January 10, 2016

Dealing With Hangups Over Smoking?


This Day In History: January 10, 49 BC

On this day in history, 49 BC, Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with a legion of his soldiers, which was against Roman law. Specifically, Governors of Roman provinces (promagistrates) were not allowed to bring any part of their army within Italy itself and, if they tried, they automatically forfeited their right to rule, even in their own province. The only ones who were allowed to command soldiers in Italy were consuls or preators. This act of leading his troops into Italy would have meant Caesar’s execution and the execution of any soldier who followed him, had he failed in his conquest. Caesar was initially heading to Rome to stand trial for various charges, by order of the Senate. According to the historian Suetonius, Caesar wasn’t at first sure whether he’d bring his soldiers with him or come quietly, but he ultimately made the decision to march on Rome. ...

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Us Your Toilets (Without Parasites)

When the Romans expanded their empire across three continents, they probably seemed like the neat-freakiest people to attempt global domination.

The Romans brought aqueducts, heated public baths, flushing toilets, sewers and piped water. They even had multiseat public bathrooms decked out with contour toilet seats, a sea sponge version of toilet paper and hand-washing stations.

"And all these things you'd think would make the population healthier," says Piers Mitchell, a paleopathologist at the University of Cambridge. After all, he says, research in modern populations shows that if you use a toilet, wash your hands and drink clean water, you're less likely to have parasites and disease.

But Mitchell writes Thursday in the journal Parasitology that the empire's hygiene focus doesn't seem to have improved its population's health. At least, not by certain measures. ...

Why I left the Paris Climate Summit with an activist tattoo

I never imagined I would get a tattoo during the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris. Yet here it is, newly healed and permanently inked on the inside of my right wrist.

The tattoo is three numbers and a symbol: "355<" in 25-point font, styled as if from a typewriter. It's my commitment to the people of the climate movement, to listening to and sharing their stories of climate justice. When I was born in October 1991, the concentration of carbon dioxide — the primary greenhouse gas emitted by human activity — in our atmosphere was 355 parts per million. In the early 20th century, we topped 300 ppm for the first time in 800,000 years, beginning the destabilization of our climate and society through rising planetary temperatures.

I never knew these exact numbers before, but now that they're printed on my wrist, I will never forget. ...

10 Common Pathogens That Can Also Eat You Away

There are many common microorganisms that sometimes make their way into the local and national news. These may include microorganisms that cause food poisoning, fever, pneumonia, and more. However, these common pathogens, usually residing unnoticed on the different parts of our body, can actually turn against us and begin eating our flesh! This ranges from killing surrounding tissues to actually ingesting flesh and brain matter.

10. Streptococcus Pyogenes

Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus (GAS), is a normal flora of the human body. Under ordinary circumstances, it resides on our skin and other parts of the body. Since it is naturally pathogenic, it can sometimes cause diseases such as strep throat and scarlet fever.

In more severe cases, this bacterium can actually eat our flesh in what is called necrotizing fasciitis. In 1999, the CDC reported 600 cases of necrotizing fasciitis by S. pyogenes. The bacterium releases toxins and enzymes that directly attack and kill surrounding body cells.

If left untreated, it can eat away large parts of the body and cause death. Unfortunately, a newly discovered strain of S. pyogenes called emm89 is becoming prevalent and is a potent, causative agent of necrotizing fasciitis. ...

Itchy Eyes? Sneezing? Maybe Blame That Allergy On Neanderthals

Many people have Neanderthal genes in their DNA that predispose them to allergies, two studies published Thursday have found.

"So I suppose that some of us can blame Neanderthals for our susceptibility to common allergies, like hay fever," says Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, who led one of the teams.

Scientists once thought of Neanderthals as brutish creatures who had little in common with modern humans. But as more evidence turned up, researchers realized Neanderthals were more sophisticated than previously thought and sometimes mated with early Homo sapiens.

"When modern humans were coming out of Africa, they met the Neanderthals who were living at that time in Europe and western Asia, interbred with them and carried with them some of the Neanderthal DNA as they migrated out into wider parts of the continent," Kelso says. ...

Muslim woman gets kicked out of Trump rally — for protesting silently

As Donald Trump questioned the motives of Syrian refugees at a Friday night rally, saying they “probably are ISIS,” a woman sitting in the stands of the sports arena behind him silently stood. She was wearing a white hijab and a blue T-shirt that read: “Salam, I come in peace.”

