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  1.  (11025.1)
    In Australia the Liberal Party are the conservatives (let that soak in for a minute...). Cue a maelstrom of confusion when Aussie 'large-L-liberals' start tweeting with #ImVotingLiberal, Aussie 'small-L-liberals' respond with sarcasm, and then various Americans stumble in with no idea what's going on...
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
     (11025.2)
    Here in the UK it seems the Labour party grew a bit of backbone and scuppered Cameron's attempt to get parliamentary support for strikes on Syria through before the UN inspectors report.

    Of course, Labour have only done this because an anti-war stance might win them some votes in a couple of years time given their pro-war stance when Blair was in control is partly why they got voted out in the first place...

    But still, it seems not all our MPs are ready to go to war quite yet.
    • CommentAuthorScrymgeour
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
     (11025.3)
    @ Doc Oc et al,
    I think the main issue is storming in without respect for rule of law and the UN, so good work labour
    •  
      CommentAuthorInternaut
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
     (11025.4)
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited
     (11025.5)
    @longtime - Wikipedia cites two articles from 2010 that give the following guesses: "the country’s nuclear arsenal [...] consists of more than 100 weapons, mainly two-stage thermonuclear devices, capable of being delivered by missile, fighter-bomber, or submarine" (The Atlantic) and "Analysts at British defense specialists Jane's believe the Jewish state has between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads" (AFP, via YNet).

    Edit: Just to say, there probably isn't a grain of salt in the world large enough with which to take these numbers.
    •  
      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
     (11025.6)
    IISS Military Balance 2013 says around 200. Federation of American Scientists say around 80.

    More.
    More.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited
     (11025.7)
    Well, if the US is going into Syria they're doing it without the UK... Cameron's motion was defeated by 13 votes, so we ain't joining in.

    I'm actually stunned by this to be honest, I really thought the Tories would force this one through somehow.

    Cameron: "It's clear to me that the British parliament and the British people do not wish to see military action; I get that, and I will act accordingly."
    •  
      CommentAuthorInternaut
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
     (11025.8)
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
     (11025.9)
    /\ Along with a very quick denial. I'M not holding out too much confidence in this.....
    •  
      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited
     (11025.10)
    Canada decides to fuck international touring musicians and small venues in the ass* by raising visa fees and slapping an additional venue fee on there for good measure.

    The regulations require that any venue with a primary business other than music but which also books bands or performers must now pay an application fee of $275 per musician and those travelling with the band (tour manager, sound person, guitar tech, etc.) when it applies for a Labour Market Opinion, or LMO, to allow those outside workers to perform and work in their establishment. That’s also in addition to an extra $150 for each approved musician and crew member’s work permit.

    Prior to the changes, the fee was simply $150 per band member, maxing out at $450, and that was a one-time fee for them to simply enter the country, which allowed venue owners across Canada to share the nominal cost or book them separately at no extra charge.

    Spencer Brown, the longtime booker for downtown venue The Palomino — which hosts a mix of local, national and out-of-country acts — was surprised by the changes, saying there was “no consultation, no warning, nothing of the sort,” and only learned of them when an agency he works with “called him in a panic” at the beginning of the month in regards to an upcoming show.


    Canoodians? Please contact your respective government representatives if you ever want live music from another country to come through ever again.

    *Not that there's anything wrong with butt sex between consenting adults, but this is more monetary-ass-fuckage which is not so pleasant.
    •  
      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
     (11025.11)
    Wow. That's stunning. It's almost like they think CanCon actually benefits Canadian artists.

    I wonder how festivals are covered. A festival isn't really a venue either way, although they're often 'primarily music' or whatever.

    Hey, Toronto folks, is the Horseshoe a bar or venue first? Do you think they can 'license' the front and back rooms separately?
    •  
      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
     (11025.12)
    Yeah I mean, in a 200 person venue, those sorts of costs are totally fucked.

    “If I have a one four-member American band at the Palomino, I’m looking at $1,700 Canadian just to get them on the bill — and that’s on top of paying out a sound tech, paying for posters, gear rental, paying the other bands, staffing,” Brown says, explaining there have been tweaks to the LMO in the past, but nothing this drastic or, in his eyes, damaging.

    “Concert promotion at this level is, in itself, a high-risk occupation. So this has just put it through the roof. There’s no way to start already $1,700 in the hole and break even. It’s impossible.”
    • CommentAuthorbadbear
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2013
     (11025.13)
    Superstition is biological.

    In 1948 the Polish born British anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski published a book on a study he conducted of the fishermen of the Trobriand Islands. Sometimes they fished in an inner lagoon, where fishing was pretty predictable. Every time they fished there, they got pretty much the same kind of catch. But they also fished in the open ocean, where the fish were bigger and harder to catch. Sometimes people would get great catches, and other times, terrible ones. The lure of the very rare great catch proved too tempting for the Trobrianders, so they ventured into the open ocean despite the odds—and developed a set of superstitions. These included rituals performed during fishing and the casting of magic spells.

    The circumstance dictated the explosion of rituals. We might think this is a completely human adaptation. But it turns out that the tendency to resort to ritual in an effort to manage a challenging situation isn’t exclusive to humans. In the same year that Malinowski published his experiment, American psychologist B. F. Skinner found that he could generate superstitious behavior in pigeons. He taught pigeons to press down on a bar in exchange for food. All animals can learn to do this, and this learning process is called reinforcement. But an interesting thing happens if the food is given at random intervals—that is, pressing the bar sometimes does, and sometimes does not, produce a treat, with no discernable pattern. Under these conditions, but not under reliable conditions, the pigeon will start repeating arbitrary, idiosyncratic behaviors before pressing the bar. It might bob its head, or turn around twice. The pigeon becomes superstitious.
    • CommentAuthorbadbear
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2013
     (11025.14)
    Also (please excuse the double post):

    Adam Curtis : Bugger. Maybe the real state secret is that spies aren't very good at their jobs and don't know very much about the world.

    Gives a new perspective on those questions about intelligence on Syria. Also gives a new perspective on James Bond.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2013
     (11025.15)
    • CommentAuthorbadbear
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2013
     (11025.16)
    @Wood

    Oh swearwords. I did a search to see if it had already been posted and everything. Mournful apologies.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2013
     (11025.17)
    Ha, no big deal. I posted that, like 2 weeks ago ? It's like 5 years in internet time ?

    Also it gives a second chance of reading this article (who is really, really good) for people who missed it the first time around.
    •  
      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2013
     (11025.18)
    Wow, badbear! What an interesting article, I'm so glad you posted that.




    /hugs Wood





    Seriously, though, it's fascinating, and it could stand to be double-posted.


    But really, Wood, it gets funnier every time it happens.
    •  
      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2013
     (11025.19)
    NICE CATCH, BADBEAR.
  2.  (11025.20)
    Australian Liberal Party candidate (for those outside our sunny shores, that's the conservative party who are about to win national government) wants to microchip people using a sniper rifle.