Saturday, February 25, 2017

Desert Dwellers Evolve to Drink Poison

Quebrada Camarones
Desert people evolve to drink water poisoned with deadly arsenic
PEOPLE in a south American desert have evolved to detoxify potentially deadly arsenic that laces their water supply.

For settlers in the Quebrada Camarones region of Chile’s Atacama desert some 7000 years ago, water posed more than a bit of a problem. They were living in the world’s driest non-polar desert, and several of their most readily available water sources, such as rivers and wells, had high levels of arsenic, which can cause a variety of health problems.

The arsenic contamination here exceeds 1 microgram per litre: the highest levels in the Americas, and over 100 times the World Health Organization’s safe limits. There are virtually no alternative water sources, and yet, somehow, people have survived in the area. Could it be that arsenic’s negative effects on human health, such as inducing miscarriages, acted as a natural selection pressure that made this population evolve adaptations to it? A new study suggests this is indeed so.
OK, bad journalism warning.  1 microgram per litre (liter for us 'Muricans) is a perfectly acceptable level for arsenic in drinking water. The US upper limit is 10. I'm quite sure the scientists gave them the right number (probably as 1 mg/L or 1000 micrograms/liter) and the journalist mistranslated it for the article. Seawater, which you wouldn't want to drink much of, because of toxic levels of perfectly normal salts, contains about 1 microgram per liter
The body uses an enzyme called AS3MT to incorporate arsenic in two compounds, monomethylarsonic (MMA) acid and dimethylarsinic (DMA) acid. People who metabolise arsenic more efficiently convert more of it into the less toxic, more easily expelled DMA.
I was aware of this because I did a lot of arsenic research back in the day. For example, some phytoplankton have a problem with arsenic when phosphorus is low (phosphate and arsenate are chemical analogues), and have evolved efficient systems for methylating and excreting the As as MMA and DMA.
Mario Apata of the University of Chile in Santiago and his colleagues looked at variations in the gene coding for AS3MT in nearly 150 people from three regions of the country. They found higher frequencies of the protective variants in people from Camarones: 68 per cent there had them, as opposed to just 48 and 8 per cent of people in the other two. “Our data suggest that a high arsenic metabolization capacity has been selected as an adaptive mechanism in these populations in order to survive in an arsenic-laden environment,” the researchers conclude (American Journal of Physical Anthropology, doi.org/bz4s).
Just another example of how humans are constantly evolving to adapt to their environment. Even such traits we take for granted as blue eyes, blond hair and fair skin, are relatively recent additions to the human tool kit.

Reason #5457 Trump Was Elected

Over-regulation. Americans as a whole think they are over-regulated. Generally speaking, they perceive themselves as not needing regulation, but that the other guy does. Donald Trump, with a background in business, has a credible chance of making a dent in the administrative state:

#CPAC 2017: ‘The Deconstruction of the Administrative State’ — Steve Bannon
NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland

President Trump is “maniacally focused” on keeping the promises he made to America during his campaign, White House strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday during a panel with chief of staff Reince Priebus. That includes enforcing immigration law — “protecting the sovereignty of the United States,” as Priebus said — and an agenda of deregulation that Bannon called the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Bannon warned the audience in the Potomac Ballroom at the Conservative Political Action Conference to expect intensifying attacks on Trump the “corporatist, globalist media” that is opposed to the president’s agenda of economic nationalism. “If you think you are getting your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken,” said Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News. “We want you to have our backs . . . to hold us accountable for what we promised.”
It's long past time to do something about the creeping over-regulation of America. In that same vein: GOP Leaps on Congressional Review Act to Kill Obama Rules
A law that’s been successfully used only once until now is the conduit for a whole lot of action on Capitol Hill.

Republicans in Congress are expected to send a stream of bills — most of which require a single sentence — to President Donald Trump’s desk, using a process known as the Congressional Review Act to repeal agency rules. The act was tucked into 1996 legislation tied to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s famous “Contract with America.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, at a press conference last week, joined a group of Republican leaders who have trumpeted using the CRA to roll back regulations put in place under President Barack Obama. The law allows Congress to repeal certain rules of the previous administration under a fast-track process that requires only a simple majority in the Senate. Congress generally has 60 days to begin repeal of those rules.

Rule 5 Saturday - A Hunger for a Hungarian - Barbara Palvin

Without further ado, this week's Saturday Rule 5 special is Barbara Palvin:
Barbara Palvin (pronounced [ˈbɒrbɒrɒ ˈpɒlvin]; born 8 October 1993) is a Hungarian model, actress and former Victoria's Secret model. She is named as the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit "rookie of the year". She also appeared on the 2016 Love Magazine's advent annual video recreating Sharon Stone's iconic "Basic Instinct."
A worthy impersonation. Trust me on this.

Discovered on the streets of Budapest at the age of 13, Palvin shot her first editorial in 2006 for Spur Magazine. Palvin subsequently moved to Asia where she maintained a steady stream of bookings. Since then, Palvin has been on the cover of L'Officiel (Paris, Russia, Turkey, Thailand, Singapore), Vogue (Portugal), Marie Claire (Italy, Hungary), Glamour Hungary, Elle (Britain, Italy, Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, Serbia, Hungary), Allure, Harper's Bazaar and Jalouse Magazine. Palvin has appeared in campaigns for Armani Exchange, H&M, Victoria's Secret, and Pull & Bear. In February 2012, she became an ambassador for L'Oréal Paris.  In 2016, Palvin was revealed to be a part of the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie Class.
Back in 2014 she hooked up with Justin Beiber. I won't hold that against her, but I will hold it against him.

Barbara Palvin on Twitter, Barbara Palvin on Instagram. A certain amount of NSFW material exists...

