Pantology
(via Terminal Lance - Terminal Lance “Unleash the Kraken”)

hipsterlibertarian:

This is the second half of a two-part series. Read the first half here if you missed it last week.

American trust in government is at an all-time low. Last week, I pointed out six big lies the government told us.

Here’s six more.

1. We’re here to protect your rights

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As many Americans have learned recently, there’s an epidemic of police brutality in America. With the help of the federal government, America police departments have been militarized, and too often they treat citizens like an enemy to defeat instead of a population to protect.

As Senator Rand Paul wrote:

When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

Police brutality is a systemic problem84 percent of cops say they’ve seen it happen—and it unfairly targets minorities. Protecting our rights, this is not.

2. Your stuff is yours to keep

AP A NY USA INTERNET GAMBLING ARRESTS

Did you know the Supreme Court has ruled it’s legal for the government to take your house and give it to a business so they can use the land instead?

Well, it did.

While most people will thankfully never be subjected to this gross abuse of private property rights, the government could still legally take your stuff through civil asset forfeiture.

Never heard of it? Most haven’t.

As I noted a few weeks ago, civil asset forfeiture is basically a law that allows a police officer who finds you “suspicious” to just take your stuff. Once your property has been confiscated, the burden of proof is on you, not the police, to show that you didn’t get it from any criminal activity. You have no right to a lawyer and won’t get a day in court.

Civil asset forfeiture happens a lot, because police conveniently consider large amounts of cash very suspicious indeed—but not too suspicious to dump it right into their own department coffers.

3. You can trust us with your future

SocialSecurityCheck_slideshow

More than half of Millennials believe we’ll never get any of the money we’re forced to pay into Social Security—and we’re right:

The management of entitlement programs, already weighted heavily in favor of the older population, has a very specific terminal point that coincides neatly with the Boomers’ deaths. The 2011 report by the Social Security trustees estimates that, under its current administration, the fund will run out in 2036, so there’s just enough to get the oldest Boomers to age ninety.

For Millennials, there’s nothing secure about Social Security. So when do we get to opt out and be responsible for our own futures?

Read the whole thing here.

(via Colours in Cultures | Information Is Beautiful)
(via Insurance Fraud: The $80 Billion Cost of Lying [Infographic]) 
With the amount we spend on insurance fraud ANNUALLY, we could:
Fund all cancer research for the next 13 years
Fund the U.S. space program for the next 5 years or launch 62 shuttle missions
Pay salaries of 2.2 million American workers for a year
(read more)

(via Insurance Fraud: The $80 Billion Cost of Lying [Infographic])
With the amount we spend on insurance fraud ANNUALLY, we could:
Fund all cancer research for the next 13 years
Fund the U.S. space program for the next 5 years or launch 62 shuttle missions
Pay salaries of 2.2 million American workers for a year
(read more)

If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. … Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.
James Madison (1751-1836), U.S. Statesman and “Father Of The Constitution”. (via philosophicalconservatism)

Wow its like he is talking to Congress today. Read more of it here: http://www.constitution.org/je/je4_cong_deb_12.htm

currentsinbiology:

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain: May be possible to prune synapses with drug after diagnosis
Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The study was published in the August 21 online issue of the journal Neuron.
Guomei Tang, Kathryn Gudsnuk, Sheng-Han Kuo, Marisa L. Cotrina, Gorazd Rosoklija, Alexander Sosunov, Mark S. Sonders, Ellen Kanter, Candace Castagna, Ai Yamamoto, Zhenyu Yue, Ottavio Arancio, Bradley S. Peterson, Frances Champagne, Andrew J. Dwork, James Goldman, David Sulzer. Loss of mTOR-Dependent Macroautophagy Causes Autistic-like Synaptic Pruning Deficits. Neuron, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.040
In a study of brains from children with autism, researchers found that autistic brains did not undergo normal pruning during childhood and adolescence. The images show representative neurons from autistic (left) and control (right) brains; the spines on the neurons indicate the location of synapses.  Credit: Guomei Tang, PhD and Mark S. Sonders, PhD/Columbia University Medical Center

currentsinbiology:

