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Recreational Marijuana

10 Apr

Recreational Marijuana

In November, 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to legalize use of recreational marijuana in their general elections.  In Washington, Initiative 502 was supported by 55% of voters, and in Colorado, amendment 64 got 53% of the vote.  These landmark pieces of legislation flew in the face of federal laws that continued to ban the use of even medical marijuana.  A Rolling Stone article published in April of 2012 reported that the Obama administration, had undertaken over 170 “SWAT-style raids in 9 medical marijuana states resulting in at least 61 federal indictments.”  Given the federal government’s continued stance against the legalization of marijuana, the votes put Washington and Colorado in a precarious position.  Leaders in both states got to work outlining practices which would allow their constituents to follow the newly-minted laws without getting into trouble with the federal government.

Since that time, the president has taken a few steps into the spotlight on the issue, spurred largely by ever-increasing popular support for legalization of marijuana.  In a January 2014 interview with The New Yorker, Obama stated “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”  He also described concerns that arrests for marijuana use were disproportionately heaped on individuals of lower socioeconomic status.  Of course, Obama made no outright claim that the feds would turn a blind eye to marijuana any time soon, but his message was clear – that he was motivated to stay out of the way of state legalization pushes and to concentrate federal efforts elsewhere.

So, what was in the two legislation landmarks that passed back in 2012, and why was there such a big buzz about them only recently?

Washington’s Initiative 502:

- No more arrests for adults age 21 and older for possessing limited (1 oz of useable MJ, 16 oz of MJ-infused product in solid form, 72 oz of MJ-infused product in liquid form) amounts of marijuana

- Cannot grow marijuana at home unless you are an authorized medical marijuana patient

- Retail outlets allowed to sell marijuana after rulemaking deadline of 12/1/2013 for WA state liquor control board, dept of agriculture, and dept of health

- Cannot use marijuana in public (fine, but not arrest)

- Standard for marijuana impairment while driving (5 ng/ml)

- Marijuana sales taxed at 25%

Colorado’s Amendment 64:

- Adults 21 and older can possess up to 1 oz of useable marijuana

- Adults 21 and older can grow their own marijuana (up to 6 plants, only 3 mature, can give marijuana away to other adults over 21 but cannot sell)

- Illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana (5 ng/ml)

- Marijuana sales will be taxed at a maximum of 15%

What changes have we seen so far?

In Washington, stores selling marijuana are expected to start springing up over the next few months.  As such, tax information is not yet available, but state patrol records of DUIs since the legalization of recreational marijuana use are available.  They show an interesting picture.  This table is pulled from More Pot, Safer Roads published in Forbes on 4/3/14:

In Colorado, marijuana sales are expected to $1B in the next year, with recreational sales estimated at about $610M.  The newest budget numbers suggest that the state will collect $100M per year in taxes on the sales.  Colorado plans to spend the first $40M it collects on school construction around the state.  Following that, $45.5M is slated for youth use prevention, $12.4M for public health, and a number of other measures, including $2.2M for “oral fluid devices” used to test THC levels in saliva.

Only time will tell how all of this shakes out, but WA and CO are paving the way as the rest of the country (and the world) watches from the sidelines.

 
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Have You Heard, April 6th 2014

06 Apr

Free Community College in Tennessee

Chain Lightning Bluetooth Internet

FDA Approves Heroin Overdose Delivery Device  — More info on Heroin’s ‘moment’

Mario Kart Reboot

Neil Degrasse Hits Mercedes

Tesla wants to get rid of sideview mirrors

Water on Saturn

 

 

Pregnancy Etiquette

26 Mar

PREG

Mitch’s Top 5 pregnancy tips for Good Guys and Gals -

  1. Don’t be the first to bring up pregnancy. It seems like a very benign and happy thing to ask about. We’re all getting to that age, a bunch of friends are have gotten married in the past few years, we are coming into our own career-wise etc. So it seems like a natural, life question to ask a couple. Here’s the thing; it’s not always easy to get pregnant. 50% after 4-5 months, 70% after 9 months, 85% after a year.
    So this tends to be one of the most important and thought out decisions in a couples’ life, and the actual tactics pretty much take place in secret because it is not EASY to get pregnant. Based on those stats, the majority of couples are trying deliberately for 5 months or more before it happens. This takes a big time psychological toll on the couple; it sure did on us.
    So now put yourself back in that conversational situation again where you ask a happy couple – ‘So, you’ve been married a year now, when you gonna take the next step and have kids?’ There are only a few options of how it plays out:

