Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Menso by Brian Kent is an often brilliant single-strip comic that you'd probably never seen.
Behold the Internet!
I’ve been drawing this cartoon in one form or another over the last fifteen years. An earlier and even less funny version of the cartoon appeared my university paper in the mid nineties. Since then I’ve drawn it mainly to hear the forced laughter of friends and family.
I’ve named the web-comic Menso, which is Spanish for stupid and foolish. The newer cartoons are in the taller format, and the older cartoons are wider, and they may or may not be colored. I have years and years of cartoons already drawn, so there’s no excuse not to post at least a few every week.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, August 22, 2016
Recently Donald Trump has been trying to appeal to black voters by asking, "What do you have to lose by voting for Donald Trump?" I can think of quite a number of things, and anyone with a functioning brain ought to be able to do the same.
A comic long-thought to be deceased, A Whitney Brown, has reanimated again and is asking a similar question to the rednecks in America. After all, what the hell have Republicans been doing for YOU, rednecks?!
It's an excellent question better left answered by the professionals. That's your cue A.
Original, or, at least, where I found it.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Watermelon is one of my favorite foods of all time, and deep into the summer, watermelon is everywhere!! Here are a few interesting things you may not have known about watermelon, courtesy of the AARP.
Here is the amazing thing about watermelons: They are 92 percent water, which is why we want to dive face first into a cold, juicy slice on hot summer days. But that’s not the only reason to gorge on this delicious fruit. Watermelons are also “nutrient-dense,” as dietitians put it, which is a shorthand way of saying they are chock full of stuff that’s good for you. Here are six surprising things you may not have known about summer’s favorite melon.
It’s a fruit! No, it’s a vegetable!
The redder the better
Beyoncé believes in it
Good for prostate protection
Eat it with a little fat
Kidney disease? Don’t go overboard
Saturday, August 20, 2016
It's past time for governments and corporations to take solar power seriously and quit putting roadblocks in front of it. Some of these fossil fuel multinational corporations talk alternate energies but they are not doing much about it. If they wait much longer, they are going to be irrelevant even quicker than by the inevitable, natural process of petroleum running dry.
Solar Delivers Cheapest Electricity ‘Ever, Anywhere, By Any Technology’
Half the price of coal!
|Chile exceeded 1000 Megawatts of solar this year. CREDIT: ACERA.|
In last week’s energy auction, Chile accepted a bid from Spanish developer Solarpack Corp. Tecnologica for 120 megawatts of solar at the stunning price of $29.10 per megawatt-hour (2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour or kwh). This beats the 2.99 cents/kwh bid Dubai received recently for 800 megawatts. For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.
“Solar power delivers cheapest unsubsidised electricity ever, anywhere, by any technology,” BNEF Chair Michael Liebreich said on Twitter after this contract was announced.
Carlos Finat, head of the Chilean Renewable Energies Association (ACERA) told Bloomberg that the auction is “a strong warning sign that the energy business continues on the transition path to renewable power and that companies should adapt quickly to this transition process.” Indeed, in the same auction, the price of coal power was nearly twice as high!
Grid-connected solar power on Chile has quadrupled since 2013. Total installed capacity exceeded 1,000 megawatts this year — the most by far in South America. Another 2,000 megawatts is under construction, and there are over 11,000 megawatts that are “RCA Approved” (i.e. have environmental permits).
Chile is aided by the fact that its Atacama desert is “the region with the highest solar radiation on the planet,” according to the Inter-American Development Bank. So much solar is being built in the high-altitude desert that Northern Chile can’t use it all, and the government is rushing to build new transmission lines.
Chile is part of a global trend where solar energy has doubled seven times since 2000. In the U.S. alone, it has grown 100-fold in the past decade thanks to a sharp drop in prices that has brought the cost of solar (with subsidies) to under four cents a kilowatt hour in many places, as I detailed last month.
The future for solar could not be sunnier.
Friday, August 19, 2016
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Voter suppression is becoming about the only way Republicans can win elections in this country. The demographics of the United States are changing fast, with more minorities and fewer "whites" the norm. This scares the crap out of Republicans, who know their days are numbered, because heaven forbid they have to actually try to appeal to the dirty dark-skinned mongrels. They know they are hate-filled racist scumbags and realize the only way they can win is to have fewer minorities vote. So we see new law after new law in the red states that chip away at the number of voters.
The editorial below also demonstrates the importance of the judicial branch. If we get a right-wing retard in office, they tend to appoint other right-wing retards to the bench. Liberals and Democrats tend to appoint a much more open-minded judiciary, often bending over backwards to be "fair" and appoint a right-wing-nut now and then, but that almost never happens when right-wing retards are doing the appointing.
And so the Republican response to a liberal President is to block as many judges as possible, until another right-wing retard can "take" office again.
If they had any shame, they'd be embarrassed. The often-touted reason for these racist laws is all of the "voter fraud" that has been taking place. However, study after study reveals that there is practically NO voter fraud going on, so they try to cloak their actions in even more cloudy terms, like "restoring the integrity of the ballot box". Gag me. Shall we talk about election fraud?
Honest Republicans (an oxymoron, I know) know that these measures are discriminatory, but they put them in place anyway. They also know that they will be challenged in court, but that challenge can often take a year or more to make it through the justice system, and in the meantime, an election or two can be held. So they are happy to squeeze out even one election that keeps minorities from the polls, because that may be enough time to get more right-wing retards into office.
Another Defeat for G.O.P Voting Schemes
The scurrilous campaign by Republican lawmakers in a number of states to disenfranchise qualified voters suffered another setback this week, when a federal judge ordered North Dakota to halt voter identification restrictions he said were blocking thousands of Native Americans from exercising their right to vote.