Trump kept speaking, but soon the crowd erupted, holding up their campaign signs and chanting: “Trump! Trump! Trump!” That was the formal signal for security to remove her from the rally — even though she stood quietly, not saying anything. She was joined by several other protesters, all wearing yellow eight-pointed stars, reminiscent of the six-pointed stars Jews were forced by the Nazis to wear on their clothing during the Holocaust. On the eight-pointed stars, a common symbol in the Islamic world, was this message: “Stop Islamophobia.” ...

5 Great Actors With Dumb Early Roles They Hope We Forgot

Every actor has to start somewhere, so it's not a surprise to learn that most of the current crop of A-list celebrities began their careers in TV commercials and guest spots on sitcoms. But then there are the actors who got their starts peddling outrageous viewpoints in insane pieces of propaganda designed to steer children away from, among other things, the dangers of role-playing games and premarital sex...

#5. Tom Hanks Starred In A Fear-Mongering TV Movie About Tabletop RPGs

In 1982, a promising young actor named Tom Hanks nailed his first movie role: a made-for-TV drama called Mazes And Monsters, which was basically Reefer Madness applied to tabletop role-playing games.

"I can't promise as many cock shots as Labyrinth, but by god, there will be peeing."


Jon Stewart, NYC mayor honor cancer-stricken first responder for 9/11 health care victory

Jon Stewart says he was only a "wingman" to a cancer-stricken Sept. 11 firefighter who helped stage a last-ditch congressional fight to secure future health care for first responders.

An impassioned former "Daily Show" host joined New York Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall to honor retired firefighter Ray Pfeifer with a key to the city.

"The key to the city is a symbol of trust, and I think that if you gave it to me, you'd go to sleep, I'd steal the Chrysler Building," joked the newly bearded comedian, standing in blue jeans before uniformed firefighters, their families, elected officials — and even a dog whose father had been a 9/11 search dog.

"I love this man," Stewart said, embracing Pfeifer, who spent months digging through the World Trade Center debris searching for fellow firefighters' remains. ...

Mike Holmes: OK, holiday relaxation is over and it’s time to pull out the caulking gun

Caulking is a project most homeowners will do themselves at some point, so it’s no surprise I often get questions like “Do I caulk my toilet? What about the sink? Do I caulk around the kitchen cabinets?”

Since the number of indoor jobs rise as outdoor temperatures drop, let’s talk about what should and shouldn’t be caulked.

Toilets. There are pros and cons to caulking a toilet.

If your toilet isn’t perfectly flush against the tile (sometimes tiles and flooring can be uneven, which can create gaps between the toilet and the bathroom floor), your toilet might wobble — which increases the chances of a leak.

Also, if there are gaps it might not be all that pleasing to the eye, so sometimes adding caulking can simply be about looks.

But if you do caulk around the toilet and you do get a leak, you won’t see it because the caulking prevents any water from coming through. Instead, all that water and sewage will be trapped below the tile.

Given the pros and cons, the compromise would be just caulking the front and sides of the toilet, and not the back. That way, if there ever was a leak you would be able to see it. It would also give you a clean, finished look, if done properly. ...

10 Flying Aces From Second-Tier World Powers

A fighter ace is a pilot who gains five kills against enemy pilots. The most well-known and popular aces tend to come from major world powers like Germany or the United States. But smaller countries have their fair share of heroic pilots that fought for what they believed in, too. The lesser-known aces on this list are from countries that are not considered major world powers.

10. Mato Dukovac ~ Croatia

When Croatia became an independent country in 1941, its government organized an air army that would help the Nazis invade the Soviet Union. Mato Dukovac was among the first batch of Croatian pilots trained by the Germans. They headed off to the Eastern Front as soon as their training was over. On Dukovac’s 12th mission, he shot down a Soviet I-16 fighter plane. However, a few days later, his squadron left combat on a transfer back to Croatia.

Soon, the Germans needed more pilots to fight the Soviets and transferred Dukovac’s squadron back to the front. With more combat time, Dukovac quickly built up an impressive tally of kills against Soviet pilots. After a second and third tour of duty, he became a squadron leader. By 1944, German logistics were failing, and Dokovac’s squadron transferred to the front again but wasn’t supplied with airplanes. Infuriated, he defected to the Soviet Union, where Soviet commanders assigned him to train Yugoslavian pilots. Dukovac became increasingly frustrated in his new position and defected again in a stolen airplane. He made it to Italy and spent the rest of the war in a refugee camp. ...

Giuseppe Penone's Hidden Life Within Shows Off A Tree Within A Tree

Italian artist Giuseppe Penone is renown for his art that incorporates nature and humanity, and his 2012 exhibition, The Hidden Life Within, excavates a massive tree’s early form.

