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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 146394 times)
Seeker
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #360 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 09:50am »

on Jul 30th, 2010, 8:06pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
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This, without question, is the most spectacularly beautiful photograph ever posted here!!! The composition, peaceful and inviting elements of the scene and the electric color of the fall folliage juxtaposed against the soft toned shades of the backdrop all combine to create a moving work of art. Thank you so much for gifting us with delight of this picture!! grin
« Last Edit: Jul 31st, 2010, 09:53am by Seeker » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #361 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 09:57am »

Beautiful pictures everyone! Thanks!

This is one of my favorites:

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on Jul 31st, 2010, 08:05am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Wired

WikiLeaks Posts Mysterious ‘Insurance’ File
By Kim Zetter July 30, 2010 | 3:09 pm | Categories: Breaches, Wikileaks

In the wake of strong U.S. government statements condemning WikiLeaks’ recent publishing of 77,000 Afghan War documents, the secret-spilling site has posted a mysterious encrypted file labeled “insurance.”

The huge file, posted on the Afghan War page at the WikiLeaks site, is 1.4 GB and is encrypted with AES256. The file’s size dwarfs the size of all the other files on the page combined. The file has also been posted on a torrent download site as well.

WikiLeaks, on Sunday, posted several files containing the 77,000 Afghan war documents in a single “dump” file and in several other files containing versions of the documents in various searchable formats....

I expect that they will try to shut down Wikileaks.
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« Reply #362 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 10:04am »

Oh! Wow Philliman, that is just GORGEOUS!!!
« Last Edit: Jul 31st, 2010, 10:05am by Luvey » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #363 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 10:13am »

on Jul 31st, 2010, 07:40am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Luvey's quote begins -
Oh! Crystal, the bridge picture is just so beautiful.... it exudes warmth.... thank you so much for sharing.

Here is a picture I took while in South Carolina recently. Of course its not as beautiful as your bridge picture.... but beautiful nevertheless.
- end quote

Luvey you are a great photographer! I can't claim the bridge photo. Here's where it was taken:

Japanese Garden, Royal Roads University, British Columbia

Here's the link. They have wallpaper you can download:
http://thundafunda.com/33/World-tour/Japanese%20Garden,%20Royal%20Roads%20University,%20British%20Columbia%20pictures.html

Crystal


Hi Crystal hon..... All it takes is an eye for beauty (which you have smiley ) and a camera.
The Japanese gardens at Hawaii airport are spectacular... Unfortunately when I went there a few years back I didn't have a camera on me. sad

I am heading to Thailand in a couple of months for a holiday so hopefully I will get some good pictures to show you. smiley The place I am staying is surrounded by orchid gardens. smiley

Btw, that was an interesting article you posted on prostate cancer. I read a few years back that they had found a cure for prostate cancer, which had a 90% success rate on even advanced prostate cancer. I cannot remember the name of the medication now, but I do remember it was supposed to be on the market by 2011.

Take care
Pen
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #364 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 11:04am »

on Jul 31st, 2010, 09:57am, philliman wrote:
Beautiful pictures everyone! Thanks!

This is one of my favorites:

User Image


I expect that they will try to shut down Wikileaks.


Breathtaking, Phil! Absolutely breathtaking!
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« Reply #365 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 11:42am »

Beautiful photo Phil! You can smell the flowers. And a warm breeze.

begin quote -
I expect that they will try to shut down Wikileaks.
- end quote

Oh yea! They are gonna be on them like ugly!
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« Reply #366 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 11:46am »

Hello Seeker, Phil and Pen,
These photos are so lovely. Thanks. I look forward to your Thailand photos.

begin Pen's quote -

I am heading to Thailand in a couple of months for a holiday so hopefully I will get some good pictures to show you. The place I am staying is surrounded by orchid gardens.

Btw, that was an interesting article you posted on prostate cancer. I read a few years back that they had found a cure for prostate cancer, which had a 90% success rate on even advanced prostate cancer. I cannot remember the name of the medication now, but I do remember it was supposed to be on the market by 2011.

- end quote

I hope they put something on the market soon. But will we be able to afford it? Ugh!
Crystal
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« Reply #367 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 12:08pm »

Hi Crystal.... It is always the same isn't it, the minute they find a cure for anything either we never hear about it again, or when it comes on the market it costs an arm and a leg.... rolleyes

How on earth did I miss these posts!


