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Topics - Umbrage

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Interzone / Wisdom of the hobo
« on: October 11, 2010, 05:53:37 AM »
I live in a flat and there's this hobo guy who occasionally sleeps in the hallway downstairs. He never leaves a mess and he's always very polite. He was sleeping there before I moved into the flat and I was told by my neighbor that he's ok so I never complained about it. I was also told that he's very smart, that he's one of those "too smart for society" type guys who's brain just can't handle a mundane existence (those are my neighbors words and yeah he's a hippie) One lady who lives upstairs of me spent months talking to the hobo when she was going through divorce and apparently he helped her through a lot of distress. I never spoke to him, I only passed him a few times when I got home late. Last weekend me and a friend had gone out and we were discussing women on our way into the flat. We were standing by the stairs next to where the hobo is usually lying but I wasn't paying attention to him. My friend said something about women and something funny happened. Suddenly the hobo interrupted him and said "son, if you don't start respecting women then you'll never find a woman worth respecting" We both looked at the hobo and he was just lying there on the floor with a sweater over his head. We were quite impressed by his interruption but we ignored him in fear of having some bum befriending us. He probably just wanted to get some sleep anyway. But later I thought some more about what he said and I realized that it was quite brilliant.

So ITT: wisdom of the hobos please. Anybody with similar experiences? What are your thoughts on hobos? Do you think that some of them are really too smart for society? And please more snappy one-liners from hobos (if you know any)

Audiofile / Psychic Possessor
« on: October 04, 2010, 04:07:35 PM »
Psychic Possessor: Rapidshare, Blogspot, Megaupload

Psychic Possessor

Brazilian death/thrash. Less chaotic than your average Brazilian metal band and has more distinct death metal among the thrash, but that might be typical of the year (1988)

Psychic Possessor - Toxin Diffusion (1988, Mediafire)

Interzone / USA losing global influence: a good thing or a bad thing?
« on: September 28, 2010, 12:59:17 PM »
Just wondering what you would make of this:

10 Signs The U.S. Is Losing Its Influence In The Western Hemisphere

We won't be the alpha dog in the western hemisphere forever.

Even if the U.S. hadn't crashed into a financial crisis, there are demographic, material, and political forces that have been spreading power around the Americas for decades.

Brazil is first among the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) -- four economies that are supposed to overtake the six largest Western economies by 2032.

Mexico is first among the MAVINS (Mexico, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, and South Africa) -- six economies we expect to blow away expectations and become leading powers in their regions relatively soon.

Canada and Venezuela are oil powers of the distant future.

Peru and Chile are sitting on a fortune of metals and minerals.

All these countries are cranking up, while America faces plenty of fiscal and demographic problems at home.

read more

The easy answer seems to be: yes this is a good thing, after all America is evil/stupid/democratic/etc. But is this really going to be an improvement? What can we expect when other countries with other interests become the dominant economic powers in the world?

Interzone / Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab
« on: August 29, 2010, 09:52:05 AM »
Former SPD politician Thilo Sarrazin has written a book about the failures of multicultural society and mass-immigration. The book is called "Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab" and it will be released tomorrow.

Naive, gutmenschelnd, false: This is how SPD politician Thilo Sarrazin (65) in " Germany abolishes the "* the German immigration policy. BILD documented in the book in advance excerpts.

Uncontrolled immigration could threaten at any time state structures and undermine the stability of a society. The Chinese empire had, therefore, its Great Wall, the Romans had their limit. At no time securing the territory and the regulation of immigration were trivial. The frequently on these issues resulting complications threatened states and societies in the core and shaped her deeply, and again they were accompanied by bloody orgies and violence.

In German media this is often hidden. Immigration matters are often treated with a raised admonitory finger, and with an attitude that is probably most aptly characterized by the verse: "Beep, beep, beep, we all love." This approach is as unhistorical as silly. Even more regrettable is that the German political class, let its position on migration issues largely dictated by votes from the media. She runs to the risk of being removed from the core of both problems and by the people.

Inlet, the right-wing populist movements in many European countries have reported the growing - or even the referendum on the admissibility of minarets , as Switzerland was carried out in the - are consequences of the predominantly ahistorical and naive and opportunistic state migration policy in Europe.

In all countries concerned - whether Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Norway - to make the group of Muslim migrants similar observations, namely

• below average in the labor market

• above-average dependence on social transfers

• below-average in education

• above-average fertility

• spatial segregation with the tendency to form parallel

• above-average religiosity with increasing tendency for traditional or fundamentalist currents in Islam

• above-average crime, from the "ordinary" violent crime in the street up to participating in terrorist activities.

In Germany, an army of working for Integration, Islam researchers, sociologists, political scientists, association representatives and a group of naive politicians hand in hand and hard to play down, self-denial and problem.

