Medical Marijuana Update

8 hours 13 minutes ago

A federal amendment to ease veterans' access to medical marijuana gets bumped, an Idaho medical marijuana initiative campaign gets underway, and more.

[image:1 align:right]National 

Amendment to Ease Vets' Access to Medical Marijuana Shelved. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), sponsor of an amendment to an annual spending bill for Veteran Affairs that would have widened access to medical marijuana for veterans, pulled the amendment in the face of opposition from the VA. On the House floor, Blumenauer explained that the VA "has not been as helpful as it should be" in easing access for vets. "All of a sudden the VA has decided, well, they would be putting their doctors at risk," he said. "I hope that we'll be able to work together to fix this little quirk to make sure that VA doctors can do what doctors everywhere do in states where medical cannabis is legal and be able to work with their patients."

Delaware

Delaware Sees Two Last-Minute Medical Marijuana Bills. With five days left in the legislative session, two last-minute medical marijuana bills await consideration. SB 170 would allow patients with anxiety to treat their conditions with CBD-rich products, while HB 243, would allow certain approved users to grow a limited amount of their own medical marijuana. The assigned committee has not yet issued a report for this bill, keeping it from a full vote in the house. 

Idaho

 

Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign Gets Underway. The Idaho Cannabis Coalition announced Tuesday that it delivered signatures to the secretary of state's office to start the process for getting a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in 2020.  The initiative seeks to provide Idahoans with “safe access to whole plant cannabis and other medical cannabis products through a system of secure dispensaries tightly regulated by the state.” Patients with demonstrated physical or financial hardship would qualify to grow their own medicine.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Will Allow Physician Assistants to Recommend Medical Marijuana. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has signed into law a bill expanding the list of providers who may recommend medical marijuana. A bill that allows medical marijuana users to grow their own plants awaits his signature.

psmith

Chronicle AM: MD Task Force Begins Studying Pot Legalization, ID MedMJ Initiative Gets Underway, More... (6/26/19)

8 hours 18 minutes ago

Maryland legislators begin studying the path to pot legalization, New York legalization advocates look to next year, an Idaho medical marijuana initiative campaign gets underway, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Maryland Legislative Task Force Begins Work on Marijuana Legalization. A General Assembly task force began its work on studying possible marijuana legalization on Tuesday. The body will form subcommittees to study the impact on criminal justice and health, while also considering best approaches to taxation, licensing, and ensuring minority participation. The task force should finish its work by the end of the year, but what members will recommend is yet to be seen.

New York Marijuana Advocates Now Aiming to Legalize It Next Year. Marijuana legalization advocates say they plan to spend the next six months lobbying lawmakers to pass a marijuana legalization bill next year. This after Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and legislative leaders failed to get it done this year, passing a decriminalization bill as a last-minute sop. Kassandra Frederique of the Drug Policy Alliance pointed the finger at Assembly and Senate leaders, but particularly Gov. Cuomo.

Medical Marijuana

Delaware Sees Two Last-Minute Medical Marijuana Bills. With five days left in the legislative session, two last-minute medical marijuana bills await consideration. SB 170 would allow patients with anxiety to treat their conditions with CBD-rich products, while HB 243, would allow certain approved users to grow a limited amount of their own medical marijuana. The assigned committee has not yet issued a report for this bill, keeping it from a full vote in the house. 

Idaho Medical Marijuana Initiative Campaign Gets Underway. The Idaho Cannabis Coalition announced Tuesday that it delivered signatures to the secretary of state's office to start the process for getting a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in 2020.  The initiative seeks to provide Idahoans with “safe access to whole plant cannabis and other medical cannabis products through a system of secure dispensaries tightly regulated by the state.” Patients with demonstrated physical or financial hardship would qualify to grow their own medicine.

psmith

The Green New Deal Could Create Lots of Great Jobs – So Why All the Hate?

15 hours 12 minutes ago

Why does the Fox News crowd hate the Green New Deal?

It’s a head scratcher. Imagine you said, “Hey, we’ve got a plan to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. And many of them will be in poorer and rural areas struggling to find a direction in the twenty-first century. Oh, and it’ll mean healthier communities for families across the country. Plus, it’ll help solve the climate crisis.”

You’d think the same voices that claim to be speaking up for working families and rural communities would be all for it, right?

But instead, we keep hearing all kinds of cynical criticism of the Green New Deal. Much of it predicated on outright denial of the climate crisis – or at least the scale of the threat, even after the role it played in flooding farms across the US Midwest earlier this year.

It’ll be too expensive. (Compared to unmitigated climate change? Get out of here.) It’s too risky. (Nah. Not taking action while we can is the real risk.) It’s unrealistic. (It’ll definitely be a lift, there’s no denying. But large-scale climate action is very feasible. When did “ambitious” become a synonym for “unworkable”?)

Some pundits even want you to believe it means Big Government meanies are coming for your cheeseburger because cows fart sometimes. (Stop. It. Right. Now.)

While there are worthwhile questions to be asked about the particulars of the Green New Deal, maybe the most important question we should be asking right now is, “Why not?”

