We need to get emotional support dogs out of the airplane cabin. Recent incidents of biting, here and here, are evidence that the dogs need our protection, not the other way around. Those bites only happened after the dogs had been pushed beyond their endurance. The New York Times Op-Ed page rails against the scam. A Yale researcher has pointed out evidence that reliance on pets for emotional support may be harmful. I speak for the dogs. Continue Reading…
(Reposted from two old pieces, sadly evergreen).
Yesterday in Sweden [October 24, 2015], a 20-year-old teaching assistant named Lavin Eskandar was stabbed to death while he was protecting children from a deranged sword-wielding assailant who was attacking the school where Eskandar worked. One other person was killed before police intervened.
A conspicuous number of teachers, professors, and school workers have put their lives on the line to protect students when such horrors have occurred. At one level, I am left speechless by such courage and sacrifice. Yet after all these years in the classroom, I kind of get it, too. We pour so much of our lives into our students. I find it quite sane and comprehensible that someone would make that split-second decision: If you’re coming for my students, you have to go through me first.
Below the fold is a piece I posted in 2012, remembering two other people who made similar sacrifices: Liviu Librescu and Victoria Soto. I wouldn’t change much in that piece. There is no greater love.
California licensed pot sellers want the state to crack down on illegal competitors. Are you getting California marijuana delivered to you? If so, it’s probably illegal. California police want to understand marijuana users better. So they’re watching them get high. Bill would boost privacy for California marijuana customers. LAPD cracks down on illegal marijuana shops, arresting dozens. But there could be hundreds more.
Massachusetts pot regulators face decision on social consumption. Massachusetts legislator: pot regulations violate pot law. What’s next for New Hampshire bill to legalize marijuana? New Hampshire marijuana legalization debate continues at State Capitol.
Delaware marijuana legalization panel issues draft report. New Jersey legal marijuana foes offer a compromise: Decriminalize it. New York bill to legalize marijuana gets pushed. Connecticut legal marijuana will receive public hearing.
Bipartisan bill offered in House to protect marijuana users in legal weed states. Koch brothers criticize Trump administration over legal pot.
Democrats forming marijuana legalization consensus. The next Democratic president will legalize weed.
Coors Brewing Co. calls legal marijuana a “risk factor” for its beer business.
Canada government still not ready to launch marijuana legalization. Potential delay in legalization doesn’t faze top pot producer in Canada. Alberta expects 250 cannabis stores will open in first year of legalization. Quebec welcomes delayed timeline for legal marijuana. Mixed feelings for Maritimers over delay of Canada cannabis legalization.
Of course the gun nuts, their lobby, and the elected officials who have traded their souls for the money trot out the platitude that mass shootings demonstrate the need for better mental health care, not gun control.
On Saturday morning, a young man with a background full of warning signs walked into the public library in Winchester, Massachusetts, armed with a large knife, and fatally stabbed a young woman who was reading at a table. Bystanders, including a 77-year-old man, rushed to help and were able to keep the man at bay until the police arrived. One is dead, another injured.
It’s awful. But it’s not another 17 dead bodies. Jeffrey Yao lived in Massachusetts where it’s a lot harder to get a gun and there is much less “rah rah, we love guns” in the culture. When the madness seized him, he had only a knife.
Certainly we need a better system for dealing with mentally ill people who behave like Jeffrey Yao and Nikolas Cruz. Perhaps we could ask the psych experts instead of the police and courts to work on a system that protects the public and the individual. That will be a hard task. Gun control is not a hard task. Get it done.
More DuSable pics below the fold Continue Reading…
The Paris Agreement includes in Article 2.1.a an alternative 1.5C target for global warming, as an aspiration. The IPCC has been tasked with preparing a special report on what this target implies. Somebody with political guile leaked an early working draft of the summary for policymakers of the report. This has interesting things to say on sequestration, page 18.
3.5 All mitigation pathways compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C by 2100 involve removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. […] The total amount of CO2 removal projected in 1.5°C pathways in the literature is of the order of 380-1130 Gt CO2 over the 21st century.
