Author Archive: TGO

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Al-Qaida-inspired killers spreading like weeds


In my opinion all religions are worthless because they are all based on falsehoods and superstitions. Anyone who has ever read even parts of the Bible (Old Testament or New Testament) the Book of Mormon, or any other book “inspired” by God with an open mind can see the nonsense; the fairy tales. When it comes to Islam, however, it’s a whole different ballgame. It isn’t by coincidence that all of the killing that’s going on en masse throughout the world is the work of Muslims, each group crazier than the next. They are all obsessed with that barbarian known as Muhammad and their imaginary God, Allah. They’re equally obsessed with prayer. They’re obsessed with how women must dress and behave. In other words, they’re an obsessed bunch – and they’re breeding like rats, mainly because they are like rats.

They are spreading their venomous tentacles to every part of the globe. They have spread from the Middle East and north Africa to the Far East, to eastern Europe, central Africa and even many countries in western Europe. And without exception they poison every society they touch with their archaic, barbaric ideology. Meanwhile, the naive and politically-correct people in these parts of the world, along with their leaders, continue to preach that Muslims are good people, that it’s only the minority who are radical. But as the title of the article states, these killers are spreading like weeds. Either way, just 10% of 1.2 billion strong, and growing, is 120 million radicalized maniacs. What makes these people even more dangerous is that they have no limits/no rules in combat. They make the Nazis under Hitler appear humane. But more than that, they’re willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to achieve their goals.

It’s time to wake up people, time to see things for what they are and not for what we want them to be. Stop defending Muslims and start seeing their ideology for what it really is. Educate yourselves. Otherwise, you’re going to deserve what you get, and are going to get it good and hard. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaida dispersed, yet the horrors keep coming.

Western hostages beheaded on camera. School girls abducted by gunmen in the night. Families fleeing their homes in fear they might be executed because of their religion. The news from much of the Middle East and Africa is relentlessly brutal.

The Islamic State group’s rampage through Iraq and Syria has shocked the United States into launching expanded air strikes at a time when Americans were expecting to pull back from the Middle East after more than a decade of war.

Meanwhile, like-minded militants are gunning people down and blowing them up on a smaller scale in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and beyond.

While the 13-year U.S. campaign against al-Qaida tamped down its core leadership, the terror group’s followers, offshoots and wannabes have spread.

“They’re attracting more troops to these individual jihads than al-Qaida was ever able to attract in the past,” said Andrew Liepman, former deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “The movement is still alive.”

A look at what happened:

___

WHY NOW?

The number of extremist Sunni fighters more than doubled from 2010 to 2013, said Seth Jones, author of a RAND Corp. study released this summer that tracked seven years of increasing violence.

Among the reasons:

—Weakened governments left nations vulnerable: Iraq failed to build a strong, unified government after a U.S.-led coalition defeated dictator Saddam Hussein. In Syria, President Bashar Assad’s deadly crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators started a civil war. Tunisia and Libya have power vacuums that Islamic militants are exploiting.

— Extremists took advantage of chaos and lawlessness, especially in Syria and Libya, to establish safe havens from which to launch wider operations.

— They exploit YouTube, Twitter and other social media to spread their ideology and draw recruits. Al-Qaida didn’t have anything like that when it was putting together the attacks on New York City and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

— Actively promoting their causes as part of a broader religious war, or jihad — instead of battles for control within single nations — attracts recruits from around the world.

— The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 stirred resentments that drew new fighters to the extremist cause. Many of those who flocked to Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan to train and fight have since returned home, bringing with them military skills, ideological fervor and personal ties to militant networks.

— The historic rivalry between Sunni and Shiite Muslims further inflames the situation. The Islamic State group built its power partly by exploiting Sunni anger at the Shiite-dominated government of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

— The pace of the violence began to quicken after U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011. As the situation in Syria disintegrated last year, more violence washed across the border into Iraq.

“Syria has just been the perfect storm,” said Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University.

___

IS AL-QAIDA BEHIND THIS?

Al-Qaida is the inspiration, at least.

The terror group’s core leadership has been diminished by American drone strikes and the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden two years ago in Pakistan. The group’s affiliates operate more autonomously today.

Indeed, its most notorious offshoot — the Islamic State group that’s seized a large swath of territory across Iraq and Syria — flatly refused to follow al-Qaida’s lead and was formally expelled in February.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula cooked up the failed “underwear bomber” plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009 and attempted to ship explosive devices into the U.S. on cargo planes in 2010.

Analysts say that group, based in Yemen, is still plotting to strike the American homeland.

Al-Qaida’s affiliate in Somalia, known as al-Shabab, stormed a shopping mall in Kenya last year, killing at least 67 people. A U.S. airstrike on Sept. 1 killed its leader and two other officials; the group has sworn revenge.

The Nusra Front operates in Syria, and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb operates in North Africa. Bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahri, recently declared that al-Qaida would expand its reach into India, which has a large Muslim minority.