Priscilla Presley, original first lady of Rock n Roll, graces this week's GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE (282nd Issue). In an effort to stay a breast of current events, he has also included plenty of FAKE NEWS for your entertainment!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Dakota Access Protesters Evicted, Leave Behind Scorched Earth

Some protesters have decided to end their time at the camp by burning down structures that were built on the site. From the Associated Press:
Some of the praying protesters said burning the structures — which appeared to include a yurt and a teepee — was part of the ceremony of leaving. As heavy rain turned to snow, some said they expected no trouble during the eviction, despite a heavy law enforcement presence.
“People are being very mindful, trying very hard to stay in prayer, to stay positive,” said Nestor Silva, 37, of California. “I am not aware of any plans for belligerence.”…
Dom Cross, an Oglala Sioux from Pine Ridge, South Dakota, said he planned to return home after living at the camp since September.
“There’s a lot of sadness right now. We have to leave our second home,” he said.

After months of showdowns with police, local law enforcement will finally clear the camp today. Authorities are being gracious to the exiting protesters. There will be buses provided to give them a ride to Bismark, ND. Each protester will be given food, a voucher for one night in a hotel and a bus ticket to take them anywhere in the United States. Fox News reports that authorities are even offering some kind of symbolic arrest aimed at giving the protesters something akin to an honorable way out of the protest. However, anyone who stays past today’s 2pm deadline and refuses the offer will be arrested and charged. One way or another, the camp will be cleared out today.

Once it is empty the work of cleaning up the mess left behind by up to 10,000 protesters will continue. The area where the camp is located is in a flood zone that washes into the local river. There is concern that abandoned cars, garbage and human waste could all wind up in the river if it is not removed before flooding takes place.
Now, that's some real environmentalism there.

Does anyone recall the origin of the standoff at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge? I do.
In 2012, Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., 73, and Steven Dwight Hammond, 46, were both convicted of two counts of arson on federal land, in relation to two fires they set in 2001 and 2006. In a mid-trial settlement agreement, the Hammonds agreed to not appeal the arson convictions in order to have other charges dismissed by the government. The Hammonds were also told the prosecutor would seek the mandatory minimum sentence of five years. Ultimately, Dwight Hammond was sentenced to three months' imprisonment and his son Steven was sentenced to a year and a day's imprisonment, which both men served. However, in 2015, the sentences were vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which then remanded re-sentencing. In October 2015, a judge re-sentenced the Hammonds to five years in prison (with credit for time served), ordering that they return to prison on January 4, 2016.
The Hammonds were charged under anti-terrorism laws for starting brush fires on their own land that inadvertently spread into the adjoining wildlife refuge, fires which they put out after a few acres of brush were burned, with no help from the government. The Bundy's seized on this incident as an example of how the Federal Government was oppressing ranchers.

I'll bet none of these protesters will be charged under that law. Instead they get free bus tickets home. None of them were shot to death.

From yesterday's news The Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp is no more
Many of the 200-300 protesters remaining at the Dakota Access Pipeline main camp, known as Oceti Sakowin, packed up and left yesterday. Some chose to burn down shelters they had built over the past several months on their way out. But a few holdouts remained today so police moved in and cleared the camp one final time. From the Seattle Times:
Police moved on the camp Thursday morning in dozens of armored personnel carriers, as a helicopter and fixed-wing airplane circled overhead. Police moved tent to tent and shack to shack with guns drawn, clearing out demonstrators. By 2:09 p.m. Central Time, it was over.
As many as 100 demonstrators were in the camp, according to activists, but authorities estimated 50.
Apparently 39 people were arrested today. Authorities had previously offered anyone who wanted to leave some food, a hotel voucher and a bus pass to anywhere in the country. Total cost of the cleanup of the site is starting at $800,000 though it’s believed that could go as high as $1.2 million by the time everything is done. Meanwhile, environmental groups such as 350.org which supported the protest are vowing to continue the fight. . .
I hear the Indians were getting pretty tired of the filthy hippies.

Yet She Persisted

California state senator removed after criticizing Tom Hayden
A Republican legislator and Vietnamese refugee was dragged from the state Senate floor Thursday morning when a Democratic leader ordered her removed after she tried to criticize the late Tom Hayden, a former state senator and vocal opponent of the war in Vietnam.

State Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove (Orange County), who was born in what was then Saigon, spoke briefly in Vietnamese, but her microphone was shut off less than 30 seconds after she began to repeat her remarks in English.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens (Los Angeles County), who was presiding over the short floor session, called on Nguyen to sit down a dozen times, telling her she was out of order. But when Nguyen continued to read her statement into her dead microphone, Lara took stronger action.

“Sergeants, please remove Senator Nguyen from the chamber,” he said. “Have her removed immediately.”
Jane Fonda and Tom Hayeden,
The couple named their son Troi after
 a Vietcong martyr who attempted to assassinate
 U.S. Defence Sectretary Robert McNamara 
- before wisely changing it to Troy


In her statement, which Nguyen posted on her state Senate website, she argued that she was offering “another historical perspective” on Hayden, a founder of the 1960s radical group Students for a Democratic Society, one of the “Chicago Seven” arrested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention and a peace activist who served 18 years in the state Legislature.

Nguyen said she stepped out of the Senate chamber during Hayden’s memorial Tuesday, “out of respect to his family, his friends and you (senators).”

But she argued that Hayden “chose to work directly with the Communist North Vietnamese government to oppose the efforts of the United States forces in South Vietnam,” siding with a government “that enslaved and or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family.”
Tom Hayden's death in Oct. 2016 went unremarked here. Some career highlights:
Like his allies the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who were assassinated in 1968, Mr. Hayden opposed violent protests but backed militant demonstrations, like the occupation of Columbia University campus buildings by students and the burning of draft cards. He also helped plan protests that, as it happened, turned into clashes with the Chicago police outside the Democratic convention.
. . ..
In 1974, with the Vietnam War in its final stages after American military involvement had all but ended, Mr. Hayden and Ms. Fonda, who were married by then, traveled across Vietnam, talking to people about their lives after years of war, and produced a documentary film, “Introduction to the Enemy.” Detractors labeled it Communist propaganda, but Nora Sayre, reviewing it for The New York Times, called it a “pensive and moving film.”
. . .
He made the first of several trips to Vietnam in 1965, accompanying Herbert Aptheker, a Communist Party theoretician, and Staughton Lynd, a radical professor at Yale. While the visit was technically illegal, it was apparently ignored by the State Department to allow the American peace movement and Hanoi to establish informal contacts. The group went to Hanoi and toured villages and factories in North Vietnam. Mr. Hayden wrote a book, “The Other Side” (1966), about the experience.
 . . .
Directing an S.D.S. antipoverty project in Newark from 1964 to 1967, Mr. Hayden, in his last year there, witnessed days of rioting, looting and destruction that left 26 people dead and hundreds injured. The experience led to “Rebellion in Newark” (1967), in which he wrote, “Americans have to turn their attention from the lawbreaking violence of the rioters to the original and greater violence of racism.”

