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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: 34,044

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

U.S. Border Agency Is a Frequent Lender of Its Drones

By SOMINI SENGUPTA
Published: July 3, 2013
As Congress considers an overhaul to the nation’s immigration law that would expand the fleet of unmanned drones along the border, the agency in charge of border protection is increasingly lending the drones it already owns to a variety of domestic law-enforcement agencies, according to documents recently made public.


The documents, which include flight logs over the last three years, were unearthed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation through a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

Agencies that have borrowed the 10 Predator drones owned by the Customs and Border Protection Agency have used them for a variety of purposes, including to investigate fishing violations, search for missing persons and inspect levees along the Mississippi River. Three years ago, the drones were lent out 30 times; in 2012, they were lent out 250 times.

In the documents, the border agency said data collected by the drones could be shared with other government agencies, raising concerns about the privacy of Americans within the nation’s borders.

Additionally, the agency, in a 2010 report to Congress included in the documents, raised the possibility of eventually equipping its drones with “nonlethal weapons” to “immobilize” people and vehicles trying to cross the border illegally.

more

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/business/us-border-agency-is-a-frequent-lender-of-its-drones.html

Why good deeds don’t go unpunished

by Kate Shaw Yoshida -

From an early age, we are taught that cooperation, generosity, and altruism are generally things we should strive for. But altruistic acts aren’t always lauded, and researchers have found that generous individuals are sometimes punished for their behavior. Studies suggest that people often react negatively to large contributions, are suspicious of those who offer help, and want to expel particularly charitable individuals from cooperative endeavors. These seemingly counterintuitive behaviors are called “antisocial punishment” and are more common than you might think. But why would people want to punish anyone who is particularly charitable?

The answer to that question would explain a puzzling human behavior, and it could have important ramifications for public policy. Tackling many of the major problems we currently face—from climate change to political stalemates—requires cooperation and collaboration. Understanding why people are sometimes willing to undermine joint efforts out of what appears to be nothing more than spite could go a long way to improve cooperation and discourse in many areas.

Sociologists Kyle Irwin and Christine Horne suggest that our inclination to punish do-gooders may stem from our adherence to social norms. Using a clever experimental design that allowed them to manipulate the level of conformity among group members, the researchers investigated the relationship between antisocial punishment and social norms.

more
http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/07/why-good-deeds-dont-go-unpunished/

We are the most civilized torturers!

Guantanamo prison to synchronize force-feedings to Ramadan fast
By Carol Rosenberg
The Miami Herald

Published: July 3, 2013

The U.S. prison at Guantánamo has sufficient military medical staff to synchronize forced-feedings to the Ramadan fast and will only feed hunger strikers after sunset and before dawn, a prison spokesman said Tuesday.

Navy Capt. Robert Durand said that the detention center had for years only fed Ramadan-observing detainees at night during Islam’s holy month, and this year would be no different — even with the majority of captives on hunger strike.

“We understand that observing the daytime fast and taking nothing by mouth or vein is an essential component of Muslim observance of Ramadan,” Durand said. “And for those detainees on hunger strike we will ensure that our preservation of life through enteral feeding does not violate the tenets of their faith.”

“Enteral feed” is Guantánamo’s term for the process by which U.S. soldiers shackle a captive into a restraint chair, often inside a prison cell, then a Navy nurse inserts a tube into the captive’s nose to deliver a nutritional supplement down the back of his throat and into his stomach.

As of Tuesday, the lockup with 166 foreign prisoners disclosed that 106 of the captives were on hunger strike. Of them, 45 were designated for nasogastric feedings. Three were being fed at the prison hospital Tuesday, said Army Lt. Col. Samuel House, although none had “life threatening conditions.”

more
http://www.stripes.com/news/us/guantanamo-prison-to-synchronize-force-feedings-to-ramadan-fast-1.228649

Respectful!

Our newest outpost of the Empire: US Army opens new $310 million base in northern Italy

by Kent Harris
Stars and Stripes


VICENZA, Italy – The Army’s newest installation is open for business.

Caserma Del Din, the new home of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, celebrated a grand opening Tuesday with an array of American and Italian dignitaries in attendance.

