Second mystery hole found in Siberian permafrost

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Folks, please chip in to my Paypal account at Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com if you can. I wouldn’t ask if I had any other options. A second hole in warming Siberian permafrost has been reported in the same remote, icy wilderness where a larger one was found last week. Geologists are still unsure how these features are forming, but some consensus is developing around a subterranean explosion of natural gas and salty water triggered by climate change: [Read more...]

Federal appeals court strikes down key part of Obamacare

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Please chip in to my Paypal account at Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com if you can. My circumstances are dire and getting worse. Here’s just the latest example of the many ways rich, conservative nutjobs are methodically destroying the lives of people like me: The ACA may be heading back to the Supreme Court after an appeals court struck down a key component of the law today. The decision could have lethal consequences for millions of people currently insured individually or under their employers’ plan: [Read more...]

Job growth in living wage states higher than minimum wage peers

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If I collect a little more in donations this week, the blegging can stop. My Paypal email is Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com. Please chip in if possible to your gentle, progressive atheist activist. Sadly, there’s just no career path and little in the way of tangible benefits doing what I do here at FTB. Speaking of benefits, guess what happens when the minimum wage is raised to something closer to livable and guess what economic ideology is being shown as dead wrong on that score? [Read more...]

You too will be assimilated

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Thanks so much to those that have helped out this month. For those who are new, I struggled for several years on barely-above- minimum wages after falling completely out of the middle class back in 2009. At eleven bucks an hour I slowly burned through my meager savings and then got hit by the financial coup de grace: a freak heart attack with complications. It’s just blind luck I happened to have health insurance and disability at the time. But the disability paid only a fraction of my crappy base pay and, of course, my out of pocket medical costs exploded. I survived, my job didn’t. Beginning in 2013 and through the new year, for the first time in my life, I faced down grinding poverty, food insecurity, cutting prescription meds in half or going without, and even the looming prospect of homelessness.

Finally, after recovering for the better part of a year, and then jumping through a lot of hoops for two more months to land a tech support job that might have paid a little better, it looked like things were turning up. Alas, just this month, just a few weeks after starting, I’m no longer employed and have no unemployment benefits. This all happened in the great state of Texas, where the social safety net for people in my shoes is essentially non-existent, even the Medicaid expansion that would help millions like me has been sacrificed to Gov Rick Perry’s fantasy of winning the GOP nomination for President. Please help out if you can, even if it’s only a few bucks. My Paypal email is Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com.

My story is sad but it’s becoming the norm. It’s just a matter of time before they come for other jobs that pay anything close to a living wage: [Read more...]

Spacecraft closes in on strange binary comet

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Thanks for all who have chipped in to support me in my activist poverty. I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t dire. Please hit my Paypal account if you can using Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com and thanks!

This week the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft closed in on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and resolved this unusual shape. Its spinning fairly quickly and stretching around 3 miles across at the widest. Astronomers call it a binary comet, presumably made of two smaller objects that didn’t quite finish merging an unknown time ago. [Read more...]

Airliner thought to have been hit by Buk missile system

800px-Buk-m2_ky

There is a great deal of speculation about the fate of an airliner carrying almost 300 people reportedly shot down over the Ukraine. But Europe’s aviation admin has closed Ukrainian airspace and consensus is tentatively converging on a Russian built Buk anti-aircraft missile. These radar guided missiles pack about 150 lbs. of high explosive, cruise to their target at over 2500 mph, and can reach as high as 70,000 feet or more. A big airliner at 32,000 feet wouldn’t have much of a chance against that. The Buk is a sophisticated system and there is strong suspicion or at least accusations flying that only pro-Russian separatists or Russian soldiers would posses working versions and the training to operate them.

Wikipedia – A standard Buk battalion consists of a command vehicle, target acquisition radar (TAR) vehicle, six transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicles and three transporter erector launcher (TEL) vehicles. A Buk missile battery consists of two TELAR and one TEL vehicle. The battery requires no more than 5 minutes to set up before it is ready for engagement and can be ready for transit again in 5 minutes. The reaction time of the battery from target tracking to missile launch is around 22 seconds.

Much of the wreckage is strewn over a region several miles wide near a separatist stronghold. There are reports of separatists denying any involvement and rumors of offers for a short-term truce, giving first responders time to examine and manage the impact sites.

Daily Kos – Speaking in Detroit at Netroots Nation 2014, Vice President Joe Biden said Malaysia Airlines flight 17 “apparently had been shot down,” the U.S. government’s first public statement indicating it believes the plane had been attacked.

Shortly after Vice President Biden’s remarks, Fox and NBC reported that U.S. military officials confirmed they believe the plane was shot down by a surface to air missile in Ukrainian airspace near the Russian border, but they did not say they had determined where the attack had been launched.

Another Malaysian airliner missing (Updated)

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State Dep was just asked if 23 Americans were aboard, no confirmation. Update:

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said his country’s armed forces didn’t shoot at any airborne targets. “We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” he said. “We are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.” …

TPM — Separatist leader Andrei Purgin told The Associated Press that he was certain that Ukrainian troops had shot it down but gave no explanation for that statement. Purgin said he was not aware of whether rebel forces owned Buk missile launchers, but even if they did, there had no fighters capable of operating it.

Please help out with a small Paypal donation/handout if you can, my email is Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com. On the News of the Day: At first it looked like another Malaysian airliner gone missing. But early reports suggest it may turn out to have a more mundane if equally lethal explanation. Either way the media is going nuts about it: [Read more...]

Giant mystery hole opens up in Siberian permafrost

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Thanks to a couple of people who have pitched in to keep me in power and Internet. Click the link above and/or use Darksydothemoon-at-aol-com and Paypal to help m through another dismal, desperate time.

A giant sink-hole looking crater has mysteriously opened up in Siberia. Geologists aren’t sure what caused it. The hole could perhaps be related to local natural gas production. Others speculate it could be a result of melting ice or a methane burp triggered by warming. Whatever caused it, this thing is huge. Video and links below the fold. [Read more...]

MN Republican cites bizarre science ideas

Anti-science bloggers often enjoy significant support from various wingnut think-tanks, five or even six figures grants have reportedly been handed out to some. All I’ve got is you. Please chip into my Paypal account at DarkSydOtheMoon-at-aol-com if you can. All that right-wing money supports batshit crazy ideas, like the one proposed by Minnesota State Rep Bob Frey last week. He had this nugget to say about AIDS: [Read more...]

Wealthy inequality may be worse than measured

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I had hoped not to have to ask, but I’m between jobs, approaching dead broke and could use any help anyone can provide. No amount is too big or too small. Paypal email is DarkSydoTheMoon-at-aol-com. The economy’s definitely better, at least there are more ads for jobs here in Austin than in months past. But few of them are the kind of jobs that pay a middle class salary. Mostly 10 and 11 dollar an hour deals. The one-percent are reportedly doing fine though: [Read more...]