From the Star Wars-themed fake paper submitted by Neuroskeptic to nine scientific journals and accepted by four:
From the Star Wars-themed fake paper submitted by Neuroskeptic to nine scientific journals and accepted by four:
This would be hilarious were it not so disturbing. From Lee Travis at defiant thinking.wordpress.com:
People put so much weight on what the “experts” say – it’s easier to abdicate our own research and critical thinking and rely on others who are supposed to know more than we do. It makes sense to an extent – no one has time to do their own research on every question that comes up, especially complicated issues like science or economics – but blanket trust placed in others, simply because they have a degree or have been published somewhere, can be a dangerous thing.
Case in point: A scientist who blogs under the name “Neuroskeptic” wrote a spoof academic piece and submitted it to nine scientific publications, to see whether any would publish what was clearly and explicitly a farce. He chose a Star Wars theme for his submission, writing under the names “Dr. Lucas McGeorge” and “Dr. Annette Kin,” and focusing on the “midi-chlorians,” fictional entities that live inside cells and give Jedi their powers.
The bulk of the paper was a copy-and-paste of the mitochondria entry from Wikipedia, changed with a simple find/replace to turn mitochondr* into midichlor*. He then added clear Star Wars reference, such as:
To continue reading: May the farce be with you
Looks like Iraq is not going to be the Middle East’s shining star of democracy nor a reliable US satrapy. It’s lining up with Iran and Russia. From Peter Korzun at strategic-culture.org:
It was reported on July 20 that Russia and Iraq have struck a deal on supplying a large batch of T-90 tanks. Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian president’s aide for military technical cooperation, confirmed the agreement but declined to provide details, saying only «the number of tanks is substantial». Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the deal might cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion.
The T-90 is among the best-selling tanks in the world. Hundreds of vehicles have been sold to India, Algeria, Azerbaijan and other countries. A small number of tanks has been delivered to Syria to reinforce the military’s capabilities of combatting Islamic State (IS). Kuwait, Vietnam and Egypt are considering the option of purchasing T-90s.
Known for its firepower, enhanced protection and mobility, the T-90 features a smoothbore 2A46M 125mm main gun that can fire both armor-piercing shells and anti-tank missiles and the 1A45T fire-control system. Standard protective measures include sophisticated armor, ensuring all-round protection of the crew and critical systems, including Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor and active infrared jammers to defend the T-90 from inbound rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and other projectiles.
During the battle for Aleppo, Syria, a T-90 was hit by US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. The direct impact caused no damage
The agreement to purchase the tanks was also confirmed by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The T-90s will reinforce the Iraqi M1A1 Abrams fleet damaged in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants. The decision to buy the Russian tanks was prompted by the successful performance of T-90s in Syria. During the battle for Aleppo, Syria, a T-90 was hit by US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. The direct impact caused no damage. For comparison, in October last year, an M1 Abrams was hit by a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missile at the Qurayyah crossroads south of Mosul. The missile rammed into the turret from behind to make the ammunition compartment explode.
To continue reading: Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal
Another article about Fusion GPS: the head of the company is refusing to testify before the Senate Judiciary committee about how the firm came up with the salacious Trump dossier, which to date has received no independent verification and portions of which have been discredited. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
For all the talk of obstruction and interference by the Trump camp, it’s neither Donald Trump Jr. nor Paul Manafort who are challenging their scheduled testimony in the Senate next Wednesday, but rather the man who according to many started the whole “Trump Russia collusion” narrative, who is doing everything in his power to avoid testifying next week.
FUSION GPS head Glenn Simpson won’t testify before Senate Judiciary next week, his rep attacks “partisan” hearing and vows to plead Fifth
On Friday, attorneys for Glenn Simpson, a former WSJ reporter who now runs the infamous Washington political intelligence firm Fusion GPS – best known for compiling the salacious “dossier” of unverified research about President Trump – told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter that their client was on vacation through July 31 and traveling abroad through August 3, and would be unavailable for next week’s hearing. Perhaps for writers of opposition research fiction, vacations take precedence over being summoned to Congress.
