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Home country: USA
Member since: Mon Jan 16, 2006, 07:55 PM
Number of posts: 4,744

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Even though I'm a Republican

I'd be happy to see Hillary in the White House.

That quote on my local nightly news tonight, from a survey respondent in response to Hillary's announcement, says it all.

Voluntary self-policing is never the start

of a fair system...it is the end product of an unjust system.

Voluntary self-policing is the last stand of a corrupt process that, when it has come under intense public criticism, tries to retain power and control in the hopes that, after the public eye has lost focus on it, it can go back to business as usual.

I suggest a 'while the iron is hot tactic": more intense public scrutiny/protests and dissent to force such a conservative legislature to confront and adjust the inequalities in their system.

More bills like Senate Bill 5 should be proposed...they are getting a hearing in MO's republican controlled legislature.

Those are voluntary agreements only and cover only one MO county.

Jackson County, MO is even more egregious and isn't part of this voluntary agreement nor are any of the other 113 Missouri counties.

Missouri residents, especially minority residents, are in need of a uniform state law that limits traffic and court fine revenue streams to a reasonable percentage of each municipality's budget (Currently at 30%. Will be reduced to 10%, if MO Senate Bill 5 becomes law.)

The best defense is not 'to obey laws' it's to generate uniform, fair and just laws, enforce them fairly and protest/dissent when that does not happen.

The next step is to reverse the trend of generating warrants for unpaid traffic and court fines. These fines, like any debt, can be best and fairly handled outside the arrest/debtors prison tract: via collection companies with fair fees that are regulated by law.

No one's life should become as awful as those who have become trapped by this cycle of fines, warrants and escalating fees, simply due to poverty or being born a minority in an unfair and often racially targeted system.

If MO Senate Bill 5 becomes law, then traffic fines

will be limited to 10% of a city's revenue. That bill was proposed this year partly in response to Mayor Gwaltney's (Edmonson, MO) letter and to the scandal of Ferguson's gross reliance on court fines to fund city government.

Currently, Missouri cities are limited by state law to raising 30% of their revenue from traffic fines (hence Ferguson's additional focus on court fines, which are not limited by that law), but the state hasn't been keeping careful watch, so some cities were exceeding that 30%.

Arrest Warrants (and the fines associated with them) for no-shows on traffic fine cases don't count as part of the traffic fine revenue limits, so these cities have had a huge incentive to issue warrants which generate an unstifled revenue stream from municipal court fines.

Bill 5 was heard in early March, but I don't know if it got through. What is needed in addition to that bill is a law limiting city revenue from warrants and other municipal court fines.

What a horrible hoax

perpetrated on the US taxpayers.

I say US and not just NY, because according to gothamist, some of these luxury apartment buildings double and triple dip by also simultaneously getting federal subsidies (two or three subsidies in total) for the same building, without having to set aside twice or three times the number of affordable units. This happens because the building developers/owners are allowed to count and credit the same apartment multiple times as an "affordable" unit under each subsidy!

And it gets worse:

"In fact, developers getting subsidies from another program besides 421-a can double the maximum income level for the below-market apartments, so a $2,500 apartment can still qualify as 'affordable'. (Mayor de Blasio's affordable-housing program plan, announced last year, would require about one third of publicly aided apartments to be below market rate, but most would be designated for families making about $60,000-$130,000.)"

When Oceans Disappear

Mars used to have a body of water bigger than the Arctic Ocean. What happened to it?

Nicholas St. FleurMar 16 2015, 2:31 PM ET

...a vast body of water larger than the Arctic Ocean graced the surface of Mars some 4.5 billion years ago. The primitive ocean covered 19 percent of the Red Planet’s surface and had a volume of more than 5 million cubic miles, according to a paper published this month in Science. But today almost all of that water is gone. The only evidence that an ocean ever existed there is in the planet's polar ice caps.

So what happened to the ocean on Mars?

“That’s one of the big mysteries,” said Michael Meyer, an astrobiologist and lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. But he and other scientists have theories. One way a planet could lose its ocean is from a meteorite or asteroid strike—one that doesn’t obliterate the planet but instead rips apart its atmosphere. “There’s a saying that ‘comets can giveth and comets can taketh away’—that refers to how comets can give water and life, or take it away,” Meyer said.

But the prevailing theory, he told me, is that solar winds wick away Mars’s water from its atmosphere. The sun constantly blasts charged particles from its hot surface toward its celestial bodies. Some planets, like Earth, are protected from the plasma onslaught because they have a magnetic shield that diverts incoming particles around the planet and to its poles. (This is the mechanism that creates dazzling auroras on Earth.) But Mars, unlike Earth, lost its magnetic field at some point in its history. Without the invisible shield, the planet is susceptible to bombarding solar winds. These same winds, the theory goes, are the ones that split exposed water molecules on the surface of Mars's ocean and knocked them into space—like a cosmic cue ball hitting billiard balls into the side pockets.


And in their comments section there was this little ditty:


There once was a Martian ocean,
Whose waves mimicked Earthly sea motions,
But without its mag field,
Its fate was thus sealed,
And it left for us only its notion.

Samsung live-streamed a birth in virtual reality

By Jacob Kastrenakes
on March 16, 2015 10:58 am

Samsung streamed a baby boy's birth to a virtual reality headset worn by his father nearly 2,500 miles away, in what it's calling the first birth ever live-streamed using VR. Samsung set the stream up for a man who, as its ad says, had work that took him out of town during his child's birth, with the intention of giving him something close to the experience of actually being there. Of course, VR is still quite a ways away from that — this is more like a glorified webcam, allowing the headset wearer to turn their head and look around the room. Except, unlike a webcam, there are giant VR goggles over half of his face.

The birth was streamed from one side of Australia to the other, captured by a multisided camera placed in the delivery room. Obviously, it was also all captured by Samsung as part of a promotional campaign for Gear VR, which makes it somewhat less intimate. Yes, it's very Samsung. And yes, a webcam probably makes more sense (it would, after all, let the mother see his entire face in return). But it's hard to argue too much with using tech to bring people closer together — even if this use is debuting as part of an overproduced ad.


The kind of blood and guts a soldier, and new father, would perhaps want to see...
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