How a Democrat Killed Welfare
In 1994, Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the largest crime bill in history, which allocated $10 billion for prison construction, expanded the death penalty, and eliminated federal funding for inmate education. The act intensified police surveillance and racial profiling, and locked up millions for nonviolent offenses such as drug possession. It helped usher in the era of mass incarceration that devastated communities of color (for which Clinton himself has recently apologized).

Clinton’s simultaneous expansion of federal law enforcement and shrinking of the federal workforce to its lowest level in thirty years reallocated taxpayer dollars from employing people in social service jobs to putting more cops on the streets.

The starkest example of the many racist and anti-poor measures directed at African Americans and passed during his administration was the 1996 welfare reform bill, which transformed welfare from an exclusive and unequal cash assistance system that stigmatized its recipients into one that actually criminalized them.
2 hours ago
Hitler's Forgotten Library: - The Atlantic
The rare-book collection is home to more than 800,000 volumes. It contains the personal libraries of Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson, and first editions of contemporary "authors" such as Andy Warhol and Madonna. It is also home to the remnants of the private library of Adolf Hitler, a man better known for burning books than for collecting them.

The books that constitute the Hitler Library were discovered in a salt mine near Berchtesgaden—haphazardly stashed in schnapps crates with the Reich Chancellery address on them—by soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division in the spring of 1945. After a lengthy initial evaluation at the U.S. military "collecting point" in Munich the books, numbering 3,000, were shipped to the United States and transferred in January of 1952 to the Library of Congress, where an intern was assigned to uncrate the collection.
9 hours ago
American History for Truthdiggers: Colonial Patriots or Insurgents?
Further tarnishing the heroic narrative of patriot ascendancy is one inconvenient fact: Most slaves preferred British to colonial rule, and most slave-holding planters were themselves patriots, especially in the South. As was the case in early colonial Virginia, American slavery and American freedom grew side by side in the late 18th century, a contradiction at the very heart of the colonial and early republican experience. This pattern endured as colonial “patriots” moved from resistance to rebellion against imperial authorities. Many modern apologists for our slave-owning founders insist that these men were merely a reflection of their time and place; a time, we are to suppose, when everyone supported slavery. Thus, we cannot critique the motives or point out the inconsistency in our esteemed forebears. Yet an honest look at the revolutionary era complicates the apologist narrative.
13 hours ago
Some millennials aren’t saving for retirement because they don’t think capitalism will exist by then -
The idea that we millennials’ only hope for retirement is the end of capitalism or the end of the world is actually quite common sentiment among the millennial left.
14 hours ago
‘I created Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower | News | The Guardian
Wylie oversaw what may have been the first critical breach. Aged 24, while studying for a PhD in fashion trend forecasting, he came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.
Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach | News | The Guardian
The data was collected through an app called thisisyourdigitallife, built by academic Aleksandr Kogan, separately from his work at Cambridge University. Through his company Global Science Research (GSR), in collaboration with Cambridge Analytica, hundreds of thousands of users were paid to take a personality test and agreed to have their data collected for academic use.

However, the app also collected the information of the test-takers’ Facebook friends, leading to the accumulation of a data pool tens of millions-strong. Facebook’s “platform policy” allowed only collection of friends’ data to improve user experience in the app and barred it being sold on or used for advertising. The discovery of the unprecedented data harvesting, and the use to which it was put, raises urgent new questions about Facebook’s role in targeting voters in the US presidential election.
David Rockefeller Jr. on “Yard Sale of the Century”
The Nightly Business Report does a feature on the upcoming Rockefeller sale at Christie’s slated for this May. David Rockefeller Jr. talks about the sale and his family’s emphasis on using the proceeds to support social institutions.
2 days ago
Cosmic Clocks
“It’s not Swiss watch precision, but regardless of whether a galaxy is very big or very small, if you could sit on the extreme edge of its disk as it spins, it would take you about a billion years to go all the way round.”
2 days ago
Harrington, A.: Reenchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler (Paperback) | Princeton University Press
Before 1933, holistic science was a uniquely authoritative voice in cultural debates on the costs of modernization. It attracted not only scientists with Nazi sympathies but also moderates and leftists, some of whom left enduring humanistic legacies. Neither a "reduction" of science to its politics, nor a vision in which the sociocultural environment is a backdrop to the "internal" work of science, this story instead emphasizes how metaphor and imagery allow science to engage "real" phenomena of the laboratory in ways that are richly generative of human meanings and porous to the social and political imperatives of the hour.
3 days ago
Fatal Quad: Who Is Assassinating MI6 Assets On British Soil?
Last week it was widely reported that a former Soviet and Russian military intelligence officer, Sergey Skripal — who had been working for MI6 since 1995 and had been convicted in Russia of high treason in 2006 before being released to the UK as part of the 2010 US-Russia spy swap — was found unconscious with his daughter on a public bench near a shopping center in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England. In Britain, the media and eccentric foreign minister were swift to blame Russian intelligence services of attempting to assassinate Skripal, who is currently still in coma in Salisbury District Hospital. In the past week the hysteria of the British press has escalated to the point of forcing PM Theresa May to issue a ridiculous statement on the matter last Thursday.