“I am very proud to say it is the most beautiful base of any army of any nation that I’ve seen around the world,” said Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, the No. 2 Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee and one of three members of Congress attending the ceremony.

The $310 million project, which faced considerable opposition from Italians against militarism, will house elements of the 173rd, the 509th Signal Battalion and eventually U.S. Army Africa. A few dozen protesters still opposed to the project gathered several blocks away.

David Thorne, the U.S. ambassador to Italy, and Col. David Buckingham, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza, each said that further efforts would be made to win over critics and expand the ties between the American community that has called Vicenza home for decades and its Italian neighbors.

more

http://www.stripes.com/news/us-army-opens-new-base-in-northern-italy-1.228494

We surely didn't need that money here!

Just how low can the Republican party go?


Michael Cohen

What is the single most consequential political development of the past five years? Some might say the election (and re-election) of Barack Obama; others might point to the passage of the most important piece of social policy (Obamacare) since the 1960s; some might even say the drawing down of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in reality, it is the rapid descent of the Republican party into madness.

Never before in American history have we seen a political party so completely dominated and controlled by its extremist wing; and never before have we seen a political party that brings together the attributes of nihilism, heartlessness, radicalism and naked partisanship quite like the modern GOP. In a two-party system like America's, the result is unprecedented dysfunction.

Whether it was the promiscuous use of the filibuster and other blocking techniques in the Senate to stop President Obama's agenda; the manufactured fiscal crises highlighted by the disastrous debt limit showdown of 2011; or the unceasing efforts to undermine the economic recovery by blocking any and all measures to stimulate the economy, President Obama's first term was dominated by the Republican's unbridled obstructionism and disinterest in actually governing the country. That anything was accomplished is nothing short of a miracle.

But after the results of the 2012 election one might have expected the Republican fever to break and some level of sanity and good sense restored to the party of Lincoln.

Think again.

If anything, the first half of 2013 has seen the GOP continue its journey towards "peak awful". Go back to the beginning of the year. As millions of Americans were celebrating New Year's Eve, the Republicans were careening the country off the fiscal cliff because of their insistence that no rich person should ever pay a cent in higher taxes. The budgetary mania continued through the sequestration and refusal to compromise with President Obama even after he put the liberal sacred cow of Social Security on the table. Along the way Republicans foiled modest efforts at gun control, ginned up made-up scandals involving the IRS and the death of four Americans in Benghazi and couldn't actually be bothered with the difficult task of proposing public policy legislation. And after three years of complaining incessantly that Senate Democrats haven't passed a budget, key Republicans have spent the last 100 days obstructing the budget process.

more

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/03/republican-party-demise-continues

National Review: The Real Victims of Bigotry in This Country Are White Southerners


By Blue Texan


To justify their opposition to affirmative action, equal pay, and gutting the Voting Rights Act, right-wingers insist that bigotry and prejudice are no longer problems in this country. Racism, they say, is over in America.

Unless, of course, we're talking about racism towards white people.

Over the years, my African-American friends have shared with me stories of the senseless traffic stops they’ve endured for nothing more than driving while black. There’s an acronym for it: DWB. They admit it happens less than it used to, but it’s wrong, it’s bad, and Americans should not face a presumption of guilt for being who they are.

Which is why Paula Deen and the recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving the Voting Rights Act make for an interesting counterpoint. Both stories involve what’s perhaps the last socially acceptable form of bigotry left in America: bigotry against the South. It’s a brand of bigotry reinforced by our nation’s biggest media outlets — and by justices on the Supreme Court.


Because being harrassed by police officers for no good reason at all is totally the same thing as losing your TV show and book deal.

more

http://crooksandliars.com/blue-texan/national-review-true-victims-bigotry-co

Gut microbes spur liver cancer in obese mice

Beth Mole
26 June 2013

The link between cancer and obesity may be related to changes in gut fauna, at least in obese mice with liver cancer.

The gut bacteria of obese mice unleash high levels of an acid that promotes liver cancer, reveals one of the first studies to uncover a mechanism for the link between obesity and cancer. The research is published today in Nature1.

