The Sixth Extinction Is Here — And It’s Our Fault

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If it’s sounds serious, it is. The Sixth Extinction is a very real and massive loss of bioversity on Earth, happening right now, reports James Temple at re/code:

The Earth appears to be in the early stages of the Sixth Extinction, the latest in a series of mass biodiversity losses that have punctuated the history of life on the planet, according to a paper published in Science this week.

The defining characteristic of the current round — the latest since the dinosaurs disappeared about 65 million years ago — seems to be driven mostly by the actions of humankind. We’re steadily encroaching on the habitat of millions of species while fundamentally altering the environment.

More than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct since 1500, according to the researchers at Stanford University. Surviving species have declined in abundance by about 25 percent, particularly devastating the ranks of large animals like elephants, rhinoceroses and polar bears.

And it’s only likely to get worse. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changereport in 2007 predicts that an increase of 3.5 degrees Celsius, within the range of scientistic forecasts for 2100, could wipe out 40 to 70 percent of the species assessed so far…

[continues at re/code]

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Colorado Symphony Orchestra Partners with the Cannabis Industry

Sativa Bud

Sativa Bud

The Colorado Symphony Orchestra has a new program: “Classically Cannabis: The High Note Series.”

via Alternet:

 

 

 

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The Worst Psychological Torture? Solitary Confinement

“Why Solitary Confinement Is The Worst Kind Of Psychological Torture” by George Dvosky at io9 outlines how solitary confinement came into use with the best of intentions, but is now understood to cause, in some cases, irreparable psychological damage.

This photo is of a recreation yard within the housing unit now referred to as the "Old Main." by Ken Piorkowski

This photo is of a recreation yard within the housing unit now referred to as the “Old Main.” by Ken Piorkowski

via io9:

There may be as many as 80,000 American prisoners currently locked-up in a SHU, or segregated housing unit. Solitary confinement in a SHU can cause irreversible psychological effects in as little as 15 days. Here’s what social isolation does to your brain, and why it should be considered torture.

There’s no universal definition for solitary confinement, but the United Nations describes it as any regime where an inmate is held in isolation from others, except guards, for at least 22 hours a day. Some jurisdictions allow prisoners out of their cells for one hour of solitary exercise each day.

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“Fanbots” to Fill Seats for Korean Baseball Team

“Fanbots” will allow fans to attend the Hanwha Eagles’ games via robots. The robots will electronically show the faces of cheering fans.

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via Popular Science:

The Hanwha Eagles of Daejeon, Korea, have been on a long losing streak, the BBC reports… but they are winners in our hearts here at Popular Science. That’s because they have decided to amp up their fans by giving them access to three rows of telepresence robots. Not able to score a ticket to an Eagles game? No problem. These robots will be able to cheer, chant, show the faces of remote fans on their own screen faces, and hold up LED panels showing encouraging texts from fans.

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Should We Have the Right Not to Work?

This is the logo used for egalitarian/ equality beliefs. Similar to the well known anarchy "A", a capital "E" inscribed in a circle is used in political imagery to show a belief in the equality of different types of people.

This is the logo used for egalitarian/ equality beliefs. Similar to the well known anarchy “A”, a capital “E” inscribed in a circle is used in political imagery to show a belief in the equality of different types of people.

John Danaher examines Andrew Levine’s argument that the right not to work “is entailed by the fundamental principles of liberal egalitarianism.”

via Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology:

Voltaire once said that “work saves a man from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.” Many people endorse this sentiment. Indeed, the ability to seek and secure paid employment is often viewed as an essential part of a well-lived life. Those who do not work are reminded of the fact. They are said to be missing out on a valuable and fulfilling human experience. The sentiment is so pervasive that some of the foundational documents of international human rights law — including the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR Art.

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SOLVED: Porcelain Dolls Mysteriously Appearing on Doorsteps in California

785px-German_antique_doll

“This is another doll that was owned by my great aunt. I had her re-strung at the NY Doll Hospital. I was told that she is a German doll from about 1900. I believe she is a German Bisque Kestner, Mold 171.”

Porcelain dolls randomly appeared on several doorsteps in San Clemente, California. The dolls apparently resembled real girls living within the houses, but nobody was quite sure who was behind it–until now.

via Reuters:

A California woman who spooked her small community by anonymously leaving porcelain dolls on the doorsteps of fellow churchgoers that eerily resembled their daughters told police she is embarrassed by the incidents, authorities said on Friday.

The dolls, some wearing fuzzy slippers or frilly gowns, turned up at more than a half-dozen homes in San Clemente last week, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Jeff Hallock.

Interviews with families that received the dolls led authorities to the local woman, who then admitted her involvement, he said.

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Middle Aged Chinese Man Finds Out He’s a Woman

Well, at least this isn’t as traumatizing as waking up from surgery to find your penis gone.

Human metaphase chromosomes were subjected to fluorescence in situ hybridization with a probe to the Alu Sequence (green signals)and counterstained for DNA (red)

Human metaphase chromosomes were subjected to fluorescence in situ hybridization with a probe to the Alu Sequence (green signals)and counterstained for DNA (red)

via Science World Report:

Mr. Chen headed to the hospital when he started having a severe stomach ache, along with blood in his urine. During a medical visit, the 44-year-old Chinese resident discovered that he was actually a menstruating woman.

Doctors said they were shocked to learn of the news, after studying Chen under a full body examination. Besides having a penis, he also had a full set of female reproductive organs.

“He was wearing men’s clothes with short hair, so we didn’t think that he would be a female at the beginning,” said a spokesman from the First People’s Hospital of Yongkang, where Chen was treated, via the Daily Mail.

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New York Times Editorial Board Backs Legalization of Marijuana

Fremont Solstice Parade 2008 - American joint 01The New York Times editorial board is generally not one to challenge the establishment but in today’s edition it comes out firmly in favor of legalizing marijuana in an editorial article entitled “Repeal Prohibition, Again”:

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use.

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