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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 46,153

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Tuesday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest









Tuesday Toon Roundup 2: Greece is the Word

Tuesday Toon Roundup 1- Trump and Plump

Slowpoke Toon: Dawning of the Obvious

Toon: Gotta Change the Name!

Birds, a very tolerant dog, and a hamster



Florida wildlife officials looking for tattooed woman seen riding sea turtle

State wildlife officials are investigating after a picture surfaced on social media of a woman sitting on top of a sea turtle on Melbourne Beach.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officers said they’ve received dozens of complaints and have begun looking into the case.

WFTV received multiple emails about the photo.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Wildlife Alert hotline by texting or emailing Tip@MyFWC.com or by calling 888-404-3922.



Authorities fear giant wet wipe-filled 'fatbergs' could destroy Australian sewage systems

They might be cheap to buy on supermarket shelves, but disposable wipes are costing authorities tens of millions of dollars as more people flush them down the toilet, clogging pipes and polluting waterways.

Manufacturers and sewage companies across the country are scrambling to fix the problem, fearing just one colossal blockage could cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to a system already under strain.

Michelle Cull from Queensland Urban Utilities said despite efforts to get the message through to consumers, the problem was getting worse.

"I think a lot of people just aren't aware that they shouldn't be putting wet wipes down the toilet," she said.

"A lot of the wipes are labelled as flushable but the message we are trying to get out is that just because they can be flushed doesn't mean they should be flushed."



No, The Guardian, a magic carbon layer is not a sign of extraterrestrial life

by Chris Lee

Sometimes, scientists announce things that are breathtakingly stupid. The Guardian, which generally has pretty good science coverage, has an article up reporting that some top scientists believe that the comet 67P may harbour lots and lots of life. The purported evidence for life is the presence of complex hydrocarbons on the comet's crust. Of course, this article is just based on a press release, and the data won't be available until it's presented later today at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society.

But The Guardian could at least have done some background reading on the person behind the claim, Chandra Wickramasinghe. It would have found that he has a long history of making claims about extraterrestrial life (and that he testified in favour of teaching creationism in US classrooms). Or, the reporter could have talked to someone who knows a little bit about surface chemistry—like me.

I am here to make a prediction: this claim will vanish, never to be heard from again. If scepticism were radioactive, a crowd of lead-suited firefighters would be sacrificing their lives to bury me in concrete as I typed this. At this point, you should be thinking, who the hell is this guy to say that an astronomer is wrong about something astronomical? Surely, Chris-the-physicist is out of his depth here?

Well, to be honest, I know very little about astronomy. The amount I know about comets would almost cover the bottom of a tiny thimble. (I know enough physics to say that the coverage would only be complete if we used a liquid with low surface tension, though.)

I do, however, know something about how carbon grows on surfaces.



Our media's Isis threat hype machine: government stenography at its worst

by Trevor Timm

If you turned on US cable news at any point last week, you might have thought this July 4 holiday would be our last weekend on earth – the supposed terrorist masterminds in Isis and their alleged vast sleeper cell army were going to descend upon America like the aliens in Independence Day and destroy us all.

CNN has led the pack in whipping Americans into a panic over the Isis threat, running story after story with government officials and terrorism industry money-makers hyping the threat, played against the backdrop of scary b-roll of terrorist training camps. Former CIA deputy director Mike Morell ominously told CBS last week that “I wouldn’t be surprised if we weren’t sitting here a week from today talking about an attack over the weekend in the United States.” MSNBC and Fox joined in too, using graphics and maps right out of Stephen Colbert’s satirical “Doom Bunker,” suggesting World War III was just on the verge of reaching America’s shores.

Nothing happened, of course. But it was an abject lesson in how irrational government fear-mongering still controls our public discourse, even when there wasn’t a shred of hard evidence for any sort of attack, only a feeling that one might happen.

The media totally bought into this frenzy, despite the fact that the FBI and other intelligence agencies openly admitted they did not have any “specific” or “credible” threat information to hinge the holiday-weekend warnings on. Naturally, we didn’t find this out until several paragraphs down in any of the articles about the subject, and on television it sometimes wasn’t mentioned at all. Even when it was, the lack of push-back or questioning was startling.


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