May 31, 2023


When Satan Club went to school: What’s behind the group that created controversy in Chesapeake

The Satanic Temple was ready to pick a fight — lots of fights, actually, and it got them — in Illinois, in Pennsylvania and in Chesapeake.

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Eventually, after the ACLU of Virginia took on the issue, the club held its first meeting in February and has continued to gather monthly since.

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“Because of their actions, people who normally talk about the importance of religious freedom, some of them have said, ‘Actually, I don’t like religious freedom, if religious freedom means satanists can do this kind of stuff.’”

“This small group has kind of been able to punch above its weight in forcing these kinds of questions on people.”

DeSantis 2024 Campaign Debut Blurs Lines for Church Involved in Rally

Self-described law-and-order candidate Ron DeSantis held what his website termed “the campaign kick-off event” of “Our Great American Comeback” at an Iowa church that may well have been breaking a federal law on Tuesday evening.

The Eternity Church in Clive is a tax-exempt organization. And, as such, it is subject to an amendment sponsored by then-U.S Senator Lyndon Johnson in 1954, which states that churches and charities are “prohibited by the terms of their exemption from participating or intervening, directly or indirectly, in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.”

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“As he stands for righteousness and as the vicious onslaughts of those who plan to do wicked come against him,” Newman said, “I pray [it will] have no effect on him or his family, or his campaign or his desire to stand up for the truth. “

The pastor seemed to be crossing a line as he described DeSantis’ campaign as a contest between the righteous and the wicked.

'We were indoctrinated': Some Christian home-schoolers say they're breaking away from 'abuse'

A growing number of parents are rejecting their deeply conservative Christian upbringing and sending their own children to public school to help break the cycle of abuse and indoctrination they experienced, according to a report.

The Washington Post profiled a couple that had been taught growing up that public schools were demonic "indoctrination camps" aimed at destroying Christian families. But after a crisis of faith, they decided to send their own 6-year-old daughter to the elementary school near their Virginia home – and have been amazed at the education and social opportunities they had missed out on themselves.

“People who think the public schools are indoctrinating don’t know what indoctrination is. We were indoctrinated,” said Aaron Beall. “It’s not even comparable.”

The couple first rejected the terrifying corporal punishment their parents had inflicted, as prescribed by the book “To Train Up a Child” by the popular Christian home-schooling authors Michael and Debi Pearl. They soon found themselves questioning other aspects of their upbringing, the Post reported.

Catholic clergy sexually abused Illinois kids far more often than church acknowledged, state finds

More than 450 Catholic clergy in Illinois sexually abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950, the state’s attorney general found in an investigation released Tuesday, revealing that the problem was far worse than the church had let on.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul said at a news conference that investigators found that 451 Catholic clergy abused 1,997 children in Illinois between 1950 and 2019, though he acknowledged that the statute of limitations has expired in many cases and that those abusers “will never see justice in a legal sense.”

“It is my hope that this report will shine light both on those who violated their positions of power and trust to abuse innocent children, and on the men in church leadership who covered up that abuse,” Raoul said, crediting the accusers for making the review possible. “These perpetrators may never be held accountable in a court of law, but by naming them here, the intention is to provide a public accountability and a measure of healing to survivors who have long suffered in silence.”

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The lengthy report describes Illinois church leaders as woefully slow to acknowledge the extent of the abuse. It also accuses them of frequently dragging their feet to confront accused clergy and of failing to warn parishioners about possible abusers in their midst, sometimes even decades after allegations emerged.

Actor Danny Masterson convicted of two counts of rape at second Los Angeles trial

Two of the women said they waited more than a decade to come forward because church officials discouraged them from contacting law enforcement, leaving them in the impossible situation of choosing between their faith and accountability for the man who allegedly raped them.

All of the women had relatives in Scientology and feared they would be excommunicated and labeled "suppressive persons" if they went against Masterson and the church.

Scientology officials have repeatedly denied prohibiting members from cooperating with police. But after a 2021 preliminary hearing, L.A. Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo ruled that the church has “an expressly written doctrine” that discourages members from reporting one another to law enforcement. The church has said Olmedo's interpretation is incorrect.

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The church has loomed large over the proceedings. In addition to the women's allegations that Scientology officials discouraged them from reporting the rapes to police, the revelation that a church attorney obtained discovery materials in the case has sparked an LAPD investigation and allegations of impropriety from prosecutors.

Utah psychologist was under sex assault investigation at time of murder-suicide

Neuropsychologist Parth Gandhi was under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman when he murdered his 16-year-old son earlier this month and then killed himself.

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On May 13, the day before Mother's Day, 16-year-old Om Moses Gandhi — the son of Leah Moses and Parth Gandhi, 49 — was shot and killed inside Gandhi's neuropsychology clinic at 2936 S. Highland Drive. Gandhi then shot and killed himself.

For years, Leah Moses accused her ex-husband of being abusive and she wanted to regain custody of Om to protect him.

