Archive for April 2012

New World Trade Center Tower One now tallest in New York City   Leave a comment


It is an interesting coincidence that one year after the murderous terrorist Osama Bin Laden was killed, the new One World Trade Center has become the tallest building in the Big Apple.

Construction slowed in January and February due to high winds and the building remained at the 92nd floor. By March, construction progressed above the 92nd floor. As of April 28, 2012, the tower’s steel has risen to the 102nd floor, concrete flooring is at the 92nd floor, and glass panels have reached the 74th floor.  The building’s structure is expected to top out in Spring 2012, whereupon its 408-foot (124 m) steel spire will be installed. The building surpassed the Empire State Building as tallest in the city on 30th April 2012.












Posted April 30, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Weird Flavoured Food and Drink   4 comments

Hot Dog flavoured potato chips


Hot Dog stuffed pizza crust


Bacon flavoured soda


Bacon (again?) flavoured milkshake


Buffalo-wing milkshake




Peanut butter and jelly vodka


Pizza Flavoured beer


Root beer flavoured milk

Posted April 29, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Winnipeg construction photos from the air   Leave a comment

Winnipeg Free Press

Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  Amazing architecture, but a money sinkhole possibly.



New Disraeli Freeway Bridge





The new Blue Bombers stadium at the University of Manitoba campus.  How the planners expected the stadium to be ready by this June is anybody’s guess.  All the Kings horses and all the Kings men could not have put this together when the season begins again.





Posted April 29, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Marijuana could be legalized.   Leave a comment


Police resources in North America are tied up with marijuana enforcement way beyond what they should be.  If marijuana was legalized it could be sold in for example, the Manitoba Marijuana Control Commission, MC for short.  The tax revenue generated by the legal sale of pot could repair all the pot-holed highways in Manitoba. 

And the police could get around to making society safer from the real thugs out there.  Instead of busting regular citizens who smoke a bit of pot and are just laying back.



Map of legality of cannibis worldwide




But there are just too many anti-drug forces in the United States for legalization to ever become reality.  Or is there?


Posted April 29, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Hush   Leave a comment



Posted April 28, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Religious Belief and Analytical Thinking   Leave a comment


Scientific American

Losing Your Religion: Analytic Thinking Can Undermine Belief

A series of new experiments shows that analytic thinking can override intuitive assumptions, including those that underlie religious belief

By  Marina Krakovsky

People who are intuitive thinkers are more likely to be religious, but getting them to think analytically even in subtle ways decreases the strength of their belief, according to a new study in Science.

The research, conducted by University of British Columbia psychologists Will Gervais and Ara Norenzayan, does not take sides in the debate between religion and atheism, but aims instead to illuminate one of the origins of belief and disbelief. “To understand religion in humans,” Gervais says, “you need to accommodate for the fact that there are many millions of believers and nonbelievers.”




One of their studies correlated measures of religious belief with people’s scores on a popular test of analytic thinking. The test poses three deceptively simple math problems. One asks: “If it takes five machines five minutes to make five widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?” The first answer that comes to mind—100 minutes—turns out to be wrong. People who take the time to reason out the correct answer (five minutes) are, by definition, more analytical—and these analytical types tend to score lower on the researchers’ tests of religious belief.

But the researchers went beyond this interesting link, running four experiments showing that analytic thinking actually causes disbelief. In one experiment, they randomly assigned participants to either the analytic or control condition. They then showed them photos of either Rodin’s The Thinker or, in the control condition, of the ancient Greek sculpture Discobolus, which depicts an athlete poised to throw a discus. (The Thinker was used because it is such an iconic image of deep reflection that, in a separate test with different participants, seeing the statue improved how well subjects reasoned through logical syllogisms.) After seeing the images, participants took a test measuring their belief in God on a scale of 0 to 100. Their scores on the test varied widely, with a standard deviation of about 35 in the control group. But it is the difference in the averages that tells the real story: In the control group, the average score for belief in God was 61.55, or somewhat above the scale’s midpoint. On the other hand, for the group who had just seen The Thinker, the resulting average was only 41.42. Such a gap is large enough to indicate a mild believer is responding as a mild nonbeliever—all from being visually reminded of the human capacity to think.




Another experiment used a different method to show a similar effect. It exploited the tendency, previously identified by psychologists, of people to override their intuition when faced with the demands of reading a text in a hard-to-read typeface. Gervais and Norenzayan did this by giving two groups a test of participants’ belief in supernatural agents like God and angels, varying only the font in which the test was printed. People who took the belief test in the unclear font (a typewriterlike font set in italics) expressed less belief than those who took it in a more common, easy-to-read typeface. “It’s such a subtle manipulation,” Norenzayan says. “Yet something that seemingly trivial can lead to a change that people consider important in their religious belief system.” On a belief scale of 3 to 21, participants in the analytic condition scored an average of almost two points lower than those in the control group.

Analytic thinking undermines belief because, as cognitive psychologists have shown, it can override intuition. And we know from past research that religious beliefs—such as the idea that objects and events don’t simply exist but have a purpose—are rooted in intuition. “Analytic processing inhibits these intuitions, which in turn discourages religious belief,” Norenzayan explains.

