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From Multilinguals Have Multiple Personalities | The New Republic:

I understand the feeling. My not-so-fluent French “self” is most comfortable talking about classroom supplies. It’s surprising, though, that people who are actually fluent in two languages also feel their personality shifting as they switch between languages. Yet researchers have confirmed this: Between 2001 and 2003, linguists Jean-Marc Dewaele and Aneta Pavlenko asked over a thousand bilinguals whether they “feel like a different person” when they speak different languages. Nearly two-thirds said they did.

This is true for me. In German I’m a mom who bakes brioche and can cook up a goose. In French, I’m an art student. I don’t speak much Spanish, but when I do, I feel like dancing ..

Written by marypmadigan

April 17th, 2015 at 10:28 am

Posted in Life,The Cloud

Tagged with ,

Gyrocopter tax protest

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Via the New York Times: Mix of Curiosity and Outrage on the Hill After Pilot Buzzes Capitol

“It’s certainly a concern, but unless you build an invisible dog fence around every capital building that will destroy an object that gets close, you just can’t keep these kinds of things from happening,” said Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, which represents more than 25,000 federal officers. “We don’t want to turn our country into a fortified dungeon.”

Some members of Congress even seemed to make light of the incident, offering shrugged shoulders and eye rolls.

Asked about the aircraft, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican, said: “I want to know where I can get one.”


Written by marypmadigan

April 16th, 2015 at 11:09 pm

Posted in Tech

Paul Allen’s “Vulcan Aerospace” Will Boost Private Space Travel

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Stratolaunch systems

“Vulcan Aerospace is the company within Vulcan that plans and executes projects to shift how the world conceptualizes space travel through cost reduction and on‐demand access,” Vulcan Aerospace president Chuck Beames and his colleague Kyu Hwang wrote in a paper describing the company that was presented at the 31 st Space Symposium in Colorado Springs this week.

More from Space.com

Written by marypmadigan

April 16th, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Tech

Jihadi John is identified as Londoner Mohammed Emwazi

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Jihad John Meme (not an actual Westminster ad)

The Washington Post reports that Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John:

[is] a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming.

He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined the Islamic State, the group whose barbarity he has come to symbolize….

..The friends, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation, believe that Emwazi started to radicalize after a planned safari in Tanzania following his graduation from the University of Westminster.

When I was blogging more about the Middle East, I would get occasional threats, and I would usually trace them to University sites in Britain. So, I’m not surprised by this. According to a November, 2014 article by Westminster News Online, titled Concerns of Extremism at University of Westminster, a radical Islamic preacher, Haitham al Haddad, gave a speech at the University of Westminster, organized by the Islamic Society (ISOC).

[Haddad] has a history of homophobia, misogny and religious intolerance. He has written about homosexuality as a criminal act and has said that a ‘man should not be questioned for hitting his wife’. It is currently unknown what he said during his address at Westminster University.

Haddad has spoken at a conference held by Hizbut Al Tahrir, a group that the British Government has attempted to ban due to its extremist rhetoric. At this conference he did not hold back and let his views be known to all those who attended.

Haitham al-Haddad was set to speak at the University of Westminster tonight, but the event was “postponed due to ‘security concerns'”

According to the Daily Mail (in an article titled “Jihadi John’s old university was a ‘hotbed of radicalism where students celebrated 9/11′, claims ex-pupil – and extremist was even due to speak there TONIGHT”) Raheem Kassam, who campaigns against extremism at British universities, said the conditions at the university are right for the radicalization of someone like Emwazi.

Kassam says:

I did not know him, he would have been two years behind me, but I am utterly, utterly unsurprised.
The university was nothing less than a hotbed of radicalism when I was there.

Are the conditions at Westminster right for the radicalisation of someone like him? The answer is yes, 100 per cent.

I once walked into a meeting of the Islamic Society where they were clapping and cheering the events of 9/11.
It was at that moment in my life I realised I wanted to set up an organisation in my life to tackle it.
Having been brought up in a Muslim household and then seeing that happening is pretty galling stuff.’
Universities across the country, the University of Westminster in particular, are being targeted by radical recruiters.

These guys [students] are being professionally radicalised. They tried it with me and they try it with any Muslim.

I remember very vividly how I would get cornered by three or four Somali guys – students in the class with me who were dressed in non-western clothing – and they would say I must come along to the Islamic Society meetings otherwise I’m not a proper Muslim.

