Aretha Franklin performs "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1971)

The Queen of Soul at the Fillmore West, March 5, 1971.

Personnel: Aretha Franklin - vocals, piano; "King" Curtis Owsley - sax, band director; Cornell Dupree - guitar; Billy Preston - organ; Truman Thomas - piano; Jerry Jemmott - bass; Bernard Purdie - drums; Pancho Morales - percussion, drums; Jimmy Mitchell - baritone sax; Lou Collins - tenor sax; Andrew Love - tenor sax; Wayne Jackson - trumpet; Roger Hobbs - trumpet; Jack Hale - trombone; Brenda Bryant - backing vocals; Margaret Branch - backing vocals; Pat Smith - backing vocals

Utah lawyer says his religious beliefs are more important than sick people who use medical cannabis

A Salt Lake City-area lawyer named Walter J. Plumb III is trying to remove Utah's medical marijuana initiative from the ballot in November. Plumb, who owns a pharmaceutical company called Pharmics Inc.,
asserts that his religious right to be intolerant of sick people who use cannabis to treat their illness is guaranteed by the constitution. He has spent over $100,000 of his own money in his effort to prevent allowing Utahans from voting on the issue.

From Reason:

The sticking point for Plumb is a provision in Prop. 2 that would forbid landlords from discriminating against potential tenants solely because of their status as medical marijuana patients. This would force Plumb—a practicing Mormon and owner of a number of residential properties that he leases out—to associate with people and practices that run counter to his deeply held beliefs, something his lawsuit says is a violation of his religious liberties. The suit also claims that being forced to rent to medical marijuana patients amounts to "compelled speech."

"Members of all religions, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have constitutional rights to exercise their religious beliefs. This includes the right not to consort with, be around, or do business with people engaging in activities which their religion finds repugnant," the suit reads. "Any practicing member of the LDS faith would find this mandate deeply offensive and incredibly repulsive to their religious beliefs and their way of life."

Polls show that two-thirds of Utahans are in favor of the medical marijuana bill. If it passes, it will be the 31st state to legalize medical cannabis.

The Center for Disease Control's realistic new comic about swine flu and a state fair

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have published a free graphic novel titled "The Junior Disease Detectives: Operation Outbreak," some of which is set at a state fair where a teenage 4-H member is infected with swine flu. As CNN reports, the comic's plot is similar to what actually happened this summer at two state fairs. From CNN:

At the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, which took place in San Luis Obispo County from July 18 through 29, two people fell ill after attending the fair. Similarly, two attendees of the Fowlerville Family Fair in Michigan, which took place in Livingston County from July 23 through 28, also became sick in the days after.

Public health disease detectives in both states immediately tested the patients for variant influenza virus, a flu strain that normally circulates in swine but not people. Person-to-person transmission of variant strains is uncommon, and you cannot catch this type of flu from eating pork.

Over six percent of us experience "phantom odor perception"

About 7 or 8 years ago, I started experiences episodes of smelling a burning paper odor, even though there wasn't any source for the odor. It would last for a few days, then abruptly stop, and return a few weeks later. I started tracking these episodes, and found that they are very loosely correlated with lack of sleep and stress. Sometimes the weird smell starts while I'm feeling great, though, so I really didn't know what the cause was. I asked Oliver Sacks about it when I was interviewing him about his book Hallucinations, and said he had no idea why I smelled things that weren't there.

Today, Gizmodo linked to a newly published paper from the the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey called "Factors Associated With Phantom Odor Perception Among US Adults" and it describes my experience perfectly -- an "unpleasant, bad, or burning odor when no actual odor exists."

The study found that phantom odor perception was more prevalent among "among women, younger age groups, and those of lower socioeconomic position," and was "more common among those with poorer health, a history of head injury, or dry mouth symptoms."

