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Topics - meepmeep

Seeing this all over the place but no other information yet:

Here's to hoping someone fucked up and sent an alert by accident or that it's a hacker.
Identification of Pre-Existing Adaptive Immunity to Cas9 Proteins in Humans

The CRISPR-Cas9 system has proven to be a powerful tool for genome editing allowing for the precise modification of specific DNA sequences within a cell. Many efforts are currently underway to use the CRISPR-Cas9 system for the therapeutic correction of human genetic diseases. The most widely used homologs of the Cas9 protein are derived from the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes). Based on the fact that these two bacterial species cause infections in the human population at high frequencies, we looked for the presence of pre-existing adaptive immune responses to their respective Cas9 homologs, SaCas9 (S. aureus homolog of Cas9) and SpCas9 (S. pyogenes homolog of Cas9). To determine the presence of anti-Cas9 antibodies, we probed for the two homologs using human serum and were able to detect antibodies against both, with 79% of donors staining against SaCas9 and 65% of donors staining against SpCas9. Upon investigating the presence of antigen-specific T-cells against the two homologs in human peripheral blood, we found anti-SaCas9 T-cells in 46% of donors. Upon isolating, expanding, and conducting antigen re-stimulation experiments on several of these donors anti-SaCas9 T-cells, we observed a SaCas9-specific response confirming that these T-cells were antigen-specific. We were unable to detect antigen-specific T-cells against SpCas9, although the sensitivity of the assay precludes us from concluding that such T-cells do not exist. Together, this data demonstrates that there are pre-existing humoral and cell-mediated adaptive immune responses to Cas9 in humans, a factor which must be taken into account as the CRISPR-Cas9 system moves forward into clinical trials.

Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean any given CRISPR-Cas9 system would automatically fail. The Cas9 would need to be different enough to avoid recognition. And I doubt this would be a concern in any gene editing done at the embryonic stage.
Arts and Entertainment / Toast of London

Why didn't any of you Brits tell me about this show? :colbert:
This modified excerpt from Michael Wolff's book is a fucking doozy:

Most presidential candidates spend their entire careers, if not their lives from adolescence, preparing for the role. They rise up the ladder of elected offices, perfect a public face, and prepare themselves to win and to govern. The Trump calculation, quite a conscious one, was different. The candidate and his top lieutenants believed they could get all the benefits of almost becoming president without having to change their behavior or their worldview one whit. Almost everybody on the Trump team, in fact, came with the kind of messy conflicts bound to bite a president once he was in office. Michael Flynn, the retired general who served as Trump's opening act at campaign rallies, had been told by his friends that it had not been a good idea to take $45,000 from the Russians for a speech. "Well, it would only be a problem if we won," ­Flynn assured them.

lololol how'd that work out for you buddy?

Not only did Trump disregard the potential conflicts of his own business deals and real-estate holdings, he audaciously refused to release his tax returns. Why should he? Once he lost, Trump would be both insanely famous and a martyr to Crooked Hillary. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared would be international celebrities. Steve Bannon would become the de facto head of the tea-party movement. Kellyanne Conway would be a cable-news star. Melania Trump, who had been assured by her husband that he wouldn't become president, could return to inconspicuously lunching. Losing would work out for everybody. Losing was winning.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Election Night, when the unexpected trend -- Trump might actually win -- seemed confirmed, Don Jr. told a friend that his father, or DJT, as he calls him, looked as if he had seen a ghost. Melania was in tears--and not of joy.

There was, in the space of little more than an hour, in Steve Bannon's not unamused observation, a befuddled Trump morphing into a disbelieving Trump and then into a horrified Trump. But still to come was the final transformation: Suddenly, Donald Trump became a man who believed that he deserved to be, and was wholly capable of being, the president of the United States.

Ann Coulter making sense here:
As much as the president himself, the chief of staff determines how the Executive branch -- which employs 4 million people -- will run. The job has been construed as deputy president, or even prime minister. But Trump had no interest in appointing a strong chief of staff with a deep knowledge of Washington. Among his early choices for the job was Kushner -- a man with no political experience beyond his role as a calm and flattering body man to Trump during the campaign.

It was Ann Coulter who finally took the president-elect aside. "Nobody is apparently telling you this," she told him. "But you can't. You just can't hire your children."

"He's a bomb thrower," said Ailes. "And a strange little fucker. But you need him. Who else is good on Israel? Flynn is a little nutty on Iran. Tillerson just knows oil."

"Bolton's mustache is a problem," snorted Bannon. "Trump doesn't think he looks the part. You know Bolton is an acquired taste."

"Well, he got in trouble because he got in a fight in a hotel one night and chased some woman."

"If I told Trump that," Bannon said slyly, "he might have the job."

I refuse to believe this is a real thing that happened but it probably is!:
After Jared and Ivanka joined them for lunch, Trump continued to cast for positive impressions of his first week. Scarborough praised the president for having invited leaders of the steel unions to the White House. At which point Jared interjected that reaching out to unions, a Democratic constituency, was Bannon's doing, that this was "the Bannon way."

"Bannon?" said the president, jumping on his son-in-law. "That wasn't Bannon's idea. That was my idea. It's the Trump way, not the Bannon way."

Kushner, going concave, retreated from the discussion.

Trump, changing the topic, said to Scarborough and Brzezinski, "So what about you guys? What's going on?" He was referencing their not-so-secret secret relationship. The couple said it was still complicated, but good.

"You guys should just get married," prodded Trump.

"I can marry you! I'm an internet Unitarian minister," Kushner, otherwise an Orthodox Jew, said suddenly.

"What?" said the president. "What are you talking about? Why would they want you to marry them when I could marry them? When they could be married by the president! At Mar-a-Lago!"

The secret of the hair is revealed:
Ivanka maintained a relationship with her father that was in no way conventional. She was a helper not just in his business dealings, but in his marital realignments. If it wasn't pure opportunism, it was certainly transactional. For Ivanka, it was all business -- building the Trump brand, the presidential campaign, and now the White House. She treated her father with a degree of detachment, even irony, going so far as to make fun of his comb-over to others. She often described the mechanics behind it to friends: an absolutely clean pate -- a contained island after scalp-reduction ­surgery -- surrounded by a furry circle of hair around the sides and front, from which all ends are drawn up to meet in the center and then swept back and secured by a stiffening spray. The color, she would point out to comical effect, was from a product called Just for Men -- the longer it was left on, the darker it got. Impatience resulted in Trump's orange-blond hair color.

