Loch Ness Monster on Apple Maps? Why Satellite Images Fool Us


Loch Ness Monster on Apple Maps? Why Satellite Images Fool Us - A satellite photograph has many people wondering whether the elusive Loch Ness monster might have been photographed from space.

The image seems to show a strange, ghostly oval shape with trailing white tendrils either on the surface, or just below the surface, of Scotland's famous Loch Ness. The images were taken years ago but re-surfaced last week when the story was picked up by British newspapers.

Monster-hunters debated the new evidence, but soon several websites debunked the "Nessie" photo, including www.southernfriedscience.com, DoubtfulNews.com and www.metabunk.org, which offered clear explanations for how the image was created. The conclusion: The image of the Loch Ness Monster is simply a boat wake. In fact the distinctive wake pattern exactly matches that created by other boats, both on Ness and in other lakes. The satellite image is not a single image, as many assume, but instead a composite of several different images, each with a different contrast; this helped create the illusion of a creature. 

So if the latest Loch Ness monster photo turned out to simply be a boat, why did it look so mysterious?

Loch Ness Monster on Apple Maps? Why Satellite Images Fool Us
An image on Apple Maps' satellite view appears to be a huge creature below the surface of Loch Ness. The actual explaination? A boat wake, with the low-contrast boat barely visible.

Why satellite images mislead

While early proclamations of Nessie having been found by a satellite have likely caused some red faces, we shouldn't be too quick to judge those who saw a monster where none existed. The idea that a satellite could capture an image of a giant monster is not far-fetched. Many lake monsters and sea serpents are reported to be 50 feet (15 meters) or longer, and surface regularly where they are seen.

If armchair investigators are up to the task, they could monitor monster-inhabited lakes such as Scotland's Loch Ness, Canada's Lake Okanagan and America's Lake Champlain using satellite technology. Monster buffs don't need to dip their toes into cold lakes or brave the wilderness to search for their quarry; they can scan a dozen square miles over a cup of hot coffee at their leisure. 

In their book "Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation" (Wiley, 2007), authors Thomas Lillesand, Ralph Kiefer and Jonathan Chipman explain why satellite images can easily mislead the public: "Although most individuals have had substantial experience in interpreting 'conventional' photographs in their daily lives, the interpretation of aerial and space images often departs from everyday image interpretation in three important aspects: 1) the portrayal of features from an overhead, often unfamiliar, perspective; 2) the frequent use of wavelengths outside of the visible portion of the spectrum; and 3) the depiction of the Earth's surface at unfamiliar scales and resolutions."

Indeed, biologist Andrew David Thaler noted several of these issues in his Southern Fried Science blog about the latest Nessie photo: "Satellite images aren't taken in real time. The photographs in question were taken in January 2005 ... Satellites travel along an orbital path, taking pictures that are then stitched together [and] stitched photos aren't perfect. For example, if one picture has a boat that's totally washed out (like almost every boat is when photographed from space) and another picture is just blue water, then you'll be left with the ghostly blue outline of a boat, which is clearly visible on the 'Nessie' picture." Case closed.

This is, of course, not the first time that a strange satellite image has caused controversy.

In 2011, people reviewing images on Google Maps spotted a tangle of mysterious, connected white lines in the Chinese desert. The strange images spurred a furor on the Web, where amateur sleuths offered learned (and not-so-learned) opinions about their function, ranging from UFO landing strips to top-secret military bunkers. The lines were eventually identified as a grid used to calibrate Chinese spy satellites.

As satellite images become more common, these sorts of "mysterious" photographs will also likely become more common unless the public becomes more educated about satellite imagery. After all, only photographs that are ambiguous and mysterious enough will come to the public's attention. If a photograph is crystal clear and unambiguous, no one will pay attention to it, because its identity is obvious.

On the other hand if a photograph is too ambiguous, it is likely to be ignored or deleted as an obvious mistake of such poor quality that it's worthless — it's the same reason we don't see the worst photos that people take with their cellphones, because they're soon deleted. For an image to be "mysterious" it needs to fall into that Goldilocks zone of being just clear enough to give an idea of what it might be, but not clear enough to actually tell what it is.

