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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Contrast and compare

For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

NASA Video: How galaxy clusters form

How do clusters of galaxies form?

Since our universe moves too slowly to watch, faster-moving computer simulations are created to help find out.

A recent effort is TNG50 from IllustrisTNG, an upgrade of the famous Illustris Simulation.

The first part of the featured video tracks cosmic gas (mostly hydrogen) as it evolves into galaxies and galaxy clusters from the early universe to today, with brighter colors marking faster moving gas.

As the universe matures, gas falls into gravitational wells, galaxies forms, galaxies spin, galaxies collide and merge, all while black holes form in galaxy centers and expel surrounding gas at high speeds.

The second half of the video switches to tracking stars, showing a galaxy cluster coming together complete with tidal tails and stellar streams.

The outflow from black holes in TNG50 is surprisingly complex and details are being compared with our real universe

Studying how gas coalesced in the early universe helps humanity better understand how our EarthSun, and Solar System originally formed.

Maybe it's the money

Why rich parents are more likely to be unethical
David M. Mayer, University of Michigan

Image result for college admissions scandal
Dope smoking son defends parents' actions
Federal attorneys have arrested 50 people in a college admission scam that allowed wealthy parents to buy their kids’ admission to elite universities. 

 Prosecutors found that parents together paid up to US$6.5 million to get their kids into college. The list includes celebrity parents such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

Some might ask why did these parents fail to consider the moral implications of their actions?

My 20 years of research in moral psychology suggests many reasons why people behave in an unethical manner. When it comes to the wealthy, research shows that they will go to great lengths to maintain their higher status. A sense of entitlement plays a role.

Where your milk comes from

The world of migrant dairy workers who are ‘Milking in the Shadows’

Julie C. KellerFor readers of Julie C. Keller’s debut book, “Milking in the Shadows: Migrants and Mobility in America’s Dairyland,” the lighthearted slogan “Got Milk?” may never be the same.

Keller, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Rhode Island, brings to light the complicated realities of a population of undocumented Mexican migrants who are vital to the American dairy industry but are forced to work “in the shadows” because of restrictive U.S. immigration policies that leave them subject to isolation, arrest and deportation.

“Milking in the Shadows,” published in January by Rutgers University Press and the first book in its Inequality at Work series, looks at the Mexican migrants’ journeys from villages in Veracruz to dairy farms in the Upper Midwest. 

It details many facets of the labor system – the work migrants must do to secure jobs and plan border crossings; the isolation, exploitation and fear of detection they experience on the farms; and the views of a half-dozen farmers who rely on the workforce.

“I found that workers were experiencing these paradoxes of mobility, everyday movement that we take for granted,” says Keller. “I found that workers are really finding themselves caught in these paradoxes. Farmers want them to come here, they are often paying their way to take that dangerous journey to come here. Once they get here, there’s a feeling of being trapped and isolated on the farms.”

We can learn from children

By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

Image result for green new deal Rhode IslandThe climate movement is enjoying a youth movement.

This youth infusion has been happening for several years, as students recognize the urgency to address climate change. 

Nationally, there is the Climate Kids lawsuit brought by 21 young people who accuse the federal government of failing to address climate change and thereby violating their constitutional rights. 

Rhode Island has its own youth lawsuit put forth by Nature’s Trust Rhode Island.

Upstart politicians such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have attracted a new following, especially among students who have experienced the destruction of climate change.

In Rhode Island, a group of high-school and college students from the Sunrise Movement has been pressuring Gov. Gina Raimondo and the state’s congressional delegation to endorse the Green New Deal and pledge to stop accepting donations from fossil-fuel companies.

Now the students are seeking support from the General Assembly to adopt a Green New Deal for Rhode Island.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Can we finally hold gun makers' liable?

Sandy Hook lawsuit court victory opens crack in gun maker immunity shield

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A detective holds a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the same type of gun used in the Sandy Hook School shooting. AP Photo/Jessica Hill
Timothy D. Lytton, Georgia State University

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled on March 14 that families of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting victims could proceed with a lawsuit against the companies that manufactured and sold the semiautomatic rifle used in the attack.

The ruling, which reversed a lower court’s decision, has the potential to unleash a flood of claims by gun violence victims against gun manufacturers – if it’s upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, that is.
My research on the history of lawsuits against the gun industry has documented the failure of gun violence victims to hold gun manufacturers liable for legal marketing practices that many people consider irresponsible. 

