Hey – at least he called 911 after he cold-cocked his mom!

An East Naples man is accused of knocking his mother unconscious after she became angry with him for practicing martial arts in the house.

Cory William Morrel, 27, of the 7800 block of Regal Heron Circle, was arrested Friday by Collier County sheriff’s deputies at home.

According to a Sheriff’s Office report, deputies were dispatched to Morrel’s home in reference to a woman who was kicked in the head…

Morrel told deputies that while practicing martial arts in the living room, he accidentally kicked a wall causing a scuff mark. He said his mother became angry with him and began yelling profanity at him.

It is unclear what happened next due to redacted information regarding Morrel kicking his mother in the head. However, Morrel said he then called 911 when she became unconscious.

She was transported to an NCH hospital for further medical treatment.

Morrel faces a charge of domestic battery.

Another story of a loving son.

One sperm donor = 150 sons and daughters

Cynthia Daily and her partner used a sperm donor to conceive a baby seven years ago, and they hoped that one day their son would get to know some of his half siblings — an extended family of sorts for modern times.

So Ms. Daily searched a Web-based registry for other children fathered by the same donor and helped to create an online group to track them. Over the years, she watched the number of children in her son’s group grow. And grow.

Today there are 150 children, all conceived with sperm from one donor, in this group of half siblings, and more are on the way. “It’s wild when we see them all together — they all look alike,” said Ms. Daily, 48, a social worker in the Washington area who sometimes vacations with other families in her son’s group.

As more women choose to have babies on their own, and the number of children born through artificial insemination increases, outsize groups of donor siblings are starting to appear. While Ms. Daily’s group is among the largest, many others comprising 50 or more half siblings are cropping up on Web sites and in chat groups, where sperm donors are tagged with unique identifying numbers.

Now, there is growing concern among parents, donors and medical experts about potential negative consequences of having so many children fathered by the same donors, including the possibility that genes for rare diseases could be spread more widely through the population. Some experts are even calling attention to the increased odds of accidental incest between half sisters and half brothers, who often live close to one another…

“These sperm banks are keeping donors anonymous, making women babies and making a lot of money. But nowhere in that formula is doing what’s right for the donor families…” Let’s don’t forget making it more difficult for the average neurotic to sue the donor.

Because there is so much secrecy surrounding sperm and egg donations, Wendy Kramer said, it has been difficult for families of children born via sperm donation to step forward with their concerns. Some heterosexual couples never tell a child that he or she is the product of a sperm donation…

Experts are not certain what it means to a child to discover that he or she is but one of 50 children — or even more. “Experts don’t talk about this when they counsel people dealing with infertility,” Ms. Kramer said. “How do you make connections with so many siblings? What does family mean to these children?

And who cares? Maybe, just maybe, they’re mostly concerned with living their own lives instead of being part of a pseudo-science soap opera.

RTFA to consider the few tidbits of legitimate concern – awash with neurotic fear and trepidation lacking scientific measurement. Exactly the kind of tempest in a teacup that could keep a congressional committee – and some bible-thumping politician running for reelection – busy for an entire year.

Renewables exceed 20% of Germany’s energy production

In the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, tens of thousands of German citizens took to the streets calling for the phase out of atomic energy. In May, the German government bowed to public pressure and unveiled its plan to shut down the country’s 17 nuclear power plants by 2021 – with the possibility that three will continue operating until 2022 if the transition to renewable energy doesn’t go as quickly as hoped.

Providing some hope that Germany will achieve its ambitious goals, Spiegel Online International has quoted a newly released…report that says, for the first time, renewable sources accounted for more than 20 percent of the country’s electricity generation…

According to the report, renewable energy sources provided 18.3 percent of total demand in 2010, but the first six months of 2011 saw that figure rise to 20.8 percent, while Germany’s total usage remained steady from 2010 at 275.5 billion kilowatt hours…

Of the 57.3 billion kWh provided by renewable sources in the first six months of 2011, wind power was the dominant source supplying 20.7 billion kWh (7.5 percent of total production), followed by biomass with 15.4 billion kWh (5.6 percent), photovoltaic solar with 9.6 billion kWh (3.5 percent), hydroelectric with 9.1 billion kWh (3.3 percent, and waste and other sources providing 2.2 billion kWh (0.8 percent).