Though there have been many Loch Ness monster hoaxes dating back decades, most reports of the mysterious aquatic beast are simply mistakes and misidentifications — and this Nessie satellite photo is only the latest.

This article originally appeared in : Loch Ness Monster on Apple Maps? Why Satellite Images Fool Us | Live Science.com | By By Benjamin Radford | April 22, 2014 11:09am ET


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Mesjid Ini Tetap Berdiri Kokoh Walau Dihantam Tsunami dan Bom Atom Di Jepang


Kobe Mosque merupakan masjid pertama di Jepang. Masjid ini dibangun tahun 1928 di Nakayamate Dori, Chuo-ku. Kobe berarti gate of God atau gerbang Tuhan.. 

Mesjid Ini Tetap Berdiri Kokoh Walau Dihantam Tsunami dan Bom Atom Di Jepang - Ajaib , Mesjid Yang Tak Hancur karena Perang dan Gempa di Jepang   -  Tahun 1945, Jepang terlibat perang Dunia Kedua. penyerangan Jepang atas pelabuhan Pearl Harbour di Amerika telah membuat pemerintah Amerika memutuskan untuk menjatuhkan bom atom pertama kali dalam sebuah peperangan. Dan Jepang pun kalah. Dua kotanya, Nagasaki dan Hiroshima dibom Atom oleh Amerika. Saat itu, kota Kobe juga tidak ketinggalan menerima serangan pengeboman lewat udara walau tidak dengan sejenis bom Atom seperti Nagasaki dan Hiroshima . Boleh dibilang Kobe juga menjadi rata dengan tanah.


Ketika bangunan di sekitarnya hampir rata dengan tanah, Masjid Muslim Kobe tetap berdiri tegak. Masjid ini hanya mengalami keretakan pada dinding luar dan semua kaca jendelanya pecah. Bagian luar masjid menjadi agak hitam karena asap serangan bom. Tentara Jepang yang berlindung di basement masjid selamat dari ancaman bom, begitu juga dengan senjata-senjata yang disembunyikannya. Masjid ini kemudian menjadi tempat pengungsian korban perang.

Pasca perang dunia II , Pemerintah Arab Saudi dan Kuwait menyumbang dana renovasi dalam jumlah yang besar. Kaca-kaca jendela yang pecah diganti dengan kaca-kaca jendela baru yang didatangkan langsung dari Jerman. Sebuah lampu hias baru digantungkan di tengah ruang shalat utama. Sistem pengatur suhu ruangan lalu dipasang di masjid ini. 

Sekolah yang hancur akibat perang kembali direnovasi dan beberapa bangunan tambahan pun mulai dibangun. Umat Islam kembali menikmati kegiatan-kegiatan keagamaan mereka di Masjid Muslim Kobe. 

Krisis keuangan sering menghampiri kas komite masjid. Pajak bangunan yang tinggi membuat komite masjid harus mengeluarkan cukup banyak biaya dari kasnya. Beruntung, banyak donatur yang siap memberikan uluran tangannya untuk menyelesaikan masalah keuangan pembangunan dan renovasi masjid ini. Donasinya bahkan bisa membuat Masjid Muslim Kobe menjadi semakin berkembang. 

Kekokohan Masjid Kobe diuji lagi dengan Gempa Bumi paling dahsyat tahun 1995. Tepatnya pada pukul 05.46 Selasa, 17 Januari 1995. Gempa ini sebenarnya bukan hanya menimpa Kobe saja, tapi juga kawasan sekitarnya seperti South Hyogo, Hyogo-ken Nanbu dan lainnya. 

Para ahli menyebutkan bahwa gempa itu disebabkan oleh tiga buah lempeng yang saling bertabrakan, yaitu lempeng Filipina, lempeng Pasifik, dan lempeng Eurasia. Meski hanya berlangsung 20 detik, namun gempa ini memakan korban jiwa sebanyak 6.433 orang, yang sebagian besar merupakan penduduk kota Kobe. Selain itu gempa Kobe juga mengakibatkan kerusakan besar kota seluas 20 km dari pusat gempa. 

