Mad scientist to destroy planet: Breaking ClickBait

A scientist uploaded a photo of his wicker chair's pattern to Stanford University's Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy and claimed it was an atom. What happened next will likely cause the deaths of many billions.
Paleoanthopologists had been conducting research into the age of a piece of anal bone that is thought to be an early modern human, the oldest fossil of its kind. The rectal area was found at a site in South Africa where there were other skeletal remains - thousands of them avian, and hundreds of them elephantine or mammoth-like. But there was only one piece of human remains - now known as the "Leakey Gickerbone".
A mad scientist decided to prank the Stanford-based professors in the course of his research into world domination. Using the pretext of a discussion on a forum at Stanford's online encyclopedia, he uploaded a close-up shot of the seat of his wicker chair, alongside a paper claiming it to be a photo of an atom taken under ultra-high magnification, insisting that the scientists' testing methods were wrong and their dating of the prehistorical human asshole questionable.

Philosophers shared this information, highlighting how error-prone science can often be. However, once the paleobiologists got wind of the criticism - something the rogue scientist counted on, given that one of the philosophers was a close friend of one of the fossil scholars - they insisted that their methods were not flawed. Following the mad scientist's logic, they nevertheless accepted his suggestions and undertook further testing.
But what the paleoanthropologists then unlocked was a virus that will likely destroy dozens of species across the planet - including at least half of the human population.

Through Fluorine, Uranium and Nitrogen experimentation - which scientists describe as being similar but more accurate than carbon dating - they inadvertently "interfered with" a long extinct virus's RNA strands that had been lurking within the ossified marrow - exciting it back to life.
How did this happen? The mad scientist certainly knew what he was doing: He claims to have already developed a vaccine for the virus, which he says will cost world governments many billions if they want to save lives.
But first some background: For more about Fluorine, Uranium and Nitrogen (FUN) testing, and how the mad scientist came up with his devious scheme, have a look at the original FUN test that revived the virus.

Snowden and Trump and the Grey Area

“We’re living in a time today where journalism is occurring in an environment of extraordinary threat. As official sources of information for the American citizen, the American voter, begin to dry
up, confidential sources, people in government who know the reality of what’s going on, particularly when the actions of government start to go out of bounds, are critical now. This is America. When something goes wrong, don’t we want somebody to stand up and say something about it?”
~Edward Snowden, pre-Trump
Trump has called Edward Snowden a traitor.
Snowden once said:
“Every decision I have made, I can defend.”

I'm really confused. I know the president's only allegedly RAPED a few CHILDREN, or got babies to piss on his head or something, but you know the way they got Al Capone for tax evasion instead of
-extortion, etc?
There are a lot of grey areas in the hypocrisy of this Trump chap and his team. 
There's the standard politics that's par for the course.
Like his campaign promise to keep Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? He is failing to keep that.
Meanwhile, profiting from his White House staff and security staying at his own resorts is a grey area because he has temporarily handed management of his businesses over to his kids. 
When Obama played golf, he had to pay the clubs. The clubs did not pay him. Still, grey area. Emolluments schellmell... schmell you later.

Trump's treasonous collusion with Russia is a grey area because no one's actually at war with Russia.
Trump advocated the hacking of Hillary's emails in public campaign speeches before the election.

Does that not suggest that he wanted to show how all-powerful he was? That even the Russians were taking orders from him? He in effect said If they are hacking into things, they should hack Hillary's emails.
And he calls whistleblowers like Snowden - who would speak out against Russia, even from Moscow, if the Kremlin needed to be criticised - traitors? 

Sacking Comey and others is a grey area when Trump HIMSELF ADMITS he has sacked people because of the Russia investigation. He wanted people fired because they were investigating the interference of Russians in the election, and Russian links to his campaign. HE has SAID THAT.
Is that not perverting the course of justice? Grey area how?
People on the campaign team like Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner and Don Jr all said or swore that they had NOT been in contact with the Russians, when they had. The questions put to them did not relate to "improper contacts" - as Kushner has spun it.

