Tag Archives | California

Solved: Mystery Booms in California

There have been several mysterious “booms” affecting residents in California’s Gold Country. It now appears that a military installation over 100 miles away is the cause.

via Phys.org:

The Hawthorne Army Depot routinely destroys obsolete munitions on weekdays between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m—the period of time when many of the nearly 2,300 members of the Facebook group “Mother Lode Mystery Booms” have reported hearing the blasts.

Glen White, a science instructor at Columbia College outside Sonora, said the sound coming from Hawthorne appears to carry especially well in the summer months.

“I can’t explain all the physics involved, but the atmosphere is bouncing in response to the energy and it’s reflecting and bouncing (the sound) back down,” White said. “The really odd part is people fairly close to the source of the energy, the explosions, aren’t hearing it.

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California, Camelot and Vaccines

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni takes on Robert Kennedy, Jr. and Jim Carrey in the great California vaccine debate:

If you had told me a while back that I’d someday dread, dodge and elect not to return phone calls from a prominent member of the Kennedy dynasty, I would have said you were nuts.

Then Robert Kennedy Jr. started reaching out.

Robert Kennedy Jr. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC)

Robert Kennedy Jr. Photo: Daniel Schwen (CC)

Not just reaching out, mind you, but volunteering to educate me. To illuminate me. That was his tone of voice, somewhat pitying and vaguely patronizing, the one time we talked at length, after he’d left messages and before he left more.

It was important, he said, that we meet.

If we did, he said, he could correct me.

My error?

I had disparaged the alarmists who claim a connection between vaccines and autism and fill parents with needless fears about immunizing their children.

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Jim Carrey Slams California School Vaccine Legislation: It’s ‘Poisoning More Children’

Jim Carrey just became one of the highest profile “Anti-Vaxxers” per the Hollywood Reporter:

Carrey tweeted that Gov. Jerry Brown is a “corporate fascist” who “must be stopped.”

carrey tweet

Jim Carrey is speaking out against new legislation requiring all public school children in California to be vaccinated starting in 2016.

Carrey, who has been an outspoken critic of vaccinations, said Gov. Jerry Brown needed to be stopped.

“California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory [sic] vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped,” Carrey tweeted of Brown, who signed the legislation Tuesday.

Read more Hollywood’s Vaccine Wars: L.A.’s “Entitled” Westsiders Behind City’s Epidemic

The new legislation removes personal belief exemptions to vaccinations for religious reasons. Carrey was once in a relationship with Jenny McCarthy, the public face of the anti-vaccination movement. She has said her son developed autism after receiving a vaccination.

Fellow celebrities have also voiced their displeasure with the law, taking to Twitter to retweet those voicing similar positions and writing their own opinions condemning the compulsory vaccination policy.

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Drug Companies Donated Millions To Lawmakers To Influence Vaccine Debate

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the pharmaceutical industry gave more than $2 million to California lawmakers in 2013-14 but reports no involvement in the vaccine legislation in that state, per the Sacramento Bee:

A subplot to the vociferous debate over the student vaccination bill moving through California’s Capitol is opponents’ allegations that the effort reflects the influence of the pharmaceutical industry.

Credit: Sacramento Bee

Credit: Sacramento Bee

Critics of Senate Bill 277, which would eliminate the personal belief and religious exemptions for schoolchildren, accuse the measure’s supporters in the Legislature of doing the bidding of donors who make vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.

The bill’s proponents and drug companies dismiss the charge. The companies’ lobbyist filings for the first quarter of this year as well as legislative committee reports show no connection between the pharmaceutical industry and SB 277.

“We aren’t pushing this bill behind the scenes,” said Priscilla VanderVeer, the senior director for communications for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, known as PhRMA, the industry’s main trade group.

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California To Require Adult Film Actors To Wear Protective Goggles

A Recruit Joins the British Army H17186.jpgYou can always rely on California to be ahead of the curve, but the latest health and safety regulations from the Golden State have one of their world-beating industries all hot and bothered. Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing reveals that one of the new porn film regulations would require the actors to wear protective eye goggles:

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has issued a set of safety standards for all California porn production sets. The 21-page standards presentation (PDF) goes into graphic detail about the safety precautions that are to be undertaken when adult video actors perform various acts. 

