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A sensational breakthrough: the first bionic hand that can feel

A sensational breakthrough: the first bionic hand that can feel | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

The first bionic hand that allows an amputee to feel what they are touching will be transplanted later this year in a pioneering operation that could introduce a new generation of artificial limbs with sensory perception.
The wiring of his new bionic hand will be connected to the patient’s nervous system with the hope that the man will be able to control the movements of the hand as well as receiving touch signals from the hand’s skin sensors.


Via Szabolcs Kósa, Wildcat2030
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kitnewtonium
My personal mix of fracas, photos, & funny stuff
Curated by Kit Newton
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Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

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Surge in English SNP members: 'the core message is very attractive'

Surge in English SNP members: 'the core message is very attractive' | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
orn, bred and resident in London, Andrew Chevis might seem an unlikely recruit to the Scottish National party. Yet at a time when the SNP is planning to spread its message beyond Scotland, the former Labour party activist is one of an increasing trickle of English people who have gone a step further and signed up as members.

“There are thousands of us in England for whom the SNP’s core message on the economy is a very attractive one,” says Chevis, a one-time branch secretary for Labour in Battersea who joined the SNP after the independence referendum.

Via Peter A Bell
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Greek Debt Deal a Financial Coup-Rob Kirby | Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog

Greek Debt Deal a Financial Coup-Rob Kirby | Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Macroeconomic analyst Rob Kirby thinks that everybody should take notice of what is happening with the Greek debt crisis drama.  Kirby contends, “What has occurred in Greece, make no mistake, it is a financial coup.  It is not a bailout.  It’s a takeover by force.  The leader of Greece has obviously been told, and effectively has a gun to his head, the way it’s going to be.  The Greek people voted for what they want, and we know what the Greek people’s wishes are, and they don’t want more austerity.  They want to divorce themselves from the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB).  We know that clear as day, but that is not acceptable to the global elitists and the globalist bankers.  They have said we don’t really care what you think.  It’s going to be the way we say.  The rest of Europe should sit up and take note of this because there are other countries whose finances are also not in good shape, namely, Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. . . . If global bankers are allowed to get away with this, then this is what you can expect in your country real soon.”

Via Hal
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Hal's curator insight, July 16, 12:08 PM

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Chemists devise technology that could transform solar energy storage from microseconds to weeks

Chemists devise technology that could transform solar energy storage from microseconds to weeks | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

A new technology developed by chemists at UCLA is capable of storing solar energy for up to several weeks. 

 

The materials in most of today’s residential rooftop solar panels can store energy from the sun for only a few microseconds at a time. A new technology developed by chemists at UCLA is capable of storing solar energy for up to several weeks — an advance that could change the way scientists think about designing solar cells.

 

The findings are published June 19 in the journal Science. The new design is inspired by the way that plants generate energy through photosynthesis.

 

“Biology does a very good job of creating energy from sunlight,” said Sarah Tolbert, a UCLA professor of chemistry and one of the senior authors of the research. “Plants do this through photosynthesis with extremely high efficiency.”

 

“In photosynthesis, plants that are exposed to sunlight use carefully organized nanoscale structures within their cells to rapidly separate charges — pulling electrons away from the positively charged molecule that is left behind, and keeping positive and negative charges separated,” Tolbert said. “That separation is the key to making the process so efficient.”

 

To capture energy from sunlight, conventional rooftop solar cells use silicon, a fairly expensive material.  There is currently a big push to make lower-cost solar cells using plastics, rather than silicon, but today’s plastic solar cells are relatively inefficient, in large part because the separated positive and negative electric charges often recombine before they can become electrical energy.

 

“Modern plastic solar cells don’t have well-defined structures like plants do because we never knew how to make them before,” Tolbert said. “But this new system pulls charges apart and keeps them separated for days, or even weeks. Once you make the right structure, you can vastly improve the retention of energy.”

 

The two components that make the UCLA-developed system work are a polymer donor and a nano-scale fullerene acceptor. The polymer donor absorbs sunlight and passes electrons to the fullerene acceptor; the process generates electrical energy.

