“I’m travelling, mother. Forgive me. Reproach and blame is not going to be helpful. I’m lost and it’s out of my hands. Forgive me if I didn’t do as you told me and disobeyed you. Blame the era in which we live, Don’t blame me. I am now going and I will not be coming back. Notice I haven’t cried and no tears have fallen from my eyes. There is no more room for reproach or blame in the age of treachery in the People’s land. I’m not feeling normal and not in my right state. I’m travelling and I ask who leads the travel to forget.”

Translated message written by Mohamed Bouazizi on his facebook before his self-immolation on the 17th of December, 2010

Humiliation in Sidi Bouzid  |  The Real Mohamed Bouazizi

25-Million-Year-Old Primate Fossils Unearthed in Tanzania

Enrico de Lazaro  |  Sci-News >>

Ohio University-led scientists have uncovered fossils of two new species of ancient primates, named Rukwapithecus fleaglei and Nsungwepithecus gunnelli, which they say are the oldest paleontological evidence of split between Old World monkeys and apes.

Geological analyses of the site indicate that the finds are 25 million years old, significantly older than fossils previously documented for either of two major groups of primates: the group that today includes apes and humans (hominoids), and the group that includes Old World monkeys such as baboons and macaques (cercopithecoids).  >continue<

CIA Finally Admits Role in 53’ Iran Coup

DSWright  |  Firedoglake >>

Well that only took 60 years. The CIA has finally admitted to its role in the coup that overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader and replaced him with the Shah – a tyrant whose brutality set the stage for the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The revolution involved the storming of the U.S. embassy in Iran leading to a prolonged hostage crisis.

“The National Security Archive on Monday published evidence of the CIA’s long-known role in the 1953 Iran coup that helped pave the way for the Islamic revolution 26 years later.

The newly declassified material is believed to contain the CIA’s first public acknowledgment of its role in deposing democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq after he nationalized the country’s oil industry. The move – and Iran’s broader lurch to the left under Mosaddeq – infuriated Great Britain and the United States, which pressed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to depose him in 1953.”

The information released to the National Security Archive proves what most observers have long known – that the antagonism between the United States and Iran stems from U.S. malevolence in the country.

“The 1953 coup remains a topic of global interest because so much about it is still under intense debate. Even fundamental questions — who hatched the plot, who ultimately carried it out, who supported it inside Iran, and how did it succeed — are in dispute.

The issue is more than academic. Political partisans on all sides, including the Iranian government, regularly invoke the coup to argue whether Iran or foreign powers are primarily responsible for the country’s historical trajectory, whether the United States can be trusted to respect Iran’s sovereignty, or whether Washington needs to apologize for its prior interference before better relations can occur.”

But why do they hate us?

Perhaps Americans should consider how they would feel if a foreign country was intimately involved in overthrowing its democratically elected leader and then helped install a brutal tyrant. And then, to add insult to injury, that foreign country spent the better part of three decades criticizing America for not being democratic enough after the American people overthrew the tyrant. Just saying.

How Obama Has Failed to Deliver
Ullrich Fichtner, Marc Hujer and Gregor Peter Schmitz  | Der Spiegel >>

…The bloggers and tweeters have taken control of the media, as have new media outlets like Politico, a blog whose reporters have 15 minutes after a presidential speech to turn in their first analyses. They are groomed to focus on conflict because it attracts the most attention. Readers are quick to click away from stories that don’t titillate, so that fleeting moments become the real story in Washington.

…The Tea Party is a problem for Obama, not because it could come into power itself, but because it exerts so much influence over the Republican Party and, in the end, has become the loudspeaker for the conservative half of America’s population. More alarmingly than ever, the Tea Party combines the glorification of the unsophisticated with megalomania, and conspiracy theories with poor education. Its supporters represent dark clichés of a vapid America, one in which there are plenty of people who would have no objection to many a modern book being burned.  >continue<

A German analysis of the state of America and the Presidency - and a good long read with some focus on the evaporation of civil intelligence and the apparent collapse of critical thought.  In one recent but poignant blip a Sunday Morning talk show host felt the need to apologize for evidencing the rare spirit of scientific and interrogative play, this time up against the sentimental employment of the term ‘hero’. In a nation reduced to “people” who “only read opinions that reinforce their own views” any pause over pushing sacred premises must abase itself before the altar of vulgarity.

