world's largest urban art park proposed for under JFX

Posted on: Fri, 08/08/2014 - 19:37 By: Tom Swiss

I have to wonder about the road noise, but if that's not an obstacle this could be really neat.

A nonprofit wants to build the world's largest urban art park beneath the JFX - Baltimore Business Journal

The Section 1 Project, a nonprofit organization with a mission to transform under-utilized spaces into vibrant community centers, wants to build what it’s calling the world’s largest urban park in a space under the JFX, directly behind the Maryland Institute College of Art and near the Fitzgerald apartment building.

The project is still in its conceptual phase, with formal designs set to be complete within the next few weeks. The proposal will include an 18,000-square-foot skate park, 60,000 square feet of paintable surfaces, multiple live performance spaces, an acre of green space and shipping container retail spaces.

climate scientist Jason Box gets blunt about methane

Posted on: Thu, 08/07/2014 - 17:09 By: Tom Swiss

In addition to this observation of undersea ocean methane release, it appears the the recent mysterious crater in Siberia is due to permafrost thawing and releasing trapped methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas more than 30 times as powerful as CO2, and if anthropogenic CO2 release (and methane release from fracking) causes enough warming to cause more methane to be freed from the ground and sea, we could easily trigger catastrophic climate change.

Yep. We're fucked.

Climate scientist drops the F-bomb after startling Arctic discovery

In a case where scientists in the Arctic discovered massive plumes of methane escaping from the seafloor, climatologist and Arctic expert Jason Box sums that essence up thusly:

If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we're f'd.
— Jason Box (@climate_ice) July 29, 2014


“Even if a small fraction of the Arctic carbon were released to the atmosphere, we’re fucked,” he told me.

muggers got medieval on his ass

Posted on: Tue, 08/05/2014 - 16:08 By: Tom Swiss

So, yeah, then this happened. Given the trivial availability of guns in Baltimore City, my guess this guy wasn't wielding a flail because he couldn't get a piece; it's interesting that the attacker apparently struck the intended victim and then made a demand that he turn over his phone.

Man in Patterson Park attacked with medieval weapon (

According to a police report, the man said he was sitting in the grass in Patterson Park next to the baseball field on Thursday night at about 8 p.m. when four juveniles, about 14 to 16 years old, came up to him.

One of them was wielding a "ball and chain," and struck him in the face as the others stood by, the report says. The weapon is called a "mace" in the report but could also be referred to as a flail.

Rabbi Michael Lerner: "in mourning for a Judaism being murdered by Israel"

Posted on: Tue, 08/05/2014 - 11:34 By: Tom Swiss

"No wonder, then, that I’m heartbroken to see the Judaism of love and compassion being dismissed as “unrealistic” by so many of my fellow Jews and fellow rabbis."

Israel has broken my heart: I’m a rabbi in mourning for a Judaism being murdered by Israel

I always told myself that the dominant humanity of the Jewish people and the compassionate strain within Torah would reassert itself once Israel felt secure.

That belief began to wane in the past eight years when Israel, faced with a Palestinian Authority that promoted nonviolence and sought reconciliation and peace, ignored the Saudi Arabian-led peace initiative that would have granted Israel the recognition that it had long sought, an end to hostilities, and a recognized place in the Middle East, refused to stop its expansion of settlements in the West Bank and imposed an economically crushing blockade on Gaza. Even Hamas, whose hateful charter called for Israel’s destruction, had decided to accept the reality of Israel’s existence, and while unable to embrace its “right” to exist, nevertheless agreed to reconcile with the Palestinian Authority and in that context live within the terms that the PA would negotiate with Israel.

Yet far from embracing this new possibility for peace, the Israeli government used that as its reason to break off the peace negotiations, and then, in an unbelievably cynical move, let the brutal and disgusting kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens (by a rogue element in Hamas that itself was trying to undermine the reconciliation-with-Israel factions of Hamas by creating new fears in Israel) become the pretext for a wild assault on West Bank civilians, arresting hundreds of Hamas sympathizers, and escalating drone attacks on Hamas operatives inside Gaza.

Kucinich: "a land grab going on" in Gaza

Posted on: Tue, 08/05/2014 - 10:48 By: Tom Swiss

"Three weeks ago, Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset, called for Gaza to “become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel.” Israel has a housing crisis? After the “no-go” buffer zone is evacuated, there will be 21,951 Palestinians per square mile in Gaza, while Israel’s population density stands at 964 persons per square mile."

Crimes against humanity in Gaza: is it really a 'buffer zone' – or a bigger plan? (the Guardian)

On Monday, the US state department went further, calling the airstrikes upon a UN school “disgraceful” – and yet America provides Israel with more than $3.1bn every year, restocking the ability of the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to hit more schools, and to wage total war against an imprisoned people, because of their nationality.

American taxpayers should not be paying for this....

There is a land grab going on. The Israeli prime minister, Binjamin Netanyahu, has shrunk Gaza’s habitable land mass by 44%, with an edict establishing a 3km (1.8-mile) buffer zone, a “no-go” zone for Palestinians – and that’s quite significant, because a good part of Gaza is only 3 to 4 miles wide. Over 250,000 Palestinians within this zone must leave their homes, or be bombed. As their territorial space collapses, 1.8m Gazans now living in 147 square miles will be compressed into 82 square miles.