Why not make a just transition to clean energy and put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work along the way? Why not give fossil fuel workers in dying industries new careers with a future? Why not tackle the existential threat staring us right in the face while we still have time?

What a lot of critics also conveniently forget to mention is that the Green New Deal is a resolution that says where we want to go, not a bill spelling out how we get there. It’s a framework, a rallying cry, a big-swing pitch. Many of its goals are finish lines. What they end up being in their finished form and how we get there are up to us.  

We’re not saying it’s going to be easy. We’re just saying the stakes couldn’t be bigger, so why not try.

In one of the more-concise explanations we’ve seen, the good people at Vox put it pretty perfectly: “Without concerted global action — and with a few bad breaks on climate sensitivity, population, and fossil fuel projections — the worst-case scenarios include civilization-threatening consequences that will be utterly disastrous for most of the planet’s species.”

Suddenly, it feels an awful lot like work worth doing, doesn’t it?

It should. And beyond the consequences of inaction, here’s the thing: in reality, the Green New Deal could be an incredible boon to the American people. Executed smartly and in good faith, it could help us make the massive cuts in emissions by 2030 that scientists say are necessary to avoid global catastrophe.

Plus, as we keep saying, it will also mean jobs. Lots of them. In industries both new and existing across the economy.

The Green New Deal is an ambitious pitch. It would transform our energy systems, improve how we build buildings for efficiency, upgrade infrastructure to make them more affordable and more resilient, and much more.

But that should sound like something else to you too. It should sound an awful lot like gigs up and down the line, from engineers to solar panel installers, architects to welders, scientists to electricians and construction workers, and everything in between.

If that sounds as good to you as it does to us, join us as we dig into the nitty gritty – or as much of it as we can at this early point – of what the Green New Deal could mean for working Americans like you.

UNMITIGATED CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS DISASTER

We’re not going to dwell too long here. We’re already seeing the effects of a world transformed by rising temperatures and changing climate patterns everywhere from our well-being to our wallets. As terrifying as the stronger Atlantic hurricanes and California wildfires have been – to pick only a couple results – if we don’t act in a big way, things could get much, much worse.

Let’s start with the biggest headline news impacts. The climate crisis means more extreme weather. Which means more damaged infrastructure, more lives and livelihoods lost to hurricanes, floods, and wildfires.

It means many more people in danger from an ever-expanding list of health risks, from heart and lung diseases linked to poor air quality to heat-related illness to vector-borne tropical diseases spreading far outside the tropics.

It means rising seas lapping up beaches and homes and entire cities. It means more heat waves, drought, and erratic rainfall. And as a result, it means more crop failure and millions worrying about worries about basic food and water security.

Without swift action to mitigate this crisis, these changes could ultimately transform the planet in ways that undermine its capacity to support a large and thriving human population.

If you’d like more detail, we suggest:

THE PEOPLE WANT ACTION

Here’s something Fox News doesn’t often (ever?) mention: More people than ever believe urgent action on climate change should be a national priority in the US.

A major 2018 Pew Research Center poll found that 59 percent of Americans consider the climate crisis a major threat to our country. (That’s well below the global median of 67 percent, but it’s a strong and fast-growing majority, so we’ll take it!) Twenty-three percent more consider climate change a threat, though a more minor one. 

It’s unsurprising then that “two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say the government is doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change,” according to Pew. And that a 56 percent majority of US adults believe that protecting the environment should be a top priority for the president and Congress.

Many of these polls find sharp partisan divides on climate and what to do about it, but even that is beginning to change, particularly among the young people who will bear the brunt of this crisis.

Pew found that Millennial Republicans were twice as likely as their cohorts in the Baby Boomer or older generations to believe the planet is warming because of human activity.

And a majority of them now support action to stop it.

In a study done by the conservative nonprofit Alliance for Market Solutions (AMS), as reported by Think Progress, “More than three out of four (77 percent) young voters think we should try to stop or slow climate change, including 89 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of independents, and 57 percent of Republicans. Only 10 percent of millennial voters oppose climate action.”

We’ve often said, to change everything, we need everyone. It looks like we’re getting closer to that goal every day.

And it’s a good thing too, because folks from across the political spectrum, in states across the country, will benefit from large-scale climate action. Not only will it – oh, you know, help end the existential threat of climate change – it will mean jobs. Lots of them. And good ones, too.

>> Americans Will Win On Climate (Yes, Really!) <<

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS

As we’ve explained, the actual details of the Green New Deal remain to be sorted out, but one area that seems undisputable is its potential to create new, good jobs across the economy.

“The Green New Deal raises more questions than it answers at the moment, but nevertheless, one vision it holds is exciting and solid — the notion that the transition to a cleaner economy can be expected to bring jobs for all kinds of workers,” the Brookings Institution writes.

We’re talking engineers and technicians, solar installers and building retrofitters. We’re talking “all the workers who oversee renewable energy facilities, manufacture energy-efficient appliances, construct green buildings, and so on.”

In a separate study, Brookings notes that “320 unique occupations spread across three major industrial sectors: clean energy production, energy efficiency, and environmental management” will be central to the transition to the clean energy economy.