3 days ago
Congresswoman Confirms Erik Prince Tied to Intelligence Operation Run Out of Dick Cheney’s Office | Democracy Now!
Now, even if that’s true, that probably isn’t illegal or illicit for Erik Prince to have done that. But it is, as Jan Schakowsky points out, illegal to lie to Congress about it. And so, Erik Prince now continues to be the focus of yet another sort of national security scandal. The connection also to the broader picture is that Erik Prince was involved with this CIA assassination program from very early after 9/11, and Jose Rodriguez, who was Gina Haspel’s boss, was the CIA liaison for that program that Jan Schakowsky is talking about. To hear a sitting member of Congress say that she had to get her house swept for surveillance devices because of a civilian that the Congress is investigating is pretty chilling.
3 days ago
The Complex History of the Genes That Color Our Skin - The Atlantic
For example, a gene called MFSD12 has variants that are linked to darker skin; these are common in dark-skinned people from East Africa, but rare among the lighter-skinned San. MFSD12 also shows how the search for pigmentation genes can reveal new insights about the basic biology of our skin. Two years ago, the gene didn’t even have a name, but it was linked to vitiligo—a condition where people develop white patches on dark skin. By deleting the gene in fish and mice, Tishkoff’s colleagues confirmed that it controls the balance between light and dark pigments.

Another gene called SLC24A5 has a variant that has traditionally been seen as “European,” because it is so starkly associated with lighter skin in Western European populations. But Tishkoff’s team showed that the variant entered the East African gene pool from the Middle East several millennia ago and well before the era of colonization. Today, it is common in Ethiopian and Tanzanian groups, but rare in other areas.
3 days ago
Dozens Of Gold Bars Reportedly Fell From An Airplane In Siberia : The Two-Way : NPR
The Siberian Times, however, said the plane dropped gold bars "as far as 26 kilometers from the airport," and search efforts are still underway. The plane was also carrying diamonds and platinum, according to the local newspaper, and was coming from the area of Russia known for diamond mining. It estimates the dropped cargo's value at $368 million.
3 days ago
The Stolen African Slave Who Became Queen Victoria's God-daughter
By the time she reached Britain, the girl who had been orphaned, enslaved, stripped of her identity and stolen from her country by the age of eight, had already learned to speak English on the voyage over, showing great intellectual promise despite the injustices she had suffered. On her introduction to the Queen, the young tribal princess immediately won over the affections of Victoria with her natural, regal manner. Sarah continued to learn English at rapid speed and often far outshone her British peers throughout her academic studies. After noticing her talent and passion for learning, not only did Queen Victoria personally pay for Sarah to receive a higher quality education, but the monarch also made the former slave girl her own goddaughter.
3 days ago
The Long Linguistic Journey to 'Dagnabbit' - Atlas Obscura
These words are called, among linguists, taboo deformations. They are words we created because, in a very fantasy-novel sort of way, we are scared of the True Names of our enemies and overlords. Dagnabbit is an example of the perceived power of words to hurt us.
3 days ago
7 Things to Know about “STEVE” | Aurorasaurus
Giving off a glow in mostly purple and green colors, the phenomenon was observed by members of a Facebook group called the “Alberta Aurora Chasers” who named the display “Steve.” Why Steve? Well, this is a reference to the popular children’s movie Over the Hedge where one of the characters isn’t sure what he is looking at and randomly names it Steve. Steve was formerly called by aurora chasers and photographers a “proton arc” (also known as a proton aurora). Proton aurora, or aurora caused by the raining down of protons from the magnetosphere is broad, diffuse, and dim visually unlike the structure of Steve that is narrow and has motion. So we know it is not a proton arc although we do not yet fully know what it is.
3 days ago
New science in plain sight: Citizen scientists lead to the discovery of optical structure in the upper atmosphere | Science Advances
A glowing ribbon of purple light running east-west in the night sky has recently been observed by citizen scientists. This narrow, subauroral, visible structure, distinct from the traditional auroral oval, was largely undocumented in the scientific literature and little was known about its formation. Amateur photo sequences showed colors distinctly different from common types of aurora and occasionally indicated magnetic field–aligned substructures. Observations from the Swarm satellite as it crossed the arc have revealed an unusual level of electron temperature enhancement and density depletion, along with a strong westward ion flow, indicating that a pronounced subauroral ion drift (SAID) is associated with this structure. These early results suggest the arc is an optical manifestation of SAID, presenting new opportunities for investigation of the dynamic SAID signatures from the ground. On the basis of the measured ion properties and original citizen science name, we propose to identify this arc as a Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE).
3 days ago
NASA: Citizen Scientists Discover 'Steve,' a New Aurora Type - The Atlantic
Well, whatever it was, Donovan replied, it wasn’t known to science. The physicists and the aurora-watching amateurs in attendance resolved to study it in depth. It would be a perfect project for Aurorasaurus, as well. Except there was one problem: “You can’t call it a proton arc,” Ratzlaff remembers one of the physicists saying. “A proton arc is something else entirely. You need to give it a name that doesn’t imply you know what the physical properties are.” Very well, said Ratzlaff. Let’s call it Steve.
3 days ago
Is Walmart Moving Into Farming?