Especially popular is the critics of Islam to blame the lack of liberality. This is an important distinction under: Liberal can, yes you have to be compared with beliefs and lifestyles are different from their own. This generosity, however, may not extend to those who do not want to tolerate different beliefs and lifestyles. The 18-year-old murder Sagittarius Ayham Sürücü, who shot and killed in February 2005 in Berlin on behalf of his devout Turkish-Kurdish extended family, his five year old sister Hatun Sürücü, that she was different was strictly religious, and representative of a broad view direction among Muslims. Is illiberal, who provides this kind of religion with a condemnation, even if it does not equal to a murder?

That the strong growth of a Muslim minority in Europe causing anxiety, it really can not be explained with xenophobia.

For the Muslim immigrants in Germany can be noted below-average labor force participation. Only 33.9 percent of them draw their livelihood from most work and economic activity. In the population with no migration background, it is 43 percent.

It is often pointed out that many Muslim immigrants are particularly self-employed. Thus, there are approximately 80,000 self-employed in Germany with Turkish migration background, including 40 000 in food retailing. However, the range of self of Muslim immigrants is well below that of the German population and other immigrant groups - in 2007 only 6.8 percent, compared to immigrants from EU countries (12.4 percent), from Southeast Asia (13.9 percent ) and the self without a migration background (10.4 percent).

Relative to the working population live in the Muslim migrants four times as many people from unemployment and Hartz IV as in the German population. Quite different situation is the among the migrants from the EU member states dar. Their participation rate is 44.2 percent, with even a little higher than that of native Germans.

Of the people living in Germany with Muslim immigrant background have 30 percent of all school without any qualifications and only 14 percent Abitur. It is instructive that the migrants from the EU, and from South and East Asia, similar problems have not. The children of Vietnam-contract workers from the former East Germany to make even 80 percent of high school, a higher proportion than the Germans.

Discrimination is eliminated as a reason for this lack of success of the Muslim immigrants, for groups of migrants from the Far East or India, which look even more strange as Turks and Arabs, cut in some cases even better than the Germans. The relative failure can probably hardly be attributed to innate abilities and talents, as it relates to Muslim migrants from different backgrounds alike. Puzzle is also why the progress in the second and third generation, if they occur at all, when Muslim immigrants are much less than others.

Part of the Germans - even the elite - has not even understood the problem. In their life, living and working Muslim migrants come so only as cleaners or as exotic backdrop for the occasional visit to Berlin-Kreuzberg. Some of the intellectuals and the liberal press seems to feel even a secret joy that Muslim immigration is undermining German society.

What does the U.S. government did for the integration of immigrant Germans, Jews, Irishmen or Italians? The integrated themselves because they had no other choice if they wanted to stay. As there was no social support for importing brides. The lack of integration lies in the attitudes of Muslim immigrants.

I want my grandson in 100 years to life in Germany, if they so wish. I do not want the land of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren is largely Muslim, that is spoken there for long stretches Turkish and Arabic, the women wear a headscarf and the daily rhythm is determined by the call of the muezzins. If I want to do that, I can book a vacation trip to the East.

I would not want us to be strangers in their own country.

Article in German
Google translate

Some quotes of the book:

• "The cultural identity of nations is not a legend, but determines the reality of Europe. All Jews share a particular gene, Basques have certain genes that distinguish them from others."

• "Frequently are the spouses of Turkish immigrants, also from the close relationship of the family into which they are marrying. Often there are cousins. Whole clans have a long tradition of inbreeding and that many disabilities."

Quotes in German
Google translate

Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab on amazon.com

Interzone / Scientist / Rapper / Troll
« on: August 23, 2010, 04:30:14 PM »
Dr. Tyrone Hayes is a biologist at UC Berkeley and a longtime critic of atrazine,  an herbicide produced by the chemical company Syngenta. He took the bold step of sending lots of taunting, rap-quoting emails to the company. Scandal ensued.

According to Nature, Hayes, who "grew up in a tough South Carolina community," has been in a dispute with Syngenta for a decade, with the company trying to cast doubt on Hayes' research which links atrazine to cancer in humans and reproductive mix-ups in frogs. After "a heated encounter with a Syngenta scientist," Hayes kind of lost it. Syngenta filed a complaint with Hayes' university, and included the following emails that he sent to various people at the company.


Kinda reminded me of this thread and the Glen Benton VS Bob Larson drama. It's cool to imagine hessian scientists, professors and businessmen kicking ass in their fields, but what if it would go horribly wrong?


Hey, it seems even cooler to me now! Try to imagine a dispute between Monsanto and professor Paul Ledney...