The Hidden Life Within was originally shown off at the Art Gallery of Ontario. To come up with the piece, he took a massive tree trunk and carved it away, ring by ring, to show off the tree’s earliest self.

The result is remarkable, showing off where the larger tree came from, and how it changed with years of growth. ...

You can see some more images from The Hidden Life Within over at The Modern Met.

What will aging boomers and millennials mean for economic growth?

The demographics of aging boomers and coming-of-age millennials will accelerate changes in the economy. The hard part is figuring whether they'll be good or bad for growth.

The median age of the 75 million American baby boomers was 60 in 2015. The median age of millennials, who also number an estimated 75 million, was about 25. Given their sheer numbers, their effect on the economy inevitably will be huge.

What worries some Wall Street pros is that both generations will increasingly be squeezed financially, leaving them unable or unwilling to spend — further weighing on economic growth. ...


Today in History: January 10, 1642

On January 10, 1642, King Charles and his family made their way to Oxford in fear of their lives, as the English Civil War commenced leading to the eventual execution of the King in 1649.

Charles was the son of James VI of Scotland, who became King of England when Elizabeth I died in 1603. Charles became king in 1625, and three months later married Henrietta Maria of France. They had five children and enjoyed a very happy union.

Though things were happy for Charles on the home front, from the very beginning of his reign it was one headache after another. His good buddy George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, was universally detested by the rest of the nobility for being a weasel of epic proportions, and he was assassinated in 1628. ...

What and where is the Mountain of Butterflies? Here is the incredible story of a decades-long search

In 1975 a search that has spanned several decades finally came to fruition when volunteers discovered the overwintering place of the monarch butterfly

One of the natural world's most fascinating mysteries, the Mountain of Butterflies, was unlocked 41 years ago today.
The discovery of the overwintering place of the graceful monarch butterfly had taken several decades of searching by thousands of volunteers.

The Monarch butterfly is under threat due to climate change and deforestation in Mexico, where the species migrates to from the the US and Canada in winter

But after trekking across an entire continent for an answer, it was a team led by Canadian zoologists led by Fred Urquhart that final tracked the resting place of the butterflies as they made their migratory journeys south. ...

Sean Penn Secretly Interviewed ‘El Chapo,’ Mexican Drug Lord

Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, started out in business not long after turning 6, selling oranges and soft drinks. By 15, he said in an interview conducted in a jungle clearing by the actor and director Sean Penn for Rolling Stone magazine, he had begun to grow marijuana and poppies because there was no other way for his impoverished family to survive.

Now, unapologetically, he said: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats.”

Though his fortune, estimated at $1 billion, has come with a trail of blood, he does not consider himself a violent man. “Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more,” he told Mr. Penn. “But do I start trouble? Never.”

The seven hours Mr. Guzmán spent with Mr. Penn, and the follow-up interviews by phone and video — which began in October while he was on the run — marked another surreal turn in his long-running effort to evade the Mexican and American authorities. Mr. Guzmán, one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, who had twice escaped jail, was captured in his home state of Sinaloa in northwest Mexico on Friday after a gun battle with the authorities. ...

Hidden Changing Room Cameras: 7 Security Guard Confessions

If you own a store, you kind of accept that a significant chunk of your stock is just going to go right out the door, nested snugly in the pockets of thieves. And whether it's the economy, the need for instant gratification, or simply human nature, people's fingers have gotten stickier than ever. We spoke with three anonymous "loss prevention officers," who are in charge of stopping these petty (but shockingly frequent) crimes. Here's what they have discovered about humanity in their quest to keep the delinquent mobs at bay:

#7. Changing Rooms Are Full Of Shenanigans (And We May Be Watching)

When you fumble around in your underwear in a store's fitting room, maybe you peer suspiciously at every corner, looking for cameras, or you study the mirror to see if there's a bored security guard sitting behind it. For shoplifters, changing rooms are famously hide-the-stolen-booty rooms, so you figure the store's secretly monitoring you. (And yes, it's perfectly legal in most cases -- only 13 US states forbid monitoring customers in dressing rooms.) But many stores don't need electronic surveillance or two-way mirrors for this. They can see you right through the changing room door, which often has slats.

These look merely decorative when you're on the inside, since they're angled upward and you can't see a thing through them. But from the outside, people nearby can see in just fine (from the right angle). Customers don't creep close and look in, or else they'd be hauled off to the pervert jail. But loss prevention officers can and will do this as they stroll by. When reporters occasionally investigate and complain, stores have to admit, "Yeah, that's pretty messed up" and change the doors.

RIP corporately acceptable shoe mirrors.