 

The plastic materials, called organic photovoltaics, are typically organized like a plate of cooked pasta — a disorganized mass of long, skinny polymer “spaghetti” with random fullerene “meatballs.” But this arrangement makes it difficult to get current out of the cell because the electrons sometimes hop back to the polymer spaghetti and are lost.

 

The UCLA technology arranges the elements more neatly — like small bundles of uncooked spaghetti with precisely placed meatballs. Some fullerene meatballs are designed to sit inside the spaghetti bundles, but others are forced to stay on the outside.  The fullerenes inside the structure take electrons from the polymers and toss them to the outside fullerene, which can effectively keep the electrons away from the polymer for weeks.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Ra's curator insight, June 23, 5:27 PM

"A new technology developed by chemists at UCLA is capable of storing solar energy for up to several weeks."

changes to solar panel construction that could do away with the need for bulky battery storage or any connection to the grid. Rural camp site looking brighter, although maybe somewhere in the future. 

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'Historic' decision on votes at sixteen welcomed | Scottish National Party

'Historic' decision on votes at sixteen welcomed | Scottish National Party | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
The SNP is today welcoming the ‘historic’ decision in the Scottish Parliament to extend the right to vote in next year’s Holyrood elections to 16 and 17 year olds – and looks forward to Scotland’s young people making their voices heard.

Via Peter A Bell
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Russia To Take It’s Gold Reserves Up To $500 Billion From $360 Billion | Investment Research Dynamics

Russia To Take It’s Gold Reserves Up To $500 Billion From $360 Billion | Investment Research Dynamics | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
I suggested yesterday that we are going to start seeing a lot more entities/investors convert their phony fiat currency into physical gold and silver.  In a news report that is being predictably ignored by western financial media, Russia announced today it will take its gold reserves up to $500 billion.

At today’s artificially manipulated price, that translates into 119.1 million ounces or roughly 3,463 metric tonnes.  Russia’s current amount of $360 billion represents a 20% backing of its currency, which is the highest ratio of gold to paper currency in the world. Please note:  Until the U.S. submits to a completely independent audit open for the world to observe, we assume the amount of gold held by the United States is zero.

Via Hal
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Hal's curator insight, June 4, 4:48 PM

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Prominent Yes figures support moves towards left coalition for 2016 election

Prominent Yes figures support moves towards left coalition for 2016 election | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Scottish news and politics, analysis and opinion. Scotland's political social media hub. SSP backed project to build left electoral alliance at its party conference on 23 May
PROMINENT pro-independence figures Pat Kane, Jim Sillars and Mike Small have welcomed a vote by the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) to work with the Scottish Left P

Via Peter A Bell
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Leaving far behind those of the English left who maintain the faux Marxist mantra against independence

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Peter A Bell: A smear backfires

Peter A Bell: A smear backfires | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Having listened to Alistair Carmichael's defence in the matter of what I suppose we must grit our teeth and call #MemoGate, I am even more convinced than ever that he should resign immediately. Unbelievably, Carmichael is now insisting that we should simply ignore his despicable behaviour and focus instead on some unspecified things he may have done for his constituents in the past.

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Exclusive Humza Yousaf interview: We will work with Westminster parties to shut down detention centres

Exclusive Humza Yousaf interview: We will work with Westminster parties to shut down detention centres | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Scottish news and politics, analysis and opinion. Scotland's political social media hub. SNP minister hits out at Labour leadership for being “happy to have a pop at immigrants at any opportunity for cheap political gain”
HUMZA YOUSAF has slammed the UK's “inhumane” detention centres and said he hopes the SNP can

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SNP manifesto: 5 policies SNP and Labour agree on, and 5 they disagree on

SNP manifesto: 5 policies SNP and Labour agree on, and 5 they disagree on | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
A fresh rolling Scottish news and politics service. We're part of the Common Weal, and our full launch is coming soon. CommonSpace takes a look at the SNP's manifesto, and compares it to Labour's to see what areas of agreement and disagreement could be found in a possible Labour-SNP deal after the General Election
THE SNP’s manifesto launch offers the fir

Via Peter A Bell
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Police ask campaigner to tell them anti-Murphy protest plans in advance

Police ask campaigner to tell them anti-Murphy protest plans in advance | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
POLICE Scotland has been accused of stifling democratic protest after asking an anti-austerity campaigner to reveal his plans for challenging Jim Murphy.

