Happy 420!

via chycho

Cannabis_sativa

April is indeed one of the most exciting months of the year. On April 19 we have the pleasure of celebrating Bicycle Day, and on April 20 we follow it up with 420.

April 20 has been designated as global cannabis appreciation day. It is a day to let the world know that this beautiful plant genus is part of our society and one of the most important bounties of nature. As our civilization expands and evolves, it has become essential for us to recognize and celebrate this day and share the wealth and knowledge that comes from harvesting and consuming what we have so generously been provided.

As for how this day came to be chosen as an official holiday for the 420 community, in the following 2002 interview, Steven Hager, at the time the editor-in-chief of High Times magazine, explains its origins.

The earliest use of the term began among a group of teenagers in San Rafael, California in 1971, calling themselves the Waldos, because ‘their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school’.

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David Knight: Cliven Bundy, BLM, And Tyranny Of Taxation And Regulation Without Representation

What are the facts in this case? What law is supposedly broken by Cliven Bundy? Is violating an immoral, illegal and irrational law a crime?  Who owns the land in question, the federal government or the state of Nevada? Is Senator Harry Reid (D – Nevada) implicated in using his political influence to broker sweetheart deals with Chinese solar firms? Is this really all about protecting tortoises? Questions that demand answers amidst a swarm of apologist mainstream media spin, are parsed here by David Knight.

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Behind the Seventies Science Experiment That Studied Whether You’d F*ck a Stranger

PIC: 'Whatever' (C)

PIC: ‘Whatever’ (C)

Interesting: Many men won’t agree to go on a date with a strange woman, but will happily have sex with her.

Via RealClearScience:

IN THE MID-1970s, Florida State psychologist Russell Clark was giving a talk at a public forum on campus. In the ensuing question and answer session, he, in the words of his compatriot Elaine Hatfield, “dropped a bomb”:

“A woman, good looking or not, doesn’t have to worry about timing in searching for a man. Arrive at any time. All she has to do is point an inviting finger at any man, whisper ‘Come on ‘a my place,’ and she’s made a conquest. Most women can get any man to do anything they want. Men have it harder. They have to worry about strategy, timing, and tricks.”

As you might expect, a great many women in the crowd took umbrage with those remarks. One even decided that her pencil would make a better spear than a writing utensil, and sent it flying in his direction.

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Harvard Fossil Fuel Divestment Smackdown: The Faculty vs. President Faust

PIC: Harvard (CC)

PIC: Harvard (CC)

Faust was the guy who sold his soul to the Devil, wasn’t he?  Wen Stephenson at the Nation

…a large and distinguished group of faculty at Harvard University released an open letter to President Drew Gilpin Faust and the Harvard Corporation. It calls, in striking terms, for divestment of the university’s endowment—the largest university endowment in the world—from fossil-fuel corporations. Perhaps most striking, it responds forcefully, and at times bluntly, to Faust’s public statements opposing divestment. The letter begins:

Our University invests in the fossil fuel industry: this is for us the central issue. We now know that fossil fuels cause climate change of unprecedented destructive potential. We also know that many in this industry spend large sums of money to mislead the public, deny climate science, control legislation and regulation, and suppress alternative energy sources.

We are therefore disappointed in the statements on divestment made by President Faust on October 3, 2013 and April 7, 2014.

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Surprising Material Could Play Role in Saving Energy

PIC: JURII (CC)

PIC: JURII (CC)

Megan Fellman writes for Northwestern University:

One strategy for addressing the world’s energy crisis is to stop wasting so much energy when producing and using it, which can happen in coal-fired power plants or transportation. Nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat.

Now Northwestern University scientists have discovered a surprising material that is the best in the world at converting waste heat to useful electricity. This outstanding property could be exploited in solid-state thermoelectric devices in a variety of industries, with potentially enormous energy savings.