Gandhi was a neuropsychologist and psychedelic therapist and earned a doctor of philosophy in clinical psychology and neuropsychology from BYU with a focus on neuroimaging and brain injury. He was active in the local yoga community and friends saw him as a kind, caring person. Others, however, said Gandhi had a darker side.

The future of AI is chilling – humans have to act together to overcome this threat to civilisation

Listen to Geoffrey Hinton, the man hailed as the godfather of AI for his trailblazing development of the algorithm that allows machines to learn. Earlier this month, Hinton resigned his post at Google, saying that he had undergone a “sudden flip” in his view of AI’s ability to outstrip humanity and confessing regret for his part in creating it. “Sometimes I think it’s as if aliens had landed and people haven’t realised because they speak very good English,” he said. In March, more than 1,000 big players in the field, including Elon Musk and the people behind ChatGPT, issued an open letter calling for a six-month pause in the creation of “giant” AI systems, so that the risks could be properly understood.

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It could be very direct. “Don’t think for a moment that Putin wouldn’t make hyper-intelligent robots with the goal of killing Ukrainians,” says Hinton. Or it could be subtler, with AI steadily destroying what we think of as truth and facts. On Monday, the US stock market plunged as an apparent photograph of an explosion at the Pentagon went viral. But the image was fake, generated by AI. As Yuval Noah Harari warned in a recent Economist essay, “People may wage entire wars, killing others and willing to be killed themselves, because of their belief in this or that illusion”, in fears and loathings created and nurtured by machines.

More directly, an AI bent on a goal to which the existence of humans had become an obstacle, or even an inconvenience, could set out to kill all by itself. It sounds a bit Hollywood, until you realise that we live in a world where you can email a DNA string consisting of a series of letters to a lab that will produce proteins on demand: it would surely not pose too steep a challenge for “an AI initially confined to the internet to build artificial life forms”, as the AI pioneer Eliezer Yudkowsky puts it. A leader in the field for two decades, Yudkowksy is perhaps the severest of the Cassandras: “If somebody builds a too-powerful AI, under present conditions, I expect that every single member of the human species and all biological life on Earth dies shortly thereafter.”

Elon Musk's Neuralink says it has FDA approval for study of brain implants in humans

Elon Musk's brain-implant company Neuralink on Thursday said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had given the green light to its first-in-human clinical trial, a critical milestone after earlier struggles to gain approval.

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On at least four occasions since 2019, Musk predicted Neuralink would begin human trials. But the company only sought FDA approval in early 2022 and the agency rejected the application, seven current and former employees told Reuters in March.

The FDA had pointed out several concerns to Neuralink that needed to be addressed before sanctioning human trials, according to the employees. Major issues involved the lithium battery of the device, the possibility of the implant's wires migrating within the brain, and the challenge of safely extracting the device without damaging brain tissue.

Neuralink, founded in 2016, has been the subject of several federal probes.

Antarctic currents supplying 40% of world's deep ocean with nutrients and oxygen slowing dramatically

Deep ocean currents around Antarctica that are vital to marine life have slowed by 30% since the 1990s and could soon grind to a complete halt, a new study finds.

These currents, known as Antarctic bottom waters, are powered by dense, cold water from the Antarctic continental shelf that sinks to depths below 10,000 feet (3,000 meters). The water then spreads north into the Pacific and eastern Indian oceans, fueling a network of currents called the global meridional overturning circulation and supplying 40% of the world's deep ocean with fresh nutrients and oxygen.

But warming global temperatures are unlocking large volumes of less-dense fresh water from the Antarctic ice shelves, slowing this circulation down.

"If the oceans had lungs, this would be one of them," Matthew England, a professor of ocean and climate dynamics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia who contributed to the research, said in a statement. Researchers in the U.K. and Australia collaborated in a study published in March in the journal Nature that predicted a 40% reduction in the strength of Antarctic bottom waters by 2050.

Egypt unveils recently discovered ancient workshops, tombs in Saqqara necropolis

Egyptian antiquities authorities Saturday unveiled ancient workshops and tombs they say were discovered recently at a Pharaonic necropolis just outside the capital Cairo.

The spaces were found in the sprawling necropolis of Saqqara, which is a part of Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the workshops had been used to mummify humans and sacred animals. They date back to the 30th Pharaonic Dynasty (380 BC to 343 BC) and Ptolemaic period (305 BC to 30 BC), he said.

Inside the workshops, archaeologists found clay pots and other items apparently used in mummification, as well as ritual vessels, Waziri said.

'I knew aliens were real': Marine's footage of mystery objects over military base sparks UFO talk

Mystery lights over Camp Wilson in eastern California in 2021 have sparked talk of UFOs two years later after a couple of experts released video of it on their podcast.

Six new videos and two photos were shared by Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp on their podcast "Weaponized." According to Corbell, he got two phone calls from sources that urged him to look into the mysterious lights and, for two years, his team has been working on finding information.

At least 50 people, including dozens of Marines, witnessed the large objects with lights around their perimeter, his report said. It was in the air for about ten minutes, and military officials dispatched helicopters and trucks to the area. The helicopters remained in the air for approximately three hours.

"They responded big time," said Corbell of the military intervention.

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