Jesus is really, really pissed -- at Hollywood, at the media, even at most Christians. But BattleCry, the nation’s largest and most radical youth crusade, is recruiting a new generation of Christian soldiers to fight back.
This is how you enlist in the Army of God: First come the fireworks and the prayers, and then 4,000 kids scream, "We won't be silent anymore!" Then the kids drop to their knees, still but for the weeping and regrets of fifteen-year-olds. The lights in the Cleveland arena fade to blue, and a man on the stage whispers to them about sin and love and the Father-God. They rise, heartened; the crowd, en masse, swears off "harlots and adultery"; the twenty-one-year-old MC twitches taut a chain across the ass of her skintight red jeans and summons the followers to show off their best dance moves for God. "Gimme what you got!" she shouts. They dance -- hip-hop, tap, toe and pelvic thrusting. Then they're ready. They're about to accept "the mark of a warrior," explains Ron Luce, commander in chief of BattleCry, the most furious youth crusade since young sinners in the hands of an angry God flogged themselves with shame in eighteenth-century New England. Nearly three centuries later, these 4,000 teens are about to become "branded by God." It's like getting your head shaved when you join the Marines, Luce says, only the kids get to keep their hair. His assistants roll out a cowhide draped over a sawhorse, and Luce presses red-hot iron into the dead flesh, projecting a close-up of sizzling cow skin on giant movie screens above the stage.
"When you enlist in the military, there's a code of honor," Luce preaches, "same as being a follower of Christ." His Christian code requires a "wartime mentality": a "survival orientation" and a readiness to face "real enemies." The queers and communists, feminists and Muslims, to be sure, but also the entire American cultural apparatus of marketing and merchandising, the "techno-terrorists" of mass media, doing to the morality of a generation what Osama bin Laden did to the Twin Towers. "Just as the events of September 11th, 2001, permanently changed our perspective on the world," Luce writes, "so we ought to be awakened to the alarming influence of today's culture terrorists. They are wealthy, they are smart, and they are real."
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the particle smasher being built at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, suffered a serious setback when a support structure for key magnets failed during routine tests on 27 March. The magnet assembly was made by Fermilab, CERN's main rival in Batavia, Illinois.
The so-called inner triplet magnets are designed to squeeze the LHC's counter-rotating proton beams and make them collide at four points along the 27-kilometre-long tunnel. The magnets are cooled using superfluid helium at 1.9 kelvins inside a vacuum, but a structure holding the magnets in place broke when asymmetric forces of the kind expected during the LHC's operation were applied.
"It wasn't strong enough," says Fermilab's Peter Limon, who is now at CERN. He adds that "people are disappointed, of course, but there are no recriminations".
The quickening pace of our universe's expansion may not be driven by a mysterious force called dark energy after all, but paradoxically, by the collapse of matter in small regions of space.
Astronomers were astonished to discover in 1998 that the expansion of the universe is happening at an ever-increasing rate. The mysterious repulsive force responsible for this was dubbed dark energy, though scientists still do not know what it is.
Now, physicist Syksy Rasanen of CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, says we might not need dark energy after all. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the increasing rate of expansion might be due to the collapse of small regions of the universe under gravity, he says.
An odd, six-sided, honeycomb-shaped feature circling the entire north pole of Saturn has captured the interest of scientists with NASA's Cassini mission.
NASA's Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft imaged the feature over two decades ago. The fact that it has appeared in Cassini images indicates that it is a long-lived feature. A second hexagon, significantly darker than the brighter historical feature, is also visible in the Cassini pictures. The spacecraft's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer is the first instrument to capture the entire hexagon feature in one image.
"This is a very strange feature, lying in a precise geometric fashion with six nearly equally straight sides," said Kevin Baines, atmospheric expert and member of Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We've never seen anything like this on any other planet. Indeed, Saturn's thick atmosphere where circularly-shaped waves and convective cells dominate is perhaps the last place you'd expect to see such a six-sided geometric figure, yet there it is."
a linear structure on a dynamic gas planet? this is truly weird...
