December 31, 2013
December 30, 2013
The Right has successfully rebranded the brown-skinned liberal Jew, who gave away free healthcare and was pro-redistributing wealth, into a white-skinned, trickledown, union-busting conservative, for the very fact that an overwhelming number of Americans are astonishingly illiterate when it comes to understanding the Bible. On hot-button social issues, from same-sex marriage to abortion, biblical passages are invoked without any real understanding of the context or true meaning. It’s surprising how little Christians know of what is still the most popular book to ever grace the American continent. . . . Biblical illiteracy is what has allowed the Republican Party to get away with shaping Jesus into their image. That’s why politicians on the right can get away with saying the Lord commands that our healthcare, prisons, schools, retirement, transport, and all the rest should be run by corporations for profit. Ironically, the Republican Jesus was actually a devout atheist—Ayn Rand—who called the Christian religion “monstrous.” Rand advocated selfishness over charity, and she divided the world into makers versus takers. She also stated that followers of her philosophy had to chose between Jesus and her teachings. When the Christian Right believes it’s channeling Jesus when they say it’s immoral for government to tax billionaires to help pay for healthcare, education and the poor, they’re actually channeling Ayn Rand. When Bill O’Reilly claims the poor are immoral and lazy, that’s not Jesus, it’s Ayn Rand. The price this country has paid for biblical illiteracy is measured by how far we’ve moved toward Ayn Rand’s utopia. In the past three decades, we’ve slashed taxes on corporations and the wealthy, destroyed labor unions, deregulated financial markets, eroded public safety nets, and committed to one globalist corporate free-trade agreement after another. Rand would be smiling down from the heaven she didn’t believe in. . . .
December 29, 2013
What drives the Google founders is an acute understanding of the possibilities that long-term developments in information technology have deposited in mankind's lap. Computing power has been doubling every 18 months since 1956. Bandwidth has been tripling and electronic storage capacity has been quadrupling every year. Put those trends together and the only reasonable inference is that our assumptions about what networked machines can and cannot do need urgently to be updated. Most of us, however, have failed to do that and have, instead, clung wistfully to old certainties about the unique capabilities (and therefore superiority) of humans. Thus we assumed that the task of safely driving a car in crowded urban conditions would be, for the foreseeable future, a task that only we could do. Similarly, we imagined that real-time translation between two languages would remain the exclusive preserve of humans. And so on. What makes the Google boys so distinctive is not the fact that they did update their assumptions about what machines can and cannot do (because many people in the field were aware of what was becoming possible) but that they possessed the limitless resources needed to explore and harness those new possibilities. Hence the self-driving car, MOOCs, the Google books project, the free gigabit connectivity project, the X labs and so on… And these are just for starters. A few months ago, an astute technology commentator, Jason Calcanis, set out what he saw as Google's to-do list. Here's what he came up with: free gigabit internet access for everyone for life; mastering Big Data, machine learning and quantum computing; dominating wearable – and implantable – computing; becoming a huge venture capitalist and developing new kinds of currency (a la Bitcoin); becoming the world's biggest media company; revolutionising healthcare and technologies for life extension; alternative energy technologies; and transforming transportation.
December 27, 2013
December 26, 2013
Lew Dite with his "The Gibson" metal head banjo uke. A song Pete Seeger taught me to love. copyrighted by Bob Miller and Emma Dermer in 1929. Song was on Seeger's "American Industrial Ballads" album.
December 25, 2013
December 23, 2013
December 22, 2013
December 20, 2013
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Friday that he will not negotiate with Congress over raising the debt ceiling, something Congress will need to agree to do early in 2014. "It is not something that is a negotiating tool. It's not leverage," he said, telling reporters in a news conference that he does not expect a stand-off over the issue. "I've got to assume folks aren't crazy enough to start that all over again," Obama said. (Reporting by Steve Holland, Mark Felsenthal, Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
December 19, 2013
December 16, 2013
December 15, 2013
December 13, 2013
Scientists have discovered a secret second code hiding within DNA which instructs cells on how genes are controlled. The amazing discovery is expected to open new doors to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, according to a new study. Read Full…
The supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park is much, much larger than was previously believed. A new study shows the volcano’s magma chamber about 2.5 times larger than previous estimates suggested, stretching more than 55 miles and containing…
December 12, 2013
The United States waged a decades-long war against Catholics who practiced the teachings that got Pope Francis named as Time magazine’s person of the year, said political philosopher Noam Chomsky. He said that the 1962 Vatican II conference had restored…