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Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #191 on: Jul 21st, 2010, 10:58am »
Pen you might enjoy a book by Jason Offutt called "Darkness Walks: The Shadow People Among Us"

He interviewed people that had experiences like yours.

Crystal


I have seen many different types of shadow beings over the years, and could just about write a book myself. However I have never experienced those terrifying shadow beings that people report…. And never want too! I have a feeling they are what the Native Americans call “Raven Mockers”.


Hi Philliman

Quote:
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #192 on: Jul 21st, 2010, 1:33pm »
on Jul 21st, 2010, 09:47am, Luvey wrote:
From my experience there are different types of shadows beings and some seem organized. I would like to know who and what they are.... and what is their purpose here.

Pen

Quote:
They might be aliens in a kind of "phased out"-state, being just partly in what we call our dimension, who knows.


Yes, I thought pretty much the same, but it wasn’t until many years later. I had no idea at the time…they never harmed me, it was the fear of the unknown at the time that scared the heck out of me. Since that time I have seen quite a few, and they haven’t bothered me…. It’s more an inquisitiveness to find out what they are about.

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #368 on: Jul 31st, 2010, 12:32pm »

on Jul 31st, 2010, 10:04am, Luvey wrote:
Oh! Wow Philliman, that is just GORGEOUS!!!

Glad you like it, Pen. smiley
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« Reply #369 on: Aug 1st, 2010, 07:53am »

New York Times

August 1, 2010
Space Station Malfunction Prompts Shutdowns
By WILLIAM HARWOOD

One of two coolant systems aboard the International Space Station malfunctioned late Saturday, triggering alarms and extensive power shutdowns to keep critical systems from overheating.

The apparent failure of an ammonia pump in coolant loop A forced flight controllers to shut down two of four stabilizing gyroscopes, used to help control the space station’s orientation, one communications channel and several computer control units. The astronauts also installed jumpers between the Russian Zarya propulsion module and the U.S. segment of the lab complex to maintain proper cooling.

"It seems like we’re in a sim right now," flight engineer Tracy E. Caldwell Dyson joked with flight controllers shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, referring to training simulations.

NASA officials said the space station was in a safe, reduced-power configuration using coolant loop B. It took the astronauts several hours to complete the shutdowns, but flight controllers told them they could sleep late Sunday while analysis continued on the ground.

"We’re going to be working hard overnight to figure out what’s going on," astronaut James M. Kelly radioed from mission control shortly before the astronauts went back to bed. "By tomorrow, a little bit later on, hopefully we’ll be able to send you up a little bit better idea of where we stand on everything."

The International Space Station is equipped with two independent coolant loops mounted on the lab’s main solar power truss that use ammonia circulating through huge radiator panels to dissipate the heat generated by the station’s electronics.

While the loops are independent, the station cannot operate at full power with just one coolant loop. Spare components are on board, including two coolant system pumps, but installation is considered difficult and two spacewalks would likely be required.

Caldwell Dyson and Army Col. Douglas H. Wheelock were already planning to conduct a spacewalk Aug. 5 to mount a robot arm attachment fixture to the Zarya module and to rig the central Unity module for attachment of a storage compartment during a shuttle flight in November.

It is not yet known whether those plans will be affected by the problems with the coolant system.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/science/space/02shuttle.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #370 on: Aug 1st, 2010, 08:01am »

Telegraph

Astronomy Photographer of the Year shortlist revealed
A mass of gas and newborn stars and waves of light from the Aurora Borealis above a snowy landscape are among the scenes shortlisted for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year award.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
Published: 9:00AM BST 01 Aug 2010

Amateur astronomers from around the world were invited to submit entries to the competition, run by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, in conjunction with BBC Sky at Night magazine.

The competition has attracted more than 400 entries, ranging from snaps taken with hand-held digital cameras to deep space images obtained using sophisticated telescope equipment.

Among the entires to have been shortlist are a dramatic picture of the Great Orion Nebula, a hotbed of star formation around 1,350 light years away from the Earth – the closest star forming region to our planet.

Photographer Marcus Davies captured an image of superheated gas and dust in the nebula which appears to be forming a rosebud-shaped red cloud around the bright blue spots of light from the newborn stars.

Another striking image, taken by Anthony Ayiomamitis, shows a giant yellow Moon as it rises behind the Temple of Poseidon in southern Greece.

When the Moon is low in the sky around the solstice, it creates an optical illusion that makes it appear larger than normal.

"We often get calls from people when this happens worrying that the Moon has moved closer," said Dr Olivia Johnson, astronomy programs manager at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and one of the judges of the competition.

