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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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Marlon James wins the Man Booker Prize

Source: LA Times

Marlon James won the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday for his multivoiced novel "A Brief History of Seven Killings" at a black tie event in London. The prize is a the leading literary event in the UK and comes with an award of $78,000.

"Ten years ago I'd given up on writing," James said in his acceptance speech. "I figured clearly I'm not meant to write books."

James began his speech with a nod to the Man Booker. "It just hit me how much of my literary sensibility was shaped by the Man Booker Prize," he said. James was born and raised in Jamaica reading the British literature of the country's colonial past; the Man Booker was something different. "My great turning point as a writer was when a friend of mine handed me Salman Rushdie's 'Shame.'"

"A Brief History of Seven Killings" is James' third novel, an ambitious and powerful commentary on the impact of violence. Told from dozens of points of view in a number of different, novelized Jamaican patois, it spins out a fiction from the 1976 assassination attempt on Bob Marley -- referenced only as "The Singer" -- and features gang leaders, politicians, ferocious fighters, a music journalist, hired assassins and a tenacious woman who makes her way to America.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-marlon-james-wins-the-man-booker-prize-20151013-story.html

State GOP elects new leader to offend and embarrass everyone…

Back in September, Randy Brogdon stepped down as Chairman of the Oklahoma GOP after a controversial reign that included choosing a person with a history of domestic violence to serve as his chief lieutenant, and posting insulting memes on Facebook that compared providing food stamps to lower-income Oklahomans with feeding wild animals at national parks.

As a replacement, the state party had a couple of choices. One of them was State GOP Vice-Chair Estella Hernandez. She served as the interim chairman once Brogdon stepped down. As a naturalized immigrant from El Salvador, she gave Oklahoma Republicans the rare opportunity to show some diversity and defy the common stereotype that most of them are angry, white, women-hating racists.

The other option was Pam Pollard. She is the President of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women. She also probably sews her own clothes. Remember her? We’ve written about Pam a few times. Just like Randy Brogdon, she likes to show her insanity on Facebook.


Anyway, the State GOP had a big meeting on Sunday to vote for their new chairman. Guess who won.


Hillary donors worry: 'All the energy is with Bernie'

Hillary Clinton’s major donors want her to show more “fire” in Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate to halt Bernie Sander’s grass-roots momentum and populist fundraising appeal.

But the Vermont senator’s campaign sees the debate as a major opportunity to cash in, campaign sources tell POLITICO, and, if recent precedent holds, it could yield a multimillion-dollar surge from activists giving $10 or $20 each.

With both candidates set to release fundraising totals later this week, small donors have provided the overwhelming majority of the $41 million raised by Sanders through the end of last month — a tally that’s expected to exceed every campaign except Clinton’s. Her campaign pulled in $75 million between mid-April and the end of September. But a much larger percentage came from donors who each gave close to $2,700, which is the maximum that any one donor can contribute for the primary election.

Clinton’s big-money backers contend she could tap into the small-donor fervor behind Sanders and fire up her own base if she displayed more emotion on the debate stage, according to POLITICO interviews with 10 leading donors and fundraisers who work closely with the Clinton campaign. They see her best approach as a tricky balance between reaching out to Sanders’ populist base, while still casting herself as the most electable Democrat ― which means also aggressively rebutting Republican attacks over her private email use.

“There’s a deep hunger for more action and more fire in belly, and lots of worry all the energy is with Bernie,” said a major Clinton bundler in New York. “Everyone is talking about that,” said the bundler. While noting that most major donors still don’t see Sanders as likely to win the Democratic nomination, the bundler added, “Donors are the base, and they like red meat the same way the activist wing of the party does. … Donors and bundlers are all momentum people like everyone else.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/10/hillary-donors-bernie-sanders-debate-fundraising-214681#ixzz3oS46h5SN

Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: The Rest


Citizens United



The Issue

War Crime


Mr. Fish

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1:Lord of the Flies

Doctors pioneer pot as an opioid substitute

Hundreds of opioid addicts are being treated with medical marijuana in Massachusetts, with advocates touting the new therapy as a life-changing alternative to a deadly epidemic — and facing down critics who contend they are peddling junk science.

“We have a statewide epidemic of opioid deaths,” said Dr. Gary Witman of Canna Care Docs, a network of facilities that issue medicinal marijuana cards in seven states, including nine clinics in Massachusetts. “As soon as we can get people off opioids to a nonaddicting substance — and medicinal marijuana is nonaddicting — I think it would dramatically impact the amount of opioid deaths.”

