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Betsy Chadwell
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Betsy Chadwell

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"...Stamets showed that certain species in a class of mushrooms called polypores contained substances that were effective against human pathogens such as pox viruses, flu viruses and herpes. He later learned that these same mushroom compounds, present in certain polypores associated with trees and rotting logs, help bees break down pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other toxins, and bolster the bees’ immune systems."
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Congratulations to the Seattle Symphony and the wonderful composition by John Luther Adams.
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A fascinating mashup of dialogue from various Coen films, in which the characters seem to talk to each other across the films. 
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Never considered it, but I feel very foolish.
 
Americans love popcorn as much as, if not more than, ever. They just don’t like making it in microwaves. 

Oh, some of us do. We just don't buy little prepacked bags of carcinogenic crud, labelled as popcorn. 

Buy anyone's brand of microwave kernels, put them (1/2 cup or so) in a microwave-safe bowl you can (loosely) cover. Yes, that Pyrex bowl and lid will do. Add a tablespoon of oil, coat the kernels by brushing or rolling them around in it, put the lid  on, and microwave for 3 1/2 - 4 minutes or try your microwave's popcorn setting. Add butter and salt to taste. 

Seriously, did you think there was something magic about a paper bag with a brand name on it? 
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A nuanced take on the latest meme.
Let me start by saying what should be obvious, something I hope will provoke no disagreement: Nothing that people say or write or draw should get them killed. Not by a government, a church, a polit...
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Why isn't the press behind this?
 
More than two years of work by open government advocates collapsed on Thursday night when House Speaker John Boehner closed the final legislative session of the 113th Congress without bringing the FOIA Improvement Act of 2014 to a vote. 

Similar legislation passed the House with a vote of 410-0 earlier this year, and the Improvement Act was given unanimous consent in the Senate on Monday, so it is safe to say that if the bill had come to the floor it would now be on its way to the President’s desk. 

Amy Bennett is the assistant director of OpenTheGovernment.org, which since 2011 has helped build a coalition of pro-transparency groups and lawmakers dedicated to improving FOIA. She expressed frustration at Boehner’s refusal to acknowledge the momentum behind the bill. “It feels a little 11th hour,” she said. 

But even more frustrating to advocates fighting to push the bill through its final stages was an almost complete lack of interest from the major publications most likely to benefit from better freedom of information laws. When US Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) almost killed the bill singlehandedly in the face of otherwise unanimous support earlier this week, it didn’t garner more than an eyebrow raise from the media. 

“They won’t spend a moment on this—I don’t get it,” Alex Howard, who blogs about transparency at E Pluribus Unum, told Margaret Sullivan earlier this week. She then summed up the irony, writing, “If the press won’t represent itself — and the people — by showing some interest in the free flow of government information, who will?”

[...]

The central feature of the legislation, according to David Cuillier of the Society for Professional Journalists, is its adoption of the so-called “presumption of openness.” When a block of information falls under one of FOIA’s nine exemptions, the presumption would force agencies to consider releasing the less sensitive parts, making it harder to withhold information if it wouldn’t actually harm any specific government “interest” (like national security, for example). 

President Obama has already issued an executive order telling agencies to presume openness, but the Act would codify the idea into law. “That may seem small, but it’s so important,” said Cuillier. “It’s the whole way of seeing access to public records and our government. It’s a new paradigm and perspective for how we deal with public records.” 

The new reforms would also take aim at Exemption 5, which open government advocates say is frequently abused. The exemption allows agencies to withhold internal communications that fall under some kind of legal protection, like attorney-client privilege or, most problematically, “deliberative process privilege,” which allows agencies to keep early-stage discussions and opinions private.

http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/foia_reform_dies_while_the_pre.php
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This is what it's about.
 
This post from an infants mother describing her hell thanks to an anti-vaxxer is A) heartbreaking, and B) what creates a fatal problem for me with the voluntaryism movement. You do not have the right to put others at risk due to your actions. If you choose to decline the vaccine, ok, but don't you dare go anywhere others are. You're playing with their lives End of line.
___________________________________
This is my son Griffin, and he may have measles.