Interzone / 1 in 5 Americans think Obama is Muslim
« on: August 19, 2010, 03:23:27 PM »
Amusing Alarming statistics.

A substantial and growing number of Americans say that Barack Obama is a Muslim, while the proportion saying he is a Christian has declined. More than a year and a half into his presidency, a plurality of the public says they do not know what religion Obama follows.

A new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) now say Obama is a Muslim, up from 11% in March 2009. Only about one-third of adults (34%) say Obama is a Christian, down sharply from 48% in 2009. Fully 43% say they do not know what Obama's religion is. The survey was completed in early August, before Obama's recent comments about the proposed construction of a mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center.

The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers. Roughly a third of conservative Republicans (34%) say Obama is a Muslim, as do 30% of those who disapprove of Obama's job performance. But even among many of his supporters and allies, less than half now say Obama is a Christian. Among Democrats, for instance, 46% say Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009.

The belief that Obama is a Muslim has increased most sharply among Republicans (up 14 points since 2009), especially conservative Republicans (up 16 points). But the number of independents who say Obama is a Muslim has also increased significantly (up eight points). There has been little change in the number of Democrats who say Obama is a Muslim, but fewer Democrats today say he is a Christian (down nine points since 2009).

When asked how they learned about Obama's religion in an open-ended question, 60% of those who say Obama is a Muslim cite the media. Among specific media sources, television (at 16%) is mentioned most frequently. About one-in-ten (11%) of those who say Obama is a Muslim say they learned of this through Obama's own words and behavior.

Beliefs about Obama's religion are closely linked to political judgments about him. Those who say he is a Muslim overwhelmingly disapprove of his job performance, while a majority of those who think he is a Christian approve of the job Obama is doing. Those who are unsure about Obama's religion are about evenly divided in their views of his performance.


The survey also finds:

    * The Republican Party continues to be more widely viewed as friendly toward religion than the Democratic Party. However, both parties are facing declines in the percentages saying they are friendly to religion.
    * The religious landscape is far more favorable to Republicans than was the case as recently as 2008. Half of white non-Hispanic Catholics (50%) currently identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, up nine points since 2008. Among religiously unaffiliated voters, who have been stalwart supporters of Democrats in recent elections, 29% currently identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, up from 25% in 2008 (the proportion identifying as Democrats has fallen seven points since then). And 33% of Jewish voters identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, up from 20% in 2008.
    * Roughly six-in-ten people (58%) have heard of the "religious right," while 41% are familiar with the "religious left." Among those who have heard of the religious right and the religious left, sizable numbers express no opinion as to whether or not they generally agree or disagree with them.


Am I reading this correct? Obama is good so he's christian, Obama is bad so he's muslim? Hmmm... I suppose it's just another aspect of the crowd to think in terms of caricatures because it's easier. Don't worry good people, at the next elections just vote for a woman! Or vote for the midget! Or the retired porn-star!

Interzone / Chivalry is dead
« on: August 11, 2010, 06:07:47 AM »
Many women would do anything for a boyfriend who likes to dance.

But as one woman unfortunately learned on Monday, a man who decides to do the Texas two-step and electric slide away from your side as a foul ball screams toward you into the stands is far from a dream date.

In one of the funnier foul ball mishaps I've seen, a woman named Sarah was struck with a foul ball at the Houston Astros game after her male companion named Bo ducked out of the way.

As most of the blogosphere is noting this morning, chivalry is officially dead.

After all, if a man can't abide by the simplest rule of a baseball date — don't let your company get hit by a foul ball — what hope can women hold for things like flagging down the beer vendor or having their scorecard kept when they head to the ladies room?


Welcome to the modern world. Enjoy feminism (gender confusion) multiculture (racial confusion) and globalism (diseases, pollution and cultural (read: liberal) oppression) If you don't enjoy it then you are an evil bigot and in the way of "progress" Once everything is messed up beyond recognition and people get so confused that the above article becomes newsworthy then you can do what everyone does: sit on the sideline and complain. Make sure to put extra emphasis on "it's not my fault" and "nobody expected this to happen" and "come on, it's not that bad"

Interzone / Reykjavik mayor attends gay pride in drag
« on: August 06, 2010, 05:50:23 PM »
Seems like a pretty good example of the "free beer for all" campaigning anus has criticized not too long ago. For those of you who still think extreme things like this are just a joke, it's cold reality. Sure it seems funny, but it's a problem. And the problem is that people think it's all just a big joke so they actually subscribe to this kind of entertainment in the end. "The bad guys are over there, now let's go party!" seems to be the slogan of this political party. Don't let this attitude happen to you (please) or you'll be no better than this.

REYKJAVIK — Reykjavik's comedian-turned-politician mayor, Jon Gnarr, opened the Icelandic capital's gay pride festival this week in drag, in a blond wig and with bright red lipstick.

