Los Angeles police officers tampered with voice recording equipment in dozens of patrol cars in an effort to avoid being monitored while on duty
An inspection by Los Angeles Police Department investigators found about half of the estimated 80 cars in one South L.A. patrol division were missing antennas, which help capture what officers say in the field. The antennas in at least 10 more cars in nearby divisions had also been removed.
“LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other top officials learned of the problem last summer but chose not to investigate which officers were responsible.”
The tiger keelback (Rhabdophis tigrinus) has been annoying pedants the world over for years by being both venomous and poisonous. It’s not very big (2-3 feet) and subsists mostly on a diet of amphibians. It’s not terribly aggressive, strongly preferring to either play dead during low ambient temperatures or run away during higher ambient temperatures.
Above: Part of the “no, seriously, I’m dead” display is flattening out their necks to better show off their orange stripes. There’s apparently some question as to whether this is an aposematic display, but given the fact that it’s venomous, poisonous, and how many other snakes that do the neck thing as a “fuck ooooooooooff” display, I’d say the answer is probably that yes, it’s an aposematic display.
They take the playing dead thing pretty seriously, too. I mean, they go limp, which is kind of hilarious in a venomous snake.
Above: What passed for acceptable science in 1983.
There are rattlesnakes out there shaking their heads at this snake.
Part of the lack of significant aggression is probably due to the fact that it’s a rear-fanged snake, which is an arrangement that’s pretty effective if you’re killing small animals to eat them and less desirable if you’re trying to like, keep something thirty times your size from eating you. Rear-fanged snakes tend to have to open their mouths a lot wider to get a decent fang-grip on something, and the venom delivery mechanism can be a sad mockery of efficiency by occasionally requiring the snakes to actually chew on something to get it properly envenomed*.
Above: Western Hognose snake, which is venomous but not in a way that humans need to care about, displaying its sad little fangs.
Front-fanged snakes generally have both an easier time getting a good strike in and a much better injection mechanism.
The poisonous part comes in due to these snakes being in the habit of first eating poisonous toads and then taking the toads’ chemical defenses as their own. Unlike the garter snakes who eat rough-skinned newts and wind up just generally toxic, tiger keelbacks have special glands where they concentrate and store the toads’ poison. Their nuchal glands are found running down either side of their necks, and woe betide you if you break the skin over them. (There aren’t actually convenient ways for the snake to discharge the gland without tissue rupture.) Mothers can and do pass loads of the toxin on to their clutches, assuming they have any to spare, which tides the snakelets over until toad-hatching season brings a ton of snakelet-sized poisonous toads for them to eat.
How confident are these bastards in their nuchal glands saving them?
Above: A snake smacking its neck into something that’s annoying it.
So the answer here is: Extremely confident.
Of course, the functionality of these glands depends on the availability of and their ability to catch the poisonous toads they get their poison from, but the great thing about the toxin is that it’s massively unpleasant (foul-smelling, produces acute burning sensation upon contact with mucous membranes, capable of making you quite sick if you eat it), but it’s probably not going to kill a large animal. So once you’ve had one run-in with a locked and loaded tiger keelback, you really have no particular desire to bite one again, and seeing those stripes come out is going to bring back some really unpleasant memories no matter how much poison that individual snake might be packing.
*Coral snakes do this, for instance. If you feel the need to let a coral snake bite you, please do not sit there and let it chew on you just because it is tiny and kind of ridiculous.
[Snake-Humiliation Olympics photo from “Death-Feigning Behavior of the Japanese Colubrid Snake Rhabdophis tigrinus.” Akio Mutoh. Herpetologica, 39:1 (Mar., 1983), pp. 78-80; Neck-butting photo from “Nuchal glands: a novel defensive system in snakes.” Akira Mori. Chemoecology, 22 (2012), pp. 187–198.]
I sat in a classroom last saturday cis people allegedly attended to learn how to care for trans clients in a medical setting
one person made a joke about the fact the word “translation” had the root trans in it when another student talked about a video about trans people made in another language
I’m so fucking sorry this is happening to you. It’s terrifying. I hardly know what to say about it, but I feel for you.
I hope you stay safe. Best of luck xxx
(PM me if there’s any way I can help?)
The 1% wants to ban sleeping in cars - it hurts their ‘quality of life’
April 16, 2014
Across the United States, many local governments are responding to skyrocketing levels of inequality and the now decades-long crisis of homelessness among the very poor … by passing laws making it a crime to sleep in a parked car.
This happened most recently in Palo Alto, in California’s Silicon Valley, where new billionaires are seemingly minted every month – and where 92% of homeless people lack shelter of any kind. Dozens of cities have passed similar anti-homeless laws. The largest of them is Los Angeles, the longtime unofficial “homeless capital of America”, where lawyers are currently defending a similar vehicle-sleeping law before a skeptical federal appellate court. Laws against sleeping on sidewalks or in cars are called “quality of life” laws. But they certainly don’t protect the quality of life of the poor.
To be sure, people living in cars cannot be the best neighbors. Some people are able to acquire old and ugly – but still functioning – recreational vehicles with bathrooms; others do the best they can. These same cities have resisted efforts to provide more public toilet facilities, often on the grounds that this will make their city a “magnet” for homeless people from other cities. As a result, anti-homeless ordinances often spread to adjacent cities, leaving entire regions without public facilities of any kind.
Their hope, of course, is that homeless people will go elsewhere, despite the fact that the great majority of homeless people are trying to survive in the same communities in which they were last housed – and where they still maintain connections. Americans sleeping in their own cars literally have nowhere to go.
