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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:01 pm 
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just plain doug wrote:
Gray_Ghost wrote:
[b][size=200]Lift off! New Zealand's Rocket Lab launches first rocket ...

Has Trump declared sanctions on you, yet?


What the first Sheep in Space :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:00 pm 
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:18 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:08 am 
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Brazil’s Democracy Pushed Into the Abyss

By MARK WEISBROTJAN. 23, 2018


WASHINGTON — The rule of law and the independence of the judiciary are fragile achievements in many countries — and susceptible to sharp reversals.

Brazil, the last country in the Western world to abolish slavery, is a fairly young democracy, having emerged from dictatorship just three decades ago. In the past two years, what could have been a historic advancement ― the Workers’ Party government granted autonomy to the judiciary to investigate and prosecute official corruption ― has turned into its opposite. As a result, Brazil’s democracy is now weaker than it has been since military rule ended.

This week, that democracy may be further eroded as a three-judge appellate court decides whether the most popular political figure in the country, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers’ Party, will be barred from competing in the 2018 presidential election, or even jailed.

There is not much pretense that the court will be impartial. The presiding judge of the appellate panel has already praised the trial judge’s decision to convict Mr. da Silva for corruption as “technically irreproachable,” and the judge’s chief of staff posted on her Facebook page a petition calling for Mr. da Silva’s imprisonment.

The trial judge, Sérgio Moro, has demonstrated his own partisanship on numerous occasions. He had to apologize to the Supreme Court in 2016 for releasing wiretapped conversations between Mr. da Silva and President Dilma Rousseff, his lawyer, and his wife and children. Judge Moro arranged a spectacle for the press in which the police showed up at Mr. da Silva’s home and took him away for questioning — even though Mr. da Silva had said he would report voluntarily for questioning.
Continue reading the main story

The evidence against Mr. da Silva is far below the standards that would be taken seriously in, for example, the United States’ judicial system.

He is accused of having accepted a bribe from a big construction company, called OAS, which was prosecuted in Brazil’s “Carwash” corruption scheme. That multibillion-dollar scandal involved companies paying large bribes to officials of the state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to obtain contracts at grossly inflated prices.

The bribe alleged to have been received by Mr. da Silva is an apartment owned by OAS. But there is no documentary evidence that either Mr. da Silva or his wife ever received title to, rented or even stayed in the apartment, nor that they tried to accept this gift.

The evidence against Mr. da Silva is based on the testimony of one convicted OAS executive, José Aldemário Pinheiro Filho, who had his prison sentence reduced in exchange for turning state’s evidence. According to reporting by the prominent Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, Mr. Pinheiro was blocked from plea bargaining when he originally told the same story as Mr. da Silva about the apartment. He also spent about six months in pretrial detention. (This evidence is discussed in the 238-page sentencing document.)

But this scanty evidence was enough for Judge Moro. In something that Americans might consider to be a kangaroo court proceeding, he sentenced Mr. da Silva to nine and a half years in prison.

The rule of law in Brazil had already been dealt a devastating blow in 2016 when Mr. da Silva’s successor, Ms. Rousseff, who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, was impeached and removed from office. Most of the world (and possibly most of Brazil) may believe that she was impeached for corruption. In fact, she was accused of an accounting maneuver that temporarily made the federal budget deficit look smaller than it otherwise would appear. It was something that other presidents and governors had done without consequences. And the government’s own federal prosecutor concluded that it was not a crime.

While there were officials involved in corruption from parties across the political spectrum, including the Workers’ Party, there were no charges of corruption against Ms. Rousseff in the impeachment proceedings.

Mr. da Silva remains the front-runner in the October election because of his and the party’s success in reversing a long economic decline. From 1980 to 2003, the Brazilian economy barely grew at all, about 0.2 percent annually per capita. Mr. da Silva took office in 2003, and Ms. Rousseff in 2011. By 2014, poverty had been reduced by 55 percent and extreme poverty by 65 percent. The real minimum wage increased by 76 percent, real wages overall had risen 35 percent, unemployment hit record lows, and Brazil’s infamous inequality had finally fallen.

But in 2014, a deep recession began, and the Brazilian right was able to take advantage of the downturn to stage what many Brazilians consider a parliamentary coup.