Google is scanning Gmail users mail for kiddie porn

Posted on: Mon, 08/04/2014 - 10:33 By: Tom Swiss

The sexual abuse of children is bad. People who sexually abuse children should be locked up, full stop.

It's more questionable whether people should be locked up for having images of the abuse of children. We've previously covered Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge's take on that topic. (If you find questioning the criminalization "child pornography" shocking, ask yourself: isn't it odd that you can go to jail for having an image of a 16-year-old making love but it's a-ok to have an image of a 16-year-old being murdered? And no, I don't have either sort of image lying around, nor any interest in viewing either sort of image.)

But it's even more questionable whether ISPs should be routinely spying on people and looking for evidence that they have images of the abuse of children. The use of "OMG won't someone think of the children!" as a justification to limit liberty and create a digital panopticon should give us pause.

Did Google Go Too Far? (Business Insider)

On the other, debate rages about how much privacy users can expect when using Google's services like email. In a word: none.

A year ago, in a court brief, Google said as much. Then, in April, after a class-action case against Google for email scanning fell apart, Google updated its terms of service to warn people that it was automatically analyzing emails.

US rearms Israel so it can continue war crimes

Posted on: Fri, 08/01/2014 - 11:55 By: Tom Swiss

You tax dollars at work.

Despite concerns, US restocks Israel with ammunition (Yahoo News)

The United States confirmed it had restocked Israel's supplies of ammunition, hours after finally sharpening its tone to condemn an attack on a United Nations school in Gaza. "Obviously nothing justifies the killing of innocent civilians seeking shelter in a UN facility," deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf acknowledged, in some of the toughest US comments since the start of the 23-day fighting in the Gaza Strip.

Australia tries for gag order to hide corruption

Posted on: Wed, 07/30/2014 - 14:25 By: Tom Swiss

If you can't solve a problem, sweep it under the rug.

Australia bans reporting of multi-nation corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam

Today, 29 July 2014, WikiLeaks releases an unprecedented Australian censorship order concerning a multi-million dollar corruption case explicitly naming the current and past heads of state of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, their relatives and other senior officials. The super-injunction invokes “national security” grounds to prevent reporting about the case, by anyone, in order to “prevent damage to Australia's international relations”. The court-issued gag order follows the secret 19 June 2014 indictment of seven senior executives from subsidiaries of Australia's central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). The case concerns allegations of multi-million dollar inducements made by agents of the RBA subsidiaries Securency and Note Printing Australia in order to secure contracts for the supply of Australian-style polymer bank notes to the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and other countries.

Bank of England admits money is a racket

Posted on: Wed, 07/30/2014 - 12:45 By: Tom Swiss

Money is a fiction, a creation of humanity. If the way we're creating it doesn't serve our needs -- and it obviously doesn't -- then we need to create it differently.

The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it (the Guardian)

Last week, something remarkable happened. The Bank of England let the cat out of the bag. In a paper called "Money Creation in the Modern Economy", co-authored by three economists from the Bank's Monetary Analysis Directorate, they stated outright that most common assumptions of how banking works are simply wrong, and that the kind of populist, heterodox positions more ordinarily associated with groups such as Occupy Wall Street are correct. In doing so, they have effectively thrown the entire theoretical basis for austerity out of the window.


It's this understanding that allows us to continue to talk about money as if it were a limited resource like bauxite or petroleum, to say "there's just not enough money" to fund social programmes, to speak of the immorality of government debt or of public spending "crowding out" the private sector. What the Bank of England admitted this week is that none of this is really true. To quote from its own initial summary: "Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits" … "In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money 'multiplied up' into more loans and deposits."

In other words, everything we know is not just wrong – it's backwards. When banks make loans, they create money. This is because money is really just an IOU. The role of the central bank is to preside over a legal order that effectively grants banks the exclusive right to create IOUs of a certain kind, ones that the government will recognise as legal tender by its willingness to accept them in payment of taxes. There's really no limit on how much banks could create, provided they can find someone willing to borrow it. They will never get caught short, for the simple reason that borrowers do not, generally speaking, take the cash and put it under their mattresses; ultimately, any money a bank loans out will just end up back in some bank again. So for the banking system as a whole, every loan just becomes another deposit....


Just consider what might happen if mortgage holders realised the money the bank lent them is not, really, the life savings of some thrifty pensioner, but something the bank just whisked into existence through its possession of a magic wand which we, the public, handed over to it.

pibble saves injured chihuahua

Posted on: Tue, 07/29/2014 - 14:23 By: Tom Swiss

Yet another pit bull whose love puts most of us primates to shame.

Jonie Loves Chachi: Hero Pit Bull Saves Injured Chihuahua Pal (ABC News)

A pit bull is being hailed as a hero for carrying an injured Chihuahua to safety -- and now the two dogs are looking for a loving home together.

Pit bull Jonie was found carrying her injured friend, Chachi, inside her mouth, roaming around a Savannah, Georgia, neighborhood on July 10.

Chachi, a long-haired Chihuahua mix, had suffered an injury to his left eye. Jonie, a white Lab-pit bull mix many times larger than Chachi in size, was walking around with Chachi in her mouth and putting him down every now and then to lick his wound.

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