"The quality of the images we have received has been amazing. It is extraordinary what people can achieve from their back garden with just a hand-held SLR camera."

The competition is split into four categories: Earth and Space, Our Solar System, Deep Space and Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Entries closed on 16 July and the judges have now drawn up their shortlist before announcing the winners on 9 September.

One of the images to make it onto the shortlist shows the Large Megallanic Cloud, which is named after the explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted this small galaxy. The cloud orbits our own larger galaxy, the Milky Way.

Another image shows waves of light from the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, over Canada. The colourful displays in the sky are caused by charged particles interacting with molecules in the Earth's upper atmosphere.

Other photographers made use of the movement of the Earth to produce stunning pictures of star trails, created as our planet rotates on its axis through the night, causing the stars to appear like they have moved around in a circle in the sky.

Dr Johnson added: "With these kind of images, the trails really show the colour of the stars, which are determined by the temperature, age and what the stars are made of.

"These pictures really make you want to go out to find a dark part of the country and just look up at the sky."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7920018/Astronomy-Photographer-of-the-Year-shortlist-revealed.html

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« Reply #371 on: Aug 1st, 2010, 08:05am »

LA Times

July 31, 2010 | 8:40 pm
Documents released by a congressional committee Saturday show that the U.S. Coast Guard appeared to flout a May 25 Obama administration directive that sought to limit the use of chemical dispersants on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to “rare cases.”

“BP carpet-bombed the ocean with these chemicals, and the Coast Guard allowed them to do it,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House energy and environment subcommittee. "After we discovered how toxic these chemicals really are, they had no business being spread across the gulf in this manner."

Dispersants were authorized by federal officials despite their toxicity because the ecological damage from oil was deemed to be worse. But scientists say that the chemicals, which break up the oil into tiny droplets, have contributed to large plumes of hydrocarbons below the ocean's surface. And it is unclear whether the danger to marine organisms may be higher from toxic dispersants or from oil.

Markey, who has been investigating massive use of toxic chemicals to disperse oil from the BP spill for several months, released the Coast Guard documents along with a stern nine-page letter to retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen, the national incident commander. The letter described, based on the documents, a chaotic and indiscriminate decision-making process in allowing BP daily exemptions from the May 25 directive.

The documents show that from May 26 to mid-July, when the runaway oil well was plugged, more than 74 exemption requests from BP to spray surface dispersants were granted by the Coast Guard, usually within the same day. On five occasions BP requested advance approval to apply 6,000 gallons of dispersant each day to the ocean surface for an entire week, amounting to 35 days of pre-approved continuous use. Every request was approved.

The Environmental Protection Agency, although a party to the original directive, was virtually excluded from the daily decisions on chemical dispersants until June 22, almost a month after the directive, according to the documents. In early June, an EPA official complained that “the approval process appears to be somewhat pro forma, and not as rigorous as EPA desires,” according to one memorandum.

The documents also reveal contradictions in accounts of how much chemical dispersant was being used. According to DeepwaterHorizonResponse.com, the government’s official website, 1.8 million gallons of dispersants have been sprayed on the surface of the gulf and beneath the water since the April 20 rig explosion. ”The validity of those numbers are now in question,” Markey said, citing “huge discrepancies” that raise questions as to whether the Coast Guard “exercised appropriate oversight.”

The EPA calculates that the total use of dispersants underwater and on the surface declined about 72% from its peak after the May 26 order. But it is unclear whether most of the reduction came from underwater dispersants, as opposed to the surface dispersants permitted by the exemptions.

EPA spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said in an e-mail, "The use of dispersant is always a difficult decision, with environmental trade-offs that must be taken seriously into consideration. As a result, its use in response to the BP spill was subject to numerous strict conditions once it quickly became apparent that BP wanted to use it in unprecedented quantities and in novel ways.

"Specifically, EPA approved subsea dispersant use only after requiring multiple tests to confirm its use would be effective 5,000 feet below the surface and only after BP was directed to put in place a comprehensive monitoring program that ensured close observation of the ecological impact.



"Soon after, following two days of skyrocketing dispersant usage by BP, which peaked at 70,000 gallons on May 24, mainly on the surface of the water, Administrator Lisa Jackson worked with then-Federal On-Scene Coordinator Rear Admiral Mary Landry to put in place a directive making dispersant use a last resort and capping its use both on the surface and sub sea.

"Administrator Jackson and Rear Admiral Landry also ordered BP to implement a 75 percent overall reduction of dispersant use from that peak usage."