President Angry Grandpa:
Trump, in fact, found the White House to be vexing and even a little scary. He retreated to his own bedroom -- the first time since the Kennedy White House that a presidential couple had maintained separate rooms. In the first days, he ordered two television screens in addition to the one already there, and a lock on the door, precipitating a brief standoff with the Secret Service, who insisted they have access to the room. He ­reprimanded the housekeeping staff for picking up his shirt from the floor: "If my shirt is on the floor, it's because I want it on the floor." Then he imposed a set of new rules: Nobody touch anything, especially not his toothbrush. (He had a longtime fear of being poisoned, one reason why he liked to eat at McDonald's -- nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade.) Also, he would let housekeeping know when he wanted his sheets done, and he would strip his own bed.

If he was not having his 6:30 dinner with Steve Bannon, then, more to his liking, he was in bed by that time with a cheeseburger, watching his three screens and making phone calls -- the phone was his true contact point with the world -- to a small group of friends, who charted his rising and falling levels of agitation through the evening and then compared notes with one another.

Or maybe President Toddler is more accurate:
As soon as the campaign team had stepped into the White House, Walsh saw, it had gone from managing Trump to the expectation of being managed by him. Yet the president, while proposing the most radical departure from governing and policy norms in several generations, had few specific ideas about how to turn his themes and vitriol into policy. And making suggestions to him was deeply complicated. Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership: He didn't process information in any conventional sense. He didn't read. He didn't really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-­literate. He trusted his own expertise ­-- no matter how paltry or irrelevant -- more than anyone else's. He was often confident, but he was just as often paralyzed, less a savant than a figure of sputtering and dangerous insecurities, whose instinctive response was to lash out and behave as if his gut, however confused, was in fact in some clear and forceful way telling him what to do. It was, said Walsh, "like trying to figure out what a child wants."

This is some fucking amazing 48 dimensional chess here.
This is the dumbest thing I've read in a long time.

SAN FRANCISCO -- At Rainbow Grocery, a cooperative in this city's Mission District, one brand of water is so popular that it's often out of stock. But one recent evening, there was a glittering rack of it: glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as "raw water" -- unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill, bottled and marketed by a small company called Live Water.

"It has a vaguely mild sweetness, a nice smooth mouth feel, nothing that overwhelms the flavor profile," said Kevin Freeman, a shift manager at the store. "Bottled water's controversial. We've curtailed our water selection. But this is totally outside that whole realm."

And Liquid Eden, a water store that opened in San Diego three years ago, offers a variety of options, including fluoride-free, chlorine-free and a "mineral electrolyte alkaline" drinking water that goes for $2.50 a gallon.

Trisha Kuhlmey, the owner, said the shop sells about 900 gallons of water a day, and sales have doubled every year as the "water consciousness movement" grows.

What adherents share is a wariness of tap water, particularly the fluoride added to it and the lead pipes that some of it passes through. They contend that the wrong kind of filtration removes beneficial minerals. Even traditional bottled spring water is treated with ultraviolet light or ozone gas and passed through filters to remove algae. That, they say, kills healthful bacteria -- "probiotics" in raw-water parlance.

The most prominent proponent of raw water is Doug Evans, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. After his juicing company, Juicero, collapsed in September, he went on a 10-day cleanse, drinking nothing but Live Water. "I haven't tasted tap water in a long time," he said.

Before he could order raw water on demand, Mr. Evans went "spring hunting" with friends. This has become more challenging lately: The closest spring around San Francisco has recently been cut off by landslides, so reaching it means crossing private property, which he does under cover of night.

"You have to be agile and tactile, and be available to experiment," he said. "Literally, you have to carry bottles of water through the dark."

At Burning Man, the summer festival in the Nevada desert that attracts the digerati and others, Mr. Evans and his R.V. mate brought 50 gallons of spring water they had collected. "I'm extreme about health, I know, but I'm not alone with this," Mr. Evans said. "There are a lot of people doing this with me. You never know who you'll run into at the spring."

lmao juicero guy hahahahahahahahahaha

The founder of Live Water, Mukhande Singh, started selling spring water from Opal Springs in Culver, Ore., three years ago, but it was a small local operation until this year. Marketing materials show Mr. Singh (né Christopher Sanborn) sitting naked and cross-legged on a hot spring, his long brown hair flowing over his chest.

lololol né Christopher Sanborn

Pure water can be obtained by using a reverse osmosis filter, the gold standard of home water treatment, but for Mr. Singh, the goal is not pristine water, per se. "You're going to get 99 percent of the bad stuff out," he said. "But now you have dead water."

He said "real water" should expire after a few months. His does. "It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery," he said. "If it sits around too long, it'll turn green. People don't even realize that because all their water's dead, so they never see it turn green."

Mr. Singh believes that public water has been poisoned. "Tap water? You're drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them," he said. "Chloramine, and on top of that they're putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it's a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health." (There is no scientific evidence that fluoride is a mind-control drug, but plenty to show that it aids dental health.)


"Fluoride? It's a deathly toxic chemical," said Vanessa Kuemmerle of Emeryville, Calif., who does landscape design for large tech companies. She said she was an early adopter of raw water, and has noticed many of her clients following suit.

"They're health-conscious people that understand the bigger picture of what's going on," she said. "Everyone's looking for an edge: nootropics, Bulletproof coffee, better water."

The health benefits she reported include better skin and the need to drink less water. "My skin's plumper," she said. "And I feel like I'm getting better nutrition from the food I eat."

Getting better nutrition.


"I don't like 'raw water' because it sort of makes people think of raw sewage," Mr. Vitalis said. "When you say 'live water,' that's going to trigger a lot of people who are into physics and biology. Is it alive?"


I want to send all of these Silicon Valley idiot hippies to parts of the world where people have no choice but to drink "raw water" so they can experience the magical benefits of all of the awesome deadly bacteria and viruses and protozoa and assorted fucking parasites out there. Guinea worm disease is totally organic! And the worms eat all the toxins in your body as they tear through your flesh!
Back in the day, my dad had a sweet vinyl collection, and when 8 tracks and cassettes came out, he copied everything onto tape and got rid of almost every record he had.

When I was a teenager, I listened to a lot of those tapes, but after so many years and so many plays, they started deteriorating. My brother helped me get a few things on mp3 by recording it through the stereo system, but by that point, some stuff was damaged. And it was already a digital recording of a cassette recording of a previously used record so the equality was kind of iffy.

There was one set of songs in particular by Sacha Distel that I don't have and haven't ever been able to find. I've been intermittently looking for them off and on for over 15 years. One of them is this upbeat jazz interpretation of La vie en rose, and I've never been able to find out anything about it, though I think it showed up on a list in a discography once. Every so often, I'd come across another song of his in my library or something and try searching again, but I could never find anything.

