N.Korea ‘Planning Fresh Missile Test Soon’

390452 1 450x266 N.Korea Planning Fresh Missile Test Soon

tl;dr you got missile test in my underground nuke! You got underground nuke in my missile test!

@Chosunilbo:

North Korea notified foreign diplomats from several countries of its plan to launch a missile over Japan toward the Pacific Ocean around Wednesday, the Sankei Shimbun reported citing informed sources.

The North on Friday urged foreign embassies to evacuate their missions in Pyongyang, saying it cannot guarantee the safety of staff.

South Korea believes the North may test a Mudusan-type missile with a range of 3,000 to 4,000 km as early as Tuesday, given that communication on the east coast has been on the increase.

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Two Danish men need only underground lair for supervillan trifecta.

Rocket 2011 5501 450x675 Two Danish men need only underground lair for supervillan trifecta.

Roooooooookeeeeeeeeeeetship! (img by Bo Tornvig)

Although it was the first meeting between Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, the submarine‘s creator, the duo emerged with a daring plan: to launch themselves into suborbital space using custom-built contraptions. And with that, Copenhagen Suborbitals was born.

Co-founders von Bengtson, an aerospace scientist and former NASA contractor, and Madsen, an entrepreneur and aerospace engineer, have a lot to be proud of since they founded their non-profit space program four years ago. In June 2011, for example, Copenhagen Suborbital’s army of volunteers successfully built, launched and recovered a 31-foot-tall rocket — the largest “amateur” launcher ever built — with a crash-test dummy tucked inside.

I seriously hate guys like these two. I bet they come off like total jerks every Monday morning. “Hey Peter, hey Kristian, how was your weekend?”

“Great, we launched our rocket from a barge in the ocean. I used my homemade submarine to keep the launch platform stable. Kristian here got to push the big red button. What did you do?”

“Finished watching season three of True Bl… Wait, you have a submarine?”

Assholes. Both of ‘em.

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Chinese activist who fled house arrest lands in US

Chen Guangcheng 450x293 Chinese activist who fled house arrest lands in US

He is actually made of bees. (img by Human Rights Now)

@AP:

A blind Chinese legal activist who was suddenly allowed to leave the country arrived in the United States on Saturday, ending a nearly monthlong diplomatic tussle that had tested U.S.-China relations.

Chen Guangcheng had been hurriedly taken from a hospital hours earlier and put on a plane for the U.S. after Chinese authorities suddenly told him to pack and prepare to leave. He arrived Saturday evening at Newark Liberty International Airport and was whisked to New York City, where he will be staying.

Dressed in a white shirt and khaki pants and using crutches, his right leg in a cast, Chen was greeted with cheers when he arrived at the apartment in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village where he will live with his family. The complex houses faculty and graduate students of New York University, where Chen is expected to attend law school.

“For the past seven years, I have never had a day’s rest,” he said through a translator, “so I have come here for a bit of recuperation for body and in spirit.” (more…)

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Reason is a press secretary, not a judge

1797779207 66b4a15786 450x337 Reason is a press secretary, not a judge

Is it wrong to take a dump in these? (img by Chris Applegate)

You probably believe that you’re a primarily rational being, i.e. you weigh new ideas and impressions and respond to them based on logic and reasoned thought. But that’s probably not true, and there are a bunch of studies that show that the opposite is true: you use your rational faculties to justify or prove your gut reactions and emotional responses to new input.

Right now you’re dismissing that last statement because you’re perfectly rational and why should you give a fuck what some guy on a blog with a gasmask logo says. And you’d be right. And so would I.

I still think you should read Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. But don’t read it because I said so. Read it because you’re fascinated by this summary over at NYT, which includes gems like this:

We were never designed to listen to reason. When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided. The funniest and most painful illustrations are Haidt’s transcripts of interviews about bizarre scenarios. Is it wrong to have sex with a dead chicken? How about with your sister? Is it O.K. to defecate in a urinal? If your dog dies, why not eat it? Under interrogation, most subjects in psychology experiments agree these things are wrong. But none can explain why.

The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others.

Even if you don’t read the book, keep an eyeball on how you react to stuff, especially now that we’re sprinting headlong into election season in the US. Remember that people who disagree with you aren’t always brain-damaged dupes (sometimes they are, just not always), and they may disagree with you because they value different things (equality over liberty, etc.). By all means continue to disagree. But know why you’re disagreeing and know that you’re just as prone to snap judgments as they are. You may end up respecting the people around you a little more, and I think that’s always a win.

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Our real first gay president

James Buchanan 450x300 Our real first gay president

Don't tell me you voted for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named! (img by Salon/Newsweek)

Don’t believe what Newsweek’s cover tells you: The first gay president was James Buchanan more than a century ago @Salon.com:

The new issue of Newsweek features a cover photo of President Obama topped by a rainbow-colored halo and captioned “The First Gay President.” The halo and caption strike me as cheap sensationalism. I realize airport travelers look at a magazine for 2.2 seconds before moving on to the next one. I grant that this cover will probably get Newsweek a 4.4 second glance. I also understand that Newsweek is desperate for sales. Nevertheless, I doubt that the Newsweek of old, before it was sold for a dollar, would have pandered as shallowly.

The caption is a superficial way to characterize an important development of thought that the president — along with the country — has been making over recent years. It is also entirely wrong. Like the mini-furor a couple of months back about the claim that Richard Nixon was our first gay president, the story simply ignores that the U.S. already had a gay president more than a century ago.

There can be no doubt that James Buchanan was gay, before, during and after his four years in the White House. Moreover, the nation knew it, too — he was not far into the closet. (more…)

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Live more during election season: read less bullshit

gaffe 450x267 Live more during election season: read less bullshit

This is only a fraction of the bullshit in my feed reader.

If you’re anything like me (an intrepid and unexpectedly pretty Die < Less writer) or like anyone else with broad interests and a proclivity for RSS feed collection, you spend too much time sorting through bullshit. At first, you read all the stories because they might be relevant or funny or something. Then you start jumping right over anything with a candidate’s name in the headline unless it’s also got “Jon Stewart” or “Stephen Colbert” in the headline, then you stop bothering with that.

Next thing you know, you’re wearing a balaclava (that’s tactical for “ski mask”) and sturdy black clothing and breaking shit in the name of change.

Nobody wants that. And so the socially conscious scientists over at Cracked.com have compiled a short list of quick rules to help you sort your news. In brief, an article’s bullshit quotient is too high for you even consider clicking through and reading if:

The Headline Contains the Word “Gaffe”
The Headline Ends in a Question Mark
The Headline Contains the Word “Blasts”
The Headline Is About a “Lawmaker” Saying Something Stupid
The Headline Includes the Phrase “Blow To”

This will save you tons of newshounding time. Instead of reading overhyped bullshit about stuff that probably doesn’t matter, you can spend time playing outside or tinkering with an incomprehensible piece of machinery or getting the hell out of your chair.

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