Other groups have arisen that have ideologies similar to al-Qaida. Among them are Boko Haram, which grabbed the world’s attention by kidnapping more than 300 schoolgirls in Nigeria in April, and Ansar al-Shariah in Libya, one of several militias fighting each other for control in that shattered country.

U.S. and other Western leaders also worry about “lone wolf” terrorists who aren’t part of any group but take inspiration from al-Qaida’s ideology or the Islamic State’s Internet videos to carry out an attack on their homeland.

Another fear: Americans and Europeans drawn to the Middle East to join the fighting may come home as trained terrorists.

___

DO THEY ALL WANT THE SAME THING?

Al-Qaida, the Islamic State group and sympathetic militants share a common goal: creating a caliphate ruled under their extreme interpretation of Shariah, or Islamic law.

They generally are Salafi jihadis, an extreme minority of Sunnis who say they are the only true followers of the Prophet Muhammad, in the tradition of the earliest Muslims, and advocate holy war to advance their cause. They would severely restrict women, ban music and punish thieves by cutting off their hands.

They oppose democracy and secular dictators alike, because they believe laws are created by God, not kings or voters.

Most Sunnis aren’t Salafis and reject extremist claims.

___

HOW DO THE GROUPS DIFFER?

The jihadists have different priorities.

Al-Qaida grew out of bin Laden’s experiences organizing Muslims to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and its first order of business remains chasing Western powers out of the Middle East. That means striking Americans and other Westerners in their homelands or abroad. Establishing a caliphate to unite the world’s Muslims under Shariah comes after that.

As its new name suggests, the Islamic State group is focused on seizing territory and setting up an Islamic state now. It already has declared the lands it seized this summer in Iraq and Syria to be a caliphate and started enforcing its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Al-Qaida’s leadership broke with the Islamic State group, which was its Iraq branch originally, because of the group’s insubordination in pushing into the Syrian conflict and ruthlessly battling with other jihadi rebels for its own ambitions.

The Islamic State group videotaped its beheading of a British aid worker and two American journalists and said the slayings were retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against its fighters in Iraq. Unlike al-Qaida, however, the group has yet to reveal a determination to attack within the U.S.

Some jihadists, such as Boko Haram in Nigeria, primarily want to take control of their own countries.

“Most of these groups consider the U.S. an enemy,” Jones said of the various Salafi jihadists. “Most of them are not plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland or U.S. structures like embassies overseas. A few are.”

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Did ‘Deadly’ Spider Eggs Really Hitch a Ride on Imported Bananas?


Make sure you check your bananas people… TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Live Science

LiveScience.com

By Elizabeth Palermo, Staff Writer
Spider
It’s enough to make you do a double take the next time you unpack your groceries! A recent British news report claimed that imported bananas could play host to a certain species of venomous spiders.

A woman in Essex, England, recently discovered that a bunch of bananas delivered to her home by a local grocer was infested with spider eggs. Pest control was called and reportedly identified the eggs as those belonging to the “immense and deadly” Brazilian wandering spider, according to MSN New Zealand.

But don’t let this eerie tale come between you and your favorite fruit. It’s unlikely that the woman’s bananas were truly infested with deadly spider eggs, said Richard Vetter, a retired research associate of entomology at the University of California, Riverside.

There are several reasons why fruit lovers should think twice before believing stories about scary spiders found in the produce aisle, Vetter told Live Science. For one thing, in this particular case, no spider was found hanging around the bananas, making it nearly impossible to know what kind of spider (if there even was a spider) had laid the enigmatic eggs.

“Egg sacks are much harder to identify than spiders. To identify them, you need familiarity with the spider first, then the egg sack,” Vetter said. It’s unlikely that British exterminators would be intimately familiar with the egg sacks of spiders from South and Central America, he added.

However, it is possible that the eggs in question belonged to an arachnid, Vetter said. There are several genera of spider that sometimes survive the long trip from banana-producing nations — such as Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica — to other parts of the world. Among them are Phoneutria and Cupiennius, two types of spiders that are commonly known as wandering spiders.

Wandering spiders are named for their tendency to wander around looking for food instead of spinning a web. As nocturnal hunters, both Phoneutria and Cupiennius sometimes seek out shelter during the day under the broad leaves of banana trees. And because of their preference for these fruit trees, species of both genera at times wind up in grocery stores and residences in Europe and North America, Vetter said.

Typically, when one of these big, hairy spiders shows up overseas, it automatically gets labeled as a “deadly” Brazilian wandering spider without anyone identifying what genus or species the spider belongs to, Vetter said. And that’s a shame, he said, because only one of the two genera of  wandering spiders, Phoneutria, contains species that could actually pose a threat to humans. The other genus, Cupiennius, contains some big, but totally harmless, spiders.

“There are 12 species of Phoneutria, which are found mostly in South America, including the eastern coast of Brazil. A small number of them also go into Costa Rica,” Vetter said. However, few of these spiders pose a significant risk to humans, he added.