Well, I was just reminded again for the first time in a year or so and looked again, and this time, I actually found one of the songs! :meeps:

And the kind soul who uploaded it listed the album title. The description linked there lists all of the songs on that goddamn tape, so this was probably the album that my dad had.


Except the only shit available anywhere is the EP which has nothing I care about on it.


Anyone have any ideas on where to look now that I have the album info? Is my best bet to bug the shit out of my brother so that he goes into record stores next time he visits his girlfriend in France? Based on my feeble attempts so far, it seems like the only way I'll ever get my hands on this is if someone literally finds it in a pile of random shit at a record store or if someone who has it uploads the rest some day.

It's driving me nuts that I finally fucking found the album but it still doesn't exist anywhere. Help me, nerds, you're my only hope.  :(

One of the top executives of a consulting firm that the Environmental Protection Agency has recently hired to help it with media affairs has spent the past year investigating agency employees who have been critical of the Trump administration, federal records show.

The firm, Definers Public Affairs, based in Virginia, specializes in conducting opposition research to aid Republican Party causes, meaning that it seeks to find damaging information on Democratic political candidates in an effort to undermine their election bids.

A vice president for the firm, Allan Blutstein, federal records show, has submitted at least 40 Freedom of Information Act requests to the E.P.A. since President Trump was sworn in. Many of those requests target employees known to be questioning management at the E.P.A. since Scott Pruitt, the agency's administrator, was confirmed.

Mr. Blutstein, in an interview, said he was taking aim at "resistance" figures in the federal government, adding that he hoped to discover whether they had done anything that might embarrass them or hurt their cause.

"I wondered if they were emailing critical things about the agency on government time and how frequently they were corresponding about this," he said. "And did they do anything that would be useful for Republicans."

Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman at the E.P.A., declined to comment on the information requests. He said the decision to hire Definers, which signed a $120,000 no-bid contract to monitor and collect news coverage about the agency, was solely financial. The E.P.A. previously contracted with Bulletin Intelligence L.L.C. for media services at a rate of $207,000 a year. That contract was open to other bids.

"Definers was awarded the contract to do our press clips at a rate that is $87,000 cheaper than our previous vendor and they are providing no other services," Mr. Wilcox said in an emailed statement. "If you have questions regarding how Definers operates, we encourage you to contact them."

The contract, which was awarded this month, is part of an unconventional news media operation that Mr. Pruitt has set up at the agency as he tries to get a handle on the coverage of him by newspapers, including The New York Times, and criticism by Democrats in Congress and environmental groups. The decision to award the contract was first reported by Mother Jones.

The founders of Definers, Joe Pounder and Matt Rhoades, are longtime Republican political operatives. Mr. Pounder was the research director for the Republican National Committee and worked on the presidential campaign of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in 2016. Mr. Rhodes managed Mitt Romney's presidential campaign in 2012.

Mr. Blutstein, in the interview, said that his series of information requests this year targeting E.P.A. employees known to be critical of the Trump administration was separate from the work that the firm was performing for the agency. Instead, he said that he filed the requests on his own, in an effort to try to undermine people who have been critical of policy changes taking place at the agency.

He described it as an "antiresistance" effort. "I am not doing mole hunts, or whatever," he said. "I am almost always doing that research on my own."

The requests focused on agency employees like Michael Cox, who worked in the E.P.A.'s Seattle office and had sent a retirement notice in March to colleagues that raised questions about Mr. Pruitt's management as well as agency employees who had participated in a public outreach program called "Why do you love the E.P.A.," which tried to build support for maintaining the agency's budget.

Other employees who were the subjects of such requests included Elizabeth Southerland, who has been an outspoken critic of Mr. Pruitt since her recent retirement; Michael J. Mikulka, a Chicago-based union leader; and John O'Grady, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees Council 238.


The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation's top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases -- including "fetus" and "transgender" -- in any official documents being prepared for next year's budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden words are "vulnerable," "entitlement," "diversity," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based" and "science-based."

In some instances, the analysts were given alternative phrases. Instead of "science-based" or ­"evidence-based," the suggested phrase is "CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes," the person said. In other cases, no replacement words were immediately offered.

The question of how to address such issues as sexual orientation, gender identity and abortion rights -- all of which received significant visibility under the Obama administration -- has surfaced repeatedly in federal agencies since President Trump took office. Several key departments -- including Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC, as well as Justice, Education, and Housing and Urban Development -- have changed some federal policies and how they collect government information about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

In March, for example, HHS dropped questions about sexual orientation and gender identity in two surveys of elderly people.

HHS has also removed information about LGBT Americans from its website. The department's Administration for Children and Families, for example, archived a page that outlined federal services that are available for LGBT people and their families, including how they can adopt and receive help if they are the victims of sex trafficking.

At the CDC, the meeting about the banned words was led by Alison Kelly, a senior leader in the agency's Office of Financial Services, according to the CDC analyst, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly. Kelly did not say why the words are being banned, according to the analyst, and told the group that she was merely relaying the information.

Other CDC officials confirmed the existence of a list of forbidden words.It's likely that other parts of HHS are operating under the same guidelines regarding the use of these words, the analyst said.

Okay, cool, so they can't even talk about the implications of Zika infection on a developing FETUS because it might make Mike Pence feel a little uncomfortable.

Those dogs' dinners could be swapped out for a plant-based food under a proposal before the Los Angeles City Board of Animal Services Commissioners. The change, which commissioners could decide Tuesday, would make the city's shelter system the first in the nation to feed its canine residents a vegan diet, according to its chief veterinarian.

Supporters, who include musician and animal rights activist Moby and the feminist lawyer Lisa Bloom, say that is one of the selling points: to make L.A. shelter dogs the vanguard of a meat-free movement.

"If we adopt this, it's one more thing that proves to the world that Los Angeles really is the progressive capital," Moby, whose real name is Richard Hall, testified at the board's meeting last month.


The idea was proposed by Commissioner Robert Wolfson, a Hollywood screenwriter who cited research that he contended shows vegan diets "eliminate" many health problems in dogs, which are omnivores. But he said rethinking the dogs' meals is about far more sweeping matters -- the environmental effect of a meat industry that produces the main ingredients in lots of dog food and the ethics of feeding animals to animals.


Also pet food uses leftovers from human food production, and it's the kind of meat that humans won't eat because no one wants to chow down on some delicious diaphragm or bone meal, so all of that food would basically go to waste with no change in food animal production because the humans will still be eating the same amount of meat YOU STUPID FUCKS.

And the ethics of feeding animals to animals? Are you fucking kidding me?

