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Wed, 28 Sep 2016
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Bizarro Earth

Study reveals "safe" levels of glyphosate kills freshwater macroalgae putting entire ecosystems at risk of collapse

© Crystalriverfl.org
Legal levels of glyphosphate, can alter and kill freshwater seaweed by inhibiting photosynthesis. Die-offs of macroalgae can put the entire ecosystem at risk of collapse if the die-off is sufficiently severe.
A new study published by a group of Brazilian researchers in the journal Phycologia shows that Monsanto's most popular herbicide, RoundUp, negatively affects life in freshwater ecosystems. More specifically, legal levels of RoundUp, as well as those of its main ingredient glyphosphate, can alter and kill macroalgae (i.e. freshwater seaweed) by inhibiting photosynthesis.

The legal limits referenced in the study are those of Brazil, which are 0.28 mg l−1. Compare that to the US legal limit of 0.7 mg l−1. Macroalgae are extremely important in freshwater ecosystems as they function as primary producers, meaning they help form the bottom of the food chain on which other organisms depend. They also recycle nutrients and increase plankton populations, which are a main food source for many fish and other marine animals. Die-offs of macroalgae, regardless of the cause, reduce diversity and the populations of other animals in the ecosystem, which can put the entire ecosystem at risk of collapse if the die-off is sufficiently severe. The species of macroalgae used in the study, Nitella microcarpa, is found throughout the world, meaning that the implications of this study are global.

Comment: Monsanto's most dangerous product? The case against Glyphosate


Attorney goes on shooting rampage in Houston, wounding nine people before being shot by police

© Bob Levey / AFP
A Houston Police Department investigator photograph a vehicle that received gunshot damage at a scene where nine were wounded in a strip mall shooting on September 26, 2016 in Houston, Texas.
A man opened fire on commuters near a strip mall in southwest Houston, Texas, early Monday morning, wounding nine people before being shot and killed by police. A bomb squad is searching what is believed to be the suspect's car.

Eyewitnesses, many of whom were traveling along Weslayen Street in the West University Place neighborhood, said a gunman carrying a revolver opened fire, shooting dozens of bullets beginning around 6:20am local time.

The Houston Police Department (HPD) confirmed "an active shooter situation in a shopping center near the corner of Weslayan and Bissonnet in southwest Houston," and that police killed the suspect while he exchanged gunfire with officers. HPD said it considers the scene "still active" but contained. A bomb squad is checking a Porsche believed to have belonged to the suspect near The Oaks condominiums on Law Street.

Comment: Update:

Houston Gunman Had 2 Weapons, Thousands of Rounds at Scene

Six of the shooting victims are in area hospitals, one is in serious condition and another is critical. The attorney has been identified as Nathan DeSai. Police have found two guns and 2500 rounds of live ammunition; a search of his home has revealed a collection of vintage military items dating to the Civil War and other guns. So far, there is no indication that a second suspect was involved. The FBI is assisting with the investigation.

DeSai's former law partner, Kenneth McDaniel, countered reports that that DeSai was 'disgruntled' over the dissolution of the business, saying the firm's closure had been prompted by a falloff in business because of the recent recession. McDaniel said he had worked with DeSai for about 12 years although he had not been in contact with him recently.

The property manager of DeSai's condo complex, said DeSai was involved in two recent incidents at the complex. In August, police were called after roofers working in the complex said DeSai pointed an assault-style rifle at them. Last week, DeSai became upset because of water pressure problems at his home, asked for maintenance help and expressed his displeasure in an email to the management firm that implied he'd "intimidate his way to getting what he was asking for".


Tempers flare in Venice as angry citizens block cruise ships from docking

© Comitato Nograndinavi
Campaigners protest against tourists in Venice
Hundreds of demonstrators have taken to the water in Venice to protest against visiting cruise ships, as relations between tourists and locals reach a new nadir.

Flare-waving protestors used gondolas and small boats to prevent cruise ships, including a vessel belonging to Thomson, from passing through the lagoon on Sunday.

During peak season some 30,000 cruise ship passengers disembark in Venice every day, which locals claim is ruining their city, both environmentally and culturally.

It's not the first time Venetians have tried to block cruise ships from entering the port. In 2013, hundreds of locals donned wetsuits and went for a swim in the world-famous Giudecca Canal to disrupt the passage of vessels.

Cruise ship operators claim their boats create little damage to Venice's fragile palazzi and reckon some 5,000 families in Venice are supported by the tourism they bring.

However, locals fear the influx of visitors is damaging the local environment, spoiling the character of Venice and pricing locals out of the city.


Second US sailor 'under review' for refusing to stand for national anthem

© Janaye Ervin / Facebook
Call it the Kaepernick effect.

As more pro athletes around the country follow San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's lead and take a knee for the Star Spangled Banner in protest, a second sailor has gone public with her own gesture of solidarity.

Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Janaye Ervin, a reservist on active duty within U.S. Pacific Fleet, is subject to administrative actions, still under review, for refusing to stand for the national anthem while in uniform Sept. 19, Bill Doughty, a spokesman for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs told Military.com.

Ervin posted a public account of her actions to Facebook on Sept. 21.

"I have been proudly serving in the US Navy Reserve Force since November 2008. I have pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to spread freedom and democracy around the world. I will never waver from that pledge," she wrote in the post, which included a photograph of herself in her Navy blue digital camouflage work uniform.

Shopping Bag

Cashing in on the military-industrial-elementary school complex

Today's highlighted article was published last month, but I didn't read it at the time and I'm guessing you didn't either.

