12 thoughts on “News/Politics 6-19-17

  1. For those interested, none of the Navy guys I know are saying much. They know the Navy will get to the bottom of this (no pun intended) and measures will be taken. The fact the CO was immediately removed is an indicator his career is over. We anticipate many more will lose their jobs eventually.

    The crisis is the loss of life–though the well trained crew were able to keep that at a minimum. Questions remain, of course, about the why and how. Answers will be found–but that does not necessarily mean the public will ever know the full story.

    And if you think about it–if you know, then the world knows and do we really want the bad guys to be privy to our weaknesses?

    My opinion. This is what a Navy friend posted:


    Liked by 3 people

  2. China either bought or stole everything they know.
    Now, they may be pulling ahead.
    They sent their bright guys to US universities.


  3. From one of our (former before moving) church elders on FB this morning:


    My politics are an expression of my faith, not an independent entity. I wouldn’t expect them to fit neatly into any worldly or rationalistic system. As much as we might expect significant overlap between the divine law and the laws of men there will always be this uncomfortable disconnect; a distance. Because what we do and why we do it will always be a little different from what those will do and why they will do it, with only the lights of nature and human conscience to guide. So, really, it’s ok to be politically sloppy, to have a hard time fitting into a contemporary political mold, to be itchy within the system. When people say Social Justice I say yes, as long as it’s really something just. Justice isn’t an opinion. And when people say Libertarian I say yes, as long as you don’t mean a license for sin and the unmeasured human will as the determiner of all goods. And when people say freedom I say yes, as long as they mean equality before the law and the protection of people and property. And when people say rights I say yes, as long as they mean rights endowed by their creator. One never has a “right” to do something wrong. And when people say conservative, I say yes, if they mean holding to what is good and true of the past, time tested and worthy of enduring. And if people say liberal I say yes if they mean breaking with the past when it needs to be broken. And if progressive means veering closer to Christ as a person and community then please, let us progress. And I don’t expect a nation or its political parties to reach perfection in this age, so I’m ok with a certain awkward level of error inherent in each one. Only let us align with those most consistent with Christ in whatever place he puts us and whatever time he might choose.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Some good news….


    “Hasini Jayatilaka was a sophomore at the Johns Hopkins University working in a lab studying cancer cells when she noticed that when the cells become too densely packed, some would break off and start spreading.

    She wasn’t sure what to make of it, until she attended an academic conference and heard a speaker talking about bacterial cells behaving the same way. Yet when she went through the academic literature to see if anyone had written about similar behavior in cancer cells, she found nothing.

    Seven years later, the theory Jayatilaka developed early in college is now a bona fide discovery that offers significant promise for cancer treatment.

    Jayatilaka and a team at Johns Hopkins discovered the biochemical mechanism that tells cancer cells to break off from the primary tumor and spread throughout the body, a process called metastasis. Some 90 percent of cancer deaths are caused when cancer metastasizes. The team also found that two existing, FDA-approved drugs can slow metastasis significantly.”

    “”There are really no therapeutics out there right now that directly target the spread of cancer. So what we came up with through our studies was this drug cocktail that could potentially inhibit the spread of cancer.”

    The study was published online May 26 in the journal Nature Communications. The next step for the team is to test the effectiveness of the drugs in human subjects.

    Typically, cancer research and treatment has focused on shrinking the primary tumor through chemotherapy or other methods. But, the team said, by attacking the deadly process of metastasis, more patients could survive.

    “It’s not this primary tumor that’s going to kill you typically,” said Denis Wirtz, Johns Hopkins’ vice provost for research and director of its Physical Sciences-Oncology Center, who was a senior author on the paper.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cats Rule!


    “Sometime around the invention of agriculture, the cats came crawling. It was mice and rats, probably, that attracted the wild felines. The rats came because of stores of grain, made possible by human agriculture. And so cats and humans began their millennia-long coexistence.