The city's chief veterinarian, Jeremy Prupas, was not convinced. In a report to the commission, he recommended rejecting the proposal, saying that it could deprive dogs of sufficient protein, calcium and phosphorus and that it could be inadequate for injured, pregnant or lactating pups. Prupas said he'd consulted three clinical nutritionists at veterinary medical schools, one shelter medicine specialist and a veterinary toxicologist who works with a pet food company. None endorsed vegan dog diets, he testified.

"We recognize that individual, privately owned dogs can do well on a wide variety of diets (Commercial,  Vegetarian, Organic, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Raw, and Vegan)," Prupas wrote in his report. "However, that is quite a different population than the group of dogs we encounter daily in our animal shelters."

For christ's sake, someone please listen to the goddamn experts for once.

That argument precipitated several diarrhea-related comments in nearly two hours of testimony at the commission's Nov. 28 meeting, where pro-vegan voices dominated. Several pet owners, including Bloom, insisted that their vegan dogs had never suffered from digestive problems.



seriously fuck these people
Sports / Winter Olympics 2018
Off to a great start with Russia being banned!

The International Olympic Committee has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee "with immediate effect," essentially banning the country from the upcoming Winter Olympics over Russia's system of state-supported cheating by athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Russian athletes can compete in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the IOC said Tuesday -- but the athletes will have to pass strict scrutiny, and instead of wearing their nation's uniform, they will compete under the title "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)."

"They will compete with a uniform bearing this name and under the Olympic Flag," the IOC said. "The Olympic Anthem will be played in any ceremony."

More on the doping scandal:

We now know how Mutko was able to achieve that jump, from 11th place to first, in such a short amount of time: an extensive, state-sponsored doping campaign. After a German documentary interviewed two Russian athletes who had fled Russia and had become whistleblowers about how systematically Russia dopes its athletes, key figures in the world of Russian anti-doping started turning up dead under mysterious circumstances. This prompted Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping agency, to flee, fearing for his life, to Los Angeles and to the director Bryan Fogel. The two had been working together on Fogel's riveting documentary, "Icarus," about how easy it is for an athlete to dope and test clean. Rodchenkov, who had been coaching Fogel in his quest to dope for a cycling event and dupe the tests, decided to confess to Fogel, on camera. He also told his story to The New York Times, and then went into U.S. government witness protection.

Rodchenkov ran the lab at Sochi during the Winter Olympics, and what he did there was essentially what he did for Fogel, but on a more massive scale: helping dozens of athletes dope all through the Games while testing negative on every single test. The story he told to the Times and to Fogel would strain the imagination, were it not independently confirmed by two investigations: one by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and one by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Here is the summary of the operation, from the Times:

    The director, Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the laboratory that handled testing for thousands of Olympians, said he developed a three-drug cocktail of banned substances that he mixed with liquor and provided to dozens of Russian athletes, helping to facilitate one of the most elaborate--and successful--doping ploys in sports history.

    It involved some of Russia's biggest stars of the Games, including 14 members of its cross-country ski team and two veteran bobsledders who won two golds.

    In a dark-of-night operation, Russian antidoping experts and members of the intelligence service surreptitiously replaced urine samples tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine collected months earlier, somehow breaking into the supposedly tamper-proof bottles that are the standard at international competitions, Dr. Rodchenkov said. For hours each night, they worked in a shadow laboratory lit by a single lamp, passing bottles of urine through a hand-size hole in the wall, to be ready for testing the next day, he said.

    By the end of the Games, Dr. Rodchenkov estimated, as many as 100 dirty urine samples were expunged.

    None of the athletes were caught doping. More important, Russia won the most medals of the Games, easily surpassing its main rival, the United States, and undermining the integrity of one of the world's most prestigious sporting events.

All of this, Rodchenkov said, was overseen by an officer of the federal security services, the FSB, and had the approval of Mutko and Putin.
Meet (former) Oklahoma City state senator Ralph Shortley.

Graduate of a bible college, married with four daughters, virulent homophobe, staunch conservative, fucking idiot lunatic who tried to introduce a bill to ban the use of aborted baby parts in food (lol, no, really).

Until he got caught up in child prostitution with a 17 year old kid.

Ralph Shortey, 35, pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking in federal court last week; in exchange, child pornography charges were dropped.

Shortey, a former Republican state senator from Oklahoma City, was charged in federal court in September after a months-long investigation that started in March 2017 when he was found in a Moore hotel room with a 17-year-old boy.

The best part, though:
Shortey answered the door in a white t-shirt with the words Ephesians 5:22, a bible verse, written on it, as well as "now go make me a sandwich" written below an image of a sandwich. The bible verse is in reference to women submitting to their husband's will, as they do to the Lord.

lol okay the writers for this computer simulation are getting a little silly here.
Long read, but full of some pretty solid lols:

Shapiro's thoughts about Arabs are all along similar lines. Usually conservatives are careful to draw a distinction: they are not condemning an ethnicity, but rather adherents to an ideology, namely Islamism. Not so with Shapiro: for him, the problem is not Islamism or even Islam writ large. It's Arabs: "The Arab-Israeli conflict may be accurately described as a war between darkness and light. Those who argue against Israeli settlements--outposts of light in a dark territory--argue for the continued victory of night." Arabs "value murder" while Israelis "value life," and "where light fails, darkness engulfs." Arabs are therefore, as an undifferentiated unit, a people of darkness. Palestinian Arabs are the worst of all: they are a "population rotten to the core... Palestinian Arabs must be fought on their own terms: as a people dedicated to an evil cause." The "Arab Palestinian populace... by and large constitutes the most evil population on the face of the planet." Since they're "rotten to the core," there's no such thing as a good Arab: your evil is defined by your ethnicity, by being a member of the People of Darkness and Murder rather than the People of Goodness and Light. Again, it may just be my failure to understand Facts and Logic, but I am having trouble understanding how population-level generalizations about the moral characteristics of particular ethnic groups can be anything other than bigotry.

Shapiro once explained his actual preferred solution to the problem of the dark Arab hordes: mass expulsion. As he said, bulldozing Palestinian houses and subjecting them to curfews are insufficient "half-measures": the only solution is to drive every last one of them forcibly from their homes and take their land:

The Arab enmity for Jews and the state of Israel allows for no peace process. The time for half measures has passed. Bulldozing houses of homicide bombers is useless. Instituting ongoing curfews in Arab-populated cities is useless... Some have rightly suggested that Israel be allowed to decapitate the terrorist leadership of the Palestinian Authority. But this too is only a half measure. The ideology of the Palestinian population is indistinguishable from that of the terrorist leadership. Half measures merely postpone our realization that the Arabs dream of Israel's destruction. Without drastic measures, the Arab dream will come true... If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It's an ugly solution, but it is the only solution... It's time to stop being squeamish.