Harvard University psychologist Joshua Greene, who last year published a paper on the same subject with colleagues Amitai Shenhav and David Rand, praises this work for its rigorous methodology. “Any one of their experiments can be reinterpreted, but when you’ve got [multiple] different kinds of evidence pointing in the same direction, it’s very impressive.”

The study also gets high marks from University of California, Irvine, evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala, the only former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science to have once been ordained as a Catholic priest, and who continues to assert that science and religion are compatible. Ayala calls the studies ingenious, and is surprised only that the effects are not even stronger. “You would expect that the people who challenge the general assumptions of their culture—in this case, their culture’s religious beliefs—are obviously the people who are more analytical,” he says.

The researchers, for their part, point out that both reason and intuition have their place. “Our intuitions can be phenomenally useful,” Gervais says, “and analytic thinking isn’t some oracle of the truth.”

Greene concurs, while also raising a provocative question implicit in the findings: “Obviously, there are millions of very smart and generally rational people who believe in God,” he says. “Obviously, this study doesn’t prove the nonexistence of God. But it poses a challenge to believers: If God exists, and if believing in God is perfectly rational, then why does increasing rational thinking tend to decrease belief in God?”



Religious belief in North America


Posted April 27, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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J-Roc likes to work, ” know what im sayin”   Leave a comment


It is getting to the point that whenever I turn on the TV I see J-Roc, actor Jonathon Torrens doing some show.  Recently I saw him hosting Wipeout Canada.  He is best known for his role as J-Roc on Trailer Park Boys where his trademark saying was “know what im saying.”

This guy will take any TV gig.  I guess he needs the moolah, “know what im saying.”




Jonathan Ormond Torrens (born October 25, 1972) is a Canadian actor and television personality best known for his co-hosting of Street Cents, his talk show Jonovision, and his role as “J-Roc” in the popular Canadian mockumentary Trailer Park Boys.  In October 2009, Torrens began hosting TV with TV’s Jonathan Torrens, a comedic newsmagazine program broadcast on the TVtropolis network.


Torrens’s past work includes co-hosting CBC Television’s teen-oriented consumer affairs series Street Cents from 1989 until 1996. He then went on to host, co-produce and write for his own teen-oriented talk show, Jonovision, from 1996 until 2001.

In 1998 he played David in Beefcake, a movie about 1950s muscle magazines and their connection with the homosexual community. The same year, he won a Gemini in the category of Best Short Dramatic Program for his work on Nan’s Taxi. In 1999, he hosted and narrated a 33 minute docudrama on the consequences of impaired driving for the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC) called When Choices Collide. In 2001 he played Tony Moressa on the show Pit Pony and had two appearances on Royal Canadian Air Farce as ‘The Clean Cut Keen SportsNet Guy’. From there he went on to play Daniel VanDusen on Rideau Hall in 2002 and had a guest appearance on This Hour Has 22 Minutes. In 2003, he starred in the CBC six episode mini-series Jonathan Crosses Canada, in which he travelled across Canada in a Winnebago.

During the summer of 2004 he starred as “The Gotta-be-Gay-Guy” on the Spike TV mock reality show, Joe Schmo 2,  and has made appearances on the shows The Greatest Canadian and 50 Most Outrageous TV Moments. In 2005 he played Mike in Dirty Love, a romantic comedy starring Playboy playmates Jenny McCarthy and Carmen Electra that held six nominations for the 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards and won the award for Worst Picture.

He also played Shane McKay, Emma Nelson’s biological father on Degrassi: The Next Generation. Torrens had a recurring role as J-Roc on the television series Trailer Park Boys.  He also appeared in both of the Trailer Park Boys movies. In November and December 2008 Jonathan was the guest host of several episodes of the CBC radio show Definitely Not the Opera.

In 2008 he appeared in the award-winning short film Treevenge, directed by Jason Eisener.

In 2009, Torrens debuted in his own television show called TV With TV’s Jonathan Torrens on Canadian specialty network TVtropolis. As of 2010, Torrens is one of the co-hosts of the reality television series Wipeout Canada, which also airs on TVtropolis.

Torrens plays the role of Robert Cheeley, vice principal of Xavier Academy on the CBC sitcom, Mr. D.





Posted April 27, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Heavy drinking problems on South Dakota reservation   1 comment

Are beer firms to blame for Native American drink woe?

By Pia Gadkari BBC News, White Clay, Nebraska

After years of failed efforts to address chronic alcoholism, can a $500m (£308m) dollar lawsuit against the beer supply-chain put an end to one tribe’s deadly struggle with alcohol?

For generations, the dream of a sober society has eluded the largest tribe of Native Americans in the US.

Members of the Oglala Sioux tribe, living in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, have long tried to shut down the beer stores just across the state line in White Clay, Nebraska.

The four beer shops in the tiny town of White Clay (population: a dozen) operate just steps from the reservation. Between them they sell more beer per head than almost anywhere else in the US – a total of about 13,000 12oz (350ml) servings each day.

