Most Scientific Papers Are Probably Wrong :.

Hang out with people in the University Industrial Complex long enough, and you won't believe the sh*t that goes on:

Most published scientific research papers are wrong, according to a new analysis. Assuming that the new paper is itself correct, problems with experimental and statistical methods mean that there is less than a 50% chance that the results of any randomly chosen scientific paper are true.

Research Credit: TR

Cryptogon Readers Ordering Interesting Books

First of all, thanks to all Cryptogon readers who are ordering their Amazon goods via Cryptogon. Those small referral fees add up! It's up to something like $21 this quarter.

I noticed a couple of interesting titles that your fellow Cryptogon readers have ordered. Check these out:

Amazing and Wonderful Mind Machines You Can Build by G. Harry Stine

Handy Farm Devices: And How to Make Them by Rolfe Cobleigh

If you want to buy something from Amazon AND support Cryptogon at the same time, simply click links related to books, like the ones above, or use the Amazon search box on the upper right hand side of the page.

Hint: The Amazon search box looks like this:

UPDATED: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Wheat Beer :.

Cryptogon readers deliver the goods!


Western Union Blocks Cash Transfers to People with Muslim Sounding Names :.

About a year ago, I wrote:
It's routine for house pets to receive pre-approved credit card offers. Many people "buy" homes for hundreds of thousands of dollars with no money down. Years later, they refinance those homes with interest only loans and take cash out in order to buy groceries, SUVs etc. Sure! Haul your fat ass down to WalMart and let it rip! You're a patriotic American with equity...

But try to take your chips off the table and get the hell out of this horror show before the big top collapses and suddenly you're dealing with a national security matter.
We have now moved to the next phase, where "terrorism" is being used as the excuse to actually prevent money transfers.

What if I'd had a Muslim sounding name? I wonder if my wife and I would have been able to get our money out of the U.S.

What's next? Will you will have to apply to the Department of Homeland Security for a permit to send money out? Maybe all money transfers by individuals will be stopped due to national security reasons. Who knows?!

After all, why would any patriotic American want to send money out of the Homeland?

Money transfer agencies have delayed or blocked thousands of cash deliveries on suspicion of terrorist connections simply because senders or recipients have names like Mohammed or Ahmed, company officials said.

In one example, an Indian driver here said Western Union prevented him from sending $120 to a friend at home last month because the recipient's name was Mohammed.

"Western Union told me that if I send money to Sahir Mohammed, the money will be blocked because of his name," said 36-year-old Abdul Rahman Maruthayil, who later sent the money through UAE Exchange, a Dubai-based money transfer service.

In a similar case, Pakistani Qadir Khan said Western Union blocked his attempt this month to wire money to his brother Mohammed for a cataract operation.

"Every Mohammed is a terrorist now?" Khan asked.

Dubai-based representatives from Western Union Financial Services, an American company based in Colorado, and Minnesota-based MoneyGram International said their clerks are simply following U.S.

Treasury Department guidelines that scrutinize cash flows for terrorist links. Most of the flagged transactions are delayed a few hours. Some are blocked entirely.

Cheneys Betting on Bad News? :.

Maybe he's been reading Cryptogon:

Vice President Dick Cheney's financial advisers are apparently betting on a rise in inflation and interest rates and on a decline in the value of the dollar against foreign currencies. That's the conclusion we draw after scouring the financial disclosure form released by Cheney recently.

Research Credit: LATOC

Uncle Donald Sharpens the Axe

Becky's uncle Donald recently paid us a visit to help us get our electric fences sorted out. He also sharpened all of our handtools while he was here.

Donald knows his sh*t and he gets results. He and his family run over 1000 bulls on a vast farm. The clan has also started up a midsized dairy operation. For those of you moving to rural areas, if you're lucky, you'll meet up with a wise dude like Donald. Learn everything you can from folks like this. Decades of experience go a long way out here:


Even Bush's crap is classified top secret. According to our Austrian sources, Austrian newspapers are currently abuzz with special security details of George W. Bush's recent trip to Vienna. Although the heavy-handed Gestapo-like security measures meted out to Viennese home owners, business proprietors, and pedestrians by US Secret Service agents and local police before and during Bush's visit received widespread Austrian media attention, it was White House "toilet security" ("TOILSEC"), which has Austrians talking the most. The White House flew in a special portable toilet to Vienna for Bush's personal use during his visit. The Bush White House is so concerned about Bush's security, the veil of secrecy extends over the president's bodily excretions. The special port-a-john captured Bush's feces and urine and flew the waste material back to the United States in the event some enterprising foreign intelligence agency conducted a sewage pipe operation designed to trap and examine Bush's waste material. One can only wonder why the White House is taking such extraordinary security measures for the presidential poop.


