Modern geology — Rocks made of plastic found on Hawaiian beach

Plastic may be with us a lot longer than we thought. In addition to clogging up landfills and becoming trapped in Arctic ice, some of it is turning into stone. Scientists say a new type of rock cobbled together from plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals has begun forming on the shores of Hawaii…

Geologist Patricia Corcoran of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and Charles Moore, captain of the oceanographic research vessel Alguita, stumbled upon the new rocks on a beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. These stones, which they’ve dubbed “plastiglomerates,” most likely formed from melting plastic in fires lit by humans who were camping or fishing…Although anywhere there is a heat source, such as forest fires or lava flows, and “abundant plastic debris,” Corcoran says, “there is the potential for the formation of plastiglomerate.” When the plastic melts, it cements rock fragments, sand, and shell debris together, or the plastic can flow into larger rocks and fill in cracks and bubbles to form a kind of junkyard Frankenstein.

Corcoran says some of the plastic is still recognizable as toothbrushes, forks, ropes, and just “anything you can think of.” Once the plastic has fused to denser materials, like rock and coral, it sinks to the sea floor, and the chances it will become buried and preserved in the geologic record increase.

Corcoran and her team canvassed Kamilo Beach on the Big Island for more of the rocks and found plastiglomerate in all 21 sites they surveyed. She says people have already found plastiglomerate on another Hawaiian island, and she expects there to be much more on coastlines across the world. Plastiglomerate is likely well distributed, it’s just never been noticed before now, she says…

The discovery adds to the debate about whether humanity’s heavy hand in natural processes warrants the formal declaration of a new epoch of Earth history, the Anthropocene, says paleontologist Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom…Plastics in general are so pervasive that they’ve been documented in a number of surprising places, including ingested in wildlife and on the sea floor.

The mass of plastic produced since 1950 is close to 6 billion metric tons, enough to bundle the entire planet in plastic wrap. Combine plastic’s abundance with its persistence in the environment, and there’s a good chance it’ll get into the fossil record, Zalasiewicz says. “Plastics, including plastiglomerates, would be one of the key markers by which people could recognize the beginning of the Anthropocene.”

Vulgate terraforming is recognized as reality. Certainly by scientists. Sooner or later by the general public.

That will only leave the same dolts who deny climate change to proclaim that Jesus wore Crocs.

A map of every school shooting since the Sandy Hook massacre

There have been 74 school shootings since Adam Lanza’s infamous assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut — and, as this map shows, they’ve happened all over the country.

Shootings at K-12 schools in red, at colleges/universities in purple – Click to enlarge

The data comes from Everytown for Gun Safety, a recently formed gun control advocacy group. Everytown defines school shooting as “assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings” that take place “inside a school building or on school or campus grounds.” Huffington Post editor Mark Gongloff mapped Everytown’s data and tweeted it out.

It’s hard to find statistically reliable research about school shootings, but there’s no doubt gun violence is still a serious problem in America. Despite the fact that the gun homicide death has declined substantially in the past two decades, about 11,000 Americans are still killed every year in firearm homicides. About 19,000 die in gun suicides.

That’s a much higher rate than anywhere else in the developed world. The causes are complicated, but there’s mounting evidence that America’s loose gun laws contribute to both the suicide and homicide problem.

What is there to say? I hear myself, time and again. The map averages one school shooting a week since Sandy Hook.

I’ve been a gun owner for decades. I come from an extended family where many of us worked in trades associated with guns. We all understand the dangers associated with broadcast unregulated access to firearms. It’s satisfactory only to the stupid or ignorant. Take your pick.

The DEA threatens doctors supporting medical marijuana

The US Drug Enforcement Administration is intimidating physicians in Massachusetts to get them to give up jobs at medical marijuana dispensaries, The Boston Globe reports.

The DEA allegedly went to physicians’ homes and offices and offered them a choice: either they stop helping medical marijuana dispensaries, or the DEA will take away federal licenses that are necessary to prescribe certain medications. Since doctors’ livelihoods can depend on their ability to prescribe drugs, the threats forced some of them to resign from their medical marijuana jobs…

The DEA, in a statement to Vox, confirmed the policies are part of the agency’s protocol, but it refused to comment on the specific allegations in Massachusetts.

Although marijuana is voter-approved and legal for medical purposes in Massachusetts, it remains illegal under federal laws and regulations. The DEA classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 substance, which puts the drug in a stricter classification than cocaine and meth.

The contradiction between federal and state laws speaks to why so many supporters of marijuana legalization want clearer rules on the books. Just two weeks ago, the US House of Representatives voted to protect medical marijuana patients from federal interference. A few weeks before the House vote, the DEA decided to increase how much marijuana it makes available for medical research.

At this point, the two-steps-forward-one-step-backward approach has become all too familiar for supporters of recreational and medical marijuana legalization. As public opinion shifts in favor of marijuana legalization, it’s taking the federal government — and agencies that rely on strict drug laws to stay afloat — a bit more time to catch up…

Several states have already legalized medical marijuana, although the drug remains illegal for all purposes at the federal level. Maryland in 2014 became the 21st state to legalize medical marijuana, and New York and Florida may follow soon.

Every level of our government is not only characterized by hypocrisy; but, the deliberate rejection of either modern inquiry or policies based on sound science. Marijuana is almost impossible to research – good, bad or indifferent – because of laws that were absurd in the first place.

Though citizens and individual states are miles ahead of the morality-crockpot legislators and law enforcers in Washington, DC – that only seems to supercharge bureaucrats who fear diminished budgets more than the good news that their services are no longer needed.