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Law Professor Says Pedophiles Are Not Criminals And Face Discrimination

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Rutgers-Camden law professor Margo Kaplan has written an opinion piece for the New York Times that has understandably stirred up some controversy.

The article was essentially a defense of pedophiles, suggesting that pedophilia is a disorder that can be managed and not an actual crime. According to Kaplan, some people are just born with brains that are attracted to young children, and it really only becomes a problem if they act on it and hurt a child.

Kaplan says that it is important to make a distinction between pedophilia and child molestation because not all pedophiles act on their desires. She believes that pedophiles do not have control over their desires, and they can’t help who they are attracted to. However, they needed to be able to learn to control their urges and not act on them.

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Photo Credit: New York Times

“Pedophilia could result from a failure in the brain to identify which environmental stimuli should provoke a sexual response. M.R.I.s of sex offenders with pedophilia show fewer of the neural pathways known as white matter in their brains. Men with pedophilia are three times more likely to be left-handed or ambidextrous, a finding that strongly suggests a neurological cause,” Kaplan said in her article.

Kaplan pointed to a group called “Virtuous Pedophiles” comprised of people who claim that they are attracted to children but would never act on it. She said that there are many people out there like this, and they are discriminated against. She went on to claim that they should be legally protected under “The Americans With Disabilities Act.”

In a later interview with Philadelphia Magazine, Kaplan said that she got more support than she expected from her article.

sexual orientation

Photo Credit: Keith Negley NY Times

“I expected to get maybe 95% negative emails, but I’ve gotten so many positive ones. The online comments, though, are pretty uniformly negative, and a lot of people haven’t even read the article,” she said.

“We need to treat pedophiles before they offend. People see the word “pedophile” and think “sex offender.” People choose to sex offend children. They do not choose to be pedophiles,” she added.

This strange idea of pedophile acceptance is not limited to Kaplan. In fact, many public intellectuals have been raising similar arguments in recent years.

Last year, Mirjam Heine presented a TED X Talk called “Pedophilia is a natural sexual orientation” at the University of Würtzberg in Germany, which shared many of the same ideas contained in Kaplan’s article.

Heine argued that pedophilia is a legitimate sexual orientation.

“According to current research pedophilia is an unchangeable sexual orientation just like, for example, heterosexuality. No one chooses to be a pedophile, no one can cease being one. The difference between pedophilia and other sexual orientations is that living out this sexual orientation will end in a disaster,” Heine suggested.

One thing that makes sense about this strategy is that it could make it easier to identify pedophiles and quarantine them from the rest of society, however, that does not seem to be what this movement has in mind.

Mark Horowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in political science. Horowitz could have had a job at one of the top media organizations in the United States, but when working as an intern, he found that the journalists in the newsroom were confined by the anxieties and sensibilities of their bosses. Horowitz loved journalism, but wanted more freedom to pursue more complex topics than you would find on the evening news. Around the same time, he began to notice that there was a growing number of independent journalists developing followings online by sharing their in-depth analysis of advanced or off-beat topics. It wasn't long before Horowitz quit his internship with a large New York network to begin publishing his own material online.

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Tesla’s New Solar Roof Will Be As Cheap As A Shingle Roof And Electric Bill

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In case you missed it: According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the company’s new solar roof tiles will be affordable to the average homeowner. Musk says that they will be roughly the same cost as the typical shingle roof.

As with many of his projects, there have been several delays in the production of the solar rooftops. Initially, when Musk first announced the product in 2017, the company was supposed to start building them the following year, in 2018.

However, Tesla ran into some roadblocks in the production and delayed the rollout two years in a row.

Musk said that the reason for the delay was that he wanted to make sure he brought the best possible product to market. Specifically, he wanted to ensure that the roof would last for 30 years without needing a replacement.

During a shareholder meeting this year, Musk said that it has been a very challenging process to complete the very ambitious goals that the company set for itself.

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Tesla’s new solar roof will be as cheap as the average shingle roof, CEO Elon Musk says. Photo Credit: Tesla

“We are about to complete version 3 of the solar roof. This is actually quite a hard technology problem to have an integrated solar cell with a roof tile, have it look good, and last for 30 years. I am very excited about version 3 of solar roof. We have a shot at being equal to a comp shingle roof plus someone’s utility cost or being lower than that. That’s one of the cheapest roofs available. So you can have a great roof with better economics than a normal fairly cheap roof and your utility bill,” Musk said, according to Electrek.

The durability of the roof will be guaranteed for life, and will be guaranteed to generate power for up to 30 years, after that it may need repairs.