When Gnarr was announced at the festival's opening ceremony Thursday night, he appeared on stage wearing a floral-print dress over an ample bosom, explaining that "the mayor unfortunately could not attend himself."

Gnarr's party Friday published photos of the event.

The 43-year-old father of five -- known as one of Iceland's top comedians -- took over as mayor in June.

His irreverent new Best Party won city council polls after a campaign that advocated free towels in city swimming pools and a polar bear for the zoo.

On a more serious note, it also called for "clean politics," denouncing irresponsible political and financial elites for their role in Iceland's near economic collapse after all the major banks went belly-up at the end of 2008.

The party burst on to Reykjavik's political scene at the beginning of the year, with its candidates broadcasting their campaign pledges in a music video on YouTube to the soundtrack of Tina Turner's "Simply the Best".

Iceland became in February 2009 the first country in modern times with an openly gay head of government, when Johanna Sigurdardottir became prime minister.

When the Icelandic parliament in June this year voted to legalise gay marriage, Sigurdardottir and her long-time partner Jonina Ledsdottir were among the first couples to tie the knot.

The Reykjavik Gay Pride festival will run from Thursday to Sunday, with a large parade through the capital scheduled for Saturday.

Jon Gnarr(L) and Heimir Mar Petursson


Interzone / Teen Depression Linked to Internet Overuse
« on: August 06, 2010, 06:09:17 AM »
Teenagers who have an unhealthy dependence on the Internet are almost twice as likely to become depressed as other teens, giving parents yet another good reason to limit kids' screen time. That's the news from a study in Pediatrics, which tracked the Internet use of teenagers in China, where "Internet addiction" is considered a serious and growing problem.

The researchers tracked 1,041 teenagers, finding out how much they used the Internet and whether that use was unhealthy. They used surveys similar to those used with pathological gamblers. A typical question asked: "How often do you feel depressed, moody, or nervous when you are offline, which goes away once you are back online?" The vast majority of the teens, 94 percent, weren't pathological Internet users. But 6 percent were considered moderately at risk. Nine months later, those students were one-and-a-half times more likely to have symptoms of clinical depression than teens who were less dependent on the Internet, though they had not been depressed before.

Depression is common among teenagers; each year, an estimated 2 million teens and preteens develop clinical depression, and last year the federal government recommended that all teenagers be screened for depression. So parents may want to note the link between "Internet addiction" and depression, and keep a closer eye on children who depend on screen time as a pacifier or mood stabilizer. A recent study also found a correlation between video game use and ADHD. Like the "Internet addiction" study, no causal link has been proven, but one-third of children exceed the two hours of daily TV and computer screen time recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Setting limits on screen time-- and enforcing them--can really help.

"Think of media as a stranger being invited into your home to teach your kids for seven hours a day," says Victor Strasburger, a pediatrician who studies the effects of media violence and is chief of the division of adolescent medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. "Your kids could be learning 'good' things or potentially harmful things, or a combination of both." His advice: Stick to the AAP's guidelines on screen time; keep TV sets and Internet connections out of children's bedrooms; and no screen time for children under age 2.


First off a big rofl to studying kids in China, a country known for heavily censoring the internet. Second, rofl at this whole study. You'd think that people who surf aimlessly all day are depressed already. And third WTF people need to be told that children under age 2 should have no screen time? Society really needs to stop pampering people and instead punish them for their terrible mistakes. The recurring argument here is "it's not my fault, it's the evil internet's fault"

And to think the internet was once so promising. It's simple: the internet was invented by smart people for smart people. But somehow stupid people have found ways to use the internet too. This became especially prevalent during web 2.0 with all the social networking sites (which are cancer to the internet, a sincere fuck you to those using last.fm, facebook and twitter) And now these same stupid people have found yet another way to blame anything other than themselves for their own stupid behavior.

Depression is common among teenagers; each year, an estimated 2 million teens and preteens develop clinical depression, and last year the federal government recommended that all teenagers be screened for depression.

Lol, keep feeling sorry for yourselves kids. Big government is coming to the rescue. They've got all sorts of neat pills for you to try out just in case our great modern society doesn't make you happy.

Metal / Enslaved cancels show with christian BM band
« on: July 22, 2010, 03:24:07 PM »
Good news. Great drama. His rant also offers some insight to the motivations and inspirations of christian BM bands, as well as the pathetic excuses, hypes and lies that they base their careers on.

Show with Enslaved cancelled & why.
Hail all,

We regret to inform you that our show with Enslaved, which was supposed to take place on 20th of October in 'De Kade', Zaandam, has been cancelled.

The reason for the cancellation was that, after some mails from certain narrow-minded individuals, the management of Enslaved got the impression that Slechtvalk is some kind of evangelizing metal band in veins of Stryper.