If Mr. da Silva is barred from the presidential election, the result could have very little legitimacy, as in the Honduran election in November that was widely seen as stolen. A poll last year found that 42.7 percent of Brazilians believed that Mr. da Silva was being persecuted by the news media and the judiciary. A noncredible election could be politically destabilizing.

Perhaps most important, Brazil will have reconstituted itself as a much more limited form of electoral democracy, in which a politicized judiciary can exclude a popular political leader from running for office. That would be a calamity for Brazilians, the region and the world.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/23/opinion/brazil-lula-democracy-corruption.html

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 12:52 pm 
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Amused, once again, to see how Breitbart works. In an effort to glean some positives out of the fact that the dollar sank as a result of the government shutdown in the US, suddenly this is great news as the pound rose! Thus proving that Brexit isn't a disaster after all...

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2018/01 ... vote-high/

The fact that the pound is still hanging around at an all-time low against the Euro is not mentioned. I wonder why?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 1:25 pm 
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Good for the Aussie dollar to - Go Trump :smoke: Make America Broke Again


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:52 pm 
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Critic’s Choice
Thu Jan 25, 2018 at 12:19 pm
By George Grella

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Jello has been in the news this week, as in trying to pin something down that resists a clear definition. But it’s an enduring and fruitful metaphor for a substantial range of music and musicians that mixes elements of the classical avant-garde, rock, jazz, and improvisation into a unique emulsification.

One of the spiciest such will be featured at Roulette this Thursday and Friday, when the Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Alumni and conductor/composer Matthias Pintscher bring a two-night series, “Frank Zappa: Rebel/Respect/Response.” A selection of Zappa’s chamber orchestra pieces, which still lie on the cutting edge of the genre-less avant-garde, are on tap and will be paired with sympathetic composer-partners like Olga Neuwirth, Pierre Boulez, Varèse, John Zorn, and recent MacArthur Fellow Tyshawn Sorey. Sorey himself will perform on Thursday, along with other guest musicians.

“Frank Zappa: Rebel/Respect/Response” takes place 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday at Roulette. roulette.org

http://newyorkclassicalreview.com/2018/ ... choice-53/


Lucerne Festival Presents Frank Zappa at Roulette

1/25/2018

John Schaefer Host,
Soundcheck and New Sounds

Gig Alert: Lucerne Festival Presents Frank Zappa at Roulette, Jan. 25 & 26
Tickets: $20. Doors at 7PM, Show at 8PM.

Frank Zappa never considered himself a rock star – he was a composer. Throughout his career he wrote chamber music and championed the works of 20th-century classical composers. Towards the end of his life, he worked with a number of classical ensembles. Now, Matthias Pintscher and the Ensemble of the Lucerne Festival Alumni (from the prestigious Lucerne Festival in Switzerland) are in New York to play two concerts featuring Zappa’s compositions, in a two-night event, called Rebel / Respect / Response. Tonight, hear Zappa's music alongside the US premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Eleanor, featuring the singer Della Miller, guitarist Christelle Séry, and the formidable drummer and composer Tyshawn Sorey. Tomorrow night's show also showcases music of Frank Zappa, alongside pieces by Pierre Boulez, Edgard Varèse, John Zorn, and Tyshawn Sorey.

https://www.newsounds.org/story/gig-ale ... -roulette/

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:45 am 
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And there I was thinking all the good they did was the Christmas puzzles:
https://www.volkskrant.nl/media/dutch-a ... ~a4561913/

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:54 am 
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Jack White bans phones at gigs for “100% human experience”


http://www.nme.com/news/music/jack-white-bans-phones-gigs-2227093

Cuz there's apparently only one way to properly enjoy a concert:
“We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON,” the statement adds.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:34 pm 
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The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
Jack White bans phones at gigs for “100% human experience”


http://www.nme.com/news/music/jack-white-bans-phones-gigs-2227093

Cuz there's apparently only one way to properly enjoy a concert:
“We think you’ll enjoy looking up from your gadgets for a little while and experience music and our shared love of it IN PERSON,” the statement adds.

Good idea. Now if only the idea will be enforced at movie theaters.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:38 pm 
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Big rig overturns on the 5fwy in SoCal. It was carrying thousands of bags of mozzarella cheese. The truck caught fire. The smell of burning cheese was so bad that they issued a warning to nearby residents to stay indoors and close windows. The driver escaped with minor injuries.

