March 12, 2016


On March 12, 2011, at approximately 4:30 in the afternoon, I pulled up with a large U-Haul truck in front of a little ranch home in east Longmont, Colorado with three very agitated parrots.

Note to the sane: Never travel in a U-Haul truck with three parrots.

This began the latest adventure in my life: Returning to the area where I grew up to try and find a way to breathe new life into me.

I was listening to NPR’s All Things Considered on December 19, 2010 and was struck by a story: Finding Simon And Garfunkel’s ‘America’ In Saginaw, Mich.

The story is about Eric Schantz, a mural painter from Saginaw, Michigan.

He’d grown up in Saginaw to a dying community. As the General Motors plants closed down, so did his hometown. He left Saginaw to attend college in Kansas City.

Upon his return, he missed the town where he grew up and wanted to help.

So he and a bunch of his buddies started a guerrila art project called Paint Saginaw, where they’d paint boarded up buildings with the lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel’s America.

Their goal: breathe some new life into their hometown.

As I listened to the story, tears were streaming down my face. Not because I needed to breathe new life into my former hometown (hey, the tech industry has done plenty of that), but because I needed to breathe some new life into me.

So I started looking online at houses in Boulder County, Colorado.

I quickly learned I could never afford a nice home in Boulder proper. Longmont, however, is just ten miles up the road and was still reeling from the housing crash.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity presented itself to me: I could buy my own home, fix it to my liking and start life fresh, losing all the patterns and problems that caused me to become restless and unhappy.

Fast forward five years: I’m happy in my little house. I’ve become very active physically, lost a lot of weight, solved a slew of health issues and have gotten into the best shape of my life.

Thank you Eric Schantz for inspiring me.

Me and my best bud Miguel the Macaw out for a walk


This Day In History: March 12, 1969

March 12, 1969, was a busy day in the Land of Fab Four. Paul McCartney, the last bachelor Beatle, married his girlfriend Linda Eastman, while George and Pattie Harrison were paid a visit by the Drugs Squad.

One of the most enduring marriages in rock began, after a night of intense arguing according to the groom, at the Marylebone Registry Office in Westminster. The weeping fans outside may have been mourning the loss of the cute Beatle, but the Beatles would soon be no more. None of Paul’s bandmates were present as he and his new wife took their vows.

The couple tried to keep the event a secret, but despite their efforts crowds of fans and reporters turned up to get a glimpse of the newlyweds. Paul and Linda entered the building through a side door to avoid most of the throng and then twiddled their thumbs for an hour waiting for McCartney’s brother Mike, whose train had broken down. …

Make America White Again?

Donald Trump’s language is eerily similar to the 1920s Ku Klux Klan—hypernationalistic and anti-immigrant.

Last weekend, Saturday Night Live produced a mock “Voters for Trump” ad, in which everyday “real Americans” gently describe why they support Donald Trump for president—before they are all revealed to be white supremacists, Klan members, and Nazis. Trump, of course, not only received former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s support for his candidacy, but also declined to disavow the Ku Klux Klan on CNN.

This has happened before. As The Atlantic’s Yoni Appelbaum pointed out, the Republican front-runner’s refusal to repudiate white supremacists’ support as well as the bombast in his campaign are both echoes of the Ku Klux Klan. As a historian of the 1920s Klan, I noticed the resonances, too. Trump’s “Make America great again” language is just like the rhetoric of the Klan, with their emphasis on virulent patriotism and restrictive immigration. But maybe Trump doesn’t know much about the second incarnation of the order and what Klansmen and Klanswomen stood for. Maybe the echoes are coincidence, not strategy to win the support of white supremacists. Maybe Trump just needs a quick historical primer on the 1920s Klan—and their vision for making America great again. …

Donald Trump’s campaign violence is condoned all the way to the top

The Trump campaign has tried write off rally violence as something he didn’t sanction, but now his campaign manager has manhandled a reporter

When will the first pro-Donald Trump murder happen?

The incidents are piling up. A Black Lives Matters protester was sucker-punched by a white bystander at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. A young black woman was surrounded and shoved aggressively by a number of individuals at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky. A black protester was tackled, then punched and kicked by a group of men as he curled up on the ground in Birmingham, Alabama. Immigration activists were shoved and stripped of their signs by a crowd in Richmond, Virginia. A Latino protester was knocked down and kicked by a Trump supporter in Miami.