Head injuries as a possible cause might explain why I experience this. When I was 13 or 14 I was skateboarding down a steep hill in Boulder Colorado without a helmet (Columbine street, for those who know it). I don't remember falling off the board. I woke up in the ambulance with a broken nose, a torn chin, and knocked out teeth. I spent a couple of days in the hospital being treated for a concussion.

Image: Jenov Jenovallen/Shutterstock

Man's passive aggressive and funny way to shame dog walkers who don't pick up poop

Steve Tamblyn of Adelaide, Australia was frustrated at his neighbors that didn't pick up after their dogs. So he set up a security cam, captured an image of a dog and its lazy walker, printed out the evidence, and posted it by the poop. So far, the funny but passive aggressive technique hasn't actually led to the individual cleaning up the mess but he's hoping it will deter others from shirking their responsibility. (ABC)

Satanic Temple statue unveiled at Arkansas State Capitol

Members of the Satanic Temple held a "Rally for the First Amendment” yesterday at the Arkansas State Capitol, where they unveiled an 8.5-foot bronze statue of Baphomet with two adoring children at his side to the Arkansas State Capitol. The Satanic Temple is suing the Federal Government for the right to permanently install the statue on the Capitol grounds, arguing that since the Capitol has a Ten Commandments monument, other religions must be allowed to display their symbols there, too.

A group of Christians also attended the rally, and those interviewed by KATV were articulate and respectful of the Satanists and their statue. "God loves them, and we love them," said one. "These people are here in support of their beliefs, and I'm here in support of mine," said another. "Fortunately we live in a country that allows freedom of speech, freedom of religion. I may not necessarily agree with their faith, but I respect it."

The only person who came off as a nutcase was Senator Jason Rapert (R), the lawmaker who successfully led the unconstitutional campaign to erect a Ten Commandments monument on the Arkansas State Capitol grounds. He said in a Facebook statement, "No matter what these extremists may claim, it will be a very cold day in hell before an offensive statue will be forced upon us to be permanently erected on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol."

Images: KATV video screenshot

NASA's gorgeous music video for Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune"

The scientist/artists in NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio created this magnificent video to accompany a recent performance by the National Symphony Orchestra Pops of Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune." From NASA:

The visuals were composed like a nature documentary, with clean cuts and a mostly stationary virtual camera. The viewer follows the Sun throughout a lunar day, seeing sunrises and then sunsets over prominent features on the Moon. The sprawling ray system surrounding Copernicus crater, for example, is revealed beneath receding shadows at sunrise and later slips back into darkness as night encroaches...

The visualization uses a digital 3D model of the Moon built from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter global elevation maps and image mosaics. The lighting is derived from actual Sun angles during lunar days in 2018.

Fox news host ridiculed for spouting fake facts about Denmark

This video is the first time I've seen or heard of Fox News host Trish Regan, so I don't know anything about her, other than the fact that she thinks Denmark is a very bad place because it is socialist just like Venezuela. I don't know if she's been to either country, but she spouts a lot of facts about Denmark, all of which happen to be very fake news, beginning with, “Denmark – like Venezuela – has stripped people of their opportunities,” and follows with zingers like “Not only is school free, they actually pay you. You know what happens then? Nobody graduates from school. They just stay in school. Because that’s the reality of socialism… Nowadays all the kids graduating from schools in Denmark, they want to start cupcake cafes.”

Dan Jorgensen, a former government minister from Denmark, takes delight in using statistics to demolish every one of Trish Regan's bogus claims.

Trish Regan has issued a new lie to cover-up her earlier lies on the segment: “I was never implying that conditions in Denmark were similar in any way to the current tragedy on the ground there in Venezuela. I was merely pointing out… that socialism is not the way."

[via The Independent]

Trump "cancels" military parade

There'll be no triumph for Trump: a day after its price tag was reported to be heading toward $100m and the Pentagon delayed the festivities, he has "cancelled" the forthcoming military parade that, all in all, could never have matched the totalitarian splendor of his imagination.

