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Monday, April 30, 2018

Mageau goes after anti-gun kids again

Charlestown curmudgeon calls kids “pawns”
By Will Collette
CLICK TO ENLARGE. This cartoon by Tom Tomorrow pretty much
answers Mageau and Latham.

If you read the Westerly Sun and its Letters to the Editor section, you may have noticed the frenetic team of Charlestown’s Jim Mageau and Westerly’s Mike Latham and their torrent of angry letters denouncing people who think that maybe, just maybe, it’s time to actually regulate and restrict guns.

Since the massacre in Parkland, FL Mageau and Latham have played tag team by mouthing National Rifle Association talking points to discredit the students who have organized protests sweeping the nation as dupes of the left and nefarious donors. 

Mageau had yet another letter to the editor in the Sun last Saturday.

They try to distract by saying the real problem is not gun murders but opioid overdose deaths because there is a higher body count.

Having planted that idea – that we should forget about gun violence and focus instead on opioids -  they again blame the kids for failing to turn in drug dealers, distributors and the cartels that supply them.

Out of this swirling word salad, Latham and Mageau conclude that all this points out why we must build Donald Trump’s Mexico Wall. Build the wall and all the problems go away.

Mageau also raises the matter of gangs shooting up neighborhoods in turf wars over the drug market.

Mageau has repeatedly said advocates of gun control need to “set up a registration table at the corner of Broad Street and Elmwood Avenue in Providence, so that the criminal gang members in that part of Providence can come in and register for a background check so that they can buy a handgun.” 

I'm not making this up. Mageau said it here and here

We move from the senseless murder of children to The Wall of Trump and a registration table in Elmwood along a path strewn with vitriol, insults, twists of logic, NRA fake factoids and just plain bullshit.

Let’s stipulate some points of agreement:
  • Killing schoolchildren with assault rifles is horrible.
  • Thousands of drug overdose deaths are also horrible.
  • Drug cartels and violent gangs are also horrible.
  • As a nation, we are capable of dealing with more issues than just one, although Mageau and Latham may not agree.

VIDEO: Confounds the science

To watch this wonderful video on YouTube:

VIDEO: Just kill me

To watch this nightmare on YouTube:

Study of moraines tell a lot about climate change

Researchers Find Landscape Ridges May Hold Clues about Ice Age and Climate Change
University of New Hampshire

Related imageTake a drive through the countryside near the New England Seacoast and you might notice a series of tiny rolling hills that look like regularly-spaced ridges. 

While the repeating pattern may be eye-catching for drivers, and sometimes challenging for bicycle riders, researchers at the University of New Hampshire say they may also hold answers to how glaciers helped form the current terrain and provide insight into the progression of climate change.

For once, good news

Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation
Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center

chocolate day GIFFindings from two new studies show dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation, while improving memory, immunity and mood.

New research shows there might be health benefits to eating certain types of dark chocolate. 

Findings from two studies being presented today at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego show that consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity. 

While it is well known that cacao is a major source of flavonoids, this is the first time the effect has been studied in human subjects to determine how it can support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health.

Something else Trump doesn’t care about

Proposed border wall will harm Texas plants and animals, scientists say
University of Texas at Austin
A zebra longwing butterfly rests on a branch at the National
Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, which is located in a part of
Hidalgo County where new border barriers could be erected soon. 

Credit: Alejandro Santillana, University of Texas at
Austin Insects Unlocked Project
In the latest peer-reviewed publication on the potential impacts of a border wall on plants and animals, conservation biologists, led by a pair of scientists from The University of Texas at Austin, say that border walls threaten to harm endangered Texas plants and animals and cause trouble for the region's growing ecotourism industry.

In a letter publishing in Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment, Norma Fowler and Tim Keitt, both professors in the Department of Integrative Biology, examine what would happen if more of Texas' roughly 1,200 miles of border with Mexico were to be walled off, contributing to habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and ecosystem damage. 

Other states have shorter borders than Texas has and more barriers already in place; in Texas, there are walls along only about 100 miles of the border with Mexico. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Update your boycott list with a new app

Here are 45 Companies with ties to Trump
By Samuel Warde 

Image result for boycott trumpTurn your purchasing power into a tool for protest – hitting Donald Trump where it hurts the most – in his wallet – with this handy list of companies to avoid and a couple of apps making it easy.

Boycott Trump Phone App

The first method is a new phone app that lets you search over 250 companies and people that are connected to Donald Trump and his wallet.

The app, called “Boycott Trump,” helps people refuse to buy products from Donald Trump and people and companies connected to him.

As the app description notes, “Search through over 250 companies and people to see they’re directly connected to Trump. Make Trump and his allies pay, literally, for their hateful rhetoric and regressive policies. 