At a press conference on Friday morning Trump even seemed to encourage violence at his rallies. “We’ve had some violent people as protesters,” he said. “These are people that punch. These are violent people.” (No such videos have been found.) This adds to evidence piling up that the Trump campaign’s culture of violence extends all the way to the top. …

10 Highly Bizarre Space Conspiracy Theories

Outer space is filled with mysteries, and it is no surprise that many modern myths and weird conspiracy theories relate to the infinite vacuum hugging our little blue speck. In the past, we have talked about secret NASA plans to ignite Jupiter, Barack Obama’s teenage excursion to the red planet, and a mysterious alien satellite lurking in orbit around Earth. But we just couldn’t stop there.

10. Martian Nuclear War

In 2014, Dr. John Brandenburg published his paper “Evidence of a Massive Thermonuclear Explosion on Mars in the Past, the Cydonian Hypothesis and Fermi’s Paradox” in the somewhat dubious Journal of Cosmology. His theory is based on the presence of radioactive isotopes like xenon-129 in the Martian atmosphere, which can only be created by nuclear detonation according to Brandenburg.

Although he once believed that there was a nuclear explosion on Mars caused by natural forces, he now believes that there was once a humanoid civilization living on Mars that was destroyed by nuclear warfare. He is also one of the authors of Dead Mars, Dying Earth, which uses this history of Martian extinction as a cautionary tale for our own world.

He believes that there were actually two species of indigenous Martians, whom he calls the Cydonians and the Utopians. According to Brandenburg, they had the technological level of the ancient Egyptians. Some see the supposed structures on Mars that are captured by NASA images as evidence of these ancient cultures. …

Mike Holmes: World Plumbing Day reminds us how important our water supply is

World Plumbing Day is on March 11, and with all the news coverage about what’s going on with the water in Flint, Mich., I think we can all appreciate the impact plumbing has on everyone of our lives.

It usually takes a small crisis at home — like a burst pipe or a leaky gasket — for us to realize the importance of a good plumber and reliable plumbing in our homes. But when things get bad on a much bigger scale, like water contamination in a major city, it’s a big wake-up call.

You might not know it, but in many municipalities across Canada, lead can still be found in the drinking water. It’s usually found in houses built before 1950 or so — when lead was used in plumbing supply lines. Since then, we’ve moved on to other materials, such as copper, but as recent as 1990 lead was still used in the solder to connect copper pipes. …

Much Of The World Doesn’t Do Daylight Saving Time. How Come?

On Sunday morning, Americans will “spring forward.” With the exception of Hawaii and some parts of Arizona, people will set their clocks ahead to get more light at night.

Not everybody’s on board. Sure, Australia and most of Europe join us but most African and Asian nations skip daylight saving time. India and China don’t enforce it, for example.

But it doesn’t mean they haven’t tried. Since the concept of daylight saving time was first embraced by Germany during World War I, many parts of the world have flirted with DST, mostly in the hope it could cut down on electricity usage. …

How Daylight Saving Time Affects Your Health and Productivity

Turning clocks back is supposed to save energy and improve efficiency. Here’s the reality.

he annual ritual of losing an hour of sleep to Daylight Saving Time (DST) is about to happen on March 13, the second Sunday of March and annual date for the change. The spring forward happens at 2 a.m., but not all of the country observes it. Holdouts include Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and most of Arizona.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Daylight Saving Time is meant to save energy, reduce traffic accidents, and reduce crime. It all sounds rational on the surface, but the tradition is one with an odd heritage and questionable results. …

10 Divisive Demagogues Throughout History

Since the rise of Donald Trump in US politics, the word “demagogue” has been widely used in the press to describe him. It’s a controversial term, as one person’s demagogue can be another person’s inspirational leader. The word itself comes from the Greek word dema, meaning “people,” and gogue, meaning “leader.” In modern usage, it refers to someone who appeals to emotions and prejudices to further their own political ends.

The troubling issue with demagogues is that not only do they distort logic and truth, but they stir up the masses and sow deep divisions in society. The black and white thinking and hostile rhetoric toward the “other” that they encourage is damaging to the fabric of society and critical thought.

Nevertheless, demagogues have been a societal staple since ancient times. Wherever there are segments of society that can be riled up, there will be demagogues. Well-known demagogues include Huey P. Long, Joseph McCarthy, and Father Charles Coughlin, a precursor to modern talk radio. Here are some lesser-known historical figures who have earned the label of “demagogue.”

10. Cleon

Cleon of Athens nearly brought Athens’s democracy to its knees. His acts of oppression were many, but it was his attempted genocide of a vanquished people that earned him a reputation as one of the most brutal demagogues in history.

What is called “the Mytilenean debate” is found in a passage in Thucydides’s The Peloponnesian War. The debate was on how to deal with the rebellion of Mytilene, a city that Athens had conquered. The Athenians were angry. They wanted to execute not only those who had rebelled, but every male citizen of the city. The order was given, but after some reflection, the Athenians had second thoughts. …

Conservatives Face an Impossible Choice

They can back Trump, or run a candidate of their own—but either way, they’ll bring this era of American politics to a close.

