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Member since: Tue Feb 16, 2016, 04:01 PM
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After More Than 100 Years, California's Iconic Tunnel Tree Is No More

Source: Gizmodo

The Pioneer Cabin Tree, a giant sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park that was tunneled through in the 1880s, has fallen due to severe winter weather. It was believed to be hundreds of years old.

Since it was first hollowed out in imitation of Yosemite’s Wawona Tunnel Tree, thousands of tourists and vehicles have passed through the sequoia. The Wawona tree was killed by the process and later fell during a storm in the 1960s, but the Pioneer Cabin Tree clung on, showing signs of life well into the 21st century.

“The pioneer cabin tree was chosen because of its extremely wide base and large fire scar,” wrote park interpretive specialist Wendy Harrison in 1990. “A few branches bearing green foliage tell us that this tree is still managing to survive.”

On Facebook, where the tree’s death was first announced, park visitors shared generations of memories involving the giant sequoia. The Calaveras Big Trees Association, however, offered a simple message about the tree’s return to the earth it sprouted from so many years ago.

Read more: http://gizmodo.com/after-more-than-100-years-californias-iconic-tunnel-tr-1790964594

Sad stuff

Our First Stand Rallies Set from Coast to Coast

More than a dozen rallies have been scheduled from coast to coast on Jan. 15 – and more are being planned – in a major show of grassroots support for critical health care programs under assault by Republicans in the new session of Congress.

The nationwide day of action – “Our First Stand: Save Health Care” – is being organized by Senate and House Democratic Leaders Charles E. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the leader of outreach efforts for Senate Democrats.

Schumer and Sanders will speak at a major event at a United Auto Workers hall in Warren, Michigan. Pelosi will speak at a rally in San Francisco. Other events are set for Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities nationwide. More rallies will be announced in the coming week. (To see the list, click here.) http://berniesanders.com/ourfirststand

“Democrats are united in fighting back against Republicans who want to make America sick again by cutting Medicare, Medicaid and repealing the Affordable Care Act. We are going to link arm in arm and stand together as we fight to protect health care for millions of Americans,” Schumer said.

“After years of the GOP’s fevered, fact-free crusade against the Affordable Care Act, Republicans’ repeal plan will have cold, hard consequences for millions of Americans,” Pelosi said. “The Republican Congress is declaring all-out war on affordable health care in our country, and we must not allow them to Make America Sick Again. Democrats will not stand by and allow Republicans to dismantle the health and economic security of hard-working Americans.”

“If Mr. Trump allows the Republican Party to go ahead with its plans, it will dismantle the health care system and jeopardize the economic security of millions of Americans,” Sanders said. “Our message to the Republicans is simple and straightforward. You are not going to get away with it. You are not going to punish the elderly, disabled veterans, the children, the sick and the poor while you reward your billionaire friends.”

Health care activists, trade unions, senior citizen groups and others are working to coordinate the rallies on Jan. 15.


This is for those interested in the rallies set for the 15th.

Gunshot wounds are contagious; bullets spread like the flu, study finds

Source: Arstechnica

Gun violence can ripple through social networks and communities just like an infectious germ, Harvard and Yale researchers reported Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. This may not seem surprising, because earlier work has found that gun violence often clusters in certain areas and groups, particularly those steeped in gangs and drugs. But this study is the first to show that gun violence spreads directly from person to person after shootings—it’s not just about growing up in the same rough neighborhood or having the same risk factors.

The finding is good news, because, after decades of research, scientists are pretty good at predicting how infections cascade through populations. Applying disease-based theories and simulations to gun violence could help health workers get ahead of bullets and intervene before violence spreads. A more informed strategy could also cut down on intervention tactics that “rest largely on geographic or group-based policing efforts that tend to disproportionately affect disadvantaged minority communities,” the authors argue.

For the study, the researchers, led by sociologist Andrew Papachristos at Yale, dug into gunshot and arrest data from Chicago, covering the years between 2006 and 2014. The Windy City, which made headlines over the recent holidays for having more than 100 gunshot victims, is much like other big US cities in that its gun violence is intensely concentrated in specific neighborhoods.

Peering into arrest records, the researchers focused on 138,163 people that they considered part of a large social network, which the researchers based on people arrested together (the network represented 29.9 percent of those arrested in Chicago during the study period). Of those, 9,773 people were involved in 11,123 gun violence incidents, both fatal and nonfatal.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/science/2017/01/gunshot-wounds-are-contagious-bullets-spread-like-the-flu-study-finds/

No record of faithless elector' Chris Suprun as a 9/11 first responder

Source: ABC

The Republican elector who has gotten national attention for refusing to vote for Donald Trump at the Electoral College on Dec. 19 was apparently not a first responder on September 11, 2001 as he has stated for years and has a questionable career history, according to an investigation by WFAA.

In a heavily-publicized editorial this month for the New York Times, Suprun stated that as a member of the Electoral College he will not cast his ballot for Trump because the president-elect “shows daily he is not qualified for the office.”

Responding on Reddit today, Chris Suprun said he worked as a firefighter in Dale City, Virginia on September 11, 2001. But there's no listing for Dale City on his publicly available and comprehensive LinkedIn résumé. In September 2001, according to Suprun's LinkedIn résumé, he was employed by the Manassas Park, Virginia fire department. Suprun also does not list being a firefighter in Dale City, Virginia on a lengthy seven-page paper résumé he has recently handed out to potential employers in Texas. Neither Suprun nor his public relations firms have responded to WFAA since this story was first published.

