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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 70561 times)
WingsofCrystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2790 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 7:53pm »

The History channel has a new Bigfoot show on tonight:

9:00 PM eastern

Premiere Bigfoot: The Definitive Guide
TVPG | CC

Bigfoot: The Definitive Guide A team of top scientists come together with one goal to create the definitive guide to Bigfoot. Does the creature exist? And if it does where is it? And how can it survive without being detected? Using a new interactive map the team has plotted more than 10,000 Bigfoot type sightings from around the world. These sightings are of an unidentified creature which walks on two legs and is covered in a thick layer of hair. Many of theses sightings date back over 100 years. With their expert knowledge of the natural world they are able to dismiss nearly 90% of the sightings, but what emerges is a series of global hotspots that cannot be explained which indicate that something is out there. The team examines these global hotspots and searches for explanations including new theories that suggest we may have been looking for the wrong creature all along?

http://www.history.com/schedule

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2791 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:24am »

New York Times

February 3, 2011
Reporters in Egypt Under Broad Assault
By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and J. DAVID GOODMAN

CAIRO — Many journalists covering the protests in Egypt were detained and attacked on Thursday, and human rights groups were also a target, in what appeared to be an escalating effort to block reports on the violence.

The Egyptian security forces were rounding up workers for human rights groups as well as foreign journalists, witnesses in Cairo said. Security police raided the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, where many nongovernmental organizations operate. They ordered people there to lie on the floor and disabled their mobile phones. Two people — Dan Williams and Said Haddidi — were being interrogated. The state news agency Thursday has asked foreign press to evacuate all the hotels near Tahrir Square.

The Committee to Protect Journalists was investigating at least 10 cases of reporters being detained on Thursday. The government told the journalists that they were not being arrested but rather taken into “protective custody,” according to the group.

The United States protested the actions against reporters.

“There is a concerted campaign to intimidate international journalists in Cairo and interfere with their reporting,” Philip J. Crowley, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said Thursday morning in a statement via Twitter. “We condemn such actions."

The attacks on journalists started almost as soon as violent clashes began on Wednesday in the central Tahrir Square, as orchestrated waves of pro-government forces swept in, using rocks, bats, and knives and Molotov cocktails against the anti-government protesters.

The cellphone service provider Vodafone acknowledged that the government had forced invoked emergency powers to force it to send out text messages.

Some of the messages appeared to include calls for people to turn out in support of the government, and were sent ahead of the violent clashes. Images of the messages were posted online and first reported by The Guardian.

“To every mother-father-sister-brother, to every honest citizen preserve this country as the nation is forever,” read one message.

With Internet services largely restored, many Egyptian bloggers began posting in earnest.

Egyptian state television also began showing images from Tahrir Square for the first time on Wednesday as violence escalated, focusing on supporters of Mr. Mubarak and scenes of pitched street battles. It appeared likely that both moves by the government were directed at painting a violent image of the antigovernment protesters.

“It’s clearly a media strategy that’s being implemented,” Tala Dowlatshahi, a spokeswoman for Reporters Without Borders. “State-controlled television has been broadcasting soap operas and cooking shows for the past few days until today.”

The government has sought to control information since large-scale protests against Mr. Mubarak and his subordinates began last month, but overt harassment has been scattered and attempts to control the gripping images and narratives from Cairo have mostly failed. Wednesday’s attacks appeared to represent the most coordinated and widespread effort to stop foreign reporters from doing their jobs.

“The Egyptian government is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions” in a “series of deliberate attacks on journalists,” Mohamed Abdel Dayem of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said on Wednesday.

Reporters Without Borders said it had received dozens of confirmed reports of violence against local and international journalists in Egypt on Wednesday. Tala Dowlatshahi, a spokeswoman for the group, said to “expect more foreign journalists to be targeted.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/world/middleeast/04journalists.html?_r=1&hp

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2792 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:27am »

Phantoms and Monsters

Wednesday, February 02, 2011
New Contention at MUFON

I received the following correspondence this evening:

Dear MUFON Colleague

Last week, Leslie Varnicle, State Director of Colorado and a 41 year member of MUFON, was fired by Clifford Clift. Many of you have seen Leslie’s tireless work at the MUFON annual symposia. She was head of a vibrant state chapter with more than 160 members and a $20,000 kitty. She was the originator of the webinar concept in MUFON; she spent thousands of dollars of her own money for equipment for her state; she is a MUFON “Benefactor.” Why did Clift and the MUFON Board fire Leslie Varnicle and demote this 41 year member to the status of “Journal subscriber”? No one knows! But we do know this: a whole lot of people think it was wrong.

And Leslie is not only SD fired. This month the SD of Oklahoma, Marilyn Carlson, a 20-year member, resigned rather than be fired. Christine Dickey, a 15-year member and SD of Arizona, asked for a leave of absence and was fired instead. Elaine Douglass, a 25 year member and SD of Utah, was also fired. That makes four high-performing, long time, highly experienced SDs arbitrarily fired or pushed out by the MUFON hierarchy for unknown or insufficient reasons.

In response to these, and many, many other disturbing events and trends in MUFON, a handful of us have formed “The Committee to Reform MUFON.” We are writing to you now to let you know of these outrageous firings and most important to send you the enclosed “Petition to the Board of Directors and the International Director of MUFON.” We ask you to read the four points of the Petition (below), consider them carefully, and sign and return the Petition to this email address in the next 3 days.