In 1968, Mr. Hayden helped plan antiwar protests in Chicago to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. Club-swinging police officers clashed with thousands of demonstrators, injuring hundreds in a televised spectacle that a national commission later called a police riot.

But federal officials charged Mr. Hayden and others with inciting to riot and conspiracy. The Chicago Seven trial became a classic confrontation between radicals and Judge Julius Hoffman, marked by insults, angry judicial outbursts and contempt citations.

Reason #5456 Trump Was Elected





The horror is not the realization that an inbred, arrogant cabal is intent on changing human behavior and controlling human thought.

That, I always took it, was a given.

The horror comes from the realization of just how fucking incompetent and dumb they are.
Their answer to a mild discomfort to a very small minority (where to go to the bathroom to feel normal) is to force the discomfort on a larger population because, shut up, bigots!

The social justice war for transgenders is merely a way to keep the LBGTQRSTUVWXYZ outrage machine alive, after they won on gay marriage. Outside the liberal and Clinton archipelago, very few people want to worry about private parts in bathrooms:



Maryland DNR Planning for Rays

Not a Cownose Ray, and not the Chesapeake Bay
DNR developing plan for cownose rays
As you may have read previously in The Capital, the state experienced a $1 billion swing (yes, that's billion with a "b") since last spring. What used to be a $450 million surplus is now roughly a $544 million deficit. So instead of figuring out how to disperse the monies — improve bridges and roads, enhance Chesapeake water quality and habitats, etc. — lawmakers and Gov. Larry Hogan now face the challenge of closing the gap.

If past is prologue then it's not too far afield to wonder if some outdoors programs could potentially face the budgetary knife. It's also worth noting that in Virginia the Saltwater Sport Fishing Tournament was on the budgetary chopping block until sport anglers got fired up enough to galvanize their opposition. They told their state legislators that cutting this extremely popular program, which is funded by their license fees, is simply unacceptable. Fishermen even threatened to buy their angling license from the Potomac River agency since there is reciprocation. At last check amendments to bills working through that legislature would restore the funds, as well as ensure the monies were spent on the specific sport fishing programs as intended.
So, money is tight. Politicians like to spend more than they like to tax, and in Maryland, they like to tax plenty. So what's that got to do with the Cownose Rays?
It's no surprise that legislation resulted from last year's blow-up over bowhunting tournaments for cownose rays. In fact, it's an issue that's been brewing for a few years. Last month the Department of Natural Resources proposed regulations to "prohibit the use of projectile gear (archery equipment, gig, spear and spear gun) for taking cownose rays during the period from July 1 through Dec. 31." That prompted the Maryland Bowhunters Society and the Maryland Hunting Coalition to ask DNR Secretary Mark Belton why the agency is moving forward if they haven't yet adopted a fisheries management plan for these migratory fish. A fair question.
The ban is largely based on "animal rights" concerns generated from bloody pictures from ray bow-fishing tournaments, not a real concern over the population of Cownose Rays, which is quite robust.
Last week, the state Senate unanimously passed a measure that imposes a moratorium on contests that kill cownose rays in Maryland waters while the DNR develops its plan. A House companion bill (HB211) was scheduled for a hearing this past Wednesday but when I looked online I did not see any outcome. Neither bills take a position on bowfishing parties on charter boats, focusing only on tournaments and/or contests. Even though I don't hunt rays, where I come down on the issue is fairly simple: I'd settle for some common sense, perhaps a rare commodity, tailored to the 21st century. Virtually all other sport fish have a set season. For rays I favor one after they spawn — July 15 until Sept. 30 might work — as well as a daily limit; three or four rays per day per angler seems reasonable. Perhaps even limit the number of tournaments, and attach some requirement or strongly encourage for bow anglers to report their catch. The "whack 'em & stack 'em" mentality I've seen dockside is not just unsustainable it seems unnecessarily vulgar.
It strikes me that having DNR spend it's time and money generating a plan for managing a species which is not thought to be in any significant danger, which is not often a species targeted, despite large numbers, based on the uneducated feelings of a few whiny anti-sportsmen is a waste of money, of which DNR is always in need.

The regulations above seem merely designed to forbid ray fishing tournaments; there is no evidence whatsoever that these pose any threat to the Cownose Ray.

I like to catch a ray or two on light tackle each year (they show up at "Location X" sometime in June. It's a little like having a runaway freight train at the other end of the line, a strong steady pull. The challenge is to get your terminal tackle back intact. Sometimes I succeed.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Immigration Crackdown Poses Crab Picking Fears

Immigration Crackdown Worries Maryland’s Crab Industry
The Trump Administration’s immigration crackdown is causing concern on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Crab processors fear the heated climate over immigration could impact a legal visa program that brings in crab pickers from Mexico.

Bill Seiling is the executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industry Association, “we may get lumped in with this whole immigration issue and sort of get tarred with the same brush.”

Processors say H2-B visas are essential to fill the crab picking jobs, that there are not enough Marylanders who are trained or want to do them.

Jack Brooks owns the JM Clayton Company in Cambridge, which is the state’s oldest seafood processor.

“We demonstrated year after year that we just do not have the local people to do these jobs and we wish we did,” says Brooks.


