Daily Archive: September 24, 2017

Sep
24

Scottish Power says UK will need to boost capacity

Scottish Power says electric cars and a shift to electric heating could mean a big rise in demand for electricity.

Sep
24

Giro d’Italia’s start in Israel provokes accusations of ‘sport-washing’

La grande partenza in Jerusalem will be a historic first but brings an unprecedented level of political controversy to cycling’s second biggest event

Israel is a country of builders. Almost 70 years after its foundation skycrapers jostle for space along the Mediterranean strand, planted in the fertile soil of a Tel Aviv property boom. Up in the Judean Hills, other kinds of structures – architectures of military control in the occupied Palestinian territories – spring up, too.

Israelis are now turning their attention to a new kind of construction: image. Despite the occupation and condemnation from the international community, Israel is ready to project its pride at what it has built and paint over the canvas of conflict. Holding the brush is Sylvan Adams, an ebullient 58-year-old property billionaire who emigrated from Canada in 2016.

Related: Giro d’Italia set to start 2018 cycling race with three stages in Israel

Starting the Giro 
in Israel rewards it 
for its human rights abuses against the Palestinian people, including athletes

Related: David Lappartient reaps wind of change blowing through cycling | William Fotheringham

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Sep
24

In Between review – the struggle of free spirits trying to fly

Three female flatmates in Tel Aviv fight the constraints of their Muslim faith and families in an inspiring directorial debut

This bittersweet debut feature from Maysaloun Hamoud is a spiky treat, an empowering tale of three Palestinian women living in Tel Aviv, each fighting their own battles for independence and fulfilment. Balancing tragicomic relationship blues with sharp sociopolitical observation, Hamoud’s slyly subversive drama draws us deep into an often hidden world. As the title suggests, these women occupy a liminal space, caught between freedom and repression, religion and secularism, the past and the future. Theirs is a world in flux, in which the drugs and partying of the underground scene stand in stark contrast to the strict hypocrisies that dominate the cultural landscape. As one of them tells her devout father: “Some people live in palaces, but God knows what their life is like inside…”

Laila (Mouna Hawa) is a force of nature, a chain-smoking, leather-jacketed lawyer who can drink and snort the boys under the table and takes pride in overturning the conventions of her profession and her gender. She lives with Salma (Sana Jammalieh), an aspiring DJ who works long hours in kitchens and bars and whose strict Christian parents don’t know she’s gay. When strait-laced and studious Nour (Shaden Kanboura) arrives from Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, the ultra-conservative Muslim lifestyle she leads is out of step with that of her new flatmates. No wonder Nour’s sanctimonious fiance, Wissam (Henry Andrawes), worries about their influence, eager to bring the marriage forward and remove his bride from such corrupting company.

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Sep
24

Nibiru: How the nonsense Planet X Armageddon and Nasa fake news theories spread globally  