    This relationship has been good for us of course—formerly because cats caught the disease-carrying pests stealing our food and presently because cleaning up their hairballs somehow gives purpose to our modern lives. But this relationship has been great for cats as species, too. From their native home in the Middle East, the first tamed cats followed humans out on ships and expeditions to take over the world—settling on six continents with even the occasional foray to Antarctica. Domestication has been a fantastically successful evolutionary strategy for cats.

    A comprehensive new study of DNA from ancient cat skeletons and mummies spanning 9,000 years traces the spread of cats from the Middle East to the rest of the world. The whole study, from conception to publication, took about 10 years—not least because of the work it took to find ancient cat remains.”

    “This large number of samples painted a fairly detailed picture of how cats followed humans on trade routes. Modern domestic cats appear to have all originated in one of two places. The first was Anatolia, which roughly corresponds to modern-day Turkey. These cats spread to Europe as early as 4,400 B.C.E. A second domesticated lineage appears to have begun in Egypt and then later spread through the Mediterranean. And wherever the cats followed humans, they also interbred with the native wildcats already there.

    This DNA exchange went both directions along the trade routes, too. That led to what, at first, seemed like baffling results in the ancient DNA. For example, a 2,000-year-old cat in Egypt had DNA sequences typical of wildcats in India. Claudio Ottoni, another member of the research team now at the University of Oslo, remembers thinking it was a mistake when he first got the sequences back on his laptop. In fact, that cat was found in an ancient Roman port city called Berenike, which was directly connected to trade routes in the Indian Ocean. Humans brought cats onto ships to catch mice and, in the process, spread cats all around the world.

    Compared to many other animals, cats have also changed very little in the domestication process. Behaviorally, they’ve become more tolerant of humans. Physically, though, they’re still about the same size and shape. They still like to pounce on small prey. “Cats have have done since before they were domesticated what we needed them to do,” says Leslie Lyons, a feline geneticist at the University of Missouri. In other words, unlike dogs that herd sheep or hunt badgers, cats didn’t need humans to breed them to become good mouse hunters.”


  6. This one is disappointing. That’s some pretty hardcore drugs for someone her age.


    “Carrie Fisher’s autopsy report shows the actress had cocaine in her system when she fell ill on a plane last year, but investigators could not determine what impact the cocaine and other drugs found in her system had on her death.

    The report released Monday states Fisher may have taken cocaine three days before the Dec. 23 flight on which she became ill. She died four days later.

    It also found traces of heroin and MDMA, which is also known as ecstasy, but that they could not determine when Fisher had taken those drugs.”


  7. Just imagine what this info could be used for in the hands of some nut.


    “A data analytics contractor employed by the Republican National Committee (RNC) left databases containing information on nearly 200 million potential voters exposed to the internet without security, allowing anyone who knew where to look to download it without a password. ”

    “The accessible files, according to UpGuard, contain a main 198 million-entry database with names, addresses of voters and an “RNC ID” that can be used with other exposed files to research individuals.

    For example, a 50-gigabyte file of “Post Elect 2016” information, last updated in mid-January, contained modeled data about a voter’s likely positions on 46 different issues ranging from “how likely it is the individual voted for Obama in 2012, whether they agree with the Trump foreign policy of ‘America First’ and how likely they are to be concerned with auto manufacturing as an issue, among others.”

    That file appears in a folder titled “target_point,” an apparent reference to another firm contracted by the RNC to crunch data. UpGuard speculates that the folder may imply that the firm TargetPoint compiled and shared the data with Deep Root. Another folder appears to reference Data Trust, another contracted firm.

    UpGuard analyst Dan O’Sullivan looked himself up in the database and writes in the official report that the calculated preferences were, at least for him, right on the money.

    “It is a testament both to their talents, and to the real danger of this exposure, that the results were astoundingly accurate,” he said. ”


  8. This kind of stupidity only escalates things, and some will use it as a defense for further acts of evil. ISIS is already using it as a reason to call for more of the same.