He tells WJZ only 16 people applied for 768 open positions last year. The crab pickers typically come from Mexico in April and leave by November. The government allots 66,000 open visas nationwide, but the positions are filling up fast. Last year, crab processors got an exemption to bring in Mexican workers they hired in previous seasons, but they fear that may not happen this year.

“Right now our banker– people that we need to borrow money to buy a truck or make some improvements around here, they read the papers– they hear what you and I hear. They say ‘Jack are you guys going to be in business next year?'” says Brooks.

Seafood processors say their business could die in Maryland without legal immigrant workers and stress this issue is far different from the undocumented immigrants coming into the United States. Rising tensions between the U. S. and Mexico are also contributing to their worries.
I remember when the Eastern Shore crab processors relied on a large work force of mostly black women from the region to pick the crabs. Did the welfare state or the downward pressure on wages from the immigrant pickers kill that? Why choose one, pick the healing power of "and".

How long before a robotic crab picker replaces them all?



That was Alaskan Snow crab. The steps in picking Blue Crab are more numerous, but not beyond the scope of automation:



Pretty much how I do it. In Maryland, it's considered pleasant to wile away an afternoon picking crabs like that, eating them with butter and Old Bay, and drinking copious quantities of beer. It could get a little tiring day after day, if you couldn't eat the crabs and drink the beer.

Reason #5455 Trump Was Elected

By way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 02.22.17", this one:  Illegal Alien Freed From Custody Kills Man Weeks Later:
It’s a real banner day for those who want to harbor illegal aliens. At least in the case of the moronic mayor of New York City, the one freed there hasn’t killed anyone that we’re aware of. Yet out in Colorado, we have at least one illegal gangbanger who never should have been released that went on to kill someone recently.
An illegal immigrant who was freed from county jail in Denver despite ICE’s requests that he stay behind bars to face deportation is accused of murdering a man within weeks of being released.
Ever Valles, 19, is accused of murdering Timothy Cruz, 32, on February 7 after robbing him at a light railway station in the early hours of the morning.
The teenager had been freed by the Denver Sheriff’s Department in late December after posting $5,000 bond for theft charges.
They let him go despite requests from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to keep the gangster behind bars so that they could deport him.
They flagged him as an ‘immigration priority’ given his ties to gang activity in the city and asked to be told by the jail when it planned to release him so that they could be there waiting to take him into federal custody.
On December 20 however, a fax notifying ICE that Valles was due to be released was only sent 30 minutes before he was back on the streets.
No one at ICE saw it in time to get to the county jail to collect him, The Denver Post reports.
Valles now faces first degree robbery and murder charges along with Nathan Valdez, a 19-year-old US citizen who is also accused of killing Cruz.
He was arrested on February 8 after an anonymous tip led police to him.
On the day of the killing, officers shared surveillance footage of two masked suspects they believed shot Cruz.
Meanwhile, a new poll indicates Americans overwhelmingly oppose this sanctuary city madness, so we urge Democrats to keep supporting this madness. Their party will die that much faster.
If there's one issue above all that boosted Trump above all the other candidates, it was his stand on illegal immigration. A majority of the people don't approve of illegal immigration, and none of the candidates were willing to buck the combination of immigration activists, who want to pack the country with poor brown people on welfare for political purposes, and the business types who want them as cheaper labor than citizens. It's not opposition to immigration; it's a stand that we as a country have a right to control who enters and stays, and that there's a regular process for determining who gets to stay.

Mean Dykes Drive Out Lady Netter

Straight WNBA star: Lesbian culture broke my spirit
Candice Wiggins was a college star at Stanford, the third pick of the 2008 WNBA draft and a 2011 champion. And at the mountaintop of her basketball career, her sexuality marred the moment.

There is a “very, very harmful” culture running throughout the WNBA, she says, which saw her get bullied during her eight-year career because she is heterosexual.
 What? A heterosexual in the WNBA? Whodda thunk!
Wiggins, who last played in the league in 2015, said she retired prematurely to leave a league that she estimated — wildly — is 98 percent lesbian, and which is played in such isolation that it weighs on the people on the court.

“It wasn’t like my dreams came true in the WNBA. It was quite the opposite,” Wiggins said in an extensive San Diego Tribune story published Monday. “… I wanted to play two more seasons of WNBA, but the experience didn’t lend itself to my mental state. It was a depressing state in the WNBA. It’s not watched. Our value is diminished. It can be quite hard. I didn’t like the culture inside the WNBA, and without revealing too much, it was toxic for me. … My spirit was being broken.”
 And it doesn't hurt that she wants a book deal.
The 30-year-old couldn’t take it anymore — being harassed for being straight and fighting for attention in a league that is starved.

“Me being heterosexual and straight, and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge,” Wiggins said. “I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist type of place. There was a whole different set of rules they [the other players] could apply.”

Wiggins, who played for the Lynx, Shock, Sparks and Liberty, claimed the issues revolve around the lack of attention the league has garnered as the WNBA struggles with ticket sales and TV ratings. For the 2016 season, the WNBA said its average attendance was 7,655 — its highest since 2011.
 I have to confess, I've never been to a WNBA game. But then again, I've never been to a Men's NBA game either.
“There was a lot of jealousy and competition, and we’re all fighting for crumbs,” Wiggins said. “The way I looked, the way I played – those things contributed to the tension.

“People were deliberately trying to hurt me all of the time. I had never been called the B-word so many times in my life than I was in my rookie season. I’d never been thrown to the ground so much. The message was: ‘We want you to know we don’t like you.’ “
I can hardly wait until the WNBA gets taken over by the male to female transgenders.
Wiggins has her sights set on a new athletic career: pro beach volleyball. She is working out with her former club coach who prepared her for volleyball at LJCD and has been mentored by current women beach players.