Nibiru: How the nonsense Planet X Armageddon and Nasa fake news theories spread globally  Nibiru conspiracy theories about the end of the world have been circulating online for more than two decades, with the latest dubious prophecy predicting the apocalypse – September 23, 2017. Planet X, or Nibiru, refers to a mythological planet in our solar system that will supposedly crash into Earth and wipe out the human race, however it has been consistently dismissed by Nasa and other experts as an internet hoax. Despite absolutely no scientific evidence to back up the suggestions of a rogue planet getting rapidly closer to Earth, myths about Planet X continue to be perpetuated online. End of the world (23 Sept 2017) Of course, this isn't the first time time harbingers of doom have predicted the end of time; Nasa also had to deny the existence of Nibiru in 2012. Throughout history there have been similar claims, but thankfully none of them so far have been proved correct.  How did conspiracy theories about Planet X start? Online chatter about Nibiru began back in 1995 when Wisconsin native Nancy Lieder created the alien-conspiracy website ZetaTalk. Ms Lieder claims to be a conduit for aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system, 39.17 light years from Earth, who have warned her about the Nibiru catastrophe. The conspiracy theory hasn’t gone away, with so-called Christian numerologist David Meade claiming Planet X is heading in our direction. Meade believes October could see the start The Rapture and a seven-year tribulation period of widescale natural disasters. Why September 23? It has been claimed an unusual celestial arrangement mirroring signs from the Bible’s Book of Revelation, September 23, will signal the start of the end of the world.   However, the EarthSky blog notes there will be “nothing unique” about the sun, moon and planets on the date. “In the past 1,000 years, this same event has happened at least four times already, in 1827, 1483, 1293, and 1056,” explains astronomer Christopher M. Graney. Haven’t we been here before? Mars, with Earth visible in background Credit: Getty  This isn't the first time the apocalypse has been predicted: 1844 American Baptist teacher William Miller first shared publicly his belief in the coming Second Advent of Jesus Christ in 1833, predicting he would return in the year 1843. The Millerites were his followers and Millerism became a national movement, however when Jesus didn’t arrive, October 22, 1844, became known as the Great Disappointment. 1997 Twenty years ago, 29 members of Heaven’s Gate, a UFO religious millenarian group, committed suicide with the aim of boarding a UFO they believed was hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet before the supposed end of the world. 2003 Planet X was also supposedly discovered by the ancient Sumerian people and was meant to hit Earth in 2003, but never arrived. “This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved forward to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar at the winter solstice in 2012,” say Nasa. 2011 The end of the world was also supposed to arrive on 21 May 2011, with Christian doomsday prophet Harold Camping predicting the Rapture would begin at 18:00 in each of the world's time zones, wiping out nay-sayers with rolling earthquakes as believers ascended to heaven. 2012 Nasa had to debunk an ancient Maya prophecy theory about the world ending back in 2012. The Mayan connection “was a misconception from the very beginning,” astrophysicist Dr. John Carlson said at the time. “The Maya calendar did not end on Dec. 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date.” 2015 Chris McCann, leader and founder of the eBible fellowship, said the world would be engulfed and destroyed by a great fire on October 7. McCann said he was “surprised” by the outcome and wrote a blog post entitled: “A response to being incorrect with the prediction that, in all likelihood, the world would end on October 7.” What does Nasa say this time? Nasa is confident the world won't end  Credit: AFP Nasa has definitively dismissed wild theories about Nibiru as pseudoscience, issuing a number of statements denying its existence. “Various people are ‘predicting’ that world will end on September 23 when another planet collides with Earth,” say Nasa. “The planet in question, Nibiru, doesn't exist, so there will be no collision. The story of Nibiru has been around for years (as has the 'days of darkness' tale) and is periodically recycled into new apocalyptic fables.” They add: “Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth … astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. “Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.” Nasa fake news and the days of darkness tale A fake news story being widely shared online suggests Nasa has confirmed Earth will experience 15 days of complete darkness in November 2015. Another fake news video claims that Nasa has found Nibiru and confirmed it is heading straight for us. Debunking website Snopes explains the “days of darkness” tale is a “bit of fake news lifted from an older viral rumour” They say that it “had already been around the online block several times before,” adding, “it has long since become an evergreen online hoax — a jape that is typically resurrected a few times a year by dubious websites that simply update the time span for the alleged ‘period of darkness’ and send it winging around the internet again. What do other experts say? Nick Pope, who used to investigate UFOs and other mysteries for the Ministry of Defence, says “Nibiru doesn't exist”. He adds: “The world won't end on September 23. Shame on the people promoting this hoax in the name of evangelical Christianity.” Mr Pope told The Telegraph: “I'm certain Nibiru doesn't exist because if there really was a rogue planet heading for Earth, due to hit on Saturday, it would be visible to the naked eye by now. “Furthermore, astronomers would have been aware of its presence for years, both through direct observation and through gravitational effects on other planets in the solar system.” Why are some people so keen to promote this conspiracy? “The people promoting this prediction seem to be doing so because of religious belief, tenuously linking the recent eclipse with Biblical passages, including one from the Book of Revelations,” Pope says. “I suspect the reasons include self-publicity and the desire to promote their particular brand of evangelical Christianity.” Is there anything we should be worried about? “All this isn't to say that there aren't some existential threats out there, but if people want to worry about something, they should probably worry about North Korean missiles, or about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons, not about Nibiru,” Pope adds.  “There have been countless previous predictions of the end of the world. Self-evidently all these predictions were false. September 23 will pass without incident, just as we safely negotiated all the previous dates that had been put forward as doomsday.” Google Home spreads bizarre conspiracy theory A prepper's guide to everything you need to survive the apocalypse