Solar Dynamics Observatory Captures Images of Lunar Transit

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Next-Generation Microshutter Array Technology

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Oregon Marijuana Legalization Study Predicts $38.5 Million In Taxes On $145 Ounces

Posted by Russ Belville – A new study compiled by ECONorthwest has predicted that Oregon will reap $38.5 million in marijuana tax revenue in the first fiscal year of legalization.  The Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act promoted by New Approach Oregon has qualified for the November election ballot and will cap the taxation of marijuana at $35 per ounce for flowers, $10 per ounce for leaves, and $5 per immature marijuana seedling. The Act does not affect the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act, so researchers did not include the 64,000+ patients in their calculations.  In the first three years, analysts expect the legal market to capture 40% of Oregon’s current black market.  There are 436,000 adults 21 and older who are consuming marijuana on an annual basis, 314,000 who consume monthly, and 108,000 who consume at least two out of three days per month.  The study focuses...

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Report Criticizes EPA Oversight of Injection Wells

The GAO says regulators are failing to adequately enforce rules for sites used to dispose of toxic waste By Naveena Sadasivam, ProPublica – Federal environment officials have failed to adequately oversee hundreds of thousands of wells used to inject toxic oil and gas drilling waste deep underground, according to a new congressional report. The report, released Monday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, is critical of the Environmental Protection Agency’s inconsistent handling of safety inspections, poor record keeping, and failure to adjust its guidelines to adapt to new risks brought by the recent boom in domestic drilling, including the understanding that injection wells are causing earthquakes.  The EPA generally agreed with the GAO’s findings and characterization of the challenges the agency is currently facing. Concerns have mounted recently about potential water contamination from injections wells. California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review of more...

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You Will Not Believe What Rick Santorum Is Blaming On Same-Sex Marriage Now

by Kerry-Anne – America’s Christian Right has been busy blaming Same-sex marriage for everything from extreme weather events, to impending apocalypse.  So it must be hard for them to keep things constantly fresh as they run out of hyperbolic prophesies. But you can always rely on Rick Santorum to mix things up. His latest? Same sex marriage is to blame for single motherhood…Oh and polygamy is coming next. “What we need to do is reclaim what marriage is,” Santorum told Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly during a radio interview. “If marriage is simply a romantic relationship between two people — and by the way, that’s what it’s devolved to in the minds of a lot of Americans — if that’s all that marriage is then it’s hard to make the argument that any two people, any three or four people shouldn’t be able to get married.” The interview devolves into...

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Political nonprofits bungle IRS filings

Crossroads GPS, Patriot Majority USA to file amended tax returns after Center inquiry By Michael Beckel – High-profile nonprofits that invest millions of dollars in political campaign ads regularly omit from their tax returns information about the companies they hire, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation. These annual tax documents are signed under the penalty of perjury when submitted to the Internal Revenue Service. Nevertheless, deep-pocketed groups — both conservative and liberal — appear to have bungled reporting rules requiring nonprofits to disclose the names of their highest paid independent contractors. Three of these groups — Crossroads GPS, the Club for Growth and Patriot Majority USA— acknowledged their errors when informed of them and said they plan to correct them. At least four others — Americans for Tax Reform, the American Future Fund, the 60 Plus Association and the Revere America Association — also appear to have made...

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B-And-Bee Shelter Looks to Comfort Festival Goers

By Adam Williams, Gizmag – Each year, millions of people head to their festival of choice with tent and sleeping bag in hand. Belgian company Achilles Design aims to bring those festival goers a little extra comfort – and save space too – with its honeycomb-shaped B-And-Bee shelter. Bearing some resemblance to the Japanese Capsule Hotels we covered back in 2011, the B-And-Bee features a modular, stackable design that takes up a relatively small physical footprint when compared to a large number of tents. The company also states that it’s easily transported and assembled. Access is gained via metal steps and a roll-up canvas sheet serves as a zip-up door. There’s a king-size bed inside that converts to seating, and the snug interior also sports luggage storage, a locker, light, and a power supply. One can’t help but think that the company is missing a trick marketing B-And-Bee solely toward festival organizers,...

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Voter turnout always drops off for midterm elections, but why?

By Drew DeSilver – With three-and-a-half months to the midterm elections, it’s still unclear the extent to which Republicans’ advantage in voter engagement will translate into more actual House and Senate seats. But we’ll go out on a limb on two predictions: A lot fewer people will vote this year than did in 2012, and Democrats are likely to suffer accordingly. Voter turnout regularly drops in midterm elections, and has done so since the 1840s. In 2008, for instance, 57.1% of the voting-age population cast ballots — the highest level in four decades — as Barack Obama became the first African American elected president. But two years later only 36.9% voted in the midterm election that put the House back in Republican hands. For Obama’s re-election in 2012, turnout rebounded to 53.7%. Who turns out to vote and why is of much more than academic interest. In an era of increasingly polarized...

