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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 34,034

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Wedding vows open new chapter in 72-year relationship

Vivian Boyack, 91, left, and Alice "Nonie" Dubes, 90, began a new chapter in their 72-year relationship when the Rev. Linda Hunsaker presided over their wedding Saturday at First Christian Church, Davenport.

Vivian Boyack and Alice "Nonie" Dubes say it is never too late for people to write new chapters in their lives.

Boyack, 91, and Dubes, 90, began a new chapter in their 72-year relationship Saturday when they exchanged wedding vows at First Christian Church, Davenport.

Surrounded by family and a small group of close friends, the two held hands as the Rev. Linda Hunsaker told the couple that, “This is a celebration of something that should have happened a very long time ago.”

The two met in Yale, Iowa, where they grew up, and moved to Davenport in 1947.


Koch Brothers Responsible for almost 10% of TV Campaign Ads So Far this Year

Of the estimated 400,000 political ads that have aired so far in the battle over control of the U.S. Senate, nearly 10% have been generated by the “secretive political network of conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch,” according to the Center for Public Integrity.

The number of Koch-funded commercials is pegged at more than 43,900, based on data the center gathered from Kantar Media/CMAG, an advertising tracking service. That data reflects advertising dollars spent between January 2013 and August 2014.

More than half of this total has been the product of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ primary campaign operation, which has produced more than 27,000 ads that have aired in nine battleground states.



The Unique Merger That Made You


At first glance, a tree could not be more different from the caterpillars that eat its leaves, the mushrooms sprouting from its bark, the grass growing by its trunk, or the humans canoodling under its shade. Appearances, however, can be deceiving. Zoom in closely, and you will see that these organisms are all surprisingly similar at a microscopic level. Specifically, they all consist of cells that share the same basic architecture.

These cells contain a central nucleus—a command center that is stuffed with DNA and walled off by a membrane. Surrounding it are many smaller compartments that act like tiny organs, carrying out specialized tasks like storing molecules or making proteins. Among these are the mitochondria—bean-shaped power plants that provide the cells with energy.

This combination of features is shared by almost every cell in every animal, plant, fungus, and alga, a group of organisms known as “eukaryotes.”

Bacteria showcase a second, simpler way of building a cell—one that preceded the complex eukaryotes by at least a billion years. These “prokaryotes” always consist of a single cell, which is smaller than a typical eukaryotic one and bereft of internal compartments like mitochondria and a nucleus. Even though limited to a relatively simple cell, bacteria are impressive survival machines. They colonize every possible habitat, from miles-high clouds to the deep ocean. They have a dazzling array of biological tricks that allow them to cause diseases, eat crude oil, conduct electric currents, draw power from the Sun, and communicate with each other.



The Big Bang Is Hard Science. It Is Also a Creation Story.


In some ways, the history of science is the history of a philosophical resistance to mythical explanations of reality. In the ancient world, when we asked “Where did the world come from?” we were told creation myths. In the modern world, we are instead told a convincing scientific story: Big Bang theory, first proposed in 1927 by the Belgian Roman Catholic priest Georges Lemaître. It is based on observations that galaxies appear to be flying apart from one another, suggesting that the universe is expanding. We trace this movement back in space and time to nearly the original point of the explosion, the single original atom from which all the universe emerged 14 billion years ago.

While it is based on empirical measurement and quantitative reasoning, it is also a creation story, and therefore shares some of the traits of the stories that have come before. For one thing, it resonates with the ethos of the modern age—this is the era of big explosions, like those in White Sands and over Nagasaki. Also, like all creation stories, it explains in comprehensible language something which otherwise requires unobtainable categories of thought. After all, we cannot really know what the world was like before its creation. But we do see how things around us change, grow, are born, and die. And, like the ancients, we fashion these observations into the story of our creation.

The oldest creation myth on the planet, from perhaps 2600 B.C., was given as a preface to a Sumerian poem about the descent of Gilgamesh’s friend Enkidu into the underworld.1 The account begins:

After heaven had been moved away from earth,
After earth had been separated from heaven,
After the name of man had been fixed;
After An had carried off heaven,
After Enlil had carried off Ki…

At some time, the myth tells us, heaven and earth were united, and then they were separated. The separation of Sky and Earth made possible the appearance of man. The poem introduces us to elements that we see repeated again and again in ancient myths: First, creation was not from nothing, which you never find in ancient myth, but from something that was already there. What was it? In a tablet listing the Sumerian gods, the goddess Nammu is said to be “the mother, who gave birth to heaven and earth” and her name is written as a sign that means “sea.” Second, the act of naming and spoken language is deeply mixed into the act of creating: Man is created only “after had been fixed.”


America is home to more dollar stores than McDonald’s

Is there a dollar store near you? The answer is probably “several.”

Family Dollar FDO, -1.19% on Friday rejected the buyout proposal from Dollar General because of antitrust regulatory concerns.

In an attempt to ease those concerns, Dollar General DG, -2.28% had said it was willing to divest 1,500, or 7.7%, of the combined total of stores. But considering all the overlap seen on the map, especially east of the Mississippi, Family Dollar’s concerns are pretty clear.

Family Dollar continues to support the lower buyout offer from smaller rival Dollar Tree DLTR, +1.07% which has about 5,100 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Dollar Tree said Friday it would “divest as many stores as necessary or advisable” to obtain antitrust clearance.

more (graphs are worth looking at)


Sunny Northwest day stuns ISS astronaut

Reid Wiseman
This never happens – perfectly clear from California to British Columbia. #Seattle in the middle.

It's also nearing kicking 1967 out of the record books. Saturday will be Seattle's 41st day at 80 or warmer (with nary a cloud to be found on the satellite image, or seen by the ISS.) The record is 47 days at 80 or warmer. (2nd is 46, 3rd is 45 days.) Long range models suggest the record is not out of reach.



What It's Like to Be a Black Cop in St. Louis County


PASADENA HILLS, Mo—Martise Scott had made it. He escaped the inner-city ghetto of north St. Louis, went to college, and got hired as a police officer for the St. Louis County Police Department. It was 1985, and he was one of about 50 black officers in a force of about 700.

"We were the lucky few," says Scott, who was first assigned to patrol the wealthy white suburbs in west St. Louis County.

He still remembers the looks he got from homeowners when he responded to calls. And the comments police officers made about African-American defendants. It wasn't long before he realized that the black crack dealers and users he arrested would get longer prison sentences than the predominantly white cocaine dealers and users.

"It's a thin line for a black officer," says Scott, now 49. "Nobody understands what it's like to be on both sides. You walk a tight rope."



Toon: Inside the hacked files of D.C'.s elite!

Mother of Higgs boson found in superconductors

by Michael Slezak
A weird theoretical cousin of the Higgs boson, one that inspired the decades-long hunt for the elusive particle, has been properly observed for the first time. The discovery bookends one of the most exciting eras in modern physics.

The Higgs field, which gives rise to its namesake boson, is credited with giving other particles mass by slowing their movement through the vacuum of space. First proposed in the 1960s, the particle finally appeared at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, in 2012, and some of the theorists behind it received the 2013 Nobel prize in physics.

But the idea was actually borrowed from the behaviour of photons in superconductors, metals that, when cooled to very low temperatures, allow electrons to move without resistance.

Near zero degrees kelvin, vibrations are set up in the superconducting material that slow down pairs of photons travelling through, making light act as though it has a mass.

This effect is closely linked to the idea of the Higgs – "the mother of it actually," says Raymond Volkas at the University of Melbourne in Australia.


Weekend Toon Roundup 3- The Rest


The Issue




Mr. Fish

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