Alright, well, we may disagree over whether pressuring Congress to pass a jobs bill makes you literally Mussolini. But Shapiro says the anti-Semitism part is clear-cut. Why? Well, the first piece of evidence is that when the Israeli military stormed an aid flotilla bound for Gaza, killing nine activists, the Obama administration soon released a statement saying that "The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained." "How else are we to interpret [this] lightning-fast, knee-jerk anti-Israel response?" except as evidence of anti-Semitism, Shapiro asks. But perhaps you're not convinced. Well, Shapiro has more. In 2009, Rahm Emanuel went to speak at AIPAC and told the audience that U.S. efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear program would be conditional on successful resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. This, Shapiro says, showed that Obama harbored a deep animus against Jews, because he holds Israel to a higher standard than he holds anyone else. And while it may have turned out that Rahm Emanuel never actually said anything like this, leading at least one other columnist to issue a correction, Shapiro stood firm. Not only did he not amend the story, but he later called Emanuel (who held Israeli citizenship for nearly two decades, whose middle name is literally Israel, and who even Jeffrey Goldberg thought made the idea of Obama being anti-Israel seem "a bit ridiculous") a "kapo," i.e. a Jew who does the Nazis' bidding. Shapiro said that any Jewish person who voted for Obama was not really a Jew at all, but a "Jew In Name Only" serving an "enemy of the Jewish people." They may "eat bagels and lox," but by supporting an "openly" anti-Semitic administration they are "disgusting" and a "disgrace," and the "twisted and evil" "self-hating Jews" who "enjoy matzo ball soup" and "emerged from a Jewish uterus" but nevertheless choose to "undermine the Israeli government" "don't care a whit about Judaism" and in fact hold "anti-Semitic views." (Those may be snippet-length quotes but go and read the columns if you suspect me of excising context or nuance.)

Shapiro isn't interested in discussing any of this seriously. Just look at how he distorted his questioner's response about moose: he says "Why aren't you a moose?" and when she replies "That's different," he interjects "That's right, men and women are different." She clearly said that species and gender are different (which they are, in that there's a good argument for revising one of the categories but not for revising the other). But he tried to convince his audience that she had essentially conceded his point, by seizing on and spinning the word "difference." (We call this "sophistry" rather than "logic.")

For a man who cares about Facts rather than Feelings, Shapiro doesn't seem to care very much about facts. There are plenty of minor mistakes that cast doubt on the Times quote that Shapiro "reads books." Some are just the little slip-ups that come from careless writing, e.g. the U.S. abolished slavery in "1862," "atheistic philosopher Gilbert Pyle" [sic]. Others are suspicious unsourced generalizations, e.g."Walk into virtually any emergency room in California and illegal immigrants are the bulk of the population." But there are also major embarrassing bloomers, like Shapiro promoting the false rumor that Chuck Hagel received a donation from a group called "Friends of Hamas." A New York Daily News reporter had made up the group's name, as something so ludicrously over-the-top that nobody could possibly believe it, but Shapiro credulous enough to think the organization could exist, and published an article demanding answers. When it was pointed out that there was no such group, Shapiro did not retract the story. Instead, he doubled down, insisting that because he reported that sources said there was a Friends of Hamas, and the sources did say that, his reporting was sound. (Note: this is not how journalism works.)

Shapiro mocked T.I. for naming his children "Zonnique and Deyjah." (It's not clear what the Rational basis for disliking black names is.) When Barack Obama said that "we need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs," Shapiro wondered why Obama thought anyone should "be rewarded for their sexuality." (I am curious how Shapiro did on the Logical Reasoning section of his LSAT if he believes "Don't punish X or reward Y" means "reward X and/or Y.") He thinks that criticisms of those who seem to love wars but decline to fight in them are "explicitly reject[ing] the Constitution itself, [which] provides that civilians control the military." (Go ahead and try to figure out the reasoning on that one.) He was strongly against a federal ban on using cellphones while driving, because it would take away drivers' freedom of choice, yet he believes it is "morally tragic" that we no longer use the police to stop people from making and watching pornography, because it follows the "silly" philosophy that "as long as what I do doesn't harm you personally, I have a right to do it." (Shapiro said that if pornography is legal, there would be no logical reason not to legalize the murder of homeless people, without addressing the potential meaningful distinctions between "having sex" and "killing a person in cold blood.") Shapiro may be The Cool Kid's Philosopher, but on the rare occasions when he actually dips his toe into metaphysics, the results are catastrophic: he argues that atheism is incompatible with the idea of free will because religious people believe that free will is granted by God. ("My beliefs say that your beliefs can't be true therefore they can't be true" is known as "assuming the conclusion.")

What's more, Shapiro doesn't believe that criticizing the American government during a time of war ought to be legal at all. The champion of Free Speech has literally called for reinstating sedition laws. When Al Gore told a Muslim audience that he believed the United States' indiscriminate rounding-up and detention practices after 9/11 were "terrible" and abusive, Shapiro called the statements "treasonable," "seditious," and "outrageous" and demanded that the law respond:

At some point, opposition must be considered disloyal. At some point, the American people must say "enough." At some point, Republicans in Congress must stop delicately tiptoeing with regard to sedition and must pass legislation to prosecute such sedition... Under the Espionage Act of 1917, opponents of World War I were routinely prosecuted, and the Supreme Court routinely upheld their convictions.... During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans, as well as allowing the prosecution and/or deportation of those who opposed the war.... This is not to argue that every measure taken by the government to prosecute opponents of American wars is just or right or Constitutional. Some restrictions, however, are just and right and Constitutional--and necessary. No war can be won when members of a disloyal opposition are given free reign [sic] to undermine it.

The Wilson administration's crackdown on critics of the war, and the imprisoning of dissidents, were actually a low point in the history of American liberty, and the legal decisions upholding these acts are now discredited. But Shapiro sees this, along with the even more disturbing mass internment of Japanese Americans, as a model for eliminating critics of America's wars. (Although elsewhere Shapiro has called the Supreme Court's decision upholding Japanese detention "evil and disgusting." Consistency, as I have indicated before, is not his forte.)

Politics and Current Events / The Paradise Papers
The group that released the Panama Papers teased a big new project the other day, and it just dropped:

I haven't looked at anything yet, but this should be interesting.  :hmm:
Arts and Entertainment / Harvey Weinstein

holy shit

Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, told me that she did not speak out until now--Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her--because she feared that Weinstein would "crush" her. "I know he has crushed a lot of people before," Argento said. "That's why this story--in my case, it's twenty years old, some of them are older--has never come out.

