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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 09:11 PM
Number of posts: 45,851

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Sometimes freedom wins: June 12 is Loving Day


Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967),[1] is a landmark civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. Their marriage violated the state's anti-miscegenation statute, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as "white" and people classified as "colored". The Supreme Court's unanimous decision determined that this prohibition was unconstitutional, reversing Pace v. Alabama (1883) and ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States.

The decision was followed by an increase in interracial marriages in the U.S., and is remembered annually on Loving Day, June 12. It has been the subject of two movies, as well as several songs. Beginning in 2013, it was cited as precedent in U.S. federal court decisions holding restrictions on same-sex marriage in the United States unconstitutional.

Duffelblog: Pentagon To Bypass Iraqi Army And Supply ISIS Directly


WASHINGTON — Recognizing the need for a new strategy to fight ISIS, the Pentagon announced today that it would no longer supply the Iraqi Army with American vehicles, artillery and rifles, and instead would supply materiel directly to ISIS.

CENTCOM spokesman Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder says the idea “would be a game changer.”

The plan has its roots in Army Capt. Noel Abelove’s PowerPoint briefing, which was hailed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sources said. Abelove, a supply officer on the Joint Logistics Staff (J-4), realized that cutting out the Iraqi Army middlemen had numerous advantages.

“They taught me at West Point that ‘amateurs talk strategy but professionals talk logistics,’” Abelove told reporters. “The most important advantage is, we only supply about 40 percent of each ISIS requisition.”

Read more: http://www.duffelblog.com/2015/06/pentagon-to-supply-isis-directly/#ixzz3cgJsijXb

An appreciation thread for all those DUers who have never had an appreciation thread

You know who you are, thank all of you for helping make DU the remarkable, informative and entertaining site that it is.

Mother Jones: If You're Denying, You're Losing

Looking around GD it's obvious a lot of posters think this is true.

And you know who you are.


Matt Steinglass says that all the talk about Barack Obama being a socialist or Mitt Romney being a social Darwinist is a "reverse dog whistle." These aren't words with subtle meanings that your own supporters understand but no one else does, they're words designed simply to piss off your opponents. And it works! When you fight back against this stuff, you lose:

What liberals say: Barack Obama is not a socialist! Socialism is government control over the entire economy, not bailouts of private banks and industries that leave them private, like Obama's (which Bush started anyway)! Obamacare isn't a government takeover of health-care, it's based entirely on private insurers! That's less socialist than Medicare!
What voters hear: Obama...socialist....socialism...bailouts...Obama...Obamacare...government takeover...socialist.

What conservatives say: Mitt Romney is not a social Darwinist! He's a middle-of-the-road Wall Street executive! Just because his business success has made him rich doesn't mean he doesn't care about poor people! Social Darwinists believe poor people are inherently inferior to rich people; Romney doesn't believe that, he thinks deregulation and tax cuts will empower the poor to better themselves! Recognising that we need to cut Medicare spending growth doesn't make you a social Darwinist, Romney's just recognising budgetary reality!
What voters hear: Romney...social Darwinist...Wall Street...rich...social Darwinist...poor people are inferior...cut Medicare...Romney.

As the old saying goes, If you're explaining, you're losing. Or, more pungently, there's the (possibly true!) story about LBJ spreading a rumor that his opponent was a pig-fucker. Aide: "Lyndon, you know he doesn't do that!" Johnson: "I know. I just want to make him deny it." If you're denying, you're losing.

Rejuvenation through vampirism: the medical ethics are not getting easier


For those of you paying attention to either the biomedical literature or to this here blog, it won’t be news that researchers can reverse aging. And it’s easy! At least it is in mice. Just transfuse older rodents with the blood of much younger mice and it’s like that segment of the Twilight Zone movie. The ramifications of this work were obvious and a little queasy*, but it helped that researchers identified a protein called GDF11 that might offer the same benefit in pill or injection form, no young blood required.

