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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: WV
Member since: Thu Jan 15, 2015, 01:37 AM
Number of posts: 5,829

About Me

Ancestral WV hillbilly & old-style liberal who believes in US Constitution & detests RW revisionism of its principles (esp Establishment Clause)

Journal Archives

Jeb Bush was a pot-smoking bully, say former classmates; Rand Paul adds 'hypocrit'

From TheHill
By David McCabe

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) said in the 1990s that he smoked marijuana while he was in high school, but a new profile of the likely 2016 presidential candidate paints a more detailed picture of his use of the drug.


And in related news...

Rand Paul slams Bush 'hypocrisy' on pot
By Alexander Bolton

DALLAS Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) accused Jeb Bush of hypocrisy after The Boston Globe reported the former Florida governor was a heavy marijuana smoker while at an elite prep school.



Unprecedented Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde type of behaviour of aphids towards ants discovered

Unprecedented interaction between aphids and ants that reveals how the first group of insects may display a Dr-Jekyll-and-Mr-Hyde type of behaviour towards the second group has been identified by researchers. Traditionally, aphids and ants have had a relationship based on cooperativism. However, after more than 50 hours of recording different anthills through a microscopy, this research has revealed that a certain species of aphids produces individuals which are adopted in the ant's brood chamber and they end up being aggressive to them by sucking haemolymph from their larvae.



Water purification: Running fuel cells on bacteria

Researchers in Norway have succeeded in getting bacteria to power a fuel cell. The "fuel" used is wastewater, and the products of the process are purified water droplets and electricity. This is an environmentally-friendly process for the purification of water derived from industrial processes and suchlike. It also generates small amounts of electricity – in practice enough to drive a small fan, a sensor or a light-emitting diode. In the future, the researchers hope to scale up this energy generation to enable the same energy to be used to power the water purification process, which commonly consists of many stages, often involving mechanical and energy-demanding decontamination steps at its outset.



Skip the dip! Super Bowl team cities see spike in flu deaths

Having a team in the Super Bowl correlated to an average 18 percent increase in flu deaths among those over 65 years old, according to a study of health data covering 35 years of championship games.


Why do zebras have stripes? Temperature counts

One of nature's fascinating questions is how zebras got their stripes. A team of life scientists has found at least part of the answer: The amount and intensity of striping can be best predicted by the temperature of the environment in which zebras live.



Past 16 MONTHS, 372 oil & gas #pipeline leaks, spills, other incidents, w/ 20 deaths, 117 injuri

America’s Disastrous History of Pipeline Accidents Shows Why the Keystone XL Vote Matters

From an Article by Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, Huffington Post, January 18, 2015

A new analysis of federal records reveals that in just the past year and four months, there have been 372 oil and gas pipeline leaks, spills and other incidents, leading to 20 deaths, 117 injuries and more than $256 million in damages.

The new data adds to a June 1, 2013 independent analysis of federal records revealing that since 1986, oil and gas pipeline incidents have resulted in 532 deaths, more than 2,400 injuries and more than $7.5 billion in damages.

Check out this new time-lapse video* that includes every “significant pipeline” incident in the continental United States — along with their human and financial costs — from 1986 to October 1, 2014. On average one significant pipeline incident occurs in the country every 30 hours, according to the data.


One difference between Keystone XL and the vast majority of other pipelines that have spilled is that it will be carrying tar sands oil, which has proven very difficult, if not impossible, to clean up. A 2010 spill of tar sands oil in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, for example, has yet to be cleaned up despite four years of effort. Another tar sands spill in 2013 fouled an entire neighborhood in Arkansas. Federal regulators have acknowledged that Keystone XL, too, will spill.

TransCanada’s existing Keystone I tar sands pipeline has reportedly leaked at least 14 times since it went into operation in June 2010, including one spill of 24,000 gallons. (snip)
The pipeline will cross a number of important rivers, including the Yellowstone and Platte, as well as thousands of smaller rivers and streams.


*Video link:




See also:


Bold hilights are mine

Politicians’ Letters In Support Of Comcast Merger Were Actually Written By Comcast

In the eleven months since Comcast announced that it would acquire Time Warner Cable, numerous local and national politicians have written to the FCC in support of the merger, claiming it will create jobs (in spite of the fact that thousands of employees will inevitably be made redundant), spark investment (even though Comcast could just invest the $40 billion instead of using it to buy TWC), and provide broadband access for the poor (a program that’s been criticized as window dressing), without hurting competition (because there isn’t any to begin with). Many of the letters hit the same points… almost as if they were ghostwritten and the politicians just signed their names to them.