"He claimed to be a first responder with the Manassas Park [Virginia] Fire Department on September 11, 2001 and personally told us stories 'I was fighting fire that day at the Pentagon.’ No, I was on a medic unit that day at the Pentagon and you make a phone call to Manassas Park and you find out that he wasn't even employed there until October 2001,” said a first responder who knows Suprun and only agreed to speak about him if his identity was concealed.

Read more: http://www.wfaa.com/mb/news/local/texas-news/no-record-of-faithless-elector-chris-suprun-as-a-911-first-responder/371421191

Anybody surprised? I'm so tired of the stolen valor crowd.

Finally! Obama orders review of cyber attacks on 2016 election

"President Barack Obama directed U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct a full review of cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election and deliver a report before he leaves office, homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco said on Friday."


'Once in a lifetime find': Dinosaur tail discovered trapped in amber

Source: CNN

The tail of a 99-million-year-old dinosaur has been found entombed in amber, an unprecedented discovery that has blown away scientists.

Xing Lida, a Chinese paleontologist found the specimen, the size of a dried apricot, at an amber market in northern Myanmar near the Chinese border.

The remarkable piece was destined to end up as a curiosity or piece of jewelry, with Burmese traders believing a plant fragment was trapped inside.
"I realized that the content was a vertebrate, probably theropod, rather than any plant," Xing told CNN.

The tail section belongs to a young coelurosaurian -- from the same group of dinosaurs as the predatory velociraptors and the tyrannosaurus

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/08/health/dinosaur-tail-trapped-in-amber-trnd/index.html

Fukushima radiation detected in Tillamook Bay, Gold Beach

Source: KGW/NBC

For the first time, seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on the West Coast of the United States.

Cesium-134, the so-called fingerprint of Fukushima, was measured in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are reporting.

Because of its short half-life, cesium-134 can only have come from Fukushima.

Also for the first time, cesium-134 has been detected in a Canadian salmon, the Fukushima InFORM project, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, is reporting.

Read more: http://www.kgw.com/mb/news/local/central-coast/fukushima-radiation-detected-in-tillamook-bay-gold-beach/366240224

Scary stuff.

WTF? Reid: Trump 'not as bad as I thought he would be'

Get ready for the normalization of trump. This is why we need dynamic change on the left. We don't fight for shit. We just take it.

"Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says Donald Trump is "not as bad as I thought he would be."

The Nevada Democrat specifically mentioned the president-elect's decision not to pursue charges against Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic opponent in the presidential election, and his relaxed position on undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
"I have to say this — he's not as bad as I thought he would be," he said in an interview with NPR Thursday.

"Obviously he didn't believe in all of the stuff he said — which is a step in the right direction."

Reid said he does not hate Trump and hopes he does well as president.

"You know, it's not as if Donald Trump and I have been enemies our whole lives — he's done fundraisers for me. When I was elected last time he sent me a letter saying 'you're awesome' — a handwritten note. ... It's not as if I have hate in my soul for Donald Trump," he said.

"I hope, beyond all, that he does well. It's important to the stability of this great nation we have. And I'm hopeful — I keep using that word, but that's what it is — hopeful that he will lessen his rhetoric and work toward a safer, more productive America."

Reid was a vocal critic of Trump during the campaign, at one point calling him a "human leech" who would bleed the country while sitting at his golf resort "laughing at the money he has made."


Phone encryption: Police 'mug' suspect to get data

Source: BBC

Detectives have developed a new tactic to beat criminals using mobile phone encryption - legally "mug" them.

The tactic has emerged after Scotland Yard's cybercrime unit smashed a fake credit card fraud racket.

Officers realised crucial evidence in the investigation was concealed on a suspect's iPhone - but it would be unobtainable if the device was locked.

So a covert team seized it in the street while the suspect was on a call - beating the security settings.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38183819

I guess that's one way to beat biometrics.

Acquisition Chief: LCS Program 'Broke' the Navy

Source: Military

The Navy's littoral combat ship is costing taxpayers billions more than budgeted, failing survivability assessments, and may never live up to the original vision for the program, a panel of Navy and government oversight officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

The hearing, which focused on continued testing and acquisition of the small surface vessels, came at the close of a 12-month period in which five of the eight littoral combat ships in service have suffered major mechanical and engineering casualties. Navy officials have ordered dramatic program overhauls and reviews of ship employment and training in response to the breakdowns.

And despite the program's underperformance, costs continue to skyrocket, testified Paul Francis, managing director of acquisition and sourcing management at the Government Accountability Office. The ship's unit cost has more than doubled from $220 million to $478 million apiece, and plans to conduct a "block buy" of 12 redesigned littoral combat ships, to be called frigates, will put taxpayers on the hook for nearly $14 billion, he wrote in a GAO report released Thursday.

"The miracle of LCS didn't happen," Francis told the Senate panel. "... Once the money wheel starts to turn, the business imperatives of budgets and contracts and ship construction take precedence over acquisition and oversight principles."

Read more: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/12/02/acquisition-chief-lcs-program-broke-navy.html

The F-35 is doing the same thing to the Air Force.
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