The story, however, is more complex, and there is more to know and to understand. In the course of a ten-month investigation, I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, allegations that corroborate and overlap with the Times's revelations, and also include far more serious claims.

Three women--among them Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans--told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex. Four women said that they experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault. In an audio recording captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015 and made public here for the first time, Weinstein admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behavior he is "used to." Four of the women I interviewed cited encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.

Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein's companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein's films and in the workplace. They and others describe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models. All sixteen said that the behavior was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Messages sent by Irwin Reiter, a senior company executive, to Emily Nestor, one of the women who alleged that she was harassed at the company, described the "mistreatment of women" as a serial problem that the Weinstein Company was struggling with in recent years. Other employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein's places of business, with numerous people throughout the companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe. A female executive with the company described how Weinstein assistants and others served as a "honeypot"--they would initially join a meeting, but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with the woman.

Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein's advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them. Multiple sources said that Weinstein frequently bragged about planting items in media outlets about those who spoke against him; these sources feared that they might be similarly targeted. Several pointed to Gutierrez's case, in 2015: after she went to the police, negative items discussing her sexual history and impugning her credibility began rapidly appearing in New York gossip pages. (In the taped conversation with Gutierrez, Weinstein asks her to join him for "five minutes," and warns, "Don't ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.")

Peter Thiel is literally a fucking Bond villain:
Thiel's purview is as vast as his ambitions. He has homes or properties in San Francisco, the Hollywood Hills, New York, Hawaii, and New Zealand, where he acquired citizenship a few years back. (He is a keen fan of The Lord of the Rings, which was filmed there.) According to one of his friends, "Thiel has said to me directly and repeatedly that he wanted to have his own country"--even placing a dollar value on "owning" a sovereign state: $100 billion.

Through it all, Thiel, who guards his privacy, has become known for challenging conventions, including those as seemingly immutable as death, taxes--and tuition. To wit: he takes daily doses of human growth hormone to stave off the effects of aging. He has supported the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build floating cities beyond the reach of traditional governance. And his Thiel Fellowship hands out $100,000 grants to budding entrepreneurs who agree not to go to college. Such maverick ideas make Thiel "something of a revered figure for his successes in the tech and venture-capital worlds," claimed author and biotech journalist David Ewing Duncan. "And despite what many see as his controversial backing of Trump, if you're a young entrepreneur you don't want to cross him because he has the power to invest in your next big dream. There is a case to be made that renegades should be defended."

It was Thiel, after all, who secretly funded the invasion-of-privacy lawsuit that pro wrestler Hulk Hogan brought against Gawker Media, resulting in a $140 million verdict for Hogan (since negotiated downward) and bankrupting the gossip-and-news franchise, whose blog (Valleywag) had earlier "outed" Thiel. Regarded warily for his stealth, single-mindedness, and tenacity, he is, in a way, a Silicon Valley Steve Bannon.

And yet a number of people who describe themselves as either Thiel's friends or longtime associates would speak with me only on the condition of anonymity, citing a variety of reasons: non-disclosure agreements they had signed with one or more of Thiel's entities, fear of retribution from Trump-administration officials, or reluctance to alienate Thiel or the PayPal Mafia. These individuals--including several in his inner circle--would only arrange a meeting or a conversation using tradecraft worthy of C.I.A. case officers. They communicated via encrypted apps (ones that do not register on a cell phone's call log). Two of them, to check my bona fides before agreeing to sit down with me, requested screenshots of Google searches about me--explaining that if they were to run the searches themselves, and someone combed through their search histories, they might be identified as a source for this article.

Some of these individuals insisted that there is a perplexing duality to the man. Said one friend and colleague who has known Thiel for nearly 20 years, "He exempts himself from the rules he applies to others. He's a hard-core libertarian who rails against state surveillance except when he's profiting off of it. He's a strong believer in personal privacy but is happy to kick-start and sit on the board of Facebook, which monetizes every ounce of Americans' data." He described three prime movers in Thiel's life: achieving immortality, resisting state control over his actions, and acquiring the money necessary to pull it off. Paradoxically, he added, Thiel distrusts authority: "That's [partly] what motivated him years ago to run headlong into the intelligence field. He understood that, in a technological world, power is wielded by the intelligence community. You can only trust that community if you trust--or better yet, if you are--the person at the switch."
Jesus christ, the French:

It wasn't long before she realised that "difficult" was a colossal understatement. "You're Gabrielle Deydier," was the first thing the teacher in question said when they met. "I don't work with fat people." Gabrielle tried to laugh it off, but the difficult teacher wasn't smiling. "It wasn't a joke," she said.

There are many equally bizarre episodes in her life story. Returning to the teaching job, this is how it ended: discrimination on grounds of physical appearance is illegal in France, a law that seems not to have filtered through to employers. Following the awkward introduction, the "difficult" teacher introduced Gabrielle to the class of six autistic children as: "The seventh handicapped person in the room." She accused Gabrielle of sweating too much. The headmaster told Gabrielle: "If she has a problem with you, then so do I."

"He said it was unfair on the children because they were now being doubly stigmatised - for their disabilities and because they'd be bullied for having a fat teacher." Gabrielle was asked to "have a think" about her future. "We're going to give you 30 days to prove you are motivated."

Motivated? "Motivated to lose weight. To show you're committed to this job." "It was never the children," says Gabrielle. "They were wonderful. But I was finding it difficult and complicated to deal with." It was noted that: "You were seen out of breath after climbing the stairs to the third floor."

Why didn't she take the school to court? "I was afraid I wouldn't be believed," she says. It's not an unlikely scenario. She'd experienced many similar events. The gynaecologist who grumbled: "There's so much blubber here, I can't see"; the male colleague who denied he'd sexually harassed her on the grounds that his wife was much better looking: "Why would I try to rape a fat woman?"

"The police were very good, but said: 'You have a right to make a complaint, but we advise against it because a tribunal won't be on your side.'"

Science / Peter Thiel is a fucking lunatic
Holy fuck, this is so terribly unethical and fucked up:

WASHINGTON--Defying U.S. safety protections for human trials, an American university and a group of wealthy libertarians, including a prominent Donald Trump supporter, are backing the offshore testing of an experimental herpes vaccine.

The American businessmen, including Trump adviser Peter Thiel, invested $7 million in the ongoing vaccine research, according to the U.S. company behind it. Southern Illinois University also trumpeted the research and the study's lead researcher, even though he did not rely on traditional U.S. safety oversight in the first trial, held on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. 

Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor a safety panel known as an institutional review board, or an "IRB," monitored the testing of a vaccine its creators say prevents herpes outbreaks. Most of the 20 participants were Americans with herpes who were flown to the island several times to be vaccinated, according to Rational Vaccines, the company that oversaw the trial.

Even so, Fernández a former Hollywood filmmaker, said he and his investors plan to submit the trial data to the FDA in hopes of getting the vaccine approved for treatment.

Oh, okay, phew, I'm confident this guy knows what he's doing.

Before the trial, Halford tested the vaccine on himself and Fernández. After he failed to secure federal funding and without an IRB, Halford moved ahead with the trial offshore. 

This is fucking bananas.
Because there are so many idiots showing their dumb asses that this should probably have its own thread.

Example #1 of the type of person who would totally swear up and down that they're totally not racist:

My personal favorite example:

As Calderón pressed Barker on his views, he called her the n-word and told her to go back to her country. He also appeared to threaten her.

"Why don't you go back?" Barker said in the interview, which Univision aired Sunday night. "We have nothing here in America, ya'll keep flooding it. ... We're going to chase you out of here."

"Are you going to chase me out of here?" Calderón responded.

"No, we're going to burn you out," he said.

"How are you gonna do it?" she retorted.

At one point, she asked him how he would burn out the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country.

"Don't matter," Barker said. "We killed six million Jews the last time. Eleven million is nothing."

"You're telling me you're going to burn me," Calderón also said, to which he responded: "Yeah, you're sitting on my property now."

"I've been here over 20 years and we've never had a black person or whatever you want to call yourself, you're a mongrel to me," Barker said. "We've never had one. We don't let them around."

Calderón frequently pushed back on his views, and told him she found his language offensive. "My skin color doesn't define me," she said.

"I'm way more superior than you'll ever be," Barker said.

As the Univision crew filmed, other members of the Loyal White Knights joined the Barkers to perform a cross-burning ceremony. They held torches and circled a cross, chanting "For race, for God, for nation, for the Ku Klux Klan."

At one point during the interview, Calderón asked him if, hypothetically, he would be willing to accept an organ donation from her to one of his children, if she was deemed a match. He told her it was not possible, Calderón recalled, claiming that his blood was not the same as hers because of their different races.

Barker denied that he led a hate group. Both he and his wife said they "don't hate anyone," were "not racist" and do not condone violence.

"I think genocide is a good idea and that black people have literally different blood than I do and that I'm superior to them in every single way but let's not all get carried away. It's not like I'm a racist!"

I grew up in a town called Bells, one of the five small towns that make up Crockett County in West Tennessee. The county is 83 percent white--I am also white--14 percent black and 10 percent Hispanic. (For comparison, according to 2016 Census data, Tennessee's population is only 17 percent black and 5 percent Hispanic.) The median household income is $35,000, and 19 percent of the county's 14,411 residents live below the poverty line. Most of the people I went to school with are still there. The area is deeply rural--the main highway that winds through the county is framed by cotton fields and pastures where cows keep a lazy watch over passing cars. Friday night football reigns supreme; game attendance is only second in importance to church. Many families have been here for generations, passing down their farmland and businesses to their children and grandchildren.

It can be a lovely place to live, but in counties like Crockett, it's hard to be anything other than white. So I decided to go back home and talk to the people I should have been talking to all along--people of color who live and work and go to school with white Trump supporters. They told me how it feels to live among neighbors who voted against their best interests and--worst case--their basic existence.

Turner's mom, who cleans houses in town for a living, went to work a couple of days after that, and her employer, an older white woman, brought up the results of the recent election. The two had talked politics before--Turner's mom is a Democrat, and her employer is a Republican. "Well, you might as well come and live with me now," the employer said. "You gonna be mine eventually."

She called her daughter in tears. Turner immediately got in her car and picked her mother up to bring her home.

Last year before the election, a young woman Turner described as one of her best friends casually mentioned she hoped for a Trump victory so that he might "do away with some of these African American people." She quickly clarified that she wasn't referring to Turner's "type," but when Turner sharply asked her what she meant, she couldn't answer. Another friend assured her that it would be okay if Trump won the election because she would convince her parents to purchase Turner's family as their new slaves. In a place where a few large plantation-style houses remain scattered through the county, the "joke" feels a lot like a threat.

Jesus christ, these people.

Politics and Current Events / Poland

The erosion of the rule of law also raises difficult questions for the European Union, which once saw Polish democracy and prosperity as its biggest success after the 2004 expansion that encompassed much of Eastern Europe. Now, E.U. leaders are threatening to suspend Poland's voting rights in decisions of the bloc, though they may be thwarted by the veto of Hungary's leader, Viktor Orban, another post-communist prime minister who has centralized power in defiance of democratic norms.

The U.S. State Department sounded an alarm about the measure, which would cast out all current justices of the Supreme Court, except those handpicked by the governing party's justice minister. But Trump's visit was tacit support for Law and Justice leaders, said Michal Kobosko, director of the Atlantic Council's Warsaw Global Forum, and "encouraged them to move forward with their offensive against the courts." Another measure would dissolve the independent body that selects judges. And the Constitutional Tribunal, the authority capable of invalidating the legislation, has been filled with government loyalists.

Gersdorf said the judiciary is the last independent institution protecting citizens from an authoritarian state whose aim, she said, is removing legal obstacles to interference in elections. The government has already clamped down on public media and restricted democratic assembly

"The last barrier is the Supreme Court," she said in an interview. "This change would undo our democratic system based on the independence of the courts. Each citizen has to know that a judge won't fall in front of political power."

According to Law and Justice, however, the courts are riddled with corruption, a product of lingering communist influence. The charge, said Jan Gross, a Polish-born professor of Eastern European history at Princeton University, is "total nonsense." He called the proposed changes "an indigenous assault on democracy and decency."

Polish democracy icon and former president Lech Walesa on Saturday joined the protests that have broken out across Poland over plans by the populist ruling party to put the Supreme Court and the rest of the judicial system under the party's political control.

The European Union and many international legal experts say the changes would mark a dramatic reversal for a country hailed as a model of democratic transition over the past quarter century, and move Poland closer toward authoritarianism.

The ruling Law and Justice party defends the changes as reforms to a justice system that party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski says was never purged of former communists after that system collapsed in 1989. The claim is rejected by critics.

Walesa addressed protesters in Gdansk, his home city, where he led strikes in the 1980s against the then-communist regime that eventually toppled the government and ushered in democracy.

The 73-year-old Walesa recalled those democratic changes, saying that the separation of powers into the legislative, executive and judicial branches was the most important achievement of his Solidarity movement.