Pollination drones, on the other hand, could help offset the loss of bee populations over the past few years. Walmart’s “applicators” would carry pollen from one plant to another, and use sensors to verify the transfer was successful.
3 days ago
A giant US retail corporation just filed a patent for autonomous robot bees
Harvard University researchers introduced the first RoboBees in 2013. At the time, the bee-size robots could only fly and hover midair when tethered to a power source, but they have advanced since then. Today, the RoboBees can also stick to surfaces, swim underwater, and dive in and out of water. The researchers believe these RoboBees could soon artificially pollinate fields of crops – a development that would help offset the yearly bee losses over the past two decades. Though Harvard's bees can do several tricks, they still can't be remotely controlled. The robotic bees described in Walmart's patent, however, would have this capability, along with the ability to automatically detect pollen.
3 days ago
Russian Plane Loses 3 Tons Of Gold On Takeoff | Zero Hedge
Gems, precious metals and diamonds worth hundreds of millions rained over Russia’s coldest region when a Russian plane with ten tons of gold, platinum and diamonds lost a significant part of its cargo upon taking off from an airport in the Russian region of Yakutsk, famous for its rich natural resources and diamond deposits. The precious rain then continued as the aircraft gained height.
4 days ago
Paris Review - Luc Sante, The Art of Nonfiction No. 9
Every kind of shit you can imagine. I was very well served by my local public library in New Jersey. A very small library, just one room, but they had a record collection as well, which was also small, but amazing—the country blues, Eric Dolphy, Edgard Varèse, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Among their books was an anthology called Writers in Revolt edited by Terry Southern, Richard Seaver, and Alexander Trocchi, which had bits of Naked Lunch. I think Howl was in there. All kinds of scabrous stuff, except they’d artfully edited it so it could be in public libraries. I took that book out over and over and over again. 
4 days ago
Astronaut Has Different DNA Than His Twin Brother After Year In Space « CBS Denver
“Scott’s telomeres (endcaps of chromosomes that shorten as one ages) actually became significantly longer in space,” NASA researchers wrote in a statement. The space agency added that Kelly had hundreds of “space genes” activated by the year-long flight which reportedly altered the astronaut’s “immune system, DNA repair, bone formation networks, hypoxia, and hypercapnia.”
4 days ago
Book review: ‘Russian Cosmism’ edited by Boris Groys | E&T Magazine
The reason for such proliferation, to my mind, is that between the abolition of serfdom in 1861 and the Bolshevik coup d’etat of 1917, Russia lived through a succession of unprecedented social changes that resulted in popular unrest, poverty and general loss of faith in the future. Against this dire background, mysticism and utopianism – both social and technological – were bound to thrive. The main difference between Russian proponents of esoterism and their Western counterparts, however, was that the former did not limit themselves to pure theory and philosophising, but actually tried to transform the existing reality and came up with multiple working models and doctrines of ‘the new world order’ and ‘the new universe’.
4 days ago
Trump's CIA director pick got ahead by putting torture on her resume
Most people have no idea who Haspel is. She is, however, well-known to human rights advocates and civil libertarians around the world. Haspel was not simply a key figure in the torture program run by the Bush administration, she headed one of the infamous foreign black sites and was accused of knowingly destroying evidence of the torture carried out on her watch. 
4 days ago
Belgium Confronts Its Heart of Darkness; Unsavory Colonial Behavior in the Congo Will Be Tackled by a New Study - The New York Times
In February, Belgium admitted participating in the 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Congo's first Prime Minister, and apologized for it. The motivation for the crime was to avoid losing control over Congo's resources, but Belgium steadfastly denied any involvement until new evidence collected by a parliamentary commission last year confirmed the direct role of Belgian agents in carrying out and covering up the murder.
5 days ago
THE C.I.A. AND LUMUMBA - The New York Times
The poison, the scientist said, was somehow to be slipped into Lumumba's food, or perhaps into his toothpaste. Poison was not the only acceptable method; any form of assassination would do, so long as it could not be traced back to the United States Government. Pointing out that assassination was not exactly a common C.I.A. tactic, the station chief asked who had authorized the assignment. The scientist indicated that the order had come from the ''highest authority'' - from Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States.
5 days ago
Why does a white CIA agent play the hero to Killmonger's villain in 'Black Panther'?
Not surprisingly, the fact that a black revolutionary leader in “The Black Panther” is the bad guy, while the CIA agent is a good guy, rubs some black audiences the wrong way. Writing for “Esquire,” Steven Thrasher asks, “Does the film ask its audience to root for the wrong character?”
5 days ago
How Do You Know It's On the Blockchain? With a SkipChain. · Bryan Ford
What is new and unique to Chainiac is to provide long-distance forward links as well via collective signatures. With both long-distance forward and backward links, a SkipChain becomes cryptographically traversable in both directions, such that one party can efficiently prove the correctness of a transaction anywhere in time with respect to the other party’s reference point on the blockchain, in a logarithmic number of steps, regardless of which party has a more up-to-date view of the blockchain.
5 days ago
Sierra Leone Secretly Holds First Blockchain-Powered Presidential Vote - CoinDesk
As voters in the nation's most populous Western District lined up to cast votes in what had been a heated campaign between 16 candidates, unbeknownst to them, blockchain voting startup Agora was helping keep track of it all, and through its proprietary distributed ledger, providing unprecedented insight into the process.