Still, there is a type of Brazilian wandering spider, called Phoneutria fera, that is widely considered to be the most dangerous spider on Earth. The species lives in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, far from banana-producing areas. While it isn’t impossible for this spider to find its way to England or other foreign nations inside a banana crate, it’s highly unlikely, Vetter said.

There are also two other species of Phoneutria commonly labeled as “deadly” — P. nigriventer and P. keyserlingi. These spiders live on the eastern coast of Brazil, near centers of banana production, but their reputations as deadly pests are greatly exaggerated, Vetter said.

Somebody did a study in Eastern Brazil back in 2000 that looked at 422 Brazilian wandering spider bites. The only people to die from the bites were two small children,” Vetter said. The adult victims of this notorious arachnid experienced either mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, he said.

And there’s one other fact that makes the recent British report seem unlikely. Brazilian wandering spiders are only found in Brazil, and the country consumes most of its banana crop domestically, Vetter said.

I don’t know where England gets its bananas from, but Brazil does not export many bananas,” Vetter said. If the bananas in question came from Ecuador — the world’s largest exporter of bananas — or any other banana-producing nation, then those eggs didn’t belong to one of the “deadly” species of Brazilian wandering spiders, he added.

Follow Elizabeth Palermo @techEpalermo. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

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AP Enterprise: al-Qaida’s Syrian cell alarms US


If we erased Muslims from the planet, if they suddenly vanished; from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, etc. over 90% of all the killing on earth would cease to exist. These people are a cancer to the human race. Yet still, there are Americans who defend them, all because Muslims are Islamic and Islam is a religion. When are we as Americans going to use our brains, grow some balls, and stop defending entire groups of people simply because they belong to a religion and pray to an invisible man in the sky? TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

Associated Press

By KEN DILANIAN and EILEEN SULLIVAN

Filth

WASHINGTON (AP) — While the Islamic State group is getting the most attention now, another band of extremists in Syria — a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe — poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target U.S. aviation, American officials say.

At the center is a cell known as the Khorasan group, a cadre of veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front.

But the Khorasan militants did not go to Syria principally to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials say. Instead, they were sent by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a U.S.-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.

In addition, according to classified U.S. intelligence assessments, the Khorasan militants have been working with bomb-makers from al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate to test new ways to slip explosives past airport security. The fear is that the Khorasan militants will provide these sophisticated explosives to their Western recruits who could sneak them onto U.S.-bound flights.

The Obama administration has said that the Islamic State group, the target of more than 150 U.S. airstrikes in recent weeks, does not pose an imminent threat to the continental U.S. The Khorasan group, which has not been subject to American military action, is considered the more immediate threat.

Because of intelligence about the collaboration among the Khorasan group, al-Qaida’s Yemeni bomb-makers and Western extremists, U.S. officials say, the Transportation Security Administration in July decided to ban uncharged mobile phones and laptops from flights to the U.S. that originated in Europe and the Middle East.

The Khorasan group’s plotting with al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate shows that, despite the damage that years of drone missile strikes has done to the leadership of core al-Qaida in Pakistan, the movement still can threaten the West. It has been rejuvenated in the past year as al-Qaida offshoots have grown in strength and numbers, bolstered by a flood of Western extremists to a new terrorist safe haven created by Syria’s civil war.

That Yemen affiliate, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been able to place three bombs on U.S.-bound airliners, though none has succeeded in downing the aircraft.

“The group’s repeated efforts to conceal explosive devices to destroy aircraft demonstrate its continued pursuit of high-profile attacks against the West, its increasing awareness of Western security procedures and its efforts to adapt to those procedures that we adopt,” Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center, recently told a Senate panel.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, first disclosed during a Senate hearing in January that a group of core al-Qaida militants from Afghanistan and Pakistan was plotting attacks against the West in Syria.

But the group’s name, Khorasan, or its links to al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate, which is considered the most dangerous terrorist threat to the U.S., have not previously been disclosed.

Khorasan refers to a province under the Islamic caliphate, or religious empire, of old that included parts of Afghanistan.

Many U.S. officials interviewed for this story would not be quoted by name talking about what they said was highly classified intelligence. Some lawmakers who have been briefed on the Khorasan group threat were willing to discuss it in general terms. One congressman who declined to be identified in order to discuss intelligence matters used the group’s name in conversations with a reporter.

The CIA refused to confirm the group’s name or any details in this story.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, declined to name the group. But he described concerns among intelligence officials about “an unholy mix of people in Iraq and Syria right now — some who come from AQAP, some who come from Afghanistan and Pakistan, others from the Maghreb” in North Africa.

“They can combine in ways that could pose a greater threat than their individual pieces. And that’s something we worry about,” said Schiff.

U.S. officials have identified some members of the Khorasan group, but would not disclose the individuals’ names because of concerns they would hide from intelligence-gathering.

Intelligence officials have been deeply concerned about dozens of Americans and hundreds of Europeans who have gone to fight for various jihadist groups in Syria. Some of those Westerners’ identities are unknown and therefore they are less likely to draw the attention of intelligence officials when they purchase tickets and board a crowded jetliner heading for European and American cities.

