Thursday, February 10, 2011

Perhaps the sinister secret behind airport full body scans?

And if so, would that serve as proof the state is in bed with occultists? Only kidding...

From the Wikipedia definition of Rumpology:

Rumpology or "Bottom Reading" is a pseudoscience performed by examining crevices, dimples, warts, moles and folds of a person's buttocks in much the same way a chirologist would read the palm of the hand.

[ ... ]

Rumpologist have a variety of theories as to the meaning of different posterior characteristics. According to Stallone, the left and right buttocks reveal a person's past and future, respectively, although she has also commented that "The crack of your behind corresponds to the division of the two hemispheres of the brain". According to blind German clairvoyant and rumpologist Ulf Beck, "[a]n apple-shaped, muscular bottom indicates someone who is charismatic, dynamic, very confident and often creative. A person who enjoys life. A pear-shaped bottom suggests someone very steadfast, patient and down-to-earth.". The British rumpologist Sam Amos also uses shape to diagnose personality, and claims that "A round bottom indicates the person is open, happy and optimistic in life. However, a flat bottom suggests the person is rather vain and is negative and sad.".

Rumpology can be performed either by sight, touch or by using buttock prints. In addition to live readings, Jackie Stallone will perform buttock readings using e-mailed digital photographs, and has claimed to predict the outcome of Presidential elections and Oscar awards by reading the bottoms of her two pet Doberman Pinschers. Ulf Buck claims he can read people's futures by feeling their naked buttocks.

~ more... ~


... but the plot does thicken...


From Do Gut Bugs Practice Mind Control? by Elizabeth Pennisi, Science

Are you a worrier? Low on energy? You might be able to blame your state of mind on the bugs in your gut. Researchers studying behavior and gene activity in mice have found that these microbes appear to help shape brain development. If the findings translate to humans, they could lead to new ways to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.

Twenty years ago, people would have laughed at the suggestion that gut microbes could influence brain function, says immunologist Sven Pettersson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. But in the past decade, researchers have come to appreciate that the bacteria living in and on our bodies—collectively called the human microbiome—play a role in how our bodies work, affecting everything from allergies to obesity.

Pettersson began to suspect a mind-microbe link 5 years ago when he and genomicist Shugui Wang of the Genome Institute of Singapore found through gene-expression studies that gut microbes regulated the activity of a gene important to the production of serotonin, a key brain chemical. He then initiated a collaboration with Karolinska Institute neurobiologist Rochellys Diaz Heijtz to assess behavioral differences between germ-free mice—which have been bred to lack any microbial partners—and mice with intact gut bacteria. The researchers also dissected out major regions of the brain and measured gene activity in each region in both types of animals.

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Conversations with History: The Subtle Art of Dharma with Gurcharan Das


Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes author Gurcharan Das for a discussion of his new book, The Difficulty of Being Good. Reflecting on his intellectual odyssey, Gurcharan Das elucidates his purpose in writing an extended commentary on the Indian epic, the Mahabharata. In the conversation, he also discusses the complex nature of the characters in the epic and the dilemmas posed by their failings and the constraints of the human condition. He concludes with a discussion of the lessons he learned for his own spiritual development and for understanding the moral dilemmas confronting modern societies.

(University of California Television)

The Author Who Played With Fire

From Christopher Hitchens' article in Vanity Fair:

Just when Stieg Larsson was about to make his fortune with the mega-selling thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the crusading journalist dropped dead. Now some are asking how much of his fiction–which exposes Sweden's dark currents of Fascism and sexual predation–is fact.

[ ... ]

In life, Stieg Larsson described himself as, among other things, "a feminist," and his character surrogate, Mikael Blomkvist, takes an ostentatiously severe line against the male domination of society and indeed of his own profession. (The original grim and Swedish title of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is Men Who Hate Women, while the trilogy's third book bore the more fairy-tale-like name The Castle in the Air That Blew Up: the clever rebranding of the series with the word "girl" on every cover was obviously critical.) Blomkvist's moral righteousness comes in very useful for the action of the novels, because it allows the depiction of a great deal of cruelty to women, smuggled through customs under the disguise of a strong disapproval. Sweden used to be notorious, in the late 1960s, as the homeland of the film I Am Curious (Yellow), which went all the way to the Supreme Court when distributed in the United States and gave Sweden a world reputation as a place of smiling nudity and guilt-free sex. What a world of nursery innocence that was, compared with the child slavery and exploitation that are evoked with perhaps slightly too much relish by the crusading Blomkvist.