These jobs will be incredibly varied, and those that already exist pay better than the national hourly wages average – 8 to 19 percent better. They’ll also be more equitable, with workers at even the lower end of the income spectrum earning $5 to $10 more per hour than they might in other jobs.

What’s not to like here?

JOIN US TO SUPPORT GOOD JOBS

The bottom line is this: The Green New Deal sets a pretty ambitious target for where the US can go. We don’t have the hard details of how we get there yet.

But even now, it contains a blueprint to a future powered not by the fossil fuels driving the climate crisis but by clean, renewable energy. The transition to that future could become a windfall for communities from Appalachia to Atlanta and beyond. It’s time to stop giving partisan labels and making cynical attacks on something that has incredible potential for all Americans (except fossil fuel CEOs).

And the time to start gearing up for that future is now.

Sign up for our email list now to receive the latest news about the climate crisis, its solutions, and ways you can support a future full of good, high-paying jobs in the industries that will power the economy of tomorrow.

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We respect your privacy. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. The Climate Reality ProjectThe Green New Deal Should Be On Wheels 7 Questions About the Climate Crisis You Might Be Embarrassed to AskMaking Home Solar Happen: Do Panels Make Sense for My Home?Lead: While there are worthwhile questions to be asked about the particulars of the Green New Deal, maybe the most important question we should be asking right now is, “Why not?”facebook link: https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/green-new-deal-could-create-lots-great-jobs-so-why-all-hate?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=generalEmail Subject: The Green New Deal Could Create Lots of Great Jobs – So Why All the Hate?Twitter URL: https://bit.ly/31Q9GSS
ipacha

Banksy Unveiled His New Brexit-Inspired Artwork On EU Customs Gate

17 hours 56 minutes ago

World famous street artist, Banksy, has revealed his newest piece of artwork on a repurposed door from Heathrow Airport.


The Bristolian makes a Brexit-inspired statement in the painting named ‘Keep Ou’, that now adorns the former EU customs gate.


A rat is seen using the missing ‘T’ from a ‘Keep Out’ sign to break open a padlock on the border gate.



The sentiment is similar to that of the piece he revealed in 2018 titled ‘Vote to Love,’ that had a heart sprayed over a UKIP’ Vote to Leave’ placard.


The sign was priced at £350 million - taunting Boris Johnson’s infamous bus pledging to save the same amount for the NHS post-Brexit.



‘Keep Ou’ is Banksy’s newest piece to be seen at London’s Royal Academy annual Summer Exhibition, and will be on until 12 August 2019.


Banksy (@banksy) on Jun 11, 2019 at 8:30am PDT

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

A New Flying V-Plane Could Change Air Travel Forever

17 hours 56 minutes ago

As the threat of climate change is becoming increasingly prevalent, companies across the globe are searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.


One of those with the greatest spotlight on it is the airline sector, especially when it comes to reducing the emissions of fuel.



This is where the Flying-V plane comes in. The new aircraft, based on the Gibson guitar of the same name, is reported to burn 20% less fuel than the most efficient plane. And it isn't long to wait, as a prototype model will take flight later in 2019.



The concept was developed by researchers at Delft Technology University in the Netherlands and it's financially backed by KLM.


If everything goes well, we could be seeing those uniquely designed planes lining our skies in the following years.


Though its wingspan is the same as a regular aircraft, in this case the wings are where the passengers will sit, which means that it can carry up to 314 people in what would typically be empty space. Therein lies the secret to its fuel efficiency.



As Pieter Elbers reports, the KLM chief executive, by drastically reducing the carbon footprint of air travel and the expenditure on fuel, the project is a potential pioneer in the sector of 'sustainable aviation initiatives'.


What about the inside of the aircraft, however? While details on that are scarce, Peter Vink - professor of Applied Ergonomics and Design at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, also involved in the project - gave a little insight into what we can expect.



"The new shape of the aircraft means we have exciting opportunities to design the interior, making flying more comfortable for passengers," he explained.


"For instance, as part of the Flying-V research, we're looking into new options to having a rest or taking meals on a plane. Offering food from a buffet is one of the options we're sinking our teeth into."


The scale model of the Flying-V will be tested out by researchers in October 2019 to see if it can maintain stability and reliability while being flown at low speeds.


And if all goes well, a series of other tests will also be carried out and eventually it might be introduced as a brand new type of aircraft for commercial airlines. It will certainly give our skies a rock 'n' roll edge.


Photo credit: tudelft.nl

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

Ireland Becomes The World’s Second Country To Declare A Climate Emergency

17 hours 56 minutes ago

Ireland has become the world's second country to declare a climate emergency on in response to intensifying ecological threats across the world, according to RTE.


The nation followed the lead of the UK, that was pressured to declare a climate emergency by the protest movement “Extinction Rebellion” which seeks to take radical action to halt climate change and the decline of biodiversity. However, Irish politicians said that the new measure would be meaningless without concrete steps.


“Declaring an emergency means absolutely nothing unless there is action to back it up,” said Eamon Ryan, the leader of the Green Party. “That means the government having to do things they don’t want to do.”


