Martine L. Engeset

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Senator presses NSA to reveal whether it spies on members of Congress

• Vermont's Bernie Sanders poses question to spy agency<p>• Court renews order for collection of US phone records<p>A US senator has bluntly asked the National Security Agency if it spies on Congress, raising the stakes for the surveillance agency’s legislative fight to preserve its broad surveillance …

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on

Few of the politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue how it actually works (and doesn't)<p>Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start …

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

The most ridiculous notion civilians have about the legal system is that the accused are “innocent until proven guilty.” Actually, thanks to high bails and other absurdities, you can spend a long time in jail before anyone convicts you of any...<p><i>Bail bonds are the only shitty option available to</i> …

Pacific Ocean

NSA documents claim full smartphone access for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android

According to a set of secretive documents reportedly authored by the NSA and delivered to the public by Der Spiegel, the security agency is or has …

Putin demands 'convincing' Syria evidence

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has warned the US against taking one-sided action in Syria, but has also said that Russia "doesn't exclude" the possibility of supporting a UN resolution authorising military strikes.<p>He said that such an endorsement would require "convincing" evidence that …

Obama Arrives in Russia

Killers like the alleged Charleston gunman don’t just spontaneously generate

It was Louis Pasteur who put an end to the centuries-long era of the rather fanciful idea of “spontaneous generation.” Beginning with the ancient Greeks and continuing on through the Middle Ages, right up until 1859 when Mr. Pasteur’s experiment disproved the theory, it was generally accepted that …

Magic mushrooms in the neuropsychoanalytical framework

This week, researchers from Imperial College London publish two separate studies of the effects of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient of magic mushrooms. The first appeared in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i> on Monday, and I've written a news story about it for <i>Nature</i>. It's one …

Magic mushrooms' psychedelic ingredient could help treat people with severe depression

Trials of psilocybin blocked by drugs law red tape, says Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London<p>Drugs derived from magic mushrooms could help treat people with severe depression. Scientists believe the chemical psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms, can turn down parts …