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Gender: Male
Hometown: South Texas. most of my life I lived in Austin and Dallas
Home country: United States
Current location: Bryan, Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 02:57 AM
Number of posts: 88,979

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Jeni's Ice Creams recall, second company in a week

Source: Cox Media

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A second ice cream company has issued a voluntary recall in less than a week.

Thursday, Jeni's Ice Creams, based in Columbus, Ohio, announced on their website and Twitter page that they are issuing the voluntary recall of all of its ice creams, frozen yogurts and other frozen products.

According to the company's press release, there is a possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination and that the company is stopping all sales and closing all of its stores until all products are deemed safe.

The company said the contamination was found in a random sample collected by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Read more: http://www.statesman.com/news/business/consumer-advice/jenis-ice-cream-recall-second-company-week/nk2fS/

LGBT Advocates Call for Indiana-Style Backlash After Two Anti-Gay Bills Advance

Gay rights advocates began sounding the alarm Wednesday after two anti-LGBT bills cleared House committees and another received a favorable hearing.

Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, said if LGBT groups and their corporate allies don’t work quickly to generate the type of backlash seen over a religious freedom bill in Indiana last month, it could soon be too late.

Miller made the statement on a day when separate House panels advanced bills that would bar county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses and allow state-funded adoption agencies to turn away gay couples based on religious beliefs. The two bills, which breached a dam that had kept a record number of anti-LGBT measures at bay for the first 100 days of the session, now head to the Calendars Committee.

“My fear is that if the Indiana-style outrage doesn’t happen now, before these bills make it to the floor of the House, it will be too late, because the membership of the House will pass these bills, and then the Senate will fly them through, and Gov. [Greg] Abbott will have no choice but to sign them in his mind,” Miller said.

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/lgbt-advocates-call-for-indiana-style-backlash-after-two-anti-gay-bills-advance/#.VTlUuohgse4.twitter

WNBA player Brittney Griner, fiancee arrested after fight

Five years after she threw a punch in Lubbock that watched more than a million times on YouTube, Brittney Griner got in another fight Wednesday night and ended up in jail.

Griner, former Baylor center and current star of the defending champion WNBA Phoenix Mercury, was arrested along with her fiancee, Glory Johnson, on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct.

Officers arrested Griner and Johnson, who plays for the Tulsa Shock, after a fight between the couple turned physical at their home in suburban Phoenix, Goodyear police spokeswoman Lisa Kutis told the Associated Press. No weapons were involved, and neither woman required hospital care for their minor injuries, Kutis said.

They were released around 4 a.m. Thursday morning. Agents for the players did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Read more: http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2015-04-23/wnba-player-brittney-griner-fiancee-arrested-after-fight-five-years-after

Port Arthur Wants Filmmakers to Blow Up Its Old Buildings

Tough economic times can stimulate creative ways for cities to save or raise money. Sure you could trim the workforce, or raise taxes to help fund urban renewal projects, but one Texas town is thinking a bit bigger: they want to take it to the silver screen.

The city of Port Arthur is taking steps to designate their town as ‘film friendly.’ That makes sense when you imagine how much money could be injected into the local economy by having large movie production crews coming to town, but one city councilman hopes a film crew could help clean up their downtown… by blowing up some rundown buildings.

Port Arthur Mayor Pro tempore, Derrick Freeman joins the Texas Standard about where he got the idea.

https://soundcloud.com/texas-standard/port-arthur-hopes-hollywood (about 4 minutes)


Texas legislative panel votes to bar using state or local funds to issue same-sex marriage licenses

HOUSTON — Just a week before the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, Texas lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bill in committee that would bar state or local funds from being used to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Texas already bans same-sex marriage, but that’s being challenged in federal court.

Last year, a federal judge here ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, but put his ruling on hold while the state appealed.

That appeal is pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which heard oral arguments in January but is expected to wait to issue its ruling until after the Supreme Court acts.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/headlines/20150422-texas-legislative-panel-votes-to-bar-using-state-or-local-funds-to-issue-same-sex-marriage-licenses.ece

'Hurricane Isis' retired as naming option due to terrorist group

Certain hurricane names can strike a bit of terror just for the damage or mayhem they left behind -- Alicia, Hugo, Katrina, Rita, Ike.

But Hurricane Isis?

The name, which refers to the ancient Egyptian goddess but is spelled and sounds the same as the militant Islamic State group ISIS, has been dropped from the list of potential future hurricane names, according to Reuters.

The United Nations World Meteorological Organization's Hurricane Committee dropped "Isis" from the list at its April 17 meeting in Costa Rica, the news service reported. The name was deemed inappropriate because of the militant group, the committee said.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/news/science-environment/article/Hurricane-Isis-retired-as-naming-option-due-to-ter-6217336.php?cmpid=rrhoustontx

Exxon Mobil firms to pay nearly $5M for Arkansas oil spill

Source: AP

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Two subsidiaries of Exxon Mobil must pay almost $5 million in penalties for state and federal violations involving the 2013 Mayflower oil spill in central Arkansas, according to a consent decree filed in federal court Wednesday.

The decree brokered between the U.S. Department of Justice, the Arkansas attorney general’s office and the subsidiaries — Exxon Mobil Pipeline Company and Mobil Pipe Line Company — will not become final until after 30 days of public comment.

Assistant Attorney General John Cruden said the company did not admit liability as part of the agreement.