5 days ago
How the Blockchain Can Change How We Vote
Another company working on creating a platform that uses Blockchain technology to replace and/or enhance the current voting methods used today is BitCongress, which released a White Paper on its approach. The company uses the Blockchain technology with a token based system to control the voting system ensuring one person, one “unchangeable” vote. This token is called a VOTE and by using the Blockchain to permanently record each vote, it ensures that there can be no manipulation of those votes or voting twice.
5 days ago
Blockchain as a Service: 23 Million Reasons to Help Advance the Future of Blockchain
The blockchain network is now easily one of the largest computer networks in the world. This could be a catastrophic problem economically as well as environmentally. A great solution to this problem is Proof of Stake (PoS). The new Casper protocol will switch Ethereum’s current Proof of Work (PoW) standard to Proof of Stake. This means you won’t have tons of miners competing with computational power. Instead, you will have a smaller number of “stakers” who put down stake to ensure security. This prevents the need for security by computational security, and replaces it with security through invested stake. This will greatly reduce the electricity burden.
5 days ago
Sierra Leone elections powered by blockchain — Quartz
In Sierra Leone’s Western District, the most populous in the country, votes cast were manually recorded by Agora, a Swiss foundation offering digital voting solutions, using a permissioned blockchain. The idea was simple: just like blockchain technology helps ensure transparency with crytpocurrency transactions using public ledgers, by recording each vote on blockchain, Agora ensured transparency with votes cast in the district. While entries on permissioned blockchains can be viewed by everyone, entries can only be validated by authorized persons.
5 days ago
A wheatfield in the heart of Manhattan, 1982
Two assistants and some volunteers helped Denes remove trash from the 4 acres of land, spread 225 truckloads of topsoil, and plant 1.8 acres of wheat. An irrigation system was installed to sustain and regulate the wheat’s growth cycle over four months. In summer, the green wheat stalks stretched skyward and turned a brilliant amber by early autumn. The crop was harvested on August 16 and yielded over 1000 pounds (450 kg) of healthy, golden wheat.
5 days ago
That Time a Wheat Field Grew in Downtown New York
While the Battery Park Wheatfield is long gone, and the area is now home to coveted upscale residencies, New York still has the “Earth Room”, a pampered pile of dirt, occupying prime real estate in SoHo since 1980.
5 days ago
Agnes Denes | Wheatfield - A Confrontation: Battery Park Landfill, Downtown Manhattan
Planting and harvesting a field of wheat on land worth $4.5 billion created a powerful paradox. Wheatfield was a symbol, a universal concept; it represented food, energy, commerce, world trade, and economics. It referred to mismanagement, waste, world hunger and ecological concerns. It called attention to our misplaced priorities. The harvested grain traveled to twenty-eight cities around the world in an exhibition called "The International Art Show for the End of World Hunger", organized by the Minnesota Museum of Art (1987-90). The seeds were carried away by people who planted them in many parts of the globe.
5 days ago
In 1982, An Artist Harvested Two Acres of Wheat on Land Worth $4.5 Billion
This was not a guerrilla art project. Artist Agnes Denes was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to create a significant public work for Manhattan and in response she conceived, Wheatfield. “I decided we had enough public sculptures of men sitting on horses.” Instead, she wanted visitors to feel they weren’t just observing the art, but living it; stepping into a dreamscape in which the Statue of Liberty really does seem to poke out of a country field.
5 days ago
America's First Opioid Epidemic | CrimeReads
The result was a compound called diacetylmorphine, which, once more, seemed to work better and more efficiently than the pure form of the drug. Dreser immediately conducted tests, with himself and his co-workers as subjects.  They all agreed. Not only were the therapeutic benefits immense, but acetylization seemed to have blunted morphine’s addictive properties. What was more, it made them feel, “heroisch,” heroic. That sounded right, so Bayer decided to market the new drug under the trade name “Heroin.” 
5 days ago
Prof. Robert Sapolsky - The Neuroscience Behind Behavior - YouTube
Robert Sapolsky is an American neuroendocrinologist and author. He is currently a professor of biology, and professor of neurology and neurological sciences and, by courtesy, neurosurgery, at Stanford University.
5 days ago
Boeing B-17 Seattle plant camouflage efforts during World War II
John Stewart Detlie, a Hollywood set designer, helped "hide" Boeing's Seattle plant using his Hollywood design techniques with this camouflage. The fake housing development covered nearly 26 acres with netting, plywood and other material over the Seattle plant.
5 days ago
Fake town built on roof of Boeing B17 Bomber factory during WWII - YouTube
Audio track didn't survive in this old 1940s Universal Newsreel footage showing a 26-acre town facade built onto the roof of the Boeing B17 bomber factory near Seattle, Washington, USA... scheduled yesterday to be demolished. Hollywood set designer John Stewart Detlie helped to create the fake town in 1941, hiding the factory beneath from potential air strike by the Japanese during World War II.