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Grimes Uses McConnelling Video To Highlight Anti-Woman Record

by poopdogcomedy – OMG, yes! http://talkingpointsmemo.com/… Remember McConnelling? The internet meme borne out of what a wordless video of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) awkwardly smiling at the camera and meeting with constituents. Outsiders speculated that the video was designed to be extra footage, or b-roll, that outside political action groups could use to make TV ads, but now McConnell’s opponent is taking advantage of it. The Democrat running against McConnell, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, wants to make sure your remember it. Her campaign for U.S. Senate has a new video out using the footage from the original McConnelling video but this time text going over some of McConnell’s votes over the years appears over the b-roll footage of McConnell. The goal of the ad is to paint McConnell as a lawmaker who has consistently opposed women’s rights over about 30 years. – TPM, 7/30/14 P.S. Grimes...

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Watch A Republican Senator Get Schooled On Climate Change By His Fed Up Colleague

by Jameson Parker – It’s 2014. The climate is changing. The science is definitive on that. And yet, some Republican lawmakers continue to insist the whole thing is a big hoax. If you think you’re tired of it, imagine being a fellow lawmaker who has to listen to this nonsense on a daily basis. It’s no wonder that one finally snapped. Last week, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) voted against a Senate resolution that did nothing but acknowledge that climate change was real. There were no riders. No emission cap requirements. No pollution regulations. It just said “Climate Change is real” and given that fact, it poses a threat to the United States. According to the bill’s author Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the bill wasn’t meant to come up with solutions (the hard part), it was just supposed to be a symbolic gesture that communicated to the public that Congress...

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Labor Board Delivers Victory for Low-Wage McDonald’s Workers

A nationwide expansion of union rights could be in store if NLRB ruling is upheld by Max Ocean – In a ruling being hailed by union groups and wage rights advocates, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found Tuesday that fast food giant McDonald’s can be considered a joint employer of workers employed by its franchise restaurants, meaning the corporation can be found liable for labor and wage violations that previously only franchisees could be found liable for. The NLRB’s general council stated that he “found merit in some of the charges” that McDonald’s “violated the rights of employees as a result of activities surrounding employee protests.” Specifically, 43 cases were found to have merit with 64 still pending investigation. The decision comes in response to 181 separate cases filed since November 2012 by McDonald’s workers alleging that their involvement in minimum wage protests resulted in unfair retaliation, including firings...

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Campaign Shenanigans are Top Targets for Office of Congressional Ethics

By Dave Levinthal, Center for Public Integrity – Misusing taxpayer money? Nope. Luxuriating on special interest-funded junkets? Sorry. Accepting ethically questionable gifts? Close, but no tobacco industry-bestowed cigar. Potential political violations by House members, employees account for nearly half of the investigations Since early 2009, nearly half of the Office of Congressional Ethics’ investigations into U.S. House members and staff involve election activity such as potential campaign finance violations, according to a new report the independent office published this week. The Office of Congressional Ethics — the U.S. House’s independent, internal watchdog — has been much less likely to investigate members’ and their staff’s official activities. Shenanigans involving travel (17 percent), outside employment and income (11 percent), gifts (8 percent), official allowances (6 percent), financial disclosure (3 percent) and “other” (9 percent) account for the rest of the office’s 137 investigations since early 2009, the report shows. The focus on election activity...

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Louisiana Republican Literally Runs Out Of Interview To Avoid Explaining Why She’s A Birther

by Jameson Parker – Journalist David Wasserman has made a career of interviewing hundreds of politicians – this is the first time one has fled his office to avoid answering one of his questions. The distinction goes to conservative Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney. In a state that is known for being very conservative, Whitney has made a name for herself as being the furthest right-wing she could manage. According to Wasserman’s assessment, Whitney “cites Minnesota’s Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) as a political role model, and takes kindly to the nickname ‘Palin of the South.’” Using those conservatives as inspiration, Whitney denies climate change, hates Obama, thinks all 11 million undocumented immigrants should be deported, and loves guns. Oh and she wants to repeal Obamacare, of course. It should come as no surprise, then, that Whitney has a long track record of legislative idiocy and willful ignorance regarding basic facts....

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Ruling Saves Mississippi’s Last Remaining Abortion Clinic

US appeals court affirms abortion access is a constitutional right by Nadia Prupis, staff writer, Common Dreams – Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic will stay open after a U.S. federal appeals court ruling on Tuesday. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a law that required abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals, which can be difficult to acquire as doctors’ applications are often ignored or rejected, both from local and out-of-state physicians. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization had been denied admitting privileges at seven hospitals in the area and was at risk of losing its license. “Today’s ruling ensures women who have decided to end a pregnancy will continue, for now, to have access to safe, legal care in their home state,” said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The promise of the U.S. Constitution is one that ensures all of our...