“I’m 52 years old and I come up here because I’m an alcoholic,” says one Pine Ridge resident, Bald Eagle. He is one of several people who spends his days on the street that runs through White Clay, drinking.

“And I love my alcohol,” Bald Eagle says. “For me, it’s my life-blood.”

“I wake up with a hangover every morning. But you know what? I’m smart. I drink a gallon of water every morning. Sometimes I get lucky and I find a beer on the street. That’s just the way it is.”



‘How people drink’

The White Clay beer stores are the most accessible source of alcohol for members of the tribe, who live on a reservation where the sale or possession of alcohol is forbidden. It has also been the scene of a few horrific crimes.

The tribe has led protests and marches to shame the store owners. It has asked for tougher laws that would make it harder to sell and consume alcohol in the area. It has lobbied for stricter enforcement of Nebraska’s existing liquor laws.

Nothing has worked, and Pine Ridge leaders have decided to take a new approach. They have filed a lawsuit seeking $500m (£309m) in damages from not just the beer stores, but distributors and breweries as well.

The core of the Oglala Sioux lawsuit is an allegation that the big breweries and distributors supplying beer to White Clay knew it would eventually be consumed or sold on the reservation illegally.

“What little money our people get, it goes to White Clay. And the distributors are aware of what poor people we are but they don’t care,” Tom Poor Bear, the tribe’s vice-president, says. “They’ll take our last dime.”

Tom White, the lawyer representing the tribe, says a combination of factors make it virtually impossible for tribal members to drink their alcohol legally.

White Clay and Pine Ridge are extremely geographically isolated. The nearest towns that sell alcohol are more than 20 miles (32km) away and Pine Ridge is the biggest town in the area.



In Nebraska it is forbidden to drink in public or a car, and reselling alcohol is illegal. But White Clay has no bars that could serve alcohol legally and only about three private homes where drinking would be permitted.

Possessing and drinking alcohol has been totally banned in Pine Ridge reservation for more than 100 years, except for a short period in the 1970s. Nevertheless, bootlegging on the reservation is said to be rampant.

The quantities of alcohol being sold in White Clay are so vast, there is no reasonable way it could all be consumed legally, the complaint says.

The lawsuit also argues that the drinking, fuelled by alcohol sales in White Clay, has caused devastating harm to the tribe, causing lawlessness and violence, poor public health and anaemic economic development.

At the peak of the violence, in the 1990s, a series of grisly, unsolved killings of Oglala Sioux tribe members in White Clay spurred the tribe into pushing for change.

Despite their efforts, the situation did not improve.

Over the years, scores of people have been killed in drunken brawls and drink-driving accidents. Local authorities say as much as 90% of crime on the reservation is linked in some way to excessive drinking.

“People get stabbed, people get enraged,” says Pine Ridge resident Ben Mesteth, who has been sober for about four years. “That’s just part of how people drink down here.”

According to the complaint, average life expectancy on the reservation is between 45 and 52 years, significantly below the average US life expectancy of over 77 years.

As many as 50% of adults over the age of 40 have diabetes, and the incidence of tuberculosis is 800% higher than it is across the rest of the country, the tribe’s filing says.

Meanwhile, it adds, teenage suicide is 150% and infant mortality is 300% higher than the US as a whole.

Finally, the complaint alleges that the drinking deters private investment and economic development in the area, whereas unemployment is estimated to be at least 80%.

For many residents, alcohol is “the only thing that makes everything go away,” says Megan White Pike, as she points out her own mother among a group of people sitting in the shade on the streets of White Clay.

She waves across the street to a cousin who she says is also here for beer.

The complaint asks for an injunction to restrict alcohol sales in White Clay to what could be legally consumed, and for an estimated $500m in compensation for damages and social harm caused by the alcohol.

‘Not illegal’

The beer companies have until Friday 27 April to respond to the lawsuit, and are expected to ask the court to dismiss the case. They declined to comment for this story. After the deadline a judge has between 30 and 60 days to decide whether to hear the case in a federal court.

As the lines get longer outside the White Clay beer stores in the late afternoon, defenders say tribe members need to be responsible for their own choices.

“It’s not illegal to buy alcohol at a place that sells it legally,” says Vic Clark, one of the few actual residents of White Clay. He runs a general store there that does not sell beer – but he defends the right of the beer shop owners to do so.

“We may know that it’s going to be an illegal thing, but on the other hand so does the guy in Rushville, so does the guy in Rapid City.”

For Tom Poor Bear, however, saying that “everybody does it” is no longer a good enough excuse.

“We’ve always been on the defence,” says Mr Poor Bear. “Personally, I’m tired of being on the defence. The best offence that we could come up with was this lawsuit.”


Posted April 27, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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March of the Templars   1 comment






The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Latin: Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici), commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple (French: Ordre du Temple or Templiers) or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders.  The organization existed for nearly two centuries during the Middle Ages.

Officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favored charity throughout Christendom, and grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades.  Non-combatant members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking,  and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.





Posted April 27, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Running around the World   Leave a comment





Posted April 26, 2012 by markosun in Uncategorized

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