What's so uniquely tragic about the the intrusion of the police state into America's schools, is it appears the parents themselves are the ones demanding it. This is in contrast to an overbearing surveillance state implemented by government in secret, as well as by private corporations via lengthy terms of service agreements nobody actually reads.


Southern California police report 329 firearms have gone missing in last 5 years

© Carlo Allegri / Reuters
Law enforcement agencies in Southern California have lost or had stolen a total of 329 firearms - including AR-15 and M16s assault rifles, shotguns, and several handguns - over the past five years, according to a new report.

The 329 firearms that are unaccounted for among 134 state and local law enforcement agencies - located in Southern California as far north as Kern County - likely represent only a small portion of firearms the agencies have actually misplaced or had stolen over the span of the five years analyzed in an investigation conducted by the Orange County Register.

Law enforcement agencies in the US are not required by federal law to track missing firearms, nor are there any state laws that demand the agencies accurately account for guns in their possession, the Register reported.

Furthermore, both on- and off-duty law enforcement officers in California are not held to the same standard as other citizens regarding how firearms must be stored or carried when not in use. The Register also found that none of the agencies it contacted for information on missing guns included details in its internal reports of any officer reprimands that occurred following such mishaps.

Comment: One wonders how many of these weapons have been planted at crime scenes or otherwise used to implicate civilians in a crime.

Evil Rays

Rise of the death culture: Murder rate in US up 11%, biggest increase since 1971

© Rick Wilking / Reuters
Violent crime is up by nearly 4 percent across the US, while seven cities drove the biggest single-year increase in homicide rates since 1971, says a newly released annual crime report that is causing ripples ahead of the first presidential debate.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) program defines violent crimes as those offenses that involve force or threat of force, and includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. As the FBI's definition of rape was changed in 2015, the report contains figures pertaining to the "legacy" definition, the bureau said.

The annual UCR is put together by the FBI from data provided by law enforcement agencies around the country. The 2015 report was released Monday.

With an estimated 372.6 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, the crime rate rose 3.1 percent in comparison to 2014.


Ya think? Exposed British doper Bradley Wiggins' doctor says therapeutic use exemption looks very suspicious

© Eric Gaillard / Reuters
Sir Bradley "Dopey" Wiggins.
A former team doctor who worked with Sir Bradley Wiggins says the decision to authorize the use of a powerful steroid for the five-time Olympic gold medalist before three important races "doesn't look right".

Prentice Steffen, who worked with Wiggins at Garmin Slipstream, says the sport's governing body was wrong to allow Wiggins the use of a powerful corticosteroid.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions allow athletes to take banned substances if there is a genuine medical need, but the timing of the British rider's TUEs have been called into question.

Comment: If they are so sick that they need to take banned substances, they shouldn't be competing in the first place.

Wiggins said his use of the drug was for legitimate medical reasons and that no rules were broken.

An asthma and allergy sufferer, he was allowed to use triamcinolone before three major races, including the 2012 Tour de France.

Comment: Of course it's suspicious. The doping system is set up so that the "chosen" athletes are given a free pass to dope, thus giving them a greater chance of winning. In other cases, athletes are not allowed to dope, thus keeping their countries off the podium. And others - like the Russians - are publicly vilified and banned for what all the big athletes are doing. It's a thoroughly corrupt system, subject to abuse and political agendas, and it deserves to be exposed.

Bad Guys

Watching the Killary-Drumpf debate? 26 sobering facts about the economy that every American should know

© Reuters/David Becker/Nancy Wiechec/Files
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are seen in a combination of file photos
Are you ready for the most anticipated presidential debate in decades? It is being projected that Monday's debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could potentially break the all-time record of 80 million viewers that watched Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter debate back in 1980. Many Americans probably hope to see some personal fireworks between the two nominees, but the two candidates have both expressed a desire to focus on substantive issues. There will likely be quite a few questions about the economy, and without a doubt this is an area where Trump and Clinton have some very sharp differences. The mainstream media would have us believe that the U.S. economy is in pretty good shape, and if that was true that would seem to favor Clinton. But is it actually true? The following are 26 incredible facts about the economy that every American should know for the Trump-Clinton debate...

#1 When Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. government was 10.6 trillion dollars in debt. Today, the U.S. government is 19.5 trillion dollars in debt, and Obama still has several months to go until the end of his second term. That means that an average of more than 1.1 trillion dollars will be added to the national debt during his presidency. We are stealing a tremendous amount of consumption from the future to make the economy look much, much better than it otherwise would be, and we are systematically destroying the future in the process.

#2 As Obama prepares to leave office, the rate at which we are adding to the national debt is actually increasing. During the fiscal year that is just ending, the U.S. government has added another 1.36 trillion dollars to the national debt.

Comment: Best to get your own house in order. The 'government' won't be there when the economy goes sideways.


Tonight's presidential debate: Watch how it's staged and compare its superficiality with the evening news

Every television newscast: staged reality

Watch how tonight's Trump-Hillary debate is set up.

Are the two podiums the same size? No? Who has the bigger podium?

Is the lighting even, or are there shadows? Where do the shadows fall?

Is there blue color in the background, which exudes a "calming effect?"

How is the moderator, Lester Holt, lit? Is he spotlighted, haloed, to impart the sense that he's the ultimate authority in the room?

What about camera angles on the two candidates? Are they receiving the same coverage, or is one more prominent? Are there close-ups?

Will cameras impart a sense of distance, in order to reduce dramatic effect and give the impression that the whole event is somewhat monotonous?