5 days ago
Fake Rooftop Town Built To Hide Boeing’s Factory From Japanese Air Strikes (photos)
Protecting it from potential air strikes, the “neighborhood” was constructed in 1944 and removed a year after the war. John Stewart Detlie was the Hollywood set designer who helped to hide the Boeing Plant No. 2. Using the same techniques as in the movies, fake streets, sidewalks, trees, fences, cars, and houses were set in place to fool the would-be attackers.

Underneath it, 30,000 men and women were constructing about 300 bombers per month to support the fight against Nazis. Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses dropped over 640,000 tons of bombs over Germany alone during the conflict, and of the 12,731 aircraft built, about fifty remain in complete form.
5 days ago
Space Is Full Of Planets, And Most Of Them Don't Even Have Stars
For every planet that orbits a star like our own, there are likely thousands of 'orphan planets' wandering the galaxy alone
5 days ago
Overthrow: 100 Years of US Meddling and Regime Change, From Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to Cuba
AMY GOODMAN: That last voice, Allen Dulles, head of the CIA from 1952 to 1961. At the time, his brother -- his brother, Secretary of State Dulles, was secretary of state. We're talking about the overthrow of Iran for the British oil company that would later become British Petroleum. Is that right, Stephen Kinzer?

STEPHEN KINZER: Yes. That company is now called BP. So, you're seeing long-term effects of these interventions, and what you're seeing in Iran today 100 percent ties back to what we did in 1953. We like to have this idea that these operations are discreet, they're not going to have any long-term effects. We'll remove one government, place another favorable government in power, and anything will go fine. Everybody will forget it, and it won't have any long-term effects. But if you look around the world, you can see that these kinds of operations to interfere in other countries' politics, what the CIA calls "influence operations," actually not only often wind up devastating the target country, but, in the end, undermine the security of the United States.
5 days ago
Five Men Now Hold as Much Wealth as Half of the World’s Population Combined | Democracy Now!
A new analysis of 2016 data shows that five men now possess as much wealth as half of the world’s population combined. The five men—Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Spanish businessman Amancio Ortega, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, American investor Warren Buffett and Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim—combined hold $400 billion. Slim is a major shareholder in The New York Times, while Bezos owns The Washington Post.
5 days ago
'Some families are too shady to work with': meet the tutors of the ultra-rich | The Guardian
However, the mere fact that the family has such wealth and privilege can be the root of their children’s problems, says Caller. Some of these families “don’t work very well because they’re so rich”, he explains. For example, they never have to be on time for a flight, because they own a private jet. “The children grow up without any consequences for their lack of responsibility,” he says. Some of them also feel that “if they put effort into something, they won’t do any better than if they didn’t. They’ve got nothing to work for.”
5 days ago
Gina Haspel, nominated as 1st woman to lead CIA, has controversial past
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights filed a legal intervention with German prosecutors last year calling for an arrest warrant for Haspel for her role in torturing detainees in Thailand. “Those who commit, order or allow torture should be brought before a court — this is especially true for senior officials from powerful nations,” Wolfgang Kaleck, the group’s general secretary, said in filing the documents in June 2017. “The prosecutor must, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, open investigations, secure evidence and seek an arrest warrant. If the deputy director travels to Germany or Europe, she must be arrested.”
5 days ago
The (Classist, Racist) History of Jaywalking
Before automobiles, streets were for people—a sentiment that, following the suburban sprawl and dominance of the automobile from the 1960s onward that generated traffic and pollution more than accessibility, has created the foundations of new urbanism, a growing segment of urban-centric folks who wish to return the streets back to the people. Before the car-dominated our culture, you were to cross the street wherever you were.
5 days ago
This Alphabetical ‘Wizard of Oz’ Re-Edit Is an Avant-Garde Masterpiece
Bucy’s video is fascinating, but it ain’t pleasant. It’s frequently somewhat scary, sometimes for sadly extra-textual reasons (hearing a young Judy Garland moan the word “frightened” over and over again is a killer), sometimes simply because the word “from” turns into an aggressive bark or sub-human grunt after enough repetition.
5 days ago
Botanical Rhythms: A Field Guide to Plant Music | Sounding Out!
Musicians and record companies seized to entertain this new potted audience. Records to aid plant growth could be found in many florist stores in the US.  Their labels promised happy, healthy and fast growing plants with the help of classical and chamber music standards, electronic tunes, sine waves and spoken word. For instance, Molly Roth’s record Plant Talk (1976) gaudily speaks to several indoor plants (English Ivy, Fern, Philodendron…) while giving advice on plant care.
6 days ago
Schwarzenegger to Sue Big Oil for ‘First Degree Murder’ - POLITICO Magazine
“This is no different from the smoking issue. The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people, would harm people and create cancer, and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it. Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that,” Schwarzenegger said. “The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people’s lives, that it would kill.”
6 days ago
Elephants are strangely resistant to cancer - and we may finally know why
They studied what had been known for several decades since the 1960s as "junk DNA" - DNA that does not code for proteins. That doesn't make it useless, however - recent studies have found that it performs other functions, such as being able to control when and where genes are expressed.

They identified three genes in the elephants' DNA - FANCL, VRK2 and BCL11A - after exposing the DNA to gamma radiation and observing how it responded to damage. These genes in particular are involved in DNA repair that guards against mutations - and they're strongly associated with elephant accelerations.
