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One-in-Four Chance the Fish You Just Ate Contains Plastic

Did you enjoy your fish with plastic dinner? There’s a one in four chance that fish did, indeed, contain plastic, reports Alternet:

Want a side of plastic with your fresh-caught salmon?


About a quarter of fish samples from markets in Indonesia and fresh off the boat in California are filled with plastic and debris such as clothing fibers, scientists at the University of California, Davis, have found.

While other research has found plastics in the bellies of popular dinner-plate items such as tuna and swordfish, this is the first study to link marine plastic ingestion directly to fish sold for human consumption.

“We knew fish ingest plastic, but we wanted to see if it was getting to consumers’ plates,” said Susan Williams, an ecology professor at UC Davis and a coauthor of the study.

The team looked at the guts and gastrointestinal tracts of 76 fish bought in markets in Makassar, Indonesia, and 64 fish bought from local fishers at the docks of California’s Pillar Point Harbor and Half Moon Bay fish markets south of San Francisco…

[continues at Alternet]

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If Women Ruled the World – Is a Matriarchal Society the Solution?

woman to woman
Steve Taylor, Ph.D, via Waking Times:

Is a matriarchal society the solution to our problems?

I’ve just returned from Crete, where I visited the ancient palace of Knossos, and the archaeological museum in Heraklion, where thousands of the artifacts and artworks of ancient Crete are displayed.

The most striking thing about the culture of ancient Crete (or Minoan culture, as it is often called) is how prominent women are. They are everywhere in Minoan artwork, on pottery, frescoes and figurines (small stone statues). They are shown as priestesses, goddesses, dancing and talking at social occasions, in beautiful dresses with their breasts on show. There is a striking fresco of a beautifully dressed woman surrounded by a group of half-naked dancing men.

It is clear that – as many archaeologists have agreed – this was a society in which women had very high status; at least as high as men.

Some archaeologists believe that the Minoans worshiped a goddess, and that women were the main religious leaders.

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Just how dangerous are the skies over Syria?

Washington greeted reports of the Russian air force’s first wave of airstrikes on September 30 with fierce rhetoric. Moscow, said defence secretary Ash Carter, was “pouring gasoline on the fire” in Syria.

The strikes reportedly hit rebels fighting pro-government forces in various towns including Hama, Homs and Jisr al-Shughour in the west of the country, a long way from areas further east where Islamic State holds sway. Kremlin spokesmen claimed that their airstrikes attacked 12 IS targets – but this has been disputed by people on the ground in Syria who posted video of the explosions on social media.

Russia’s decision to join the bombing party in Syria follows a summer of fruitless and inconsequential diplomacy and raises important questions about who is bombing who and what these campaigns aim to achieve.

Reuters report on video of Russian airstrikes.

At the beginning of the war, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) was able to use its overwhelming air superiority to bomb rebel positions but developments have affected the Syrian military’s air status and have made the Russian intervention much more important for the Assad regime.… Read the rest

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Alabama to stop issuing driver’s licenses in counties with 75% black registered voters

Alabama proves, once again, that it loves to be on the wrong side of history.

David Edwards via The Raw Story:

The state of Alabama, which requires a photo ID to vote, announced this week that it would stop issuing driver’s licenses in counties where 75 percent of registered voters are black.

Due to budget cuts, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said that 31 satellite DMVoffices would no longer have access to driver’s licenses examiners, meaning that residents will need to travel to other counties to apply for licenses. The move comes just one year after the state’s voter photo ID law went into effect.’s John Archibald asserted in a column on Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Justice should open an investigation into the closings.

“Because Alabama just took a giant step backward,” he wrote. “Take a look at the 10 Alabama counties with the highest percentage of non-white registered voters.

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For Whom the Phone Rings: The Genius Cult

I Would Like To Point Out...
It’s that time of year again…

Thomas Frank via The Baffler/

It’s genius season again. From NPR to the New York Times, they’re talking about where people were when they found out they had won the MacArthur Fellowship, our society’s most prestigious honor. Twenty-one of these so-called “Genius Grants” were announced two weeks ago by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation of Chicago; they carry with them a prize of $625,000, to be spent over the course of five years however the Genius in question wishes.