Children with autism have extra synapses in brain: May be possible to prune synapses with drug after diagnosis

Children and adolescents with autism have a surplus of synapses in the brain, and this excess is due to a slowdown in a normal brain “pruning” process during development, according to a study by neuroscientists at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Because synapses are the points where neurons connect and communicate with each other, the excessive synapses may have profound effects on how the brain functions. The study was published in the August 21 online issue of the journal Neuron.

Guomei Tang, Kathryn Gudsnuk, Sheng-Han Kuo, Marisa L. Cotrina, Gorazd Rosoklija, Alexander Sosunov, Mark S. Sonders, Ellen Kanter, Candace Castagna, Ai Yamamoto, Zhenyu Yue, Ottavio Arancio, Bradley S. Peterson, Frances Champagne, Andrew J. Dwork, James Goldman, David Sulzer. Loss of mTOR-Dependent Macroautophagy Causes Autistic-like Synaptic Pruning Deficits. Neuron, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.040

In a study of brains from children with autism, researchers found that autistic brains did not undergo normal pruning during childhood and adolescence. The images show representative neurons from autistic (left) and control (right) brains; the spines on the neurons indicate the location of synapses.  Credit: Guomei Tang, PhD and Mark S. Sonders, PhD/Columbia University Medical Center

The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.
Claude Lévi-Strauss (via currentsinbiology)
Worship is appropriate when Someone is perfect! Young men will whistle at a pretty girl admiring her beauty, or cheer for a football play. Why deny God His due? Have you ever considered the Mandelbrot set? Even math glorifies God!

academicatheism:

You’re not getting the point. It’s one thing to be admired because you’re beautiful; it’s entirely another thing to warrant worship because you’re perfect. However, if we’re to take OT stories at face value, god demanded* worship. Some beautiful people don’t demand attention. A great play can’t make any demands. Both of your examples are also subjective because while the girl hears whistles from some young men, she won’t hear any from others and while the play is good to fans of football, it is of no interest to people who aren’t fans of the game. The point that you’re missing is that a perfect being would have no deficiencies and thus wouldn’t throw tantrums when people worship other deities. He wouldn’t murder their infants and children because of it. He certainly wouldn’t damn you for eternity because you didn’t accept his plan for atonement through Jesus Christ. Your beliefs are ludicrous.

What’s more ludicrous is your kettle logic. You go from pretty girls to football to Mandelbrot sets as if one term in pure mathematics is supposed to intimidate me. You’re using the set as an underhanded variant of the odious design argument. The set, like an algorithm, is an example of complexity arising from the implementation of rudimentary rules. It isn’t designed; it self-organizes over time and in accordance to the rules it’s given. Mathematics, whether pure or applied, is an extension of logic. It doesn’t glorify god. You’re simply blinded by predilections. What’s worse is that you can’t grasp a basic point. My response to that initial question flew over your head; as did my point in your last ask. I’ll repeat it in words a child could understand: if someone is perfect, they wouldn’t demand to be worshiped because they wouldn’t lack anything. More specifically, anyone reading the OT will quickly realize they’re reading about a god who has self-esteem issues—so concerned about his popularity, his approval rating, and how he fares against other deities.

*Some may quibble about the use of the word demand preferring instead the word command. However, the commandments weren’t simply orders given by an authority. They were ultimatums with consequences that were sometimes fatal. Given that the so called commandments were more like ultimatums, it’s hard to see the difference between demand and command in this context.