Via Peter A Bell
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Makes you ask, why is Jim Murphy so paranoid about opponents? Or merely trying to demonize them again, as during the referendum campaign?

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Labour MP Ian Murray breaks ranks over Trident

Labour MP Ian Murray breaks ranks over Trident | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
LABOUR’S shadow business minister, Ian Murray, has broken ranks with the party leadership over the renewal of Trident by stating that he would not vote for the renewal of the submarine missile fleet under any circumstances.

Via Peter A Bell
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Peter A Bell's curator insight, April 15, 5:14 AM

It is gratifying to find that there are still traces of principle to be found in British Labour in Scotland. It is a measure of how out of touch the leadership of British Labour is when there is such a significant level of agreement within their own ranks with the position of  party the leadership seek to portray as unfailingly wrong on every issue.

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DNA origami - how to make a nanoscale bunny

DNA origami - how to make a nanoscale bunny | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

Folding DNA into the shape of a tiny bunny rabbit is now easier than ever, according to a study published in Nature today. Folding DNA isn’t new — it’s known as DNA origami — but automating the process is. Thanks to a set of computer algorithms, researchers have developed a way to streamline the design phase that comes before the DNA assembly — a substantial step toward 3D printing at the nanoscale.

 

This has not been done before, it is novel and surprising," says Thorsten Schmidt, a chemist at the Dresden University of Technology who didn't work on the study. "In fact, we have a very related study under review at the moment and the only bad aspect of Björn Högberg’s study is that they were faster than us."

 

The bunny, while cute, wasn’t the point of the study. Rather, it’s a demonstration that scientists can automatically generate a DNA sequence to form a complex shape — the closest thing to 3D printing on a very tiny scale. "It’s almost a one-click procedure," Högberg says. And if scientists can fully automate the process, they’ll have a real DNA printer at their disposal — one that could, among other things, make drugs easier to deliver to the right places in the body.

 

Actually, there are a lot of ideas about how these techniques could be used. In addition to drug delivery, researchers are working on coating the DNA structures with non-biological materials, like gold, that react when the structure comes in contact with light.

 

But at this point, the bunny and the bottle don't do all that much. "We're not really concerned with the genetic information," Högberg says. "We're using DNA purely as a construction material."

 

Now that the study has been published, the researchers want to find a way to make their own construction materials. That may mean using natural DNA — taken from a plant or bacteria that they cultivate themselves — instead of synthetic DNA, Högberg says. "We're getting very good at making structures at the nanoscale," Högberg says. Researchers just need to find a way to make lots tiny DNA bunnies cheaply — and all at once.


Via Integrated DNA Technologies, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Scottish non-profit energy supplier launched to reduce heating bills and challenge ‘big six’

Scottish non-profit energy supplier launched to reduce heating bills and challenge ‘big six’ | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
A NON-PROFIT independent energy company has been set-up in Scotland and aims to cut heating bills by up to 10 per cent for 200,000 homes by 2020, presenting a challenge to the ‘big six’ energy companies that have been criticised for making extortionate profits while fuel poverty rises.

Via Peter A Bell
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Mortality Gap: Have Women Always Lived Longer than Men?

Mortality Gap: Have Women Always Lived Longer than Men? | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

In every single country on the planet, women live longer than men. In response to this unpleasant fact, men are fond of replying, "That's because we have to put up with women." Humorous though it may be, that's not the actual reason women live longer than men. In fact, it wasn't until the beginning of the 20th Century that the "mortality gap" between men and women became so striking.

 

To investigate the underlying reason for the gender gap in life expectancy, a team of researchers examined mortality data for people born between 1800 and 1935 in 13 developed countries. Using this data, they were able to determine changes in the male-female mortality ratio, as well as determine when and why women began to outlive men.

