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Hometown: Atlanta
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Member since: Sat Jun 1, 2013, 01:19 AM
Number of posts: 4,639

Journal Archives

Corals eat plastic because weve made it tasty, study suggests

Source: Washington Post

Ocean plastic is an indiscriminate hazard. It harms fish and kills seabirds, which wash up with bellies full of trash. Turtles swallow it because, the thinking goes, they mistake the floating waste for jellyfish. Less well known are the ways plastic damages the ocean's smaller inhabitants, plankton and corals, which sometimes are found with particles wedged in their teeny guts.

For years, biologists and conservationists assumed that most sea creatures ate plastic by accident, said Alexander Seymour, a geographic information systems analyst and marine researcher at Duke University in North Carolina. Marine life, it seemed, was too confused or too hungry to avoid the junk.

A small but growing number of studies suggests another more disturbing reason. Humans may have invented plastic that is appetizing.

“Plastics may be inherently tasty,” said Austin Allen, a Duke marine science doctoral student. Allen and Seymour are the lead authors of a study just published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. Along with Duke marine ecologist Daniel Rittschof, they demonstrated that corals respond to microplastic fragments as though they were food.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/10/30/corals-eat-plastic-because-weve-made-it-tasty-study-suggests/?utm_term=.fde19de481c8

Historic Virginia church to relocate Washington, Lee plaques

Source: Washington Post

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A historic Virginia church is relocating two plaques in its sanctuary honoring George Washington and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who worshipped there.

Leaders of Christ Church in Alexandria sent a letter to congregation members Thursday explaining the decision. It says the leaders decided the plaques create a distraction and “may create an obstacle to our identity as a welcoming church.”

The Rev. Noelle York-Simmons, rector of the Episcopal church, told The Washington Post the plaques’ fate had been discussed for years. The decision also comes after white nationalists descended on Charlottesville for rallies that erupted into violence.

Those events have sparked debate about symbols of the Confederacy and the legacy of slavery. The letter says church leaders thought it was important for both plaques to be considered together.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/historic-virginia-church-to-relocate-washington-lee-plaques/2017/10/29/4949822e-bcc1-11e7-9294-705f80164f6e_story.html?utm_term=.ef0281d127a2

UPDATE: GDP grows at stronger-than-forecast 3% rate in third quarter

Source: Morningstar

The numbers: The U.S. grew at a solid 3% annual pace in third quarter despite damage from two hurricanes, according to Commerce Department data (https://www.bea.gov/national/index.htm#gdp). That's above economist expectations of a 2.7% growth rate, according to a MarketWatch survey, and only slightly below the 3.1% growth rate in the second quarter.

The last time the economy had two consecutive quarters of above-3% growth was in 2014. The government said it couldn't say exactly how much hurricanes Harvey and Irma sliced from growth in the July-September quarter. Because Puerto Rico is not a state, hurricane Maria does not factor in the government's GDP calculations.


Nonresidential, or business, investment rose 3.9%. Inventories added 0.73 percentage points to growth and the trade sector added 0.41 percentage points. Excluding those volatile categories, final sales for domestic product rose 2.3% in the third quarter, down from a 2.9% rate in the prior period. Government spending was also up after the hurricane. Housing investment slumped for the second straight quarter.

Core inflation as measured by the PCE price index increased at a 1.3% annual rate, up from 0.9% in the second quarter.

Read more: http://www.morningstar.com/news/market-watch/TDJNMW_20171027285/economy-grows-at-3-rate-in-third-quarter-despite-negative-impact-from-hurricanes.html

Visitor from Far, Far Away: Interstellar Object Spotted in Our Solar System

Source: Space.com

A visitor from interstellar space has likely been spotted in our solar system for the first time ever.

The object, known as A/2017 U1, was detected last week by researchers using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

"We have been waiting for this day for decades," Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.

"It's long been theorized that such objects exist — asteroids or comets moving around between the stars and occasionally passing through our solar system — but this is the first such detection," Chodas added. "So far, everything indicates this is likely an interstellar object, but more data would help to confirm it."

Read more: https://www.space.com/38580-interstellar-object-spotted-comet-asteroid-mystery.html

California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes proposal to codify federal regulations on campus sexual harassmen

Source: Washington Post

To the Members of the California State Senate:

I am returning Senate Bill 169 without my signature.

This bill would codify a combination of federal regulations and guidance on sexual harassment — some of which has been repealed, some of which is still in effect — as well as some language from model policies that have been developed by California universities.

This is not a simple issue. Sexual harassment and sexual violence are serious and complicated matters for colleges to resolve. On the one side are complainants who come forward to seek justice and protection; on the other side stand accused students, who, guilty or not, must be treated fairly and with the presumption of innocence until the facts speak otherwise. Then, as we know, there are victims who never come forward, and perpetrators who walk free. Justice does not come easily in this environment.


Since this law was enacted, however, thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault — well-intentioned as they are — have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges’ failure to uphold due process for accused students. Depriving any student of higher education opportunities should not be done lightly, or out of fear of losing state or federal funding.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/10/16/california-gov-jerry-brown-vetoes-proposal-to-codify-federal-regulations-on-campus-sexual-harassment/?utm_term=.22c3e9013ebf

California lowers penalty for knowingly exposing partners to HIV

Source: CNN

Starting January 1, 2018, it will no longer be a major crime in California to knowingly expose a sexual partner to HIV without disclosing the infection. Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Friday that lowers the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The California legislature passed SB 239 on September 11.

The law previously punished people who knowingly exposed or infected others with HIV by up to eight years in prison. This new legislation will lower jail time to a maximum of six months.

The new law also reduces the penalty for knowingly donating HIV-infected blood from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/07/health/california-hiv-bill-signed/index.html

Going with a friend to see Blade Runner 2049 today.

I’ll let you know if it’s good!

CBS fires executive for 'deeply unacceptable' post after Vegas shooting

Source: LA Times

CBS Corp. fired a vice president in business affairs Monday for comments she made on social media regarding the mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas.

Hayley Geftman-Gold, wrote on her Facebook page that she was not sympathetic to victims of the shooting because, she claimed, most country music fans are Republican.

Geftman-Gold also wrote: “If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing. I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”

The comments were deleted but not before they were picked up on a number of right-wing blogs and websites. A petition was posted online that called for her firing.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-las-vegas-shooting-live-updates-cbs-fires-executive-for-deeply-1506969657-htmlstory.html
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