The questions related to MEETINGS with RUSSIANS.
Jeff Sessions said he had had no contact with Russia when he had met the Russian ambassador more than once. When you've been caught in a lie like that about meeting them bad Russians, you can't backtrack and say "Well I just mean no improper meetings." And they were improper. Trump's team discussed the possibility of setting up a secret channel of communication with the Kremlin from New York. So the Trump administration-elect wanted a channel of secret communications with the most powerful and dangerous government in the world when it comes to acting against US interests, and in spying on the United States and its citizens, over the last 80 years.
The Trumps have completely undermined the US intelligence services by siding against them with Russia, regarded (often by the same Right who affiliate with Trump) as the biggest threat to US and world freedom since World War 2.
Obama pointed out that Snowden's whistleblowing revelations helped to improve US intelligence services.
But how is any or all of the Trump administration's collaboration with Putin a GREY AREA?

Ashby Holler by Jamie Zakian Book Review

Jamie Zakian's Ashby Holler, available at Amazon, features the intrigues and political machinations of a transport company that is a front for a criminal enterprise. In more than one sense, Ashby Holler's a lot like Game of Thrones transplanted to an American subculture. It seems at times as subtle, sex-filled and brutal.

The equivalents of earning of stripes, gang-hazing, and rising up through the mob are here, just tweaked with a wonderful originality that has evaded this reviewer in the past. I have yet to see Sons of Anarchy, for instance, and if there are similar ideas in other entertainments, they've passed me by.

Sasha Ashby is one of the younger members of this family-owned business, keen to become Sergeant-at-Arms. If she's to enforce order within this group, however, she has to overcome prejudice against those who know she got a severe facial beating a few years previously from one of the other employees/gang members.

This bunch parties like the Irish, with drunken scraps playing side-show to main-character sexual interactions during birthday celebrations or other events. Characters end up in bed together after sidestepping such brawls on the way to the bedroom. Sasha has to contend with her own bisexuality which will not be tolerated if made public knowledge. Alongside Sasha's sapphic fun, there's a love triangle involving brothers. Relationship status? It's complicated.
Adorable quote: Audrey Hepburn meets some stabby madwoman!

All the while, agendas are being woven into a delicately-plotted narrative that involves trucking, shipments and cabin conversation that explores the often-changing dynamics of a rich cast of characters.
Get this book here.
Follow Jamie Zakian on Twitter.

Trump and Golf Carts

"I wouldn't leave the White House. Obama always leaves the White House."~Trump, pre-election, on one of the many occasions he criticised Barack Obama for taking too many vacations.

How about Trump walks around the golf course instead of forcing the Secret Service to spend $60,000 on golf carts?  
At Mar-o-lingo (or whatever it's called), the Secret Service has spent more than $34,100 on golf carts, according to CBS. That's many times more than what the Secret Service refused to pay for Colombian prostitutes under Obama.
They should refuse to pay for golf-carts at resorts owned by Donald Trump, given that he's 
1. the owner of the resorts at which he vacations.
2. has a reputation for refusing to pay for services he's already received. 
It's like a karmic tax.

Like the rest of us, Trump's getting very fat. He needs to do one of two things to lose some weight: 
1. Start walking around these golf courses so that the Secret Service doesn't have to put in purchase orders for golf cart rentals, or
2. have a stroke (no golf-puns intended).
With a stroke, he could look more like the disabled journalists he likes to take off in his onstage skits, and the weight would fly off as he wouldn't be able to feed himself. 
[Post-stroke Trump reaching for chocolate.]
"Goo goo gah gah!"
[Nurse pulling candy away.]
"No no no, Mr President! A pinch on the lips is an inch on the hips!"

A stroke is unlikely. His NY doctor claimed that Trump was the fittest potential president EVER before he won the election. 
Given that FDR was probably in better shape than the gorgeous real-life billionaire Tony Stark, is that not a false medical document that Trump submitted? 
Could the Democrats look into that and maybe impeach him?

(And it doesn't sound like the doctor wrote that pre-employment fringe-science medical report. It sounds like Trump told him to write that while he waited outside the doctor's surgery in a limo. Because that's what happened. Trump was probably too busy at the time explaining to the Russians how it's very probably a criminal offence to hack into the DNC email servers.)

Has Trump taken a salary yet? Can he be held to his promise that he wouldn't take a salary as president? Apparently he donated his first quarter salary of $70K to the National Parks - but he cut funding to the Department of the Interior (which runs the National Parks) by billions. So it's swings and roundabouts - but if you find them in a National Park, don't use them as they cannot be maintained.

So while Trump's time is taken doing all of his AMAZING work (not) criticising torch-throwing Nazis, withdrawing from climate change agreements, organising press covfefes, explaining how he's going to kill terrorists in Afghanistan, gutting services to battered women's refuges in the states where lots of folk voted for him (which Obama maintained funding to despite being SO terrible, from the White House AND the golf course) and banning transgender people from the Armed Forces, he also needs to WALK from hole to hole, and waive the costs of golf-carts for his own staff.

