Massachusetts is on the verge of greater energy independence

In case you missed the news, the Massachusetts House and Senate…did something big that we should all celebrate. By passing major energy bills, they have set the Bay State on a path of reduced reliance on fossil fuels while propelling our state towards a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future in which up to 50 percent of our electricity will come from hydropower, onshore and offshore wind turbines, and solar arrays. These actions will also drive investment in energy storage and continued gains in energy efficiency.

The two bills share some important features. Both seek to have Massachusetts tap into abundant renewable energy sources available in the region — mainly hydropower and land-based wind power — through long-term contracts that will stabilize energy costs and capture added benefits for Massachusetts. Both look to kick-start offshore wind, a potential job creator. And both address the issue of leaky natural gas pipes under the streets of our cities and towns…

These requirements have many benefits, starting with saving residents money on their electric bills. In fact, a recent study by the Massachusetts Clean Electricity Partnership—a coalition of hydropower, wind, and transmission companies—showed that expanded hydro and wind power could save Massachusetts homes and businesses more than $170 million annually by lowering wholesale energy costs and reducing demand for natural gas…

These bills move the state in the right direction at a faster pace by diversifying our energy supply, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and creating jobs and careers in new industries. By combining the most ambitious parts of the Senate and House bills, Massachusetts can blaze a trail to a clean energy future that others across the country and the world will follow.

I’m not surprised that Massachusetts demonstrates leadership in reforming energy use and abuse, generation and alternatives. They did the same in healthcare. They did the same for decades in disciplines as far afield as fighting slavery and, yes, kicking-off a certain revolution against colonial masters.

The equivalent of those colonial masters now have names like the Koch Brothers instead of King George. They still consider the working people of this land to be nothing more than wage slaves to be “guided” to producing the greatest profits in return for the least return needed to sustain life.

States like Massachusetts – with sufficient courage and ingenuity – can move the whole nation forward by example. As they have done in the past.

Backlash in Kansas sends at least 11 Tea Party clodhoppers looking for honest work

“Doing OK in cooking and sewing classes?”

A top Senate leader and at least 10 other conservative Kansas legislators have lost their seats as moderate Republicans made GOP primary races a referendum on education funding and the state’s persistent budget woes.

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce was among the lawmakers ousted amid a backlash against Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies.

The voting occurred against the backdrop not only of the state’s fiscal woes but ongoing legal and political disputes over funding for public schools. The state Supreme Court could rule by the end of the year on whether the Legislature is shorting schools on their state aid by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Kansas has struggled to balance its budget since the GOP-dominated Legislature slashed personal income taxes in 2012 and 2013 at Brownback’s urging to stimulate the economy. That’s created concerns among educators about future spending on schools, even as many Republicans see the $4 billion-plus a year the state now spends as generous…

“He seemed to care more about what the Brownback administration wanted rather than what the people he represented wanted,” said Mary Dondlinger, an 80-year-old retired Hutchinson teacher and Republican who voted for Berger.

Five other conservative senators lost in races that spanned the state. So did five conservative House members, all of them from affluent Kansas City-area suburbs in Johnson County, the state’s most populous, where voters have cherished good public schools for decades

Cross your fingers and keep at it, folks. This just may foretell the next best news we may get from the big election in November. I’m more and more confident about Trump failing in his Tea Party Putsch; but, I really hope a batch of Americans wake-up to the threat to everything from education to science to the rule of civil law from populist poopchutes.

Might be nice to have a return to essential debates over differences in approach to progress – instead of how many angels fit atop pinhead reactionaries and their ignoranus fears.

Watching too much TV may kill you

Watching a lot of television every day may increase your risk of dying from a blood clot in the lung, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal CIRCULATION.

A lung blood clot, known medically as a pulmonary embolism, usually begins as a clot in the leg or pelvis as a result of inactivity and slowed blood flow. If the clot breaks free, it can travel to a lung and become lodged in a small blood vessel, where it is especially dangerous.

From 1988 to 1990, Japanese researchers asked 86,024 participants, age 40-79, how many hours they spent watching TV. Over the next 19 years, 59 participants died of a pulmonary embolism.

Researchers found that compared to participants who watched TV less than 2.5 hours each day, deaths from a pulmonary embolism increased by:

70 percent among those who watched TV from 2.5 to 4.9 hours

40 percent for each additional 2 hours of daily TV watching; and

2.5 times among those who watched TV 5 or more hours…

Authors noted that the risk is likely greater than the findings suggest. Deaths from pulmonary embolism are believed to be underreported because diagnosis is difficult. The most common symptoms of pulmonary embolism – chest pain and shortness of breath – are the same as other life-threatening conditions, and diagnosis requires imaging that many hospitals are not equipped to provide…

Toru Shirakawa, M.D., study first author…said the findings may be particularly relevant to Americans.

Seems logical to me.

I trained lab rats to trade – and win – on Wall Street

Michael Marcovici

Rattraders is an experiment in which I trained lab rats to trade in the foreign-exchange and commodity-futures markets. With the help of these rodents, I managed to outperform some of the world’s leading human fund managers. My motivation was to find out what kind of highly paid jobs will eventually be replaced by machines — or, as was the case here, by rats.

Like the work of many in this field, my research indicates that all jobs that do not require human-to-human interaction may be replaceable. I focused on brokers because of their high earnings, but the job itself seems to be based on pattern-recognition capabilities and the ability to avoid distractions. I figured that rats might be up to the task.

Pulling it off would be hard work, so I broke the experiment down into three steps:


The first part of the experiment was to create the so-called ticker tracks. I gleaned information from various futures and foreign-exchange markets to generate sounds that would correspond to real-time price data. According to research, rats respond especially well to the piano, so I chose this instrument for the audio clips…


To train the rodents, I produced ticker tracks for about 800 different market situations (I restricted these to US$/Euro€ futures, though rats may become experts in any segment of the market)…

After 12 weeks, we had four very reliable rats…


After extensive training we wanted to learn whether the talent was genetically rooted, so we bred the top traders with each other. After only 20 days, we had 28 new rats (15 males and 13 females), and we soon started to train again (even reducing the training time). The results were astounding: The second generation of top traders had a much better performance than their parents…

RTFA. This researcher is legit, so is his work. Poisonally, I think it’s hilarious. Though I still have no inclination to get into ForEx trading. 🙂