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November 5th, Guy Fawkes And The Gunpowder Plot: Torture And Persecution In Fact And Fiction

Nov 05 2019 - 09:11

In 1605, England’s parliament was sitting on a powder keg, literally. Like now, the country was bitterly divided between two factions, with religion at the heart of the schism after the Reformation pitted Protestants and Catholics against each other in a life or death struggle. History tells us that instead of seeking a political solution such as an election, a group of 13 Catholic conspirators plotted to blow up parliament.

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No Cities WON’T Be Erased By 2050 - Millions More ALREADY Living Below Sea Level Than Was Thought - Protected By Dikes

Nov 05 2019 - 05:11

This is running with click bait titles suggesting massively more people are at risk of sea level flooding than before. But it’s just better elevation maps. The sea level rise is the same but more people than they thought are already living below sea level protected by dikes, as for Holland.

It makes no difference at all if the elevation data is already good. Example story to debunk:

This is mainly due to an increase in their estimate of the number of people currently below sea level (many people already live below sea level not just Netherlands). They estimate that

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US Alone Gives Notice To Withdraw From Paris Climate Accord - Not For Pittsburgh City - Agreement Remains Strong (with Meme)

Nov 05 2019 - 04:11

This is the first day that countries can give their one year notification to leave the Paris agreement. It's no surprise that the US has given notification. But he is not speaking for the city of Pittsburgh, who have taken strong action on climate change for over a decade, and many others in the US are in support of the agreement. Withdrawal is largely symbolic, and won't change anything, as there is no longer central federal support for climate action in the US as is.

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If You Are A Biologist, You Should Stop Giving Money To AAAS Right Now

Nov 04 2019 - 10:11
In February, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) issued a bombastic press release to announce its 2019 Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility was going to to Sarath Gunatilake and Channa Jayasumana, anti-glyphosate protesters who claim a causal connection between glyphosate and chronic kidney disease.

AAAS has long been a political body, its leadership has come solely from one political party for the last 35 years. and that means it is often going to pick and choose the science it accepts based on its political skew. But a whole lot of Democratic scientists are in biotechnology, they recognize the consensus on glyphosate and GMOs is even greater than it is climate change, and the blowback to this award announcement happened rapidly.

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Should Bad Writers Be Paid As Much As Good Ones? The Week Thinks So

Nov 02 2019 - 05:11
I am a big believer in meritocracy. I live in an Intel town and they feel like they make the best processor because groups are competing to have the best design, just like Saturday Night Live writers compete to have their skit on the program. Though they were all hired on merit they know that eventually, if you fail for long enough, meritocracy also says you will be replaced by someone else better suited to the job.

That is killing us, writes Livia Gershon at The Week in what they call an "essential commentary." 

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It's November 2019 - How Close Did We Get To Blade Runner?

Nov 01 2019 - 13:11
It's November of 2019 which means that we have officially arrived at the opening of the science fiction cult classic "Blade Runner." Let's talk about what it got right.

I was at a local theater showing of "Evil Dead: The Musical" a few weeks ago and at the end was a lot of 1980s music. The crowd that evening was overwhelmingly high school theater geeks and they knew every song, from "Come On Eileen" to "Take On Me." They knew them well enough to mash up dances from other periods while they were singing.

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Sun & Sea - The Lithuanian Pavillion At Biennale 2019 In Venice

Oct 31 2019 - 12:10
Every two years the Biennale, a contemporary art exhibition, opens in Venice from May to November. This is one of the most important events of its kind, and it attract millions of visitors to a garden that contains a few dozen different pavillions, each hosting artwork from a different country. Over fifty more such independent museums are scattered around the city center and are free entry - these are even more fun to visit than the main exposition at the "Giardini della Biennale", as they allow visitors to visit the spaces themselves, often old houses or palaces that are otherwise unaccessible. 

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