His best excuse for his own prurience is that these serial killers and torture fanciers are practicing a form of capitalism and that their racket is protected by a pornographic alliance with a form of Fascism, its lower ranks made up of hideous bikers and meth runners. This is not just sex or crime—it's politics! Most of the time, Larsson hauls himself along with writing such as this:

The murder investigation was like a broken mosaic in which he could make out some pieces while others were simply missing. Somewhere there was a pattern. He could sense it, but he could not figure it out. Too many pieces were missing.

No doubt they were, or there would be no book. (The plot of the first story is so heavily convoluted that it requires a page reproducing the Vanger dynasty's family tree—the first time I can remember encountering such a dramatis personae since I read War and Peace.) But when he comes to the villain of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a many-tentacled tycoon named Wennerström, Larsson's prose is suddenly much more spirited. Wennerström had consecrated himself to "fraud that was so extensive it was no longer merely criminal—it was business." That's actually one of the best-turned lines in the whole thousand pages. If it sounds a bit like Bertolt Brecht on an average day, it's because Larsson's own views were old-shoe Communist.

His background involved the unique bonding that comes from tough Red families and solid class loyalties. The hard-labor and factory and mining sector of Sweden is in the far and arduous North—this is also the home territory of most of the country's storytellers—and Grandpa was a proletarian Communist up toward the Arctic. This during the Second World War, when quite a few Swedes were volunteering to serve Hitler's New Order and join the SS. In a note the 23-year-old Larsson wrote before setting out for Africa, he bequeathed everything to the Communist party of his hometown, Umeå. The ownership of the immense later fortune that he never saw went by law to his father and brother, leaving his partner of 30 years, Eva Gabrielsson, with no legal claim, only a moral one that asserts she alone is fit to manage Larsson's very lucrative legacy. And this is not the only murk that hangs around his death, at the age of 50, in 2004.

To be exact, Stieg Larsson died on November 9, 2004, which I can't help noticing was the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Is it plausible that Sweden's most public anti-Nazi just chanced to expire from natural causes on such a date? Larsson's magazine, Expo, which has a fairly clear fictional cousinhood with "Millennium," was an unceasing annoyance to the extreme right. He himself was the public figure most identified with the unmasking of white-supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations, many of them with a hard-earned reputation for homicidal violence. The Swedes are not the pacific herbivores that many people imagine: in the footnotes to his second novel Larsson reminds us that Prime Minister Olof Palme was gunned down in the street in 1986 and that the foreign minister Anna Lindh was stabbed to death (in a Stockholm department store) in 2003. The first crime is still unsolved, and the verdict in the second case has by no means satisfied everybody. ...

~ more... ~

Is Lockheed Martin Shadowing You?

William D. Hartung: How a Giant Weapons Maker Became the New Big Brother (CBS News)

Have you noticed that Lockheed Martin, the giant weapons corporation, is shadowing you?  No?  Then you haven't been paying much attention.  Let me put it this way: If you have a life, Lockheed Martin is likely a part of it.

True, Lockheed Martin doesn't actually run the U.S. government, but sometimes it seems as if it might as well.  After all, it received $36 billion in government contracts in 2008 alone, more than any company in history.  It now does work for more than two dozen government agencies from the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency.  It's involved in surveillance and information processing for the CIA, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Pentagon, the Census Bureau, and the Postal Service.

Oh, and Lockheed Martin has even helped train those friendly Transportation Security Administration agents who pat you down at the airport. Naturally, the company produces cluster bombs, designs nuclear weapons, and makes the F-35 Lightning (an overpriced, behind-schedule, underperforming combat aircraft that is slated to be bought by customers in more than a dozen countries) -- and when it comes to weaponry, that's just the start of a long list. In recent times, though, it's moved beyond anything usually associated with a weapons corporation and has been virtually running its own foreign policy, doing everything from hiring interrogators for U.S. overseas prisons (including at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq) to managing a private intelligence network in Pakistan and helping write the Afghan constitution.

~ more... ~


No sex until government in Belgium


The Belgium negotiators are not allowed to have sex, until there is a new government in Belgium.

The Belgian Senator, Arleen Temmerman, announced this to all negotiators.

The senator's idea follows the example of Kenya. When the negotiations for a new government dragged on for a long time in 2009. The Women's movements in Kenya called the women of the negotiators to stop having sex.

"A week later, the document was on the table, " said Temmerman in the Belgian newspaper De Morgen.

In Belgium they are already negotiating for about 7 months to form a new government.

Recently one of Belgium's best-known actors, Benoit Poelvoorde, urged his fellow citizens not to shave again until the country finally forms a government.

Belgians went to polls in June last year but an inconclusive result has left them with a caretaker government.

'Howl' Trailer


Starring: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Bob Balaban, Alessandro Nivola, Treat Williams.

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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