AQAP’s master bomb-maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is believed to have built the underwear bomb that a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to detonate on a passenger jet over Detroit in December 2009.

Al-Asiri is also believed to have built two bombs hidden in printer cartridges placed on U.S.-bound cargo jets in 2010, and a body bomb that was acquired in a 2012 operation involving Saudi, British, and U.S. intelligence agencies.

U.S. intelligence suggests al-Asiri and his confederates are constantly trying to tweak their bomb designs so that the explosives can get past airport security and also detonate successfully.

The TSA ban on uncharged laptops and cellphones stemmed from information that al-Qaeda was working with the Khorasan group to pack those devices with hard-to-detect explosives, a U.S. official said.

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Family of British hostage sends message to IS captors


One can only hope that these beasts who belong to IS can see some humanity in sparing the life of an innocent human being whose efforts was in helping other people. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

AFP

Scum

London (AFP) – The family of British aid worker David Haines, threatened with death by Islamic State militants in a recent video, has appealed to his captors to contact them.

In a statement issued by the Foreign Office in London on Saturday, they said the extremists have not responded to any of their attempts to make contact so far.

“We are the family of David Haines. We have sent messages to you to which we have not received a reply. We are asking those holding David to make contact with us,” the family said.

Scottish-born Haines, 44, was taken hostage in Syria in March 2013 and was threatened in a video released this month depicting the beheading by IS militants of the US journalist Steven Sotloff.

Haines had been working for the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Developement (ACTED), an international relief charity, and was previous involved in humanitarian work in the Balkans, parts of Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East.

In a statement last week, ACTED said it was “deeply shocked” at the threats made against him.

“ACTED strongly condemns the violence and threats against David. A man’s life should never be threatened on account of his humanitarian commitment,” it said.

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Cuba to send 165 health workers to Sierra Leone in Ebola fight


The communist Castro regime in Cuba has executed hundreds if not thousands of innocent people since taking over the country in 1959. And now, 55 years later, after destroying a country and its people for generations to come, they’re sending doctors to fight Ebola in Africa; what a hypocrisy!

The man pictured in the photo, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was an Argentinian-born communist and a murderer who had no qualms with personally shooting people in the head.

Talk about a twisted regime… TGO

Refer to brief story below. Source: Associated Press

Che

Geneva (AFP) – Cuba will send 165 doctors and nurses to Sierra Leone to help fight the Ebola outbreak, Cuba’s health minister and the World Health Organization announced Friday.

WHO chief Margaret Chan hailed Cuba’s commitment to send the health professionals to the hard-hit west African country for six months, telling reporters it was “the largest” made so far in the global fight to stop the deadly outbreak.

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9/11 commemoration in New York City


Americans are extremely forgiving, often times naive and have a very short memory. All I can say to that is that the people should NEVER forget. They should NEVER forget that it was Muslims who attacked us on 911, and they will do it again. They (Muslims) should never be defended – never! TGO
 

New York

With the solemn toll of a bell and a moment of silence, the nation paused Thursday to mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attack.

Family and friends of those who died read the names of the nearly 3,000 people killed in New York, at the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. (AP)

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Atheist must swear to God — or leave US Air Force


People really are full of crap, on both sides of the argument. First I must ask the question, when did the United States as a country, as a people, lose their common sense and become indoctrinated with Christianity? Surely our Founding Fathers were not religious freaks, in fact, most of them were deists – a far cry from being evangelical Christians. The fact that most of them were Freemasons and that they fled Europe to avoid, among other things, religious persecution is all the proof one needs that they were not Christians.

On the other side of the argument, an oath is nothing more than words, meaningless words. One has to swear on the Bible in court; talk about mindless stupidity! Swearing on a book of fairy tales with talking animals and all other kinds of nonsense.

It just seems to me that there are more important things to fight over than a silly, meaningless oath which is basically the same as a prayer; it does no good and no harm. In other words, it’s just talking to the wind ’cause no one is listening. Just say the silly oath and be done with it… TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

AFP

Air Force

Washington (AFP) – The US Air Force has told a sergeant he will have to leave the military unless he agrees to take an oath with the phrase “so help me God,” officials said Tuesday.

In the latest religious controversy to roil the air force, the atheist airman last month was denied his request to re-enlist because of his refusal to swear to God — and he is now poised to take the military to court, his lawyer said.

“We have not received word from the Air Force regarding our letter. It has not indicated a willingness to settle out of court,” said Monica Miller, an attorney for the American Humanist Association, which has taken up the service member’s case.

With the deadline for re-enlisting expiring in November, the technical sergeant at Creech Air Force base in Nevada — whose name has not been released — will be forced to sue the government in a federal court, Miller told AFP.

In the past, an airman could opt for an alternative phrase and omit the words “so help me God,” but the US Air Force changed its policy in October 2013.

The other branches of the American military do not require the reference to God and make the phrase optional.

“This is the only branch to my knowledge that’s actually requiring everyone in all instances to use the religious language,” Miller said.