The same overwhelming stew of outrage that once wielded the accusation of a “pre 9/11 mentality” now, after a financial collapse in 2008 which arguably eclipses the significance of September 11th, gives a pre 2008 mentality free reign. The duplicity has all the consistency of denial. We can’t look at Obama as rational individuals, taking in a shocking modern scenario earnestly and interrogatively, for we - as in Children of Men - aren’t reproducing humans any more. At best, when we can see past our appetites, we glimpse only broken bits of culture all jumbled up in a disfigured background.

A foreign perspective, then, which takes longer to read than a tweet.

Aljazeera and the Guardian are reporting that several top Yemeni commanders have joined the protests

it is because of what I feel about the emotions of officers and leaders in the armed forces, who are an integral part of the people, and protectors of the people, I declare, on their behalf, our peaceful support of the youth revolution and their demands and that we will fulfil our duties

This coming as 45 protesters were killed Friday in protests against Ali Abdullah Saleh.  See also recent events round up by PantslessProgressive and the Political Notebook.  List of military, diplomatic and tribal elders switching sides via Newsflick.

YEMEN NEARS COUP: Most Of The Army And Dozens Of Key Figures Join The Revolution

Ahmad “Harvester” Heidar is a computer software engineer whose work for the Syrian rebels includes sweeping the hard drives of detained anti-government activists, and trying to develop a robot that will help extract sniper victims in Syria.

Syrian Cyber-Rebel Wages War, One Hack At A Time

Jodi Hilton | NPR >>

One cyber-rebel, part of a group called the Pirates of Aleppo, is fighting a lonely war in front of a computer screen in a cramped hotel room in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border.

He says his name is Ahmad Heidar when we meet on the streets of Kilis, a Turkish border town. The 28-year-old software engineer, in black suit, tie and dark glasses, hardly looks like a rebel.

But he’s better known by his online name: Harvester. He’s a hacker, and he’s waging an electronic battle against the Assad regime…

Heidar turned down the offer to join the regime and turned instead to protecting anti-government activists.

“We will get a call, like some student at the university. ‘He’s in prison now. Do something about it,’ like clean up his page,” he says.

As the “Harvester,” he hacked into the student’s Facebook pages and Skype account for the cleanup — removing anything incriminating, anything that connected the arrested activist to the revolt.

“We replaced the flag of the revolution with pornography,” he says, “like pictures, you know, to keep the investigator busy.”  >continue<

Cosmic Explosion Left Imprint in Fossil Record

John Williams  |  Universe Today >>

Ancient iron-loving bacteria may have scooped up evidence of a nearby supernova explosion 2.2 million years ago, leaving an extraterrestrial iron signature in the fossil record, according to German researchers presenting their findings at a recent meeting of the American Physical Society.

In 2004, German scientists reported finding an isotope of iron in a core sample from the Pacific Ocean that does not form on Earth. The scientists calculated the decay rate of the radioactive isotope iron-60 and determined that the source was from a nearby supernova about 2 million years ago. The blast, they say, was close enough to Earth to seriously damage the ozone layer and may have contributed to a marine extinction at the Pliocene-Pleistocene geologic boundary. >continue<

Symptoms of Benghazi Syndrome

Richard Cohen  |  Washington Post >>

…It is not a crime either to make a mountain out of a molehill, but this particular one is constructed of a fetid combination of bad taste and poisonous politics. Dig down a bit and it becomes clear that some — many? — Republicans suspect that Barack Obama and-or Hillary Clinton are capable of letting people die to cover up a terrorist attack. Either that, or this is what they want us to think.

