Democratic candidates roll up to support legal weed

Kamala Harris, asked whether she had ever smoked pot: ‘Half my family’s from Jamaica. Are you kidding me?’


Brian Cahn/Shutterstock

❝ Among 2020 candidates, marijuana legalisation is a mainstream issue. Among Democrats, nearly all have expressed at least some degree of support. Even Donald Trump’s lone Republican challenger, the former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, supports it. Advocates are optimistic that the 2020 election could help bring an end to the federal prohibition of the drug.

“The support for marijuana legalisation has quickly become a litmus test in the 2020 Democratic primary,” said Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml). “With the upcoming primary, it is also clear that support for prohibition is ultimately disqualifying with the Democratic electorate – and with the American electorate generally.”

If you aren’t supporting legalization – for purportedly moral reasons, some particular religious fetish, political dementia which has your brain locked into, say, the 16th Century – then, you might be missing the simple economics of “sin taxes” derived from social use of cannabis just as they are realized from beer and the hard stuff.

States generally include a proviso to spend all or most of those funds on something beneficial like education. Again, another issue which American conservatives seem honor bound to ignore. Hopefully, voters will learn to ignore stupidity as thoroughly as they’re starting to reject incompetence.

Will Cockroaches Inherit the Earth?


gocomics.org

❝ Acknowledging that many inspect species might continue to decline in the 21st century — a time when extinction rates are about 1,000 times that of natural, expected levels — I asked Dini Miller, an urban entomologist, if the stubborn, stalwart cockroach might really inherit the Earth if other species were to bite the dust. The answer isn’t simple, but in large part it comes down to the continued success of the human race: The seven or so cockroach species we call pests, the ones we view as indestructible, have learned to thrive in our human society. That means they will continue thriving, as long as we do.

“If it wasn’t for us they wouldn’t be flourishing,” said Tim Kring, the head of the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech. “But certain species have flourished because we’ve given them nice homes, food, and water…”

❝ …We’ve certainly tried to annihilate them, using insecticides to unleash large-scale, nation-wide warfare against any roach that enters our homes.

But the roaches have resisted. “They defeat the countermeasures we deploy,” said Rick Santangelo, a cockroach control research specialist at North Carolina State University.

Our chemicals might knock out 99 out of 100 roaches, but the remaining one percent will prove resilient. Then, they’ll breed. “The more you’re exposed to something, the more tolerant you become to it,” said Santangelo. That’s not to say the resilient critters can’t be exterminated from your house. With the right strategically-placed poisons — like placing bait in hundreds of places around a kitchen — the roach dwellers can be expunged. But that’s just your house.

You can get rid of them in a single structure, but we’re not gonna eradicate roaches,” said Santangelo.

Life might become tougher – for roaches – if we succeed in eradicating ourselves. They’ve evolved in symbiotic fashion alongside human beings. Regardless of whatever your particular bible tells you. Frankly, I’d bet their hardiness will prevail in the face of incompetent politicians and ignorant, uncaring populations of human beings.u

Singing mice and human conversation

❝ In the understory of Central American cloud forests, musical mice trill songs to one another. Now a study of the charismatic creatures reveals how their brains orchestrate these rapid-fire duets.

The results…show that the brains of singing mice split up the musical work. One brain system directs the patterns of notes that make up songs, while another coordinates duets with another mouse, which are carried out with split-second precision.

❝ The study suggests that “a quirky animal from the cloud forest of Costa Rica could give us a brand new insight,” into the rapid give-and-take in people’s conversations, says study coauthor Michael Long, a neuroscientist at New York University’s School of Medicine.

The video sound in the article doesn’t always work. Sorry.

Green Dragon in the Sky over Iceland


Click to enlarge

A gargantuan green dragon hisses in the sky over Iceland. Either “Game of Thrones” really upped its production budget for its final season, or the sun belched a barrage of charged particles into our atmosphere again.

As much as any of us would like to see a real dragon breathe flames into the winter sky, buzzkill NASA blames solar activity — as usual — for the writhing, “fire-breathing”- aurora that loomed over Iceland earlier this month.

Of course, I like the GAME OF THRONES scenario.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Snow tornado in New Mexico


Click to enlargeAntonio Chiquito/Facebook

❝ Antonio Chiquito was having a relatively normal winter day in Tinian, N.M., on Feb. 17. Temperatures were about 30 degrees, with heavy snow showers, and nothing seemed too out of the ordinary. And then he spotted a tornado — made out of snow.

“I had been at church, and then I came home and took the sheep out,” recalled Chiquito, who lives on the eastern end of the Navajo Nation. “When I was heading inside to warm up, I glanced up and saw the funnel cloud.”

❝ Sure enough, Chiquito’s suspicions were correct: It was a tornado. At first, he was a little frightened, but surprisingly not shocked. He had seen twisters in Tinian before but never following a snow squall.

❝ The National Weather Service in Albuquerque…confirming the funnel as a landspout, which is a tornado that forms from the ground up rather than one that descends from spinning clouds above.

Out-of-the-ordinary weather is now becoming “occasional”. Conservative politicians at a minimum have to acknowledge the existence of real events. Unless they’re president, of course.

Ravens are probably smarter than your four-year-old


birdsandblooms.com

❝ We’ve long known ravens aren’t your typical bird brain: Myths featuring the wily black bird extend from Aesop’s fables to Native American folklore.

In more recent times, experiments testing the problem-solving capabilities of ravens and their corvid kin, the jays and magpies, have shown these birds have cognition on par with people and some other great apes…

❝ [Swedish researchers] Kabadayi and Osvath designed a series of experiments with five captive birds to see if ravens can plan for an unseen future…

In almost identical experiments on four-year-olds, the ravens were technically more successful in planning ahead…than toddlers.

❝ The researchers also set up an experiment to test the birds’ bartering skills.

They instructed the ravens how to exchange tokens to get their favorite foods at a later time. Again, the birds passed these tests with flying colors over 90 percent of the time.

I admit to being crazy about ravens. That started decades ago watching the genetically-older, bigger versions common to places I spent camping, hill-walking, in Europe and the UK. RTFA for details of the experiments and where this all may lead.

Everyone poops. Cardiologists are counting on it…


NOT an illustration of the actual device 🙂

❝ Engineers at Rochester Institute of Technology have designed a high-tech toilet seat that effortlessly flushes out data on the state of your cardiovascular system. The tricked-out porcelain throne measures your blood pressure, blood oxygen level, and the volume of blood your heart pumps per beat (stroke volume)—taking readings every time you sit down to catch up on some reading of your own. The engineers, led by David Borkholder, recently published a prototype of the seat in the open-access journal JMIR mHealth and uHealth.

❝ According to the inventors, the seat’s daily data dump could make patients and their doctors privy (har!) to early warning signs of heart failure, potentially helping to prevent further deterioration and avoid costly hospital stays. Moreover, the seat could ease in-home monitoring for heart patients, who often strain to consistently track their tickers with other, non-toilet-based monitors.

Makes great sense to me…if I had any sort of heart concerns. Apple’s HealthKit built into my iPhone made it a piece of cake for me to finally get round to integrating nutrition and exercise with other apps…lose weight, keep it off and get in better shape than a significant chunk of my [old geezer] age group.