The accelerating likelihood that Donald Trump will win the Republican presidential nomination outright thrusts an agonizing dilemma on Republican politicians. Leave aside their own personal feelings about Trump. The most likely consequence of a Trump nomination is a severe Republican defeat in November, and not a defeat for Trump alone. Some significant number of Republicans just won’t vote for Trump. When people don’t want to vote for the top of a ticket, they often stay home altogether, dooming every close race lower down on the ticket.

Republicans have Senate seats at risk in Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—sufficient to put the Republican majority in question. The House looks safer, as does the Republican hold on state governments, but who knows? Trump is most objectionable to the most reliable and loyal Republican voters, exactly the kind of people who vote Republican for every office all the way down to county commissioner. Perhaps the very most reliable and most loyal will show up no matter what, skip the top line, and otherwise vote the straight ticket. Or perhaps not. …

The Deal is Made: Kasich to Ohio, Rubio to Florida, Cruz Out of Both.

Let’s review shall we.

Jeb Bush has a private meeting with Kasich, Cruz, and Rubio.

Cruz’s campaign, after a lot of bluster about going all in in Florida admits it was all a head fake. They had one event scheduled for today with Sean Hannity in Orlando that was previously scheduled and will be nationally focused, not Florida focused. Then Cruz is bailing on Florida. For the Rubio folks complaining, I’m told the campaign did try to make adjustments, but couldn’t for reasons not in the campaign’s control. …


Today in History: March 12, 1776

On this day in 1776, a public notice ran in the local newspapers in Baltimore, Maryland acknowledging the large contribution being made by women to the Revolutionary cause. The notice proclaimed:

The necessity of taking all imaginable care of those who may happen to be wounded in the country’s cause, urges us to address our humane ladies, to lend us their kind assistance in furnishing us with linen rags and old sheeting, for bandages.

Posted bills appeared all over town that evening that read: “Our country’s cause for liberty includes us all.”

Women were aiding the cause with their nursing skills, but that was hardly their only contribution. The boycotts the colonists enacted in protest against British taxation seemed to involve products purchased mostly by women at the time, such as tea and cloth. …

How Trump’s $50m golf club became $1.4m when it came time to pay tax

Same Donald Trump-owned golf club is separately accused of causing floods that led to $240,000 worth of damage to New York village of Briarcliff Manor

An attempt by Donald Trump to slash the property tax bill on a golf club outside New York City may be undermined by records indicating that he previously said the property was worth 35 times more than the value he is now trying to convince a judge to approve.

The Republican presidential frontrunner is suing the town of Ossining in Westchester County to reduce the taxes on Trump National Golf Club, a 147-acre property with a lavish clubhouse and 18-hole course whose managers are separately accused of causing floods that led to $240,000 worth of damage to local public facilities.

Trump’s lawsuit in county court argues that the luxurious private club, which he bought in foreclosure for about $8m in the mid-1990s before spending what he claimed at the club’s opening event was another $45m in improvements, has been unfairly assessed and is in fact worth only $1.4m. …

How Much Wealth and Income Does America’s 1 Percent Really Have?

A new paper from the Brookings Institute suggest that the gap may actually be smaller than economist once thought.

In recent years, as economic inequality in America has grown, many researchers have tried to figure out just how much wealth and income those at the top have. These figures then come to stand for the magnitude of economic inequality in the U.S. One such finding is that of Emmanuel Saez, the Berkeley economist and Thomas Piketty-collaborator, who has found that America’s 1 percent’s share of total U.S. income is roughly 20 percent.

But a new paper from the Brookings Institute challenges this and other calculations of Saez and Piketty, arguing that while wealth and income inequality are indeed increasing (nobody disputes that), they haven’t done so at the magnitude that Piketty and his colleagues have found. The paper, authored by three Federal Reserve economists—Jesse Bricker, Alice Henriques, and John Sabelhaus—and Jacob Krimmel of Wharton, found that from 1992 to 2012, the top 1 percent’s share of wealth rose by 6 percentage points to 33 percent. This is substantially lower than estimates by Saez and his colleagues, which estimates that the share of wealth held by the 1 percent is 42 percent. The share of income estimate is more similar: The Brookings paper found that the share income earned by the 1 percent is 18 percent, while Piketty and Saez’s 2012 estimate is 23 percent. …

6 Horrifying Ways They Used To Treat Basic Medical Issues

Historical medicine largely consisted of doctors doing things that today would be considered violent felonies. With treatments ranging from stabbing your asshole with heated metal to gargling a mouthful of human waste, it’s a wonder we kept going back to doctors often enough to turn medicine into the most flagrantly expensive industry in the entire world.