Journalism is no longer merely journalism, it is advocacy, agenda, and promotional journalism. From Lee Smith at tabletmag.com:
News of the News: How the new sausage gets made
Donald Trump, Jr. appears to be the latest figure in President Donald Trump’s inner circle to be caught in the giant web of the Great Kremlin Conspiracy. Trump the younger said he was promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, but that all he got in his June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer was an earful about dropping the Magnitsky Act, which sanctions Russian officials involved in the death of a Russian lawyer who was killed in detention.
If the Trump, Jr. meeting is just another chapter in the Beltway telenovela about Trump selling out America to the Russians through an ever-changing cast of supposed intermediaries—come back, Mike Flynn and Carter Page, we hardly knew ye—it sheds valuable light on the ways and means by which the news that fills our iPhone screens and Facebook feeds is now produced. You see, the Russian lawyer—often carelessly presented as a “Russian government lawyer” with “close ties to Putin”—Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump, also worked recently with a Washington, D.C. “commercial research and strategic intelligence firm” that is also believed to have lobbied against the Magnitsky Act. That firm, which also doubles as an opposition research shop, is called Fusion GPS—famous for producing the Russia dossier distributed under the byline of Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent for hire.
Steele’s report, a collection of anonymously-sourced allegations, many of which were said to come from “high-ranking former Russian government officials”—i.e. not exactly the kinds of people who seem likely to randomly shoot the shit with ex-British spooks—detailed Trump’s ties to Russian officials and strange sexual obsessions. Originally ordered up by one of Trump’s Republican challengers, the dossier circulated widely in D.C. in the months before the 2016 election, pushed by the Clinton campaign, but no credible press organization was able to verify its claims. After Clinton’s surprise loss, the dossier became public, and it’s claims—while still unverified—have shaped the American public sphere ever since.
To continue reading: Fusion GPS Illuminates the Brave New World of Manufactured News for Hire
The US invasion of Iraq only succeeded in making Iraq safe for the Iranians. From there, Iran has extended its influence into Syria and Lebanon. From Tim Arango at nytimes.com, a long but excellent piece documenting Iran’s influence in Iraq:
BAGHDAD — Walk into almost any market in Iraq and the shelves are filled with goods from Iran — milk, yogurt, chicken. Turn on the television and channel after channel broadcasts programs sympathetic to Iran.
A new building goes up? It is likely that the cement and bricks came from Iran. And when bored young Iraqi men take pills to get high, the illicit drugs are likely to have been smuggled across the porous Iranian border.
And that’s not even the half of it.
Across the country, Iranian-sponsored militias are hard at work establishing a corridor to move men and guns to proxy forces in Syria and Lebanon. And in the halls of power in Baghdad, even the most senior Iraqi cabinet officials have been blessed, or bounced out, by Iran’s leadership.
When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause.
From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look to World War I for analogies. If it succeeded, Iraq would never again pose a threat, and it could serve as a jumping-off point to spread Iranian influence around the region.
In that contest, Iran won, and the United States lost.
To continue reading: Iran Dominates in Iraq After U.S. ‘Handed the Country Over’
The richest vein in the history of predatory mining is just about played out.
A gigantic mine engages in every conceivable destructive practice—strip mining, heap leaching, tailings dams and ponds and so on. It pays such low wages its workers only make ends meet by borrowing from the company at usurious rates. The mine has befouled the air and poisoned the water. Many workers are chronically sick and their children are afflicted with birth defects. The mine’s absentee owners know that the mine is played out and the tailings dam is structurally unsound. They close the mine, count their profits, and move on. A month later the dam gives way. A deluge of noxious sludge inundates the town below the dam, sparing no one and rendering the area uninhabitable.