President Donald Trump sought to cast blame Friday for the cancellation of his planned military parade on Washington city council officials, saying they had inflated the cost. Soon after the President tweeted, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser claimed she "got thru" to Trump about costs for the parade, which at one point was calculated to run about $12 million but had soared to an estimated $92 million by the time Trump canceled the event.

Bowser shot back: "Yup, I’m Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, the local politician who finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad)."

Steam effectively halts approval of saucy visual novels

The game platform Steam has an anything-goes policy toward what it publishes. But the resulting kelp mat of smut has spread enough to lead it to institute moderation by the back door: freezing approvals in certain genres while it develops 'filters.' Targeted most clearly are visual novels, manga and erotica. Fans and developers of erotic manga visual novels are most displeased!

Based on just the developers coming forward, it seems like visual novels with some degree of adult content are in the crosshairs of this approval freeze. One such dev shared their recent conversation with a Valve employee, seemingly from Valve’s developer portal, and noted that their game was being held despite censoring out adult content and images from the Steam edition ahead of time, a step the dev says has worked for their past releases on Steam.

While Valve has yet to comment on the criteria under which it is selecting games to withhold from Steam for the time being, sudden policy enforcement shifts have slighted visual novel developers in the past. At one point a few months back, Valve reached out to several visual novel developers and threatened to delist their games, all of which had been previously approved for Steam release, unless those devs patch out content deemed inappropriate. However, Valve later backed down from those threats.

There are maybe colder facts in play here than the usual freezepeach discourse. More porn means more chargebacks, which means the payment processors taking an interest in what is being sold and turning the screw on Steam.

Trump had stupid argument with Vietnam veterans about Apocalypse Now

President Trump got into an argument with Vietnam veterans in which he insisted that Apocalypse Now featured the use of Agent Orange, not napalm: “It was really fucking weird.”

Attendees began explaining to the president that the VA had not made enough progress on the [Agent Orange ]issue at all, to which Trump responded by abruptly derailing the meeting and asking the attendees if Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie.”

He did not initially name the film he was referencing, but it quickly became clear as Trump kept rambling that he was referring to the classic 1979 Francis Ford Coppola epic Apocalypse Now, and specifically the famous helicopter attack scene set to the “Ride of the Valkyries.” [A] Source present at the time tell The Daily Beast that multiple people—including Vietnam War veterans—chimed in to inform the president that the Apocalypse Now set piece he was talking about showcased the U.S. military using napalm, not Agent Orange.

Trump refused to accept that he was mistaken and proceeded to say things like, “no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.”

When people (such as Omarosa) talk of Trump's "mental decline", this is what they mean. It's incomprehensible to most people that Trump could be this dumb and stubborn without being somehow medically compromised.

How to launch a creative career with this 100+ hour Adobe training

The Adobe Creative Cloud suite is the foundation on which many creatives build their careers, but some of its programs, like Photoshop and InDesign, are notoriously complex, making it difficult for aspiring designers, photographers, and the like to break into their field. But, don't get discouraged. The Pay What You Want: Adobe CC A-Z Lifetime Bundle is packed with 100+ hours of training to get you working with the entire Adobe suite, and it can be yours for a price you pick.

Here's how the deal works: Simply pay what you want, and you'll unlock one of the collection's 12 courses. Beat the average price paid, and you'll get the remaining 11 at no extra charge.

From animating with After Effects to retouching images in Photoshop, this collection is perfect for beginners looking to develop a working knowledge of the Adobe suite. You'll foster tangible skills as you work your way through real-world projects and explore both the essential and advanced capabilities of each program.

The Pay What You Want: Adobe CC A-Z Lifetime Bundle can be yours for a price you pick.

Portugal proves that austerity doesn't work

Economists like Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna reshaped the world when their theories of "expansionary austerity" were put into effect after the 2008 crisis: the idea that governments could "increase taxes, cut spending, and grow strongly" was powerfully tempting to the world's leaders, who saw in them a way to pull out of a recessionary spiral without limiting the number of yachts the oligarchs they depended on could afford. (more…)

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