Feb 8, 2021


Empire State Building company now powered entirely by wind

The iconic Empire State Building that has crowned Midtown Manhattan since the early 1930s is now a game changer in American architecture in a different way: by becoming completely powered with renewable energy.

Announced on Wednesday, Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) confirmed that it struck a three-year contract with Green Mountain Energy to power its entire commercial real estate portfolio with renewable wind electricity. This reportedly makes ESRT the largest user of green power in U.S. real estate.

. . .

ESRT controls more than 10.1 million square feet of real estate, all of which will be powered by renewable energy for the next three years. This switch will spare about 450 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere.

This is roughly the equivalent of every New York State household turning off all of their lights for an entire month.

Bill Gates Wants to 'Cover the Sun' to Help Counter Global Warming

"You can't cover the sun with a finger", but maybe with science and technology yes. According to Forbes , Bill Gates is funding a project that would dim sunlight in order to "cool" the Earth.

The research called " Stratospheric Controlled Disturbance Experiment " (SCoPEx for its acronym in English) is carried out by scientists from Harvard University and has the purpose of achieving that the sunlight is reflected outside the atmosphere of our planet.

This solution would be achieved by spraying tons of non-toxic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) into the atmosphere. "SCoPEx is a scientific experiment to advance the understanding of stratospheric aerosols that could be relevant for solar geoengineering," the project page reads.

. . .

According to Forbes , scientific opponents of this project believe that solar geoengineering could bring unavoidable risks and extreme changes in weather patterns that would be no different than current warming trends.

The Trump presidency was a catastrophe for American Christianity

“I’d be happy to die in this fight. ... This is a fight for everything.”

That’s what Eric Metaxas, a prominent Christian radio host, told President Donald Trump during a radio interview a few weeks after the 2020 election. If the hysteria in those words surprises you, you probably haven’t paid close attention to how evangelicals have responded to Trump over the past four years. Indeed, evangelicals have been one of Trump’s most loyal constituencies.

. . .

There’s really some fascinating research done by Ryan Burge, who is a statistician and a scholar of religion at Eastern Illinois University. He has shown how different American religious strands, whether it’s Black Christians, Mormons, atheists, Catholics, they all maintain some distance in their ideology from the the party they most affiliate with. But this isn’t true for white evangelicals. It is an exact overlap. The identification between white evangelicals and the GOP is almost perfect.

That’s a problem because it means your faith is now tied to an entire array of both personalities and political positions that do not naturally flow from biblical ethics. Any time you’re going to tie faith to ideas and people who do not either personify biblical ethics or positioned to flow from biblical ethics, you’re creating a real problem. They’ve essentially politicized their faith.

These Preachers Say God Promised a 2nd Trump Term. What Now?

Kris Vallotton prophesied to all who would listen that God had told him Donald Trump would win re-election. As a senior associate minister at California’s 11,000-member Bethel Church, a swarm of eager believers received the pastor’s prophecy as God’s unshakeable will.

. . .

Vallotton was far from the only Christian leader claiming before the election that the Almighty had rigged the outcome. J. Gordon Melton, religion professor at Baylor University and compiler of the respected Encyclopedia of American Religions, counted at least 40 influential Christian prophets who foretold a Trump triumph. These prominent figures were joined by a cottage industry of lesser-known voices whose online declarations about Trump’s impending triumph were viewed and shared millions of times.

In the Christian tradition, prophets are something like God’s carrier pigeons. They receive messages directly from the Divine and are then tasked with relaying those messages to the world without alteration. The Bible is stacked with stories of revered prophets—such as Elijah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah—who risked life and limb to deliver holy writ to God’s people. And there’s a label for those who wrongly predict the future in God’s name: false prophets.

In the Bible, there’s a simple one-strike-and-you’re-out test for sorting out the counterfeits: “You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.”

How evangelicals’ fundraising by demonization fed Capitol violence

As prosecutors charge the alleged perpetrators of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, it’s become clear that evangelicals were among them.

That’s painful for me to say. I’ve been an evangelical for 46 of my 62 years. I’ve served the evangelical church as a minister for more than four decades. My three university degrees are from evangelical institutions, I head a small evangelical denomination, and I advise the largest global association of evangelicals.

While evangelical participation in and support for the Jan. 6 event profoundly saddens me, I’m not shocked by it either. Big-name preachers, ministry celebrities and political figures have stoked fear, resentment and affront among my fellow believers for nearly half a century.

. . .

Until the insurrection, I saw these new soldiers of the cross as paper tigers, quick to comment on Facebook but otherwise carping cowards in the digital shadows. After Jan. 6, I now see them mobilized for literal urban warfare. My community has gone from merely toxic to dangerous. One pastor called recently to warn me he and his people are “armed to the teeth — and I mean that literally!”

Cops linked 1972 death of teen girl to possible Satanic ritual. Newly revealed cold case photos show otherwise.

When the unrecognizable body of Jeannette DePalma, 16, was found atop a steep, wooded hill that the locals called the Devil’s Teeth in 1972, rumors spread quickly that the Springfield girl was killed in some sort of satanic rite or witchcraft.

Police sources leaked to the press that they had found signs they thought might be related to the occult, including crosses made of sticks and branches arranged in a coffin-like outline around her body. The coroner’s report mentions a “rock formation surrounding the body.”

The Star-Ledger reported that police even brought a witch to the site to inspect for signs of the occult.

. . .

“I mean, the biggest thing that we now know from this conclusively is this is 100% not an occult killing,” Pollack, one of the authors, said of the released documents, which he also requested and received Monday from the prosecutor. He said he had previously interviewed several police officers who dismissed the claims of satanic symbolism, and the photos support that.