The white man pathology

On an American road trip, Stephen Marche enters the fray with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in Iowa and gets a view of the campaign trail from the perspective of his whiteness

The border
You feel your whiteness properly at the American border. Most of the time being white is an absence of problems. The police don’t bother you so you don’t notice the police not bothering you. You get the job so you don’t notice not getting it. Your children are not confused with criminals. I live in downtown Toronto, in one of the most liberal neighborhoods in one of the most open cities in the world, where multiculturalism is the dominant civic value and the inert virtue of tolerance is the most prominent inheritance of the British empire, so if you squint you can pretend the ancient categories are dissipating into a haze of enlightenment and intermarriage.

Not at the border.

My son’s Guyanese-Canadian teacher and the Muslim Milton scholar I went to high school with and the Sikh writer I squabble about Harold Innis with and my Ishmaeli accountant, we can all be good little Torontonians of the middle class, deflecting the differences we have been trained to respect. But in a car in the carbon monoxide-infused queue waiting to enter Detroit, their beings diverge drastically from mine.

I am white. They are not. They are vulnerable. I am not. ...

Stephen Colbert Explains What Will Really Happen If North Korea Detonates an H-Bomb

It's scary, but also kind of funny?​

Remember when Wolf Blitzer stormed in with the BREAKING NEWS that North Korea had detonated a Hydrogen bomb earlier this week? And then South Korea vowed to retaliate by blasting K-Pop at the border on Dear Leader's birthday? And U.S. officials popped up to dispute that the bomb was really a bomb? All of that happened in a span of 72 hours or so, and then it was pretty much over. But here's Stephen Colbert inhaling a helium birthday balloon (Kim Jong-un claims to have turned 33 yesterday) and pointing out the one big thing that everyone missed. Oh, and, Jeb (!) keeps turtles in his pocket like any sane presidential candidate. Good to know. ...

10 Odd Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Mind And Body

We’ve all heard the phrase “I know this place like the back of my hand.” It expresses ultimate familiarity, the idea that you know an area as well as your own body.

But your body might beg to differ. For as much as we think we’ve got a handle on the skin suit we spend all day strolling around in, the truth is it’s capable of lobbing some strange surprises. Think you know yourself? Think again.

10. Your Body Probably Isn’t The Shape You Think It Is

Humans come in a fascinating range of shapes and sizes. You might be shaped like a beach ball, a pear, a masculine V, an hourglass, or something else entirely. Good luck telling someone else what that shape is if you’re female. A 2014 study by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) found that only 10 percent of British women could correctly identify their body shape.

Female bodies tend to come in five varieties. There are pears (big butt, small bust), spoons (big bust, small butt), rectangles (similar bust, waist, and shoulder size), and triangles/inverted triangles. Then there’s the hourglass—the curvy figure of Jessica Rabbit and a thousand teenage fantasies. The hourglass is meant to be the pinnacle of femininity. It’s the body shape most female clothes are cut for. It’s also a shape that remarkably few women can lay claim to. ...

For Republicans, Mounting Fears of Lasting Split

The Republican Party is facing a historic split over its fundamental principles and identity, as its once powerful establishment grapples with an eruption of class tensions, ethnic resentments and mistrust among working-class conservatives who are demanding a presidential nominee who represents their interests.

At family dinners and New Year’s parties, in conference calls and at private lunches, longtime Republicans are expressing a growing fear that the coming election could be shattering for the party, or reshape it in ways that leave it unrecognizable.

While warring party factions usually reconcile after brutal nomination fights, this race feels different, according to interviews with more than 50 Republican leaders, activists, donors and voters, from both elite circles and the grass roots.

Never have so many voters been attracted to Republican candidates like Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who are challenging core party beliefs on the economy and national security and new goals like winning over Hispanics through immigration reform. ...

Jeb Bush Rekindles Campaign Excitement With Pledge To Screw The Poors

Jeb Bush may have started the week looking like an incompetent nebbish, but he wrapped it up with a strong appeal to the GOP’s deranged sociopath wing, proposing that the federal food stamp program be eliminated and replaced with block grants, if states even decide poor people deserve help. The proposal would kill off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (microscopic cash payments to families with children), as well as federal housing assistance. Now before you start posting memes of Jeb asking “Are there no workhouses?” remember, he’s got a plan to replace them, and it just happens to have the same name as his superPAC:

Instead, state governments would be able to apply for new federal “Right to Rise” grants to pay for programs launched to assist lower-income residents.

“I know that giving states more flexibility will open the door for transformative ideas to eliminate poverty and increase opportunity,” Bush wrote in a document outlining his plan released Friday morning.

Oh, “flexibility” and “transformative ideas”! In other words, whatever the hell states want to do, as long as it sufficiently shames people for being poor. ...

