The Weekend in Gun Violence – NYTimes.com Sunday 2.0

Two men are in the hospital following a shooting early Sunday at a Knights of Columbus Hall in Opelousas, La. A woman was critically injured after being shot in the chest by a stray bullet that came into her Whites Creek, Tenn., home Sunday night. A bullet pierced the walls of a Forrest City, Ark., home and hit a woman in the knee Sunday night.

via The Weekend in Gun Violence – NYTimes.com.

The Weekend in Gun Violence – NYTimes.com / Sunday 1.0

A 15-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed after she and her 12-year-old sister were handling a .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun in their LeFlore County, Miss., home Sunday. A 41-year-old woman was killed and five others were wounded when Esteban Smith, 23, who was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, randomly fired at vehicles as he drove around Concho County, Tex., in his pickup Sunday afternoon.

via The Weekend in Gun Violence – NYTimes.com.

The Weekend in Gun Violence – NYTimes.com Friday – a portion only

1-year-old Carter Scott was killed and his father, Rashaw Scott, 22, was wounded when three people opened fire as they sat in a parked car outside an apartment complex in Cherry Hill, Md., Friday evening. An 11-year-old Homestead, Fla., boy who brought a gun to school was shot in the leg and wounded after it accidentally discharged inside his backpack. Keshawn Carter Davis, 12, was accidentally shot and killed inside a Greenville, N.C., home Friday morning. A 15-year-old was driven to the hospital and left there by his family after he was shot multiple times and wounded at his Richmond, Va., apartment Thursday night. Tonquinisha “NeNe” McKinley, 17, was killed and Uniqua Wicker, 18, Raven Howard, 19, and Pamela Jordan, 39, were wounded when gunfire erupted at an unofficial Saginaw High School pre-prom gathering in Saginaw, Mich., Thursday night.

via The Weekend in Gun Violence – NYTimes.com.

Adventures in open water swimming #4: Of wetsuits and jellyfish

Open water swimming is a challenge and a wet suit definitely makes it easier. My mother used to swim 10 miles out and ten beck in Providence, RI in the 1930s and kept up until in her early 60s.

Fit and Feminist

Editor’s note: Before I begin this post, I wanted to say hi, welcome, wilkommen, bienvenida, bienvenue, and holy shit, there are a lot of new readers here.  I am sorry that I was not able to respond to every comment, but I got overwhelmed.  I did read all of them, though, and thank you to all of you who said nice, supportive things about my post.  Y’all know how to make a lady feel good. 🙂

Wetsuits are controversial in the sport of triathlon.  There are concerns that some people wear them as sort of a crutch, to make up for a lack of swimming ability and allow less than skilled swimmers to take part in races they are not adequately prepared to do.  It’s easy enough to see how this might be the case, as a tri-specific wetsuit is made up of a rubberized neoprene that basically turns…

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Egypt Needs a Security Strategy For Sinai

Need strategy and a willingness to serve those who live there…

Nervana

Soldiers who were kidnapped last week sit before a news conference by President Mohamed Mursi after their release

(Soldiers who were kidnapped last week sit before a news conference by President Mohammed Morsi after their release, photo by REUTERS)

I wrote this piece for  Al-Monitor. Look forward to your feedbacks and comments

Last week, Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of the Hamas government in Gaza called on Egypt to revise the Camp David Accords, which were signed with Israel. His speech came after the kidnapping and later release of Egyptian security personnel in Sinai by radical jihadist groups.

The debate about the peace treaty with Israel is not new. It is as old as the treaty itself. The recent deterioration of security in Sinai, however, particularly after the ouster of the Mubarak regime, has reinvigorated the debate about the Camp David Accords. This is especially the case regarding amendment of the security arrangement in Sinai.

It may look like an easy fix; let’s bring the Egyptian army in to…

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Saying ‘No’ to genetically modified food | Europe | DW.DE | 28.05.2013

Planting genetically engineered plants – even for tests – is prohibited in Germany. Only two products – Monsanto’s MON 810 corn and the Amflora potato of the German company BASF – are licensed to be grown in Europe. There’s not much acreage under GMO crops, at least compared to North and South America.

