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Hiroshima Visualized

Hiroshima Mushroom Mathew Lucas
In the whole of human history thus far, nuclear weapons have been used in anger exactly twice. Sixty-eight years ago today an American B-29 bomber named Enola Gay dropped Little Boy, the first atomic bomb ever used in war, on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Between 90,000 and 166,000 people were killed by the bomb, some in the initial blast and others later through radiation poisoning. The scale of devastation is hard to comprehend.

Mathew Lucas's Hiroshima infographics present the information abstractly. Lucas, a graphic designer based in Macclesfield, England, told Popular Science he "wanted the work to highlight not just the the dropping of the Atom Bomb but the factors leading up to the event, the event itself and the countries involved in the process." The first, above, is a timeline of sorts. Dozens of lines--each representing a historical event leading up to the dropping of the first bomb, from Wilhelm Röntgen's discovery of x-rays in 1895 to the first plutonium reprocessing in 1945--all shoot upwards from a single source. This very deliberately mirrors the rising smoke of a mushroom cloud.

The second, below, features a line for every person killed by the blast, using the first-obtained casualty figures at respective distances from the blast. These rings also resemble the Enola Gay's targeting reticle.

Hiroshima Reticle: Mathew Lucas

The final image covers the globe in lines from bomb development sites until they converge on Hiroshima. It's designed to mirror the Uranium-235 atom, which was used in the bomb.




A few weeks ago, Washington, D.C., passed a living-wage bill designed to make Walmart pay its workers a minimum of $12.50 an hour. Then President Obama called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage (which is currently $7.25 an hour). McDonald’s was widely derided for releasing a budget to help its employees plan financially, since that only underscored how brutally hard it is to live on a McDonald’s wage. And last week fast-food workers across the country staged walkouts, calling for an increase in their pay to fifteen dollars an hour. Low-wage earners have long been the hardest workers to organize and the easiest to ignore. Now they’re front-page news.

The workers’ grievances are simple: low wages, few (if any) benefits, and little full-time work. In inflation-adjusted terms, the minimum wage, though higher than it was a decade ago, is still well below its 1968 peak (when it was worth about $10.70 an hour in today’s dollars), and it’s still poverty-level pay. To make matters worse, most fast-food and retail work is part time, and the weak job market has eroded what little bargaining power low-wage workers had: their earnings actually fell between 2009 and last year, according to the National Employment Law Project.

Still, the reason this has become a big political issue is not that the jobs have changed; it’s that the people doing the jobs have. Historically, low-wage work tended to be done either by the young or by women looking for part-time jobs to supplement family income. As the historian Bethany Moreton has shown, Walmart in its early days sought explicitly to hire underemployed married women. Fast-food workforces, meanwhile, were dominated by teen-agers. Now, though, plenty of family breadwinners are stuck in these jobs. That’s because, over the past three decades, the U.S. economy has done a poor job of creating good middle-class jobs; five of the six fastest-growing job categories today pay less than the median wage. That’s why, as a recent study by the economists John Schmitt and Janelle Jones has shown, low-wage workers are older and better educated than ever. More important, more of them are relying on their paychecks not for pin money or to pay for Friday-night dates but, rather, to support families. Forty years ago, there was no expectation that fast-food or discount-retail jobs would provide a living wage, because these were not jobs that, in the main, adult heads of household did. Today, low-wage workers provide forty-six per cent of their family’s income. It is that change which is driving the demand for higher pay.

The situation is the result of a tectonic shift in the American economy. In 1960, the country’s biggest employer, General Motors, was also its most profitable company and one of its best-paying. It had high profit margins and real pricing power, even as it was paying its workers union wages. And it was not alone: firms like Ford, Standard Oil, and Bethlehem Steel employed huge numbers of well-paid workers while earning big profits. Today, the country’s biggest employers are retailers and fast-food chains, almost all of which have built their businesses on low pay—they’ve striven to keep wages down and unions out—and low prices.

much more


AARP calls Weiner's language at forum unfortunate

NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Weiner is taking some heat for calling an opponent at a New York City mayoral forum "grandpa."

AARP state director Beth Finkel says the organization found some comments at the forum it sponsored "unfortunate."

The exchange between 69-year-old Republican candidate George McDonald and the 48-year-old Democrat was caught on camera by the TV station NY1.

After Weiner touched McDonald's chest in greeting, McDonald barked, "Don't put your hands on me ever again."

Weiner responded by telling McDonald he has "anger issues."

When McDonald disagreed, Weiner said, "Yes, you do, Grandpa."



The Texas Legislature’s Sexist Little Secret

Tales from "the last of the good ol' boys clubs."
by Olivia Messer Published on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at 1:17 CST

In January, I returned to my home state to cover the Texas Legislature. After a seven-year absence, I was eager to spend the next 140 days writing for this magazine about the theatrics—and occasional clownery—of the Legislature’s 2013 regular session. I had no idea what I was getting into.

It didn’t take me long to realize that as a woman, and especially a young woman, I’d be treated differently than my male colleagues. Within weeks, I’d already heard a few horrifying stories. Like the time a former Observer staffer, on her first day in the Capitol, was invited by a state senator back to his office for personal “tutoring.” Or, last session, when Rep. Mike “Tuffy” Hamilton interrupted Marisa Marquez during a House floor debate to ask if her breasts were real or fake.

Thankfully I never experienced anything so sexually explicit. Instead, I encountered a string of subtle but demeaning comments. One of the first interviews I conducted for the Observer, in February, was with a male senator about an anti-abortion bill. I was asking questions about whether the bill would reduce access to abortion. At the end of the interview, as soon as I turned off my recorder, he said, “How old are you, sweetheart? You look so young.”