Ryan sponsored the declaration and accepted by all ruling parties without a vote, suggesting that there’ll be broad support for climate action in the future.


Though the country has made bold climate declarations in the past, such as saying that it would phase out fossil fuels, the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said Ireland is “way off track” in achieving the targets it set under the Paris climate agreement.


Great news from Ireland!! Who is next?
And remember: #ClimateEmergency means leaving fossil fuels in the ground. #ClimateBreakdown #EcologicalBreakdown https://t.co/GTkyhg7Sam

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) May 9, 2019

The Paris climate agreement is a voluntary framework organized by the United Nations through which countries commit to take action on climate change. Under that arrangement, countries have submitted plans for phasing out greenhouse gas emissions and pursuing sustainable economies.


According to CAN, Ireland’s plan “does not demonstrate high ambition on energy savings and renewable energy, indicating a lack of focus in their actions for the next decade.”


Ireland’s new declaration of a climate emergency might prompt leaders to take the actions that are necessary to get back on track.


Greta Thunberg, the youth climate activist that spurred the European Union to announce stronger climate plans and the United Nations to convene an emergency climate summit, and sparked a global protest movement, commended Ireland on its latest announcement.


The UN has recently released a series of reports documenting the scale of the ecological crisis facing Earth.


At the end of 2018, the organization’s environmental arm said that “rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” have to be undertaken to avoid ecological catastrophe.


And on May 6th, 2019, the United Nations released a groundbreaking report on biodiversity that stated that up to one million species could go extinct due to human activity.


The threats documented in those reports are urgent. As the organizers of the Extinction Rebellion understand, realizing the severity of the crisis is the first step toward preventing it.

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

10 Times Famous Mothers Spoke Out About The Significance Of Vaccines

17 hours 56 minutes ago

Moms in the spotlight are frequently criticized for everything, from the names they select for their kids to how they dress them, the type of rules they set, or even the length of their maternity leave.


Being a mother is hard work, and it comes with lots of difficult decisions — but choosing whether to vaccinate your kid or not should not be one of them.


Below we honor celebrity moms who know best when it comes to the importance of immunization across the world, and are using their platforms to spread the word.


Salma Hayek Pinault Salma Hayek Pinault (@salmahayek) on Apr 25, 2019 at 7:53am PDT


The famous actress advocates for worldwide immunizations as a UNICEF ambassador. She's received UNICEF’s Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award in 2018 for leading on UNICEF’s campaign to end maternal and neonatal tetanus.


“The thought of losing a child to a disease which can be easily prevented seems unbearable, especially when it is within our power to prevent it,” the actress stated. “If you knew how to help save a child’s life, what could stop you?”


Serena Williams Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on Jan 23, 2019 at 4:35pm PST


In September 2011, Serena Williams became an official UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She worked with UNICEF before, visiting Ghana and joining health workers in delivering vaccines to kids there.


She wasn’t a mother yet, but even then Williams said it was humbling to see all the children arriving for their immunizations.


As she said in 2009: “I have always dreamed of coming ... into a village like this, and just interacting with everyone. I just want to make sure that everyone is educated about these vaccines that are so important, and it is awesome that everyone is here.”


Kristen Bell kristen bell (@kristenanniebell) on Oct 12, 2018 at 12:48pm PDT


Bell contributed a piece to HuffPost about vaccines in 2015. She admitted to initially leaning toward not vaccinating her kids — but doing research changed her mind. She wrote:


“I decided facts were my friends. I couldn't rely on word-of-mouth, friend-of-a-friend information. It was going to require actual research from vetted sources; I wanted the truth. Before I started my research, I had no idea what smallpox or polio looked like, and I bet you don't either. Most people aren't aware and therefore aren't afraid of diseases they've never seen — or sometimes haven't even heard of. We owe that peace of mind to the scientists who pioneered vaccines.”


Jennifer Garner Jennifer Garner (@jennifer.garner) on Jun 1, 2018 at 1:04pm PDT


Jennifer Garner, a mother of three kids, is an ambassador for the American Lung Association’s Face of Influenza campaign. She's been outspoken about the vital importance of vaccines.


“I want to help make sure that all moms across the country understand that influenza is serious and that vaccination should be a family priority,” she stated in March 2018.


Gal Gadot Gal Gadot (@gal_gadot) on Mar 20, 2017 at 11:43am PDT


Wonder Woman is also an ambassador for the American Lung Association’s Face of Influenza campaign. She is a mom of two girls (and was actually pregnant while shooting Justice League). In November 2018, she joined an Israeli vaccine campaign and posted a picture on Facebook.


“We’re all posting a photo with our hands on our vaccinated shoulders,” Gal Gadot wrote in Hebrew on her post, according to the Jerusalem Post.


She wrote: “Because an immunized environment is a protected environment in the eyes of medicine — listen to doctors. We should only experience health.”


Amanda Peet

Peet uses her platform to champion vaccines and addresses polio eradication. She's been doing so for many years, even before becoming Every Child By Two Ambassador to the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign.