    “Here we go again. Another vehicle in London has “mounted the curb” and plowed into a crowd of people, killing one and injuring ten others. This time, however, there’s a possible twist. The attack took place outside of a mosque. One driver, no additional weapons mentioned thus far, no coordinated attacks in other locations and the driver reportedly didn’t exit the vehicle and attempt to take down anyone else. This has the local authorities pleading for calm and launching yet another exhausting investigation. (BBC)”

    “So are these incidents of people “striking back” in response to Islamic terror attacks? It’s too early to say. As usual, the Brits are much better at keeping details close to the vest and not leaking everything out to the press at once while they begin their investigation. The van driver in London could have selected that location at random I suppose. Or the driver might actually be ISIS inspired. (It’s not as if the Islamic terrorists don’t kill more Muslims than anyone else.) But let’s at least admit that those scenarios don’t seem nearly as likely here and the possibility of it being some sort of vigilantism run amuck has to be considered.

    The fact that assaulting and/or murdering anyone is completely unacceptable under any circumstances should go without saying (though sadly, it needs to be repeated for some). But even with that said, the sorts of attacks being suggested here would be a major setback in the war on terror. Too many activists have already been clamoring about a culture of fear, rampant Islamophobia and everything else under the sun which might redirect attention away from the secretive communities which have been producing these terrorist sympathizers and actual attackers. If there truly are specific attacks taking place against Muslim communities it just adds strength to those arguments.”


  9. Free speech wins. And I’d note, by unanimous consent, with some minor disagreements on the details.


    “The Slants (and the Redskins) win: The government can’t deny full trademark protection to allegedly racially offensive marks”

    “That’s what the Supreme Court just held this morning, in Matal v. Tam. The court was unanimous on the result and some basic principles, though split 4-4 (Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wasn’t yet on the court when the case was argued) on some details. I’ll blog more on the case throughout the day, but here are the core pillars on which the justices agreed:

    1. By denying registration to trademarks that allegedly disparage certain kinds of groups, the federal trademark law (the Lanham Act) discriminates based on viewpoint:

    Our cases use the term “viewpoint” discrimination in a broad sense, and in that sense, the disparagement clause discriminates on the bases of “viewpoint.” To be sure, the clause evenhandedly prohibits disparagement of all groups. It applies equally to marks that damn Democrats and Republicans, capitalists and socialists, and those arrayed on both sides of every possible issue. It denies registration to any mark that is offensive to a substantial percentage of the members of any group. But in the sense relevant here, that is viewpoint discrimination: Giving offense is a viewpoint.

    We have said time and again that “the public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers.” Street v. New York, 394 U. S. 576, 592 (1969). See also Texas v. Johnson, 491 U. S. 397, 414 (1989) (“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable”) [more cases omitted] …”


  10. More info on Michelle’s story above.


    “The container ship made a sudden turn shortly before the collision

    The route of the container ship ACX Crystal, provided by vessel-tracking service MarineTraffic, shows that the ship made a sudden turn around 1:30 a.m., as if possible trying to avoid something, before continuing eastward.

    The ACX Crystal then made a U-turn and returned around 2:20 a.m. to the area near the collision.

    It took nearly an hour for the collision to be reported

    An official for Japan’s coast guard said it is investigating why it took nearly an hour for the collision to be reported, the AP reported.

    The coast guard originally said the collision occurred at 2:20 a.m. because when the container ship reported the incident it at 2:25 a.m., it said the collision had just happened. The coast guard later changed the collision time to 1:30 a.m. after interviewing crewmembers aboard the container ship.

    Coast guard officials are trying to get a hold of a device with communication records to further examine the details of the crash, which is also being investigated by Japan’s Transport Safety Board.

    The U.S. Navy said it is sticking with the 2:20 a.m. timing for the crash that had been reported by the USS Fitzgerald, according to the AP.

    A spokeswoman for the NYK Line, the ship’s operator, agreed with the earlier timing, but she could not provide details about what the ship was doing for the 50 minutes between the time of the collision and when it was reported.”


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