The Coast Guard was authorized to grant waivers to increase dispersants, and "initally EPA was not involved in day-to-day decisions about granting such waivers, and EPA staff were notified after waivers were granted," he acknowledged.

"While EPA may not have concurred with every individual waiver granted by the Federal On-Scene Coordinator, the Agency believes dispersant use has been an essential tool in mitigating this spill’s impact, preventing millions of gallons of oil from doing even more damage to sensitive marshes, wetlands and beaches and the economy of the Gulf coast," Gilfillan wrote.

Responding to the Markey investigation, BP spokesman Steve Rinehart wrote in an e-mail, “We were in regular communication with EPA on the topic of dispersant use and we followed the direction of the Unified Command,” the federal agency in charge of spill response. He added that “dispersant use was pre-approved as a response tool, and approved during the response, because it is effective and, on balance, less harmful” than undispersed oil.

Coast Guard spokesman Mike Lutz said Saturday that he was unaware of the Markey documents, but would request official response.

--Margot Roosevelt

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/07/gulf-oil-spill-chemical-dispersants-coast-guard.html

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« Reply #372 on: Aug 1st, 2010, 08:11am »

Wired

DIY Wearable Computer Turns You Into a Cyborg
By Priya Ganapati July 30, 2010 | 3:15 pm | Categories: Hacks, Mods and DIY

Someday humans and computers will meld to create cyborgs. But instead of waiting for it, Martin Magnusson, a Swedish researcher and entrepreneur, has taken the first step and created a wearable computer that can be slung across the body.

Magnusson has hacked a pair of head-mounted display glasses and combined it with a homebrewed machine based on an open source Beagleboard single computer. Packed into a CD case and slung across the shoulder messenger-bag style, he is ready to roll.

A computer is a window to the virtual world, says Magnusson.

“But as soon as I get up and about, that window closes and I’m stuck within the limits of physical reality,” he says. “Wearable computers make it possible to keep the window open. All the time.”

Magnusson’s idea is interesting though one step short of integrating a machine inside the body. In 2008, a Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence decided to embed a tiny video camera into his prosthetic left eye. Spence, who is still working on the project, hopes to someday record everything around him as he sees it and lifecast it.

For his wearable computer, Magnusson is using a pair of Myvu glasses that slide on like a pair of sunglasses but have a tiny video screen built into the lens.

A Beagleboard running Angstrom Linux and a Plexgear mini USB hub that drives the Bluetooth adapter and display forms the rest of this rather simple machine. Four 2700 mAh AA batteries are used to power the USB hub. Magnusson has used a foldable Nokia keyboard for input and is piping internet connectivity through Bluetooth tethering to an iPhone in his pocket.

Magnusson says he wants to use the wearable computer to “augment” his memory.

“By having my to-do list in the corner of my eye, I always remember the details of my schedule,” he says.

The innards of the homebrewed machine are glued to a CD case. The CD case is slung across the shoulder by attaching it to a strap using velcro.

photos after the jump
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/07/a-wearable-computer/

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« Reply #373 on: Aug 1st, 2010, 08:18am »

UFO Digest

Revisiting Edward J. Ruppelt
Submitted by Milton Brener on Fri, 07/30/2010 - 19:16

Revisiting Edward Ruppelt: Real skepticism is not a bad thing, and real skeptics deserve respectful consideration, no matter how much we disagree with them. Debunkers are those with an agenda requiring that they reject any suggestion of contrary evidence.

What brings me to all this is my recent reading of Edward J. Ruppelt’s “The Report On Unidentified Flying Objects,” 3rd edition. The 1st was published in 1951, almost prehistoric in the field of ufology. He added the last 3 chapters for the 3rd in 1955.

Ruppelt was the director of Project Grudge from late 1951 until it became Project Blue Book in March 1952; he remained with Blue Book until late 1953. Project Grudge was a shill for the Air Force’s position of denial, something soon recognized by Ruppelt. He seemed more impressed with the operation of Blue Book. But throughout the course of his narrative, the insidious nature of the determination of the AF, and of much of the entire scientific community, to debunk, seemed to have impacted his point of view.I cannot help but wonder what his opinion would be today, but sadly, he died in 1960 at the age of thirty-seven.