Petition Item 1 - Calls for a New democratic corporate structure of MUFON in which the Board of Directors will be voted upon by all members of MUFON with the rank of field investigator and above. Under MUFON’s current structure, MUFON is a 501©3 non-profit corporation with 12 members—the 12 members of the Board. These individuals appoint themselves and no one in MUFON has any say about who is on the Board or what policies they pursue. There is no accountability of the Board to the 2800 Members of MUFON.

Accordingly, Petition Item 1 calls for a new corporate document and structure in which individuals throughout MUFON would be eligible to run for the Board, and Members of MUFON with the rank of field investigator and up could vote for each person running. As for the current members of the MUFON Board, they would be free to run for election along with everyone else.

Petition Item 2 - Calls for the ID to cease arbitrary personnel practices and instead develop and use due process in all personnel matters. “Due process” means procedures which are fair, thorough and transparent. Here is the letter Elaine Douglass sent the ID when she was fired:

Dear Cliff—

Let’s see if I understand this.

The accused is not informed of what the charges are against her, she is not allowed to confront her accusers, she is not questioned as part of the investigation, she is not allowed to know what evidence was presented against her, she is not permitted to defend herself, and in the end she is Convicted! But she’s not told what she’s been convicted of.

Did I miss something?

Elaine Douglass

This letter captures what it is like when there is no “due process.” This practice must be stopped! It has created a climate of fear and intimidation throughout MUFON in which people are afraid even to ask questions about MUFON policy for fear they will be fired.

Petition Item 3 - Without going into detail, we know of instances where “Benefactors”—persons who contributed $1,000 to MUFON and were given Lifetime memberships—were stripped that status. The granting of a Lifetime membership is a contract which MUFON may not unilaterally renounce.

Petition Item 4 - Calls on the MUFON Board to do high level fund raising. High level fund raising is the prime activity of the board of any well-run non-profit. As far as we can see, the MUFON Board engages in no high level fund raising and we don’t know why. We know of three offers to help with fund raising which were turned down.

Item 4 also reads “. . .with the stipulation that all sources of funding to MUFON embrace MUFON’s mission of publication and transparency of all data collected by the Members of MUFON.” This refers to the well-known recent debacle in which the MUFON Board sold MUFON’s data and the services of our investigators to another organization that definitely did not respect MUFON’s mission.

The Committee to Reform MUFON knows there are many things wrong with MUFON not captured in the Petition. For example, it has come to our attention MUFON headquarters is now reaching down into the state chapters—without the knowledge or approval of the SDs—and is investigating individuals, and appointing and firing individuals to positions in the states.

Will all the Members of MUFON sign the Petition? Probably not. However, not everyone in MUFON has to sign it for the Petition to have a major impact. Our question to you is: Will YOU sign the Petition?

Please do! Return the Petition with your name and address by replying to this email address in the next three days. To sign the Petition, hit the reply button to this email and type in your name and postal address on the front of the email. When you do this, you will be adding your name to the Petition. Together let us take this step to save MUFON.

Sincerely yours,

The Committee to Reform MUFON

Elaine Douglass, Utah

Bill McNeff , Minnesota

Marilyn Carlson, Oklahoma

Marlee Spendlove , Utah

more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/

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« Reply #2793 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:32am »

Telegraph

Parrots 'are left handed'

Parrots, like humans, choose to use one side of their body more than the other,
with more of them left handed, or left footed.

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Australian researchers found that virtually all the parrots they studied prefer to use either their left eye and left foot, or right eye and right foot.

"Basically, you get this very close relationship with the eye that they use to view the object and then the hand that they use to grasp it, and it's very consistent across all the species except a couple," said Calum Brown, a senior lecturer at Macquarie University in Sydney, who led the study.

"In some species, they're so strongly right or left handed at the species level that there's effectively no variation."

The study, published in 'Biological Letters', examined roughly 320 parrots from 16 different Australian species.

Ultimately, they found that roughly 47 per cent were left handed, 33 per cent right handed, and the remainder ambidextrous.

In addition, in some cases young birds appeared to experiment with both sides before finally settling on one.

The idea of handedness in humans is tied to the use of one hemisphere of the brain over another, known as "lateralisation."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8300766/Parrots-are-left-handed.html

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« Reply #2794 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:47am »

Wired Danger Room

Russia Working on Mysterious Space Plane of Its Own
By David Axe
February 3, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: Russia


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It's official: the space race is on again.

44 years after the Soviet Union launched its Sputnik I satellite, sparking the original space race and 20 years after the USSR's collapse left America as the sole space superpower the Russians are back on track. The Kremlin's military space chief Oleg Ostapenko just announced that Russia is developing a small, maneuverable, reusable space plane to match the U.S. Air Force's mysterious X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.

Russian industry has already outlined the craft's design, Ostapenko said. As to whether we will use it, only time will tell, he added coyly.

But it seems unlikely Russia would forgo the opportunity to match the U.S. Air Force's accomplishment with the X-37B. That craft, a quarter-scale unmanned Space Shuttle first launched in April last year, represents one of the biggest leaps forward in space since, well, Sputnik.