Cryptogon Reader Contributes $25

AB continues to show her support for Cryptogon with this contribution of $25. Thanks, AB! I hope your plans are working out. ;)

Want to Move to New Zealand? Here Are Some Factors to Consider

I recently suggested to my good friend, TR, that he should think about moving to New Zealand. He asked, "Now that you've lived there awhile, do you still think NZ is the place to be? Are there any serious drawbacks that you've found?"

I thought about it.

As someone who is disgusted with the U.S. in general, and looking to live a sane lifestyle, I think he'd be really happy in NZ. But, at the same time, there are some issues that he would need to be aware of.

I thought it was worth posting my response for those of you out there (and I know there are more than a few of you) who are considering a move to NZ:
Overall, I can't think of a place I'd rather be than New Zealand. I absolutely love it here (and I don't miss the U.S. at all).

The three main reasons why I think NZ is the place to be:

1) Low population
2) Physical isolation (insuring population stays low)
3) Natural environment allowing for just about any gardening/agricultural/farming endeavor imaginable

There are, however, some things that you might need to get used to over here. If these issues don't put you off, you would probably really like it here.

In a nutshell, rural NZ would be considered DOWN by average American standards, which (I think) is why it's so nice:


The pace of life doesn't get any slower than this. I wanted to live in a place like this more than anything, but, being here, I realize that (thankfully) most Americans/Europeans wouldn't be able to handle it.

The difference is shocking. There is no urban stress/stimulation here. (Auckland has it, if you want it.) I've talked to Kiwis who said that people from urban U.S., European and even New Zealand areas often can't stand how slow it is here and move back/away. One dude, who met me when I first got here, couldn't believe I was still here after two months. "You're still here? I didn't think you'd last this long." This is probably more of a rural thing than a NZ thing.


In many ways, NZ is like a frontier outpost. The range of products available here is VERY different than what is available in the U.S. You simply can't find many things, outside of essentials. Much of what is available just seems to cost more, in general, than in the U.S. (Just keep in mind: small, remote, island nation.) Obviously, anything can be imported, if you have the ability to pay. Very high quality stuff (tools, clothes, food, whatever) is EXTREMELY expensive. It's not just, "you get what you pay for." There seems to be an over-the-top premium on high quality goods. I think retailers assume something like, "If someone is going to buy this, they NEED to buy it, or they have money to burn, and I can name my price."

The general unavailability of books, and the cost of the books that are available, is a real shocker. Amazon, though, will ship them here, for extra fees.

The same Made in China crap that is available in the U.S. is pretty much available here, and it's cheap, if you want it.

One weird and disturbing thing: Untreated wood is almost impossible to find, and when you do find it, it's stupidly expensive. I've been told that 99% of the unfinished wood available for purchase is treated. I haven't been able to find untreated pine to make simple things like bookshelves and nesting boxes for chickens. It's all covered in carcinogenic crap to make it suitable for building structures in this (wet) environment. We're having to look at milling our own lumber, which we had planned to do eventually anyway, simply because untreated wood is so expensive and difficult to find. Quality chainsaws start at NZ$1000...


NZ's voice and data communications offerings are a disgrace and a national security problem. This situation stems from the criminal nature of Telecom New Zealand's monopoly control over the physical communications infrastructure.

While the government has finally forced "unbundling" of the local loop, opening it up to competition, it will be years before the situation on the ground changes.

As it stands now:

* If you want a simple, analog voice line, you will have to pay NZ$40 per month to Telecom. That's just for the line. It includes no usage/tolls/taxes/etc. Internet service, of course, costs more, BUT STILL REQUIRES THE $40 line rental (this requirement for Internet service will eventually be eliminated, because of the recent government legislation).

* Broadband plans are slow, expensive and ALWAYS metered. They are, quite simply, a joke by developed-world standards. There is no unlimited broadband plan available at any price in New Zealand. In almost all rural areas, there is no terrestrial broadband option available at all. We had to go with a satellite service that costs NZ$90 per month for 1gb of bandwidth. We will ditch Telecom when we get this service, and suffer from not having a local NZ phone number. There is no way to get a NZ phone number without paying Telecom that $40/month ransom. People will have to reach us via VoIP session or email.

