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Woman Faces Jail Time For Growing Veggies In Front Yard


Here's a story to stimulate the "rules are rules" crowd -- "A Michigan woman is looking at the prospect of 93 days in jail because she planted vegetables in planters in her front yard and refused to abide by the town elders' interpretation of the planning code."

Consumerist: Woman Faces Jail Time For Growing Veggies In Front Yard

Cory Maye Freed After 10 Years In Prison: The Back Story

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Radley Balko says: "I have a longish piece up at Huffington Post today telling the story behind last week's plea bargain in the Cory Maye case. Maye was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2004 for killing a police officer during a botched drug raid on his home.

"It's a story I've been reporting on for about five years. After doing time on death row, then in a notoriously violent wing of Parchman Penitentiary, Maye will soon be going home to his family."

Cory Maye, now 30, was convicted in 2004 of shooting and killing Prentiss, Mississippi, police officer Ron Jones, Jr. during a botched drug raid on Maye's home on the day after Christmas in 2001. Maye says he was asleep as the raid began at 12:30 a.m. and had no idea the men breaking into his home were police. The police say they announced themselves. Maye had no prior criminal record, and police found all of a marijuana roach in his apartment, which under other circumstances would garner a $100 fine.

In fact, the man who lived next door to Maye in that bright yellow duplex, Jamie Smith, already had drug charges pending against him and appears to have been the actual target of the police action that night. The police found a significant supply of drugs in Smith's apartment, though Smith has never been tried.

The story behind Cory Maye's release

Funding to research antibiotic resistant bacteria not a priority

MRSA—aka, antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—kills more Americans every year than HIV. But, writes Maryn McKenna, "For every death from AIDS, the US federal research establishment awards approximately $69,000 in grant funds. And for every death from MRSA, it awards $570."

Climate change affects the fossil fuel industry, too

Great moments in irony: How the oil and gas industries are preparing for climate change. (Via Brendan Slotterback)

What not to do in a public health slideshow presentation

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I'm normally all for humor in science communication, but this has me a little bothered.

Mother Jones has a story up about a neurological disorder that affected several line workers at a Hormel factory in Minnesota. That story's focus is on the connection between the waning power of unions, increasingly bad conditions for workers, and the way the people who developed this disorder have been treated by Hormel. And the disorder itself is pretty depressing, even without all of that.

Known as PIN, Progressive Inflammatory Neuropathy, the disorder has been linked to slaughterhouse workers inhaling particles of pig brain material. When their bodies launch an immune system attack against that material, they end up attacking their own nerve cells as well as the pigs'. Victims end up experiencing everything from numbness and pain to temporary paralysis. PIN doesn't kill people. And in most cases, the symptoms improve over time, after the person stops being exposed to atomized pig brains. But, as the Mother Jones piece makes clear, this disorder has had a large, negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people who contracted it.

Which is why I have a hard time understanding the logic behind the image above, which is the last slide from a Minnesota Department of Health presentation on PIN. Given the context, this odd attempt at levity looks pretty damned insensitive, at best.

Priorities

Fact: The United States military spends more money in Afghanistan and Iraq, on just air conditioning alone, than NASA gets in their entire budget. (Via Matthew Francis)

#611nonukes: photos, video from Japan anti-nuclear protests

[Video link] Large anti-nuclear protests marking 3 months since the Fukushima nuclear disaster are under way in Japan today, with solidarity demonstrations in other countries around the world. Background in this previous post. Live-tweeted videos and images are coming in via the #611nonukes hashtag on Twitter, and #share611.

Photos below by freelance writer Minori Okuda (blog, Twitter).

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UPDATE: A New York Times article by Hiroko Tabuchi is here, and a USA Today item is here.

Japan: massive anti-nuclear protests planned for June 11

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From Time Out Tokyo:

Japan's burgeoning anti-nuclear movement will be marking the three month anniversary of the March 11 quake and tsunami with a nationwide day of protests, amidst reports that Japan's nuclear reactors may all be shut down by next April. Organisers are touting the day as a '100-man-nin akushon' (1 million-strong action), and there are nearly a dozen marches happening in Tokyo alone - although whether that's evidence of widespread support, or of a movement that's still hopelessly fragmented, is debatable. The largest demos will centre on Shinjuku, Shibuya and the well-trodden route from Shiba Park to Tokyo Station.