"Use consumer action to take a stand for what’s right! We all know how Trump Towers and Trump Steaks are connected to Trump, but did you know Nike, MillerCoors, Johnson & Johnson, Gucci, and many other major companies can all be directly linked to him as well? Find out how!”

Good guess

The progressive web comic about how evangelicals consider trump to be the new jesus.

Priorities, etc.

Soft robotic fish swims alongside real ones in coral reefs

Made of silicone rubber, CSAIL’s “SoFi” could enable a closer study of aquatic life. 
Adam Conner-Simons | CSAIL

SoFi was developed with the goal of being as nondisruptive to ocean life as possible, swimming alongside real fish for several minutes at a time.This month scientists published rare footage of one of the Arctic’s most elusive sharks. 

The findings demonstrate that, even with many technological advances in recent years, it remains a challenging task to document marine life up close.

But MIT computer scientists believe they have a possible solution: using robots.

A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled “SoFi,” a soft robotic fish that can independently swim alongside real fish in the ocean.

During test dives in the Rainbow Reef in Fiji, SoFi swam at depths of more than 50 feet for up to 40 minutes at once, nimbly handling currents and taking high-resolution photos and videos using (what else?) a fisheye lens.

Tough week ahead for Charlestown allergy sufferers

Hello sunshine, hello pollen

Here are the types of pollen you will be breathing:

Nothing is sacred with House Republicans

Paul Ryan fires chaplain for praying for fair taxes

Image may contain: textRepublican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is under fire after it was reported he forced out House Chaplain Patrick Conroy from his post, allegedly over a recent prayer that called for—get this—a fairer tax code.

According to The Hill, which first reported the story, Conroy makes it clear in his resignation announcement, which came last week but was not revealed until Thursday, that it was submitted at the behest of Ryan.

"As you have requested, I hereby offer my resignation as the 60th Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives," Conroy's letter to the Speaker reads. Conroy has been the chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011.

While an aide to Ryan told one reporter that Conroy was not asked to resign over any one specific prayer, Democratic lawmakers are demanding more answers. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: They’re not going to get any since House Republicans voted down a resolution to look further into the reasons for firing Father Conroy. – W. Collette

Saturday, April 28, 2018

VIDEO: Chutzpah - a Lying Life

 To watch this video on YouTube:

A matter of perspective

For more cartoons by Tom Tomorrow, CLICK HERE.

Charlestown artist part of South County show

Scott Keeley included in exhibit

The South County Art Association members’ invitational exhibit will open on May 17 at 6 PM at the association’s Helme House gallery, 2587 Kingstown Road Kingston, RI.

Among the exhibitors is Charlestown’s own Scott Keeley whose work is shown above.

Here are more details about the exhibit

Don’t feed the coyotes

DEM says to remove food sources from your property

death valley documentary GIFThe Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is advising residents that this is the time of year when coyotes may often be seen in populated areas and suburban neighborhoods in search of food. 

DEM advises the public not to feed or have food sources available that can be easily accessed by coyotes or other wildlife. 

Coyotes that find abundant and easily obtained food resources around neighborhoods may become bold and habituated to human activity, creating situations that are detrimental to the animal and can also put small pets at risk. 

Don’t go crazy

Raw fruit and vegetables provide better mental health outcomes
University of Otago

fruits GIFSeeking the feel good factor? Go natural.

That is the simple message from University of Otago researchers who have discovered raw fruit and vegetables may be better for your mental health than cooked, canned and processed fruit and vegetables.

Dr Tamlin Conner, Psychology Senior Lecturer and lead author, says public health campaigns have historically focused on aspects of quantity for the consumption of fruit and vegetables (such as 5+ a day).

However, the study, just published in Frontiers in Psychology, found that for mental health in particular, it may also be important to consider the way in which produce was prepared and consumed.

Why so many air travel safety problems lately?

Profits before safety
By Phil Mattera for the Dirt Diggers Digest

The passengers who survived Southwest Flight 1380’s engine explosion are feeling lucky to be alive and grateful for the skilled landing executed by pilot Tammie Jo Shults. 

Another group feeling relief are the top executives of Allegiant Air. If the accident had happened to one of their planes, the carrier’s survival might be in question.

That’s because of the revelations contained in a remarkable 60 Minutes investigative report on Allegiant that aired on April 15th

Correspondent Steve Kroft described the culture of the budget carrier as one that puts profits before safety and that discourages pilots from reporting mechanical problems with their aircraft. The piece documented an alarming pattern of aborted takeoffs, cabin pressure loss, emergency descents and unscheduled landings during Allegiant flights.