The X-37 can carry anything that will fit in its pickup-truck-bed-size bay. You can put sensors in there, satellites in there, said Eric Sterner, from The Marshall Institute. You could stick munitions in there, provided they exist. The X-37 can also help repair U.S. satellites or sneak up on and disable enemy sats. Plus, it can stay in orbit for nine months, land like an airplane, then return to orbit just a few weeks later.

The initial X-37 test flight ended in December, flawlessly except for a blown tire. While OTV 1 is being prepped for its second flight late in 2011, its twin OTV 2 will boost into orbit on March 4, atop a rocket launched from Florida's Kennedy Space Center.

It should come as no surprise that Russia wants its own "X-37ski". With Sputnik, Moscow beat America into space. But with every major space capability since, Washington has led its eastern rival. The U.S. fielded the manned Space Shuttle in 1981. Russia built its own, similar space vehicle, the Buran, but it flew only once, in 1988.

A decade later, America built the Global Positioning Satellite system, allowing precise navigation on Earth. Today, Russia is still struggling to construct its own version of GPS, the so-called GLONASS. The last attempt to reinforce the GLONASS constellation failed, when a rocket failed on launch in December, destroying three of the pricey satellites.

Not coincidentally, an X-37ski could help Russia put satellites like the GLONASS craft into orbit more reliably.

It'll probably be a few years before the Russian X-37 clone takes flight. After all, this is super-cutting-edge technology. By then, the race for nimble military spacecraft could be a three-way competition. Just last week, there were rumors highly, highly questionable ones that China is working on an X-37-type vehicle, too.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/02/russia-space-plane/

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« Reply #2795 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:50am »

Reuters

Jobless claims tumble, productivity rises

WASHINGTON | Thu Feb 3, 2011 9:04am EST

(Reuters) - New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week while nonfarm productivity in the fourth quarter was stronger than expected, confirmation the economic recovery was strengthening.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits tumbled 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 415,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, unwinding most of the previous week's weather-induced spike.

Economists forecast claims dropping to 420,000.

The claims data falls outside the survey period for the government's closely watched employment report for January, scheduled for Friday. The economy probably created 145,000 jobs, according to a Reuters poll, after adding 103,000 in December.

"This is showing the labor market is recovering but not at a pace that will keep the Federal Reserve from its accommodative stand," said Rudy Narvas, a senior economist at Societe Generale in New York.

In a second report, the department said productivity, a measure of hourly output per worker, increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent, after rising at an upwardly revised 2.4 percent growth pace.

The increase, which was well above economists' expectations for a 2 percent growth rate, bodes well for company profits.

U.S. stock index futures slightly trimmed losses after the data, while U.S. bond prices briefly extended losses.

The continued growth in productivity indicated companies were extracting more output from workers, which could delay hiring.

"This suggest companies can still squeeze out more productivity rather than hire more workers," said Narvas.

While the recovery is strengthening and broadening out, labor market healing has been unusually slow.

The economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, accelerating from a 2.6 percent pace in the prior period, and economists believe strengthening domestic demand will translate into increased hiring of new workers and the lengthening of hours for existing employees.

The productivity report showed hours worked in the fourth quarter increased at a 1.8 percent rate after a 1.4 percent increase in the July-September quarter.

Unit labor costs, a gauge of potential inflation pressures closely watched by the Federal Reserve, fell at a 0.6 percent rate after dipping at a 0.1 percent pace in the third quarter.

Economists had expected unit labor costs to rise at a 0.3 percent rate in the fourth quarter. For the whole of 2010, unit labor costs dropped 1.5 percent after declining 1.6 percent in 2009.

Total nonfarm output grew at a 4.5 percent rate in the last three months of 2010, the Labor Department said, after rising at a revised 3.8 percent rate in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/03/us-usa-economy-idUSTRE70R0SG20110203

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2796 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:53am »

Fox News

UFO Hovers Over Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock Shrine

Published February 03, 2011
The Sun

A glowing orb filmed hovering over the skyline of Jerusalem has left UFO experts dumbfounded.

The circular object was seen descending slowly over the holy city's iconic Dome of the Rock before flickering and shooting skyward like a rocket.

Similar clips have been seen before and debunked as hoaxes.

But this latest sighting has proved more difficult to dismiss — as it was recorded from four different perspectives.

Some UFO enthusiasts believe the videos - which have taken the Internet by storm - are final proof that aliens exist, while others say the unidentified object was the Hebrew god Elohim.

Adding to the mystery is the fact that flying over the Dome of the Rock landmark — an ancient Islamic shrine — is forbidden.

Two witnesses at the Armon Hanatziv panoramic lookout near Mount Zion filmed the object at 1am on Saturday.

A little after one minute into the clip, the object descends slowly, almost to ground level.

The craft hovers there for a short while and then flickers before shooting upwards at an incredible speed.

Former Ministry of Defence UFO investigator Nick Pope said: "If these are real, they are some of the most incredible videos ever shot.

"If they are not, then this is a very well-planned and co-ordinated hoax designed to eliminate elements of doubt.

"The way it shoots up into the sky suggests it is unmanned, because no living thing could survive those kinds of G-forces.

"We know the Israeli army has some very high-tech drones at its disposal. If this is one, it is one of the most advanced pieces of technology created by man."