Hashtag to follow related activity on Twitter: #611nonukes. Looks like the primary organizing site is nonukes.jp (partial English translation here). They are calling for supporters around the world to organize demonstrations in solidarity:

The day marks three months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by the earthquake and tsunami. The plants are still spewing radioactive materials. No one wants such dirty electricity harmful to human and nature. Join us on June 11th with million-people action throughout the world and let our voice heard. (...) Our solidarity, if you are in Japan, in Asia, in Europe, in Americas, or anywhere in this world, will soon end this dark age of nuclear power generation.

How to stay cool without an air conditioner

I don't really like air conditioners. I didn't grow up with them. And I find them overly cold and unpleasant the vast majority of the time. To me, that all adds up to mean Not Worth The Energy They Suck Down. Usually, there are a couple of days in August that are hot enough for me to give in and turn on a window unit overnight. I know, I know. It's Minnesota. Ain't no thing. But I didn't use them in Kansas, either, which is orders of magnitude more uncomfortable in Summer. When I lived in Alabama, they made more sense. But my husband and I still went one Summer (of the two we lived there) a/c-free.

I bring this up because I have a theory. I think "I don't use air conditioning" could become the new "I don't use soap."

Now, personally, I adapt by living in a house that holds its temperature pretty well—so a very hot day in June is still comfy inside, while a hot day in August is not. I also open the house overnight and use fans to suck in cool air. Then, at dawn, I close all the windows, draw the blinds, and only use fans to circulate what's inside. Christopher Mims has a different method. His involves a fan and a damp, synthetic cooling towel:

Once you've got one of your special outdoorsperson cooling things draped about your neck, you will be amazed at the degree to which the power of your conventional fan has been magnified. That's because now you're exploiting the magic of evaporative cooling. Every molecule of water that evaporates off your neck carries with it an amount of heat equivalent to water's latent heat, which is pretty damn high.

It also helps that your super-cool definitely-doesn't-make-you-look-like-a-weirdo evaporative bandana is now immediately adjacent to a pair of gigantic arteries running straight into your head. It's as if you've attached your Personal Swamp Cooler directly to a heat exchanger carrying your blood supply.

As I write this, the mercury is climbing. I'm sequestered in my home office, it's 83 degrees inside, yet I'm perfectly comfortable. I'm not spending a dime on air conditioning. Wouldn't you like to be able to say the same?

Syria: internet services shut down as protesters fill streets for "Children's Friday"

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Protests in solidarity with Syria have been taking place throughout the world this week. In Beirut, Syrian children carry pictures of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib and hold candles during a protest in front of the United Nations building in Lebanon, June 1, 2011.The Syrian boy, who activists say was tortured and killed by security forces, has emerged as a powerful symbol in protests against the rule of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad which have been met with a bloody crackdown. (REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi)

Some 50,000 protesters filled the streets in Syria today, calling for a "Children's Friday" to commemorate the deaths of children killed in anti-government protests in recent weeks, and to demand the "immediate resignation" of President Bashar al-Assad. The case sparking greatest outrage is that of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, a 13-year-old boy whose mutilated body was returned to his family weeks after being separated from his parents at a protest. He is presumed to have been tortured, castrated, and killed by Syrian government thugs.

From The Washington Post:

A government-sponsored Web site has confirmed that the Internet has been disconnected across the country: “The Syrian government has cut off Internet service (3G, DSL, Dial-up) all across Syria, including in government institutions.”

A Syrian blogger in Damascus tweeted about the Internet shutdown, which she said was happening for the first time.

A Google Traffic transparency report shows a huge drop in traffic today.

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Renesys reports that beginning at 6:35am local time in Syria, about two-thirds of all Syrian networks became unreachable from the global Internet.

Over the course of roughly half an hour, the routes to 40 of 59 networks were withdrawn from the global routing table. This image shows the current state (green: reachable, red: unreachable) of each network prefix in the Middle East this morning, visualized as a packed Hilbert-curve representation. The size of the colored area is proportional to each country's Internet presence, so you can see that Syria's Internet (red block near the top center) is a little smaller than that of Kuwait.

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Watch sessions from the World Science Festival via webcast

The World Science Festival is an awesome event that brings together scientists, communicators, and the public for fascinating conversations and eye-opening presentations. The downside: It's in New York City (also, most of the sessions are already sold out.)

