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Below is a roundup of news, politics science, and humor. I hope you enjoy.

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Sorry for the self-advertising. Now onto the news, science and randomness below...


Not good: Greenland ice loss doubles from late 2000s

Very good: Solar energy that doesn’t block the view. It is just a start, but could ultimately be a huge breakthrough in energy efficiency and independence.

Not good: This is what drought looks like

Very good: Germany Added A Lot Of Wind And Solar Power, And Its Electric Grid Became More Reliable

Journalism, Science Groups Decry EPA Move to Muzzle National Science Advisers

This year may be record low populations for pollinators. About a third of our food supply depends on these pollinators, so some of these crops might hit some levels of scarcity which will drive up food prices. Here is a list of crops that depend, to varying degrees, on pollinators that are in decline. Now is the time we need to act. Pesticides are one aspect of this decline, so purchasing organic foods helps. Habitat loss is another cause of decline for species like the monarch butterfly. Restoring the Monarch Forest in Mexico helps combat climate change, soil erosion, AND helps the recovery of the monarch butterflies. Finally, you can sponsor a hive to help responsible bee keepers who are trying to restore honeybee populations. You can get a share of the honey produced in return for your help. Your help goes to establishing community apiaries.


In depth: Protests over Michael Brown's death in Ferguson show America's struggle with inequality

The Republican Party has become so detached from reality it is hard to imagine they will ever come back to facts: Six Studies That Show Everything Republicans Believe is Wrong...It's time for the right wing to stop lying about the minimum wage, taxes, global warming and more.

Sadly, progressives can be anti-reform as well: Working Families Party Incompetence Takes Away Vote from Brooklyn Democrats

A fascinating candidate in Brazil: Marina Silva chosen to run for president in Brazil

Bank of America, too corrupt to fail? US bank in record $16.7bn settlement

Rep. Grijalva Discusses Immigration Reform with Jose Diaz Balart

Rep. Linda Sánchez on MSNBC Discussing Voting Rights Act:

Has reform peaked in Iran? Iran MPs dismiss science minister. I hope not, because they were making some progress: President Rouhani's surprising tweet

Interesting analysis and suggestion that times have been slow to change: Study from 1953 sheds light on Michael Brown Killing

On a related note: Macy's settles racial profiling allegations from shoppers

Moving New York Forward: Unanimous LGBT Endorsements for Sept. 9th NYC Primary

Don't let your bank misuse your money: How much does your bank spend on politics?


A great resource even if, occasionally, overly simplistic: 40 maps that explain the Roman Empire

On Aug. 18, 1587 - Saul Wahl is elected the only Jewish King of Poland, according to legend. Poland initially as viewed as a safe haven for Jews and almost a second homeland. That said, the legend of Saul Wahl is highly suspect.

Born Aug. 18, 1900 - Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, 1st woman to hold a cabinet post in India, and 1st woman President of the UN General Assembly,  1st foreign woman ambassador received in USA

On Aug. 18, 1909 - Mayor of Tokyo, Yukio Ozaki, presents Washington, D.C. with 2,000 cherry trees.

On Aug. 18,  1920 - US ratifies the 19th Amendment to the constitution bringing in women's suffrage. Today we are still fighting against reactionary forces to elect women on an equal basis to men.

On Aug. 18, 1960 - 1st commercial oral contraceptive, Enovid 10, goes on the market. We are STILL trying to keep right wing reactionaries from limiting access to contraception!

On Aug. 18,  1964 - South Africa banned from Olympic Games because of apartheid policies

On Aug. 19, 1791 - Benjamin Banneker, a free black scientist (and certainly smarter than almost all slaver holders) writes to then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson quoting from the Declaration of Independence to criticize Jefferson's pro-slavery stance and to request justice for blacks.

Born Aug. 19, 1889 - Arthur Waley, sinologist, translator from Chinese & Japanese. His books and translations, including his translation of the Tao Te Ching, were among my own introductions to Chinese and Japanese culture.

Born Aug 19, 1902 - Ogden Nash, one of my favorite poets when I was a kid.

