cosmic dust holds ingredients for life, winter hues, three of the most dangerous provisions of the patriot act

If you took biology in school you probably heard about the famous Miller-Urey experiments of 1952 in which  in which they simulated atmospheric conditions on early earth. They determined that if the elements found in that atmosphere were put together they would produce organic compounds. The basic building blocks from which life could evolve. Repetitions of the experiment in  2007 found that Miller-Urey actually under counted the amount of complex compounds that would be produced. Nature has been observed to be carrying out its own Miller-Urey experiment in space – Cosmic Dust Contains Organic Matter from Stars

Researchers at the University of Hong Kong observed stars at different evolutionary phases and found that they are able to produce complex organic compounds and eject them into space, filling the regions between stars. The compounds are so complex that their chemical structures resemble the makeup of coal and petroleum, the study’s lead author Sun Kwok, of the University of Hong Kong, said.

Such chemical complexity was thought to arise only from living organisms, but the results of the new study show that these organic compounds can be created in space even when no life forms are present. In fact, such complex organics could be produced naturally by stars, and at an extremely rapid pace.

“What impressed me most is that complex organics are easily formed by stars, they are everywhere in our own galaxy and in other galaxies,” Kwok told in an email interview. “Nature is much more clever than we had imagined.”


[  ]…The scientists also found that the chemical structure of organic star dust is similar to complex organics found in meteorites. Since meteorites originate from space rocks that are remnants of the early solar system, the results of the study suggest that stars could have enriched the early solar system with organic compounds, Kwok said.

“It is quite possible that the organics in meteorites are remnants of star dust in the solar nebula,” he explained. “The star dust [was] ejected by nearby planetary nebula[s] and survived the journey across the galaxy.”

Early in the Earth’s formation history, the planet was pummeled in a shower of meteorites and comets during a period known as the Late Heavy Bombardment. Since the organic compounds in meteorites are similar to what was found in stellar dust, the results of this new study show that the barrage of meteorites that fell to Earth during the Late Heavy Bombardment could have carried organic star dust.


winter snow, twilight

winter hues wallpaper

Every despotic movement has despised objective news reporting – Franklin Center: Right-Wing Funds State News Source

According to Media Transparency, a media watchdog group that was acquired by Media Matters Action Network in 2008, the Bradley Foundation’s clear political agenda and network has allowed it to have extensive influence on public policy. The media group notes that while the Foundation’s “targets range from affirmative action to social security, it has seen its greatest successes in the area of welfare ‘reform’ and attempts to privatize public education through the promotion of school vouchers.” The Bradley Foundation gave the Franklin Center $190,500 last year.


If this sounds like just another far Right echo chamber feeding the usual propaganda to the already converted like Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News or extremist websites like World News Daily, it is not. many of its “reports” are being picked up and relayed to the general public as actual news. The Franklin Center has issued erroneous but well-timed stories, completely lacking any facts, that insinuated corruption against more moderate political candidates in West Virginia and Wisconsin. The FC has also issued utterly bogus polls that showed people did not support bargaining rights in Wisconsin when independent pollsters showed that a majority of state residents did support union bargaining rights. The FC has also been in league with the right-wing ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) pushing the purported virtue of its model legislation – much of which is directed at teachers and other public employees. Certainly people have a right to hold such opinions, but issuing “news” reports that show these public employees in a bad light is not journalism, it is advocacy disguised as journalism. CNN and CBS among other mainstream media outlets have passed on FC “reports” as real news.

Post WW II beer sign and train yard

Ten Years After the Patriot Act, a Look at Three of the Most Dangerous Provisions Affecting Ordinary Americans


Under this provision, the FBI can obtain secret court orders for business records and other “tangible things” so long as the FBI says that the records are sought “for an authorized investigation . . . to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

That provision comes with a bonus. If the person or business feels they have been unfairly singled out they are prohibited by a built-in gag order from telling anyone.


Among the most used — and outright frightening — provisions in the PATRIOT Act are those that enhanced so-called National Security Letters (NSLs). The FBI can issue NSLs itself, without a court order, and demand a variety of records, from phone records to bank account information to Internet activity. As with 215 orders, recipients are gagged from revealing the orders to anyone.

While NSLs existed prior to 2001, they were infrequently used. The PATRIOT Act lowered the standard making it easier for the FBI to use NSLs to obtain the records of innocent people with no direct link to terrorists or spies, and their use skyrocketed. According to the ACLU’s report on PATRIOT Act abuses, there were 8,500 NSLs issued in 2000 but approximately 192,000 issued between 2003-2006. All of these NSL’s led to one terror conviction, and in that case, the NSL wasn’t even needed.


Related to the issuance of these NSL’s was Bush warrantless surveillance program and nationwide paranoia brought in thousands of so-called leads to the FBI, but most of those were time and resource wasters according to the FBI.


Section 213 of the PATRIOT Act normalized “sneak-and-peek” warrants. These allow law enforcement to raid a suspect’s house without notifying the recipient of the seizure for months.  These orders usually don’t authorize the government to actually seize any property — but that won’t stop them from poking around your computers.  Again, sneak-and-peek warrants could be used for any investigation, even if the crime was only a misdemeanor.

From 2006-2009, sneak-and-peek warrants were used a total of 1,755 times. Only fifteen of those cases—a microscopic 0.8%—involved terrorism. The rest were used in cases involving drugs or fraud.

These uses and abuses of the PATRIOT Act against ordinary Americans are only the tip of the iceberg.


It is difficult to pick a favorite abuse of the patriot Act, but the last one is my favorite. Let’s say you’re just a national security geek, or you like reading about spies and terror related stories. You do a lot of searching related to same on the net. You do a lot of e-mail correspondence with acquaintances. The FBI can knock down your door, whether you or your family are there are not and search everything. They can leave without explanation or repairing your door or any other damage to your property. They are also not held responsible for any damage to your reputation or income should it get around to your neighbors or employer.

Fitz and The Tantrums performing “Pickin’ Up The Pieces Of Love”

Fitz and The Tantrums at the iTunes store.

The Incognito Traveller – Chaleur. This video is also a kind of tribute to the black and white films of  Jean-Luc Godard.