When the idea was first proposed, Tesla estimated that the solar roof would cost roughly $21.85 per square foot, which is extremely expensive.

To contrast some of the other prices found in the industry, the average shingle roof can cost as little as $4 per square foot, and a tile roof can sometimes cost up to $20 per square foot.

solar panel

Solar Panels. Photo Credit: Public Domain

If Musk is saying that he can bring the cost down to match that of a shingle roof, that is a significant reduction in price. If he is able to bring this price to market it would be a game changer for the average consumer who does not have access to solar technology, but is going to replace their roof at some point anyway.

2016 data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests that solar has actually already become the cheapest way to generate energy.

According to an estimate released by the International Energy Agency, solar will be the world’s primary source of energy by 2050.

This is good news, but that number may seem far off to some people, considering that solar energy currently represents less than 1% of the energy market.

Recent breakthroughs in solar technology are making it more efficient and cheaper to extract energy from the sun, which in turn, is making this technology more available to the average person.

Solar power is unlike most other energy resources because there is a limitless supply. This limitless supply of power could actually cause energy prices to drop so low that anyone could afford it. Like all technology, the technology to harness electricity from the sun will continue to become cheaper as it is developed and perfected.

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The High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system Photo Credit: La Solar Power

A new type of solar panel could make the technology even more plausible. The new High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system, developed by researchers at IBM, actually performs far better than the conventional solar panels on the market today. According to engineers, the new solar system can magnify the sun’s energy by 2000-5000 times.

The system works by using hundred of incredibly small solar cells, which are constantly cooled, allowing them to generate more energy than regular panels.

Traditional solar panels have problems with absorbing all the energy that is available, and are only able to take advantage of a small percentage of the energy that is within physical reach. This new design is able to collect far more energy, without wasting the excess.

The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has offered a $2.4 million grant to help with the development of this project, and the researchers hope that this technology could someday power the world for free.

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NASA Chief Warns That Humans Must Prepare For A Massive Meteor Strike

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In 2019, NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine, warned an audience at the International Academy of Astronautics’ Planetary Defense Conference, about the very real possibility of a large meteor crashing into the earth.

We have to make sure that people understand that this is not about Hollywood. It’s not about movies. This is about ultimately protecting the only planet we know right now to host life, and that is the planet Earth, Bridenstine said.

Bridenstine reference a large meteor that entered the earth’s atmosphere and exploded over Chelyabinsk, in central Russia, in February of 2013. The meteor measured roughly 20 meters in diameter and was traveling at 40,000 mph.

It was brighter in the sky than the sun at that point when it entered Earth’s atmosphere. And people could feel the heat from this object from 62 kilometres away… When it finally exploded 18 miles above the surface…it had…30 times the energy of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima… It damaged buildings in six cities, Bridenstine said.

I wish I could tell you that these events are exceptionally unique, but they are not, he added.

Bridenstine says that meteors enter the earth’s atmosphere on a regular basis, but those as large as Chelyabinsk only come once every 60 or so years.

Yet theories about this phenomenon still aren’t taken seriously in many mainstream and establishment circles.

We know for a fact that the dinosaurs did not have a space program. But we do, and we need to use it, Bridenstine said.

NASA chief

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine at the Planetary Defense Conference in Washington, DC. Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute / Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot

Bridenstine is among a growing number of researchers and scientists who are suggesting that governments put more effort into space programs that are specifically tasked with formulating a plan for incoming meteors and space debris.

On December 18, a massive meteor exploded over in the earth’s atmosphere, but the details of the blast have just been uncovered recently. The fireball reportedly flew over the Bering Sea, in the Pacific Ocean between Russia and Alaska.

Researchers all over the world survey for signs of disturbance around the clock and many of them initially recorded the blast.

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Peter Brown at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, spotted the meteor in measurements picked up by at least 16 monitoring stations globally, according to NewScientist.

Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen’s University Belfast, UK said that “It would have been quite spectacular,” to see.

The meteor was reportedly 10 meters in diameter and had a mass of 1400 tonnes. The meteor impacted with an energy of 173 kilotons of TNT, Peter Brown said on Twitter. The energy caused by the explosion was incredible, registering at nearly ten the force of the blast from an atomic bomb.

Believe it or not, this type of occurrence is actually fairly common. Blasts like this have been recorded all over the world for the past few decades. The chart below shows fireballs spotted larger than three kilotons in the past several years.

When you see these infrasound waves, you know immediately that there has been an impact or a large release of energy,bsays Fitzsimmons.