She aspires to play on the pro beach volleyball tour and possibly the Olympics. She touts the sport’s camaraderie and its “celebration of women and the female body as feminine, but strong and athletic.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Retailer Predicts Good Year for Bay Crabs

Prediction: 2017 Will Be a Banner Year for Blue Crabs
"Going into this year we've hypothesized that this year will be even better than last year," says John Rorapaugh, the long-time sustainability director for ProFish in Ivy City. He says 2013, 2014, and 2015 were, by contrast, difficult years. The seafood wholesaler tracks how much blue crabs cost each month during crab season, which is officially from April 1 through Dec. 15. When crabs are scarce in the Chesapeake Bay, it drives up the price per bushel.

Furthermore, the wholesale price of blue crabs correlates with their quality. "The more expensive they are, the less quality they have, at least in the peak of the season," Rorapaugh says. "When they're abundant, they're usually the best."


The region experienced two mild winters in a row (including this one), which is one main factor contributing to crab giddiness 2017, but there's more to it. Over the last couple of years, there has been a resurgence in natural grasses in the Chesapeake Bay, according to Rorapaugh. These grasses protect juvenile crabs from predation and other threats, enabling them to thrive.

Though he doesn't have any scientific studies to back it up, Rorapaugh theorizes that oyster restoration in the bay has had a lot to do with sea grass regrowth because oysters act as filters. "Jay the photographer will go out and dive where they put three billion oysters and say he can see for 10 feet," Rorapaugh says. He's talking about Jay Fleming, who photographs Chesapeake Bay seafood and watermen and published the book, "Working the Water."
His guess is as good as any.

I'm still agnostic on the idea that the Bay has turned a corner on water quality. 2015 was a remarkable year for water clarity, while last year was good but not great. While the trend seems positive, the year to year variation is still large enough to generate false positives and false negatives.

Reason #5453 Trump Was Elected

Have I mentioned the educational system yet? I Have? Well, here's another example: Teacher ‘reassigned’ after praising Trump action on immigration

An elementary school teacher in Collier County, Florida was reassigned to administrative duties over a Facebook post during the “Day Without Immigrants” protest last Thursday.
Parkside Elementary School computer lab instructor Veronica Fleming linked to a Chicago Tribune story about the nationwide protest and offered her take on the situation.

“The funny part about immigrants staying home is the rest of us who pay for them are here at work like we’ve always been. Looks like less mouths to feed today. Have fun while you still can. So glad to hear about massive deportation. Let’s make America great again. Thanks Donald Trump!”

Collier County Public Schools spokesman Greg Turchetta told the Naples Daily News Fleming’s post didn’t sit well with parents of students at Parkside Elementary, 96 percent of which are minorities.

“This is a very tight-knit neighborhood school that stands for inclusion,” he said. “The teachers have nothing but love for these students. Anything else is not a reflection of the school.”

Juanita Perez, an immigrant mother of two, told NBC 2 she was “offended” by Fleming’s online comments.

“My feelings are hurt for our kids,” she said. “I couldn’t even believe it. How could a teacher speak like that?”

Other parents contend the post was “racist.”

Midnite Music - "Old Love"



Indiara Sfair and Ricardo Maranhão:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Scientist Tells Managers to Bring Back "Big Honkin' Grandma Oysters"

Hints from the fossil record on how to re-oyster the Chesapeake
. . . In situations such as oyster restoration in the Chesapeake Bay, a conservation paleontology approach is necessary to establish a true baseline for the restoration of an ecosystem. Lockwood said that most ecological managers establish baselines based on what the Chesapeake looked like 100 or 200 years ago.

“As a paleontologist, that’s way too young for me,” she said. “I want to understand what the Bay was like before humans started having an impact, maybe 10,000 years ago. I want to look back and see how the ecosystems functioned for thousands and tens of thousands of years. And I want to see how the ecosystem responded naturally to things like climate change and sea-level rise.”

Lockwood offers some tangible evidence of what a prehistoric Chesapeake was like. She shows one of her specimens, an enormous half-million year old oyster, saying, “It could serve as a doorstop.”

Oysters of such a size were the rule, not the exception, in the prehistoric Chesapeake, and Lockwood says that her studies show that the Bay was full of such mammoth oysters. A conservation-paleontology approach provides the necessary context to understand the true baseline ecosystem, she explained.

“We live in the modern times, and we are trapped in the mindset of thinking that what we see today is natural, when in reality humans have been affecting the earth now for  thousands of years,” Lockwood said. “A manager of the Chesapeake Bay has never seen a healthy oyster reef. They’ve never seen anything close to a natural oyster reef. The only way to understand how oysters are supposed to function is to go back in time.”
That's an excellent point, even well beyond the bay and oysters. We have literally never seen the "wild" ecosystem of the world; only the most remote areas are beyond the effects of human influence.
Lockwood found that the size of her ancient oysters is solely a function of a long life; the growth rate is no different than the oysters in today’s Chesapeake. Her study includes a range of oyster fossils from Delaware down to North Carolina.

She said that a modern oyster in the Bay lives five or six years, on average, before being harvested or dying of disease. By comparison, her Chesapeake Bay fossil specimens lived particularly long lives.  “We’re talking 30, 35 years old,” she said. “These are big, honkin’ grandma oysters.”

There are no big, honkin’ grandpa oysters. Oysters are sequential hermaphrodites, she explained: They all are born male, then change sexes as they grow to a certain size. Lockwood stressed that individual oyster size has enormous conservation implications.

“Because, if you’re an oyster, the bigger you are, the more offspring you have,” she said. “As these things grow in size, and grow in age, they’re having more and more offspring.”
And there is no way to bring back the big, honkin' grandma oysters without adopting, at a minimum, my plan for oyster conservation; put a ban on the harvest of wild oysters in the bay long enough to establish whether oysters are capable of thriving on their own in the modern bay. Only then, and if the answer is yes, even bother with oyster recovery projects. This article only has the effect for me of broadening the interval necessary to determine the ability of oysters to recover on their own from 5-10 to 20-30 years.

Reason #5452 Trump Was Elected

Education in this country is a hot mess, and strongly slanted liberal: Middle School Boy Beaten on the Bus for Wearing a Trump Hat
Some middle school students in Chesterfield, Missouri, "are facing consequences" this week after an altercation on the bus over a "Make America Great Again" hat.