Another set of observers also uploaded their mobile phone footage to YouTube on Saturday.

They wrote: "Have fun debunking this one."

In their video, the American tourists can be heard saying: "We've seen them in Mississippi like this."

Two other clips filmed from different viewpoints were posted online.

Skeptics have noted the views come from perspectives that could make nearby objects seem farther away and faster-moving.

Others say the whole thing was faked and have prepared several alternative versions of the videos which they say prove they are not real.

These include stabilized versions in which the brightness and contrast have been increased, which they claim highlights a major flaw of perspective.

Another is motion-tracked, and apparently shows the UFO "bouncing around like crazy" — which, say the sceptics, shows the makers had trouble inserting it into the scene.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/03/ufo-jerusalems-dome-rock-baffles-experts/

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« Reply #2797 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 09:01am »

New 'Invisibility Cloak' Hides 3-D Objects From Naked Eye

By Charles Q. Choi
Published February 03, 2011

LiveScience

An "invisibility cloak" that's able to hide items thousands of times larger than before now exists, scientists say.
The first hints that cloaking devices might one day become more than just a "Star Trek" fantasy began emerging five or so years ago, and since then researchers have made such cloaks a reality by warping light.

Light is often bent in nature. For instance, mirages form when desert sands heat air that bends light rays from up above, creating illusions of water that are really reflections of the sky. The cloaking devices that scientists have created smoothly guide rays of light completely around objects so they proceed along their original trajectory as if nothing were there.

However, the first cloaking devices researchers made were useless against the human eye. To start with, they were only effective on microwave rays, not visible light. They also only worked in two dimensions, and thus could not hide three-dimensional objects.

In 2010, scientists created the first cloak that worked for three-dimensional objects against light nearly visible to humans. Still, the cloaked area was only 30 microns wide, or about one-third the width of a human hair.

Now researchers have developed a cloak that can hide three-dimensional objects against red and green lasers and ordinary white light. Although the cloaked region they demonstrated is only three-quarters of an inch (2 centimeters) wide, "there is actually no limit on the size of the cloak," researcher Shuang Zhang, a physicist at the University of Birmingham in England, told LiveScience.

All invisibility cloaks demonstrated until now were made of artificial composite structures known as metamaterials. The fabrication techniques for these metamaterials are complex and time-consuming, yielding only tiny cloaks that could only hide similarly tiny objects limited to only a few wavelengths of light in size.

In contrast, this new cloak is made of prisms of naturally occurring calcite. These crystals are each about three-quarters of an inch wide on their longest sides, much larger than the parts seen in previous cloaks.

The scientists glued two of these prisms together, forming an arrowhead shape when seen from the side. The space, or bump, under the notch of this arrowhead and whatever is within is cloaked from view.

"The cloaks can be readily scaled up to hide larger objects," Zhang said. "It really depends on how large a calcite crystal we can find in nature. According to the literature, the largest calcite crystal has a scale of 7 meters by 7 meters by 2 meters (23 feet by 23 feet by 6.5 feet). Such a crystal would enable the construction of an invisibility cloak that can conceal object a few meters wide and at least 40 centimeters (16 inches) high."

This cloak does have a significant drawback — it depends on polarization of light. One can think of all light waves as either rippling up and down, left and right, or at any angle in between, a property known as polarization. This cloak only works for light of a specific polarization — "the bump will be seen by light of other polarizations," Zhang said.

Nevertheless, the cloak might still work in the real world, Zhang said. For instance, if the sun is low in the sky, sunlight streaming into the water "will be largely polarized, and an invisibility cloak sitting on the water floor will become invisible," he said. "There could be military applications — for example, to hide something such as submarine on the seafloor."

Also, while the bump at the bottom of the cloak is invisible, the cloak itself is still visible due to a slight reflection at the interface between the cloak and its surroundings. "This reflection can be significantly reduced by putting antireflection coating on the cloak or some other means," Zhang said.
"It is still challenging to make a 'Harry Potter' type of invisibility cloak that works in air and can hide very large objects," Zhang said. "Metamaterials could be a solution, but we will have a long way to go."

Zhang and his colleagues detailed their findings online Feb. 1 in the journal Nature Communications.

Copyright © 2010 LiveScience.com. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/03/new-invisibility-cloak-hides-objects-naked-eye/#ixzz1CuJupjIW

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2798 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 09:09am »

on Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:27am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Phantoms and Monsters

Wednesday, February 02, 2011
New Contention at MUFON

I received the following correspondence this evening:

Dear MUFON Colleague

Last week, Leslie Varnicle, State Director of Colorado and a 41 year member of MUFON, was fired by Clifford Clift. Many of you have seen Leslie’s tireless work at the MUFON annual symposia. She was head of a vibrant state chapter with more than 160 members and a $20,000 kitty. She was the originator of the webinar concept in MUFON; she spent thousands of dollars of her own money for equipment for her state; she is a MUFON “Benefactor.” Why did Clift and the MUFON Board fire Leslie Varnicle and demote this 41 year member to the status of “Journal subscriber”? No one knows! But we do know this: a whole lot of people think it was wrong.