6 days ago
New C.I.A. Deputy Director, Gina Haspel, Had Leading Role in Torture - The New York Times
As a clandestine officer at the Central Intelligence Agency in 2002, Gina Haspel oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects and later took part in an order to destroy videotapes documenting their brutal interrogations at a secret prison in Thailand. On Thursday, Ms. Haspel was named the deputy director of the C.I.A.
6 days ago
'National Geographic' Reckons With Its Past: 'For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist' : The Two-Way : NPR
To assess the magazine's coverage historically, Mason delved into old issues and read a couple of key critical studies. He also pored over photographers' contact sheets, giving him a view of not just the photos that made it into print, but also the decisions that photographers and editors made.
6 days ago
Crusade Against the Grail - Otto Rahn
OTTO RAHN was born in Michelstadt, Germany, in 1904. After earning his degree in philology in 1924, he traveled extensively to the caves and castles of southern France, researching his belief that the Cathars were the last custodians of the Grail. Induced by Himmler to become a member of the SS as a civilian archaeologist and historian, Rahn quickly grew disillusioned with the direction his country was taking and resigned in 1939. He died, an alleged suicide, on March 13, 1939, in the snows of the Tyrolean Mountains.
6 days ago
Otto Rahn Biography | Мемориал Отто Рана
 Christian Bernadac advances the theory that Otto Rahn and Rudolph Rahn, Germany's ambassador to Italy in WW2 were, in reality one and the same person, the subject of a carefully conceived cover-up within the higher echelons of the Nazi regime. In April 1941 a German diplomat was sent to Beirut, with a pro-German Frenchman named Guerard, to handle the delivery of arms to rebels in Iraq. The diplomat, chosen because of his excellent command of French and knowledge of the country, was Rudolph Rahn. He was the advisor to Abetz, the German ambassador to France, and subsequently became Nazi Germany's last ambassador to Rome. However, in both the memoirs of Jeanne de Schoutheete (the wife of the Belgian diplomat in the Lebanon) and Henri Seyrig (director of the Institut Francais in Beirut), he appears under the name Otto Rahn.
6 days ago
Crusade Against the Grail: The Struggle between the Cathars, the Templars, and the Church of Rome - Kindle edition by Otto Rahn. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @
Crusade Against the Grail is the daring book that popularized the legend of the Cathars and the Holy Grail. The first edition appeared in Germany in 1933 and drew upon Rahn’s account of his explorations of the Pyrenean caves where the heretical Cathar sect sought refuge during the 13th century. Over the years the book has been translated into many languages and exerted a large influence on such authors as Trevor Ravenscroft and Jean-Michel Angebert, but it has never appeared in English until now.
6 days ago
Lucifer's Court: A Heretic's Journey in Search of the Light Bringers - Kindle edition by Otto Rahn. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @
Otto Rahn’s lifelong search for the Grail brought him to the attention of the SS leader Himmler, who shared his esoteric interests. Induced by Himmler to become the chief investigator of the occult for the Nazis, Rahn traveled throughout Europe--from Spain to Iceland--in the mid 1930s pursuing leads to the Grail and other mysteries. Lucifer’s Court is the travel diary he kept while searching for “the ghosts of the pagans and heretics who were [his] ancestors.” It was during this time that Rahn grasped the positive role Lucifer plays in these forbidden religions as the bearer of true illumination, similar to Apollo and other sun gods in pagan worship.
6 days ago
The original Indiana Jones: Otto Rahn and the temple of doom - Telegraph
Predictably, there are stories that Rahn was murdered, or that he didn't die at all in the Tyrol - this was just a clever bluff to fool the Nazis. Instead, he apparently survived, changed his first name to Rudolf and went on to become the German ambassador in Italy. Graddon believes that, 'There is too much fog swirling around his headstone. We simply don't know what happened to him, and as a result all kinds of rumours have sprung up.'
6 days ago
Otto Rahn And The Nazi Crusade For The Holy Grail
The Nazi party was not a good fit for Rahn. As he was openly gay, liberal-leaning, and not anti-Semetic, his worldly views directly clashed with the Nazis’ ideology. The lure of the Grail proved too great for him to pass up though, as he joined the party in the early 1930s. He remarked to an incredulous friend: “A man has to eat… What was I supposed to do? Turn Himmler down?”
6 days ago
'Alien' mummies from Peru have human chromosome numbers, but not anatomy – scientists — RT World News
X-ray and computer tomography showed Maria has a very different rib structure to that of humans. Keel-shaped in the upper part with a handful of semicircular ribs, the cage protects the creature’s internal organs, which do resemble those of humans. "We clearly see the contours of the trachea and the bronchi, of the heart and its chambers; we can even see the shape of the valves. We can also see quite clearly the contours of the diaphragm, the liver and the spleen," explains Zaloznaya. Scientists also found Maria was embalmed in a cadmium chloride white powder, the antibacterial effect of which has preserved Maria to this day.
6 days ago
Lead exposure may be linked to 250,000 heart-disease deaths each year
“The levels of lead in standards right now are too high to protect kids,” Lanphear said. “And this new study would suggest that they’re too high — whether it’s lead in water, lead in house dust, lead in air — all of those things should be reevaluated based upon this study because it suggests that there’s no safe level of lead.”