Protecting profits

At first, many US farmers were thrilled by the economic success Monsanto promised. The genetically engineered plants and matching chemicals ensured large harvests with little effort. The drawback was that every year, the farmers were forced to buy seeds to grow the next crop – Monsanto regards replicating the seeds as infringing on its patent. Another drawback, Töwe says, is a massive increase in resistance: pests and weeds are on the rise, making new pesticides necessary.

Töwe notes the use of pesticides has surged over the past years in the US, as well as in Argentina and Brazil, where genetically modified soy and corn are grown. As a result, the seed company is designing new genetically engineered plants that can withstand even larger amounts of chemicals, in what Töwe describes as a perverted” cycle. “Plants like that need to be tested on animals like drugs,” Töwe warns. “There are enough plants which have already been bred that do not need that kind of testing.”

via Saying ‘No’ to genetically modified food | Europe | DW.DE | 28.05.2013.

Bicycles OK on all BART trains all the time starting July 1 – San Francisco Business Times

The Bay Area Rapid Transit system’s board of directors voted to let commuters bring bicycles on all trains, even during rush hour, starting July 1.

But this isn’t being called a permanent change — rather the board cautiously named it an “extended trial” that will last from July 1 to Dec. 1 “to observe the impact of allowing bikes on board during busy commute periods.”

via Bicycles OK on all BART trains all the time starting July 1 – San Francisco Business Times.

National Organic Program: Amendments to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (Crops and Processing)

This final rule amends the exemptions (uses) for one substance, peracetic acid, for organic crop production. This final rule also amends the exemptions for three substances used in organic handling: potassium hydroxide, silicon dioxide, and beta-carotene extract color.

via Regulations.gov – Rule Document.

Even Ladybugs can be an invasive species and unintentionally kill native ladybugs!

Beetle from East Asia wreaks havoc in US, Europe after being introduced to kill bugs
“Harlequin ladybird shows dangers of alien species as biological control”

The harlequin ladybird was once a stalwart ally of greenhouse owners around the world. Native to Japan, Korea and other parts of eastern Asia, the bright red beetles were prized for their aphid-eating abilities – until they caused serious declines in other ladybird populations. Now, researchers have discovered the harlequin’s secret weapon: a deadly parasite that lives harmlessly in its body but kills other species with abandon.

The findings, published in the journal Science, demonstrate how things can go awry when a foreign creature is introduced into an ecosystem, even when done with the best intentions.

Ladybirds are beloved by humans and are valuable to gardeners, who deploy the spotted beetles to eat plant-munching aphids rather than spray their shrubs, flowers and crops with harsh chemical pesticides.

It is a prime example of an environmentally friendly agricultural practice known as biological control. But one particular ladybird – the harlequin, or Harmonia axyridis – has proved to be a two-faced friend.

The bugs gobble up aphids at jaw-straining speeds, but spread like wildfire once they escape the greenhouse, quickly taking over native ladybirds’ turf in large parts of Europe, North America and other regions.

In Europe, swarms of the pests have started taking wintertime shelter in houses, said study co-author Heiko Vogel, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany.

The residence of Vogel’s own mother has been plagued by the beetles, which can fly through windows, slip under carpets and burrow into any crevice a human home has to offer. “Thousands of beetles – even if they are nice-looking – crawling into your house is not fun,” Vogel said.

German researchers analysed the harlequin ladybird’s haemolymph – its blood, essentially – under a microscope and found extremely high spore counts of a single-celled fungus related to the parasite Nosema thompsoni.

With so many spores in their haemolymph, “you should be dead”, Vogel said. The researchers soon realised that somehow, the beetle’s immune systems had managed to tame the spores. The findings offer a cautionary tale for biological control. Vogel said: “You should think twice before you introduce an alien species into a new , even if it’s for a good reason.”

Source: South China Morning Post