Author Archive | Matt Staggs

Ordain Women leader Excommunicated By Mormon Church

Book O fMormonApparently, the Mormons, like many Judeo-Christian-derived faiths, believe that the penis is God’s antenna: If you don’t have one, you won’t be able to tune in to the latest updates from the Lord’s all-talk radio station in the sky.

Not being especially religious myself, it’s hard for me to understand how upsetting it might be to be tossed out of your church, but were I this woman, I’d wear an excommunication from the Mormons like a badge of honor.

The Mormon church has ex-communicated the founder of a prominent women’s group for “conduct contrary” to its laws and order, according to an email cited Monday by the woman involved.

Kate Kelly, a founder of Ordain Women, said in a blog that she had been informed of her ouster after an all-male panel held a disciplinary trial over her case on Sunday.

The panel convicted her of the charge of apostasy, she said, and has decided to excommunicate her, the most serious punishment that can be levied by a church court.

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John Turturro Wants To Revisit Role Of ‘Big Lebowski”s ‘Jesus Quintana’ In New Movie

PIC: Universal (C)

PIC: Universal (C)

When you’ve got a movie as perfect as The Big Lebowski, I really don’t think you should go about mucking things up with a spin-off. Especially one based around the film’s “pederast” bowler Jesus Quintana. Don’t get me wrong: I though “The Jesus” was hilarious, but he’s not very likable or particularly deep enough to carry a movie. It’s like when Saturday Night Live’s team takes a character that works in two and a half minute skit and tries to spread their gimmick out across a two hour movie. (Pat, Stuart Smalley, etc. etc.)

Anyway…

Actor John Turturro, who played the colorful bowler named Jesus in The Big Lebowski, told a master class Saturday that — assuming he can get legal clearance — he’d like to reprise that role in a new film next year.

“If I can get the permission I need, I’d like to return to that role,” he said to loud applause.

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Felonious Father Of Seven Agrees To Vasectomy In Child Endangerment Plea Agreement

PIC: mugshot (PD)

PIC: mugshot (PD)

I can believe that he can’t keep it in his pants. I just can’t believe that there are that many women interested in what this rambling’ man  has to offer. Maybe some Men’s Rights Activists will come along to explain it all. Anyway, this neck-tattooed Johnny Appleseed’s days of carefree breeding are over, courtesy of a special plea agreement. Reasonable arrangement or is this what amounts to sterilization under duress of an ‘undesirable” individual?

As part of the deal, [Jessie Lee] Herald will serve four years in state prison and five years of probation upon his release from custody. Within a year of his departure from prison, Herald has agreed to get a vasectomy, according to a plea agreement signed by Herald, his lawyer, a prosecutor, and a Circuit Court judge.

The document also stipulates that Herald “shall not have a ‘reversal’ during the pendency of his probation.”

The agreement notes that the vasectomy requirement “is not a usual term of probation,” and that the judge “would not impose this condition without the defendant’s consent.”

Herald–a convicted felon whose rap sheet includes prior narcotics, unlawful wounding, and hit-and-run convictions–was offered the plea deal by prosecutors who cited his proclivity to reproduce.

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Altered Microbial Enzyme Digests Cocaine

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Pic: Willis Kent Productions (C)

Bioengineered enzyme that eats cocaine and can survive in the human body… sounds like the makings of a low-budget but entirely awesome cocaine zombie movie. (Please let the epidemic begin in Hollywood.)

Bacteria that live in the soil near coca plants make an enzyme called cocaine esterase, which rapidly breaks down the drug. The enzyme could theoretically be useful to  destroy cocaine ingested by people before it takes effect, but the half-life of the enzyme–which was isolated years ago–is only about 12 minutes at human body temperature, according to Chemical & Engineering News. “It would be hard to use this enzyme for therapeutic purposes,” University of Kentucky researcher Chang-Guo Zhan says.

So scientists decided to tinker with it. What if the enzyme could be made sturdy at high temperatures? In a 2008 study, Zhan and colleagues first figured out how to extend the half-life to six hours, possibly enough to treat an overdose.

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Scientists Invent Cloaking Material That Makes Object ‘Invisible’ To Human Touch

Noted critic Patrick Bateman describes "Invisible Touch" as the group's undisputed masterpiece. (Pic: C - Virgin/Atlantic)

Noted critic Patrick Bateman describes “Invisible Touch” as the group’s undisputed masterpiece. (Pic: C – Virgin/Atlantic)

Would it be… an invisible touch?

Apparently the material disperses pressure so that you won’t feel anything when you touch it. Like your estranged ex feels.

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have created a material that sounds like something from a fictional tale: an elasto-mechanical unfeelability cloak. The polymer-based, scaffold-like structure can mask the presence of an object so it’s imperceptible to the human touch.