“I think I'm just a concerned mom, and now that I have a newborn who's too young to be vaccinated, it really hit home for me. I think we've just kind of lost our sense of neighborliness. Even if it's not your child, your neighbor could have an infant at home or somebody whose immunity is compromised. Shouldn't we all be in this together?" she stated in 2015, months after giving birth to her son. “It's really scary. What's it going to take before we all get in this together? Are we going to see infant mortality rates? Because that would be infuriating and so tragic.”


Julie Bowen Julie Bowen (@itsjuliebowen) on May 9, 2018 at 6:19am PDT


Modern Family star looked to doctors for answers when it came time to vaccinate her children.


“I spoke with my sister, who is an infectious disease doctor — and then also with my own doctor and my pediatrician, who said to me: ‘By not vaccinating your children, you’re putting them at serious risk.’ That was it for me. Once I made that decision, there were a few tears — mostly mine — but now all three boys are on regular vaccination schedules,” she told WebMD.


Jennifer Lopez Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on Jan 1, 2019 at 6:28pm PST


A spokeswoman for the Sounds of Pertussis campaign, Jennifer Lopez seeks to raise awareness about the importance of vaccines which protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.


“When I learned that many babies who get pertussis catch it from their parents, and how easy it is for adults to get vaccinated, I was shocked,” stated Lopez. “New and expectant parents have so many things to worry about. Getting pertussis themselves, or possibly spreading the disease to their own children, shouldn’t be one of them. I felt it was urgent to let parents know how important it is that they get vaccinated against pertussis to protect themselves and to help keep their babies safe from this dangerous disease.”


Keri Russell

After becoming a mother, Keri Russell also became a spokeswoman for Sounds of Pertussis. She learned that parents are often the ones that spread pertussis to their infants.


“Like any parent, I would do anything to protect my baby, and that's why I followed my pediatrician’s recommendation to get the pertussis vaccine myself,” she stated.


Marissa Jaret Winokur Marissa Jaret Winokur (@marissajaretwinokur) on Jan 14, 2019 at 6:46am PST


When Hairspray star Marissa Jaret Winokur discovered the connection between the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer, she was on board with the vaccine immediately — having survived cervical cancer herself.


“I learned about a year ago that HPV, a common virus, causes cervical cancer. Now there is an HPV test that might have caught my precancerous cells earlier. There’s a vaccine, which can be given to women before they’re sexually active. It makes sense to take these precautions. I’ll encourage my friends’ teenage daughters to get vaccinated,” she said in 2007.


Routine vaccination has caused a decrease in childhood mortality rates worldwide as more kids become protected against diseases such as measles, cholera, pneumonia, and diphtheria.


Vaccines save two to three million lives each year, and another 1.5 million lives could be saved if coverage increased, as the World Health Organization reported.


Dispelling misinformation and reaffirming the significance, efficiency, and safety of vaccines is critical in the fight towards Global Goal 3 on good health and well-being for all.


Reference: Global Citizen

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

Energy Department In The USA Rebranded Gas Exports 'Molecules Of Freedom'

17 hours 56 minutes ago

Getty Images


Energy officials in the USA appeared to rebrand natural gas produced in the country as "freedom gas", according to a statement announcing an increase in exports.


The US Department of Energy said that the expansion of a Texas facility meant more "molecules of USA freedom" could be produced and exported all across the world.


The Quintana-based facility produces liquified natural gas (LNG).


The move was a clear indication of USA commitment to promoting clean energy, according to the statement.


However, the rebranding comes amid a Trump administration push to roll back climate change legislation introduced by Mr. Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, that targeted vehicle emissions.



After taking office, Mr. Trump announced the USA would withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, saying he wanted to negotiate a new "fair" deal that would not disadvantage USA businesses and workers.


According to the BBC, the move was decried by climate change scientists and campaigners, and Donald Trump has faced accusations of hampering global efforts to cut carbon emissions.


The announced expansion of the facility on Quintana Island will support about 3,000 new jobs in the area, as the Department of Energy stated.


"Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America's allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy," said Mark Menezes, the USA undersecretary of energy.


The term freedom gas is reminiscent of freedom fries, coined in the USA 2003 as an alternative to French fries following France's opposition to the American invasion of Iraq.


Republican Congressman Walter B Jones with his fellow Republican Robert W Ney pushed for cafeterias in the House of Representatives to rename their French toast "freedom toast."

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

Morrisons Becomes The First Supermarket To Ban Fruit Plastic Packaging

17 hours 56 minutes ago

Morrisons is becoming the first supermarket chain to remove packaging from its vegetables and fruits.


According to the company, customers would be able to select out of up to 127 varieties of fruit and vegetables in many of its stores, buying them loose or putting them in recyclable paper bags.


However, there will continue to be a neighboring section where customers can still buy packaged veggies if they choose, according to Scotsman.


The move follows a 10-month trial in three English stores where the amount of loose fruit and vegetables bought by customers increased by an average of 40 percent.


The new “buy bagless” fruit and vegetables shelves are expected to result in a similar switch from bagged to loose – saving an estimated three tonnes of plastic a week.


Retailers are under pressure from consumers to reduce the amount of packaging they use amid concern for the environment and the amount of plastic being found in the oceans.


