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Saturday, Feb 13th

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Alex Baer: ... And Now, th' Snooze

Alex Baer: the SnoozeThinking can be dangerous -- thoughts can go anywhere.  Maybe that is why so little thinking is done any longer by the masses.

This is especially true, given the vast array of predigested information sources available to the various publics which still clot and cling together, despite our vast differences, as we start to exit our country's Terrible Twos, as the perspective of world history goes.

Our brains now scurry and scramble for their allotment of junk-food information, whether fresh or stale, direct from the squeeze-tubes of right wing think tanks, from the boiling vats of corporately-cooked fodder, from the overstuffed pork barrels of stout political earmarks.

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Huge intel breach: US, UK have spied on Israeli air force for 18 years

Israeli droneUS and British intelligence services have spied on the Israeli air force for at least 18 years, after cracking the IDF’s special encryption system for communication between fighter jets, drones and army bases, Israel’s military censor approved for publication Friday, after reports of the spying operation appeared in two overseas publications.

The two countries have reportedly used this access to monitor IDF operations in Gaza, watch for a potential Israeli strike on Iran, and keep tabs on the drone technology that Israel exports. Israel said later Friday it was disappointed but not surprised by the revelations.

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Engineer who warned of 1986 Challenger disaster still racked with guilt, three decades on

Engineer still feels guilty over unheeded Challenger warningThe entire nation was stunned into silence watching the Space Shuttle Challenger abruptly blow apart 73 seconds after launch, but one man wasn't. In fact, he blew the whistle as loud as he could in the days leading up to the worst disaster in the history of the American space program exactly 30 years ago Thursday.

The problem was, no one with any authority listened to Bob Eberling.

An engineer at Morton Thiokol, the rocket propulsion firm that supplied the space shuttle's two solid rocket boosters, Eberling repeatedly warned NASA that the launch conditions that day could be catastrophic.

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Palestinian journalist to continue hunger strike despite risk of death

Palestinian journalist still on hunger strikeA Palestinian journalist on a hunger strike for 65 days has vowed to continue protesting his imprisonment without charge until Israel agrees to release him, a lawyer representing his case said Thursday. The announcement came one day after the Israeli Supreme Court delayed a decision on granting his release.

Mohammed Al-Qeq, a news reporter for Saudi channel Al Majd, has refused food and medical treatment since Nov. 24, three days after he was arrested, and is said to be near death.

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4 Chinese miners rescued after 36 days trapped underground

Chinese miners rescuedRescuers on Friday pulled out four miners who had spent 36 days trapped underground in a collapsed mine in eastern China.

The gypsum mine in Shandong province collapsed on Christmas Day, killing one and leaving 17 missing, including the four survivors. In the days that followed, rescuers detected the four more than 200 meters (660 feet) below the surface.

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Syria talks at risk as rival sides fail to agree terms

Syria talks at risk of failureThe main Syrian opposition bloc has said it will not attend peace talks scheduled to begin in Geneva on Friday, in another setback to diplomatic efforts to end the five-year-long war.

The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), an opposition platform created in Saudi Arabia last month, said its delegation would not attend the talks because they had not received convincing answers from the UN to a set of demands for their participation.

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'Millions' of lead pipes all across the U.S.

lead pipes across the USJust how many lead pipes are there in Flint, Michigan, where the water has been undrinkable because of high lead levels? Nobody knows.

"A lot of work is being done to even understand where the lead services lines fully are, so I would say any numbers you're hearing at this point are still speculation," Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) said Wednesday.

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Alex Baer: Survivor's Gilt

survivor's giltIt's a wonderful thing, when stuff normally taken for granted goes missing for a bit, then pops back up, reasserts itself, and gets appreciation flowing in your veins again.

Like gravity.

Toward the end of the end of my month-long experimentation with colds, flus, and pneumonia-wannabes, I was thrilled when all those sumpy pockets and pools of rippling gravity faded from the swooping and swerving, eerily unfamiliarly, looking-through-binoculars-backwards, miles-long hallway between bed and bath -- into the Great Beyond, where all the cold and flu products danced in a long conga line, like a 1950s theater intermission moment, when all the popcorn, drinks, and candy bars danced themselves out into the lobby for your happy, refreshing treat.

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Donald Trump Wanted Vets Kicked Off Fifth Avenue

Trump wanted vets kicked off Fifth AvenueNow that he has balked at facing Megyn Kelly at the Republican debate, Donald Trump will be embracing heroes.

“[Trump] will instead host an event in Iowa to raise money for the Veterans and Wounded Warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians,” the Trump campaign announced.

Never mind that for more than a decade Trump sought to deprive veterans in need of their meager livelihood because he found them unsightly nuisances who should not be allowed anywhere near his gleaming headquarters on Fifth Avenue.

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