#6. Curing Hemorrhoids Involved A Red-Hot Poker To The Anus

If the sheer volume of relief creams and homeopathic remedies that people will slather on just to avoid going to the doctor are any indication, today’s treatments for hemorrhoids are no walk in the park. Still, they couldn’t possibly hold a candle to the accepted historical treatment, which was to fill one’s asshole with red-hot iron pokers until the offending hemorrhoid burned and exploded.

“It smells like a slab of bacon just farted in here.”

On drugs, Nancy Reagan just said ‘no.’ On AIDS, she said nothing.

Nancy Reagan stared into the camera with her glistening hazel eyes. Her hair was a perfect feathery helmet, her lipstick a shade of coral, her ears pinned with gold.

“There’s no moral middle ground,” she said. “Indifference is not an option.”

It was September 14, 1986. She was talking about drugs. She was not talking about AIDS.

Reagan’s vocal crusade against one scourge, and her relative silence on the other, adorn her legacy with complications, in this week after her death at 94. Another former first lady, at Reagan’s funeral in Simi Valley, Calif., Friday, proved that these nerves are still raw. …

Hillary Clinton Suddenly Has a Big Gay Problem

Hillary Clinton’s apology for “misspeaking” about the Reagans’ support for people with AIDS may mean her LGBT supporters forgive her. Maybe not. Either way, she needs a primer in LGBT history.

For a while on Friday, it looked like the latest lunatic pronouncement of Caitlyn Jenner—someone who claims the homophobic Ted Cruz and the GOP are LGBT supporters—was yet another manifestation of her wrong-headedness.

Hillary Clinton, Jenner will opine in Sunday’s episode of I Am Cait, is a “fucking liar.”

If you had your head buried in your hands over Jenner’s slur on Clinton, Clinton soon proved herself to be, well—a liar, or at least spectacularly misinformed, claiming and elaborating in an MSNBC interview on why the Reagans (particularly Nancy, whose funeral she was attending) were sterling HIV and AIDS advocates. …

10 Recent Findings From The Fascinating World Of Ants

We can’t get enough of ants, those “little things that run the world” as they were described by renowned biologist E.O. Wilson. Myrmecology (the study of ants) still entices many scientists because there is plenty more to reveal. Here are some of the most interesting things that we’ve learned lately about ants.

10. An Inspiration To Professional Boxers

Longmont police: DUI suspect asks cops if they are Trump supporters

Longmont police arrested a Firestone man on suspicion of DUI on Tuesday and helped him pull up his pants, even after he berated them repeatedly, called them gay and went on and on about Donald Trump, a police report said.

Police said they pulled over Hugo Lara near Gardner and Willodene drives shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday for a broken taillight and soon realized that Lara, 21, was under the influence of alcohol.

Police noticed multiple open containers inside Lara’s 2012 Subaru, but he would not cooperate with officers who were trying to investigate, the report said. …

‘The Simpsons’ fans prank local news station with show references

I’m looking for Amanda, last name Hugandkiss.

A local news station in Australia keeps getting duped by fans of “The Simpsons.”

Several show-lovers have been sending Facebook messages to 7 News Australia. And the news tips seem legitimate enough until someone from the station replies.

The Simpsons – Crazed Fat Homer Stealing Ice Cream Truck

“Hey 7 News! An old man has crashed his car into a house near mine. Do you guys want pictures?” one prankster writes.

The station replies “Is he ok?” and asks for photos and contact information for the sender.

“He seems to be fine! Just a little startled! Crazy it was his sons house,” the prankster continues.

They then include a photo of Grampa Simpson driving his car through Homer’s living room. …


Karl G. asks: Why does cheddar cheese turn orange when the milk used to make it is white?

Milk is made up of about 87% water and 13% solids, such as fat and various proteins. Chief among these proteins is something called casein, four types of which make up about 80% of the proteins in milk. The casein protein molecules are typically suspended somewhat uniformly throughout the milk and are spherical, about a micrometer across. The reason they are somewhat uniformly suspended in the liquid is because kappa-casein molecules have a negative electrical charge, so they repel each other.

White objects in nature appear such when there is some level of light diffusion going on and no part of the visible spectrum gets reflected off the object any more than any other part of that area of the light spectrum. As you might guess from that, these casein proteins and some of the fats in the milk scatter and deflect light somewhat uniformly throughout the visual spectrum. This results in milk being fairly opaque and appearing white to our eyes.

This brings us back to the question at hand- if milk is white, why is cheddar cheese such a striking orange-ish / yellow color? …

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