When Morrisons customers buy loose fruit and vegetables, they can either take them through the checkout loose or bag them in Morrisons recyclable paper bags.


The loose fruit and vegetable areas will be rolled out in 60 Morrisons stores during the year.


Then they will continue to be introduced as part of the supermarket’s ongoing store refurbishment program nationwide.


Upmarket chain Waitrose removed all plastic bags from its stores earlier in 2019.


A compostable home alternative is used for fruit and vegetable plastic bags.


In 2018, the supermarket announced it’d remove all disposable paper cups from its stores as a pledge to help the environment.


And earlier in 2019 Tesco began a trial to remove a selection of plastic-wrapped fruit and vegetables, eliminating plastic packaging from 45 foods where loose alternatives are available. The items include onions, mushrooms, peppers, apples, bananas and avocados.


This development comes after Tesco announced in 2018 that it’d ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019 and make all packaging entirely recyclable by 2025.

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

According To New Study, Even 25 Cups Of Coffee A Day Can't Harm Your Heart

18 hours 1 minute ago

Here is some good news for coffee drinkers: according to a new study, coffee isn’t bad for your heart! Those addicted to the caffeinated beverage can actually indulge in as many as 25 cups per day.


While previous studies had suggested that the drink could be linked to cardiovascular issues—such as the stiffening of arteries—the new research shows that lovers of the beverage have no reason whatsoever to trim their consumption.


A study of more than 8,000 people across the U.K. found that those that imbibed an average of five cups a day fared no worse in terms of arterial health than those that drank under a cup per day.


The study was funded in part by the British Heart Foundation and is being presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester, United Kingdom, as the Daily Mail reports.


Researchers from Queen Mary University of London divided 8,412 participants into three separate groups for the study, according to The Mind Unleashed.


The first group was comprised of those that drink under a cup of coffee a day, while the second included those that drink between one and three cups daily. The third group contained those that drink over three cups a day—including a few that drank a shocking 25 cups of java every day.


Participants were then subject to heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests, with researchers taking into consideration the age and weight of participants, and whether they smoke or not. Either way, the results held true.


The experts found that those who drank much higher amounts of coffee had no more of a likelihood of stiffened arteries than people whose consumption of the drink was minimal.


This study contradicts previous research pinning the blame on coffee for heart pressure, the stiffening of arteries, and increased the likelihood of stroke or heart attack.


Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said that the study merely “rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries.”


A regular coffee habit has been linked to a lower risk of both Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, with one study even linking it to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as the American Heart Association (AHA) reports. Habitual coffee drinking has also been linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease in women.


Nonetheless, the AHA has warned that adding sugar and cream to java—as well as opting for fancier frappuccinos and other blended calorie-and-sugar-packed varieties of coffee—can be pretty bad for heart health.


According to U.S. federal dietary guideline, 3-5 cups of coffee can be part of a well-balanced and healthy diet—yet only when it comes to pure black coffee.


However, as the new study from the U.K. shows, there might be some hope yet for those who guzzle 25 cups a day, even if the heart health community in the USA warns against consuming caffeine in excess.

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

Black Holes Could Be Potential Portals To Other Galaxies, According To Scientists

18 hours 20 minutes ago

In Christopher Nolan’s epic 2014 science fiction movie Interstellar, a rogue splinter team of scientists constituting the collapsed remnants of NASA hatch a plan to save the planet from environmental collapse by seeking potentially habitable planets in a distant galaxy. They get there by traveling through a wormhole and using the gravitational slingshot velocity of a massive black hole.


While it has been a recurring theme in science fiction for several decades, a black hole itself has never been considered a feasible form of space travel as scientists have always believed the mysterious tidal forces inside the event horizon would spaghettify and crush anything which dared to enter it.


However, scientists now say new simulation models are suggesting that a rotating black hole, which contains a unique “mass inflation singularity,” might offer safe passage to another part of the galaxy—or another galaxy altogether.


The group of physicists from UMass Dartmouth and Georgia Gwinnett College says their simulations show the singularity at the center of a huge rotating black hole could facilitate a “gentle” passage through rips in spacetime.


Physicist Gaurav Khanna, his colleague Lior Burko, and his student Caroline Mallary were inspired by Interstellar to test whether its central character named Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, could’ve theoretically survived a descent into the movie’s fictional black hole, Gargantua.


Mallary built a computer simulation exploring the physics involved and concluded:


“The effects of the singularity in the context of a rotating black hole would result in rapidly increasing cycles of stretching and squeezing on the spacecraft. But for massive black holes like Gargantua, the strength of this effect would be really small. Therefore, the spacecraft and any individuals on board would not detect it.”


In recent years, scientific speculation concerning exotic properties of black holes has increased. A 2016 study examined the possibility of five-dimensional black holes shaped like rings that violate the laws of physics, including Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Another paper stated that black holes deposit matter into the far future.


Realistically, we’ll likely not know anything substantial about the logistics of traveling the stars via black holes within our lifetime. Humans are still trying to travel to the nearest planet in our solar system and the giant black hole, Sagittarius A*—that lurks 27,000 light years away at the center of the Milky Way—isn’t even remotely reachable without propulsion technologies that are decades, if not centuries, from implementation.