“Obesity in general has many different types of cancer associated with it,” says Eiji Hara, a cancer biologist at the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research in Tokyo and one of the study authors. But in the case of liver cancer, he says, “I never expected the microbiome was linked.”

Hara and his colleagues initially set out to study how dying cells influence obesity-linked cancers. Cells that are irreparably damaged or pre-cancerous can become senescent — meaning that they stop dividing for overall health of the organism. But before senescent cells die, they can spew out chemicals that may cause inflammation and promote cancer development.


To examine whether senescent cells are involved in obesity-induced cancers, Hara and his colleagues worked with genetically engineered mice whose cells emit light upon becoming senescent. They then primed the mice by exposing them to a carcinogenic chemical, a process that Hara says may be similar to humans’ exposure to environmental toxins, such as air pollution. Researchers then fed the mice either a normal diet or a high-fat diet.

After 30 weeks, only 5% of the lean mice developed cancer — in their lungs — whereas all the obese mice developed liver cancer.

more
http://www.nature.com/news/gut-microbes-spur-liver-cancer-in-obese-mice-1.13276

The girl in the window

Lane DeGregory, Times Staff Writer



PLANT CITY — The family had lived in the rundown rental house for almost three years when someone first saw a child's face in the window.

A little girl, pale, with dark eyes, lifted a dirty blanket above the broken glass and peered out, one neighbor remembered.

Everyone knew a woman lived in the house with her boyfriend and two adult sons. But they had never seen a child there, had never noticed anyone playing in the overgrown yard.

The girl looked young, 5 or 6, and thin. Too thin. Her cheeks seemed sunken; her eyes were lost.

The child stared into the square of sunlight, then slipped away.

Months went by. The face never reappeared.

Just before noon on July 13, 2005, a Plant City police car pulled up outside that shattered window. Two officers went into the house — and one stumbled back out.

Clutching his stomach, the rookie retched in the weeds.

more

http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/the-girl-in-the-window/750838

A Side Order of Copper With Your Salmon?

By James Greiff Jul 3, 2013 8:01 AM ET


It's probably the biggest fight in recent history between environmentalists and the natural-resources industry. And if you've ever eaten salmon, you might have a stake in the outcome.

June 30 marked the deadline for filing public comments with the Environmental Protection Agency on the development of a project known as Pebble Mine in southwest Alaska's Bristol Bay region. As of last week, more than 500,000 comments had been recorded.

On one side of the fight is the largest undeveloped copper deposit (along with plenty of gold and molybdenum) in the world. Estimates vary on how valuable the minerals are, but they might be worth as much as $300 billion. A group of companies lead by London-based Anglo American Plc wants to develop the mine over the next several decades. It undoubtedly would be an economic boon to an area with a dearth of good jobs and yield billions of dollars over the mine's lifespan in taxes for Alaska's treasury.

On the other side is the most productive salmon fishery in the world and a region that, with about 7,500 residents, is one of the most pristine in the world. The commercial and recreational fishery generates as much as $500 million a year for the state economy and provides subsistence living for many of the tribal members in the area.

more

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-02/a-side-order-of-copper-with-your-salmon-.html

Paedophile priest told boy (7) he could get dead grandfather into heaven if he performed sex act


02 JULY 2013

A paedophile priest told a distraught seven-year-old boy that he could get his dead grandfather into heaven if he performed a sex act on him, a court has heard.

Belfast Crown Court heard that the boy was quite distressed about his grandfather being in purgatory but that 55-year-old James Martin Donaghy told the child "he could get him into haven if he helped him" and performed a sex act.

Last month just before his trial was due to begin Donaghy, originally from Lady Wallace Drive in Lisburn but now languishing in Magilligan prison, pleaded guilty to four charges of indecently assaulting the boy and one of common assault against the schoolboy on dates between January and May 1989.

Following a lengthy trial at the end of 2011, Donaghy was convicted of a total of 17 sex offences including indecent assault and committing acts of gross indecency against all three victims.

Those charges all happened on various dates between 1983 and 2000.

more

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/paedophile-priest-told-boy-7-he-could-get-dead-grandfather-into-heaven-if-he-performed-sex-act-29389769.html
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