Tina Fey and JOKES

“I hope [the demonstrating Nazis] get the ham salad kicked out of them by a bunch of drag queens. Coz you know what a drag queen still is? A six foot four black man.”
-Tina Fey on SNL

The joke here has been parsed as offensive to people of colour because it plays into the notion that black men are a threat.

But what if I suggested that that joke is offensive because it conflates the struggles of the transgender and the African-American communities? Can I say “struggles”?
Are African-Americans more homophobic than society more broadly? 
You hear it in the rap. 
They tend to be more church- or mosque-going, as a group. 
Many of them may regard homosexuality as a sin. 
Some have spoken out of their distaste about such conflations, that the fight for marriage equality should not be equated with the civil rights fight of African Americans. And here’s Tina, implying that many tall black men dress up as women, or that the majority of drag queens are tall black men.

Do the thought police have insight into how wide of the mark they sound when attacking Fey’s comedy?
(Because it's as wide as I am here now. Or maybe you think these are valid points?)

Perhaps Fey is uncomfortable in her own skin. She can make such a joke about people she regards as allies before the morality police wheel out the guillotine.
She hasn't done enough? You don't see her protesting?
Who’ll be left though, to protest?

This same thought-police force of angelically decent human beings, and their soapy-mouthed scruples who scream blue murder when Benedict Cumberbatch uses the word "colored"?
Am I missing the point? 
Maybe. But am I not wasting everyone's time? 
Because it’s exhausting listening to suggestions that the work of Tina Fey, Frankie Boyle or Sarah Silverman is problematic.

These thought-police seem hellbent on alienating their allies.
And they're certainly not going to win over people from the far side if they're that wide of the mark on this side.
The McCarthy-era HUAC crap ended the careers of writers and artists and actors and filmmakers.
Do these intolerant people not feel - if and when they gang up on a target for using gallows humour, for example, under the belief that they might shut him or her down - do they not feel a rich sense of self-disgust, shame and embarrassment for destroying the careers of people who aren't actually racist or misogynist?
There is no place for such people in their worldview.
These censorious people - who come from a place where there's an assumption that we don't stand in judgement - are entirely judgemental. 
They go hunting, like a flock of rabid sheep, through the historic tweets of Trevor Noah.
They're not calm. They're not rational. They ought to be avoided whenever possible.
They seem bellicose, embattled, and hyped-up in a way that makes them lash out at the nearest, easiest targets for their nastiness: People on the same side.
They're the panicked, cliquey rabble in the aftermath of a Revolution that has not even begun. And if they can live with themselves, it’s still summertime.

Volcanic ridges in Antarctica may explain ancient maps of ice-less Antarctica

So apparently they have just discovered some of the highest concentrations of volcanos in the world in Antarctica:

It (sort of) explains how it's possible that the Ancients could have charted the region in mysterious maps on which Renaissance-era cartographers based some of their own very accurate maps of a snowless, iceless Earth-bottom.

These maps are known to be reasonably accurate when modern scientists have actually checked where all the land is under the snow.

These maps' existences have also been embraced by theorists who hold the view that the ancients travelled around the world before an Ice Age that wiped out civilisations - or perhaps one world civilisation that was more highly advanced than we give credit for. (Graham Hancock is one such writer.)

In pop culture, they're what the original Alien Vs Predator plot hung on, but it crops up far less in DaVinciCode or Indiana Jones type adventures than it should.

The idea goes that Renaissance and medieval map-makers had some sources from (say) Alexandria or from the Arabs, who had retained ancient manuscripts that would otherwise not have survived.

So more than ten millennia ago, given the presence of these volcanos, it is more possible this week than it was last week (in terms of what we know) that the Antarctic ice cap was melted at some point during human development. We now know that it could have been done by serious amounts of volcanic activity, and it's perhaps made such fringe theories related to a highly advanced prehistoric human civilisation more of a possibility.

These ideas about the ancients also feature massive amounts of post-diluvian PTSD for our ancestors. Theorists such as Hancock put forward something like the following:
Imagine all of the coastal cities and towns being wiped out by a deluge. Imagine most of your doctors, engineers, scientists, parents and friends being killed.
You're left with a mass of dribbling, traumatised people who can no longer tie their own shoelaces, telling fables about how Noah's Ark, or a Chinese dam-builder, or people who sprung from maize instead of mud, wiped away the sin, or started afresh.

