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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

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A smack in the face from DosJotas

By RJ Rushmore
The Spanish artist DosJotas was in New York City recently, and the left some signage around town (including in MoMA). For more from his DON’T EVEN THINK series, go here. While TrustoCorp’s street signs make me laugh DosJotas’ signs make me angry, whether they are true or just stereotypes that usually bubble underneath the surface. There’s no subtlety and little humor, if any. Just raw injustice in red, white and black. It can be great to laugh at life’s problems, because otherwise how would we all manage, but sometimes we just need to be smacked in the face with them. Okay, the MoMA piece is funny though.


Fox News Hails Doctor Who Said Gay Rights Lead to Child Molestation

On Fox News, Dr. Steven Hotze is a hero. "He's the doctor fighting to let you keep your doctor," declared Neil Cavuto, who recently ran a segment on Hotze's lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. Hotze is challenging the health care law on a technicality: All taxation bills must originate in the House, and part of the law was first introduced in the Senate. The case, which is currently before the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, stands a real chance of heading to the Supreme Court.

Conservatives, desperate for another opportunity to kill the law, have embraced Hotze. He has appeared alongside Texas lieutenant governor candidate Dan Patrick and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to promote the lawsuit and been a mainstay in conservative media. But while many of Hotze's high-profile fans have portrayed him as an average doctor who's standing up for what's right, his past statements on homosexuality and a range of medical subjects fall well outside the mainstream.

In the 1980s, Hotze was the Houston coordinator of a Christian Reconstructionist group called the Coalition on Revival, which contended then and now that "the ultimate cause of all disease, deformity, disability, and death is the sin of Adam and Eve" and that malpractice suits are un-Biblical. He has inflated his own credentials while endorsing a wide range of alternative treatments and theories (such as the idea that women have been "brainwashed" to take the pill, and should avoid birth control because it makes them less attractive to men) that public health professionals decry and insurance companies don't cover. And for decades, he's trafficked in hysteria over equal status for gay citizens, which he has said would give gay people "a free hand to come and have relations with a minor, molest a child."



Chicago decriminalized marijuana possession—but not for everyone

By Mick Dumke

The racial grass gap hasn't narrowed a bit.

Two years after Chicago moved to reform its marijuana laws, a two-tiered system of justice remains firmly in place: while low-level pot possession has essentially been decriminalized for residents of affluent neighborhoods, others are routinely stopped and cuffed in an ongoing crackdown in poor, minority areas.

The number of arrests for marijuana possession citywide has dropped to its lowest level in 12 years. But police continue to make an average of 44 arrests a day for misdemeanor possession, more than for any other offense.

And who's getting busted hasn't changed at all.

Though studies have found similar marijuana usage rates across racial groups, 78 percent of those arrested since August 2012 for carrying small amounts of pot were black, according to police department data. Another 17 percent were Hispanic, and just 4 percent were white—virtually the same breakdown as before the new possession ordinance went into effect.



Koch's buying off FSU department to spew climate denialist crap

Students at Florida State University are telling Charles Koch to stop compromising academic integrity with multimillion dollar grants that come with strings attached.

You may recall: back in 2011, two Florida State University (FSU) professors revealed that the Charles Koch Foundation was given inappropriate control over the professor hiring process in the economics department, where millions of dollars were granted from the Kansas billionaire. Three years later, the case still isn’t closed on this corporate manipulation of university functions. The FSU students write:

Our university’s academic integrity has already been compromised from the influence of high-dollar donors like Koch, who managed to assume inappropriate control over our economics department’s curriculum and hiring process per an agreement signed in 2008. Three years have passed since FSU professors exposed Koch’s financial grip over our school and a committee of faculty senators formally rejected several stipulations of the agreement. Yet, it is clear that the administration refuses to act to appropriately limit outside influence on FSU’s educational operations.