And Leslie is not only SD fired. This month the SD of Oklahoma, Marilyn Carlson, a 20-year member, resigned rather than be fired. Christine Dickey, a 15-year member and SD of Arizona, asked for a leave of absence and was fired instead. Elaine Douglass, a 25 year member and SD of Utah, was also fired. That makes four high-performing, long time, highly experienced SDs arbitrarily fired or pushed out by the MUFON hierarchy for unknown or insufficient reasons.

In response to these, and many, many other disturbing events and trends in MUFON, a handful of us have formed “The Committee to Reform MUFON.” We are writing to you now to let you know of these outrageous firings and most important to send you the enclosed “Petition to the Board of Directors and the International Director of MUFON.” We ask you to read the four points of the Petition (below), consider them carefully, and sign and return the Petition to this email address in the next 3 days.

Petition Item 1 - Calls for a New democratic corporate structure of MUFON in which the Board of Directors will be voted upon by all members of MUFON with the rank of field investigator and above. Under MUFON’s current structure, MUFON is a 501©3 non-profit corporation with 12 members—the 12 members of the Board. These individuals appoint themselves and no one in MUFON has any say about who is on the Board or what policies they pursue. There is no accountability of the Board to the 2800 Members of MUFON.

Accordingly, Petition Item 1 calls for a new corporate document and structure in which individuals throughout MUFON would be eligible to run for the Board, and Members of MUFON with the rank of field investigator and up could vote for each person running. As for the current members of the MUFON Board, they would be free to run for election along with everyone else.

Petition Item 2 - Calls for the ID to cease arbitrary personnel practices and instead develop and use due process in all personnel matters. “Due process” means procedures which are fair, thorough and transparent. Here is the letter Elaine Douglass sent the ID when she was fired:

Dear Cliff—

Let’s see if I understand this.

The accused is not informed of what the charges are against her, she is not allowed to confront her accusers, she is not questioned as part of the investigation, she is not allowed to know what evidence was presented against her, she is not permitted to defend herself, and in the end she is Convicted! But she’s not told what she’s been convicted of.

Did I miss something?

Elaine Douglass

This letter captures what it is like when there is no “due process.” This practice must be stopped! It has created a climate of fear and intimidation throughout MUFON in which people are afraid even to ask questions about MUFON policy for fear they will be fired.

Petition Item 3 - Without going into detail, we know of instances where “Benefactors”—persons who contributed $1,000 to MUFON and were given Lifetime memberships—were stripped that status. The granting of a Lifetime membership is a contract which MUFON may not unilaterally renounce.

Petition Item 4 - Calls on the MUFON Board to do high level fund raising. High level fund raising is the prime activity of the board of any well-run non-profit. As far as we can see, the MUFON Board engages in no high level fund raising and we don’t know why. We know of three offers to help with fund raising which were turned down.

Item 4 also reads “. . .with the stipulation that all sources of funding to MUFON embrace MUFON’s mission of publication and transparency of all data collected by the Members of MUFON.” This refers to the well-known recent debacle in which the MUFON Board sold MUFON’s data and the services of our investigators to another organization that definitely did not respect MUFON’s mission.

The Committee to Reform MUFON knows there are many things wrong with MUFON not captured in the Petition. For example, it has come to our attention MUFON headquarters is now reaching down into the state chapters—without the knowledge or approval of the SDs—and is investigating individuals, and appointing and firing individuals to positions in the states.

Will all the Members of MUFON sign the Petition? Probably not. However, not everyone in MUFON has to sign it for the Petition to have a major impact. Our question to you is: Will YOU sign the Petition?

Please do! Return the Petition with your name and address by replying to this email address in the next three days. To sign the Petition, hit the reply button to this email and type in your name and postal address on the front of the email. When you do this, you will be adding your name to the Petition. Together let us take this step to save MUFON.

Sincerely yours,

The Committee to Reform MUFON

Elaine Douglass, Utah

Bill McNeff , Minnesota

Marilyn Carlson, Oklahoma

Marlee Spendlove , Utah

more after the jump
http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/

Crystal


I just posted an opinion in 'The Asinine Asylum" thread on this very real problem with Clifford Clift and his band of cronies and their assault and the ruining MUFON reputation on a grand scale! What ever this clown has planned he has caused more problems than he is knows or cares it seems!

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2799 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 12:01pm »

on Feb 3rd, 2011, 09:01am, Swamprat wrote:
New 'Invisibility Cloak' Hides 3-D Objects From Naked Eye

By Charles Q. Choi
Published February 03, 2011

LiveScience

An "invisibility cloak" that's able to hide items thousands of times larger than before now exists, scientists say.
The first hints that cloaking devices might one day become more than just a "Star Trek" fantasy began emerging five or so years ago, and since then researchers have made such cloaks a reality by warping light.


Good morning Swamprat. cheesy

Devices that were considered "sci fi fantasy" just a couple of years back now exist. It is amazing.

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« Reply #2800 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 12:04pm »

on Feb 3rd, 2011, 09:09am, LoneGunMan wrote:
I just posted an opinion in 'The Asinine Asylum" thread on this very real problem with Clifford Clift and his band of cronies and their assault and the ruining MUFON reputation on a grand scale! What ever this clown has planned he has caused more problems than he is knows or cares it seems!

Lone


Hello Lone!

I saw the thread then ran across Lon's article so I thought I would post it.
I don't know anything about MUFON. For years it was the one place to go if you wanted coherent study of the phenomenon. But it seems that MUFON is imploding.