Over the years, stories on the subject have always seemed to start with the phone call from MacArthur HQ in Chicago. Where was the Genius when he or she got the call? What was it like to find out that someone was giving you all that moolah? The famous critic, it was reported, finds she must sit down. The Southerner lets rip with a yell.

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Stunning footage of lightning in a volcanic ash cloud in Patagonia

Courtesy of BBC Earth, here’s some surreal footage of lightning in a volcanic ash cloud in Patagonia.

h/t Sploid.


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Nemo’s Garden – Italy’s Revolutionary Underwater Fruit and Vegetable Farm

Behold the world’s first underwater farm.

Sumitra via Oddity Central:

In a bid to explore alternative methods of growing produce, an Italian company has created the world’s first underwater farm. The futuristic station – aptly named Nemo’s Garden – consists of five transparent biospheres anchored to the bottom of the sea off the coast of Savona, Italy. They’re being used to grow strawberries, basil, beans, garlic, and lettuce.

“The main target of this project is to create alternative sources of plant production in areas where environmental conditions make it difficult to grow crops through conventional farming, including lack of fresh water, fertile soils, and extreme temperature changes,” said project spokesperson Luca Gamberini. “We are trying to find an alternative and economically viable technology enabling efficient production.”

The five pods, currently floating between depths of 18 and 36 feet, are constantly monitored by Ocean Reef Group – a diving equipment company – from a control center on dry land.

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To Survive Climate Change, We Must Genetically Engineer Humans

The Meanwhile In The Future podcast (at Gizmodo) decides to look at ways to genetically modify humans to survive climate change:

A lot of researchers are thinking about how to genetically engineer crops and food animals to help them withstand post-climate change heat and parched conditions. But what about genetically engineering humans to slow our constant carbon contributions?

In 2012 a philosopher named Matthew Liao co-authored a paper that proposed altering human biology to combat climate change. In the paper, Liao and his colleagues propose a number of possible changes to human biology to help us combat climate change. When the paper came out, it got a lot of attention. Some people thought that Liao and his colleagues were trolling the academic community or that it was some sort of early April Fools joke. Bill McKibbon, a prominent environmental advocate Tweeted that the suggestions in the paper were the “worst climate change solutions of all time.” And, of course, climate skeptics thought it was totally insane to alter human genetics in response to a problem they do not believe in.

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Prison Inmate Cuts Off His Penis and Tries to Flush it Down Toilet

Bizarre story of the day from the Telegraph:

An inmate at Bristol Prison cut off his own penis and tried to flush it down a toilet, it has been revealed.

Horfield Prison, Bristol.jpg

Horfield Prison, Bristol by Kate Lambert. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.


The prisoner, who has not been named, was found by prison wardens with serious injuries and taken to hospital.

Paramedics from the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust were called to the jail at around 10am last Friday, after reports a man in his 40s had suffered serious injuries.

A spokesman for the trust said it had received a report from the prison that the man had serious bleeding, and that he might be unconscious.

After they arrived at the scene, paramedics worked to stem the bleeding before taking the man to Southmead Hospital, where he received treatment.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said the injury was self-inflicted and that no other prisoners were involved…

[continues at the Telegraph]

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Universal Basic Income: one thing the libertarian right and progressive left can agree on

I came across this article on the subreddit, Futurology.

Ben Schiller via FastCoexist:

What if the government simply paid everyone enough so that no one was poor? It’s an insane idea that’s gaining an unlikely alliance of supporters.

There’s a simple way to end poverty: the government just gives everyone enough money, so nobody is poor. No ifs, buts, conditions, or tests. Everyone gets the minimum they need to survive, even if they already have plenty.

This, in essence, is “universal minimum income” or “guaranteed basic income”—where, instead of multiple income assistance programs, we have just one: a single payment to all citizens, regardless of background, gender, or race. It’s a policy idea that sounds crazy at first, but actually begins to make sense when you consider some recent trends.

The first is that work isn’t what it used to be. Many people now struggle through a 50-hour week and still don’t have enough to live on.

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