6 days ago
Sexual harassment: House votes to make lawmakers pay settlements
The bill would require members to personally pay any settlements rather than using their office budgets. Congress has come under fire because some settlements against members have been paid with funds from the U.S. Treasury. “Offenders, themselves, will have to pay," Comstock said. The House also approved a resolution that would amend the House Code of Conduct to specifically ban sexual relations between a member of Congress and a staffer he or she supervises.
6 days ago
Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions - The New York Times
During months of captivity, many were subject to coercion and physical abuse, witnesses said. In the early days of the crackdown, at least 17 detainees were hospitalized for physical abuse and one later died in custody with a neck that appeared twisted, a badly swollen body and other signs of abuse, according to a person who saw the body.

To leave the Ritz, many of the detainees not only surrendered huge sums of money, but also signed over to the government control of precious real estate and shares of their companies — all outside any clear legal process. The government has yet to actually seize many of the assets, leaving the former detainees and their families in limbo. One former detainee, forced to wear a tracking device, has sunk into depression as his business collapses. “We signed away everything,” a relative of his said. “Even the house I am in, I am not sure if it is still mine
6 days ago
The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today | The Nation
If those trends persist for another 30 years, the average white family’s net worth will grow by $18,000 per year, but black and Hispanic households would only see theirs grow by $750 and $2,250 per year, respectively.
6 days ago
The article removed from Forbes, “Why White Evangelicalism Is So Cruel” – Political Orphans
What developed in the South was a theology carefully tailored to meet the needs of a slave state. Biblical emphasis on social justice was rendered miraculously invisible. A book constructed around the central metaphor of slaves finding their freedom was reinterpreted. Messages which might have questioned the inherent superiority of the white race, constrained the authority of property owners, or inspired some interest in the poor or less fortunate could not be taught from a pulpit. Any Christian suggestion of social justice was carefully and safely relegated to “the sweet by and by” where all would be made right at no cost to white worshippers. In the forge of slavery and Jim Crow, a Christian message of courage, love, compassion, and service to others was burned away.
6 days ago
NYPD Rescinds Police-as-Prosecutors Agreement With Manhattan DA | New York Law Journal
“A district attorney ought to consider the merits of each case, in particular, the actions of law enforcement officers, and only prosecute cases in the public interest,” the letter stated. “By delegating responsibility for prosecutions to the NYPD, you have also removed this check on their power.”
6 days ago
The ZAD Will Survive – Zad for ever
Moreover, it was achieved without any excessive pacifism, something journalists haven’t failed to emphasize referring to the ZAD’s emblematic status as a “lawless” zone, and to its fierce defense (against the attempted evictions) in 2012 [2]. It would be a mistake to believe that just stones and barricades made it possible to win. Yet it is their usage that made the decision to abandon the project as inevitable as it was difficult for Macron to swallow. “Ceding the ZAD to the radicals”—was how editorialists reproached the President, obscuring an entire movement of struggle that has battled for half a century, using all forms of resistance, legal and illegal. To avoid humiliation, the State put on a rickety performance: the first act was a mediation, then a slew of meetings with local elected officials, and finally the pantomime of an aborted eviction to make everyone forget all its threats, disavowals, and renunciations and to stifle the “yes” victory of its 2016 referendum [3] — in short, to forget the scandalous nature of the thrashing it’s taken. Despite all this effort, our victory sparkles within the media and political garbage dump. It only had to say two short words: “So there!”
6 days ago
Hitlers Monsters: Interview with Dr. Eric Kurlander - YouTube
Ahnenerbe, World Ice Theory, the Holy Grail, Otto Rahn, the Thule Society, Flying saucers, border science, miracle weapons, Himmler, anti-gravity, the occult, mysticism, and werewolves, both literal and figurative.
6 days ago
Review: Hitler’s Monsters: a Supernatural History of the Third Reich by Eric Kurlander | Saturday Review | The Times
The Reichsführer SS was, writes Eric Kurlander in this absorbing study, “obsessed with natural healing and rejected many aspects of modern medicine. Among various alternative medical practices, he studied herbalism, homeopathy, mesmerism and naturopathy. He also followed the advice of ariosophic thinkers . . . [who] believed that practising yoga could release cosmic energies tied to astral bodies . . . ”
6 days ago
Did Hitler’s obsession with the occult lose him the war? | The Spectator
Speer, Bormann and Heydrich attempted purges of magicians and astrologers, especially in the Hess Action, after the flight of the Deputy Führer to Scotland. Thousands were rounded up and put in camps, but within months most were free again, many working for Himmler. In 1943, at a time of acute labour shortage, an estimated 3,000 tarot-card readers were still working in Berlin alone.

The British knew all about the Nazi weakness for magic and parachuted faked copies of the astrological magazine Zenit into Germany which contained decidedly pessimistic horoscopes for Hitler and his acolytes.
6 days ago
‘Hitler’s Monsters’ – Stetson Today
Kurlander, Ph.D., spent eight years on his latest book and traveled to Germany several times to pour through hundreds of Nazi Party documents and other records in the German Federal Archives. “Hitler’s Monsters” is the first scholarly book to provide a comprehensive study of the Nazis’ obsession with the occult, Kurlander writes in the introduction.