Crystal

edit for crappy sentence structure
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« Reply #2801 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 12:47pm »

Wired Danger Room

U.S. Shadow War Will Go On, Whoever Runs Yemen
By Spencer Ackerman
February 3, 2011 | 7:01 am
Categories: Terrorists, Guerillas, Pirates





By the time you read this, huge anti-government demonstrations may already be taking place in Yemen. If U.S. officials are freaked out about instability in Egypt, just imagine the panic over losing a U.S. client as it fights a shadow war against one of the nastiest al-Qaeda franchises on the planet. But even if President Ali Abdullah Saleh actually falls, expect his successor to be just as eager to gobble up U.S. cash — and look the other way when the drones fly overhead.

Sure, Saleh is preemptively conceding to the opposition crowds that want him to go. On Wednesday, he said he won’t run for another term and his son won’t replace him. But that’s toothless: Saleh’s term won’t end before 2013.

And yeah, Saleh performs for the U.S. like a circus seal. One of the WikiLeaks cables showed him offering to play dumb when U.S. warplanes wanted to take out al-Qaeda targets. But Saleh is the way he is because Yemen is the way it is, according to regional experts: broke, weak, and in hock to foreign cash. As long as the U.S. keeps its wallet open, a possible successor to Saleh would be just as ready to flap his flippers on cue.

“Generally, when you look at how Yemenis view international partners, they ask how big is your checkbook and what have you done for me lately,” says Christopher Boucek of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “It’s an economically unviable state and it always will be,” which “maximizes the positioning” of foreign patrons.

Yemen may have its share of Islamic fundamentalists. But that doesn’t mean friends of Anwar al-Awlaki are going to run the place. The powerful Muslim Brotherhood feuds with harder-core Islamist factions, and the Brothers are more influential in Yemen than its rivals. And supporting the U.S. isn’t an ideological issue, it’s a financial one, awkward as that may be for the Islamists.

“The Muslim Brotherhood wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with the things the U.S. government is doing,” says Jillian Schwedler, a Mideast scholar at the University of Massachusetts, “but they would never say so publicly.”

Don’t expect the shadow-war money spigot to close. The U.S. gives Yemen between $200 and $300 million annually in (mostly) military aid, supplying everything from attack helicopters to cargo planes to commando training. In a country with a 35 percent unemployment rate and a weak central government, that aid is happily diverted so Saleh can buy tribal chiefs’ loyalties.

That, in turn, finances a counterterrorism fight against perhaps the most active al-Qaeda franchise in the world. Special Operations Forces and the CIA want to form “hunter/killer” teams to strike terrorists in the remote areas of Yemen. U.S. cruise missiles have already battered the country. Missile-armed drones, not seen in Yemen since 2002, may be next.

Which is great for Yemen, Boucek says, since al-Qaeda is the equivalent of a natural resource — something that attracts foreign cash. “There’s never been a better time to be Yemen,” he says. And even if Saleh is replaced by someone more reluctant to cooperate with the counterterrorism agenda, the U.S. will simply roll over him: “The threat is so imminent in Yemen from [al-Qaeda], there probably won’t be a whole lot of asking the Yemenis to do stuff. Covert action will soon be taking place, if it’s not already.”

More likely, it won’t get to that point. Unlike the other Mideast countries in the throes of turmoil right now, Yemen isn’t urban and it isn’t wired, making it an inhospitable climate for the current mass revolts in the Mideast, at least according to an interesting theory by Tech President’s Micah Sifry. Boucek still fears the protests tomorrow will be “very, very violent.” But that points to the problem with Yemen right now: not a change of government, but a lack of government, allowing terrorists and other extremists to operate.

So however lukewarm President Obama has been in calling for Egyptian democracy, expect cold rhetorical oatmeal when the angry crowds come out in Sana’a. “Of course, we’ll say we want democracy,” says Schwedler. “We’ve said it. But I don’t think we really would like it.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/02/u-s-shadow-war/

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« Reply #2802 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 8:55pm »

LA Times

BP royalty payments in gulf spill face scrutiny

The Interior Department is investigating whether BP paid enough to the federal government and a nonprofit foundation, based on the price of oil during the spill and the amount BP recovered.

By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
February 4, 2011

As oil gushed from its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico last year, BP vowed to contribute any money from the sale of recovered oil to a little-known environmental group, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The company eventually sent $22 million to the foundation to help sea turtles and migrating birds. It also paid $5.2 million in royalties to the federal government on oil that was collected and shipped to refineries.

But now the Interior Department is examining whether the company's royalty payments were enough, based on the market price of oil during the spill and the amount of oil that BP recovered.

The presidential commission investigating the spill has reported that about 980,000 barrels of oil were taken directly from the wellhead or skimmed from the ocean surface during the disaster. Based on the average market price during the spill, the oil could have generated revenue of as much as $71 million — meaning that both the royalties and charitable contributions could have been millions of dollars higher.

The Interior Department office responsible for collecting royalties on the oil declined to release the production volumes and sales prices that BP used to calculate its royalties, but said it was reviewing the issue.