"You must use all means to take back what we achieved for you," he told a crowd that included young Poles. The 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner also said he would always support their struggle, words that appeared to rule out any leadership role for him in the protests.

Of course, state TV is rabble-rousing:

Poznan tonight:

The hottest of gourmet takes offered for your enjoyment :

Lololol good idea using Vietnam as the model and lol poppy fields in Mexico? You mean the ones in Afghanistan? You know, the ones that expanded after the US invaded.

Love the subtle use of "death drugs" and the complete failure to mention potential body counts on either side. And of course it's Mexico's fault if some dumbass kid decides to try meth or heroin.
This piece is fucking bonkers:

In USC's lecture halls, labs and executive offices, Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito was a towering figure. The dean of the Keck School of Medicine was a renowned eye surgeon whose skill in the operating room was matched by a gift for attracting money and talent to the university.

There was another side to the Harvard-educated physician.

During his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.

Puliafito, 66, and these much younger acquaintances captured their exploits in photos and videos. The Times reviewed dozens of the images.

Shot in 2015 and 2016, they show Puliafito and the others partying in hotel rooms, cars, apartments and the dean's office at USC.

In one video, a tuxedo-clad Puliafito displays an orange pill on his tongue and says into the camera, "Thought I'd take an ecstasy before the ball." Then he swallows the pill.

In another, Puliafito uses a butane torch to heat a large glass pipe outfitted for methamphetamine use. He inhales and then unleashes a thick plume of white smoke. Seated next to him on a sofa, a young woman smokes heroin from a piece of heated foil.

As dean, Puliafito oversaw hundreds of medical students, thousands of professors and clinicians, and research grants totaling more than $200 million. He was a key fundraiser for USC, bringing in more than $1 billion in donations, by his estimation.

Puliafito resigned his $1.1-million-a-year post in March 2016, in the middle of the spring term, saying he wanted to explore outside opportunities.

Three weeks earlier, a 21-year-old woman had overdosed in his presence in a Pasadena hotel room. The woman was rushed to a hospital, where she recovered. Police found methamphetamine in the hotel room, according to a police report, but made no arrests. Puliafito has never spoken publicly about the incident, which is being reported here for the first time.

Puliafito, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School, had helped invent a laser technology -- optical coherence tomography -- that revolutionized the way doctors around the world diagnose and treat eye disease.

omg this lunatic invented the OCT we use every day at the facility :psyduck:
Very interesting read:

And yet, today, a growing chorus of voices argues that to be proper environmentalists and nurturing parents, each night should involve a home-cooked meal of fresh, organic, unprocessed ingredients. "We're doing so little home cooking now," food guru Michael Pollan says, "the family meal is truly endangered."5 Chastising the typical household for spending a mere 27 minutes a day preparing food, Pollan champions increasingly time-consuming methods of food production in defense of the allegedly life-enriching experience of cooking he fears is rapidly being lost.6

The juxtaposition is jarring, if not much remarked upon. At a moment in our history when increasing numbers of women have liberated themselves from many of the demands of unpaid domestic labor, prominent environmental thinkers are advocating a return to the very domestic labor that stubbornly remains the domain of women.

For women of lower socioeconomic status, the demands of a time-intensive, low-technology approach to food preparation are even more onerous. In a critique of this return-to-the-kitchen narrative, authors Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton describe interviews they conducted with mothers from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic groups, whose experiences could not have been more unlike the idealized vision offered up by Pollan--in which the cook finds herself "in that sweet spot where the frontier between work and play disappears in a cloud of bread flour or fragrant steam rising from a boiling kettle of wort."7 Rather, they were juggling tight schedules, picky children, and the cost of fresh ingredients.4

For the women interviewed by Bowen and her colleagues, shopping and cooking occasionally added joy but just as often added stress, burdens, and trade-offs. Ironically, the practices advocated by Pollan, Mark Bittman,23 and other popular food and lifestyle gurus in the name of sustainability and a rich and fulfilling home life turn out to be practical only for women who have benefited the most from industrial society.

But the demands that contemporary environmental ethics place upon women do not end with Pollanesque gatherings around the family table. Young mothers are told to forgo processed baby food, relying as it does on far-flung commodity chains and nonlocal ingredients. Instead, they should make their own,24 reject formula in favor of breastfeeding,25 and replace disposable diapers with cloth.26 All, women are told, are necessary to raise healthy babies on a healthy planet. Each prescription combines claims of environmental benefit, however minor (given the water- and chemical-intensive processes associated with producing and reusing cloth diapers, for instance, they are only marginally better for the environment), with increased domestic demands.

Upon leaving the home, women face another series of charges from lifestyle greens. The choice to ride a bike instead of drive,27 for instance, isn't so simple for women disproportionately tasked with shopping and transporting children from place to place.28 Little wonder that women ride bicycles as transportation at less than one-third the rate of men.29

In these and a variety of other ways, green ideology tells women that tasks that can be automated should be rejected in the name of processes that are closer to nature, without any recognition of the broader social and structural context in which these activities occur. Women perform the bulk of unpaid labor while being beseeched to perform that labor in ways that are more difficult and time-intensive and bring at best minor benefits to the environment or the well-being of their families. The "natural is better" formula and the romanticization of domesticity as untainted by capitalism allow the larger systems in which women and the environment are embedded to escape scrutiny.

The glorification of nature and farming and the romanticizing of the home, domestic life, and the woman at the center of it are ultimately nostalgias that cover up the brutality of rural life and drudgery of domestic labor in a perfume of freshly cut hay and caramelizing onions. While the new domestics advocating home brewing, fermenting kombucha, and churning butter are likely aware of their irony in an era of unprecedented technological progress, this nostalgia does little to further the goals of middle- and lower-class women in the developed world.

"Our biologist believes it had learned the cues of the sound of a garage door opening. It had learned that the sound of a garage door opening meant dinner," said Bill Vogrin, public information officer for Parks and Wildlife. "This bear was so fat from eating human food it couldn't climb a tree ... so it made a bed under a tree."

Despite its taste for human food, the bear managed to avoid two traps baited with doughnuts, icing, syrup and dog food, after Backstrom's encounter, Vogrin said.

Take that, stupid humans.

"It takes an enormous amount of strength, something I could never do," O'Dubhraic said.

lol that is exactly what I would expect a guy who looks like that guy to say.

The bear accessed the home through a crank-style window on the first floor that was damaged in a recent windstorm and had been left ajar.

"The bear popped it open and broke off the crank mechanism and came in the window," Vogrin said. "This was a smart bear, a dangerous bear, so it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt. We're lucky it didn't happen last night."

Anti-intellectualism in this country has gone too far.

Poor Mr. Bear. RIP, little buddy.  :smith: