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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 38,269

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

My kind of flower bed


Council heads in the Kazakh capital have launched an investigation after cannabis plants began sprouting up in flowerbeds in the city centre.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/110310806

St. Louis County towns continue to treat residents like ATMs

By Radley Balko

Now that the many, many municipalities in St. Louis County face the prospect of a state law imposing a lower limit on how much revenue they can generate from traffic offenses (along with a credible threat of actually enforcing that law), they seem to be turning instead to non-traffic-related offenses, which aren’t covered by the new policy.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Drive through this working-class suburb filled with 1950s cottages and you will see many edged and weeded lawns. You’ll also notice orange sticky notes on the doors — at least one or two per street in many parts of town.

They are warnings the city gives to residents who violate local ordinances. And in this community of 3,304 residents, the list of what earns a ticket and fine is long.

Among the things that will be “closely monitored” through the spring and summer, according to a newsletter that recently went out to residents:

Pants worn too low or grass grown too high. Children riding bikes without helmets. Barbecue pits or toys in front yards. Basketball hoops in the streets.

There’s no loitering — described in city code as “the concept of spending time idly” or “the colloquial expression ‘hanging around.’” And, despite a citywide 20 mph speed limit, there’s no playing or walking in the street.


It isn’t difficult to guess which groups of people are most likely to be affected by laws against walking in the street, wearing one’s pants too low, or “spending time idly.” It’s also probably a lot easier to avoid citations for having toys lying about (I’m still a little surprised this could be illegal) if you have a nice long drive way, or trees or fences to conceal the front yard.

more
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/05/29/st-louis-county-towns-continue-to-treat-residents-like-atms/

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Shembo has been arrested for kicking and killing girlfriend's dog

According to Zach Klein and Tony Thomas of WSB-TV in Atlanta, Gwinnett Police filed felony animal cruelty charges against Shembo after he allegedly kicked and killed his girlfriend's dog

more

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2480392-prince-shembo-arrested-for-animal-cruelty-latest-details-mugshot-and-reaction

Idaho Ag-Gag law written by Dairy Lobbyists

Across the country, legislatures are responding to whistleblowers and activists who have exposed inhumane and at times unsanitary practices at farms by passing laws that criminalize the taking of photos or videos at agricultural facilities.

Farming interests have publicly backed the campaign to outlaw recording. But emails I obtained through a records request reveal that in Idaho, which passed an “ag-gag” law last year, dairy industry lobbyists actually crafted the legislation that was later introduced by lawmakers.

State Sen. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, said he sponsored the bill in response to an activist-filmed undercover video that showed cows at an Idaho plant being beaten by workers, dragged by the neck with chains, and forced to live in pens covered in feces, which activists said made the cows slip, fall and injure themselves. The facility, Bettencourt Dairies, is a major supplier for Burger King and Kraft. The workers who were filmed were fired.

Introducing the bill, Patrick compared the activists behind the Bettencourt video to marauding invaders who burned crops to starve their enemies. “This is clear back in the sixth century B.C.,” Patrick said, according to Al Jazeera America. “This is the way you combat your enemies.”

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/28/emails-reveal-dairy-lobbyist-authored-ag-gag-legislation-outlawing-pictures-farms/

ECONOMIC THEORY: SCIENCE OR SCAM?

By Nick Hanauer

Noah Smith, a smart financial writer with a very good blog, wrote an article on the $15 minimum wage at Bloomberg earlier this week. The piece celebrated the fact that, finally, we’ll have some data on how the $15 minimum wage would affect jobs. Smith said he considered it a test because in theory “a higher minimum wage should cause increased unemployment.”

The more I thought about it, the less sense this premise made. Noah’s article underscored two big things for me: first, the degree to which people see the evidence they want to see, and also how silly the idea of “economic theory” can be. Smith claims that we don’t know what the result of a $15 minimum wage will be. Will it kill jobs or not? But the truth is, there’s abundant and overwhelming evidence that this theory is wrong, and that higher minimum wages don’t hurt employment. The evidence is there; you just have to choose to see it.

Let’s just look in my own back yard for an example of that evidence. Washington State has had the highest minimum wage in the nation for several years—at $9.47, it’s a full 30 percent more than the federal minimum of $7.25. Washington’s unemployment rate of 5.5 percent isn’t the best in the country, but it’s not the worst, either. In fact, it perfectly matches the national rate. But Seattle was until recently the fastest growing big city in the country. And speaking of evidence, the first part of the $15 minimum wage rollout was successfully implemented in April, and unemployment in our county promptly plummeted to 3.3 percent.

An even more dramatic example of the goofiness of this so-called “economic theory” is the impact of the wages of tipped workers on the restaurant industry. In Washington, these workers earn at least $9.47 plus tips, a whopping 440 percent more than the federal tipped minimum of $2.13 plus tips. Despite the predictions of “economic theory,” and despite the warnings from the National Restaurant Association that eliminating the tip credit would cause food armageddon, Seattle has one of the most robust restaurant scenes in the USA. Why? Because when restaurants pay restaurant workers enough so that even they can afford to eat in restaurants, it’s really good for the restaurant business. If economic “theory” were correct, if paying workers more resulted in higher unemployment, we would have no restaurants in Seattle.

more
http://civicskunkworks.com/economic-theory-science-or-scam/

Bernie Sanders is so hot right now

By Chris Cillizza

Do you feel the Bernie-mentum?


Yes, of course, I am talking about the presidential candidacy of Vermont independent/socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, which he made official this week on the shores of Lake Champlain.