Indeed, nearly all homelessness in the US begins with a loss of income and an eviction for nonpayment of rent – a rent set entirely by market forces. The waiting lists are years long for the tiny fraction of housing with government subsidies. And rents have risen dramatically in the past two years, in part because long-time tenants must now compete with the millions of former homeowners who lost their homes in the Great Recession.
The paths from eviction to homelessness follow familiar patterns. For the completely destitute without family or friends able to help, that path leads more or less directly to the streets. For those slightly better off, unemployment and the exhaustion of meager savings – along with the good graces of family and friends – eventually leaves people with only two alternatives: a shelter cot or their old automobile.
However, in places like Los Angeles, the shelters are pretty much always full. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of unsheltered homeless people increased by 67%. In Palo Alto last year, there were 12 shelter beds for 157 homeless individuals. Homeless people in these cities do have choices: they can choose to sleep in a doorway, on a sidewalk, in a park, under a bridge or overpass, or – if they are relatively lucky – in a car. But these cities have ordinances that make all of those choices a criminal offense. The car is the best of bad options, now common enough that local bureaucrats have devised a new, if oxymoronic, term – the “vehicularly housed”.
People sleeping in cars try to find legal, nighttime parking places, where they will be less apparent and arouse the least hostility. But cities like Palo Alto and Los Angeles often forbid parking between 2am and 5am in commercial areas, where police write expensive tickets and arrest and impound the vehicles of repeat offenders. That leaves residential areas, where overnight street parking cannot, as a practical matter, be prohibited.
One finds the “vehicularly housed” in virtually every neighborhood, including my own. But the animus that drives anti-homeless laws seems to be greatest in the wealthiest cities, like Palo Alto, which has probably spawned more per-capita fortunes than any city on Earth, and in the more recently gentrified areas like Los Angeles’ Venice. These places are ruled by majorities of “liberals” who decry, with increasing fervor, the rapid rise in economic inequality. Nationally, 90% of Democrats (and 45% of Republicans) believe the government should act to reduce the rich-poor gap.
It is easy to be opposed to inequality in the abstract. So why are Los Angeles and Palo Alto spending virtually none of their budgets on efforts to provide housing for the very poor and homeless? When the most obvious evidence of inequality parks on their street, it appears, even liberals would rather just call the police. The word from the car: if you’re not going to do anything to help, please don’t make things worse.
1. What happened to all the white people?
2043 has widely been cited as the “year of the white minority.”
According to this chart, that’s when our Caucasian population will dip below 50% and be overtaken by the combined number of Asians, blacks, Hispanics and other minorities. By 2060, whites will make up just 43% percent of Americans, a staggering 42% drop since 1960. Hispanics, on the other hand, are projected to nearly double their numbers, from 16% today to 31% in 2060.
This could radically reconceptualize issues of representation and power. Areas like government, media and higher education are currently controlled by whites, but as their numbers wane, so will their dominance. Will current racial inequalities subside as a result? Only time will tell.
Shame on The Nation Magazine for publishing an article that begins this way:
"Unless you’re deaf, dumb and blind, it’s obvious that Vladimir Putin, Russia’s obstreperous president, is running a major covert operation in eastern Ukraine, including the dispatch of a limited number of Russian special forces and support for pro-Russian militias there.”
yeah, i totally agree with my friend’s comment (above) on this Nation article from yesterday. not only is this author totally deluded about the aspirations of the US government and Obama, viz., Ukraine and Eastern Europe (i.e., that the U.S. is somehow actually concerned about the principle of national sovereignty and self-determination and not just driven by inter-imperialist rivalry with Russia). but he is also clearly a total bigot on the topic of disability.
the other question is why in the world the editors of the Nation allowed such an obviously hateful and unnecessary sentiment to appear in their magazine.
Here is how the prolific author and socialist activist Helen Keller once put it:
"I must plead guilty to the charge that I am deaf and blind … but my blindness does not shut me out from a knowledge of what is happening about me. I have visited the sweatshops, factories, crowded slums of New York and Washington. Of course I could not see the squalor; but if I could not see it, I could smell it. With my own hands I could feel pinched, dwarfed children tending their younger brothers and sisters, while their mothers tended machines in nearby factories.
" … Yes, I am blind and deaf too, and I owe all I have, all that I am, to the generosity, kindness, patience, self-sacrifice of others; but I refuse to be regarded as an object of charity. There are none of us so blind as seeing people who will not see. But we whose eyes are closed to the light refuse to be led by those who, having their eyes open, yet see not. The blind person of spirit, whose lot it is to live in a just and intelligent community, stands up, undismayed by his limitations, and says, ‘I am a man … ‘."
Scientists at the Salk Institute have created a new model of memory that explains how neurons retain select memories a few hours after an event.
This new framework provides a more complete picture of how memory works, which can inform research into disorders liked Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s,…
The rainbow scarab, (Phanaeus vindex). These dung beetles are found throughout the United States and are indicators of high-quality ecosystems because they are typically only found in those which are healthy.
All dung beetles play a significant role in their environments as natural sanitation crews; utilizing the refuse of others for subsistence not only cleans up the landscape but also reduces the number of pests and flies attracted to such. Rainbow scarabs apparently prefer swine and opossum dung heavily over that of raccoon and - yuck - horses…. but human dung is their favorite. Mmm.
Several kilometres off the coast near Perth in Western Australia, hidden beneath the waves and out of sight of watchful boaters, three giant buoys will soon begin producing electricity as they bob to the rhythm of the Indian Ocean. At 11 metres wide and 5 metres tall, the squat orange floats look a bit like giant pumpkins. As waves pass by, the tethered buoys will drive hydraulic pumps on the sea bottom, converting the motion of the ocean into 720 kilowatts of electricity to power a nearby naval base.
Marine Current Turbines’ tidal-energy converter in Strangford Lough, UK, generates power with underwater blades that can be raised for maintenance.