The latest Sandy Hook decision could pave the way for gunmakers to finally be held responsible for them.

Life in the Stupid-Verse

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

Trump, through New Zealand eyes

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Social media and hate, continued

The mass shooting in New Zealand shows how broken social media is
MIT Technology Review
A gunman live-streamed the murder of dozens of innocents in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday—and the world got a terrible reminder of how flawed existing social-media policies and algorithms are for policing violent and offensive content.

In the days before the shooting, the perpetrator apparently boasted of his plans and posted an online manifesto. He then broadcast the horrific act live on Facebook. The attack left 49 people dead and dozens more injured.

Dog of the week

Meet Oreo.
Animal Rescue RI

Oreo is an affectionate boy who enjoys belly rubs!

He loves to play and is good with other high energy dogs.

He would do best with an active family.


Shattering Myths about Business and Society
By Phil Mattera for the Dirt Diggers Digest

Image result for Boeing’s 737 Max crashThose who believe that corporate executives are virtuous, government regulators are overreaching, and that we live in a meritocracy have been cringing every time they listened to a newscast in recent days. 

That’s because two major stories have been shattering myths about the way things work in the U.S. business world and the broader society.

The controversy over whether Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft should be grounded in the wake of a deadly crash in Ethiopia revealed the true nature of business regulation in the United States.

Contrary to the image, depicted ad nauseum by corporate apologists, of bureaucrats crippling companies with unnecessary and arbitrary rules, we saw in the Federal Aviation Administration an agency that is essentially held captive by airlines and aircraft manufacturers.

It was only after the rest of the world ignored assurances from Boeing and took the common-sense step of grounding the planes that the FAA finally acted.

The agency, its parent Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration had to be shamed into fulfilling their responsibility of protecting the public.

It remains to be seen whether the Trump Administration will temper its anti-regulatory rhetoric after this incident in which it was clear that the country needed more rather than less oversight.

Unfortunately, the problem goes beyond rhetoric.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Raimondo censored state Health Department critique of fossil fuel project


“The office of Governor Raimondo did not respond to several requests for comment.” That sentence — a variation of it has been written many times by reporters during the past five years — appeared 12 paragraphs into a disturbing March 11 report by DeSmog.

DeSmog, launched in 2006 to track “global warming misinformation campaigns,” obtained documents that show that last summer Gov. Gina Raimondo nixed a letter by the Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) critical of National Grid’s Fields Point Liquefaction Project right before it was to be submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 

The agency approved the project three months later.

According to the internal documents, obtained by DeSmog through an open records request, in June 2018 several DOH staffers began writing a letter in response to the project’s environmental assessment

The assessment, which was done by a contractor paid by National Grid, concluded that the LNG project will “not significantly affect the quality of the human environment.”

A final draft of the DOH letter was ready for submission to FERC in late July. The letter detailed various critiques of FERC’s assessment, including the ignoring of vulnerable neighborhoods and public-safety concerns. 

Earlier drafts discussed issues relating to climate change and environmental justice, but those concerns didn’t make it into the final DOH letter. It made no difference, however, since the letter was never sent.

On July 25, 2018, the last day of the FERC comment period for the controversial Providence project, DOH director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott e-mailed staffers to inform them she had been instructed “on behalf” of Raimondo not to send it.

"When I was young..."

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Trump's selective perspective on immigration

Image may contain: one or more people, text that says 'I'm Donald Trump. My dad's parents were German. My mom's parents were Scottish. My mom was born in Scotland. My first wife was (zech. My current wife is Slovenian. Both used me as an "anchor husband" to become citizens. NOW GIVE ME A WALL TO KEEP OUT ALL THOSE DARN IMMIGRANTS WHO ARE RUINING AMERICA! OCCUPY DEMOCRATS'

Most Microbes in Hummingbird Feeders Do Not Pose Health Hazard

Feeders or Flowers? Researchers Compare Microbes
By Kathy Keatley Garvey in Human & Animal Health

 jerk hummingbird move it pushy GIFMany people set up hummingbird feeders in their yards to nurture and watch these high-energy pollinators. But could the sugar water they provide be impacting these tiny feathered friends?

A study led by the University of California, Davis, is one of the first to address the potential for sugar water from hummingbird feeders to act as a vector for avian — or even zoonotic — pathogens. 

It found that the majority of microbes growing in feeders do not likely pose a significant health hazard to birds or humans.