 

In the figure above, each birth cohort is represented by a single colored line. For example, people born between 1800 and 1819 are represented by 20 different lines, each of which is colored black; people born between 1920 and 1935 are represented by 16 colored lines, each of which is colored red. The chart plots age on the X-axis (i.e., "age at time of death") against the male-female mortality rate ratio on the Y-axis.

 

The figure shows that the relative mortality rate for men gets worse in subsequent years. Compare the mortality rates at age 60, for instance. The mortality rate ratio for people born between 1800 and 1839 (black and gray lines) hovers roughly around 1.2; that means that about 120 men died for every 100 women who died at age 60. Just a few decades later, a dramatic shift occurs: the male-female mortality rate ratio for people born between 1880 and 1899 (green lines) skyrockets to 1.6, meaning that 160 men died for every 100 women who died at age 60. Then it goes from bad to worse. For the 1920-1935 birth cohort, the ratio is a shocking 2.1 at age 60, meaning that 210 men died for every 100 women.

 

Why is this the case? The authors' analysis suggests two major factors: The first is smoking, which is more common among men. (With smoking factored out, the pattern of an increasing male-female mortality ratio still persists but to a lesser extent, as shown above.) The second is cardiovascular disease, a condition to which men seem to be more vulnerable than women. This may be due to gender differences in diet, lifestyle, and even genetics. Indeed, the researchers found that cardiovascular disease was the major factor causing excess deaths among men as compared to women.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Fed digs deeper hole by keeping interest rates low

Fed digs deeper hole by keeping interest rates low | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

The truth is, the Fed is in a bind. And it has been for much of the past seven years. Houdini would need help getting out of this straight jacket.

 

Here’s the predicament:


Despite historically low interest rates for a monumentally long period of time, the US economy is still growing — at best — only modestly. Even quantitative easing, the central bank’s bold and dangerous money-printing operation, couldn’t get the economy to kick into a higher gear.

 

The Fed could leave interest rates near zero forever, except that it is creating a massive amount of income dislocation. Americans who rely on income from their savings accounts — and have been getting none for a long time — have had to cut back. And this has hurt the economy.


Via Hal
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Hal's curator insight, June 18, 11:05 AM

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Stanford engineers develop a computer that operates on water droplets

Stanford engineers develop a computer that operates on water droplets | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, and his students have developed a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets. Their goal is to design a new class of computers that can precisely control and manipulate physical matter.

 

Computers and water typically don't mix, but in Manu Prakash's lab, the two are one and the same. The computer is nearly a decade in the making, incubated from an idea that struck Prakash when he was a graduate student. The work combines his expertise in manipulating droplet fluid dynamics with a fundamental element of computer science – an operating clock.

 

"In this work, we finally demonstrate a synchronous, universal droplet logic and control," Prakash said. Because of its universal nature, the droplet computer can theoretically perform any operation that a conventional electronic computer can crunch, although at significantly slower rates. Prakash and his colleagues, however, have a more ambitious application in mind.

 

"We already have digital computers to process information. Our goal is not to compete with electronic computers or to operate word processors on this," Prakash said. "Our goal is to build a completely new class of computers that can precisely control and manipulate physical matter. Imagine if when you run a set of computations that not only information is processed but physical matter is algorithmically manipulated as well. We have just made this possible at the mesoscale."

 

The ability to precisely control droplets using fluidic computation could have a number of applications in high-throughput biology and chemistry, and possibly new applications in scalable digital manufacturing.

 

The results are published in the current edition of Nature Physics.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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What is Complexity Theory? - Kieran D. Kelly

What is Complexity Theory? - Kieran D. Kelly | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Spontaneous Order & Complexity does not arise in defiance of The Second Law of Thermodynamics but with the help of it!... Complexity is Coarse Entropy!...

Via Philippe Vallat
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Philippe Vallat's curator insight, May 12, 11:31 AM

Excellent and clear article, describing many of the concepts of complexity theory. Must read!

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Biodegradable computer chips made from wood

Biodegradable computer chips made from wood | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it

Portable electronics -- typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials -- are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers' pursuit of the next best electronic gadget.