Exxon Mobil spokesman Christian Flatham said the settlement lowered the number of barrels of oil estimated to have leaked into a cove of Conway Lake in Mayflower on Good Friday in March 2013 from 3,190 to 5,000 barrels.

Read more: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2015/04/22/exxon-mobil-firms-to-pay-nearly-5m-for-arkansas-oil-spill/

State Punishes Payday Lender for Criminalizing Debt

A year and a half after the Observer documented hundreds of examples of payday loan companies using the criminal justice system to pursue unpaid loans, state regulators have taken action against one company. In December, the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner ordered Ohio-based Cash Biz to pay a $10,000 fine and provide more than $16,000 restitution to 51 customers the company filed criminal complaints against. In a legal filing obtained by the Observer, Cash Biz, which has 16 Texas locations, agreed that it had “referred its customers for prosecution based on an erroneous belief that a person commits a crime by issuing a check that is later dishonored.”

State law prohibits payday and title loan businesses from even threatening borrowers with criminal action, except in unusual circumstances. And the Texas Constitution states plainly that “no person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.” Nonetheless, many local DAs and justices of the peace serve as de facto debt collectors for the industry, and some people with small payday debts have ended up in jail. Payday and title lenders in Texas can effectively charge unlimited fees for loans, which often carry APRs of 500 percent or more. In December, Texas Appleseed released a report documenting more than 1,500 criminal complaints filed by 13 different payday loan companies since 2012. Many resulted in fines, arrest warrants and even jail time.

Eamon Briggs, assistant general counsel with the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, said this was the first time the agency had penalized a company for the practice.

“This certainly appears to be a growing trend and we’re working to make sure our licensees know they can’t be making these referrals unless they have specific concrete evidence of fraud, forgery or other criminal conduct,” Briggs said. “It’s simply not permissible or within the intent of this prohibition to allow {payday and title lenders} to make referrals and simply rely on the DA to decide whether or not there are merits to the claim. We’re working to make sure everyone knows that this is not an acceptable practice.”

Read more: http://www.texasobserver.org/state-punishes-illegal-payday-loan-lender/

Shattered glass: Feds sue Irving-based Michaels for selling ‘unreasonably dangerous’ vases

In September 2010, Kansas-based Gerson Company recalled more than 200,000 Chinese-made vases sold at Michaels locations across the U.S. and Canada. The reason: “The glass vases can break or fracture, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.” At the time, Consumer Reports noted that the recall “seems a bit odd, since any glass vase can break or shatter, but these appear to be especially problematic; the firm has received nine reports of the vases shattering, all of which resulted in lacerations.”

And now we know the details of those nine reports … because they’re contained in a lawsuit filed by the feds on Tuesday in Dallas federal court.
Do not touch this vase. Whatever you do. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

Do not touch this vase. Whatever you do. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

The government is alleging that Irving-based Michael’s sold the vases from June 2006 until February 2010 — despite discovering in September 2008 that “the glass walls of the vases are too thin to withstand normal handling.” The feds allege Michael’s waited far too long to recall the vases, which “inflicted serious injuries, such as severed tendons and nerve damage, that required stitches and surgery.” And, says the suit, when Michael’s finally did report the issue to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it tried to dodge any having anything to do with selling the clearly dangerous item.

The company’s report to the feds “conveyed the false impression that a different company had imported the vases and that Michaels acted only as the retailer of the vases,” says the suit. “As a result of its misrepresentation, Michaels avoided responsibility for the recall of the vases.”

Read more: http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/shattered-glass-feds-sue-irving-based-michaels-for-selling-unreasonably-dangerous-vases.html/

Scientists Perturbed by Loss of Stat Tool to Sift Research Fudge from Fact

The journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology recently banned the use of p-values and other statistical methods to quantify uncertainty from significance in research results

Psychology researchers have recently found themselves engaged in a bout of statistical soul-searching. In apparently the first such move ever for a scientific journal the editors of Basic and Applied Social Psychology announced in a February editorial that researchers who submit studies for publication would not be allowed to use a common suite of statistical methods, including a controversial measure called the p-value.

These methods, referred to as null hypothesis significance testing, or NHST, are deeply embedded into the modern scientific research process, and some researchers have been left wondering where to turn. “The p-value is the most widely known statistic,” says biostatistician Jeff Leek of Johns Hopkins University. Leek has estimated that the p-value has been used at least three million scientific papers. Significance testing is so popular that, as the journal editorial itself acknowledges, there are no widely accepted alternative ways to quantify the uncertainty in research results—and uncertainty is crucial for estimating how well a study’s results generalize to the broader population.

Unfortunately, p-values are also widely misunderstood, often believed to furnish more information than they do. Many researchers have labored under the misbelief that the p-value gives the probability that their study’s results are just pure random chance. But statisticians say the p-value’s information is much more non-specific, and can interpreted only in the context of hypothetical alternative scenarios: The p-value summarizes how often results at least as extreme as those observed would show up if the study were repeated an infinite number of times when in fact only pure random chance were at work.

This means that the p-value is a statement about imaginary data in hypothetical study replications, not a statement about actual conclusions in any given study. Instead of being a “scientific lie detector” that can get at the truth of a particular scientific finding, the p-value is more of an “alternative reality machine” that lets researchers compare their results with what random chance would hypothetically produce. “What p-values do is address the wrong questions, and this has caused widespread confusion,” says psychologist Eric-Jan Wagenmakers at the University of Amsterdam.

Read more: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-perturbed-by-loss-of-stat-tool-to-sift-research-fudge-from-fact/
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