Born on Aug. 19, 1921 - Gene Roddenberry, inventor of the interracial least on TV (Uhura and Kirk)

Born no Aug. 19, 1946 - President Bill Clinton. The US deficit trembles!

On Aug. 19, 1954 - Ralph Bunche named undersecretary of UN

On Aug 20, 1191 - Crusader King Richard I kills 3,000 muslim prisoners in Akko. Somehow being a war criminal translates to "Lionhearted" in the propaganda of the time. Ironically, the reviled King John, Richard's brother, was probably a much better king than the bloodthirsty Richard.

On Aug. 20, 1619 - 1st Black slaves brought by Dutch to Jamestown colony, VA. Surprised modern teabaggers don't celebrate this as a holiday since it set the tone for their entire world view.

Born Aug. 20, 1833 - President Benjamin Harrison

Born Aug. 20, 1890 - H. P. Lovecraft. Rumors that those in attendance went mad are exaggerated. My favorite H.P. Lovecraft is At the Mountains of Madness.

On Aug. 20, 1905 - Beginning of the end for Imperial China. Sun Yat-sen forms a union of all secret societies determined to bringing down the Manchu Dynasty.

Born Aug. 20, 1922 - Akutsu Tetsuzo, built the first artificial heart

Born Aug. 20, 1936 - Hideki Shirakawa, Japanese chemist, Nobel Prize laureate

Born Aug. 20, 1943 - Sylvester McCoy, the 7th Doctor and Radagast the Brown.

Born Aug. 20, 1944 - Rajiv Gandhi, PM of India

On Aug. 20, 1964 - President Johnson signs the Economic Opportunity Act, a centerpiece of his anti-poverty efforts.

On Aug. 20, 1968 - Warsaw Pact troops crush democratic movement in Czechoslovakia

On Aug. 20, 1998 - President Bill Clinton launches cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical plant in Sudan in retaliation for the August 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Nearly takes down Osama bin Laden. The al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum is destroyed in the attack. Republican party whines "wag the dog" and refuses to support further efforts against al-Qaeda.

On Aug 21, 1192 - Minamoto no Yoritomo becomes first Shogun of the Kamakura dynasty of Japan. Military rule dominates over Imperial rule and Zen Buddhism becomes dominant form of Buddhism.

On Aug. 21, 1831 -Nat Turner slave revolt

On Aug. 21, 1959 - Hawaii becomes 50th US state. Not everyone even to this day is happy with the way this happened.


Quote of the week:

Liberty unregulated by law degenerates into anarchy, which soon becomes the most horrid of all despotism.
--President Millard Fillmore (perhaps thinking of teabaggers?)
This week's moment of jbou: If you tell a cop you’re sad, he legally has to hug you.

A real moment of Zen: (From Deoxy Koans)

Arresting the Stone Buddha

A merchant bearing fifty rolls of cotton goods on his shoulders stopped to rest from the heat of the day beneath a shelter where a large stone Buddha was standing. There he fell asleep, and when he awoke his goods had disappeared. He immediately reported the matter to the police.

A judge named O-oka opened court to investigate. "That stone Buddha must have stolen the goods," concluded the judge. "He is supposed to care for the welfare of the people, but he has failed to perform his holy duty. Arrest him."

The police arrested the stone Buddha and carried it into the court. A noisy croud followed the statue, curious to learn what kind of a sentence the judge was about to impose.

    When O-oka appeared on the bench he rebuked the boisterous audience. "What right have you people to appear before the court laughing and joking in this manner? You are in contempt of court and subject to a fine and imprisonment."

The people hastened to apologize. "I shall have to impose a fine on you," said the judge, "but I will remit it provided each one of you brings one roll of cotton goods to the court within three days. Anyone failing to do this will be arrested."

One of the rolls of cloth which the people brought was quickly recognized by the merchant as his own, and thus the thief was easily discovered. The merchant recovered his goods, and the cotton rolls were returned to the people.

From BBC News: Today's African Proverb:
“Even our tongues and our teeth sometimes clash”
A Somali proverb sent by Zakariya Adam Mahat, Cape Town, South Africa
For last week's issue: Mole's Cool News Roundup 18
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