    1. They have thought long and hard about it, and are not actively trying, so they say so. This is probably the best case scenario, but you still might be risking them being a little offended that you think they ‘should’ be starting a family.
    2. They have thought long and hard about it, and ARE actively trying. This means they’ve probably had at least a few months of realization that it’s not going to be automatic. This pretty much forces them to lie to you because they won’t want you following up in 5 months. (we had to do this a lot)
    3. They are actually pregnant but haven’t started telling people, in which case, they have to lie to you anyway.

     

  2. Don’t try to ‘out’ someone. Once someone is actually pregnant, it’s pretty standard practice to wait until they get through the first trimester, because once through the first trimester, that’s when the likelihood of a miscarriage is much lower. Some people have a sick fascination with being ‘in-the-know’ and so they feel compelled to confront women about it. There is some weird human condition where we relish being ‘in the know.’ RESIST!
  3. Don’t call people out for not drinking. This one doesn’t even have to apply to pregnancy, but is particularly acute in that case. I think I might even have been guilty of this in the past, and it’s some insecure, shameful thing that people do that must be a hold-over from college days or something. Someone turns down a drink or a shot, and we say “Awe – come on, ya woos!” Or the girl version might be, “oooo, is someone pregnant?” As a rule, just be on the safe side and don’t bring it up. Go ahead and silently make a note to yourself and you can congratulate yourself later if you’re actually right, but in the moment, don’t call it out.
  4. If you are lucky enough to get pregnant and it’s relatively easy, being happy and excited is great. Boasting about how easy it was for you is not. I don’t even think it feels like boasting to the couple themselves, they are just happy, but you’d be surprised how that comes off to someone that has been trying very hard for many months. After seeing the stats, I actually see that we were probably right smack dab in the middle of the average at 5 or so months of trying, but boy, during those months, it sure felt like there was something wrong with us, and hearing about how easy it was for some people was really tough even though it wasn’t meant to be that way at all. So just be VERY careful in talking about it with peers, and again, if you’re socially awkward like me, just never be the first to bring it up.
  5. You hear this one all the time, but if a woman is pregnant, do not under any circumstances, comment on her size. It seems like such a no-brainer but when you see your friends that are women, and they are happy and excited to be moms, there’s something (at least in my head) that tries to tell you ‘it’s ok to tell her she looks huge’ She knows it, and what it represents. Your go-to ice-breaker about the pregnancy should always just be ‘how do you feel?’ Then let the mom drive where she wants to go with the conversation. I learned this the hard way.

Agree with me? Disagree? Horror stories? Leave a comment with other things to keep in mind, or any advice for a nervous father to be!

 

 
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Have You Heard, March 16th 2014

16 Mar

Anti-Vaccine Truthers Are Becoming a Scary Epidemic in the United States

Marijuana industry delegation’s pitch on legalized pot: It’s just good business

Woolly Mammoth Clone Is Now Possible

LeBron James to Promote Obama-care

Alibaba Decides to List on NYSE

Lady Gaga gets barfed on as part of SXSW act

 

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

13 Mar

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 13-part television series with a purpose to introduce science as an engaging and entertaining topic. It is hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, and produced by Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan,who is renowned scientist Carl Sagan’s widow.

photo from http://www.gq.com/

photo from http://www.gq.com/

photo from http://www.gq.com/entertainment/movies-and-tv/201403/cosmos-neil-degrasse-tyson-seth-macfarlane#slide=4

photo from http://www.gq.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carl Sagan was the original host of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, a 1980 television show that covered a wide range of scientific subjects, including the origin of life and a perspective of our place in the universe. The 1980 original was the most widely watched series in the history of American Public Television until 1990 when it was surpassed by “The Civil War(1990).” The original Cosmos has been seen by over 500 million people in more than 60 countries.