The requirement violates the US Constitution, which bars religious tests to hold office or other positions, Miller said of the case, which was first reported by the Air Force Times.

“The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being,” she said.

The sergeant’s service expires in November and he has until then to re-enlist and take the oath, said US Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.

In the meantime, “a written legal opinion is being requested” from the Pentagon’s top lawyer, she said.

The air force has been plagued by controversy for years over religion and the role of Christian evangelists.

The US Air Force Academy in Colorado faced accusations several years ago that evangelical Christians exerted a dominating influence over the institution.

But attempts to counter the perceived bias in the service have sparked criticism from Christian activist groups, who allege a new rule stifles the religious expression of troops.

The disputed rule bars commanders from promoting their religious convictions to their subordinates.

Advocates of the policy say it protects troops who worry their careers could be jeopardized if they do not take part in their superior’s Christian activities.

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Stephen Hawking Says ‘God Particle’ Could Wipe Out the Universe


Super-interesting stuff… While a great deal of what I read pertaining to the universe is “over my head” (no pun intended) as I am not an astronomer or physicist, it is still fascinating nonetheless… TGO

Refer to story below. Source: LiveScience

LiveScience.com

God Particle

Stephen Hawking bet Gordon Kane $100 that physicists would not discover the Higgs boson. After losing that bet when physicists detected the particle in 2012, Hawking lamented the discovery, saying it made physics less interesting. Now, in the preface to a new collection of essays and lectures called “Starmus,” the famous theoretical physicist is warning that the particle could one day be responsible for the destruction of the known universe.

Hawking is not the only scientist who thinks so. The theory of a Higgs boson doomsday, where a quantum fluctuation creates a vacuum “bubble” that expands through space and wipes out the universe, has existed for a while. However, scientists don’t think it could happen anytime soon.

“Most likely it will take 10 to the 100 years [a 1 followed by 100 zeroes] for this to happen, so probably you shouldn’t sell your house and you should continue to pay your taxes,” Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, said during his lecture at the SETI Institute on Sept. 2. “On the other hand it may already happened, and the bubble might be on its way here now. And you won’t know because it’s going at the speed of light so there’s not going to be any warning.”

The Higgs boson, sometimes referred to as the ‘god particle,’ much to the chagrin of scientists who prefer the official name, is a tiny particle that researchers long suspected existed. Its discovery lends strong support to the Standard Model of particle physics, or the known rules of particle physics that scientists believe govern the basic building blocks of matter. The Higgs boson particle is so important to the Standard Model because it signals the existence of the Higgs field, an invisible energy field present throughout the universe that imbues other particles with mass. Since its discovery two years ago, the particle has been making waves in the physics community.

Now that scientists measured the particle’s mass last year, they can make many other calculations, including one that seems to spell out the end of the universe.

Universe doomsday

The Higgs boson is about 126 billion electron volts, or about the 126 times the mass of a proton. This turns out to be the precise mass needed to keep the universe on the brink of instability, but physicists say the delicate state will eventually collapse and the universe will become unstable. That conclusion involves the Higgs field.

The Higgs field emerged at the birth of the universe and has acted as its own source of energy since then, Lykken said. Physicists believe the Higgs field may be slowly changing as it tries to find an optimal balance of field strength and energy required to maintain that strength.

“Just like matter can exist as liquid or solid, so the Higgs field, the substance that fills all space-time, could exist in two states,” Gian Giudice, a theoretical physicist at the CERN lab, where the Higgs boson was discovered, explained during a TED talk in October 2013.

Right now the Higgs field is in a minimum potential energy state — like a valley in a field of hills and valleys. The huge amount of energy required to change into another state is like chugging up a hill. If the Higgs field makes it over that energy hill, some physicists think the destruction of the universe is waiting on the other side.

But an unlucky quantum fluctuation, or a change in energy, could trigger a process called “quantum tunneling.” Instead of having to climb the energy hill, quantum tunneling would make it possible for the Higgs field to “tunnel” through the hill into the next, even lower-energy valley. This quantum fluctuation will happen somewhere out in the empty vacuum of space between galaxies, and will create a “bubble,” Lykken said.

Here’s how Hawking describes this Higgs doomsday scenario in the new book: “The Higgs potential has the worrisome feature that it might become metastable at energies above 100 [billion] gigaelectronvolts (GeV). … This could mean that the universe could undergo catastrophic vacuum decay, with a bubble of the true vacuum expanding at the speed of light. This could happen at any time and we wouldn’t see it coming.”

The Higgs field inside that bubble will be stronger and have a lower energy level than its surroundings. Even if the Higgs field inside the bubble were slightly stronger than it is now, it could shrink atoms, disintegrate atomic nuclei, and make it so that hydrogen would be the only element that could exist in the universe, Giudice explained in his TED talk.

But using a calculation that involves the currently known mass of the Higgs boson, researchers predict this bubble would contain an ultra-strong Higgs field that would expand at the speed of light through space-time. The expansion would be unstoppable and would wipe out everything in the existing universe, Lykken said.