German Nuns Sold Orphaned Children to Sexual Predators: Report

A jarring report outlining decades of rampant child sex abuse at the hands of greedy nuns and perverted priests in the Archdiocese of Cologne, Germany, paints a troubling picture of systematic abuse in the German church.

The report is the byproduct of a lawsuit alleging that orphaned boys living in the boarding houses of the Order of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer were sold or loaned for weeks at a time to predatory priests and businessmen in a sick rape trade. The men involved in the lawsuit say as boys they were denied being adopted out or sent to foster families because selling them for rape lined the sisters’ coffers for their “convent of horrors.” Some of the boys were then groomed to be sex slaves to perverts, the report claims.

The alleged abuse went on for years, with one of the males claiming the nuns even frequently visited their college dorms after they had left the convent. He said the nuns often drugged him and delivered him to predators’ apartments. The Order of Sisters of the Divine Redeemer did not answer multiple requests for comment about the allegations.

The lawsuit, first reported by Deutsche Welle last year, is being led by 63-year-old victim Karl Haucke who, along with 15 other former orphans, demanded the Archdiocese of Cologne carry out a full investigation, which it concluded in January 2021. But the details of that investigative report were so horrific that Archbishop Reiner Maria Woelki refused to make it public, demanding that any journalists who see it sign confidentiality agreements. Eight German journalists walked out of a press conference in January after being denied access to the church’s investigation unless they agreed not to publish its contents.

Pope Francis appoints first woman to the Synod of Bishops

Sister Nathalie Becquart, who is from France, will have voting rights in the body, which advises the pontiff and debates some of the most controversial issues in the Roman Catholic Church.

Ms Becquart has worked with the synod as a consultant since 2019.

The body's secretary-general, Cardinal Mario Grech, said the appointment showed that "a door has opened".

He noted that the decision reflects the Pope's desire "for a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church".

The BBC's John McManus says the move is not a precursor to ordaining women as priests, although some opponents may regard it as a further step in that direction.

Harvard astronomer argues that alien vessel paid us a visit

Discovering there's intelligent life beyond our planet could be the most transformative event in human history -- but what if scientists decided to collectively ignore evidence suggesting it already happened?

That's the premise of a new book by a top astronomer, who argues that the simplest and best explanation for the highly unusual characteristics of an interstellar object that sped through our solar system in 2017 is that it was alien technology.

Sound kooky? Avi Loeb says the evidence holds otherwise, and is convinced his peers in the scientific community are so consumed by groupthink they're unwilling to wield Occam's razor.

Loeb's stellar credentials -- he was the longest-serving chair of astronomy at Harvard, has published hundreds of pioneering papers, and has collaborated with greats like the late Stephen Hawking -- make him difficult to dismiss outright.

"Thinking that we are unique and special and privileged is arrogant," he told AFP in a video call.

Aliens could be sucking energy from black holes. That may be how we'll find them.

Aliens could be sucking power from black holes — and that could be how we'd spot the extraterrestrials, scientists say.

This energy-harvesting technology could leave traces just outside a spinning black hole's event horizon — the boundary beyond which a black hole's gravity becomes too strong for matter and energy to escape. And the process could explain at least some flares of plasma, a white-hot form of charged gas, that scientists have already detected near these massive disruptions in time and space. a new study published Jan. 13 in the journal Physical Review D proposes.

And while it’s only a science-fiction idea at the moment — the nearest black hole to us is thought to be more than 1,000 light-years away, which is too far to be reached in many human lifetimes — if astrophysicists could ever work out a method of tapping these cosmic behemoths, rotating black holes could become a near-limitless source of energy for a technologically advanced civilization.

The co-author of the study, astrophysicist Luca Comisso of Columbia University in New York, said the next step will be to figure out what deliberate extraction energy from a black hole might look like to distant observers.

Discovery of stars sheds new light on dark matter and galactic cannibalism

The discovery of a handful of stars at the edge of a fossil galaxy has shed new light on dark matter and provided clues of a possible early instance of galactic cannibalism, researchers say.

Tucana II is an ultrafaint dwarf galaxy about 163,000 light years from Earth and is thought to be a remnant from the formation of the earliest galaxies in the universe. It was already known to contain ancient stars, including some with a very low metal content, indicating they formed shortly after the big bang.

Now researchers say they have discovered a handful of stars far from the centre of Tucana II, revealing the galaxy to be larger than previously thought and offering fresh clues as to its formation.

Writing in the journal Nature Astronomy, researchers from the UK, US and Australia report how they identified the stars using images captured by the Australian National University 1.3m SkyMapper telescope, together with data from the Gaia satellite, which tracks stars in the Milky Way.

Scientists Have Proposed a New Particle That Is a Portal to a 5th Dimension

Scientists want to search for a hypothetical particle that can act as a portal to a warped fifth dimension that mediates the cosmic realms of light and dark.

You would be forgiven for assuming that sentence is a science fiction synopsis, but it is actually the mind-boggling upshot of a recent study that seeks to illuminate some of the most persistent enigmas in science.

The existence of this speculative particle could “provide a natural explanation” for the abundance of dark matter, an unidentified substance that accounts for most of the universe’s mass, and resolve intractable problems about subatomic particles known as fermions, according to the new research, which was published last month in The European Physical Journal C.

The study adds that “the presence of new physics” can explain these fundamental mysteries by presenting a model of the universe with a fifth dimension that can be traversed by particles.

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