On February 9th, I received a phone call from York Region Public Health, informing me that Griffin, alongside my mother and I, was potentially exposed to the measles virus while attending a newborn weigh-in appointment at my doctor’s office in Markham on January 27th. Griffin was 15 days old at the time. I was informed that someone who later developed measles sat in the doctor’s waiting room between 1 hour before and 30 minutes before we arrived.


I was also informed that measles is regarded as “airborne” and can stay in the air and on surfaces up to 2 hours after the infected person has left. I was then asked if I had had the measles vaccine. I had. Griffin. Griffin had not. Can not. I was advised to not be around small children. If I worked in such an environment I would be written off work. I do work in such an environment; my home. Where I now sit with Griffin and my 3 year old, Aurelia, who has only been able to get one MMR vaccine so far. She is now, technically, exposed too.

We are to sit tight and watch for symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose. If we develop any of these we are to call my doctor and arrange to come in under official medical precautions. We are to wait at home, in isolation, until February 17th, after which the 21 days of possible incubation will have passed and we are clear. So, Griffin is now Schrödinger’s baby. Simultaneously with measles, and without it. Until he develops symptoms, or until a further 7 days pass. One or other. And I’m angry. Angry as hell. I won’t get angry at or blame the person in the waiting room. I would have likely done the same thing...you get sick, you go to the doctor. I have no idea what their story is and I will never know. But I do know one thing: If you have chosen to not vaccinate yourself or your child, I blame you. I blame you. You have stood on the shoulders of our collective protection for too long. From that high height, we have given you the PRIVILEGE of our protection, for free. And in return, you gave me this week. A week from hell. Wherein I don’t know if my BABY will develop something that has DEATH as a potential outcome. DEATH. Now, let’s unpack this shall we. All out on the table. You have NO IDEA what this “potential outcome” means. NO IDEA. I do. Unfortunately, I do. You think you are protecting your children from thimerosal? You aren’t. It’s not in their vaccine. You think you are protecting them from autism? You aren’t. There is no, none, nada, nothing in science that proves this. If you want to use google instead of science to “prove me wrong” then I am happy to call you an imbecile as well as misinformed. You think you are protecting them through extracts and homeopathy and positive thoughts and Laws of Attraction and dancing by candlelight on a full moon? You aren’t. I PROTECT YOUR CHILD. We protect your child. By being concerned world citizens who care about ourselves, our fellow man, and our most vulnerable. So we vaccinate ourselves and our children. You think you are protecting them by letting them eat their shovel full of dirt and reducing antibiotics and eating organic? You aren’t. As an unvaccinated person you are only protected by our good graces. WE LET YOU BE SO PRIVILEGED thanks to our willingness to vaccinate ourselves and our children. You know what vaccines protect your children from? Pain. Suffering. Irreparable harm. Death. And you would be the first to line up if you had an inkling of what the death of a child feels like. You would be crawling through the streets on your hands and knees, begging, BEGGING to get that vaccine into your precious babies because that is what I would have done, if I could, to save my daughter. The fact is, there was no vaccine for her. Not for her illness. And she died. She died at age five and a half, and she is gone. And I watch these arguments trotted out on Facebook and twitter citing false science and long discredited“studies” that just won’t stop and Jenny McCarthy quotes and “it’s MY choice” to not vaccinate...and I think...what would you have done if your child lay dying? Would you give them a scientifically proven, safe and effective vaccine and risk the minuscule likelihood of a side effect? Or would you let them go, knowing that at least they won’t develop autism (which they wouldn’t even develop anyway because SCIENCE)? And don’t you DARE tell me that you wouldn’t vaccinate them then. Don’t you dare. You have no idea what it feels like to go through what we went through. So, look at Griffin. Tell me why he gets to bear the brunt of your stupidity and reckless abuse of our protection? Tell me. Seven more days until I know that my baby is safe. Seven more days. How is your week going, anti-vaxxers? tl;dr Some pro anti-vaccine person exposed a newborn and 3 year old to measles, their mother has something to say about it.
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I totally agree with this.  I love Senator Warren, but we need her in the Senate.  For a long time.
 