What a mess it made. That will be a tough clean up from what I could see in the video.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:31 pm 
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coevad wrote:
Big rig overturns on the 5fwy in SoCal. It was carrying thousands of bags of mozzarella cheese. The truck caught fire. The smell of burning cheese was so bad that they issued a warning to nearby residents to stay indoors and close windows. The driver escaped with minor injuries.

What a mess it made. That will be a tough clean up from what I could see in the video.


https://www.nbclosangeles.com/multimedi ... 69314.html

mozzarella made a mess in Sun Valley.....

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:54 pm 
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If that was treated like an Exxon oil-spill, (no matter the size) the price of pizza would spike world-wide.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:02 pm 
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ALICE COOPER Guitarist NITA STRAUSS Named First-Ever Female IBANEZ Signature Artist
January 25, 2018
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Nita Strauss, the Los Angeles-based guitar shredder for the ALICE COOPER band, has been named the first-ever female Ibanez signature artist.

She says: "After years of dreaming, hoping and working, followed by months of planning and preparation, I am honored and proud to introduce my signature guitar, the Ibanez JIVA.

This beauty will be sold worldwide and comes equipped exactly how I play it live, including brand new signature DiMarzio pickups meticulously designed by yours truly.

"When I had my first meeting with Ibanez in September of 2008, they asked me why they should add me to the artist roster. My (typically emotional) answer was: 'All my heroes are Ibanez players. It's a dream come true for me to just come and meet you guys. If you don't want to give me an endorsement, I'll still play my Ibanez guitars proudly, but it would be a huge honor to join the family and represent the company officially.'

"They took a chance on a basically unknown girl from L.A. (I was actually the only girl on the USA roster at that time) and coming up on my 10th amazing year as an Ibanez artist, words cannot express how honored and thrilled I am to now join the ranks of my greatest heroes as a signature artist."

Nita told Guitar Girl Magazine in a 2017 interview that she started playing guitar when she was 13 years old. "I played drums first, and I was just no good at all," she said. "Then I switched to bass, and I wasn't any good at that either! I'm still not. And, finally, I picked up the guitar and it just stuck. My first guitar was a $99 Squire Stratocaster and I think it came with a little amp and a songbook and some guitar picks and a capo and a slide and a cable and a whole bunch of accoutrements. It was the cheapest little guitar and I played it for years. I didn't have anything nicer for a long time. I was just so passionate about learning and playing and getting better. And then, of course, as soon as I got nicer guitars, I was like, okay, this is a lot easier to play fast. I remember when I picked up my first Ibanez, I was, like, 'Why didn't anybody tell me that I should be playing this the whole time?' As soon as I got my first Ibanez, I just never played anything else — my blood bleeds Ibanez. I have no bargaining power with them; they know that. It's like if you tell a guy you love him right away when you've been dating, which is actually what I did in my relationship too, it just takes away all the power. It's like I love you, then you have no mystery, no build-up, no nothing! There's no suspense. Just like you're stuck now. And I'm happily stuck with both my relationship and my guitar of choice."

Strauss made her name with THE IRON MAIDENS, FEMME FATALE and LA Kiss prior to hooking up with Cooper.

Nita joined the legendary rocker's band in 2014 as the replacement for Orianthi.

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/alice- ... re-artist/

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:56 am 
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Au Brésil, une démocratie en déliquescence

Editorial. Les scandales, mêlant mallettes d’argent sale et tractations en sous-sol, se sont succédé à la tête du pouvoir au point d’étourdir les Brésiliens.

« Editorial du Monde. »

Après les bravades, les larmes et les outrances, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, dit « Lula », président du Brésil de 2003 à 2011, a obtempéré. Vendredi 26 janvier, ses avocats sont venus remettre le passeport de l’ancien chef d’Etat aux autorités policières de Sao Paulo. Cette mesure était réclamée par un juge de Brasilia, au lendemain de sa condamnation à douze ans et un mois de prison pour corruption passive et blanchiment d’argent.