Or maybe not.

Egerman [and co-workers] undertook a careful analysis of the function of GDF11 in young and aged mice. They report the opposite of what Sinha et al. reported, that overexpression of GDF11 results in impaired satellite cell function and reduced muscle regeneration. Notably, systemic delivery of GDF11 into old mice had no effect, whereas in young mice muscle regeneration was delayed due to reduced expansion and differentiation of satellite cells.

Meanwhile the overall benefit of perfusing young blood into old rats has held up pretty well.

Ten bucks to be a fly on the wall at Mayhew Insurance while they debate how to cover it.

(*) Count all the people who would prefer not to suffer from old age. Now multiply it by how much young blood each person would need. Factor in just how badly (some) people want to keep their youth and vigor, or get it back. Now consider that the group who wants the blood has all of society’s wealth and influence whereas those who would provide it have none.


An empty house just up the road had these in the yard the other day.

Nikkor 135 3.5 @ f11 on macro rings...

Five line skink sunning himself on a retaining wall

Took a while to sneak up on this baby close enough to get a shot, skittish little bugger and there's no cover anywhere close to his spot. I've seen him disappear out of the corner of my eye probably a dozen times this year so far, this is the first time I've actually had a chance to see what he looks like.

It's as easy as riding a bicycle, once you learn how you never forget

Except if you make one minor change to the bicycle it can take as much as eight months to learn how to ride again and then you can't ride an unchanged bike. Knowing something intellectually and understanding it are two quite different things that often don't have much to do with each other.


So many things we do require a lot more skill than we realize, this is particularly true of things we learn when young. Bicycle riding is a remarkably complex skill that just seems simple on the surface, indeed most of us don't even know that we steer left on a bicycle to initiate a turn to the right and we steer right to initiate a turn to the left, we just do it.


I have asked dozens of bicycle riders how they turn to the left. I have never found a single person who stated all the facts correctly when first asked. They almost invariably said that to turn to the left, they turned the handlebar to the left and as a result made a turn to the left. But on further questioning them, some would agree that they first turned the handlebar a little to the right, and then as the machine inclined to the left, they turned the handlebar to the left and as a result made the circle, inclining inward. -Wilbur Wright

No, this post isn't really about riding a bicycle, it's about the difference between knowledge and understanding.

Two Moons & Long March Traverses Leo

I'm finally starting to get the sort of results on the Moon I know my camera and lens should be able to do, Sony NEX C3 200mm f4 Yashinon at f8. First shot is from yesterday morning, second from this morning. I'm using a form of "lucky imaging" where I take about two or three hundred shots in a row by holding down the shutter button and then software on my computer sorts out the best twenty images and stacks them. You end up with a very smooth but rather soft final image which then sharpens remarkably well.


The second set of images is a Chinese (presumably surveillance) satellite in a polar orbit that was launched by a Long March rocket, it was the brightest satellite of the evening a couple of days ago. NEX C3 28mm f2.0 Vivitar at f2.8, first image is four exposures of 6 seconds each at ISO 3200 stacked together to give the dashed trail, second image is one unprocessed file straight out of the camera as submitted to astrometry.net where the constellations and brighter stars were marked (out of 4323 stars detected in the image). I set up the camera ten minutes in advance, didn't have to move it at all to get the shot, just waited for the satellite to show up and then pressed the shutter button for five exposures in a row (first exposure was a little too early and off the shot to the left). North is to the right in both shots and the bright object at the extreme left edge is Jupiter. The satellite was a good bit brighter than it appears in the image, the fact it's moving makes the streak much dimmer in the picture than an equivalently bright star that illuminates the same spot for all six seconds.


I spent an hour this morning shooting cardinals and other birds, the cardinals are really skittish and hard to image, worse than hummingbirds.

And the last one is two baby not-cardinals waiting to be fed by their parents, it was so cute I had to include it.

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