According to the management, Enslaved does not to play with religious or political motivated bands.

Anyway, there are many rumors spread throughout the internet, concerning the ideology of Slechtvalk, some might have some truth behind it, others are greatly exaggerated or a fantasy created in the imagination of people who have never met us, heard our music or seen us perform.

We feel it's time to shed some light on the matter:

As Slechtvalk was formed in 1999 by me (Schaamhaar) and I write most lyrics for the band, I will tell you a bit about myself:

During my highschool years I've started to listen to metal, first Metallica, then bands like Obituary, Six Feet Under, Death, Moonspell and My Dying Bride. After a few years I discovered blackmetal, first Unlord, then Dawn, Dark Funeral, Marduk, Immortal, Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir etc. etc. Blackmetalmusic really connected with me, so I started some experimental blackmetal projects of my own. Because of the religious subject of most blackmetal lyrics I started to question myself what I personally believe.
At the time I knew or cared little about christianity, save for the meaning of some holidays. Because of the hatred displayed towards Christianity in the lyrics of several of the aforementioned bands and in the attitudes of many metalheads, I wanted to know more about Christianity. "What is so terrible about it to hate it with such a fury", I wondered. I read the Bible and it connected with me, just like blackmetal did. Although I saw many differences between the theory of the Bible and the practice of several christian groups or individuals over the course of history, the theory seemed sound and valid to me and I saw no reason to dismiss that, just because some people misused it as a means to oppress people.

After a year, during the last year of Highschool, I wrote 'Falconry' (which was to be Slechtvalk's debut album) , which contained rather explicit Christian lyrics, but at the time I hardly had a clue about lots of things and just wrote the lyrics that were expected of me, or to keep some christian people in my direct neighborhood satisfied and off my back.

I've always hated it when people try to force their views on me and I scared myself after 'Falconry' to discover that I was turning to be just like one of those people. I had finally grown up and no longer allowed myself to be influenced by other people's narrow mindedness or force my own views on others, but wanted to discover my own path and give others the opportunity to do the same.

That’s why when Slechtvalk plays live, we just want to enjoy ourselves and give people a good show to look at and good music to listen to. All bands we've played with can tell you that we've kept our own views to ourselves, unless we were asked to share them and always showed respect if they disagreed and just drank a beer together and enjoyed good music.

Greatly inspired by the works of Tolkien and many short stories I've written in the past for my own use, I've decided to create my own fantasy-realm and write my own saga, based on all the things I've experienced in my own life. The lyrics for Slechtvalk became like a journal/diary to me. A means to convey my own experiences, fears, pains, pleasures and hopes (or the lack of hope) into an interesting mythical fantasy story. This has been the base for all Slechtvalk lyrics ever since our 2nd album 'the War that Plagues the Lands' and especially for 'A Forlorn Throne', which I've written in the last few years, when I was severely depressed and just wanted to die and knew many others who considered or tried suicide as well. In the end it was faith that kept me going, or rather the fear and anger towards God, because as much as I tried to dismiss Him from my thoughts, I already have seen too much to be able to do that and knew myself too well, but eventually I found peace with Him, though there are many things I still have questions about. I'll never know everything until the day I die, but that does not stop me from trying to find out certain things anyway.

It is true that parts of the stories I write reflect my personal view upon life, but in this aspect it's not very different by the works of Tolkien which contain many elements of his own Catholic belief.

If that is a reason for you to boycott Slechtvalk or something, then that is your choice. We actually don't care, we love playing the music we do and give the audience a good time, whether there are 100 or 1000 people present and there are many people who are not interested in any band's "Ideology", but just want to hear good music, played by people who love metal.

Slechtvalk's debut Album "Falconry", which is considered to be very controversial based on its lyrical content, has sold more copies than most other Black/viking metal releases and with the later albums Slechtvalk has earned respect throughout the entire scene and has proven itself to be one of the best dutch BM acts. Our latest album 'A Forlorn Throne' has received excellent reviews throughout Europe even with all the controversy about Slechtvalk's "ideology" and several already have hinted it to be one of the top extreme Viking/black-metal releases of 2010.

With our music we've proven that metal flows through our blood and in the past 10 years we've showed that we respect each person's opinion and that we keep our own views to ourselves, unless asked about it. We just ask you to do the same.

Hails to you all and horns up!

Schaamhaar of behalf of Slechtvalk


+2 for Enslaved for not humiliating themselves by sharing the same stage with these whiny losers.

