Sunday Reads: Too hot…Posted: July 1, 2012
The heat is really getting to me, and when you add the fact that last night was the Preston Sturges movie night on TCM…well, it is just too hot and too late for me. (As I write this it is 2:47am…) So excuse me if I start to wander a bit.
When I first saw this headline, I thought…maybe it is a joke? Mormons quit in mass resignation Then I see that it is serious.
A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.
Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a “Declaration of Independence from Mormonism.”
It sure takes a lot of work to become an ex-Mormon, take a look at that link to read about it…it is like someone in an Amway pyramid scheme decides they want to quit the cult like system, or like a Hollywood Movie Star former “Scientologist” decides to quit a marriage. Consequences, lost jobs, pissing off Tom Cruise, you know…generally some pretty freaky stuff.
Anyway, another headline I saw on Saturday made me wonder, what kind of life some people out there have…obviously none. ‘Everything good is down’ — storm knocks Netflix, Instagram offline – Red Tape
The storm, which packed winds of up to 90 mph, knocked out power to millions of homes — and to some of Amazon’s Cloud services in Northern Virginia. That took Netflix offline. Web users who went hunting for other distractions found even more frustration, as Pinterest.com was also knocked offline, and the Instagram photo-sharing service wasn’t working either.
Oh, the horrors!
Netflix users took to Twitter to air their disbelief at the service outage.
“Netflix isn’t working on possibly the most emotional night of my life. It’s official … this is NOT real life,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Everything good is down,” complained another.
Wow, I am speechless.
Meanwhile in the real life of Syrians trapped in a country experiencing a civil war: World Powers Agree on Syria Transition
The United States, Russia and other world leaders have agreed on a plan for a transitional government of national unity in Syria that they hope will pave the way for an end to the violence that has killed more than 15,000 people during the 16-month uprising. The plan, drafted by International Envoy Kofi Annan, lays out a number of steps that, if followed, could lead to the Syrian people democratically determining their own future. But it also leaves open the question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can be part of the transitional government. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from the site of the ministerial meeting in Geneva.
Introducing the plan, Annan said he hopes it will launch a Syrian-led political process that ultimately will enable the Syrian people to democratically determine their own future.
No where in this new Plan is Assad mentioned…
The plan grants full executive powers to the transitional governing body. Both members of the government and opposition are to be included in the body. Annan says the Action Group has drawn up guidelines, which are meant to be helpful to the Syrian people.
He said it is for the Syrians, themselves, not the international community, to determine the future of the country. When given the opportunity, he says he believes the Syrian people will choose their leader wisely.
It is a tricky situation.
Despite this, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said the change in the revised text will make no difference.
“Assad will still have to go,” Clinton insisted. “He will never pass the mutual consent test given the blood on his hands. The text also makes clear that the power to govern is vested fully in the transitional governing body, which strips him and his regime of all authority if he and they refuse to step down and leave.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the meeting very important and useful. He said he did not come to Geneva to rubber stamp a document, but to achieve an agreement that would be acceptable to all.
“We consider it to be of key importance that there is no attempt in the document to impose upon the Syrian side any kind of transitional process,” Lavrov said. “It is very clearly stated in the document that it is a Syrian led transition. We have achieved a situation where there are no prior pre-conditions to the transitional process and the national dialogue and that there is no attempt to exclude any kind of group from this process.”
Reuters has more on this contradiction between US and Russia here: Assad’s fate unclear in world powers’ Syria plan
It is too late for me to wrap my head around all this…I am relieved that Hillary is Secretary of State, but I can’t help and ponder who will be the one to take her place.
Just a couple more links for you, 1st nuclear reactor to go online since Japan disaster meets with protests despite power crunch
Dozens of protesters shouted and danced at the gate of a nuclear power plant set to restart Sunday, the first to go back online since all of Japan’s reactors were shut down for safety checks following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Ohi nuclear plant’s reactor No. 3 is returning to operation despite a deep divide in public opinion. Last month, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered the restarts of reactors No. 3 and nearby No. 4, saying people’s living standards can’t be maintained without nuclear energy. Many citizens are against a return to nuclear power because of safety fears after Fukushima.