Artist Jabbar Muhaybis stood amid the ashes of Baghdad's storied literary bazaar. Bloodstained pages were scattered at his feet. A wooden crate, eerily reminiscent of a coffin, covered his head.
Muhaybis spread his arms wide and, in a symbolic gesture, sadly intoned from the darkness of his crate: "The light will not shine here again."
Days after a suicide bomber plowed his explosives-laden truck into the heart of Mutanabi Street, Baghdad's intellectual icons gathered to mourn a place that had been their inspiration and refuge through decades of invasion, war and dictatorship.
Iraq's urban, educated, largely secular middle class had everything to gain from the fall of Saddam Hussein's oppressive and isolating regime. Four years later, it is on the way to being wiped out.
Writers, doctors and university professors are hunted down and killed. Entrepreneurs and engineers are kidnapped for lucrative ransoms. And the symbols of Iraq's intellectual heritage — its bookstores, libraries, museums and archeological sites — have been plundered and burned.
More than 200 Iraqi academics, 110 physicians and 76 journalists have been killed since Hussein's fall, according to figures compiled by government ministries and professional associations. Thousands of others have fled the country.
As the U.S.-led occupation enters its fifth year, holdouts of middle-class society are starting to ask: Who will be left to pick up the pieces when the fighting is done?
If anyone still thinks that the radical end-times "prophecy" movement is not a threat to peace and stability, think again. At the popular level, in terms of the TV preachers and the hot-selling prophecy books, the dispensational pre-trib stuff still reigns supreme. Most conservative-leaning Evangelical churches in America today are heavily influenced by popular dispensational theology to some extent. Even churches and pastors that don’t teach pretribulationalism still are influenced by dispensationalism to varying degrees.
The most dangerous element of this prophetic paradigm, however, is its doom-and-gloom view of the world. And in most cases, those who have a fascination with the end of the world have a particular fascination with war and militarism as well. More problematic, it assumes that their wars of choice are not just their own foreign policy preferences or personal opinions. Rather they are ordained by God. In 2003, more than a few pastors and influential Christian figures basically said that opposing the Iraq war was opposing God’s end-time plan. According to Evangelical end-times enthusiasts, if you opposed the Iraq war, you didn’t just hate your country and the troops, now you were opposing God and the Bible as well.
and surprise, surprise... Iran is next...
Fifteen British navy personnel have been captured at gunpoint by Iranian forces, the Ministry of Defence says.
The men were seized at 1030 local time when they boarded a boat in the Gulf, off the coast of Iraq, which they suspected was smuggling cars.
The Royal Navy said the group was on a routine patrol in Iraqi waters and were understood to be unharmed.
But Iranian state television quoted the Iran foreign ministry as saying they had illegally entered Iranian waters.
The Associated Press news agency is quoting US Navy official, Commander Kevin Aandahl, as saying that Iran's Revolutionary Guard were responsible.
The newlyweds knew it would be surprising, but they never expected it to go quite so badly.
As Donna and Mike entered their wedding reception, an unwitting announcer told the expectant crowd, "Ladies and gentleman, put your hands together for the new Mr. and Mrs. Salinger!"
Some guests clapped, some chuckled at what they presumed was a joke and most looked at one another in confusion. The couple spent the entire reception and some of their honeymoon explaining to people what they had done.
The groom, you see, had started his day as Mike Davis and ended it by doing something precious few of his brothers-in-arms do: He took his wife's last name instead of her taking his.
"Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought it would have caused as much of a stir as it did," says Mike Salinger, 27, of Seattle, who was married in November. "We knew people might be surprised, but we figured they'd say 'Huh' and get on with it.
"Three months later, I'm still taking (flak) from one of my college roommates."
Videos made by DO and his followers in the days leading up to the group's suicide.
i remember seeing these a decade ago... how strange...