Metal / Tedje en de Flikkers re-release
« on: July 21, 2010, 05:45:38 PM »
There are many bands such as Jacula and Black Widow that can be lumped into the "proto black metal" category. But one of the more unknown proto black metal bands was Dutch punk band Tedje en de Flikkers. That is about to change now that From Beyond Productions has announced they will be re-releasing Tedje en de Flikkers 1976 debut album on CD! If you're into proto black metal then do not miss this release, Tedje en de Flikkers may not have had such a huge international impact but Dutch black metal legends such as Countess and Liar of Golgotha are said to be influenced by them.

Tedje en de Flikkers:

From Beyond Productions:

Metal / Best Metal Live album ever?
« on: July 20, 2010, 04:11:25 PM »
I'm just wondering what the forum's favorite live album is. My vote goes to Slayer - Live Undead.

Recorded in front of a crowd of only 50 Slayer fans and friends this live album sounds so enthusiastic and convincing that it just grabs me by the neck and forces me to headbang along. I can close my eyes listening to it and feel like I'm there in the crowd, see people going crazy around me while Slayer spreads the message of Slaytanic thrash metal in the early eighties. The chanting that can be heard in the background during the songs works as a stimulant rather than a distraction and the songs sound better and more passionate than they do on Show No Mercy. Live Undead might even be my favorite Slayer album, it certainly is my second favorite (after Hell Awaits)

Any votes for Entangled in Chaos or Live in Leipzig or something else? I suppose bootlegs are ok to list as well. Try to name only one album though, just for sport ;)

SYDNEY - Australian scientists have discovered bizarre prehistoric sea life hundreds of kilometres below the Great Barrier Reef, in an unprecedented mission to document species under threat from ocean warming.

Ancient sharks, giant oil fish, swarms of crustaceans and a primitive shell-dwelling squid species called the Nautilus were among the astonishing life captured by remote controlled cameras at Osprey Reef. Lead researcher Justin Marshall Thursday said his team had also found several unidentified fish species, including "prehistoric six-gilled sharks" using special low-light sensitive cameras which were custom designed to trawl the ocean floor, 1,400 metres (4,593 feet) below sea level.

"Some of the creatures that we've seen we were sort of expecting, some of them we weren't expecting, and some of them we haven't identified yet," said Marshall, from the University of Queensland. "There was a shark that I really wasn't expecting, which was a false cat shark, which has a really odd dorsal fin."

The team used a tuna head on a stick to attract the creatures, which live beyond the reach of sunlight.

Marshall said the research had been made more urgent by recent oil spills affecting the world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, and the growing threat to its biodiversity by the warming and acidification of the world's oceans.

"One of the things that we're trying to do by looking at the life in the deep sea is discover what's there in the first place, before we wipe it out," Marshall told AFP. "We simply do not know what life is down there, and our cameras can now record the behaviour and life in Australia's largest biosphere, the deep sea," he added.

Scientists have already warned that the 345,000-square kilometre (133,000-square mile) attraction is in serious jeopardy, as global warming and chemical runoff threaten to kill marine species and cause disease outbreaks. Chinese coal ship Shen Neng 1 gouged a three-metre scar in the reef when it ran aground whilst attempting to take a short cut on April 3, leaking tonnes of oil into a famed nature sanctuary and breeding site. About 200,000 litres of heavy fuel oil spewed into waters south of the reef last March when shipping containers full of fertilizer tumbled off the Hong Kong-flagged Pacific Adventurer during a cyclone, piercing its hull. It was one of Australia's worst ever oil spills.

Marshall said the cameras would now be sent to the sludge-ridden Gulf of Mexico to monitor the effects of the oil spill there on marine life.


Deep-sea anglerfish

Peraphilla deep-sea jellyfish

More pics:

More news: (but for some reason doesn't mention the part about pollution and the oil spills, as did several other news sites)

Science has explored and documented just about every inch of planet Mars. Yet the deep sea remains largely unexplored while we are destroying it. Hopefully public awareness of deep sea creatures will make people more concerned about oil spills and pollution.

Interzone / Islam versus Enlightenment values
« on: July 12, 2010, 06:56:53 PM »
On a Good Society
Nexus Conference, Amsterdam
13 november 2005

There are some who are inclined to think that European civilisation reached its zenith during the Middle Ages. At that time Europe knew but one religion - Christianity in its Catholic version - and but one language, at least for the elite, and that was Latin. Therefore people of all nationalities could study at the Universities of the Sorbonne or Oxford, Louvain or Bologna.

I do not agree with this thesis because I find penicillin and the modern dentist drill also important. But I recognise that a common language and framework favour communication because much which may be considered known can be omitted. I can assure you that whoever wants to talk on Java in Indonesian or in Tanzania in Swahili on local traditions, will have to start at zero. A real discussion then remains out of reach. So there is a lot to be said for such a common cadre for reference. Let us call it the canon.