Solar power saw the biggest jump, increasing by 76 percent over 2010 with the BDEW citing the reduction in the price of photovoltaic installations as a result of increased competition and the decision of the federal government not to cut subsidies for private solar-power generation as initially planned as the main reasons for the increase.

“Because of the volume of new photovoltaic installations and the amount of sun during the spring, solar energy knocked hydroelectric from third place for the first time,” said the BDEW.

Two points worth making. First – the economies of scale really play well with photo-voltaics. It’s a technology where small but noticeable advances are being made in both cost of production and efficiencies of energy production. Second – German voters are already sophisticated enough to ignore the hypocrisy of fossil fuel facility builders who whine about continued subsidies. Fact is – all fossil fuel plants rely on taxpayer subsidy for construction. There’s little difference in passing along subsidies to consumers with home installations.

I spent most of the past half-century as an advocate for nuclear power generation. From early days working in the field, it was clear that properly-run there was no need for safety concerns. Over that time the only disasters which have occurred were the result of bureaucratic malingering. Which can happen in any industry. The difference being that falling-down stupid about safety with nuclear power can be fatal on a large scale.

More important, we’ve just about reached the point where the cost of production of electricity via photo-voltaics matches the cost of construction and production of nuclear facilities. That will continue to diminish while the opposite happens with nuclear projects. And there will never be shutdown dangers associated with natural disasters using photo-voltaics.

Border agent says – nothing to do, money is wasted


“I told you we left the truck down here!”

On Washington state’s remote and wooded Olympic Peninsula, major commotion is usually limited to a log tumbling off an overloaded lumber truck. But lately the peninsula has been roiled by a noisy debate over the expansion of a Border Patrol station in Port Angeles, a three-hour car and ferry ride away from the U.S.-Canadian land border.

The U.S. Border Patrol is spending nearly $6 million to renovate a Port Angeles building that could house up to 50 of its agents.

Prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001, four agents were stationed in Port Angeles, a city of about 20,000 people some 15 miles across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Canada.

“It’s not needed, there’s nothing for them to do up here,” said Lois Danks, a local writer and organizer of Stop the Checkpoints, which last month staged a small protest near where the Border Patrol’s new station is being built.

She says border agents “drive around and hassle people without any reasonable suspicion of anything except for possibly the color of their skin.”

“They park across the street from Hispanic grocery stores and taco stands and watch who comes and goes,” according to Danks…

Port Angeles border agent Christian Sanchez says he and his colleagues are “paid to do nothing…”There’s nothing to do,there are no gangs or cross-border activity. I haven’t seen it.”

Sanchez told the not-for-profit Advisory Group on Transparency he never intended to become a whistle-blower, but decided to speak out publicly after he felt his complaints about the Port Angeles station’s “lack of mission” were being brushed aside by supervisors.

Sanchez told the panel he ran afoul of supervisors for refusing overtime he didn’t feel he was entitled to since, he said, there was so little work to do.

The taxpayers are paying us all this extra money to do nothing on this peninsula, where it’s a water-based border,” Sanchez said during the panel discussion. “It’s a burden on the taxpayers right now especially with the economy, with Medicare being cut, with the foreclosures.”

Another one of those aspects of change that are unchanged. If you can use the magic definition – “homeland security” – you’re golden. You can steal as much as you can carry in the name of bureaucracy and it’s OK with Congress and the White House.

One of the oldest games of public theft is inflating costs. If you’re producing aircraft engines for the military on a contact that guarantees “restriction” to a 6% profit – that profit is inflated if you double the number of employees required to produce those engines, same for the cost of raw materials.

