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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 47,226

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Environmental Scientist

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Toon High School Science Fear

In Unit Stalked by Suicide, Veterans Try to Save One Another

Members of a Marine battalion that served in a
restive region in Afghanistan have been devastated
by the deaths of comrades and frustrated by the V.A.


After the sixth suicide in his old battalion, Manny Bojorquez sank onto his bed. With a half-empty bottle of Jim Beam beside him and a pistol in his hand, he began to cry.

He had gone to Afghanistan at 19 as a machine-gunner in the Marine Corps. In the 18 months since leaving the military, he had grown long hair and a bushy mustache. It was 2012. He was working part time in a store selling baseball caps and going to community college while living with his parents in the suburbs of Phoenix. He rarely mentioned the war to friends and family, and he never mentioned his nightmares.

He thought he was getting used to suicides in his old infantry unit, but the latest one had hit him like a brick: Joshua Markel, a mentor from his fire team, who had seemed unshakable. In Afghanistan, Corporal Markel volunteered for extra patrols and joked during firefights. Back home Mr. Markel appeared solid: a job with a sheriff’s office, a new truck, a wife and time to hunt deer with his father. But that week, while watching football on TV with friends, he had wordlessly gone into his room, picked up a pistol and killed himself. He was 25.

Still reeling from the news, Mr. Bojorquez surveyed the old baseball posters on the walls of his childhood bedroom and the sun-bleached body armor hanging on his bedpost. Then he took a long pull from the bottle.



Why is Light So Fast?

Light travels at around 300,000 km per second. Why not faster? Why not slower? A new theory inches us closer to an answer

by Sidney Perkowitz

If you visit the Paris Observatory on the left bank of the Seine, you’ll see a plaque on its wall announcing that the speed of light was first measured there in 1676. The odd thing is, this result came about unintentionally. Ole Rømer, a Dane who was working as an assistant to the Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, was trying to account for certain discrepancies in eclipses of one of the moons of Jupiter. Rømer and Cassini discussed the possibility that light has a finite speed (it had typically been thought to move instantaneously). Eventually, following some rough calculations, Rømer concluded that light rays must take 10 or 11 minutes to cross a distance ‘equal to the half-diameter of the terrestrial orbit’.

Cassini himself had had second thoughts about the whole idea. He argued that if finite speed was the problem, and light really did take time to get around, the same delay ought to be visible in measurements of Jupiter’s other moons – and it wasn’t. The ensuing controversy came to an end only in 1728, when the English astronomer James Bradley found an alternative way to take the measurement. And as many subsequent experiments have confirmed, the estimate that came out of Rømer’s original observations was about 25 per cent off. We have now fixed the speed of light in a vacuum at exactly 299,792.458 kilometres per second.

Why this particular speed and not something else? Or, to put it another way, where does the speed of light come from?

Electromagnetic theory gave a first crucial insight 150 years ago. The Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell showed that when electric and magnetic fields change in time, they interact to produce a travelling electromagnetic wave. Maxwell calculated the speed of the wave from his equations and found it to be exactly the known speed of light. This strongly suggested that light was an electromagnetic wave – as was soon definitively confirmed.



Weekend Toon Roundup 2: The Rest








Weekend Toon Roundup 1: Repubs

Alabama court voids lesbian couple's Georgia adoption agreement

The Supreme Court of Alabama on Friday overturned a lower court ruling that had recognized the 2007 adoption of three children in Georgia by one partner in a lesbian couple that has since split up.

The couple, who live and work in Alabama, had taken up official residence in Georgia to take advantage of its adoption laws.

After breaking up in 2011, one woman in the relationship, referred to as V.L., filed a petition in Alabama in 2013 saying she was being denied parental rights by her former partner, referred to as E.L., the biological mother of the children.

In a seven-to-one decision, the court said "the Georgia court was not empowered to enter the Georgia judgment declaring V.L. to be an adoptive parent of the children. ... The Georgia judgment is accordingly void, and the full faith and credit clause does not require the courts of Alabama to recognize that judgment."

The U.S. Constitution's full faith and credit clause says each state must respect the "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state."



Fellow Pastafarians, remember tomorrow is a High Holy Day


Me Harties, Worship Irresponsibly! Arrrh….

If Ye Be Nearby a Krispy Kreme, They are rewarding Pirate Talk tomorrow

The Republican Party has an allergy to facts

By Michael A. Cohen

About two and a half hours into Wednesday night’s marathon three-hour GOP presidential debate, I hit my breaking point.

I’d sat through the repeated fear-mongering, inflation threats, and hand-wringing on Iran, capped by Mike Huckabee declaring Tehran an actual threat to the survival of Western civilization. I sat dumbstruck as Carly Fiorina — who as CEO of Hewlett-Packard almost single-handedly destroyed the company, and who has never held elected office — complained that Hillary Clinton hasn’t accomplished anything. I heard Jeb Bush, to raucous applause, say that his brother George kept America safe . . . and then, not more than 10 seconds later, refer to his brother standing on a rubble pile in lower Manhattan in which nearly 3,000 Americans had been killed.

I watched Donald Trump criticize Rand Paul’s physical appearance as if he’s not wearing a dead sea gull on his head. I seethed as one candidate after another offered more heartless and uncompassionate plans for how to treat illegal immigrants. I even listened to Ben Carson try to one-up Trump by saying that we don’t need just a wall on the US-Mexico border . . . we need a double fence. I became slack-jawed as Chris Christie suggested that Hillary Clinton supports mass murder. I stewed as every presidential candidate for one of two political parties in the most powerful country in the world fell over themselves to deny the basic science of climate change or downplay the urgent need to do anything about it.

I put up with all of it. But then Jake Tapper directed a question to Carson about the connection between vaccines and autism — and it was on.



Paul Krugman: Fantasies and Fictions at G.O.P. Debate

I’ve been going over what was said at Wednesday’s Republican debate, and I’m terrified. You should be, too. After all, given the vagaries of elections, there’s a pretty good chance that one of these people will end up in the White House.

Why is that scary? I would argue that all of the G.O.P. candidates are calling for policies that would be deeply destructive at home, abroad, or both. But even if you like the broad thrust of modern Republican policies, it should worry you that the men and woman on that stage are clearly living in a world of fantasies and fictions. And some seem willing to advance their ambitions with outright lies.

Let’s start at the shallow end, with the fantasy economics of the establishment candidates.

You’re probably tired of hearing this, but modern G.O.P. economic discourse is completely dominated by an economic doctrine — the sovereign importance of low taxes on the rich — that has failed completely and utterly in practice over the past generation.

Think about it. Bill Clinton’s tax hike was followed by a huge economic boom, the George W. Bush tax cuts by a weak recovery that ended in financial collapse. The tax increase of 2013 and the coming of Obamacare in 2014 were associated with the best job growth since the 1990s. Jerry Brown’s tax-raising, environmentally conscious California is growing fast; Sam Brownback’s tax- and spending-slashing Kansas isn’t.



Friday TOON Roundup 2 - The Rest



Middle East

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