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      It’s awful that our politics have come down to dueling special-interest groups, but it’s the way it is: Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he […] […]
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      The Ukrainian military clearly doesn’t care enough to actually fight: The day began inauspiciously for Ukrainian forces as they sought to establish an operating base in the city of Kramatorsk, moving in units from a nearby military air base. According to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and a witness who spoke by phone, a column of six [...]
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Wednesday Night WTH Open Thread

Seriously, WTH?

And you thought only America’s Got Talent.  What are you up to this evening?  This is an open thread.

Wednesday News

Good day Conflucians!!

I’d say morning, but I sort of missed that train. It’s been a busy week for me. Damn that slave driving boss. Just between you and me, he’s a complete idiot. Wait, I’m my boss.

Let’s take a quick look at some news for the day. First, Happy Cinco De Mayo!!! For the ultimate source in understanding this holiday, let’s turn to MTV:

Cinco de Mayo (“the fifth of May”) is much more than an entertaining way to forget an entire day’s worth of events. The holiday owes its origins to the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when the Mexican army overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat invading French forces from conquering the state of Puebla. The victory remains a cause for commemoration nearly 150 years later.

Interestingly enough, Cinco de Mayo isn’t celebrated in Mexico nearly as much as it is in the United States, as the country’s most widely recognized national patriotic holiday is actually the Mexican Independence Day on September 16. But Cinco de Mayo gets plenty of attention in the U.S. not just from Mexican-Americans, but also from anybody interested in seeking out new forms of cultural exposure — largely due to the efforts of liquor companies and Mexican restaurants.

And my next favorite bit of news, marijuana is legal in DC!! OK, medical marijana, but still:

On Tuesday, the D.C. Council gave final approval to a bill establishing a legal medical marijuana program. If Congress signs off, District doctors — like their counterparts in 14 states, including Rhode Island, where Chopra works — will be allowed to add pot to the therapies they can recommend to certain patients, who will then eat it, smoke it or vaporize it until they decide they are, well, high enough.

The exact dosage and means of delivery — as well as the sometimes perplexing process of obtaining a drug that remains illegal under federal law — will be left largely up to the patient. And that, Chopra said, upends the way doctors are used to dispensing medication, giving the strait-laced medical establishment a whiff of the freewheeling world of weed.

Now I don’t have to feel so paranoid when I go to DC for meetings. No wait, I’ll probably be more paranoid.

In some comedy news, Obama promises to be “relentless” in his response with the oil spill:

President Obama said Sunday his administration has mounted a “relentless response” to the oil spill unleashed by the sinking of an offshore drill rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Obama met with local, state and federal officials involved in the cleanup in southeastern Louisiana, the closest stretch of coastline threatened by the massive spill. Afterward, he said that despite “the most advanced technology available,” the spill may not be stopped for many days.

“I’m not going to rest, and none of the gentlemen and women who are here are going to rest or be satisfied, until the leak is stopped at the source, the oil on the Gulf is contained and cleaned up and the people of this region are able to go back to their lives and their livelihoods,” he said. “We will spare no resource to clean up whatever damage is caused.”

And we all know what an Obama promise is worth. I think it involves squatting and some sort of diddley.

An enormous jelly fish was found and videoed. Follow the link to watch:

Diver and underwater photographer Scott Gietler contacted me this week about his latest adventure.

“A few days ago I found a giant, fifteen-foot jellyfish!” he told me. “It was so exciting. We were diving in the middle of the ocean, in 2,000 feet of water! We went down on scuba to 100 feet deep and found this giant jellyfish.”

Scott said this is a purple-striped jellyfish (Chrysaora colorata). Note the fish swimming underneath it. Fish often cruise next to large jellies like this for protection from predators. This particular jellyfish species has a very powerful sting, but Scott said he and his colleagues were well covered.

An interesting article about Twitter being the new CNN:

A new study paints the popular micro-blogging service Twitter in a whole new light and sets it up to take on traditional news media.

Here’s something I’ve always known about Twitter: It’s about information not socialization. Twitter’s called a “micro-blogging” service, after all. If it were all about social interaction, perhaps it would be described as a micro-social network. Of course, with millions and millions of users, Twitter is anything but micro.

And now, my Twitter hypothesis has some academic support. A group of Korean researchers recently completed and presented the results of a unique quantitative study that paints Twitter, in fairly stark terms, as the likely future of news.

Read more for some interesting details.

And finally, yea, brief news post I know, the cheese of the week is (drum roll):

The Cheese: Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

Made from pasteurized cows’ milk

Greensboro, Vermont

I know, I know: cheddar. It seems so obvious. But anyone who’s tasted this cheddar knows that it isn’t the Cabot that your local grocer stocks. This is the stuff dreams are made of. (At least mine are.) Cabot Clothbound Cheddar is a special cuvee of cheese borne of a partnership between Cabot Creamery and Jasper Hill Farm, which began as a two-brother operation in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom (way, way up there) and is now home to the largest cheese caves in the country. In their cellars, this Cabot is coddled and loved on by their affineurs, or cheese maturers, who bandage the cheese with cloth, smear it with lard (delicious lard!), and turn it every few days during its twelve-month stay in the caves. The flavor is sweet and nutty, midway between a cheddar and a Parmesan, with hints of grass and earth. After one head-turning bite, you’ll never look at another cheddar.

Chime in with your news of the day and anything else. Open thread as usual.

Lynn Redgrave leaves behind a reminder about the suffering of a woman with breast cancer

Lynn Redgrave: March 8, 1943 - May 2, 2010

This Sunday, May2nd, Lynn Redgrave passed away after a long battle with breast cancer.  She will certainly be remembered for her many acting and playwriting accomplishments; and in fact, JohnWSmart prepared a lovely tribute to her life.  But Lynn also left behind for us a reminder about the suffering and courage of a woman stricken with breast cancer.  Her daughter Annabel created a photojournal of her mother’s battle while Lynn kept a diary of this painful journey in 2003.  (via mentalfloss.com)  It is an especially poignant legacy in light of the recent revelations about how women with breast cancer have been targeted for insurance recission.  The photojournal and diary was previously published in the New York Times.

Although some have noted that one of the pictures may be NSFW, I found only images of suffering and courage.  R.I.P. Lynn.  and thank you.

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