'The Book of Mormon' gets rousing reception in Utah


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The biting satirical musical that mocks Mormons received a rousing reception in its first-ever showing in the heart of Mormon country, kicking off a sold-out, two-week run at a Salt Lake City theater.

Fwd: China

'A Communist party campaign during which crosses have been stripped from the roofs of more than 1,200 Chinese churches is being conducted "for the sake of safety and beauty", a government official has claimed.

Human rights activists accuse authorities in Zhejiang province in eastern China of using the protracted campaign to slow Christianity's growth in what is one of the country's most churchgoing regions.

By some estimates, China is now home to 100 million Christians, compared with the Communist party's 88 million members.

Since the government campaign began in late 2013, hundreds of places of worship have had bright red crosses removed. Some churches have been completely demolished, while civil servants have been banned from practising religion. Some observers suspect the campaign has the backing of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, and could be a "pilot project" before a nationwide crackdown.'




Fwd: Xpoint

'Much of that possibility hinges on the actual performance of 3D XPoint. Intel and Micron didn't get into specifics beyond the "1,000X" faster switching speed, but they did say 3D XPoint would offer "10X" the performance of an NVMe PCIe device. You don't have to look far to find that NVMe PCIe device either: The only one I know of today is Intel's excellent 750 series SSD, which hits in excess of 2.5GB of read speed on some loads. If that is the drive both companies are using as a reference, it's pretty easy to see that they expect 3D XPoint drives/devices to reach beyond 20GBps of read and write speed.

For reference, a typical PC with a Haswell or Broadwell CPU and dual-channel DDR3 offers around 17GB+ of memory bandwidth, while lower-end machines survive on 9GBps or less. Higher-end systems reach into the 55GBps range, while graphics card memory far outstrips those.'


Fwd: 1979

'What happened in 1979? For starters, there was the takeover of the Grand Mosque in Mecca by Islamist extremists who challenged the religious credentials of the Saudi ruling family, accusing them of impiety. The al-Sauds responded by forging a new bargain with their religious conservatives: Let us stay in power and we'll give you a freer hand in setting social norms, relations between the sexes and religious education inside Saudi Arabia — and vast resources to spread the puritanical, anti-women, anti-Shiite, anti-pluralistic Sunni Wahhabi fundamentalism to mosques and schools around the world.

This Saudi lurch backward coincided with Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, which brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power. That revolution set up a global competition between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia for leadership of the Muslim world, and it also led to a big surge in oil prices that gave both regimes more money than ever to export Shiite and Sunni fundamentalism. That is why the Egyptian scholar Mamoun Fandy liked to say, "Islam lost its brakes in 1979."

That competition was further fueled by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 — which spawned the Sunni jihadist movement and eventually Al Qaeda — and by the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, also in 1979, which basically ended all new building of nuclear power plants in America, making us more dependent on fossil fuels. Of course, the Islamic Revolution in Iran also led to a break in relations with the U.S. — and shifted Iran from a tacit ally of Israel's to a country wishing "death to Israel."'



'On July 9, Agence France-Presse reported that the International Monetary Fund estimated Saudi Arabia, whose population tripled since 1975, would run a budget deficit this year exceeding "$130 billion, the largest in the kingdom's history," and "to finance spending Riyadh has already withdrawn $52.3 billion from its fiscal reserves in the first five months of the year." Iran's population has doubled since 1979, and 60 percent of its residents are under 30 and it has 20 percent unemployment. Last April, Issa Kalantari, a former Iranian agriculture minister, warned that because of dwindling water resources, and over-exploitation, if Iran doesn't radically change its water usage "50 million people — 70 percent of Iranians — will have no choice but to leave the country," Al-Monitor reported.'


Impossible EM Drive.

Although this definitely would be interesting, I find it highly questionable.  The wording of the article makes me think that they are trying way too hard to make their claims, as if the article was written by the proponents of this.  Although not technically perpetual motion, it has that kind of ring to it.

Over the last 4 decades there have been a number of people claiming to extract energy out of basically nothing.  Most of these have not panned out or have been shown to be an artifact of something else.  Although not the same thing, this EM Drive has the same kind of ring to it.



​In order for this to be true, our understanding of the laws of physics would have to change.  (That could be a good thing.)​  If their claims of manipulating Quantum Vacuum were true, then one would have to wonder if there is some unseen environmental impact?



'The leader of a terrorist group bent on attacking the United States and other western targets was killed in a targeted strike earlier this month, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Muhsin al Fadhli, a Kuwaiti-born jihadi with a $7 million bounty on his head from the U.S. government, was the leader of the Khorasan Group -- a collection of senior al Qaeda members who had moved into Syria amid the chaotic destruction of the country in recent years.

"His death will degrade and disrupt ongoing external operations of al-Qaeda against the United States and our allies and partners," Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a written statement…

While terrorist groups like ISIS and the al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra are responsible for much of the violence inside Syria, the Khorasan Group was believed to direct most of its energy plotting external attacks in the West…

Al Fadhli who fought alongside al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and was among the "few trusted al Qaeda leaders that received advanced notification of the September 11, 2001, attacks," Davis said.'




Fwd: Sanders

'Bernie Sanders drew more than 11,000 people to a rally Saturday night in downtown Phoenix -- the largest crowd to date for a presidential candidate whose audiences have been swelling in recent months…

Aides to the self-described socialist had originally booked a Phoenix theater that could accommodate fewer than half the number of people who turned out. The crowd estimate of more than 11,000 people was provided by staff at the convention center, where Sanders also appeared Saturday at a convention of progressive activists…

Saturday night's crowd -- in a reliably red state -- surpassed Sanders's previous largest draw, a few weeks ago in Madison, Wis., where close to 10,000 people turned out.'


'"I'm the only presidential candidate who will tell you this," he said to a roaring crowd, "no president, no matter how good [he or she is] can bring about the change we need in this country unless there is a political revolution."'






Graphene disipating heat

'Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed a method for cooling electronics using graphene-based film.


The researchers have shown that the in-plane thermal conductivity of the graphene-based film, with 20 micrometre thickness, can reach a thermal conductivity value of 1600W/mK, which is four times that of copper.

"Increased thermal capacity could lead to several new applications for graphene," said Liu. "One example is the integration of graphene-based film into microelectronic devices and systems, such as highly efficient Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), lasers and radio frequency components for cooling purposes. Graphene-based film could also pave the way for faster, smaller, more energy efficient, sustainable high power electronics."'





Khat is so popular in Yemen, its cultivation consumes much of the country's agricultural resources. An estimated 40% of the country's water supply goes towards irrigating it, with production increasing by about 10% to 15% every year.