If you, for example, stepped on a large enough rock, the rubber and foam in your shoe would deform and result in a noticeable bulge. If your shoes were made of the cloaking material, it would disperse the pressure in such a way that you wouldn’t notice the rock beneath your foot.

How Does It Work?

The material consists of precisely calculated needle-shaped elements, such that strength depends on the location in a defined way.

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TB Bacteria May Have Once Helped Break Down Nutrients Needed For Bigger Brains

Sputum sample containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Sputum sample containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Talk about unforeseen consequences: A group of scientists think that tuberculosis started out as a symbiotic bacteria that extracted food nutrients  needed to grow bigger, more powerful brains. Scientific American has an article on the study, but it’s behind a pay wall. I’ve just pulled the abstract from the study they cited, and can remember just enough from my neurological psychology classes to sort of piece it together. Interesting stuff. (Note: The paragraph breaks are my own. I have trouble absorbing information what I read when it’s presented in a giant block of text.)

Meat eating has been an important trigger for human evolution however the responsible component in meat has not been clearly identified. Here we propose that the limiting factors for expanding brains and increasing longevity were the micronutrient nicotinamide (vitamin B3) and the metabolically related essential amino-acid, tryptophan.

Meat offers significant sourcing challenges and lack causes a deficiency of nicotinamide and tryptophan and consequently the energy carrier nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) that gets consumed in regulatory circuits important for survival, resulting in premature ageing, poor cognition and brain atrophy.

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Your Filthy Smartphone Is Crawling With Your Personal Mix Of Staph, Strep, And Other Passengers

240px-Staphylococcus_aureus_01Your smartphone is filthy, and I don’t just mean what’s in your browser’s search history folder. A group of scientists have discovered that our cell phones carry our their owner’s individual devil’s brew of bacteria: A house blend of staph, strep, and other biological goodies.

To test our biological connection with phones, University of Oregon researchers sequenced microbes from the dominant-hand index fingers and thumbs of 17 subjects and from the touchscreens of their smartphones, during a recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation workshop in Princeton, New Jersey. The study found smartphones closely resembled the microbiome sampled from their owner’s finger, with 82 percent of the most common bacteria on participants’ fingers also found on their phones.

Interestingly, women were found to be more closely connected, microbiologically speaking, to their phones than were men. Although men and women were both statistically similar to their own phones, the relationship was stronger for women than for men.

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Big Data’s ‘Dangerous’ Video Goes Viral While Eating At The Sick Artificiality Of Viral Videos

Okay, so sue me. I like some pop music, especially the electronic stuff. Can’t listen to Godspeed You Black Emperor every day. Anyway, Big Data reminds me enough of the eighties synth pop I enjoyed that I found the video on YouTube. Glad I did. It’s a great little sweet-nothing of a “viral” video encapsulating a sour pill of a poke at marketers attempt to engineer “viral” media to promote their projects (Yeah! Headbash your way through life! Hashtag it!); that the video utilizes all of the same techniques through this narrative frame is, I’m sure, an intentional irony. Meta, meta, meta.

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No, MMA Fighters Do Not ‘Love Staph Infections’

PIC: US ARMY (PD)

PIC: US ARMY (PD)

I have no idea how IO9′s Keith Veronese came up with the headline ‘MMA Fighters Love Staph Infections’, but MRSA is also a problem in pro football, pro basketball, pro baseball, and even soccer. I guess ‘Football Players Love Staph Infections’ would be a harder sell, especially considering how sacred the NFL is to many Americans.

My experiences as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu student suggest that if anything, fighters are more aware of the dangers of staph than the public. Staph infections aren’t only potentially deadly, they’re a major loss of training time. No one wants them, and spreading a disease to the people you train with is a great way to be kicked out of a gym. People who neglect their hygiene or carry infections of some sort (these usually go together) find themselves without training partners and are usually shown the door in short order, and any gym that doesn’t clean their mats after use is no place you should be.… Read the rest

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Egyptian Court Sentences Al-Jazeera Journalists To Seven Years

Al JazeeraTwo journalists are currently facing seven years imprisonment after an Egyptian court found them guilty of spreading false news and aiding terrorists. Don’t get up on your high horse yet, fellow Americans: For a country that has historically prided itself on the freedom of its press, we’re doing a lot to repress our own journalists.

Two Al-Jazeera journalists detained in the case known as the “Marriott Cell” have been sentenced to seven years in maximum security prison. A third journalist has been sentenced to 10 years.

The two defendants, Australian Journalist Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, sentenced to seven years in prison were detained on December 29 at the Marriott in Cairo and had been accused of defaming Egypt and spreading false news that harms the nation’s interests.

The third journalist, Baher Mohamed, was detained a day later and has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by the criminal court.

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