Une humiliation de plus pour l’ex-syndicaliste, figure de la lutte ouvrière sous la dictature militaire (1964-1985), qui fut l’un des plus grands dirigeants politiques du pays et la star des sommets internationaux au temps de sa splendeur. Le sort de Lula, « père des pauvres » dont la politique sociale a sorti des millions de Brésiliens de l’indigence, déchaîne les passions.

Ses alliés protestent de son innocence et le défendent tel un dieu tandis que ses ennemis le considèrent comme un bandit. En dépit des étrangetés avérées de la procédure judiciaire, il n’est pas absurde d’imaginer que l’ancien métallo et son Parti des travailleurs aient, à l’instar de leurs prédécesseurs, succombé à la tradition clientéliste du système politique brésilien. Déjà, en 2005, le scandale du « mensalao » (l’achat de voix de parlementaires) avait failli lui coûter sa réélection. Et, au-delà de cette première condamnation, Lula fait également l’objet de huit autres procédures judiciaires.
Immunité dévoyée

Mais le malaise grandit depuis l’« impeachement » controversé, en 2016, de la présidente Dilma Rousseff, héritière et successeure de Lula. Loin de servir la cause de l’éthique promise depuis le déclenchement de l’opération anti-corruption « Lava Jato » (« lavage express »), la disgrâce de Lula offre le spectacle affligeant d’un vieux monde politique en déliquescence.

Au moment où les juges prononçaient la sentence contre l’ex-métallo, l’actuel président, Michel Temer, participait au sommet de Davos, tentant de faire oublier les lourdes accusations qui pèsent contre lui : corruption passive, participation à une organisation criminelle et obstruction à la justice.

Jusqu’à présent, le chef de l’Etat est parvenu à suspendre les procédures qui le visent au prix d’un marchandage éhonté avec des parlementaires, eux-mêmes en délicatesse avec la justice. Au Congrès brésilien, pas moins de 45 sénateurs sur 81 doivent répondre d’accusations criminelles, pointe le site Congresso em Foco, qui scrute l’activité parlementaire. Rien de neuf. « Lava Jato » n’a fait que mettre en lumière des pratiques bien antérieures à l’arrivée au pouvoir de Lula.

Après les manifestations monstres de 2015 et 2016 réclamant au nom de la « morale » le départ de Dilma Rousseff, les scandales, dignes d’un film de série B, mêlant mallettes d’argent sale et tractations en sous-sol, se sont succédé au point d’étourdir les Brésiliens. Mais le statut de foro privilegidao (« citoyen privilégié ») protège les politiciens en fonctions ; l’immunité dont ils bénéficient, légitime dans son principe, est dévoyée et instrumentalisée avec le plus grand cynisme.

L’élite de Brasilia baigne dans un climat d’impunité de nature à écœurer le peuple. A quelques mois de l’élection présidentielle, le Brésil, pays parmi les plus inégalitaires au monde, renvoie l’image d’une société de castes où les dirigeants n’obéissent pas aux mêmes lois que les miséreux. C’est indigne et dangereux pour la plus grande démocratie d’Amérique latine.

http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/01/27/deliquescence-de-la-democratie-bresilienne_5248067_3232.html

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:58 am 
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Mr_Green_Genes wrote:
Au Brésil, une démocratie en déliquescence

Editorial. Les scandales, mêlant mallettes d’argent sale et tractations en sous-sol, se sont succédé à la tête du pouvoir au point d’étourdir les Brésiliens.

« Editorial du Monde. »

Après les bravades, les larmes et les outrances, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, dit « Lula », président du Brésil de 2003 à 2011, a obtempéré. Vendredi 26 janvier, ses avocats sont venus remettre le passeport de l’ancien chef d’Etat aux autorités policières de Sao Paulo. Cette mesure était réclamée par un juge de Brasilia, au lendemain de sa condamnation à douze ans et un mois de prison pour corruption passive et blanchiment d’argent.

Une humiliation de plus pour l’ex-syndicaliste, figure de la lutte ouvrière sous la dictature militaire (1964-1985), qui fut l’un des plus grands dirigeants politiques du pays et la star des sommets internationaux au temps de sa splendeur. Le sort de Lula, « père des pauvres » dont la politique sociale a sorti des millions de Brésiliens de l’indigence, déchaîne les passions.