In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.


The research team, led by UW-Madison electrical and computer engineering professor Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma, described the new device in a paper published today (May 26, 2015) by the journal Nature Communications. The paper demonstrates the feasibility of replacing the substrate, or support layer, of a computer chip, with cellulose nanofibril (CNF), a flexible, biodegradable material made from wood.


"The majority of material in a chip is support. We only use less than a couple of micrometers for everything else," Ma says. "Now the chips are so safe you can put them in the forest and fungus will degrade it. They become as safe as fertilizer." Zhiyong Cai, project leader for an engineering composite science research group at FPL, has been developing sustainable nanomaterials since 2009.


"If you take a big tree and cut it down to the individual fiber, the most common product is paper. The dimension of the fiber is in the micron stage," Cai says. "But what if we could break it down further to the nano scale? At that scale you can make this material, very strong and transparent CNF paper."


Working with Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, a UW-Madison professor of biomedical engineering, Cai's group addressed two key barriers to using wood-derived materials in an electronics setting: surface smoothness and thermal expansion.


"You don't want it to expand or shrink too much. Wood is a natural hydroscopic material and could attract moisture from the air and expand," Cai says. "With an epoxy coating on the surface of the CNF, we solved both the surface smoothness and the moisture barrier."

Gong and her students also have been studying bio-based polymers for more than a decade. CNF offers many benefits over current chip substrates, she says.


"The advantage of CNF over other polymers is that it's a bio-based material and most other polymers are petroleum-based polymers. Bio-based materials are sustainable, bio-compatible and biodegradable," Gong says. "And, compared to other polymers, CNF actually has a relatively low thermal expansion coefficient."


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Ex-Finance Minister backs independent Scottish Labour party

Ex-Finance Minister backs independent Scottish Labour party | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
A former Scottish Labour finance minister has called on his party to cut its ties with London and become a fully independent political force.

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Scotland may face £126bn UK debt payment

Scotland may face £126bn UK debt payment | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
SCOTLAND may have to pay back its entire £126 billion share of UK debt under the SNP’s plan for full fiscal autonomy, according to Alistair Darling’s former right-hand man at the Treasury.

Via Peter A Bell
Kit Newton's insight:

Scotland should be compensated for their share of UK gold sold off rock bottom by Gordon Brown, and for subsequent asset stripping, including the cheap sell off of Royal Mail, which also allows dividends to be exported, rather than kept and reinvested in UK.

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Peter A Bell's curator insight, April 30, 6:17 AM

All of which would seem to confirm that the only way to satisfactorily resolve the anomalies of the union is independence.

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Westminster Eats Itself

Westminster Eats Itself | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Greg Moodie on the recent interventions of desperate Westminster politicians.

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Cameron met with Sony Pictures about release date of Outlander | We Ourselves

Cameron met with Sony Pictures about release date of Outlander | We Ourselves | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
Prime Minister David Cameron met with Sony Pictures representatives three months before indyref to discuss the impending release in Britain of the Outlander series, according to WIKILEAKS. The series premier broadcast was inexplicably delayed here until after the referendum.

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Sturgeon to launch SNP manifesto for "UK-wide delivery"

Sturgeon to launch SNP manifesto for "UK-wide delivery" | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
NICOLA Sturgeon will tomorrow cast the SNP as a party for the entire UK with a manifesto promising her MPs would try to change the UK's welfare system and foreign policy.

The First Minister will set out plans to reverse £3bn of cuts to disability benefits and make the UK government formally recognise Palestine to advance peace in the Middle East.

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Trident: is our nuclear deterrent really independent? | Alex Thomson's View | Alex Thomson's View

Trident: is our nuclear deterrent really independent? | Alex Thomson's View | Alex Thomson's View | kitnewtonium | Scoop.it
It seems to be typical of the triumph of spin over substance in this election campaign so far. The debate over whether or not E Miliband planted the meat cleaver into D Miliband’s back seemed to receive much more coverage than whether or not we should pay billions of pounds for Trident.

Via Peter A Bell
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