Another day, near the end of the regular session, I was at the Capitol (doing interviews for this story, coincidentally) when a House page stopped me on my way out of the chamber. “I’ve never seen you in here before,” he said. “Who do you work for?” I answered the question, assuming that he wanted to see my press badge. “Well, uh, this may seem forward,” he stammered, “but I’m not sure if I’ll ever see you again—could I maybe take you out to lunch or dinner some time?” He looked about 16, red-faced and innocent. I politely declined. When I walked over to the Senate chamber, a staffer stopped me. “Wow,” he said. “You look really beautiful today.” My face turned red. I thanked him and walked to a seat at the press table. It was the third time that day the staffer had mentioned my appearance, and I was beginning to feel that what I looked like mattered more than my work—at least to the men in the building. At a certain point, after enough of these run-ins—which included male staffers from both chambers, some of whom I knew to be married, hitting on me, making comments about my physical appearance, touching my arm—it finally occurred to me that, when I was at work, I was often fending off advances like I was in a bar.

What surprised me was how many women who work in the Capitol—legislators, staffers, lobbyists, other reporters—felt the same way. Everyone, it seemed, had a story or anecdote about being objectified or patronized.


Bankers: The Real House Thieves of New Jersey

Richard Eskow
United SteelWorkers

Write a cookbook, go to jail?
David Dayen points out the absurdity and hypocrisy behind the Obama/Holder Justice Department’s decision to indict two stars of The Real Housewives of New Jersey on charges of mortgage fraud while Wall Street’s crooked bankers still go unpunished.

Dayen points out that Wall Street bankers illegally foreclosed on 244,000 customers, for a total he estimates at $48 billion, and provides more detail on the scope of bankers’ foreclosures crimes.

But that’s barely scratching the surface. Bankers also defrauded mortgage investors, manipulated energy prices, and fraudulently tampered with lending rates, at a total cost that may well run into the trillions.

Does the Obama/Holder DoJ indictment count reflect the relative magnitude of criminality committed by the respective parties? Let’s look at the record.

Indictments for reality TV stars who accused of defrauding banks in order to obtain approximately $2.4 million in loans: 2.

Indictments of bankers who falsified millions of loan documents, defrauded homeowners and investors, evaded local property sales taxes, and committed multiple other frauds large and small: 0.

- See more at: http://thecontributor.com/bankers-real-house-thieves-new-jersey

Neo-Confederates to Install 15-foot Battle Flag on Virginia's I-95

Coming this fall to I-95 in Richmond: A 15-foot-wide Confederate battle flag.

On Saturday, Virginia Flaggers, a small organization dedicated to promoting the state's Confederate heritage, announced that it is leasing a small patch of land adjacent to the highway just outside the state capital, from which it plans to fly the stars-and-bars, "24/7, 365 days of the year."

In a post on the Flaggers' website, spokeswoman Susan Hathaway announced that the flag "will serve to welcome visitors and commuters to Richmond, and remind them of our honorable Confederate history and heritage." The group's members are going to start work on the project this week, with a formal unveiling slated for September 28; in the meantime, they have launched a fundraising campaign to bring in the $3,000 they need to put the thing up.

Prior to the I-95 project, the Virginia Flaggers had spent most of their energy protesting the decision by two museums, the Museum of the Confederacy in Appomattox and Richmond's Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, not to fly the Confederate flag outside. In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Hathaway explained that the flag's positive message had been distorted by groups like the Ku Klux Klan. (Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest, whom Hathaway is a fan of, was the Klan's first grand wizard.)



The rich really are different: Their bodies contain unique chemical pollutants

By Christopher Mims

“Tell me what kinds of toxins are in your body, and I’ll tell you how much you’re worth,” could be the new motto of doctors everywhere. In a finding that surprised even the researchers conducting the study, it turns out that both rich and poor Americans are walking toxic waste dumps for chemicals like mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium and bisphenol A, which could be a cause of infertility. And while a buildup of environmental toxins in the body afflicts rich and poor alike, the type of toxin varies by wealth.

America’s rich are harboring chemicals associated with what are normally considered healthy lifestyles

People who can afford sushi and other sources of aquatic lean protein appear to be paying the price with a buildup of heavy metals in their bodies, found Jessica Tyrrell and colleagues from the University of Exeter. Using data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Tyrrell et al. found that compared to poorer people, the rich had higher levels of mercury, arsenic, caesium and thallium, all of which tend to accumulate in fish and shellfish.

The rich also had higher levels of benzophenone-3, aka oxybenzone, the active ingredient in most sunscreens, which is under investigation by the EU and, argue some experts, may actually encourage skin cancer.

America’s poor have toxins associated with exposure to plastics and cigarette smoke

Higher rates of cigarette smoking among those of lower means seem to be associated with higher levels of lead and cadmium. Poor people in America also had higher levels of Bisphenol-A, a substance used to line cans and other food containers, and which is banned in the EU, Malaysia, South Africa, China and, in the US, in baby bottles.


American tourist snaps off finger to 600-year-old Italian statue, says he was trying to measure it


An American tourist has sparked outrage overseas not for giving the finger but for accidentally taking one from a 600-year-old Italian statue.

An unidentified tourist at Florence's Museo dell'Opera del Duomo snapped off the pinky finger of a statue dating to the late 14th or early 15th century by medieval sculptor Giovanni D'Ambrogio, museum officials confirmed.

The tourist said to have been a 55-year-old man from Missouri, was reportedly trying to measure it when he violated museum decorum by putting his own hands on the marble art work titled, Annunciazione.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/tourist-snaps-600-year-old-statue-finger-article-1.1418763

Wednesday Toon Roundup 4- The Rest









Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- A-Roid

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