Ses alliés protestent de son innocence et le défendent tel un dieu tandis que ses ennemis le considèrent comme un bandit. En dépit des étrangetés avérées de la procédure judiciaire, il n’est pas absurde d’imaginer que l’ancien métallo et son Parti des travailleurs aient, à l’instar de leurs prédécesseurs, succombé à la tradition clientéliste du système politique brésilien. Déjà, en 2005, le scandale du « mensalao » (l’achat de voix de parlementaires) avait failli lui coûter sa réélection. Et, au-delà de cette première condamnation, Lula fait également l’objet de huit autres procédures judiciaires.
Immunité dévoyée

Mais le malaise grandit depuis l’« impeachement » controversé, en 2016, de la présidente Dilma Rousseff, héritière et successeure de Lula. Loin de servir la cause de l’éthique promise depuis le déclenchement de l’opération anti-corruption « Lava Jato » (« lavage express »), la disgrâce de Lula offre le spectacle affligeant d’un vieux monde politique en déliquescence.

Au moment où les juges prononçaient la sentence contre l’ex-métallo, l’actuel président, Michel Temer, participait au sommet de Davos, tentant de faire oublier les lourdes accusations qui pèsent contre lui : corruption passive, participation à une organisation criminelle et obstruction à la justice.

Jusqu’à présent, le chef de l’Etat est parvenu à suspendre les procédures qui le visent au prix d’un marchandage éhonté avec des parlementaires, eux-mêmes en délicatesse avec la justice. Au Congrès brésilien, pas moins de 45 sénateurs sur 81 doivent répondre d’accusations criminelles, pointe le site Congresso em Foco, qui scrute l’activité parlementaire. Rien de neuf. « Lava Jato » n’a fait que mettre en lumière des pratiques bien antérieures à l’arrivée au pouvoir de Lula.

Après les manifestations monstres de 2015 et 2016 réclamant au nom de la « morale » le départ de Dilma Rousseff, les scandales, dignes d’un film de série B, mêlant mallettes d’argent sale et tractations en sous-sol, se sont succédé au point d’étourdir les Brésiliens. Mais le statut de foro privilegidao (« citoyen privilégié ») protège les politiciens en fonctions ; l’immunité dont ils bénéficient, légitime dans son principe, est dévoyée et instrumentalisée avec le plus grand cynisme.

L’élite de Brasilia baigne dans un climat d’impunité de nature à écœurer le peuple. A quelques mois de l’élection présidentielle, le Brésil, pays parmi les plus inégalitaires au monde, renvoie l’image d’une société de castes où les dirigeants n’obéissent pas aux mêmes lois que les miséreux. C’est indigne et dangereux pour la plus grande démocratie d’Amérique latine.

http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/01/27/deliquescence-de-la-democratie-bresilienne_5248067_3232.html



Brazil's Lula appeals decision to seize his passport
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-braz ... SKBN1FF2Y8

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:03 am 
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Jot this in your agenda:
31 January - Super Blue Blood Moon.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:17 am 
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The Russian group that hacked the DNC and generally meddled in the U.S. election is known as Cozy Bear. He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword. Cozy Bear was itself hacked—by the Dutch intelligence service AIVD. The Dutch completely penetrated Cozy Bear and were not only able to obtain documents from its computers, but even took over the surveillance cameras at its headquarters in a university building off Red Square in Moscow, so they could see images of all the hackers.

The Dutch turned their findings over to the CIA and NSA during the 2016 election. Those agencies, in turn, warned the DNC that they had been infilitrated, but the DNC did nothing. It is thought that the reason the CIA and NSA have said there is no doubt that the Russians meddled in the election is the evidence given to them by the AIVD. The report of the counter-hack was published in the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant; the AIVD itself hasn't commented on the matter.

story here :arrow: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wor ... 3d66a7431d


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:59 am 
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Thanks: I linked up to the story here. I guess I was so involved with their Christmas puzzle I forgot other people don't do that monster.