Nevertheless, within our lifetime we might learn more about how quantum gravity works inside of black holes—buoyed by new advanced telescopes and research methods—that might tell us if it is physically possible for hyperspace travel using black holes. And although we can not do it, maybe others in the universe can.


Reference: The Mind Unleashed

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

Chronicle AM: IL Becomes 11th Legal Marijuana State, Iran Says Sanctions Hinder Drug Fight, More... (6/25/19)

1 day 8 hours ago

With the governor's signature, Illinois becomes the 11th legal marijuana state; Hawaii's governor wields the veto pen against hemp and asset forfeiture bills, Iran says US sanctions are hurting its war on drugs, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

It's Official: Illinois Legalizes Marijuana. Illinois has just become the 11th state to legalize marijuana. Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday signed into law a legalization bill passed with bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate late last month. With that signature, Illinois became the first state to get a marijuana legalization bill all the way through the legislative process this year, and it became the first state to create a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce through the legislative process rather than through a voter initiative (Vermont’s legislature legalized pot possession and cultivation but not sales in early 2018). Once the law goes into effect on January 1, Illinois residents 21 and over will be able to legally possess 30 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of concentrate, or 500 milligrams of THC in a marijuana-infused product. Out-of-staters will only be able to possess up to 15 grams of marijuana.

Oregon Governor Signs Marijuana Expungement Measure into Law. Gov. Kate Brown (D) has signed into law SB 420, to facilitate the expungement of past marijuana convictions. The law sets procedures for people previously convicted of possessing up to an ounce of weed to file motions to have their convictions set aside. This measure expands upon a earlier expungement bill passed in 2015.

Hemp

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Hemp Bill. Gov. David Ige (D) has vetoed SB 1353, which would have established an industrial hemp licensing program required by the US Department of Agriculture for industrial hemp production. Ige said he was concerned the bill would create a licensing structure that could not be enforced

Asset Forfeiture

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Asset Forfeiture Bill. Gov. David Ige (D) has vetoed HB 748, which would have prohibited civil asset forfeiture. The reason Ige gave for vetoing the bill is that "current laws are effective."

Law Enforcement

Houston Police Turn Over Narcotics Division Files For Probe Of Botched RaidThe Houston Police Department has turned over thousands of files from its narcotics division to the Harris County District Attorney’s office. The DA’s office said Monday prosecutors will review the files as part of an investigation sparked by a January 28 botched drug raid in which two civilians died and five officers were wounded.

International

Iran Foreign Minister Says US Sanctions Hindering Fight Against Drugs. Iranian Foreign Minister Moammad Javad Zarif at a conference in Tehran marking the International Day Against Drug Absue and Illicit Trafficking that the US and certain Western countries are hindering the fight against narcotics. Zarif said the re-imposition of US sanctions against Iran as well as "economic terrorism" were preventing Iran from implementing international agreements about fighting drugs.  "The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that to fight against narcotics it is necessary to avoid politicization and unilateralism, and to pay attention to international cooperation as a necessary means to achieve the goals set forth to build a better future for all human beings and future generations," he said. Iran seized more than 800 tons of Afghan opium last year.

psmith

Chronicle AM: Maine Legal MJ Sales (Finally), House Blocks Forfeiture Loophole, More... (6/24/19)

2 days 8 hours ago

Soon, Mainers will finally be able to buy and sell legal marijuana, the House passes an amendment to block an asset forfeiture end-run for local law enforcement, and more.

[image:1 align:left caption:true]Maine Governor Says Says She Intends to Sign Law to Allow Marijuana Sales. Gov. Janet Mills (D) said last Friday she plans to sign a law setting up a legal framework for marijuana sales in the state. Voters approved legalization in November 2016, but legal sales were long delayed by recalcitrant former Gov. Paul LePage (R).

Medical Marijuana

Amendment to Ease Vets' Access to Medical Marijuana Shelved. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), sponsor of an amendment to an annual spending bill for Veteran Affairs that would have widened access to medical marijuana for veterans, pulled the amendment in the face of opposition from the VA. On the House floor, Blumenauer explained that the VA "has not been as helpful as it should be" in easing access for vets. "All of a sudden the VA has decided, well, they would be putting their doctors at risk," he said. "I hope that we'll be able to work together to fix this little quirk to make sure that VA doctors can do what doctors everywhere do in states where medical cannabis is legal and be able to work with their patients."

New Hampshire Will Allow Physician Assistants to Recommend Medical Marijuana. Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has signed into law a bill expanding the list of providers who may recommend medical marijuana. A bill that allows medical marijuana users to grow their own plants awaits his signature.

Asset Forfeiture

House Passes Amendment to Block Federal Asset Forfeiture Loophole. The House last Wednesday unanimously approved an amendment to the annual Justice Department funding bill that blocks the department from funding a practice known as adoptive seizure, in which the federal government agrees to take over seizure cases from state and local law enforcement in a bid to get around state asset forfeiture laws. The bipartisan amendment was sponsored by Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Tim Wahlberg (R-MI).