“More interesting to us as physicists is when you do this calculation using the standard physics we know about, it turns out we’re right on the edge between a stable universe and an unstable universe,” Lykken said. “We’re sort of right on the edge where the universe can last for a long time, but eventually it should go ‘boom.’ There’s no principle that we know of that would put us right on the edge.”

Not all doom and gloom

Either all of space-time exists on this razor’s edge between a stable and unstable universe, or the calculation is wrong, Lykken said.

If the calculation is wrong, it must come from a fundamental part of physics that scientists have not discovered yet. Lykken said one possibility is the existence of invisible dark matter that physicists believe makes up about 27 percent of the universe. Discovering how dark matter interacts with the rest of the universe could reveal properties and rules physicists don’t know about yet.

The other is the idea of “supersymmetry.” In the Standard Model, every particle has a partner, or its own anti-particle. But supersymmetry is a theory that suggests every particle also has a supersymmetric partner particle. The existence of these other particles would help stabilize the universe, Lykken said.

“We found the Higgs boson, which was a big deal, but we’re still trying to understand what it means and we’re also trying to understand all the other things that go along with it

“This is very much the beginning of the story and I’ve shown you some directions that story could go in, but I think there could be surprises that no one has even thought of,” Lykken concludes in his lecture.

Follow Kelly Dickerson on Twitter. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

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Jack the Ripper identified through DNA traces: sleuth


I wonder why we, “normal” people, are so fascinated with serial killers? There must be some genetic reason for it; or maybe not. I suppose the curiosity comes from trying to understand how a human being can be so totally unsympathetic to the suffering of others. Anyway, if nothing else it makes for interesting conversation. Personally, I love the Hannibal Lecter movies, although technically he wasn’t a serial killer, but the character in the movie was definitely ruthless. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

AFP

Jack the Ripper

London (AFP) – Jack the Ripper, one of the most notorious serial killers in history, has been identified through DNA traces found on a shawl, claims a sleuth in a book out on Tuesday.

The true identity of Jack the Ripper, whose grisly murders terrorised the murky slums of Whitechapel in east London in 1888, has been a mystery ever since, with dozens of suspects that include royalty and prime ministers down to bootmakers.

But after extracting DNA from a shawl recovered from the scene of one of the killings, which matched relatives of both the victim and one of the suspects, Jack the Ripper sleuth Russell Edwards claims the identity of the murderer is now beyond doubt.

He says the infamous killer is Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish emigre from Poland, who worked as a barber.

Edwards, a businessman interested in the Ripper story, bought a bloodstained Victorian shawl at auction in 2007.

The story goes that it came from the murder scene of the Ripper’s fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, on September 30, 1888.

Police acting sergeant Amos Simpson, who had been at the scene, got permission from his superiors to take it for his dressmaker wife — who was subsequently aghast at the thought of using a bloodstained shawl.

It had hitherto been passed down through the policeman’s direct descendants, who had stored it unwashed in a box. It briefly spent a few years on loan to Scotland Yard’s crime museum.

- Victim disembowelled -

Edwards sought to find out if DNA technology could conclusively link the shawl to the murder scene.

Working on the blood stains, Doctor Jari Louhelainen, senior lecturer in molecular at Liverpool John Moores University, isolated seven small segments of mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down through the female line.

They were matched with the DNA of Karen Miller, a direct descendant of Eddowes, confirming her blood was on the shawl.

Meanwhile stains exposed under ultra-violet light suggested the presence of seminal fluid.

Doctor David Miller, reader in molecular andrology at the University of Leeds, managed to find cells from which DNA was isolated.

With the help of genealogists, Edwards found a descendant of Kosminski through the female line, who offered samples of her DNA.

Louhelainen was then able to match DNA from the semen stains to Kosminski’s descendant.

For Edwards, this places Kosminski at the scene of Eddowes’ gruesome murder.

Eddowes, 46, was killed on the same night as the Ripper’s third victim. An orphan with a daughter and two sons, she worked as a casual prostitute.

She was found brutally murdered at 1:45am. Her throat was cut and she was disembowelled. Her face was also mutilated.

The belief is that the shawl was left at the crime scene by the killer, not Eddowes.

- Calls for peer review -

Kosminski was born in Klodawa in central Poland on September 11, 1865. His family fled the imperial Russian anti-Jewish pogroms and emigrated to east London in the early 1880s. He lived close to the murder scenes.

Some reports say he was taken in by the police to be identified by a witness who had seen him with one of the victims, and though a positive identification was made, the witness refused to give incriminating evidence, meaning the police had little option but to release him.

He entered a workhouse in 1889, where he was described on admission as “destitute”. He was discharged later that year but soon ended up in an insane asylum.

He died from gangrene in an asylum on March 24, 1919 and was buried three days later at East Ham Cemetery in east London.

Some have cast doubt on Edwards’ findings.

The research has not been published a a peer-reviewed scientific journal, meaning the claims cannot be independently verified or the methodology scrutinised.