Do you know why in kidney transplants the recipient doesn't have the non functioning kidney removed but rather has the donor organ added in? I know unless it is diseased it's just kept in but not sure why?
Anonymous

biomedicalephemera:

Less risk, in short. There are inherent risks involved in removing an organ, whether or not it’s going to be replaced. In many cases, the existing kidneys may not function well, but do have a minimal amount of processing power, and still have a full blood supply. As an additional kidney can be added into the urinary system with less fuss than full replacement, and less overall risk, even if the recipients kidneys are completely non-functional. If the recipient kidneys are going haywire, however, and are sending out all sorts of bad signals or harboring cancers or incurable disease, they’re removed.

Adrenal failure can also occur when adrenal glands are removed from their kidney hosts (as happens when recipient kidneys are removed - often the adrenal glands are not affected by kidney disease), and adding lifelong adrenal supplements to an already-large number of immunosuppressant drugs needed after transplantation is not exactly ideal.

image

"Piggybacking" or heterotopic transplantation is also occasionally used in heart transplants, particularly when it’s a pediatric patient who is not receiving donor lungs at the same time. It’s also been used in liver transplants in very select cases. However, both of those surgeries are non-standard, and require very experienced surgeons at specialized transplant centers.

Why did I never hear of this before?

If a thing existed that had the attributes that we typically ascribe to "God" shouldn't we call that thing God?

academicatheism:

First we’d have to agree what these attributes are. Then we’d have to discuss why it’s apt to call this entity god. On the former, there is no consensus. The theist claims that god is uncaused, timeless, changeless, immaterial, and personal. The Christian then adds that her god is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, perfectly judicious, omnipresent, sovereign, and existing apart from everything else. The deist will argue that his god is not personal. The pantheist who conflates her god with the universe will not claim that her god is immaterial; she will also add that her god is one with everything—hence hylozoism and/or animism. The panentheist might agree on that point but will add that his god is transcendent; thus, his god isn’t just spaceless and timeless, but extends beyond both.

Bhakti Hindus will disagree and say that gods can take human form in the form of an avatara. This finds a historical correlate of sorts in the gods of mythology. Demigods are gods who became men or men who did great deeds and became gods. Indeed a historical inquiry into the origins of modern Christology reveals this phenomenon in early Christianity. Jesus wasn’t thought to be god while he existed, assuming he was historical. He came to be equal to god decades after the fact—as is attested prominently in the Gospel of John (90-100 CE). Thus, what I survey above shows that the attributes aren’t generally agreed upon.

Would it be apt to call such a being god? I don’t think so. What’s required is that we agree on what attributes constitute a god. After that there must exist a being who has all of those attributes. That’s precisely the being we can’t locate—neither through empirical methods nor revelation nor any other means. There’s also the problem of contradictory attributes. How can a being be perfect whilst mandating worship? How can a being be omnibenevolent and perfectly judicial? In other words, how can there be wrathful justice where there’s perfect love? Human love is fallible and regardless of that, a loving parent won’t disown his son when he drives drunk—won’t disown his daughter when she needs an abortion at 15 years of age. Yet Christians and Muslims posit a god who will punish sinners eternally for temporal misdeeds. How can god be timeless whilst interacting in time? How can a god be one with everything and transcendent simultaneously? It either exists within all things or exists apart from all things.

The notion of god is altogether incoherent. There’s simply no way to synthesize disparate concepts and thus reduce them to a singular archetype. We can only devise archetypes based on shared attributes. It’s something I’m already thinking about with hopes of applying these archetypes in a book I plan to write on gnostic atheism. The book is years away at best and will require consultation from a number of disciplines. It’s not an easy task, but I think it’s a necessary direction to go in, especially since opponents quibble about our focus on this or that religion and/or god concept. Such a project will simply follow atheism to its ultimate conclusion.

theeconomist:

Daily chart: The disparity of attention and casualties among global conflicts

theeconomist:

Daily chart: The disparity of attention and casualties among global conflicts

Who really matters in our democracy — the general public, or wealthy elites? That’s the topic of a new study by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern. The study’s been getting lots of attention, because the authors conclude, basically, that the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. Or as they put it, “economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.”