But all is not lost: Several sessions from the conference will be webcast—some live, some after-the-fact—and, as a bonus, the webcasts come with audience interaction and running commentary delivered by science journalists from the staff of Scientific American and, also, by me!

The webcasts start tomorrow (with Sci Am's Philip Yam hosting a panel on dark matter and dark energy) and run through Saturday. The full webcast schedule is online.

I've been asked to host the panel that inspired my recent blog post about tornadoes, uncertainty, and the risks of climate change. "The Illusion of Certainty: Risk, Probability, and Chance" will feature mathematicians Marcus du Sautoy and Amir Aczel, psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer, physicist Leonard Mlodinow, and cognitive scientist Josh Tenenbaum. The actual panel happens on Thursday night. The webcast, with my commentary, starts on Friday at 4:45 Eastern. I'll also post the webcast to BoingBoing on Saturday.

A paywall you can see from space

The good news: Bloomberg is putting together a new online media outlet that promises to produce an incredibly detailed parsing of what happens in Washington and how government really works. The bad news: The subscription fee is $5,700 per year.

YouTube unblocks video of 13yo Syrian boy allegedly tortured, killed by government thugs

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YouTube has reinstated access to a graphic, horrifying video of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, a 13-year-old child who is reported to have been tortured, castrated, and killed by Syrian government thugs after being separated from his mother and father at an April protest against the Assad regime. A link to the video is here; it is extremely disturbing and not appropriate for viewing by children. The video was apparently blocked by YouTube due to its shocking content, then unblocked after reporters and human rights advocates petitioned YouTube administrators.

The boy's corpse was returned to his family a month after his arrest. As The Nation reports, they "risked their lives to produce the video."

The New York Times reports that his father was detained after the video went public, and he has since been missing.

The New York Times describes the video:

But the remains themselves testify all too clearly to ghastly torture. Video posted online shows his battered, purple face. His skin is scrawled with cuts, gashes, deep burns and bullet wounds that would probably have injured but not killed. His jaw and kneecaps are shattered, according to an unidentified narrator, and his penis chopped off.
More from The Nation:

By Tuesday, however, the video that shot from the web to Al Jazeera to the streets of Syria -- where people marched carrying signs emblazoned with the deceased child's portrait -- had been blocked on YouTube, the very site where it first launched. The temporary blockage of the brutal video, which YouTube has since restored, is another reminder that the same social media platforms which help spread protests can also seriously hinder activists.

Read the rest

Politics + science = fun

Just because science sounds silly doesn't mean it's worthless. MSNBC's Alan Boyle breaks down recent political attempts to attack the National Science Foundation. TL;DR: Yes, the jello wrestling at an Antarctic research station was a mistake, but funding a towel-folding robot is actually important and not really a major drain on the federal budget.

Body slammed and choked by cops for dancing at Jefferson Memorial


[Video Link] Kindly US Park Police protecting us from people who endanger others with gentle and quiet dance.

Adam Kokesh body slammed, choked, police brutality at Jefferson Memorial

Rainforest activists murdered in Brazil

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The bodies of Amazon rainforest activist Joao Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife Maria do Espirito Santo are carried to burial by friends and relatives, in the municipal cemetery of Maraba, in Brazil, on May 26, 2011. The identity of those responsible for the shooting in northern Brazil on Tuesday has not yet been determined, but da Silva predicted his own death six months ago, and was the recipient of frequent death threats by illegal loggers and cattle ranchers.

"I will protect the forest at all costs. That is why I could get a bullet in my head at any moment -- because I denounce the loggers and charcoal producers," he said.

Watch his speech at TEDxAmazonia, below, in which he says he believes killing trees in the rainforest is murder (click the "cc" button in the player for English subtitles).

The murders of da Silva and his wife took place as Brazil's Congress debates a divisive bill that threatens to further expand deforestation. Da Silva and Espirito Santo were active in the same organization of forest workers that was founded by legendary conservationist Chico Mendes. Al Jazeera has a video report here, and a first-person account from the funeral for the slain activist here.

More news coverage: NPR, New York Times, Guardian, Reuters, Telegraph.

Photos above and below: Reuters.

