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A Guide to Skinner’s Genealogy of Liberty

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions. What does it mean to be free? Liberty is the most important concept in modern political theory.

The Gympie-Gympie Tree Has an Insanely Painful Sting

via Wikimedia Commons Have you ever known anyone stung by the Gympie-Gympie tree? It sounds horrifying — the pain can last for up to several months with reocurrences for years afterwards.

Politicians or central bankers: who runs the world?

401(K) 2012 (CC BY-SA 2.0) By Mark Beeson, University of Western Australia Global governance sounds like a good idea.

Texas woman claims Bigfoot just had a baby

JD Hancock (CC BY 2.0) The woman from Texas, Brenda, claims (via Cryptozoology News): “We didn’t know what was going on until just a few years ago.

Depression may result from “hyperactivity” in “the disappointment circuit” of the brain

Gerald Gabernig (CC By 2.0) Dr Jeremy Dean writes at PsyBlog: People who are depressed may have hyperactivity in a part of the brain known as ‘the disappointment circuit’, a new study finds.

How the CIA made Google

Patrick Barry (CC BY 2.0) Nafeez Ahmed writes at Medium: INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information.

Rapper Tiny Doo Facing Long Prison Sentence Over Lyrics

So now you can go to prison because of the lyrics of a song? In California, the answer may be “yes” reports CNN: Song lyrics that glorify violence are hardly uncommon.

Banker Suicides Continue

ABN AMRO headquarters in Amsterdam. Last year we ran stories about the unusually high number of suicides among bankers.

Tangerine Dream Founder Edgar Froese Dead at 70

Ralf Roletschek via Wikimedia Commons. Daniel Kreps writes at Rolling Stone: Edgar Froese, founding member and keyboardist of the long-running band Tangerine Dream and an electronic music pioneer, passed away after suffering a pulmonary embolism on January 20th.

Secret TPP Negotiations—And Public Protests—To Be Held in New York City

Expect vocal opponents to the New World Order to show up in New York this coming week to protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, warns EFF: The next round of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations begins this Monday, January 26, and runs through the following week at the Sheraton New York Time Square Hotel in downtown Manhattan.

Read The Very First Comic Book: The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck

  Via Open Comic books, as any enthusiast of comics books won’t hesitate to tell you, have a long and robust history, one that extends far wider and deeper than the 20th-century caped musclemen, carousing teenagers, and wisecracking animals so many associate with the medium.

Slovin and Allen – Abbott and Costello

Get More: Comedy Central,Funny Videos,Funny TV Shows The post Slovin and Allen – Abbott and Costello appeared first on disinformation.

An Hereditary Meritocracy

Images Money (CC BY-SA 2.0) Via The Economist: The children of the rich and powerful are increasingly well suited to earning wealth and power themselves.

I Am Not Corn: Guantánamo Diary Reveals 14-Year-Long Vision of Hell

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams: After a seven-year legal battle and 2,500 redactions by the same government that has beat, tortured, humiliated and held him incommunicado for twice that time, this week sees the release of the first book detailing harrowing life and near-death inside Guantánamo by one of its longest-held prisoners – Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a 44-year-old electrical engineer from Mauritania who studied in Germany and Canada and briefly joined (a U.S.-supported) Al Qaeda in 1992 before beginning his “endless world tour” of American black sites and torture chambers, from Jordan to Bagram to Guantánamo, because he fit a terrorist profile (distant cousin to known bad guy, prayed at wrong place at wrong time etc) that turned out to be “smoke but no fire.” Slahi’s extraordinary account, born from 466 pages of manuscript handwritten from his single cell at Camp Echo, begins at his family home in Noakchott, Mauritania two months after 9/11, when he is summoned to answer questions at the country’s intelligence ministry; he remembers his mother watching his disappearance, and “the taste of helplessness.” What follows is months and then years of brutal abuse: interrogation, isolation, blindfolding, shackling, sleep deprivation, freezing temperatures, sexual humiliation, death threats, a mock execution and other tortures set out in a “special plan” approved personally by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, all within an absurdist context of fantastic conjecture worthy of Kafka, Beckett, Orwell, Vonnegut and Dostoevsky, all rolled into one well-funded, quintessentially American “intricate machine for generating self-reinforcing fiction.” Continue reading.

Psychopath vs. Empath: the War Between Truth and Deception

Gary ‘Z’ McGee writes at Waking Times: “The supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and cloak the fear by which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation.” –Baruch Spinoza Are you fighting for your servitude as if for your salvation?

Welcome to Hollyweed: Why TV Is Going to Pot

Marijuana mania is sweeping the United States, from Wall Street to Hollywood, or “Hollyweed” as the Hollywood Reporter dubs it: The television industry is catching up with film and learning that pot sells in Hollywood.

Doomsday Clock: Three Minutes to Midnight and Counting

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0) From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Editor’s note: Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet.

Pesticides just got a whole lot smaller. Is that a good thing?

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (CC BY-ND 2.0) Liz Core writes at Grist: Nanoparticles are basically the X-Men of the molecular world, in that they are unpredictable, elusive, and come in a dizzying array of forms.

A Circus of the Senses: Are we all born with Synaesthesia?

Derek Lee (CC BY 2.0) Shruti Ravindran writes at Aeon: Vladimir Nabokov once called his famed fictional creation Lolita ‘a little ghost in natural colours’.

Animals Just Want To Get High

Yellow mongoose by Julielangford (CC) In an excerpt from his new book Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs at BoingBoing, Johan Hari explains why animals eat psychoactive plants (hint: to get high): The United Nations says the drug war’s rationale is to build “a drug-free world — we can do it!