In one incident Allegiant, whose executives refused to be interviewed by 60 Minutes, fired a pilot who made an emergency landing when smoke appeared in the cabin and then ordered passengers to exit rapidly through escape chutes once the plane was on the ground.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Environmental groups join Sen. Whitehouse to spotlight plastic pollution

Whitehouse calls volume of plastic waste in the ocean “intolerable”
By John McDaid in Rhode Island’s Future

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse was joined by local environmental groups at a press conference April 23rd in Middletown to discuss the crisis of plastic pollution in our oceans and highlight federal legislation and local actions being taken to address the threat.

Dave McLaughlin, executive director of Clean Ocean Access, hosted the event at their headquarters. 

“Earth Day worldwide started a campaign to end plastic pollution,” said McLaughlin. He reported on an event Sunday in Portsmouth where Clean Ocean Access, joined by five local Girl Scout Troops, removed 1,425 pounds of marine debris from Pheasant Drive beach.

 “Breaking free from plastic and saying no to single-use plastic is imperative to improve the health of our oceans and our environment,” said McLaughlin.

Sen. Whitehouse echoed that sentiment. “Every year we dump five shopping bags of plastic trash per foot of coastline into our oceans,” said Whitehouse. “If we keep it up, if nothing changes, if we just go with status quo then by 2050 there’s going to be more plastic waste in our ocean than there will be swimming fish. That’s not a world we should tolerate having to leave to our children.”

In Trump They Trust

For more cartoons by Jen Sorenson, CLICK HERE.

Yeah, that's right

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

Find another excuse

Don't blame adolescent social behavior on hormones
University at Buffalo

Reproductive hormones that develop during puberty are not responsible for changes in social behavior that occur during adolescence, according to the results of a newly published study by a University at Buffalo researcher.

"Changes in social behavior during adolescence appear to be independent of pubertal hormones. They are not triggered by puberty, so we can't blame the hormones," says Matthew Paul, an assistant professor in UB's Department of Psychology and lead author of the groundbreaking paper recently published in the journal Current Biology.

Disentangling the adolescent changes that are triggered by puberty from those unrelated to puberty is difficult because puberty and adolescence occur simultaneously, but Paul and his collaborators have found a way to tease out the two using a seasonal-breeding animal model.

Clean water is a top pubic priority

Public willing to pay to improve ecosystem water quality
University of Missouri-Columbia

In the wake of the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in which studies confirmed lead contamination in the city's drinking supply, awareness of the importance of protecting watersheds has increased. 

User-financed ecosystem service programs can compensate landowners to voluntarily participate in environmental improvement efforts. 

Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found in a nationwide survey that members of the public are more willing to pay for improved water quality than other ecosystem services such as flood control or protecting wildlife habitats.

Stupidity can kill

Vaccination apathy fueled by decades of misinformation
University of Waterloo

Image result for rep justin price is stupid
Rep. Justin Price (R-Richmond) is the leading voice for false information
about vaccination (and many other things) in the General Assembly
A legacy of social and political factors rather than bad parenting may be influencing people's decisions not to vaccinate their children, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

The study, which appears in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, shows that a history of drug scandals, medical training practices, and a lack of political priority placed on disease prevention that started in the 1960s could be responsible for the immunization apathy, also known as vaccine hesitancy, we're seeing today.

"It's not all about the parents, said Heather MacDougall, history professor at Waterloo and co-author of the study. "History reveals systemic problems including lack of public education, lack of access, lack of training, and, perhaps most importantly, lack of political will for a national immunization schedule."

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Green energy from bad land

By FRANK CARINI/ecoRI News staff

 The landfill operated from 1967 to 1983. (EPA) Rhode Island’s mad rush to site renewable energy on open space has become a contentious issue that concerned parties are working to resolve. 

A roadmap to addressing the problem can be found in Washington County, where two municipalities and the state university are developing solar energy on long-ago trashed sites.

The towns of Narragansett and South Kingstown and the University of Rhode Island are building solar facilities on two Superfund sites. 

This push for local energy began in 2015 with the creation of the South Kingstown Solar Consortium and a subsequent request for proposals for solar projects.

Boston-based Kearsarge Energy offered the most favorable compensation package for two sites: the former Rose Hill Regional Landfill and the closed URI waste disposal site/West Kingston town dump. 

Both locations had been identified at one time by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as having been contaminated by hazardous waste. The properties, which had been remediated and closed, are reportedly expected to be producing solar energy in the coming months.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Frank has done a series of articles that argue against using valuable land, like forested areas, farmland, to site solar arrays. Misuse of land offsets the positive climate change effects of the switch to solar. In addition to using former hazardous waste sites and brownfields, I would add quarries to the list of good candidates for solar arrays.

