January 2019

Nuclear Weapons 372 - Department Of Energy Secretly Ships Weapons-Grade Plutonium From Georgia To Nevada

        Recently I blogged about costs related to the handling of nuclear materials left over from the development and manufacture of nuclear weapons. If such radioactive materials are not going to be permanently stored where they are created, then they will have to be transported to a permanent storage location which may be thousands of miles away.

Book Vending Machines

Some schools are installing vending machines that dispense free books to kids who read as rewards, but why stop there? So many schools depend on sponsors and sell their products in their vending machines for money; as a kid I remember even getting product placement on my book covers, and there were always sodas for sale at lunch. It's quite unhealthy, and despite all of the work that the Obamas did to improve the problem, there's more we can do.

Actions For SJWs

I think it's high time we reclaim the whole Social Justice Warrior label, don't you? I happen to like it and won't let it be a negative label on me. I even share my initials with SJ so there you go. Here are a few actions we can take this week as SJWs together. Share your own in the chat!

Signature Drink of 2019

My friends all know that if I could just drink my food, I would, and often do. I much prefer drinking to eating and am constantly finding new favorites. My current favorite is a lemon loaf Tazo tea with a bit of stevia and heavy cream. It's delightful, but I do recommend two teabags. My favorite cocktail is much simpler--just some pineapple juice with vodka in it. It's popular in Spain, where I taught for a semester, and I've always carried it with me, although I'll try almost any cocktail once.

Photography Tips

Crafters, how many of you out there love photography and employ it in your projects? I'm definitely not the best photographer, but taking photos is one of the skills that I hope to improve at doing this year. I know my old, outdated camera on my phone, which was cheap to begin with, is a bit of an issue, but it sounds like there are a lot of online tips for photographers that I can learn from, too.

Dementor Wasp

If you're a fan of Harry Potter, you know all about Dementors and what they do. A Dementor is a dark creature that once guarded Azkaban prison, then turned to work for Lord Voldemort. It's a creepy, wraith-like thing (it looks very much like a ring wraith from Lord of the Rings, actually) that can suck out your soul with it's Kiss, leaving you an empty husk. That's what scientists decided to name a wasp that apparently does the same thing.

No More Killing Contests

While some state land commissioners likely still celebrate the practice of killing animals as a sport, State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard says that it's "brutal, barbaric and inhumane," and she's banned them in the state of California this month. The law was expressly made to discourge acts like coyote killing competitions on public lands, where hunters take pride in killing the most animals simply because it's legal. 

Fish Can Live In Dead Zones

Every day we seem to get news that disregards previous rules about our existence, proving that life is possible even in the most unexpected places. While that feels like something Gandalf might say, it's actually true; we recently learned that 90% of the planet's carbon is beneath the surface, where a biosphere twice that of our oceans exists. Who even knows what lives there? We've also learned about tiny creatures who can live in the deepest, darkest parts of the oceans as well as in volcanoes, so maybe it's not as surprising to find out that some fish can actually live in dead zones.

Keeping Rabbits Out Of The Garden

As much as I love rabbits and have had many over the years as pets, I'm not a fan of rabbits gobbling up the vegetables we grow for ourselves. That's why it's a good idea to find natural ways to keep rabbits out of your garden without hurting them or the plants you'll be eating yourself. Rabbits in North America generally don't burrow too deeply, so it's natural for them to want to dig into your garden.

Fitness Games

If you read any news at all, you've probably felt bummed at some point about how unhealthy we are. Between loneliness and smoking, obesity and sitting, there's something dangerous in our lives all of the time that puts us all at risk. Fortunately there are still activities that not only help us connect with one another but also help us stay fit, such as fitness games

Fungus Threatens Frog Population

The chytrid fungus has been threatening species around the world, their thin skin harmed by the aggressive disease. Since the fungus actually feeds on the flesh of the frogs, the creatures are unable to repair the damage inflicted during the infection. It renders the frogs inable to regulate their breathing and ability to drink, things that their skin is responsible for, as well as salt regulation. 

Radioactive Waste 377 - Greenpeace Reports On Global Spent Nuclear Fuel Problem

        I often blog about nuclear waste. It is one of the major problems with the use of nuclear power to generate electricity and heat. Recently Greenpeace published a report on nuclear waste storage facility in seven countries including Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, Japan, Sweden, and the United States. Several of these countries have so much spent nuclear fuel that they are nearing the point of saturation for storage options.

The Hi-Life

Let's face it: it's not hard to find a great meal in Seattle. People travel here JUST for the food sometimes. At the Hi-Life, you can find something delicious just about anytime, whether you want their signature Firehouse Bloody Mary, a breakfast of delectable Monkey Bread French Toast or a dinner of their brandy-braised short ribs with potato gratin. It's located in an historic firehouse that you can prominenty see from the street, and everything is always served in line with the season.

Bring Drinking Can Chang DNA

A new study suggests that binge drinking can actually alter your DNA, making addiction harder to kick. The findings show that binge drinking makes you not only crave alcohol more but also causes your body to not regulate stress and biological functions as well. It's a really scary side effect for people who binge drink a lot in addition to the many terrible effects we already know binge drinking causes, so why do it in the first place?