And, no, I am not being entirely tongue-in-cheek. The truth of the matter is that Sanders has rather quickly emerged as the leading rival -- and liberal alternative -- to the juggernaut candidacy of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Witness new polling this week from Quinnipiac University on the Democratic field; Clinton leads the way with 57 percent followed by Sanders at 15, Joe Biden at 9 and Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee all at 1 percent. Sanders's growth from the last poll is even more eye-opening; he was at only 8 percent in an April Q poll and at just 4 percent in a March one.

Fifteen percent, of course, is still 42 points behind Clinton. Which means that Sanders remains a non-threat to seriously challenge the frontrunner for the nomination at this point. What Sanders has proven over the last month or so, however, is that O'Malley, Webb and Chafee will all have to go through him if they want to be the alternative -- liberal or otherwise -- to Clinton in the race. That status is a genuine accomplishment for Sanders and his campaign team.

more

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/05/29/bernie-sanders-is-so-hot-right-now/

Ultracold Experiment Could Solve One of Physics’s Biggest Contradictions

There’s a mysterious threshold that’s predicted to exist beyond the limits of what we can see. It’s called the quantum-classical transition.

If scientists were to find it, they’d be able to solve one of the most baffling questions in physics: why is it that a soccer ball or a ballet dancer both obey the Newtonian laws while the subatomic particles they’re made of behave according to quantum rules? Finding the bridge between the two could usher in a new era in physics.

We don’t yet know how the transition from the quantum world to the classical one occurs, but a new experiment, detailed in Physical Review Letters, might give us the opportunity to learn more.

The experiment involves cooling a cloud of rubidium atoms to the point that they become virtually motionless. Theoretically, if a cloud of atoms becomes cold enough, the wave-like (quantum) nature of the individual atoms will start to expand and overlap with one another. It’s sort of like circular ripples in a pond that, as they get bigger, merge to form one large ring. This phenomenon is more commonly known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, a state of matter in which subatomic particles are chilled to near absolute zero (0 Kelvin or −273.15° C) and coalesce into a single quantum object. That quantum object is so big (compared to the individual atoms) that it’s almost macroscopic—in other words, it’s encroaching on the classical world.

more
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/physics/ultracold-experiment-could-solve-one-of-physicss-biggest-contradictions/

These Chimps Helped Us Find a Hepatitis Vaccine. Now They've Been Left to Die

WRITTEN BY KALEIGH ROGERS
May 28, 2015 // 09:11 PM EST

On a string of tiny islands in the middle of a river in Liberia, dozens of chimpanzees await an increasingly bleak future. The swampy jungle islands provide the chimps no food, no water, and because chimps aren’t strong swimmers, no means of escape. The apes aren’t from the islands, but for the last 10 years, the islands have been their home. Now they’re in danger of starving there.

Placed on the islands by human hands, the chimps rely on human caretakers to provide food and water in order to survive. But earlier this year, the US nonprofit that left these retired research chimps on islands in the middle of the war-torn and Ebola-ravaged African nation of Liberia pulled the funding required to ensure their care. In 2005, the New York Blood Center left its research chimps to retire with a promise of lifetime care on an island. In March, it abandoned them for somebody else to worry about.

The 66 chimps are currently surviving on a reduced feeding schedule paid for through emergency funds pieced together by the Humane Society and the personal donations of a handful of individual conservationists. But they only have enough money to support the chimps’ care for a few more weeks.

Now, a collective of conservationists and researchers that includes the Jane Goodall Institute, Born Free, and the Humane Society has launched an online campaign to raise enough money to bridge the gap while they seek a long-term solution and urge the NYBC to reinstate its support. They've launched a GoFundMe page to collect money for the chimps and a Change.org petition to send letters demanding the NYBC reestablish support.

more
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/these-chimps-helped-us-find-a-hepatitis-vaccine-now-theyve-been-left-to-die

Human Flesh-Craving Squirrels Are Attacking MTA Workers


Earlier this month, a squirrel in the Bronx bit an MTA worker's finger, sending her to the hospital. Now, it appears squirrels have developed a taste for salty, delectable people flesh—a second MTA worker has been attacked by a squirrel, this time in the train car of a Coney Island-bound Q train. It's unclear whether the same squirrel was coming back for seconds, or if the city's squirrel population has teamed up with the coyotes to rid the city of all non-littering humans.

This week's squirrel-sourced aggression occurred at around 9:20 a.m. on Thursday, near the Cortelyou Road Q station. The Post reports that the squirrel ran through the Q train's window before setting its sights on the train operator. Luckily, passengers were able to help her shoo the squirrel out, though it's probably since burrowed a home for itself in Flatbush, biding its time until another unsuspecting human sticks a finger near it. The extent of the train operator's injuries are unknown.

http://gothamist.com/2015/05/29/human_flesh-craving_squirrels_are_a.php

Council ‘accidentally’ plants marijuana in city centre flowerbeds



Council heads in the Kazakh capital have launched an investigation after cannabis plants began sprouting up in flowerbeds in the city centre.
Local people in Astana City noticed an unusual aroma as they walked down Auezova Street and alerted the authorities when they found thousands of marijuana plants flourishing in the flower beds that line the road.
The city council are now investigating whether the planting of the marijuana was a simple mistake or a deliberate act of guerilla gardening.
Mihail Malorod was one of the residents who first noticed the plants.


Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2015/05/27/council-accidentally-plants-marijuana-in-city-centre-flowerbeds-5217650/
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