The government is a strip mining operation, plundering the dwindling residual value of a once wealthy America. Forget ostensible justifications, policy is crafted to allow those who control the government to maximize their take and put the costs on their victims, leaving devastation in their wake.
Wars are no longer about defending the country or even making the world safe for democracy. They are about appropriations, not to be won, but profitably prolonged. The Middle East and Northern Africa have been a mother lode. You would think their sixteen-year war in backward and impoverished Afghanistan would be a shameful disgrace for the military and the intelligence agencies. It’s not. They’ve milked that conflict for all its worth, and now brazenly talk about a “generational war”: many more years of more of the same.
We can also look forward to generational wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. The strip miners are agitating for an Iranian foray. That’s got Into The 22nd Century written all over it, a rich, multi-generational vein, perhaps America’s first 100-year war.
The only rival for richest mother lode is medicine. Health care is around 28 percent of the federal budget, defense 21 percent. Medical spending no longer cures the sick; it’s the take for insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital rackets. The US spends more per capita on health care than any other nation (36 percent more than second-place Switzerland) but quality of care ranks well down the list.
In education there is the same gap between per capita spending (the US ranks at or near the top) and value received, in this instance as measured by student performance. What’s paid is out of all proportion to what’s received, especially at a time when computer and communications technology should be driving down the costs of education across the board.
Indoctrination factories formerly known as schools, colleges, and universities dispense approved propaganda. For students, higher education is now on the government-sponsored installment plan. There’s a litany of excuses why Johnny, Joan, Juan, Juanita, Jamal and Jasmine can’t read, compute, or think, but lack of funding and student loans don’t wash. Education dollars fund teachers’ unions, their pensions, administrators, and edifice complexes; learning is an afterthought. This vein will play out as the pensions funds, and the governments that have swapped promises to fund them for educators’ votes, go bankrupt. Probably around the same time as the student loan bubble pops.
Money itself has become a faith-based construct, a strip mining operation jointly owned by the government, the central bank, and the banking cartel it supports. Replacing gold with paper promises, monetizing debt, interest rate suppression, inflation of the money supply and the central bank’s balance sheet, macroeconomic meddling, maintenance of a bankers’ cartel, and insider dealing within the cartel have immeasurably increased the wealth and power of the entire banking complex.
Twenty trillion dollars in debt, two-hundred-plus trillion in unfunded liabilities, and an economy that has barely cruised above stall speed for eight years are core samples indicating the mine is exhausted. The tailings dam has sprung visible leaks. However, the townspeople below the dam remain willfully oblivious to the danger.
Recognizing realty and doing something about it are hallmarks of mental toughness, once considered a virtue. Now, in various tangible and virtual sanctuaries against facts and logic, the demand is made for reality to conform to the delusions of those who refuse to confront it. In the safe space between their ears, the only danger is someone warning of danger.
Lower even than the level of mental fortitude is physical toughness. When the dam breaks, the obese, opiated, otiose endomorphs resting their girths on couches across America will have no chance of escaping the sludge, even with their motorized carts. President Kennedy christened the President’s Council on Physical Fitness to address what he saw as a soft and flabby America. Fifty years later, America is exponentially softer and flabbier—physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Most Americans are in no condition to handle the emotional and physical stresses crises will bring.
It’s viciously ironic that many of them will look to the strip miners for salvation. A captive government that has turned America into a field of rackets, its string-pullers extracting power and wealth while ordinary people have seen their incomes stagnate, their meager savings dwindle, and opportunities shrink, is somehow going to make financial and economic catastrophe all better.
In one sense Hillary Clinton’s use of the term “deplorable” was unfortunate, in that it implies that the strip miners care enough about the townspeople to deprecate them. They don’t. The townspeople have had their uses, but they’re expendable once the mine is played out. Let someone else worry about pulling them from the sludge, or just leave them buried. The strip miners chose America first because it had the richest vein, now exhausted. The strip miners will move on to other, albeit less lucrative, lodes. That is what is meant by globalization.