* New Zealand mobile phone service is some of the most expensive in the world. It's so expensive that Becky and I wrote the offerings off as insulting. Here, at least, you get to choose who rips you off, Telecom or Vodaphone.


What is assumed for doing business in the U.S./Europe, in terms of the web, mostly doesn't exist in NZ. Very little business is done over the web; Googling for some widget is probably a waste of your time. (See the above Telecom Disaster section as a possible explanation for why this is so.) You need to develop 'local knowledge' if you want to know where to get this, that and the other thing. Many Kiwi business people make a point of NOT using computers. They don't like computers, don't want to use them, and wouldn't know a WWW if it came up from behind them bit them in the ass.

Credit cards are NOT ubiquitous here. They are expensive for people to have and use. As far as I know, there's no such thing as a credit card with no annual fees here. As such, there's no good way for a business to "get paid" here over the Internet. Some of them engage in a clumsy scheme by which you deposit money directly into their bank account as payments for goods and services. Getting credit card transaction clearing in NZ$ is an expensive nightmare.


It's not as high as Europe, but it's probably 20%-30% more expensive than in the U.S. NZ now appears to be in the beginning phases of experiencing serious, energy related problems. Prices on everything are rising. It's a combination of rising oil prices and a weakening NZ$. I've been watching this happen even since I've arrived here. EVERYONE laments the cost of fuel. Like most governments, the NZ government runs a criminal racket on fuel taxes and seems to be willing to let the thing hit the wall because they are taking in more revenue from the high prices... for the moment. Once demand destruction sets in from high prices, who knows...


Like to go to plays, eat different types of ethnic food, see movies in big screen theaters, go to concerts? Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are probably your best bets. In much of the country, including where we are in the Far North, there's very little to do along these lines. Again, this is a rural thing.


High taxes everywhere on everything. But what's the cost of being able to breathe the air and drink the water? Fish in the sea, hang out on empty beaches, ...lush hillsides, etc? I think NZ is still intact because it's a PHB hostile environment. The PHB can't really conduct search and destroy operations as effectively here as it can in other parts of the world. Lots of professionals leave New Zealand to avoid paying the taxes here. They sometimes return because they learn that "over there" sucks pretty bad. Kiwis who want to carve it up go Australia, Britain or the U.S. Good for them!

Well, those are the factors that I've encountered here that stand out most of all.

Secret UK Counter Terror Plan Found in Ditch :.

It's strange that this much information was included in a single document. I would think that more compartmentalization would have been employed than this.

Take it or leave it:

A SECRET military file found in a roadside ditch reveals how SAS troops and bomb disposal experts would be deployed in the event of a terrorist blitz.

The dynamite document - handed to us by the Sun reader who discovered it - tells how the elite forces would fly all over Britain in an emergency fleet of scrambled helicopters. It also:

DETAILS how Cabinet ministers, top brass and intelligence chiefs meet to discuss national emergencies on the "COBRA" security committee.

LISTS a host of ongoing anti-terror operations, along with their code names and commanders.

PROVIDES an A to Z telephone directory of the nation's most important military figures, including the Defence Secretary, the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Director of Special Forces, and

REVEALS the home addresses and even wives' names of the Defence Ministry's 28 leading counter-terrorist personnel, including one of the Army's most senior brigadiers.

The 46-page blueprint, which has come to light on the eve of the first anniversary of the 7/7 suicide bombings, was lost in a scandalous security blunder.

And it could easily have fallen into the wrong hands.

Research Credit: West

Man Raided After Handing Out 'Subversive' Alex Jones Material :.

Questioned about posession of George Washington speeches:

A Dillon Montana man had his home raided by 40 FBI, BATF and Canadian law enforcement agents after handing out Alex Jones' material to his local Sheriff which was subsequently deemed 'subversive'.


Hosting With Blue Host

I've been hosting Cryptogon on Blue Host for just over a year. I've been so impressed with the service that I personally started referring people to them. I know that five of these people went on to sign up for hosting.

Here's the bad news: I missed out on $65 EACH time one of these folks signed up for hosting with Blue Host.

Here's the good news: I'm now an affiliate, so now I will make $65 each time a Cryptogon reader/fan/supporter signs up for hosting with Blue Host.