A cell phone video taken by one of the kids on the bus shows a group of students bullying a twelve-year-old boy, demanding that he take the hat off.

"I am going to have an anxiety attack," the boy with the camera phone yells in the video. "Take it off!!!" "You want to build a wall??? You want to build a f***ing wall???" he shrieks.

"What's wrong with building a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of our country?" the besieged boy asks. The situation quickly escalates from there as one of the boys lunges forward and starts wildly punching. The victim said he pushed back in self-defense, although that wasn't caught on camera.

"At one point he just got so frustrated that he pushed me," he said. "And then he kept hitting me and backing me up to like -- the window of the bus -- so I just had to push him out."
Appropriately enough, the bully ended up with what appeared to be a bloody nose, after pushing the sartorial offender into the corner:



Suspending both the attacker and the victim in such cases is routine educational management, some ill guided form of zero tolerance for self defense:



I wonder if the attacker will cite this episode on his essay to apply to Berserkely.

Do the Jellyfish!

We took another long walk on the beach yesterday. Nothing much remarkable except for the weather, 55 F, sunny, and not very windy, in February. 23 shark's teeth, none worthy of a picture.








Quite a few stranded Lions Mane Jellyfish on the shore today. This one nearly a foot across, shows the radial symmetry. We call them "winter jellies" as they are here during cold weather, and disappear in summer, replaced by the infamous Sea Nettle. Both sting, but few go in the water in winter here. It's also the largest jellyfish in the world, although ours don't get as big as they do elsewhere.




Come on, all you need is some more beer!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Heads Explode as Senate Confirms Pruit to Head EPA

Environmentalist Heads Explode as Senate confirms Pruitt to Lead EPA
The Senate voted Friday to confirm Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ushering in what are likely to be dramatic changes to the agency.

The 52-46 vote was almost along party lines. All Republicans except Sen. Susan Collins(R-Maine) voted for Pruitt, while all Democrats except Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) voted against him.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did not vote due to a military conference he is attending in Germany. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) also did not vote.


Pruitt’s confirmation came despite repeated pleas from Democrats to delay the vote due to ongoing litigation regarding emails that a liberal group had requested from the office of Pruitt, who is Oklahoma’s attorney general — a position he will leave when he is sworn in as EPA administrator.

Republicans said Pruitt will bring much-needed change to an agency that exemplifies eight years of executive overreach by the administration of former President Obama.

“The nominee before us … thinks it’s time for the EPA to get back to the clean air and clean water business instead, and to do so with an appreciation for the complexity of our modern world,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor.
Much has been has made of his suing EPA in his role as Oklahoma's AG. Suing EPA is a cottage industry on the left as well. Called "Sue and Settle" it is a means for EPA to achieve in the courts what the legislature has not granted it in law. By encouraging various NGOs to sue them to accomplish their shared goals, and not bothering to defend against the suit, they get the court to mandate that which the Congress has not intended. I would be very surprised if Obama's  EPA director, Gina McCarthy, had not been involved in some such suits before ascending to the high chair at EPA/

A Day Without Immigrants Goes Longer Than Planned

What happens when you don't show up to the job? The “day without immigrants” became a teachable moment
Do you remember that “day without immigrants” protest that we talked about last week? It took place as predicted (and in fact demanded by activist organizers on the left). But in at least one location in Tennessee some of the participants learned a rapid and likely lasting lesson about the intersection of free speech and personal responsibility. Bradley Coatings, Inc. found out at the last minute that their tightly packed customer schedule was going to go up in flames when nearly 20 of their employees announced with roughly 12 hours notice that they would be taking part in the poorly defined protest and not participating in their job assignments. They made good on the threat and their employer responded in pretty much the way you would probably expect. (KTNV)
A total of 18 people were fired from a Tennessee business after joining the nation-wide protest “A Day Without Immigrants.”
The 18 employees at Bradley Coatings, Incorporated in Nolensville, Tennessee told their supervisors on Wednesday they’d be taking part in the nationwide movement. Then, on Thursday, they were told they no longer had jobs.
“We are the team leaders directly under the supervisors and they informed us last night that we could not go back to work and the boss said we were fired,” one employee said.
Is anyone honestly surprised at this turn of events? The employer is operating a business providing painting services in a highly competitive market with a tight schedule to keep. They did not set up shop to run a social justice operation. Their customers doubtless have many options to choose from when seeking such services. Also, it’s not as if the employer did not offer fair warning. Upon being informed that the workers were planning to take the day off, not because of sickness or disaster but simply to take part in this highly misleading media event, management let them know that if they chose to do this they would no longer have a job to return to.

As our colleague Mickey White pointed out at Red State, responsibility is a two-way street.
So, were these legal or illegal immigrants? If they were illegal, they should not have had the jobs. If they were legal, they should be forbidden to take any govt. aid as a consequence of getting fired for cause.

Happy President's Day!



It's a parody account, so don't get your dander up too high. Thanks to Stephen Green at Insty.

Reason #5452 Trump Was Elected

The Fake News media: The AP blew it big time on that National Guard roundup story
The Associated Press dropped the ball Friday with a supposed scoop alleging President Trump is considering deploying approximately 100,000 National Guard units to round up illegal immigrants.

The Department of Homeland Security is considering no such thing, an agency spokeswoman said following the report's publication. Further, they said, the DHS memo on which the entire story hinges was only an early, pre-decision draft, and it wasn't written by the agency's secretary, John F. Kelly.

This is the exact opposite of what the AP reported.

The draft memo obtained by the news agency didn't specifically suggest nationalizing the National Guard. The draft memo also never used the 100,000 figure cited by the AP, though it's possible the news group came to that number by tallying the National Guard units currently stationed in the 11 states where they would supposedly be used to crack down on illegal immigration. The report doesn't explain this.

Also, to be clear, the word "deportation" is never used in the memo. As far as National Guard troops are concerned, the memo only floats the idea of giving them the authority to assist in the "investigation, apprehension and detention" of criminal aliens.