That’s because, at least in some cases, the person whose name is signed to one of these letters had little to nothing to do with its authorship.

A new report from The Verge uncovers Comcast’s efforts to astroturf its mega-merger by feeding local politicians what were effectively form letters that could be signed and sent off to the FCC to make it look like there was bona fide grassroots support for the TWC acquisition.

Like the letter supposedly written by Mayor Jere Wood of Roswell, GA, but actually penned by a vice president of external affairs at Comcast.
E-mails obtained by The Verge show that the mayor’s only contribution to the letter was a single sentence at the end and his signature.

Another letter from a town councilman in Jupiter, FL, was not only first sent to Comcast for approval, but was then tweaked by a former FCC official whose telecom law firm has been hired by Comcast to help usher the merger through the approval process.


Former FCC Chairman Michael Copps says that letters from local leaders get special attention when they reach D.C.


Comcast has been successful in rounding up political figures in support of its merger battle. In August, more than 50 mayors signed on to a single letter urging the FCC to approve the deal. In December, the two U.S. Senators from Pennsylvania signed a joint letter asking the FCC to expedite its approval process, without mentioning that they had received a combined $184,000 in donations from Comcast sources.

There’s no proof that either of these two letters were ghostwritten by Comcast, though they do highlight how out of touch these elected officials are from their constituents. Comcast and Time Warner Cable have repeatedly been at the bottom of several major customer satisfaction surveys, which are the voices of actual consumers who didn’t receive campaign contributions in exchange for their opinions.

Full article:


Deal With Hershey’s Puts An End To Import Of Cadbury Chocolates

It will soon be more difficult for consumers who prefer the taste of British-made chocolate to get their sweet-tooth fix. A new deal between Hershey’s and Let’s Buy British Imports essentially puts a stop to the import of many iconic British chocolate brands from overseas.

The New York Times reports the two parties agreed to stop the import of all British-produced Cadbury chocolate, as well as KitKat bars, Toffee Crisps and Yorkie chocolate bars after Hershey’s claimed the products infringed on its trademarks and trade dress licensing.

(Once again, don’t worry about not having a Cadbury Creme Egg this Easter. Hershey’s has a license agreement to manufacture Cadbury’s chocolate in the U.S., albeit with a different recipe.)

The issue doesn’t come down to the chocolate itself, as chocolate made in Britain has a distinctly different recipe.

For example, the Times reports, British chocolate has a higher fat content; the first ingredient listed on a British Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (plain milk chocolate) is milk. In an American-made Cadbury’s bar, the first ingredient is sugar.
Instead the decision to stop importing the goods from overseas rests on the products’ packaging. Toffee Crisps comes in an orange packaging and yellow-lined brown script, which Hershey’s says too closely resembled that of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, while Yorkie bars could be considered an infringement on the York peppermint patty, the Times reports.

While you would often be hard-pressed to find a British-made chocolate bar in the aisle of your local supermarket, many small, independently owned speciality stores regularly stocked the items.

One British goods retailer tells the Times that the ban on importing the treats will likely put her out of business.

The impending ban on imported British chocolate was met with opposition not only from business owners but consumers. A petition was created on MoveOn.org protesting Hershey’s actions and seeking to allow the treats entrance to the U.S. So far, the petition has garnered more than 10,000 signatures.

(text edited)

More, incld link to NYT story & petition:


Senators Introduce Bill To Block States From Blocking Public Broadband


Senators Cory Booker (NJ), Ed Markey (MA), and Claire McCaskill (MO) today introduced the Community Broadband Act, which would make it illegal for states to forbid municipalities from building out their own networks if they want to.


In other words, the Community Broadband Act makes it legal for a town to start a network and illegal for the state to stop them, but doesn’t provide any assistance for towns who want to build networks. It simply gives them the opportunity to pursue their own funding. To that end, the bill specifically encourages public-private partnerships.

The bill also specifically does not exempt any public carrier from existing and future federal laws and regulations pertaining to networks, nor does it in any way seek to define the FCC’s scope and authority over broadband networks.

This comes as the FCC is currently considering its own attempt to step in and give municipal broadband networks a chance. Nineteen states currently have industry-backed laws strongly limiting public networks on the books already. But communities in two of those states, North Carolina and Tennessee, filed petitions with the FCC last summer asking for the commission to pre-empt those laws so they can go on building out their networks for their residents.



2 big reasons the new broadband standard us bad news for Comcast & TW

Comcast internet essentials is no longer essential internet

The new baseline has even less competition than the old baseline



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