer” have more freedom, the people become less and less free.


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By Admin (from 29/05/2011 @ 00:13:01, in en - Video Alert, read 3194 times)


Anonymous has a grave announcement to make to all users of the World Wide Web.

The Internet you have come to take for granted has once again come under attack.

Several interest groups have been successfully lobbying to consolidate internet censorship within the United States. They are rallying for the right to remove any websites they deem "inappropriate" and, ultimately, for the ability to remove any content that disagrees with their profit margins, personal whims, or other agendas.

This new initiative is called the PROTECT IP Act:

This bill would allow the US Government to force ISPs and search engines to censor websites they do not like under the guise of "copyright protection".
Instead of reducing piracy, this bill endangers the free flow of information. Through domain seizures, ISP blockades, search engine censorship, and the restriction of funding to websites accused of infringement, this bill promises to take Internet censorship to the next level. Furthermore, it violates the citizens' rights to due process, to free speech, to free expression and to legal representation at their hearing.

The Internet is a place where anyone and everyone can come together freely to share information and opinions. The freedom the Internet provides has served as a global aid for tens of millions of people in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Iran, to name a few. All of this has been accomplished largely without interference from corporations, governments, or any other global institutions until now.

We must unite and stand up to those who wish to censor the Internet. We must not allow them the freedom to moderate information and decide what we are "permitted" to view. We must protect what is rightfully ours.

We must protect the rights of the Internet.

You Are Anonymous
You are legion
You can not forgive this.
You can not forget this.
Expect eRevolution.

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By Admin (from 29/05/2011 @ 08:00:47, in en - Global Observatory, read 2145 times)

Economic problems may be fuelling a rise in depression in England, it has been suggested. Prescriptions for anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac rose by more than 40% over the past four years, data obtained by the BBC shows. GPs and charities said they were being contacted increasingly by people struggling with debt and job worries. They said financial woe could often act as a "trigger", but added other factors may also be playing a role in the rise.

The rise has happened at a time when the government has been increasing access to talking therapies, which should in theory curb the demand for anti-depressants. In the last year alone referrals for talking therapies rose four-fold to nearly 600,000, Department of Health figures showed.

'Toxic combination'

Dr Clare Gerada, head of the Royal College of GPs, said some of the rise in prescribing was also likely to be due to increased awareness about the condition and doctors getting better at diagnosis.

But she added: "Of course, in times of economic problems we would expect mental health problems to worsen - and GPs are seeing more people coming in with debts racking up, or who have lost their job and are cancelling their holidays.

"They feel guilty that they can't provide for their family and these things can often act as a trigger for depression."

Mental health charity Sane also said it had seen more people contacting its e-mail and phone advice lines with money worries. Its chief executive, Marjorie Wallace, said: "It is impossible to say for sure that economic problems are leading to a rise in depression. But we are certainly hearing more from people who are worried where the next meal is coming from, job security and cuts in benefits - many who are getting in touch with us for the first time.

"It is a toxic combination, especially for those who already have darker thoughts and other problems."

Emer O'Neill, chief executive of the charity Depression Alliance UK, said: "There is an increase in the number of people suffering from depression certainly, and the economic downturn has had an impact on that. "But I think what's happened is that a lot of the stigma has lifted on depression," she told BBC Breakfast. "It's OK to say you have depression now - and people in general are getting much better information about what it is and they are coming forward and talking to GPs more about it."

Staying on drugs

The figures, obtained from NHS Prescription Services under the Freedom of Information Act, cover anti-depressant prescribing from 2006 to 2010, during which time the country had to cope with the banking crisis, recession and the start of the spending cuts.

They showed the number of prescriptions for selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, the most commonly prescribed group of anti-depressants, rose by 43% to nearly 23 million a year.

The data also showed increases in other types of anti-depressants, including drugs such as Duloxetine which tends to be used for more serious cases.

As well as increasing demand for help, the rise could also be related to patients staying on the drugs for longer.

Care services minister Paul Burstow said: "The last recession has left many people facing tough times. If people do experience mental health problems, the NHS is well placed to help.

"We're boosting funding for talking therapies by £400m over the next four years. This will ensure that modern, evidence-based therapies are available to all who need them, whether their depression or anxiety are caused by economic worries or anything else."

Source: BBC

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