Criminal Justice

Pennsylvania Senate Schedules Major Hearing on Probation and Parole Reform. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings Monday and Tuesday on the state's probation and parole systems. The committee will hear from more than a dozen stakeholders in the probation and parole debate, including county district attorneys, criminal defense lawyers, and advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Reform Alliance, which is chaired by Philadelphia rapper and probation and parole reform advocate Meek Mill. Representatives from state Department of Corrections, the Office of the Victim Advocate, and the Sentencing Commission will also offer testimony. "It's incredibly important," committee aide Mike Cortez said. "The hearing will be a sounding board to figure out what we can do, what we can't do, and if there are ways we can move bills forward." A recent report found that the state spends about $100 million a year to incarcerate people who committed technical parole infractions and an additional $200 million on people who commit new crimes while on parole or probation.

psmith

17 Realistic Illustrations Of Our Favorite Disney Princesses

2 days 12 hours ago

Andhika Muksin is fascinated with Disney. He's been photoshopping Pocahontas, Ariel, and other princesses into celebrity photos for quite some time, but now he decided to switch things up. Instead of "inserting" the famous princesses into reality, he brought reality into their lives. Bear with me. Muksin has stripped away the glam surrounding our beloved gals and replaced it with pizzas, unInstagrammable selfies, and other fundamental everyday life nuances.


More info: Instagram | Facebook


Free Fall Of The Wind

Part Of Your Wo--

Sleeping

Agrabah Night In

Verified Face Time Princess

Swap White

Part Of Your Front Camera

A Whole New Ouch!

Holding Your Breath From Ursula's Lair Got You Like

A Whole New Woooooooo

"I'm Not A Regular Mom, I'm A Cool Mom..."

When You Leave The Ocean For Pizza

Eating Apple

Your Tagged Pictures Be Like

Dracarys

Painful Beauty

"What Do You Mean She's Prettier Than Me...?"
Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

25 Hilarious Tweets About Amazon Alexa That Make Us Believe She Would Pass The Turing Test

2 days 12 hours ago

In the age of Artificial Intelligence, many of us use virtual assistants such as Google Now, Siri, and Amazon's Alexa. The latter, initially used in the Amazon Echo, is sometimes capable of such smart voice interaction that it feels there is a human mind behind it. By a human mind, we mean that Alexa is prone to very human-like errors. Nevertheless, because it is cloud-based, Amazon is always updating Alexa's intelligence based on the Alexa questions, and the hilarious things that she says can soon come to an end.


From trying to learn new things to discovering clever ways of making people leave the house, this hilarious list proves Alexa would perhaps pass the Turing test. It seems to have a better sense of humor than most of my friends. And if you have ever wondered what funny questions to ask Alexa, with this list you'll never run out of the fun. Scroll down below to read the humorous exchanges:


















































Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

New York Plans To Become The First American State To Ban Declawing Cats

2 days 12 hours ago

vizland/iStock


New York is only one signature away from becoming the first American state in the country to ban cat declawing, a practice that, as advocates claim, serves no benefit to felines and is done typically out of convenience.


The bill that passed by a wide margin in the state's majority-Democrat Assembly and Senate would impose a US$1,000 fine on veterinarians that perform the procedure for non-medical purposes.


This means pet owners in the state would no longer be able to have their felines declawed for cosmetic, aesthetic, or other ostensible reasons.


One of the several lawmakers to champion the measure, Assembly woman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) was visibly jubilant after the vote.


She had previously rallied against declawing and condemned its invasive nature: "It is not like getting a mani/ped. It's a brutal surgical procedure."


Rosenthal and other proponents of the bill say declawing, or onychectomy, can cause long-lasting complications for cats. New York director for the Humane Society of the United States Brian Shapiro that advocated the legislation explained the procedure isn't as simple as removing a cat's nail, but it requires amputating the last bone segment in a cat's toes.


Some estimate 25% of cats in the USA are declawed, and Shapiro said that veterinarians are generally divided on the issue.


The New York Veterinary Medical Society, for instance, argues declawing should be allowed if a cat uses its claws destructively, or if a potential scratch could pose health risks to houses where people with weakened immune systems live.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends sanitation methods and selective pet ownership over declawing.


The origins of declawing date back to at least 1952, when the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a letter to the editor from Chicago veterinarian A.G. Misener, that described the procedure as a "practical measure".


Speaking to The Washington Post in 2017, Minnesota veterinarian Ron Gaskin stated that Misener's practice was widely adopted across the USA - namely to keep cats from scratching up furniture - despite a lack of scrutiny on the procedure.


Several cities in the USA and most of the Canadian provinces have banned declawing, according to Rosenthal. The procedure is also outlawed in Britain, Austria, Sweden, Germany, and several other countries.


Acknowledging New York is now leading the way at the state level, Rosenthal said that she hopes that others will follow their lead. Lawmakers in California, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and West Virginia are pushing to pass similar legislation.


The bill will be delivered to the desk of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (D-N.Y.), who has indicated he'll review the measure before making a decision.


Reference: Science Alert

Katerina Papakyriakopoulou

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