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Friday, May 22, 2015

While not a Firday Night Music Thread, I was thinking music for the 3 day weekend.


Scientists have figured out how to brew morphine using the same kit used to make beer at home. They have genetically modified yeast to perform the complicated chemistry needed to convert sugar to morphine. If you brew beer at home, then you are relying on microscopic yeast that turns sugars into alcohol. But by borrowing DNA from plants, scientists have been genetically engineering yeasts that can perform each of the steps needed to convert sugar into morphine. read more


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Islamic State militants have taken near complete control of the Syrian city of Palmyra, home to some of the world's most magnificent ancient ruins.

There are fears that the militants will destroy the ruins, which Unesco has designated a World Heritage site.

Government troops have almost entirely withdrawn from the city following an IS advance, an eyewitness told the BBC. read more


Twenty years ago this month, the Supreme Court placed a huge roadblock in the way of a grass-roots, bipartisan movement that had been gaining strength, namely the term limits movement. In many states, voters had approved limits on the number of terms that state officials may serve. Back in the early 90s, there was similar pressure to limit the number of terms members of the U.S. House and Senate could serve.

And then, the Supreme Court said such limits were unconstitutional in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton. By a 5-4 vote, the justices held that putting term limits on members of Congress (as Arkansas had voted to do) amounted to an additional "qualification" for holding office, which no state could impose because the Constitution's stated qualifications are exhaustive.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Experienced BASE jumpers Dean Potter and Graham Hunt died Saturday after attempting an illegal wingsuit flight from Taft Point, a 7,500-foot promontory that overlooks Yosemite Valley and El Capitan in California. Potter has been a fixture on the climbing and BASE-jumping scene in Yosemite since the late 1990s. The Guardian quotes an interview with climber Jimmy Chin last spring in which Potter explained he had become more committed to flying safely as he lost friends to the sport. "This past month, four friends died wingsuit-flying, one of whom was my very good friend and wingman, Sean Leary," Potter said.


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