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Drat this working for a living all to heck.

Aug. 13th, 2014

12:22 pm - These things need to be known - forwarding another's information.

Originally posted by fengi at post

I'm interupting my Livejournal hiatus because the FAA declared Ferguson, Missouri a no fly zone, effective August 12 to August 18.

The FAA rarely takes such action for reasons other than giant fires and public appearances of high risk people like the president. Here, a predominantly black suburb is declared no fly for six days: "TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES". A six day flight ban in response to looting after massive peaceful demonstrations were dispersed by heavily armed riot police. The media has made much of the destruction, rarely mentioning it involved small groups in a small area, and was actively denounced and cleaned up by other residents and protesters.

Ferguson, Missouri is an American suburb in which some people broke windows and torched a building. It's not fucking Ukraine. There is no flight risk.

There are bullshit stories about someone firing a gun into the air, but Think Progress spoke to a helicopter dispatcher at the St. Louis County Police Department who said, “It’s just for a no fly zone because we have multiple helicopters maneuvering in the area and we were having some problems with news aircrafts flying around there”. A six day flight ban to limit news coverage is considered "a safe environment for law enforcement".

The cops are acting like a military occupation, one actually telling a reporter from the Riverfront Times, "You guys are in the middle of a war zone...You guys are going to have to roll out." It's not a goddamn war zone. It's a suburb with understandably upset American citizens and a very few who flipped out. It's a extreme display of force and intimidation which assumes the worst about people who aren't a threat, and clearly further provoked the few who lost their shit. One would call it ridiculously insulting were it not so terrifying.

The use of disproportionate force against protesters is widespread, but when some white dudes break shit, entire cities are not locked down by pseudo-military barricades. Because there is an ability to see those acting out as apart from the rest. Every year, Chicago police set up a containment zone around the Humboldt park neighborhood after the Puerto Rican Pride Parade, shutting down major streets to traffic going out until late at night (the parade is a two p.m.). This goes without comment - it's a given. Imagine them respond to St. Patrick's day by setting up a parameter around Beverley until midnight. Treating entire populaces as a contaminated risk zone is for people of color. For now, at least.

Monday night, parts of Ferguson were locked down with all roads, sidewalks and points of access closed by heavily armed cops. Armored vehicles ordered people to go indoors, while simultaneously blocking some from going home. Protesters were sprayed with tear gas and shot with "safe" rubber and wooden bullets. One resident had a tear gas canister fired at his head while protesting in his own backyard. He was holding his hands over his head.

At this point, the investigation won't even say how many times Michael Brown was shot, or how long he was left lying in the street afterwards.

Ferguson's population is 67% African American, but they account for 94% of arrests, 92% of searches, and 86% of vehicular stops.

I'm insulated by distance and social privilege and I've got little standing to have opinions about this, but it bothers me deeply.

When I was a kid in Florida, four white cops in Miami beat Arthur McDuffie to death after a high speed chase. They then tried to make it look like an accident. After they were acquitted by an all white jury, a protest evolved into a three day riot, the worst in Florida history. The national guard was called in and flights were rerouted to other cities. Supposedly this was a wakeup call about an unjust system which treated people of color like garbage.

11 years later, an all white jury acquitted the cops in the Rodney King beating trial. I said there might be riots and friends, none who remembered Miami, were amazed by my analysis.

In 2003, Deadend Margo and I stopped in Saint Joseph and Benton Harbor during a road trip. Both towns seemed quaint but the racial and economic divide - actual white and black sides of a river - was so obvious one might consider a preachy cliche were it fiction. It's what we whites pretend is unreal. A few days later a black motorcyclist being chased by the cops crashed and died in Benton Harbor, and small riots occurred over two days until 300 state troopers occupied the town. In 2010 the state replaced Benton Harbor's government with an unelected city manager who ruled for until April 2014, though most operations will be controlled by an unelected transition commission plus a city manager who appears to be a permanent appointed position. Across the river, majority white St. Joseph enjoyed representative government and stable budgets without interruption.

Shortly after I moved to Chicago, a scandal broke about District 2 where white cops regularly tortured confessions from black prisoners. It took 21 years before Burge was finally convicted of minor charges and sentenced to 4 years. He still gets to keep his pension.

In 2012 in Chicago, Rekia Boyd was shot by a white off duty cop who fired into a crowd of unarmed African Americans, apparently after he mistook a cell phone for a gun. He has been charged with manslaughter but the trial is still pending.

What's striking to me is community reactions to this shit has gotten increasingly peaceful over time. People are angry, but the idea they reflexively riot is bullshit. The majority are enraged but not out of control, just like any group of people, despite the continual shocks.

For my entire life there have been undeniable reminders we exist in a racist system which regularly uses brutality to perpetuate white supremacy, but in a way which ultimately serves the ruling class. I have little standing to offer conclusions on this issue. But I suspect it will continue until the privileged admit all rights must be respected or they no longer exist. Alas this will likely only happen after the majority are on the wrong side of the cop army, at which point any change in thought won't matter.

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Aug. 11th, 2014

11:05 am - stele3:Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed...

