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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 33,082

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

2 Florida girls, ages 15 and 18, charged with torturing gopher tortoise near Jacksonville

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrested two teenage girls Friday morning on charges of torturing a gopher tortoise earlier this month.

Jennifer Emoke Greene, 18, and a 15-year-old girl are charged with felony cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony, and taking, harassing, harming or killing a gopher tortoise, a second-degree misdemeanor.

On July 15, the FWC said they received a tip about the torture and death of a gopher tortoise. FWC and Clay County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident.



Throw the book at them.

House votes to bar Obama from sending troops to Iraq without authorization

Source: Reuters/RS

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Friday for a resolution that would bar President Barack Obama from sending U.S. troops for any “sustained combat role” in Iraq without congressional authorization.

The House adopted the resolution by a vote of 370-40, reflecting the strong desire by both Republicans and Democrats in the chamber that the White House not act in Iraq without Congress’ backing, although it was a largely symbolic vote.

To be enacted, the measure would require backing by the U.S. Senate, which is not expected, and even then it would not have the force of law.

It was introduced by Massachusetts Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, California Democrat Barbara Lee and Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/25/house-votes-to-bar-obama-from-sending-troops-to-iraq-without-authorization/

The Irony. If only this had been passed 12 years ago….

'Kaboom': SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands in the Atlantic

If Hawthorne-based rocket maker SpaceX can make the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket reusable, it could dramatically reduce launch costs.

As part of the company's efforts toward that goal, after successfully launching six Orbcomm satellites into space aboard a Falcon 9, it “soft landed” the rocket's first stage in the ocean. But it wasn't perfect.

A video posted to the company’s YouTube channel Tuesday shows the booster reentering Earth’s atmosphere, restarting its main engines twice, deploying landing legs and plunging into the Atlantic.

One problem, however, was what company founder Elon Musk called a “kaboom” on his Twitter account: The impact with the water caused a breach in the booster’s hull.

But despite the breach, the water landing provided all the data the rocket maker needs to make a successful landing in the future, SpaceX said. If the company can perfect the landing, it will be able to reuse the booster stage multiple times.



Arizona’s Botched Execution

By Dahlia Lithwick

On Wednesday afternoon, in a ritual that has become increasingly—indeed almost numbingly—familiar, the state of Arizona administered a secret drug protocol that took almost two hours to kill a man. Joseph R. Wood III was sentenced to death in 1991 for shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend Debra Dietz and her father, Eugene. The murder was gruesome, and Wood was guilty. He shot his victims in the chest at close range. The only question that remains, as yet another state botches yet another execution, is whether the two hours of gasping and snorting by the accused before he finally died is excessive, or whether it sounds about right to us.

Wood’s execution dragged on for so long that at the midpoint, his lawyers filed an emergency appeal to stop the procedure and called on Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to intervene. Wood died before the federal court could respond, and Kennedy turned down the lawyers’ request. After Wood was pronounced dead, the Arizona Supreme Court ordered that the state “preserve any drug labels and unused drugs pertaining to the execution of Mr. Wood.”

The two-hour execution was just the latest debacle made possible by an ever more familiar combination of state secrecy, untried protocols being tested for the first time on live human beings, and a judicial system that can’t quite make up its mind about how much gasping and coughing is reasonable in a state-sanctioned killing. The new wrinkle is that this time we must endure the spectacle of witnesses to the execution fighting over how much suffering they saw.

Wood’s lawyers challenged the execution before it took place. They raised First Amendment claims, arguing that the public and the accused had a right to know what was being pumped into Wood’s veins and where it came from. They asked the courts to let them know, specifically, “the source(s), manufacturer(s), National Drug Codes (‘NDCs’), and lot numbers of the drugs the Department intends to use in his execution; (2) non-personally identifying information detailing the qualifications of the personnel the Department will use in his execution; and (3) information and documents explaining how the Department developed its current lethal-injection drug protocol.”



Dude, Where’s My Frontal Cortex?

There’s a method to the madness of the teenage brain.

In the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, a few hours east of San Francisco, are the Moaning Caverns, a cave system that begins, after a narrow, twisting descent of 30-some feet, with an abrupt 180-foot drop. The Park Service has found ancient human skeletons at the bottom of the drop. Native Americans living there at the time didn’t make human sacrifices. Instead, these explorers took one step too far in the gloom. The skeletons belonged to adolescents.

No surprises there. After all, adolescence is the time of life when someone is most likely to join a cult, kill, be killed, invent an art form, help overthrow a dictator, ethnically cleanse a village, care for the needy, transform physics, adopt a hideous fashion style, commit to God, and be convinced that all the forces of history have converged to make this moment the most consequential ever, fraught with peril and promise.

For all this we can thank the teenage brain. Some have argued adolescence is a cultural construct. In traditional cultures, there is typically a single qualitative transition to puberty. After that, the individual is a young adult. Yet the progression from birth to adulthood is not smoothly linear. The teenage brain is unique. It’s not merely an adult brain that is half-cooked or a child’s brain left unrefrigerated for too long. Its distinctiveness arises from a key region, the frontal cortex, not being fully developed. This largely explains the turbulence of adolescence. It also reflects an important evolutionary pressure.

The frontal cortex is the most recently evolved part of the human brain. It’s where the sensible mature stuff happens: long-term planning, executive function, impulse control, and emotional regulation. It’s what makes you do the right thing when it’s the harder thing to do. But its neurons are not fully wired up until your mid-20s. Why?



Friday TOON Roundup 3 - The Rest


The Issue






Friday TOON Roundup 2 - Immigration

Friday TOON Roundup 1 -Repubs

GOP House Nominee: Anti-Gay Americans 'Fed Up' Just Like Bundy Ranch Militia

Pastor Jody Hice will likely become U.S. Congressman Jody Hice in November. This week he won the Georgia Republican primary in a "safe Republican" district.

Hice has a long history of dangerous and virulently anti-gay remarks, including advocating the position that gay people have a secret plot to seduce and sodomize America’s sons. Hice also thinks same-sex marriage is akin to bestiality and incest, and he has compared abortion to the genocide waged by Adolph Hitler.

Today, on his radio show, Pastor Hice spent several minutes praising the lawless Bundy Ranch militia members.

"I will never forget these ranchers on horseback," Hice told his audience. "They were prepared to die. They were ready for confrontation. They were saying, ‘Enough is enough. You’re not going to trample on our rights any more. You have gone far enough and no further will you go.’"



Another marijuana grower suspected of starting California wildfire

A 45-year-old man suspected of tending a large marijuana grow in the Sequoia National Forest is being charged with starting a 1,600-acre wildfire there July 11, the second suspected marijuana grower believed to have sparked a major blaze this year.

Edgardo Fournier of Perris was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Fresno on five counts that include marijuana cultivation of 2,090 plants, damaging forestlands and setting timber afire.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in U.S. District Court, Fournier set the Nicolls fire after he became concerned that other men at the marijuana grow he was tending planned to kill him and bury him at the site.

The affidavit from U.S. Forest Service special agent Brian Adams says Fournier was spotted at 2 p.m. the day of the fire by a Forest Service helicopter pilot who was making water drops on the blaze.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/07/24/6581125/another-marijuana-grower-suspected.html
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