Archive for July, 2013

Evolution gone awry

July 31, 2013 | By | Reply More

I found this image on Facebook. I don’t know how to give credit where it is due, but I’ll share nonetheless:

evolution screwed up

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Rock plus non-rock: experimenting with blending modes in Photoshop Elements

July 31, 2013 | By | Reply More

I’ve been experimenting with layer blending modes in Photoshop Elements. These images blend various photos I had previously taken with images of marble and granite I recently photographed with the permission of a local merchant (Graniterra). Many of these experiments don’t work out, but some of them have been surprising and interesting to me.

Merchant's bridge

butterfly - marble

GCAA

marble leaves-001

Finally, here is a flower blended into a layer of a separate color:

flower and gradient

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The lesson of the sentence Bradley Manning is about to receive

July 31, 2013 | By | Reply More

Michael Moore sets the stage. Here’s the beginning of his long list:

Manning now faces a potential maximum sentence of 136 years in jail. When his sentence is announced tomorrow, we’ll all get a good idea of how seriously the U.S. military takes different crimes. When you hear about how long Manning – now 25 years old – will be in prison, compare it to sentences received by other soldiers:

Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib and the senior officer present the night of the murder of Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi, received no jail time. But he was reprimanded and fined $8,000. (Pappas was heard to say about al-Jamadi, “I’m not going down for this alone.”)

Sgt. Sabrina Harman, the woman famously seen giving a thumbs-up next to al-Jamadi’s body and in another photo smiling next to naked, hooded Iraqis stacked on each other in Abu Ghraib, was sentenced to six months for maltreating detainees…

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Six recent NSA false statements documented

July 30, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More

Propublica has organized and analyzed six recent government statements regarding the NSA that all appear to be lies.

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Watching the sunset bloom

July 29, 2013 | By | Reply More

Last night, my family and I watched the sunset bloom. None of these photos is processed other than a crop. Pure magic at the World’s Fair Pavilion, Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri. Click on the photos for enlargements.

IMG_4584 Worlds Fair II

IMG_4626 Worlds Fair II

IMG_4687 Worlds Fair II

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How a high ranking Mormon lost his faith

July 29, 2013 | By | 4 Replies More

How did this high ranking Mormon lose his faith? It wasn’t the result of someone getting in his face and telling him he was an idiot. The NYT tells the story:

When fellow believers in Sweden first began coming to him with information from the Internet that contradicted the church’s history and teachings, he dismissed it as “anti-Mormon propaganda,” the whisperings of Lucifer. He asked his superiors for help in responding to the members’ doubts, and when they seemed to only sidestep the questions, Mr. Mattsson began his own investigation.

But when he discovered credible evidence that the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist and that the Book of Mormon and other scriptures were rife with historical anomalies, Mr. Mattsson said he felt that the foundation on which he had built his life began to crumble.

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Jump start to the origin of life?

July 29, 2013 | By | Reply More

Was the origin of life willy-nilly? Or was it primed by pre-existing affinities in non-living matter that gave the creation of the first replicating for of life a jump start? New Research suggests the latter:

The chemical components crucial to the start of life on Earth may have primed and protected each other in never-before-realized ways, according to new research led by University of Washington scientists.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-natural-affinitiesunrecognized-nowmay-stage-life.html#jCpIt could mean a simpler scenario for how that first spark of life came about on the planet, according to Sarah Keller, UW professor of chemistry, and Roy Black, UW affiliate professor of bioengineering, both co-authors of a paper published online July 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This article reminds me of some of the theoretical work done by Stuart Kaufmann of the Santa Fe Institute. Both the affinity of matter to tend toward life and autocatalysis reduce the space of possibilities, making life less of a needle in a haystack proposition.

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The most transparent administration strikes again

July 25, 2013 | By | 4 Replies More
The most transparent administration strikes again

In regards to the Amash amendment which would have de-funded the portion of the NSA earmarked to spying on American citizens (which was narrowly voted down last night), the office of the President’s Press Secretary :

In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens…we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.

My irony alarm was so overloaded by this statement that I had to turn it off because all the neighbors were complaining.

To show just how much the President values an informed, open, process, he sent the head of the NSA to brief members of Congress:

NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander scheduled a last-minute, members-only briefing in response to the amendment, according to an invitation distributed to members of Congress this morning ...The invitation warned members that they could not share what they learned with their constituents or others. “The briefing will be held at the Top Secret/SCI level and will be strictly Members-Only,” reads the invite.

Ha! How’s that for open and informed?

[More . . . ]

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Represent.US attacks legalized bribery by lobbyists

July 25, 2013 | By | Reply More

Represent us has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, including the launch of the American Anti-Corruption Act with bipartisan support, including Lawrence Lessig and Trevor Potter. 400,000 Americans have signed up to support the Act.

Here is an effort to illustrate how laws are made in Washington D.C.:

If you want to be part of this effort to expose the electoral process and fix it, visit www.represent.us or “like” its Facebook page.

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