Why Paul Ryan stopped referring to "makers" and "takers"

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, used to occasionally refer to Americans as "takers" and "makers" in speeches about economic policy - the former was a reference to Americans on government benefits. In a 2014 Wall Street Journal opinion piece, however, Ryan acknowledged that the phrase "gave insult where none was intended," and promised to stop using it.

In an interview Saturday with "Face the Nation" moderator John Dickerson, Ryan explained why he changed his tune on the subject.

"I was wrong," explained Ryan in the interview, which will air Sunday on "Face the Nation." "I mean, when you do something that it wrong, you should call to it."

"People who go on government assistance, people who are on government benefits, sure, some people are going to exploit the system. Some people are choosing to just, you know, live on the dole and not work because they prefer that. That's a small percentage of it," explained Ryan, who was in South Carolina to host a summit focused on how Republicans can help alleviate poverty in America. ...

The 5 Most Shameless Money Grabs By The Fitness Industry

By now, most of us have given up on our annual January attempts to shed some of the excess weight our rampant holiday feasting slapped on us. We've given dieting a shot. We've hit the gym. The most desperate of us may have even dabbled with fucking CrossFit. Yet as the weeks go by, we're slowly adapting to our new, slightly portlier figures and learning to embrace the additional padding.

At least, that's how most of us function. A select few will take one last, sad step and decide to give working out at home a try. You know, because the driving to and from the gym is what really sucks about working out. Not everyone can afford to shell out for their own cardio machine and an array of weights, though, and opt instead to pay still-obscene dollar amounts for useless machines that promise a shortcut to health and fitness. For example ...

#5. Osim iGallop

Do you like horseback riding, but hate the idea of owning and caring for a giant animal? That ... actually makes sense. Riding's pretty good exercise, but horses are a hassle unless you happen to have a handy stable nearby, which you don't. Also, a horse eats and poops, and keeping up with both costs about as much as a car payment each month.

Way less sad to put a bullet in your car when it breaks down, though.


Fracking shakes the American west: ‘a millennium’s worth of earthquakes’

Seismologists’ warnings about hydraulic fracturing and wastewater disposal divide residents, politicians and companies in Colorado and Oklahoma, while temblors increase around the region

Oklahomans don’t blink when they hear warnings about tornadoes, drought or ice-storms. Earthquakes, however, catch their attention.

Increasingly tied to tremors shaking the west, fracking for natural gas is creating alarm and division around western states that until recently enjoyed a boom in jobs and revenue.

In Oklahoma, seismologists have warned that significant temblors last week could signal a larger, more dangerous earthquake to come in a state where drilling is destabilizing the bedrock.

Last Wednesday night two earthquakes, measuring 4.7 and 4.8 on the Richter scale, struck rural northern Oklahoma, beneath a major oil and gas producing area. The state historically experiences two shakes a year registering above level three.

According to the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC), which is based in Colorado, in 2014 Oklahoma experienced 585 such quakes. In 2015 there were 842. ...

How to Tell What's Going to Kill You

What should you fear? The answers are different at each stage of life—and vary dramatically for different groups of Americans.

In general, the probability of death is pretty simple to calculate. It’s 100 percent. We all die.

But the devil is in the details. Humans fear catastrophe and disaster, and accordingly, tend to worry about horrifying events: gunfire, a terrorist attack, lightning strikes. The fact that such grisly ends rarely come to pass—especially if you stay inside during thunderstorms—doesn’t seem to reduce such concerns.

Every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a compendium of how many Americans died the year before. There’s plenty to be learned about freak accidents—two people died in 2014 from “ignition or melting of nightwear”—but the data also shows how exceptionally hardy human beings are.

In any given year of their lives, Americans far more likely to keep chugging along than not. Even at the frail age of 85, you have a 92 percent chance of surviving to the next year. ...

Shoplifter hid shrimp in his pants

WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Police are searching for a man who was caught on surveillance video trying to steal frozen shrimp by hiding them in his pants.

It happened around noon Friday at the Dollar General on South Slappey Blvd.

According to a report, a store employee saw a man putting bags of shrimp inside his waistband.

The manager confronted the man, and said she heard a "crunch" from his waistband when stopped. ...


1) The human brain uses about 20% of the entire body’s oxygen and caloric intake, despite accounting for only about 2% of an adult body’s mass.

2) Around 85% of humans primarily breathe out of one nostril at a time and this breathing pattern happens cyclically, with about four hours or so between your body switching from one nostril to the other via erectile tissue in your nose that is somewhat similar to erectile tissue in a penis or clitoris. ...

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