Gempa bumi besar Hanshin-Awaji merupakan gempa bumi terburuk di Jepang sejak Gempa bumi besar Kanto 1923 yang menelan korban jiwa 140.000 orang. Namun hingga kini masjid Kobe tetap berdiri kokoh dan tegak, seakan tidak tergoyahkan meski didera berbagai bencana. 

Seharusnya orang Jepang bisa melihat keajaiban ini sehingga beralih kepada Islam…tapi tentunya hidayah hanya milik Allah dan diberikan kepada siapa yang dikehendakiNya… 

Mesjid Kobe saat ini - (Dz/Viva/japanreference)

This article originally appeared in Ajaib , Mesjid Yang Tak Hancur karena Perang dan Gempa di Jepang : Redaksi – Rabu, 29 Jumadil Awwal 1434 H / 10 April 2013 21:56 WIB


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Archeologists Discover About 50 Mummies In Egypt's Valley Of The Kings



Archeologists Discover About 50 Mummies In Egypt's Valley Of The Kings - Remains of about 50 mummies, including newborn babies, thought to belong to the 18th Pharaonic dynasty were found in a huge tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said on Monday.

Archeologists Discover About 50 Mummies In Egypt's Valley Of The Kings

Wooden coffins and death masks were found beside the bodies, probably dating from the New Kingdom, state news agency MENA quoted Ibrahim as saying, referring to Egypt's 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties between about 1567 and 1085 BC.

According to initial studies of the find, princes and princesses were among the bodies found in the tomb, which had been raided in previous eras, MENA reported.

The discovery was made by a Swiss team from the University of Basel working with the Egyptian government.

Antiquities are vital to Egypt's tourist trade but, beset by insecurity and political chaos in the three years since the Arab Spring, the country has failed to secure ancient sites and stop theft from museums, mosques, stores and illegal excavations. (Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Louise Ireland)

This article originally appeared in : Archeologists Discover About 50 Mummies In Egypt's Valley Of The Kings | Reuters | Posted: 04/28/2014 10:12 am EDT Updated: 04/28/2014 11:59 am EDT


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First Solar Eclipse of 2014 Occurs Tuesday: Australia Set for Best View



The moon will blot out the sun in the first solar eclipse of the year on Tuesday (April 29). While partial views of the celestial shadow play will be visible across Australia, only penguins a bit farther south are in the right spot to see the most dramatic phase of the event: a "ring of fire" effect of the moon silohuetted by the sun.

Tuesday's sun show is known as an annular solar eclipse, an event in which - at its best - the moon is outlined by a dazzling ring of sunlight when it blocks most, but not all, of the sun. But during Tuesday's eclipse, that so-called "ring of fire" is only visible from an uninhabited stretch of Antarctica. So partial views from other locales are the best eclipse chasers can see. 

First Solar Eclipse of 2014 Occurs Tuesday: Australia Set for Best View

The annular solar eclipse of April 28-29, 2014 will be visible as a partial solar eclipse from parts of Australia and southern Indonesia, weather permitting, as shown in this illustration.

Weather permitting, Australians will see the moon cover about 65 percent of the sun's disk in a partial solar eclipse, which will be visible shortly before sunset in Melbourne and Sydney and earlier in the afternoon in Western Australia. You can watch two webcasts of the solar eclipse here beginning at 2 a.m. EDT (0600 GMT) on Tuesday, courtesy of the Slooh community telescope and Virtual Telescope Project. 

A small part of Antarctica, however, will witness an annular eclipse, in which the moon blocks out most of the sun but leaves a spectacular "ring of fire" blazing in the sky. (Annular eclipses occur when the moon is relatively far from Earth in its elliptical orbit around our planet; if the moon were closer, it would be big enough in the sky to cause a total solar eclipse.)