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On This Day, July 31, 1932 – Enzo Ferrari Leaves Driving to Build Cars

  1932 – Enzo Ferrari retired from racing. In 1950 he launched a series of cars under his name. Looking for work he applied for a job at Fiat only to be turned down. Eventually he was able to get a job at CMN, a small carmaker involved with converting war surplus. His duties included test driving which he did in between delivering chassis to the coach builder. About this time he took up racing and in 1919 he finished ninth at the Targa Florio. Through his friend Ugo Sivocci he got a job with Alfa Romeo who entered some modified production cars in the 1920 Targa Florio. Ferrari driving one of these cars managed to finish second. While at Alfa Romeo he came under the patronage of Giorgio Rimini who was Nicola Romeo’s aide. In 1923 he was racing and winning at the Circuit of Sivocci at Ravenna when he...

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Study: ‘Shocking’ Water Loss in Western U.S.

Satellites show groundwater supply at greater risk than previously thought By Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams – The  drought-stricken Colorado River Basin has experienced rapid and significant groundwater depletion since late 2004, posing a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought, according to a new study by NASA and University of California, Irvine. The research team used data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission to track changes in the mass of the Colorado River Basin, which is the water source for more than 30 million people and 4 million acres of farmland. The satellites showed the basin lost nearly 53 million acre feet (about 17 trillion gallons) of freshwater between 2004-2013 — almost double the volume of the nation’s largest reservoir, Nevada’s Lake Mead, which itself recently fell to its lowest level since the 1930s. More than three-quarters of the total water loss in the...

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Survey Shows Americans Lead the World in Climate Denial

By Brandon Baker, EcoWatch – Just a week after a nonprofit revealed that the U.S. is lagging behind other developed countries in energy efficiency, a research firm’s data shows that the nation is the leader in denying climate change. With more and more denial earning time on TV and in Washington, it’s not all that surprising. Still, it’s sobering to see visual data of Americans’ attitudes toward climate change compared to other countries. The data comes from United Kingdom-based Ipsos MORI, as part of the company’s Global Trends study, which polled 16,000 people in 20 countries. The respondents were asked 200 questions about eight topics, including the environment. Graphic credit: Ipsos MORI  The above graph shows that the U.S. had the fewest amount of respondents agree that climate change is largely a result of  human activity. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of respondents from Argentina, France, Italy, Spain and Turkey believe that humans are mostly responsible. Of the eight...

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In a rematch Obama loses BIG to Romney: Inside the CNN POLL

CNN’s is at it again. More Anti-Obama Deception and the Return of the anti-Obama pro-Clinton PUMAs by murphthesurf3 – An article in The People’s View by Spandan Chakrabarti from July 28, 2014 pretty successfully sucks the life out of the story that has been giving the GOP quite a thrill and a real fright at the same time. The poll, taken between July 18 and 20, purportedly shows that in a redo of the 2012 election Romney beats Obama by 9 points, 53 to 44 percent- thrilling for the GOP. In a hypothetical Romney vs. Clinton match, he lose by 13 points.- frightening for the GOP. Chakrabarti pokes holes in the story in an analysis of the polling sample by showing that the sample over-represents GOP voters, and goes on to postulate that the Democratic respondents seem to lean “PUMA”. Further, the author notes, the poll takes place in a...

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The demographics and politics of gun-owning households

By Rich Morin – Americans with young children in their home are just as likely as other adults to have a gun in their household, according to newly released survey data from the Pew Research Center. Overall, about a third of all Americans with children under 18 at home have a gun in their household, including  34% of families with children younger than 12. That’s nearly identical to the share of childless adults or those with older children who have a firearm at home. The new research also suggests a paradox: While blacks are significantly more likely than whites to be gun homicide victims, blacks are only about half as likely as whites to have a firearm in their home (41% vs. 19%). Hispanics are less likely than blacks to be gun homicide victims and half as likely as whites to have a gun at home (20%). To examine the demographic and political...

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Hillary Clinton’s Strengths: Record at State, Toughness, Honesty

But Benghazi Seen as Top Negative If she runs for president in 2016, Hillary Clinton would bring a number of potential strengths to the race, from her tenure as secretary of state to her perceived toughness and honesty. Fully 67% of Americans approve of the job she did as secretary of state, while majorities say she is tough (69%) and honest (56%). The public also rejects the notion that Clinton is unlikable – a change from the 2008 Democratic primary campaign. In a memorable moment from that contest, then-candidate Barack Obama turned to Clinton during a debate and said sarcastically, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” Today, just 36% say Clinton is “hard to like”; a majority (57%) says that phrase does not describe her. During the 2008 primary season, about half of voters found Clinton hard to like (51% in March 2008). However, the new national survey by the Pew...

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