Of course, there are other details related to this rendering of a prehistorical civilisation. Potentially a green and fertile Antarctic continent could even have been the seat of Atlantis. But if there was a world flood, causing tsunami across the planet, how did mapmakers chart the southernmost continent if it had been under the ice to begin with? The melt has to have come from elsewhere.
Would volcanic activity have had to cause such a catastrophe, followed by the flooding?

Perhaps Antarctica had been dry and habitable, and the tsunami were caused (as Hancock has suggested) by masses of Arctic Ocean ice falling into the seas before the last Ice Age.
Perhaps huge levels of world volcanic activity caused a big drowny melt before causing the equivalent of a nuclear winter, and it had nothing to do with Antarctic ice. Or perhaps Antarctica WAS partially covered, and partially free of ice, and those tsunami came up via the Pacific and Atlantic and Southern Oceans, building and building until they hit the more inhabited Northern Hemisphere and Equatorial regions.

Apparently the only region of the world without a flood myth is Japan. And they have a volcano myth. If there was a lot of seismic rupturing coming out of the world's botty, maybe the Japanese were similarly, simultaneously affected, by similar stuff. Or maybe their seafaring folk witnessed the Antarctic events themselves firsthand.

Latest Trump News

"I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful." - Trump

The head of the Boy Scouts said he apologised for the political, partisan themes of the speech and that no phonecall took place.
Sneaky Trump has now weeded out another treasonous body of pinko liberals!

On North Korea, Trump recently said:
"Things will happen to them like they never thought possible."
Trump is going to use his secret plan to defeat ISIS on the North Koreans instead. (It's a suborbital genital-removing death-ray.)

That. is. all.

Poetry: For Those Left Behind by Seán Maguire

Poetry Collection: For Those Left Behind by Seán Maguire, available at Amazon US and Amazon UK
Seán's biography:
Seán Maguire was born and raised in the north of Ireland. Seán lived through over thirty years of political conflict, euphemistically referred to as, ‘The Troubles’. During three decades of horrendous violence over 3,600 people were killed and over 50,000 were injured. It was a terrible time to be a child or a teenager, playing sports and street games often just yards from gun battles and riots. Seán had a brother murdered during the conflict along with several school friends and various acquaintances. The poems in this collection hold up a mirror to the human suffering experienced by everyone in the North of Ireland. Despite the bombings and shootings people went about normal everyday life. This violent landscape provides the backdrop to the melancholy, and expressive imagery evident in Seán’s poems.
Seán has been writing poetry, song lyrics, short stories and non-fiction for over thirty years and has had a considerable amount of his work published in magazines, newspapers, anthologies and online blogs. Seán has studied at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster and his qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Humanities, with English Literature.
Seán has a range of poetic influences including Oscar Wilde, Dylan Thomas, Wilfred Owen, Pádraic Fiacc, Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, Roger McGough, John Cooper Clarke, Leonard Cohen and many more. Seán is also inspired by music, particularly, punk, indie, reggae, blues and heavy rock.

Links to the book:

The title poem and two others below:
For Those Left Behind
(First published the August 2016)

Behind our eyes, beneath our faces,
beyond skin colour, creeds and races,
our worlds crossed the same path on
dead man’s lane,
the killers’ wrath was all the same.

An empty chair, an old hat with locks
of hair.
A favourite skirt, muddy boots, still
caked with dirt.
We can never replace those,
who did not plan to leave so soon.

All that remains, are the ghosts of
those we grieve,
silently, without reprieve.

Treacherous Times
(In memory of my brother Thomas)

On the seventh day, of the third
a shade before the coming of spring,
your voice ceased to laugh and

A grim wind rapped the door,
you closed just a few hours

we knew you would not return


Finally, the eyelids grow heavy,
the fear overcome by exhaustion
as we journey into darkness forever,
to await who knows what in
To dream would be ever so pleasing,
of summer youth and love,
and lie and gaze at the sky above.
To recall some moments of laughter,
to smile at our feelings of fear.
Wondering about justice,
whilst shedding one more tear.

Tumbling, falling, headlong, the earth
is yearning,
although, upright we sit, clammy,
Fervently screaming and bleeding
in search of the truth, to no avail.

Follow Sean Maguire on Twitter.