Annular and total solar eclipses both occur, on average, about once every 18 months. Tuesday's event comes nearly a year after a stunning ring of fire eclipse over Australia that enthralled skywatchers on May 10, 2013.

WARNING: Solar eclipses are potentially dangerous skywatching events. Never look directly at the sun during an eclipse with a telescope, binoculars or your unaided eye; severe eye damage can result.

First Solar Eclipse of 2014 Will Darken Sun Tuesday
This NASA chart shows the shadow path of the "ring of fire" annular solar eclipse of April 28-29, 2014. The chart, prepared by NASA eclipse expert Fred Espenak, also lists times for the maximum eclipse, as well as start and stop times.

To observe the eclipse safely, you can buy special solar filters to fit over your equipment, or wear No. 14 welder's glass over your eyes. You can also use your telescope, or one side of your binoculars, to project an image of the eclipse onto a shaded white piece of paper or cardboard. (But make sure nobody looks through the telescope or binoculars while you do this.)

Tuesday's eclipse will begin at 1:15 p.m. local time in Perth, the capital of Western Australia, and end at 3:59 p.m. Maximum coverage there will come at 2:41 p.m., when the moon will obscure about 65 percent of the solar disk. Webcasts from Australia will begin at 2 a.m. EDT due to the time zone difference.

The event will begin later in the day for observers in Melbourne (3:58 p.m. local time) and Sydney (4:13 p.m.). In both cities, the sun will set before the solar eclipse is over.

"This eclipse is rare in that the cone of the moon's shadow doesn't quite reach the Earth, passing just over the South Pole, with a bit of the annular (ring) eclipse barely visible on a small region of the South Pole," said astronomer Jay Pasachoff of Williams College, who has observed 58 solar eclipses and is in Australia to see this one.

"There is an 18-year, 11 1/3-day period called the saros over which similar eclipses repeat," Pasachoff told Space.com via email. "So this type of 'rare' isn't particularly good or important; it is just unusual to see the first eclipse in a saros series."

Editor's Note: If you live in the populated visibility path and snap an amazing picture of the April 29 solar eclipse, you can send photos, comments, and your name and location to managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

This article originally appeared in :  First Solar Eclipse of 2014 Occurs Tuesday: Australia Set for Best View | space.com | By by Mike Wall, By by Tariq Malik, Managing Editor | April 28, 2014 7:43 AM


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You could be putting your significant other on the defensive without even realizing it


You could be putting your significant other on the defensive without even realizing it

“You’re just like your mother.”

There it is, those damning words, hanging in the air while you instantly wish you could take them back. Many couples have said something that they regret — or worse, they say things without even realizing the damage they’re doing to their relationship. 

While it’s impossible to never say a negative thing to another person, even a beloved — we are humans, after all — there is evidence to suggest that the happiest couples are the ones who “have the highest ratio of positive statements to negative statements in the way they talk to each other,” Art Markman, PhD, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin, tells Yahoo Health. While the exact ratio is up for debate, it’s clear that “the negative things we say to our partner stick more than the positive ones.” 

Experts say there are certain comments that are particularly poisonous to a partnership, eroding a bond over time. Beware of these seven relationship-sabotaging phrases: 

In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to make a sweeping statements such as, “You never think about what I want” or “You always leave your clothes on the floor.” There are two reasons why overarching accusations are so toxic: First, they’re judgmental, and really, no one likes to be judged. Second, across-the-board generalizations like these are not only often inaccurate — all your partner has to do is find one example to make your statement untrue —but they also automatically put your partner on the defensive, relationship expert Wendy Walsh, PhD, author of The 30-Day Love Detox, tells Yahoo Health.

And ultimately, this derails the discussion rather than getting at the heart of the problem. “If you say, ‘You always do this,’ then the argument becomes ‘No, I don’t always do this’ instead of what the argument is really about,” says Walsh. “There’s no choice but to defend yourself.” 