6 days ago
The Nazi Magicians’ Controversy: Enlightenment, “Border Science,” and Occultism in the Third Reich | Central European History | Cambridge Core
4 For the more traditional scholarship that emphasizes the “occult roots of Nazism,” see Theodor Adorno, The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture (New York: Routledge, 1994); Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke, The Occult Roots of Nazism (London: Tauris, 2003); Siegfried Kracauer, From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004); George Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology (New York: Fertig, 1999); Nederman, Cary J. and Wray, James, “Popular Occultism and Critical Social Theory: Exploring Some Themes in Adorno's Critique of Astrology and the Occult,” Sociology of Religion 42, no. 4 (1981): 325–32 Google Scholar; Staudenmaier, Peter, “Occultism, Race and Politics in Germany, 1880–1940: A Survey of the Historical Literature,” European History Quarterly 39, no. 1 (Jan. 2009): 47–70 CrossRef | Google Scholar; Fritz Stern, The Politics of Cultural Despair (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974); James Webb, Flight from Reason (London: MacDonald, 1971). For examples of the more popular and pseudohistorical work in this genre, see Lincoln and Leigh Baigent, Holy Blood, Holy Grail (New York: Dell, 1983); Wilfred Daim, Der Mann, der Hitler seine Ideen gab (Munich: Isar, 1958); Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, The Morning of Magicans (London: Souvenir, 2007); Trevor Ravenscroft, The Spear of Destiny (New York: Weiser, 1973); Dusty Sklar, Gods and Beasts: The Nazis & the Occult (New York: Thomas Crowell, 1977); Lewis Spence, The Occult Causes of the Present War (London: Kessinger, 1940).
6 days ago
An interview with historian Eric Kurlander about his book Hitler’s Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich.
[Border science] was easily dismissed as amateurish by mainstream scientists in the 1910s and 1920s. There were no university posts or research institutes officially sponsored by the Imperial German, Austrian, or Weimar government to promote world ice theory. But it was wildly popular among völkisch and esoterically inclined thinkers, like engineers, who didn’t quite understand modern physics but understood enough technical jargon to kind of glom onto the ideas and argue that they were valid as an alternative to “Jewish physics.”
6 days ago
It turns out ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ wasn’t so far off about the Nazis - The Washington Post
It may seem paradoxical that once firmly in charge, Hitler turned against astrology, tarot reading and all “commercial” uses of the supernatural. In fact, he feared that these could be used to manipulate the public in ways outside his control. Even professional magicians were legally compelled to demonstrate how their tricks were accomplished. Still, Hitler and his inner circle continued to firmly support “scientific occultism.” In the mid-1930s, for instance, Rudolf Hess hoped to create a Central Institute for Occultism.
6 days ago
"border sciences"
It wasn't like Einstein or Freud or Heisenberg were arguing that the jury was still out on "border science." Mainstream scientists by that point are saying, "C'mon, there's no evidence for this," especially outside of Germany. But that just allowed Nazi leaders like Himmler to say, "You're being intolerant of alternate views."
6 days ago
Corinna Treitel | Department of History
My first book A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) asked why Germany, a scientific powerhouse in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, also hosted one of the Western world's most vibrant and influential occult movements. German occultists made major contributions to twentieth-century art, psychology, literature, medicine, and what we now call "New Age" spirituality. Their efforts were also an excellent example of a larger historical trend that still informs our world today: the use of scientific language, concepts, and habits to enchant the "disenchanted" modern age anew.
6 days ago
Matysik on Treitel, 'A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern' | H-German | H-Net
From the introduction, one might understand the primary purpose of Treitel's book to be the contestation of a previous historiography led by George Mosse and others that emphasized the influence of the occult movement on Nazi ideology.[1] This literature had understood the occult as a dimension of vlkisch ideology that fostered irrationalism, that in turn fed into a race-based mysticism in which Nazi leaders were to have cloaked themselves and their racial policies. A more recent literature has begun to contest the alliance between occultism and Nazism, and it is to this literature that Treitel adds her own work.[2] Painting the occult not as a form of reactionary mysticism, but rather as a set of practices aimed at negotiating modernism, Treitel seeks to clarify the lines between occultism and vlkisch ideology, recognizing in particular the embrace of the very modern, scientific practices that infused the occult movements--even as they pursued mystical ends. Not surprisingly, the relationship of Nazism to occult movements occupies center stage in the last chapter of the book. Here Treitel makes a careful distinction between individual interest by Nazi leaders in occult experiments and methods, and Nazi police and policy hostility to occult movements that were said to exhibit ideological tendencies inconsistent with Nazi aims (pp. 240-241).
6 days ago
A Science for the Soul
In A Science for the Soul, historian Corinna Treitel explores the appeal and significance of German occultism in all its varieties between the 1870s and the 1940s, locating its dynamism in the nation's struggle with modernization and the public's dissatisfaction with scientific materialism. Occultism, Treitel notes, served as a bridge between traditional religious beliefs and the values of an increasingly scientific, secular, and liberal society. Drawing on a wealth of archival materials, Treitel describes the individuals and groups who participated in the occult movement, reconstructs their organizational history, and examines the economic and social factors responsible for their success.
6 days ago
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