It was a happy occasion when Prof. E.D. Hirsch of the University of Virginia published a book called “Cultural Literacy” in 1987. Its subtitle was: “What every American needs to know!”. Its appearance was front page news. The criticism was immediate and sharp. Prof. Hirsch was criticised for unduly concentrating on d w e m = dead white European males, and excluding other cultures as well as the experience of repressed minorities in the United States.

It is clear that this takes us to the heart of the debate on multiculturalism. The origin of this concept is to be found in anthropology. When one visits a culture in order to observe it from the inside one should abstain from letting one’s own judgements intrude. That seems common sense, even though one may well question whether certain anthropologists have obeyed this injunction. But the point I wish to make here is that this principle of non-judgmentalism has of late been allowed to spread over the whole of the public domain.

Now it is my thesis that all civilisation depends on discriminating people, on people who make judgments. I, for one, am very judgmental. I prefer Beethoven tot Hindemith and both to the bongo-players on the corner of the street. I prefer claret to beer, Japanese to German food and New York to Philadelphia. And that also goes for civilisations. Multiculturalists maintain that one cannot - or should not - rank civilisations. But I persist in believing that the civilisation of Rome was superior to that of Gaul.

My critics ask which yardstick I use. The one that most readily comes to mind is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Applying that yardstick enables me to say that I consider Unionist America to be superior to the slave-holder Confederacy and West Germany superior to communist East Germany.

It is true that the Universal Declaration is of Western origin. When it was drawn up, around the birth of the United Nations, Africa and most of Asia were still colonised. Japan, Italy and Germany had lost the war and were therefore excluded. So there was the first world - the United States, Britain, France - and the second: the Soviet Union and its satellites. The Committee to draw up the Declaration was chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt. When it came to the vote, the Soviet-bloc abstained. So, yes, it was of Western origin. But the incident at Tien An Men Square and many others all over the world have convinced me that all ordinary people, wherever they live, aspire to the benefits of the Universal Declaration. As such the Declaration is perhaps the greatest achievement of Western Civilisation and an argument to support the thesis of Mr.  Francis Fukuyama about the End of History and the Last Man.

If one applies the yardstick of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the islamic civilisation it ought to be clear that Western Civilisation is superior to it. Now this, say my critics, is triumphalism. But apart from the fact that personally I do not feel triumphant to all, this reproach should not blind us to the facts.  Why do so many who live in the Middle East want to settle in Western Europe? Because they think they will be happier here than there. Why do so many of them say: “Yankee go home but please take me with you”? There is none so blind as the multiculturalist ideologue.

Mr. Silvio Berlusconi said something like this a few years ago. Now I have no desire whatever to defend the Italian Prime Minister. But still, the chorus of his critics was deafening and in the end he caved in and apologized.

Why were so many people upset that Mr. Berlusconi extolled the superiority of Western over Islamic civilisation? Is it because they fear that such comparisons, although glaringly obvious to any impartial observer, will encourage terrorists? Or that it has caused the government of Iran to call the USA the great Satan and to say that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth?

In my view the reason is different, namely the lack of self-confidence of Western Europe. I am here leaving aside the United States, about which others may wish to say something. Why does Western Europe lack confidence in its own culture, of which the whole debate on multiculturalism is an outcrop? Opinions on this differ. My view is that it is the combined result of the First World War, the confusion of the interbellum, the Second World War and in particular the Holocaust, and the cultural revolution of 1968 and the years thereafter. Without the Dutch feelings of guilt over the Holocaust, the political correctness associated with the multiculturalist dogma would here not nearly have been as pervasive at it has been.

This lack of self confidence – which, incidentally, has also corroded the European Commission - has surfaced most clearly in the debate on the Enlightenment. A new term has invaded our discourse. It is “Enlighentmentfundamentalism”.

What does this oxymoron mean?

Since a few years there is a new current which attempts to downgrade the Enlightenment. An important person in this movement is Prof. John Gray of the London School of Economics, according to whom just about all modern evils have come out of the Enlightenment: not only Communism and thus the Gulag but even National-Socialism. One should have thought that if there were anyone who had turned himself against the Enlightenment, it was Hitler. But Prof. Gray persists in seeing both Communism and National-Socialism as attempts to rearrange society according to some preconceived plan, one might say some intelligent design. But to reduce the Enlightenment to Saint-Just and Babeuf is grotesque.

There have been various forms of the Enlightenment. The Scottish moralists maintained that each person had his unique worth. The German Enlightenment stressed the humanities. Read Lessing’s Nathan der Weise and the parable of the three rings. It is true: the Enlightenment in France was more aggressive and perhaps more fundamental. But to base the oxymoron Enlightenmentfundamentalism on this aspect alone is bizar.