Lastly, there is nothing in the AP report indicating the president was ever aware of any such proposal.

In short, the story is the exact opposite of enlightening.
It was enough to fool Chuck Schumer:



But now that we're free report what we think someone is thinking as news, I'm pretty sure Chucky is planning a coupe d'etat.

Chilly in Chile

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reason #5451 Trump Was Elected

More college kids pledge to remove genitals if Trump builds wall
More college kids pledge to remove genitals if Trump builds wall

As reported previously, 2 students at The University of California stated that they would publicly remove their penis’ if Trump enforced the existing USA-Mexico border wall. In a continuance of this trend, 4 students at the University of Washington have promised to remove pieces of their reproductive anatomy if Trump builds the wall.

Washington Sophomore Trent Griliphaen said he was inspired by the movement at The University of California, and that he “thinks that Trump’s construction of the wall is just an extension of his penis, and an expression of Patriarchal rape culture. Really, by building the wall, we are raping the Mexican people, and I am no longer willing to be a perpetrator of rape culture. If I remove my penis, I am making a statement that I reject this mentality.”
As if being inundated by illegal aliens wasn't reason enough. . .

A Double Bay Day

 I started of the morning with a fishing trip with Ron (One Fish). After a horrible afternoon yesterday, we decided to try the morning bite, leaving Flag Harbor for "Location X" right at sunrise.  It was pretty good sunrise. The weather today has been mild, up in the 60s and not windy.
Passing the older section of Long Beach, lit up by the sunrise.
Even leaving at sunrise, there were 6 other boats there when we arrived. We managed a few good fish, including one over 30 inches before the bite fizzled. Lesson learned; arrive before sunrise.
A few of the many birds hanging along the shorelines these days, Oldsquaw, and some small grebe, most likely a Horned Grebe.
We gave up fishing around 10, and after a second breakfast, Georgia, Corwin, Skye and I headed off to the beach.
 A bird getting onto the "posing post".
Despite a high tide, we made it past the brush and logs on the narrow part of the cliffs.
 Only one eagle sighting.
There were four swans up in the shallows by Western Shores. Most probably Tundra or Whistling Swans (the same thing), but we couldn't rule out the possibility of the much rarer Trumpeter Swan, which was recently spotted up near Annapolis.
We also found some beach stuff, glass, beach lace, and 25 shark's teeth, including this small but nearly perfect "Mako" (actually a White Shark, Cosmopolitodus (Carcharodon) hastalis) tooth.

Midnite Music - "Lost Me"

NSFW video as Anja Rubik stars topless.



Mary Komasa:


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Reason #5450 Trump Was Elected

The left-winger who run the colleges: California University Suspends Student Who Recorded Prog Teacher's Political Rantings. I can't say it better than Ace:
Fascism is forever descending on the right, but landing square in the middle of progressive institutions.

The student who recorded his professor's public anti-Trump, anti-Republican rant has been suspended for one semester (plus one summer semester, though few students take classes in the summer).

The suspension isn't his only penalty. He'll also have to write a Soviet-style confession and denouncement of his anti-Soviet behavior. They demand...
...that he submit a written apology to the professor, Olga Perez Stable Cox, and a three-page essay asking him to examine why he filmed Cox’s class, how he feels about his footage going viral online and his reaction to its causing "damage to Orange Coast College students, faculty and staff."
A lawyer from a pro bono outfit called Freedom X is now representing him and, I hope, suing this Soviet propaganda front out of existence.

Rule 5 Saturday - I Can't Even Pronounce Lais Ribeiro

This week's Rule 5 spectacular goes to tall  (5' 10"), dark and spectacular Lais Riberio:
A year after giving birth to her son Alexandre, she gave in to a friend's advice and started working as a model in her native Brazil. It didn't take long for her to move on and in 2009 she walked the major international catwalks for such designers as blah blah blah. . . During the fashion week of Brazil for the spring/summer 2011 collections, Ribeiro was the most booked runway model with 27 shows during São Paulo Fashion Week and 26 shows during Rio Fashion Week.
She has been photographed for American, Brazilian, German, and Italian Vogue, and appeared in ad campaigns for Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, Tom Ford, GAP and American Eagle. She also works for Victoria's Secret, having appeared in the 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, as well as the 2011 Christmas commercial and the 2012 Valentine's Day commercial alongside Candice Swanepoel and Adriana Lima. She was scheduled to walk the 2012 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, but sprained her ankle during rehearsals. Her outfit for that year was given to Behati Prinsloo. In 2013, because of what happened, the Victoria's Secret producers gave Lais the opportunity to open the Birds of Paradise segment. She became a Victoria's Secret Angel in 2015
Some NSFW work here 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

GOODSTUFFs BLOGGING MAGAZINE (281st Issue) features Cheryl Ladd (one of the Charlie's Angels Chicks)in his weird meta blog post. At no extra cost, some of the news that is fit to blog... Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: Valentine’s Day Pinup Edition" and "FMJRA 2.0: A Day Late And A Dollar Short" up at The Other McCain, more or less on time and within budget.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Greenies Protest Equal Treatment

During recent public hearings regarding a sensitive estuary and efforts to protect it, local "tree huggers" found themselves under siege.

Environmentalists spoke out Monday, Feb. 13 at the Charles County Planning Commission meeting in La Plata, complaining about the harsh treatment they were subjected to during recent public hearings concerning the Watershed Conservation District (WCD) being proposed in the western part of the county.

“I was very rowdily booed when I testified in favor of the proposed Watershed Conservation District, and I would like to speak for people for having the right to stand up and protect a resource,” Sierra Club representative Bonnie Bick told commission members. “I thought it was very inappropriate for some of the sort of rowdy atmosphere that was at the hearing. We never really had that before. I found it distasteful.”

Bick said a number of people who intended to speak in favor of the proposal left the hearing rather than be subjected to jeers from opponents of the measure.
What, no firebombs, like the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline? No shoving or pepper spray like the Berkeley protests?  This sounds like relatively mild treatment.