Witman, who works out of a Fall River Canna Care clinic, says he has treated about 80 patients who were addicted to opioids, muscle relaxers or anti-anxiety medication with cannabis using a one-month tapering program. More than 75 percent of those patients stopped taking the harder drugs, Witman said.

Cannabis, Witman said, can treat the symptoms patients had been using opioids to manage, such as chronic pain or anxiety — and treat them far more safely.


Rick Perry goes on road trip in '72 Chevy Chevelle SS after dropping out of presidential race

What would you do after you dropped out of a presidential campaign? For former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the newfound free time inspired him and a friend to take a road trip in a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.

Setting off Sunday morning south of Monterey, California, Perry and his fellow Texas A&M alumnus Tommy Orr appear to be driving the car back to Perry's current home town of Round Top, Texas. At least, that's what I've gleaned from Perry's Instagram account.

Earlier this year, Perry told the Round Top Register that his dream car is a "1972 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport. 396." Presumably, with his presidential campaign over, Perry purchased his dream car and employed an old college friend to help him drive it home. Perry spokesman Stan Gerdes told The San Antonio Express that the road trip "is just for fun ... He deserves it."

The car a man chooses to buy after leaving something as big as a presidential race says a lot. About Perry, the Chevelle SS says that he values brute force over the finesse of, say, a German sports car from the era. It also hints Perry has little care for build quality or attention to detail, as the GMs of that era were notoriously lacking both. It's old, it's unwieldy and its historical relevance is questionable. In short, it's the perfect Perry-mobile.



Sea level rise will swallow Miami, New Orleans, study finds

Say goodbye to Miami and New Orleans. No matter what we do to curb global warming, these and other beloved US cities will sink below rising seas, according to a study Monday.

But making extreme carbon cuts and moving to renewable energy could save millions of people living in iconic coastal areas of the United States, said the findings in the October 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal.

Scientists have already established that if we do nothing to reduce our burning of fossil fuel up to the year 2100, the planet will face sea level rise of 14-32 feet (4.3–9.9 meters), said lead author Ben Strauss, vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central.

The big uncertainty is the issue of when.


What is quantum in quantum thermodynamics?

Physicists have shown that the three main types of engines (four-stroke, two-stroke, and continuous) are thermodynamically equivalent in a certain quantum regime, but not at the classical level. Credit: Uzdin, et al. Published by the American Physical Society under CC-BY-3.0

(Phys.org)—A lot of attention has been given to the differences between the quantum and classical worlds. For example, quantum entanglement, superposition, and teleportation are purely quantum phenomena with no classical counterparts. However, when it comes to certain areas of thermodynamics—specifically, thermal engines and refrigerators—quantum and classical systems so far appear to be nearly identical. It seems that the same thermodynamic laws that govern the engines in our vehicles may also accurately describe the tiniest quantum engines consisting of just a single particle.

In a new study, physicists Raam Uzdin, Amikam Levy, and Ronnie Kosloff at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have investigated whether there is anything distinctly quantum about thermodynamics at the quantum level, or if "quantum" thermodynamics is really the same as classical thermodynamics.

For the first time, they have shown a difference in the thermodynamics of heat machines on the quantum scale: in part of the quantum regime, the three main engine types (two-stroke, four-stroke, and continuous) are thermodynamically equivalent. This means that, despite operating in different ways, all three types of engines exhibit all of the same thermodynamic properties, including generating the same amounts of power and heat, and doing so at the same efficiency. This new "thermodynamical equivalence principle" is purely quantum, as it depends on quantum effects, and does not occur at the classical level.


Global marine analysis suggests food chain collapse

A world-first global analysis of marine responses to climbing human CO2 emissions has painted a grim picture of future fisheries and ocean ecosystems.

Published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), marine ecologists from the University of Adelaide say the expected ocean acidification and warming is likely to produce a reduction in diversity and numbers of various key species that underpin marine ecosystems around the world.

"This 'simplification' of our oceans will have profound consequences for our current way of life, particularly for coastal populations and those that rely on oceans for food and trade," says Associate Professor Ivan Nagelkerken, Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow with the University's Environment Institute.

Associate Professor Nagelkerken and fellow University of Adelaide marine ecologist Professor Sean Connell have conducted a 'meta-analysis' of the data from 632 published experiments covering tropical to artic waters, and a range of ecosystems from coral reefs, through kelp forests to open oceans.

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