A meteorite struck the Earth this week, injuring over 1,100 people near the Russian city of Chalyabinsk, which has a population over 1 million. It weighed 10 tons and lit up the sky, streaking through the atmosphere on its way to impact. It’s the worst recorded impact in history. And it went completely undetected. To quote San Francisco Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper, this is not good, folks.
The idea that the planet can be struck at any time by a space rock that could potentially wipe out a massive amount of the population is scary. Not to seem like Chicken Little, but the sky is always falling, it’s just usually burned up into bits before it hits us. When a large enough rock gets through, it means big trouble. This infographic from the Guardian UK sums it up quite nicely.
The lack of detection could have been due to lack of tracking resources, or it could have been due to the gigantic 2012 DA14 asteroid that narrowly missed the planet. It came so close, in fact, that it passed inside our communications satellites. Had it hit Earth, the impact would have had the power of more than 250 Hiroshima bombs exploding at once in the same place.
A recent discovery showed that within 33,000 years of a massive asteroid hitting the Earth, dinosaurs went extinct. The theory of what killed the dinosaurs can probably be pegged on a massive meteorite impact, at least for the most part. Humans, now the dominant species on the planet, could be next.
It’s not like the Bohemian didn’t see this coming. Or that astronaut Rusty Schweickart, co-founder of the B6-12 foundation, which is dedicated to tracking asteroids and preventing collisions with Earth, hasn’t been trying to explain the importance of this for years. But as he explains, most of the time it takes a tragedy to cement the importance of prevention in people’s minds. Maybe this will be it.
Sonoma West Times and News reports that (in)famous lobbyist Darius Anderson gave a keynote speech at a recent California Newspaper Publishers Association event in Sacramento.
"Anderson said he is not done buying newspapers yet," the articles reads. "'We’re coming to a town near you soon,' he told the room full of fellow newspaper owners. 'I plan to go to San Francisco and rape and pillage other publications and take their talent and bring it to Santa Rosa.'"
In November, Anderson was one of a team of local investors who bought the Press Democrat.
As we wrote then: "Darius Anderson has a long history as a high-powered lobbyist for companies like PG&E, Station Casinos, Pfizer, Microsoft and Catellus, and has worked for Clint Eastwood and been a fundraiser for Gray Davis. In 2010, Anderson was fined half a million dollars in a corruption probe. He currently wants to build a $30 million boutique hotel off the Sonoma plaza."
Anderson's words at the conference were, no doubt, offered in jest. But they have a sinister ring, considering the numerous conflicts-of-interest that could arise from his joint roles as lobbyist and newspaper owner. According to the Sonoma West article, Anderson both "called for a "bigger role" of the newspaper industry in statewide affairs" and "offered himself for a possible run at statewide office in the future." The piece does report that Anderson declared intentions to put the paper in a non-profit trust if he does run, to "avoid the appearance of any conflicts of interest."
See the full video of Anderson's speech here:
In other news, Anderson collects Cuban art.
The mob is a part of One Billion Rising, an international movement to end all violence. It was spurred by Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler and will include over 200 countries. “More than one out of every three women on this planet will experience violence during her lifetime,” says Ensler in a press release. “Dance joins us and pushes us to go further, and that is why it's at the center of One Billion Rising."
Pope Benedict XVI will step down at the end of the month due to his inability to perform duties because of failing “body and mind.” He is 85 years old and was elected Pope in 2005. The last time a Pope resigned was in 1415.
The announcement was a shock, to say the least. With all the secrecy of the Vatican, nobody can be truly sure the reason. At such an advanced age and this being such an unprecedented move, it must be something truly serious. It’s not implausible to suspect something like signs of Alzheimer’s or dementia triggered the resignation. Whether it was his own volition or the urging of those around him has not been stated.
What’s certain is his papacy was marred by several sexual abuse scandals and a push toward orthodoxy, including a campaign against condom prevention and any kind of birth control. Even nuns on a mission to serve the poor were chastised because of their outspoken attitude toward women’s rights. This, too, could be a contributing factor to his resignation, if we delve into the realm of conspiracy theories.
Something else that’s certain, this will trigger a spike in Dan Brown’s books and movies, and maybe even inspire a new novel by the
Davinci Code author. Working title: Forgotten Communion.
What, too soon?
No doubt you've seen the slew of headlines positing that a Supreme Court case this week could clarify the federal/state/local muddle about who-if anyone-is actually regulating dispensaries.
The City of Riverside vs. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center has been making its way through the court system for over a year now.