Professor Alec Jeffreys, who invented the DNA fingerprinting technique 30 years ago this week, called for further verification.

“An interesting but remarkable claim that needs to be subjected to peer review, with detailed analysis of the provenance of the shawl and the nature of the claimed DNA match with the perpetrator’s descendants and its power of discrimination; no actual evidence has yet been provided,” Jeffreys told The Independent newspaper.

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As Islamic State fighters begin to blend in, defeating them no easy matter


A couple of nuclear bombs would “take care” of IS forever. But this won’t happen. What will happen is that the United States will get into another 10-year war in Iraq. It starts with air strikes but in short order will evolve into a typical war, with troops on the ground. This of course will result in American casualties. In other words, more of the same…

The bottom line is that no matter the U.S. president; Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, black or white, our reaction is the same; the United States will fight other people’s wars. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Reuters

Reuters

Morons

BAQIRTA Iraq/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After their lightning takeover in June, flag-waving Islamic State militants paraded through the captured Iraqi city of Mosul in looted U.S.-built Humvees, armored cars and pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns.

Today, many have ditched military-type vehicles that could make them easy targets of U.S. air strikes, and try to blend in with residents, say witnesses. While still terrifying, they are now a far more discreet force.

A Reuters examination of three weeks of U.S. air strikes reveals significant changes in the way the Islamic State operates since the U.S. joined the struggle against them, with fewer militants on the streets of Mosul the clearest sign. It is unclear how the Islamic State’s tactics will further change as a result of the reclaiming of the strategic Mosul Dam by Iraqi government and Kurdish forces or Sunday’s dramatic retaking of Amerli, where thousands had been cut off from food and water, but clearly battlefield strategies are involving on both sides.

The way the Islamic State is adapting shows the scale of problems ahead for President Barack Obama, the Pentagon and U.S.-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces, as they struggle to reclaim ground from the Sunni militants, who have seized a third of both Iraq and Syria, and want to establish a jihadist hub in the heart of the Arab world.

After forging working arrangements with other armed Sunni groups and tribes angry at the Shi’ite Islamist-dominated central government in Baghdad, the Islamic State is now the most powerful force in parts of northern and western Iraq, with its ranks ranging from 8,000 to 20,000 fighters, according to Iraqi government estimates.

Large areas are under control of the radical offshoot of al Qaeda, and will be difficult to wrest away from them if Iraq’s Shi’ite political leaders fail to appease disgruntled Sunnis, many of whom have embraced Islamic State after what they describe as years of discrimination and persecution.

Ousting the jihadists altogether will likely require a two-pronged approach, including ground combat in Iraq carried out by Iraqi security forces, Sunni tribesmen and ethnic Kurdish peshmerga fighters, perhaps with guidance by U.S. Special Operations Forces and American advisers, say Iraqi security officials and experts.

Defeating them would almost certainly require air strikes on Islamic State strongholds in neighboring Syria that could be risky, including the possibility of high civilian casualties given patchy American intelligence on the ground.

“To retake areas requires more than airstrikes. It requires specially trained fighters and the support of the population in these areas,” said Ali Al-Haidari, an Iraqi security expert and former officer in the Iraqi military.

Washington needs to decide whether it wants to halt and contain Islamic State or wipe it out entirely, said Hayat Alvi, professor of Middle East studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.”If they really want to destroy the Islamic State and stop them being a threat, they are going to have to get a lot more committed,” she said.

RUSSIAN-BUILT JETS

Since Aug. 8, U.S. warplanes have mounted several strikes a day in Iraq, mostly around three key northern Iraqi battlefields: the Kurdish capital Arbil, Mosul Dam and Mount Sinjar, a strip of ground more than 40 miles (65 km) long where Iraq’s ethnic Yazidis had been trapped by the jihadists.

U.S. F/A-18 jets from the carrier USS George H.W. Bush launched the first strikes around Sinjar in what it said was a move to protect Yazidis it feared were facing “genocide”. U.S. officials say those planes have now been joined by land-based aircraft and drones from other bases in the region.

“So far, the air strikes have been focused on stopping IS moving forward,” says Douglas Ollivant, former lead U.S. National Security Council official on Iraq for both President George W. Bush and Obama. “They’ve been quite successful, at least within Iraq. Syria is a different matter. So is pushing IS back in Iraq itself.”

The increased use of airpower, not just U.S. fighter jets but also the arrival of Russian-built Su-25 attack jets for the Iraqi Air Force, have had a significant impact, say Iraqi and Western officials, though gauging casualties among Islamic State fighters is difficult.

THORNY DYNAMICS

In Mosul, a mainly Sunni city under Islamic State control, the group no longer flaunts its presence. “Their deployment is less than before,” said one resident who declined to be identified by name for fear of Islamic State reprisals. “They avoid using machine guns on pickups as they are clear targets for the jets.”

U.S. airstrikes also helped Iraqi forces and militia wage a coordinated assault on Islamic State-held towns near northern Amerli, where thousands of Shi’ite Turkmen residents had been cut off from receiving food, water, and medical supplies for two months. On Sunday, the town returned to Iraqi government control.

