Christians should apologize to gay people and ask for forgiveness — says Pope Francis

The gay community has long been marginalized by the Catholic community, German Roman Catholic Cardinal Reinhard Marx said last week, calling on the church to apologize.

On Sunday, Pope Francis obliged, extending his apologies to all disenfranchised groups for the harm and offense the church may have caused.

❝ “I think that the Church not only should apologize … to a gay person whom it offended but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by – being forced to – work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”…

“We Christians have to apologize for so many things, not just for this treatment of gays, but we must ask for forgiveness, not just apologize! Forgiveness! Lord, it is a word we forget so often!” he said.

…On Sunday, Francis repeated his comments from 2013, extending them past himself to say,Who are we to judge?

“The questions is: If a person who has that situation, who has good will, and who looks for God, who are we to judge?” Francis said.

Yet, we live in societies all too often called to judge others by standards, definitions, ideology centuries out of date. If someone as deeply tied to the past as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church can find his way into the 21st Century and move willingly towards a modern understanding of human sexuality — what excuse remains for those who still choose hatred and fear.

3rd Generation electric car batteries promise 300-mile range and 70% less cost

I want one of these

Would you be interested in an electric car that travels 300 miles on a single charge but its battery costs about 70 percent less than today’s packs? It’s something to look forward to in the next few years, says lithium-ion battery research company CalBattery.

CalBattery has designed a new li-ion battery with a silicon-graphene anode promising a major improvement in battery energy density. The design is based on what the company calls its “GEN3” silicon-graphene composite anode material for li-ion batteries, the technology breakthrough for which was developed at Argonne National Labs. The company entered the li-ion battery cells into the Department of Energy’s 2012 Start UP America’s Next Top Energy Innovator challenge, and is a finalist in the competition.

Independent test results show that CalBattery’s cells have an energy density of 525 watt-hours per kilogram, and anode capacity of 1,250 mili-amp-hours per gram. Compare this to the typical commercial battery out there right now in the 100-180 watt-hours per kg range, and anode capacity in the 325 mili-amp-hours per gram range.

…”This equates to more than a 300 percent improvement in lithium-ion battery capacity, and an estimated 70 percent reduction in lifetime cost for batteries used in consumer electronics, EVs, and grid-scale energy storage,” CalBattery CEO Phil Roberts told Torque News.

Increased efforts to get EV tech into the marketplace have Nissan offering dramatically cut-price leases on their Leaf – and, now, some California Focus Electric dealers matching the rate. For as long as the cost of money is zilch, leases start to make as much sense as purchase.

The Ford EV’s aren’t yet available in my neck of the prairie; but, if they start to show up in the next year – at California lease rates – I’m beginning to think it worthwhile. Especially with consideration of rolling the deal over into a new purchase with Gen 3 batteries in a subsequent 3 or 4 years.

Researchers discover [gasp!] marijuana use rampant in Australia

A study published Friday in a British medical journal may have finally uncovered the secret behind Australia’s laid-back lifestyle, and it turns out to be more than just sun and surf: The denizens Down Under, it turns out, consume more marijuana than any other people on the planet.

The study, an analysis of global trends in illegal drugs and their effect on public health published in The Lancet, a prestigious journal, found that Australia and neighboring New Zealand topped the lists globally for consumption of both marijuana and amphetamines, a category of drugs whose use the study found to be growing rapidly around the world.

The study’s co-authors…reported that as much as 15 percent of the populations of Australia and New Zealand between the ages of 15 and 64 had used some form of marijuana in 2009…

The Americas, by comparison, clocked in at 7 percent, although North America batted above the neighborhood average with nearly 11 percent of its population partaking. Asia demonstrated the lowest global marijuana use patterns at no more than 2.5 percent, the study said, although difficulties in obtaining accurate data in less developed countries were cited as one possible reason for the low figures.

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White House says no alien visits — to this administration

Dick Cheney’s baby picture

The White House has responded to two petitions asking the US government to formally acknowledge that aliens have visited Earth and to disclose to any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings.

“The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race,” said Phil Larson from the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, on the website. “In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.”

5,387 people had signed the petition for immediately disclosing the government’s knowledge of and communications with extraterrestrial beings, and 12,078 signed the request for a formal acknowledgement from the White House that extraterrestrials have been engaging the human race…

These petitions come from an Obama Administration initiative called ‘We the People’ which has White House staffers respond and consider taking action on any issue that receives at least 25,000 online signatures. Regarding these two petitions, the White House promised to respond if the petitions got 17,000 more signatures by Oct. 22.

Larson stressed that the facts show that there is no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth. He pointed out that even though many scientists have come to the conclusion that the odds of life somewhere else in the Universe are fairly high, the chance that any of them are making contact with humans are extremely small, given the distances involved…

Regarding any evidence for alien life, all anyone has now is “statistics and speculation,” said Larson. “The fact is we have no credible evidence of extraterrestrial presence here on Earth.”

Whether or not this will appease or satisfy any conspiracy theorists or UFO believers is yet to be seen, but it is gratifying to see the White House respond in such a no-nonsense manner.

Well, sort of gratifying. They picked a couple of the easier petitions to answer.

Take a look at some of the tougher petitions – those actually demanding political change.

Fearless FBI raids home of 91-year-old making suicide kits

A great-grandmother selling do-it-yourself asphyxiation kits by mail said on Thursday she was ordered from her house at gunpoint by federal agents who raided her home and seized cartons of documents, computers and sewing machines.

Sharlotte Hydorn, 91, told Reuters about a dozen agents in flak jackets from the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service arrived at her San Diego-area home at about 7 a.m. local time on Wednesday, and ordered her outside, shouting, “Come out, or I’ll shoot.”

“I had guns in my face. I thought, ‘I’m dying on my feet.’ … I didn’t know what to say,” she recounted, sitting inside a sprawling three-bedroom ranch house still strewn a day later with papers and boxes.

They presented her with a 37-page search warrant signed on Tuesday by a U.S. magistrate and proceeded to comb through her house for nearly 11 hours, leaving the dwelling in disarray when they left, she said…

A copy of the search warrant shown to Reuters indicated Hydorn was under investigation for alleged conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, tax evasion and the “sale of adulterated or misbranded medical device.”

Hydorn made headlines after one of her mail-order customers from Oregon, Nicholas Klonoski, 29, described by his family as suffering from depression but otherwise healthy, used one of her kits to take his own life in December.

Her product consists of a plastic hood that closes around the neck, and tubing that connects the hood to a tank of helium or other inert gas users must supply for themselves.

Hydorn says her so-called “exit kits” are intended to help terminally ill people end their lives with dignity in their own homes, though she has acknowledged she performs no background checks or screening of individuals who order the apparatus.

She sells them for $60 each, including shipping and instructions, under the brand name GLADD, which stands for Glorious Life and Dignified Death.

Perish the thought the law, the government, politicians, priests and police should allow someone to choose to end their own life – without harming another human being, simply making a choice and receiving a bit of assistance from another thoughtful human being.

My contempt for agencies like the FBI – who might better serve us all by spending this time tracking down heroin distributors – only increases.

Add to that the political creeps who jump on this opportunity to write more useless, debasing laws that might suck up a few more votes from religious fundamentalists who have personal messages from that invisible lawyer in the sky demanding obedience.

They disgust me with their fears and rules requiring government approval to die.