Charlestown has many active, closed and abandoned quarries. There are no state or federal laws requiring owners to reclaim the land or holding them responsible for clean-up. Who knows what will happen to the giant South County Sand and Gravel site right between Route 1 and Old Post Road after it closes?

There is no "Superfund" for quarries. However, that barren open space could be put to good use as sites for solar farms.   - Will Collette

Cats are SO smart

The progressive web comic about how even cats recognize that Trump is a Russian puppet.

VIDEO: May mean greener phones are on the way

Recycling experts hit milestone in quest for zero-waste phone
University of British Columia, Lou Corpuz-Bosshart

UBC researchers have perfected a process to efficiently separate fibreglass and resin – two of the most commonly discarded parts of a cellphone – bringing them closer to their goal of a zero-waste cellphone.

It’s one of the first processes to use simple techniques like gravity separation to cleanly lift organic resins from inorganic fibreglass.

“Discarded cellphones are a huge, growing source of electronic waste, with close to two billion new cellphones sold every year around the world and people replacing their phones every few years,” said UBC mining engineering professor Maria Holuszko, who led the research. 

Something else for right-wingers to oppose

Vaccines to treat opioid abuse and prevent fatal overdoses
University of Minnesota

Heroin and prescription opioid abuse and fatal overdoses are a public health emergency in the United States. 

Vaccines offer a potential new strategy to treat opioid abuse and prevent fatal opioid overdoses.

A team of scientists from the University of Minnesota Medical School and Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation at Hennepin Healthcare is developing vaccines against heroin and prescription opioids, such as oxycodone and fentanyl. 

These vaccines function by using the immune system to produce molecules (antibodies) that target, bind, and prevent opioids from reaching the brain (the site of drug action).

The research team's pre-clinical studies were published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Scientific Reports, and PLOS ONE. The results support future clinical testing of these vaccines in human patients. 

Key findings include:

Keeping Endeavor afloat

URI teams up with Woods Hole and UNH for marine research 
Elizabeth Rau 

Image result for uri research vesselThe University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography has created a consortium with two major institutions to operate the research vessel Endeavor for its final years and to jointly submit a proposal to operate a new ship, which would also be based at URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus. 

GSO Dean Bruce Corliss says establishing the East Coast Oceanographic Consortium with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the University of New Hampshire—in collaboration with 11 associate members—creates new and exciting research, educational and outreach opportunities in ocean science and exploration. 

Formally created in January with the signing of a partnership, the consortium is the culmination of five years of discussion with marine science institutions along the Eastern seaboard and builds on GSO’s reputation as one of the world’s premier academic institutions of oceanography and ocean exploration. 

On behalf of the consortium, URI will submit a proposal to host and operate a new ship in mid-April to the National Science Foundation. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Trump buddy and candidate for RI Governor displays Trump-style attitude

By Bob Plain in Rhode Island’s Future

Image result for joe trillo & trumpNever let it be said that Joe Trillo can’t mobilize people into political action. 

The former Republican state legislator who is waging a quixotic independent bid for governor by following Donald Trump’s campaign strategy of hate and division clearly energized Democrats when he weighed in on racism late last week.

“I am so sick of hearing people scream the word racism every time a minority gets arrested for something unlawful,” Trillo said in a statement responding to two Black men being erroneously arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks. 

No charges were filed and the Philadelphia Police Department as well as the Starbucks have apologized and admitted error, but Trillo said in his statement, “It’s not racism, it’s what happens when you break the law.”

Just asking

Image may contain: 1 person, text

At the Mystic Aquarium

Nature Play

May 5  |  10:00am - 12:00pm
Join us for salamander day! We'll search for amphibians and even make them backyard habitats.

Feeding Frenzy

May 12  |  8:00 - 9:30am
Sink your teeth into a hot breakfast buffet then watch a private feeding session at Shark Lagoon!

Mother's Day Weekend

May 12 - 13  |  9:00am - 5:30pm
This Mother's Day weekend, when you buy any full-priced ticket, Mom gets in FREE!

Mother's Day Brunch

May 13  |  10:30am - 12:30pm  |  Mystic Yachting Center
Treat Mom to brunch with a view featuring a breakfast and seafood bar, carving stations, desserts and a cash bar.

Picnic in the Park

May 16  |  5:30 - 7:00pm
Join us at Barn Island for pizza, unstructured play activities and a beautiful evening with nature!

Penguin Events Galore!

Prosecco with Penguins  |  May 17 from 6:30 - 8:30pm  
Pancakes with Penguins  |  May 19 from 8:00 - 9:30am
Pizza with Penguins May 26 from 6:30 - 8:30pm