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In 2012 Stanford University’s Centre for Health Policy did the biggest comparison of organic and conventional foods and found no robust evidence for organics being more nutritious. A brand-new review has just repeated its finding: “Scientific studies do not show that organic products are more nutritious and safer than conventional foods.”

…  animals on organic farms are not generally healthier. A five year US study showed that organic “health outcomes are similar to conventional dairies”. The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety found “no difference in objective disease occurrence.” Organic pigs and poultry may enjoy better access to open areas, but this increases their load of parasites, pathogens and predators. Meanwhile the organic regulation against feeding bee colonies with pollen supplements in low-pollen periods along with regulation against proper disinfection leads to sharply lower bee welfare.

Organic farming is sold as good for the environment. This is correct for a single farm field: organic farming uses less energy, emits less greenhouse gasses, nitrous oxide and ammonia and causes less nitrogen leeching than a conventional field. But each organic field yields much, much less. So, to grow the same amount of wheat, spinach or strawberries, you need much more land. That means that average organic produce results in the emission of about as many greenhouse gasses as conventional produce; and about 10 per cent more nitrous oxide, ammonia and acidification. Worse, to produce equivalent quantities, organic farms need to occupy 84 per cent more land – land which can’t be used for forests and genuine nature reserves.

Bottom line: Organic farming costs lives and is far worse for the environment.

Lots of assumptions were made following the Orldando shooting.

One assumption everyone seems to have made was that the murders were, at least in part, motivated by homophobia. The reason for this was that the shooting took place at a well-known gay nightclub.

But there is no evidence that the shooter was anti-gay. None.

His ex-wife thought he was gay. He frequented the Pulse Club, and used gay dating apps.

He also scouted other possible locations for the shooting, including the local Disney park.

There are no anti-gay remarks on any of his social media posts, or in any of his private messages. His calls during the shooting mention ISIS, and his desire for revenge on America. But he said nothing about gays.

Whatever his possibly confused sexuality, it now seems clear he chose the Pulse Club not because it was a gay club, but because it was a place he knew well, he knew there would be a large number of people in small place where it was difficult to exit quickly, and because it was a gun-free zone, and he knew he would face little effective resistance.

His ex-wife reports the FBI told her not to reveal her husband was gay. Why?

From the linked article …

“At least four Pulse clubgoers remembered seeing Mateen at least a dozen times in the past. But authorities said they had no further information when asked about the sightings on Monday. NBC reported that the FBI was looking into his alleged club visits.

“[He’d get] really, really drunk,” Smith told the Canadian Press. “He couldn’t drink when he was at home — around his wife, or family. His father was really strict . . . He used to bitch about it.”

They also shot down claims that Mateen had snapped after seeing two men kissing each other in public.

“That’s bullcrap, right there. No offense. That’s straight-up crap. He’s been around us,” Smith said. “Some of those people did a little more than (kiss) outside the bar … He was partying with the people who supposedly drove him to do this?”

Kevin West, another regular at Pulse, told the Los Angeles Times that Mateen used gay dating apps on a regular basis and even messaged him on a gay dating app, Jack’d.”

Global temperature tracks sunspot activity almost exactly. Number of sunspots now? Zero. Cold times are coming.

Sunpsots

Sunspots

Iran is building a military base in the Kurdish heartland of Northern Iraq, apparently specifically to target the Kurds, who are leading the fight against ISIS.

If this marks a new level of understanding betweeen Iraq and Iran, then it amounts to the creation of a Shi’ite arc extending from Hezbollah in Lebanon, through Syria and Iran down into Shi’ite majority Iraq.

The Saudis won’t like this.

People seem not to realise that religious belief was essential to the development of science.

1. The belief that the world is real, objective, and largely independent of our perceptions, and not simply illusion (maya in Sanskrit). That is, that there is something real and enduring there to investigate.

2. The belief that the world is reasonable, and organised in a reasonable, that is, orderly and consistent way, not not simply according to the whim of ancestors or nature spirits or fickle and jealous gods.

3. The belief that the material world is good, and therefore worth investigating, as opposed to the view that the material world inferior, something to be spurned or escaped from.

We take these beliefs so much for granted; that the world is real and objective, that it is ordered according to laws which can be investigated and understood, that nature/the universe is good, and that investigating and learning its laws and systems is a good and worthwhile endeavour, that we forget that only one culture has ever held these views consistently over a long enough period for science to develop.

Science is a creation of the Christian West.

The more science drifts from Christian theology, that is, the more it drifts from understanding reality as independent and objective, and the more it drifts from believing truth is an absolute value in its own right, the more it will be become empty, political, and corrupt.

Visit Blissyoo.

Don’t let Facebook decide what you see and what you can post.

Blissyoo means no censorship of posts, freedom of speech, videos, music, groups, pages, news, and soon, revenue sharing.

Visit, join, invite your friends.

Fukushima, vaccines, chemtrails. It is always the same.

CT (Conspiracy theorist) “Something really bad and scary is happening!”