BBP wrote:
And there I was thinking all the good they did was the Christmas puzzles:
https://www.volkskrant.nl/media/dutch-a ... ~a4561913/

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:58 am 
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In further news, the EUGT (Europäische Forschungsvereinigung für Umwelt und Gesundheit im Transportsektor), a research group founded by car brands Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW, along with Bosch, didn't just research the effects of exhaust gases on monkeys, as per this NY Times article:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/28/busi ... nkeys.html

But they also tested on humans. Haven't found an English source yet, so dig up your best German:
http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/a ... -1.3843804

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:33 am 
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BBP wrote:
In further news, the EUGT (Europäische Forschungsvereinigung für Umwelt und Gesundheit im Transportsektor), a research group founded by car brands Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW, along with Bosch, didn't just research the effects of exhaust gases on monkeys, as per this NY Times article:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/28/busi ... nkeys.html

But they also tested on humans. Haven't found an English source yet, so dig up your best German:
http://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/a ... -1.3843804


here's one

German automakers under fire over diesel exhaust tests on monkeys, humans
DAVID MCHUGH AND GEIR MOULSON
Last updated 06:58, January 30 2018
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SUPPLIED
Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said the tests must be fully investigated.

Public criticism of the German auto industry has escalated on reports that diesel exhaust tests were carried out on both monkeys and humans.

The tests were reportedly carried out by a research group funded by major German auto companies. On Monday, the German government condemned the experiments and Volkswagen sought to distance itself from them, with its chairman saying that "in the name of the whole board I emphatically disavow such practices.''

Revelations of the tests add a twist to the German auto industry's attempt to move past Volkswagen's scandal over cheating on diesel tests and the resulting questioning of diesel technology across the industry.

Volkswagen Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said the tests must be "investigated completely and without reservation,'' the dpa news agency reported.

A report by the New York Times found that the research group financed by top German car manufacturers commissioned experiments in which one group of monkeys was exposed to diesel exhaust from a late-model Volkswagen, while another group was exposed to fumes from an older Ford pickup.

The experiments were carried out in 2014 before Volkswagen was caught using software that let vehicles cheat on emissions tests. They were intended to show modern diesel technology had solved the problem of excess emissions, but according to the New York Times report the Volkswagen car in the tests was equipped with illegal software that turned emissions controls on while the car was on test stands and off during regular driving.

Volkswagen admitted using the software in 2015. The Volkswagen scandal led to public scrutiny of diesel emissions as regulators discovered that other companies' vehicles also had higher emissions on the road than during testing, though not necessarily through illegal rigging. The industry has had to fend off calls for diesel bans in German cities with high pollution levels.

Daimler AG said it was "appalled by the nature and extent of the studies'' and said that, though it did not have any influence on the studies' design, "we have launched a comprehensive investigation into the matter.''

BMW said that it "did not participate in the mentioned study'' on animals "and distances itself from this study.'' It said it was investigating the work and background of the research group.

The Times report said the group that commissioned the studies, known by German initial EUGT, got all its funding from the three automakers; Volkswagen said in a statement the founders were Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler and components and technology firm Bosch.

The New York Times report was followed by one in Monday's edition of the Stuttgarter Zeitung daily that the now-closed research group also commissioned tests in which humans were exposed to nitrogen dioxide, which belongs to a class of pollutant known as nitrogen oxides. The group reportedly said the tests showed no effect on the subjects.

The human study, carried out by Aachen University, involved studying the effects of exposing 25 subjects, mostly students, to low levels of nitrogen dioxide like those that could be found in the environment from a 40 litre bottle, not a diesel engine. The individuals gave informed written consent for the study, which was approved by the ethics committee of the university's medical faculty, according to the study. The university said the study had no relation to the diesel scandal.

The German government condemned the reported tests on animals and humans. Transport Minister Christian Schmidt "has no understanding for such tests ... that do not serve science but merely PR aims,'' spokesman Ingo Strater told reporters in Berlin.

He called for the companies concerned to provide "immediate and detailed'' responses, and said a ministry commission of inquiry that was set up after the emissions scandal broke will hold a special meeting to examine whether there are any other cases.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that "the disgust many people are feeling is absolutely understandable.''

"These tests on monkeys or even humans can in no way be ethically justified,'' Seibert said. "They raise many critical questions for those behind these tests, and these questions must urgently be answered.''

He questioned the aims of the tests. "The automakers have to reduce emissions of harmful substances further and further,'' he said. "They should not be trying to prove the supposed harmlessness of exhaust with the help of monkeys or even humans.''

Seibert said that the supervisory boards of the companies concerned "have a particular responsibility.''