That’s played the same way in bureaucracies. Double, triple the number of “agents” required to service an area of our border, the perceived value of the whole agency increases. Keep in increasing those numbers and there must be a concurrent increase added to the cost of administering that agency.

Whoever has the biggest boondoggle gets the biggest salary.

Corporate political funds may be unmasked by shareholder rights


Scumbag-in-chief Thomas says corporations have a right to political secrets

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year opened the floodgates to corporate political donations, much of it secret, but a process begun in another government agency may force those donations into the light of day…

The Supreme Court’s narrow decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission…said the political speech of corporations was protected by the First Amendment. That applied even if the funds corporations were spending in political races belonged to stockholders…

Justice Kennedy said limiting corporate political contributions was an exercise in thought control…Not that Justice Kennedy has anything against thought control on behalf of corporations.

Since then, Americans were faced with the prospect of increasingly expensive elections funded by increasingly covert political donations from corporations, not from individuals, with both major parties, Democratic and Republican, scrambling for their share of unlimited money.

Riding to the rescue were 10 corporate law professors who call themselves the “Committee on Disclosure of Corporate Political Spending.” In August, the group submitted a “petition for rulemaking” to the Securities and Exchange Commission with a simple message: “We ask that the commission develop rules to require public companies to disclose to shareholders the use of corporate resources for political activities.”

In other words, if executives want to participate in high-stakes politics using corporate funds, they should have to publicly tell stockholders what they’re doing. After all, those corporate funds belong to the stockholders, not corporate management with their own political agendas…

“Disclosure of corporate political spending is necessary not only because shareholders are interested in receiving such information, but also because such information is necessary for corporate accountability and oversight mechanisms to work,” the petition argued. “The Supreme Court has often recognized, and indeed relied upon, these accountability mechanisms, particularly when corporations use shareholder resources for political purposes…

The petition was filed using Rule 192. Under the rule, if the SEC decides to act on the petition it must file notice in the Federal Register of the time and place of the rulemaking procedure.

But the SEC is under no compunction to act on the petition at all. Meanwhile, the money is flowing and the clock is ticking toward the 2012 election.

The odds are split on whether or not the SEC actually gets off their rusty-dusty and does anything about this petition for a decision.

On one hand, given the history of who the SEC actually thinks they work for there is little or no reason to expect anything to done which positively supports the needs of shareholders much less the public at large.

On the other hand, the SEC is still a bit gunshy about appearing to be complete phonies under the corporate thumb – even though it’s true – because of all the bad press they’ve gotten for ignoring the buildup of corruption that dropped everything from the Madoff Ponzi fraud to the subprime massacre and the resulting Great Recession – into their responsible laps. They may do something about the petition just to cover their buns.

New chemical reagent turns biological tissue transparent


Mouse embryos – on the right cultured in Scale reagent

Scientists are constantly looking for new and better ways of seeing through biological tissue, in order to see cells within it that have been marked with dyes, proteins or other substances. While recent research has involved using marking materials such as carbon nanotubes and firefly protein, scientists from Japan’s RIKEN Brain Science Institute have taken a different approach – they’ve developed a chemical reagent that causes the tissue surrounding the marked cells to become transparent.

Known as Scale, the reagent was created by a team led by Dr. Atsushi Miyawaki. Already, they have used it to turn mouse brain tissue clear, in order to optically image the fluorescently-labeled cerebral cortex, hippocampus and white matter…

Not only did Scale turn the unmarked tissue transparent, but it also did not decrease the intensity of the fluorescent proteins that the RIKEN team used to mark cells.

While the experiments performed so far have mainly involved brain tissue samples, Miyawaki believes that it should work equally well on other organs, and ultimately in living subjects. “We are currently investigating another, milder candidate reagent which would allow us to study live tissue in the same way, at somewhat lower levels of transparency” he said. “This would open the door to experiments that have simply never been possible before.”

Yes – we are closing in on a remake of the Invisible Man.