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Raw Opium: documentary trailer


[Video Link]

Raw Opium is a journey around the world and through time, where conflicting forces do battle over the narcotic sap of the opium poppy. From an opium master in southeast Asia to a UN drug enforcement officer on the border of Afghanistan hunting down the smugglers of central Asia; from a former Indian government Drug Czar and opium farmer to a crusading Vancouver doctor and Portuguese street worker who daily confront the realities of drug addiction.
Raw Opium: A feature documentary about a commodity that has tremendous power - both to ease pain and to destroy lives

Saudi woman wants to give women the right to drive in her country

A Saudi woman named Manal al-Sherif is leading a movement to encourage women to learn to drive cars in her country, where only men are allowed to drive.

The campaigners are calling for a mass drive on 17 June. The group say women joining the campaign should not challenge authorities if they are stopped and questioned, and should abide by the country's strict dress code. "We want to live as complete citizens, without the humiliation that we are subjected to every day because we are tied to a driver. We are not here to break the law ... we are here to claim one of our simplest rights."
Saudi Women's Facebook page: "Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself" (Via Arbroath)

Update on Hindu "back-top" newspaper publisher in Pakistan: how to help

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Earlier this week here on Boing Boing, I posted a video by former BB guestblogger Bassam Tariq and Omar Mullick—an incredible little vignette about a father of 6 in a poor community in Pakistan who publishes a Hindu newspaper for the minority Hindu community there, with a message of intercultural peace and tolerance. What amazed me, and BB readers, about the story most? The guy is a shoe-shiner who taught himself how to use computers and do desktop publishing by himself, and he is using a massive, older desktop computer and literally carrying this huge PC on his back to the city, where the newspaper is printed.

Some readers wanted to help out, either with cash donations or by sending a laptop or flash drives, something to make the process easier for him. I asked Bassam, and he writes, "Sabeen Mahmud heads up Peace Niche and she is the one that people can send donations to. People can send her an email at sabeen@peaceniche.org."

Kansas City Star: Tornado response shows it's time to re-think the way we run America

An editorial in the Kansas City Star yesterday makes some interesting points about responding to short-term disasters, preparing for long-term disasters, and problem of money.

... it hardly requires an expert to behold the devastation in Joplin and see that, while charitable resources are essential, private donors will not be able to fund all that is needed. Joplin needs new school buildings, a new power grid, massive work on its hospital. And that's only the beginning.

This brings us to a rather shameful debate now taking place in, of course, Congress.

To its credit, a key House panel has approved an additional $1 billion in federal relief money to respond to a spring of natural disasters. But as soon as cries for help were heard, lawmakers pounced on the chance to make partisan points.

House Republicans are starting to demand that disaster relief funds be balanced with cuts in other areas of federal spending, essentially using human tragedy to advance their political agenda. One suggestion is that we should cut a program encouraging the production of more fuel efficient cars, a program brought about by economic and long-term national security concerns.

Here's the big picture: If the United States is to the point at which helping disaster victims means cutting other needed programs, it's time to rethink the way we're running this country. Today, Americans have the lightest total tax burden they've had since 1958. One result of that low tax burden, and the resulting inadequate federal and state revenue, is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency faces a $3 billion shortfall. And that's before the Joplin bills arrive.

Overly optimistic projections during good times brought us to this point. Pandering politicians agreed to tax cuts that this country could not afford. But that's the past. Going forward, we must be able to agree it is un-American to scramble and bicker over priorities every time nature strikes.

Via SharkFu

This is what happens when we don't vaccinate

The Centers for Disease Control released a report this week on the measles outbreaks that have happened in the United States since the beginning of 2011. The report covers 19 weeks, and 118 cases of measles, which group into clusters that speckle a map of the U.S. like, well, like a case of the measles.

Let's remember, getting the measles is not like catching a cold. There are serious risks of serious complications. Seth Mnookin—whose book, The Panic Virus, is something you really should read—says measles has killed more children than any other disease in recorded history. In a post at his blog, Mnookin looks at the CDC report, and what we can learn from it.

* There have been 118 reported measles cases in the first nineteen weeks of the year—which is the highest number of infections for that period since 1996. That's particularly noteworthy because, as the CDC points out, "as a result of high vaccination coverage, measles elimination (i.e., the absence of endemic transmission) was achieved in the United States in the late 1990s and likely in the rest of the Americas since the early 2000s."