Senator Professor Warren has all the honorifics she needs to do the work that needs doing.

Just stop it, OK? She is not going to run. She doesn't want to be president. And it's better for all the issues she cares about if she stays right where she is and continues to gather power within a now Republican-run Senate. There is a perfectly adequate progressive alternative out there named Bernie Sanders. This apparent monomania on the Left about the Senator Professor is not only unseemly -- Leave the poor woman alone, will you? -- but it's also counterproductive. If people keep yeckling at her to run, and she doesn't, the issues she cares about will look like little more than a vanity project, and not a recommitment by the entire Democratic party. If she runs and loses, which she likely will, those issues disappear for another decade or so. She has work to do. Let her do it, please.
Last seen dumbly capitulating to the inexcusable Andrew Cuomo, the Working Families Party in New York is demonstrating its political acumen once again by encouraging Senator Professor Warren to run for president, something the Senator Professor is no...
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Fascinating article surveying what's currently known and recently discovered about the earliest Americans.
 
This face adds to the scientific debate over the characteristics of the First Americans.
Researchers and artists have reconstructed the face of a teenage girl who lived 12,000 years ago in Mexico, and it's not the kind of face a person might typi...
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This is an incredible article -- long, but well worth reading.

"Global warming is melting Mount Rainier’s glaciers at six times the historic rate."

This article describes the myriad effects of climate change on Mt. Rainier National Park, which is very complex. And the difficulties of those trying to protect the Park from destruction. Should be required reading for those who love The Mountain.

The article is also an excellent example of online journalism. With lots of well written text, backed (literally) by beautiful photographs, supplemented with several brief videos and interactive features.
 
Losing Paradise: Climate change is melting Mount Rainier's glaciers http://owl.li/Gkm6y
At Mount Rainier National Park, climate change is more than just a threat. It's happening already. Scientists fear endangered plants and animals will be lost and access to the park drastically limited. Faced with daunting problems and conflicting demands, park officials are struggling to find a way forward.
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Cool, but not yet very practical.
 
3D printed "kinematics dress" made from 2.279 triangles and 3,316 hinges. http://boingboing.net/2014/12/09/3d-printed-dress-made-from-2-2.html
Designer Jessica Rosenkrantz writes, "I made this 3D printed dress and the MoMA just acquired it. This video, filmed at Shapeways factory showing the printing and depowdering of the dress (there's also this one, documenting t...
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Had dinner with a friend on March 7, 2013. Started with an excellent Cupcake prosecco while I waited for my friend. We both ordered caesar salad to start, and the server was very good about her special requests for no cheese or croutons. The salad was fine, but mine seemed to be very light on the dressing. My friend had the salmon which she really enjoyed. I had the beef short ribs which were very tender and flavorful, but between the bones and the high volume of fat, I got very little meat. Coffee after the meal was very good. I also had an excellent apple pie with walnut topping. The most positive part of the experience for both of us was the lack of noise. I didn't pay that much attention to the decor, but I really appreciated the tablecloths and carpets and draperies because they help to keep the noise level down. It was definitely worth going back.
• • •
Food: GoodDecor: GoodService: Good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
1/25/2013 Noise starts around 7 pm, so my friend and I went at 5 pm when the noise level was not so bad. I started with an excellent sour cherry cocktail -- a good balance between tart and sweet -- and my friend had an excellent chardonnay from Coeur d'Alene. Service was good. And our meals were very good. There were plenty of choices for a person who can't eat wheat. We started with excellent caesar salad. I had the crab cakes with remoulade sauce, and my friend had the black cod special. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, but I would have welcomed more of them.
• • •
Food: Very GoodDecor: GoodService: Good
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
2 reviews
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