An interdisciplinary team led by inorganic chemist Mercouri G. Kanatzidis found the crystal form of the chemical compound tin selenide conducts heat so poorly through its lattice structure that it is the most efficient thermoelectric material known. Unlike most thermoelectric materials, tin selenide has a simple structure, much like that of an accordion, which provides the key to its exceptional properties.

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BP Decides to Stop Cleaning Up the Gulf

PIC: USCG (PD)

PIC: USCG (PD)

It was mainly a PR exercise anyway.  Andrea Germanos writes at Common Dreams:

BP announced on Tuesday it was ending “active shoreline cleanup” from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 people, spewed millions of gallons of oil, contaminated beaches and ecosystems, and unleashed ongoing threats to marine life.

“Immediately following the Deepwater Horizon accident, BP committed to cleaning the shoreline and supporting the Gulf’s economic and environmental recovery. Completing active cleanup is further indication that we are keeping that commitment,” the oil giant said in a statement.

Yet the response from the U.S. Cocast Guard paints quite a different picture, indicating the response to the disaster is far from over.

Coast Guard Captain Thomas Sparks, the Federal On-Scene Commander for the Deepwater Horizon Response, issued a statement saying, “Our response posture has evolved to target re-oiling events on coastline segments that were previously cleaned.”

“But let me be absolutely clear: This response is not over — not by a long shot.

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Powdered Alcohol Debuts

palcoholThis stuff is about as far from a single malt or cult cabernet as you can get, but sadly Palcohol is probably going to be more popular than either. SB Nation hails powdered alcohol’s potential to liven up boring sports games:

Trying to sneak booze is an American past time. Well, not THE American past time — but now there’s a way for you to sneak alcohol easily into your favorite sporting event! Heck, you don’t even need to use a syrup bottle.

Meet “Palcohol”

These are essentially Capri Suns for adults. A large, booze-filled pouch designed to turn every trip to Chuck E. Cheese into a party. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky, wacky idea. This stuff has been approved!

It’s important to note that the powder can be used in drinks OR on food. So, who other than Spilly would be interested in this marvelous monstrosity? Palcohol has the answers.

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The Importance of Living: Lin Yutang Meets the Dude – An Esoteric Take on ‘The Big Lebowski,’ Part 2

[Readers may wish to read An Esoteric Take on The Big Lebowski prior to reading this post]
Razzle, dazzle, drazzle, drone, time for this one to come home
Razzle, dazzle, drazzle, die, time for this one to come alive
And hold my life until I’m ready to use it
Hold my life because I just might lose it
Because I just might lose it
Lin Yutang

Lin Yutang

– from Paul Westerberg’s Hold My Life

There are a few works out there, be they novels, movies or even pieces of music, that manage to make the esoteric, exoteric. Such works rarely surface, though, because the shallow machinery of the publishing, movie and music industry is mostly allergic to them. As I was re-reading Lin Yutang’s masterwork, The Importance of Living, I found so many passages that seem custom-made for the Dude, the now-legendary leading character in the Coen Brothers’ film The Big Lebowski, that I thought it might be fun to explore the points of departure and arrival of both works, in tandem.Read the rest

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Lab Is Missing 2,000 Vials Of The Deadly SARS Virus

SARSWhat did you misplace today? Via ABC News:

A French lab has lost more than 2,000 vials containing fragments of the deadly SARS virus, which killed nearly 800 people in a 2003 epidemic across four continents.

The Pasteur Institute in Paris, France announced this week that it realized it was missing the vials and contacted the country’s National Security Agency of Medicines and Health Products to conduct an investigation on April 8, according to a news release.

Although the fragments are not dangerous, they do raise concerns by revealing the lab’s vulnerability, said Dr. William Schaffner, chair of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.

The virus is believed to have originated in Chinese horseshoe bats in 2002 before spreading to cats and then spreading to humans. The outbreak in Hong Kong brought it to global attention, and it spread to two dozen countries, according to the CDC.

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