A new agreement with Koch, signed by both ex-President Barron and current Interim President Garnett Stokes, still contains many provisions from the original agreement that were explicitly rejected by the faculty senators who reviewed it. Barron himself stated that the initial agreement “did provide the opportunity for outside influence” from Koch. This leads us to question whether the new agreement leaves that influence intact.

The op-ed focuses on the departure of Eric Barron, who is transitioning into the president’s office at Penn State University after serving as president of Florida State University.

Mr. Barron is being celebrated for his expertise in climate science as he cycles into his new position at Penn State (which also gets money from Charles Koch).



Carbon Dioxide Levels Climb Into Uncharted Territory for Humans

The amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has exceeded 402 parts per million (ppm) during the past two days of observations, which is higher than at any time in at least the past 800,000 years, according to readings from monitoring equipment on a mountaintop in Hawaii. Carbon dioxide, or CO2, is the most important long-lived greenhouse gas responsible for manmade global warming, and it is building up in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.

Once emitted, a single molecule of carbon dioxide can remain aloft for hundreds of years, which means that the effects of today's industrial activities will be felt for the next several centuries, if not thousands of years. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, such as methane, warm the planet by absorbing and redirecting outgoing solar radiation that would otherwise escape back into space.

In 2013, atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide briefly hit 400 ppm for the first time in mid-May, but this year that symbolic threshold has been crossed even earlier. This means it is more likely that the annual peak, which typically occurs in mid-to-late May, will climb further above 400 ppm for the first time.

Although crossing above 400 ppm is largely a symbolic milestone, scientific research indicates that the higher that carbon dioxide concentrations get, the more global temperatures will increase, resulting in a wide range of damaging effects. These impacts will range from global sea level rise to a heightened risk of heat waves, severe droughts and floods, according to a recently released comprehensive assessment of climate science produced by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).



DNA nanobots deliver drugs in living cockroaches

It's a computer – inside a cockroach. Nano-sized entities made of DNA that are able to perform the same kind of logic operations as a silicon-based computer have been introduced into a living animal.

The DNA computers – known as origami robots because they work by folding and unfolding strands of DNA – travel around the insect's body and interact with each other, as well as the insect's cells. When they uncurl, they can dispense drugs carried in their folds.

"DNA nanorobots could potentially carry out complex programs that could one day be used to diagnose or treat diseases with unprecedented sophistication," says Daniel Levner, a bioengineer at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University.

Levner and his colleagues at Bar Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, Israel, made the nanobots by exploiting the binding properties of DNA. When it meets a certain kind of protein, DNA unravels into two complementary strands. By creating particular sequences, the strands can be made to unravel on contact with specific molecules – say, those on a diseased cell. When the molecule unravels, out drops the package wrapped inside.


LHCb confirms existence of exotic hadrons

Cian O'Luanaigh
The Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) collaboration today announced results that confirm the existence of exotic hadrons – a type of matter that cannot be classified within the traditional quark model.

Hadrons are subatomic particles that can take part in the strong interaction – the force that binds protons inside the nuclei of atoms. Physicists have theorized since the 1960s, and ample experimental evidence since has confirmed, that hadrons are made up of quarks and antiquarks that determine their properties. A subset of hadrons, called mesons, is formed from quark-antiquark pairs, while the rest – baryons – are made up of three quarks.

But since it was first proposed physicists have found several particles that do not fit into this model of hadron structure. Now the LHCb collaboration has published an unambiguous observation of an exotic particle – the Z(4430) – that does not fit the quark model.

The Belle Collaboration reported the first evidence for the Z(4430) in 2008. They found a tantalizing peak in the mass distribution of particles that result from the decays of B mesons. Belle later confirmed the existence of the Z(4430) with a significance of 5.2 sigma on the scale that particle physicists use to describe the certainty of a result.

LHCb reports a more detailed measurement of the Z(4430) that confirms that it is unambiguously a particle, and a long-sought exotic hadron at that. They analysed more than 25,000 decays of B mesons selected from data from 180 trillion (180 ×1012) proton-proton collisions in the Large Hadron Collider.



Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The rest








Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- GOP

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- Unequal Pay

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