Me “I don’t think there is any evidence to support that.”

CT “That’s because there is a massive cover-up. The (government, power companies, big pharma, Monsanto) are deliberately hiding the truth from the public.”

Me ” How do you know that?”

CT “Because there is no evidence. If they weren’t covering it up, there would be. Isn’t that obvious? Are you crazy or something?”

Yet another bogus quote in support of a trendy cause.

Spend enough time on Facebook or Twitter and you’ll eventually come across this quote which purportedly emerged from Churchill’s bulldog visage in the darkest days of World War II. It has Churchill responding to a plan to cut money for the arts to fund the war effort by saying: “Then what are we fighting for?”

According to Churchill historian Richard Langworth “This alleged quotation first appeared a few years ago in the Village Voice and is all over the web, but it is not in any of Churchill’s 15 million words in his speeches, papers, letters, articles or books.”

In fact there was no “arts funding” at that time. An allocation of 25,000 pounds had been made to assist cultural societies. This compares with 643,000,000 in defence spending. That money allocated to cultural societies nationwide would have made no difference to defence funding, and it is ludicrous to suggest Churchill would have been faced with a choice between the two.

Rather than dish out invented quotes, it would be better for people who believe taxpayers should be forced to pay for “art” they don’t like, want or need, to list the moral and cultural reasons why money should be extracted from them for that purpose.

In response to the customary whining on the ABC about possible reductions in the government spending other people’s money:

Cuts to arts funding are not ‘tantamount to the Coalition Government standing bang in the middle, right on top of Uluru with a megaphone, shouting “Oh just work for free! You know you want to!”‘

It is simply that ordinary tax payers are getting fed up with paying for other people’s hobbies. Artists do not have to work for nothing, nor are they expected to. Like the rest of us, whether butcher, baker, or candle-stick maker, they simply need to produce something other people value enough to pay for.

If they can’t or won’t, that’s fine, but then they have no right to demand the government force working families to pay for what is often mind-bogglingly dull and uncreative “art” that no one would buy if they had a choice.

Government funding for the arts encourages dependence and mediocrity. Time to can it completely.

If you want people to pay for something, make something people are willing to pay for.

An update on the new website, www.blissyoo.com.

As some of you know, for the last several weeks I have been working on a new website, www.blissyoo.com, an alternative to Facebook.

There were two major reasons for this. Firstly, Facebook has made Mark Zuckerberg and a few others very, very rich, while those who do most of the work and provide all the content – you – get nothing at all. It is fair enough that most advertising income goes back to running the website. It is hugely expensive to develop software, run servers, provide support, etc. But how is it right that the people who put in what makes everyone keep coming back – you – get nothing for your efforts?

We have done the sums, and believe we can give users back 20% of all advertising income from their home page/wall/timeline (we call it your journal, but more on that later).

The second reason is that Facebook actively edits out news stories and posts it doesn’t like. That is just wrong. Who is to say that your opinion, photos, likes and and dislikes, should simply be ignored because they don’t fit somone else’s political agenda? We take the view that while anything publicly viewable should be family friendly, on your own journal, among your own friends, and in groups and communities you create, you should be able to post anything you like (as long as it’s legal, obviously!).

The other side of that coin is that this site is not a “safe zone.” If you are someone who is offended by the thought that some people might see things differently from you, or becomes distressed when you hear an opinion you do not share, this is not the community for you!

Below is the site logo, designed for us by Simone Halloran of Little Birdy Design.

It is a B for bliss. It is also a heart, and suggestive of a winding road – a journey – and perhaps a mother holding a child. I couldn’t be happier with what Simone has done for us.

We have just finished sorting some minor issues with text size and colour, chat system and music sharing, and are now in the middle of the move from shared hosting for development, to dedicated servers in the US and Singapore plus CDN for live/production mode.

Once that is done, two days of testing to ensure all database settings have moved across and then bang! A blissful flight into the future 🙂

Bliss logo - blue on white300

Ah, the good old days. And joined by Rob Oakeshott? What a triumph!

Malcolm Turnbull Votes Against His Own party

Malcolm Turnbull Votes Against His Own party

Sooo much going on at the moment.
 
Running the Post Office and doing house and yard work as usual.
 
Trying to get the new website operational. Bits of php scripts, yeah sure mate that is absolutely compatible, except it stuffs up calls in a completely different module, or someone changes the chmod permissions so his bit will run properly which messes with css files which means page layout is completely shafted … arrgh!
 
Then getting ready to move house over the next couple of weeks.
 
And writing my wregular wrants.
 
And last week of training for True Grit next weekend.
 
And proof-reading my sister’s research assignment on psycho-social construction of PMS from a feminist perspective.
 
So much to do I think I will sit here and whine about it for ten minutes, then go and have a beer and a nap.

It is becoming increasingly clear that there is no prospect of a Liberal party led by Malcom Turnbull ever returning to the party’s former core values of social conservatism, fiscal responsibility and personal integrity.