Can you imagine how these people feel…
Crowds of tens of thousands of people have gathered on Friday evenings around Noda’s official residence, chanting, “Saikado hantai,” or “No to nuclear restarts.” Protests drawing such numbers are extremely rare in this nation, reputed for orderly docility and conformity. A demonstration in Tokyo protesting the restart and demanding Noda resign was being organized in a major park Sunday.
Although initially ignored by mainstream local media, demonstrations across the country have grown, as word gets out through social media such as Twitter…
I don’t think we will really know the extent of the damage from the Fukushima disaster.
Protesters like Taisuke Kohno, a 41-year-old musician among the 200 protesters trying to blockade the Ohi plant, aren’t so sure. He said protesters were facing off against riot police and planned to stay there day and night.
“It’s a lie that nuclear energy is clean,” he said. “After experiencing the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, how can Japan possibly want nuclear power?”
Kansai Electric Power Co., the utility that operates Ohi, in central Japan, was not immediately available for comment Sunday. It said on its website that a nuclear reaction was starting at No. 3 Sunday, a key step for a reactor to start producing electricity.
Fukushima Dai-ichi, in northeastern Japan, went into meltdowns and exploded after the March 11 tsunami destroyed backup generators to keep reactor cores cool.
In the latest problem at the crippled plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., its operator, said it was still working to restore the cooling system for the pool for spent nuclear fuel at reactor No. 4, which broke down Saturday.
As you can see, they still have a mess on their hands.
Well, if nuclear radiation was key in causing the mutations that made Godzilla into a monster, than what about the kind of mutations that are caused by genetic engineering? Why supermarket tomatoes tend to taste bland, I’ll give you a hint… its cause they are genetically made that way!
The mass-produced tomatoes we buy at the grocery store tend to taste more like cardboard than fruit. Now researchers have discovered one reason why: a genetic mutation, common in store-bought tomatoes, that reduces the amount of sugar and other tasty compounds in the fruit.
For the last 70-odd years, tomato breeders have been selecting for fruits that are uniform in color. Consumers prefer those tomatoes over ones with splotches, and the uniformity makes it easier for producers to know when it’s time to harvest.
But the new study, published this week in Science, found that the mutation that leads to the uniform appearance of most store-bought tomatoes has an unintended consequence: It disrupts the production of a protein responsible for the fruit’s production of sugar.
Doesn’t it make you want to dig into a nice big BLT ?
The study authors set out to pin down the genetic change that makes tomatoes lose their dark-green top. They focused their attention on two genes — GLK1 and GLK2 — both known to be crucial for harvesting energy from sunlight in plant leaves.
They found that GLK2 is active in fruit as well as leaves — but that in uniformly colored tomatoes, it is inactivated.
Adding back an active GLK2 gene to bland, commercial-style tomatoes through genetic engineering created tomatoes that had the heirloom-style dark-green hue. The darker green comes from greater numbers of structures called chloroplasts that harvest energy from sunlight.
The harvested energy is stored as starches, which are converted to sugars when the tomatoes ripen.
The vast majority — 70% to 80% — of the sugar in tomatoes travels to the fruit from the leaves of the plant. But the remaining amount of sugar is produced in the fruit. This contribution is largely wiped out in uniform, commercial-style tomatoes — and thus they won’t be as sweet.
Harry Klee, a specialist in the chemistry of fruit flavor at the University of Florida who was not involved in the study, said the work was a good step toward a better understanding of tomato flavor.
“This is not the entire reason the modern tomato stinks — but it’s a real significant part of it,” he said. “I promise you, if I gave you two tomatoes that were 10% different in their sugar contents, you’d be able to tell the difference…. This is a very nice piece of science that really illustrates the pitfalls of breeding without knowing precisely what you’re doing.”
The lesson for consumers is that tomatoes with less-uniform hues are a better flavor bet.
“If this information gets out there, you could see people saying, ‘If I see this tomato is not uniformly ripe, that means that it’s not the cardboard junk that they’ve been producing for the past 30 years,'” Klee said.
“It’s almost like a badge of honor.”
You know, when you got folks complaining that their life is ruined because Netflix and Pinterest is down…I don’t think they are going to be too concerned about learning the importance of tomatoes that are not uniformly ripe. I can’t help but think we are really heading to an Idiocracy society. Where people will sit in front of their TV watching “Ow, my balls” and eating some kind of yellow goo that comes out of a plastic bucket…of course, brought to you by Carl’s Jr.