Obamacare Schadenfreude Dragging On and On

Just put it out of its pain!

Humana says it plans to pull out of Obamacare exchanges in 2018 Health insurance so good they have to make you buy it. Unfortunately, they can't make someone sell it. Aetna CEO on Obamacare: ‘It is in a death spiral’
“We’re in Nebraska. We’re the only plan left in Nebraska,” Bertolini said. He added, “So there isn’t any risk sharing going on in Nebraska. It’s all the risk. It will cost us a lot of money. The top 1 percent to 5 percent of our members, depending on the marketplace, are driving 50 percent of our overall cost structure.” Bertolini went on to say, “There isn’t enough money in the ACA today as a structure, even with it’s fees and taxes, to support the population that needs to be served.”

Asked if this meant Obamacare was “functionally” dead, Bertolini replied, “It is in a death spiral.” “What happens in a population that continues to get riskier and riskier is the rates chase the risk, you try to raise your rates high enough,” he continued. “Last year it was on average 27 percent. What happens is the people who are paying out of pocket for most of it leave because it is becoming too expensive,” he said.
 Two health insurance company mega-mergers collapsed
Two major mergers between leading health insurance companies collapsed today after months spent fighting the government in court. Earlier Tuesday a merger between Aetna and Humana was canceled by mutual agreement. Aetna released a statement from CEO Mark Bertolini lamenting the collapse of the deal. “We are disappointed to take this course of action after 19 months of planning, but both companies need to move forward with their respective strategies in order to continue to meet member expectations,” Bertolini said. Aetna will pay Humana a one billion dollar breakup fee.

Another mega-merger between Anthem and Cigna was canceled several hours later, this one did not end as well. The Washington Post reports Cigna has filed a lawsuit against Anthem.
. . .
With the apparent collapse of both mergers there is now less incentive for the four separate companies to remain in the struggling Obamacare marketplace. Figures release earlier this month by HHS show Obamacare enrollment was well below expectations during the most recent open enrollment period. United Health, the country’s largest insurer and the only one of the top five insurers not involved in a pending merger, pulled out of the Obamacare market last year.
Or maybe they don't need to make you buy it after all: That Obamacare individual mandate may now be… optional?
 According to a report which broke last night at Reason Magazine, there has been no change in the law instituted by Congress but the IRS will be turning a blind eye to the question when you file your taxes this year. Assuming this is true, if you refused to purchase healthcare in 2016 in defiance of the law you may not be in for a showdown with the taxman after all.
By way of the estimable Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 02.16.17", the almost always sensible Megan McArdle details the Rough 24 Hours for Obamacare
The last 24 hours have been one long string of bad news for Obamacare. Tuesday, the insurer Humana announced that it would be pulling out of the exchanges for next year. Then we found out that the IRS had responded to Trump’s executive order on Obamacare by quietly rolling back a new rule planned for this year, which would have required filers to indicate whether they had maintained coverage in 2016 or to pay a penalty. And on Wednesday, word came that Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, had told a Wall Street Journal conference that Obamacare was in a death spiral. This stands in pretty stark contrast to claims by Andy Slavitt, who ran the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama, that things were shaping up splendidly for 2018, so long as Republicans didn’t screw anything up.
. . .
The exchanges have been struggling for their entire life. There has never been a time at which enrollment was booming beyond expectations, or insurers were making money in aggregate. Whatever frail health the exchanges did achieve required a heroic (also illegal) regulatory juggling act by the Department of Health and Human Services. There’s a good case that the exchanges were going to die anyway, as insurers realized that no matter what they did, many of these markets simply could not be made profitable.

Democrats may respond that the only reason that the exchanges don’t work is that Republicans refused to pass rules that would make them work better. To which Republicans could justly respond that if the law couldn’t work as written, it was probably a bad idea to say “elections have consequences” and ram the thing through on a straight party-line vote over the strenuous objections of voters and the minority party.

The things that needed to be fixed to make the law work were unpopular moves like a higher penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate -- moves for which Republicans would have paid a price at the ballot box. It takes some pretty brazen chutzpah to say that because Democrats passed an unworkable law to set up what Republicans think is a bad system, Republicans now have a moral obligation to get themselves unelected saving that system, while Democrats take credit for the parts people like.

Regardless of the morality of it, expecting people to actually behave this way is daft. Republicans predictably didn’t lean into the strike zone and help Democrats save the exchanges. If the exchanges are indeed collapsing, Republicans will be striving even harder to avoid being tarred with their failure. As will the Democrats who once hoped they would be running on Obamacare’s triumphs for years to come.
House Freedom Caucus wants Obamacare repeal now, Naw, let it flounder a little longer. IBD has a novel propose: Let's Make Health Insurance Legal Again. An idea so crazy it just might work!
For example, a new invention, "health status insurance," was already sprouting up in the marketplace. This allowed people to insure themselves against the costs of developing a medical condition that would render them otherwise "uninsurable." The ACA banned it.

This kind of ban stalled innovation that has been present in the insurance market since it first started. Insurance was developed in London in the 17th century, offering a way to spread the risks of unforeseen, unpredictable, highly costly events from an individual or business to the larger community. Insurers were able to design and actuarially calculate the price — based upon statistical risks — of an insurance policy to suit virtually any imaginable occurrence. The advent of the ACA, took many of these specialized policies off the table.

The ACA upended insurance companies as the designers of insurance plans. Instead, the government designed a "one-size-fits-all" plan. It uses a tax called the "individual mandate," which penalizes people for buying any other kind of health insurance not deemed "ACA-compliant." It eliminated the nascent "health status insurance" market by forcing all people to pay, through their premiums, for the coverage of people with costly pre-existing conditions.
The ObamaCare Repeal Will Derail The Republican Agenda Unless Congress Gets Smart. And what are the chances of that?  The AP tells the GOP they must decide what do do with the Health Law taxes. Obamacare, the disaster that keeps on giving.

Obamacare And Affordable Care Act Are The Same, But Americans Still Don't Know That. Well, no one ever got elected by overestimating the information level of the American public.