Being determined to win at any cost, and make any promises to do so, is not a win at all. Certainly not for the Australian people. Unless there are principles, there is no point.

Three years of Shorten and Plibersek is a ghastly prospect, with its certainty of increased energy costs and costs of doing business, higher unemployment and debt, and a reopening and refilling of detention centres.

But it is more and more likely that ordinary and loyal Liberal voters will see this as the only alternative to the destruction from within of conservatism in Australian politics.

Those of us who believe that social conservatism and economic libertarianism offer the best path for peace and justice and prosperity for Australia may well believe, as I am coming to do, that this will only be achieved, and with it, a sound future for Australia, by sending a clear message that the Liberal Party needs to return to principled conservative leadership.

Even if the short-term cost is three years of Shorten.

Frost Strikes France’s Burgundy and Loire Wine Regions.

Freezing temperatures from Chablis to Côte Chalonnaise to Chinon and Montlouis damage young vine buds, threatening this year’s crop

Early reports from the Loire were not hopeful. “In the memory of vignerons, there are two major freezes: 1991 and 1994. This is on the level of 1994. It’s historic,” said Guillaume Lapaque, director of the federation of the Indre-Loire wines trade group and the Bourgueil wine syndicate. “It froze on three nights—April 18, April 25 and then April 27.”

Lapaque said he does not have exact estimates of damaged vines yet, but the early word is bad. “In Bourgueil and St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil it’s between 50 and 60 percent. In Chinon, it’s a little less, about half. In Montlouis, it’s very serious. And in Vouvray, happily it’s not too serious overall, although some vineyards have problems.”

More cold is in the forecast, but Lapaque adds that the damage has already been done. “You can’t set fire to a forest that has already burned. The lower vineyards froze, it doesn’t matter if they freeze again. The upper slope vineyards didn’t, and we don’t expect them to,” said Lapaque.

I spent some time at QUT studying law. It was an interesting experience. I knew when one of the lecturers made the claim that the Blackstone contained the “rule of thumb” – a provision in law that men could beat their wives with a rod provided it was no thicker than a thumb – that theory was more important at QUT than reality. Blackstone of course says nothing of the sort, if anything highlighting the greater protection women have under English law.

So when I first read about this story almost two years ago, I was not surprised.

Two students entered a resource room. Several computers were free and they began to use one. They were confronted by a staff member who demanded to know if they were indigenous. They said they were not and she told them they would have to leave because that room was reserved for the use of indigenous students. They left without fuss, but later asked on Facebook how anyone expected segregation and racism to be overcome by a policy of segregating people and resources on the basis of race. Their posts were polite and intelligent.

The staff member concerned, Cindy Prior, made a complaint that their comments constituted racial vilification. She has been so traumatised she has been unable to work for the last two years.

Just to repeat. A staff member throws two students out of a resource room because they are the wrong race, and when they ask questions about this, they are accused of racial vilification. This is 18C. It is worth noting that the only reason this particular case has come to public attention is the the students have persisted in asking their questions, and in denying that they acted with any racial animosity. The vast majority of cases are “settled” in a Kafkaesque and labyrinthine system without any possibility of public scrutiny.

Now read on, from The Australian:

Two students accused the Human Rights Commission yesterday of “recklessly” breaching their human rights in a row stemming from a $250,000 damages claim brought by a worker who barred white students from a room at the Queensland University of Technology.

Jackson Powell and Calum Thwaites, who lodged separate complaints with the commission, are seeking a formal apology and compensation for their costs in defending racial hatred claims.

calumthwaites

QUT student Calum Thwaites prepares to defend himself against claims of racial vilification.

They say the commission has treated them with “flagrant indifference” because they are “white Anglo-Saxon heterosexual citizens who maintain a male gender identity”, have no criminal rec­ord, no outspoken political opinions and no record of participation in trade unions or religious sects.

Their lawyer, Tony Morris QC, said the commission’s conduct in managing the case had been “illogical, irrational and ­patently bizarre”, leading to gross unfairness to Mr Powell, Mr Thwaites and other students.

The students say their rights were infringed because the commission failed for at least 14 months to notify them they were being accused of racial vilification under section 18c.

The delay meant that while QUT, its staff and its lawyers had 14 months to prepare a defence to the claims by QUT staffer Cindy Prior, Mr Thwaites was told of the serious complaint days before he was told to go to a conciliation conference ordered and run by the commission. He had no funds and little time to get legal advice or achieve a resolution before the case escalated to the Federal ­Circuit Court.

The racial vilification case was lodged in the commission in late May 2014 by Ms Prior, who ­alleges she was severely traumatised by Facebook posts from students responding to her action in preventing the men using QUT’s Oodgeroo Unit in May 2013.

The unit has been described as a “culturally safe space” for indigenous students, but there was no sign suggesting it was off-limits to white students who wanted to access computers that were not in use.

Ms Prior has been unable to work for 2½ years and wants $250,000 from QUT and the students.