The governor of the German state of Lower Saxony, a major shareholder in Volkswagen, added his voice to calls for quick answers.

Stephan Weil, who sits on VW's supervisory board, stressed that "the behaviour of the company must in every respect fulfill ethical demands.'' He said he hadn't known about the tests.

- AP

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/world/ ... eys-humans

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:01 pm 
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The news has only just been published, but the discovery was made in late 2016: in Nieuwegein (central Netherlands) researchers discovered a skeleton of a woman with a baby in her arms. This skeleton is 6,000 years old, making it the oldest baby skeleton found in The Netherlands.
https://nos.nl/artikel/2214452-6000-jaa ... egein.html

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:12 am 
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Former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing is to release a book titled Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest which will document the history of the band through his eyes.

It’ll be published on September 18 via Da Capo Press and will “delve backstage into the decades of shocking, hilarious, and haunting stories that surround the heavy metal institution” that is Judas Priest.

The synopsis on the book continues: “In Heavy Duty, guitarist KK Downing discusses the complex personality conflicts, the business screw-ups, the acrimonious relationship with fellow heavy metal band Iron Maiden, as well as how Judas Priest found itself at the epicentre of a storm of parental outrage that targeted heavy metal in the 80s.

“He also describes his role in cementing the band's trademark black leather and studs image that would not only become synonymous with the entire genre, but would also give singer Rob Halford a viable outlet by which to express his sexuality.

“Lastly, he recounts the life-changing moment when he looked at his bandmates on stage during a 2010 concert and thought, ‘This is the last show.’ Whatever the topic, whoever's involved, KK doesn't hold back.”

The synopsis continues: “Downing has seen it all and is now finally at a place in his life where he can also let it all go. Even if you're a lifelong fan, if you think you know the full story of Judas Priest, well, you've got another thing coming.”

Image http://teamrock.com/news/2018-01-30/kk- ... eavy-duty#


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:09 am 
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Trip wrote:
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Former Judas Priest guitarist KK Downing is to release a book titled Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest which will document the history of the band through his eyes.

It’ll be published on September 18 via Da Capo Press and will “delve backstage into the decades of shocking, hilarious, and haunting stories that surround the heavy metal institution” that is Judas Priest.

The synopsis on the book continues: “In Heavy Duty, guitarist KK Downing discusses the complex personality conflicts, the business screw-ups, the acrimonious relationship with fellow heavy metal band Iron Maiden, as well as how Judas Priest found itself at the epicentre of a storm of parental outrage that targeted heavy metal in the 80s.

“He also describes his role in cementing the band's trademark black leather and studs image that would not only become synonymous with the entire genre, but would also give singer Rob Halford a viable outlet by which to express his sexuality.

“Lastly, he recounts the life-changing moment when he looked at his bandmates on stage during a 2010 concert and thought, ‘This is the last show.’ Whatever the topic, whoever's involved, KK doesn't hold back.”

The synopsis continues: “Downing has seen it all and is now finally at a place in his life where he can also let it all go. Even if you're a lifelong fan, if you think you know the full story of Judas Priest, well, you've got another thing coming.”

Image http://teamrock.com/news/2018-01-30/kk- ... eavy-duty#


pre ordered
co (ghost) written by Mark Eglinton, he's written some good books
https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Eglinton/e/ ... 102&sr=8-1

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:01 am 
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Scientists are turning to heart-stopping poison to develop male birth control
GUNDA GEORG, JON HAWKINSON AND SHAMEEM SYEDA
Last updated 09:25, February 3 2018

After decades of research, development of a male birth control may now be one step closer. My colleagues and I are working on a promising lead for a male birth control pill based on ouabain – a plant extract that African warriors and hunters traditionally used as a heart-stopping poison on their arrows.

STATE OF THE SEARCH

While the birth control pill has been available to women in the United States for nearly six decades – and FDA-approved for contraceptive use since 1960 – an oral contraceptive for men has not yet come to market. The pill has provided women with safe, effective and reversible options for birth control, while options for men have been stuck in a rut.
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JOHN NICHOLSON/SUPPLIED
Oral birth control has only been for women in the past decades, but that may change soon.