In the end, it all comes down to an irrational and absolutely rabid dislike of Obama that so clouds judgment that utterly preposterous statements are uttered, usually within the precincts of the Fox News studios. This, as you might have guessed, is classic Benghazi Syndrome. There is no known cure.   >continue<

Biological “Transcriptor” heralds computing within living cells

Andrew Meyers  |  Stanford.edu >>

When Charles Babbage prototyped the first computing machine in the 19th century, he imagined using mechanical gears and latches to control information. ENIAC, the first modern computer developed in the 1940s, used vacuum tubes and electricity. Today, computers use transistors made from highly engineered semiconducting materials to carry out their logical operations.

And now a team of Stanford University bioengineers has taken computing beyond mechanics and electronics into the living realm of biology. In a paper published March 28 in Science, the team details a biological transistor made from genetic material — DNA and RNA — in place of gears or electrons. The team calls its biological transistor the “transcriptor.“  >continue<

paper: Amplifying Genetic Logic Gates

related: Totally RAD: rewritable data in DNA  |  Computing with Soup

Molecular Computation of Solutions

Afghanistan: A Gathering Menace

Embedded Insight from Neil Shea for American Scholar >>

Spend time around soldiers and you realize a lot of this is part of the game, part of being a young man in war. Still, I sensed more anger and hatred than I had encountered before. Givens spun at its center like a black hole. He was in his mid-20s, charismatic and quick, a combat veteran. He threw down declarations like a hip-hop star—respect yourself and no one else; fuck bitches, get money—and the younger infantrymen revered him. Even officers appeared to defer to his humor, efficiency, and rage.

Platoons are often structured like high school cliques, and Givens stood at the apex of his, setting the tone and example. A list of characteristics scrolled through my mind as I listened to the men, traits I probably learned from episodes of Law & Order, or Lord of the Flies. Pop-culture sociopathy. Sexualized aggression. The displays of wolves.

“This is where I come to do fucked-up things,” Givens said. “So I don’t do them at home.” 

… In speech we give ideas life. I felt I was watching some of the men unravel toward serious crimes, if, in fact, they had not already committed them elsewhere in Afghanistan or Iraq. Evil or atrocity often explodes from a furnace built by the steady accretion of small, unchallenged wrongs. Some men in Destroyer platoon had been drifting that way for a long time. >continue<

h/t thepoliticalnotebook
image: based on U.S. troops posed with body parts of Afghan bombers

Syria’s Inglorious Basterd

Audrey Ann Lavallée-Bélanger  |  Jadaliyya >>

On 13 May 2013, Human Rights Watch released a statement attesting to the authenticity of a disturbing video that circulated first on Syrian pro-regime websites and then on social media. In it, a Syrian man cuts open a dead regime soldier’s chest, pulls his heart and lung out, threatens “Alawite dogs” that they will all face a similar fate, and takes a bite of the viscera while addressing the video camera. This latest sectarian evocation by a member of the armed opposition, Khalid al-Hamad (“Abu Sakkar”), was simplistically depicted by many US and Gulf media outlets as an isolated abomination perpetrated by a savage man. However, the incident tells a more complex story… >continue<

Uncommon and complex depth here regarding Syria, journalism, social media and the evolution of a fatalistic discourse.

Counterterrorism in the Twilight Zone

Matthew Harwood  |  Tomdispatch >>

American law enforcement has taken a disproportionate interest in American Muslims across the country, seeing a whole community as a national security threat, particularly in California and New York City. But here’s the thing: the facts that have been piling up ever since that date don’t support such suspicion. Not at all.

The numbers couldn’t be clearer: right-wing extremists have committed far more acts of political violence since 1990 than American Muslims. That law enforcement across the country hasn’t felt similarly compelled to infiltrate and watch over conservative Christian communities in the hopes of disrupting violent right-wing extremism confirms what American Muslims know in their bones: to be different is to be suspect. 

…The idea that American law enforcement’s mass surveillance of Muslim communities is a necessary, if unfortunate, counterterrorism tool rests with the empirically false notion that American Muslims are more prone to political violence than other Americans.  This is simply not true… >continue<