Despite the book’s age it was a worthwhile read. It opens a door into the mind of a well intentioned, intelligent skeptic, and tells us much about their thought processes .Many of the naysayers now are just debunkers. but, depending on which poll one reads, there are about as many skeptics and debunkers as there are proponents. More important, the official position of the U.S. Government remains dedicated to the proposition that UFOs do not exist, mainstream science treats the subject with disdain, if not contempt, and the mainstream press ignores the subject as though it were Leprosy itself.

One of Ruppelt’s preliminary statements of the issue-in-chief is sound enough. He quotes the official Air Force position that “There is no proof that such a thing as an interplanetary spaceship exists” and he neatly describes the resultant conundrum:

“What constitutes proof? Does a UFO have to land at the River Entrance to the Pentagon… or is it proof when a ground radar station detects a UFO, sends a jet to intercept it, the jet pilot sees it, and locks on with his radar, only to have the UFO streak away at a phenomenal speed?”

His question is right. His answer, 275 pages later is wrong. Let us look at the answer first, then at a very brief analysis of what lies in the intervening 275 pages, especially the first 247 of them as that is where the 1st edition ends. Four years had elapsed between his completion of those pages and the last three chapters. During that time, he says, he was frequently asked: “What do you personally think? Do unidentified objects exist, or don’t they?” His answer: “I’m positive they don’t. I was very skeptical when I finished my tour of active duty with the Air Force and left Project Blue book in 1953, but now I’m convinced.”

What has convinced him? 1) the recent development of long range radar and satellite tracking cameras that would have picked up any kind of “spaceship” coming into our atmosphere. There has been no indication of any unknown vehicle doing so; 2)Project Moonwatch, the Optical Satellite Tracking Program for the International Geophysical Year has had completely negative results for objects that could not be identified; and 3) In the 12 years since the first UFO report there is not one shred of material evidence of anything unknown, or photos of anything other than meaningless blobs of light.

The requirements of all three can easily today be satisfied; The examples are legion in my own book “Our Interplanetary Future,” among many others. To a lesser degree they could in his own time. But he reviewed the cases the government gave him to review.

What about reports of all the experienced observers? He is not only disdainful, but, he says, sick of the words. They are really no better than anyone else. Radar? No better than the operators. All of these highly trained people make all kinds of stupid errors when they see something they are not accustomed to seeing. Ruppelt apparently considers himself an exception to that rule. It was a fair fight, but somewhere along the line we lost him.

Perhaps the nature of the contorted scientific view of some scientists, involving as it does the disdain for eyewitness testimony, can be gleaned from the reaction of a panel of experts, the Robertson Panel, convened in January 1953 to view fifty of the best cases gathered by Blue Book. Each of the cases, says Ruppelt, had some kind of loophole, many being extremely small, “but scientific evaluation has no room for even the smallest of loopholes and we had asked for a scientific evaluation.” The scientists ultimately said, as summed up by Ruppelt, that they tried hard to be objective… but “all we had was circumstantial evidence. Good circumstantial evidence , but nothing concrete, no hardware, no photos showing any details of a UFO, no measured speeds, altitudes or sizes – nothing in the way of good, hard, cold, scientific facts.” They recommended increasing Blue Book size and monetary appropriations. Data that was out of the “circumstantial-evidence class” was badly needed.

Not all scientists were in agreement. According to Ruppelt, some of the scientists who sat in on the UFO hearing as spectators, felt that the panel was definitely prejudiced – “afraid to stick their necks out.”

Ruppelt increasingly throughout the narrative of his book dwells on the meaningless cases that, he says, can be accounted for as planets, weather balloons, airplanes or helicopters, and throwing in for good measure, birds, bees and bugs. He adopts also the shopworn dicta that eyewitness reports are highly unreliable. Apparently he means all of them. Listen to witnesses to an automobile accident, he tells us, and the conflicting testimony you get. I don’t know how many trials he has heard, but as a practicing lawyer for 35 years, I have participated in hundreds. Sometimes witnesses contradict each other; sometimes they do not. I have heard many contradictions about details of an accident, but never about whether there was an accident. Their contradictions are no more frequent, and much less confusing to most people, than are the contradictions among scientific experts.

Then there is the disdain of the panel for ‘circumstantial’ evidence. What their idea of circumstantial evidence is, I do not know. But as far as I know, practically all scientific evidence is circumstantial. The only evidence that is not circumstantial is direct evidence, which is eyewitness testimony. Throw out both circumstantial evidence and eyewitness testimony and we might as well all go home. Case after case, cited by Ruppelt and other skeptics or debunkers, that find other ‘perfectly natural’ explanations for a sighting, do so on circumstantial evidence, and most often even then, because the favored explanation ‘could’ be the cause, often without the slightest evidence that it was the cause.