I searched long and hard for a reliable and reasonably priced host for Cryptogon (after repeated disasters with other hosting companies). Check out Blue Host's features and reputation. You'll see why I went with them.

And I don't need to tell you about their reliability.

How often has Cryptogon been down over the past year? You, the Cryptogon reader, should know.

Exactly! It's never down. (Well, it may have been down once for about two hours, but I don't remember if that was their fault or mine... It was probably mine.)

So, if you're looking for the best hosting possible for a reasonable price AND you want to support Cryptogon, it's simple: Blue Host.

PLEASE NOTE: Sadly, there is some confusion about how I receive Blue Host referral payments.

IN ORDER FOR ME TO RECEIVE CREDIT, YOU MUST CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS TO BLUE HOST FROM CRYPTOGON.COM AND SIGN UP FROM THERE. If you just go to Blue Host, without clicking a link from Cryptogon, and sign up, I won't and can't get credit for it after the fact. So far, this has happened twice.

It's my fault for not making this explicitly clear in the first place. Sometimes, computer people, like me, assume things that shouldn't be assumed. This was one of those cases.


_______<- insert meaningful comment here:

Oil prices jumped to a record above $75 a barrel on Wednesday, propelled by a rally in gasoline that analysts said could send average U.S. pump prices past $3 a gallon by the weekend.

Kenny Boy Dies of Heart Attack :.

Imagine my shock:

Enron Corp. founder Kenneth Lay, who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history, died Wednesday of a heart attack in Colorado. He was 64.

The Pitkin, Colo., Sheriff's Department said officers were called to Lay's house in Old Snowmass, Colo., shortly after 1 a.m. Mountain time. He was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:11 a.m. Lay, who lived in Houston, frequently vacationed in Colorado.

Related: Kenny Boy

Related: Justice Can Wait


Off Topic: Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Wheat Beer :.

There are few areas where the self-supporter can make such large cash savings by creating a more delicious product to his or hew own taste---at just a fraction of the commercial cost. And what self-supporter would be without a constant and ample supply of this great lubricant for socialbility and wise reflection?

- John Seymour, The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It
Becky's dad gave me his old fermentation barrels, so I'm getting into home brewing! I have the inaugural cauldron (23 liters) of Coopers ale sitting here beside me. Becky's cousins make this stuff by the tanker load. It's pretty good.


I'm missing my favorite wheat beer of all: The incredible Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse from Munich, Germany. They've been making beer a little longer than me; since 1363 to be exact. So, obviously, I'm not getting my hopes up too high when I ask the following question... ;)

On the outside chance one of you is A) a home brewer and B) a fan of the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse, maybe you have had some success is devising a recipe that... you know?... reminds you of the real thing? Maybe there's a homebrew kit out there that approximates it? Let me know!

UPDATE: Cryptogon Readers Respond

MJ ( and wrote to let me know that his wife brews some competition grade beers using Beer Captured, by Tess Szamatulski and Mark Szamatulski. He also included a link for the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse recipe from the book:
Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse (from Beer Captured)

4 oz Belgian Aromatic Malt
2 oz Acid Malt

6 lb. 5 oz. Muntons Wheat Dry Malt Extract
2 1/4 oz. Malto Dextrin

1 oz. American Hallertauer @ 3.5% (bittering hop)

1/4 oz. Spalt (flavor hop)
1/4 oz. Perle (flavor hop)

White Labs #WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale Yeast

1 1/2 cup Muntons Wheat Dry Malt Extract

OG: 1.052

1) Heat 1/2 gallon water to 155, then add the grains. Steep for 30 minutes.
2) Sparge with 1 gallon 150 degree water, then bring wort to boil
3) Add extract & malto-dextrin, top off to 2 1/2 gallons, bring to boil
4) Add Hallertauer...boil 45 minutes
5) Add Spalt & Perle...boil additional 15 mins
6) Cool and top off to 5.5 gallons
7) Pitch yeast
Bart adds:
As far as the Franziskaner hefe-weizen is concerned, my local homebrew shop, Northern Brewer, makes a Hefe extract kit that regulars on their homebrew forum swear is like Franziskaner, only better.
Thanks guys!


Air Force Office of Scientific Research Mining Blogs :.

I wonder if the .mil algorithm can figure out which finger I'm holding up right now:

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research recently began funding a new research area that includes a study of blogs. Blog research may provide information analysts and warfighters with invaluable help in fighting the war on terrorism.