Originally posted by aquarionics at stele3:

Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed...


Ferguson Police have dogs and shotguns. The unarmed crowd is raising their hands.

For anyone not following the Mike Brown story on Twitter: a 17 year old black boy named Mike Brown, who was supposed to start college tomorrow, was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri by police while jaywalking. He was unarmed. He was shot 9 times.

Initial media reports claimed that an 18 year old black man had been shot and killed while fleeing police after shoplifting.

People in the neighborhood, including members of Mike Brown’s family, came out of their homes and began to protest, shouting “no justice, no peace,” and keeping their hands in the air.

Media reports claimed that a violent mob quickly formed around the shooting location shouting “kill the police.”

Spread this. Tell the truth about what happened to this boy. Tell the truth about what is happening NOW. The police and the mainstream media is painting him as a criminal, and his community as a violent mob.

SPREAD THIS. Don’t let them lie.

Jun. 28th, 2014

11:15 am - 16 C = 61 F

Or at least close enough for most cases where one needs a quick mental comparison.

This isn't in relation to anything in particular - other than that I was taught fahrenheit and then we changed to celsius, and I'm still mostly confused about how warm a celsius feels.  I do know that I like an 18 C room for living, with a 16 to 17 room for sleeping, and both my work office and our bedroom have been relentlessly 25 C for the last few days and nights.  Ugh.

But, depending on the cloud cover and the wind, 16 C is light jacket weather (&, if you want to aggravate the kids, socks in your birkenstocks weather).


Jun. 19th, 2014

03:23 pm - I mean: because then there is this:

A report on child miners:

So, an multinational mining company wouldn't be buying pepper-spraying drones for altruistic purposes, would they.  Argh.


02:33 pm - Pepper Spray Drones - argh

I am seriously freaked out about this:

I tried to post it on Facebook, but it doesn't seem to be landing on people's feeds.  This is really really creepy.

I know this is lame, but I don't know how to embed the story so the graphics show:

Skunk Drone also fires plastic bullets BBC News Tech 19Jun14


May. 21st, 2014

06:28 pm - Nitro Fatty Acids and Olive Oil and the Mediterranean Diet

So you probably saw this the other day:

And I tracked down the King's College London press release:

And essentially it is that putting olive oil on nitrite (or nitrate) rich vegetables causes a synergy that creates Nitro Fatty Acids.  And the reason this is important is because it inhibits the formation of soluble Epoxide Hydrolase, and when you inhibit that, you reduce blood pressure.

So, it's time be generous with your slatherings of olive oil on vegetables.  Ones which are nitrite or nitrate rich, that is.  Which, strangely, when those substances appear in preserved meats, they are bad news.  Here is a tool to help find the richest such vegetables:

I find it hilarious in the BBC news report, after finding out that adding one type of complex food to another type of complex food creates a new complex nutrient with health benefits, all anyone can talk about is isolating the active compound to make single-purpose pharmaceuticals.  :)  What part of "emergent property" are they not getting?  :)  The thing about emergent properties is that they must have a matrix out of which to emerge.


May. 15th, 2014

01:26 pm - Also ...

... now I'm afraid to log out.

01:24 pm - Well, that's ... weird

So, been away for a few days, and log in to LJ, and obviously something new has happened, but immediately a page-greying screen drops down and nothing is clickable.  Good.  Back, log in again: same.  Open new tab, click on bookmarked log in, go immediately to logged in page with the same greyout screen, but this time there is a popdown menu offering me to give feedback or go back to old version.  I accept with relief the chance to go back to old version, and my LJ experience is pretty much as before.  But I am hearing/reading much hating the new look and unmanagabilty (spelling optional) and have no desire to explore the "new" ew.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow.

Apr. 8th, 2014

11:38 am - And then the issue of Antibiotics in childhood.

The idea being that administering antibiotics in early childhood kills off the normal intestinal bacteria, which hampers the person's ability to digest food properly.

It is probably going to be a multiple factor issue: not enough enzymes to digest carbohydrates properly, matched with the loss of whatever intestinal helpers there might have been to pick up the slack, plus the increase of sugar or wheat or corn starch in every single processed food[1], plus the access to cars to get us everywhere easily.  I suspect there might be a virus also (like there turned out to be a bacteria for ulcers - much against the "common sense" wisdom of the 80's) in the mix, but who knows.

On the other hand - I was given antibiotics early and (I think) often, but some of the things were really horrible (could have lost at least a leg), so - how do you not administer them for the things they work against?

[1] - seriously: I stopped buying the brand of salt my family has bought for three generations because it now has sugar as one of its ingredients (*really*? - salt needs sugar in it? - really?).


Apr. 1st, 2014

03:43 pm - Salivary Amylase and interesting things about it.

Determinants of the Diurnal Course of Salivary Alpha Amylase (2007):

Effect of Fluoride on Human Salivary Amylase Activity (1995):

Amylase and Human Evolution (2008):

Hartnell Lab manual for enzyme experiments (no date listed):

Davidson College assignment page [only certain mammals have salivary amylase] (2010):

Original study for Amylase and Human Evolution (2007):

I shall add more as I find them.

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