Where has the movement come from? It has multiculturalist antecedents. It is the view of people who dislike critics of the Islam. These critics point at aspects of the islamic civilisation which are at variance with fundamental Western values like the equality of men and women and the importance of a free and independent judgement.

“Sapere aude” - dare to think -  wrote Kant but that core of the Enlightenment is rejected by the dogma’s of the  Islam. Those who critize these dogma’s are accused of engaging in an “intellectual jihad” against the Islam. The interesting thing is that the people who use the term Enlightenmentfundamentalism may be counted among the left part of the political spectrum, at least in this country. It is they who have always been critical of the Catholic and Reformed Churches. It is they who have always supported feminism. But now that the Islam is concerned, critics of its civilisation are accused of advocating an “aggressive universalism”. The accusers are critical at home, conformist abroad. Or to put it in another way : they think that the splinter in our own eyes is heavier than the mote in the eye of the other.

Now for those among you who may think this is nitpicking among bored intellectuals I have news. The Dutch Minister of Justice Donner has said: “The Enlightenment, the idea that there is no more than what you can see or understand with your mind, is also a belief”. So according to him Protestantism, Catholicism, Islam and the Enlightenment are ranked equally: all four a belief. But the Enlightenment wants to submit all religions to the Critique of Reason. It precedes belief.

Another example is afforded by our Minister of Education Maria van der Hoeven who wants a broad debate about Evolution and Creationism, maintaining  that  the theory of Evolution is not complete. That may be true - which theory is complete? - but to say that not everything has been explained is of course not offering an alternative hypothesis. The Minister wants to mix belief with science. Scientists want to keep them separate. “I think that is a pity”, says the Minister, “the force of science is precisely to acknowledge the other in his science!”. She thus declares the biblical story of the creation to be a science, which of course it is not.

Do not think that this sort of things is confined to The Netherlands. It has been proposed in Canada to give the sharia force of law for those who wish to have recourse to it. Fortunately the proposal had been defeated. On 21 June 2005 a bill has been enacted in the UK called the “Incitement to Religious Hatred Act”. We have had half a millennium of criticism of the Bible. Why should that sort of criticism be confined to Christianity? “Do we really have to fight for the Enlightenment all over again?” Salman Rushdie  recently cried out in despair.

I recently read an account of a public debate which involved religion. First came a Buddhist who spoke of enlightenment and how to still desires. The members of the panel reacted by saying :”Wow, great, if it works like this for you, then it must be OK”. Second was a Hindu who spoke of reincarnation. And everybody said :”Wow, great, if it works like this for you, then it must be OK”. And so it went on until a Catholic priest spoke of Jesus, redemption and the eternal life. And again everybody said :”Wow, great, if it works like this for you, then it must be OK”. But the priest did not take this lying down. He thumped the table and shouted : “Whether it works for me is irrelevant. It is the true word of the living God and if you are not prepared to believe it, you are all condemned to hell.” And everybody said: ”Wow, great, if it works like this for you, then it must be OK”.

The question was : what is a good society? The answer is : one that cherishes the values of the Enlightenment and encourages discrimination and judgmentalism, one that abhors political correctness and cant.

Frits Bolkestein, 13 november 2005


I thought that was pretty impressive although I'm still inclined to believe that it obviously all boils down to how people interpret and take advantage of either the enlightenment or Islam. I like Bolkesteins interpretation of the enlightenment. Yet I think both Islam and liberalism have their failures, mainly that they are too idealistic and both not realistic enough. I can enjoy the intellectual side of liberalism and its hopeful futuristic outlook but I dislike the corrupting effects it has on people in terms of egoism, unbridled consumerism and hedonism. I like the selfless side of Islam and its emphasis on tradition and culture but I dislike the anti-intellectual effects and many retarded fatwas and other silly offshoots. But no, I don't see anything positive growing out of liberal islam (a combination of the two) just paradoxical pragmatism based on the failures of modern multicultural society. After all it would be a recent invention to cover up the dirt of the last 40 years or so.

I've always found it strange that socialists welcome Islam in Europe. Socialism is linked to red totalitarianism, not exactly the best friend of Islamic totalitarianism as evidenced by history. I can see christian conservatives working together with Islamic conservatives, but why would conservatives welcome an alien religion in their country? It would go against their beliefs and would ultimately work as a third leg that wants to go its own way. Bolkestein is correct in pointing out that our tolerance of Islam and heavy emphasis on political correctness is the result of certain mind bending over the last 100 years. I'm glad to see someone of such stature to agree with on that even if the enlightenment was just another form of self-deception. Unfortunately liberals pursue global capitalism and ultimately the eradication of all other cultures just like any other "peaceful" ideology does. In that sense they are no different from fundamentalism or communism, they just have a different method: the global market.

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