When you are 18-years-old and a practising Muslim you feel inclined to go.I went along and saw what was happening and it absolutely disgusted me.

In what the Huffington Post has called a ‘farcical press conference’ Asim Qureshi, a director with British advocacy group CAGE, said of Jihadi John “You might be surprised to know that the Mohammed that I knew was extremely kind, extremely gentle, extremely soft spoken, was the most humble young person that I knew.”

CAGE claims that the “root cause” of Jihadi John’s crimes was that he was interrogated by MI5.

jihad John

jihad John

Qureshi, who became emotional as he spoke, said Emwazi would turn up at Cage’s offices with “posh baklava” as way of saying thanks. “This is the kind of person that we’re talking about. So this is why when I’m asked is the person that you see in those videos the same as the person you remember, Mohammed Emwazi, it’s difficult for me to say that yes, these two people are exactly the same.”

“Because there’s one character that I remember, one person… one young, kind person that I remember, and then I see that image and there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between the two,” he continued. “While I think that there are some striking similarities between the young man that I remember and the person we see in the video, I can’t be 100% certain. He’s got a hood on – come on, guys, you know, the guy’s got a hood on his head. It’s very, very difficult.”

“He (Emwazi) was such a beautiful young man, really. It’s hard to imagine the trajectory, but it is not a trajectory that’s unfamiliar with us,” he went on.

CAGE and “HHUGS” are devoted to “provide practical support and advice to households devastated by the arrest of a family member under UK anti-terror legislation.”

One of CAGE’s members, Moazzam Begg, has been working with MI5 all along

The terrorism case against former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg collapsed after MI5 belatedly gave police and prosecutors a series of documents that detailed the agency’s extensive contacts with him before and after his trips to Syria, the Guardian has learned.

The documents included minutes of meetings that MI5 officers and lawyers held with Begg, at which he discussed his travel plans and explained he was assisting opposition fighters in their war against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

On seeing the material, Crown prosecutors realised it corroborated Begg’s defence case: he insists he was always perfectly candid with MI5, and says the agency assured him no attempt would be made to hinder him if he wanted to return to Syria.

According to the Guardian, “the intelligence agencies are unable to comment on the claim that it tried to recruit Emwazi, in part because the killings of the hostages by his grouping are still a matter of police investigation. But the parliamentary intelligence and security committee report into the Lee Rigby murder sets out the agency’s position.”

The intelligence committee wrote: “Agents are one of MI5’s most important sources of intelligence. MI5 often approaches subjects of interest (SoIs) in order to try to recruit them as agents.”

According to people who have moved in jihadi circles in west London, Emwazi began to be noticed about five or six years ago. “That’s when he emerged, so to speak,” said one. Among his associates at that time was Bilal el-Berjawi, a Londoner of Lebanese origin who was killed by a drone strike in Somalia three years ago.

I’m bothered by the phrase “According to people who have moved in jihadi circles in west London”. There are known jihadi circles in west London, and the press and the government are ok with that? As Hillary Clinton said, “you can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours”.

Groups like CAGE and MI5, working together and separately, are empowering Jihad in Europe, not discouraging it. The left and the right have been playing this game for decades. Both wonder why so many of their youth are running to Syria to join ISIS.

From the Washington Post - The flow of Foreign Fighters to Syria

From the Washington Post – The flow of Foreign Fighters to Syria

As I see it, it’s all a matter of framing. If we see these operations as an attempt to keep the public safe and diminish terrorist activity, they are a dismal failure. But if we see them as an opportunity for governments to continue doing business with (and receiving bribes from) the people who support the terrorists, while appearing to be providing security to voters, then it’s all a resounding success.

Gordon Brown seeks funds from the Saudis

Gordon Brown seeks funds from the Saudis

Written by marypmadigan

February 26th, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Mars Looks Like a Hot Melted Sundae

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Mars Ice Cap

Mars Ice Cap

Written by marypmadigan

February 13th, 2015 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Tech

For women: Staying safe while traveling solo

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“Solo traveling helps to sharpen intuition and, despite typical worries, is often no more dangerous than your home town” – More thanks to Kristin Addis at Nomadic Matt

Written by marypmadigan

February 13th, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Posted in Life,On the Road