A guilty liberal finally snaps, swears off plastic, goes organic, becomes a bicycle nazi, turns off his power, composts his poop and, while living in New York City, generally turns into a tree-hugging lunatic who tries to save the polar bears and the rest of the planet from environmental catastrophe while dragging his baby daughter and Prada-wearing, fours seasons-loving wife along for the ride.
good luck with that, Man...
France became the first country to open its files on UFOs on Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1600 sightings spanning five decades.
The online archives, which will be updated as new cases are reported, catalogues in minute detail cases ranging from the easily dismissed to a handful that continue to perplex even hard-nosed scientists.
"It is a world first," says Jacques Patenet, the aeronautical engineer who heads the office for the study of "non-identified aerospatial phenomena."
Known as OVNIs in French, UFOs have always generated intense interest along with countless conspiracy theories about secretive government cover-ups of findings deemed too sensitive or alarming for public consumption.
Of the 1600 cases registered since 1954, nearly 25% are classified as "type D", meaning that "despite good or very good data and credible witnesses, we are confronted with something we can't explain", Patenet says.
cc: crackpots, kooks, and tinfoil
Scientists have some lab mice seeing red. The animals had their vision genetically upgraded and can now see colors normally invisible to rodents.
The finding, detailed in the March 23 issue of the journal Science, has implications for the evolution of full-color, or “trichromatic,” vision in our own ancestors.
“What we are now looking at in these mice is the same evolutionary event that happened in one of the distant ancestors of all primates,” said study team member Jeremy Nathans of Johns Hopkins University.
/me foresees future superhumans seeing in UV and IR...
NASA released some absolutely amazing new images of the surface of the Sun today, taken by the Japanese Hinode spacecraft. Just look at the attached image with this story, and you’ll get a sense of why astronomers think this spacecraft will do for solar astronomy what Hubble has done for the visual spectrum.
For the first time, astronomers are able to see how tiny granules of hot gas rise and fall, caught up in the Sun’s magnetic atmosphere. They’re able to watch how magnetic variations start out, and then spread across the surface.
The photograph is beautiful, but the part that will really blow your mind is the video - too bad it’s only in black and white.
turns out old Sol's magnetic field is a lot more turbulent than previously thought
more awesome pics and videos here at the NASA Hinode website
With bidding stalled on some of the least desirable residences in Detroit's collapsing housing market, even the fast-talking auctioneer was feeling the stress.
"Folks, the ground underneath the house goes with it. You do know that, right?" he offered.
After selling house after house in the Motor City for less than the $29,000 it costs to buy the average new car, the auctioneer tried a new line: "The lumber in the house is worth more than that!"
As Detroit reels from job losses in the U.S. auto industry, the depressed city has emerged as a boomtown in one area: foreclosed property
At least 16 Detroit houses up for sale on Sunday sold for $30,000 or less.
A boarded-up bungalow on the city's west side brought $1,300. A four-bedroom house near the original Motown recording studio sold for $7,000.
"You can't buy a used car for that," said one man. "It's a gamble, and you have to wonder how low it's going to get."
how sad for my old digs... and current employment situation...
Next time he runs for president, things will be different. That was Al Gore's pledge to Democrats after the 2000 election: "If I had to do it all over again, I'd just let it rip. To hell with the polls, the tactics and all the rest. I would have poured out my heart and my vision for America's future."
Those words had a familiar ring. Fifteen years ago -- before he was vice president -- Gore wrote about his internal struggle between ambition and conscience: "I have become very impatient with my own tendency to put a finger to the political winds and proceed cautiously." He added, "Now, every time I pause to consider whether I have gone too far out on a limb, I look at the new facts that continue to pour in from around the world and conclude that I have not gone nearly far enough."
Gore's topic then was global warming -- the same subject that brings him, fresh from the Oscars, to Capitol Hill.
Will Gore run in 2008? The question will echo throughout his appearances Wednesday before the House and Senate committees dealing with climate change. It likely will echo through all of American politics for months to come. There are two ways to ponder the question.