Image from http://game-flappybird.tk/Carl-Sagan

Image from http://game-flappybird.tk/Carl-Sagan

 

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey recently premiered on March 9th, 2014 with the first episode titled “Standing Up  in the Milky Way.” The first episode features a tour of the solar system and the known universe before sharing the birth of Renaissance Italian Giordano Bruno’s vision of the universe as a limitless expanse of space and time. It then makes an exploration into the Cosmic Calendar, which dates back to the dawn of the Big Bang.  The episode appropriately ends with deGrasse Tyson narrating how he met his mentor Carl Sagan, the host of the original Cosmos series. And just to add a little more bang to this already star-studded affair, the first episode was introduced by none other than President Barack Obama.

Family Guy fans are quick to ask, why is Seth MacFarlane producing a science series? The truth is that MacFarlane has been a huge fan of Cosmos since the beginning. He has truly been an integral part of the team and has been a strong advocate for the series since the idea to remake the show was spawned in 2008 following an introduction the Druyan. As child, MacFarlane loved Sagan’s show.  MacFarlane sees both series as a gap between the academic community and the general public. MacFarlane also believes that “the universe is hilarious! Like, Venus is 900 degrees. I could tell you it melts lead. But that’s not as fun as saying, ‘You can cook a pizza on the windowsill in 9 seconds.’ And next time my fans eat pizza, they’re thinking of Venus!”

When recently interviewed about the show, deGrasse Tyson stated that “the goal is to convey why science matters to the person, to our society, to us as shepherds of this planet. It involves presenting science in ways that connect to you, so Cosmos can influence you not only intellectually but emotionally, with a celebration of wonder and awe,” says Tyson. “Science should be part of everybody’s life. The prerequisite is not that you become a scientist. It’s that at the end of the series, you will embrace science and recognize its role in who and what you are.”

The new Cosmos draws inspiration, and even some content, from the original series but also takes advantage of newer scientific concepts and major advances in production quality to combine rigorous scientific skepticism  with a sense of romance in the cosmos. Drawing from the original Cosmos, the new production brings back the Cosmic Calendar, which tries to put the unfathomable 13.8-billion-year history of the universe in the context of a year, with all of recorded history taking up just the last 14 seconds of Dec. 31. It is facts like these that highlight the unfathomable majesty of Cosmos.

If you missed the first episode, it can be viewed online at http://www.cosmosontv.com

(Episodes will air weekly on Fox, followed by a repeat broadcast with bonus material Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic.)

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos:_A_Spacetime_Odyssey

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2014/03/08/fox-cosmos-series-with-neil-degrasse-tyson/6059985/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos:_A_Personal_Voyage

 

 

This week’s challenge:

Go to the following link and solve the puzzle in as few moves as possible.  Post your score on our Facebook page!

Tower of Hanoi

 
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Have You Heard, March 9th 2014

09 Mar

Daylight saving time: the first sign of spring

Netflix To Raise Prices

Malaysia Airlines flight to Beijing vanishes

North Korea Holds First Parliamentary Elections Under Kim Jong-un

America’s Deadliest Fraternity Has Just Banned Pledging

 
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Have You Heard? March 2nd, 2014

05 Mar

Failure Complete on One-time Bitcoin King Mt. Gox

What’s Going on in Ukraine?

The Oldest Person in The World

The Baby With Three Parents

 
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Oscars History

27 Feb

Amry Oscar

Louis Burt Mayer was born July 12, 1884 in Minsk, Russia.  He and his family moved to Rhode Island in 1887, then to Saint John, New Brunswick, where he worked in a scrap metal business with his father until 1904, when he moved to Boston at the age of 19.  He worked a variety of jobs there, but eventually found work renovating the Gem Theater, a 600 seat theater in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  He remodeled and reopened the theater, renaming it to The Orpheum, and showed movies there (at this time, still silent films).  He eventually purchased the other 5 theaters in Haverhill, and formed a partnership which controlled the largest theater chain in New England.

 

It’s worth noting that at this time, motion pictures didn’t hold the esteem that they do now.  Actors considered them to be second-class work, largely because the movies were silent.  Without a voice, actors felt that they were really only displaying half of the skills necessary to be good at their jobs, and the stars of opera and theater held the status that today’s movie stars do.  In fact, silent film stars initially weren’t even identified in their films, as many were embarrassed to “stoop” to that level.  Early movies were typically aimed toward “the working class” that typically couldn’t afford to see theater and opera productions, and film, in general, was seen as a form of entertainment only slightly above carnivals and freak shows.  Producers and creators of motion picture technology (Edison was a main player) basically wrote the rules of film at the time, and wouldn’t allow equipment to be used or money to be spent if directors weren’t following their rules, and they preferred for the glory of films to go to the production companies rather than the actors or directors.