Endemic transmission refers to long strings of measles outbreaks, without a distinct beginning or end. If you have a population with high vaccination rates, you can effectively wall off a rare case or two of the disease. Someone picks it up (often because of a trip overseas) and spreads it to a few other vulnerable people, but the chain of transmission ends within a few weeks or months. In endemic transmission, the chain just keeps going, for years. Without vaccine "walls," you don't have outbreaks during which you must be careful, you have a constant threat that never goes away. This is, essentially, what has already happened in France.

* Eighty-nine percent of all reported cases have been in people who've been unvaccinated. Almost 20 percent of that figure is made up of children who were less than a year old. That means they were too young to have received the first dose of the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, which is given once between the ages of twelve and fifteen months and again when a child is between four and six years old. Another twenty percent of the total number of reported infections were in children between the ages of one and four.

In other words, choosing to not vaccinate some children affects the health of other children whose families haven't made that choice.

* Forty percent of the infections recorded so far this year have resulted in hospitalization—and 98 percent of the people who were hospitalized were unvaccinated. In its typically understated manner, the CDC noted that "nine [of the hospitalized patients] had pneumonia, but none had encephalitis and none died"—which is another way of saying that encephalitis and death are potential complications of serious cases of pneumonia.

And all of that is expensive. Containing a single outbreak—caused by an intentionally unvaccinated patient—with just 12 cases, cost us $150,000. That's not much money in the grand scheme of public health, but it is money that we shouldn't have had to spend. And endemic transmission, at the scale of what is happening in France, would be a lot more costly. There've been 6400 measles infection cases in France this year, Mnookin says. In the U.S., with our larger population, an outbreak of that size would have meant 28,000 cases here. With a transmission rate of 90%, measles cases, and the costs to contain them, can stack up very quickly.

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund auctions massive Molly Crabapple original

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Bob Self of Baby Tattoo books says, "Dr. Sketchy's founder Molly Crabapple asked me to forward this to you in the hopes you will blog about it. The auction is a fundraiser for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and the art is pretty incredible."

Molly Crabapple wanted to make a huge statement about her support for Free Speech. With attacks on comics on the rise and border searches increasing, Crabapple saw a need to do her part. So, she created a monstrous masterpiece to benefit CBLDF -- a masterpiece that you can bid on!

Created during the Stumptown Comics Festival and measuring in at 8 feet high and 7 feet wide, every inch of the piece is covered with Crabapple's intricate pen work. A true participatory performance piece, it incorporates suggestions from convention attendees, from tentacles to bottles of scotch. As staggering as the dimensions of piece are, it is all the more stunning for the amount of detail Crabapple incorporated into it. "I love the energy of creating something massive surrounded by a crowd," says Crabapple, "and to feed off that energy and draw something that I love. It was an honor to make an art monster for CBLDF."

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein adds, "As the founder of Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, Molly has been an adamant supporter of Free Speech and CBLDF. She's an established name in the fine art world and a rising star in comics. It's a privilege to have her support for CBLDF, and the piece she created is nothing short of spectacular." The auction for this artistic tour de force is live now.

Bids can be placed online here.

Joplin and Minneapolis: Grassroots tornado-recovery & info-sharing on Facebook

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Trying to contact people in tornado-ravaged Joplin, MO, or somewhat-less-ravaged North Minneapolis? Interested in finding out what you can do to help these communities and the people who survived last weekend's storms? Social media can help. Yesterday, I found a Facebook page that's aggregating information and updates on North Minneapolis. It includes info for volunteers and victims, including places where newly homeless can find food and shelter, and how to tell if the contractor who showed up at your house after a storm is trying to scam you.

That site linked me to another, Joplin-centric information clearinghouse, also on Facebook. Like the Minneapolis site, it includes information for survivors looking for food, shelter, and services like a mobile laundromat (!), as well as providing a forum where people can ask about the fate of loved ones, and find out where to donate and what's really needed.

These sites aren't perfect—for instance, while the Minneapolis community seems to be managed, it looks like anyone can post on the wall of the Joplin site, so there's nobody verifying that all the information posted is correct—but they do provide necessary info in a centralized, constant, and populist way that wouldn't have been possible pre-Internet. Great stuff!