For example, if your partner parks the car too close to your spot and doesn’t leave any room for you to squeeze into your car, you may be tempted to say, “You always park in my space! You never think about me.” But rather than attacking your partner and getting into a fight, Walsh suggests focusing on the problem at hand and soliciting your partner’s help in coming up with a solution. “You can say, ‘Hey love, I’m cramped and can’t get into my car—can you help me fix it?’” she suggests. “This is the problem and you need some help.”

This offhand remark can easily roll off the tongue when you’re annoyed at your partner and don’t want to listen to them, but the indifference it shows is chillier than any ice bucket challenge. “It’s dismissive,” says Walsh, who points out that stonewalling like this is what marriage researcher John Gottman, PhD, who has studied partnerships for 40 years, says is one of the top predictors of divorce. “If their partner is not listening to them, sooner or later they will find someone who will listen to them — and it will be a divorce attorney or a lover,” says Walsh. (Ouch.)

This remark can also make your partner feel disrespected, says relationship and marriage therapist Karen Ruskin, PsyD, LMFT, clinical fellow with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and author of Dr. Karen’s Marriage Manual. Saying “whatever” to your S.O. sends the message that “I don’t care about your thoughts or your opinions,” Ruskin tells Yahoo Health. “It’s a lack of respect for the person’s voice, thoughts, and opinions.” 

If your mother is painfully passive-aggressive or your father shirked his parenting duties, having your partner tell you that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is a low blow. This type of objectifying comment is a form of name-calling, notes Walsh, so it isn’t constructive and only serves to wound someone. “It doesn’t allow the person to be seen or fully heard as a multifaceted human being,” she says. “It’s very difficult to get back to a place of love when someone has been objectified and you’ve called them a name. It’s the worst conflict resolution style.”


Dodging responsibility by constantly blaming someone or something else outside of the relationship and playing the victim is extremely damaging, according to Walsh. “The partner is forced into a place of compassion for the victim and conflict is not resolved,” she explains. “When you have a relationship, you’re going to be constantly compromising. Along the way there will be some treading on each other’s boundaries a bit, and sometimes it will be both partners’ fault. The ability to say ‘I’m sorry’ is huge.”

It also sends the message to your partner that you’re not willing to take ownership of your mistakes, Ruskin says, and it also makes “the mate feel stuck that there is no solution or resolution.” 

"If you’re saying that it wasn’t [your fault], then basically, we’re stuck with ‘This can happen again,’" she says. "It gives you no hope or optimism for other scenarios" where you might be at fault. 

This is an apology that’s not really an apology, says Markman. “If your partner has a complaint, acknowledge that the complain is something that made your partner feel bad. When you apologize and then immediately justify your action, you are not really apologizing,” he says. “You are explaining why the thing you did was not really wrong.” Instead, try to see the situation from your partner’s perspective: Think about how and why your actions may have been taken negatively, regardless of what you think about the purity of your intentions, he says. 


By saying “calm down” (or using the phrase’s equally annoying cousin “relax”), you’re more likely to rile up your partner than soothe ‘em. “It’s condescending,” says Walsh. “When someone is upset, they aren’t going to calm down because they’ve been instructed to do so.” Instead, Walsh recommends coming from a place of sympathy, saying something like, “I can see that this is really upsetting you, and I want to find a way to help.” After all, the point of being in a partnership is that you’re in it together.


Phrases like “this is why you don’t lose weight” or “this is why you’re so stressed” can actually be expressions of contempt, and are toxic to a relationship, David Sbarra, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and director of clinical training at the University of Arizona, explains to Yahoo Health. “Making your partner feel low or inferior to you is the most noxious of relationship behaviors,” he says. 

These kinds of remarks also imply that you know all — even if you really don’t. “You’re inferring you know the reason, but maybe that’s not the reason,” Ruskin says. In reality, saying “This is why…” just makes your partner feel like you don’t understand him or her. 

This article originally appeared in : 7 Things You Should Never, Ever Say To Your Partner | yahoo.com | Rachel Grumman Bender | February 13, 2015


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Israeli house strikes killed mostly civilians


Israeli house strikes killed mostly civilians

The youngest to die was a 4-day-old girl, the oldest a 92-year-old man. They were among at least 844 Palestinians killed as a result of airstrikes on Gaza homes during Israel's summer war with the Islamic militant group, Hamas.