In courts of law, little distinction is made in the efficacy of eyewitness testimony versus circumstantial evidence. Courts habitually instruct juries that one can override the other depending on the force and probative value of each. Both civil and criminal cases have turned on either type alone.

And finally, in 1954 the Air Force asked for a review by theBattelle Memorial Institute,aninternational science and technology enterprise that explores emerging areas of science. It included almostthe entire Blue Book output, 3201 cases. It also asked that they review the findings of the Robertson panel. Ruppelt himself tells us that that the few cases that are ‘unexplained’ (militaryspeak meaning ‘can only be explained as extraterrestrial’) could be explained if only there were more evidence; if those files were more complete.

The conclusion of the Battelle group: There was a significant difference in the percentage of cases (35%) held by the Robertson group to be unknown among the good cases, than among the worst cases (18%) Hence, contrary to Ruppelt, the more satisfactory the evidence, the more likely it was, even by the Robertson Panel, to be classified as ‘unknown,’

The former Secretary of the Belgian Government said it differently. After eliminating all other possibilities (unknowns) he said that the only remaining one was “the hypothesis of extraterrestrial origin.” The thought was echoed in 1985 by, among many others, Lord Davies, former member of the British House of Lords. If only one out of the thousands of who reported such sightings is telling the truth, he said, “there is a dire need for us to look into this matter.”

We need science for many things. We do not need scientists, particularly those with exaggerated views of their omniscience, to tell us what we saw. Neither do we need them in order to use that much denigrated quality known as common sense.

The author's book is "Our Interplanetary Future: A UFO Primer For Skeptics"

His web site is http://www.ourinterplanetaryfuture.com/

http://www.ufodigest.com/article/revisiting-edward-j-ruppelt

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« Reply #374 on: Aug 1st, 2010, 08:23am »

Guardian

WikiLeaks founder accuses US army of failing to protect Afghan informers
Julian Assange defends the whistleblowers' website after its publication of 75,000 leaked files of US army secrets
Carole Cadwalladr and Paul Harris The Observer, Sunday 1 August 2010

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hit out at the US military, saying that it bears the ultimate responsibility for any deaths of Afghan informers in the wake of the publication by his organisation of 75,000 leaked files of American army secrets.

Assange and WikiLeaks, the whistleblowers' website that publishes leaked documents from around the world, have come under increasing fire amid accusations that publishing the files put people's lives at risk. But in an interview with the Observer, Assange said the blame for any deaths lay squarely with US military authorities.

"We are appalled that the US military was so lackadaisical with its Afghan sources. Just appalled. We are a source protection organisation that specialises in protecting sources and have a perfect record from our activities," he said.

WikiLeaks has been accused of disclosing the names of Afghan collaborators who may now be subject to reprisals. Critics also say that the information it published is unchecked and some of it may be of dubious provenance. But Assange responded to those claims by saying: "This material was available to every soldier and contractor in Afghanistan… It's the US military that deserves the blame for not giving due diligence to its informers."

Assange insisted there was no evidence that anyone had been put at risk and that WikiLeaks had held sensitive information back and taken great care not to put people at risk. "Well, anything might happen, but nothing has happened. And we are not about to leave the field of doing good simply because harm might happen… In our four-year publishing history no one has ever come to physical harm that we are aware of or that anyone has alleged."

However, he did concede that, if it was proven someone had been killed or injured because of the leak, then WikiLeaks would consider changing the way it operates. "We will review our procedures," he said. But that is unlikely to defuse the growing international row. Last week the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, branded Assange "irresponsible". The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said he might have "blood on his hands".

At the same time US authorities are broadening their investigation into how the leak happened. The suspected leaker, Private Bradley Manning, is in custody. He has already been charged with passing on a video shot in Iraq of a US helicopter attack and 150,000 classified diplomatic cables. He is also the main suspect in the Afghan "war logs" leak. Now, according to a report in the New York Times, investigators are probing whether Manning acted alone or with others. The focus of the inquiry was on a group of people in Cambridge, near Boston in Massachusetts, who might prove to be the link between Manning and WikiLeaks.

Assange said he was undeterred by the attacks, and that traditional journalism had vacated a space into which WikiLeaks was stepping. "We are creating a space behind us that permits a form of journalism which lives up to the name that journalism has always tried to establish for itself," he said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/aug/01/julian-assange-wikileaks-afghanistan-us

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