"The Office of Natural Resources Revenue is currently conducting an audit of all production reports and royalty payments made by BP and the other owners in the Macondo well to ensure the reports and payments are accurate," said Kendra Barkoff, the Interior Department's press secretary. "The audit includes an analysis of whether BP and its partners valued the recovered oil in accordance with federal regulations and paid on all volumes recovered."

BP spokesman Daren Beaudo said the company had lived up to its pledge regarding the donations and royalty payments.

Beaudo said the company was not able to sell all of the oil that was recovered from the well, either because it was fouled or because large amounts were burned until a recovery system could be put in place. He also said the price obtained for the crude varied, though the company would not disclose the prices or who refined the crude.

Any dispute about royalties would be a minor issue compared with BP's overall liabilities in the spill. The company established a $20-billion fund during the spill to pay for the cleanup and economic losses.

Even if the Interior Department audit indicates that BP paid the correct royalty amount on the recovered oil, it could be liable for significantly more. The company remains the target of multiple federal investigations, including a joint inquiry by the Coast Guard and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. The Justice Department is also conducting a criminal investigation.

If those investigations determine that BP acted with negligence or in violation of government regulations, the Interior Department can collect royalties from BP on all of the estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil that escaped from the well. Most of that crude could not be recovered.

If all of that oil were valued at the average market price last summer, it would be worth $356 million, and BP and its partners would owe royalties of $67 million to the federal government.

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue said it would not disclose the production and pricing reports submitted by BP because they were considered confidential and proprietary. The Interior Department's stance has renewed criticism of oil industry accounting practices and the government policies that allow them to be kept confidential.

"It has been impossible to hold the extractive industries accountable," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, which has extensively investigated the Interior Department's handling of royalties. "This is the people's oil. It is on public land. The land is only being leased to the oil companies."

Brian said there was no question that the Interior Department should demand royalties on all of the lost oil, because it represented a loss of public assets. She also wrote a letter last week to President Obama, raising a series of concerns about estimates made last summer of the amount of oil that BP claimed was collected.

BP's oil accounting has been controversial from the first days of the well blowout last April. The company initially said it didn't believe any oil was escaping from the well after the Deepwater Horizon rig burned and sank. When oil slicks began appearing, BP estimated just 1,000 barrels a day were coming out of the well.

Ultimately, an interagency panel of federal and academic scientists estimated as much as 60,000 barrels a day were flowing out of the well.

About 833,000 barrels were captured from devices attached to the severed wellhead and an additional 147,000 barrels were skimmed from the ocean surface. The weekly spot market price of crude in the U.S. during the time of the spill from April 20 to July 15 averaged $72.85.

If BP had sold all of the 980,000 barrels recovered from the Macondo well, its 65% share of the resulting $71 million in revenue would have been $46 million. The BP royalty to the government would have been $8.6 million, rather than the $5.2 million it paid. (Anadarko paid $2 million in royalties and Moex $790,000, according to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.) In a statement Thursday, Beaudo said BP's actual sales volume was 590,000 barrels.

Anadarko spokesman John Christiansen said the company did not believe it was entitled to any profits from the spill and said it would donate any revenue to gulf communities. Anadarko said it returned a check for about $10.6 million to BP, but it was not immediately clear what BP did with that money. The two companies have substantially larger disputes to resolve: Anadarko has refused BP's demand for $2.6 billion to pay for a share of cleanup costs, citing what it called in a statement last June "BP's reckless decisions and actions."

Meanwhile, the $22 million given to the environmental foundation, a congressionally chartered nonprofit, was used to bolster populations of sea turtles and migratory birds outside the spill zone, said Thomas Kelsch, the group's director of conservation programs.

The group improved habitat for sea turtles along the Florida coast, helping keep alive about 30,000 hatchlings, Kelsch said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-bp-royalties-20110204,0,4719867.story

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« Reply #2803 on: Feb 3rd, 2011, 9:03pm »



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« Reply #2804 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 07:55am »

New York Times

February 3, 2011
JPMorgan Hid Doubts on Madoff, Documents Suggest
By DIANA B. HENRIQUES

Senior executives at JPMorgan Chase expressed serious doubts about the legitimacy of Bernard L. Madoff’s investment business more than 18 months before his Ponzi scheme collapsed but continued to do business with him, according to internal bank documents made public in a lawsuit on Thursday.

On June 15, 2007, an evidently high-level risk management officer for Chase’s investment bank sent a lunchtime e-mail to colleagues to report that another bank executive “just told me that there is a well-known cloud over the head of Madoff and that his returns are speculated to be part of a Ponzi scheme.”

Even before that, a top private banking executive had been consistently steering clients away from investments linked to Mr. Madoff because his “Oz-like signals” were “too difficult to ignore.” And the first Chase risk analyst to look at a Madoff feeder fund, in February 2006, reported to his superiors that its returns did not make sense because it did far better than the securities that were supposedly in its portfolio.

Despite those suspicions and many more, the bank allowed Mr. Madoff to move billions of dollars of investors’ cash in and out of his Chase bank accounts right until the day of his arrest in December 2008 — although by then, the bank had withdrawn all but $35 million of the $276 million it had invested in Madoff-linked hedge funds, according to the litigation.