 

In the 1910s, the public became increasingly interested in knowing and connecting with the stars of their movies.  Film fan magazines began to be published, and rogue actors started to develop their own personas to play to their fans.  In the late 1920s, moves began to incorporate sound, which began to decrease the stigma associated with the motion picture industry, and resulted in even greater interest from fan bases.  At this point, film fan magazines also began to switch from describing movie plots to writing pieces on actors’ lives outside of the films, which audiences gobbled up.  This all amounted to an increase in the power of actors amongst the film industry, and served to rustle some feathers with the big wigs.

 

Now, back to Mr. Mayer.  After establishing dominance in the New England film market, Mayer moved to Los Angeles, which was quickly becoming the center of the film universe.  LA was ideal due to favorable weather conditions year-round, fewer licensing restrictions than were found in the northeast, and the fact that Westerns (growing in popularity during this time) were easily filmed there.  Mr. Mayer set up his own production company in LA, and continued to be successful enough that he caught the attention of Marcus Loew, who had recently merged Metro Pictures and Goldwyn Pictures, and needed a talented leader to head the productions on the west coast.  Mayer acted as vice president of the company for 27 years, and his name was eventually added the name of the company, which made it Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM.

 

Mayer made a good deal of money in this position, and in fact was the first American citizen to earn a salary of more than $1 million dollars.  For 9 years, starting in 1937, Mayer was the highest paid man in the US, earning approximately 1.3 million per year (equivalent to a little over $21 million today).  Part of Mayer’s success came from his ability to sell pictures that people wanted to see, and he jumped on the public’s insatiable appetite for details of the lives of stars.  Mayer is generally credited with creating “the star system,” whereby his stars were forced, contractually, to take part in public activities as the studios saw fit.  Studios would set up dates between famous actors and actresses, names were changed (Cary Grant = Archie Leach, Joan Crawford = Lucille Fay LeSueur, Rock Hudson = Roy Harold Scherer, Jr.), and images were maintained.  Eventually, actors became tired of the ridiculous ways they were being forced to spend their free time, and pushed back against the star system.  Like any good businessman, Mayer was keenly aware of threats to his income, and he saw this threat coming.  To make matters worse for him, talk of unions was in the air, so he and some buddies got together in late 1926 to come up with a plan.

 

They decided they needed a way to stroke the ego of their actors a bit more while maintaining the idea that Hollywood was a magical place.  Additionally, they wanted to create an organization that could deal with the changing needs and requests of their actors while keeping an eye on (and batting away) attempts to unionize.  They named the organization “the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” and held a banquet in January of 1927 to offer membership to others in the industry.  It’s generally accepted that someone at this banquet suggested that they should award prizes to actors each year.  The story goes that one of the attendees drew a sketch of a man holding a sword while standing on a film reel, which became the iconic statue given to winners each year.  Another story suggests that, a few years later, one of the librarians working for the Academy claimed that the statue looked “like my uncle Oscar.”

 

The movie industry hit hard times (along with the rest of the country) in the 1930s, and actors did eventually unionize, but the Academy grew into an important piece of the American film industry despite it’s nefarious beginnings.  Mayer was eventually fired from MGM after (ironically enough) the company failed to win an academy award 3 years in a row.

 

 
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Have You Heard? February 23rd, 2014

23 Feb

California Plan to split into 6 states gains ground

US Navy ready to deploy laser system this summer; rail guns aren’t far behind

Gmail adding 1-click option to unsubscribe from marketing emails

Girl Scout’s effort to sell cookies goes to pot

Russia clinches overall medals title

 
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Valentine’s Day

13 Feb

Valentines-Day-

Well guys, that time of year is upon us again. The wonderful time of year when everyone loves each other, smells flowers all day, and overeats chocolate and candy hearts. Most everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day to at least a tiny extent, but why do we feel the need to send all these flowers and cards on just one random day in Februrary? This episode Perek gives a look at some of the historically significant events that may have helped to shape the traditions we practice today. A couple of interesting stats and jokes are included FREE in this episode – feel free to use them at your home or office, royalty free. Happy Valentine’s Day everybody.

 
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