Even as U.S. air strikes assisted the military campaign, they underscored the thorny dynamics for all sides as the U.S. military, in effect, came to the assistance of not only Iraqi troops but Shi’ite militia elements, who once fought U.S. forces and have been accused by Sunnis of carrying out abuses in the fight against the Islamic State, including extrajudicial killings.

Without American air power, Kurdish forces say they would have been hard-pressed to halt the Islamic State’s advance on Arbil. Instead, the Kurds pushed back and on Aug. 24 retook the village of Baqirta some 43 miles (70 km) away.

Several Islamic State leaders have also been killed, said sources in Mosul. The Kurdish government says its fighters have seen vehicles burning and militants struggling to evacuate the dead and dying.

“We feel we are stronger than them,” said Nejat Ali Salih, a senior official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Makhmur, an oil and farming center near Baqirta.

RUSSIAN JETS

At the start of the Islamic State offensive, Iraq’s air force was largely limited to attack helicopters and a handful of propeller-driven Cessna light aircraft firing Hellfire rockets.

By the end of June, however, Russia and Iraq announced a deal to supply the Iraqi air force with Su-25 attack jets. Simple, slow and unwieldy but heavily armored, they are ideal for attacking troop concentrations in the open.

A second batch of Su-25s arrived in July bearing the camouflage patterns and markings used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies said after examining assorted photographs. Neither the Iraqi nor Iranian governments have commented on their origin, or who is flying them.

Iraqi military officer Colonel Ali Abdulkareem said the jets halted the Islamic State’s advance on Baghdad last month.

Although Iraqi pilots were less experienced than their American counterparts and the weaponry less accurate, coordination with ground forces was improving, Abdulkareem said.

“TERRORIST ARMY”

But it won’t be easy to defeat Islamic State in Iraq.

The U.S. air campaign appears to have provoked even more anger from the Islamic State against the Kurds. The Islamic State released a video on Thursday in which it showed 15 Kurdish prisoners and the apparent execution of one of the men. Three of the prisoners urge Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani to end his military alliance with the United States.

“What we are fighting now is a well-trained and well-armed terrorist army,” said a senior Kurdish official. “They are very clever in their fighting, we have to admit. They want to make us busy on many fronts. They come to one front, they want all of us to focus on that front, and then they penetrate through another front.”

Taking back ethnic Sunni areas looks difficult. During the 2007/08 “surge”, U.S. troops worked closely with some Sunni groups against al Qaeda. Some of those they trained now fight with Islamic State, say Sunni fighters and tribal leaders.

Although Islamic State has lost considerable quantities of heavy equipment, advancing mainly Kurdish forces have found fewer bodies than they had expected, say Kurdish fighters. Some Kurdish officials say the bodies could have been removed quickly by retreating militants, though it is also possible the Islamic State may have also had fewer fighters in the path of air strikes than had been expected.

The jihadists are also making substantial new gains in Syria, including capturing a major military airbase on Aug. 24.

Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey said on Aug. 21 beating Islamic State in Iraq would require success against the group in Syria, something U.S. officials are now considering.

But unlike Iraq, where the United States has years of ground experience and friendly forces with which it can liaise, a Syrian operation faces formidable hurdles. Washington has no relations with President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Air defences operated by both Asaad and IS are more formidable.

Obama on Thursday dampened expectations of imminent air strikes on Islamic State positions in Syria, admitting “we don’t have a strategy yet” for confronting the militant group in Syria. The White House said he wants to look deliberately at the options his military advisers are giving him.

“So far, the strikes haven’t targeted the organizational structure of Islamic State, haven’t targeted their stores, haven’t targeted the sources of their strength which are the oilfields and haven’t targeted the smuggling between the Syrian and Iraqi borders,” said Hisham al-Hashimi, a Baghdad-based researcher of Iraq’s armed groups.

“These strikes achieved their target in pushing Islamic State from Kurdistan but they haven’t achieved a big victory or big gains,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Raheem Salman and Ned Parker; Editing by Jason Szep and Martin Howell)

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Worse than Al-Qaeda? ISIS pledges to raise flag of Allah in White House


What a cluster-f*ck! This obsession with religion, and more specifically with Allah, is revolting. These people have their heads stuck so far up their asses that they have sh*t for brains. The stupidity of it all… They want to conquer the world, but in doing so they’re slaughtering their own people. Brilliant!! Oh, I forgot, it isn’t enough to be a Muslim, one has to be the “correct” type of Muslim. This region of the world truly is a sewer, and Islam is the cause.

But to make things worse, the United States has once again intervened, and for what? These people we are defending are all criminals. The president of Syria is a criminal, as was Saddam Hussein. We try to protect the common man against these tyrants, and then the people you are trying to protect turn against you; it’s a lose/lose proposition. Let’s learn our lesson and just stay the hell away from the region. These people have been slaughtering each other since the beginning of recorded history and will continue to do so until the end of time… TGO

Video: YouTube

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