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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Megan Phelps-Roper grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church and was picketing with signs like "gays are worthy of death" at the age of five. She left 20 years later because strangers on Twitter changed her mind. "Initially, the people I encountered on the platform were just as hostile as I expected," she says. But slowly that changed. They started to ask about her beliefs, and she asked about theirs. Their conversations planted seeds of doubt, and slowly her entire worldview shifted -- eventually driving her to leave the church (and the beliefs that came with it) behind. In Megan's TED Talk, she urges all of us to talk and to listen to the people we disagree with. Here, in her words, are her tips for how to have effective conversations: read more

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Gizmodo writer Kristen V. Brown sent her DNA to multiple genetic testing companies and found each gave very different results. Brown breaks down her results and interviews the companies about their procedures to try to make sense of the varying results. Genetics is inherently a comparative science: Data about your genes is determined by comparing them to the genes of other people," Brown writes. As Adam Rutherford, a British geneticist and author of the excellent book 'A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived,' explained to me, we've got a fundamental misunderstanding of what an ancestry DNA test even does. "They're not telling you where your DNA comes from in the past," he told me, "They're telling you where on Earth your DNA is from today."

The Y chromosome may be a symbol of masculinity, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is anything but strong and enduring. Although it carries the "master switch" gene, SRY, that determines whether an embryo will develop as male (XY) or female (XX), it contains very few other genes and is the only chromosome not necessary for life. Women, after all, manage just fine without one. What's more, the Y chromosome has degenerated rapidly, leaving females with two perfectly normal X chromosomes, but males with an X and a shrivelled Y. If the same rate of degeneration continues, the Y chromosome has just 4.6m years left before it disappears completely. This may sound like a long time, but it isn't when you consider that life has existed on Earth for 3.5 billion years. read more

Friday, January 12, 2018

For more than 50 years, the specter of "the button" has haunted conversations about American nuclear weapons. While the power to launch nuclear war has -- contrary to our imaginations -- never actually been contained within a button, historian Alex Wellerstein says the idea of it reflects the way the American public sees this presidential power. "There's no one button. There never has been. There never should be. It's a terrible idea," he says. "It's a metaphor for how we think about technology, simplicity and our lack of control." To Wellerstein, the idea that nuclear-level destruction could be accomplished by an act as simple as the pressing a button reflects the impersonal terror of nuclear weaponry that has shaped world politics since it was first introduced in August 1945. Every president since then has had the power to order the use of a nuclear weapon, although only Truman has used it. That unique ability has helped to shape the modern presidency. read more

Posing as prohibited persons or out-of-state buyers, what happened when government agents tried to purchase guns online? The short answer. Unless they went to the dark web, they were rejected. Findings in a two-year study, conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), tell the tale. For clarity, the "surface web" is the regular internet you and I use every day. For the study, agents went to a variety of online destinations to attempt to purchase firearms, including retailers, auction hubs and marketplaces, classified listings, forums and social media platforms. The bottom line is that all 72 attempts "to illegally purchase firearms from private sellers on the surface web were unsuccessful," as the report stated. Translation: the majority of online gun sellers are law-abiding. read more


From your link.
Federal law allows individuals who live in the same state to sells guns privately without a background check or paperwork. Out-of-state sales require a licensed gun dealer to serve as an intermediary.


Reveal recently exposed the flaws in eBay's policy against selling assault weapon parts on its website. But Craigslist's gun ban goes even further. Buying or selling any guns, gun parts or ammunition is plainly prohibited, along with prescription drugs, food stamps and anything deemed "offensive, obscene, defamatory, threatening, or malicious."

So the problem is lack of enforcement of eBay's and Craigslist policies as well as Federal laws. If these online loopholes are so plentiful and big, why couldn't the GAO buy weapons online?

Thanks for posting. Will check to see if will help me.

Sounds like a living hell.

After a lifetime of abusing my hearing, the ringing is pretty constant for me. I'm 66. Sometimes sounds like Cicadas singing; other times a high pitched ringing;
#3 and #4 are mine.

I too went to concerts. Found myself standing in front of a wall of speakers for two hours at a James Gang concert once. Running chain saws with no ear protection.(Just going to run it for a short while) Hitting steel with a sledge hammer. The funny thing, it's not like the, 'Can I do it until I need glasses?' question. One day you just notice that there a ringing with you now. A really ------- annoying ringing.
IMO anything you can do for yourself to save your hearing is worth the effort. It's frustrating when at the restaurant with friends that you miss half of the conversations. Or when you can't understand you grandchild during a Facetime.

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