Dr. Brian E. Ulicny, senior scientist, and Dr. Mieczyslaw M. Kokar, president, Versatile Information Systems Inc., Framingham, Mass., will receive approximately $450,000 in funding for the 3-year project entitled "Automated Ontologically-Based Link Analysis of International Web Logs for the Timely Discovery of Relevant and Credible Information."

"It can be challenging for information analysts to tell what's important in blogs unless you analyze patterns," Ulicny said.

Patterns include the content of the blogs as well as what hyperlinks are contained within the blog.

Within blogs, hyperlinks act like reference citations in research papers thereby allowing someone to discover the most important events bloggers are writing about in just the same way that one can discover the most important papers in a field by finding which ones are the most cited in research papers.


CIA Mines 'Rich' Content from Blogs :.

Yep, and I've learned quite a bit from you spook sh*t for brains because you didn't mask your hostnames. Glad to see that you've finally sorted that out. Or, at least, think you've sorted it out. Have a nice day:

President Bush and U.S. policy-makers are receiving more intelligence from open sources such as Internet blogs and foreign newspapers than they previously did, senior intelligence officials said.

The new Open Source Center (OSC) at CIA headquarters recently stepped up data collection and analysis based on bloggers worldwide and is developing new methods to gauge the reliability of the content, said OSC Director Douglas J. Naquin.

"A lot of blogs now have become very big on the Internet, and we're getting a lot of rich information on blogs that are telling us a lot about social perspectives and everything from what the general feeling is to ... people putting information on there that doesn't exist anywhere else," Mr. Naquin told The Washington Times.

Eliot A. Jardines, assistant deputy director of national intelligence for open source, said the amount of unclassified intelligence reaching Mr. Bush and senior policy-makers has increased as a result of the center's creation in November.

"We're certainly scoring a number of wins with our ultimate customer," said Mr. Jardines, who became the first high-level official in charge of the government's nonsecret intelligence in December.


:. Reading

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell Readers will come to see that industrial food production is indeed a "fatal harvest" - fatal to consumers, as pesticide residues and new disease vectors such as E. coli and "mad cow disease" find their way into our food supply; fatal to our landscapes, as chemical runoff from factory farms poison our rivers and groundwater; fatal to genetic diversity, as farmers rely increasingly on high-yield monocultures and genetically engineered crops; and fatal to our farm communities, which are wiped out by huge corporate farms.

Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America by Bertram Myron Gross This is a relatively short but extremely cogent and well-argued treatise on the rise of a form of fascistic thought and social politics in late 20th century America. Author Bertram Gross' thesis is quite straightforward; the power elite that comprises the corporate, governmental and military superstructure of the country is increasingly inclined to employ every element in their formidable arsenal of 'friendly persuasion' to win the hearts and minds of ordinary Americans through what Gross refers to as friendly fascism.

The Good Life
by Scott and Helen Nearing
Helen and Scott Nearing are the great-grandparents of the back-to-the-land movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash...Fascinating, timely, and wholly useful, a mix of the Nearings' challenging philosophy and expert counsel on practical skills.

Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth by David Bollierd In Silent Theft, David Bollier argues that a great untold story of our time is the staggering privatization and abuse of our common wealth. Corporations are engaged in a relentless plunder of dozens of resources that we collectively own—publicly funded medical breakthroughs, software innovation, the airwaves, the public domain of creative works, and even the DNA of plants, animals and humans. Too often, however, our government turns a blind eye—or sometimes helps give away our assets. Amazingly, the silent theft of our shared wealth has gone largely unnoticed because we have lost our ability to see the commons.

The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-To-Basics Guide by John Seymour The Self Sufficient Life and How to Live It is the only book that teaches all the skills needed to live independently in harmony with the land harnessing natural forms of energy, raising crops and keeping livestock, preserving foodstuffs, making beer and wine, basketry, carpentry, weaving, and much more.

When Corporations Rule the World by David C. Korten When Corporations Rule the World explains how economic globalization has concentrated the power to govern in global corporations and financial markets and detached them from accountability to the human interest. It documents the devastating human and environmental consequences of the successful efforts of these corporations to reconstruct values and institutions everywhere on the planet to serve their own narrow ends.

The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener This expansion of a now-classic guide originally published in 1989 is intended for the serious gardener or small-scale market farmer. It describes practical and sustainable ways of growing superb organic vegetables, with detailed coverage of scale and capital, marketing, livestock, the winter garden, soil fertility, weeds, and many other topics.