In blocking the 2013 law, a United States District Court judge, Daniel Hovland, noted that voter fraud — Republican politicians’ widely disproven rationale for tougher ID requirements — was “virtually nonexistent” in the state. He ordered the state to return to “safety net” protections used effectively for years at the polls, including a voter’s signed affidavit of eligibility, and far less restrictive documentation than the narrow ID requirements of the law.
The ruling was the sixth time in recent months that federal courts rejected unfair voter restrictions enacted by Republican-controlled legislatures in thinly veiled attempts at voter suppression timed for the presidential election.
Last Friday, a federal appeals court struck down the heart of a new North Carolina voting law found to block African-American voters with what it called “almost surgical precision” just as the black vote has been growing in power in that important swing state. In Texas, a federal court struck down elaborate ID requirements as unconstitutional, freeing more than 600,000 Latinos and blacks to vote this November. Other rulings have ordered retreats from blatantly unfair restrictions in Wisconsin, Kansas and Ohio. More lawsuits are in the courts, brought by minorities and voting rights defenders complaining that the laws interfere with voters who are thought to favor Democrats.
As the courts remove these crude hurdles one after another, Donald Trump has begun complaining that his presidential campaign may be facing a “rigged” outcome. Studies have established that fraud is a minuscule factor in American elections. But Mr. Trump told The Washington Post this week, “If you don’t have voter ID, you can just keep voting and voting and voting.”
In truth, the recent court decisions help “un-rig” the election by rejecting shamefully partisan strictures. In the North Dakota ruling, the judge found that more than 3,800 Native Americans could have been denied the vote in November in part because the Legislature’s new restrictions required specific residential addresses on ID documents — an obvious rebuff to the Indian reservation culture of using postal boxes for mail. This is the level of malicious voter suppression to which Republican statehouses have been stooping.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
It is rather amazing that our medical technology and geniuses have not yet developed a pain-killer that is not addictive, and doesn't cause other problems like constipation and suppressed respiration. But that long wait may be (almost) over.
I am very interested in the outcome of these trials below because I have been taking painkillers for almost 10 years now because of nerve pain in my feet.
While I believe that I am not addicted to the pain pills (one to two pills per day is not a serious "problem"), I have certainly become "used" to taking them. At present, they are the only thing that provides real pain relief for my feet. Without them, I shudder to think what my life would be like.
New painkiller could replace morphine: study
by Marlowe Hood
Paris (AFP) - Scientists recently unveiled a synthetic drug that appears to neutralise pain as effectively as morphine but without the side-effects that make opioids so dangerous and addictive.
The big-data methods used by the researchers also open up a promising avenue in drug innovation, they reported in the journal Nature.
In experiments with mice, the new compound -- identified after screening "trillions" of candidates -- activated a known molecular pathway in the brain that triggers pain suppression.
But unlike morphine and prescription drugs such as oxycodone or oxycontin, it did not switch on a second pathway that can slow or block normal breathing.
Respiratory suppression caused by opioids results in some 30,000 deaths every year in the United States alone, where opioid use and abuse has taken on epidemic proportions.
Nor did the new drug -- dubbed PZM21 -- produce addiction in the lab mice, which get hooked on morphine and pharmaceutical painkillers as easily as humans. In experiments, the rodents showed no preference between a cubicle in which they had been administered PZM21 or one in which they received a neutral saline solution.
PZM21, the researchers summed up, offers "long-lasting analgesia coupled to apparent elimination of respiratory depression."
A third advantage of the new compound, they said, is that it does not cause constipation. In the United States, drugs designed to relieve blocked bowels due to opioids are advertised on television.
Opium and its derivatives have been used to dull pain (and generate euphoric feelings) for more than 4,000 years.
Even in the era of modern medicine, morphine -- derived from the opium poppy -- has remained the painkiller of choice, whether for post-op recovery or on the battlefield.
"But it is obviously dangerous too," said Brian Shoichet, a professor at the University of California's School of Pharmacy in San Francisco, and one of three senior authors of the study.
"People have been searching for a safer replacement for standard opioids for decades."
Most such efforts have tried to tweak the drug's chemical structure to get rid of the side-effects. Shoichet and colleagues from Stanford University, the University of North Carolina and Friedrich-Alexander University in Bavaria, Germany took a radically different approach.
They focused instead on the so-called opioid receptor in the brain which triggers a chemical reaction leading to pain suppression when activated.
Only a molecule that successfully "docks" with the receptor -- like a key turning a lock -- would work. But to avoid addiction and respiratory failure, that same molecule must not, as does morphine, dock with a second receptor that provokes those unwanted reactions.
Using computer simulations, the researchers tested three million commercially available compounds -- and a million possible configurations for each one -- to see which would fit best with the receptor.
In the lab, combing through trillions of options would have been prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Some 2,500 molecules passed muster. After eliminating those resembling opioids too closely, only 23 remained.
And only one of these, further analysis showed, activated the "good" molecular pathway without triggering the "bad" one. Even then, more custom-engineering was required.
"There is little doubt that structure-based computational screening will accelerate the pace of drug discovery," Brigitte Kieffer, a professor at McGill University's department of psychiatry commented in Nature.
PZM21 still has many hurdles to overcome before showing up in pharmacies.
It must be proven safe for humans, and effective in clinical trials -- a process that typically takes up to a decade. Future research will also need to determine whether mice -- or people -- develop a tolerance to the drug, causing it to lose its painkilling potency over time.
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