Born This Way? Hardly

Nature or nurture? The debate has raged for centuries, asking whether behavior is determined more by genetic coding or by influences during our formative years.

Back in the day, it was annoying to hear conservative pundits warn that marijuana and LSD “damage chromosomes.” Aside from being an obvious scare tactic to keep young people from experimenting with pot, I wondered how it could be so. Isn’t DNA etched in stone? I’m sure some kind of research or theory of the time, specious that it may have been, supported the claim. But I asked myself how does a natural herb break or damage the links of adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine described by Francis Crick and James Watson? Since…

entered on 02/06/14 at 12:55 AM | read more »


News You Can Use: January, 2014

The Good

Mary Jane Juggernaut Keeps on Rollin’: On January 1, Colorado became the first place anywhere in the world to allow legal marijuana sales to anybody over 21 for any purpose. This thing is happening and it’s bigger than anyone imagined. Nebraska’s neighboring state has taken a giant leap. Actually, possession and use of marijuana by anyone over 21 was legal in Colorado as far back as December 10, 2012. It’s just that the operation of unfettered retail sales wasn’t legal until this month. There is a sea change upon us. Restaurants in Denver are now offering marijuana “pairing suggestions” on the menu, pairing grass varieties with particular dishes. If the legalized sale and use of…

entered on 01/17/14 at 06:44 PM | read more »


Knocking Alternative Medicine

Just because American medicine, with the exception of heroic interventions and emergency procedures, is terminally broken, doesn’t mean that just any alternative is automatically a better option.

In the past 40-odd years, Americans have gone so far down the path of embracing alternative therapies that the road is paved with radical, nonsensical variants undeserving of attention. Heartland Healing is supposed to be in favor of alternative healing arts. And in general, we are. But there is a cogent argument demanding closer inspection of therapies that appear to be making their mark just because they can be called “alternative”.

IFTTT Life isn’t as simple as computer programs. It’s simpler. I have a gadget that starts our 1960s-era coffee…

entered on 01/10/14 at 10:05 PM | read more »


Turn Out the Lights, or the Party’s Over

Lists are popular this time of year. Let’s persist. One thing prompted consideration of the types of pollution we endure as we traipse through our ecosystem. Even deniers claiming that climate change isn’t anthropogenic still endorse the scatological maxim: “Don’t shit where you eat.” Polluting is just that and we’ve been overachieving in the past hundred years or so. Here’s a list worth changing in 2014. Some may surprise you.

The obvious: Air, Water, Land, Chemical

Biggest air pollution offenders are coal-fired power plants, farting cows (seriously, the livestock sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases), transportation, agriculture. Tilling topsoil to grow corn for inefficient ethanol production causes more pollution than it saves and spraying toxins…

entered on 01/06/14 at 12:48 AM | read more »


News of the Weird: Annals of Science

America’s foremost advocate for frontal lobotomies as “treatment” for mental disorder, the late Dr. Walter Freeman, performed an estimated 3,500 lobotomies during the 1940s and 1950s before opposition finally solidified against him, according to a December 2013 investigation by The Wall Street Journal. At the peak of his influence, he was so confident that he demonstrated the procedure to skeptics by hammering an icepick (“from his own kitchen,” the Journal reported) into both eye sockets of an electrical-shocked patient and “toggling” the picks around the brain tissue, certain that he was severing “correctly.” For years, Freeman (a neurologist untrained in surgery) marshaled positive feedback from enough patients and families for the procedure to survive criticism, and he spent his…

entered on 12/27/13 at 06:13 PM | read more »


What’s in Store for Two-Oh-One-Four

Glow, little glowworm. Ft. Calhoun nuclear reactor turned 40 in August of 2013. Plagued by a plethora of dangerous malfunctions, it looked like it might not see 41. The nuclear pile went to operational criticality at 5:47 p.m. on August 5, 1973, making it one of the oldest plants in the world and incorporates the same antiquated design as the melted down reactor at Fukushima, Japan. Ft. Calhoun shut down in 2011. But against all odds and at a ridiculous cost of $200 million, OPPD squeezed a square peg into a round hole, patched up the reactor and plans to fire it up. The price of the patches exceeded what it cost to build in it 1973. The ancient…

entered on 12/24/13 at 05:12 PM | read more »


News of the Weird: Nuclear Tractor Pull

 

Edward Teller, the famous theoretical physicist known as the “father of the hydrogen bomb” for his work on the World War II-era Manhattan Project, died in 2003, but his daughter Rene told The Free Press of Kinston, N.C., in November that she had recently discovered two of her father’s precious mementos at a thrift shop near Kinston during a road trip to visit relatives. “(Father’s) work was so demanding” she said, that he needed “recreational activities” and tried “the things you’d suspect,” like chess. However, the two mementos were awards Teller had won at tractor pull competitions. “He’d show up at major tractor pulls” riding just a Cub Cadet mower, Rene said, and “leave the competition in…

entered on 12/20/13 at 07:14 PM | read more »


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Assumptions

Bo Pelini behaved as if he had coached his last game at Nebraska, based on his sideline and post-game decorum, or lack thereof. That was the...

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Attention to detail

If not for Sam Burtch, the most dramatic play of this Nebraska football season might never have happened.

If not for Burtch, Ron Kellogg III...

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Sack leader

As David Santos remembers it, Connor Cook was rolling out and he was pursuing the Michigan State quarterback when Nebraska teammate Randy Gregory...

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Planet Power: Nov. 21 - 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s be nice to each other and cultivate warm thoughts. You are what you think…
—MOJOPOPlanetPower.com

i SAGITTARIUS...

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Planet Power: Nov. 14 - 20, 2013

This issue marks my 17th year here at The “READER.” Thanks to John, Eric, my beloved Carrie, et al., for all your help, encouragement and...

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Planet Power: November 7 - 13, 2013

The new Aquarian-Age astrology is/will be ruled by the planet Uranus (yeah, I’ve heard that joke before). Traditional astrology, prior to the...

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Planet Power: Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, 2013

Happy Halloween! Let your subconscious desires flow as the twilight fades into the black of the night of the year. Don’t fear the night. You have...

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The Scoop on Poop

There is an eye-catching scene in Bernardo Bertolucci’s magnum opus and Oscar-winning film, The Last Emperor. The movie details the life arc of the...

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Skin Deep

Our skin is the largest organ of our body. Skin contains, protects and functions on the outside and inside. That’s right. Technically, skin doesn’t...

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Chakras: Wheels on Fire

The name Albert Einstein remains one of the most recognizable in all of history. Charles Webster “C.W.” Leadbeater, not so much. Both men made names...

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Our Deadliest Addiction: Convenience

You know you’re addicted to something when you forsake logic and quality of life in order to acquire what you think you can’t live without. A crack,...

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