U.S. State Department Propaganda Office Active on, “Blogs to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and Others”

The State Department unveiled Wednesday that it is widely employing social media as a method to counter online violent extremism from Al-Qaeda and others.

Buried in an intelligence report published Wednesday, the government said that the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC), established in 2011, last year produced more than 10,000 online postings globally, some of which included one of 138 government-produced videos.

“CSCC’s programs draw on a full range of intelligence information and analysis for context and feedback. CSCC counters terrorist propaganda in the social media environment on a daily basis, contesting space where AQ and its supporters formerly had free rein. CSCC communications have provoked defensive responses from violent extremists on many of the 249 most popular extremist websites and forums as well as on social media,” said the document, Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 (PDF).

The State Department has a global social media presence from Afghanistan to Vietnam. The platform ranges from blogs to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and others.

Scary Thought: Scientists build an ’off switch’ for the brain

Scientists have developed an “off-switch” for the brain to effectively shut down neural activity using light pulses.

In 2005, Stanford scientist Karl Deisseroth discovered how to switch individual brain cells on and off by using light in a technique he dubbed ’optogenetics’.

Research teams around the world have since used this technique to study brain cells, heart cells, stem cells and others regulated by electrical signals.

However, light-sensitive proteins were efficient at switching cells on but proved less effective at turning them off.

Now, after almost a decade of research, scientists have been able to shut down the neurons as well as activate them.

Mr Deisseroth’s team has now re-engineered its light-sensitive proteins to switch cells much more adequately than before. His findings are presented in the journal Science.

Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which funded the study, said this improved “off” switch will help researchers to better understand the brain circuits involved in behavior, thinking and emotion.

Two Sides of Tolerance: Accepting Others

Originally posted on A Quiet Week In The House:

Perfume

Not long ago, I enjoyed tea and pastry at my favorite bakery. A woman with dizzying perfume swept into a seat behind me. Her sharp, expensive fragrance slid over my table, invading each sip and bite I took.  Irritation engulfed me. I snatched up my notebooks and stomped across the room to pen a few ill-tempered paragraphs. When my tea tasted good again, I stole a glance at the perpetrator. Slim and sixtyish, she stiffened under my scrutiny.

I expected someone offensive and unlikable–a diabolical, slathering fiend, perfume bottle in hand, ready to shoot pungent fluids at my face.  Instead, a frail and self-conscious senior citizen nibbled a croissant.  Her red-and-black plaid pantsuit radiated as fiercely as her fragrance. She was the kind of woman who applies lipstick with a tiny brush and styles her improbable chestnut hair with precision. In a deserted bakery, she purposely chose the seat closest…

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Astro Weather – April 12th 2014

Originally posted on :

Tomorrow morning the Virgo Moon finishes it’s trine up with Pluto and continues to sextil Saturn until the afternoon. What comes up from the depths can be pretty deep and lead to positive emotional renewal. The sextile with Saturn brings a more mature do what you gotta do kind of attitude, but you kind of have to work at it. During the evening the Virgo Moon is void of course, meaning that it makes no aspects to any other planets. It’s earthy goodness with a clean feel! Get fun and clean and take a bath. Wash the worries away!

Astrologically Yours,
Samantha

How are the transits for you today?

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The Shake Down Has Begun

Originally posted on Soul Passages Astrology:

Mid April is upon us and change is vibrating the very electrons in the air. It’s like watching a cliff-hanger movie only you are the one in the lead role. Your armpits are sweating and your quaking thigh muscles remind you that you are on the very edge of a chasm, wondering what it would feel like it you could just jump…making that leap of faith the Universe is asking of you. What great mystery or adventure is right around the bend? How do we desire to change? What would you look like if you realized that you absolutely could not fail? Dig deep and find the chutzpah you need to grab life by the kiwis.

With a lunar eclipse, a grand cardinal cross and a solar eclipse all packed into the next two weeks, these are the very questions we are all asking ourselves. Let’s face it…most of us…

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