Today, men have just two choices when it comes to birth control: condoms or a vasectomy. Together, these two methods account for just 30 percent of contraception used, leaving the remaining 70 percent of contraceptive methods to women. An estimated 500,000 American men opt for a vasectomy each year – a small number given the need for contraception. Vasectomy is an invasive procedure to do that’s also difficult and invasive to reverse.

When it comes to birth control options for men, the need is clear. Unplanned pregnancy rates remain high across the globe. It’s time for more options.
Image
KEVIN STENT/SUNDAY STAR TIMES
Currently, male birth control consists of condoms and vasectomies.

HORMONAL VERSUS NONHORMONAL

Researchers are exploring both hormonal and nonhormonal options for male birth control pills. Current hormonal agents under study involve the sex steroids progestins and testosterone.

While the male hormonal birth control pill option is in clinical human trials and likely closer to market, it has several potential side effects: In addition to potentially causing weight gain and changes in libido, it has the ability to lower the levels of good cholesterol (HDL-C) in men, which could negatively affect the heart health of users. The long-term effects of using hormones for male oral contraception are unknown, and it will likely be decades before this information is available.

Here at the University of Minnesota, my colleagues and I have focused on nonhormonal contraception methods that work by targeting sperm motility – biology-speak for the sperms’ ability to move or swim effectively. Good motility is a necessary condition for fertilizing a female egg.

collaboration with Gustavo Blanco at the University of Kansas, we’ve homed in on ouabain: a toxic substance produced by two types of African plants. Mammals also produce ouabain in their bodies, though at lower nonlethal levels that scientists think can help control blood pressure. In fact, physicians have used ouabain in very small doses to treat patients with heart arrhythmias or suffering from heart attacks.

FROM TOXIN TO CONTRACEPTIVE

Researchers know that ouabain disrupts the passage of sodium and potassium ions through cell membranes; it interferes with the proper function of proteins that transport the ions in and out of cells. Some of the ion-transporting protein subunits targeted by ouabain are found in cardiac tissue – its ability to disrupt proper heart function is what makes ouabain a deadly poison. But ouabain also affects another type of transporter subunit called α4, which is found only in sperm cells. This protein is known to be critical in fertility — at least in male mice.

For 10 years, my colleagues and I have been studying ouabain as a potential breakthrough in our quest for a male birth control pill. However, ouabain by itself isn’t an option as a contraceptive because of the risk of heart damage. So we set out to design ouabain analogs – versions of the molecule that are more likely to bind to the α4 protein in sperm than other subunits in heart tissue.

In the lab, we used the techniques of medicinal chemistry to create a derivative of ouabain that is good at zeroing in on the α4 transporter in sperm cells in rats. Once bound to those cells, it interferes with the sperms’ ability to swim – essential to its role in fertilizing an egg. Our new compound showed no toxicity in rats.

Because the α4 transporter is found only on mature sperm cells, the contraceptive effect should be reversible – sperm cells produced after stopping the treatment presumably won’t be affected. Ouabain may also offer men a birth control pill option with fewer systemic side effects than hormonal options.

NEXT STEPS ON THE ROAD TO DRUG DISCOVERY

Our results are promising because our candidate molecule, unlike ouabain, is nontoxic in rats. Our modification is a big step forward in the process of developing a nonhormonal male birth control pill. But there’s a lot left to do before men can buy this contraceptive at the *SPAM*.

After our ouabain analog showed promise in rat studies at reducing sperm motility, future studies will focus on the effectiveness of our lead compound as an actual contraceptive in animals. We need to prove that a reduction in sperm movement translates into a drop in egg fertilization.

Then, we’ll begin the standard steps in drug discovery such as toxicology and safety *SPAM* studies as we advance toward planning and conducting clinical trials. Our team is already taking the next step to test our compound in animal mating trials. If things continue as planned, we hope to get to human clinical trials within five years.

The ConversationReversible, effective male birth control is within sight. World Health Organization numbers suggest that reducing sperm motility by 50 percent or less is sufficient to temporarily make a man infertile. Our ongoing research brings us one step closer to expanding the options for male birth control, providing the world’s 7.6 billion people with a much-needed option for safe and reversible contraception.

Gunda Georg is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, University of Minnesota; Jon Hawkinson is a Research Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Associate Program Director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, University of Minnesota, and Shameem Syeda is a Principal Scientist at the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, University of Minnesota.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/love ... th-control

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