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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Missoula, MT
Home country: USA
Current location: Deep in Red State Hell!
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 5,249

About Me

Godless democratic socialist, look towards northern Europe for inspiration on what role-models our economy should aspire towards. Love the ACLU and donate heavily to them each year, wish they'd get with the program and defend the Second Amendment with as much fervor as they do the rest of the Bill of Rights. Proud member of the 99%.

Journal Archives

Today We Learned How to Make Crack Cocaine and Kevlar!

So today we learned about amines and amides, in Organic Chemistry. (For those not familiar, it involves organic compounds with a Nitrogen component.)

This is cocaine:

Chemistry professors sure seem to know a lot about illegal substances... crack is a lower purity form of free-base cocaine that is usually produced by neutralization of cocaine hydrochloride with a solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3) and water, producing a very hard/brittle, off-white-to-brown colored, amorphous material that contains sodium carbonate, entrapped water, and other by-products as the main impurities.

Someone in class asked why it is that rich people tend to be the ones who do the pure cocaine, whereas poor folks tend to be the ones who do crack. She wasn't sure, but said she'd get back to us.

But what was really cool is we learned what kevlar and many fire-proof and bullet-proof vests are made of:

Those red balls are oxygen atoms, the blue balls nitrogen, white balls hydrogen, and black carbon.

It's amazing that just these 4 simple elements, when arranged a certain way, produce properties that make them so impervious to penetration.

This class has been nothing short of fascinating, it really is amazing how chemistry ties in to so many aspects of our lives. It really is the central science.

If I wasn't so dead-set on becoming a biologist, I'd definitely pursue chemistry instead.

The things we've learned in just the past 200 years since chemistry was founded as a science really have changed everything.

Everything boils down to chemistry. Everything.

I Finally Got Through on HealthCare.gov! UNBELIEVABLE Rates!

Holy smokes!

I've been trying to register since Day 1, only to have it keep erring out over and over again, no matter what time of day I tried. Multiple unsuccessful attempts, a couple user account names "lost in limbo", but the third try was the charm.

Took me well over an hour to answer all the verification questions, but I was finally able to look at and compare plans.

To be on the safe side, I ended up over-estimating my income a bit, as my current part-time job only pays around $10K/year, which isn't enough to qualify for subsidies. (My current home state of Idaho is one of those backwards GOP-controlled states that didn't expand Medicaid. Assholes.) But I expect to be able to take on a work-study job through my community college next semester, which should be just enough to put me over the $11,490 threshold for full subsidies to kick in.

So I checked out the default Silver-level plans which looked very affordable. With the $203/month subsidy, I found two plans that only cost $20/month: one with a $1000 deductible and $5800 max out-of-pocket, and another with a $3500 deductible but $3500 out-of-pocket. While that isn't too bad, just for fun I took a peek at the other level plans. I could get a Bronze plan for free, but they had way higher deductibles and max out-of-pocket expenses, too risky. The Gold plans weren't much better than the Silver it didn't seem, and still had pretty high deductibles and co-pays.

Then I was completely blown away: I could get a fucking PLATINUM plan for only $85/month. NO DEDUCTIBLE, $1500 MAX out-of-pocket expenses, worst-case scenario. Only a $35 primary doctor co-pay, a $50 specialist doctor co-pay, and $10 generic drugs. Even though its over 4 times as expensive as a Silver plan, I'm seriously leaning toward this option. The extra income from a work-study job would more than cover it.

No fucking wonder the GOP wants to shut this down before word gets out! Even without subsidies, that Platinum plan is only $288/month, and from the looks of it far superior to many employer-offered plans. This is really going to give corporate insurance plans a run for their money. Employers won't want to look like cheapskates offering less benefits than what the uninsured can get on the exchanges, so I imagine it will force them to reduce, if not eliminate, their high deductibles as well.

If this is really what we have in store, then 2014 is going to be a blood-bath... for the Republicans.

*** ETA: I'm 36 years old, single, non-smoker:

As Germans Push Austerity, Greeks Press Nazi-Era Claims

AMIRAS, Greece — As they moved through the isolated villages in this region in 1943, systematically killing men in a reprisal for an attack on a small outpost, German soldiers dragged Giannis Syngelakis’s father from his home here and shot him in the head. Within two days, more than 400 men were dead and the women left behind struggled with the monstrous task of burying so many corpses.

Mr. Syngelakis, who was 7 then, still wants payback. And in pursuing a demand for reparations from Germany, he reflects a growing movement here, fueled not just by historical grievances but also by deep resentment among his countrymen over Germany’s current power to dictate budget austerity to the fiscally crippled Greek government.

Germany may be Greece’s stern banker now, say those who are seeking reparations, but before it goes too far down that road, it should pay off its own debts to Greece.


It will be interesting to see if Greece presses the issue.

For as much as Greece has bent over backwards to meet German demands, there really should be forgiveness of a good part of that bailout debt that is crippling Greece right now...
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