Meteor chart

Fireballs reported by US sensors / Photo Credit: NASA

This was the third-largest impact in modern history, surpassed by the 2013 Chelyabinsk explosion, and a huge blast in 1908 near Siberia, Russia. In the Chelyabinsk explosion, more than 900 hundred people were injured, mostly by broken glass. The meteor reportedly weighed 10 tons and entered the atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000 kilometers per hour, exploding between 30 to 50 kilometers above the ground, According to NewScientist.

There are a large number of videos of the Russian meteor strike because it is common for Russian drivers to use dashboard-mounted cameras to prove liability in car accidents. This video footage gave scientists an unprecedented treasure trove of data for their research.

Of course, we have far less documentation of the Tunguska event, which occurred near Siberia in 1908 and flattened an estimated 80 million trees over an area of more than 2000 square kilometers. The Tunguska event is the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history. The explosion registered at seismic stations across Eurasia and air waves from the blast were detected in Germany, Denmark, Croatia, the UK, and as far away as Jakarta and Washington, D.C.

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Internet Discovers That A Phallic-Looking “Penis-Flytrap” Exists In Remote Forests

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Pictures began to circulate on the internet of a strange plant that appears to have a phallic shape. A page called “Pictures in History” seems to be where the picture originated, and the caption described the plant as a “penis-flytrap.” Curiosity and controversy followed, with many people unsure if the image was real. Facebook fact-checkers were soon on the job to verify that this was, in fact, a real plant.

According to Snopes:

“In March 2019, images of a plant dubbed a “penis flytrap” — a play on words that evokes the comparatively less phallic Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) — went viral. These posts all described the plant as belonging to the Nepenthes genus. Though the provenance of the image shown above is uncertain, we have no reason to doubt this is an authentic photograph of a plant that belongs to the Nepenthes genus.”

Snopes emailed Clinton Morse, the living plant collections manager at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology for some more information about the photos.

It is certainly a Nepenthes species and certainly looks like an authentic image. … All Nepenthes have a similar passive pitfall trap that develops with a closed trap, and as the trap matures the ‘lid’ opens up. The pitchers in the attached image are just starting to open thus giving them a rather penile appearance. I’ve never heard of them being called “penis fly trap,” but it is a rather accurate descriptive name,” Morse said.

It turns out that “penis flytrap” was a fitting nickname for this strange plant because just like the Venus flytrap, this plant also catches its prey with its strange appearance.

Plants of this genus utilize a passive method of attraction and entrapment to capture and digest their insect quarry. The lip of the pitcher, a ridged double-edged collar called the peristome, is characterized by the presence of nectaries that attract insects to the pitcher opening. A lining of several layers of epicuticular wax on the upper region of the pitcher causes the insects to lose their footing while foraging and to slip down the steep walls of the pitcher into its base where they are trapped in a fluid,” a scientific review discovered by Snopes said.

The trap contains a fluid that the plant produces itself. The fluid often becomes watery or syrupy and is used to drown the insect prey.

“Research has shown this fluid contains viscoelastic biopolymers that may be crucial to the retention of insects within the traps of many species“, according to Wikipedia. The fluid in the traps is incredibly efficient, especially for trapping winged insects.

The plant is often described as a “carnivorous climbing vine” which can sometimes grow up to 4m high. The plant creates passive pitfall traps which are produced at the tips of the leaves. This species is most often seen in mossy forests between 800 and 2000 m above sea level. In Sumatra, it grows from the rocks along the coast up to a height of 1600 m, according to the University of Connecticut.

In addition to insects, Nepenthes may even occasionally catch small vertebrates, such as rats and lizards.

Photo Credit: Pictures In History

The lower part of the plant’s trap contains glands which absorb nutrients from captured insects. Along the upper inside part of the trap is a slick, waxy coating which makes it impossible for prey to escape. Surrounding the entrance to the trap is a structure called the peristome or “the lip” which has bright colors to attract prey, and a slippery surface that traps them. The colors are often seen as light-green, with light or dark-red or violet spots.

The genus name Nepenthes was first published in 1737 in Carl Linnaeus’s Hortus Cliffortianus. The name is a reference to a passage in Homer’s Odyssey, where a potion called “Nepenthes pharmakon” is given to Helen by an Egyptian queen.

After its discovery, Carl Linnaeus said of the plant, “If this is not Helen’s Nepenthes, it certainly will be for all botanists. What botanist would not be filled with admiration if, after a long journey, he should find this wonderful plant. In his astonishment past ills would be forgotten when beholding this admirable work of the Creator!”

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