At stake is the question of whether local governments can ban dispensaries via zoning ordinances. It's yet another page in the same story of Prop 215-Vs. the federal government, and, according to this Mercury News piece, the justices seemed swayed by the fact that Prop 215 (otherwise known as The Compassionate Use Act) does not prohibit cities from banning dispensaries via zoning ordinances. Of course, advocates content that, while it may not do exactly that, it does legalize marijuana for medicinal uses in California, and local zoning prohibitions are against the spirit of the law.
As we've said before, it's only one piece of the smokin' hot mess that is medical MJ and the law.
There's this mess, in which lowly harvesters are targeted and then flood the courts, using public dollars and defenders.
And there's this mess, in which confidential patient information is targeted by the feds in Mendocino.
Erasing the worrisome burden of what to call that place near Sonoma where the really fast cars try finish a certain amount of laps before everyone else, it was announced today the place will officially be called Sonoma Raceway.
Seems obvious, right? But that's the case with all good names, like Rollerblades and Band-Aids, which are trademarked names of in-line skates and adhesive strips, respectively. No longer will journalists struggle to find consensus on what to call that paved curvy track thingy in Sonoma. No more shall we see Raceway at Sonoma, the Sonoma Racetrack or my personal favorite, the Former Infineon Raceway.
But don't try visiting www.sonomaraceway.com, because that's obviously not the correct website for the one-lane, twisty infinite road that hosts NASCAR, NHRA and other major motorsports events. The correct site is www.racesonoma.com. Because anything else would ruin the genius of the new name.
After losing sponsorship from Infineon, it would be nice to think the 300:1-scale slot car race track in Sonoma defied convention and went with a name proudly boasting its location; after all, the Wine County is world renowned. But, much like Candlestick Park, which simply couldn't find someone willing to pay millions of dollars for TV announcers just to say the company name a few dozen times per year, it's more likely a sluggish economy and hesitant accountants contributed to the new name.
Was a local discount considered? What about Mondavi Raceway? Trione Track? Coppola Causeway? (OK, that's Napa County and Causeway is a weird thing to be racing on, so nix that). How about Guy Fieri's Donkey Sauce Full Throttle Raceway at 100 Percent Grass-Fed Meyer Ranch? That one sounds like a winner to me, I'll take two.
But really, no matter what it's called, I bet there's a bunch of people who will always call it Sears Point.
It's fascinating to watch Olympic weightlifting. Just a few sends of action and with much practice having gone into it, and just one tiny flaw will throw everything off. The amount of weight that can be caught overhead is staggering, and the form of a good lift is really beautiful. Top athletes of any sport are artists, to me, and watching great Olympic lifters is like watching a 10-second masterpiece that took years to perfect.
Hossein Rezazadeh's world record 263 kilogram (580 pound) clean and jerk at the 2004 Olympics remains unbeaten:
Here it is in slow motion:
This is Behdad Salimi's world record 214 kilogram (472 pounds) lift at the New World Strongest Man competition in Paris in 2011:
And in slow motion, because it's so damn cool:
This is a great scientific high-speed camera breakdown of the snatch by Team USA:
Here's the same series exploring the clean and jerk:
Not according to Christina DiEdoardo.
The San Francisco-based lawyer doesn't just sport a friendly emoticon on her LinkedIn page, she's also defending your right to be naked in San Francisco before a federal judge.
According to an article published yesterday by the Chronicle, the case challenges an ordinance scheduled to go into effect on Feb. 1. If publicly shedding your drawers is an important part of your life, you can still do so at events permitted for nakedness, like the Folsom Street Fair and Bay to Breakers.
This court case raises many questions like the one above, only hinted at in the Chronicle's coverage. Is public nakedness a form of political expression? Is it a form of artistic expression? Should we revisit the idea of a naked mayor? What about a naked city council? Would their hands need to be visible at all times?
You can read more about the history of balls-out...um...ness in SF here.
Mr. Teeth, a jovial caiman who worked as a security guard at a local residential marijuana distribution center died this morning. Though it is uncertain, Mr. Teeth is thought to have been 16 years old.
The caiman, often confused for an allligator, was found unresponsive on duty, leaving the 34 pounds of pot he was supposed to be protecting to be collected by authorities in Castro Valley. It's owner said Mr. Teeth was hired to commemorate rapper Tupac Shakur's death, which would have been about 16 years ago.
Mr. Teeth arrived at the Oakland Zoo in critical unresponsive and in critical condition. Cause of death is unknown at this point. No autopsy plans have been made public.
Funeral arrangements have not been released at this time.
A giant squid was finally captured on video in its natural habitat. Why is this news? Why should the denizens of the North Bay care? Because giant squid are incredible, that's why.
Unfortunately, this clip is from ABC, the lowest common denominator of television news. So there's about 20 seconds of idiotic banter in this 45-second clip. Yeah, buddy, don't take a dip past TWO THOUSAND FEET.