Under the rules of war, homes are protected civilian sites unless used for military purposes. Israel says it attacked only legitimate targets, alleging militants used the houses to hide weapons, fighters and command centers. Palestinians say Israel's warplanes often struck without regard for civilians.

The Associated Press examined 247 airstrikes, interviewing witnesses, visiting attack sites and compiling a detailed casualty count.

The review found that 508 of the dead — just over 60 percent — were children, women and older men, all presumed to be civilians. Hamas says it did not use women as fighters in the war, and an Israel-based research group, the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which tracks militants among the war dead, said it has no evidence women participated in combat.

In addition:


  • Children younger than 16 made up one-third of the total: 280 killed, including 19 babies and 108 preschoolers between the ages of 1 and 5.
  • In 83 strikes, three or more members of one family died.
  • Among those killed were 96 confirmed or suspected militants — just over 11 percent of the total — though the actual number could be higher since armed groups have not released detailed casualty lists.
  • The remaining 240 dead were males between the ages of 16 and 59 whose names did not appear in AP searches of militant websites or on street posters honoring fighters.
The review was the most painstaking attempt to date to try to determine who was killed in strikes on homes; Israel's army and Gaza militants have refused to release information about targets and casualties. The count tracked all known airstrikes on homes, though not all strikes had witnesses and damage inspected by the AP wasn't always conclusive.


The number of civilian deaths has been a key issue in the highly charged battle over the dominant narrative of the 50-day war.

Fighting erupted in July, after a month of escalating tensions triggered by Hamas' abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank, and an Israeli arrest sweep of Hamas supporters that led to renewed Gaza rocket fire on Israel.

Israel says it tried to avoid harming civilians, even as Hamas embedded weapons and fighters in residential areas.

"Our position is very clear. Israel did not commit war crimes," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.

Palestinians say Israel attacked with disproportionate force and callous disregard for civilians.


If most of those killed are civilians, "you cannot call them collateral damage," said Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian spokeswoman.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the war, a move that could pave the way for possible prosecution of both Israel and Hamas.

International law experts note that a high civilian death toll alone does not constitute conclusive evidence of war crimes. But it "raises a red flag and suggests that further investigation is warranted," said Alex Whiting, a former top official at the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands.

Israel would not say how many of its 5,000 air attacks were directed at homes. However, it insists it only aimed at legitimate military targets.

Asked for comment on the AP's findings, an Israeli army spokesman, Lt. Peter Lerner, said that "one cannot draw broad conclusions" by examining only a small percentage of Israel's airstrikes.


Reuven Erlich, a former senior Israeli intelligence officer, questioned the reliability of Gaza witnesses and said only military experts could determine what happened in each strike.

According to preliminary U.N. figures, at least 1,483 Palestinian civilians were killed in the war — 66 percent of the overall death toll of 2,205.

Gaza militants fired about 4,300 rockets and mortar rounds at Israel, according to the Israeli military. The barrages drove tens of thousands of Israelis from their homes to seek cover. Five civilians were killed, among them a 4-year-old boy, along with 67 soldiers.

Advocacy groups and U.N. investigators have said that Hamas' battle tactics over the years, including indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel, amount to war crimes.

The AP examined cases in which people were killed in homes or adjacent yards, including those hit by shrapnel or debris from attacks on neighboring buildings. The count excluded artillery strikes which are inherently inaccurate.


Starting in November, three reporters visited the vast majority of attack sites, interviewed survivors and collected hundreds of death certificates — documents recognized by Israel as proof of mortality.

The youngest victim, Shayma Sheik Ali, died four days after her pregnant mother's body was pulled from the rubble of their home in the Deir el-Balah refugee camp.

The infant was delivered by emergency cesarean section, her relatives said. She died July 29, according to her death certificate.

The oldest victim, 92-year-old Abdel Karim Abu Nijem, was killed along with a son, three grandsons and three other relatives, in an airstrike on his home in the Jebaliya refugee camp. Islamic Jihad later confirmed that two fighters were also killed in that strike.

A nephew said the family received no warning. "Otherwise we would have fled," said Mohammed Abu Nijem, whose 29-year-old wife, Soha, and 3-year-old daughter, Ragheb, were killed.

The military said it warned civilians when possible, including through phone calls or "knocks on the roof" with non-explosive missiles, and it aborted some strikes due to civilians in the vicinity.

In January, the Palestinians joined the International Criminal Court, opening the way for possible investigations of both Israel and Hamas. In response, the ICC prosecutor launched a preliminary review of whether a full probe is warranted.

Israel's military says it is conducting a transparent investigation of any wrongdoing by its forces in the Gaza war. However, rights groups in Israel and abroad demand an independent investigation, arguing that house strikes were part of a policy approved at the highest levels and the Israeli military cannot investigate itself. 

This article originally appeared in : AP Exclusive: Israeli house strikes killed mostly civilians | Associated Press | By KARIN LAUB, FARES AKRAM and MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH February 13, 2015 2:52 PM


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Who Is Lindsay Lohan?


Who Is Lindsay Lohan? - I think I must be the only person in America who hasn't seen anything Lindsay Lohan is in (at least that I remember) , hasn't seen her do an interview, hasn't seen her on TV and has no idea why she is in jail.

I do however, know that she is in jail through some sort of osmotic process of living in a culture obsessed with celebrities and everything they do. And this upsets me greatly.


http://i.huffpost.com/gen/188812/LINDSAY-LOHAN-INFERNO.jpg

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/188814/LINDSAY-LOHAN-INFERNO.jpg

I deliberately ignore celebrity news because I have absolutely zero interest in whether Jenifer Aniston wore a red dress to piss off Angelina Jolie at an awards ceremony or Paris Hilton has done another sex tape with a new douchebag etc. Celebrity news does two things: Distracts us from real news that matters, and helps sell us garbage that we don't need. I buy enough useless junk as it is, and don't need to know what Brad Pitt wears to the gym so I feel pressure to buy that too. I've recently stopped watching television, and feel infinitely smarter having canceled my cable bill (and quite a bit richer too).

Which brings me back to Miss Lohan.

The fact that I know anything about this reportedly mildly talented actress who is only really famous for being an utter cow (I've heard some real horror stories from friends of mine who have met her) has started to really bug me given I have tried my very hardest to not hear about people like her.

I have to search pretty hard to find out about issues that have any type of meaningful effect on people's lives (like trade agreements that will screw working people, the details of financial reform, environmental legislation for mountain top mining etc) yet I don't have to do anything to find out that Linsay Lohan is in jail. And if I'm deliberately ignoring people like Lohan, what does that say for people who don't really think too much about the news they are consuming? A 14 year old girl in America would grow up thinking that a C list celebrity going to prison actually constituted something serious, that the lives of the mega rich and famous were of concern to society.

Our obsession with everything celebrity has stopped us being able to focus on issues that matter and morphed us into drama addicts and voyeurs. Everyone has an opinion on LeBron James's decision to switch basketball teams, but no one really has any idea whether the new health care legislation will actually help regular people (it will).

The end result is highly manipulated public trained to ignore issues that matter and obsess about issues that don't. And I'm starting to believe this is intentional -- that the mass media system is geared towards isolating people and turning them into mindless consumers. If people started to catch on to the rigged political system that benefits the rich and goes to war to make money, there would be a chance of mass movements to stop it. But our politicians know that if our attention is focused on people like Lindsay Lohan, they can basically get away with murder. So the giant conglomerates are allowed to pump our minds full of meaningless garbage and are never held to account.

The only way to stop it is to literally turn off the TV and stop buying the magazines. Otherwise we'll sleep walk into another illegal war while the media camps out infront of Lindsay Lohan's lawn to find out whether she bought Gucci shoes or Prada. ( huffingtonpost.com )


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