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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 37,254

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Friday TOON Roundup 3 -Koch and GOP



Friday TOON Roundup 2 - Immigrants

Friday TOON Roundup 1 - Drone Killings

Mammoth genome sequence completed

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth.

A US team is already attempting to study the animals' characteristics by inserting mammoth genes into elephant stem cells.

They want to find out what made the mammoths different from their modern relatives and how their adaptations helped them survive the ice ages.

The new genome study has been published in the Journal Current Biology.


Amazing images of Chilean Volcano


Giant magma reservoir mapped deep beneath Yellowstone supervolcano

You know that supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park? The one that, three times in the last 2 million years, spewed enormous amounts of ash over the North American continent? Scientists have discovered an enormous underground reservoir deep beneath the surface and have mapped it out for the first time.

Don’t worry. There’s not a lot of actual molten rock in there and it doesn’t at all affect the likelihood of whether it will erupt anytime soon – the odds each year are still roughly 1 in 700,000. But the findings published online by the journal Science provide deeper (so to speak) insight on this mysterious supervolcano sitting in our backyard and on the inner workings of other supervolcanoes around the world.

“Now we really have a complete image of the Yellowstone plumbing system,” study co-author Jamie Farrell, a geophysicist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, said in an interview.

The Yellowstone caldera, a giant crater caused by a previous eruption, measures 40 miles by 25 miles and sits in the northwest corner of Wyoming, in Yellowstone National Park. The supervolcano erupted 2 million, 1.2 million and 640,000 years ago, fed by the movement of the North American tectonic plate. Underground, 3 to 9 miles beneath the caldera, sits a frying-pan-shaped magma chamber measuring roughly 19 miles by 55 miles.


Charges dismissed after man served 34 years of life sentence

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — A California man who was freed after serving 34 years of a life sentence for murder had the charges formally dismissed Wednesday.

Michael Hanline, 69, was the longest-serving wrongfully incarcerated inmate in California history, according to the California Innocence Project, whose lawyers worked for 15 years to free him and persuaded prosecutors to re-examine the evidence.

Testing showed DNA found at the crime scene did not come from Hanline or his alleged accomplice. In addition, prosecutors withheld evidence that should have been disclosed to Hanline's legal team during the trial.

The conviction was based on "paper-thin evidence," said Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project.

"He is 100 percent innocent," Brooks said outside court.



Republican Governors May Pay Price for Refusing to Expand Medicaid Under Obamacare

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government couldn’t force states to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. Since then, the Obama administration has looked for ways to persuade Republicans who have steadfastly opposed Obamacare to participate in this key component of the act. The biggest incentive is the law’s promise of federal funds to cover the whole cost of newly qualified Medicaid patients for three years, until 2016, and at least 90 percent of the costs thereafter. Nevertheless, 20 states have refused to ease access to their Medicaid rolls. A few have been able to eat their cake and have it, too: Because of special arrangements that predate Obamacare, four states that haven’t expanded Medicaid have been getting billions each year in extra funding to pay for the care of people who are uninsured.

That’s about to change. On April 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages federal funding to the states for health programs, alerted Florida officials that CMS plans to let the $1.3 billion the state gets annually to help hospitals cover the cost of treating uninsured patients lapse at the end of June. “Uncompensated care pool funding should not pay for costs that would be covered in a Medicaid expansion,” CMS wrote in its letter, which it released to reporters.

Rick Scott, Florida’s Republican governor, responded two days later with a threat to sue the Obama administration. “It is appalling that President Obama would cut off federal health-care dollars to Florida in an effort to force our state further into Obamacare,” Scott said in a public statement. On Fox News, Scott was more animated: “This is The Sopranos. They’re using bullying tactics to attack our state.” Scott’s office declined to comment further.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott quickly joined forces with Scott. Texas’ special Medicaid funding, which accounts for about half of the state’s $3.4 billion pool to repay hospitals for treating uninsured patients, expires in September 2016. In an April 20 statement, Abbott, a former attorney general who took office in January, vowed to support Florida’s suit. (As of April 22, no lawsuit had been filed.) “The Supreme Court made it very clear that the Constitution does not allow the federal government to use these coercive tactics against the States,” Abbott said.



Support for Gay Marriage Reaches Record High (POLL)

A week before a closely watched U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the issue, public support for gay marriage reached a new high in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, with 61 percent of Americans – more than six in 10 for the first time – saying gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry legally.

Identical or similar majorities favor gay marriage on two key issues before the court: Sixty-one percent oppose allowing individual states to prohibit same-sex marriages. And 62 percent support requiring states to recognize gay marriages performed legally in other states.

These views extend a dramatic, decade-long evolution in public attitudes on gay marriage - one of the most remarkable re-evaluations of views on a basic social issue in more than 30 years of ABC/Post polling. As recently as June 2006, just 36 percent of Americans said it should be legal for gays and lesbians to marry. That advanced to 49 percent in 2009, reached a majority, 53 percent, in early 2011, and, as noted, 61 percent now.

Further, “strong” support for allowing gay marriage exceeds strong opposition by 15 percentage points in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, matching the largest pro-gay marriage margin in intensity of sentiment on record. In a similar question in 2004, by contrast, strong opposition exceeded strong support by 34 points.


Evolution. It's a good thing...

Hillary at Watergate Impeachment Hearings

During the impeachment hearings, I was shooting a story for Time about John Doar, the chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. Hillary Rodham was a young lawyer working with him. When the Bill Clinton impeachment thing came along, I went back and looked through all the old photos, and I found all these of her—this was the best one. She wasn’t on the radar at all; she just happened to be in the frame. I probably even tried to crop her out at one point. When I look back at that picture, it was like, who knew?

many more interesting images and stories here

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