The lawsuit against the bank was filed under seal on Dec. 2 by Irving H. Picard, the bankruptcy trustee gathering assets for Mr. Madoff’s victims. At that time, David J. Sheehan, the trustee’s lawyer, bluntly asserted that Mr. Madoff “would not have been able to commit this massive Ponzi scheme without this bank.” But with the case under seal, there was no way to gauge the documentation on which the trustee based his $6.4 billion in claims against the bank — until now.

In a statement, JPMorgan Chase strongly disputed Mr. Picard’s accusations and said it would “vigorously” challenge the claims in court.

The bank and Mr. Picard mutually agreed to unseal the complaint, which is one of dozens of big-ticket claims he has filed to recover assets for the victims of the Ponzi scheme. Other defendants include a half-dozen global banks, including HSBC in London and UBS in Switzerland, and the Wilpon family, the owners of the New York Mets.

To date, Mr. Picard has collected about $10 billion through settlements and asset sales; he estimates the total cash losses in the fraud at $20 billion.

In a statement released Thursday, the bank said the trustee’s complaint was “based on distortions of both the relevant facts and the governing law.” It denied that it had known about or played any role in Mr. Madoff’s fraud and dismissed the claim that it turned a blind eye to his activities to retain income from his business.

“Madoff’s firm was not an important or significant customer in the context of JPMorgan’s commercial banking business,” the statement said. “The revenues earned from Madoff’s bank account were modest and entirely consistent with conventional market rates and fees.”

As for Mr. Picard’s claim that the bank should have frozen Mr. Madoff’s bank account or reported his suspicious activity to regulators, the bank said, “At all times, JPMorgan complied fully with all laws and regulations governing bank accounts, including the regulations invoked by the trustee.”

Although lawyers redacted the names and specific positions of bank executives involved in the incidents described in the lawsuit, other information in the complaint makes it clear that many of them held prominent positions.

Deborah H. Renner, one of the trustee’s lawyers with Baker & Hostetler, reinforced that impression in a statement released Thursday. Ms. Renner said, “Incredibly, the bank’s top executives were warned in blunt terms about speculation that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, yet the bank appears to have been concerned only with protecting its own investments.”

One discussion of the bank’s “due diligence” on Mr. Madoff was aired on June 15, 2007, at a meeting of the bank’s hedge fund underwriting committee. According to the complaint, that committee was composed of “senior business heads and bankers, including individuals such as the chief risk officer and the heads of equities, syndicated leveraged finance, sales and hedge funds.”

News accounts identified the chief risk officer for Chase’s investment bank in June 2007 as John J. Hogan, who is currently a member of the bank’s executive committee.

The newly public material offers the clearest picture yet of the long and complex relationship between Mr. Madoff and Chase, the global institution that served as his primary bank since 1986.

What emerges is a sketch of an internal tug of war. One group of senior Chase bankers was pursuing profitable credit and derivatives deals with Mr. Madoff and his big feeder-fund investors, the hedge funds that invested their clients’ money exclusively with him. Another group was arguing against doing any more big-ticket “trust me” deals with a man whose business was too opaque and whose investment returns were too implausible.

For much of 2007, the tide was with the Chase bankers designing and selling complex derivatives linked to various Madoff feeder funds. By June of that year, they already had sold at least $130 million worth of the notes to investors, and they sought approval for deals that would have pushed that total to $1.32 billion, the lawsuit asserted.

The committee agreed to increase the bank’s exposure to Mr. Madoff only to $250 million, but by 2008, the bank’s risk management executives were gaining, backed up by suspicions raised by the “due diligence” teams visiting the large hedge funds that invested with Mr. Madoff.

After Mr. Madoff’s arrest, the complaint said, a bank employee referred to the agenda for a committee meeting that considered the Madoff deals in June 2007 and wrote, “Perhaps best this never sees the light of day again!!”

On the sidelines in this shoving match between the derivatives sales force and the risk management unit, according to the lawsuit, were the retail bankers who were responsible for monitoring the daily activity in Mr. Madoff’s bank accounts — activity that bore no resemblance to the normal patterns of a brokerage or investment management firm, according to Mr. Picard.

Even after it had begun to act on its suspicions about Mr. Madoff, Chase did not freeze his bank accounts or alert his regulators — or its own — to the unusual patterns in those accounts, the trustee contended.

The bank “had only to glance at the bizarre activity” in the Madoff accounts “to realize that Madoff was not operating a legitimate business,” the trustee asserted in the suit. The money coming in was not from the sale of securities, and the money going out was not for the purchase of securities — at a time when Mr. Madoff was supposedly making billions of dollars in trades as part of his investment strategy, the complaint asserted.

Mr. Picard’s lawsuit says that the door to Chase was opened for Mr. Madoff by one of his longtime investors, a wealthy Chase customer who was not identified in the complaint.

According to the trustee, the flow of money just between the Madoff accounts and this customer’s accounts should have set off warning bells at the bank.

On a single day in 2002, Mr. Madoff initiated 318 separate payments of exactly $986,301 to the customer’s account for no apparent reason, the trustee reported. In December 2001, Mr. Madoff’s account received a $90 million check from the customer’s account “on a daily basis,” according to the lawsuit.

Mr. Picard’s complaint does not speculate about the purpose of the transactions.

The transfers should have caused the bank’s money-laundering software to start flashing, Mr. Picard’s complaint asserted.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/04/business/04madoff.html?_r=1&hp

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