Careful investigation of many supposedly conclusive UFO reports showed that witnesses had constantly misperceived mundane objects as flying saucers. This message was not well received by the UFO community. Read more
A Japanese company has introduced a new role for SoftBank's humanoid robot "Pepper" - a Buddhist priest for hire at funerals.
Chanting sutras in a computerized voice while tapping a drum, the robot was on display on Wednesday at a funeral industry fair - the Life Ending Industry Expo - in Tokyo. Read more
Connected by their faith in order and global norms, these military leaders are rapidly consolidating power throughout the executive branch as they counsel a volatile president. Some establishment figures in both political parties view them as safeguards for the nation in a time of turbulence.
Trump's elevation of a cadre of current and retired generals marks a striking departure for a country that for generations has positioned civilian leaders above and apart from the military.
In the wake of the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville this month, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief did. Read more
The Trump administration has halted a study of the health effects of a common mining technique in Appalachia, which is believed to deposit waste containing toxic minerals in ground waters.
A letter from the Interior Department directed the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to "cease all work" on a study of the potential health risks of mountaintop removal mining for people living near surface coal mine sites in central Appalachia. The Interior Department acknowledged in a statement that it had "put on hold" $1 million in funding for the two-year project as part of a review of its grants, which is focused on "responsibly using taxpayer dollars." Read more
In the wake of Charlottesville, Donald Trump clings to the only constituency he has left
When he finally did make a statement, it was only to issue a preposterous parody of presidential evenhandedness, decrying bigotry and violence "on many sides." Those three words instantly set a new standard for Trump-iniquity. The president of the United States had announced he was so insecure, so politically alone, that he couldn't even disavow people making Hitler salutes in broad daylight. For a normal politician, the calculus is simple: Don't hug Nazis. It's on page one of Presidenting for Dummies. But Trump's narcissism is so malignant that it alters basic equations. The president seemed paralyzed by the fact that some of the Charlottesville protesters wore MAGA hats, an indemnifying variable in Trump-math: "They like me, therefore they are me. And me can't be all bad even if me is a Nazi." Read more
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has strongly opposed the new US strategy towards Afghanistan, saying it is against peace and the national interest of the country. Read more
The US has possibly 60 years of farming left due to soil degradation. The UK has possibly 100 harvests left in its soils.
Micronutrient malnutrition is now understood to cause increased rates of chronic diseases (cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis) in many affecting more than 3 billion people. Unbalanced use of mineral fertilizers and a decrease in the use of organic manure are the main causes of the nutrient deficiency in regions where monocropping is high.
The chemical-intensive green revolution has accelerated monocropping with less diverse diets and less nutritious foods. Its long-term impact has led to soil degradation and mineral imbalances, which has adversely affected human health.
A group of microbiologists have challenged themselves to bring about a 20% increase in global food production and a 20% decrease in fertilizer and pesticide use over the next 20 years, without the snake oil-vending agribusiness interests in the middle. Read more
Overpacking isn't exactly an option for trips into space, even for longer trips like an eventual manned mission to Mars. There isn't enough room to carry a swag of spare parts just in case you need them, and some essential nutrients don't have a long enough shelf life to survive the journey. Now, researchers are recruiting microorganisms to solve both of those problems, by engineering them to make nutrients and 3D-printable plastics out of human waste. Read more
An almost limitless supply of clean energy has been brought one step closer to reality. Scientists have developed a new way to make plasma fuel hot and dense enough to generate significant' fusion power. While using nuclear fusion to power homes and businesses may still be some way off, the new plasma marks a major step in fusion power research. Read more
Marx attempted to describe Capitalism completely and in doing so wrote two thousand pages that are difficult to read and still incomplete. Yet it is still in print.
For Marx, Capital is not just a resource in itself, a simple factor of production analogous to land and labor, but an expression of social relations of production. The social relation between employer and worker is what enables capitalist production to take place at all. It requires workers to be "free" to sell their labor and "free" of any ownership of the means of production, so that they have no choice but to sell their labor. Capital does not exist in primitive societies.
The concentration of ownership of the means of production in a few hands is effectively what enables capital to play its role in production. But this concentration was necessarily based on expropriation from those who previously possessed it, such as peasants and small artisans who could have produced on their own. Read more
We may have also just learned the real goal of the Afghanistan strategy.
(Hint: According to the US Secretary of State, it's not what the failed casino owner with the tiny hands told his marks.)
President Donald Trump committed to the measure in private conversations with executives from Murray Energy Corp. and FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. after public events in July and early August, according to letters to the White House from Murray Energy and its chief executive, Robert Murray. In the letters, obtained by The Associated Press, Murray said failing to act would cause thousands of coal miners to be laid off and put the pensions of thousands more in jeopardy. One of Murray's letters said Trump agreed and told Energy Secretary Rick Perry, "I want this done" in Murray's presence.
Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia also said the IRS must provide information about which groups were targeted and why, along with a strategy to make sure such targeting doesn't happen again.
The IRS is involved in multiple lawsuits with conservative groups related to the Tea Party targeting scandal; this particular case involves True the Vote.
North Korea revealed plans for the development of its missile programme on Wednesday, as leader Kim Jong-Un ordered stepped-up production of rocket engines and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) nosecones. Read more
Like a car with high fins and long protruding tail lights, the phrase "independence of mind" has gone out of style, especially at colleges and universities where it ought to be the most profound ideal. The thugs have taken over. Read more
With or without a wall, whatever its shape or medium, there's a war zone between the US and Mexico, full of the lost, the desperate and the dead. Read more