Image: North Minneapolis Storm Damage, a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from diversey's photostream

Nobody expects the Spanish revolution: photos from "Real Democracy" protests in Spain

300559476.jpg Photo by @acampadasol (web), who has been photographing the protests in in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square, where some ten thousand demonstrators have gathered to demand jobs, economic equality, and "real democracy." The demonstrations throughout Spain, ahead of the country's upcoming elections, have been compared to various popular uprisings in the Middle East. Global Voices, CBS, AP, Periodismo Humano. Spain's El Pais newspaper, as one might expect, has extensive coverage (photos, video). US-based and English-language outlets, not so much yet.

Below, video shot of thousands of protesters in Madrid today by "eloyente" for periodismohumano.com.

Read the rest

Tornado deaths and tornado frequency do not coincide

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Tornadoes are most frequent in central Oklahoma. But more tornado deaths occur around the region where the borders of Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi touch. This graphic comes from a really interesting article by Chris Rowan on the Highly Allochthonous blog. Rowan compares the disparities between tornado frequency and tornado deaths to earthquakes, discussing the difference in earthquake preparedness between areas that ride the lines where plates of the Earth's crust touch, and areas prone to intraplate earthquakes. The latter receive much less attention—both in terms of research, and safety preparation.

Meanwhile, speaking of tornadoes, a group of writers from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, have put together a downloadable ebook of stories and essays about their hometown. The download is free, but the writers are hoping that people who like the book will donate money toward relief efforts that will help the city recover. Download the ebook. Donate.

Thanks to Brian Oliu!

Scientists and teachers: Join program to bring scientists to public school classrooms

Are you a scientist who would be willing to talk to public schools about your work, or some more general aspect of science? Are you a teacher looking for science role-models, and in-the-classroom experts? Check out the 1000 Scientists in 1000 Days program!

Skin care company tries to bribe journalists into printing its press release

Dear Editor or Health Editor: Would you consider running our press release as a win-win project? We will pay $100 for every Skin Care Patient who sees the press release in your newspaper and commits to our exclusive and effective process. We monitor each incoming patient and where they heard about us. — From a press release sent by Medisys Research Group to Virginia media outlets. At least one editor was not swayed by this "fabulous" offer and forwarded the offending press release to Jim Romenesko at Poynter. Virginia Boingers: You can read the full press release on Romenesko's blog. Let me know if it shows up in your local paper or TV station. Pay-for-play deals like this need to be exposed! (Via Gary Schwitzer)

Dalai Lama receives human rights award from Amnesty International

[iPhone snapshot above: Xeni Jardin; illustration inset, Shepard Fairey.]

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was in Long Beach, California this morning to accept the inaugural edition of a "Shine a Light on Human Rights" award from Amnesty International.

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Interview with medical marijuana researcher Michael Backes


My friend Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds interviewed my friend Michael Backes, a medical marijuana researcher.

A conversation with the brilliant Michael Backes, a Hollywood special effects consultant (films from Jurassic Park to Spider-Man 2) who also happens to be one of the world's foremost experts on the subject of medical cannabis. If this is a topic that is of interest to you, you can be assured of finding what he says in this interview fascinating (or your money back!).
Interview with medical marijuana researcher Michael Backes

School principal bans homemade lunches


UPDATE: "Chicago Public Schools does not have a policy that prohibits bag lunches and our school does not have a policy against bringing lunch from home." -- Elsa Carmona Principal of Little Village Academy

This month's slate of busybodies includes the FDA who embarked on a year-long sting operation to bust an Amish company for selling raw milk. And then there are the killjoys at New York's Department of Health who were poised to crack down on "dangerous" activities like wiffle ball and freeze tag.

But time around no one out-nannied the Chicago public school principal who banned students from eating homemade lunches.

Presenting Reason.tv's Nanny of the Month for April 2011: Elsa Carmona!

Ted Balaker of Korchula Productions says:

So this means if you have a vegetable garden, as my family did when I was growing up, the principal won't let you bring fresh carrots to school? Apparently, there are a lot of parents at this particular school who give their kids all kinds of garbage for lunch. But how are kids supposed to learn healthy habits if they can't choose freely? Many kids simply throw their cafeteria lunches in the trash, so they either end up eating nothing or they tap into the school's burgeoning market for black-market sweets.

School Principal Bans Homemade Lunches! Nanny of the Month (April 2011)