Puget Sound mussels are failing drug tests

If you’ve been using or abusing an opioid, then your pee’s been full of opioids. When your opioid-laced pee gets flushed away, those opioids wind up in our water: our reservoirs, streams and oceans.

And that, friends, is why mussels are failing drug tests.

According to CBS News, scientists at Washington’s Department of Fish & Wildlife have found evidence that the dregs of the opioids we consume and then whiz out are now present enough in the waters around Seattle that mussels are testing positive for oxycodone. As mussels are filter feeders, they tend to soak up environmental contaminants into their tissues in large concentrations.

From CBS News:

Happily, mussels don't metabolize drugs like oxycodone and thus wouldn't necessarily be physically harmed by the presence of it in their tissues, studies show that fish are not so lucky. In fact, scientists at the University of Utah recently discovered that, if given the opportunity, zebrafish will willingly dose themselves with opioids. Scientists say salmon and other fish might have a similar response.

The Puget Sound Institute notes that the amounts of opioids detected were thousands of times smaller than a typical human dose. And none of the mussels tested are near any commercial shellfish beds.

So the shellfish are safe, but man are we screwed.

That the opioid levels in the mussels have become high enough to be detectable says a lot about the amount of painkillers that we, as a society, are using and abusing, let alone the environmental impact we as a species can have, simply by going to the bathroom. Read the rest

There's a librarian action figure in the likeness of a real librarian

The rise of the Information Age has put librarians in more demand than ever, according to this recent article in the Wall Street Journal.

It simply makes sense that a librarian action figure would pop into the market, tiny red cape and all. This one is particularly special because it's fashioned after a real hero, librarian Nancy Pearl of Seattle, Washington.

You can pick one up over at Archie McPhee for $9.95. Read the rest

Navy admits its pilot sky-wrote a giant cloud-wiener

A spokesman from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Ault Field, WA, said of the unnamed crew behind the giant sky-dong, "we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable." Read the rest

Seattle's Nazi tech-bros' plan: infiltrate tech industry, hire white supremacists

The Stranger's David Lewis snuck into the Northwest Forum, a s00per s33kr1t Nazi gathering in Seattle, and attended the speeches, including the keynote by reclusive white supremacist leader Dr Greg Johnson. Read the rest

Stuck horn on a tugboat keeps Everett, WA up all night

My sister couldn't sleep last night.

MyEverettNews.com started received messages early this morning about super loud horn or siren that was keeping folks awake on the hottest night of the year. The sound was thought to be coming somewhere from the waterfront.

We checked with the Port of Everett this morning and they issued the following apology…

Neighbors:

We apologize for the prolonged horn noise at the Port last night. One of our customers has been doing some finishing work on a new ocean-going tug boat, and the horn malfunctioned. Our customer has assured us they have remedied the issue.

Please accept our sincere apologies on the noise, the time it took to figure out how to turn off the horn and the fact that it happened on the hottest day of the year so far.

Sincerely,

Les Reardanz

CEO Port of Everett

So there is your answer. Glad we could help. Were gonna go take a nap now.

Via MyEverettNews Read the rest

See you tonight for the Walkaway tour stop in Bellingham! (then Vancouver, Burbank, Oxford...) (!)

Thanks to everyone (especially Neal Stephenson) who came out to last night's Walkaway event in Seattle: if you're in the area and couldn't make it, you get another chance tonight when I'll be at Bellingham's Village Books at 7PM. Read the rest

Washington data scientists: a chance to figure out how to use your skills for good

A pair of data-scientists in Washington State are convening a meeting of "Data Scientists, Data Science Enthusiasts, and Advocates for Civic Liberties and Social Justice" who want to figure out how "Data Scientists & IT Professionals use their expertise to help answer the current human questions which social and policy-based organizations are currently struggling to address?" Read the rest

Amid education funding emergency, Washington State gives Boeing, Microsoft $1B in tax breaks

Jeff writes, "Combined, Washington State is providing Microsoft and Boeing $1 billion annually in tax breaks. Cumulatively, Microsoft's state tax has saved its shareholders $8.6 billion in costs. While the company quietly surpassed $1 trillion in all time revenue, its home state faces emergencies in education funding, homelessness, heroin addiction and escalating crime." Read the rest

Washington state government censors art by jailed Native American activist Leonard Peltier

Paintings by incarcerated Native activist Leonard Peltier have been removed from the walls of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries in Tumwater following complaints form a group of retired FBI agents. Read the rest

Seattle's tent cities

Seattle has America's fourth-largest homeless population and virtually everything homeless people do is illegal in Washington State, which has added 288 new offenses related to homelessness to its statute-books since 2000 -- amazingly, this did not convince those homeless people to stop being homeless. Read the rest

Seattle prosecutor drops all public marijuana tickets

As reported here, almost all of them were issued by a single cop, who hates legal weed and subjected his victims to humiliating rituals like flipping a coin to see which ones would get the ticket and which would walk away free. Read the rest

Republican in Washington State legislature delivers emotional address in support of gay marriage

Here's Washington State rep Maureen Walsh, a Republican, explaining to her colleagues why her she was breaking with the party line and voting in favor of same-sex marriage. It's an emotional, moving address, and Walsh, together with one of her GOP colleagues, helped carry the motion, paving the way for legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington State.

You know, years ago, my daughter went to, she was in elementary school. Many of you have met my daughter. She’s a fabulous girl. She’s wonderful. My boys are great too, but my daughter is just something special, and she was the light of her father’s eyes. And she went to school and there were some kids that were, a whole group of kids that were picking on another kid. And you know, my daughter stood up for that kid, even though it was not the popular thing to do. She knew it was the right thing to do. And I was never more proud of my kid, knowing that she was speaking against the vocal majority on behalf of the rights of the minority.

And to me, it is incumbent upon us as legislators in this state to do that. That is why we are here, and I shudder to think that if folks who had proceeded us in history did not do that, frankly I’m not sure I would be here as a woman. I’m not sure that others would be here due to their race, or their creed. And to me, that is what’s disconcerting.

Read the rest