4 August 2015

ECHELON confirmed

Ever since legendary British investigative journalist Duncan Campbell told the world in a 1988 magazine article about ECHELON — a massive, automated surveillance dragnet that indiscriminately intercepted phone and Internet data from communications satellites — Western intelligence officials have refused to acknowledge that it existed. […] As Campbell writes today, in a first-person article in The Intercept, the archive of top-secret documents provided to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden contains a stunning 2005 document that not only confirms ECHELON’s existence as “a system targeting communications satellites”– it shows how the program was kept an official secret for so long. ... Read more

18 July 2015

A brief rant

Every now and again I read something so monumentally clueless from someone apparently intelligent that I find myself asking “Are you fucking kidding me?” For example, today brings David Brooks writing to Ta-Nehesi Coates. « In your anger at the tone of innocence some people adopt to describe the American dream, you reject the dream itself as flimflam. But a dream sullied is not a lie. The American dream of equal opportunity, social mobility and ever more perfect democracy cherishes the future more than the past. ... Read more

16 July 2015

Sugar and historical incidence of gout and arthritis

So, today I learned that gout and rheumatoid arthritis were diseases that barely existed in Europe — until sugar consumption became widespread. « The evidence arguing for sugar or fructose as the primary cause of gout is two-fold. First, the distribution of gout in western populations has paralleled the availability of sugar for centuries, and not all refined carbohydrates in this case. It was in the mid-17th century, that gout went from being exclusively a disease of the rich and the nobility to spread downward and outward through British society, reaching near epidemic proportions by the 18th century. ... Read more

13 July 2015

Channeling Mr Gimlet

The seal around our guest bath had been cracking up for a while, and like a walrus at a Tupperware party I’m always happier if I have a good tight seal. The caulk was old and shriveled and generally of poor quality, so I decided I’d have a go at redoing it myself. Home Depot is the place to go if you’re looking for caulk on a Saturday afternoon. There were various scraping options ranging from razor blades up, so I picked out a good sturdy tool. ... Read more

6 July 2015

FBI catch terrorist planning attack, federal judge releases him

Ordained Christian Minister of the Christian National (Congregational) Church Robert Rankin Doggart was arrested in April after planning to carry out a massacre in upstate New York. Those guys [have] to be killed. Their buildings need to be burnt down. If we can get in there and do that not losing a man, even the better. The guys in question: Muslims. Doggart, who ran for office in Tennessee last year, planned to burn down a Mosque and a Muslim school, and shoot anyone who tried to stop him: ... Read more

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