Here’s one eye-opening detail from the document:

Personal Protective Equipment.
1. Where occupational exposure remains after institution of engineering and work practice controls, the employer shall provide, at no cost to the employee, appropriate personal protective equipment such as, but not limited to, condoms, gloves for cleaning, and, if contact of the eyes with OPIM-STI is reasonably anticipated, eye protection.

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Average American Consumes Over 300 Gallons of California Water Per Week

CA Avocados at the grove

Photo: California Avocados (CC)

Note that it’s the average American who consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week, not the average Californian (whose usage is way higher). This is because this mythical average American is consuming a tremendous amount of food produced in California, everything from almonds to avocados explains the New York Times:

California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up.

The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans, including non-Californians, eat in a week. We made an estimate of the amount of water it takes to grow each portion to give you a sense of your contribution to the California drought.

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Water Theft Rising In Wake Of Ongoing California Drought

I suppose it was inevitable that water theft would become a thing in California first. As we all know from experience, the trend will soon spread to the rest of America and then the world. From Accuweather:

With the state of California mired in its fourth year of drought and a mandatory 25 percent reduction in water usage in place, reports of water theft have become common.

California water system

In April, The Associated Press reported that huge amounts of water went missing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a state investigation was launched. The delta is a vital body of water, serving 23 million Californians as well as millions of farm acres, according to the Association for California Water Agencies.

The AP reported in February that a number of homeowners in Modesto, California, were fined $1,500 for allegedly taking water from a canal. In another instance, thieves in the town of North San Juan stole hundreds of gallons of water from a fire department tank.

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3,000-Year-Old Masonic Police Department Uncovered in California

GRANDMASTER-logoThree people have been arrested in California for impersonating law enforcement officers while operating an unofficial police department dating back (they claim) to the Knights Templar – the Masonic Fraternal Police Department. NPR reports:

It was a plot to rival Foucault’s Pendulum: Police in Los Angeles arrested three people in connection with operating a fictitious police department they said was 3,000 years old and had jurisdiction over 33 states and Mexico.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials told The Associated Press that Brandon Kiel, 31, David Henry, 46, and Tonette Hayes, 58, were arrested last week on suspicion of impersonating officers as members of an organization they called Masonic Fraternal Police Department. The group’s website says:

“The Masonic Fraternal Organization is the oldest and most respected organization in the ‘World.’ Grand Masters around the various states are facing serious safety concerns for their Jurisdictions and their family members. The first Police Department was created by the ‘Knights Templar’s’ back in 1100 B.C.

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California Vaping: The New Subculture

I suppose it was inevitable that a new vein of slang would arise around vaping. BBC News Magazine elevates it to the level of a new subculture:

California is generally reckoned to be a trendsetter – it’s not necessarily that things are invented there but California is often an early adopter. Think raves, skateboards, hippies and a whole smorgasbord of drugs. So what’s next?

Vaping an Electronic Cigarette / E Cig / Vaporizor

Photo: Jonny Williams (CC)

 

There’s a cloud-chasing meet and I want to win. And no. Not the clouds in the sky. So here’s the set-up. I want a sub-ohm rechargeable, authentic mech mod so that I that can crank up the power. And a metal rebuildable atomizer. Drip tip, of course, and then a wire coil with a dual silica wick.

I know its old-fashioned but, you know what? I’ve never liked the eco wool. And steel mesh? I haven’t seen one of those for months now.

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Ten Percent of California’s Water Goes to Almond Farming

The media’s making a big deal out of California’s statewide water rationing, with state residents freaking out about not being able to water their MiracleGro lawns, wash their chrome-hubcapped cars and so forth. The real culprits are the farmers, though, and none more so than the almond growers per Slate‘s Eric Holthaus:

Denair, Calif.—In California’s vast Central Valley, agriculture is king. But the king appears fatally ill, and no worthy replacement is in sight, as the area noticeably reverts into the desert it was little more than a century ago.

Almond trees

An almond orchard just outside of Turlock and Hughson, CA.

Signs line the back roads here that run parallel to wide irrigation ditches:

“Pray for rain”
“No water = No jobs”

As I’ve already discussed in the Thirsty West series, city-dwelling Californians are a bit insulated from near-term water shortages thanks to the state’s intricate tentacles of aqueducts, pipelines, and canals that divert water from the snowcapped Sierras to the urban core along the coast.

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