You might be wondering why there were so many dashcams rolling in Russia when this event occured. The reason is that drivers there want to protect themselves against the widespread problem of insurance fraud. Marina Galperina of ANIMAL writes,
Dash-cam footage is the only real way to substantiate your claims in the court of law. Forget witnesses. Hit and runs are very common and insurance companies notoriously specialize in denying claims. Two-way insurance coverage is very expensive and almost completely unavailable for vehicles over ten years old–the drivers can only get basic liability. Get into a minor or major accident and expect the other party to lie to the police or better yet, flee after rear-ending you. Since your insurance won’t pay unless the offender is found and sued, you’ll see dash-cam videos of post hit and run pursuits for plate numbers. [via]
That’s why the Internet is teeming with videos of Russian car accidents and close calls. We’re not complaining though, since it led to what is likely one of the most well documented meteors in history.
From hitchhiking across Africa with a borrowed camera, to photographing some of the world’s hardest to reach places from the air for National Geographic, expedition photographer George Steinmetz has quite a story to tell. And in this video, he’s kind enough to share the details.
A medical marijuana conference planned for next week will feature not just activists and politicians, but John Schwarz, a theoretical physics professor at the California Institute of Technology and father of string theory.
Aside from an editorial published in The Huffington Post late last year, the conference will mark Schwarz’s first time speaking publicly on the issue.
“Being a physicist, not a physician, I don’t usually comment on issues in medical science,” Schwarz wrote in his editorial. “But I can no longer remain silent while people in my family and profession run the risk of federal arrest so that they can follow the recommendations of their doctors.”
One such person is Schwarz’s wife, Patricia, who, after being diagnosed with a bladder condition in 1995 found medical marijuana was the only thing that relieved her pain. After listening to her groan about the issue for years, Schwarz said her husband felt moved to take up the cause. “We live in a evidence-based society,” Patricia Schwarz told HuffPost. “Why isn’t the science getting through?”
Under federal law, marijuana is considered a schedule I prohibited substance, defined as having “a high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment.” (Other examples of schedule I drugs include heroin and LSD, while cocaine, opium and methamphetamine are classified as schedule II drugs with “some accepted medical use.”)
The federal government has not acknowledged numerous studies showing the medical benefits of marijuana, arguing the studies did not meet the standard of double-blind FDA approval trials. Instead Drug Enforcement Officials cite a four-year-old Department of Health and Human Services paper that found no consensus on medical uses for marijuana.
“The way they’re treating science here is fundamentally wrong,” said Patricia Schwarz, who like her husband holds a doctorate in physics. “This is not how it should work in an evidence-based society. You can’t live in a world you wish was true.”
Groups supporting medical access to the drug include the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians. The California Medical Association has called for full legalization.
A conference on medical marijuana organized by Americans for Safe Access set to be held next week in Washington, D.C., will draw hundreds of advocates from around the country to lobby lawmakers. It comes days after members of Congress introduced legislation to reclassify marijuana for medical use and provide federal defendants the right to use state law compliance as evidence in future medical marijuana trials.
“We wanted to get on the radar of Congress and this administration early,” explained Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. The National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference, featuring an array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research and policy planning, will run from Feb. 22-25.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is among the speakers slated for the conference. His H.R. 689 would both reschedule marijuana and allow states to establish production and distribution laws without interference from the federal government. H.R. 6134, sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr (D-Conn.), seeks to overturn the prohibition on medical marijuana evidence in federal court.
Patricia Schwarz says she sees parallels between medical marijuana and the fight over climate change, where a preponderance of scientists support climate science but a corps of deniers has successfully fought the overwhelming evidence.
“Science is about finding the truth, not about comforting ourselves or purporting moral leadership” she said. “To put political blinkers on your science is setting yourself up for disaster. The real world is always going to make itself known, no matter what you tell people about it.”
Client: Can you do that in simyak?
Client: You know, use simyak colors.
Client: Right. Simyak.
A meteorite which injured hundreds of people in Russia’s Chelyabinsk Region on Friday was “the Lord’s message to humanity,” a senior local clergyman said.
“From the Scriptures, we know that the Lord often sends people signs and warnings via natural forces,” Metropolitan of Chelyabinsk and Zlatoust Feofan said in a statement released on Friday.
Predicting the future usually fails spectaculary.
But one kind of prediction works with nearly 100% accuracy: The prediction that after any natural event, at least one religious preacher will claim that it was “A message from God”
The dramatic fireball that exploded over Russia today (Feb. 15) was apparently the biggest such blast in more than a century, scientists say.
The object that caused the Russian fireball, which damaged hundreds of buildings and wounded perhaps 1,000 people in the Chelyabinsk region, was originally probably about 50 feet (15 meters) in diameter and weighed roughly 7,000 tons, said Peter Brown, director of the Center for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
From multiple sensors using multiple technologies, a best initial estimate of the total energy of the event is about 300 kilotons of TNT-equivalent, Brown said, though he stressed that the number could change as scientists learn more.
I can’t just pick one favourite, so go check them all out!
The US gun-control debate may have both sides shooting their mouths off, gunning for each other, going off half-cocked, and [insert tiresome idiom here], but a group of biostatisticians and epidemiologists decided to cut through the cant and apply rigorous research to one critical question: does carrying a gun increase your safety?
“On average,” the researchers concluded, “guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault.” The finding was published in an American Journal of Public Health paper entitled, straighforwardly enough, “Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault”.
“Although successful defensive gun uses can and do occur,” the report contends, “the findings of this study do not support the perception that such successes are likely.”
The resulting data, after suitable massaging, revealed a clear result. “[I]ndividuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P < .05) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45 (P < .05)."