Converting from CO2 to carbon (the ratio is 3.67, from the atomic weights in the molecule – no guesswork here), we get a wide range from 104 to 308 Gt carbon. Annual emissions today are about 9 Gt.
Suppose we allow ourselves 50 years for the task. Assuming that 1.5 degrees becomes the policy goal, we will have to bury 2 to 6 Gt a year. Ouch.
BTW, we should convert to carbon. Nobody can imagine a tonne of a gas, but carbon is a solid. A tonne of carbon in coal is for instance typically 1.2 m3. Using my proposed journalistic unit of the Cheops (the volume of the Great Pyramid at Giza), the sequestration effort will be from 1,000 to 3,000 pyramids’ worth. Every year.
There is a one-stop miracle fix. From 1 January 2020, just say to all fossil fuel companies, in the spirit of the Spanish proverb: “Take what you like, said God. Take it, and pay for it”: anyone can emit as much CO2 as they like, but must put it back within ten years. No pesky negotiations over the carbon tax are needed. Simple!
Somehow I don’t feel this is likely to gain acceptance, so we need to work on the costs, technologies, and incentives that could conceivably inform policy in the real world. My initial thoughts below the jump. Continue Reading…
UK Labour grandee Denis Healey was once asked to name the best speech he had heard in his four decades in Parliament. He cited a 1959 oration defending the humanity of the Mau Mau prisoners who were murdered by British soldiers in the Hola Massacre. Who gave this passionate anti-Imperialist speech condemning abuse of the people living under British colonial rule in Kenya? (Take a guess, answer after the jump)
The consensus (except at Fox News and the White House) is that the Adam Schiff memo just released utterly destroys the Nunes Memo, which the Trumpites have been trumpeting for two weeks as proving that the FBI is corrupt. That’s certainly the way it reads to me: every single charge made by Nunes (based, please note, on documents he hadn’t seen) is clearly refuted. No, the Steele Dossier was not essential to obtaining the FISA warrant against Carter Page; the FBI was already on him. No, the source of that memo was not concealed from the FISA court; judges can read footnotes, and the DNC wasn’t specifically named because that would have been an unjustified bit of “unmasking” domestic players caught in intelligence dramas. No, those warrants (the original and three extensions) weren’t approved by some rogue Democratic judge, but by two GWB appointees, one GHWB appointee, and one Reagan appointee. And so on and so forth.
To my eyes, there’s a much bigger fact in the Schiff memo. It was already in the record, but I hadn’t noticed it before, and I can find only one published reference to it – from Joe Uchill at The Hill – and no published source draws what seems to me the two strong inferences: that the DNC/DCCC/Podesta hacks were carried out by or for Russian intelligence, and that the Trump campaign very likely knew that and helped cover it up.
My cousin alerted me to a post Megan McArdle wrote about Denmark and Danes, about trust and what we could learn from them. I have a slightly different take, although it’s from over fifty years ago. But I think that my perspective still has some validity.
In September 1963, with my newly minted PhD, I accepted a one-year postdoc position at the Technical University of Denmark. It was a time of ferment in the US, especially after the Kennedy assassination that November, and Johnson’s pushing for action on civil rights. A lot of racist bile cropped up in the media and was published in Denmark as well. My colleagues Gunnar and Erling were constantly on me about how terrible we treated Negroes in our country, implying that such a thing would never happen in Denmark.
I, of course, tried to explain that, yes, it was terrible but that we were working on it — as the 1964 Civil Rights Act subsequently showed. But before that passed, I brought up to them something that I noticed locally, that I hope they could explain: why were all of the menial workers, street sweepers and the like, apparently Greenlanders (recognizable due to their Inuit descent rather than northern European descent)? After I brought that up I never again heard about the mote in our eye. Yes, I’m sure we can learn a lot from Danes about mutual trust, but let’s be a bit moderate with our praise.
I love carrying a camera around Chicago for those random moments worth capturing. I rarely do video. But my Lumix FZ300 does a pretty nice job. And Chicago street musicians can sometimes really rock it. If anyone knows this band, please note it in the comments. And yeah, I dropped some bucks into their bin.